Weekly Nickel 9-5-2011

Photo courtesy of thetennistimes.com. Tennis has taken over the Big Apple. Make sure to watch the US Open.

By Josh Kramer

College Football has begun.  NFL Football is just a few days away.  And the US Open is heating up in the Big Apple.  What a week it was and what a week we have ahead.  Here are the main events you should be aware of.

5.  We may not have an NBA season this year.  But as we learned in June’s NBA Draft, basketball has truly become international.  The European Basketball Championships continue on.  Players such as Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, Danilo Gallineri, and more represent their respective countries in the major tournament.  It is the best basketball going right now.

4.  It has been a long time since baseball was not one of the top few in the “Weekly Nickel.”  But with football back in action, and tennis heating up in New York, baseball takes a bit of a back seat this week.  But don’t let the American pastime fall too far into the rearview mirror.  It is still September, and much still has to be decided before we can start the playoffs.  Here is the matchup of the week.

Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians:  The Tigers, led by the future AL Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander, have all but shut the door on the Indians and the rest of the AL Central.  This is Cleveland’s last real shot to make a run at the playoffs.  The Indians have been a pleasant surprise all year.  And I admit, I was shocked at their hot start.  But I am even more shocked that they have remained in contention.  They head into tonight 6 games out of first place.  A sweep in this series could go a long way for the Tribe.  Sadly for Cleveland, they have to face Verlander in the final game of the series.  But since the series is in Cleveland, I will go with the Tribe to take 2 out of 3.

3.  College Football Week 2.  After a somewhat mediocre Week 1, full of many meaningless FCS versus FBS matchups, we head towards Week 2.  A few games to keep an eye on.

-Arizona at Oklahoma State

-Mississippi State at Auburn

-South Carolina at Georgia

-Notre Dame at Michigan

(Picks to come later this week with my weekly College Football predictions on Thursday)

2.  The US Open has already lived up to and exceeded expectations.  Great weather.  Awesome crowds.  And of course outstanding match play.  Even the Americans are putting up a strong showing thus far.  Maybe there is hope for American tennis (Young, Isner, Fish, and Roddick are all still standing)  Once again, the US Open falls just short of the number one spot due in large part to bad timing.  But take in as much tennis as you can.  In addition, be sure to check me out on ESPN’s Courtcast every night as I “Live Blog” for ESPN in the evenings.

1.  Americas favorite sport is back.  After a very tumultuous off-season, the moment the majority of the country has been waiting for is nearly here.  Week 1 of the NFL Football season is just days away.  And even though the NFL just experienced it’s longest work stoppage period in the history of the League, no harm no foul.  No games missed (except the Hall of Fame Game).  Who is ready for some football?

Here are my top matchups:

-League Opener Thursday at 8:30 PM on NBC-New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

-Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (hopefully with Peyton Manning playing)

(My official picks for the week will come out on Friday)

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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