Weekly Nickel 9-12-2011

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Just a month ago, Casey Kotchman (pictured above) and the Tampa Bay Rays appeared to be out of the playoff picture. After a big weekend, they have new life.

By Josh Kramer

The sporting world still stays hot despite the looming start of Fall.  Many areas saw cooling temperatures this week, but things heated right back up both with temperature and sports in time for the weekend.  Well the great thing is we have another great week ahead.

Here is what you should be watching for.

5.  As the Texas A&M/Big 12 tussle continues on, realignment appears to be almost inevitable.  Keep an eye out this week for new happenings in the A&M saga as they continue to look to make a clean break from the Big 12 and start fresh in the SEC.

4.  I know your heart is probably still pounding from what was an exceptional weekend that just occurred in College Football.  But the fun is just beginning.  This week will definitely not disappoint.  Here are some of the key matchups.

-LSU at Mississippi State

-Michigan State at Notre Dame

-Ohio State at Miami

-Oklahoma at Florida State (huge National Title Game implications)

(All picks for the big games will be released in my weekly College Football picks on Thursday)

3.  I know it is hard to believe, but the NFL has fallen back to the number three spot.  America’s most popular sports League has nearly completed what has been a great Week 1.  Cam Newton appears to be the real deal.  The Buffalo Bills did their best 2010 Kansas City Chiefs impression against the Kansas City Chiefs.  And even the Bengals picked up a W on the road.  But now we enter Week 2 of 17.  It will be another typical week in the League.  The key matchups are as follows:

-Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

-San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots (possible AFC Championship Game preview)

-Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons (Vick returns home)

(All the picks for Week 2 matchups will be released on Friday in the weekly “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge”)

2.  Despite popular belief, football is not the only sport going on right now.  There is another sport that is heading towards the stretch run.  It is also known as America’s pastime.  People call it baseball.  Maybe you have heard of it?  Four of the six divisional races are all but finished.  The Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals are making the Wild Card races awfully interesting.  And the Houston Astros are doing all they can to win 50 games.  The marquee matchup of the week takes place in the sacred hallows of Boston’s Fenway Park.

Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox:  It appeared the AL East was only going to be a two team race.  Both the Yankees and Red Sox had built what appeared to be a monumental lead over the rest of the division, basically securing themselves the AL East Crown and the Wild Card.  A month ago, on August 11th, the Rays found themselves 8.5 games out of the Wild Card.  The year appeared over for Tampa.  Now a month later, they are just 3.5 games back, and get the opportunity to take on the team they are chasing in a four game battle royale.

I never thought that the Rays had a prayer at the playoffs this year.  Both the Yankees and Red Sox appeared loaded, and Tampa on paper had regressed since last season.  But after sweeping the Red Sox out of Tropicana Park this weekend thanks in large part to star first baseman Casey Kotchman, the Rays are right back in the conversation.  3.5 games out with 17 games to go.  A steep climb, but definitely not impossible.  The Rays have the 2nd best ERA in the American League, plus they have given up fewer runs than any other team in the American League.  Their pitching is very good.  Sadly for Tampa, I do not see it being enough against a Boston team that flat-out rakes and also is very tough to beat at home.  Boston will not let Tampa get the best of them two straight weekends.  The Sox will take three of four and solidify their claim to the AL Wild Card.

1.  Tennis has finally made it to the number one spot.  After a good month lingering in the two to three range, the McEnroe brothers’ favorite game has now reached the top spot on the “Weekly Nickel.”  This is a surprise in that the Open was supposed to end on Sunday, but due to rain, has carried over into today.  The Men’s Championship match, which also happens to be a rematch of the Wimbledon Finals should be unforgettable.  Novak Djokovic versus Rafael Nadal#1 versus #2.  Can Djokovic move to 64 and 2 on the year, 6 and 0 against Nadal, capture his 3rd Grand Slam title of the year, and his 10th title?  Do not miss this epic matchup at 4PM.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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One response to “Weekly Nickel 9-12-2011

  1. Before I call Cam Newton “the real deal,” I’m going to need to see him against a defense that doesn’t suck.

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