College Football Week 3: Is for me

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The status of Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson (pictured above) is uncertain for Saturday’s game against Alabama. Even with a healthy Wilson, Arkansas will not be able to defeat Alabama.

By Josh Kramer

Louisiana-Monroe stole the show in Week 2 with their shocking upset of the heavily favored Razorbacks.  In addition, the Pac-12 flexed their muscles against the Big Ten and staked their claim as the second best conference in college football.  Luckily for all of us, Week 3 is when the schedule begins to take things up a notch.  The powder puff games are few and far between, with ranked matchups galore.

Here are the marquee matchups:

Alabama at Arkansas:  Crimson Tide by 24

Headline:  No comeback needed this time around.  The Crimson Tide smack around the overmatched Razorbacks from start to finish.

Louisiana-Monroe?  Do they even have a college football team?  This stunning upset was reminiscent of the infamous Appalachian State victory in the Big House back on September 1, 2007.  That was last week though.  Believe me, Alabama is not going to come to town with milk and cookies because they feel bad for the Razorbacks.  Not to mention that the status of Arkansas star quarterback Tyler Wilson is uncertain.

Back when the schedules were released, this was a game that I and many thought would be a classic.  That just won’t be the case.  The Razorbacks have defeated seven of their past ten ranked foes, but Alabama is better than the Razorbacks in every facet of the game.  Add in the fact that Tyler Wilson’s status is uncertain, and you have a blowout in Fayetteville. Continue reading

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Week 2 NFL Power Rankings: Robert Griffin III has arrived

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Alex Smith (pictured above) outplayed reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers as the 49ers got a huge victory in the opener at Lambeau Field.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Last season, it was Cam Newton who dazzled us all, throwing for 422 yards in his NFL debut. One year later, Robert Griffin III went into the Superdome, threw for 322 yards, two touchdowns, and beat the Saints. It took awhile Washington, but your quarterback has finally arrived. The Redskins will make some noise in the NFC East this season.

Griffin was just one of many stories through Week 1 of the NFL season. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap.

Taking over this weeks number one spot in the power rankings are the 49ers, who marched into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers. Another team that made a statement was Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Manning finished 19-26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Steelers.

Ah, so much to get to. Where does your team rank after Week 1?

1. San Francisco 49ers (4): 1-0. That was a statement win for the 49ers in Green Bay. Alex Smith outplayed Aaron Rodgers. Impressive. (Next game: vs. Detroit on SNF) Continue reading

Food for Thought 9-11-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Robert Griffin III (pictured above) made things look very easy in the Big Easy on Sunday. Will he continue to play this way all season?

By Josh Kramer

Sports played a prominent role in helping our country cope with the unthinkable terrorist acts that occurred 11 years ago to the day.  Our nation holds sports near and dear to their hearts on a daily basis.  The USA has grown stronger as a nation since the horrific terrorist acts of 9/11 and sports are still doing their part.

RGIII was made for DC

Maybe Robert Griffin III is football’s version of Superman.  The reigning Heisman Trophy winner put on a debut performance for the ages on Sunday, leading the Redskins to an opening day victory over the Saints.  Now sure, one could argue that Matt Ryan put up slightly better numbers on Sunday.  Or that Cam Newton threw for 422 yards in his rookie debut last September.

Let’s focus on reality though.  Matt Ryan has far more experience and an outstanding supporting cast.  Also, exactly one year ago, Cam Newton passed for an astonishing 422 yards, but he also tossed an interception, and his team lost the game.  With five rookie quarterbacks starting on Sunday, I think much of America forgot just how hard it is to be a rookie quarterback in the NFL.  By Sunday evening, everyone remembered after four of the quarterbacks went home losers and tossed a combined 11 interceptions (and just two touchdowns).

RGIII on the other hand made things look easy as he outplayed future Hall of Famer Drew Brees in front of a hostile Saints crowd. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 9-10-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Much will be expected from Mark Trumbo (left) and Albert Pujols (right) if the Angels want to make a playoff run.

By Josh Kramer

Football, football, and more football.  How nice was it to have a Saturday and Sunday jam-packed with football action?  Your weekends may be less productive, but more entertaining for the forseeable future.  Not to mention we are nearing the end of the MLB regular season and the Chase for the Cup is on.  Last week was fun, but you better believe that this week will be a good one in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  The Chase is finally on.  After 31 races spanning over nearly seven months, the field has been whittled down to 12.  There are ten races left starting at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.  Who will take it home?  We know that Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch won’t.

4.  Strasburg is doneTeixeira could be done.  The injury-bug has struck as the season nears the final twenty games.  It is September and teams are doing all they can to land a spot in the postseason.  The races of note are taking place in the AL East, the AL Central, and of course for the four wild card spots this year.  My matchup of the week takes place in the friendly confines at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles AngelsWho else envisioned the Angels participating in the Fall Classic this year?  I know I am not alone.  Well the clock is continuing to tick and currently, the Angels will miss the postseason entirely.  Fortunately for them, they open up a four-game set tonight against the team they are chasing.  Got to love how MLB scheduling works out at times.

It is make or break time for the Angels.  There is no better way to track down the team you are chasing than to handle business against them head to head.  The Angels appear to finally be clicking at the right time led by the terrific trio of Trout, Trumbo, and Pujols.  Look for the Angels to close the gap by nabbing three of four in front of a very supportive home crowd.  Also, expect the Angels to catch and pass Oakland when all is said and done.  The remainder of the A’s schedule includes the likes of the Orioles, the Tigers, the Yankees, and lots of Texas. Continue reading

Soccer Roundup (9/9/2012): The Weekly Boot

Photo courtesy of goal.blogs.nytimes.com. Dempsey (left) and Messi (right). Two greats, together in pursuit.

By Ben Liebing

Let’s start with the little man, Lionel Messi:

It’s only fair that we start with the best, and end with the rest. Having been the butt of criticism over the past several years that he performs miraculously with his club team, but bombs while playing for his own country, Lionel Messi did just a bit to quiet the naysayers down.

This weekend, while playing a World Cup qualifier against rival South American country Paraguay, the “little man” from Argentina netted yet another feat of footballing genius. By now commonly regarded as the best player in the world, and by some (Argentinians, and myself) regarded as the best player of all time, Messi this weekend showed the international community once again what all the hype is about. Continue reading

Aside

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Jay Bruce (pictured above) is tearing the cover off the ball at the moment. Is his streaky play a good thing?

By Josh Kramer

Streaky and potential are two words that have always disgusted me when it comes to professional athletes.  I realize that professional athletes are human and neither term is necessarily a bad thing.  But in this day and age, they both mean that the player is not “consistently” there yet.  Well as a fan, you expect your guy to “be there” yesterday.  In terms of Cincinnati sports, there is no player that better exemplifies these two words that I hate than Reds right fielder, Jay Bruce.

Ironically, Bruce still does not irritate me and he is one of the fan favorites in Cincinnati.  Back in the year 2007, Jay Bruce was named the No. 1 prospect in baseball by Baseball America.  Bruce was just 20-years-old at the time and had a similar makeup to Bryce Harper or Mike Trout.  The future looked awful bright for the Reds slugger that appeared to have limitless potential.  Upon his MLB debut on May 27, 2008, Bruce went 3 for 3 and immediately won over the city of Cincinnati.  That was then though, and this is now. Continue reading

NFL Week 1 Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Peyton Manning (pictured above) will make his anxiously awaited debut as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos in his first real NFL action in over 20 months.

By Josh Kramer

The NFL is back in full force after Wednesday night’s opener between the Giants and Cowboys.  It is still odd to me that an NFL game was played on a Wednesday, but life goes on.  Keep in mind that the last three times the Giants and Cowboys have played each other in their opener, one of the two NFC East rivals has gone on to claim the Lombardi Trophy.  Let’s hope the real referees return by then.

Two seasons ago, I created a pick’em challenge with one of my good buddies (CV3).  Last year, we added two new players (CB and DC) to increase the competition level of the second annual “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”  In year three, we have replaced last year’s cellar finisher (DC) with a new player (BD) that will surely be in the hunt.

The participants this season are as follows:

BD-Brien Dulle: A life-long sports fan that has lived all of his life in Cincinnati. Growing up as a sports fan in a tough city for professional teams (Bengals and Reds), Brien never developed strong allegiances for any one particular team. This unbiased vantage point gives him a much broader range of the sporting world. His opinions from sports have been greatly influenced by the likes of individuals like Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt, Ryen Russillo, Tony Kornheiser, and Michael Wilbon whom he listens to daily.

CB-Craig Baker:  A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.

CV3-Chad Vordenberge:  An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.

TSK (two-time defending champion)-Josh Kramer: Founder/Editor-in-Chief of “TheSportsKraze,” former ESPN intern, current Sunday columnist for the popular SNY Network Blog “It’s About The Money,” and writer for fantasy sports website DraftDay.com.

Rules of the Game: This is how the game works.  We will pick every game each week (outside of the Thursday night games or dare I say Wednesday night games).  Whomever gets the most cumulative games right at the end of the regular season wins.  No spreads.  Just straight up pick’ems for the most parity filled professional sports league in America. Continue reading