Tag Archives: Arkansas Razorbacks

Week 9 was pretty fine

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Rex Burkhead (pictured above) had himself a huge day in leading the Cornhuskers over the Spartans.

By Josh Kramer

Despite the absence of the top two teams in the nation, Week 9 was pretty fine.  There was a major shakeup in the Big Ten.  A QB out West, who is definitely no “fluke,” continued his Heisman Campaign.  And another unbeaten from the ACC went down hard (Clemson).

Big Ten Bonanza Continue reading

College Football Week 6: Get your fix

Photo courtesy of dallasobserver.com. Week 6 has a great slate of games, but none are bigger than the Red River Rivalry game.

By Josh Kramer

We are nearly at the halfway marker of the College Football season with conference play in full swing.  The Russell Wilson experiment in Madison has been a crazy success story thus far.  Andrew Luck is living up to all of the hype and more, even making insane one-handed catches as a receiver.  And the SEC seems to be as good as ever.

Here are the marquee matchups.

Oklahoma vs Texas:  Sooners by 14 Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 10-3-2011

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The NHL season is set to get under way this week and sadly the game's biggest star, Sidney Crosby (pictured above) will be sidelined.

By Josh Kramer

The MLB playoffs are under way and have been a slug fest thus far.  College Football this weekend was defined by blowouts.  And the NFL slate was filled with improbable comeback victories.  Last week was great.  But do not sleep on this upcoming week.

Here are the events to  keep an eye on.

5.  It could be a do or die type of week in terms of NBA action.  Expect to learn more about what the future holds in terms of the 2011/2012 season, Kobe Bryant’s vacation plans, and more.  I have a feeling that we may know whether we are playing half a season or no season at all by weeks end (the chances of a full season are all but finished).

4.  NHL preseason hockey is over. Continue reading

Can we get a high-five for Week 5?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Russell Wilson is having a magical year in Madison so far, but Tyler Wilson (pictured above) stole the show yesterday, throwing for over 500 yards in a huge comeback victory over Texas A&M.

By Josh Kramer

Conference play is pretty much in full swing now.  And Week 5, thought it was not the greatest of weekends, still had some high-level entertainment as many teams took the plunge into major conference battles.

Russell Wilson is not the only “Wilson” in town Continue reading

College Football Week 5: Keeping it alive

Photo courtesy of CollegeFootballPerformance.com. Taylor Martinez (pictured above) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers get their first taste of the Big Ten in Camp Randall on Saturday night.

By Josh Kramer

Though it is very hard to believe, we are already four weeks in, and week five begins tonight.  As has been the case for a good few years now, Boise State once again is being brought up in the National Championship Game discussion.  If Kellen and the blue squad win out, will they get an invitation to Bourbon Street?  In addition, Michigan is 4 and 0 for a third consecutive year.  Can Denard and the Big Blue keep it going through a brutal Big Ten schedule?  And lastly, there are two SEC teams that appear to have a great shot of making the National Title Game (Alabama, LSU).  The SEC seems primed to bring home a 6th straight BCS National Championship.

Here are the marquee matchups.

Texas A&M vs Arkansas:  Razorbacks by 3 Continue reading

College Football Week 4: We want some more

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. In order for Arkansas to have a chance at knocking off the Tide, Ronnie Wingo Jr. (pictured above) will have to put up some big numbers on the ground.

By Josh Kramer

We are already nearly a month into the College Football season.  And despite much unrest about what the future of the college athletics landscape will be, the level of play has been outstanding thus far.  Down to the wire finishes.  Upsets.  Big time “Heisman-like” performances.  Angry coaches.  Even Notre Dame finally won a game.  You name it, and College Football has had it.  And want to know the best part?  We have not even hit the prime part of the season.

Here are the marquee matchups.

Arkansas at Alabama:  Crimson Tide by 14 Continue reading

“Food for Thought 1-5-2011”

Marvin Lewis (pictured above) will remain the Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals after a woeful 4 and 12 season that began with very high hopes in Cincinnati. Was this a good decision to bring Lewis back?

I apologize for my recent hiatus from the blogging world.  Over the past week and a half I had the pleasure of serving on the Orange Bowl Junior Host Committee.  In this position, I had the opportunity to stay with the Stanford Football Team at the luxurious Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami and enjoy a week full of festivities and hard work with the team, their families, the coaches, and illustrious alumni.  It was truly a phenomenal experience and something that I will not soon forget.

Boy has the sporting world been busy over these past couple of days though.  Here are my thoughts on some of the major headlines taking the sporting world by storm.

It was fun while it lasted Rich..

-Okay that is a false statement.  It was not fun while it lasted.  Rich Rodriguez had one of the most tumultuous and lackluster tenures ever in the history of the storied program out of Ann Arbor.  Coach Rodriguez, after a highly successful stay in Morgantown brought his talents to Michigan 3 years ago.  Boy did things go downhill from there.  Rich went a combined 15 and 22 during his time on the Wolverine sidelines, sporting a record of 6 and 18 in Big Ten play.  The most eye-popping statistic of all is that he went just 11 and 11 at home, in the “Big House.”  How is this possible to go just 500 playing in a stadium that seats over 112,000 people?  In my eyes, there is no excuse to go just 500 leading arguably College Football’s most storied program in front of over 112,000 screaming fans on Saturdays.  So who will be the next man to take over this once coveted position?  Could it be Jim Harbaugh?  Could it be Les Miles?  Who knows.  All I do know is that whomver the next coach is better win more games than they lose at the Big House.  Or they will be leaving the House in a hurry.

Buckeye Troublemakers escape in NOLA

-Generally Bourbon Street is not the best place to go when you have a team that is full of guys that have broken the rules and have an uneasy future.  Surprisingly though, for Ohio State, Bourbon Street provided just the medicine that their “Bad Boys” were looking for.  All 5 of the “troublemakers” contributed significantly to Ohio State’s first ever win versus an SEC opponent in a Bowl Game.  Now I know many of you out there are thinking that none of the 5 guys who broke the rules should have been suited up for this one.  And I fully agree with you.  But I will state that the 5 game suspension for next year is unreasonable and should most definitely be reduced.  I understand that these guys broke the rules, but I feel that what they did in no way garners a 5 game suspension.  Believe me, Arkansas was happy that the 5 Ohio State stars were not suspended for this Sugar Bowl duel.  They wanted to take on a Ohio State team at full strength. Mallett and the Razorbacks nearly pulled off an improbable comeback too.  The main storyline from this game in my eyes other than the Buckeyes saving face for the Big Ten, in what has been a horrific Bowl Season, should be Jim Tressel’s conservativeness.  The man with the sweater vest is the most conservative coach I have ever watched.  And I understand that he is a football genius and has won a lot of ballgames while on the sidelines in Buckeye Nation.  But his lack of imagination and “play not to lose” mentality is sickening.  I in a way wish Arkansas would have completed the comeback in this game.  It would have demonstrated how ridiculous Tressel’s boring and risk free play truly is.  The first step in loosening up Coach Tressel could be altering his wardrobe.  It would be a start.

Wild Wild West?

-Mark Cuban is making headlines again.  This time though, it is not for jawing at the refs or working to bring a playoff system to College Football.  On this occasion, it pertains to a war of words with current Los Angeles Laker’s Head Coach Phil Jackson.  The Dallas Mavericks just took a heavy blow to their roster in losing Caron Butler for an extended period of time due to a knee injury.  Butler is the Maverick’s third leading scoring at 15 points a game, and a real spark plug for Dallas on both ends of the floor.  Phil Jackson when asked about the subject said that the loss of Butler could be a devastating loss for the Mavericks.  Cuban responded calling Jackson Jeanie Buss’ “Boy Toy.”  Who doesn’t love a war of words between two of the biggest names that are not players the League has to offer?  So it is a bit childish.  Either way it makes for some entertainment.  Could this lead to a heated rivalry between Dallas and LA?  We will have to wait and see.  In the meantime, Jackson has work to do with his LA squad.  Though they are in first place sitting at 24 and 11, they recently suffered a 3 game losing streak at the end of December, and then began the new year with an embarrassing loss to Memphis.  I smell playoff drama come April/May.

Why Marvin?

-The Bengals decided to rehire their head coach of the past 8 years, Marvin Lewis.  I will state that I feel this is a poor decision not only for the Bengals, but for Coach Lewis as well.  This team has never developed a consistency level or gotten over the hump.  0 playoff wins in 8 years means no job in my eyes.  Now sure, Marvin has taken the woeful Who Deys to 2 AFC North Titles in 8 years, which is highly impressive for a franchise that had not participated in postseason ball in 15 years.  But the NFL is a what have you done for me lately League.  And what he has done lately has not been impressive.  A 4 and 12 mark with a team that featured the talent and depth that Cincy had this year is unacceptable.  I also realize that not all the blame should be pinned on Coach Lewis.  But in the NFL, regardless of if it is the Coach’s fault or not, they are normally the first guy to exit when a team is not winning.  When I look at things from Marvin’s perspective.  I do not understand why he would return.  Maybe he saw no other jobs out there that were of interest to him (though there are plenty of jobs on the market)?  Mike Brown will never let him have the control that he, and any other coach in the NFL desires.  Until Mike Brown goes, no Coach will ever see sustained success in Cincinnati.  So I guess as a Bengal’s fan, whether Marvin is on the sideline or not does not make a major difference.

There are my thoughts on some of the major topics going on in the sporting world today.  I am also game to talk about Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven being voted into the Hall of Fame and the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes.  Shoot me an email with your thoughts and questions at contact@thesportskraze.com or post a comment below.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“The SEC Basketball Preview”

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari (pictured above), took the SEC by storm in his first year in the conference. Will he have a repeat performance in year two?

Today we are in for a special treat.  We have our debut post from our SEC expert out of Lexington, Mr. Matt Murray.

Matt is the Editor in Chief for the University of Kentucky’s student run newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel.  You can follow him on twitter @MurrNation

Six weeks into the college basketball season, teams are gearing up for conference play, and their non-conference schedule has helped provide a litmus test for just how good they are, while other teams still haven’t quite figured it out. While the SEC hasn’t been the best league from top to bottom the decade or so, it has produced the second most Final Four teams over the last five years, and ties the ACC for the most national championships over the last five years.

The SEC has surprised many critics in the early stages of this season, but it’s the lopsidedness of the conference that is glaring. The East appears to have 6 teams that could rightfully make their way into the NCAA tournament, while you’d be hard-pressed to find a single team from the west that could legitimately find themselves in the field in March.

 

SEC WEST
1. Mississippi- Ranking the teams in the SEC West is like playing pin the tail on the donkey. You are just as likely to nail it as you are to accidentally stick the pin in your great aunt Edna’s ass. The Rebels are 7-2, but they have yet to play a ranked opponent. However, the Rebels have an experienced squad and are able to put up points. Senior guard Chris Warren averages more than 19 points a game and shoots nearly 92% from the free throw line. The Rebels average almost 80 points per game, but that offense is yet to be tested by a worthy opponent. The Rebels first real test comes in their SEC opener at #19 Florida. This team will have a better feel of how good they are after they see how they play on the road in Gainesville.

2. Arkansas Razorbacks– Arkansas is currently 7-2, and each of their two losses has come in overtime. However, head coach John Pelphrey has much to prove. He has only won 14 games in each of his first two seasons at Arkansas. Arkansas’ rich basketball history will have Pelphrey on the hot seat if he can’t push his team above a .500 record this season, and there’s reason to believe he finally has the pieces to do so. Sharp-shooter Rotnei Clark has another year of experience under his belt and is currently the Razorback’s leading scorer. The good (and bad) news for the Razorbacks is that they have no real star. Clark is the leading scorer with a mere 13.8 a game, while their second leading scorer is senior Delvon Johnson with 11.1 per game. The Razorbacks have an even scoring distribution and get decent production out of their bench. The problem is that unlike many of the marquee teams in the SEC, they lack playmakers that can get them out of a bind, but if their squad continues to gain experience and play smart, they can become one of the deeper teams in the division.

3. Mississippi State- Sitting at 7-3 after finishing last season with an eye-opening deep run in the SEC tourny taking a stellar Kentucky team into overtime in the SEC Championship game last season, the Bulldogs are working on rebuilding, particularly after losing swat machine Jarvis Varnado. However, like most of their SEC West counterparts, this team has yet to face a ranked opponent, and thus has no real way of knowing exactly what they are capable of.  In fact, all they know as of now is that they’ve lost to a 4-5 East Tennessee State and ACC bottom-feeder Virginia Tech. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they kick off SEC play against three straight SEC West opponents, which might give them a chance to get their feet under them before facing a surprising Georgia team in Athens, kicking off a stretch against three straight tough SEC East opponents. However, if senior guard Ravern Johnson continues his outstanding play, which has him averaging 22 points per game, this team has reason to believe they can rise to the top of the SEC West.

4. LSU Tigers- Unlike the others in their division, the Tigers have faced a top 25 team, and held their own, losing to #19 Memphis by nine. The problem is that the 7-4 Tigers have posted three additional losses to teams that won’t be dancing in March and that they have the daunting task of playing their games against SEC East leaders Kentucky and Tennessee on their home floors. This LSU team will most likely stumble their way through SEC play, and would be lucky to finish out their season at .500.

5. Alabama Crimson Tide- The Tide has a faced a host of respectable opponents. The problem is that they are 5-6 as a result. The Tide puts up a measly 64 points a game, and has no real leadership. The young squad is led in scoring by a sophomore and junior, and find two freshman in their starting lineup. In a conference full of teams boasting rosters that are either full of experience or freshman that are far more talented than those on Alabama, the Tide are going to find themselves outmatched in the majority of their SEC match-ups this season.

6. Auburn Tigers- The Tigers are bad. In fact, they’ve been bad for quite some time, and there’s no reason to expect any change this season. They rank in the 200s in almost every major statistic and already find themselves in a 4-7 hole, despite having yet to play a ranked opponent. They barely average 60 points a game, and their latest recruiting class was lackluster at best.  The Tigers would be lucky to post 14 wins this season.

SEC EAST
1. Kentucky Wildcats- The fight for the top of the SEC East should be a slugfest. Tennessee and Florida find themselves at the bottom of the division with three losses a piece, while every other team has only two losses to their name. So far, the East has collectively knocked off opponents like Pitt, Notre Dame, Villanova, Washington and  Kansas State. The Wildcats sitting at 9 and 2, are responsible for two of those wins, and their only two losses have come to ranked opponents away from Rupp Arena. Kentucky is young, and there is no doubt this class lacks the talent of last year’s highlight reel squad. But what the Cats do have is an intelligent team that has come off as very coachable so far this season, as well as one of the top NBA prospects in freshman forward Terrance Jones. Jones is averaging a double double this season, with 19.8 points and 10 rebounds a game as a freshman. Additionally, Calipari has reloaded yet again in the point guard position, as Brandon Knight has replaced John Wall, who replaced Tyreke Evans, who replaced Derrick Rose. Knight averages 17.2 points per game, but the problem is that he only averages about four assists per game. Unlike Wall, Knight isn’t a true point guard, but also unlike wall, Knight is a much better shooter. In fact, this Kentucky team is in many ways the polar opposite of last year’s team, which was the tallest team in the NCAA. With Cousins, Patterson and Orton, the Cats could push the ball and earn points in the paint. This year’s team lacks a big man, as Josh Harrellson is its starting center. However, now the Cats are a real threat from behind the arc. The Cats are likely to finish about 12-4 in the SEC, which would likely put Calipari in position to post yet another 30-win season. Lucky for the Cats, no team in the SEC has a dominant big man, which is the only real kryptonite for this team and Calipari has the Cats playing the kind of defense he is known for, and their length has proven to be a big challenge for opponents.

2. Tennessee Volunteers- Of those marquee wins listed for the SEC, the Volunteers are responsible for some of the biggest as Tennessee has already knocked off Big East powerhouses Pitt and Nova. Had I written this preview 10 days ago, Tennessee would’ve been my hands-down favorite to finish at the top of the SEC East. However, after starting 7-0 and knocking off two top 10 teams, the Volunteers have dropped two straight to non-BCS conference teams Oakland and Charlotte, and a third straight to USC. Two-faced Tennessee is capable of beating any team in the NCAA by double digits, but they’re just as capable of losing to anyone. More than likely, these early loses will bring the naysayers back out of the woodwork, but there’s no reason to expect this Tennessee team won’t get back on track and make a serious run for the top of the conference and an equally deep run into the NCAA tournament. Their match-ups against Kentucky and Florida could likely determine who comes out on top of the conference, but then again, every SEC East matchup could be that pivotal this season.  What will be interesting to see is whether or not Bruce Pearl’s eight-game SEC suspension will really affect his team. During that stretch, Tennessee will have to face Florida and Vanderbilt, outcomes which could very well effect the SEC East standings for the season.

3. Florida Gators- Florida may be just as two-faced as Tennessee, posting wins against top 10 Kansas State, and turning around to lose to the Jacksonville Dolphins that very same week. At 8-3 Florida has no reason to panic, especially as one of their losses came from a very realistic title contender in Ohio State in the early stages of the season. Donovan has yet to recapture the talent he had in his back-to-to back title teams 3 years ago, but the addition of Kenny Boynton last year was a good first step. The sophomore averages 12.4 points per game, and in tandem with Erving Walker, Florida is finally building a team that could be a real threat in the NCAA tournament. The Gators have built up a great deal of depth, which will make them tough to beat due to their ability to give guys ample rest. The Gators should win the rest of their non-conference schedule and enter SEC play at 12-3, and pick up an SEC-opening win against Mississippi before having to travel to Knoxville to face Tennessee in one of the first big SEC clashes of the season.

4. Vanderbilt Commodores- The Commodores have found a way to put themselves in the mix for the past four years, and head coach Kevin Stallings has been the primary reason. He finds ways to put his team in position to win games, and while the ‘Dores have never been outstanding, no one plays them expecting an easy win. Playing in Nashville is always a nightmare and the team plays equally well on the road. However, there’s reason to believe that the strength of the SEC East this season could see the Commodores having a less-than-stellar season.  Fortunately for Vanderbilt, they face rival Tennessee during Pearl’s suspension, and any help is welcome. If Stallings can keep his team on their current pace of scoring, which has them at 24th in the country with 80.1 points per game, he can likely get his team into the NCAA tournament, but the graduation of center A.J. Ogilvy is going to be his biggest road block. However, like Kentucky, Vanderbilt too can benefit from existing in a league that lacks a dominant big man.

5. Georgia Bulldogs- Georgia is on the upswing. Junior Trey Thompkins stormed onto the scene last season with a posterizing dunk on Kentucky’s Demarcus Cousins and he’s never slowed down since. He averages 16.2 points per game, and fellow junior, guard Travis Leslie, adds 14 a game. The duo has led the Bulldogs to a 8-2 start, their best start since 2006, and their only losses have been at the hand of now-ranked opponents. There’s no reason to believe this Georgia team won’t enter SEC play at 11-2, and contend for a spot at the top of the conference. The only thing working against them is the strength of the other teams in the East, but if they can win the games they’re supposed to win, and stack that with some surprises, this team could find itself back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since their surprise SEC tournament-winning run in 2008.

6. South Carolina Gamecocks- The loss of Devon Downey is the primary reason for the Gamecocks likely slide to the bottom of the east this season. Yet, somehow South Carolina has earned a 7-2 start, losing only to top 10 teams. This is the biggest question mark in the SEC East, as this team has no reason to finish better than 8-8 in the SEC, but their play against teams like Michigan State has shown the talent and ability that could be extracted from this team if head coach Darren Horn can pull it out of them. Despite any true big man presence, South Carolina is 9th in the NCAA in rebounding, and in a league with no truly talented big man, the Gamecocks’ ability to crash the board could earn them invaluable second chance opportunities if they can stay on that pace. Their biggest problem will be finding offensive production in a league full of a tenacious defense. If the Gamecocks play to their potential, they could get to 10 wins in the SEC, but there are only so many wins to be divided among the conference, and its more than likely a host of talented SEC East teams will be taking a fair share of them from South Carolina.

Only time will tell whether or not this fast start for the SEC East is the real deal, but so far their games against big-time opponents seem to show there’s reason to believe it could be. College basketball as a whole is down this season, and so far, the SEC seems to be capitalizing on this fact.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Who Dey Disaster?”

Terrell Owens (pictured above), a star receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals was on the receiving end of over 220 yards today and a Touchdown. But it was not enough to lead his team to victory over their interstate rival, the Cleveland Browns.

If you are a Cincinnati Bengal’s fan, you are probably not having the best of Sunday’s.  Any loss for the home town team hurts.  But a lost to the abysmal Brownies, who were 0 and 3 coming into the 1st edition of this year’s “Battle of Ohio” Throwdown?  Things just went from bad, to real bad.

The Bengals today once again demonstrated why they appear to not quite be ready to join the League’s upper tier.  Now, I am by no means saying this team will not make the playoffs.  I would be crazy to say that with the talent this squad possesses.  But at 2 and 2, things have not looked good for a team surrounded by much hype.

Lets take a quick look at what transpired today in Cleveland.

The Bengals took on a less than flattering Brown’s team led by long time backup, Seneca Wallace.  In this game, the Who Deys had over 115 more total yards than our opponent.  Cincinnati was also more efficient than their opponent both rushing and passing. Cincy’s big time receiver, TO, had over 220 yards receiving on 10 catches. Yet the Bengals took an L, and had their faces smashed in by former Arkansas Razorback, 3rd string RB, Peyton Hillis.  This guy, who defines what it means to be a bruiser, really hurt the Who Deys late in the game, really solidifying the Browns first win of the season.  The difference in this one though, a blocked field goal.  And it was not Cincinnati’s “quarter season MVP,” Mike Nugent’s fault.  A Brown’s defender came in untouched to block Nugent’s field goal attempt.

So are the Bengals in big trouble standing at 2 and 2?  Currently, we are ranked 15th in the League in overall offense and passing offense.  We are only 18th in the League in rushing.  Last year, we were 24th in the League in overall offense, 26th in the passing game, and 9th overall rushing.  So though I would like to see Cedric and the gang get it going more on the ground, there is no reason to panic offensively.  Defensively, we currently rank 9th overall in the League,  with the 11th ranked defense against the pass, and 13th against the run.  Last year, the AFC North Champion Bengals ranked 4th in the NFL in overall defense.  With a passing defense that was ranked 6th, and a ground stopping attack that ranked 7th.  So the defense has fallen a little, but not much.

So sure the Bengals took a very bad loss today.  But there is no reason to give up on this team yet.  Their numbers are not really any worse than last year’s playoff team.  People just have to accept that Marvin’s team plays down to the level of their competition every week and win in somewhat of an ugly fashion.  Either way a win is a win.  But I will state that this year’s schedule is much tougher than last years.

So what are your thoughts?  Maybe Carson is the problem?  Or maybe it is the play calling from Bob Bratkowski? Can this team bounce back and compete for the AFC North Title or are we on the way to a Who Dey Disaster?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 4: We Want Some More”

Boise State star receiver, Austin Pettis (pictured above), looks to help lead Boise to another big time victory on Saturday and keep the Broncos National Championship aspirations alive and well.

The 4th week of this College Football season is already upon us.  Yes, we will be a 3rd of the way through the regular season after this weekend.  Hard to believe, but the intrigue continues to mount.  And we all love the excitement.  After last weekends, “Dud Saturday,” the excitement is back with many big time matchups.  So as usual, I am going to give you my thoughts on a few of the primetime showdowns.

Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh:  These are two teams that are still really looking to prove themselves.  Many experts saw both of these teams as definite BCS Contenders, and even possibly as National Title Game Sleepers.  Though neither of these teams really have a chance at playing in Arizona come January 10th, they both have a lot to look forward to.  For Miami, they have had an extra week to clear their heads out for yet another big time road test.  After Jacory Harris demonstrated his old ways, tossing 4 Interceptions against a very good Ohio State team in Columbus, the U looks to make amends.  Pitt is still recovering from an opening night road loss to Utah.  And I think their reeling period is going to continue, as the overall speed and athleticism of the U bombards the Panthers at Heinz Field.  Though it is hard to pick against a good team at home,  I got the U by a touchdown in this one.

Alabama at Arkansas:  Welcome to the SEC folks.  And both of these teams are already in for big time showdown even with it only being the 4th week of the season. For Alabama, this game will be the first of three consecutive against top 12 ranked foes. Can Ryan Mallett, and the explosive offense of the Razorbacks handle the defending National Champs?  Sadly, I do not think so.  Though Arkansas has made tremendous strides and has looked very tough, Bama is at full strength now with Mark Ingram and just look to be “rolling.”   Also take note that Arkansas has lost 4 of 5 to top 25 ranked opponents.  I feel like not only will Mark Ingram at full strength be a difference maker, but the Alabama defense as a whole will play an intricate part in this one.  The game will come down to which defense can get stops.  And though Nick Saban is sporting a young defensive unit, I give them the edge over the Razorbacks D.  Look for Bama to nab a big road win in a shootout type of game by 7.

South Carolina at Auburn:  This may be the best matchup of the whole weekend in my eyes, though there are many great ones.  A good old-fashioned SEC brawl.  We are fortunate enough to have 2 of these top-tier SEC matchups already in a fun-filled Week 4.  But the difference in this one will come down to Auburn’s home field advantage.  I will state that South Carolina sports probably the most exciting freshman talent in the country in Marcus Lattimore.  But after watching the Gamecocks exhibit some flaws in their game last week against a less than flattering opponent in Furman, I have jumped off the bandwagon a little.  Auburn, though it has not been pretty, has learned to win close games.  Winning by 3 each of the last 2 weeks against quality opponents.  I expect them to utilize that resiliency and the home field advantage to edge a Gamecocks team that has lost 5 straight conference road games by a large margin.  Look for Auburn to win by 3.

Oregon State at Boise State:  Oregon State has practiced on a blue field all week in preparation for a monumental matchup against a very talented Boise team.  Boise has been a main topic of conversation throughout College Football all year and will continue to be until they lose a game (which may not happen).  Chris Petersen’s squad has shown that they can really play football despite their somewhat lackluster schedule.  This is probably the toughest game the Broncos have left, and luckily for them, it is at home.  Oregon State has already dropped a game against a tough TCU team this year.  They got blown out on the blue field 42 to 14 in 2006.  And though the Rodger’s brothers are a lethal tandem, it will not be enough.  Boise is too good all around.  Look for Kellen Moore, Titus Young, and Austin Pettis to have another field day on National Television.  I got Boise in this one by 14.  Do not expect it to be close.

So these are 4 of the marquee games of the weekend.  I realize there are other major matchups such as West Virginia at LSU, Oklahoma at Cincinnati, Kentucky at Florida.  So sit back, enjoy, and watch as many of the games as you can.

Week 4 will be one to remember in the College Football Stratosphere.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze