Tag Archives: Cincinnati Bearcats

Weekly Nickel 9-3-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Adam Jones (pictured above) has been a main reason why the Baltimore Orioles are in contention for their first AL East title since 1997.

By Josh Kramer

Labor Day typically means two things other than a day off of work.  First of all, the dog days of August are over.  Secondly, America’s favorite sport is back.  College football took over this weekend and guess what?  The NFL is right around the corner.  Last week was a whole lot of fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Richmond International Speedway will be the place to be next Saturday in terms of NASCAR.  This is the final race before the Chase for the Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway on the 16th.  In other words, Richmond is for all of the marbles.  Find a way into the top ten, or pray that you nab one of the two wild card spots.  I am looking at you Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards.

4.  The dog days are finally over.  Players are smiling from ear to ear due to the dog days finally ending, the expanded rosters, and of course the home stretch to the regular season.  We have learned a few things along the way.  The Baltimore Orioles are the real deal.  Crazy, I know.  Much of this is thanks to their star center fielder Adam Jones. Continue reading

College Football Preview: SEC too good for its own good

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Matt Barkley (pictured above) will have a special year in 2012 as he leads USC back to the pinnacle of college football and takes home the Heisman Trophy.

By Josh Kramer

Opening night for the 2012 edition of College Football is just a week away.  It seems like it was just yesterday that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were celebrating on Bourbon Street.  In actuality, it was 227 days ago when Alabama clinched the SEC’s sixth consecutive national championship.  Don’t expect that streak to reach seven though.

Here are my predictions for the season ahead.

ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles

I along with most people around the country jumped the gun and proclaimed Florida State’s greatness last season.  Will this finally be the year that the Seminoles and their outstanding recruiting classes live up to the hype?  Jimbo Fisher along with the entire city of Tallahassee certainly hope so.  A loaded defense led by Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner, and Xavier Rhodes are ready to roll.  As is their experienced senior quarterback EJ Manuel.  A September 22nd showdown with the reigning ACC Champs Clemson and a visit to Blacksburg for a Thursday night tussle (November 8th) with the always dangerous Virginia Tech Hokies are the two dates to keep in mind at this time.

Big 12 Champion:  Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners are a definite contender to not only win the conference crown, but to take home the whole thing after a very disappointing and injury-riddled 2011. This will be a team that has a chip on its shoulder from start to finish in 2012.  Unfortunately for the Sooners, their schedule does not get serious until their final three games, which features road contests against Big 12 newcomers West Virginia and TCU, and a showdown with in-state rival Oklahoma State.  Also, keep an eye on the Red River Rivalry Game against a dangerous Texas team on October 13th.  Senior quarterback Landry Jones may face more media pressure than any other player in the country not named Matt Barkley.  I have a feeling that the very experienced senior will welcome it as he finishes his Sooner career with a bang. Continue reading

Quarterback conundrum in South Bend

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Andrew Hendrix (pictured above) has real big game experience, but it does not appear he will get the start on September 1st.

By Josh Kramer

As always, despite their lackluster play over the past 20 years, Notre Dame is receiving probably more than their fair share of attention from the media.  Year three of the Brian Kelly era kicks off on September 1st at 9AM in Ireland against Navy.

Similar questions have surrounded the 11-time national champions out of South Bend for nearly a decade now.  Will this be the year the national championship drought ends?  Will the Fighting Irish at least win a bowl game (lost 10 of their last 12 bowl games)? Is a top-20 finish in the rankings attainable (hasn’t happened in five years)?  Lastly, will the coach running the show in the present still have his job next year?

This year, there is an additional question to add to the mix.  Who will be the starting quarterback for Week 1? Continue reading

Cincinnati’s Greatest

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Joey Votto (pictured above) is having a year for the ages. Is it the greatest Cincinnati has ever seen?

By Victor Kamesar

Victor Kamesar is a die-hard Cincinnatian who currently finds himself across the country.  Despite being out in Cowboy Country (Norman, Oklahoma), Victor still finds time to follow his hometown Reds, Bengals, and Bearcats.

It didn’t hit me until a few weeks ago when I read a Jayson Stark headline proclaiming “Joey Votto hitting like the Bambino.” Cincinnati’s very own gold glove first baseman is having the best season in baseball since the Babe in some categories. Votto is on pace for 197 hits and a ridiculous 127 walks.  As Stark pointed out, the only player ever to put up those types of walk numbers in a season in which they amassed 200 hits was “Babe Ruth, The Greaaat Bambino.” As a lifelong Cincinnati sports fanatic, I began to wonder, is Votto having the best season any athlete wearing Cincinnati threads has had since I’ve been alive (FYI I was born in 1990)? Continue reading

Food for Thought 5-1-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Rudy Gay (pictured above) is the main guy in Memphis these days. After suffering a heartbreaking loss on Sunday, the Grizzlies will rely heavily on Gay to help get Memphis back into the series.

By Josh Kramer

Today is a special day for “TheSportsKraze.”  Back when I started this blog in September of 2009, I never could have imagined all that I would learn from this experience.  Writing daily on this forum has truly been a blessing and helped me grow as both a writer and as a person.  When my roommate convinced me to start “TheSportsKraze,” I figured it would be a nice little hobby that may get some looks from ten to twenty of my closest family and friends a day.  These days, “TheSportsKraze” has become a major part of my daily routine and is read by hundreds of people from across the globe every day.  Well today, we have hit the 900th post.  Please take it in and enjoy.

Sleeping in Memphis?

All NBA fans had the Clippers/Grizzlies series circled as the one that would provide some fireworks in the opening round. Well the series opener did not disappoint by any means.  I turned the game off after the third quarter.  It was already kind of late, and the Grizzlies were absolutely making a mockery out of “Lob City.”  Shame on me for not watching the full 48 minutes.  The beauty of sports is no game is ever over until the final horn sounds or the final out is made.  I learned this as a young child when Reggie Miller ripped the hearts out of the New York Knicks by scoring eight points in nine seconds on May 7, 1995.

I have been high on the Grizzlies all season.  There is a reason why I picked them way back in December to play deep into the postseason.  The Grizzlies shocked the Spurs last year.  And this off-season, they only appeared to get better.  Through three quarters on Sunday, they looked the part as a major contender in the West.  Then the fourth quarter from hell struck. Continue reading

South Bend Jinx?

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com. If recent history in South Bend is any indication, Brian Kelly (pictured above) may get red in the face early and often this year.

By Josh Kramer

When people think of College Football, Notre Dame instantly comes to mind.  Despite not winning a national title since 1988, Notre Dame is still one of the blue bloods of College Football.  Every one of their games are nationally televised by NBC putting them in the public spotlight each and every Saturday.

The Fighting Irish are set to enter the third year of the Brian Kelly era.  Kelly was supposed to be the man to bring Notre Dame football back to the glory days.  He was the guy that was supposed to bring number 12 to South Bend (National Championship).  Luckily for the Irish faithful, Kelly has a history of getting the job done in year number three.  At Grand Valley State he went a very respectable 6-2-2.  Then at Central Michigan, he took home a MAC Championship.  And finally at Cincinnati, he led the Bearcats to their first Big East Football Championship and an appearance in the Orange Bowl.  With a past like that, it is safe to say that Brian Kelly knows a little something about winning.  Many have proclaimed the guy a miracle worker.   I like to think of him as one of the best offensive minds in football. But it appears recent history will be against the Fighting Irish Head Coach as he prepares his troops for the annual Blue-Gold Game on Saturday.  Could their be a year three jinx in South Bend?  The three Fighting Irish coaches that preceded Brian Kelly may have something to say in regards to the potential South Bend curse in year number three. Continue reading

Throwback Saturday Part X

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kemba Walker (pictured above) was the face of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Who will be the face of the 2012 version of March Madness?

By Josh Kramer

Two and a half months later and “Throwback Saturdays” are still going strong.  Welcome to edition ten of our weekly throwback day. What was happening on March 24, 2011?  How about on March 24, 2010?  I have a gut feeling that March Madness was discussed in some facet.  Let’s take a look back and see what the major happenings were and how accurate I was with my analysis.

One year ago..

Sweet 16: Day 1 Predictions

Here is a snippet..

Connecticut vs San Diego State:  Can you say Kemba?  UConn has won 7 straight and are a perfect 10 and 0 in tournament play on the year heading into tomorrow’s showdown with a very talented and higher seeded San Diego Aztecs team.  Now I realize that most of the national media has been grilling the Big East.  I mean who wouldn’t.  The conference began the tourney with 11 teams and only 2 still remain as we begin the Sweet 16.  Let me state though, both of the teams still standing went 9 and 9 in conference play.  Name me another team that is still standing in this bracket that went 500 in conference play.  I will do one even better.  Name me a team that did not finish in the top 4 of their conference that is still alive.  But back to the topic at hand.  San Diego State is also on a hot streak of their own having won 7 consecutive games.  43, 25, and 30 sums it up for me though when looking at this matchup  (Jimmer’s point totals vs SDSU this year). Though the Aztecs play very solid defense and also have a very well-rounded scoring attack, they have failed to slow down teams with elite scorers all year.  Good luck slowing down Kemba.  At least one Big East team will find their way into the Elite Eight.  And it will be the UConn Huskies as they gut out 3 point victory behind the Kemba Show.

BYU vs Florida:  On paper, this game appears to favor the Cougars.  They put up over 80 points a game.  They have the edge on the boards.  And I could go on.  But not so fast.  BYU has not been the same since the dismissal of starting center Brandon Davies for breaking University rules.  Well this will be the first NCAA Tournament game where this vacancy in the paint really hurts.  It will also be the first game in the tournament where BYU plays a team seeded higher than 11th.  The Gators are very deep and talented, and will be the loan SEC team to nab a spot in the Elite Eight.  The Jimmer Show has to end at some point.  Plus Bobby Knight laid out how you stop Jimmer on SportsCenter.  You better believe that Florida Coach Billy Donovan took notes on what the legend said.  I am going to stick with my original pick in this one as well. Gators by 2 in a thriller (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading

Tournament Reset #1

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The first weekend of March Madness lived up to all of the hype and more. Outside of the wild upsets, the Kendall Marshall (pictured above) wrist-injury was one of the main storylines.

By Matt Murray

If ever there was a year to regroup after the first weekend, this is it. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to forget the first fifty games that have already happened, and re-examine the field as it stands, with the 16 teams left standing.

Before we discuss, here is what the remaining field looks like.

South

#1 Kentucky vs #4 Indiana

#3 Baylor vs #10 Xavier

East 

#1 Michigan St. vs #4 Louisville

#3 Marquette vs #7 Florida

West

#1 Syracuse vs #4 Wisconsin

#6 Cincinnati vs #2 Ohio St

Midwest

#1 North Carolina vs #13 Ohio

#11 NC State vs #2 Kansas

Amidst all the madness of the first four days, it was easy to feel a little bit like the tournament had imploded upon itself; that blue bloods had given way to Cinderellas and that while shocks are good for the tournament, some of this madness had somehow done us a disservice. But now, with four days to breath, it becomes a little bit more apparent that order will likely be restored. The only No. 1 seed playing anything less than a 4-seed is North Carolina, who will strike midnight on this year’s Cinderella, Ohio University, with relative ease (with or without Kendall Marshall). Continue reading

Wittry’s March Madness Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. According to our guest blogger Andrew Wittry, John Calipari (pictured above) will be a happy man on the night of April 2nd as he finally gets the monkey off his back and brings home a national championship.

By Andrew Wittry

Andrew Wittry is a senior at St. Xavier High School who literally eats and sleeps sports.  He is looking forward to college and avidly pursuing a career in sports journalism.  Andrew has an already well- established blog called Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat., where he posts new content regarding both professional and collegiate sports a few times each week.

Which month would you give up to have more March? While Buffalo Wild Wings jokingly uses this phrase in their recent March Madness advertising campaign, in all seriousness, I would willingly give up a few days of each month to be able to have more of the NCAA Tournament.

After coming home on from practice the other night and looking at the bracket, I could not have been more pleased with the field. When the biggest complaint about a team being left out is Drexel, a team out of the Colonial Athletic Association, who did win nineteen of its final twenty games, but did not have a single quality win out of conference, the committee did an excellent job.  Though Drexel’s amazing late season surge in which they reeled off 19 wins in their last 20 games was highly impressive. I was very excited about how well the local teams fared as Xavier’s run in the A-10 Tournament earned the team a 10 seed and Cincinnati claimed a six spot.  UC’s six was due in large part to giving #2 Syracuse its second loss of the season.

Here are my initial reactions from Selection Sunday:

Is Kentucky’s road to the Final Four too tough? Continue reading

March Madness 2012 Preview

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com. The Road to the Final Four begins tonight in Dayton. Here is a guide to help with your bracket.

By Josh Kramer

For the first time in a very long time, there will be no “Food for Thought” today (Tuesday).  A higher being has taken charge.  And that would be none other than March Madness.  Sure there are other things going on in sports, but what else do you really want to talk about?  Sorry Peyton.  You will be taking a back seat today.

The brackets are finally set.  And as usual, Joe Lunardi did a wonderful job with Bracketology, correctly guessing 67 of the 68 teams in the field.  The guy is unbelievable. But enough speculation.  Let’s talk about the actual tournament bracket.

South Region:  The Region of Prestige

Overall Analysis

-Many are proclaiming this the best region in the field.  I do not agree (I think the East is).  But without question, it is not short on “prestigious” programs such as Kentucky, Connecticut, Indiana, and Duke. In addition, three of last year’s Final Four participants reside in the South (Kentucky, Connecticut, and VCU).  But let’s be entirely realistic.  This region starts and ends with the Big Blue Nation.  If Kentucky comes to play, they won’t lose.

Winner

-Kentucky

Sleeper

-Connecticut

Upset Alert

-Xavier over Notre Dame

Fun Facts

-The Connecticut Huskies are praying that history does not repeat itself. Each time UConn has won the title under Jim Calhoun (1999, 2004) the following year has resulted in a second round exit from the tourney (would be third round this year).

-A number one overall seed has been revealed each of the past eight years.  The top seed has only reached the Final Four three times. The only number one overall seed during this year eight year stretch to win the title was Florida in 2007.  Kentucky is praying that they can accomplish what their SEC rival did five years ago. Continue reading