Tag Archives: College Football

“Weekly Nickel”

Washington National's 18 year old phenom Bryce Harper (pictured above) suffered a sprained ankle today in a scrimmage. Major League baseball opens up in just 9 days.

Now I will admit it is hard for me to say, but there is really not a whole lot going on in the sporting world this week outside of March Madness.  Let me rephrase that actually.  There is plenty going on, but nothing even compares to the Madness that has struck.  What a first weekend for the tournament.  I cannot wait until the Sweet 16 picks up on Thursday.  But I digress.  Here is a look at this week’s top sporting events.

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“Weekly Nickel”

The Heat have now won 12 games in a row. The "Main Event" this week involves a matchup between the Heat and the Lakers on Christmas Day.

Its Monday.  And you all know what that means…

It is the start to another stellar week in the wide world of sports.  Lets take a look at the pulse of the action.

5.  Come Thursday, there should be a heavy focus on the NHL.  It should be no surprise to you why people should tune in to NHL Hockey.  Sure two of the top teams in the NHL are going head to head.  But it is the Kobe/Lebron matchup of the NHL.  Sid “the Kid” Crosby leads his Penguins to the nation’s capital to take on Alex Ovechkin.  Who you got?  Crosby or Ovechkin?

4.  College Football Bowl Madness continues.  3 of 35 are complete.  Lets keep them coming. 

Tuesday

Beef “O” Brady’s Bowl:  Southern Miss vs Louisville-America will get to see 1st year Louisville coach, Charlie Strong, lead his team into their first bowl game in 4 years.  Contrasting styles should make for a fun one in St. Petersburg.  Louisville has lived on its defense all year while Southern Miss has lived on its O.

Wednesday

MAACO Bowl:  Utah vs Boise State-This is hands down the best game of the week.  Two teams that were both ranked in the top 5 at different points during the course of this season.  Plus, this could be the last time we get to see Kellen Moore suit up in the Bronco Blue.  If you get to watch one College Football Game this week, watch this one.  You will not want to miss Titus Young and Austin Pettis play in their last game.  Outside of a kicking breakdown, Boise has played a near perfect season.

Thursday

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl:  Navy at San Diego State-Navy can straight pound the rock.  Not the most appealing game to watch.  But if you want to see some old school, smash mouth football, Navy is the team to watch.  San Diego State will provide some pass heavy offense, led by their QB, Ryan Lindley.

Friday

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl:  Hawaii vs Tulsa-Tulsa is one of the luckier teams in the country.  They first of all got to defeat Notre Dame in South Bend.  Now they get to head to Hawaii for a bowl game?  Not to shabby.  Both of these teams can really score.  Expect both offensive units to put up 35 plus in this one.  Hawaii has the most lethal passing attack in the country for a change and Tulsa is right up there as well.  The difference is that Tulsa can run the ball effectively too.  Take note of this fact when picking a winner for this one.

3.  Not the greatest week for College Hoops.  Christmas always is a time to spotlight the NBA.  But, there are some good matchups, especially on Wednesday.  Here is a look at the two marquee games on Wednesday.

Missouri vs Illinois:  One of the top dogs in the Big 12 takes on one of the better teams in the Big Ten.  Missouri plays basketball at a gut wrenching pace for all 40 minutes.  Welcome to the fastest 40 minutes in basketball.  Outside of Washington, not many teams play at this pace for the duration of games anymore.  Outside of a heartbreaking OT loss to Georgetown, a game they should have won, this team has looked pretty strong.  They will score points, averaging just under 86 a game.  Illinois on the other hand fell to the only other Big 12 foe they played this year (Texas), and are coming off of a shocking loss to Illinois-Chicago.  This team though also has beaten some very tough teams this season such as UNC and Gonzaga.  You will not want to miss this one.

Texas at Michigan State:  I applaud both of these squads for playing brutal non conference schedules.  They are already preparing their teams for March.  So what if they each have suffered multiple losses.  You cannot undervalue big game experience in November and December.  Please note though that all 3 of the Spartan’s losses are against current top 10 teams.  Texas did suffer a loss to an unranked foe in USC, but they have beaten some top-notch opponents such as Illinois and UNC.  This should just be a great all around game.  I will be very interested to see how Cory Joseph, the Longhorn’s freshman phenom, matches up with experienced Spartan guards such as Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, and Korie Lucious.  Should be a fun one to watch.

2.  I had to give Geno and his ladies some love.  Sure I realize that most are not as in to Women’s College Basketball as Men’s.  But this is history folks.  The great John Wooden’s record could fall.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, Auriemma looks to make history.  The Lady Huskies go for their 89th consecutive win!  Yes I said 89th.  Can you imagine winning 89 straight games?  Can the Seminoles somehow stop this train?  Do not count on it.

1.  This week’s NBA slate will not disappoint.  Every night features a big time matchup.  Tonight, there are two great games.  The Magic bring their new look squad to the ATL to take on the always dangerous Hawks.  And the Mavs head to Miami to take on the red-hot Miami Heat.  Can the Mavericks cool off the South Beach All Stars?

On Tuesday, the Mavericks have to recover in a hurry as they head over to take on the new look Magic.  Come Wednesday, the Garden will get a taste of Kevin Durant.  Can he put on a big time performance against the overachieving Knicks?  Then Thursday, as Orlando continues on with their “hell week,” the Spurs come to town. 

Christmas is always an awesome day in the NBA though.  Boy did the League outdo themselves with the slate of games that they put together.

Chicago at New York:  Derrick Rose and the “Noahless” first place Bulls head to the Garden.  Big time players always put together memorable performances at MSG.  Plus it is Christmas.  Expect Derrick Rose to put up a triple double as he wows the New York crowd.  Now I will state, up until the 2nd half of the game vs the Heat on Friday, the Knicks had thoroughly impressed me.  They have played way above their talent level.  Amare looks like an MVP.  Gallineri is playing like an All Star and really has developed an all around offensive repertoire.  And Felton has rejuvenated his career.  So what if the New York guys are not quite at that Miami or Boston level.  They are good enough to make the playoffs this year.  Plus they have caught the attention of Melo.  You add Carmelo to this team, they are a contender in the East.  You add CP3, the Knicks are a title contender again.  Boy would that be fun.

Boston at Orlando:  The two teams that have owned the Eastern Conference the past 3 years link up in Disney World.  This is the final game of the Magic’s “Hell Week.”  Will Orlando have anything left in the tank for this one?  They will have already played the Hawks, the Mavericks, and the Spurs already before they even get to step on the floor with the C’s.  Boston is playing outstanding basketball.  Though they are missing Rondo, do not expect a huge drop off.  I am curious to see how the new look Magic match up with the Mean Green Fighting Machine.

Heat at Lakers:  Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Gasol, and Bosh on the same floor?  No this is not the All Star Game.  This is the primetime game of the day though.  And boy is it one that every basketball fan in the country has been waiting for. The Heat have gelled, winning 12 straight games.  There could not be better timing for this game.  All of the stars will be out (not just those on the floor).  Do not take away too much from this matchup though.  There is still a lot of basketball to be played.  But outside of Lebron’s return to Cleveland, this is the year’s most anticipated game up to this point. 

Also, there are two other games on Christmas.  It will be a Merry Basketball Day.

So there you have a look at this week’s main events.  And I did not even touch on the NFL’s Week 16.  You better believe that there is a ton going on.  Let me hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Bowl Weekend 1 Outlook”

Northern Illinois Senior, Chad Spann (pictured above), is the best running back in the country that you have never heard of. Enjoy watching his last College Game on Saturday as he looks to help his team secure a school record 11th victory.

There are 35 Bowl Games this year.  And I will admit, a good portion of them are absolute duds.  Games that it would be hard to pay people who do not attend either of these schools money to go to, much less watch on tv.  Either way, football is football.  For College Football, money is money.  I am going to try to continue with my trend of highlighting some of the marquee CFB matchups every Thursday.  This will probably end as the games start to be played on various nights, but this week, we will stay with this format.

This week the choice is easy, since there are only 3 games this weekend.  Sure, all 3 games are not exactly what I would classify as marquee matchups.  But on Saturday, they are the big game in town.  Lets take a closer look.

New Mexico Bowl

BYU vs UTEP

At duel between a pair of 500 teams.  What other sport can you go 500 and participate in the postseason?  I am still waiting to hear of one.  Either way, these two teams are battling in Albuquerque come Saturday.  BYU struggled early this year.  But recovered in a big way down the stretch, and now are in a bowl game for the 6th straight year.  UTEP on the other hand has not been as successful in recent memory.  They have not won a bowl game since 1967!  Neither of these teams really do anything especially well in any facet of the game.  UTEP struggled down the stretch though losing 5 of 6.  Plus, the Mountain West is a stronger conference then the fledgling Conference USA.  My nod goes to BYU, just based on raw bowl game experience.  Cougars by 7.

uDrove Humanitarian Bowl

Northern Illinois vs Fresno State

This is actually a decent matchup.  It has to be the “Game of the Day.”  These are two pretty solid teams that have some players that are very fun to watch.  Northern Illinois had won 9 straight before being shocked by Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship game.  Fresno State on the other hand has been very up and down all year.  But they have won 2 straight coming into this game, including a win over Illinois, a Big Ten squad.  The best player on the blue turf will be the Huskie’s senior RB, Chad Spann.  Chad is a senior tailback out of Indianapolis who has had a phenomenal career.  This is his last chance to showcase his abilities and show that he is worthy of a shot at playing at the next level.  Northern Illinois lives on a very strong rushing attack and a tough defense.  Fresno has played a tough non conference schedule and looks to end the year on a high note.  Sadly, I expect the Bulldogs to once again struggle on the blue turf, as Northern Illinois captures a school record 11th victory.  Huskies by 9 in this one.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Ohio vs Troy

This is not exactly a game that will steal the limelight either.  To cap off a pretty weak day of games, we get at team out of the MAC taking on a team out of the Sun Belt Conference.  Not exactly a dream come true right?  Well at least the kids from OU who decide to make the trek will get to check out Bourbon Street.  This will make the journey worthwhile for the Bobcat faithful.  Anyways, OU was riding high after winning 7 in a row until a horrible performance against Kent State in the regular season finale.  This game cost OU a shot to play in the MAC Championship game.  Troy on the other hand has never had the big win streak this year.  Their longest stretch was a streak of 3 games back in October.  Heading into this matchup though, Troy has won 2 straight games and look to have fully recovered from the smackdown South Carolina laid on them just before Thanksgiving.  These teams play two very contrasting styles.  OU lives on a solid rushing attack and a decent defensive unit.  Troy likes to play a shootout style in which they rely on an outstanding aerial attack.  Freshman QB, Corey Robinson, has been outstanding for Troy all year and looks to have an extremely bright future.  On this day though, Robinson will experience a low as OU comes out ready to play.  The Bobcats will utilize their superior defensive unit and take this one.  OU by 3 in a very close matchup that not many people will watch.

So there you have it.  3 games on Saturday.  Two pretty weak matchups and one decent one.  If you get to choose, watch the Northern Illinois vs Fresno State game.  Chad Spann is one of the best running backs in the country that you have never heard of.

Enjoy the first 3 of the 35 Bowl Games.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Weekly Nickel”

One of the NBA's All Time Greatest Coaches, Jerry Sloan (pictured above), has the Jazz at the top of the West. Are the Jazz a real deal contender?

The College Football regular season is all but finished.  People got their dream BCS National Championship which will pit Auburn versus Oregon.  Also, people got to see the Steelers go to work last evening and they once again showed America that all they do is “Win, Win, Win, Win.”  So I will admit, this week will be a little weird without a full slate of College Football games.  It is the first time since early September actually.

But here is a look into the excitement in store for this upcoming week.

5.  In the NHL, the season is slightly past the quarter marker, and the League’s two best players seem to be leading their teams to an epic Eastern Conference Finals Showdown.  Tune in this week and watch Pittsburgh and Washington continue to ride their stars toward deep playoff runs.

4.  Jayson Werth has signed with the Nationals.  Lance Berkman will return to the NL Central, but this time as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Captain will remain in the Pinstripes for at least 3 more years.  And the Red Sox are on the cusp of a major deal.  Could Adrian Gonzalez land in Boston?  This will be a huge pickup for the Bo Sox and really aid in picking up their offensive production.  The million dollar question still remains though.  Where is Cliff Lee, Mr. October himself, going to end up?  Also there is a guy named Carl Crawford that can run a little bit who is available out of Tampa.

3.  College Basketball is starting to heat up as teams continue to prep for big time conference play.  There are a good few major non conference matchups.  Here is a closer look.

Tuesday:

Memphis at Kansas:  This duel between top 20 foes should be very exciting.  In this rematch of the National Title Game of a few years ago, each squad looks to make a major statement and pick up a big time non conference win.  It is a shame that Kansas Freshman phenom Josh Selby will not be eligible for this one.

Michigan State at Syracuse:  A matchup between two of College Basketball perennial forces.  Two programs that have really been at the forefront of the game for the past decade.  Also, these are two programs led by two of the best coaches in America.  Which squad will come out victorious as each not only fights for a big non conference win and to maintain their top ten ranking, but each are looking to make a statement about their conference.  This game should help in the debate about which conference is the best in America, the Big Ten, or the Big East.

Wednesday:

Notre Dame vs Kentucky:  What a game this should be.  Notre Dame has been a pleasant surprise so far and looks to maintain their undefeated record vs their first ranked opponent of the season.  Sadly for the Fighting Irish, they get to take on a Kentucky team that is coming off a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Tar Heels.  This should be a very high scoring affair between two teams that can really put the ball in the basket.

Thursday:

Butler at Xavier:  A matchup between the two top “Mid Major” programs in America.  So what if both teams are off to a slower start out of the gates than most expected.  Both teams always find a way to sneak into March, and I expect nothing different this year.  Also last year, Butler beat the Musketeers on one of the most controversial calls I have ever witnessed in my life.  Will the Muskies have lady luck on their side this time and pick up a much-needed non conference victory over a solid opponent?  The home court advantage could really help XU in this one.

Saturday:

Tennessee at Pittsburgh:  A game that pits two top 20, undefeated squads.  The Vols have looked awesome thus far and already have knocked off a top 10 Big East foe this year.  Freshman, Tobias Harris, and seasoned vet Scotty Hopson have been simply awesome in the early going.  Can Pittsburgh continue to ride their very experienced group and amazing rebounding ability to another big time non conference victory?  This game should be close from start to finish.

2.  The NBA Bus rolls on.  The Knicks are over 500 and have won 4 straight games.  Plus the team that was “too old,” San Antonio, sports the League’s best record.  It is the NBA and you got to love it.

Some of the marquee matchups for the week.

Monday:

Oklahoma City at Chicago:  Two of the League’s best teams go to war in the Windy City.  Who is a better young point guard, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose?  Take your pick because both guys are capable of taking over a ball game at any time.

Wednesday:

Miami at Utah:  The South Beach Show travels to Utah to take on a surprise Utah team that is really showing the power of team basketball.  Jerry Sloan is one of the League’s all time great coaches, and this year, he is putting on one of his best performances. 

Thursday:

Orlando at Portland:  Yes, I realize that Portland is under 500, but they are always dangerous.  The year is still young, and Portland could really gain some confidence in knocking off the team sporting the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference.

Friday:

Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago:  It is always fun to watch two first place teams get together.  Neither of these teams are off to as stellar of a start as expected, but both are definite contenders in their respective conferences.  Look for Kobe to provide some fireworks in this one.

Atlanta at San Antonio:  Can the talented boys out of ATL show the “old men” of San Antonio a lesson?  San Antonio has been outstanding all season and are really a remarkable story.

Orlando at Utah:  Two of the League’s best go to battle in Salt Lake City.  This is a definite game that I would love to tune in and watch.  Could this be a possible preview of the Finals?

Saturday:

Utah at Dallas:  Both of these mainstays in the West continue to win each and every  year.  It never gets old watching two of the best and most consistent franchises in basketball go head to head.

1.  We enter Week 14 of the NFL Season.  Real football weather is here.  And all teams are getting ready for the stretch run.  Next week’s lineup features two great matchups. 

New England at Chicago:  Two of the best teams meet at Soldier Field.  I will tell you that I would much rather watch this one from the couch.  It will be bitterly cold.

Kansas City at San Diego:  The amazing AFC West race continues.  Can the Chargers rebound and pick up a must win vs KC?

So there you have events to look for regarding the sporting stratosphere for this week.  Make sure to take it all in.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Amazing Streaks”

UConn Women's Head Basketball Coach, Geno Auriemma (pictured above), has led the Lady Huskies to 80 consecutive victories. Is this one of the greatest streaks ever in sports?

After watching the UConn Lady Huskies, led by the legendary Geno Auriemma secure their 80th consecutive win over the number 2 ranked Baylor Bears, it got me thinking.  What is the greatest streak or record in sports history?

Here are my top 5 team streaks of all time:

5.  From 1991 to 2005, Bobby Cox, who is recently retired, led the Atlanta Braves to an unfathomable 14 consecutive divisional titles.  Plenty of teams go 15 years without even making the playoffs once.  Just ask the Reds about that.

4.  In 1979, the Philadelphia Flyers went an unthinkable 35 games without a loss.  The NHL is a brutal League where no teams has ever won more than 62 games during regular season play.  This team was able to go 35 without suffering 1 defeat.  It was a good time to sport a Flyer’s jersey.

3.UCLA’s 7 consecutive NCAA Men’s basketball titles.  During this amazing time of utter dominance by John Wooden and the Bruins, they also won 88 consecutive games!  Could you imagine a team doing something like this in this day and age.  The last Men’s team to sport a perfect season was the Indiana Hoosiers in 1976.

2. The Boston Celtic’s won 8 consecutive NBA Titles between the 1958-1959 season and the 1965-1966 season.  Will any team ever touch this?  I mean 3-peats are great, but that is not even half of an 8-peat.

1. California’s De La Salle’s High School Football won 151 straight games over a 12 year span.  This is not easy task at any level, especially the high school level, where the kids really change every couple of years due to graduation, etc.  The previous record was only 72.  This streak spanned from 1992 to 2004!

I know there are other major streaks out there.  So here are my honorable mention top team streaks of all time.  

–  Penn State Women’s Volleyball 109 match winning streak and the University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer 103 game win streak. 

– The LA Lakers scintillating 33 game win streak. 

– The Oklahoma Sooner Football 47 game winning streak between 1953 and 1957.

What are your top streaks?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 8, Can I get it Straight?”

I wanted to apologize to all of my fans.  My picks last weekend were absolutely horrific.  You could not pick much worse than I did.  So in Week 8, I look to redeem myself and show you all that this past weekend was just a fluke.

Start calling Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops (pictured above), "Big Game Bob" again folks.

Just know that this will be a weekend to remember for the Big 12.

So here is a look into a few of the marquee matchups.

LSU at Auburn:  Two very surprising teams sit atop the SEC with undefeated records.  Nobody saw this coming, but these squads are both tough.  And as the year continues, they both have continued to get stronger.  Auburn put on an amazing offensive outburst last weekend against a tough Arkansas team while LSU put up some numbers against a lesser foe.  Well Saturday, get ready to see a team make a major statement.  The winner of this game will place themselves in great position to play in the SEC Title Game and possibly the National Championship come January.  These teams have some contrasting styles.  Auburn relies on a dual threat quarterback, Cameron Newton.  Mine as well start calling this kid “CN” for “Championship Newton.”  He can do it all and leads one of the most feared offenses in all the land.  LSU on the other hand uses two quarterbacks for various situations.  Relying on an old school smash mouth rushing attack and a stellar defense.  Can their defense contain the mighty CN?  I think not.  Auburn will have too much offensive burst in this one and win a real battle 20 to 17.  Tigers by 3 at home.  The raucous Auburn Stadium will be the differentiating factor in this intense battle.

Wisconsin at Iowa:  Talk about a formidable Big Ten matchup.  You better believe the old school Big Ten is wide open again.  The Badgers did the entire country a favor in knocking off a very tough Ohio State team.  Sadly for them, there is no time to celebrate.  Instead they get to travel to Iowa to take on a very tough Hawkeyes team.  This will be the Badgers last real challenge of the entire season.  A win in this game could really put the Camp Randall boys back into the Big Ten race.  Though Michigan State looks tough at the top.  Iowa on the other hand has quietly gone about their business since a tough loss out on the West Coast to Arizona.  Ricky Stanzi continues to manage games with the best of them and finds ways to win.  Can Iowa ride their defense to a victory in this one?  I am thinking so.  Look for Wisconsin to suffer a major low after a major high last weekend.  I got Iowa gutting out a big win at home by 3.

Nebraska at Oklahoma State:  Can Nebraska recover after showing that Texas was their kryptonite last Saturday?  You better believe it folks.  OK State’s offense has been absolutely electric all year.  Junior Quarterback, Brandon Weeden, aka, Old Man River, has been stellar in every sense of the word thus far.  But he has not faced a defense like the one the Cornhuskers have yet.  This will be a wakeup call for the Cowboys.  It is a shame, because they have been great thus far.  But sadly, they will drop a tough one at home as their offense struggles to find any rhythm or continuity due to a lacking rushing attack against Bo Pelini’s boys.  I got Nebraska by 7 on the road.

Oklahoma at Missouri:  A second major battle in the Big 12 of unbeatens?  What a weekend it is in the last year of the Big 12 as we know it.  Stoops and the boys head to Missouri ready to continue to make some noise.  Missouri can no longer fly under the radar folks.  This is the big time.  Can Missouri’s stellar defense stop Oklahoma’s very balance offensive attack?  They probably will hold them in check for a couple of quarters.  Expect Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles, and Demarco Murray to go to work in the 2nd half though.  Start calling Stoops “Big Game Bob” again folks.  I see Oklahoma running away with this one by 13 on the road.

So there you have it.  A huge weekend for the Big 12.  A big weekend for the SEC.  And a big weekend for the Big Ten.  Can I get it straight this week?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Weekly Nickel”

LSU Quarterback, Jordan Jefferson (pictured above), has played a major role in LSU's surprising 7 and 0 start. Can the Tigers keep rolling against fellow SEC undefeated foe Auburn next Saturday?

Most people love lists.  Our culture is one that thrives and tends to listen better to information that is put into lists.  It is just more visually appealing and easier to follow.  When people watch SportsCenter, the favorite part of the show tends to be the “Daily Top 10.”  Or sometimes, the “Not Top 10.”  So due to popular request and advice from our very own CV3,  I am going to try to post a Weekly Top 5 highlighting some events for the upcoming week every Monday.

So here is the first annual “TheSportsKraze” Weekly Nickel:

5.  NBA Preseason basketball continues.  The opener is drawing ever closer and set for Tuesday, October 26th.  Can the Lakers give Phil Jackson his 4th version of the mythical 3-peat (AKA the Phil Jackson Peat.)

4.  NCAA Basketball is nearing as most of the big schools have had some sort of version of their “Midnight Madness.”  Very sad story about Robbie Hummel going down with another ACL tear. Purdue will still be tought, but no longer is a National Title Contender. Steve Lavin continues to make big moves at St. Johns.  Can you say sleeper team?

3.  The NFL is entering Week 7.  Hard to believe, but who doesn’t love watching football on Sunday and Monday Night?  There are two marquee matchups.  First Brett Favre and the Vikings will head to Lambeau to take on a reeling Cheeseheads team.  Second, the Giants and Cowboys continue one of football’s best rivalries in front of the Monday Night Bright Lights.

2.  4 Major College Football Showdowns

Wisconsin vs Iowa, Nebraska vs Oklahoma State, Oklahoma vs Missouri, and LSU  vs Auburn.  Talk about games with National Championship implications.  The 2nd version of the BCS Rankings will come out Sunday.

1.  League Championship Series continue in the MLB.  As if there was any doubt on what the top event in town is.  Can the Yankees and Phillies make a rematch happen in the Fall Classic?  Seems to be the matchup that most of America would like to see.

So there you have the first edition of the “Weekly Nickel.”  Let me hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 7: Still Loving It”

 

One of the major surprises this year has been Auburn, led by dual threat quarterback Cameron Newton (pictured above). Can he keep Auburn's SEC title hopes alive this weekend against a tough Arkansas squad?

College Football has entered Week 7.  It feels like just yesterday that the season was just starting.  Well now some of the contenders have been separating from the pretenders.  Alabama will not go undefeated.  There is a real possibility of an undefeated team coming out of the Big Ten, the Pac 10, and the Big 12.  Not to mention a real possibility of Boise State running the table and qualifying for the BCS Title Game.  This could be a year that really demonstrates all of the true flaws of the BCS System and could ultimately lead to the horrible system’s demise.

So when looking at this weeks’ matchups initially, not too many games really stand out.  There are not many hotly anticipated matchups of highly ranked teams.  But this is College Football.  And there are always great games and boat load of surprises.

Here is my look into some of the major matchups.

Texas at Nebraska:  So this game has lost some of the flare and mystique that many envisioned it having.  These are two teams heading in very different directions.  The Longhorns got this past week off after losing two consecutive games.  When can you remember a Mack Brown team losing two straight games?  Texas has sported a mediocre offense and a mediocre defense.  They have struggled running the ball and really are missing main stays off of last year’s National Runner up, like Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley.  Nebraska on the other hand.  There is only one word to describe this team.  WOW.  Everyone expected this team to have a solid defense.  Not sure with the departure of Ndamukong Suh they were expecting the defense to be scary.  This team defends better than any team I have seen in the country.  I do not care if they rank 4th in points given up.  Watch them and let me know what you think.  The real question mark on this team was would there be enough offense?  Well Freshman QB Taylor Martinez has been absolutely outstanding and looked like the new Eric Crouch (former Nebraska Heisman winner).  The kid has been extremely efficient passing the ball.  But he has been even better with his legs.  His amazing leadership as a freshman has helped Nebraska become the 2nd best rushing team in the entire country.  Sorry Texas.  Normally, coming off two losses I would pick a big time win.  But on the road against a team with a defense as scary as the one Bo Pelini has at Nebraska?  I got the Cornhuskers by 10 at home.

Arkansas at Auburn:  This is another one of those amazing and highly anticipated SEC Brawls.  The SEC is the best conference in the country for a reason.  And due to it’s amazing depth there will be outstanding matchups each and every week.  Normally multiple great games.  So in this one, we have a surprise undefeated taking on a team with perhaps the most highly hyped player in the country.  Can Ryan Mallett pick up his first signature victory and prove his critics wrong?  Well Arkansas has had an electric passing attack.  The problem has been converting in the Red Zone and running the ball effectively.  In the SEC it is impossible to be one-dimensional and win consistently.  Too much depth on all of these squads.  Auburn on the other hand has been a team that has lived on a very strong rushing attack led by dual threat QB Cameron Newton.  This Junior has been absolutely sensational in every sense of the word.  So all logic would point towards Auburn protecting their home turf in this one.  But I am going to go with my gut.  Ryan Mallett will finally bust out with the signature performance of his Razorback career thus far and clinch a major road victory for Arkansas.  Though Auburn is very good.  They have flown by the seat of their pants in 4 games this year.  Unfortunately in the SEC, there will always be a team waiting to convert in a close game the next week.  That team is Arkansas.  I got the Razorbacks by 3 in a major road upset.

Ohio State at Wisconsin:  Though Wisconsin has lost a conference game already, do not count this team out in making a run at the Conference Championship.  That quest starts Saturday in an old-fashioned  Big Ten Heavyweight battle in Madison.  Ohio State is the cream of the crop in the Big Ten, and possibly in the entire country.  They have won 5 straight conference titles and are looking to make it 6.  Wisconsin has a very dangerous rushing attack led by junior John Clay.  Ohio State has its usual outstanding defense.  Can Wisconsin control the tempo of the game through their devastating rushing attack?  I would have to say no.  Ohio State’s defense is too athletic and too deep.  Not to mention the offense continues to improve each week behind the steady growth of Heisman hopeful, Terrell Pryor.  I got the Buckeyes surviving a tough road contest by 7.

So there you have it.  Though there are not a ton of games pitting two ranked foes, there are some very quality games.  Games in the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 will provide major indications towards this year’s conference champions and the at-large BCS bids.  It should be a fun weekend.  Hopefully my picks will be more on point this week in that I have struggled the past couple.  But I still love the unpredictability of the College Game.  It keeps all of us on our toes every week.  Make sure to tune in for the games.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 5: A Midseason Championship Week?”

Florida Freshman, Trey Burton (pictured above on the right) is bringing back memories of Gator legend, Tim Tebow (pictured above on the left). Could this stellar freshman be the difference maker against Alabama on Saturday?

Folks, major conference play is getting under way or right around the corner for most.  Now we are hitting October football.  This is where the games really heat up, even though the weather is beginning to cool down.  Injuries are taking its toll on teams, but the best teams will continue to find ways to win.

I will state this right now.  Week 5 will be live.

Texas vs Oklahoma:  The Red River Rivalry is one of the best games College Football has to offer year in and year out.  And let’s be honest, it is in essence, a midseason Big 12 Championship game (normally).  Though Nebraska has looked just as good or better than both of these formidable squads, this game will go a long way in determining who wins the mighty Big 12 in its last year as the normal Big 12.  Texas is coming off of a horrible home loss to a decent UCLA game.  This loss really shocked the country and showed Texas to have some big time holes this year.  I will admit though, Mack Brown demonstrating great sportsmanship and gave UCLA all the credit in the world, putting the blame on him and his team’s shoulders.  Got to respect that.  Oklahoma barely escaped in a game that they should have lost to Cincinnati, the best 1 and 3 team in the country.  Oklahoma has grinded out close games in 3 of their 4 victories this year.  This team is extremely talented and athletic, though they are lacking much to be desired in the discipline department.   I know the age-old rule is that actual talent can get thrown out the window when it comes to big time rivalry games, but this year, the talent will be the difference.  Oklahoma is head and shoulders better than Texas and will win this game by at least 14 points.  Oklahoma, in their only other game against a big time ranked opponent (FSU), looked like a juggernaut and ran the overmatched Seminoles off the field.  Expect more of the same on Saturday as the combination of Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles continues to shred opposing defenses.

Wisconsin vs Michigan State:  Welcome to a big time brawl in the Big Ten folks.  These two old rivals do not have the greatest of relationships.  Though it is heartwarming to hear that Coach Dantonio will still be able to play a role in the game from the booth for the mighty Spartans.  Michigan State has looked tough this year, though they could have easily been defeated by Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish.  Wisconsin, though they struggled vs Arizona State 2 weeks ago, put up a stunning 70 points last weekend.  This offense is lethal.  The defense is solid, and I think the vaunting Badger rushing attack will prove to be too much for the Spartans on this day.  Michigan State is close to breaking into the elite ranks of College Football, but Greg Jones and the defense will struggle stopping John Clay all day on the way to a tough loss.  I got the Badgers by 3 on the road in this one.

Florida at Alabama:  This is probably the best game of the entire weekend, and maybe even the entire year.  The two best coaches with the two best teams the SEC has to offer battling it out in front of a National Audience.  This game represents what College Football is all about.  Saban vs Meyer.  Talk about an amazing matchup of elite coaches.  Many feel that the Tide will “Roll” against the Gators as they did last year in this one.  And I say not so fast.  The Gators looked to be gaining back their offensive swagger last week against Kentucky and will surprise the Tide with their stellar freshman Trey Burton.  The kid reminded me of a young Tim Tebow last week, accounting for 6 TDs.  There is a reason why no team has ever repeated as BCS National Champions in the BCS era.  There are just too many good teams in College Football, especially in the SEC.  Look for the Gators to pull the unthinkable upset, shocking Nick Saban, Mark Ingram, and the Crimson Tide.  I got Florida shocking the country, with a  3 point victory.

Stanford at Oregon:  In essence, this is the makeshift Pac 10 Championship.  Two very good teams battling it out on National Television.  Sound familiar to what we have going on in both the Big 12 and the SEC?  Against a fairly difficult schedule so far, the Cardinal has looked outstanding both offensively and defensively ranking among the nation’s elite.  This team can flat-out play, and really stepped onto the National scene with an old-fashioned butt whipping of Notre Dame last week.  Oregon on the other hand, may be the only team in the country that has ranked even better than Stanford both offensively and defensively.  This team has looked nearly invincible, other than during a minor lull against ASU last week.  So conventional wisdom would say to pick the home team.  And that is what I am going to do.  These are both great teams.  But I feel the speed and athleticism of the Ducks, mixed in with the home crowd will give them the edge.  Look for the Ducks to upend the Cardinal by 3 in a great football game.  LaMichael James may find his way onto the short list for the Heisman Trophy after this one.

So there you have it folks.  Week 5 has arguably the most exciting slate of games we will get all year.  In essence, there is a makeshift Big 12 Championship game, SEC Championship Game, and Pac 10 Championship Game.  I am not sure if you can ask for more excitement.  And the amazing thing, there are other great matchups that I had to leave off of this post.

Week 5 appears to be a “Midseason Championship Week” for half of the major BCS Bowl Conferences.

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