Tag Archives: Conference USA

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

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Conference realignment has potential to ruin mid-major hoops

Photo courtesy of thevictoryformation.com. Our very own Nick Craddock gives his thoughts on NCAA Conference Realignment.

By Nick Craddock

There are college football dudes and college basketball guys. I’m more of a college basketball guy. I suppose it’s part of my genetic makeup, like it was in my Canadian forefather, Dr. James Naismith. But now, conference realignment is becoming downright cumbersome as it seems to be forcing me to cater to college football at the cost of quality collegiate hoops from top to bottom of Division I.

I’m not naïve enough to think that the NCAA is not (at least in part) driven by making money and although I was unhappy with the first wave of conference realignment in the fall (i.e. the one where Boise State became a member of the Big East among other moves where the major conference poached teams from one another), the desire for BCS schools to ensure their BCS Conference auto-bid status, lock up lucrative bowl tie-ins, and find the best television markets and contracts was rational.

Rivalries were shattered, athletic departments’ future travel budgets soared, and conference monikers became incredibly stupid (of course, everyone knows 12 teams play in the Big Ten, but 10 teams play in the Big 12, that’s just good logic). But money was to be made so fans were supposed to embrace the change and start booking off work now for those cross-country drives to see the heated Rutgers-Boise State series in person. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 12-12-2011

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Will Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino (pictured above) be all smiles next Saturday after Louisville hosts old Conference USA rival Memphis?

By Josh Kramer

Both number one and number two went down in college basketball.  Baylor claimed its first Heisman.  And the NL MVP was apparently taking some sort of illegal performance-enhancing drug (PED).  Last week was absolutely wild, but this week should be fun in its own right. Here are the events to keep an eye on this week.

5.  Bowl season is upon us.  We all were thoroughly impressed by Robert Griffin III on Saturday night in NYC.  The guys is truly a gentlemen and a phenomenal ambassador of the sport.  RGIII truly embodies what it means to be a student athlete.  But there is still more football to be played.  Bowl season gets underway on Saturday with a triple-header of games.  I am not sure any of these lackluster bowls will be of interest to you unless you are dedicated fan of one of the schools.  Here is the rundown though. Continue reading

Week 14 went out with a bang

Photo courtesy of sportsgooru.com. The video game finally ended for Case Keenum (pictured above) and the Houston Cougars in yesterday's Conference USA Title Game.

By Josh Kramer

The final weekend is also commonly referred to as “Championship Weekend.”  Predominantly, the slate is full of conference championships and other games with heavy BCS implications.  Sadly, outside of the Big Ten Title Game in Indianapolis, most of the other games failed to live up to the hype. I know one thing for sure.  I am excited for bowl season.

Game over on the video game

-Yesterday’s Conference USA Title Game had much more BCS implications than normal.  With a victory, Houston would all but ensure a spot in a BCS Game.  The Cougars had simply been dominant all season long, heading into yesterday’s showdown with Southern Mississippi at 12 and 0.  On the year, Houston, led by their fearless quarterback had outscored their opponents an astonishing 632 to 251.  That is an average score of 53 to 21.  Granted, they had not played one ranked team all season long.  Well yesterday, Houston played a ranked foe, and their lack of experience showed. Continue reading

College Football Week 14: This is it

Photo courtesy of thesportsbank.net. The Big Ten Championship Game is arguably the best matchup of the week. Can Russell Wilson (pictured above) help the Badgers exact revenge on a tough Michigan State team?

By Josh Kramer

At last it is time for the “official” final weekend of the College Football regular season.  Though we have learned a ton since the beginning of September, there are still plenty of questions in need of definitive answers.  These are as follows:

-Who will play in the BCS National Championship Game?

-Who will take home the prestigious Heisman Trophy Award?

-Where will all of the bowl bounds team be heading?

-When will the game of musical chairs in the College Football coaching world generate some solutions?

And I could go on and on..

Here are the marquee matchups.

UCLA at Oregon: Ducks by 31 (yes I expect them to beat the 30 point spread) Continue reading

Week 12 was swell

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Brandon Weeden (pictured above) and the magical run by the Oklahoma State Cowboys came to an end on Friday during what has been an extremely emotional week in Stillwater.

By Josh Kramer

Week 12 was predominantly filled with blowouts, with a few major upsets sprinkled in.  Now the top three teams in the country will come from the SEC.  More specifically, the amazing SEC West.  The season is starting to come to an end and the BCS picture continues to become clearer…just kidding.

Another one bites the dust

-Heading into this week there were three undefeated teams in all of the land.  Now we are down to just two.  In shocking fashion, Oklahoma State, who led by 17 points and were playing with heavy hearts, went down to a Iowa State team that is still under 500 in Big 12.  What are the chances?  Who really saw this coming?

-With Oklahoma State biting the dust, the BCS now finds itself with a major dilemma. Continue reading

“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