Tag Archives: Fresno State

“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

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“Weekly Nickel”

Amare Stoudemire (pictured above) has put the Knicks on his shoulders and led them to 8 straight wins. Can he keep the Garden buzzing with two major matchups vs the Heat and Celtics this week?

It is Monday.  And you all know what that means.  It is the beginning of another amazing week in the wide world of sports.

We got NFL action.  College Football minutia and Bowl Madness debates.  NBA Action.  NCAA “totally awesome time.”  MLB blockbuster signings.  And we even got hockey hysteria.  It is a great time to be a sports fan.

5.  NHL Action continues on.  And on Tuesday night, the battle for the state of Pennsylvania takes center stage.  The two top teams in the League, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers square off in Philly.  Can the Flyers make a statement and slow Sid the Kid and the seemingly unbeatable as of late Penguins?  Make sure to tune in for this one.

4.  So it is not the greatest week for College Hoops.  There is only one matchup of ranked foes all week.  This game pits #5 Kansas State vs #24 Florida next Saturday.  But College Hoops are College Hoops.  The unpredictability and excitement are always there.  Plus, if the men’s game is not that appealing this week, you could always tune in and watch Geno Auriemma’s Lady Huskies continue to make history next Sunday at Madison Square Garden right?

3.  The Bowl Game Madness begins this weekend.  We got some barn burners set for Saturday.  Here is a closer look.

-New Mexico Bowl: BYU and UTEP square off in a hotly anticipated matchup.  Okay, this game is not on everybody’s “to do” list, unless of course you attend or attended one of the schools.  I am not quite sure how either of these teams find themselves in postseason play.  But they both won the mandatory 6 games to get an invitation.  Other than a 4 game losting streak early in the year, BYU has played pretty solid football.  I expect their overall depth to prove too much against a UTEP team that are losers of two straight coming in to this one.  BYU wins this very lackluster matchup by 3.

-Humanitarian Bowl: A tough Northern Illinois team squares off with the always dangerous Fresno State Bulldogs.  This is definitely the marquee matchup of the day.  These are both pretty solid teams that have each taken down some decent foes this year.  NIU had won 9 straight games until being shocked by Miami in the MAC Title game last weekend.  The Huskies feature a special running back in Chad Spann.  He is one of the best backs in the country that you have probably never heard of.  Expect him to put on a show in his last collegiate game.  Fresno State on the other hand has been extremely Jekyll and Hyde all year.  I have not been able to figure them out.  Sadly for them, I do not see their good side showing up in this one.  Expect NIU’s blend of an outstanding rushing attack and a solid defensive unit to defeat the Bulldogs by 6.

-R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:  Hey, at least this game is being played in New Orleans.  One of the most fun cities in America.  Sadly, the caliber of the teams participating in this game are not the greatest.  Troy has a lethal passing attack, but OU was a game away from playing in the MAC Championship.  I am going to go with my conference rankings on this one.  The MAC is a stronger conference than the Sun Belt in my eyes.  Go with the MAC team.  The Bobcats will win this less than stellar matchup by 9.

2.  The NBA is full of major win streaks.  Will they continue for another week?  There are some great matchups as usual all throughout the upcoming week.  Here is a look at the “key matchup” of each night.

Monday

New Orleans at Miami:  The South Beach boys appear to finally be getting it together.  Winners of 8 straight.  They look outstanding.  Lebron and D Wade claim that they have figured things out.  Well it appears that way.  New Orleans on the other hand is a team heading in another direction.  They are losers of two straight, and the hot start appears to be a mere memory.  Can New Orleans cool off the trifecta in the heat of South Beach?

Tuesday

Orlando at Denver:  Orlando is no longer in first place in their division, or in the state of Florida.  They trail the Miami boys by half a game.  The Nuggets are coming off of a tough loss at MSG and appear to be in for more tough losses in the near future.  It is likely that the Nuggets will be “Carmeloless” at any time now.  So the Magic are dealing with the soaring Heat while the Nuggets deal with a star player’s outcry. Which team will overcome and conquer?

Wednesday

Boston at New York:  The two hottest teams in the East square off at the “Mecca.”  Boston appears to be the cream of the East again while the Knicks have now turned into a playoff bound team.  It is always exciting when a good team comes to Madison Square Garden.  Which team will go cold first?

Thursday

Atlanta at Boston:  Following a date at MSG, the Celtics head home the next night to take on a high-flying Hawks team.  Will Boston once again show the Hawks that they are not quite at that “elite” level yet?  Or will the ATL guys take another step in the right direction?

Friday

Miami at New York:  To cap off the week, one of the best rivalries of the late 90s is renewed.  This is the first time in a decade where both teams sport winning records.  And you know that Lebron always gets up to play in the Big Apple.  You better believe that LBJ will not receive the warmest of welcomes.  This may be the most hostile crowd he faces all year, outside of Cleveland.  Are Lebron, D Wade, and Bosh up to the challenge of yet another very hostile environment?

1.  NFL Football.  Enough said.  It is Week 15.  There are teams looking towards next year’s draft.  There are teams clinging to a last hope of desperation to make the playoffs.  There are teams looking to secure home field advantage.  And I could go on.  Key matchups next week feature the Jaguars looking to stake claim on the AFC South against the Colts.  The Jets looks to wake up after a two-week nap against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Could it be a rude awakening?  And of course Green Bay heads to Foxborough to take on the NFL’s best team of the moment.

There are also plenty of other things going on in sports as well.  MLB Free Agency continues featuring the “Cliff Lee Sweepstakes.”  The NFL impending lockout discussions continue.  And of course there is High School Basketball going on in every one of your hometowns. 

So enjoy the sports for the week.  It should be another memorable one.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Monday Night Football?”

Virginia Tech boasts arguably the best rushing attack in the country led by the two headed monster that is Darren Evans (left #32) and Ryan Williams (right #34).

One of the most well-known events in American sports is “NFL Monday Night Football.”  It is always the most viewed game of the week and something that whether you care about the teams or not, you watch.  And with the NFL starting later this week, College Football has taken note, and will have their marquee game of the opening weekend played on “Monday Night.”  Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about this in the long run.  But obviously, I am ecstatic to get to see a big time matchup tonight, in that there is no NFL game anyways.  Do I think it is fair to make the College kids to play on a Monday and have to be ready to go by the next Saturday?  Not a chance.  But as a fan, now I have something to watch tonight.

Now for Boise State, who we will refer to as the “Weekday Warriors” for the rest of this year, have next weekend off and do not play again until September 18th at Wyoming (12 day break).  This is their Super Bowl though.  In all honesty, if they win this game, they have a very solid shot at running the table for the 2nd consecutive year.  On September 25th, they play a tough Oregon State team at home.  Realize that TCU beat Oregon State on Saturday though.  Then their only other tough game appears to be against Fresno State on November 19th.  Fresno State knocked off a very good team out of the Big East in Cincinnati late Saturday night.  Fresno’s defensive front looked very strong and gave UC their first regular season loss since an October game in 2008.  But as I said, people are going to have to start referring to Boise State as the “Weekday Warriors.”  On the year, they play 7 games on the tradition College Football Saturday.  They have a Monday game tonight.  A Tuesday game later this year.  And 3 Friday games all in a row in November.  So they have 5 of their 12 games being played on days other than Saturday!  The interesting fact is that all 5 of their games played on weekdays are being aired on an ESPN of some sort.  So I guess the exposure is worth it for the team that plays on the blue field.

Now Virginia Tech.  Sadly, they do not get next weekend off.  They will be back on the gridiron come Saturday against James Madison.  Though James Madison appears to be a powder puff opponent for the Hokies, it is never easy to play on a Monday night and come ready to play again on Saturday.  Virginia Tech has a much more traditional schedule than Boise.  They play 10 times on Saturdays this season.  Then of course they have the Monday game tonight, and then a Thursday night date against the defending ACC Champs Georgia Tech, on November 4th.  Ironically, Virginia Tech only has 4 games this year on the ESPN networks.  With the rich tradition of Frank Beamer’s Hokies, did you ever think you would see the day where Boise State had more games on ESPN than Virginia Tech?

But anyways, back to the business at hand.  Boise and VTech are both outstanding football teams.  Many are picking both of them to appear in BCS Bowl Games come January.  And I will state that this would not surprise me.  Many are saying that this is the year where Boise ends the streak and puts a team from a non BCS conference into the BCS Title Game.  And though I think Boise is an outstanding team that returns all but one starter from their undefeated team of a year ago, this is not the year.  The dream ends tonight in the nation’s capital.  Frank Beamer’s boys are going to run all over the Broncos, and win a very close contest.

Between Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, the amazing Ryan Williams at running back, and the return of junior Darren Evans in the backfield, this team is the real deal.  Boise will have no answer for a bigger and stronger team out of a power conference that has won 10 or more games, 6 straight years.  Not to mention, Frank Beamer is arguably one of the best coaches College Football has to offer, and has been a mar of consistency in his 22 year stint with the Hokies.  The team has made 17 consecutive bowl games and has their most talented team in recent memory.  Lastly, this game is a makeshift home game for VTech, who routinely boasts one of the best defenses in the country and now has a great offense to complement it.

Kellen Moore and his main weapons, receivers Austin Pettis, Titus Young, and running back Jeremy Avery are deadly and will put up big numbers all year. But tonight, they will lose the battle in the trenches.  Look for Virginia Tech to win by 7 in front of a pro Virginia Tech crowd.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.
-TheSportsKraze