Tag Archives: Mississippi State

Weekly Nickel 9-12-2011

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Just a month ago, Casey Kotchman (pictured above) and the Tampa Bay Rays appeared to be out of the playoff picture. After a big weekend, they have new life.

By Josh Kramer

The sporting world still stays hot despite the looming start of Fall.  Many areas saw cooling temperatures this week, but things heated right back up both with temperature and sports in time for the weekend.  Well the great thing is we have another great week ahead.

Here is what you should be watching for.

5.  As the Texas A&M/Big 12 tussle continues on, realignment appears to be almost inevitable.  Keep an eye out this week for new happenings in the A&M saga as they continue to look to make a clean break from the Big 12 and start fresh in the SEC. Continue reading

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A second week that was far better than mediocre

Photo courtesy of news.fiu.edu. One of the best players in College Football you have never heard of put on a real show on Friday night in Louisville. America, say hello to T.Y. Hilton (pictured above).

By Josh Kramer

It is safe to say that Week 2 of the College Football season was far from “mediocre.”  I was not thoroughly impressed by last Saturday’s football action.  This week took a 180 from last week and made me once again realize why College Football is so great.  From the second consecutive great Friday night game, to the lights going off at the Big House, week two was definitely a week to remember.  Amazingly, the schedule will only get better as we move forward.  Here is a look back at some of the highlights of Week 2.

Weeknight game are still wild and unpredictable Continue reading

“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

“College Football Week 12: Has it really been 3 months?”

Texas A&M quarterback, Ryan Tannehill (pictured above), has been absolutely stellar since taking over the quarterback reigns for the Aggies. Can he spoil Nebraska's final season in the Big 12?

 College Football is entering Week 12.  Yes, the season has already spanned 3 months.  Yes this season has had its fair share of drama.  Just ask Auburn, Gene Chizik, and Cam Newton.  But this year has also had its fair share of stellar play.

 
 

 

See Auburn, Oregon, TCU, and Boise State.  All of these teams look to be contenders to play in the National Championship game out in Arizona come January 10th. Here is a look at the marquee matchups:

Ohio State at Iowa:  Ohio State has won 5 straight Big Ten Titles.  Lose this game, and that reign ends.  Win this game.  And they put themselves in position to at least share the title with a win over rival Michigan in the regular season finale.  This Ohio State team has had almost unreasonable expectations placed on it since the preseason.  The majority of the country, including myself, were shocked when they went down in Camp Randall on October 16th.  Due to Michigan State going down to Iowa, the Buckeyes regained new life.  Now the Buckeyes look to show Iowa thanks by beating up on them in Iowa.  Senior Quarterback Ricky Stanzi has had a stellar career for the Hawkeyes.  Both of these teams really playgreat defense in every sense of the word.  The only difference is Ohio State also puts up 41.6 points a game.  Ohio State will have a little bit too much offensive firepower in the end as they grind out a hard fought victory on the road at Iowa by 3.

Virginia Tech at Miami (FL):  The top 2 teams from the ACC Coastal Division square off in South Beach in a game that always has huge implications regarding the ACC Champion.  VTech started out slow this year and suffered back to back losses to Boise State and James Madison to open up a year in which many had them as a big time National Title Contender.  Miami on the other hand has been a mar of inconsistency.  This team has not pulled together a 3 game win streak the entire season.  Could they put together their first this week?  I would have given the U a chance at home had Jacory Harris been available to play.  But sadly, Jacory, who is extremely inconsistent in his own write will be unavailable for the Canes on Saturday.  Frank Beamer has led to the Hokies to 10 or more wins 6 consecutive years, and 11 of the last 15 years.  The man flat out knows how to win.  Look for Beamer to ride a very balanced offensive and defensive attack to an ACC Coastal clinching victory over the U.  Hokies by 6 on the road.

Arkansas at Mississippi State:  So what if both of these two teams take up 2 of the bottom 3 spots in the SEC West.  This half of the SEC has been insanely good this year.  No Conference even touches the competitiveness and ability of the teams in this half of the SEC.  All of the teams have 7 or more wins for crying out loud.  Either way, both of these teams are still looking to place themselves into a solid Bowl Game.  The Razorbacks are currently riding a 4 game win streak in which they have scored 38 or more points in each contest (which is not surprising in that average 37.9 points a game on the year).  Mississippi State on the other hand was riding a 6 game win streak until they got “Rolled” by the Tide last weekend.  Though the Bulldogs have rode a solid defensive unit to a very successful season thus far, Greg McElroy exposed the Bulldogs secondary last week.  Expect Ryan Mallett to do the same with his 3rd ranked passing attack in the entire country.  Razorbacks by 3 on the road in a tough SEC battle.

Nebraska at Texas A&M:  Nebraska is looking to bring home a final Big 12 title before they depart for the Big Ten.  Though the rest of the conference may be bitter towards the Cornhuskers, they have not really done too much about it.  Nebraska currently sits atop the Big 12 North and is looking to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship game.  Minus a hiccup against Texas, this Nebraska team has been one of the country’s elite, riding a very strong rushing attack and an amazing defensive unit.  Texas A&M is also having a great season in their own right.  Since turning over the quarterback reigns to, Ryan Tannehill, the Aggies have really gelled and are currently riding a 4 game winning streak.  Will the new school pass first Aggies be able to take care of business against the old school running Cornhuskers?  Not on this day.  Look for Nebraska to punch their spot in the Big 12 Title Game with a tough 3 point win on the road.

So there you have my look at this week’s marquee games.  I will admit that I did not call too many upsets this week.  Though I did go with all road teams to come out victorious.  But I am sticking with my gut on these games.

Enjoy the great slate of College Football games this weekend.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

 

“Weekly Nickel”

Ohio State Head Basketball Coach, Thad Matta (pictured above), has much to clap about. His squad looks to be serious title contender this year with a phenomenal mix of experience and major talent.

Another wild week in the Wide World of Sports has come to an end and we are on the cusp of another one.  You can always count on sports to be there to provide entertainment no matter the time of year.  This week will be no different.

Here is this week’s “Weekly Nickel.”

5.  NHL action continues.  I know hockey is not America’s sport, but who does not like to watch guys fly around the ice and get physical with each other?  Plus Alex Ovechkin, the world’s best player, has the Washington Capitals looking to be the team to beat.

4.  The NBA Bus rolls on.  This week is full of marquee matchups such as the Heat and Magic on Wednesday.  Who will reign supreme in the state of Florida?  Can the Heat start to get things together or will their lack of a major post presence and point guard continue to shoot them in the leg?  Plus the Celtics take on the Hawks on Monday night.  Can the young Hawks get back on track?  And then to cap it all off, Kevin Durant heads to Boston on Friday to show the East just how tough the West really is.  It should be a great week in the NBA.

3.  It’s totally awesome baby! College basketball is back in a big way.  So for all of you out there who have lost hope on both your College and Pro Football teams, have no fear, college basketball is here.  A major showdown is taking place on Tuesday night when 5th ranked OSU takes on 11th ranked Florida.  Both of these teams look to be Final Four contenders.  OSU has been a pick of mine for some time to head to the mecca of College basketball, The Final Four.  They are definitely a team that you will want to keep an eye on this season. 

2.  Favre takes on his former team and Tom Brady matches up with Peyton Manning?  What a week it will be for the NFL as we rumble into Week 11.  I am especially looking forward to the Colts/Patriots showdown.  Who is your MVP thus far (Manning or Brady)?

1.  College Football is slowly, but surely heading into the final couple of weeks.  Let the BCS bonanza began.  Some major matchups in the big conferences this weekend.  The Hokies take on the U in an ACC rumble with much on the line.  Ohio State looks to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive with a big time road game at Iowa.  Nebraska takes on Texas A&M.  And Ryan Mallett looks to make a statement against Mississippi State.  Boy has the SEC West been the epitome of the Wild Wild West this season.  Each team other than Mississippi has 7 or more wins. Talk about depth.  Also do not forget to keep a close eye on the developing Cam Newton story.  Could this be Reggie Bush part 2?

So there you have this week’s version of the “Weekly Nickel.”  You will not want to miss any of the action.  Also continue to pay close attention to Major League baseball free agency, featuring two of the best playoff performers of all time, Cliff Lee and Derek Jeter.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

College Football Week 11 is like Seven-Eleven?”

I fully expect USC Head Coach, Lane Kiffin (pictured above), to be running his mouth in a big way if his team can pull off the upset at Arizona this weekend.

We find ourselves already in the 11th week of the College Football season.  The games have added meaning now.  Conference titles are beginning to take shape.  The BCS picture is started to become a little less foggy (no way it could be as foggy as that Miami (OH) vs BGSU game last night).  But the one thing I will state.

College Football Week 11 is like Seven-Eleven.  It is always open.

Here is a look at some of the marquee matchups this weekend.

Kansas State at Missouri:  This is a colossal matchup in the Big 12.  Both of these teams have lost control of their destiny in making the Big 12 title game.  They will need to continue to win and receive a little help from others, but they do have a shot at making a big time non BCS Bowl game.  KState has struggled throwing the ball all year, but they do run the ball with ease.  The running game, led by senior Daniel Thomas has been a main reason why this team has had any success this year.  Missouri, on the other hand, has a very strong passing attack, and a phenomenal defense.  This was a team that was undefeated 3 weeks ago and had just knocked off the number 1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners.  Now they have lost 2 straight, and are looking to make a statement.  Expect a big day for Blaine Gabbert as Missouri finally gets back on track.  Tigers win by 10 at home.

Mississippi State at Alabama:  Both of these teams are very dangerous to any opponents.  Alabama still arguably has the most talented team in the country, even with 2 losses.  Mississippi State is riding a 6 game win streak and is looking to show the world that their win over Florida was no fluke.  Sadly for the Bulldogs, they are facing a Nick Saban Bama team that will be coming out with a vengeance in front of the home crowd.  Both of these teams run the ball with ease and really play lock down defense.  The only difference is, Bama has big play wide receives like Julio Jones and Marquis Maze that can change the game with one play at any time.  Look for the Tide to Roll to a 14 point victory at home.

South Carolina at Florida:  These two SEC powerhouses have been extremely unpredictable all season long and it will be interesting to see who comes to play this weekend.  Whichever team plays for keeps will be heading to the SEC Title Game.  Will Steve Spurrier be able to Gator Chomp his former team in the Swamp? In order for Spurrier and the Gamecocks to have a chance to celebrate, they will have to get a huge performance from freshman Marcus Lattimore.  Sadly for the Gamecocks, the Gators finally seem to be finding rhythm both offensively and defensively and you know that they are used to big game atmospheres.  If this game was in South Carolina, I would be picking the Gamecocks.  But it is in the Swamp.  Gators by 3 at home.

USC at Arizona:  This will be a big time matchup in the PAC 10 as old power takes on new power in the desert.  For some reason, I have lost confidence in this Wildcats squad.  Their performance last week against Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal was abysmal.  They looked to be feeling the pressure of being in a meaningful game in front of a national audience.  Well this week, ABC is featuring this nighttime duel.  Expect USC to come out loose and ready to go.  I mean, they do not get to participate in the postseason this year.  So what could be better than spoiling Arizona’s season in front of the entire country?  Expect USC to take care of business and win this one by 6 on the road.  Lane Kiffin will surely be running his mouth after this one.

So there you have it.  Week 11 appears to be wide open with some stellar matchups.  Expect some great battles and down to the wire finishes following last weekend’s massacre filled Saturday.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 9: We are Feeling Fine”

Randall Cobb (pictured above), may be the best player in the entire country that nobody is talking about. Well look for him to make a statement and lead Kentucky to a major SEC upset victory Saturday on the road.

The College Football stratosphere is really shaping up at this point.  Undefeated teams are dropping like flies.  Teams are taking control in their conference races.  Yet this is College Football.  The chaos will continue until well after New Years baby.  And you got to love it. 

There are not a ton of high-octane matchups between major ranked foes, but the games will still be exciting this weekend.  Here is a look at some of the major games.

Michigan State at Iowa:  What a Big Ten Showdown this will be.  Michigan State continues to shock the entire country with an undefeated 8 and 0 mark, while Iowa looks to redeem itself after a very tough loss to Wisconsin last week.  With better clock management, this game would be a showdown of teams undefeated in Big Ten play, but Iowa faltered down the stretch against the Badgers.  The Spartans are beginning to learn the difficulties of being the “hunted” vs the “hunter.”  They almost took what would have been a horrible loss last weekend to Northwestern.  Well expect the bus to continue rolling for the Spartans.  This game is really the only tough matchup between a Dantonio’s boys and a trip to the Rose Bowl, or dare I say the BCS National Championship game.  Look for the Spartans to gut out a very physical 3 point victory. 

Missouri at Nebraska:  Talk about a Big 12 Showdown.  Missouri shocked the sporting world by handling Stoops and the Oklahoma boys last Saturday.  For both of these teams, this is really the last matchup against a highly ranked opponent.  So the winner of this game, could cruise to the Big 12 Championship game.  You better believe this is going to be a defensive struggle.  These might honestly be the two very best defensive units in all the land.  And they get to lock horns on Saturday.  The difference will be Nebraska’s home field advantage and ability to run the ball effectively versus anyone.  Though both of these teams put up points last weekend, look for this game to be an old school bitter battle.  Edge goes to the Huskers at home by 3.

Syracuse at Cincinnati:  It is Homecoming in Cincinnati, and the Big East is up for grabs.  Syracuse shocked the world last weekend with a big time road victory over the Mountaineers in Morgantown.  Can they pull off the unthinkable and knock off the two-time defending Big East Champion Bearcats?  I don’t think so.  Once again I will state “It is Homecoming in Cincinnati.”  The Cats have a chip on their shoulder after suffering their first home loss at Nippert Stadium since November of 2007.  Look for an offensive flurry from the Bearcats, with or without their starting quarterback, Zach Collaros (he is questionable to play).  Isaiah Pead, DJ Woods, and Armon Binns will have a field day against a tough Syracuse D.  Pead, Woods, and Binns are 3 of the biggest offensive threats that many outside of Cincinnati have never heard of.  Well get to know them.  Look for the Bearcats to win an exciting one at home by 10.

Kentucky at Mississippi State:  Many of you are scratching your heads at why this is a marquee game this weekend.  Well it is.  Though Kentucky is just 1 and 4 in SEC play, they sport one of the nation’s most exciting and dangerous offenses.  When people think of Kentucky, they immediately think of John Calipari, John Wall, and big time basketball.  People in Lexington refer to it as “Big Blue Madness.”  Well what they should think of is Randall Cobb.  This guy is the real deal, and will be the difference maker in this game.  Look for Kentucky to pull off the unthinkable upset on the road behind a wild offensive show led by Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke.  I am by no means a Kentucky fan.  But the SEC has been wild this year.  Kentucky has already upset a top 10 foe in South Carolina, and nearly eclipsed number 1 ranked Auburn.  Look for that same magic this week, as Kentucky shocks Mississippi State by 3 on the road.

So there you have it.  Not as many marquee ranked matchups this weekend as one would like.  But definitely a plethora of quality games that will go down to the wire.  After a mild improvement on my picks last week from 2 weeks ago, I look to get back to my old self with a perfect weekend.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze