Tag Archives: Navy

Quarterback conundrum in South Bend

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

By Josh Kramer

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

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

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

“College Football Weekly Bowl Outlook”

San Diego State's hope of beating a tough Navy team rests on the right arm of their star Quarterback, Ryan Lindley (pictured above).

 Five bowls down and 30 to go.  So the Bowl Season has not been too glamorous thus far.  Outside of a nail biter in the Beef “O” Brady’s Bowl between Louisville and Southern Mississippi, the games have been blowouts.  Are you really surprised?

Generally the bowls Pre Christmas are pretty weak.  This year has been no different.  Here is a look at the bowl games upcoming for this week.

Thursday

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL

Navy at San Diego State:

New school vs old school football.  A team that hardly throws versus a team that lives and dies on the pass.  Navy has looked extremely strong down the stretch.  They even put up 76 points on East Carolina.  So much for people saying that football is all about high-flying passing offenses now.  Somebody forgot to relay the memo to Navy.  They also beat up on Notre Dame earlier this year.  San Diego State is a team on the other hand, that lives and dies on the throwing arm of QB, Ryan Lindley.  This team has had a great year.  All 4 of their losses have come by 5 or fewer points.  The Aztecs have been in every game that they have played this year.  Well expect this game to be the 2nd nail biter of the bowl season.  I do fully expect the dominant rushing attack of the Midshipmen to control this game down the stretch though.  Navy by 3 in a very close battle.

Friday

SHERATON HAWAII BOWL

Hawaii vs Tulsa

Make sure you come into this game well rested.  Because this will be an up and down affair from start to finish.  This will be like watching the Knicks play the Suns in the NBA.  There will be a lot of scoring, followed by more scoring.  These teams both have lethal passing attacks and rank in the top 10 in the country in scoring.  There are two differentiating factors in this game.  Number one, Tulsa can run the ball effectively to go along with their lethal aerial attack.  The two-headed rushing attack of quarterback  G.J. Kinne and running back Damaris Johnson could win this game for the Golden Hurricane.  The other differentiating factor is the home field advantage that Hawaii has. And I feel this factor is more important than the ability to run the ball effectively. My head is saying to pick Hawaii at home, and I am going to listen to my head.  Hawaii by 6 at home.  What a year for Tulsa though.  A win in South Bend.  And a bowl trip to Hawaii.  Who cares if they go home with a loss.

Sunday

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL

Florida International vs Toledo

The Florida International Golden Panthers lost 4 games to start this season.  How often does a team that loses for the entire first month of the year get to play in a bowl game?  Florida International has won 6 total games this year.  In my opinion, a 6 win team out of the Sun Belt has no business playing in a bowl game.  Now I realize that Troy, a 7 win team out of the Sun Belt, embarrassed an OU team that finished towards the top of the MAC.  This is the same sort of matchup as a Sun Belt team is taking on a top of the conference MAC team in Toledo.  So logic would say to pick Florida International after watching what Troy did to OU right?  I mean OU did beat Toledo early this year.  And Florida International did defeat Troy.  But I am going out on a limb and taking Toledo in this one.  Neither of these squads do anything especially well.  But I said I thought the MAC was a stronger conference than the Sun Belt last week.  And I am sticking with that statement even though Troy whooped OU down in New Orleans last week.  Look for Toledo to steal one by 3, showing great poise late in the 4th quarter.

So there you have a look at some of the upcoming bowl games as we head into Christmas.  It still is not the most exciting of matchups yet, but expect some closer games this week. And have no fear, the Bowl Season will heat up in a hurry as we head into the New Year.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“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 Week 14: This is It”

Can South Carolina Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier (pictured above) shock the world and bring South Carolina their first ever SEC Football Championship?

Outside of the Army vs Navy game, this is it.  It is the final countdown.  After this weekend, we will know who will be playing for the National Championship.  We will know which teams are going to which bowl games.  All of the sudden the insanity that is College Football will start to make sense.  Or at least a little bit.

It is a weekend where dreams will be realized, and dreams will be crushed.  Its Championship Week baby, and you got to love it.

Here is a look at this week’s marquee matchups:

Oregon vs Oregon State:  The Ducks are looking to quack their way into the National Championship.  Sadly for them, they still have one last major hurdle to conquer.  They get the pleasure of heading to their in-state rival’s home in Corvallis, with everything to lose.  Oregon State is in the midst of their worst season in some time, but you better believe that Jacquizz wants to bring his older brother James a win in his final home game.  If James Rodgers was healthy and well, I would give the Beavers a chance.  Oregon just has too much offensive firepower though to lose to their rival.  Count on Oregon to stamp a ticket to the National Championship game with a 10 point victory on the road.

Auburn vs South Carolina:  In the wild SEC, it all comes down to this duel in Atlanta.  A rematch of one of the great games of the season.  The game that really vaulted Heisman favorite Cam Newton into the spotlight.  Even if I do not feel that Cam Newton should be eligible for this game, it is a mute subject because he is.  And you better believe Auburn is riding high coming off of their amazing comeback in the Iron Bowl, where they shocked Nick Saban and

Alabama.  What happens after every high though?  A low.  I think Auburn is a great team, but I have a hunch that Marcus Lattimore is going to dominate this game and South Carolina is going to play smart, turnover free football.  Call me crazy, but I am going out on a limb.  I see Auburn digging themselves an early whole as usual, and this time, coming up just short in pulling themselves out.  Look for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks to be celebrating the biggest win in school history and their first ever SEC Football Championship.  I got the Gamecocks in a 1 point shocker at home.

Florida State vs Virginia Tech:  The ACC Title Game pits two teams with a lot on the line.  The winner of this game heads to the Orange Bowl.  The loser heads to a much less impressive bowl game.  These two programs each boast a very rich tradition.  Neither of these teams have played the most scintillating of schedules though.  FSU is 1 and 1 against ranked foes, and was embarrassed in their trip to Norman, Oklahoma.  VTech is 2 and 1 due to a heartbreaking loss to Boise State in the opener.  I just feel that the Hokies stellar offensive attack, led by Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and Jarret Boykin will be too much for the Seminoles.  Both of these teams have very solid defensive units.  But the difference comes in the Hokies ability to rush the ball effectively against any and all opponents.  I got VTech by 6.

Oklahoma vs Nebraska:  Nebraska is playing in its final Big 12 game.  And you better believe that they would like to go out with a bang.  The Cornhuskers have not won a Big 12 title since 1999.   The program resurgence over the past couple of years has been awesome, but Oklahoma is not as impressed by the heartfelt climb back to the top for Nebraska.  Oklahoma is 6 and 1 all time in the Conference Title Game.  The Sooners electric offensive unit has only been held under 30 points twice this year.  On both of these occasions though, they scored at least 27 points.  These teams each have solid defensive units.  Offensively though, they are very different.  The Cornhuskers rely on a lethal rushing attack while the Sooners love to air it out to big targets like Ryan Broyles and Freshman phenom, Kenny Stills.  Normally in big games like this, the team that can run the ball most effectively is the favorite.  For some reason though, I see Landry Jones having a field day and Nebraska’s offense struggling due to an unhealthy Taylor Martinez.   Oklahoma does the rest of the Big 12 a favor and knocks off the Cornhuskers by 3.

So yes, I am calling a shocker in the SEC Title Game.  Would this mean that Oregon would play TCU in the National Championship if all played out as I am predicting here?  You better believe it.

Now I realize that the  majority of the country wants to see Oregon vs Auburn come January 10th.  And I cannot say that I am not in that majority.  Every year shockers happen during the last week.  I see a major surprise happening in Atlanta. 

I hope you all have enjoyed this College Football season thus far.  I know that I have.  This is it.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Weekly Nickel”

Lebron James (pictured above) make his long awaited return to Cleveland on Thursday. Should the King be wearing a bullet proof vest?

Last week was crazy on all different levels.  The football was insane.  The eating was insane.  The basketball was insane.  And I could go on.  I will state that the normal Tiger Woods Thanksgiving drama was not missed.

Boise went down in flames.  Their kicker, senior Kyle Brotzman, is the Broncos Bill Buckner, and the most hated man in Idaho.  Auburn pulled off an epic 24 point comeback against a very tough Bama team on the road.  The Buckeyes laid the smackdown of all smackdowns on bitter rival Michigan.  And this was just in the College Game. 

In the NFL, Andre Johnson showed that he is not only a great receiver, but a brutal bruiser.  In the NBA, the Heat continue to struggle.  Every first place team in the NBA has at least 4 players averaging double digits points per game.  The Heat only have three.  This could be a major problem in South Beach.

But lets take a look at the big events forthcoming this week.

5.  The Cliff Lee negotiations are supposed to really take flight as the week progresses.  Will the amazing hurler end up in NYC?  Will the “Captain” remain a Yankee?  We should know a lot more regarding these two big time free agents by the end of the week.

4.  How will the BCS Bowl Games fill out?  We will find out come next Sunday.  Outside of an inevitable matchup between Oregon and Auburn (if they both win on Saturday), there is much indecision and confusion on how the other matchups will play out.  Will Michigan State be the odd man out in the Big Ten?  Will Arkansas receive the SEC’s 2nd BCS bid?  It will be very interesting to see what teams are smiling next Sunday and which teams are frowning.

3.  The NFL enters Week 13.  Divisional races and the playoff picture are finally beginning to take a little shape.  This Week’s spotlight will be shown brightly in New England though.  What a Monday Night Affair we have in store with the Jets heading to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.  Both of these teams currently sport the best records in the conference and sit tied atop the AFC East at 9 and 2.  What shenanigans will Rex Ryan pull during the course of the week is another critical question that one should ask as this epic duel nears.

2.  It is closing time in College Football (outside of the Army vs Navy matchup next week).  We enter Week 14 with a somewhat clear view on who will be participating in the BCS National Championship Game.  As long as both teams take care of business in their final games.  All eyes will be on two main games involving these top ranked teams.

-Oregon vs Oregon State:  Can the Ducks finish off a perfect regular season and secure a spot in the National Championship game?  The rival Beavers, though in the midst of their worst season in some time would like nothing more than to spoil their rival’s Title hopes.

-Auburn vs South Carolina:  Last year’s SEC Title game was a shocker as Alabama gave Tim Tebow the worst whooping of his life.  Can the Old Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, shock the world and lead his Gamecocks to an elusive SEC Title?  South Carolina Freshman running back, Marcus Lattimore, will have to play the game of his life for Spurrier and the Cocks to pull the upset.

1.  The Return of the King.  Strap in folks.  The Almighty LBJ finally makes his long-awaited return to Cleveland on Thursday Night.  And boy should it be a wild show.  My main questions regarding the evening.

-Both teams sit in 3rd place in their respective divisions.  Will Miami finally begin to gel and show why Lebron took his talents to South Beach?

-Will anybody get shot during this grandiose evening?  This includes Lebron James himself.

-Will tears be shed by Lebron?

-How much ESPN Coverage will be donated solely to this storyline throughout the week?

So there you have a glimpse into the upcoming week.  This will be another week to remember in the wide world of sports. 

Really is there ever a week that is not worth remembering in the sporting realm?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze