Tag Archives: Nebraska

Weekly Nickel 8-15-2011

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ervin Santana (pictured above) and the Angels pitching staff need to come up big in a crucial series against the lethal Texas Rangers offense this week.

By Josh Kramer

Last week was another great week in the wide world of sports.  This week promises to be another good one too.

Here are the main items you should be keeping an eye on.

5.  We are in the midst of the continued Big 12 shakeup, or are we?  A&M appeared headed for the SEC but was rejected (at least for now).  False alarm I guess.  And there were also rumors about Missouri, Clemson, and Florida State heading to America’s best football conference as well.  Even with yesterday’s false alarm, it still appears that the landscape of college sports could be on the verge of a major makeover in the near future.  Continue reading

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“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

“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 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

“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