Tag Archives: Nick Saban

College Football Week 1: The fun has begun

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Joe Southwick (pictured above) will be the Boise State starting quarterback tomorrow night as the post-Kellen Moore era begins.

By Josh Kramer

Lights.  Camera. Action.  After a 234 day hiatus, the 2012 college football season kicks off tonight.  We are coming to the end of the BCS era as the first college football playoff creeps closer. Week 1 generates a major buzz every year, despite featuring very few “buzz-worthy” matchups.

Here are the marquee matchups:

Boise State at Michigan State: Spartans by 7

Headline:  The post-Kellen Moore era begins poorly with a Spartan smackdown.

The date was December 23, 2007.  Taylor Tharp was the quarterback for Boise State as they took on East Carolina in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.  Current Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was the star player for the Pirates, leading them to a 41 to 38 upset victory over Boise State.  This night in Hawaii over four years ago happens to be the last game that Kellen Moore was not under center for the Boise State Broncos.  Tomorrow night, the Joe Southwick era officially takes flight,  as Southwick takes over the quarterback reigns for the great Kellen Moore. Continue reading

College Football Preview: SEC too good for its own good

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Matt Barkley (pictured above) will have a special year in 2012 as he leads USC back to the pinnacle of college football and takes home the Heisman Trophy.

By Josh Kramer

Opening night for the 2012 edition of College Football is just a week away.  It seems like it was just yesterday that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were celebrating on Bourbon Street.  In actuality, it was 227 days ago when Alabama clinched the SEC’s sixth consecutive national championship.  Don’t expect that streak to reach seven though.

Here are my predictions for the season ahead.

ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles

I along with most people around the country jumped the gun and proclaimed Florida State’s greatness last season.  Will this finally be the year that the Seminoles and their outstanding recruiting classes live up to the hype?  Jimbo Fisher along with the entire city of Tallahassee certainly hope so.  A loaded defense led by Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner, and Xavier Rhodes are ready to roll.  As is their experienced senior quarterback EJ Manuel.  A September 22nd showdown with the reigning ACC Champs Clemson and a visit to Blacksburg for a Thursday night tussle (November 8th) with the always dangerous Virginia Tech Hokies are the two dates to keep in mind at this time.

Big 12 Champion:  Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners are a definite contender to not only win the conference crown, but to take home the whole thing after a very disappointing and injury-riddled 2011. This will be a team that has a chip on its shoulder from start to finish in 2012.  Unfortunately for the Sooners, their schedule does not get serious until their final three games, which features road contests against Big 12 newcomers West Virginia and TCU, and a showdown with in-state rival Oklahoma State.  Also, keep an eye on the Red River Rivalry Game against a dangerous Texas team on October 13th.  Senior quarterback Landry Jones may face more media pressure than any other player in the country not named Matt Barkley.  I have a feeling that the very experienced senior will welcome it as he finishes his Sooner career with a bang. Continue reading

Food for Thought 3-27-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Not even "Slick" Rick Pitino (pictured above) can pull off this upset. It appears inevitable that UK will cut down the nets on April 2nd.

By Josh Kramer

The race for second place

13 National Championships.  49 Final Four berths.  Big East.  Big Ten.  Big 12.  SEC.  An elite rivalry.  Rick Pitino.  John Calipari.  Bill Self.  Thad Matta.  Three of this year’s five first team All Americans.  Cinderella teams are fun for the general public.  But they have never been major moneymakers.  Four very tradition filled programs with large followings will take over Bourbon Street for the next week.  It appears Bourbon Street has hit the jackpot with this year’s Final Four.

Wrong. Continue reading

Super Bowl XLVI Preview

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tom Brady (pictured above) was not a happy man four years ago as he exited the field following a loss in Super Bowl XLII. Do not expect the same outcome on Sunday.

By Josh Kramer

Coughlin vs. Belichick.  Manning (Eli) vs. Brady.  New York vs. Boston.  It does not get any better than the scenario that has been set up for Super Bowl XLVI.  There are millions of storylines floating around about America’s most anticipated sporting event of the year.  And 99.9% of the storylines will be moot come Sunday at 6:29PM, when the ball is kicked off in the “House that Peyton Built (Lucas Oil Stadium).”  Four years ago to the day, these two teams representing two of the biggest sports markets in the world met in Glendale, Arizona for rights to the Lombardi Trophy.  If Sunday’s rematch can be half as good as what America was able to witness four years ago, the game will be a memorable one.

For nearly two weeks, we have been well aware of the matchup on Sunday for football’s biggest prize.  And for two weeks, this game has been dissected and analyzed until I feel like there is nothing more to discuss.  It gets to the point every year where it is time to just play the game.  When the analysis and incite loses its luster.  I feel like we have hit that point.  Just like any big sporting event, this game will likely come down to one or two key plays.  Four years ago, “The Catch” was the play that in essence ended Brady, Moss, and New England’s remarkable attempt at football immortality.  Who will make the play this year that changes history? Continue reading

Super Early College Football Top Five

Photo courtesy of Louisianasportstalk.com. Les Miles (pictured above) did not prepare his team the way he should have for the National Championship Game. Expect his LSU Tigers to walk away with the National Championship in January of 2013.

By Josh Kramer

The late-great basketball coach Skip Prosser once told me, “If you can’t be on time, be early.”  Well in this case, I am going to be super early.  The big game, which unfortunately did not end up being “big” by any means, concluded the College Football season on Monday night.  And despite a very disappointing finish to what had been a magical season in Baton Rouge, good things are ahead for the Tigers.  Who really cares if the season just ended, Spring Ball is right around the corner as die-hard fans across the country pray their team will be “the” team in 2012 and early 2013.  Here is an early look ahead.

Top Five:

1.  LSU Tigers:  Do not let Monday’s game take away from what this team accomplished this past season.  Eight wins against ranked foes.  Five of those on the road.  Plus this team returns the majority of it’s vaunted defense, including the Honey Badger and Eric Reid.  In addition, find me a better stable of running backs.   LSU was the nation’s best team in 2011.  They just didn’t finish the job.  Also, next year, their schedule is much more favorable.  The Tide have to come to Baton Rouge and the non-conference slate is not exactly mind-boggling (N. Texas, Idaho, Washington, Towson). Continue reading

Week 10 lived up to the hype

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. In the "Game of the Century," LSU kicker Drew Alleman (pictured above) ended up being the difference maker.

By Josh Kramer

Though Week 10 centered around one battle of College Football’s goliaths, the overall matchups were not too shabby.  There were great games all across the land, highlighted of course by the showdown in Tuscaloosa that lived up to the hype.

Game of the Century lived up to the hype Continue reading

College Football Week 10: I remember when

Photo courtesy of espn1420.com. Saturday night's showdown in Tuscaloosa may come down to which team gets the better quarterback play. Can the senior duo of Jordan Jefferson (left) and Jarrett Lee (right) outdo standout sophomore AJ McCarron?

By Josh Kramer

Week 9 of the College Football was “mighty fine.”  It was highlighted by a Braxton Miller hail mary toss and a very gutsy triple overtime win by the Standford Cardinal at the Coliseum.  But this is the week we have all been waiting for.  The “Game of the Year” is set to take place in Tuscaloosa Saturday night.  Grab your popcorn.  There will be some fireworks when number one takes on number two.

Here are the marquee matchups.

South Carolina at Arkansas:  Razorbacks by 7

Headline:  The lack of Lattimore kills the Gamecocks at Razorback Stadium. Continue reading

College Football Week 2: And the beat goes on

Photo courtesy of theheismanwinners.com. Expect Penn State to suffer through a heavy dose of Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson (pictured above) on Saturday.

By Josh Kramer

The glamour and the glitz of what was a mediocre first weekend in the College Football stratosphere is complete and we want some more.  Well there is plenty of more where that came from as we get set for the second week of College Football.

Here are the marquee matchups:

Alabama at Penn State:  Crimson Tide by 17

Headline:  Let the Trent Richardson Heisman campaign begin. Continue reading

“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 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