Tag Archives: PAC 12

Weekly Nickel 9-17-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Brad Keselowski (pictured above) stole the show at Chicagoland Speedway yesterday and clinched his fourth win of the season.

By Josh Kramer

Saturday embodied exactly what college football is all about.  Hotly contested games with unpredictable finishes.  The NFL Week 2 was just as fun as Week 1 with an upset filled Sunday.  And the NHL lockout is on.  Talk about a shame.  Last week was fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Brad Keselowski stole the show as the Chase officially began at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.  It was Keselowski’s fourth win of the season, his seventh in the past two years, and a great start to the Chase for the man who drives the #2 car.  There are still nine more races to go and plenty left to be decided.  Next Sunday, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be the place to be in NASCAR. Continue reading

College Football Week 3: Is for me

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The status of Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson (pictured above) is uncertain for Saturday’s game against Alabama. Even with a healthy Wilson, Arkansas will not be able to defeat Alabama.

By Josh Kramer

Louisiana-Monroe stole the show in Week 2 with their shocking upset of the heavily favored Razorbacks.  In addition, the Pac-12 flexed their muscles against the Big Ten and staked their claim as the second best conference in college football.  Luckily for all of us, Week 3 is when the schedule begins to take things up a notch.  The powder puff games are few and far between, with ranked matchups galore.

Here are the marquee matchups:

Alabama at Arkansas:  Crimson Tide by 24

Headline:  No comeback needed this time around.  The Crimson Tide smack around the overmatched Razorbacks from start to finish.

Louisiana-Monroe?  Do they even have a college football team?  This stunning upset was reminiscent of the infamous Appalachian State victory in the Big House back on September 1, 2007.  That was last week though.  Believe me, Alabama is not going to come to town with milk and cookies because they feel bad for the Razorbacks.  Not to mention that the status of Arkansas star quarterback Tyler Wilson is uncertain.

Back when the schedules were released, this was a game that I and many thought would be a classic.  That just won’t be the case.  The Razorbacks have defeated seven of their past ten ranked foes, but Alabama is better than the Razorbacks in every facet of the game.  Add in the fact that Tyler Wilson’s status is uncertain, and you have a blowout in Fayetteville. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 9-3-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Adam Jones (pictured above) has been a main reason why the Baltimore Orioles are in contention for their first AL East title since 1997.

By Josh Kramer

Labor Day typically means two things other than a day off of work.  First of all, the dog days of August are over.  Secondly, America’s favorite sport is back.  College football took over this weekend and guess what?  The NFL is right around the corner.  Last week was a whole lot of fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Richmond International Speedway will be the place to be next Saturday in terms of NASCAR.  This is the final race before the Chase for the Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway on the 16th.  In other words, Richmond is for all of the marbles.  Find a way into the top ten, or pray that you nab one of the two wild card spots.  I am looking at you Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards.

4.  The dog days are finally over.  Players are smiling from ear to ear due to the dog days finally ending, the expanded rosters, and of course the home stretch to the regular season.  We have learned a few things along the way.  The Baltimore Orioles are the real deal.  Crazy, I know.  Much of this is thanks to their star center fielder Adam Jones. 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

Keep an eye on the Wildcats

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. With the arrival of Mark Lyons (pictured above), the Arizona Wildcats are not only a favorite to win the Pac-12, but they are also a contender to make a deep run in March.

By Josh Kramer

Now I already know what you all are thinking.  Who isn’t already keeping an eye on the Wildcats when it comes to college basketball?  Calipari’s “Traveling All- Stars” have appeared in two consecutive Final Fours and of course cut down the nets in April.  I am not talking about Lexington’s Wildcats though.  I am referring to the Arizona Wildcats.

So the Pac-12 this past season in terms of hoops was an utter embarrassment.  The Washington Huskies took home the dubious honor of becoming the first team in the modern era of the NCAA tournament to win a power-conference regular-season championship and not receive an at-large bid.  Well that was the past.  The Pac-12 will be far stronger during the 2012/2013 season in large part due to to two familiar faces:  UCLA and Arizona.  Today though, I am focused on Lute Olson’s former employer.

After a disappointing season in which they lost in the opening round of the NIT, the expectations are once again high in Tucson.  First of all the Wildcats are led by one of the best coaches in America that is still flying under the radar, Sean Miller.  Miller is another coach that was produced from the coaching gold mine that is Xavier University.  This guy did a remarkable job in leading the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 2011 and helping mold Derrick Williams into a lottery pick.  Things looked bleak for Arizona though with the transfer of point guard Josiah Turner.  In actuality, things just got a whole lot better.

I am not sure Arizona knows what they are getting in former Xavier star Mark Lyons. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 4-30-2012

Photo courtesy of mutualuniversity.blogspot.com. People received a heavy dose of Todd McShay (left) and Mel Kiper (right) this weekend. There is still plenty more to come.

By Josh Kramer

How many times this weekend did you hear the following lines? “That’s a reach.”  “The sky is the limit for this guy.”  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am all NFL Drafted out.  It is a great event. But on to the next one.  What a great time in sports right now.  Major League Baseball is just getting going.  The NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing.  Here are the events to keep an eye on this week.

5.  Have you had enough of the NFL Draft yet?  Well guess what, the coverage is not over.  Despite the insane amount of attention that the NFL’s marquee off-season event received, there is still plenty more to come as the experts try to tell you how good or bad your team did in the war room.  Here are a few interesting statistics in regards to the 2012 NFL Draft.

-55% of the drafted players (142 of 253) came out of the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12.

-Alabama has turned into the new NFL U (8 players selected).  Plus, the Crimson Tide became only the second school ever to have multiple underclassmen selected in the first round of the draft in three consecutive years (Miami is the other).

-Times are changing.  The Sunshine State was not smiling on Thursday night.  No players from Miami, Florida, or Florida State were selected in the first round for the first time since 1980.

-A new record of 19 early entrants were selected in round one (the previous record was 17 in 2010).

-Boise State had six players drafted this year.  Only Alabama, Oklahoma, and Georgia had more taken.  I am sure people will blame this on the “easy” schedule though. 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

College Football Bowl Picks Week 3

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The top matchup this week has to be the Stanford vs Oklahoma State Fiesta Bowl date. I have a feeling Andrew Luck (pictured above) will play a large part in the outcome.

By Josh Kramer

Please somebody explain to me why it is called “Capital One Bowl Week?”  We are now entering Week 3 of bowl season.  Why isn’t it “Capital One Bowl Month?”  I would love to hear the reasoning.  12 bowls down, and 23 to go.  19 games will be played between now and next Thursday.  Strap in, because the beat will not stop until January 9th as we start to hit the “real” bowl games.

Thursday:

Florida State vs Notre Dame (CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL)

Fighting Irish by 3

Headline:  Brian Kelly brings home a second straight bowl game victory to South Bend.

-Let’s just call this the “Year Away Bowl.”  Both of these teams had lofty expectations to play in BCS Bowl games this year.  Neither was ready.  Notre Dame is slightly closer to being ready in my opinion though. Continue reading

College Football Week 14: This is it

Photo courtesy of thesportsbank.net. The Big Ten Championship Game is arguably the best matchup of the week. Can Russell Wilson (pictured above) help the Badgers exact revenge on a tough Michigan State team?

By Josh Kramer

At last it is time for the “official” final weekend of the College Football regular season.  Though we have learned a ton since the beginning of September, there are still plenty of questions in need of definitive answers.  These are as follows:

-Who will play in the BCS National Championship Game?

-Who will take home the prestigious Heisman Trophy Award?

-Where will all of the bowl bounds team be heading?

-When will the game of musical chairs in the College Football coaching world generate some solutions?

And I could go on and on..

Here are the marquee matchups.

UCLA at Oregon: Ducks by 31 (yes I expect them to beat the 30 point spread) Continue reading

Week 13 was jam-packed

Photo courtesy of toledoblade.com. Yesterday was likely the last game of the Luke Fickell (pictured above) era at Ohio State. He will be a hotly sought after commodity in the very near future.

By Josh Kramer

Rivalry weekend is always a very highly anticipated one.  The state of Ohio goes to war with the state of Michigan, South Carolina divides, Georgia goes up for grabs, and of course there is the “Iron Bowl.”  Thanksgiving time is all about the food, family and of course football.  Come Saturday, the spotlight is focused on the collegiate ranks.

Fickell era ends

-Surprisingly, the one rivalry game today that really lived up to the hype took place in Ann Arbor.  I for one expected the Wolverines to blow the Buckeyes out, despite OSU’s recent dominance in “the Game.”  I was wrong.  Ohio State put up a heck of a fight, and nearly pulled it out.  Had Miller put the ball somewhat on the money to DeVier Posey late in the 4th, Ohio State would have made the “Big House” their house, yet again (heading into yesterday, Michigan had gone 2,925 days without defeating the Buckeyes at any venue). Continue reading