Tag Archives: Rose Bowl

Food for Thought 8-28-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Russell Wilson (pictured above) has shocked the world and been named the starting quarterback in Seattle.

By Josh Kramer

When Pete Carroll left USC, I lost almost all respect for the guy.  The situation he left behind was inexcusable and a definite admission of some sort of guilt.  That’s all in the past though.  Slowly but surely, my respect has returned for the coach that picked up a pair of national titles at USC and is currently running the show in Seattle.

At USC, it seemed as if everything was about the money.  Just ask Reggie Bush.  Since arriving in Seattle, it appears Carroll has had a change of heart.  On Sunday, he named a rookie third-round draft pick the starter at quarterback for Week 1 of the regular season.  As much as I try to ignore it, sports are a business.  Even collegiate ones unfortunately.  Money is what makes the world go round.  Not in Seattle’s quarterback case though.

Matt Flynn recently signed a three-year, $26 million deal, with $10 million guaranteed.  Everyone and their mother expected Flynn to be the starter.  Wilson, a supposedly undersized rookie quarterback is guaranteed just $619,400.  In simple terms, Flynn is guaranteed to make over 16 times the money that Wilson is guaranteed with their current contracts.  Yet, Wilson is the starting quarterback.

Simply based on merit, Wilson has outplayed his higher-paid counterpart, and is therefore deserving of the starting job.  Kudos to Pete Carroll on not being blinded by or influenced by dollar bills this time around.  The perception was that Flynn would be the Seahawks starter up until recently.  Carroll did not let the perception become a reality.  He evaluated the two players competing for the spot strictly on merit and performance.  Russell Wilson appears to have a very bright future ahead.  I do not envision Carroll regretting this decision to start the “undersized” rookie quarterback.  Talk about value in a third-round pick.  I guess height, money, and the perception of the public aren’t everything when it comes to quarterback play. 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

Weekly Nickel 1-2-2012

Photo courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Can Dirk Nowitzki (pictured above) get the Mavericks back on track this week?

By Josh Kramer

Happy New Year to all!  2011 has finally come to a close.  And boy was it a busy year in the wide world of sports.  In the words of the greatest rapper of our generation (Jay-Z), “On to the Next One.”  2012 will for sure be a memorable one with so much going on as we enter the first week.  Plus, the word CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has officially become a foreign term again in that no major sports agreements are expiring in the near future.  Here are the events to keep an eye on this week.

5.  The Miami Heat finally appear to be the “Unstoppable Force” that many envisioned a year ago.  LeBron, Dwyane, and the “MonStars” are now 5 and 0 and straight cruising (they defeated the Bobcats by 39 yesterday).  It is so nice to have the NBA back.  What would SportsCenter be without a highlight featuring Blake Griffin and the newly formed “Lob City” on a nightly basis?  Though there are many great games this week, my eyes are fixed in on a showdown in San Antonio.

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs:  Many of you are probably questioning my choice for the “NBA Game of the Week.”  Why would anyone in their right mind choose a game that features teams with a combined record of 4 and 4?  A matchup that pits the teams that occupy the cellar and the first place spot in the Southwest division?  Well its simple frankly.  This is the “Battle of Texas.”  The Mavericks and Spurs have been perennial contenders for some time now and are two teams commonly vying for the Western Conference Championship. Continue reading

College Football Bowl Picks Week 1

Photo courtesy of temple-news.com. Temple looks to open up the bowl season with a victory over Wyoming. In order to win, the Owls will need a big performance from their star running back Bernard Pierce (pictured above).

By Josh Kramer

Bowl season is finally upon us.  Sadly, there is no way to sugarcoat it though. The first week of bowl games are anything but flattering.  This is probably the worst week we have had all year in terms of matchups.  35 bowl games are far too many.  As a result, we end up with weeks like this.

Saturday:

Temple vs Wyoming (Gildan New Mexico Bowl)

Owls by 3

Headline:  Owls old-school smash mouth style proves too much for the Cowboys. 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

“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

“Leinart vs Young Part?”

Vince Young shocked the world in January of 2006 when he defeated Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and the mighty USC Trojans. Last night, he once again showed why he owns Matt Leinart.

Last evening, America got to witness a familiar sight.  A blast from the past.  Matt Leinart and Vince Young were once again competing on the football field.  Different times with much different personnel, but a very similar result.  Now I realize it was just a preseason game, and it is hard to judge much from these “pretend” games as many like to call them. But Young once again demonstrated why he has, and will most likely continue to be, the better pro quarterback than Leinart.

I will admit, I, along with most of the rest of the America (outside of Texas), was all about the Matt Leinart and the USC bandwagon 5 years ago.  I figured there was no way that Vince Young, and a very strong Longhorns team could beat the seemingly “professional” (little did we know) looking team out of USC.  The Trojans were invincible.  Outside of a minor hiccup against Notre Dame (USC still won the game), there never appeared to even be a chink in the Trojan armor.  I was very surprised when Young finished 2nd in the Heisman Voting that year ahead of Matt Leinart.  But who really cared?  Leinart was projected to be the better pro QB by the Mel Kiper’s of the world and was on his way to a second consecutive National Title.  Or so we thought…

Welcome to the 2005 BCS National Championship.  Seemingly a home affair for the heavily favored Trojans in Pasadena.  USC was leading late in the game and Matt Leinart was putting up another strong performance.  But the real story of the game was the amazing play of Vince Young.  The guy accounted for 467 total yards of offense, which is a mark that has never been touched by another player in a BCS National Championship game.  Not to mention he led his team to 41 points against a very tough USC defense.  How didn’t this guy win the Heisman Trophy, I, and many other people wondered?  Either way, late in the 4th, Young scampered into the end zone past a diving Frostee Rucker to secure the stunning upset victory for Texas.  It was the end of a Trojan dynasty.  And little did we know, not only was this the beginning of the end for the program, but it was also the end of Matt Leinart as we knew it. 

In 3 years as the Trojan starter, Leinart threw for over 30 TDs and less than 10 INTs each year.  He also completed over 63% of his passes, won a National Title, and won a Heisman Trophy.  Vince Young also was a starter at Texas for 3 seasons.  In his first 2 years as the starter, he threw for 18 TDs and 18 INTs.  Very modest numbers to say the least.  But he was still finding ways to lead the Longhorns to victories.  Do realize that he rushed for a combined 2,074 yards in these first 2 years as the starter as well.  He was not your prototypical NFL pocket assassin.  As a senior though, his game began to gel on all cylinders.  He threw for 26 TDs and only 10 INTs.  He also rushed for 1,050 yards and 12 TDs.  The man was doing it all.  Looking reminiscent of Michael Vick at Virginia Tech.  Well the BCS National Championship Game marked the end of an era for Leinart.  And apparently the beginning of a new era for Vince Young. 

Come April 29th, 2006, NFL Draft Day. Mel Kiper had been stressing for months what a great class that was coming out.  Guys like Reggie Bush, Mario Williams, AJ Hawk,  and how there were 2 can’t miss QB prospects.  The draft started out with a major debate as the Texans took defensive end Mario Williams rather than “Heisman Trophy” winner Reggie Bush (appears to have been the right decision now).  Following this, Vince Young was the 3rd overall selection, while Matt Leinart fell to 10th overall.  I was in disbelief.  Leinart had the look of a big time NFL quarterback and had all the tools.  He was 6 foot 5, had a strong-arm, a pocket presence, and had that Tom Brady like moxy, or so it seemed.  Vince Young reminded me of Michael Vick.  And  guys like Michael Vick could get teams victories in the League, but guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were the pocket guys that could bring teams Super Bowls.  Sure Vince Young would be fun to watch I thought, but Leinart would be the one hoisting up the Lombardi Trophy in a February within the next few years.  Boy was I wrong.

Now I will admit that neither of these guys have panned out to be superstars.  But it appears Young just needed some time to adjust to the pro game and is slowly but surely becoming a solid NFL quarterback.  Leinart on the other hand, not so much.  For Leinart’s career, he has played in 29 total games over a 4 year stretch, throwing 14 TDs and 20 INTs.  His passer rating has been a very subpar 70.8.  Young on the other hand has played in 45 games, throwing for 32 TDs and 39 INTs.  His passer rating has been an also subpar 72.3.  But he is a guy on the rise.  A guy who brought Tennessee back from the dead last season.  Leinart on the other hand has not shown any signs of improvement.

Will Young continue to soar into a star in this League while Leinart’s career continues to fizzle out and end in the near future? Or will these guys continue to compete for many more years to come in the NFL? 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

TheSportsKraze