Tag Archives: South Carolina

“Weekly Nickel”

We have an amazing week of College Basketball ahead and I foresee Jay Wright (pictured above) leading his Villanova squad to 2 major victories. Expect Nova to be in the top 10 come Monday.

I will admit that I enjoyed All Star Weekend more than I normally do.  The Dunk Contest had a little spice to it, unlike last year’s fiasco.  Though it did seem a bit rigged to go in Griffin’s favor.  JaVale McGee put on a pretty strong showing in his own right.  Then the game.  Though very boring for a while, really picked up in the 4th.  The play of the game in my eyes was when Kobe flushed home the dunk on the break in King Jame’s grill.  And then he gave him a little pat on the butt.  Kobe sent a message last night to the Heat, Celtics, and other contending teams.  The Lakers will be ready come playoff time.  You can count on it. 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

“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

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

“College Football Week 10”

I fully expect TCU Quarterback, Andy Dalton (pictured above), to be the difference maker in the TCU vs Utah Showdown.

What a weekend of College Football lies ahead of us.  Undefeated teams are dropping like flies.  The BCS picture is still murky.  Boise, Utah, and TCU are all looking to rip the hearts out of the big BCS Conference Bad Boys and snag an invite to the very exclusive National Title Game party.  And we still got  a few more weeks of regular season play left.

Here is a look at some of the major matchups:

TCU at Utah:  Talk about a major game.  Two non BCS schools square off with the hope of sneaking into the National Championship party.  The winner of this game will truly have an inside track at sneaking into that Title game especially if only 1 team from a BCS Power Conference goes undefeated.  These are both outstanding teams that have been good for a while now.  TCU this year has the look of an old school smash mouth football team.  They have the number 1 ranked D in the country and also run the ball with authority on O.  This team has won all but one game this season by double digits.  Utah on the other hand is more of a surprise undefeated.  They shocked the entire country in Week 1 knocking off a highly touted Pitt team out of the “mighty” Big East in Overtime.  It has been smooth sailing ever since.  They have one of the nation’s most electric offenses and defenses.  But for some reason, I really like this TCU team on the road.  There is a reason why having an experienced quarterback like Andy Dalton pays major dividends.  Look for Dalton to lead a last-minute drive that clinches a 3 point victory for the Horned Frogs on the road. 

Alabama at LSU:  Two of the best one loss teams in the SEC go to battle down in Baton Rouge.  Slowly but surely, Bama is creeping back into the National Championship picture, while LSU is still mending the wounds from a heartbreaking loss at the hands of number 1, Auburn.  Both of these teams have outstanding defenses that can really get at the quarterback.  The difference in this one will be Alabama’s ability to both pass and throw the ball.  LSU has suffered mightily all year from having a 1 dimensional offense and the beautiful struggle will continue at home.  Look for Bama to snag a major road victory by 6.

Arkansas at South Carolina:  Another massive showdown in the SEC.  The nation’s best conference features big time matchups every week.  It is nothing new.  Ryan Mallett continues to guide the nation’s most dangerous passing attack for the Razorbacks, while South Carolina continues to rely heavily on arguably the best freshman in the country, Marcus Lattimore.  Both of these teams have been extremely Jekyll and Hyde and very hard to predict.  The Razorbacks have won 3 of the last 4 meetings versus the Gamecocks and South Carolina has been known to struggle down the stretch during the Spurrier era. Well expect more of the same as Mallett has a field day against the SEC’s worst passing defense.  Arkansas by 6 on the road.

Arizona at Stanford:  Never thought I would see the day where Arizona and Stanford were two of the top dawgs in the PAC 10 football picture.  Sure these are both traditional powerhouses in basketball, but football?  These teams are both the real deal.  For Arizona, you take away a couple of late game mishaps against Oregon State, they are still in the National Championship picture.  For Stanford, other than the smack down they received from Oregon, they have looked extremely sharp.  Andrew Luck is arguably the best quarterback in the entire country, or at least the most poised looking in the pocket.  These teams are somewhat different in that Stanford relies on a high-powered offense and the Wildcats rely on a stingy defensive unit.  So will offense or defense be victorious in this one?  My mind is telling me to go with Heisman hopefully Andrew Luck and the very fundamentally sound Cardinal team at home, but my gut is telling me to go with the Wildcats.  So to continue with my trend this week, I will pick yet another road team to win.  Arizona by 1 is the pick here.

As you can tell, the slate of College Football games this weekend is amazing.  There are big time matchups galore.  From the big conferences, to even the non BCS Power conferences.  For some reason I am going with all road teams to win in the above matchups.

I could either look genius or extremely inept with the picks this week.

Should I be feeling lucky?

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 6: Halfway There”

Look for last year's Heisman Trophy Winner, Mark Ingram (pictured above), to lead his Alabama team to yet another victory this weekend over the Gamecocks.

I will admit that Week 6 will not be able to compete with the matchups and firepower that the College Football Stratosphere put together in Week 5.  But these games will be pretty intense.

Here are my thoughts on the major matchups:

Alabama at South Carolina:  This will be a flat-out SEC brawl.  Two of College Football’s best and most respected coaches lock horns at the season’s midway point.  Saban’s defending National Champion Crimson Tide has been “rolling” along, and is feeling especially good after handing Florida a devastating thrashing.  South Carolina is no slouch though.  The Gamecocks finally showed some chinks in their armor last week in a very tough road loss to Auburn.  You better believe that South Carolina will be looking to redeem itself in a big way and shock the Tide.  Even with the best freshman in the country, Marcus Lattimore, it will not be enough as Alabama cruises to their 3rd consecutive win against a top 20 ranked opponent.  I will admit that I thought Bama would falter during this brutal 3 game stretch.  I was wrong.  Bama by 10 on the road.

Michigan State vs Michigan:  This is the first year in a while that both of these teams are major contenders in the Big Ten, and on the national scene.  These are both outstanding football teams that are looking to stay undefeated.  Well this is the game that will separate the boys from the men.  The pretenders from the contenders.  The whole state of Michigan should be into this one.  Michigan State is coming off of an outstanding performance against a very good Wisconin team in which they held Wisconsin star running back John Clay, out of the endzone.  Michigan on the other hand demonstrated their amazing offensive attack, along with their lackluster defensive attack. Can Michigan’s rushing attack run all over Greg Jones, and the outstanding Spartan defense?  Can Michigan get a stop or two against a solid Spartan offense?  Will Denard Robinson continue to show why he is towards the top of all the expert’s Heisman Lists at this point?  The difference in this game will be Michigan’s inability to stop the Spartan’s on crucial 3rd downs.  I got this one going down to the wire in a shootout fashion.  Look for the Spartans to come out of the Big House victorious by 3.

LSU at Florida:  These are two of the SEC’s most storied programs in recent memory.  Two teams that really hate each other for a plethora of reasons.  But on this night, all arguments will be settled on the field.  LSU comes in undefeated, but lacking much to desire offensively.  Florida is coming off a crushing defeat to Alabama in which they were embarrassed on national television.  Can LSU’s amazing swarming defense hold the Gators under 14 points?  If not, chalk this one up as a loss.  I got the Gators having just a little bit too much offense for the Tigers and taking this one at home by 7 in a very ugly game.  If this game were in Baton Rouge, I would be picking the Tigers.

Florida State at Miami:  Talk about one of the best and most historic rivalries in College Football.  These two programs do not like each other.  And for obvious reasons.  They fight year in and year out for 2nd place in the state of Florida (behind the Gators) and for numerous recruits.  The Seminoles have looked awesome this year except against their one big time opponent, Oklahoma.  Miami has looked very solid this year other than in the 2nd half against the Buckeyes a few weeks back.  These teams appear somewhat evenly matched on paper.  But my edge goes to Jacory Harris and the Hurricanes.  Jacory must find a way to cut down on his very unnecessary throws that end up being INTs.  But,  they are playing in front of a home crowd, and have one of the most athletic defenses in the entire country.  Ponder and the Seminoles will put up a fight, but will lose by 6 in the end on the road.

So there you have my Week 6 picks for College Football.  It should be a great weekend.  Make sure to get out and support your teams.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze