NCAA

Week 1 B1G Ten Picks

August 31st, 2011 at 4:39 pm by under Sports

Finally, college football is back and the season kicks-off Thursday night, including the defending B1G Ten co-champion Wisconsin Badgers. Throughout the season I will be making my picks for each and every B1G Ten game…(yeah, I know the logo is weird, but I went with it anyway).  Each week I will also include my “Upset Special” and “Blowout Game” of the week.  A wide-open B1G Ten should make for a very entertaining season.  So, without further ado…

New Big Ten Conference logo. (PRNewsFoto/Big Ten Conference)

Thursday:
UNLV vs. (11) Wisconsin

Friday:
Youngstown State vs. (17) Michigan State

Saturday:
Northwestern vs. Boston College
Akron vs. (18) Ohio State
Indiana State vs. Penn State
Tennessee Tech vs. Iowa
Minnesota vs. USC
Western Michigan vs. Michigan
Arkansas State vs. Illinois
Ball State vs. Indiana

Upset Special:
Middle Tennessee vs. Purdue

Blowout Game:
Chattanooga vs. (10) Nebraska

Overall Season Record: 10-2


Lunch break: Tuesday’s sports headlines

June 28th, 2011 at 11:24 am by under Sports

Welcome back to this Tuesday edition of the Lunch Break!  Here are the latest sports headlines from around the sports world.

(AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

Hopes are high in Madison
One day after the announcement that former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson would be transferring to Wisconsin, expectations have sky-rocketed.  With no QB on the current roster that had ever started a game, Wilson fills a hole that could make the Badgers the favorite in the Big Ten.  Badgers head coach Bret Bielema is expected to address the media today at noon.

World Cup run starts for the United States
The United States women’s soccer team began their quest in the World Cup today in Germany.  The Americans opened up with a 2-0 win over North Korea. In an earlier Group C match, Sweden topped Columbia 1-0.  The U.S. Is looking for their first World Cup title since 1999.

Women’s day at Wimbledon
Maria Sharapova has advanced in straight sets at Wimbledon after dominating Dominika Cibulkova, 6-1, 6-1, who upset world number one Caroline Wozniaki yesterday.  Sharapova advances to the semifinals.  The men are back in action tomorrow with quarterfinal play.

Labor talks likely in the NFL
According to the Associated Press, the negotiating teams for both the owners and the players are in Minneapolis today and are expected to get together for more labor talks.  The lockout is now in its fourth month, with most NFL training camps starting in about a month.  You can check out an interactive timeline of the labor talks here.

Brewers head to the Bronx
The Milwaukee Brewers look to extend their Central Division lead out East tonight as they travel to the Bronx for a three-game set against the Yankees.  New York holds the second-best record in the MLB at 45-31.  The Brewers have struggled on the road this season, only compiling 15 wins in 39 games.  Zack Grienke is on the hill for the Brewers and he will be opposed by Freddy Garcia.  Game time is 6:05pm.

College hoops legend passes away
The man who dunked home arguably the most historic shot in the history of college basketball, has died in a bus wreck in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Lorenzo Charles, who gave underdog N.C. State the national championship in 1983 was killed Monday when an empty bus he was driving crashed along the highway.  Charles was 47 years old.

Tonight on FOX 11:

  • We’ll hear from head coach Bret Bielema as the Badgers head coach talks about his newest QB.
  • We’ll have full highlights and reaction from the United States’ opening round match in the World Cup.
  • And we’ll have the latest from the NFL as labor talks continue just a month before training camps are set to open.
  • Join Drew Smith and the rest of the FOX 11 Sports Team at 5:00pm and 9:00pm!

Join us each day at Noon on www.fox11online.com for the “Lunch Break.”

Content from the Associated Press was used in this article


Picking the Final Four

March 29th, 2011 at 2:34 pm by under Sports

Okay, so who had all four of these teams in the Final Four?  How about three?  All right, two?  One?  None of them?  Yeah, me either.   Despite our lack of skill picking these teams to make it to Houston, I can’t say that I am particularly upset with the quality of the tournament to this point.   I wouldn’t be surprised if the NCAA selection committee is throwing a party every time VCU upsets another team, because the only Final Four the Rams should be playing in is the NIT.

That being said, don’t think I won’t pick them to win the National Championship this weekend at Reliant Stadium.  They’re hot, they have no regard for the game, and they are playing with a chip on their shoulder unlike one I’ve ever seen before in my life.  Not one person thought VCU should be in this tournament. I’m not even so sure head coach Shaka Smart thought his team deserved to be dancing.  But the Rams have two-stepped their way down to Texas and no team deserves to be there more.

In fact, let’s start with the Rams:

Virginia Commonwealth:

Road to Houston:

First Round: Beat No. 11 USC 59-46
Second Round: Beat No. 6 Georgetown 74-56
Third Round: Beat No. 3 Purdue 94-76
Sweet 16: Beat No. 10 Florida State 72-71
Elite 8: Beat No. 1 Kansas 71-61

Analysis: As I mentioned before, how can you bet against a team like VCU?  How can you bet against a coach like Shaka Smart?  This is a team that plays with a reckless abandon, yet are very disciplined.  Let’s call it organized chaos.  I can’t tell you how many times I said to myself “what a terrible shot” when I saw some of those three’s go up against Kansas late in the game.  But who am I to question the way they play?  It’s got them this far and it’s hard to believe it won’t get them a step further.  They’ve got a hard-nosed point guard in Joey Rodriguez and a go-to scorer in Bradford Burgess.  They’ve had arguably the hardest road in the tournament and the only team to have to played five games.  They’ve won and they’ve won convincingly…can they keep it going?

Butler:

Road to Houston:

Second Round: Beat No. 9 Old Dominion 60-58
Third Round: Beat No. 1 Pittsburgh 71-70
Sweet 16: Beat No. 4 Wisconsin 61-54
Elite 8: Beat No. 2 Florida 74-71 OT

Analysis: Speaking of a team you shouldn’t bet against!  Back-to-back Final Four’s for the Bulldogs now and this time without Gordon Hayward.  Brad Stevens is quickly establishing himself as one of the top coaches in the country.  If there’s one team in the tournament that represents its mascot, it’s the Butler Bulldogs.  They just find ways to beat you and are lead by the biggest Bulldog in the country in Matt Howard.  He hit a game-winning lay-up at the buzzer in their opener, the game-winning free throw against top -seeded Pitt, and came down with a hug rebound in the closing seconds of their OT win against Florida.  This is a team of winners and a team that’s been here before.  Now they are just one win a way from back-to-back national title appearances.

Kentucky:

Road to Houston:

Second Round: Beat No. 13 Princeton 59-57
Third Round: Beat No. 5 West Virginia 71-63
Sweet 16: Beat No. 1 Ohio State 62-60
Elite 8: Beat No. 2 North Carolina 76-69

Analysis: This wasn’t supposed to be the Kentucky team that made it to the Final Four.  This was the Kentucky team that was going to have to find a way to replace the NBA’s top-overall pick John Wall and fellow lottery pick DeMarcus Cousins.  Of course, they didn’t do a bad job replacing those guys with players like Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, and Doron Lamb.  But Kentucky struggled in the middle of the year until finally putting a run together late in the season and into the SEC tournament.  And remember, less than two weeks ago they almost fell victim to a huge second round upset to Princeton.  If not for a Brandon Knight scoop shot with less than five seconds remaining, we wouldn’t be talking about the Wildcats.  But a win’s a win no matter how you get it, especially in March.  Kentucky has looked better in each game they’ve played.  They’ve beat Ohio State and North Carolina in back-to-back games and are clicking on the offensive end.  They face their third straight powerhouse in UConn this weekend.  Can the kids keep filling it up?  Can’t wait for this one!

Connecticut:

Road to Houston:

Second Round: Beat No. 14 Bucknell 81-52
Third Round: Beat No. 6 Cincinnati 69-58
Sweet 16: Beat No. 2 San Diego State 74-67
Elite 8: Beat No. 5 Arizona 65-63

Analysis: Two words…Kemba Walker.  This guy is amazing.  When will he finally play a bad game?  Or won’t he?  If he doesn’t, this team is your national champion.  The Huskies have now won 12 straight tournament games including three at the Maui Invitational, five at the Big East Tournament, and now four in the Big Dance.  This team is battle tested and have the best player/leader in the land in Kemba.  This team is young though and have often times relied on Kemba to win games for them. They’re gonna need a full team effort to beat Kentucky.  Jim Calhoun is a Final Four regular and will have his hands full keeping his young players emotions in check.  But what a legendary run it could be for UConn if they can win their last two games and make it 11 straight tournament wins to end the year.

Final Four Picks:

No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth vs. No. 8 Butler

Winner: Virginia Commonwealth

No 4. Kentucky vs. No. 3 Connecticut

Winner: Kentucky

National Championship:

No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth vs. No. 4 Kentucky

Winner: Virginia Commonwealth

Call me crazy, but there’s no way I’m betting against a team playing with this much passion.  This game will change college basketball forever and I can’t wait to be a part of it!


The 2010 Heisman Trophy goes to…

December 7th, 2010 at 12:46 pm by under Sports

Technically, the 2010 Heisman Trophy presentation isn’t until Saturday, but let me be the first to tell you there’s no need to tune into the incredibly boring ceremony on ESPN—unless of course you’re looking to see a variety of inspirational stories and interviews with the four Heisman finalists, their families and their coaches, that somehow span out over the course of two painful hours.

When Oregon’s LaMichael James, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, and Boise State’s Kellen Moore arrive at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City, it will be first time this season those three players will walk into a situation where they have no chance of winning.

I’m sorry to ruin it for you, but this race has been over for weeks,

Auburn’s Cam Newton will be your Heisman Trophy winner and not even the egregious allegations that he has faced over the course of the season will derail this dream from becoming a reality…and here’s why:

Let’s start on the field.  Cam Newton has put up video game type stats this season for the Tigers while leading them to a perfect 13-0 record and a spot in the national title game against James and Oregon.

Try these numbers out for size:

Completion Percentage:                   67.1                Rushing Attempts:            242

Passing Yards:                               2,589               Rushing Yards:               1,409

Touchdowns:                                    28                   Rush Yards/Game:        108.4

Interceptions:                                   6                     Touchdowns:                     20

That’s a combined 3,998 yards and 48 touchdowns!  In fact, Cam never accounted for fewer than two touchdowns in any game this season, while saving his best for last when he accounted for six TDs (four passing, two rushing) in the SEC Championship game against South Carolina.  I’m sorry folks, but you just can’t deny those numbers.

Now let’s move off the field, where Newton has made just as many headlines as he did on it.  After a spectacular start to the season, numerous stories and allegations began to surface regarding Newton and how he ended up at Auburn.  The most serious of which regarding an alleged ‘pay-to-play’ scheme in which his father apparently ‘shopped’ his son to numerous schools in return for Newton’s services.

Newton was actually ruled ineligible by Auburn University the Monday before the SEC Championship game, but was quickly reinstated by the NCAA the following day because “[The NCAA does] not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity…”

Of course, if any of these allegations are indeed true, I find it hard to believe Cam wasn’t at least aware of the activity regardless of how much involvement he may or may-not have had.

But guess what, the amount of involvement, if any, that Newton had is not what’s up for vote this Saturday.  The award for the best player in college football is.  Now, I understand that there is an obligation to maintain the integrity of the most prestigious award in college football, but there’s also an obligation to give this award to the best player…and that’s not even a question.