Sunday, October 19, 2014

Analysis Alan's Week Seven Picks


Away vs Home Pick
Jets vs Pats Jets
10 -10
Falcons vs Ravens Ravens
7 -7
Titans vs Redskins Redskins
5.5 -5.5
Seahawks vs Rams Seahawks
-7.5 7.5
Browns vs Jaguars Jaguars
-6.5 6.5
Bengals vs Colts Colts
3.5 -3.5
Vikings vs Bills Vikings
6 -6
Dolphins vs Bears Bears
3.5 -3.5
Saints vs Lions Lions
3 -3
Panthers vs Packers Panthers
7 -7
Chiefs vs Chargers Chiefs
4.5 -4.5
Cardinals vs Raiders Cardinals
-4 4
Giants vs Cowboys Giants
7 -7
49ers vs Broncos Broncos
6.5 -6.5
Texans vs Steelers Texans
3 -3
Last week 10-2
Overall 45-43
Alan M
@AlanGotJKZ

Friday, October 17, 2014

NFL Week 7: Can Luck, Rivers and Manning continue their MVP run?

Luck scrambles against Watt

Week 6 of the 2014 NFL season had a lot of action packed games on, which made for a great weekend of football action. Week 6 started off with a fantastic Thursday night game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts which saw Indy hold off their division rivals and take the victory by a score of 33-28. Week 6 also had the Cleveland Browns beat down their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 31-10. The San Diego Chargers were able to hold off the winless Oakland Raiders as they won their divisional tilt by a score of 31-28 and were able to improve their record to 5-1 on the season. The Cincinnati Bengals played host to the Carolina Panthers in week 6 in a game that ended in a 37-37 tie after the Bengals kicker missed a game-winning field goal at the end of overtime. The biggest surprise of week 6 would have to be the Dallas Cowboys marching into the very hostile CenturyLink Field in Seattle and beating the Seahawks by a score of 30-23 as they improved their record to 5-1 on the season.

Week 6 of the 2014 NFL season was filled with terrific football action; one can only hope that the games on this week’s schedule are just as exciting.

Here are some great games to look out for in week 7.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts
Last week the Cincinnati Bengals played host to the Carolina Panthers in a game which ended up in a 37-37 tie, the first one of the season and a rarity in the NFL, after kicker Mike Nugent missed the game-winning field goal in overtime. The tie pushed Cincy’s record to 3-1-1 on the season. The Bengals are led by QB Andy Dalton, a man who is often criticized for his lack of execution in big games, especially in the playoffs. It’s no question that Andy can play in the NFL because he is indeed a solid QB, however, when the game is on the line and the Bengals need him to shine, he often crumbles. The Bengals are also led by dual-threat RB Gio Bernard and WR Mohamed Sanu, who has played a great role in filling the void left by WR A.J. Green who has been sidelined with a toe injury. Their offence is ranked 5th overall in the league, however, that is not their biggest issue, it’s their defensive production. The Bengals pride themselves on having a great defence, one that stops the run and can defend against the deep ball, but that hasn’t been the case so far this season as their defence ranks 28th in the league, something that has to change if the Bengals want to end up in the playoffs again. Last week the Indianapolis Colts marched down to Houston to battle their AFC South Rivals, the Texans, and they were able to earn a tough 31-28 win and improve their record to 4-2 on the season. The Colts are led by none other than QB Andrew Luck, who seems to look more and more impressive with each passing week. The Colts offensive line has looked a tad shaky at times, however, they seem to be clicking and have helped the Colts secure the #1 offence in the league in terms of production with their passing offence, averaging 328 yards a game in the air alone. RB’s Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson have become quite the 1-2 punch for the Colts and have been able to run the ball well, as well as act as reliable receivers in the Colts’ screen pass game. The Indy defence could be the key to this game, they rank 13th in the league in overall defence and if they can contain Bengals QB Andy Dalton and that Cincy offence, they have a great shot at winning. Andrew Luck has to be careful though, just because the Bengals defence hasn’t had the numbers they usually do, they can turn it around at any moment and make life a living hell on opposing defences.
Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, October 19th at 1:00pm from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers
The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off of a much needed bye week after their heartbreaking week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, where they fell by a score of 22-17. The Chiefs are led by QB Alex Smith who has looked fairly consistent this season, having thrown for nearly 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns so far. RB’s Knile Davis and Jamaal Charles have helped the Chiefs become the league’s 4th best rushing offence, however, their passing game ranks 27th overall in terms of production. The Chiefs must look to improve their passing offence, if they want to be competitive in this division when they play the Broncos and Chargers. Last week the Chargers went upstate to do battle with their AFC West rivals, the Oakland Raiders, where they were able to hold off the Raiders for a 31-28 win, which improved their record to 5-1 on the season. MVP candidate, QB Philip Rivers leads the San Diego offence that has looked fairly solid so far this season having thrown for nearly 1,800 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions. The Chargers’ passing game has looked healthy, it’s their rushing attack that has left them with the league’s 21st overall ranking since RB Ryan Mathews has been sidelined. Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Chargers is their defence, which ranks 3rd overall in the league, a number that most people have been surprised to see. This matchup is a good one for the viewers because it has one of the league’s best passing offences that being the Chargers, going up against one of the league’s best pass defences, the Chiefs, who rank 7th overall in pass defence. If the Chiefs can keep Rivers and company off the field and limit the number of big plays they give up, the Chiefs have a solid chance at winning this game. However, they will also need to get their passing game going. WR Dwayne Bowe hasn’t been a major factor for the Chiefs this year and if he gets hot against the Chargers, it could be a long day. This game could go either way, however, it will come down to which defence can make more stops against the opposing team’s big play guys.
Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, October 19th at 4:05pm from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos
Last week the 49ers marched into St. Louis to do battle with their NFC West rivals, the Rams where they were able to come from behind and beat their divisional foes by a score of 31-17 and extend their record to 4-2 on the season. Dual threat QB Colin Kaepernick leads the 49ers offence and he has looked very good so far this season having thrown for nearly 1,500 yards, 10 touchdowns and only four interceptions in the first six games. RB’s Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde have been a solid 1-2 punch out of the backfield and have helped the 49ers earn the league’s 7th best rushing offence. WR’s Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd have all looked good this season and Kaepernick has done a great job of evenly distributing the ball to them. Last week the Denver Broncos flew cross-country to do battle with the New York Jets and were able to hold off the late charging Jets and earn a 31-17 win as their record improved to 4-1 on the season. QB Peyton Manning leads the high-powered Denver offence and has looked as good as ever so far, having thrown for nearly 1,600 yards, 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The Broncos seem to be rather one-sided on offence as their passing game has taken the spotlight and their running game has suffered since they lost RB Knowshown Moreno in the off season. RB’s Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman have been called upon this season and neither has seemed to make a massive impact just yet and it shows because the Denver rushing attack ranks 26st overall in terms of production. The Denver defence has looked impressive this year, after adding some great players in the offseason. They rank 4th in the league in terms of overall defence and this week they're going to have to play harder than ever as they will look to try and contain QB Colin Keapernick, who is ever so elusive on offence. Though Denver is the favourite in this heavyweight clash, the 49ers have a great shot at winning this game and that's because of their defence. It ranked 2nd in the league in terms of overall defence and if they want a chance at winning, they will need their defence to come up big and try to contain that Denver offence. If Denver gets TE Julius Thomas and WR Demaryius Thomas involved early in this game, it could be tough for the 49ers.
Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, October 19th at 8:30pm from Sports Authority Field in Denver Colorado.

Matt Kassabian
Twitter: @PassDaKassabian

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Analysis Alan's Week Six Picks


Away vs Home Pick
Colts vs Texans Colts
-3 3
Steelers vs Browns Browns
1.5 -1.5
Patriots vs Bills Patriots
-3.5 3.5
Panthers vs Bengals Panthers
7 -7
Packers vs Dolphins Packers
-4.5 4.5
Broncos vs Jets Broncos
-10 10
Ravens vs Bucs Ravens
-3.5 3.5
Chargers vs Raiders Chargers
-8 8
Bears vs Falcons Bears
3.5 -3.5
Cowboys vs Seahawks Cowboys
8.5 -8.5
Giants vs Eagles Eagles
3 -3
49ers vs Rams 49ers
-4 4
Last week 6-9
Overall 35-41
Upset: Dallas to win
Alan M
@AlanGotJKZ

Friday, October 10, 2014

NFL Week 6: Can the Giants and Cowboys keep it rolling?

Seahawks QB, Wilson looked outstanding vs Redskins on the Monday night game
Last week, in week 5 of the 2014 NFL season, we saw some pretty good action with a few upsets to top off a great weekend of football action in both the NFL and NCAA ranks. Last week we saw Carolina play host to the Chicago Bears and were able to overcome a major deficit and beat the Bears by a score of 31-24. We saw the Texans and the Cowboys battle it out for state supremacy in a game that Dallas edged out their opponents by a score of 20-17 in overtime.  Week 5 also had the New Orleans Saints hosting their division rivals from Tampa Bay in an NFC South Battle that saw the Saints barely hold on to win by a score of 37-31 in overtime. The Cleveland Browns were able to pull off the come from behind win against the Tennessee Titans as they improved their record to 2-2 on the season. Week 5 also saw the New England Patriots play host to the Cincinnati Bengals, who entered that game as the league’s only undefeated team, and were able to dominate the Bengals on their way to a 43-17 victory, which helped silence all of the critics who had been attacking Tom Brady and company all week after their week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Week 6 will see a handful of really good divisional match-ups along with some other inter-divisional and inter-conference games, which should make for some great football action this week.

Here are some of the top games to look out for in week 6 of the 2014 NFL season.

Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons
Last week the Chicago Bears headed south to do battle with the Carolina Panthers in an all NFC match-up. The Bears looked good early, but faltered near the end of the game and allowed the Panthers to march right back into the game. The Bears are led by QB Jay Cutler who has thrown for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, however, he has thrown six interceptions in only five games, he must improve if the Bears want to win games and remain competitive in their division. WR’s Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery didn’t have the greatest of game last week; one might wonder if they are still dealing with lingering injuries. Last week the Atlanta Falcons travelled north to battle with the New York Giants in another all NFC battle where they were handed their third loss of the season. The Falcons, like their week 6 opponents, the Bears, faltered late in the game and allowed the Giants to jump right back into the game, take the lead and eventually hand Atlanta the loss. Falcons QB Matt Ryan has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns; however, he also has six interceptions to his name and must improve on that going forward if the Falcons want to compete in the NFC South. This game is as evenly matched as they come; both teams come into this game with a 2-3 record, both teams are coming off of tough losses and both teams have defences that have shown some serious signs of vulnerability at times. If the Bears want to be successful in this game, they need to get their play makers involved, let RB Matt Forte pound the ball against a Falcons defence that ranks 28th in the league against the run. The Bears have some very big, fast and highly skilled wide receivers and if Cutler is given enough time to throw, he will find the open man and the Bears will gash your secondary. The secret weapon for the Bears is WR Santonio Holmes, if they can get him open by dragging coverage to Marshall and Jeffery, the Bears could have a hay-day on offence. If the Falcons want to be successful in this game, they will need to make their 3rd ranked offence go to town on the Bears’ 17th ranked defence. The Falcons wide outs can get open down field; they will torch this very young and inexperienced Bears secondary with the speed and skill they possess. The Falcons need to get their running backs more involved with the game to help get the opposing defence to cheat up and leave their secondary open for big bombs down the field to WR Julio Jones. This game could go either way but it sure will not disappoint.

Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, October 12th at 4:25pm from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks
Last week the Dallas Cowboys played host to their state rivals, the Houston Texans, and were able to pull off the overtime win by a score of 20-17 and improved their record to 4-1 on the season. QB Tony Romo has thrown for over 1,200 yards so far this season and has thrown for nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Romo and that offence are clicking; they looked very good a couple of weeks ago when they took on the New Orleans Saints at home, however, they stuttered a little bit last week against the Texans. Last week the Seattle Seahawks flew east to do battle with the Washington Redskins and were able to go home with the victory having beaten the ‘Skins by a score of 27-17 and improving their record to 3-1. QB Russell Wilson has looked very consistent this season both passing the ball and rushing the ball; he makes great decisions and has a knack for getting himself out of any trouble he may be in. It’s never easy to play against the Seahawks, let alone having to play them on their home field, which has proven to be a hostile environment for opposing teams for a few years now, however, if Dallas wants to see any success in this game, they will have to be near flawless in terms of their execution on both sides of the ball. QB Tony Romo and company will be going up against Seattle’s top ranked rush defence and one of the best secondary’s in the game this week. RB DeMarco Murray has had a fantastic season so far and has helped the Cowboys climb up the rankings into the second spot in terms of overall rushing production, second to only Seattle. However, Murray will have his work cut out for him this week against a tenacious Seattle front seven that know how to punish QB’s and RB’s. The Dallas WR’s will have a tough time matching up against that tough Seattle secondary, nevertheless, they do have play markers like Dez Bryant and Terrence Williams that know how to get open. If Dallas can effectively pick apart the Seattle defence by playing with tempo and executing smart plays, like short screen passes to DeMarco Murray, they have a chance at taking down the Seahawks, who hardly ever substitute on defence. Seattle will be going up against a defence that ranks 22nd in the league in stopping the run and 18th in the league in preventing the passing game so if they can give RB’s Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin a healthy dose of snaps, they can breakdown the Cowboys D-line and have success. Look for the Seattle’s Russell Wilson to make smart passes down field and attack the backup corners that will be taking snaps instead of injured started, Morris Claiborne.

Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, October 12th at 4:25pmfrom CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week the New York Giants played host to the Atlanta Falcons and were able to earn a come from behind victory over their NFC foes by the score of 30-20. That win helped improve their record to 3-2 on season after starting off the season with a 0-2 record. QB Eli Manning has thrown for over 1,100 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions so far this season and the new look Giants offence seems to be clicking of late as they have scored at least 30 points in their last three games. Last week the Philadelphia Eagles played host to the St. Louis Rams and were able to hold on for the 34-28 win as they held off the late charging Rams. QB Nick Foles has thrown for over 1,300 yards eight touchdowns and five interceptions so far this season as he spear heads the Eagles offensive attack. The Eagles have looked a bit shaky in the past couple weeks on defence, they’re showing their inexperience in the secondary and have tried their best on offence despite having some injuries on the offensive line. The Giants are a fairly balanced team on both sides of the ball, they have proven they can run the ball and pass the ball effectively as their offence is ranked 19th overall in terms of production. Their defence is looking slightly better than they did last season as they rank 10th in the league in stopping the run. If the Eagles want to be successful and win the crucial NFC East tilt, they will undoubtedly need their defence to step up in a big way, especially their secondary. The Eagles defence ranks 28th in the league in overall defence, a number which isn’t ideal if Philly is hoping to remain in first place in the division and clinch a playoff spot. The Eagles must look to get RB LeSean McCoy going, he has only rushed for 273 yards and one touchdown this season, which isn’t like the Pro Bowl running back. If the Eagles can get a solid ground game going and help set up their play action passes, they could be very effective against the Giants. If the Giants want to be successful, they will need to get their big play wide receivers going against a lacklustre Eagles secondary. The Giants have mixed the running and the passing nicely so far and if they can stick to that formula, they have a great shot at beating the Eagles. This game could be a high scoring one, if both defences cannot execute so both defences will need to play a very disciplined game, limit the number of mistakes and penalties during the game.

Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, October 12th at 8:30pm from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Matt Kassabian
Twitter: @PassDaKassabian

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Western Conference Preview: Can the Suns crack the playoffs?


Here is a look at the Western Conference, where things will be tight as always.

Playoff locks:
San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State Warriors

On the bubble:
Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers
Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns
New Orleans Pelicans

On the rise:
Utah Jazz
Minnesota Timberwolves

Maybe next year:
Denver Nuggets
Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers

(All awards for the West)
Most improved player: Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the departure of Thabo Sefolosha, this could be Jeremy Lamb’s coming out part with a chance at starting for one of the best teams in the league.  Lamb has shown in the brief playing time he has been given, that he can indeed play at the NBA level, he just has some things to figure out, mainly on defense.

Coach of the year: Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns.
Jeff had an incredible run with the Suns last year, and he almost took them to the playoffs (it is a shame that a 48-34 record does not get you to the playoffs).  This year, I feel that the Suns have gotten stronger, adding players through the draft and via trade.  The Suns are young, yet very skillful at every position, and the most important part is that they have players who have no problem coming off the bench, which is every coaches dream.

Sixth man of the year: Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans.
Thankfully Anderson has overcome a very scary injury he sustained in a game vs Boston last season, which kept him out for the entire year.  When Anderson is healthy, we all know that he is one of the premier three-point shooters in the league.  In 22 games last season, Anderson averaged just under 20 points a contest and an eyelash under 41% shooting from three point land.  I have no doubt in my mind that Anderson will re-capture his form.

Rookie of the year: Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves.
I have always stated that usually the player, who starts for his respective team, has a very good chance at winning the ROY trophy because of the minutes that he compiles.  That is the case here.  Other than Wiggins, not too many rookies will start for in the West (even the East, as a matter of fact).  Other contenders for the award could be: Nik Stauskas and perhaps Nuggets big man, Jusuf Nurkic.  Also look out for Lakers big man, Julius Randle. 

MVP: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers.
If Griffin can get his Clippers to finish first in the West, and his numbers similar to last year’s, I believe that he has a good chance at winning the MVP trophy.  He has improved his jump shot throughout his career and his free throw percentage is much better than it was in past years.  Griffin is also a very good passer, something he has worked on as well.

Final Western Conference Standings
1
Los Angeles Clippers
2
Oklahoma City Thunder
3
San Antonio Spurs
4
Golden State Warriors
5
Dallas Mavericks
6
Portland Trail Blazers
7
Phoenix Suns
8
Memphis Grizzlies
9
Houston Rockets
10
New Orleans Pelicans
11
Los Angeles Lakers
12
Sacramento Kings
13
Denver Nuggets
14
Minnesota Timberwolves
15
Utah Jazz


Ogi B

NCAA College Football Week 7 Preview: Will it be as good as Week 6?

Connor Halliday, the standout player of Week 6
Week 6 of the 2014 NCAA College Football season was a wild one! A week filled with upsets and surprises, which led to a major shake-up of the AP Top 25 team standings. Several highly ranked teams lost in week 6, which made for a seriously action packed weekend of college football. Last week the unranked, but undefeated Arizona Wildcats marched into Eugene, Oregon and were able to beat the Oregon Ducks 31-24 as they upset the #2 ranked team in the nation. Mississippi State played host to Texas A&M and were able to handily beat the Aggies in what was a major upset. Another massive upset in week 6 was Ole Miss Rebels beating the heavily favoured Alabama Crimson Tide at home in Oxford, Mississippi. Other big upsets in week 6 were TCU beating their BIG 12 rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners, the Arizona State Sun Devils beating up on the USC Trojans and the Utah Utes upsetting their PAC 12 rivals, the UCLA Bruins.

If week 7 of the 2014 NCAA College Football season is half as thrilling as last week, we’ll all be in for a treat.

That being said, here are some big games in week 7 to look out for.

#2 Auburn Tigers vs. #3 Mississippi State Bulldogs
Last weekend the Auburn Tigers played host to their SEC rivals, the LSU Tigers and were able to earn a blowout win, as they routed LSU by a score of 41-7. The Auburn Tigers come into this game with a 5-0 record and are currently in first place in the SEC West. The Tigers are led by QB Nick Marshall, a true dual threat QB that can beat you through that air and on the ground. Other key members of their offence are RB’s Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant, WR’s Sammie Coats and D’haquille Williams. Auburn is very much a power football team that will look to run the football with efficiency in order to help set up big yardage passing plays when the defence is caught out of place. Their rushing attack is ranked 15th in the nation, which proves that they are a legitimate force on the ground. Don’t simply focus on their ground game either because they have big wide-outs that can run all over an opposing secondary if they’re not prepared. Auburn comes into this game with the nation’s 14th overall defence, so scoring on them isn’t going to be so easy. Last weekend the Mississippi State Bulldogs played host to the Aggies of Texas A&M and were able to upset their SEC foes by a score of 48-31. The Bulldogs also come into this game with a 5-0 record and sit in second place in the SEC West, right behind the Auburn Tigers. The Bulldogs are led by QB Dak Prescott, another true dual threat QB that can beat you both ways. Some big names one that Mississippi State offence are RB Josh Robinson, WR De’Runnya Wilson and WR Jameon Lewis. The Bulldogs offence is currently ranked 14th in overall offensive production, with their rushing numbers being some of the highest in the nation. The Bulldogs play a similar game to the Tigers as in they look to run the football with authority and then set up some big passing plays down field to try and catch their opposition off guard. On the flip side, the Bulldogs defences ranked 85th overall in country; however, that is simply due to the fact that their pass defence isn’t strong, but their run defence is much better. This game makes for an interesting matchup because both teams have mobile duel threat quarterbacks, both teams like to run the ball a lot and both teams can stop the rush on defence. It’s all going to come down to offensive line play. Which team can get the better push and help create lanes for their running backs and quarterbacks. It’s going to be interesting to see how this game plays out for both teams.

Game details: Kickoff on Saturday, October 11th at 3:30pm from Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi.

#12 Oregon Ducks vs. #18 UCLA Bruins
Last weekend the Oregon Ducks played host to the Arizona Wildcats in a Thursday night nationally televised game and were beat by the unranked Wildcats by a score of 31-24. The Ducks went into that game undefeated and were ranked #2 in the country. The Ducks played a very uninspiring game last week as their offensive line look horrendous and their defence looked just as bad, if not worse. It is tough to admit that they really didn’t look like a top ranked team, yet Arizona did. Oregon is suffering from a lot of injuries so far this season which partially explain why they have looked very vulnerable at times. The Oregon coaching staff must do a better job at coaching these players up and ensure they are ready to play some big games against conference opponents. The Ducks are led by a ton of serious play makers on offence such as QB Marcus Mariota, RB’s Royce Freeman, Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall and WR’s Devon Allen and Kenan Lowe. When the offence is clicking they look great, they look like an elite team. However, their defence ranks 101st overall in the country with their pass defence taking the blunt of that ranking. For a team that has a reputation like Oregon and hopes to compete for a National Championship, these numbers are unacceptable and they have to do something about it, otherwise they will slip in the rankings. Last weekend the UCLA Bruins played host to their PAC 12 foes, the Utah Utes and were edged out by a score of 30-28. The Bruins were one of many teams to be upset last weekend and will look to turn it around this weekend. Their offence is led by dynamic QB Brett Hundley, who has already thrown for over 1,300 yards and only two interceptions so far this year, RB Paul Perkins, WR’s Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte. The Bruins have a fairly balanced offensive attack that ranked 37th overall in the nation; however, their passing attack is where UCLA makes their mark. The Bruins have struggled defensively this season, like their rivals to the North, Oregon. They rank 86th in the nation in overall defence and 100th overall in pass defence and for a team of UCLA’s calibre, this is slightly sobering. Something’s got to give in this PAC 12 clash with both of these teams struggling defensively, this game may come down to which team can make just a few stops on defence and try to limit the opposing offence from running all over them. Oregon will need to get the ball into the hands of their play makers quickly, and often in order to avoid Marcus Mariota being sacked. They will need that high tempo, no huddle offence to be clicking on all cylinders this weekend against UCLA. If the Bruins can stop the Ducks and put a lot of pressure on the Oregon O-line then they will have a great shot at beating Oregon.

Game details: Kickoff on Saturday, October 11th at 3:30pm from Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.

#3 Ole Miss Rebels vs. #14 Texas A&M Aggies
Last weekend the Ole Miss Rebels played host to the big, bad Crimson Tide of Alabama and were able to capture the attention of the entire nation as they went on to beat ‘Bama by a score of 23-17 to complete the upset. The Rebels are led by Senior QB Bo Wallace who has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns; however, he does have 6 interceptions to his name so far this season. RB Jaylen Walton and WR’s Laquon Treadwell, Cody Core and Vince Sanders are some names to watch on this Ole Miss offence, especially those highly skilled wide-outs. The Ole Miss offence ranked 38th in the nation in terms of production, however, that number is aided by their solid passing game and hindered by their running game. The Rebels’ defence is what sets them apart from other teams, they’re ranked 6th overall in the nation and have been able to silence the opposing passing game. Last weekend the Aggies of Texas A&M marched down to Starkville, Mississippi and were stunned by the Bulldogs by a score of 48-31, as they saw their unblemished record tarnish right before their eyes. The Aggies are led by thrilling QB Kenny Hill who has thrown for over 2,100 yards and has 21 touchdown passes to his name. The Aggie offence is also fueled by RB’s Tra Carson, Trey Williams and WR’s Josh Reynolds, Malcome Kennedy, Edward Pope and Rickey Seals-Jones. The offensive attack really isn’t a massive issue for the Aggies because they’ve looked good and have been able to execute against opposing teams. It’s their defence that’s an issue because they rank 75th in the nation in overall defence which isn’t the greatest news for Coach Kevin Sumlin. If Ole Miss wants to be successful against the Aggies they will need QB Bo Wallace and CO. to put up some big numbers and keep the chains moving in order to put up a lot of points and keep pace with a team like the Aggies, that can score often and quickly. Bo has to involve his play making WR’s as often as possible because those WR’s are all big bodied play makers that can make life hard on the Texas A&M secondary. That being said, Ole Miss will need their secondary on high alert, they will need them to play a near perfect game and limit the amount of blown coverages because Kenny Hill and the talented group of Texas A&M receivers will make them pay if they don’t. If Ole Miss can shut down Kenny Hill and the Aggies by limiting the number of big plays, they have a great shot at winning this game.

Game details: Kickoff on Saturday, September 11th at 9:00pm from Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.


Matt Kassabian
Twitter: @PassDaKassabian

Monday, October 6, 2014

Eastern Conference Preview: How good are the new look Wizards?


The NBA pre-season has started (feels like the season ended just yesterday), which means the regular season is not too far away.  For, what seems like the sixth time in the last six years, San Antonio will once again try to prove that they are not too old to contend; while there is a new king (sort of) in Cleveland.  The Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns were two of the biggest surprises last year, and you can bet that both teams will be trying to duplicate that success (more so the Suns, since they missed the playoffs with an outstanding 48-34 record)

Let’s have a look at the East first.

Playoff locks:
Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors
Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards
Charlotte Hornets
Cleveland Cavaliers

On the bubble:
Indiana Pacers
Brooklyn Nets
Atlanta Hawks
New York Knicks

On the rise:
Orlando Magic
Milwaukee Bucks

Maybe next year:
Detroit Pistons
Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers

(All awards are for the East)
Most improved player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks.
We saw glimpses of what this kid can do last year, and one year of experience under his belt will surely benefit the young man.  Giannis was a big part of the Greek national team this summer, at the Basketball World Cup, which was held in Spain.  Giannis put on his usually highlight reel, you know, taking two dribbles from under his own basket and  dunking it at the other end.  The addition of Jabari Parker through the draft will only help Giannis, through his NBA developmental phase, as Jabari will take some of the much need pressure off The Greek Freak’s shoulders.

Coach of the year: Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors.
Casey did a tremendous job of getting a Raptors team that was destined to tank and draft Andrew Wiggins, into the playoffs.  The Raptors took the Atlantic Division, but suffered a Game 7 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets in heartbreaking fashion on their home court.  This year, Raptors have added: James Johnson and Lou Williams to help that already solid bench that they had, as the Raptors look to once again make a run at the Atlantic title.  

Sixth man of the year: Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls.
I have to admit, I was very surprised when Chicago went out and signed Pau Gasol, knowing that they had a guy on the bench, who was ready to step in and start.  That being said, Gibson is a true professional and I am sure that he will do whatever the teams needs him to do in order to win games.  On a number of occasions, Taj has shown that he is one of the best bench players in league, and this year should be no different.

Rookie of the year: Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks.
If we are just talking the East, this is pretty much Parker’s award to lose.  Embiid is beat up coming into this season, although he is already a hit on social media outlets such as Instagram and Twitter with his hilarious pictures and captions.  Gordon and Smart will not start for their respective teams (most likely), which puts them at a disadvantage.  McDermott and Payton (whom I am high on), could pose the only threat to Parker, but I still feel that with Parker starting for the Bucks, it will allow for him to put up some great numbers, that will not be matched by any other Eastern Conference rookie.

MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers.
He is still the man in the East, although I feel John Wall will make a serious push to take some MVP votes from the king.

Final Eastern Conference Standings:
1
Cleveland Cavaliers
2
Chicago Bulls
3
Washington Wizards
4
Toronto Raptors
5
Miami Heat
6
Charlotte Hornets
7
Indiana Pacers
8
Atlanta Hawks
9
Brooklyn Nets
10
New York Knicks
11
Orlando Magic
12
Milwaukee Bucks
13
Detroit Pistons
14
Boston Celtics
15
Philadelphia 76ers


Ogi B