Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2014 NCAA College Football Week 6: Top 5 Games

Kenny Hill, Texas A&M QB

Week 5 of the 2014 NCAA College football season was a great one to say the least. It was a week filled with tight, closely contested games between conference rivals, and it made for some fantastic football action.

Week 5 saw Oklahoma State top their BIG 12 rivals, Texas Tech and move on to a 3-1 record. UCLA met with their PAC 12 rivals, Arizona State in a battle of the unbeaten, and they were able to hammer the Sun Devils by a score of 62-27 as they improved to 4-0 on the season. Georgia played host to their foes from the Volunteer state, Tennessee, and were barely able to hold on for the win as they edged out their opponents by a score of 35-32. Stanford was able to edge out the Washington Huskies by a score of 20-13, the Huskies defence kept them in the game, it’s a shame they couldn’t muster anything on offence, or else they had a solid shot at upsetting their rivals from Northern California.
Week 5 also saw South Carolina play host to the Tigers of Missouri only to fall short and lose the game to their SEC rivals by a score of 21-20. The game of the week, to many, would have to be the Southwest Classic between Arkansas and Texas A&M.  It was a back and forth game that needed overtime to settle the score and in the extra frame the Kenny Hill led Aggies put up a touchdown which earned them the 35-28 victory against their SEC rivals.

All we can hope for is that Week 6 is just as thrilling as Week 5 was. That being said, here are the top games to watch for this week on the 2014 NCAA College football schedule.

Arizona Wildcats vs. #2 Oregon Ducks
The Arizona Wildcats are coming off a bye week; however, they are coming into this game with a 4-0 record which they earned after their last win against Cal on September 20th. Arizona is led by QB Anu Soloman who has looked affective thus far and has put up some solid numbers. If the Wildcats want to do some damage against the Ducks they will need their offence to click on all cylinders with the help of WR Cayleb Jones and RB Nick Wilson. The Oregon Ducks are also coming off of a bye week and they also come into this game with a 4-0 record having earned that with a close win over Washington State in week 4. The Ducks are led by QB Marcus Mariota and a core group of running backs and wide receivers that know how to put up points. However, the Oregon offence isn’t a major problem, though they have suffered some offensive line woes, it’s their defense which ranks 94th in the nation. This is simply unacceptable if you’re Oregon because without a decent defence, there’s no way they can compete for a National Championship. Though the Ducks are heavy favourites in this game, we cannot forget what happened last season, Oregon travelled down to Arizona and were stunned by the Wildcats. This game could essentially go either way, regardless of how many points Oregon is favoured by. If Oregon wants to pull off the victory, they must play some very stout defence and attempt to move the ball with ease against the Wildcats of Arizona.
Game details: Kickoff on Thursday, October 2nd at 10:30pm from Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

#6 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #12 Mississippi State Bulldogs
Last weekend the Aggies of Texas A&M dueled with their SEC foes, the Arkansas Razorbacks and were able to emerge as victors in a very closely contested game and with that victory the Aggies improved to 5-0 on the season. The Aggies are led by QB Kenny Hill on offence and he will be looking to lead his team to victory against another conference foe, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are coming into this game with a 4-0 record, fresh off a bye week and massive victory over the LSU Tigers in week 4. Their 12th ranked offence is led by QB Dak Prescott and RB Josh Robinson. This game has the potential to be a fantastic back and forth game or a blowout for Texas A&M, it all hinges on how well the Bulldogs can move the ball on the Aggies. If Mississippi State wants to emerge victorious in the SEC tilt, they will need Dak Prescott to play his best football in order to keep up with Aggie QB Kenny Hill and that high octane offence.
Game details: Kickoff on Saturday, October 4th at 12:00pm from Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi.

#3 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #11 Ole Miss Rebels
The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming into this game with a 4-0 record and fresh off a bye week, however, in week 4 they were able to beat their SEC foes, the Florida Gators, in what was a fantastic game to watch. The Crimson Tide are led by QB Blake Sims, WR Amari Cooper and RB’s Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon and they will ensure that their 4th ranked offence punishes Ole Miss. The Rebels of Ole Miss are coming off of a 24-3 win over Memphis and have started the season 4-0. They are led by QB Bo Wallace, RB Jaylen Walton and WR Laquon Treadwell on offence. Ole Miss control their own destiny in this one, if they want to have a shot at upsetting the Crimson Tide they will need to let their 4th ranked defence control the game; however, they will need to be near perfect in their offensive execution, and that means no turnovers and scoring on nearly every drive if possible, they need to have an aggressive game plan going into this game. Look for Blake Sims and the Alabama offence to try and exploit the Rebel defence in this one.
Game details: Kickoff on Saturday, October 4th at 3:30pm from Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi.

#15 LSU Tigers vs. #5 Auburn Tigers
The LSU Tigers are coming into this game with a 4-1 record and are fresh off a massive 63-7 win over New Mexico State. Their only loss came to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in week 4. QB Brandon Harris, RB Leonard Fournette and WR Travin Dural will lead the LSU Tigers into Auburn for their duel against their SEC foes. The LSU can be dangerous at times but they will need it to be fantastic if they want to earn themselves a victory against Auburn this weekend. The Auburn Tigers are coming off a 45-17 win against Louisiana Tech last weekend and will come into this game with a 4-0 record. Auburn is led by QB Nick Marshall, RB Cameron Artis-Payne and WR D’haquille Williams on the offensive side of the ball. Both of these teams are very evenly matched up, which means this game can go either way, so it all depends on which team executes better and limits the amount of mistakes they make. Look for both teams to try and get their ground game going in this one.
Game details: Kickoff on Saturday October 4th at 7:00pm from Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.

#19 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. #10 Michigan State Spartans
Nebraska is coming into this game with a 5-0 record and a solid victory over conference rivals, Illinois. They are led by QB Tommy Armstrong Jr., RB Ameer Abdullah and WR Kenny Bell on offence. The Husker offence ranks 7th overall in the country and they will try their very best to try and be successful against a stout Michigan State defence. Michigan State come into this game with a 3-1 record which included a 56-14 win over Wyoming last weekend. Their only loss of the season came to the Oregon Ducks in week 2; however, they still have the 17th ranked offence in the nation and the 11th ranked defence, which tells us a lot about their squad. If Nebraska, the underdogs, want to stun the Spartans, they will need to be very aggressive on offence and take the game to the Spartans because if they sit around and try to keep it low key, the Spartans will pounce on them and it could get ugly in a hurry. Look for the Spartan defense to try and control this game and limit the amount of big plays the Huskers will look to use on them.
Game details: Kickoff on Saturday, October 4th at 8:00pm from Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.

Matt Kassabian
Twitter: @PassDaKassabian 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Analysis Alan's Week Four Picks

Away vs Home Pick
Giants vs Redskins Redskins
3.5 -3.5
Packers vs Bears Packers
-1.5 1.5
Bills vs Texans Bills
3 -3
Titans vs Colts Titans
7.5 -7.5
Panthers vs Ravens Panthers
3 -3
Lions vs Jets Lions
-1.5 1.5
Bucs vs Steelers Steelers
8 -8
Dolphins vs Raiders Raiders
-4 4
Jaguars vs Chargers Jaguars
14 -14
Eagles vs 49ers Eagles
5.5 -5.5
Falcons vs Vikings Falcons
-3 3
Saints vs Cowboys Saints
-3 3
Patriots vs Chiefs Chiefs
-3.5 3.5
Last week 10-6
Overall 25-23
Alan M

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Analysis Alan's Week Three Picks

Away vs Home Pick
Bucs vs Falcons Falcons
6.5 -6.5
Chargers vs Bills Chargers
1 -1
Cowboys vs Rams Cowboys
-2.5 2.5
Redskins vs Eagles Redskins
7 -7
Texans vs Giants Giants
-2.5 2.5
Vikings vs Saints Saints
10.5 -10.5
Titans vs Bengals Bengals
7 -7
Ravens vs Browns Ravens
-2.5 2.5
Packers vs Lions Packers
1.5 -1.5
Colts vs Jaguars Colts
-7.5 7.5
Raiders vs Patriots Raiders
14.5 -14.5
Broncos vs Seahawks Broncos
4.5 -4.5
Chiefs vs Dolphins Dolphins
4.5 -4.5
49ers vs Cardinals 49ers
-3 3
Steelers vs Panthers Panthers
3.5 -3.5
Bears vs Jets Bears
1.5 -1.5
Last week 11-5
Overall 15-17

Alan M

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peja Stojakovic is Getting His Number Retired!

After winning his only NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks
Five years after retiring Vlade Divac’s number, the Sacramento Kings will do the same from his countryman, Peja Stojakovic.  Peja was drafted in 1996, 14th overall in the first round by the Kings.  His first season came in 1998, when he averaged a solid eight points to go along with three rebounds in 48 games played (one as a starter).  Peja’s best year in the NBA came in 2003/2004 when he averaged 24 points, six rebounds and two assists per contest. 

Peja also has two three-point shooting contest championships under his belt (2002 and 2003).  Stojakovic made the playoffs with four different teams (Sacramento, Indiana, New Orleans and Dallas) and in 95 games he averaged 14 points to go along with five rebounds.  In 2011, he won his first and only NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks, after defeating LeBron and the Heat.

Not to be forgotten, Peja was a massive part of the Serbian national basketball team, where he won two gold’s (FIBA World Cup-2002 and EuroBasket-2001) and one bronze (EuroBasket-1999).

Growing up, Peja Stojakovic was one of the few athletes I looked up to.  He is the reason why I decided to play grade eight basketball for my Middle School (Park Lawn Tigers).  I guess even on the court, I had a little bit of Peja in me (I averaged 18 points a game in my only season and I was a pretty good shooter, not to brag, of course).

Peja is ranked 4th in free-throw percentage, 9th in three pointers made, and 11th in three pointers attempted.

In closing, I think it was only a matter of time before the Kings organization decided to retire Peja’s number.  He had given the Sacramento fans something to cheer about and they had some tremendous playoff runs in his time with Sacramento.  Stojakovic will get his number retired on December 16th, when the Sacramento Kings play the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Congrats, Peja!!! 

Ogi B

Monday, September 15, 2014

Senegal and Serbia On The Rise? FIBA Basketball World Cup Recap

Harden lifting the trophy for USA
The FIBA Basketball World Cup has come to an end, after two weeks.  In the final the mighty USA team took down a hungry Serbian team by a score of 129-92. 

Despite the loss in the final, I am very proud of this Serbian team, who showed that they can play with some of the best teams from around the world.  Entering this tournament, many said that it would be quite an accomplishment if Serbia even got past their group stage.  Once Serbia did just that, they then defeated a Greek team that was undefeated (at that point), which raised a few eyebrows.  In the quarters Serbia dismantled Brazil by 28 and beat France by five in the semis.  In the final, you always knew that the Serbian team would have to play A++ basketball to beat the USA team, but unfortunately that did not happen.  Hats off to a USA team that went undefeated, beating opponents by an average of 33 points.

Here are some talking points of this tournament.

This tournament was Gorgui Dieng coming out party.  The young Senegalese player averaged 16 points to go along with 10.7 rebounds a game.  We saw flashes of his rebounding ability as the 2013/2014 season was coming to an end, and he started to accumulate more playing time for the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Hopefully the Timberwolves staff took notice of Dieng’s performance at the World Cup and we see more of him next year with the T-Wolves.

Andray Blatche put up some ridiculous numbers for the Philippines.  In five games Blatche averaged 21.2 points a game (ranked 2nd in the tournament) to go along with 13.8 rebounds (ranked 1st in the tournament).   Blatche just powered most of his opponents in the post, and on occasion, he was able to step back and hit some jumpers.

Toronto Raptor fans, I have not forgotten about you.  Lithuanian big man, Jonas Valanciunas did very well at this tournament.  In nine games played, Jonas averaged 14.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.  Those averages were good enough to put Jonas in the top 20 in scoring and 6th overall in rebounding.  Jonas also shot an incredible 69.6% from the field.  Hopefully he can keep this up for the upon NBA season because the Raptors need a threat down in the post.

Petteri Koponen, Finnish point guard also did very well at the World’s.  Petteri put up close to 16 points a game and he led the tournament in assists per game with 5.8.  It is still uncertain if we will ever see Petteri play in the NBA (he was drafted 30th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2007), but he has proved on more than one occasion that he is a solid point guard.

Aron Baynes, San Antonio and Australian big man also had a good tourney averaging 17 points to go along with seven rebounds.  I was really hoping to see a bigger role for youngster, Dante Exum, but he was pretty irrelevant in this edition of the World Cup.

Final thoughts:   
-Senegal could be one of the best teams from Africa in the next couple of years.  About half of their players play in some of the biggest European countries.

-Croatia should do much better at the next World Cup, when Hezonja and Saric will be much more experienced.

-Fingers crossed that in 2019, we will see Canada participating in this tournament!

The All-Star five for this tournament were:
Pau Gasol (Spain)
Kenneth Faried (USA)
Nicolas Batum (France)
Milos Teodosic (Serbia)
Kyrie Irving (USA)

Ogi B

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Analysis Alan's Week Two Picks

vs Home Pick
Steelers vs Ravens Ravens
2.5 -2.5
Dolphins vs Bills Bills
-1 1
Jaguars vs Redskins Redskins
6 -6
Cowboys vs Titans Cowboys
3.5 -3.5
Cardinals vs Giants Cardinals
-2.5 2.5
Patriots vs Vikings Patriots
-3 3
Saints vs Browns Browns
-7 7
Falcons vs Bengals Falcons
5 -5
Lions vs Panthers Panthers
2 -2
Rams vs Bucs Rams
6.5 -6.5
Seahawks vs Chargers Seahawks
6.5 -6.5
Texans vs Raiders Raiders
-3 3
Jets vs Packers Packers
8.5 -8.5
Chiefs vs Broncos Broncos
13 -13
Bears vs 49ers Bears
7.5 -7.5
Eagles vs Colts Eagles
3 -3
Last week 4-12
Overall 4-12
Alan M

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Look At Week Two In The NFL

Dolphins celebrate a TD vs Patriots

Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season was a fairly exciting one, to say the least. There were several games that resulted in upsets, however, every game that took place was certainly worth watching, that’s for sure. Week 1 saw a healthy Atlanta Falcons team fend off their division rivals in the New Orleans Saints as they won their first game of the season by a score of 37-34 in overtime. The Buffalo Bills also played spoiler as they went on the road and defeated the Chicago Bears by a score of 23-20 in overtime. The Tennessee Titans marched into Kansas City and were able to beat up on the Chiefs and earn a solid 26-10 victory. Perhaps the biggest upset of week 1 was the New England Patriots travelling to Miami to duel with the Dolphins and were handed a loss as they fell to their division rivals by a score of 33-20.

Week 2 of the 2014 NFL season has several good games to choose from, here are five of them.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Last week the Pittsburgh Steelers played host to their division rivals, the Cleveland Browns and earned their first win of the season by edging out the Browns by a score of 33-27. QB Ben Roethlisberger looked solid for the Steelers, as did running back Le’Veon Bell who rushed for 109 yards on 21 carries. Last week the Baltimore Ravens also played host to a division rival in the Cincinnati Bengals were handed their first loss of the season as they fell by a score of 23-16. QB Joe Flacco had a decent day throwing the ball; however, the downside was their rushing game. RB Justin Forsett could only muster 70 yards on 11 carries and was their leading rusher. This AFC North clash is always great to watch because these two teams really don’t like each other and it shows. It may be a tough go for the Ravens this week because they’re dealing with a lot of off the field issues regarding Ray Rice. However, these games could go either way, all we can count on is it being a very physical game and the team that can keep their composure the longest could be the winning team in this game.

Game details: Kickoff on Thursday, September 11th at 8:25pm from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week the Atlanta Falcons hosted their NFC South rivals the New Orleans Saints and were able fight back and earn an overtime win as they edged they Saints by a score of 37-34. QB Matt Ryan went off in this game; he went 31-43 and threw for 448 yards. The Falcons offence looked considerably better than they did last season. Last week the Cincinnati Bengals marched into Baltimore and handed the Ravens their first loss of the season. QB Andy Dalton looked pretty solid in that game as he went 25-38 for 301 yards, 131 of those yards went to WR A.J. Green.  This game could go either way.  If the Falcons offence can come out fast and strong and take it to the very good Bengal defense, they can run away with this game. However, the Bengals defense is a force to be reckoned with and they have the tendency to make life very difficult for opposing offences. Look for the Falcons to try and come out and spread to ball and try to make it difficult for that Bengals defense to keep up.

Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, September 14th at 1:00pm from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers
Last week the Seattle Seahawks played host to the Green Bay Packers as they began their quest to defend as Super Bowl Champions. The Seahawks won their opening game against the Packers by a score of 36-16. WR Percy Harvin looked great in his first game back since an electrifying Super Bowl appearance in February. The Seahawks stout defense was able to hold up against Aaron Rodgers and company last week, they looked just as solid as last season. Last week the San Diego Chargers went into Arizona to do battle against the Cardinals and were not able to hold on for their first win of the season as they fell by a score of 18-17. QB Philip Rivers did not have a very solid game as he went 21-36 for a total of 238 yards. The same can be said about RB Ryan Mathews, who was only able to muster 40 yards on 12 carries on the ground. This is a tough match up for the Chargers, however, they are a very gritty team that doesn’t back down from a challenge. If Rivers and company can find holes in that Seahawks defense; they have a solid chance at taking home the win. Look for the Seahawks defense to make this game a miserable on for the Chargers offense.

Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, September 14th at 4:05pm from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
Last week the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Tennessee Titans and were handed their first loss of the season as they fell by a score of 26-10. QB Alex Smith didn't have the greatest day; he went 19-35 for 202 yards and also led the team in rushing with 36 yards. When RB Jamaal Charles isn’t your leading rusher on the day, you know you have a problem. Last week the Denver Broncos played host to the Indianapolis Colts and were able to hold off the late charge of the Colts led by QB Andrew Luck. QB Peyton Manning had a decent day against the Colts, as he went 22-36 for 269 yards, however, TE Julius Thomas had himself a fantastic game as he caught 7 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Kansas City needs to bounce back in a big way this week, even though they have a tough match up against a very good Broncos team. Chiefs will need to rely on QB Alex Smith to lead the charge on offence and put their lackluster performance of week 1 behind them. Look for Peyton Manning and company to play with some pace and try to burry to Chiefs early in this game.

Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, September 14th at 4:25pm from Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado.

Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers
Last week the Chicago Bears played host to the Buffalo Bills who handed them their first loss of the season as they fell to the Bills by a score of 23-20. QB Jay Cutler had a good day on the field as he went 34-49 for 349 yards. RB Matt Forte had a strong game as he earned 82 rushing yards and 87 receiving yards for the Bears last Sunday. Last week the 49ers opened up their season with a big win on the road against the Dallas Cowboys. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offence looked pretty good against a very beaten up Cowboys squad; however, the highlight was the 49ers defense and the show they put on. They looked very solid and were able to force quite a few turnovers. This game could go either way because the Bears have a lot of offensive weapons that have the potential to shred opposing defenses and the same could be said about the 49ers offense. This game will come down to which team can play better defensively and limit the amount of yardage the opposing team can lay down on them. Look for that very powerful 49er D-line to force Jay Cutler to make poor and uncomfortable throws which could allow their secondary to pounce on those poorly thrown balls.

Game details: Kickoff on Sunday, September 14th at 8:30pm from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Matt Kassabian