Archive for the ‘Miami’ Category

Much to the surprise of most, the Chicago Bulls won Game 1 on the road to start the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 1-0 lead over LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Among the adjustments the Heat must make for Game 2 are three top priorities: Tighten up their 4th quarter defense, play with a greater sense of urgency, and run the offense through LeBron James in late minutes when the game is close.

These three adjustments seem elementary at best, as a 5th grader could make these observations, but these issues seem to be a recurring theme for the Miami Heat in the postseason.

Just last season, the same lackadaisical tendency was shown during each of the first three Heat series. Against the Knicks in the first round, after the Heat rolled to a 3-0 lead, Miami went into cruise control and cruised to a Game 4 loss.

Against the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics in rounds two and three, the Miami Heat started each series with 1-0 and 2-0 leads respectively, only to allow that seemingly “lazy” play to let Indiana and Boston to gain leads in those series.

It wasn’t until the Heat tightened up their defense late, played with a sense of urgency, and allowed LeBron to run the offense that the Heat regained control and ultimately won those series.

I thought that the Heat’s defense in the last two minutes was lacking in two respects. First, they needed a better effort shutting down the ball handler, Nate Robinson. From watching tape on the Brooklyn Nets series, Coach Spoelstra must have realized Robinson was going to be a threat if not contained. Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen, although excellent defenders in their own right, are not the best available options in that situation. LeBron James has proven to be a shut down defender time and time again and I expect given a similar situation late, will defend Robinson in isolation.

The second piece of that puzzle is a stronger presence in the paint. Chris Anderson has shown that he can provide that much needed rim defense in case the perimeter defense is broken. Robinson is deadly of the dribble and showed that he could get his shot in close, without much help from either Chris Bosh or Udonis Haslem.

As far as playing with urgency, I doubt anything needs to be done here. Losing to the Bulls in game 28 of “the streak” had to have put a bad taste in the Heat’s mouth, of which Monday night’s Game 1 loss surely reminded them. Look for Miami to come out swinging in Game 2.

Lastly, the Miami Heat are at their offensive best when LeBron James has the ball. Not only does he command the attention of, likely, the Bulls’ best defender, but also that of the potential double team help from the wing, anyone assisting on the pick and roll, as well as the man defending the paint, should he need to come up to guard against James’ drive to the rim.

Fortunately for the Bulls in Game 1, this strategy for the Heat was stymied somewhat, as the shots weren’t falling on the James kick-outs for three (the Heat shot just 29% from behind the arch, down from their season avg. 39% and started 1-8 from three).

If the Heat can make the needed adjustments while finding their offense, it should mean getting back on track and possibly even an early end to the series. If not, it still could be an early end to the series…

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College football is drawing to a close. With just the BCS National Championship left (of the games we care about) it’s time for another edition of 5 things to remember and forget.

5 Things to Remember:

1. Cam Newton is not out of the woods.

If you’ll all remember the Reggie Bush saga, there were accusations and speculations regarding whether or not Bush had accepted payment for his abilities while still at USC. It wasn’t until 5 years later, long after Bush had been in the NFL, that the investigations were concluded and the sanctions laid down.

If I were the NCAA, I would have done the same thing regarding Newton with the amount of evidence present at the time. Remember, it’s much better to hold off on punishment until all skeletons are uncovered than to discipline in anticipation of finding said skeletons.

Believe me, Cam’s case is being prepared and thorough investigations are in order, even if the NCAA hasn’t gone public with each step of the process. Besides, the NCAA is benefitting greatly from Newton playing just as they did Bush. Just saying.

2. The landscape of college football changes drastically next season with the expansion of conferences.

Nebraska to the Big 10, Utah and CU to the PAC-10, TCU to the Big East, and BYU moving independent. The moves alone would be big enough, but now throw in 2 new conference championship games, the Big 12 losing their championship game, and you have a huge shake-up.

The Mountain West Conference, in essence, has become the WAC but with better lower tier teams than the WAC had. Boise State Community College will remain a BCS buster while Utah and TCU vie for an automatic bid (TCU more than likely will be conference champ favorite off the bat).

3. The SEC will remain the most elite conference.

I know, I know, the SEC gets more respect than it deserves before the season even starts, but let’s just take a quick glance at the conference rundown. The SEC has won the national championship the last 4 years in a row and has a contender in Auburn in the game this year.

The 7th ranked team in the conference was Florida. The 7th best teams in the other “elite” conferences are as follows; Big 12 – Kansas State, ACC – North Carolina, Big 10 – Michigan, Big East – Cincinnati, PAC-10 – Arizona. The best part is that only 2 teams in the SEC were not bowl eligible by season’s end. Impressive to say the least.

4. USC still isn’t post season eligible.

The reason I mention this is that Utah will be a member the PAC-12 South Division, made up of USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, and CU. Of these teams, the only one I’m concerned about is possibly Arizona, because Utah plays them at Arizona. Since USC will be ineligible for postseason play, Utah gets the conference championship slot even with second place in the division under USC.

5. Remember Boise State and Notre Dame will be the only teams likely to be BCS busters next year.

Although Boise State got a rude awakening as to how far 1 loss will drop you when you play in the WAC, having to play in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl while other one loss teams received BCS invites, they will certainly remain a force in their new home, the Mountain West Conference.

Brian Kelly finally started getting things clicking for Notre Dame, as they destroyed Miami in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX. Freshman QB Tommy Rees had a great game and will be returning next season to Kelly’s offense. Should be interesting to see what he can do next season.

5 Things to Forget:

1. Forget about the WAC.

Even though they found a few teams to fill holes, they’re pulling no-names. University of Texas San Antonio, Texas State University, and Denver University will replace Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii…totally balances out.

Hard to believe that the WAC used to be home to Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, TCU, and BYU at one time or another the last 35 years.

2. Stanford can forget about the success they’ve seen the last few years.

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is likely headed to the NFL, and starting QB Andrew Luck is surely headed to the NFL as well. Likely destinations for Harbaugh include the Denver Broncos, working under Stanford alum John Elway, the 49ers in nearby San Francisco, or even the Miami Dolphins.

Luck will be the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft in all likelihood. Sorry Stanford.

3. Forget about the SEC national championship streak.

Oregon plays at a pace Auburn hasn’t seen yet. Sure, Auburn will get theirs, but as I’ve said all season, Oregon might not be the most completely balanced team (like TCU) but they are the nations most unbeatable team. Their offense is outstanding and they don’t slow down. Even if Auburn can keep it close through 3 quarters, they won’t for 4.

4. BYU can forget about long-term independence.

The minute the Big 12 decides to replace Nebraska and Colorado, BYU will be at the top of the short list of candidates.

If not for weakness in all categories other than football, Boise State would be considered with the Cougars but the Big 12 does have SOME pride in it’s academics and sports outside football. Can you picture Kansas vs Boise State as a basketball conference game? Yikes.

5. Forget about the good old days when college football news consisted of stories and reports on the game itself.

With ESPN Sportscenter, 24/7 news and blog updates, Twitter, Facebook and endless other media outlets, the stories that get the most face-time are the scandals, firings, and drama. Fans can only read about the game itself so many times before needing to search out other forums with more debatable topics than the stats and highlights.

In reaching the final chapter of this college football season, hopefully we can all remember the history and memories made in 2010 and forget our teams’ struggles and move forward with hopes of a brighter twenty-11.

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What a year 2010 turned out to be in sports. From the Alabama Crimson Tide winning the national championship to the Giants winning the World Series.

2010 saw Tiger Woods’ first full calendar year without notching a single victory, neither in majors nor non-major events.

2010 was host to both the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the World Cup in South Africa. Surprisingly, South Africa seemed to handle the role better with seemingly less to work with. Really, the only negative throughout the World Cup were those Vuvuzelas (they haunt my dreams).

2010 was the year of the media. Endless talk of where LeBron James would play the ’10-’11 season and beyond hijacked every sports radio station, column, channel, etc. until finally, it built up to “the Decision”, a poorly thought out plan by the LeBron James group to publicly announce his contract plans live on ESPN.

“The Decision” badly backfired when James chose against returning to Cleveland, where he was drafted 6 years ago, and left to play in Miami with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The backlash was instant in Cleveland and soon even the media, which profited greatly from “the Decision” threw James under the bus, calling his actions classless, selfish, and pretty much all the things the audience was wanting to hear.

Nearing the end of the year, and with the season under way, many of the media are forgiving of James and are more focussed on his play on the court.

2010 was a shaky shaky year for college football. It started with expansion rumors out of the Big East and the Big 10. The Big 10 fired first, inviting Big 12 member Nebraska into their ranks. Nebraska accepted the invite. The PAC-10, not to be outdone, fired next. They invited Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. Colorado was the only school to accept. They later invited the University of Utah, who gladly accepted.

BYU, being passed over and no longer sharing a conference tie with rival Utah, left for far greener pastures as an Independent in Division 1A football, and far browner pastures in everything else, joining the West Coast Conference in all other sports.

TCU left for the Big East, and the top half of the WAC in football shifted over to the Mountain West Conference, to fill the holes left by the power trio that had, for nearly a decade, ruled the top of the conference.

Cam Newton burst onto the scene, dominating all in his way to winning the Heisman trophy and leading the Auburn Tigers into the national championship game. Looming over his accomplishments, however, were allegations that he was involved in a pay for play scheme with his father and an agent. Cam was ruled eligible for lack of evidence that he knew anything about the scheme. Let’s hope 5 years from now that we don’t have another Reggie Bush situation.

2010 was the year of the pitcher in the MLB. Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, and numerous others were in the spotlight this season. The Giants’ pitching staff received praise all season and they showed why. Solid pitching and late season play from Rookie Buster Posey led the Giants into the playoffs and hot bats at perfect times in the World Series sealed the deal for them.

The Lakers won their 2nd straight title, beating the Celtics and avenging their 2008 defeat in the finals to that nearly identical Celtics team.

Jimmie Johnson won his 5th straight Sprint Chase for the Cup title in a row (first ever to do so).

The UConn women’s basketball team broke the once thought impossible win streak record of 88 wins, set by the UCLA men’s basketball team under coach John Wooden. The lady Huskies’ record ended at 90 games.

All in all, a very crazy year. Can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.

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I still can’t get over how big this week was for college football. There are tons of things to remember so I’l have to skim the best off the top. As far as things to forget, coming up with those seems to take more effort. If it’s worth forgetting, it’s been forgotten by now this far into the season.

5 Things to Remember:

1. 3 non-AQ teams are in the BCS top 5 rankings. This likely will never happen again!!! Not just in another season, but even after this week. Utah and TCU playing Saturday will drop another of the unbeaten teams . The non-AQ teams brought the heat this season. TCU, Boise State and Utah could handle playing any team in the nation. They’re doing their best to prove it.

2. Remember back when I said it was a matter of time before Boise started to slip back and even though talks of a national championship bid for an undefeated Boise State arose at the beginning of the season, TCU and Utah would both finish above them in the BCS rankings? Well, TCU jumped Boise State after beating a bad UNLV team in Vegas Saturday. Boise State beat up on LA Tech at home and slipped back to #4 behind now #3 TCU but still staying ahead of #5 Utah. Utah now has its foothold to launch over Boise State. If they beat TCU, the Utes would overtake the #3 spot (at the very least) and be in prime position to finish undefeated and maybe in the big dance.

3. Remember Cam Newton and LaMichael James Auburn QB and Oregon RB respectively. Why? Because they are in a staring contest right now. As 3 of the 5 remaining unbeaten teams are from non-AQ conferences, Oregon and Auburn represent so much more than their schools. They represent every BCS conference and school in those conferences. They represent the last hope for keeping a non-AQ team out of the BCS national championship game. No one will argue, including TCU, Utah and Boise State fans that an Auburn team that took out Arkansas, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, etc. and an Oregon team that beat Stanford, USC, Arizona, Oregon State, etc. don’t deserve to face each other in the national championship game. It’s when you start having 1-loss teams moving ahead of the undefeated non-AQ teams that drama arises. As long as Auburn and Oregon stay unbeaten, the BCS can avoid all that drama.

4. Remember to clear your schedule for Nov. 6th. Just as anticipated, Utah and TCU both enter their showdown unbeaten. TCU is #3 in the BCS polls and Utah is #5. Sports has a way of exaggerating every important to make it seem like the biggest game in the history of games. I can honestly say, this is the biggest college football game ever to be played. The reason is, the winner of this game stands a better chance at playing in the national championship game than any other non-AQ team before them. Neither Utah nor TCU have ever been this highly ranked mid-season, and never has either team been shown so much respect in the national media. This is absolutely 100% the biggest college football game of my lifetime and I have a ticket.

5. Remember to keep an eye on the rearview mirror if you are in the top 5. Auburn and Oregon control their own destiny, but with Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin jockeying for position, it’s possible that they could move ahead of an unbeaten non-AQ team…aka Boise State. Especially with the Nevada game being devalued thanks to Hawaii, they’re in trouble.

5 Things to Forget:

1. Forget about Texas. Baylor? I don’t wanna hear “Baylor is really good this year!” because no, they are not. TCU beat Baylor 45-10. Baylor took advantage of bad conference foes before facing Texas and Baylor’s success is a direct reflection of their conference’s failures. Oklahoma is down, Texas (UT, A&M, and Tech) are all awful, and in their down year, they can’t beat a Baylor at it’s peak.

2. Forget the Big East and ACC. Miami got smoked by Virginia. That alone, is reason enough for Miami to just quit the rest of the season. Every year it’s the same story with Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, etc. That story starts out with high hopes for program success and regaining the glory days of their respective programs. How does the story end? With numerous losses to horrible conference opponents and a default Orange Bowl game that no one watches because it features two 7-5 champions from these joke conferences.

3. Forget about fairness when it comes to the rankings. Alabama lost to #19 South Carolina (who lost to Kentucky the next week) Stanford’s only loss on the other hand, was to #1 Oregon on the road, and they are ranked #13 compared to Alabama’s #6 ranking. There are plenty more examples of that; Wisconsin, Missouri, etc. When the national media decides that you are the best before the season starts, it takes a Texas sized faltering to sway them.

4. Forget the experts’ opinions. When the current #2 and #5 team in the nation started the season #25 and unranked respectively, there is obviously something wrong with their expertise.

5. Forget anything but the Utah/TCU game. I know I am a homer here and anyone who has ever met me knows this Saturday is going to be the biggest day of my life, but if you seriously sit and think about what this game means (apart from how amazing the game should be with these 2 teams anyway), you’d understand that this could alter college footbal forever. Utah busted down the BCS defense in ’04 and now, they’re fixing to storm the castle.

Remember, I think Utah will be the underdog in this matchup and will be heartbroken but not surprised should the Utes lose to the incredible Horned Frogs. That being said, forget about sending hate mail and taunting comments in my time of depression. They will be ignored.

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Oh my, oh my, what a week we have coming up in college football! So many big games with potential to shake up the BCS race. Now, Last week was far from flawless I’ll admit. I went for a few upsets that didn’t happen and vice versa. Here’s the good and the not so much from last week (more…)

Oh my my my what a week in college football. Upset after glorious upset. Lets see if we can find a way to shake out 5 things to remember and forget.

5 Things to Remember

1. Remember, Oklahoma took the #1 spot in the first BCS rankings this week. Lets see how long they can stay there with that target. They already have close calls against Air Force, Cincy, and Utah State. Oklahoma State and other Big 12 competition should be able to knock em off. If not, Oklahoma will be one of the most overrated teams to play in the national championship game and the uproar will be crazy.

2. Remember, if Arkansas can put up 43 points on the board and lose by 22, Auburn, playing with that offense, cannot be stopped.

3. Remember, Boise State destroyed San Jose State and Ohio State lost. Sounds like a perfect situation for Boise right? You’d think so. But no. Oklahoma and Oregon are now ahead of the Broncos. Get used to the leap frog act Boise.

4. Remember how Florida, USC, and Texas ruled the charts the last decade? Yeah, now, nowhere to be found.

5. Remember Alabama is now in prime position to pull an ’08 Gators by lossing while ranked high and  working their way back into the national championship game. ESPN and the rest of the national media love them enough to get the hype going.

5 Things to Forget

1. Forget about the Cornhuskers finding themselves back in the national championship. Their season of dreams is ended once again by the Longhorns. Could Nebraska still win the Big 12? Absolutely. But forget the NC.

2. Forget Boise in the National Championship. I thought they might, might have had a shot with big teams going down. But with voters willing to jump Boise State as if they aren’t there…Nevada was their last chance and that’s ruined thanks to Hawaii of all teams.

3. Forget “fitting the mold and reloading skill positions” at BYU. There is a direct correlation between BYU’s offense production and Robert Anae’s (offensive coordinator at BYU) willingness to adapt his offense to the team he has now. I realize that rebuilding the offense and creating new schemes and looks to match your strengths and weaknesses sucks…but so does your team right now. Start playing BYU football! It’s sad a Ute fan is needing to voice this.
(and don’t tell me it’s inexperience working the kinks out. BYU’s defense was far worse off than the offense and we all saw what happens when you do your job. I’m looking at you Bronco)
4. Forget about looking ahead the next few weeks if youre Utah. I realize the 5 game stretch of Air Force, TCU, Notre Dame, San Diego State, and BYU is coming up after CSU. But…the Rams dropped 43 points on UNLV last week, a number the Utes fell short of by 5 when the Rebels came to town. Utah will absolutely win the game against CSU if they play to 80% of their potential. But we don’t want a repeat of the ’08 New Mexico game right Utes fans?

5. Forget about the ACC and Big East. Holy cow these guys are not on the radar. At the rate we’re goin in college football conference trends, there will be 3-4 non-AQ teams, that by the BCS rules,  qualify for an at-large BCS bid.

Something to remember this week is that it’s only good to lose early in the season if your gonna lose. Voters have 4 week memories and will forget to look at the overall season. This is, in all likelyhood, the last week a top 2 team could lose and make it back.

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Oh man, what a week! I love college football.

This week had so many shake-ups and big stories, the articles are basically writing themselves.

5 Things to Remember

1. Utah DESTROYED Iowa State. They put up 68 points. Methodically, they ran successful drive after successful drive, while the defense picked 2 passes, and the special teams return squad was unstoppable. Utah is looking like a top 5 team right now. Remember the date Nov. 6th. This is when TCU comes to Salt Lake.

2. Remember 2008. Florida lost to Ole Miss and tore through their remaining schedule to battle back from a #9 ranking to beat #1 Alabama in the SEC championship game and beat Oklahoma in the National Championship game. If Alabama can win out from here, with a lot of help from teams ahead of them, they could end up in the same position. Just remember.

3. Remember newly named #1 Ohio State has to play #18 Wisconsin next week in Madison. This will be the second big test for Ohio State this season (Miami in week 2 was the 1st). Also, ESPN Gameday will be there.

4. Remember Michigan State shut down Denard Robinson. Michigan State has won the last 3 meetings between the rivals. The Spartans’ one big remaining challenge will be playing Iowa on the road Oct. 30th.

5. Remember Florida State has only one loss this season to #6 Oklahoma. They have BCS aspirations now that their biggest conference challenge Miami is in their rearview mirror. Look for the Seminoles to make a huge splash in the ACC.

5 Things to Forget

1. Forget Utah State making a bowl game if they lose one more game. I really thought last week’s victory would carry over into their game at LA Tech.

2. Forget about a clear cut winner by season’s end. There are probably 4-5 teams that can reasonably end the season undefeated. Could get interesting.

3. Forget about USC. They won’t need to argue their bowl eligibility when you’re talking Emerald Bowl range.

4. Forget about a non-AQ team playing in the National Championship game. Voters have showed they are willing to play the jumping game. Oregon, and Nebraska have already jumped TCU. Just Oregon has jumped Boise State but will likely stay there.

5. Forget about Michigan finishing in the top 25 if they can’t get back to the offensive production they had the first 4 weeks. They still have Ohio State’s defense and Iowa’s as well. Its gonna be interesting watching the rest of the Wolverine’s year.

Remember not to punt the ball, kickoff to, or even let Utah’s return men touch the ball, or you can forget anything but the name on the back of the jersey.

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The King is fallen! The almighty Alabama Crimson Tide lost for the first time since the Sugar Bowl  to the University of Utah Utes January 2009. The loss came at the hands of #19 South Carolina. Alabama was down huge early, 21-3 at the beginning of the second quarter. In fact, Alabama didn’t outscore Alabama in a single quarter (best quarter was tying the 4th 7-7). But don’t worry Bama fans. If we know anything about the pollsters, a #1 team never falls out of the top ten after just one loss on the road to a ranked team.

What a great week it turned out to be for the non-AQ hopefuls; TCU, Boise State, and Utah. Boise State not only beat Toledo 57-14, but previous opponents Oregon State and Virginia Tech won big games this week, thus strengthening Boise’s case for the BCS. TCU dismantled Wyoming in Fort Worth 45-0 , and Utah obliterated Iowa State 68-27.

Yes, you heard me correctly. The team that put up a monstrous 52 points on Texas Tech last week got embarrassed in their own house by the Utes. The Utes were subbing in the 2nd and 3rd string at the same times as when they played San Jose State and New Mexico. There was a bit of bye week rust on the Utes in the first quarter, when they found themselves down 14-10 after the 1st quarter, but they shook it off and scored 31 unanswered points in the 2nd quarter. It was over from there.

Miami got surprised by ACC foe Florida State 45-17. Florida State had no problem running the ball against the Hurricanes. Florida State seems to be shaking off that Oklahoma loss really well.

LSU had a big week as well, beating Florida in Gainesville 33-29 on a touchdown pass with 6 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. The big play of the drive that set that score up was a fake field goal, in which, the kicker took a pitch from the place holder and ran for the first down, keeping the drive alive. Florida has now lost consecutive games in conference play.

Michigan State showed this weekend that their defense, at least, is for real, holding in-state rival Michigan to just 162 rushing yards and picked Denard Robinson 3 times. They cruised to a 34-17 victory.

Arizona’s luck finally ran out this week as they lost a close one to Oregon State 29-27. Another close PAC-10 game that was close to the last tick of the game clock was USC at Stanford. The Cardinal kicked a 30 yard field goal as time expired (I think USC is getting tired of that) to beat the Trojans  37-35.

Overall, another great week of college football full of close games, upsets, and blowouts. College football needs to figure out a way to lengthen their seasons a few months.

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Last week was pretty rough. The upsets I didn’t pick, happened. The upsets I did pick, didn’t.

One upset called right – Washington over USC,

Upset called incorrectly – Texas over Oklahoma

Scores called closely – Nevada over UNLV, Michigan over Indiana, Oregon over Stanford, Boise State over New Mexico State, and Miami over Clemson.

Week 6 features 23 of the AP top 25 teams. There will be 4 games with both teams ranked in the top 25. Many teams will be facing the first really challenging team on their schedule this week (Utah, Michigan, and LSU).

Without further ado, week 6 predictions…

CSU at #25 Air Force Academy – CSU is…uh…bad. Air Force, the nation’s #1 team in rushing yards this season, (just ahead if both Oregon and Michigan) should not have any problems rushing on the nation’s 11th worst rush defense. In fact, this one had the potential to end ugly for CSU. Air Force should roll 42-17.

Colorado at #24 Missouri – I was very unimpressed with CU until they edged out a win against Georgia, with A.J. Green, last week. Similarly, I haven’t been impressed by Missouri either. I think the Buffs will continue on their streak and win 28-24.

#22 Oklahoma State at ULL – Oklahoma won a nail biter against Texas A&M last week. Louisiana-Lafayette is much worse than that Aggies team and Oklahoma State rolls 35-10.

San Jose State at #21 Nevada – Nevada will finally know what it feels like to be Boise State, benefiting from playing a weak schedule while staying ranked. Nevada should destroy San Jose State 63-14.

Minnesota at #20 Wisconsin – Wisconsin definitely got exposed last week against Michigan State but should be licking their chops to face Minnesota. Although this game classifies as a rivalry, Wisconsin should handle the Gophers 31-21.

#17 Michigan State at #18 Michigan – This is going to be a great game. Michigan is going to need an amazing offensive performance in order to even have a remote chance of winning this game. Their defense has proven already to be weak against much worse offenses than Michigan State’s. I believe in the Wolverines this season. I think Michigan wins in the “Big House” 49-35.

USC at #16 Stanford – USC was completely exposed and embarrassed by Washington last week. Stanford list to a legitimately better team in Oregon. I think Stanford will have a chip on their shoulders the rest if the season. Stanford wins 31-24.

#23 Florida State, at #13 Miami – Miami’s defense has been impressive thus far. They handled Pitt’s offense without problem and last week, beat Clemson. Miami wins this one 28-21.

#12 LSU at #14 Florida – LSU literally escaped last week against Tennessee. LSU fumbled the snap as the clock hit 0.0 against the Volunteers, losing the game…but wait! Tennessee decided to field 13 players and give LSU a second shot on the play. The rest is history. Florida had miscue after miscue I’m the red zone last week against Alabama. Look for them to look mean against LSU. Florida wins 21-17.

#11 Arkansas at Texas A&M – This game will showcase 2 great offenses but Arkansas has too much. Arkansas wins this game 35-28.

#10 Utah at Iowa State – Utah will face its first challenging team on the road. Iowa State put up 52 points on Texas Tech last week. Utah is the best team in the country in points for vs points against ratio. I think if the Utes don’t lose the turnover battle by more than 3, they will win. Utah 45-16.

Oregon State at #9 Arizona – Arizona’s defense is top notch. They are especially good against the run. They shut down Cal’s great run game and had their bye last week. If they can perform like they did against Cal, the Rodgers brothers shouldn’t be too much to handle. Oregon State will win, though, 24-21.

#8 Auburn at Kentucky – Auburn has faced a few challenges this season with Clemson and most notably, South Carolina, who I feel is highly overrated. Cam Newton is the real deal though. Kentucky will quickly learn that. Auburn rolls 35-17.

#7 Nebraska at Kansas State – Kansas State surprised a lot of people with their win over UCLA  in week 1. They are the most under the radar 4-0 team out there. But they also aren’t they great. If Nebraska from the first 3 weeks shows up, the Huskers win 42-17.

Wyoming at #5 TCU – After 2 rough games on the road against SMU and CSU, TCU will be happy to be back home. Especially now that other teams are starting to jump them in the rankings. TCU needs a strong performance this weekend so that voters don’t start losing faith. And with Utah on their heals, they need these conference games to be even more impressive. TCU should win easily enough 42-21.

Toledo at #4 Boise State – this could get ugly fast. With Oregon jumping them I’m the polls this week, look for Boise State to massacre Toledo to prove a point. Broncos win 70-10.

#3 Oregon at Washington State – The Cougars don’t have a chance here. They should be a little scared. Ducks fly away with this one 56-14.

Indiana at #2 Ohio State – If Indiana thinks they’ll be able to put up 35 points like they did against Michigan, they are in for a rude awakening. Ohio State has a mobile QB like Michigan, but its defense is head and shoulders above the Wolverines’. Buckeyes win 38-17.

#1 Alabama at #19 South Carolina – Alabama has clearly established itself as the #10th team in the country after they handled then #7 Florida 31-6 last week. South Carolina could pull a surprise but I don’t think so. Alabama wins 31-21.

So, that’s that. Nebraska starts the weekend off against Kansas State tomorrow night. Hopefully I’m not blindsided with too many upsets this week.

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With another week of football behind us, the contenders and pretenders are starting to show.

This week’s version of “5 things to remember and forget” will be devoted to the contenders and pretenders of college football after 5 weeks.

5 Things to Remember

1. Alabama is a legitimate contender. Every week, people who count Alabama out point the finger at their inexperienced defense. Well, Alabama has now beaten a stellar Arkansas passing attack and an explosive Florida rushing attack. They are for real folks so get ready to fill one spot in the national championship with Alabama’s nam

2. Oregon looks amazing. True, it does take them 1 or 2 quarters to get adjusted, but once they do, you cannot stop their offensive speed and productivity. If Ohio State slumps even the slightest degree, look for Oregon to dash, pass, and win their way past them as they did Boise State this week.

3. TCU/Utah come in as the #3 spot because, with 100% confidence, that the winner of the game between TCU and Utah in Salt Lake City, UT on Nov. 6th will win the Mountain West Conference and challenge either Boise State/Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl or against Ohio State/Oregon in the Rose Bowl. And they would win in any of these matchups (except maybe Oregon).

4. Ohio State is great on both sides of the ball. They have beaten Miami (who has shown that they were able to bounce back). But they also struggled a little bit this week against conference foe Illinois, but Terrell Pryor was injured and couldn’t run but could only hand the ball off and throw a little..aka he turned into a normal quarterback… Once that heals,  no problems in Columbus.

5. Boise State rounds off the top 5. This is a good team. No one who is smart will argue that. Sometimes the question of who gets to play in the national championship comes down to not who the best team in the country is, but who deserves to be there. This Boise State team deserves to play in a BCS bowl game.

5 Things to Forget

1. Oklahoma is using smoke and mirrors right now people. That’s now 4 of 5 games played against currently unranked teams winning by one possession. The biggest of the smoke and mirrors so far was this week’s Red River Rivalry game in Dallas against Texas. The last few years, this game held national title weight on it and so the game has come to be viewed as a championship mid-season of sorts. Well, problem is, this year, that game does hot hold anything like that at stake as Texas is a shadow of their former selves.

2. Arizona is a crafty character. They were able to win a big game against Iowa in Tuscon, AZ and it propelled them to the top 15. I think they will soon realize that in order to be one of the best, you have to at least be 2nd best in your own conference, and I think they are 3rd or 4th. We’ll see when they host Oregon State next week.

3. Nevada is an enigma to me right now. They obviously have the fire power to put up impressive numbers, but the teams they’ve put them up on just are not impressive. I am in their corner, however, as I would love to finally see any other team at least challenge Boise State this season so they don’t fall asleep before the season is over.

3. LSU’s offense is awful. The only reason they won their game against Tennessee this last week was that Tennessee apparently can’t count to 11. They had 13 defensive players on the field during the “last” play of the game, that LSU screwed up when they fumbled the snap. The game would have ended and Tennessee would have stolen a game in conference on the road after the shaky start but no, they were bailed out.

4. Michigan…I love these guys. I really do. But they are eventually going to play a great offense. And when that happens, that offense is going to put 70 points on this poor excuse for a defense. I mean, come on guys…your QB rushes for 217 yards and throws for 277 more, accounting for 5 touchdowns and no turnovers, and the game is decided by a touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to win 42-35 against Indiana?! Yikes. Help your QB a little…

5. Oklahoma State is silently 5-0 right now. Oddly enough, they’re also the second highest ranked team in the Big 12 south behind Oklahoma. You know what this fact tells me? Not how good Oklahoma State is, but how bad the Big 12 south really is this year. Oklahoma State had to scrape their last win out against a very mediocre Texas A&M team.

As the season progresses, I’m sure new teams will emerge as dominant or maybe a couple more of the mighty shall fall. No matter what the case may be, remember, Utah State Hey! Aggies all the way! Forget I said that, but its how I feel this weekend.