Thursday, December 5, 2013

College Football Championship Week Picks

#17 Oklahoma (9-2) @ #6 Oklahoma State (10-1) 12:00 ABC
This might be the least talked about Bedlam in the history this rivalry. With a win, Oklahoma State will
clinch a BCS birth for the 2nd time in the last three years. Cowboys QB Clint Chelf has hit pay dirt 16 times since their lone loss against West Virginia and has helped guide OK State to 7 straight victories. I like them to hold off the Sooners in a tight 42-35 game.

#25 Texas (8-3) @ #9 Baylor (10-1) 3:30 FOX
Texas is 7-1 in the Big 12. The Bears have kept their conference title hopes alive after a dramatic three point against TCU last week. If the Cowboys lose and the Bears get a W, they will be representing the Big 12 in a BCS bowl. Lache Seastrunk returned to the backfield last week for the Bears and you have to believe BU gets the win, I like them by 17 at home 37-20.

PAC-12 Championship Game: #7 Stanford (10-2) @ #11 Arizona State (10-2) 7:45 ESPN
Sun Devils running back Marion Grice is out against the Cardinal so junior QB Taylor Kelly will have to drive this offense. The entires Sports Spin staff has loved Stanford since the beginning of this season, I think the defense holds and Ty Montgomery makes a big special teams play to power the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl. 31-17

 ACC Championship Game: #20 Duke (10-2) @ #1 Florida State (12-0) 8:00 ABC Charlotte, NC
WHAT THE HELL???? DUKE IS IN A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME????? Jameis will be declared innocent and the Noles will pound Duke 47-20.

Big Ten Championship Game: #2 Ohio State (12-0) @ #10 Michigan State (11-1) Indianapolis, IN
I do not believe Ohio State is a top 5 team, their easy schedule has gotten them to this point. The key to this game will be Michigan State's ability to move the football down the field, and end all possessions on Ohio State's side of the field in points. No turnovers, no missed opportunities. Connor Cook has been playing very well since replacing Andrew Maxwell at quarterback and Jeremy Langord is one of the best backs in the Big Ten. I like Michigan State in an upset, 24-21.

SEC Championship: #3 Auburn(11-1) @ #5 Missouri (11-1)  Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Both of these teams need to be incredibly pleased with what they've accomplished. Once again, Missouri should be undefeated, but they have an excellent opportunity here to get themselves into a BCS bowl…. But Auburn is a team of destiny, how can you pick against this team? War Eagle in a thriller 37-35.-Josh Neighbors

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

College Football Rivalry Weekend Picks

This is the best weekend in college football I have seen in years. In addition to these 6 ranked vs ranked  match ups, this saturday is full of contests with plenty of conference and BCS implications. Sit back, grab some turkey and enjoy what promises to be an awesome weekend of college football.

#3 Ohio State (11-0) @ Michigan (7-4)
As much as I hate Ohio State, there is no way this Michigan team tops this Ohio State team. Note, this is the Buckeyes hardest road game they've played all season and their performance in this game could dictate their BCS future. A matchup with a Michigan State team that boasts the best defense in the country is on the horizon, meaning Braxton Miller and this Buckeyes offense need to ensure they work at peak efficiency in preparation for next week. I like the Buckeyes (38-24).

#21 Texas A&M (8-3) @ #5 Missouri (10-1)
Johnny Manziel has a combined 18 touchdowns in games after suffering a loss. He's never lost two games in a row. That being said, this is a damn good Missouri Tigers team. They are averaging close to 40 points per contest and are allowing a mere 19.7 points per game. If we are being completely honest, this Tigers team should be undefeated. With two games left in the season, the Tigers are still in the Title
hunt. If they can win this week, they will move up to at least #4 in the standings and will have a face off against either Bama or Auburn. Either Ohio State or FSU will most likely need to fall, and I know it might sound like a lot needs to happen, but it's college football, it's pure insanity. I think Missouri wins, but I never bet against Johnny Manziel, Aggies (47-41).

#6 Clemson (10-1) @ #10 South Carolina (9-2)
South Carolina can still go to the SEC championship game with a Missouri loss, so in terms of going to the conference championship this game has no meaning. But it's South Carolina Clemson, so it's kinda a big deal. The question is can the Gamecocks defense halt the high-powered Tigers offense, as Boyd and the Tigers are averaging 51.5 points per game in their last 4 contests. I got to see the Tigers play a few weeks ago and they are a completely different team since their loss to FSU, I like the Tigers to squeak out a (38-35) win.

#25 Notre Dame (8-3) @ #8 Stanford (9-2)
The Irish are going to get beat up by this Stanford front 7. I like Stanford (31-13).

#22 UCLA (8-3) @ #22 USC (9-3)
Despite the success of both these teams this season, ASU has already clinched the PAC-12 South and this one purely for pride. USC interim Coach Ed Orgeron has the opportunity to possibly remove the interim title from his position with a win here. Trojans QB Cody Kessler has been great as of late, and the chess match between Kessler and the talented core of linebackers the Bruins will be the matchup to watch. I like how the Trojans are playing as of late, and I think they snag a (24-19) victory.

#1 Alabama (11-0) @ #4 Auburn (11-1)
This might be the biggest Iron Bowl of all time. The SEC West crown, bragging rights, and most importantly a trip to the national title (in my opinion) for the winner. Say what you want about how good Alabama is on both sides of the ball, how well coached they are, how many questions we have about Nick Marshall at QB and his ability to pass the ball for the Tigers, but I said it after the Georgia game, the Tigers feel like a team of destiny. I don't know how or why, but I think we are in for another miracle at Jordan-Aire. Auburn (27-24).-Josh Neighbors
Photo credit:,, Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Barclays Premier League Week 10

Newcastle v Chelsea

After a grueling mid-week League Cup clash between Manchester City, the Newcastle supporters will be hoping for a point against a tough Chelsea squad. The venue is St. James Park, which will be Newcastle’s only hope against a team full of superstars. Chelsea, who are second in the league, just beat Manchester City last weekend 2-1. Some questions will be asked of Man City’s defense, but Fernando Torres is in red hot form. Torres has scored three goals in his last two games. The presence of Samuel Eto’o has forced Torres to be more clinical. This weekend he will get another chance against Newcastle.

Weekend Prediction: 3-0 Chelsea

Fulham v Man Utd
David Moyes has been under heavy criticism recently after shaky performances against Stoke and Sunderland. He has tried numerous combinations of players in the midfield which have excluded the 27.5 million pound man Marouane Fellaini. Fellaini has many critics and has not proved his worth for the United supporters, but he may have his chance against the Cottagers. Fulham have been on a decent run of form which has them lodged near the middle of the table. The Cottagers have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net against reputable opponents. The Fulham squad has promise and will hope to get past a difficult fixture with Manchester United this weekend.

Weekend Predictions: 1-1 Draw  

Hull v Sunderland
It’s been a surprising start to the new Premier League campaign for Hull City, who are proving themselves to be worthy opposition to other clubs. With all four of their losses coming from title contenders, Hull will fancy themselves against a struggling Sunderland side who are in the relegation zone. Although it’s early in the season, under new leadership in Gus Poyet, Sunderland must pick up some points this week.

Weekend Prediction: 2-0 Hull

Man City v Norwich
Questions have been rising about the strength of Manchester City’s defense that has diminished throughout poor performances. Joe Hart, who has been a consistent performer for England and City has been struggling this year. Most recently, he was the victim of his own howler at Stamford Bridge when Torres volleyed home into an empty net. Manuel Pellegrini has not revealed who the starting keeper will be for Saturday’s matchup with Norwich. Despite Man City’s problems in defense, Norwich have a struggle of their own: goalscoring. Only six goals have been scored for the Canaries, which will worry Chris Hughton after acquiring the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper this summer. It is unlikely we will see a repeat of the drama which unveiled during the last gameweek of the 2012-2013 Barclays Premier League season when Norwich were victorious.

Weekend Prediction: 4-0 Man City

Stoke v Southampton
The Saints will be marching into the Britannia Stadium on a fine run of form which have put them in a surprising 5th position. Southampton’s defensive record has been marvelous in their pursuit for attractive football. The have only conceded three goals all campaign, which puts them as the favorites against an average Stoke side. However, the Britannia is a tough place to go because of Stoke’s workrate. You should expect all ten players behind the ball for Stoke as they will attempt to lockdown the defense.

Weekend Prediction: 2-0 Southampton

West Brom v Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace will be looking to climb further up the table with three points this weekend. It is crucial that Palace find ways to get points out of the mid table sides because of their weak squad. With Ian Holloway recently leaving the club after mutual consent, they will be looking for a fresh start under a new manager. This will give the side some confidence because changes can sometimes motivate the players to prove themselves. However, West Brom will be no easy task for the rejuvenated Palace side. They will be looking for all three points to move into the top half of the table.

Weekend Prediction: 1-0 West Brom

West Ham v Aston Villa
After two surprising starts to the campaign, West Ham and Aston Villa have been on a disappointing run of form. Since the struggle to find the back of the net started for Christian Benteke, arguably one of Villa’s only attacking options, Villa have failed to produce the spark from the beginning of the season. This mid table clash could provide the viewer with a fairly even game decided by one moment of brilliance.

Weekend Prediction: 1-0 Aston Villa

Arsenal v Liverpool
Two of the leagues best this season will fight for a position at the top of the table this weekend. Arsenal’s squad could not be stronger with the return of Santi Cazorla into the deadly combination of Ozil, Ramsey, and Wilshere. The team has proved their worth and have produced some mouthwatering goals this season. With the red hot form of striker Olivier Giroud, Arsenal have been dangerous and clinical in front of goal. Meanwhile, the return of Luis Suarez into the starting eleven for Liverpool has added another threat. Alongside Daniel Sturridge, SAS make the most lethal and dangerous strikeforce in the Premier League. After a hatrick last week, Suarez will be keen to add to his goal tally against a strong opponent.

Weekend Prediction: 2-2 Draw

Everton v Spurs
This should be a smashing Sunday with another two of the leagues best going head to head at Goodison Park. With one point between them, this match could separate these two sides in the table. With Romelu Lukaku leading the line for Everton, and Ross Barkley tucking in behind him, Everton have tremendous goal scoring ability. The same goes for Spurs with top class players such as Roberto Soldado and Christian Eriksen. Overall, it will come down to the discipline of the defenses that will decide who wins this match. Right and left backs including Leighton Baines (Everton) and Kyle Walker (Spurs) provide attacking fortitute for their teams, but can also leave them exposed in critical situations.

Weekend Prediction: 0-0 Draw

Cardiff v Swansea
The Welsh rivalry will make this match very entertaining for supporters. With Cardiff and Swansea putting together decent starts to the season, it is hard to decide the outcome. Swansea is having success in the Europa League, but it is effecting their results in the Premier League. For an average team like Swansea this is detrimental to the team because they do not have the depth of a top four side. However, the likes of the new acquisition Wilfried Bony will be eager to smash home a goal or two to beat their rivals Cardiff this gameweek. Cardiff have had a rollercoaster debut in the Premier League so far and will look to add to an impressive victory over Manchester City.

Weekend Prediction: 2-1 Cardiff -Hugo Thaxter

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Week 8 NFL Picks Against the Spread

You could work hard your entire life and find an okay job with okay pay, or you could just take these picks to the bank right now and win straight cash. LETS GO.

Carolina Panthers (-6) @ Tampa Bay (+6): Las Vegas has adopted a team, and it's the Carolina Panthers. Vegas has thrown a lot of love in the Panthers directions, but this line on the other hand might not be enough. This stingy Panthers defense is going up against a hurting Bucs' offense. Vincent Jackson is the only sure thing in that offense. I like the Panthers to move above .500 with a win here and they cover.

San Francisco 49ers (-16.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Good lord do I hate betting the Jaguars..... I will take them to lose and  cover, Come on boys don't let me down here in London.

Dallas Cowboys (+3) at Detroit Lions
I do not like this Cowboys defense against this high-powered Lions offense. If Reggie Bush can re-establish himself as a dual threat. And then there is Calvin Johnson... you cannot cover him, give the points and take D-Town.

New York Giants (+6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Most dangerous (1-5) team in the league. They will need to get after Mike Vick because this Eagles offensive line is beginning to resemble the lines of the passed, and they are not protecting the QB's. Take the points and the Giants, I think they win this one outright as well.

Cleveland Browns (+7) at Kansas City Chiefs
Oh my god it's former Redskins QB Jason Campbell starting once again! There is no way he sucks as bad as Weeden did. But that Chiefs defense is straight nasty. Take the Chiefs and lay the 7, this is a game I'd stay away from this week, the way new QB's rejuvenate teams is unpredictable. We saw what Hoyer did for this team and Campbell could do the same, but I doubt it against this defense.

Buffalo Bills (+12) at New Orleans Saints
How dare Vegas lay double digits against the pride of Duke University Thad Lewis. The Bills have played in one game decided by 7 points or less and that is the problem. They keep games close, so as much as I like Brees I think Buffalo will lose and cover. STAY AWAY FROM THIS ONE.

Miami Dolphins (+7) at New England Patriots
Never bet against Brady. 

New York Jets (+6.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals offense is consistent. The Bengals defense is consistent. The Jets defense is consistent. The Jets offense is the single most consistent offense in the NFL. Geno Smith's bipolar play has made the Jets a gambling nightmare. I hate saying this, but I think the Jets cover, but still lose.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Oakland Raiders
Big Ben is starting to play well and the Steelers now have back to back W's. Last weeks win agains the Ravens was huge for the Gold and Black. I like them on the road this week to cover and get the W.

Washington Redskins (+13) at Denver Broncos
Redskins fans, please don't watch. Josh McCown ripped my Skins defense apart last week, I can only imagine what Peyton does to us. Denver covers.

Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Steven Jackson is back, the Falcons have a solid one-two punch is Jackson and Rodgers in

the backfield. Harry Douglas gotten off on the right foot in replacing Julio Jones as the best vertical threat on that team(Roddy White is still hurt). Don't forget about Tony Gonzalez, Carson Palmer is always good for a few picks. Take the points, I like the Falcons to win.

Green Bay Packers (-9.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota is a wreck. Packers cover and win.

Seattle Seahawks (-10.5) at St. Louis Rams
Russel Bussel Hussel Wilson

By: Josh Neighbors

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Expected Surprise: World Series Preview

In a baseball season that has provided an endless amount of surprises and numerous heartwarming moments, the culmination of it all has left us with a result that does not fall far from what we have become accustomed to once October strikes. Both teams fall in the top 10 payrolls in the MLB, both teams, in recent history, have been incredibly successful, and both teams have combined for 5 appearances in the last ten World Series. So when the two come together in the Fall Classic, nobody should be too shocked.

However, if anyone were to pick a year for these two teams to reach the promise land, very few would have picked this to be the year. The St. Louis Cardinals did not appear to have the tools this year to make a significant run throughout the season. However, instead of taking a year to rebuild like the typical franchise might, one of the best, if not the best, franchises in the MLB brought up players within their system to play a substantial role such. A few prime examples of this are second year pitcher Joe Kelly with a 2.69 ERA, rookie Michael Wacha with a 2.78 ERA, and Matt Carpenter, who although is not in his first year, he played his first full season as a starter and hit for an incredible 318 average. Led by veterans Adam Wainright, Matt Holiday, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and David Freese, it is no mystery as to how the Cardinals made it here. Lacking their former cornerstone of the franchise Albert Pujols has not seemed to slow them down a bit, but will they be able to take that final monumental step? So far this postseason, the young players and veterans have all played like they have been there before. They have a certain unphasable confidence that makes them a hard team to pick against. However, when the final series of the year arrives, the pressure becomes something entirely new, and will the boys from St. Louis be able to handle it?

At the beginning of the year, an incredibly minimal amount of people picked the Red Sox to make it to the World Series. In fact they were picked to finished no higher than fourth in the AL East alone. Who can blame them? Coming off one of the worst seasons in recent Sox history, it seemed a long shot that bringing in a lot of new guys and a new manager would click right away. However, the Red Sox brilliantly brought in all of the right guys to compliment the Boston veterans. They did not hesitate to find an identity as they brought in blue collar guys like Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, and Jake Peavy. They brought in veteran guys to go along with veterans Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Jacoby Ellsbury. For the most part, these guys are not necessarily big stars, but they are proven winners. When you bring together a group of guys who know what it takes to win, the sky is the limit. First year manager John Farrell did about as amazing as a job as you can do with a brand new group of guys, and all of these factors have resulted in the Red Sox returning to the World Series for the first time since 2007.

Now both of these franchises have been here before. Chances are, both will be here again before long. However, for both teams, this would undoubtedly be an unforgettable. The Cardinals have a plethora of veterans combined with some incredible young talent, and Red Sox consist almost wholly of proven winners with a few exceptions. In the postseason, starting pitching gets you to the ultimate goal. In the regular season, the Cardinals had the fifth best ERA and the Red Sox possessed the fourteenth best. However, both teams are in the top three in team batting average. As far as postseason stats go, Boston has the best team average, while St. Louis has the best team ERA.

The truth of the matter is that I have an incredibly unbiased perspective considering my utter hatred for both of these teams. However, I have an incredible amount of respect for the expedition both teams have embarked on this season. The expedition is coming to a close for both teams, and one team has to lose. This year, as much as it pains me to say it, is the year for the Boston Red Sox. Even though the Cardinals do possess a tremendous array of pitchers, they have not yet had to face a lineup quite like Boston. Not only are they fantastic hitters, they are timely hitters. Even though the Cardinals led the league in hitting with runners in scoring position this year, it is a disservice to simply say the Red Sox have had the right hits at the right time this postseason. Whether its Big Papi or Shane Victorino, they get the job done when it needs to be done. It will certainly be a formidable task. This series will reach the oh so dramatic seventh game in Boston. Whether they close it out with a walk-off or a Koji Uehara save, the Red Sox will bring the trophy back to Boston. All I can say is if they win, they better shave those horrendous beards.
-Ben Greer

Friday, October 11, 2013

Drawing The Line

“I believe in our team. I do.” -Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley.

These unbelievably inspirational words from the Jaguars head coach have yet to have an effect on one of the worst NFL teams we have seen in a good while. And after this next week, even Gus will be forced to question the validity of his statement. The game has not yet commenced, but yet they are already making history this week.
The Denver Broncos are favored to defeat the Jags by a whopping 28 points this week. This line is indeed tied for the highest of all time. To find that line, you have to go back to the 1966 matchup where the Baltimore Colts were favored to take down the Falcons by the same four touchdown line that we see today. That  clearly exemplifies just how rare it is to have two professional teams with such an immense differential in ability.

Lets put a few things into perspective, shall we?

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning leads the NFL just about every category possible including passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, and least amount of interceptions thrown.

Jacksonville quarterbacks Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert are ranked 32 and 34 in yards, 29 and 33 in completion percentage, 31 and 37 in touchdowns, and they have combined for a total of nine interceptions, which is tied for second most in the NFL.

The Denver Broncos are ranked number 1 in total offense, and the Jaguars are a whopping number 31.

If thats for some obscure reason not enough for you, you need a serious reality check my friend.

Okay maybe the Denver defense is not the most elite in all the land, but heres the thing: it does not matter against the Jags. Denver has scored 230 points in 5 games, and the Jags have scored an abysmal 51. However, besides Seattle, it is not like they have played the most prestigious of defenses in any sense. The Broncos have scored 51 and 52 points in two separate games this season already.

Remember that other 28 point line way back when? Well the Colts exceeded the 28 point line, and I have full confidence that the Broncos will cover this line as well. The only questions we can ask in this one are the following: “How soon will Denver pull the starters?”

“Can Jacksonville reach double digits?”

“Will Gus Bradley give former Iowa Hawkeye Ricky Stanzi a chance at quarterback?”

28 points is a lot of points in the NFL. However, I firmly believe that this line is smaller than what the final outcome will produce. It is truly remarkable that there could be an assemblance of professional athletes that are capable of producing such a poor result week in and week out on the field. Not only will this Jacksonville team lose by an unfathomable amount this week, the bleeding is not going to halt anytime in the near future. It will be a crime if they are favored to lose by any number under 10 points for the rest of the year. There is only one question left to ponder about for this pathetic team. Are we witnessing a team that just might possess the capability of producing a winless season? This very well could be the case. However, for now, buckle up Jags fans, Mr. Manning is coming to town, and it is going to be ugly.

-Ben Greer

Thursday, September 19, 2013

NFL Expert Picks Week 3

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

Josh: Andy Reid is returning to Philadelphia bringing his thus far dominant defense and it will go up against the fast pace Eagles offense. The interesting thing about the Eagles is that we’ve seen pros and cons of the Eagles offense in their first two games. We’ve seen the benefits of their fast paced offense which can create confusion amongst the defense or if the offense goes three and out repeatedly the defense will find themselves on the defense a lot longer because of the speed of those offensive plays. For the Chiefs, Jamall Charles and Josh Smith have both been effective and I like the Chiefs on the road in this one 26-17, as a Brandon Flowers INT will be the difference.

Connor: Andy Reid returning to Philly will garner a loud cheer… I think. Either way the Chiefs are the more complete football team. Alex Smith does not turn the football over and that is crucial to winning on the road. Anytime someone scores 30 at home and loses, I wonder about them. I’m wondering about the Eagles, Chiefs win.

Ben: This game is a tale of two teams that have taken substantial steps from where they were a year ago. Emotions will be high running high as Reid returns to the place he has called home for so long. I think this will be one of the best games we see all Sunday, but I think the Chiefs defense will in the end be able to figure out Chip Kelly’s offense enough. I think the Chiefs win it in overtime, as Charles has a career day with a final score of 37-31.

Green Bay Packers (1-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals(1-1)

Josh: Green Bay offense is hot, more specifically Aaron Rodgers, but the Bengals have a rather stingy defense which Marvin Lewis has playing at a very high level. But not a high enough level to stop the best QB in the league, and I also like the way James Starks is running the football in the absence of Eddie Lacy, Packers win 31-17

Connor: A great game in Cincy between a defensive team and an offensive team. I like the Packers after last weeks great effort against the Redskins. Andy Dalton cannot score with Aaron Rodgers at this point in his career. Packers 31 Bengals 20

Ben: The Bengals looked good on Monday night, but Green Bay looked great. Rodgers and Starks both had career days against a Redskins D that looks to be a little down at this point. The Bengals defense will bring the Packers and Rodgers back to earth a little bit, but in the end Rodgers hits a big touchdown pass late to give Green Bay a solid 45-38 victory.

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ Miami Dolphins (2-0)

Josh: I’m going to spare you generic BS of “you’d expect Atlanta to be the 2-0 team in this situation” and tell straight up the Dolphins are an average team at best. They have a quarterback who I would say could be the 20th best QB in the league. I don’t think they have a very good running game in Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Let’s be honest Mike Wallace is their only good wide receiver and their defense is okay. They beat Cleveland and Indy, I like the Falcons without Steven Jackson in a 35-20 win.

Connor: Miami is surprisingly 2-0 after 2 road wins. Unfortunately for them, it is probably going to end this week. Atlanta is the much better team all around and will handle Miami without a problem. The quest for 16-0 is over in Miami.

Ben: Miami has greatly overachieved at this point. The Falcons will not be stopped and Matt Ryan has a breakout game. Tannehill will struggle a little bit against a solid Falcons secondary and Atlanta obtains a convincing W, 34-21.

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

Josh: I’ve had the luxury of knowing about the trade which was made sending Trent Richardson to Indy which is going to contribute to their power run game which they are trying to establish. That being said, I don’t think they will be able to integrate him into the offense immediately so this week could be tough considering how good this SF defense is. On 49ers side, these guys are itching to have a good week after their performance last week against the Seahawks and I think they beat the Colts in a close 38-24 win.

Connor: The 49ers are angry after last Sunday’s game in Seattle. Coming home, I think they can tear the Colts a new one this weekend. Indy has struggled in its first two games, both of which were on their home field. Has the makings for a rough Sunday if you’re a Colts fan. 49ers 38 Colts 27.

Ben: The Seahawks absolutely shellacked the 49ers last week, and Colin did look like the star he did in Week 1. However, as Connor said, this team will be angry and hungrier than ever. Andrew Luck has looked nothing more than average in the first two weeks and he struggles against the 49ers defense, giving the boys on the Bay a 41-20.

Chicago Bears (2-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)

Josh: The Steelers suck Chicago 27-13

Connor: I actually like the Steelers in an upset this week. The Steelers do not like to lose at home and after being beaten by the Titans the Steelers will be the more desperate team. In the NFL, the more desperate team often wins. Steelers 24 Bears 21.

Ben: The Steelers will turn things around enough to have a respectable year, but it does not start in Week 3. Yes the Steelers will be inspired and hungry, but that can only carry this nothing short of aged team but so long. The Bears have had two remarkable 4th quarter comeback victories, and they get it done again to get off to a 3-0 start and send the Steelers in search of a plethora of answers. Bears take it 24-14.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Indianapolis Colts complete offense with acquisition of Trent Richardson

The Indianapolis Colts and a star RB are not words used in the same sentence too often. However, we can now say that a star RB has arrived in Indianapolis. The Colts traded a first round pick in next year’s draft to Cleveland for Trent Richardson. It now appears the Colts are poised for a playoff run, and have built a strong core for the future around Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Dwayne Allen, and T.Y. Hilton. The 225 pound RB from Alabama was in his second year in Cleveland when he was sent to Indy today. 

What does this trade mean for both teams moving forward?

Cleveland Browns:

The Browns season is unofficially over after two weeks. Without their only offensive weapon, the already 0-2 Browns will not be scoring many points this season. They are trying to load up on draft picks; therefore, attempting to get their franchise QB and bolster the rest of the offense. Brandon Weeden has been unable to prove his abilities thus far in Cleveland, and his days are numbered. This trade sends Cleveland back into the dark age for multiple years. Just when everyone believed Cleveland was a budding team, they make this trade, setting them backwards. The race for the first pick may become a two-team race between Cleveland and Jacksonville. 

Indianapolis Colts: 

Many people, like myself, were absolutely stunned when the tweets flew in today that Richardson; the Browns prized possession was heading to Indianapolis. I believe the Colts instantly become a contender in the AFC. A team that had just lost current starters Dwayne Allen and Vick Ballard for the year, knew they had to make a move if they wished to contend this year. Not only does Richardson add a dimension to the solid Colts offense, but also he provides the physical boost to the team that they desperately needed. He adds a theme of toughness to Indy. No longer can opposing defenses sit back and force Luck to beat them, as they now have to contend with a top 6 back. If you add Richardson to a budding, young team, you now have an offensive juggernaut for years to come with tons of talent developing. If this Colts team stays healthy, they will contend with Denver, Houston, and New England for the AFC crown.

In the long haul, I believe both teams will benefit from this deal. The Browns were going nowhere soon, and decided to rebuild again. Meanwhile, the Colts added the piece that they needed, a physical running back, to a team that now has what it takes to be in Lombardi Trophy contention.- Anthony Dabbundo

Photo credit:

NCAA week 4 Expert Picks

#3 Clemson @ NC State
Josh: NC State almost lost to Richmond and the Spiders are not a bad division a FCS team, but if they needed a last second field goal to beat them at home the Tigers might be a challenge. That’s exactly what Tajh Boyd and this lethal Clemson offense will, way too much of a challenge, and I like the Tigers big 42-17.

Connor: The talent and speed of Clemson will be way too much to handle for NC State’s defense. Offensively, the Pack are still looking for a new Quarterback. This has the makings to be a rout.

Ben: This one is not even a question. NC State is definitely not a force on either side of the ball as they should have fallen to a Spiders team that could not get past Gardner Webb this past week. Clemson is on an entirely different level in all aspects of the game, and they take it convincingly 52-20.

#23 Arizona State @ #5 Stanford
Josh: Well Arizona State beat Wisconsin last week and we all saw one of the most bizarre finishes to a game ever. Credit to the ASU defensive line for staying down on that ball, smart play and they took advantage of the referees confusion. This is Stanford’s first test of the year. They struggled with Army last week, but they will quickly get into a groove. Kevin Hogan is a good quarterback and I love the Cardinal running back Tyler Gaffney, I think he will have a big day and propel the Cardinal to a 28-21 win.

Connor: Stanford was less than impressive last week against Army. They will have to be better to beat Arizona State who is coming off of a big win against Wisconsin. I expect the Cardinal to be much better and get a tight win. 27-24 Stanford.

Even though the Sun Devils won on a game that ended in about as much confusion as you will ever see out of a referee, I do like this team a lot. Stanford is a very talented football team, but I do believe they are slightly overrated as they had an unimpressive victory over Army. However, I agree with my comrades that the Cardinal are going to wake up enough to squeak by ASU 34-28.

Auburn @ #6 LSU
Josh: Gus Mahlzan is now in control of Auburn and has guided them to a (3-0) start and I have been impressed so far. They grabbed a late win last week from Mississippi State give them their first SEC win in 10 tries. QB Nick Marshall will have his hands full this week with this LSU defense. The more important QB in this matchup is Zach Mettenberger who has answered the critics. Last season he threw 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Through three games this season he has thrown 9 touchdowns and no picks. Hes completing 62% of his passes and it’s beginning to feel like he finally gets it. That being said who doesn't love an upset? Auburn 31-28

Connor: Auburn is 3-0 and looks much better than last year. However, winning inside of Death Valley at night is a new challenge. Auburn will keep it close in the first half but in the second the LSU Tigers will run away with it. I like LSU 33 to 17.

Ben: The LSU Tigers have been missing a reliable offense in the past couple of years, which is the one thing preventing them from reaching success. However, it appears that Zach Mettenberger is a completely different man. After an impressive win at TCU, the Tigers have routed UAB and Kent State, but they will face a brand new task this Saturday. This Auburn team has a lot of confidence, and Nick Marshall has looked nothing short of impressive. I think the 3-0 Auburn Tigers lead most of the game and put quite the scare into LSU, but in the end the experience of Mettenberger trumps that of Marshall and LSU escapes 37-34.

Tennessee @ #19 Florida
Josh: Boy this Florida offense looked like an offensive train wreck against Miami. Driskel did not look good, the running game could not seemed to get established consistently, and on the last play of the game they false started, which basically sums up their offensive day. Now Tennessee gave up 674 total yards of offense last week to Oregon, so it will be important for Jeff Driskel and Mack Brown to have good games so they can build confidence heading into their difficult SEC games. They have Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas these next three games and it’s important they go (3-0) I think they get past Tennessee 25-17

Connor: After the disaster in Eugene last Saturday I am not sure if I am going to pick Tennessee one more time this season. Seeing the putrid Florida offense will be a relief however so the Vols can keep it close. But can they score enough? Doubt it. Florida 23-16.

Ben: If you are a big fan of offense, change the channel. Florida has proven early that they are unable to score many points at all, as Driskel has yet to prove he is worthy of any praise. On the Other side, you have a Tennessee team that looked like a high school team against the Ducks. In the Vols defense, Oregon can do that to a lot of teams. In this battle of who can get to 20 first, I am going to take a risk and pick the upset with the Vols winning on a time expiring field goal to stun the Gators, 20-18.

Michigan State @ #22 Notre Dame
Josh: Boy do I love Notre Dame football! Okay kidding, but as much as I dislike Tommy Reese he’s been quite effective this week. This offense has been like no other ND offense and they love to air it out. On the other side of the ball, guess who has another great defense? You got it, Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans. Once again they are top 25 in points allowed per game and I am scared of their defense. It’s unfortunate the offense is terrible, but I like the running back tandem of Jeremy Langford and the 5 foot 8 inch 198 pound Nick Hill. I think the Spartans take it 23-21 behind new QB Connor Cook and the two backs

Connor: Wow is this one going to be low scoring or what. Neither one of these teams are great on offense and there is not a whole lot of separation between the two overall. Because of home field advantage I like the Irish 13-10.

Ben: Speaking of abysmal offenses, how about them Spartans? Let us put things in perspective. Those mighty Cowboys over at McNeese State put up 53 points on the Bulls of South Florida. On the flip side, Michigan State could only muster 23. I have not been too impressed with the Irish offense either, but I see them winning this one without too much trouble, 24-10.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

AFC North Preview

The AFC North is one of the most fascinating divisions to watch out for this season. Any of the four teams could take home the division title, and few people would be surprised. The North features the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, who lost key starters. Additionally, the up and coming Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, are destined for a solid year. And finally, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking to reach the playoffs for the first time in three years. 

Here is how I think the teams will finish in the division:

  • Cincinnati Bengals (Last season 10-6, 2nd in the AFC North)

The Bengals will be a top contender in the AFC this season. They have made the playoffs the last two seasons; however, they have yet to win a playoff game under QB Andy Dalton. He has struggled mightily in playoff games, going 14 for 30 for just 127 yards and no touchdowns against Houston last year. I feel that Dalton will be much better this season, along with star WR A.J. Green. The team acquired long time Steeler James Harrison this offseason. They drafted RB Giovani Bernard, who will help Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis carry the load on offense. Plus, Cincinnati drafted TE Tyler Eifert, to compliment Jermaine Gresham. The defense will be solid as usual, and Dalton will carry this team, with the improved offensive weapons, to a division title and a playoff win this season. 
Season prediction: 10-6, division title, loss in Divisional Round after earning first playoff win under Dalton. 

  • Baltimore Ravens (Last season 10-6 won division and Super Bowl)

The reigning Super Bowl champions will struggle this season. A team that was champions in February, have lost 9 starters since then. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Anquan Boldin, Vonta Leach, Cary Williams, and Matt Birk are gone. That is a lot to try to make up for. However, Ozzie Newsome always seems to get the job done in Baltimore.  The Ravens drafted star safety Matt Elam from Florida, who was the leader of the defense at UF. They also drafted Arthur Brown, an excellent LB from Kansas State. They gave Super Bowl MVP QB Joe Flacco a huge extension worth 120 million over 6 years.  The pressure on Flacco is more than ever; he is going to have to lead the team and be more consistent. The Ravens are truly going to struggle this season. It doesn’t matter who is at QB, replacing almost half of your starters is a challenge.

Season prediction: 9-7 6th seed in the AFC, first round playoff loss)

  • Cleveland Browns (Last season 5-11, last in North)

Bit of a shocker here at number 3? The Cleveland Browns are going to be a much improved football team this season. They lost a bunch of close games last season; also, I think they will be even better this year. I know it was preseason, but their defense was excellent. 1st round pick Barkevious Mingo was an excellent player at LSU, and will have a good season in Cleveland. The Browns also signed former Raven Paul Kruger to help the pass rush. Brandon Weeden will continue to get better as a QB; however, the Browns will be in a lot of low scoring, boring games. They will rely heavily on star RB Trent Richardson. But I expect them to win 7 games this season.  

Season prediction 7-9, no playoffs

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8 3rd in North)

Finally, we arrive at the Pittsburgh Steelers. It may seem crazy, but the Steelers have not been in the playoffs since their Super Bowl loss to Green Bay two seasons ago. The last two seasons, the Steelers have struggled mightily, especially on defense. The team has not been able to stay healthy either. Troy Polamalu has been a rare sighting, and James Harrison is gone. All of the guys that made this defense so great are gone, injured, or aging. Ben Roethlisberger will need to be even better this year, as they have lost their top WR, Mike Wallace, to Miami, and have lost rookie starting RB Le’Veon Bell to injury in the preseason. The offensive line is in shambles; injuries, departures have hurt them. I struggled to find games Pittsburgh will win. 

Season Prediction 6-10 last in division, no playoffs

Let’s give out some awards 

MVP: Ray Rice
Best offensive player: A.J. Green

Best defensive player: Rey Maulaluga

Rookie of the year: Matt Elam

Biggest surprise player: Torrey Smith

Biggest letdown: Joe Flacco

This division is one of the most intriguing in football, anything could happen… 

But for now, Cincinnati is the team to beat. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 1/2 Expert Picks(College and NFL)

#12 Florida @ Miami
Josh: Jeff Driskel is the Big Ben of college, it’s ugly but he gets the job done and that is exactly what Florida will do. Running back Mack Brown will be a monster this season. Countering him will be star sophomore Duke Johnson. Johnson is great, but Miami won’t be great enough to beat the Gators. 27-17 Florida.

Connor: Miami, I have the Florida Gators on upset alert this weekend. Their performance at home against Toledo was not promising, and Miami is a much more talented team. Miami has a great running back in Duke Johnson and a solid quarterback in Stephen Morris. Morris orchestrates a game winning drive in the fourth quarter to give the Canes the win. 24-20

#6 South Carolina @ #11 Georgia
Josh: The Bulldogs are lucky because USC isn’t an offensive powerhouse and UGA’s defense was exposed last week, giving up 38 points to the high-powered Clemson’s offense. USC needs to get pressure on Murray, which means Jadaveon Clowney needs to get into the backfield. I am going to bet on UGA for the 2nd straight week against my better judgement. UGA 27-21

Connor: UGA bounces back this week with a win at home. Georgia most quickly forget about last week’s defeat and I think they will. Coming home against a top 10 team will provide a lot of motivation, leading to South Carolina’s first loss of the season.

West Virginia @ #16 Oklahoma
Connor: WVU looked horrid last week and that does not bode well for beating Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the more talented team and they are playing at home. Boomer Sooner in a rout.

Josh: WVU struggled with William and Mary. It feels like Clint Tricket should be better than what he’s showing and with the Mountaineers QB controversy it will be Bob Stoops Sooners who get a big W to open up Big 12 play. OK 41-21

#14 Notre Dame @ #17 Michigan
Josh: This is the replay of the first night game at the big house two years ago in which Michigan triumphed in insane fashion. Tommy Reese against Devin Gardner, and I just trust Gardner so much more at the quarterback position although Gardner threw two picks last weekend. The backfield combination of Fitz Touissant and Freshman sensation Derrick Green will be to much to handle at night in the big house. Michigan 35-21

Connor: A night game in the big house always proves to have a raucous crowd and Saturday will be no different. Notre Dame does not have the ability to score with Michigan at this point in the season which give Michigan a leg up. Wolverines by 10.

Washington State @ #24 USC

Not a whole lot here, it’s going to be all USC 31-14
Connor: USC did not turn it on until the second half in their last game out against Hawaii. They will need to start stronger this week and they will playing at home. There is too much talent on the Trojan side for the Cougars to keep up with. USC 31 Washington State 20

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos
Connor: Finally, the first NFL game of the year. The Ravens are losing a lot of talented players which will be a problem against a team as talented as the Broncos. The Broncos open up with a win even without Von Miller 27 - 24.

Josh: I think the Ravens end up covering the 7 point spread, but they won’t win in Denver, not with the pissed off Broncos team and crowd. Denver (34-28)

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Josh: Sean Peyton is back and damn do the Saints look good. Drew Brees will have a monster game and a monster year. The Atlanta defense lost their best pass rusher in John Abraham, I like the Saints in a close one 35-31

Connor: You know the Superdome is going to be going crazy for this one. This game pits to strong offenses where homefield advantage makes a big difference. If the Falcons cannot get consistent pressure on Drew Brees, and I do not think they will be able to, the Saints will be difficult to stop. New Orleans 34 Atlanta 31

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers
Josh: Green Bay was exposed against San Fran last year and will be lucky if they don’t get backhanded again this year because the 49ers are loaded. Kaepernick, great backfield, great offensive line, great tight end, and a solid receiving core is what the 49ers have to work with offensively. The defense will do enough to stifle Aaron Rodgers and company, 49ers 35-24

Connor: The San Francisco 49ers are the better all around team. We saw this matchup last year in the postseason and it could be very similar. San Francisco’s defense makes the difference.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Josh: If the Cowboys had won 1,000 straight games I still would not pick them. The Giants are 4-0 in Jerry world, make it 5-0. 27-21

Connor: I like the Giants in an upset which is partially because I never trust Romo and Dallas. I still think the Giants are a better team and more importantly, have a better big game quarterback. In the fourth quarter there is only one man in the building you want throwing the football.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

Josh: Finally my Redskins are in action. I don’t know what we will see from Chip Kelly’s offense but I think London Fletcher and the Redskins defense are up to the task. RGIII’s return will add to the fantastic atmosphere and I think the Redskins take care of business 31-13

Connor: Washington Redskins. The Eagles are experiencing turmoil as today’s fight involving Riley Cooper proved that whole issue is not over yet. Too many issues heading into opening week will prove too much to overcome. Washington 31 Philadelphia 17