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Saturday, September 21, 2013

NCAA Week 4 Cash-In

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NCAA Week 4 Cash-In

Kansas State (+6) at Texas
The quarterback situation is a mess in Texas and the rest of the team is not a whole heck of a lot better. Mac Brown is on the hot seat and that seat only gets hotter this week against a Kansas State team that has not lost to Texas since 2003. The Kansas State offense seems to be hitting its stride, albeit against inferior opponents. Look for K-State to keep their hot streak against the Long Horns rolling in this one.
PICK: Kansas State +6

USC (-6.5) at Utah St
Utah St. might just have the best defense that know one knows about. That could really reek havoc against a Trojans team that has been less than its usual stellar self in 2013. On the offensive side of the ball Utah St. QB Chuckie Keaton and his Aggie weapons have enough to make this a major upset special this week. USC has a very good defense but they can't generally put the points on the board for the offense.
PICK: Utah St. +6.5


Oregon St. (-8.5) at San Diego St.
Oregon St is coming off a big win against Utah last week. San Diego St. is going to have a very difficult time keeping up with the Beaver's offense. San Diego St. is coming off a bye but unless we're missing something here this line should be double digits.
PICK: Oregon St. -8.5

Arizona St. (+7) at Stanford
David Shaw and the #5 Cardinals welcome #23 Arizona St in what is at least on paper one of the few truly intriguing match-ups this week. Stanford boast a very hard nosed, balanced offensive attack led by Shaw. They are what Arizona St. is striving to be; unfortunately they are not quite there yet. Standford is good. Really, really good. With all due respect to Arizona St. these two teams are not on the same level despite the Sun Devils being Nationally Ranked.
PICK: Stanford -7
Kansas State (+6) at Texas

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Browns Ship Richardson to Colts

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Browns Ship Richardson to Colts

Here's a real rarity in football -- a big name play has been traded two weeks into the season. The Cleveland Browns traded star runningback Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday for a first round draft pick in 2014. 

This is a particularly surprising move for a Browns team thought to be on the rise after spending quite a bit in the off-season to shore up the defense and spending high draft picks in each of the past few years on offensive talent, Richardson being a notable one. Word around the league is that the new coaching staff wanted a more powerful rushing attack and a guy at the position that would play more smash mouth style of football.

For the Colts this trade makes all the sense in the world. They just lost Vic Ballard for the season and struggled to establish the run in his absence. Richardson really gives them their first true feature back since Edgerrin James. Peyton Manning needed the rush to help set up his deadly passing attack. Now Andrew Luck has a back that he can rely on to do the same.

Great trade if your a Colts fan. If you are a Browns fan, well, you have my condolences. Throwing up the white flag in week 3 is going to be a tough pill to swallow. The good news if you are a Browns fan is that the 2014 draft appears to be very deep and they now have multiple picks in rounds 1, 3 and 4. Until next year...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NFL Power Rankings - September 17th

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NFL Power Rankings
September 17, 2013

Through two weeks of the 2013 NFL season it is becoming very clear that there are two teams that are head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the league: Seattle Seahawks & Denver Broncos. By virtue of beating a better team in San Francisco, Seattle takes the top spot this week but a more realistic ranking would be 1A and 1B. Despite laying an egg this week against the Seahawks we are going to give the San Francisco 49ers a one week pass and keep them at #3. Going into Seattle is probably the toughest road game out there, division rival or not. The Green Bay Packers rebounded nicely from their week 1 loss to the 49ers to put a whipping on the Washington Redskins and take the #4 spot. Rounding out the top five we have the Houston Texans who have yet to face a real test but will this week, particularly if they are without star WR Andre Johnson.

Where does your team rank this week?

1. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
2. Denver Broncos (2-0)
3. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
4. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
5. Houston Texans (2-0)
6. New Orleans Saints (2-0)
7. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
8. New England Patriots (2-0)
9. Chicago Bears (2-0)
10. Miami Dolphins (2-0)
11. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
12. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
13. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
14. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
15. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
16. San Diego Chargers (1-1)
17. St. Louis Rams (1-1)
18. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
19. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
20. Detroit Lions (1-1)
21. New York Giants (0-2)
22. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
23. Washington Redskins (0-2)
24. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
25. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
26. New York Jets (1-1)
27. Oakland Raiders (1-1)
28. Carolina Panthers (0-2)
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)
31. Cleveland Browns (0-2)
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

MLB Power Rankings - September 17th

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MLB Power Rankings
September 17, 2013

The Boston Red Sox are the first team to crack the 90-win mark this season and once again take claim to the best record in the MLB and top spot in our Power Rankings. The Braves, Cardinals, A's and Pirates round out the top five. The real story this week is the collapse of two teams who just a couple of weeks ago were in firm control of their playoff lives. The Texas Rangers have lost 9 of their last 10 including 7 in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff picture all together after leading the AL West for a significant portion of the season. The LA Dodgers who were the hottest team in baseball for the majority of the 2nd half are falling on hard times as well dropping 7 of their last 10 and falling from 3 to 7 in this week's rankings.

Where does your team rank this week?

1. Boston Red Sox (92-59, last week No. 1)
2. Atlanta Braves (89-60, last week No. 2)
3. St. Louis Cardinals (87-62, last week No. 4)
4. Oakland A's (88-61, last week No. 6)
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (87-62, last week No. 7)
6. Detroit Tigers (86-63, last week No. 5)
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (86-63, last week No. 3)
8. Cincinnati Reds (84-66, last week No. 8)
9. Cleveland Indians (81-68, last week No. 12)
10. Tampa Bay Rays (81-67, last week No. 10)
11. Texas Rangers (81-67, last week No. 9)
12. Kansas City Royals (78-71, last week No. 14)
13. Baltimore Orioles (79-70, last week No. 11)
14. New York Yankees (79-71, last week No. 13)
15. Washington Nationals (79-70, last week No. 15)
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (75-73, last week No. 16)
17. Los Angels Angels (72-77, last week No. 17)
18. Philadelphia Phillies (69-80, last week No. 19)
19. San Diego Padres (68-80, last week No. 21):
20. Toronto Blue Jays (68-81, last week No. 18)
21. San Francisco Giants (69-81, last week No. 24)
22. Colorado Rockies (68-82, last week No. 20)
23. New York Mets (67-82, last week No. 23)
24. Seattle Mariners (66-83, last week No. 22)
25. Milwaukee Brewers (65-83, last week No. 25)
26. Minnesota Twins (64-84, last week No. 26)
27. Chicago Cubs (63-86, last week No. 27)
28. Chicago White Sox (58-91, last week No. 28)
29. Miami Marlins (55-94, last week No. 29)
30. Houston Astros (51-98, last week No. 30):

Monday, September 16, 2013

MLB Weekly Walk-Off -- September 16th

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MLB Weekly Walk-Off
September 16, 2013
By Wild on Sports Analyst Kyle Kargel


The most exciting part of the past week has to be Mariano Rivera making his final regular season trip to Fenway Park and the Red Sox honoring him over the weekend. The Yankees are still in the wildcard hunt so a playoff matchup between the two teams isn’t out of the question. They didn’t help their cause though as they dropped three straight in Boston and dropped to three games out of the hunt, where as they were only one game back before the series. The Yankees are also fighting off the Royals, Orioles, Indians and Rays for the final spot. It’s going to be a dog fight until the finish between these five teams to see who will get the spot. The National league has seen a surprise though in the Nationals as they have pushed themselves into only four and a half games back of the Reds for that last wildcard spot. Surprisingly, the Nationals have had one of the league’s best records since the beginning of August. If Bryce Harper and the Nationals’ pitching staff can stay healthy, the Reds are going to have some company they didn’t expect in the last week or so of the season.

Studs of the Past Week


1. Hunter Pence OF SF- I know I’ve had Pence up here before, but it’s kind of hard to ignore a week that saw Pence knock in 19 runs and rip six homeruns. The Giants are out of contention so it’s easy to see with the pressure off why Pence is doing so good. He’s had multiple hits in three straight, and an RBI in six straight. Doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down soon so at least there’s a bright spot for Giants fans heading into next season.

2. Wilson Ramos C Wash- It’s already been mentioned that the Nats are riding a hot streak into the end of the season, and much to do with it is Ramos. The Nats are hoping that he’s the future at the catcher position for them and with four homeruns and 13 RBIs in the past week it’s hard to argue with them. Ramos tied his career high already in homeruns this season with 15, but he’s not done yet. Expect Ramos to have at least a few more bombs before seasons end.

3. Ubaldo Jimenez SP Cle- Remember when this guy was untouchable at the end of his tenure in Colorado? It looks as if Jimenez has found his groove again in Cleveland and it’s better late than never in this case as Cleveland is still fighting for a playoff spot. In his last couple starts Jimenez has 15.1 innings pitched allowing only one earned run while striking out 18. He’s lowered his ERA a whole run since the end of July so the Indians are going to ride his hot streak for a couple more starts until the end of the regular season.


Duds of the Past Week


1. David Freese 3B Stl- The Cardinals expected a little more than what they’ve gotten out of Freese this season. Although, he missed some games due to injury the Cardinals wanted more than eight homeruns and an average just above .260. In the past week Freese only has one RBI and one extra base hit. The Cardinals have been rolling this season though so as long as Freese can keep playing average ball then they should be in good shape.

2. Will Middlebrooks 3B Bos- I think I may have put a jinx on Middlebrooks since I had him in my top stud spot last week. Since that date, Middlebrooks doesn’t even have a hit and has gone zero for his last 17 at bats which has lowered his average 14 points to .231. Boston just took three from the Yankees so besides shuffling the lineup around a bit Middlebrooks should be ok.

3. Ryan Vogelsong SP SF
- It’s been a disappointing year for Vogelsong, and his past couple starts have reflected that. Although, he did go six innings allowing only three runs against the Dodgers, he also pitched only five innings against the Rockies allowing five earned runs. His two season ERAs before this season were 2.71 and 3.37. He is far off from that this season as his ERA has reached a sky high 5.73.


Top Pickups for This Week


1. Jonathon Villar SS Hou- There’s a hodge podge of players in Houston and Villar is making the most of his playing time. He’s riding a nine game hitting streak and has four steals in the past week. He hit his first career homerun six days ago and is batting nearly .290.

2. Matt Adams 1B Stl
- Filling in for Allen Craig until he returns, Adams has been a decent commodity in the Cardinals lineup racking up a few homeruns in the past week to put him at 14 for the year. Adams will start at first until Craig returns so use him while you can.

3. Chris Iannetta C LAA
- With the Angels out of contention expect Iannetta to get a lot of reps behind the plate to close out the season. He has three of his 11 homeruns in the past week along with bumping his average up 20 points.

NFL Monday Night Cash-In: Bengals vs. Steelers

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NFL Monday Night Cash-In:
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
(Cincinnati -6.5, O/U: 41)

Overview:
Monday Night Football brings us an AFC North battle between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams come into the game 0-1, Cincinnati following a tough one point loss to the Chicago Bears after controlling the play for the majority of the game  - Pittsburgh following a costly loss (in more ways than just the standings) to the Tennessee Titans.

These two teams traditionally play each other pretty tough with the Steelers having won five of the past six match-ups both straight up and ATS. This time around the Steelers come in as the walking wounded having lost two of their top three runningbacks and top offensive linemen/starting center Mike Pouncey. Ben Rothlessburger was sacked a whopping five times last week against a Titans team that lacks a defensive tackle anywhere near the caliber of Geno Atkins. I smell trouble for the Pittsburgh offense in this one.

Cincinnati was a popular pick going into the season as both AFC North Champion and darkhorse Super Bowl contender. Despite losing week 1 they certainly showed flashing on both sides of the ball to lead you to believe that it could very well be the case. In many respects this is a make or break year for Andy Dalton. He is now in his third season with AJ Green who is emerging as one of, if not the best wide receiver in the league. If defenses focus on Green, Dalton has two viable options at tight end as weapons as well. The Steelers defense was respectable in week one for the majority of the game but the Titans lack a QB the caliber of Andy Dalton and certainly lack any type of weapon resembling AJ Green.

Trends:
Pittsburgh is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games when playing on the road against Cincinnati
Pittsburgh is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Cincinnati
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing on the road against Cincinnati
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing Cincinnati
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Cincinnati's last 7 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Cincinnati's last 5 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cincinnati's last 5 games when playing Pittsburgh
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Cincinnati's last 10 games

Trends aside, all signs point towards the Bengals in this one.

Pick: CINCINNATI -6.5

What We Learned from NCAA Week 3

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What We Learned from NCAA Week 3
By Wild on Sports Analyst Bryan Ridall

This week was the most anticipated week of college football in recent memory because of the hype and intrigue surrounding this year’s “Game of the Century” between Alabama and Texas A&M. However, there were plenty of other games that allowed college’s best players to dazzle us once again, and also allowed the officials to cost Wisconsin their game against Arizona State.

Johnny Manziel Might Be The Greatest College Football Player Ever


If you did watch the Alabama and A&M game, you got to witness one of the greatest single-game performances ever, and it was in a losing effort. Johnny Football put up as much offense as the entire Alabama team, dropping 562 yards on Nick Saban and his vaunted defense, with 464 passing yards and 98 rushing yards. Unfortunately for Manziel, two crucial interceptions were the difference in this game, one of which was in the red zone, taking points away from the Aggies, and the other went for six the other way. The real issue for Manziel was his own defense, which couldn’t stop the Alabama running game, and were only able to cause one turnover in its support of Manziel. The A&M defense was dominated upfront, giving up over 225 yards rushing, and had problems getting to A.J. McCarron, who threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns. The problem for A&M, both going into the game and during it, is that Alabama is just a better team than the Aggies, no matter how amazing Manziel plays. In this particular game, Manziel put on the best single performance college football has ever seen, especially from an undersized “punk” quarterback with tons of outside distractions. Manziel shredded the Alabama defense in a way that hasn’t happened since 2003, before Saban arrived. He even looked like Eli Manning at one point, getting out of the hold of a defender and chucking the ball down the field only to have his receiver make a great catch between multiple defenders. Manziel was better than Vince Young against USC, better than Cam Newton at any point in his career, and even better than Tebow against South Carolina. Any other quarterback would have given up once Alabama went on a 35-0 run to take the lead, but Manziel refused to quit and brought A&M within one touchdown with 15 seconds left. If A&M had recovered the onside kick, Manziel probably would have found a way to score in the remaining time because he was just that good on Saturday. The real question is, if Manziel can do that against a defense as good as Alabama’s, what is he going to do to the rest of his schedule, none of which will field a defense even close to the Tide’s until he faces LSU in the second last game of the season. Manziel is also saying all the right things, saying that the Aggies aren’t dead and the season isn’t over, both of which are true. The only questionable game that the Aggies have left on the schedule is LSU and if Manziel can perform like he did on Saturday against the Tigers, A&M will win. Alabama is the only team in college football who could have withstood the onslaught from Johnny Manziel, and they barely hung on. Manziel will surely go pro after this year, so we need to enjoy the last few months that he will dazzle us in the college ranks.

The Heisman Race Has Come Down to Three Players

I know it is early, but it seems that three quarterbacks have separated themselves from the rest of the pack, and it will be fun to watch them battle each other for the trophy. Right now, your Heisman Top 3 has to be Manziel, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, and Louisville signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater. To go on about Manziel would be redundant, but in 2.5 games, Manziel has put up almost 1,000 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 150 yards rushing and a rushing touchdown. Manziel has a much tougher upcoming schedule than the other two quarterbacks, and will be facing SEC defenses, so if Manziel can continue where he left off against Alabama, he may just win back-to-back Heisman’s. Marcus Mariota has been the perfect quarterback for Oregon in the last two years, combining a strong arm, and unbelievable speed to pick apart defenses. Mariota has put up 889 passing yards and 260 rushing yards, accounting for 11 total touchdowns with no turnovers. He just turned in his finest outing of this young season, throwing for a career-high 456 yards and 4 touchdowns against Tennessee. In reality, there is only one game that will test Mariota and the Ducks, the November 7th showdown with Stanford that will be played away from Eugene. Last year, Stanford kept Oregon from making it to the National Championship game, beating the Ducks 17-14 in overtime due to multiple missed field goals by Oregon. Other than Stanford, the PAC 12 plays minimal defense, so Mariota will be able to continue to add to his gaudy stats, but if Stanford shuts down Mariota again, he will fall out of the race. Bridgewater is the most intriguing player in the Heisman race, and it will be interesting to see how the voters handle the much weaker competition that Bridgewater faces as opposed to the other quarterbacks on the list. Bridgewater is a more polished passer than Manziel and Mariota, and has thrown for over 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns already this season. He doesn’t rely on his legs to make plays like the other two quarterbacks, but is still mobile enough to make something happen if he needs to with his feet. Bridgewater, however, is going against the new American Athletic Conference, and won’t play a team ranked in the Top 25 all season, and it looks like Cincinnati will be the best team that he faces. While Bridgewater should continue to put up ridiculous numbers, and will most likely be the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Heisman committee may choose to pass on Bridgewater because of the level of competition he will be facing.

Wisconsin Got The Shaft Against Arizona State


Lost in all of Saturday was the ridiculous ending to the Wisconsin and Arizona State game, which was an embarrassment for college football. Wisconsin trailed Arizona State 32-30 with less than two minutes to go, when Badgers quarterback Joel Stave completed six straight passes for 70 yards, putting Wisconsin in field goal range. On the seventh play of the drive, with 18 seconds left, Stave took the snap, moved to the middle of the field, took a quick knee and put the ball on the ground. The officials didn’t blow the play down for whatever reason and several Arizona State players fell and laid on the ball, as the clock continued to run and celebrated their “fumble recovery.” The officials seemed to look lost with no idea what to do next and the clock ran down before Wisconsin was able to snap the ball and kick the game winning 30-yard field goal. Then when Wisconsin head coach Gary Anderson came out to get an explanation as to why the clock didn’t stop and his team didn’t get another play, the referees left the field without a word. In reality, the officials should have stopped the clock once Arizona State jumped on the ball, because they weren’t allowing the referees or the Badgers to get set for the next play. The Sun Devils could have also been called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for intentionally delaying the set up of the play. However, neither of those happened and Arizona State stole the win from Wisconsin, using the lack of attention from the officials to their advantage.

Texas Tech Will Make the Big 12 Interesting

Two weeks ago, freshman walk-on quarterback Baker Mayfield opened everyone’s eyes by throwing for over 400 yards in his first game against SMU. While he wasn’t as impressive this week, and left the game due to an injury, requiring backup quarterback Davis Webb to lead the comeback, Texas Tech is a team that will give their conference opponents a problem this year, and could very well compete for a Big 12 title in the next few years. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury, a former Red Raider quarterback himself, has implemented an effective passing game with his young quarterbacks, but needs to find consistency in the running game. Mayfield is the team’s top rusher, with only 97 yards on the season, and as a team, the Red Raiders are only averaging 3.6 yards a carry. Mayfield finally looked human against TCU, throwing only one touchdown and his first three interceptions of the year, but started the game off with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Williams. He also left the game in the third quarter, but Kingsbury has said that Mayfield should be back for Tech’s next game against Texas State. The Texas Tech defense is very good at causing turnovers, and has played reasonably well against the pass, but has been getting shredded on the ground, allowing TCU over 200 rushing yards. We won’t really know how good Texas Tech is until they start their “gauntlet” which starts October 19th against West Virginia and ends November 16th against Baylor, with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State between them. While Texas Tech seems a bit too young to compete this year, they will be a tough test for teams looking to win the Big 12, and will likely be competing for the Big 12 Title in the next few years.

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