Thursday, November 29, 2007

Party Poopers win first round of playoffs; next round tonight at 6:30

The Party Poopers, an intramural basketball team at Utah State University, have won their first round game of the playoffs, and are set to take on the next opponent in the one-and-done postseason tonight at 6:30.
After finishing third in the four-team pool of teams in round-robin play, the Party Poopers faced a 2-2 team in the playoffs. With just three players, due to one (Nick Michaelson) having to work at JC Penney that night, compared to six for the other team, the Party Poopers prevailed in the best-of-3 series nonetheless, winning 32-22 in the first game, falling 32-29 in overtime the second game, and winning the third 22-16.
What was worse for the Party Poopers in that contest was the fact that two of their three players, Rhett Wilkinson and McKell Bowen, rolled their ankles in Game 2, a heartbreaker that featured a deep, 23-foot buzzer-beating three-pointer from the opponent to force the game into overtime, before they won it in the extra time.
However, the Poopers perservered, taking the third game. The win, and a trip to the next round, was sealed by Wilkinson's swoosh from 13 feet.
The four players- Wilkinson, Michaelson, Ryan Reid, and Bowen- are peaking at the right time, and have as good a shot as anybody in the upcoming four rounds of the tournament.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Championship-Caliber and Rivalry Games in Week 13

Pac-10 Championship (Basically):
With a win over their respective arch-rivals December 1, the winner of this battle between #6 Arizona State (9-1, 6-1) and #11 USC (8-2, 5-2) in Tempe can lay claim to at least a share of the Pac-10 title; in ASU's case, the whole thing. A victory for the suddenly resurgent Trojans will keep them the hunt for a BCS game (Rose Bowl). The Dennis Dixon-less Oregon Ducks, with their loss to Arizona last Thursday, are now big Trojans fans if they want a piece of the Pac-10 trophy and hopes of that same Rose Bowl. Trojans 34, Sun Devils 24

Day after Thanksgiving
WAC Championship: The #15 Hawaii Warriors (10-0, 7-0) and the #19 Boise State Broncos (10-1, 7-0) meet on the islands for the WAC title, but possibly a BCS berth as well. The winner will be big fans of Connecticut to beat West Virginia; if that happens, chances are almost certain that they will be in one of the big-money games. Colt Brennan's shoulder is perhaps the biggest factor to this battle. The Warriors did prove that they can win without him last week vs. Nevada, but would they defeat BSU without him? The Broncos have sure proven with a pair of sophomore running backs that they can function just fine without Ian Johnson. Broncos 53, Warriors 45

#1 LSU vs. Arkansas: The Tigers (10-1, 7-1) still have to defeat two more good opponents just to get to January 7, the national championship. At step #1, they must slow down powerful running back and top-5 Heisman canidate Darren McFadden. The Razorbacks (7-4, 3-4) can still move into second in the SEC West and harbor slim January bowl game (Outback) hopes with a win. Tigers 24, Razorbacks 14

#18 Tennessee at Kentucky: The ranked Vols (8-3, 5-2) are SEC East Division champs and will play #1 LSU in the conference title if they win. Remarkable, considering the Vols' rocky 2-2 start in a division that experts were sure Florida or Georgia would win. Experts also didn't give Kentucky (7-4, 3-4) much of a shot this season, but behind senior QB Andre' Woodson, the Wildcats have proven that they cannot be overlooked this season. Just ask LSU. Vols 36, Wildcats 23

#13 Texas at Texas A&M: If the Longhorns (9-2, 5-2) can beat their hated rivals, and Oklahoma loses to theirs (see below), then Texas is in the Big XII Championship vs. Kansas or Missouri. For the Aggies (7-4, 4-3), Dennis Franchoine could hold on to his job with the upset. Longhorns 23, Aggies 17

#10 Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State: Freshman Sam Bradford quarterbacks the Sooners (9-2, 5-2) for the first time in this rivalry. He can help save what was a national championship-contending season before the loss to Texas Tech last week with a win and a spot in the Big XII title in Kansas City. The Cowboys (6-5, 3-4) are simply playing the role of spoiler. Sooners 41, Cowboys 20

Big XII North Title: It took an 11-0 run, but #2 Kansas (11-0, 7-0) finally has the nation's attention heading into its made-for-TV event vs. #4 Missouri (10-1, 6-1), who is also harboring national title berth-hopes, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. People have finally began to learn who Kansas QB Todd Reesing is, a humble, 5-10 pocket passer who has already given the Jayhawks program their finest season ever. Not that he's the only reason. Similarities abound with Mizzou QB Chase Daniel and the connection he has with stellar wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, a freshman speedster. Both are finally on the map and Daniel is making his own Heisman campaign. One concern for both teams is if they are truly tested; the only truly elite opponent either has faced is the Tigers, who lost 41-31 to Oklahoma in October. With that said, the winner will make a real statement to be in that national championship on national television with a large audience, especially considering it's Saturday night on Thanksgiving weekend. And, oh yeah, the winner is the Big XII North champion. Tigers 31, Jayhawks 27

Big East Championship (Basically): #3 West Virginia (9-1, 4-1) is champions of the Big East with a victory over #20 Connecticut (9-2, 4-2), following a win over Pittsburgh in the Brackyard Brawl the week after. On top of that, they will be big fans of Kansas to lose, because if that happens, the Mountaineers, who are 32-4 the last three seasons (way to go Rich Rodriguez), will be in the national championship. But what if UConn wins? It's very possible. The Huskies would suddenly be making their plans for Miami or New Orleans, and be ready to take the $15 million or so that comes with it. A Huskies win would sure make the winner of Hawaii-Boise State very happy too, since that would almost definitely give the WAC another BCS team. But Pat White and Steve Slaton shouldn't let that happen. Mountaineers 34, Huskies 21

ACC Coastal Division Title: Gotta love an instate rivalry to settle a division title. That is what is going on at the land of America's original colony, between #8 Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1) vs. #16 Virginia (9-2, 6-1). It's impressive what the Hokies have done with their season just three months after the shooting there that claimed 32 students. They were unimpressive in a 17-7 win over lowly East Carolina in their season opener, but have played great since, save the final three minutes in their 14-10 loss to Matt Ryan and Boston College. The Cavaliers have also surprised, especially considering that in their second game, they lost 23-3 to a 5-6 and not-going-bowling-even-if-they're-eligible Wyoming squad. Hokies 20, Cavs 16

#23 BYU vs. Utah: One of the nation's most underrated and intense rivalries, the Cougars (8-2, 6-0) will win the Mountain West conference outright with a win, but the Utes (8-3, 5-2) still harbor hopes for a share of the title if they can win and BYU can lose to San Diego State the following week. Both teams are on fire, with both currently on 7-game winning streaks. For proof of how intense this rivalry is, consider that 11 of the last 14 contests have been decided by a touchdown or less; every game but one during the last nine has gone down to the last minute, averaging a 3.9 margin of victory; and six of those nine games went down to the FINAL PLAY. Incredible. Utes 31, Cougars 27

#7 Georgia at Georgia Tech: While this rivalry contest is out-of-conference, the Bulldogs (9-2, 6-2 SEC) will still have conference on their mind in hopes of winning the SEC East if Tennessee falls to Kentucky. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets (7-4, 3-5 ACC) are a dangerous opponent for Knowshon Moreno and Georgia. Dawgs 28, Jackets 24

#12 Florida vs. Florida State: The Seminoles (7-4, 4-4 ACC) will want to spoil the Gators' January bowl hopes, as Florida's (8-3, 5-3 SEC) bid to win a second consecutive division and conference title fell short with a very different team from last year. Doesn't mean that sophomore QB Tim Tebow might not win the Heisman, however. The big multiple-threat has accounted for 47 touchdowns this season, more than 85 of the 120 Div. 1 teams! Gators 27, 'Noles 17

#22 Clemson at South Carolina: The Tigers (8-3, 5-3 ACC) fell short of an ACC Atlantic Division title after losing a close one to Boston College last week, but have a chance to express their frustrations on the field against the Gamecocks (6-5, 3-5 SEC). SC won't be a pushover, however. Tigers 21, Gamecocks 14

Washington State at Washington: The Apple Cup! Two bad teams, though. But one of the nation's best rivalries up there in the Pacific Northwest.

Auburn vs. Alabama: Nick Saban went WAY over the line with his comments earlier in the week comparing his club's home loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and the need to heroically rebound against Auburn, to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. The comparison is there, but it isn't right to compare a game to the nation's two worst tragedies. He may fire up the Crimson Tide (6-5, 4-3), but it won't be enough to win possibly the nation's best rivalry and SEC battle against Auburn (7-4, 4-3). Tigers win sixth in a row vs. 'Bama, 23-21

Friday, November 16, 2007

Huge Games for Week 12

#7 Ohio State at #21 Michigan: Oops! Both teams got caught looking ahead to this game last week, where the Buckeyes' national title berth hopes were nearly completely dashed with a loss to Illinois, and Michigan, after an eight-game winning streak to bring resurgence to their season, fell at Wisconsin. However, the Wolverines (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) missed both Chad Henne and Mike Hart in that game, and both are expected to play versus the Buckeyes. (C'mon, a warrrior like Hart wouldn't miss this game even if he had had open-heart surgery two days earlier.) Starting Buckeye RB Chris Wells might miss the game, however, leaving the starting job open to backup Maurice Wells to carry the load for Ohio State (10-1, 6-1). A Rose Bowl berth awaits the winner, while national title hopes aren't completely dashed for Ohio State if the Buckeyes are victorious. Wolverines 30, Buckeyes 28

#6 West Virginia at #22 Cincinnati: Thanks to the surprise of the Bearcats (8-2, 3-2), this game is going a long way towards determining the Big East champion. A win by the Mountaineers (8-1, 3-1), lead by the electric backfield play of QB Pat White and TB Steve Slaton, will essentially put the Big East title game in East Hartford next week, where the Mountaineers will play at #24 Connecticut. A win by the Bearcats will cause Cincy to be big fans of West Virginia next week. Mountaineers 37, Bearcats 24

#9 Georgia vs. #23 Kentucky: The Bulldogs (8-2, 4-2) still have hopes of winning the SEC East if they win their final two conference games, and Tennessee loses one of their final two vs. Kentucky or Vanderbilt. Bulldog RB Knowshon Moreno has been dominant on the ground all season, and should continue that run against a weak Wildcat run defense. Meanwhile, Andre' Woodson has the ability to tear it up in the air for Kentucky (7-3, 3-3), though Georgia has a strong defense, much tougher than the Wildcat defense. Dawgs 34, 'Cats 27

#15 Clemson vs. #17 Boston College: My oh my, how things change in two weeks. Just like USC, Cal, LSU at one point, and now Oregon, the Eagles (8-2, 4-2) find themselves far from the #2 ranking that they held just two games ago. Two losses later, the national title berth hopes are dashed. However, a BCS bowl berth isn't. The winner of this game wins the ACC Atlantic Division and faces either Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Dec. 8 for a spot in a BCS game. So, just like USC and Oregon, B.C. can be sad about their fall from grace but can still hold hopes for a lucrative January game. Matt Ryan, can you deliver like you delivered in the final three minutes against Virginia Tech? Who knows. One thing we do know is that Bobby Bowden's boy Tommy sure can coach the Tigers (8-2, 5-2). Tigers 26, Eagles 20

Utah vs. New Mexico: The victor of this battle will remain in contention for the Mountain West Conference title, a position that the Utes (7-3, 4-2) couldn't have imagined themselves in after falling to 1-3 and 0-2 in the conference way back in September. Meanwhile, the Lobos (7-3, 4-2), behind the surprisingly good play of QB Donovan Porterie and TB Rodney Ferguson, have exceeded preseason expectations. Both teams are notorious for being hard-hitting on defense, as the nationally fifth-ranked Ute defense has particularly proven with shutdown performances against UCLA (44-6) and Wyoming (50-0) this season. However, the Lobos have beaten the Utes four of the last five meetings, with the lone Ute victory during that span coming during their unblemished 2004 BCS campaign. Utes 24, Lobos 20

Purdue at Indiana: Both schools have their sights set on a bowl game, and the winner of this contest may realize that goal. The Boilermakers (7-4, 3-4) are seventh in the Big Ten currently, and will lock up a bowl bid with a win. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers (6-5, 2-5) are ninth and could possibly fill the potential open spot in the Las Vegas Bowl vs. the Mountain West Conference champion with a win and the Pac-10's potential inability to field a fifth bowl-eligible team for the game. Boilermakers 21, Hoosiers 17

Monday, November 12, 2007

Guarantee This, Glenn: Utah 50, Wyoming 0

Utah walked all over, around, above, below, and through the Wyoming Cowboys Saturday afternoon at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Halftime score: Utah 40, Wyoming 0.
3rd quarter: Utah 43, Wyoming 0. Ute coach Kyle Whittingham calls for an onside kick. The Utes would have recovered, but grabbed the ball after 9 1/2 yards rather than allowing it to go a couple more feet for the required 10.
Final Score: Utes hit the half-century mark to make Cowboy coach Joe Glenn, who guaranteed the victory in front of Wyoming students, look absolutely stupid.
The Utes rolled up 505 yards of offense, while doing it in style. Utah run a "fumble-rooskie" play early in the game, with freshman Jerome Brooks running it in for six points on the left side as most of the Wyoming defense was looking towards the right side at quarterback Brian Johnson. The Utes also scored touchdowns on a reverse play, a hook-and-ladder, and later on a 41-yard flip pass from punter/kicker Louie Sakoda to huge 300-pound lineman Neli A'asa, which led to a one-yard TD run from Darrell Mack the next play.
On the other side, the measly Cowboys mustered just 122 yards of offense.
Obviously, the Utes made good use out of their bye week.
Some Wyoming players took offense to Whittingham's onside-kick call, particularly junior running back Wynel Seldon, who promised the Utes payback next year in Laramie.
Yeah, we'll see how well he can live up to that promise.
However, after the game Whittingham explained that he was simply trying to ensure the victory, because apparently Glenn "knew something about the outcome of the game that (Whittingham) didn't know," said the Ute head coach.
Good for Kyle. He sent a message back at Glenn, and proved a point to Wyoming and anybody else who wants to make a guarantee about their game against Utah.
Because, looking at how the Utes responded after Glenn's remark, any others who dare make a guarantee better watch out.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Utah State Basketball: Season Begins Tomorrow

The Utah State men's basketball regular season officially gets under way tomorrow, Friday, November 9, at 7:05 in the Spectrum in Logan, Utah.
Expect the Aggies to open the game with Gary Wilkinson and Steve DuCharme in the frontcourt, DeUndrae Spraggins and Jaycee Carroll at the wings, and Kris Clark at the point.
First off the bench will be speedy point guard Desmond Stephens, followed by forward Tai Wesley, swingman Pooh Williams, and then center Brayden Bell.
Small forward Nick Hammer is done with his basketball career. Due to an irritation to his previously broken collarbone, the senior declared that he is physically unable to play his last season with the Aggies.

Exhibition Averages
Carroll: 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 62% FG, 50% 3FG
Wilkinson: 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 65% FG
DuCharme: 9.0 points, 3.5 rebounds
Spraggins: 6.5 points, 3.5 assists
Clark: 5.5 points, 3.5 assists
Stephens: 6.0 points, 4.0 assists, 60% FG, 33.3% 3FG
Wesley: 6.0 points, 2.5 rebounds
Williams: 8.5 points, 2.0 assists
Bell: 4.0 points, 1.5 rebounds

Biggest College Football Games, Week 11

#6 West Virginia vs. Louisville: The Mountaineers (7-1, 4-0) are one game behind UConn in the Big East title race but six spots ahead in the BCS Standings, thus harboring both conference and Nick Fazekas-slim national championship hopes. Meanwhile, the Cardinals (5-4, 2-2) are just trying to salvage a season that they expected was going to be like the Mountaineers' so far. Mountaineers 41, Cardinals 31
BYU vs. TCU: The Cougars (6-2, 4-0) are trying to hold off Utah, Air Force and New Mexico for their second consecutive Mountain West Conference title, while the Horned Frogs (5-4, 2-3) are looking to ride the momentum they found in last week's blowout of New Mexico to propel them to an unlikely win in Provo. Cougars 21, Horned Frogs 10

#17 Florida at South Carolina: The Urban Meyer-led Gators (6-3, 4-3) are still very much alive in the SEC East race, while the Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4) can't exactly say the same. However, Steve Spurrier knows the program that he used to run, and he has 'em at home. Gators 24, Gamecocks 21
#1 Ohio State vs. Illinois: The Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0) have just one more game between them and the surprisingly good Michigan Wolverines. They just can't overlook the Fighting Illini (7-3, 4-2), who have the ability to knock off the Buckeyes if Ohio State is looking too far ahead. Buckeyes 34, Illini 17
#10 Georgia vs. #18 Auburn: The Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) are leading the SEC East for now, but the Tigers (7-3, 4-2) could help a lot of Georgia-chasers, AKA Florida and Tennessee, with a victory. Bulldogs 24, Tigers 20
#22 Tennessee vs. Arkansas: The Vols (6-3, 3-2) are trying to keep up in the wild SEC East, but the only keeping-up they should be worried about on Saturday is trying to keep up with phenomenal Arkansas (6-3, 2-3) running back Darren McFadden, who tied the SEC rushing record with 323 yards last weekend and should still be getting serious Heisman consideration. Volunteers 31, Razorbacks 24
#16 Connecticut at Cincinnati: Shouldn't this be a high-profile game for football, not basketball? The Huskies (8-1, 4-0) are still (surprise!) winning the tough Big East. But the Bearcats (7-2, 2-2) will provide a good challenge. Huskies 28, Bearcats 24
#11 Virginia Tech vs. Florida State: The Boston College-killers the Seminoles (6-3, 3-3 ACC) are not what they used to be, but proved they are still plenty capable of knocking off highly-ranked teams. Teams like the Hokies (7-2, 4-1). Hokies 20, Seminoles 14
#13 Michigan at Wisconsin: After embarrassing defeats to Applachain State and Oregon (39-7 at the Big House), the Wolverines (8-2, 6-0 Big Ten) have been unstoppable since, even in their last two games without Mike Hart. The Badgers (7-3, 3-3) didn't do much to slow down Ohio State last week, but maybe playing a highly-ranked team at home for the second week in a row will change things around. Wolverines 27, Badgers 14
#12 USC at #24 California: Applauds are in order for Cal (6-3, 3-3 Pac-10) who ended their three-game slide from #2 to unranked with a victory last weekend. Kudos are also in order for the Trojans (7-2, 4-2), who thumped Oregon State last week to move to 4th/5th to 3rd place in the conference with the victory, behind newly-returned quarterback John David Booty. Trojans 35, Bears 24
#15 Texas at Texas Tech: It is a rivalry game, and rivalry games always get their due here at Dubya. Hopefully Colt McCoy, #2 in the nation in interceptions thrown with 15, can avoid more than he's used to against a porous Red Raider defense for the Longhorns (8-2, 4-2 Big XII). On the other side, stellar yard-racker Graham Harrell faces a tough test against the Texas 'D' for Tech (7-3, 3-3). Longhorns 45, Red Raiders 31
#14 Hawaii vs. Fresno State: The Warriors (8-0, 5-0 WAC) face their first real test of the season against the decent Bulldogs (6-3, 5-1). Unfortunately, they will not lose since the game is on the island, where Hawaii never loses if they're good that year. Warriors 56, Bulldogs 45
#2 LSU vs. Louisiana Tech: It's an in-state rivalry! The only thing that LSU (8-1, 5-1 SEC) should be worried about is if their BCS average will drop if they don't win this game by at least 25 points over Tech (4-5, 3-3 WAC), who at least boasts Karl Malone and Paul Millsap as their alma maters. Tigers 48, Bulldogs 10

Friday, November 2, 2007

Biggest College Football Games for Week 10

#4 Arizona State at #5 Oregon: The Sun Devils (8-0, 4-0 Pac-10) are coming off a huge win over Cal where they overcame a 14-3 deficit. Meanwhile, the Ducks (7-1, 4-1) are coming off an even bigger victory over USC. This game not only has implications on the Pac-10 and a Rose Bowl berth, but implications for the national championship, in which the winner will still be in contention.
Ducks 34, Sun Devils 23
#3 LSU at #17 Alabama: Nick Saban faces his former team for the first time in a battle for first place in the SEC West and the inside track to the SEC Championship Game. Both the Tigers (8-0, 4-0 SEC) and the Crimson Tide (6-2, 3-1) are well-rested coming off bye weeks. However, don't expect either team to be that rusty. Backup QB Ryan Perriloux, who constantly is inserted into the game for running plays in particular, will be out with an injury, leaving the responsibility solely on the shoulders of senior starter Matt Flynn. Tigers 21, Crimson Tide 14
#1 Ohio State vs. #21 Wisconsin: The Badgers (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) are back in the rankings for the first time in three weeks following three straight victories, which followed two consecutive losses. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) will look to keep an even keel after their surprising win in Happy Valley last week vs. Penn State. Buckeyes 24, Badgers 14
#12 Michigan vs. Michigan State: We have ourselves a rivalry game! The Wolverines (6-2, 4-0 Big Ten) continue their resurgence against the pesky Spartans (5-3, 3-2). Don't expect UM to get slowed down in this game. Wolverines 41, Spartans 24
#19 USC vs. Oregon State: The Trojans (6-2, 3-2 Pac-10) face what was believed in August to be an impossible reality: fifth place in the Pac-10 if they lose. The place in the conference will be the same for the Beavers (5-3, 3-2) with a defeat. However, starting quarterback John David Booty has returned to the field for the Trojans after missing the last three games, and USC should have revenge on their minds after having their national title berth hopes ended by the Beavers' 2006 victory in Corvallis. Trojans 35, Beavers 24
#13 Connecticut vs. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 2-2 Big East) were giant-slayers once already this season when they topped then-#2 South Florida in New Jersey. However, this second giant-slaying opportunity comes on the road, without the previous advantage of a home crowd behind them. Meanwhile, the Huskies (7-1, 4-0) look to continue their surprising run this season after jumping from unranked to 13th with one victory.
#2 Boston College vs. Florida State: The Seminoles (5-3, 2-2 ACC) are one of four mediocre teams left for the Golden Eagles (8-0, 4-0) to conquer before their national championship-berth hopes are realized. Can FSU give BC a battle? Eagles 27, Seminoles 21
#23 Virginia vs. #24 Wake Forest:First place in the ACC Coastal Division is on the line between the Cavaliers (7-2, 4-1 ACC) and the again-surprising Demon Deacons (6-2, 4-1), who would most likely face Boston College in the ACC Title Game. Cavaliers 31, Deacons 28
Notre Dame vs. Navy: Why this game? Because it's a bit of a rivalry, with the two schools having played 43 times. However, the rivalry is a bit one-sided, with the Fighting Irish (1-7) a perfect 43-0 against the Midshipmen (4-4). If there is ever a year for Navy to get that first-ever win, it's this year. Fighting Irish 24, Midshipmen 20