Getting ready to head into a WONDERFUL weekend of BIG games … college and NFL games that REALLY matter. Okay, I’m including Monday night’s national title game, too … so an “extended weekend” if you will. So here’s a few somewhat random thoughts on what we’re about to see.
Alright, this first game doesn’t REALLY matter, except to a few hundred thousand people in Texas and Louisiana … heck, maybe it’s a couple mill. Anyway, we’ve got a great match-up tonight in the Cotton Bowl classic with #17 Texas A&M battling #11 LSU. I like A&M in this one … and not because my second eldest daughter and money go there. The Aggies have played consistently well on both sides of the ball practically all season and have won several tough contests in November to close with momentum … something they haven’t seen in College Station for quite some time. Meanwhile, the Tigers are strong on defense but quite challenged on offense. Without a good dependable passing attack, I see the very good A&M defense stacking the line to stop the run and won’t yield the big play. Les Miles will have all kinds of trickeration up his sleave ready to use, but you can only run so many fake punts and FGs before they know it’s coming. The Aggies will score just enough to hold on for a 20-17 win.
Saints at Seahawks: Call me crazy, but I’ve just got a feeling that the Seachickens homefield advantage will come to roost in this one. It might be cold and nasty wet, plus Seattle boasts the most raucous outdoor venue and the Seachicken fans feel like this is a second Christmas. Saints are a bit banged up, esp with the running game and not accustomed to playing in challenging outdoor conditions. Seachickens win by a beak!
Jets at Colts: Good thing for Indy they’ve got a home game here, otherwise I’d be going the other way. I’d rather have Manning going against the Jets D at Peyton’s Place as opposed to Sanchez playing against Indy and their home crowd. Jets may bottle up Indy a bit, but Sanchez will make a few key errors, one too many. Colts advance 20-16.
Ravens at Chiefs: This feels like a close one to me … essentially a toss-up. Wish I knew which Ravens defense will show up. If it’s the dominant one, I’m clearly going with the Ravens, but if the “average” one shows up, this one becomes a nailbiter. Still, although Flacco is pretty young, the Ravens are very much a veteran unit that’s played in big, tough games over last few years. The Chiefs just seem happy to be here this year and looked like crap last week vs Oakland. Baltimore takes it by 4.
Packers at Eagles: I’m convinced the Packers are a better all-around team and they’ll win if they don’t beat themselves. Vick presents some unique challenges, but a handful of teams this year displayed the recipe for keeping him contained and I think the Packers are capable of containing him as well. Eagle teams really feel the pressure when they play at home … so I expect they’ll be a little tight. The poor showing vs Minnesota when they needed to win is not encouraging. As long as Aaron Rogers doesn’t pull a Favre at the end with an untimely INT, Green Bay wins 26-21.
Hoops #9 UConn at #12 Texas: Nice cross-sectional game in the middle of conference season. The Longhorns have been hot for a full month, including an impressive dismantling of Michigan State at the Izzone, plus the annihilation of Arkansas a few days ago. UConn is depressed after falling at ND. Texas wins by 12.
****************** NATIONAL CHAN’SHIP *********************
Oregon vs Auburn: Finally, a college football game that REALLY counts! I think this is going to be a very good game with the outcome being decided over the last 5 minutes. But this is where Auburn’s luck runs out. Oregon presents a prolific dual threat attack … on the ground, in the air … that Auburn hasn’t seen much of this year, except maybe in practice with their own Scam Newton. But it’s the “TEAM” threat that Auburn will face in Oregon, and they won’t stop it enough. Oregon’s D isn’t too bad either … Tigers will get their points, but again, it won’t be enough. I can’t help but think back to the game where Oregon fell far behind Stanford and then proceeded to kick their butts for 2 1/2 quarters to in by 21. When you kick Stanford’s butt THIS YEAR, that says a lot about your team. QUACK, QUACK … Ducks will take the title by a 35-31 margin!
Have a great weekend and good luck if you have a rooting interest. Please chime in with your views of the outcomes on these and any other games.
Will also be interesting to see how the PPP plays out. Tonight’s Cotton Bowl and Monday BCS Chan’ship carry huge points. But there’s also a few “smaller” games in between that could influence. Later.