Vols win ugly game against rival Tigers

The last time the Tennessee Volunteers traveled across state to play in Memphis, the game buzzed with excitement for a week prior: both teams were ranked #1 and #2 respectively, Memphis was undefeated, and Tennessee was looking for a season-signifying win. Two years later, they returned to the battlegrounds with much less fanfare. The Tigers are unranked with a depleted roster thanks to the well-documented departure of former coach John Calipari. Tennessee is ranked 14th in both major polls, but still has plenty of question marks.

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I decided to take the game in first hand for EJSIC as it represents one of the hottest in-state rivalries in college basketball outside of Kentucky-Louisville and North Carolina-Duke. Some questioned how heated the game would be with the absence of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl’s archrival on the opposite sideline. All questions were answered when Volunteer guard J.P. Prince thuggishly danced in the face of Elliot Williams before the opening tip. The animosity continued with Tiger Will Coleman landing an unnecessary shoulder into the chest of Wayne Chism which resulted in double technical fouls.

Other than the antics, the only thing worse than the actual basketball played on the court was, according to my amigos at home watching the game, Jimmy Dykes’ less than insightful and sometimes outlandish commentary on the game. (I recorded the game on DVR and I’ll give him a listen later to see how bad it was. I wonder if he used his spice formula to determine if either team is a Final Four contender?)

Memphis Tigers

nullThe Good: Doneal Mack. Throughout his time at Memphis, Mack has been labeled as a player who did not stand out in the big games. Today, he was easily the best player the Tigers had on the floor. He was unafraid to take shots and led the team with 15 points. He fouled out of the game with just less than 4 minutes left which left a gaping hole in the Memphis offense.

The Bad: Memphis’ other guards. All Tiger guards not named Mack went a combined 4 for 23. Willie Kemp, Elliot Williams, and Roburt Sallie can not play that bad for this particular Memphis team. The depth is not there for the starters to have an off-night.

The Ugly: The inside game. Rebounding, the forwards, etc were all ugly for Memphis today. They were outrebounded 42-26 and thoroughly outplayed down low. Tennessee went after the ball in the air, Memphis did not. Starting forward Pierre Henderson-Niles managed 2 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play. Rebounding was a key in the Tigers recent loss to UMass and it was again today.

Tennessee Volunteers

nullThe Good: Wayne Chism. The starting center has made his fair share of boneheaded plays in the past, but today, he was remarkably efficient. Chism finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds including a perfect 5 for 5 at the free throw line as well as 5 of 7 from the field. Maybe the most surprising stat of the game: he didn’t attempt a single three pointer. Chism has often been a player who wandered behind the arc and even demonstrated poor decision making with late game three point attempts. Today, he played very well.

The Bad: Point guard play. It has been the thorn in Bruce Pearl’s side during his tenure in Knoxville. It usually rears its head in March when the games get tighter, but it was pretty evident today. Starting PG Bobby Maze played 21 minutes, amassed 3 measly points, 0 assists, and fouled out of the game. Backup Melvin Goins managed to score 8 points, but committed 2 turnovers against only 1 assist. They even let PF Tyler Smith run the position a few times during the game. If they want to win when it matters, Pearl has to find someone who can provide quality play for an entire game against elite competition.

The Ugly: Tennessee’s ability to put the game away. The Vols led by 13 points with 13:14 to go in the 2nd half before allowing the Tigers to claw back into the game. The Vols held a significant edge on the boards, contained Elliot Williams to one of his worst games of the season, and held the Tigers to a low 31% shooting for the game. Yet, they only won by 7 points. The Vols suffered a heavy drought in the latter stages of the game when Memphis switched to a 2-3 zone which it cannot do against better competition.

nullOverall: The Memphis fans before the game on Beale Street and throughout the two hours at FedEx Forum made for a great atmosphere. The Bar-B-Que nachos were delicious and I enjoyed the time. However, I don’t see much success for either of these teams in the month that matters given their current states. Of course, there’s plenty of time left for both to make improvements. Next year’s game should provide some more fireworks in the rivalry with quite a few future phenoms signed to play for both teams.

2010 or Bust: Al’s last prediction post for 2009

It's about time a bowl game had an appropriate sponsor name!

As I write this, I realize that I will probably not be online again until January 4. So, I’d like to start out this post by wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2010. May all your celebrations be DWI-free and be sure to eat lots of collards, pork and black-eyed peas tomorrow for money, health (I love how pork signifies health in the South), and luck.

Okay, enough of the niceties. I have a lot of ground to cover because I’m going to predict the winners for all bowl games that have at least one Top 25 team and all Top 25 basketball games from today until Sunday.

Today’s bowl games

Chik-fil-A Bible Study Bowl: No 11 Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee. Yes, I’m still seething about the change of name from the Peach Bowl to a bowl named for a company that is so religious that their restaurants aren’t open on Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was written in the contract somewhere that this bowl game can’t be played on Sunday. This game is a match up between two teams that rarely live up to their hype. In fact, I was shocked to learn that Virginia Tech actually won their bowl game last year; that’s rare for them. If they win this one, it’ll be the first time in team history that they will have won two consecutive bowls. On paper, it looks like the Hokies should win, but I just don’t feel good about them, so I’m going for the underdog.

Brut Sun Bowl: Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Stanford. With this bowl, we finally have a bowl sponsor that seems appropriate for a football game. Both of these teams surprised their fans this year, but for different reasons. Oklahoma was a complete disappointment, starting out highly ranked and then descending into mediocrity as the season wore on. Stanford, on the other hand, surprised everyone by beating Oregon. (Their win against USC did not surprise me one bit.) Despite injuries to some key players, I think that Oklahoma will prevail, mainly because I think they’re a tougher team than Stanford.

Today’s basketball games

Penn's basketball team is so terrible that the most recent official photographs they offer are from the 2007-2008 season.

Pennsylvania at No. 7 Duke. Quite frankly, Penn is horrible. Only in my fantasies could they beat Duke.

St. John’s at No. 13 Georgetown. This should be another great Big East game. Both teams have an inexplicable loss (Georgetown to ODU and St. John’s to Cornell), but both beat Temple. Despite their Big 10-like 46 points against Temple, Georgetown’s scoring is better than St. John’s. I think the Hoyas will pull this one out.

No. 14 Tennessee at Memphis. I know I’m going against history here, but I think that Memphis’s losses to Tennessee in the last couple of seasons were more due to Calipari’s coaching than Pearl’s dominance over Memphis. Memphis is playing at home with a new coach and Tennessee should not be ranked. So, I’m going with Memphis.

No. 15 Ohio State at Wisconsin. I think Wisconsin’s better than Ohio State. Plus they’re playing at home. Note to Mr. Sensei: If your team proves me wrong, I’m never listening to anything you say about sports ever again–which should be easy, because I rarely do anyway.

Oregon State at No. 16 Washington. Personally, I’ll never understand the Washington hype, but tonight they’re playing at home against an Oregon State team that barely has a winning record.

Oklahoma at No. 22 Gonzaga. Dammit, no matter who I pick, it’ll be wrong because Gonzaga’s playing. Shoot, because Gonzaga’s involved, the first coin I tossed fell and rolled too far under the sofa for me to retrieve it. The second coin told me to pick Oklahoma.

Green Bay at No. 23 Butler. I’ve been really mean to Butler this year, so I’m giving them this game against a Green Bay team that’s better than I expected.

Alabama A&M at No. 25 Florida State. Wow, Alabama A&M has only played 6 games and they’ve lost three of them. Florida State, who does not deserve their ranking (they only got it because they beat an overrated Georgia Tech team) should be able to win this one. Should is the operative word here.

Tomorrow’s bowl games

The Big Easy: Hosting the latest victim of tBCS Conspiracy and the SEC's biggest drama queen

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Cincinnati vs. No. 5 Florida. I can’t help but feel that Cincinnati was set up here. They finally have a chance to prove that teams not in the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10, and Big 10 should be taken seriously and what happens? Their coach is lured away by Notre Dame, conveniently before he can coach in this bowl game. Meanwhile, Urban Meyer, never satisfied unless he’s in the media as regularly as Brett Favre and Tim Tebow, can’t even decide what to do after this game. Sadly, I think the absence of Kelly will hurt Cincinnati more than Meyer’s drama queen antics will hurt Florida.

Rose Bowl: No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 7 Ohio State. Oh, geez, why is it that “the Granddaddy of them all” is exempt from having a sponsor’s name tacked to the front of it? Talk about elitist–this bowl says it all. However, the two teams playing in this one are not elite in the slightest. Ohio State played no one and lost to Purdue but they’re ranked no. 7. Why? Because they’re Ohio State. However, based on Ohio State’s performance in its last three bowl games, this should be an easy victory for the Ducks.

Capital One Bowl: No. 13 Penn State vs. No. 12 LSU. This is a great match-up between an old time powerhouse and a new one. I’m giving the game to LSU based solely on emotion, since they basically have no offense and will have to rely heavily on their defense to win this one. I like the Nittany Lions and Paterno, so if they win, I won’t be all that disappointed.

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: No. 16 West Virginia vs. Florida State. Florida State was given this bowl because of Bowden’s retirement and no other reason. West Virginia will probably pound them because they’re much better.

Tomorrow’s basketball games

No. 6 West Virginia at No. 4 Purdue: A week or so ago, I would have said that West Virginia should win this one easily. But this week, West Virginia’s had some close calls. If it were just Seton Hall, I’d write it off as Big East parity, but they barely beat Cleveland State. However, I still feel that they’re better than Purdue, so I’m taking a risk and picking them.

Dayton at No. 17 New Mexico. This one’s a tough one to call. Both teams have dominated mediocre competition but they’ve also folded at weird times. I’m picking New Mexico simply because they’re playing at home and, judging by how they played against Texas Tech, the Oral Roberts loss was a wake-up call of sorts.

McNeese State at No. 24 Texas Tech. I know that this is a wacky season and Texas Tech is a wacky team, but surely they can handle McNeese State.

Saturday’s bowl game

AT&T Cotton Bowl: No. 19 Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi. Oklahoma State was overrated for the early part of the season based on their defeat of even more overrated Georgia. However, they’re a solid team and less flaky than Mississippi.

Saturday’s basketball games

No. 1 Kansas at No. 19 Temple. It’s interesting that this is Kansas’s first real test since the Memphis game back in November. There are many that think there’s an upset brewing in this one, but I think the Jayhawks will pull it out–if they stay focused and don’t sleepwalk through most of the game.

Texas A&M-CC at No. 2 Texas. Where does Texas find these opponents? On the back of matchbook covers or in Facebook ads?

Louisville at No. 3 Kentucky. What’s the deal with Louisville? They’ve lost some clunkers that should have been easy victories for them. Based on the records of both teams, this should be an easy win for Kentucky, but I think it’ll be a battle until the end, when Kentucky wins by a few points only.

Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Syracuse. WTF, Pittsburgh? You lost to Indiana. Geez.

No. 8 Villanova at Marquette. This should be another great Big East battle and I think it’ll go down to the wire, mainly because Marquette’s playing at home, they’re not as bad as their loss to N.C. State would indicate, and Villanova really hasn’t beaten any heavy hitters yet.

Notre Dame at No. 10. Connecticut. When I look at some of the ranked teams (cough: New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington, Butler, Florida State: cough, cough), I have to wonder why Notre Dame, with only two losses, isn’t ranked. No matter. I think the Huskies will pull this one out.

No. 11 Michigan State at Northwestern. I still can’t believe that Northwestern lost to Illinois. It seems surreal to me.

Oregon at No. 16 Washington. I feel a Washington sweep of the entire state of Oregon is highly possible this week, despite my lack of faith in Washington’s true abilities.

No. 20 Georgia Tech at Charlotte. As usual, Georgia Tech is ranked too high. Meanwhile, Charlotte beat Louisville. This should be a close game and my gut says an upset is brewing.

No. 22 Gonzaga at Illinois.  Not Gonzaga again!!! I wish they’d fall out of the Top 25 so that I’m not stuck with their busting up my predictions like they do my NCAA brackets each year. I’d also like my lost coin back.

Milwaukee at No. 23 Butler. I’m sick of Butler, too.

Sunday bowl games

None.

Sunday’s basketball games

No. 18 Clemson at No. 7 Duke. Clemson doesn’t stand a chance against Duke, especially at Cameron. Actually, no one stands a chance against Duke at home until February.

South Dakota at No. 12 Kansas State. While I’m still on the fence about Kansas State’s ranking, I don’t see an upset here.

No. 13 Georgetown at DePaul. I’m old enough to remember when this might have been a good game. Alas, the 2009-2010 Blue Demons are nothing like their predecessors and are now considered among the Big East’s worst. If Georgetown can’t beat them (even in enemy territory), then they’re seriously bad.

No. 15 Ohio State at Michigan. While I don’t think Ohio State’s that good, I do think they can beat Michigan.

UTEP at No. 24 Texas Tech. This should be a great game. Both teams have only lost two games. I still can’t quite get a handle on Texas Tech long enough to decide how good they are and I don’t think this game will help. UTEP with the upset.

Happy New Year, one and all!

I’m late, I’m late…for a very light prediction slate

I wonder if anyone in or at this sold out bowl has Pacific Life Insurance.

Okay, I have exactly 37 minutes to get these predictions out. That’s when three of the four Top 25 basketball games being played tonight begin. The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl begins at 8:00, so I need to get started.

Tonight’s bowl game: Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

No. 20 Arizona vs. No. 22 Nebraska. This is a really tough one to predict. Both teams did pretty well in historically tough conferences and Nebraska almost eliminated Texas from the No. 1 vs. No. 2 game (I’m refusing to call it the National Championship game because that would be an insult to the real national championship games played each year).  Both teams also had some inexplicable losses. For Arizona it was Washington and for Nebraska it was Iowa State. (I also think that their loss to Virginia Tech is questionable.) Given that how teams play in bowl games rarely reflects their season of play because the bowl games are usually a month after their last game of the season, I tossed a coin for this one. Nebraska won.

Tonight’s basketball games

Albany at No. 9 North Carolina. Historically, UNC plays horribly on Wednesdays (and Sundays in February). Historically, Wednesday is a really bad day for me–the kind of day where I stub my toe on my desk chair, find that I forgot to pay my gas bill and they’ve cut it off,  and my daughter announces she got a speeding ticket for going 83 in a 65. The only ways to ensure that UNC wins is for me to watch the game in China or Australia where it’s already Thursday or wait and check the scores on Thursday. Since I can’t travel to China or Australia (see how Wednesdays suck?), I’ll check the score in the morning.

No. 10 Connecticut at Cincinnati. I think Connecticut is a good team this

Al's sniffed out an upset for the Huskies.

year, despite their drubbing at the hands of Duke–a win that Duke will ride all the way to their undeserved 2nd seed in the East. However, because of real or imagined (I vote for real) parity in the Big East, I’m sensing an upset here. Some will say a shocking upset, but Cincinnati is also pretty good–and they’re playing at home.

Texas-Arlington at No. 11 Michigan State. Kudos to Michigan State for playing a really tough schedule. They hung tight against Texas and for a while there, they looked like they might win. Fortunately, they have a breather tonight. And for all those people wondering why they’re ranked and predicting that they’ll end up in third place in the Big 10, I’m warning you now: this team will only get better as the season progresses.

No. 19 Temple at Northern Illinois. Kudos to Temple for traveling to the home of the Northern Illinois Huskies. Unfortunately, playing at home will not help the poor Huskies, who have only won two games this year. Temple’s doing really well this season and it’s nice to see them back in the Top 25. I always think they’re in the Big East though; it’s always a shock to realize they’re in the Atlantic 10.

Okay, I now have 11 minutes to add some photos to this post, so I’m signing off until tomorrow.

New evidence surfaces in the Mike Leach saga

Earlier today, Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach was fired over an issue in which he reportedly locked a concussion-ridden player in a utility shed during a practice. The incident initially caused Leach to be suspended for the team’s upcoming bowl game before the university went further and decided to end Leach’s reign in Lubbock.

Intrigued by the mysterious circumstances, EJSIC special investigators descended upon the city in an attempt to uncover new evidence into why the university would fire the most successful coach in the program’s history. After following several leads, investigators finally caught a break.

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Known pervert Mr. Herbert.

It appears the player, one Adam James, was not upset about being thrown into equipment shed. It was who he had to share it with. James was locked into the wooden structure with none other than Family Guy creep Mr. Herbert. Leach and coaching staff contacted the cartoon pervert in what they believed was an honest attempt to “scare the boy straight.”

James has often been described by the coaching staff as a player who complains about medical issues. Obviously, it got to a point where the staff felt a new direction needed to be taken in order to prevent future occurrences.

A representative of Mr. Herbert spoke to us about the issue while the elderly man enjoyed an afternoon siesta: “My client was looking for some strange and when he was called by the fine folks in Lubbock, he became giddy at the opportunity. My client also felt it would be an easy mission: he didn’t need Tylenol PM or a Hummer with a child-friendly jingle. In fact, he was told there would be no mess to clean up and that the player was suffering from a slight concussion which meant he was unlikely to remember any of the events.”

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Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

Clearly, the pirate coach overlooked the mental capacity of Adam James. A source close to James told EJSIC off the record: “Adam is trying to prevent the rumors of Mr. Herbert from being disseminated. It’s kinda embarrassing to be gossiped about with an 80 year old pervert. It’s like that Buffalo Bob guy and Joe Dirt: ‘Nothin’ happened.’”

The attorney for the accused molester closed our conversation by adding: “I’m not sure if there’s any physical link to my client being in Lubbock. It’s a long way from Quahog and I’m not sure if any bodily fluids were deposited inside the alleged victim. It basically boils down to hearsay.”

New details are expected to emerge in the coming days. Meanwhile, the future of the Texas Tech football program hangs in limbo as its prized coach appears to have coached his last game.

Luke Warm Linkage

How about "A-Rod-Smoker"?

How about A-Rod-Smoker?

Sports

POP

Politics

The NFL Playoffs Part 2

Yesterday, we previewed the NFC playoff picture and the various implications of week 17. Now, we will take a look at the AFC which is far more complicated with seven teams still alive for the two wild card slots.
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1. Indianapolis Colts 14-1 (clinched home field)
2. San Diego Chargers 12-3 (clinched first round bye)
3. New England Patriots 10-5 (clinched AFC East)
4. Cincinnati Bengals 10-5 (clinched AFC North)
5. New York Jets 8-7
6. Baltimore Ravens 8-7
7. Denver Broncos 8-7
8. Houston Texans 8-7
9. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7
10. Miami Dolphins 7-8
11. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-8

Teams 5 through 11 are all still alive for slots 5 and 6. The Jets and Ravens hold the inside advantage on the two wild card spots. If they win Sunday, they are in no matter what.

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However, we shall start with the Indianapolis Cunts. The organization decided resting starters for the playoffs, which has yet to work for this particular franchise in recent history, was far more important than going for the undefeated season. Sunday they play Buffalo which means fans will be treated to the probable MVP Peyton Manning playing one drive in order to keep his consecutive starts streak in tact. After that, he’ll freeze his nards on the sidelines of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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The San Diego “Super” Chargers are arguably the hottest team in football. They’ve won about 100 straight games (or so it seems) and Phillip Rivers has transformed into one of the elite QBs in the league. And perhaps most importantly, San Diego is 4-1 in its last 5 games against the Colts including eliminating Indy from the playoffs each of the last two seasons. They play the horrible Washington Redskins on Sunday.

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The New England Patriots have won three straight games and clinched the AFC East this past Sunday. Now, they play the still-alive Houston Texans and I am betting on Belichick’s boys to not let the Texans have a free win like the Cunts would do. The Pats don’t have much to gain in this game except for keeping the integrity of the game which would be ironic given “spygate” a few seasons back.

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No longer the “bungles,” Cincinnati has claimed the AFC North and is set to host a home playoff game. Their fans are hoping to avoid the ills of their last playoff game which saw star QB Carson Palmer taken out of the game on the first snap. This Sunday they play the Jets in New York. Will they pull an Indy and give Rex Ryan’s team two straight free victories?

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Speaking of Rex Ryan and the J-E-T-S, the coach considered his team dead two weeks ago. Now they sit in the driver seat for a wild card spot. As previously stated, they host Cincinnati Sunday who has nothing to play for. The Jets could be a very dangerous team in the playoffs with their staunch defense. What holds them back is the often-times erratic play of rookie QB and So-Cal heart throb, Mark Sanchez.

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Despite losing to division rival Pittsburgh last week, the Ravens still control their own destiny. They travel cross-country to play the Oakland Raiders which looks really good on paper except for Oakland has pulled off a few upsets already this season. With that said, if the Ravens don’t shoot themselves in the foot like they did Sunday, they should be in.

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Denver is in the midst of another late season collapse. There’s numerous ways they can make the playoffs, but all the team needs to be concerned with is winning its own game first. They play division rival Kansas City who would like for nothing more than to spoil the Broncos playoff chances.

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Houston looked dead a few weeks back, but thanks to an anti-Denver run, the Texans are in the middle of it going into the last week. Admittedly, they need a lot of help, but it is the NFL and anything can happen. They host New England which gives them some advantage playing at home. Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league and will provide a mismatch against the weak New England secondary. They can pull the upset, but anyone who has followed this team the last few years knows that staying over the .500 hump has been a problem for the Texans.

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It’s slightly amazing that a team which endured a 5 game losing streak in October and November is still alive for a playoff spot, but that is the AFC wild card race. The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers need quite a bit of help. They’re the last of the 8-7 teams by virtue of the NFL’s tie-breaker rules. They travel to south Florida and play the clinging-to-life-support Miami Dolphins. Can they sneak in?

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Speaking of Miami, Tony Sparano’s team has looked great at times this season and not so good at others. Miami really hurt any realistic chance this past Sunday with a flat first half against the Texans. They need to concentrate on winning and then praying like a death row inmate after their game is over.

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Another team on life support is the 7-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. Basically, they get into the playoffs if they win and every other team ahead of them finishes with an 8-8 record. Then, the Jags own the tie-breaker over all of them by virtue of in-conference record. They also need to do a lot of praying.

Confused? It’s really not all that complicated and I tried to spare some of the excruciating circumstances that could take place. All of this should provide some great football to watch, though. You can guarantee the teams in the hunt will be playing all out for their shot at the playoffs.

The fridge is empty. Time to work for food.

The Many Names Bowl is being played in Orlando tonight.

I hope everyone had as enjoyable a Christmas holiday as I did. The only damper for me was UNC’s predictable loss in the “I Can’t Beat N.C. State Bowl.” The loss depressed me so much that I couldn’t even turn on my laptop until this morning.

Okay, not really. My mother and sister were in town for the holidays and I took a few days off. Also, I’m finally getting used to UNC being a huge disappointment in every bowl they play (you have to remember that I was at UNC when  Lawrence Taylor was there and we beat teams like Michigan back when they were good). I still hold out hope that if we lose to N.C. State again next year, then we, like State, will have nothing to look forward to but Spring Practice at the end of the season. What’s the point of going to a bowl if you can’t ever win them?

Tonight we have a bowl game featuring two ranked teams and quite a few basketball teams in the Top 25 are playing tonight. As usual, Georgia Tech, whose players apparently have to be in bed by 8 p.m., caught me napping and have already played and beaten the Winston-Salem State Rams. So, I’ll stop rambling before another game comes on and roll out some predictions.

Tonight’s Bowl Game: Champs Sports Bowl

No. 15 Miami vs. No. 25 Wisconsin. Okay, I decided to look up this bowl because I don’t remember much about it and here’s what I found:

The Champs Sports Bowl features a Big Ten Conference representative against a representative from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Held at Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, the Champs Sports Bowl has had many different names and title sponsors over the years. Former names include the Blockbuster Bowl, Carquest Bowl, MicronPC.com Bowl and more.

I couldn’t think of a more fitting bowl for two teams that have had all kinds of ups and downs this season. At one point, each looked like they could easily be ranked in the top 10, but they both had disappointing losses toward the end of the season–Miami to UNC and Wisconsin to Northwestern.  I thought about picking Wisconsin because of my respect for Mr. Sensei, but I realized that every time I’ve picked them to win, they haven’t. So, Mr. Sensei, the Badgers will probably win to spite me and dash my feelings that Miami is just a tiny bit better than Wisconsin.

Tonight’s basketball games

Belmont at No. 1 Kansas. Now that they’re not unanimous no. 1s any more, this would be a good time for Kansas to blow a team off the court. Belmont’s only lost four games, but they haven’t played anybody, so this should be a no brainer.

The Running Bulldogs won't be much of a match for the Longhorns.

Gardner Webb at No. 2 Texas. Everybody’s favorite cupcake is about to wrap up their December nightmare of a schedule. Having been tasted by UNC and devoured by Duke, they now find themselves at the mercy of Texas. Expect no crumbs, folks.

Hartford at No. 3 Kentucky. Of all the cupcakes that Kentucky’s played, Hartford is the cupcakiest. They’ve only won two games and they’ve lost to teams like the Quinnipiac Bobcats. They did beat Marist, though. If Kentucky doesn’t win by 30 points or more, I’ll be shocked.

No. 4 Purdue at Iowa. I’m slightly suspicious of any highly-ranked Big 10 team that’s not MSU in late February with good reason (tOSU anyone?), but Purdue seems to be the real deal. They should have no trouble with the hapless hawkeyes.

No. 5 Syracuse at Seton Hall. It’s time for me to come clean. I’m an ACC fan who enjoys watching Big East basketball. The Big East is my second favorite basketball conference. For me, watching them play is like watching gangster movies–even though the life is foreign to me, it’s fascinating. Thus, I’m looking forward to watching this game. Syracuse continues to play some of the best basketball in the land, but Seton Hall is spunky and have their eyes on a big win. I don’t think they can do it, though.

Marquette at No. 6 West Virginia. I almost smell an upset here. Marquette isn’t quite as bad as their performance OOC indicates. However, because they lost to N.C. State, I think they’ll run out of steam before they can put a 1 in West Virginia’s loss column.

T. J. Robinson & Co. are among a long line of Duke's December and January victims.

Long Beach State at No. 7 Duke. How great would it be if Long Beach State, the team that gave Kentucky a game, upset Duke? Unfortunately, Duke is now on its inexorable annual march to a five-or six-week period without a loss, which is long enough for ESPN to start talking about how “Duke is back,” before they lose to Boston College in Boston on February 6. So, sorry, LBSU, no upset for you.

Cleveland State at No. 12 Kansas State. Cleveland State has been dying to upset somebody and played it close with West Virginia. I think they might actually pull it off against Kansas State. Of course I picked Alabama to upset Kansas State and look how well that worked out for me.

No. 24 Texas Tech at No. 17 New Mexico. This is my game of the day. First, I’d like to thank New Mexico for proving to me that their appearance in the Top 25 was a joke and losing to Oral Roberts. Texas Tech was also upset by Wichita State, but Wichita State is a more respectable loss, seeing as they only have one loss. For that reason, I’m giving the game to Texas Tech.

South Carolina State at No. 18 Clemson. Talk about teams that don’t deserve their rankings and Clemson is another one that comes to mind. They’re going to hover around No. 16 – No. 20 until they start embarrassing themselves sometime in early February, like so many ACC teams (UNC included) tend to do. But tonight, they get the win.

Well, that’s it for today’s games. I’ll be back tomorrow. I know, I know, try to keep down the loud cheers–you’re in your mom’s basement and she’s going to wonder what you’re doing.