AFC Playoff Scenarios (After Week 14)

December 9th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The NFL playoff hunt is in full stride as teams are battling to get every victory possible. Every loss and every win is huge this time of the year because one game can make or break the entire team’s season. Take a look at what teams are in, who still has a chance, and what some need to do to be playing in the postseason. We break down the AFC playoff picture as the NFL season winds down:

Tennessee Titans (12-1) – The Titans have solidified their playoff hopes by clinching the AFC South this past weekend and also sealing a first round bye. Tennessee controls their destiny in the playoffs in trying to capture home field advantage. The Titans simply have to beat Pittsburgh in two weeks or win 2 of their last 3 games to rap up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They hold the best record in the NFL and look ready to make a deep playoff run.

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) – Pittsburgh owns the 2nd best record in the AFC at 10-3 and winner of 4 straight games. The Steelers have a huge game with Baltimore this Sunday. If Pittsburgh wins, they will clinch the AFC North and guarantee themselves a playoff position. Pittsburgh is in great shape, but has some tough games to close out the season. A win this weekend is a must considering they will battle Tennessee in two weeks. The Steelers would have to lose their last 3 games and then some other teams would have to finish strong for Pittsburgh to be kept out of the postseason.

Denver Broncos (8-5) – Denver has all but clinched the AFC West division. The Broncos just need to get one more victory or even a tie would seal the deal. Also, a loss from the San Diego Chargers in any of their last 3 games would officially put Denver into the playoffs. You can basically count the Broncos into the playoffs given the weakest division in the AFC. Due to that fact, the Broncos will most certainly be playing in the first week of the postseason and there are zero chances for them earning a bye.

New York Jets (8-5) – Two weeks ago the Jets looked to easily make the playoffs as they owned a two game lead in the AFC East. After losing two straight games to weak teams, New York finds themselves in a 3 way tie for the division with Miami and New England. The Jets will have the chance to greatly improve their odds when they take on Miami in the final week of the season. With a fairly easy schedule from here on out, New York must be thinking they have to win out to make the playoffs. If they lose two games, it might not be enough considering Baltimore and Indianapolis hold better records in the wildcard picture.

New England Patriots (8-5) – The Patriots could be in the best position to come out ahead of that 3 way dog fight in the AFC East. New England benefits because Miami and New York will play each other and one of those teams are sure to score a loss. New England has the chance to win the next 3 games if they can manage to pull off a victory over the Cardinals at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots other two games showcase struggling teams such as Buffalo and Oakland. Like the Jets, New England needs to run the table or at least win 2 out of 3 to have a shot.

Miami Dolphins (8-5) – Miami has a chance to make the playoffs? After only winning one game all last year, the Dolphins have a chance to win the division and make the playoffs. Sounds crazy, but Miami is actually playing the best football out of everyone in the AFC East. The Dolphins get New York in what seems to be the game that could decide who makes the postseason in the final week of the season. The Dolphins have San Francisco and Kansas City left on the schedule and there is definitely a possibility they could close out with 3 more wins. Miami has won 6 of their last 7 games and will need at 2 more, most likely 3.

Baltimore Ravens (9-4) – Baltimore will play in their biggest game of the season this Sunday when they basically play for the division championship. If the Ravens lose, Pittsburgh will clinch the AFC North. Still regardless of this weekend, Baltimore still has a good chance to make the playoffs. Their record ties with Indianapolis for the best teams for the wildcard spot. Baltimore has a tough road to get their through Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Jacksonville. If the Ravens can pull out two of those victories, they will be in.

Indianapolis Colts (9-4) – Do not count out the Colts. Peyton Manning has led a late season charge winning 6 straight games and Indianapolis is in the middle of the playoff battle despite being written off after a 3-4 start. The Colts get the Lions next week and one must consider that a win given that Detroit is still winless this season. Indianapolis can win 2 out of their last 3 games and make the playoffs through a wildcard position. Considering the way Peyton and the offense has come on in the 2nd half on the season, the Colts could surprise some teams in the playoffs as well.

The following teams are completely eliminated from the AFC playoff picture:
Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs

The following teams aren’t eliminated but have absolutley no chance: Buffalo Bills

Be sure to check back for the NFC breakdown in the next day or two…


Top 10 Most Interesting Bowl Game Previews

December 8th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The College Football Bowl Schedule has now been released and we look forward to an exciting college football postseason. The Holiday season looks to bring a number of big football match-ups and conference showdowns. While all the Bowl games look to be exciting, we break down the top 10 Bowl Games to watch over the Holidays.

Hawaii Bowl10.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu, HI)
Hawaii Warriors (7-6) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-6)

The Hawaii Warriors will stay on the island the postseason as they host the Fighting Irish. The Irish barely made it into the postseason and will be fighting to end their NCAA record 9 straight bowl games losses. The Warriors played very well to end the season while the Irish only won once out of the last 5 games of the season. The Hawaii bowl has not been very popular for the media over the years, but Notre Dame should bring some attention to the island this time around.

Champs Sports Bowl9. Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando, Florida)
Florida State Seminoles (8-4) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (7-5)

The Seminoles were the class of the ACC for much of the early season, but fell off a bit down the stretch. The Noles won 6 of their first 7 games, but simply ran out of steam late in the year. Wisconsin went through a tough middle season stretch losing 4 games in a row but recovered towards the end of the year nicely. The Badgers failed to score any impressive victories this year in the Big 10 or outside the conference for that matter. The advantage should go to Florida State in this game considering Wisconsin has struggled against strong defenses plus the Seminoles stay inside the state and will not have travel very far.

Outback Bowl8. Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL)
South Carolina Gamecocks (7-5) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4)

The Outback Bowl has had a history of great games between the SEC and the Big 10. South Carolina defeated Ohio State in their last two trips to the Outback Bowl in 2000 and 2001. Iowa ruined Penn State’s chances at a National Championship this season with a 24-23 victory. The Hawkeyes closed out the season pretty well winning 5 of their last 6 games. This game should be a low scoring affair showcasing two of the better defenses in college football. South Carolina should have the advantage if they can keep from turning over the ball which has been their problem all year. Still, this game has the makings to be a very physical SEC vs. Big 10 battle.

Gator Bowl 7. Konica Minolta Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL)
Clemson Tigers (7-5) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4)

The Clemson Tigers rebounded very well from their early season meltdown. The Tigers started the year ranked #9 in the nation, but things quickly fell apart. Tommy Bowden resigned as Coach leaving the team to interim coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers ended the year strong winning 4 of their last 5 games and earned Swinney the Head Coach Job at Clemson. Nebraska on the other hand had a solid season from start to end. The Cornhuskers 3 of 4 losses came from teams ranked in the top 7 in the country at that particular time. This game will be fun to watch because anything could happen. Nebraska could hold the slight edge considering they have an offense that tends to score a lot of points while Clemson has been subject to inconsistency.

Fiesta Bowl6. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Arizona)
#3 Texas Longhorns (11-1) vs. #10 Ohio State (10-2)

This game probably has a sour taste for Longhorn fans considering they may feel they should have had a shot to play in the National Championship. The Longhorns were kept out of the Big 12 and BCS Title Game due to the BCS System which has failed miserably with the number of quality football teams this season. Texas beat Oklahoma but the computer ranking placed Oklahoma in the title game. Texas has the ability to play with anyone in the country and will be the favorite over the Buckeyes. Ohio State will not be playing in a National Championship this year as they have over the past two seasons when they were beat in both games by the teams from the SEC. The Buckeyes will bring a tough defense and strong running attack, but doubtfully will have the power to keep up with the Longhorns offense.

Poinsettia Bowl 5. Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego, CA)
TCU Horned Frogs (10-2) vs. #9 Boise State Broncos (12-0)
This particular match-up has the makings to be a great game. Boise State is one of only two undefeated teams left in college football along with Utah. This game will be a grudge match when the Boise State offense meets a stout TCU defense. The Horned Frogs two losses this season came from Oklahoma and a 3 point loss to Utah. TCU is a very physical team that will give the Broncos a tough time. Boise State has been strong on both sides of the ball this season and has a very dangerous scoring offense that can strike quickly. The stage is set for a very exciting game as two different styles of football meet. Boise State tends to score a lot of points while TCU games are usually low score defensive struggles. Boise State should be the favorite, but TCU perhaps will be prime for the upset. Anybody could win this one.

Sugar Bowl4. Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA)
#4 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) vs. #7 Utah Utes (12-0)

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will not get to play for a National Title after losing the SEC Championship. However, the Crimson Tide will get a chance to do what no team has done this season in defeating Utah. The Utes ended the year as one of only two undefeated teams in America earning them an at-large BCS Bowl bid. Alabama will bring the power of the SEC to do battle with the Mountain West Champions. The game has important implications regarding the current BCS System. If Utah could pull of the victory, the definitely have the argument they should have been giving the chance to play in a National Championship despite their relatively easy schedule this season. Alabama should be able to win this game in the trenches, but as Boise State proved against Oklahoma, anything can happen.

Cotton Bowl3. AT&T Cotton Bowl (Dallas, TX)
#8 Texas Tech (11-1) vs. #20 Mississippi Rebels (8-4)

Texas Tech ended the season with one loss just like other Big 12 teams Oklahoma and Texas. The Red Raiders lost the conference tie-breaker considering they were ranked around #10 in the nation after suffering a blowout loss to Oklahoma. I have this game ranked higher than where many would rank this game because I feel it stages an interesting matchup between the SEC and Big 12. The Red Raiders were ranked as high as #2 in the nation this year with their explosive high scoring offense. Houston Nutt has done a heck of a job at Mississippi this season leading the Rebels to an 8-4 record with more wins than the previous two seasons combined. The Rebels are the only team to beat Florida this season as well. While Texas Tech will be the favorite, Mississippi will try to come up with a defensive scheme to confuse the Red Raider offense. One of the best in the Big 12 takes on an SEC team to be considered middle of the road in their conference.

Rose Bowl2. Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
#5 Southern Cal Trojans (11-1) vs. #6 Penn State Nittany Lions (11-1)

A pair of one loss conference champions square off in Pasadena, California. USC won the Pac-10 Title this season while Penn State grabbed the Big 10 crown. Both teams have a legitimate argument that they deserved attention for playing in the National Championship, and one team will try to justify that argument. USC is playing as good of defense as anyone in college football while Penn State was a single point away from having a perfect season. This clash of titans will take place in the home of the Trojans where they will be playing in their 4th straight Rose Bowl. Considering the level of play the Trojan defense has played this season, I give the advantage to USC in this matchup.

1. BCS National Championship (Miami,FL)
#1 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) vs. #2 Florida Gators (12-1)
Despite the BCS controversy, the two best teams in the National will be playing in college football’s biggest game. The Sooners and the Gators separated themselves from the rest of the college football world with their huge blowouts and explosive offense. This title game will be extremely exciting to watch and you can bet that there will be a bunch of points scored. Two of the best scoring offenses in the nation will square off and all eyes will be watching this epic battle. The Sooners will be gunning to dethrone the SEC from the 2 year reign as National Champions while Florida will be trying to win their 2nd Championship in 3 years. Oklahoma broke a NCAA record to end the season becoming the first team ever to score 60 points or more in 5 straight games. Florida blew through the SEC with blowouts like no team has in a very long time and sealed the deal with a tough SEC Championship victory over Alabama. It seems like neither team is possible of being defeated considering how well they have been playing late in the season. The interesting matchup to watch will be if the Gators defense be able to slow down the Sooner offense. I would like to give the advantage to Oklahoma, but the SEC has proven that they are a conference that breeds National Titles.

Looking for professional advice for this year’s bowl games? The expert handicapping team of Henry Ness and Wade Sterling finished the 2007-08 bowl season with a 19-6 record in 10* releases and were a perfect 5-0 in the BCS bowls last season. Click Here to purchase premium college bowl picks from the expert sports handicapping team of Bankroll Sports. 

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“ACC vs Big East” College Basketball’s Best Conference

December 7th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The ACC has been the elite conference in college basketball for numerous years. The ACC holds two teams ranked in the top 5 in all-time NCAA wins. The Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tarheels are amongst the most winning programs in NCAA history and they still hold strong a top the ACC today. These two programs along with the supporting cast of teams like Maryland, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and others have made this the greatest conference in college basketball for many years. Today the ACC Empire still stands, but there is a new empire being built on the horizon.

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The Big East has become perhaps the most difficult conference in all of college basketball. In today’s rankings, the Big East is proud to represent 7 teams in the Top 25 rankings according to the Associated Press Polls. They can easily make their case for having the best conference top to bottom in the nation. Also, the Big East has 4 teams ranked in the top 11 teams in America. #2 Connecticut, #3 Pittsburgh, #7 Notre Dame, and # 11 Louisville make up the front runners for the Big East and believe me nobody wants to have these teams on their schedule. The talent and success level in the Big East has been steadily rising every year and now is at a point to be considered America’s best college basketball conference. However, the ACC is not ready to hand over the crown.

#1 North Carolina leads the ACC and their dominance has caught attention early in the season. The Tarheels are clearly the early favorite for winning the National Championship. North Carolina handled one of the better Big East teams in Notre Dame defeating the Fighting Irish by 15 points in a one sided affair. The ACC sports 4 teams in the Top 25 lead by #1 North Carolina and #4 Duke. Meaning the Big East and ACC represent the top 4 teams in college basketball today. The ACC has the history of National Titles and legendary success on their side, but do they hold the advantage for the future?

The best conference debate is clearly a two horse race between the ACC and the Big East. Together the two conferences nearly account for half of the Top 25 teams in America. While some may be hesitant to claim the Big East has overtaken the ACC, the Big East has the slight lead going 4-3 heads up with the ACC so far early in the season. Last season, North Carolina went further in the NCAA Tournament than any other school from the two conferences. However, the Big East had three teams to make the sweet sixteen compared to just one for the ACC. The year before in 2007 again only one ACC team made the sweet sixteen (North Carolina) while two Big East teams made the sweet sixteen with Georgetown going to the final four. Last year, the Big East put twice as many schools in the NCAA Tournament compared to the ACC with 8 teams making the dance.

History shows that the ACC has 10 National Championships to their resume. While many do not consider the Big East with the legacy equal to that of the ACC, the Big East also holds 10 National Championships to their resume. Surprising? That’s right both conferences have the exact same numbers of National Titles. However, since 1990 the ACC has won 6 Championships compared to only two from the Big East. Perhaps this may answer why so many people are quick to rank the ACC ahead of the Big East. The Dukes and North Carolinas over the years have been the most consistent powerhouses in college basketball and that is why the ACC could still hold the slight edge.

The Big East is emerging more and more every season. The conference has nearly reached the point of no return. They are so close to winning a couple National Championships and declaring their status as the best in college basketball. Only time will tell if they will be able to elevate their conference status and one of their elite teams score a Championship. For now, the season goes on with both conferences raising the bar for talent level and success.

The ACC remains a top the polls with the very talented North Carolina Tarheels while their #4 Duke Blue Devils suffered their first loss and will drop in the rankings. The Big East eagerly awaits the Tarheels to slip up, and allow their two teams to become #1 and #2 in the NCAA. The season has just begun, but the excitement is building for March madness already. Will a school from the ACC or the Big East be able to make a deep run in the postseason? Will the ACC be able to achieve more success in the NCAA Tournament this season or will the Big East keep striving? No matter how you rate either conference’s history or status, you must pay attention to the war between the ACC and the Big East to be considered the best in college basketball.


Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny “Pac-man” Pacquiao

December 5th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao will go head to head in an epic boxing match this Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV. The fight marks the biggest boxing event this year between two of the sports most popular fighters. De La Hoya has been a superstar in the boxing world for many years while Pacquiao has held 4 different major titles and is trying to make his name known around the world.

Oscar De La Hoya is a Pacquiao vs. DeLaHoyavery accomplished veteran and will be fighting down in the 147 pound weight class for the first time since 2001. De La Hoya has been scrutinized by critics for fighting Pacquiao and not fighting someone more closely to his 154 or 160 pound division. The fight marks the heaviest division Pacquiao has ever fought in his career at the 147lb mark. De La Hoya should have the advantage in the fight considering this is closer to his normal size weight class and his history of battling top competitors at the welterweight division. A victory for De La Hoya will not come easy as Pacquiao is known as pound for pound the best boxer on the planet.

Manny Pacquiao is a multi-division champion like De La Hoya who has a quick and aggressive style of boxing. Pacquiao started his career fighting at 106 pounds and has stayed in the 120 pound range his entire career. However, this Saturday he will step on the scales and weigh in nearly 30 pounds heavier than normal. Pacquiao likes to stay right outside his opponents reach and then attack with quick flurries of jabs and hooks staging the battle to be very exciting to watch. The tough southpaw will be trying to end this fight before the scheduled 12 rounds.

This fight is being called the “Dream Fight” by boxing enthusiast everywhere. In the midst of a recession and the emergence of mixed martial arts, this fight is expected to bring in one of the biggest revenues in recent years. HBO is televising the event exclusively on Pay Per View. The fight is expected to exceed 1.5 million viewers and possibly reach the 100 million dollar revenue which would definitely get the world of boxing back in the spotlight.

At 35 years of age Oscar De La Hoya has a career record of (39-5) with 30 knockouts. De La Hoya is figured to have the power to land another knockout if he can land a big punch this Saturday night. However, Pacquiao known as “Pac-Man” is one of the fastest hitters in boxing. Pacquiao has a (47-3-2) record with 35 wins coming by way of knockout. Pacquiao has the ability to throw an array of punches as fast automatic machine gun making him one of the most dangerous opponents to face.

De La Hoya will hold the size advantage as previously mentioned, by nearly 4 inches in height and 6 inches in reach. De La Hoya will step into the right at 5-10 ½ compared to Pacquiao standing at 5-6 ½. De La Hoya reach is measured at 73 inches while Pacquiao will be fighting with a 67 inch reach. The fight will be an epic battle of power vs. speed, and a young gun vs. the veteran. The fight could be a making or breaking point in the boxing career for Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya has reached 35 years of age and many think he has already hit his prime and now is slowly going down hill, while Pacquiao would love to score a high profile victory. This fight could play out huge when considering the two boxer’s careers.

Keys to Victory…
Oscar De La Hoya must keep out of range from Pacquiao’s quick burst of flurries. De La Hoya should have the advantage with footwork in the fight and will be looking to land a big punch when the opportunity is right. De La Hoya is predicted by many to be able to knock Pacquiao out if he can land a big punch early, but if this does not happen De La Hoya must be smart and try to wear down the young boxer and take him into late rounds.

Pacquiao must do the near opposite and come trying to stun the wily veteran. If Pacquiao can come out and land a few quick punches in a row, then he has the speed to surprise the world. Pacquiao must be able to stay away from De La Hoya’s reach advantage and pick his spots to attack. Pac-man will be looking to retain his stature of being the best pound for pound boxer in the world when he goes for the knockout Saturday night.

Current Fight Odds…
As for the current fight odds, the Bookies are favoring the “Golden Boy” De La Hoya in the fight to be able and handle the young aggressive but perhaps undersized Pacquiao. Bodog Sportsbook has numerous ways to bet on the fight including live round by round betting. Bodog‘s current odds have De La Hoya is listed as the favorite with a betting line of -170; while Pacquiao listed at +140 as the underdog. The over/under total for rounds in the fight is set at 9 ½ rounds. Taking the under odds are listed at -190 and if you decide to take the over the odds will stand at +155.

Fight Prediction:
A loss here would really tarnish De La Hoya’s amazing career and reputation. The veteran will most likely find a way to get it done with a probable knockout in the 7 or 8th round. Take De La Hoya and bet it at Bodog who currently has the best line at -170. Most books are leveling off at-180 for the ‘Golden Boy’. Enjoy the fight.


Part 2 BCS Controversy Continues…

December 2nd, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

Earlier in the week I discussed how crazy the BCS has gotten keeping the Texas Longhorns out of the Big 12 Championship game. Instead of Texas, Oklahoma is playing in the Big 12 Championship despite the Longhorns 45-35 win this season. The national media has assumed that the winner for the SEC Championship game would go on to play in the BCS National Championship. However, taking a closer look at the computer ratings things may be even more bizarre.

BCSThe Florida Gators are ranked #2 in the AP top 25 polls but come in as the #4 team in the BCS rankings. The popular speculation is that Florida would go play in the National Championship given they could defeat #1 Alabama. Although, with last weeks jumbled BCS rankings keeping Texas out of the Big 12 Championship a win for Florida still might not be enough to put them in the National Championship.

Texas is ranked #3 in the BCS Standing slightly behind Oklahoma at #2. The Sooners jumped the Longhorns last week in the standings by .0128 and that put the Sooners into their conference championship game over Texas due to the Big 12 tie breaking rules. The Big 12 rule for tie breakers state that the highest rated team in the BCS will win the tie breaker. So despite Oklahoma not be able to defeat Texas head to head, they will still represent the Big 12 South in the championship game.

Can you imagine how mad the state of Texas has been this week? Texas has been kept out of the Big 12 Championship game and their chance to earn a spot in the National Championship game was taken away as well. Texas has been ahead of Oklahoma since the BCS ranking were released until last week which mattered most. Last week BCS standings determined the fate for the Longhorns, considering the Big 12 Championship will be held this weekend. Texas again felt like their chances have been stolen from them and there was nothing they could do to prevent it.

Not so fast Texas faithful, taking a closer look at the BCS rankings things might actually not be so bad. Keeping Texas out of the Big 12 Championship may have in fact benefited them as much as playing and winning the championship game. Florida trails Texas in the BCS Standing by .0328 a pretty fair margin. Florida is an 8.5 point favorite to defeat the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide. Assuming Florida does win the SEC Championship, it may not be enough to jump the ahead of a Texas team that does not have to play this weekend. The Longhorns computer ranking should not change while Florida’s ranking may not be able to overcome the .0328 deficit placing Texas and most likely Oklahoma in a rematch for the National Championship.

Florida trails Texas by .160 in the computer rankings for the BCS while holding pretty even with Texas in the Harris and USA Today polls. If the Gators do pull off the victory over Alabama, they will definitely get some help from the Harris and USA Today polls which are human voters. However, the computer rankings that has to do with other things like strength of schedule will still favor Texas, but by how much? The Gators would have to receive a big help from the computers to overtake the Longhorns.

Then again things may not be that controversial after this weekend if Alabama wins and Oklahoma loses. However, that will be tough for both of those things to happen. Florida as mentioned before is more than a touchdown favorite to win their game while Oklahoma is a two touchdown favorite to win the Big 12. In a perfect world, Alabama and Missouri will win and the BCS will again dodge another missile targeted to take down the BCS rankings forever. However, this year it will not happen. The chances of both Alabama and Missouri winning are bout as good as Ohio State beating an SEC team in a championship game. Even if Alabama can pull of the win over Florida, Texas fans will still feel like they have been robbed of an opportunity to play for the title. An opportunity they have earned.

Be sure to check out the free and premium college football picks from the expert handicappers at Bankroll Sports.  The Bankroll Sports handicapping duo of Henry Ness and Wade Sterling will have premium releases for a variety of this weekend’s Conference Championship games.  Click here to purchase premium service picks from our handicappers.  Also, be sure to check out our ncaa football top 25 previews for this weekend’s college football matchups.

Posted in College Football   Comments Off on Part 2 BCS Controversy Continues…

ACC/Big 10 Challenge

December 2nd, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The 10th annual college basketball ACC/Big 10 challenge is now underway. The ACC has dominated this affair winning the last 9 challenges in the series. The last two years in the challenge the ACC has won 8 of the 11 events. The ACC will be favored again to win the challenge this year, but there will be a number of interesting match-ups to watch. Also find out which games our experts like the Big 10 to be a factor in.

ACC Big 10Last night in the first game for the ACC/Big 10 challenge, the #22 Wisconsin Badgers edged out the Virginia Tech Hokies 74-72. The Badgers win gets the Big 10 rolling in the right direction to try and finally win the challenge. Junior guard Trevon Hughes hit a game winning shot with just under 2 seconds in the game to seal the deal for the Wisconsin victory. The win marks the first of many exciting games to come.

The Challenge will hit full swing tonight as a slate of teams will take the floor. Highlighting the night will be the #5 Duke Blue Devils and #10 Purdue Boilermakers. (9EST) The Boilermakers have perhaps the best team in the Big 10 right now and they will try to pull off what would be a big win. Duke has been rolling fairly well this season winning 6 of their 7 games by 15 points or more. Purdue has already suffered one loss to #13 Oklahoma this season and definitely does not want to lose two games this early in the season.

Tuesday, 12/02 Games:

Clemson at Illinois 7:30PM ET – A pair of undefeated teams plays tonight in Clemson Tigers and Illinois Fighting Illini. Both teams considered middle of the road will square off with one team getting their first loss of the season. Clemson is the favorite for the game and considered the better all around team. Illinois has struggled with field goal % and 3 point shooting in some under rated games. Look for the ACC to roll in this one unless the Illini can pull of the upset.

Ohio State at Miami 7:00PM ET – This game will be a classic for size against speed in college basketball. Miami has some lethal guards led by Jack McClinton scoring 15 points per game. Ohio State has a really big team and will look to control the inside. Once again the ACC team in considered the favorite while the Big 10 will be looking to surprise.

Iowa at Boston College 7:00PM ET – The Boston College Eagles have won their last 3 games in the ACC/Big 10 challenge and look to make it four in a row. Their contest with the Iowa Hawkeyes showcases two very similar teams. These two teams may not have the ability to make a run at conference championships, but both teams do have the ability to pull of some big wins this season. Both teams shoot the ball well, but who will be able to pull out the win?

Virginia at Minnesota 8:30PM ET – The Cavaliers are one of bottom dwellers in the ACC while Minnesota is standing at a season record of 6-0. Minnesota is considered the favorite to win the game and improve the undefeated mark. Golden Gophers guard Lawrence Westbrook is an extremely gifted player that leads a strong offensive front for Minnesota. Watch and see if Minnesota can score a much needed win for the Big 10.

Wednesday, 12/03 Games:

Indiana at Wake Forest 7:00PM ET – Wake Forest should have a big advantage in this game giving their extremely talented team. Wake is one of the best teams in the ACC this season while Indiana is expected to struggle in the Big 10. Indiana is 3-2 this season with two of those wins coming against Division II opponents. The Demon Deacons on the other hand are a perfect 5-0 led by sophomore guard Jeff Teague averaging 22 points per game. Hopefully the Hoosiers can keep this game close.

Michigan at Maryland 7:30PM ET – Both teams have one loss this season and this contest looks to be an exciting one. Michigan upset #4 UCLA early this season while Maryland had an upset of their own knocking off #6 Michigan State rather convincingly. Michigan may have the slight advantage with their excellent back court in guard Manny Harris (23ppg). Watch for this game to go right down to the wire.

Florida State at Northwestern 9:30PM ET – The Noles are undefeated at 7-0 mark while Northwestern is 3-1. Florida State will be the favorite for the ACC to win yet another game, but I believe Northwestern could be primed for the upset. The Wildcats are on of the top field goal percentage teams in the country and I believe their slow pace style they sometimes find themselves playing present some problems for FSU. Interesting contest between two teams considered not so good in their conferences.

Penn State at Georgia Tech 7:30PM ET – Georgia Tech has been struggling against some pretty week teams despite their 4-0 record. The Nittany Lions are 6-1 on the season and love to shoot the ball from the 3-point range. Georgia Tech should be able to over power the Penn State defense scoring down low while controlling the boards. Advantage Georgia Tech

#1 North Carolina at #12 Michigan State 9:00PM ET – The #1 ranked Tarheels will take the court against #12 Michigan State in perhaps the most anticipated game in the tournament. North Carolina averages a 2nd best 96 points per game and are in the top 20 in nearly every offensive category led by 2008 Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough. Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan is a force to be reckoned with averaging 17 points per game and 5 rebounds. The Spartans lone loss of the year came from another ACC opponent the Maryland Terrapins. Michigan State will look to even the score against the ACC in the last game of the Challenge.

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Controversy in the Big 12

December 1st, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The latest BCS Standings are out and they have left the Big 12 in turmoil. The Texas Longhorns have been ahead of the Oklahoma Sooners all season in respect to the BCS Standings for their 45-35 victory over the Sooners this season. However, this week Oklahoma jumped ahead of Texas in the BCS standings to the #2 position and it was a critical point in timing. The Sooners jump in the BCS places them as the team to represent the Big 12 South over Texas leading up to this week’s conference championship. Oklahoma’s jump over Texas in the BCS Standings has ultimately changed the entire Big 12 Championship match-up and perhaps has changed the entire National Championship game as well.

The Big 12 tie breaker rule for sending teams to the conference championship is determined by the higher ranked team in the BCS Standings. Showing how important a week of voting could be for the entire nation, the Sooners jumped Texas in the standings this week by a mere .0128. This change in the BCS Standings put the Oklahoma Sooners in Big 12 Championship game this weekend. This is where the controversy comes in. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma this season 45-35 in Lubbock, TX. Most conferences use the way teams play head-to-head during the season to decide a tie breaker at the end of a season if teams end with the same records.

Big 12 South teams Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech all ended the season with a record of 11-1, and 7-1 in the conference. Texas Tech was blown out by Oklahoma 65-21 and that ruined any hopes they had in playing for the Big 12 Championship despite they ended with the same record as Texas and Oklahoma. Texas on the other hand seemed in control of their own destiny considering they had beaten Oklahoma head to head. With that 45-35 victory over the Sooners, the Longhorn nation thought the BCS would favor them ahead of Oklahoma if the two teams did in fact end the season with the same record. The BCS did favor the Longhorns every week the new standings were released until the week that mattered most.

This has caused an uproar in across the nation for college football fans. The last week BCS voting has changed everything from here on out for the college football season. Texas or Oklahoma either one would be the favorites against Big 12 North Championship contender Missouri. Missouri has lost 3 games already this season and just benefits from being on the weaker side of the conference. Texas is now left out of their own conference championship game despite deserving to be playing more than the Oklahoma Sooners. Not only does it effect the Big 12 Champion, but if Oklahoma wins the Big 12 Championship they will go on to play for the National Championship where again perhaps Texas should be not Oklahoma.

The winner of the Big 12 title game will meet the winner from the SEC Championship between #1 Alabama and #4 Florida in the National Championship game. Texas still has a chance to make the National Title game if Oklahoma losses, but again the Sooners will be fairly reasonable favorites to pick up the victory. Whoever makes it to Miami, Florida to play in the National Title game from the Big 12 will finally have a chance to dethrone the SEC in it’s quest for a 3rd straight National Championship.

One thing this Big 12 incident is achieving is it has given the NCAA even more reason to finally put some type of playoff system into college football. College football fans have been desperately begging for a playoff system for years and this could be a turning point. A playoff system would prevent this exact situation from happening again where a team that perhaps has earned their right to play for a National Championship will be left out. In 2004, the Auburn Tigers went through the SEC undefeated and never got the chance to play for the National Championship despite going undefeated in the toughest conference in college football. Despite the much needed change for BCS and College Football, the season goes on. Still Texas is left on the outside looking in.

Despite not being in the Big 12 Championship, many think Texas still has a good shot to play in the National Championship. Find out what some of the experts are expecting in the Big 12 Championship and the chances Missouri has in upsetting the Oklahoma Sooners.