Posts Tagged ‘rankings’

Ranking The Best College Football Conferences

November 22nd, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in College Football   5 Comments »

It is time to spark up the ever going debate that consumes college football fans every year towards the end of each season in the age old question who is the best conference in college football? There is little doubt that the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has held their reign for at least 3 years running now considering they have won 3 straight National Championships with stacked talent in the conference. However, recently this debate has emerged again as the SEC is having a less than dominating season from teams top to bottom in the conference. There are many of the experts giving Pac-10 the new title of America’s top football confidence, but if you say that why is the ACC out of the picture since they have more teams ranked higher in the BCS Standings? All of this debate going on while the SEC still has the number 1 and 2 teams in the BCS Standings means it may be all irrelevant and we will explain as we break down the Top 5 conferences in college football.

#6. big ten

Despite having promising pre-season rankings each year, the Big Ten seems to disappoint year after year. This season has not been any different, but the Big Ten still holds 4 teams in the top 25. However, there is still nobody from the Big Ten that is an elite team and the way they stack up against the out of conference teams have been flat horrible. Ohio State has already clinched the Big Ten title, but even the top team in the Big Ten could not hold off the USC Trojans earlier this year. The Trojans are not even capable of keeping pace in their own conference in the Pac-10 which makes it look even worse for the Big Ten’s sake. The Buckeyes were beaten by Purdue of all teams this year as well which would translate in SEC terms in like Kentucky beating Florida and when is the last time you have seen that happen? Even Northwestern who holds down the middle of the Big Ten was beaten by Syracuse this year which is a team that has just 1 win in the Big East. Sure the emergence of the Hawkeyes could have helped this season, but they are just another team that can only stack up against opponents in the own conference. The Big Ten has famously been one of the most over rated conferences in America and last year’s 1-6 Bowl record is a testament to that claim. Expect similar results in the 2009-2010 Bowl Games again this year.

#5 Big 12

Outside of Texas is there anyone else in the Big 12 that can truly contend on a weekly basis? Oklahoma State was hyped as one of the most dangerous teams in the preseason but an out of conference loss to Houston set the Cowboys back and they have been truly to catch-up all season. The down year from Oklahoma may be the biggest fall of the conference this year with out of conference losses to BYU and Miami. To make matters worse, the Big 12 North is an embarrassment. Nebraska is a solid team with a defense that keeps them in all games they will take part in. However, the rest of the division is fairly terrible. Kansas State will finish at 2nd in the Big 12 North at 6-6 on the year that included a loss to Louisiana-Lafayette of all teams. Iowa State was completely crushed by Iowa and so was Texas A&M by Arkansas. The Big 12 has been fueled by their powerful offenses over the past few years that could overcome the average defenses from around the conference. However, the offenses have struggled as a whole while the defenses have still allowed giving up big numbers. There is still a ton of talent in the Big 12, but they simply do not have it together this season and it has showed outside the conference. At least there is still hope Texas can bring home a National Championship if they can manage to get by Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship.

#4 big east

The Big East is definitely having a better than expected season with the help of the Cincinnati Bearcats who are still undefeated holding down a 5th place ranking. Pittsburgh is also another top 10 team that is really developing into a solid team. The entire Big East is pretty solid from top to bottom. However, there is still not any team in the conference that has recorded a really huge type of win. Pittsburgh was knocked off earlier in the year by a North Carolina State team that is barely treading water in the ACC. West Virginia was taken down by Auburn who is also below averaging in the SEC. Outside of South Florida and Rutgers capture a pair of wins against the ACC, there is not much to brag about. However, the Big East has definitely shown that they can contend and have a lot of teams with promising futures. The Big East held a 4-2 mark in Bowl records last year and they will give opponents a tough time again this year. However, the entire conference still has a way to go before they will be strong enough to put an undefeated team into a National Championship over some of the other BCS conferences as will be an example when the Bearcats are left out of the title game this year if they can remain unbeaten.

#3 acc logo

There may be some passionate fans that try and put their beloved ACC above the rest of the nation’s conferences, but that is a far from accurate claim. The ACC may have more teams ranked higher in the top 25 BCS Standings than other schools, but breaking down some of their top teams is far from impressive. The Clemson Tigers clinched the Atlantic Division at 8-3 on the season, but this is the same team that was beaten by a 2-9 Maryland team who was also beaten by Middle Tennessee State. Boston College was beaten by 6-5 Notre Dame and Florida State has had plenty of struggles this season which included an out of conference loss to South Florida. The Coastal Division has some promising hope led by 7th ranked Georgia Tech who continues to tear opponents apart by the triple option attack. Virginia Tech and Miami have shown signs of strength this season, but have also shown signs of inconsistency at the same time. The high BCS rankings may be thanks to their own strides from the upper echelon teams over the inferior teams in the conference. If you put the ACC up against the Pac-10 or SEC top to bottom and had each teams square off against each other in a number 1 vs. number 1 to number 2 vs. number 2 scenario, there is no way the ACC would have a winning record against either conference. Until they can produce some consistent National Championship contenders they will not have a chance to have the best conference in America simply because the likes of Duke, Virginia, Maryland, and others dampen those chances each year.

#2 pac 10

The Pac-10 may have more teams from top to bottom that is as strong as or stronger than any conference in America. The majority of the teams in the conference can hold their ground with nearly anyone, However, the top teams in the Pac-10 have not stacked up well in their out of conference battles. Oregon has the chance to win the Pac-10 outright next week when they play Oregon State as the top team in the conference, but they were beaten by Boise State in the opener this season. Oregon State could still make claim towards a Pac-10 title, but they also were beaten by one of the nation’s top teams in Cincinnati out of the Big East. Stanford who has helped bring up the strength of the conference this season also suffered a less than stellar out of conference opponent to Wake Forest who has been fairly below average in the ACC. Of course there are 6 different teams that hold the top 15 most difficult schedules in America meaning they are much harder to keep teams from beating up on each other. However, even if you give the Pac-10 the edge with more talent top to bottom, they still do not have a National Championship contender. It is also very irrelevant to make the claim that they would have a National Championship contender if they did not beat up on each other because the SEC has been able to overcome that void for the last 3 years with the best conference in football. However if you stack up the entire SEC vs. Pac 10 in letting each team square off against each other, the Pac 10 will hold their ground and possibly even have the slight edge.

#1 sec

All of this debate can rage on as it will most likely through the media and fans from around the nation. However as the debate continues, the SEC will be locking down their 4th straight National Championship. There is not any other team on neither Florida nor Alabama’s level and until a conference can take the National Title Trophy away from the SEC the argument is pointless. Sure the conference as a whole may be down, but what is down when you are talking about the SEC. Having a down year in the SEC is not having 4 to 5 teams in the top 15 instead of just having 4 ranked in the top 25. Outside of Mississippi State and Vanderbilt who hold down the bottom in both divisions, the entire SEC has just 2 out of conference losses and both fell in the first two weeks of the season. The SEC may have found a way to equal out in terms of records this season, but they stack up plenty well against the other top teams around the country. Last year, the SEC ranked 2nd in Bowl Games at a 6-2 mark behind the Pac-10 which was 5-0. Not only did they put more teams in Bowl Games than any other conference in America, they proved how good they were against other teams around the country that were supposedly on an equal level. It is no different this season, but the top 25 polls that impacts popular perception simply does not have as many teams from the SEC as usual and that is why people think the SEC is no longer the best conference in college football. However, they will have another stellar record in the postseason and they will bring home a 4th consecutive National Championship which will again silence all other conference claims as the best in the nation yet again.

MLB Baseball Power Ratings (As of 8/18/09)

August 19th, 2009 by Rodney James (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in MLB Baseball   Comments Off on MLB Baseball Power Ratings (As of 8/18/09)

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*Baseball Records & Team Rankings are as of 8/16/2009
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1. New York Yankees (74-44) – The Yankees have extended their lead in the American League East to a robust 7.5 games. New York is a season high 30 games over .500 heading into Monday’s action. The Yankees failed to complete a four game sweep on the road in Seattle, but three out of four on the road will work for Girardi and the team. Derek Jeter has bumped his batting average to .323, as Mark Teixeira leads in power numbers with 30 homeruns and 86 runs batted in. Free agent pick-up C.C. Sabathia leads the pitching staff in wins (13), earned run average (3.64) and innings pitched (170.2). The Yankees continue their long road trip on Monday when they start a three game series in Oakland. After they finish out west, New York will come back home to take on the Red Sox in a huge late August four game set at Fenway Park.

2. Los Angeles Angels (70-45) – The Angels have won seven of their last ten games, and kept their lead in the American League West at 4.5 games over the Texas Rangers. Los Angeles is 36-22 when playing at home, while winning 34 of 57 on the road. The Angels got a big boost when outfielder Torii Hunter came back from the disabled list. He went 2-6 in his return, which was his first game since July 7th. Juan Rivera has taken over as the teams batting leader, with a .312 batting average, while Kendry Morales has blasted 25 homeruns on the season. Jered Weaver has been the pitching staff for the Angels, winning 12 games, while pitching 153.0 innings. The Angels will finish their four game series at Baltimore on Monday. Los Angeles will look to finish the series winning the final three games. After they leave Baltimore, the Angels will head to Cleveland and Toronto for three game sets.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (70-48) – At 22 games over .500, the Dodgers are shaking off the ideas of their struggles. Despite going 4-6 in their last 10 games, Los Angeles continues to lead the NL West by 5 games over the Colorado Rockies. After losing two of three to Arizona, the worst news of the recent weeks has been the loss of starter Jason Schmidt and then the scary injury of Kuroda, after getting hit in the head with a line drive. Matt Kemp is leading the offense with a .311 batting average, while Andre Ethier has hit 24 homeruns, and drove in 80 runs. Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw are doing the job on the mound for LA, as Billingsley has picked up 11 wins, and Kershaw has an ERA under 3.00. The Dodgers will start a huge three game series with the Central leading St. Louis Cardinals starting on Monday. Following that series, the Cubs will come to Los Angeles for a four game weekend series.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (65-49) – The Phillies continue to have a strangle hold on the National League East. Philadelphia currently sits 4.5 games ahead of a surging Marlins team and 5.5 ahead of an Atlanta team that will not go away. The Phillies, mysteriously are 29-29 at home this year, but have won 37 of 57 road games. Philadelphia has feasted on NL Central teams winning 18 of 24 overall against the division. The Phillies are getting quality offensive performances from Shane Victorino (.313), Ryan Howard (30 homeruns, 91 runs batted in) and Chase Utley (82 runs scored). The Phillies, after finishing a two out of three series at Atlanta, will now come home and take on the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three game series, starting Tuesday. The Phillies will then play at New York for a weekend set.

5. Texas Rangers (66-50) – With a weekend series win over the Boston Red Sox, the Rangers took over the American League Wildcard. Currently, Texas leads Boston by just ½ game. Texas is trying to figure out what they are going to do at the catcher position, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia going on the disabled list. Ian Kinsler has continued his hot season, as he has hit 25 homeruns, and drove in 66 runs. Kevin Millwood has been solid on the bump for Texas, with 9 wins, a 3.31 earned run average, and leads the team in innings pitched with just under 150. The Rangers will look to continue their winning streak on Monday when they host the Minnesota Twins in the first of a four game series. Following Minnesota coming to town, the Rangers will head Southeast and take on the Tampa Bay Rays on the road.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (67-52) – The St. Louis Cardinals have been the hottest team in the Major Leagues as of late, as new comers Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa have keyed the offense, along with triple crown candidate Albert Pujols. Pujols is leading in homeruns and runs batted in, and third in batting average coming into Monday’s play. Along with the MVP candidate, St. Louis also has a shot at crowing a CY Young, with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Carpenter is second in the NL in earned run average with a 2.27 and Wainwright leads the NL in wins with 13. The Cardinals lead the NL Central by a full five games, which is the high water mark of the season for St. Louis. The Cardinals will head west, starting on Monday as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, for a three game series. Over the weekend, the Cardinals will look to repeat the three game sweep of the San Diego Padres, this time for four, and on the road.

7. Boston Red Sox (66-51) – The Red Sox dropped the final two of the series at Texas to fall to half game behind Texas for the American League Wildcard lead. Boston is looking for more production from slugger David Ortiz, who has yet to get going in 2009. Jason Bay, after his quick start, continues to lead the team in homeruns, with 25, and runs batted in (83). Boston will begin a three game series on the road in Toronto on Tuesday, and then start a huge weekend series with the New York Yankees on Friday. Boston currently trails the Yankees by seven games in the American League East.

8. Colorado Rockies (65-53) – The Rockies remained in the lead in the wildcard standings, after picking up a win over the Florida Marlins on Sunday. Colorado leads the wildcard over San Francisco by one game, and the Marlins by two. Todd Helton leads the team in batting with a .318 average. Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe are also putting up solid numbers, with 23 homeruns and 70 runs batted in. Colorado is looking towards the NL West crown, as they come into Monday’s action just five games behind the Dodgers. The Rockies and Nationals will start a three game series in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, and then Colorado will come back home and play a huge three game weekend series with the Giants.

9. San Francisco Giants (63-54) – The Giants remain just six games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, but more importantly, just a game behind Colorado within the wildcard. San Francisco has two of the top five candidates for Cy Young in righthanders Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. Cain leads the team in wins with 12, while Lincecum leads all NL pitchers with a 2.19 earned run average. Rookie first base men Pablo Sandoval leads the team in hitting (.329), homeruns (18) and runs batted in (70). The Giants will finish their four game series on Monday at Citi Field in New York, before heading for three in Cincinnati, followed by a three game set at Colorado.

10. Tampa Bay Rays (63-54) – After losing in the first game of a three game series with Toronto, the Rays bounced back and won the final two. Tampa Bay is turning towards the wildcard, as they trail the New York Yankees by ten full games. Tampa Bay is led in hitting by Jason Bartlett and his .342 batting average, while Carlos Pena leads the team with 31 homeruns. Tampa Bay starts a six game home stand on Tuesday with three against Baltimore and three against Texas.

11. Florida Marlins (63-55) – The Marlins continue to make a run at the Phillies, and also the Rockies and Giants for a playoff spot. Florida has been sparked by all star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who is leading all NL batters with a .356 batting average. Ramirez also leads the team with 82 runs batted in, 76 runs scored and 22 stolen bases. Dan Uggla leads the Marlins with 21 homeruns. Josh Johnson is putting up near Cy Young numbers, with 12 wins and an earned run average under 3.00. Florida will start a road trip on Tuesday, at Houston, followed by a three game, weekend series at Atlanta.

12. Atlanta Braves (61-55) – Atlanta continues to hang around within the National League East, trailing both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Florida Marlins. The Braves are coming off losing two out of three to the Phillies over the weekend. Atlanta has been sparked offensively by Yunel Escobar, with a .298 batting average, and Chipper Jones, who leads the team with 15 homeruns. The Braves play a single game against Arizona on Monday, and then start a three game series at New York, followed by a home weekend series with the Florida Marlins.

13. Detroit Tigers (62-55) – The Detroit Tigers, at 7 games over .500, have a 2.5 game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central. The Tigers are coming off a two out of three series win at Kansas City, including a 1-0 shut-out, followed by a 10-3 thrashing. Miguel Cabrera leads the Tigers in all three of the top offensive categories, with a .330 batting average, 24 homeruns and 70 runs batted in. Justin Verlander has bounced back with a solid 2009 season, leading the team with 13 wins, and an earned run average of 3.28. The Tigers will start a home series with the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, and then head out on the road in Oakland over the weekend.

14. Chicago Cubs (60-55) – The Chicago Cubs were rained out of Sunday’s action with the Pittsburgh Pirates. That was a game the Cubs wanted to play, as Chicago had won the first two of the series and were poised for a third. The Cubs have fallen five back of the St. Louis Cardinals within the National League Central. The Cubs look to have a few of their starting pitchers back, including Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano. Chicago will start a West Coast road trip on Monday, starting with three against the San Diego Padres, and then four over the weekend at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

15. Seattle Mariners (61-57) – The Mariners, at four games over .500, have fallen to 11 full games behind the AL West leading Los Angeles Angels. Seattle avoided a four game on Sunday with a 10-3 win over the Yankees. Ichiro Suzuki leads the team with a .360 batting average, while power hitter Russell Branyan leads in power numbers with 27 homeruns. Felix Hernandez leads the starting pitching staff with 12 wins, and leads the team in innings pitched, with 165.1. The Mariners will start a road trip on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers , and then a weekend series at Cleveland.

16. Chicago White Sox (60-58) – The White Sox remain three games behind the Detroit Tigers at the top of the American League Central. The White Sox failed to sweep the series at Oakland, falling on Sunday 3-2. Alex Rios coming over from Toronto was supposed to spark plug the offensive unit for Chicago,  but two games after being shut-out, the White Sox scored just two runs. Mark Buerhle has been outstanding for Chicago, leading the team with 11 wins, an earned run average at 3.78, all while leading the team in innings pitched, with 166.2. The White Sox will start a series with the Kansas City Royals on Monday, then take Thursday off before hosting the Baltimore Orioles at home over the weekend.

17. Milwaukee Brewers (58-59) – The Brewers were on the verge of climbing over .500, and sweeping divisional rival Houston, until the bullpen faltered and they dropped an 8-5 decision. The Brewers are in third place in the NL Central, eight games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Ryan Braun is having another outstanding season with a .316 batting average, while Prince Fielder is challenging Albert Pujols at the top of the NL runs batted in category with 105, along with 30 homeruns. The Brewers and Pirates will hook up for a three game set in Pittsburgh, starting on Monday, and following an off day on Thursday, the Brewers and Nationals will meet in the nation’s capital.

18. Houston Astros (57-61) – The Astros have fallen to fourth place, and 9.5 games out of first place in the NL Central. Houston avoided a sweep, and snapped a three game losing streak on Sunday, banging around the Milwaukee bullpen to win 8-5. Houston is getting quality performances from aging veterans such as Miguel Tejada (.313 batting average) and Carlos Lee (19 homeruns, 74 runs batted in). Michael Bourn leads all national league players in stolen bases with 44. Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez have both been solid of late in the front end of the rotation, as Oswalt leads in innings pitched with 148 and Rodriguez leads in wins (11) and earned run average (3.05). The Astros will start a home stand  this week, as they host the Florida Marlins for three and the Atlanta Braves for three.

19. Minnesota Twins (56-61) –  The Twins, despite the fact that they are 5 games under .500, continue to sit within striking distance of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. The Twins have struggled of late, losing two straight, and seven of their last ten. The latest rash of losses came in the final two games of a three game series with the Cleveland Indians. Joe Mauer is leading all of baseball with a .377 batting average, and Justin Morneau continues to put up impressive numbers with 28 homeruns, 94 runs batted in, and 79 runs scored. The Twins and Texas Rangers start a four game series in Arlington on Monday, followed by a trip to Kansas City over the weekend.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (55-61) – The Blue Jays continue to hover just below .500, at 55-61. The Blue Jays have lost two straight games, and six of their last ten overall. Toronto traded their top offensive star, Scott Rolen to Cincinnati at the trading deadline, and recently traded outfielder Alex Rios to the White Sox. Aaron Hill leads the team in homeruns with 28 and runs batted in with 80. Roy Halladay continues to lead the starting pitching staff, with 13 wins, an earned run average of 2.65 in 173 innings pitched. The Blue Jays and Red Sox will meet up in Toronto for a three game series spanning from Tuesday – Thursday, and then welcome to Angels to town for a weekend set.

21. New York Mets (55-62) – The Mets simply cannot wait for the 2009 season to end. After the rash of injuries struck New York throughout most of the season, the biggest blow came this weekend when David Wright was struck on the head by a Matt Cain fast ball. Manager Jerry Manuel says Wright may be out for the season, which would probably be a wise choice at this point. Wright was leading the team in batting average, with a .324 batting average, along with runs batted in (55), runs scored (74), and stolen bases(24). New York is eight games under .500 and 12.5 games behind the front running Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets are 5 games over .500 at home, but have really struggled, to the tune of 23-35 on the road. The Mets will finish a four game series with the Giants at home on Monday, and then welcome the Braves and Phillies to down for the rest of the week.

22. Arizona Diamondbacks (54-64) – The Diamondbacks are trying to make a push near the .500 mark in the final month and half of the season. Arizona sits at ten games under .500, and 16.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Arizona is 28-35 when playing at home this season, and 26-30 on the road. The Diamondbacks failed to complete a three game sweep at home over the Dodgers on Sunday, but taking two out of three is a quality series. Arizona will play a single game on Monday at Atlanta, before heading to Philadelphia for three games and Houston for three more over the weekend.

23. Oakland Athletics (52-65) – The Athletics took the final game of a three game series with the White Sox, to salvage one in the three game series. Now the Athletics will host the AL leading New York Yankees for a three game series. Oakland is getting quality production from Adam Kennedy, as he is batting .287. Jack Cust leads the team in homeruns with 16 and runs scored (63). Dallas Braden leads the team in wins, with 8, but is under .500, with 9 losses. The Athletics lost Braden with a rash on his left foot on August 8th, but appear to have Justin Duchscherer on his way back on Tuesday.

24. Cleveland Indians (51-66) – The best of a poor state of Ohio baseball, the Cleveland Indians are 15 games under .500, and 11  games out of first place. The Indians trail third place Minnesota by 5 games, and 8.5 behind second place Chicago. The Indians are 25-36 when playing at home, and 21-35 on the road. After getting drubbed 11-0 by the Minnesota Twins in the first of a series, the Indians knocked off the Twins in the final two games. The Indians will host the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and then host the Seattle Mariners on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

25. Cincinnati Reds (50-67) – After competing until early July, the Reds have fallen completely flat on their face. Cincinnati has dropped to 17 games below .500, and just 3.5 games ahead of divisional doormat Pittsburgh. The Reds have lost starting pitchers Micah Owings and Edinson Volquez to injury, and also offensive stars Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen. The Reds have continued to be puzzled by the poor performances of starting pitcher Aaron Harang. Harang leads the team with 155.1 innings, and also an earned run average of 4.35, but is 6-14 on the season. Brandon Phillips has become the offensive star for the Reds, leading in batting average (.262), runs batted in (75) and runs scored (58). After losing three of four to Washington, the Reds will host the San Francisco Giants for a three game series, starting Tuesday. After the Reds host San Francisco, they will head on the road for a three game set in Pittsburgh.

26. Baltimore Orioles (48-69) – The Orioles once again look to finish at the bottom of the rugged American League East. Baltimore trails the leading Yankees by 25.5 games, but more importantly for Baltimore, they trail fourth place Toronto by 7.5 games. On Monday, the Orioles traded first basemen Aubrey Huff to the Detroit Tigers. Baltimore will finish a four game series with the Angels on Monday, and then start a road trip that begins Tuesday at Tampa Bay and extends to a weekend series at Chicago.

27. San Diego Padres (49-70) – The Padres dropped their fourth straight game on Sunday, this time in walk-off fashion. After leading 5-4 heading into the ninth inning, Heath Bell surrendered a fifth run, and then allowed a two run homerun to Cardinals rookie Colby Rasmus. The win for the Cardinals completed a three game sweep of the Padres. San Diego has fallen to 21.5 games behind  the Dodgers, and five games back of Arizona, for fourth place in the NL West. The lone bright spot for the Padres has been first base men Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez leads the team in batting average (.279), homeruns (32), runs batted in (72) and runs scored (70). San Diego will host the Chicago Cubs for three starting on Monday, and then a re-match with the Cardinals, for four, over the weekend.

28. Kansas City Royals (46-71) – The Royals look to just play the role of the spoiler in the American League Central. Kansas City will see an array of games with the Central Division leader Detroit, and teams chasing them, Chicago and Minnesota. Kansas City just came off a Sunday win against Detroit. Now the Royals will start a three game series in Chicago with the White Sox. After taking Thursday off, the Royals will host the Minnesota Twins over the weekend.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates (46-70) – The Pirates have fallen to 24 games under .500, and dropped 19.5 games back of the Cardinals, in last place in the NL Central. Pittsburgh is just 18-43 when playing on the road this season. Pittsburgh was saved by the rain, in what separated them from what looked like a three game sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates will start a three game series at home with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, and then after taking Thursday off, the Pirates will host the Reds for a three game series over the weekend.

30. Washington Nationals (43-75) – The Nationals are approaching coming out of the bottom, as they are just three wins behind Pittsburgh. Washington has won three in a row, and seven of their last ten, coming off three wins in a row over the Reds. The Nationals main problem has been winning on the road, as they are a lowly 17-42 overall on the road. The big news for Washington is the questionable nature of if they can sign first overall pick Stephen Strasburg, as Monday evening is the deadline. The Nationals are getting solid numbers from power hitting outfielder Adam Dunn. Dunn has proven his ability this season, hitting 31 homeruns and driving in 86 runs. The Nationals are 24.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. Washington will start a three game series on Tuesday with the Colorado Rockies. Following that series, Washington will host the Milwaukee Brewers for three games over the weekend.

MLB Baseball Power Ratings (As of 7/26/09)

July 27th, 2009 by Rodney James (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in MLB Baseball   Comments Off on MLB Baseball Power Ratings (As of 7/26/09)

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*Baseball Records & Team Rankings are as of 7/26/2009
(Our Next Major League Baseball Power Ratings Update: 8

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (62-35) – The Dodgers continue to play red-hot baseball, leading their division by a full week of games. Los Angeles has used the right arm of Chad Billingsley to lead the way. Billingsley is 10-5 with a 3.72 earned run average for Los Angeles. Offensively Andre Either, Matt Kemp, Orlando Hudson and Juan Pierre are aiding Manny Ramirez in the middle of the lineup. The Dodgers had won seven of ten games, before Sunday’s affair with Florida. The Dodgers will head west, and play a ESPN game Monday evening in St. Louis, in part of a four game set with the Cardinals, and then travel to Atlanta for three games over the weekend with the Braves. The Dodgers could really put a damper on both Colorado and San Francisco in August, as they travel to both cities for three game sets during the month.

2. New York Yankees (60-38) – The Yankees defeated the Athletics on Sunday and finished a 3-1 set, and have now won 9 of their last 10 games overall. Derek Jeter has led the way offensively, upping his team leading batting average to .319.  Mark Teixeria is making a run for the AL MVP with his 25 homeruns and 71 runs batted in. Off-season acquisition C.C. Sabathia leads the team in wins, with 10, and also earned run average with a 3.67. New York currently leads second place Boston by 2.5 games, while the Rays lurk at 6.5 back. New York is an AL best 35-17 at the new Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will start a road trip on Monday, at Tampa Bay, and then head to Chicago for three games, starting Friday with the White Sox.

3. Anaheim Angels (58-38) – Sunday’s blowout loss to the Minnesota Twins snapped Anaheim’s eight game winning streak. After sweeping a road series at Kansas City, the Angels had won the first two against Minnesota. Hard throwing Jered Weaver has led the pitching staff with 10 wins, to just 3 losses, also compiling a 3.57 earned run average. Chone Figgins has been a spark plug for the offense, leading the team in runs scored (78) and stolen bases (31). Anaheim will continue their home stand on Monday, as the Cleveland Indians visit. After the series with Cleveland, the Angels will fly to Minnesota to play a three game series with the Twins.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (56-40) – After the red hot streak, the Phillies were stopped Friday night by the new look St. Louis Cardinals. Philadelphia rebounded well, picking up 23 runs in two games, to beat the Cardinals in both games. J.A. Happ took his first loss of the season, but the rookie sits at 7-1 on the season. Shane Victorino leads the high powered Phily offense with a .318 batting average, as slugger Ryan Howard has pounded in 72 runs. The Phillies lead the second place Atlanta Braves by 6.5 games in the National League East. The Phillies will now take the road, starting Monday with a three game series at the Arizona Diamondbacks. Following the trip to Arizona, Philadelphia will play four with the Giants, in San Francisco. The Phillies are still in talks with the Blue Jays for their ace Roy Halladay.

5. Boston Red Sox (57-40) – The Red Sox could not finish a three game sweep on Sunday over Baltimore, and fell to 2.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East standings. Boston has got 11 wins from ace Josh Beckett, as he has also compiled a 3.42 earned run average. Dustin Pedroia the 2008 AL MVP is batting .304 for Boston, which leads the team. New comer Jason Bay leads the team in both homeruns and runs batted in, with 20 and 72 respectively. Boston traded disgruntled former shortstop Julio Lugo to St. Louis earlier in the week, also picking up Adam LaRoche from Pittsburgh.  Boston will continue their seven game home stand on Monday, when the Oakland Athletics visit Fenway. After the series with Oakland, Boston will make the trip to Baltimore for a three game weekend set with the Baltimore Orioles.

6. Tampa Bay Rays (54-45) – Toronto used a Scott Rolen three run homerun to avoid the sweep of the Rays on Sunday. Tampa Bay has climbed to within 6.5 games of the front running Yankees. It was an adventurous week for the Rays, who were held to no base runners in the Mark Buerhle perfect game, they next night they turned around and beat Roy Halladay, and then down eight runs to Toronto, Tampa bounced back and beat the Jays 10-9. Jason Bartlett leads the team in batting with a .341 mark, while Carlos Pena leads in homeruns (25) and runs scored (65). Tampa Bay will begin a very important three game set with the first place Yankees on Monday at home. Following the Yankees, the Kansas City Royals will visit Tampa for a three game set over the weekend.

7. Texas Rangers (54-42) – Texas took advantage of a weak Kansas City bullpen on Sunday to gain a little ground on first place Anaheim. The Rangers picked up the 7-2 win, which led to a 2-1 series win. The Rangers got bad news when starting pitcher Kevin Millwood left the game with tightness in his left gluteus.  This came a few days after right hander Vicente Padilla was scratched with flu like symptoms, which was later diagnosed as the Swine Flu. Texas has got great offense from Michael Young, with a .313 batting average, and also Ian Kinsler, who leads the team with 23 homeruns, 59 runs batted in, and 68 runs scored. The Rangers start a seven game home stand on Monday with Detroit and Seattle coming to town for three and four respectively.

8. Colorado Rockies (54-44) – The Rockies got seven sharp innings from Aaron Cook to win the final game of a three game series over the Giants. The win for Colorado pushed their wildcard lead to two games over San Francisco. Colorado is getting excellent production from Brad Hawpe (.322 batting average, and 61 runs batted in), Troy Tulowitzki (18 homeruns, and 56 runs scored) and Dexter Fowler, who has stolen 23 bases. Staff ace Jason Marquis leads the National League with 12 wins. The Rockies start a seven game series on Monday with the New York Mets, for four and then Colorado will travel to Cincinnati for a three game set over the weekend.

9. San Francisco Giants (52-46) – The Giants have struggled of late, losing seven of their last ten, falling to third in the NL West, and two games behind second place, and wildcard leading Colorado. Colorado, after falling in the first game of the series, came back with two straight wins, allowing the Giants just two runs in both games. Pablo Sandoval leads the team in most offensive categories including batting average (.324), homeruns (15) and runs batted in (58). Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have been an excellent 1-2 punch at the start of the rotation, Lincecum with a 10-3, and 2.45 earned run average, and Cain leading the team with 12 wins. The Giants will start a home stand on Monday when the Pittsburgh Pirates come in for three. Following Pittsburgh, the Giants will then face the NL East leading Philadelphia Phillies for a four game set.

10. Seattle Mariners (51-46) – Seattle fell to 7.5 games behind Anaheim after being swept on Sunday by the Cleveland Indians. Seattle was outscored 31-6 in the three games at home. Ichiro Suzuki is the leading hitter for the Mariners with a .358 batting average, while the resurging Russell Branyan has hit 24 homeruns and knocked in 55 runs. Seattle will play a three game home series starting on Monday with the Toronto Blue Jays, before heading to Texas for a four game series with the Rangers.

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11. Detroit Tigers (52-44) – The Detroit Tigers came into Sunday Nights game winners of three straight over second place Chicago. The Tigers won both games of a doubleheader on Friday 5-1 and 4-3, and repeated the 4-3 game on Saturday to move to three games ahead. Miguel Cabrera is making a strong case for AL MVP with a .328 batting average, while Brandon Inge has hit 21 homeruns and knocked in 58 runs. Justin Verlander leads the team with 11 wins, while Fernando Rodney has converted 21 saves on the year. Detroit will start a three game series at Texas on Monday, take Thursday off, and battle the Cleveland Indians on the road on Friday.

12. St. Louis Cardinals (53-48) – After acquiring Julio Lugo and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals picked up a 8-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The win was the first time Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ lost a game. After that, the Cardinals pitching could not get anyone out, allowing 23 runs in two games. The losses for St. Louis dropped them to second place, ½ game behind divisional rival Chicago. Albert Pujols continues to lead the team in all offensive categories, including a .325 batting average, 34 homeruns, 91 runs batted in, 79 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases. Adam Wainwright leads the staff in wins with 10. St. Louis will start a four game series Monday night at home with the West leading Dodgers. Following Los Angeles, the Cardinals will host the Houston Astros, who just swept the Cardinals in Houston last week.

13. Chicago Cubs (51-45) – The Cubs picked up their fourth straight win to place them into first place in the NL Central for the first time since April 21st. Ryan Theriot leads the team in batting, despite hitting just under .300 for the season. Derrick Lee leads the team in homeruns and runs batted in, with 19 and 63 respectively. Ted Lilly leads the starting staff with 9 wins, but was placed on the disabled list recently with left shoulder inflammation. Ryan Dempster is also on the disabled list with a fractured big toe. The Cubs and Astros will start a four game set at Wrigley on Monday, before Chicago heads to Miami for a weekend set with the Marlins.

14. Chicago White Sox (50-48) – After the historic win for the White Sox and left hander Mark Buerhle, the White Sox fell in three straight games to the Tigers. Chicago will look to snap the losing streak, and salvage a game Sunday night on ESPN. The White Sox are three games behind the Tigers, in the division. Chicago is 27-23 when playing at home, and 23-25 on the road. After finishing Sunday’s game at Detroit, the White Sox will head north to Minneapolis to take on the third place Twins. On Thursday, the White Sox and the Yankees will begin a four game set at US Cellular Field.

15. Houston Astros (50-48) – After sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals at the start of the week, and knocking Johan Santana off on Friday, the Astros were not able to complete the huge week, by dropping two straight against the Mets. The Astros are in the running in the NL Central, just two games behind the Cubs at the top. Houston has won 28 of 53 at home this season, and 22 of 45 on the road.  The Astros placed outfielder Lance Berkman on the disabled list on July 24th with a strained left calf muscle. Miguel Tejada continues to hit well, batting .326 to lead the team. Carlos Lee continues to make a move towards 100 runs batted in, as he leads the team with 59. Wandy Rodriguez leads the team in wins with 10, and also has a solid earned run average of 2.72. The Astros will face a huge week ahead of them, as they start a four game series at Chicago against the Cubs on Monday, and in St. Louis against the Cardinals over the weekend.

16. Florida Marlins (51-48) – The Marlins continue to remain within striking distance in both the NL East (6.5 games back) and the NL Wildcard (3.5 games back). Florida is 25-24 at home this season, and 26-24 when playing on the road. Hanley Ramirez leads the team, and the entire National League in batting, with a .346 mark, and also runs batted in (62) and runs scored (58). The Marlins are confident following two out of three wins over the NL leading Los Angeles Dodgers on the road. Florida’s closer Matt Lindstrom has been on the disabled list since June 24th with a right elbow strain, but that has not seemed to dimmer the Marlins hopes’. Florida will host the Atlanta Braves, starting on Tuesday, and then host the Chicago Cubs over the weekend.

17. Atlanta Braves (51-48) – Atlanta is another team that continues to remain within striking distance. Atlanta, at 51-48, remains in a second place tie with the Florida Marlins, 6.5 games behind Philadelphia. The Braves just completed a two of three weekend at Milwaukee in which they were blanked in the middle game, but scored 19 in the other two. Yunel Escobar leads the Braves in batting average, with a .309 batting average, and also runs batted in, with 57, while Chipper Jones leads in homeruns (12) and runs scored (52). Atlanta and Florida will start a three game series in Miami on Tuesday, and then the Braves will host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

18. Milwaukee Brewers (49-49) – The Brewers fell back to .500 on Sunday with a loss to the Atlanta Braves. Milwaukee is continuing to attempt to find ways to become a more consistent team, as they continue to hang around. Milwaukee is just three games behind the front running Chicago Cubs. Ryan Braun leads the team with a .310 batting average, and 67 runs scored, while homerun derby winner Prince Fielder leads in homeruns (24) and runs batted in (86). Seth McClung was the latest Brewer to find the disabled list with a right elbow strain. Milwaukee will hope to get back on track on Monday, as they start a four game series with the Washington Nationals. After the series with Washington, Milwaukee will head west and take on the San Diego Padres for a weekend series.

19. Minnesota Twins (49-50) – The Twins have moved to within one game of .500, despite winning just four of their last ten games. Minnesota sits just 4.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers at the top of the American League Central. Minnesota has won 28 of 48 at home, while losing 30 of 51 on the road. Joe Mauer leads the entire American League in batting with a .366 mark, while Justin Morneau is providing the power, with 24 homeruns, 79 runs batted in, and 67 runs scored. Kevin Slowey, the Twins leader in wins with 10, continues to be sidelined with  a strained right wrist. Minnesota will host second place Chicago on Monday for a three game set, followed by three at home over the weekend with Anaheim.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (48-51) – Have the Blue Jays seen the last of Roy Halladay in their uniform? Halladay pitched Friday against Tampa Bay, and have been rumored as being traded for some time now. As the trade deadline approaches, Philadelphia has made the most noise, in an effort to grab one of the best pitchers in the game. Toronto is in fourth place in the AL East, 12.5  games behind the front running New York Yankees. Scott Rolen leads the team in batting with a .316 batting average, while Aaron Hill is putting up excellent numbers, with 24 homeruns and 67 runs batted in. Toronto will start a road trip on Monday at Seattle, take Thursday off, and play three at Oakland, starting on Friday.

21. New York Mets (46-51) – The Mets are at a break point, with just over 60 games to play, they trail the Phillies by 10.5 games, and the wildcard leading Rockies by 7.5 games. New York bounced back from losing the opener to Houston, by winning the final two games at Minute Maid Park. David Wright has been the lone bright spot offensively for the Mets, leading the team in batting average (.317), runs batted in (46), runs scored (60), and stolen bases (21). Gary Sheffield leads the team in homeruns, with just 10. Johan Santana is 11-8 with a 3.12 earned run average to lead the Mets starting pitching staff. The Mets will look  to keep their winning streak going, and make up some ground on Colorado on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at home. After Colorado leaves town, the Mets will host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three game set.

22. Cincinnati Reds (44-53) – The Reds lost their sixth straight game on Sunday, and fell to 7.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs. Cincinnati scored just 10 runs in the three games, allowing 18. Brandon Phillips leads the anemic Reds offense, with just a .271 batting average, along with 63 runs batted in and 47 runs scored. Bronson Arroyo leads the pitching staff in wins, with 10. The Reds and San Diego Padres will hook up on Monday to start a four game series. On Friday, Cincinnati will host the wildcard leading Colorado Rockies for a three game series.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates (43-55) – The Pirates were blanked for the second straight day by the Arizona Diamondbacks. This came after chasing Arizona ace Dan Haren on Friday evening. Pittsburgh with the loss, dropped to nine games behind the NL Central leading Chicago Cubs. The Pirates are 26-19 at home, but just 17-36 on the road. Pittsburgh traded their top power hitter Andy LaRoche this week to the Boston Red Sox. LaRoche had led the team in homeruns (12), runs batted in (40), and runs scored (46). The Pirates will continue their west coast road trip on Monday at San Francisco, before taking Thursday off, and then coming back home to host the Washington Nationals.

24. Baltimore Orioles (42-55) – The Orioles avoided a three game sweep, and snapped their losing streak with a 6-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday. Baltimore used three runs batted in from Nick Markakis, and an excellent start from pitcher David Hernandez. The win for the Orioles broke an 11 game losing streak at Fenway Park. Adam Jones leads Baltimore in batting with a .302 mark, while Markakis leads in runs batted in, with 63. Baltimore will head home, starting on Monday and host the Kansas City Royals for four games. After that series, the Orioles will seek revenge against the Boston Red Sox Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

25. Cleveland Indians (40-58) – The Indians have won four straight games, to move ahead of the Kansas City Royals. Cleveland is 12.5 games behind the division leading Detroit Tigers. After finishing the final game of the series with a win over Toronto, the Indians swept the Seattle Mariners in a road series, in which saw them out score the Mariners 31-6. Victor Martinez, who is subject to recent trade rumors leads the team in homeruns, with 14, runs batted in, with 64, and runs scored (55). Cliff Lee, the Indians top starting pitcher is also being discussed in trades, he leads the team in earned run average (3.17) and innings pitched (145). The Indians start a three game series in Anaheim on Monday, and then come home and take on the Detroit Tigers Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

26. Oakland Athletics (41-56) – The Athletics made the move that had been discussed for months, by dealing outfielder Matt Holliday. Holliday was sent to St. Louis for three prospects, including Brett Wallace. The Athletics are in fourth place in the AL West, and trail the Angels by 17 games. Oakland just finished half of their eight game road trip, winning just one of four at the new Yankee Stadium. The second half of their road trip is at historic Fenway Park, where the Athletics and the Red Sox will play four games. Following the trip to Boston, Oakland will fly back home and host the Toronto Blue Jays starting on Friday.

27. Arizona Diamondbacks (42-56) – Arizona just completed a three out of four series win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the final two games, Arizona shut out the Pirates, 7-0 and 9-0. Dan Haren leads the team with 10 wins, and also in earned run average, with a 2.14. Mark Reynolds has been the Diamondbacks top offensive star, with 25 homeruns, 63 runs batted in, and 63 runs scored. The Diamondbacks are in fourth place in the NL West, 20.5 games behind the Dodgers. Arizona will start a three game series with the Phillies on Monday, then take Thursday off, before traveling to New York for a weekend series with the Mets.

28. San Diego Padres (38-61) – The Padres have fallen in eight of their last ten games, and slid below the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. San Diego trails the front running Dodgers by 25 games, which ranks second worst in all of baseball, just ahead of Washington. The Padres have struggled on the road, winning just 14 of 49 games. San Diego’s leading homerun hitter and run producer Adrian Gonzalez has been rumored in trade requests, but it appears no team will give up what San Diego wants for his services. Gonzalez has hit 25 homeruns and drove in 55 runs. The Padres will continue their eight game road trip on Monday at Cincinnati, and then come home on Friday, and start a weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

29. Kansas City Royals (38-59) – The Royals snapped their nine game losing streak on Saturday with a 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers. Kansas City was not able to win two in a row, as the Rangers downed Kansas City 7-2. The Royals have fallen to last place in the American League Central, and now trail Detroit by 14.5 games. While struggling as of late, Zack Greinke is still a bright spot for Kansas City with a 10-6 record and a 2.04 earned run average. The Royals will head out to the East and take on the Baltimore Orioles for a four game series starting Monday. After the trip to Baltimore, Kansas City will travel to Tampa Bay for a three game weekend set.

30. Washington Nationals (30-68) – Despite having the worst record in all of baseball, the Nationals are beginning to at least make head way towards Kansas City and San Diego. Washington just completed a two of out three series win over the Padres. Despite their recent wins, the Nationals find themselves 27 games out of first place, the largest margin in of all baseball. Adam Dunn has led the Nationals in power numbers with 25 homeruns and 70 runs batted in, while Nick Johnson leads in batting, with a 3.02 mark. John Lannan has been the best thing towards a staff ace, with just a 7-7 mark on the season. Washington will start a four game series in Milwaukee on Monday, and then travel to Pittsburgh over the weekend.

College Basketball Power Rankings

January 19th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on College Basketball Power Rankings

1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (16-0)
Wake Forest is doing everything right on both ends of the court. The Demon Deacons rank in the top 5 in scoring, rebounding, and shooting percentage becoming one of the first teams to be ranked in the top 5 in those 3 major categories in some time. Wake Forest 85 points per game have proven to be too strong for the rest of the ACC at this point in the season. Sophomore Guard Jeff Teague leads the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game and is averaging 30 points in his last 4 outings making the Demon Deacons that much tougher to beat.

2. Duke Blue Devils (16-1)

Duke has dominated more quality opponents than any other team this season. The Blue Devils blew at the time top ten teams Purdue and Xavier by an average of 17 points. In recent weeks the convincing wins have been from weaker ACC schools, but that all changed with a big win over Georgetown last Saturday 76-67. The Blue Devils defense may be superb to any other team in our power rankings and that makes it very difficult to not give Coach K and company national attention. With the emergence of Gerald Henderson, Duke could be forming into another championship caliber team.

3. Connecticut Huskies (16-1)
Connecticut may not be getting as much national attention as some of the other schools, but beyond the tough loss to Georgetown the Huskies have not done much wrong. All five starters are averaging double figures lead by the huge center Hasheem Thabeet who is averaging a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards per contest. Connecticut will host no. 20 Villanova on Wednesday night with the opportunity to grab their 5th victory over the top 25 this season. The Huskies have beaten more quality opponents than anybody on the board and if the NCAA Tournament was to start today they would be a lock for a number 1 seed.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers (16-1)
Pittsburgh was dominate and impressive before meeting a surging Louisville team. The Panthers sophomore DeJuan Blair is one of the best young talents in the country. Blair’s success in the paint and against the boards runs parallel with Pittsburgh’s success. The Panthers will get a test tonight against #8 Syracuse tonight in yet another huge Big East match-up. The Panthers absolutely can not afford to drop their 2nd conference game in a row and get behind two games in the conference.

5. Oklahoma Sooners (17-1)

No doubt the Sooners are the class of the Big 12 this season. Oklahoma sophomore forward Blake Griffin leads the nation with 13.4 rebounds per game while adding 22 points per contest to support the cause. Oklahoma has got a deep bench with some stellar talent to keep the momentum rolling this season. With one of the easiest remaining schedules of the top teams, Oklahoma has a great chance to capture a Big 12 Title and become a number 1 seed come time for March Madness

6. North Carolina Tarheels (16-2)
The Tarheels may have looked like one of the best teams in the nation earlier this season, but that has been overshadowed by two losses to Boston College and top ranked Wake Forest. With a slow performance in the first half against Miami, I am still not sold the Tarheels are playing up to their capability. North Carolina will play host to the previously unbeaten #9 Clemson Tigers on Wednesday. The Tarheels will have to avoid in sluggish performance when they take on a Talented Clemson team to prevent from losing their 3rd ACC game this season.

7. Michigan State Spartans (15-2)
The Spartans dropped two games to ACC opponents Maryland and North Carolina earlier this year. However, the Spartans have rattled off 11 straight victories since their last loss to the Tarheels. The wins have not been blowout performances, but the streak involves wins over Texas, Minnesota, and Illinois proving the Spartans are among the best around. The Spartans have a fairly light stretch coming up in the next few weeks and the streak will likely continue. Considering the teams ranked ahead of them with tough match-ups, Michigan State will likely climb the ladder over the next few weeks barring any upsets.

8. Louisville Cardinals (13-3)

I know the Cardinals have lost 3 games this season and this ranking seems way too high. Louisville lost to some weaker teams in UNLV, Western Kentucky, and Minnesota. However, pay attention to how they have been playing more recently. The Cardinals have knocked off 3 straight top 20 teams including previous no. 1 Pittsburgh last Saturday and are among only two schools that are undefeated in the Big East. This is the same team that was pre-season ranked no. 3 in the nation, perhaps it just took some time for them to get it together. The Cardinals have taken on some of the most talented scoring teams in American yet still have held opponents to 60 points per game on the season placing them as one of the best scoring defenses across the country. The Cardinals recent surge has grabbed some attention and they have the chance to make a run at the Big East Title.

9. Marquette Golden Eagles (16-2)
The Golden Eagles are a top the standings in the Big East powerhouse with a conference record of 5-0.
Marquette may not be as good as UConn or Pittsburgh, but I believe they have the talent to beat any team on any given night. Wesley Matthews, Lazar Hayward, and Jerel McNeal are among the biggest triple threats in the Big East. The schedule does not get really tough until the last 3 weeks of the season. However, they can really rack up some style points with wins over no. 19 Notre Dame and no. 13 Georgetown in the next two weeks.Wake Forest last Saturday 78-68. Clemson will get the chance to redeem their selves with a big match-up with North Carolina on Wednesday night. Trevor Booker is the foundation for the team holding down 15 points and 9 rebounds each outing. Clemson has a chance to prove their national status if they can pull out the victory over North Carolina this Wednesday.

10. Clemson Tigers (16-1)
Clemson may be the surprise team in the ACC this season and they got off to a perfect 16-0 start. The Tigers fell victim to top ranked

Dynamic College Hoops Weekend

January 16th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   1 Comment »

College Basketball action heats up this weekend with one of the most exciting schedule of games to take the floor all season. There are a ton of quality games that will be taking center stage including 5 different games hosting battles between top 25 opponents. Not only is the majority of these games huge conference match-ups, but there are a few big out of conference games to determine national supremacy. Take a look at all the exciting games that will take place this weekend along with the big implications these games will make upon the country.

No. 1 Pittsburgh Panthers (16-0) at No. 20 Louisville Cardinals (12-3)

The Panthers have yet to be challenged this season and own some quality wins with a dominating performance over Georgetown. Pittsburgh host one of the most talented young phenoms in America with sophomore DeJuan Blair. Blair ranks 2nd in the nation in rebounding with an impressive 13 boards per game while supporting 15 points per contest as well. Louisville on the other hand had a rocky start in some upset losses to UNLV and Western Kentucky. However, the Cardinals showed their strength with back to back wins over top 20 teams Villanova and Notre Dame. Louisville may be just now starting to play at the level they were expected to considering they were preseason ranked #3 in the land. The battle of the Big East is underway and both teams are among only 3 undefeated teams in conference play. Something will have to give as both are currently playing their best basketball of the season.

No. 3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (15-0) at No. 9 Clemson Tigers (16-0)

Talk about a huge game. They do not get much bigger half-way through the season when you get two undefeated ACC teams taking battle to remain unbeaten. Wake Forest proved to everyone that they were national contenders taking down North Carolina 92-89. Wake Forest is the only team in the country that ranks in the top 5 in efficiency in both offense and defense. Clemson is the surprise team in the conference with an undefeated campaign of 16-0. The Tigers have narrowly escaped some close games and this will be their biggest game to date. Despite being undefeated, they are still a bunch of the media that is not giving the Tigers any credit and they will get a chance to prove to everyone that they are an elite team. Clemson will have to find away to stop one of the best guards in America in sophomore Jeff Teague. Teague is averaging a stout 21 points per game and 31 points in his last 3 outings. The Tigers must be able to contain Teague to pull of the upsets because he is one of the best pure shooters in the country.

No. 12 Georgetown Hoyas (12-3) at No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (15-1)

Cameron Indoor Stadium host a clash of college basketball powerhouses in the best out of conference game for the weekend. Georgetown represents the strength of the Big East while Duke looks to prove the ACC is still the superior conference. The Blue Devils have been playing excellent on both ends of the floor averaging a 9th best 81 points per game and a equally strong defensive scheme that has held opponents to a mere 60 points per contest. Junior Gerald Henderson is developing into the break out star the Blue Devils have been looking for. Kyle Singler leads the team in scoring with 16.7 points per game and both will need to play strong on Saturday. Georgetown is 2-1 this season against the top ten with convincing wins over no. 8 Syracuse and no. 2 Connecticut by double figures in both games. The Hoyas have 4 starters averaging at least 13 points and a very talented young freshman Greg Monroe. The Hoyas will attempt to take advantage of a Duke Basketball team that has stumbled in similar out of conference situations in previous years.

No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils (14-3) at No. 7 UCLA Bruins (14-2)

Outside from California, this game most likely decides who will be the front runner in the Pac-10 this year. The Sun Devils have already stumbled twice in conference play, but have a great opportunity to gain some ground with a win over UCLA. The Bruins are shooting lights out from the floor averaging 50% for the year ranking as the 9th best shooting team in the country. Senior Darren Collison leads the team with 15.7 points per game while shooting 57% from the floor and 50% from behind the arc. Arizona State got trampled by So. Cal on Thursday 61-49 and will look to bounce back in a big way. The Sun Devils are actually the 2nd best shooting team in America averaging 51.2% from the floor lead by guar James Harden who is posting a strong 23 points per game. However, the problem comes through the rebounding category. The Sun Devils are among one of the worse rebounding teams in America averaging 31 boards per game. Fortunately for Arizona State, UCLA has not faired well against the glass either this season. The game will likely be a hard fought game between both teams considering both are battling for Pac-10 bragging rights.

No. 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-4) at No. 8 Syracuse Orange (16-2)

Another big game in the Big East? Well that is easy to do when you have so many quality teams. However I think both of these teams may be a bit over ranked, but still promises to be a great game. Notre Dame got blown away by Louisville last time out 87-63 dropping the 2nd loss in 10 days. Syracuse also got handled rather easily as the Georgetown Hoyas routed to an 88-74 victory. Syracuse sports 4 junior starters in a balanced line-up. All five starters are averaging at least 10 points or more with sophomore guard Jonny Flynn leading the team with 16 points per game. Notre Dame already has a few impressive victories on their resume this season with wins over Texas and Georgetown. The Fighting Irish sport one of the best scoring offenses in the nation lead by possibly the best player in the nation junior forward Luke Harangody. Harangody is the only player in America that ranks in the top 5 individually in both points and rebounds. The talented junior has posted 24.8 points along with 12.7 boards per game and his play will be a determining match-up in this battle among talented Big East opponents.

Despite the high attention these previous games will get there are a bunch more exciting match-ups this Saturday. Keep an eye on these games as well.

No. 14 Marquette at Providence, Illinois at No. 12 Michigan State, and Oklahoma State at No. 21 Baylor