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Friday, October 26, 2012

Must See Sports – Fourth Weekend of October 2012

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record: 2-3
Must See Sports 2012 record (excluding series): 80-45
Advantage/disadvantage record in series, 2012: 12-8-1 

By this time next week, we will have a new World Series champion, the stage will be set for some decisive games in the college football season, and most of the NFL teams will have reached their midway point. Hopefully, by this time next week, my advantage/disadvantage record will have improved!

Saturday, October 27

NCAA Football

(10) Georgia Bulldogs vs (2) Florida Gators 
Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL

The world’s largest outdoor cocktail party will have many drinks flowing. Georgia’s defensive weaknesses were exposed badly when they suffered a 35 point whipping at the hands of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Expect more of the same from the Gators. As I expected, Mike Gillislee (652 yds., 7 TD, 4.7 avg.) was bottled up against a tough South Carolina defense, in spite of Florida’s 44-11 blowout of the Cocks. I expect him to break out of it against Georgia.

Advantage: Florida

(5) Notre Dame Fighting Irish at (8) Oklahoma Sooners

Notre Dame has coasted to a 7-0 start and seized the #5 rank in the country on the strength of smart, physical defense. Their offense is smoke-and-mirrors at best. While holding the likes of Navy, Purdue, Miami, and BYU to 17 points or less, they are going to bite off more than they can chew in quarterback Landry Jones (1653 yds., 12 TD, 3 INT, 63% comp.), wide receiver Kenny Stills (38 rec., 471 yds., 4 TD), and running back Damien Williams (552 yds., 7 TD, 7.5 avg.) of the Oklahoma Sooners in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I don’t expect this game to be close.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Notre Dame hasn't had to deal with the likes of Kenny Stills. 1

2012 World Series – Game 3

San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers
Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37 ERA ) – Giants vs Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86 ERA, 167 Ks) – Tigers

This is a do or die game for the Tigers. Trailing the Giants two games to none, a loss would put Detroit in a 0-3 hole from which no team in the 108 season history of the World Series has ever recovered. The Tigers are at home and they are due. Ryan Vogelsong is not likely to repeat the masterpiece he displayed in his last start in Game 7 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals. Pablo Sandoval has no chance of repeating his three homerun performance for the ages in Game 1 of this series. And the Tigers cannot possibly have their bats bottled up the way they have with a paltry three runs scored in the first two games.

Advantage: Tigers

Sunday, October 28


Atlanta Falcons (6-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Eagles Head Coach is 3-0 lifetime following a bye week. In addition, the Falcons have stayed unbeaten in spite of some close shaves. The game is at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The Falcons are due for a loss sooner than later and with the pressure that the Eagles are under, one can bet the farm that Reid will have his team prepared. Expect the difference to be Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (459 yds., 1 TD, 4.1 avg.). He’s tough to stop and the Falcons have yet to effectively stop the run.

Advantage: Eagles

Expect Vick to be up for a critical matchup against his old team. 2
New York Giants (5-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

The Cowboys’ backs are against the wall, but they aren’t without bullets in their gun for this NFC East showdown at Jerry World. I expect the Cowboys to put up points and keep the game close, but with Cowboys running back Demarco Murray (330 yds, 1 TD, 4.4 avg.) expected to be out of the lineup on Sunday and RB Felix Jones (149 yds., 1 TD, 4.1 avg.) banged up with a knee injury, expect the Cowboys’ offense to be largely one dimensional.

Advantage: Giants

New Orleans Saints (2-4) at Denver Broncos (3-3)

The Saints have a golden opportunity to come back from the dead and resurrect their season. I just don’t see it happening, as much as I (a die hard Who Dat) hope I am wrong. The Saints are a one trick pony: pass, pass, pass. They have the #3 offense in the NFL, but are dead last on the ground. The defense is infamously completely porous and there is no relief in sight. That means that no Saints lead is safe, ever, if they can even get a lead. That is not a recipe to win a game on the road against a Peyton Manning (1,808 yds., 14 TD, 4 INT, 68%) led team with a quality defense. The Saints can put up enough points to make Manning sweat, but they cannot stop him.

Advantage: Broncos

Fortunately for Peyton Manning (on the ground, right), Tracy Porter (center) is on his team this time. 3

2012 World Series – Game 4

San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers
Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79 ERA, 193 Ks) - Giants vs Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74 ERA, 231 Ks)

This may be Detroit's Waterloo. My thinking, heading into this series (and the thinking of many fans and writers), was that Justin Verlander would win his start, Cain would win his start, and the rest would be decided by the matchups of the other starting pitchers. Verlander, uncharacteristically, got shelled in Game 1. Detroit absolutely has to answer against Cain in Game 4 or their path to four wins in a seven game series is all but impossible, in my opinion. Unfortunately for the Tigers, lightning seldom strikes the same place twice. Two aces being rocked in one series is very unlikely.

Advantage: Giants

Detroit isn't a Cinderella team, but Matt Cain might bring midnight to their season. 4

Monday, October 29


2012 World Series - Game 5 (if necessary)

San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers
Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15 ERA) - Giants vs Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA, 239 Ks)

Zito played outside himself and Verlander looked lost when these two went head-to-head in Game 1. Should this series make it to a fifth game, in Detroit, I expect Verlander to redeem himself.

Advantage: Tigers


San Francisco 49ers (5-2) at Arizona Cardinals (4-3)

Gravity is real. After getting off to a 4-0 start, with some high profile wins against the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, the Cards have dropped three straight. Their offense simply does not have what it takes to sustain a playoff contending run against the NFL's better teams over a 16 game season. The defense is legitimately solid, but it will not be enough against the defending NFC West champions.

Advantage: 49ers

Alex Smith, meet Darnell Dockett 5
Wednesday, October 31


2012 World Series - Game 6 (if necessary)

Detroit Tigers at San Francisco Giants
Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45 ERA) - Tigers vs Madison Bumgarner (16-7, 3.37 ERA, 191 Ks)

Detroit will need to win no less than two of the next three World Series games to extend the series to a sixth game. Should that happen, expect a seventh. Fister engaged in a closely contested pitching duel with Bumgarner in Game 2. Should Fister get a second shot at Bumgarner, I think the odds favor Fister simply because the first match was so close and he was not the winner the first time. Of course, the game will be decided by performance, not the odds.

Advantage: Tigers

The Giants are two wins away from repeating their 2010 World Series championship celebration.  5
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