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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Must See Sports - Fourth Weekend of October 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 2-6 
Last week's advantage/disadvantage record in series: 0-2
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 67-56
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 21-13-4

Wednesday, October 23

Major League Baseball

2013 World Series - Game 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox
Adam Wainwright (2-1, 1.57 ERA, 20 Ks in postseason) - Cardinals vs Jon Lester (2-1, 2.33 ERA in postseason) - Red Sox

The Cards and Red Sox have been their best in the National and American Leagues, respectively. It is fitting that they are in the 2013 World Series. These teams are as equal, on paper, as two MLB teams could possibly be. When that is the case, the difference between winning and losing comes down to starting pitching, as it has throughout the playoffs.

When the chips are down, my money is always going to be on Adam Wainwright. He pitches with more power, manages pivotal games situations, and has been more clutch all year relative to Jon Lester. Boston's starters are very good, but they often rely on the bullpen to help them out of jams and finish games. Lester is no exception. In Game 1, that plays into the hands of Wainwright and the Cardinals.

Advantages: Game - Cardinals, Series - Red Sox

This could be epic! 1

Thursday, October 24

Major League Baseball

2013 World Series - Game 2
St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox
Michael Wacha (3-0, 0.43 ERA, 22 Ks in postseason) - Cardinals vs John Lackey (2-0, 3.00 ERA in postseason) - Red Sox

John Lackey has been very good in October. Michael Wacha, the rookie, has been lights out. At some point the moment of the World Series and the pressure of pitching on the road is bound to show when Wacha pitches. The Red Sox lineup, especially from a power standpoint, is a step up from the Dodgers, whom Wacha dominated. I expect Wacha and the Cards to be brought a little closer to Earth in Game 2.

Advantage: Red Sox

2013 NLCS Most Valuable Player Michael Wacha swam well in the deep end of the pool against the Dodgers. 2

Saturday, October 26

Major League Baseball

2013 World Series - Game 3
Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals
Clay Buchholz (0-0, 5.40 ERA in postseason) - Red Sox vs Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.41 ERA in postseason) - Cardinals

Both pitchers put up very impressive numbers in the regular season. Both showed cracks in the postseason. I like Kelly's chances better at home in this game.

Advantage: Cardinals

Buchholz's strength has not been in his hair this postseason. 3

NCAA Football

#10 Texas Tech Red Raiders at #15 Oklahoma Sooners

With all of the focus on Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State, the continued presence of Texas Tech among the ranks of the unbeaten has flown quietly under the radar. The 7-0 Red Raiders will be put to the test in Norman, Oklahoma this weekend against the Big XII rival Sooners.

Tech has only put the screws to one conference opponent this season and only has one win against a ranked team. This contest, along with the following week's game against #19 Oklahoma State and a November matchup with #8 Baylor, also currently unbeaten, should be more telling.

Tech's offense is one dimensional, averaging over 400 yards per game in the air, but it is a dimension nobody has solved. The Red Raiders have a problem that any team would like to have: two capable, producing freshman quarterbacks. Baker Mayfield (1,488 yds., 8 TD, 5 INT, 66% comp.) was the opening day starter. He has a knee injury and is expected to sit behind Davis Webb (1,427 yds., 11 TD, 5 INT, 61% comp.) this weekend. Both can light up the stat sheet.

Oklahoma is going to try to pound the ball with senior running backs Brennan Clay (496 yds., 3 TD, 6.3 avg.) and Damien Williams (315 yds., 3 TD, 4.0 avg.) and out-physical Texas Tech with their defense. It has worked every week, save for their stunning upset loss to Texas two weeks ago. This game is in Oklahoma. Texas Tech has yet to face a true road test this year. I am not suggesting the Red Raiders have been smoke and mirrors, but I do think their unbeaten record gets smoked out on Saturday.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Expect heavy doses of Brennan Clay if the
Red Raiders don't score early and often. 3

#21 South Carolina Gamecocks at #5 Missouri Tigers

Missouri is making believers out of doubters. When starting quarterback James Franklin went down with a shoulder injury, freshman Maty Mauk (336 yds., 1 TD, 1 INT, 55%) did enough to get the Tigers a win against the fierce Florida Gators' defense. The Gamecocks are reeling after an upset loss at Tennessee.

Connor Shaw (1,307, 11 TD, 1 INT, 63% comp.) is out for South Carolina with a knee sprain. They will miss his legs as much as his arm. Dylan Thompson (421 yds., 2 TD, 2 INT, 57% comp.) will get the ball for the Cocks, and he'll likely be giving the ball to Mike Davis (879 yds., 10 TD, 6.7 avg.) often.

I think Mizzou can key in on Davis, knowing that he is coming. Considering that the Tigers are at home and that their Plan B at quarterback fills in more of the holes left by the injured starter than S.C.'s Plan B, I'm taking the Tigers in this one.

Advantage: Missouri

#12 UCLA Bruins at #3 Oregon Ducks

Expect a whole lotta offense in this game as Brent Hundley (1,661 yds., 13 TD, 6 INT, 67% comp.) of the Bruins will match wits against Oregon's Marcus Mariota (2,051 yds., 19 TD, 0 INT, 62% comp.). Stanford demonstrated, last week, that Hundley could be stifled with the right defensive plan (and personnel). Oregon, unlike years past, plays a little D this year. Meanwhile, nobody has stifled Mariota yet. UCLA has the talent, but I am not picking against Oregon in Eugene until someone actually beats them there. Don't hold your breath.

Advantage: Oregon 

There should be a lot of cheering on both sides as I expect a lot of touchdowns. 4

Sunday, October 27

Major League Baseball

2013 World Series - Game 4
Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals
Jake Peavy (0-1, 8.31 ERA in postseason) - Red Sox vs Lance Lynn (2-1, 5.40 ERA in postseason) - Cardinals

Peavy's ERA is wildly inflated from a three inning shelling at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. Lynn's win count is boosted from a relief appearance in the NLCS. I like Peavy and his experience against Lynn and his occasional inconsistency.

Advantage: Red Sox


New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals continue to be part of Must See Sports matchups because they keep winning. I can't say I expected the same for the New York Jets when the season started. The Jets are not only alive and well, they have a winning record entering the eighth week of the season. Rumors of their imminent demise, and that of Head Coach Rex Ryan, were greatly exaggerated.

Expect this to be a low scoring affair. Neither team throws the ball more than necessary. Both teams play smothering defense. There are two difference makers that I see in this game. First, the Bengals are at home. Second, I don't think the Jets have found their true identity on offense yet, though rookie QB Geno Smith (1,723, 8 TD, 11 INT, 58% comp.) continues to come up big in big situations.

Advantage: Bengals

Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions

The Cowboys have won two games in a row. One more, and that's called a "winning streak". Quotes from the movie "Major League" aside the Cowboys face yet another test to demonstrate whether they have the ability to be a serious contender in the NFC, or just be the best team in a bad division.

The Lions were nipped on the last play of the game by the Bengals. Expect the Lions to continue their one-dimensional passing attack against the Cowboys. Expect the same from the Cowboys as running back DeMarco Murray (428 yds., 3 TD, 6.8 avg.) is listed as "questionable" with a knee injury.

A lot of this game will depend or whether or not Murray plays. Detroit has had trouble stopping the run, though they contained the Bengals well last week. This game is in Detroit and the
Lions got a real test and a near miss against one of the best teams in the AFC. I expect to see the same old "okay" Cowboys on Sunday. The score may be close, but I think the Lions rebound this week.

Advantage: Lions

If the Bengals couldn't stop Megatron, I don't see how the Cowboys are going to do much better. 5

Monday, October 28

Major League Baseball

2013 World Series - Game 5 (if necessary)
Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

The probable starters have not been named yet, but I expect Wainwright to get the ball in St. Louis should a fifth game be necessary. I'll take the Cards in spite of not knowing the Red Sox starter for Game 5. John Lackey would be up in the rotation, but given that the game would be at St. Louis and not knowing what the status of the series will be by then, it is just a guess.

Advantage: Cardinals

Tuesday, October 29


Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat

The NBA is back, baby! So is Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (22 PPG, 8 APG in 2012) after missing all of last season with a knee injury sustained during the 2012 NBA playoffs.

Still, give me LeBron James (27 PPG, 7 APG, 8 RPG in 2013) and the two-time defending champion Heatles at home, charged up on opening night.

Advantage: Heat

It's about time! 6

Wednesday, October 30

Major League Baseball

2013 World Series - Game 6 (if necessary)
St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox

If this series goes to a sixth and/or seventh game, I expect the Red Sox to take both games at Fenway, especially if Wainwright starts in a Game 5.

Advantage: Red Sox

Can the Red Sox make this smiling girl a little happier? 7

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