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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Must See Sports - Second Weekend of November 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 3-5
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 78-65
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage FINAL Record (series only): 22-13-4

Thursday, November 7

NCAA Football

#10 Oklahoma Sooners at #6 Baylor Bears

Oklahoma has climbed back in to the race for a BCS bowl bid after a stunning loss against Texas earlier this season. Baylor is getting its first opportunity to prove it is a serious contender. The undefeated Bears have not played a ranked opponent all season.

The Bears have lit up the scoreboard and the stat sheet, averaging 64 points per game while only allowing 16 points per game. But it has been done against the likes of some cupcakes including Wofford, Buffalo, and Louisiana-Monroe. Oklahoma's defense gives up fewer than 20 points per game and has been tested against #22 Notre Dame, a resurgent Texas team, and #10 Texas Tech.

Few casual fans know about the Baylor arsenal. It starts in the backfield with quarterback Bryce Petty (2453 yds., 18 TD, 1 INT, 69% comp.) and junior racehorse running back Lache Seastrunk (869 yds., 11 TD, 9.1 avg.). Seastrunk has given opposing defensive coordinators fits. He has to be accounted for on every down, having run for 100 or more yards in six out of the seven games he's played in this season.

Petty's top two targets have been uncoverable so far. Wide receiver Antwan Goodley's (38 rec., 894 yds., 8 TD) size and fellow WR Tevin Reese's (33 rec., 824 rec., 8 TD) speed have been problems that opponents have yet to solve in 2013. 

All of that said, Baylor's defense looks great on paper, but has yet to face the likes of the Sooner's 1-2 punch in the backfield of running backs Brennan Clay (538 yds., 3 TD, 6.0 avg.) and Damien Williams (412 yds, 5 TD, 4.2 avg.). This tandem can single-handedly (or double-handedly) dominate a game and completely wear down an opposing front seven. I'll believe Baylor can do it and run up a tab on a more tested defense when I see it. Tonight is their test.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Good luck stopping Brennan Clay (left). Nobody else has. 1

#3 Oregon Ducks at #5 Stanford Cardinal

The Ducks are losing ground to Florida State in the BCS race in spite of quarterback Marcus Mariota (2,281 yds., 20 TD, 0 INT, 64% comp.) gaining ground in the Heisman race. Oregon's offensive reputation precedes itself. But, quietly, their defense has withstood tough test and completely bottled up the likes of UCLA and Washington.

Standford will win or lose this game on the success or failure of running rack Tyler Gaffney (886, 12 TD, 5.3 avg.) to get into an early rhythm and keep the attention of the Ducks' defense. If that happens, receivers like Ty Montgomery (39 rec., 619 yds., 5 TD) can get loose and torment a secondary.

I'll bet against Oregon when I finally see them lose one.

Advantage: Oregon

These two schools have made an annual tradition of ruining each others national championship hopes.


Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat

For those of us not into top ten college football matchups, we have a contender in the West visiting the two-time NBA champion. Both teams will be up for this nationally televised game. But I don't see the defense and play in the paint from the Clippers to suggest that they'll travel across the country to South Beach and steal one against the Heat in their own building.

Advantage: Heat

Chris Paul (25 PPG, 13 APG, 4 RPD, 3 StlPG) is off to one of his fastest starts, ever. 3

Saturday, November 9

NCAA Football

#13 LSU Tigers at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide

This may not be the Game of the Week, but it is certainly the Game of the Day. The Tigers appear to have been going through the motions this season since an early season loss to Georgia, followed by a shocked at Ole Miss. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger's (2,492 yds., 19 TD, 7 INT, 65% comp.) early season Heisman hopes are all but extinguished. What better time to take out all of that frustration, and jump back into the SEC West race, than against a divisional arch rival against the former LSU Head Football Coach?

LSU has the capability to beat Alabama. Les Miles has gotten more than his fair share of one-ups on Alabama coach Nick Saban, but I wouldn't not count on it this week. Bama's defense appeared to be less concrete than it was last year, albeit among the best, after coughing up 42 points to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M on September 14. Since then, the Tide hasn't surrendered more than 10 points. The Tigers can key in on Bama running back T.J. Yeldon (729 yds., 10 TD, 6.3 avg.) all day, they won't stop him. Even if Yeldon is contained, Bama has shown they can pass the ball with senior QB A.J. McCarron (1,862 yds., 16 TD, 3 INT, 69% comp.) when they have to.

It pains me, as an LSU graduate, to admit it, but I'm not counting on a watching a nationally televised Tigers victory on CBS on Saturday night.

Advantage: Alabama   

LSU is bringing everything to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

Sunday, November 10

Detroit Lions (5-3) at Chicago Bears (5-3)

I thought the Bears were doomed without quarterback Jay Cutler (1,658 yds., 12 TD, 7 INT, 65%). Cutler's backup, Josh McCown (22/41, 272 yds., 2 TD vs Packers), showed that he was very capable of filling in temporarily with a very solid performance on Monday Night Football against the (Aaron Rodgers-less) Green Bay Packers.Cutler is coming back on Sunday. All is happy in Chicago, right?

Not so fast! The Bears still could not stop the run against a Packers team that had to rely on the run due to Rodgers' injury. The Lions are not without their quarterback, Matt Stafford (2,617 yds., 16 TD, 6 INT, 66% comp.) and they are with wide receiver Calvin Johnson (47 rec., 821 yds., 7 TD). Running back Reggie Bush (518 rush yds., 2 rush TD, 4.4 rush avg., 31 rec. 335 rec. yds., 2 rec. TD) continues to frustrate defenses as a lethal dual threat.

Advantage: Lions

Eighty yards away? One minute remaining? No timeouts? No problem? 5

Carolina Panthers (5-3) at San Francsico 49ers (6-2)

Admit it. You did not have this one circled on your calendar when the season started. Yet there is a lot a stake when the Panthers travel to the West Coast to face the 49ers on Sunday. The Panthers are riding a four game winning streak after a 1-3 start and are one game back of first place in the NFC South division.

The 49ers got off to a 1-2 start and, like the Panthers, have hammered everyone in their way ever since. Cam Newton has full ownership over the Panthers' offense (and everyone who has tried to get in his way). Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick (1,584 yds., 9 TD, 5 INT 57% comp., 294 rush yds.) has dazzled fans with his dual threat ability, but the bedrock of the 49ers has been its defense and running back Frank Gore (618 yds, 7 TD, 4.2 avg.). Toss in the home field factor and I think the Panthers' hot streak stops on Sunday.

Advantage: 49ers

Dallas Cowboys (5-4) at New Orleans Saints (6-2)

The Who Dat Nation will be waiting all day for Sunday night! The Cowboys travel to the Big Easy for a nationally televised Sunday Night Football game. The Cowboys have won three of their last four and were nipped, 31-30 in the final second at the Detroit Lions in the one loss. The Cowboys are playing with confidence and they have not been out of any game this season, win or lose.

The Saints, coming off of a very physical loss at the New York Jets last week must be elated to be back in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has not lost a game at home since the 2010 regular season. The Cowboys are gong to be trouble, as wide receiver Dez Bryant (51 rec., 705 yds., 8 TD) and tight end Jason Witten (45 rec., 505 yds., 4 TD) are going to be tough to contain. Still, in spite of an outstanding first half of the season, Tony Romo (2,553 yds., 20 TD, 6 INT, 67% comp.) can be counted upon to "go Tony Romo" in a close game, especially on the road in New Orleans, where the fans will have all day to get lubed up!

Advantage: Saints

Waitin' ALL DAY for Sunday Night! 6
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