Head-to-Head: Battle of Big East Unbeatens
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 11/08/2006
Each week two of Doc's Sports football aficionados will give their alternating perspectives on the key games and interesting issues in the game at both the college and professional levels. You may not agree, they may not agree, but it should be interesting!
Here's this week's topics:
No. 3 Louisville (-6.5) at No. 15 Rutgers
Drew: My college football dream is to see an undefeated Big East team play the winner of Ohio State/Michigan for the national championship. Sure, it'll be a big spread, but I hope that team is Rutgers. If Louisville or West Virginia deserved to play for the national title with an undefeated season, why not Rutgers? If they beat the Cardinals, then end the season with a win at the Mountaineers, they deserve a shot. Everyone counts them out because we love offense, but Rutgers plays better D than both and runs the ball well.
Prediction: Rutgers 21, Louisville 17. I expect fullback Brian Leonard, a native of Gouverneur -- home of the man who invented peppermint Lifesavers -- to punch in a couple.
Jordan: After bringing previously unbeaten West Virginia down to earth, No. 3 Louisville comes out of its corner and gets round two with 8-0 Rutgers. This time the Cardinals are on the road and are up against one of the best defenses on paper. Rutgers is only allowing nine points per game and is second to LSU in yards given up per game. However this unit has not seen an offense with the speed and athletes that the 'Ville brings to the table.
Prediction: Louisville 31, Rutgers 23
No. 21 Oregon at No. 7 USC (-8)
Drew: What's in a name? You'd think nothing really, but there is no name in college football that is more corny John David Booty. First off, why the middle name? Second, when I think Booty, I do not want to think 6-3, 210 pound man. However, I have to acknowledge that he's a good college player and that the USC QB Factory has forged another star. There's an old saying among good college football teams, "you can't lose to the same state two weeks in a row." But they never said anything about the spread.
Prediction: USC 41, Oregon 37 (OT)
Jordan: The Trojans have a conference loss, but its first real test comes this weekend. The Ducks are one of several teams in the Pac-10 that have enough firepower on match USC in a shootout. The Quack Attack actually comes in ranked higher on total offense and points scored than the Trojans, however quarterback Dennis Dixon's struggles are beginning to be a real issue. USC is nearly unbeatable in the Coliseum, so I'd say USC escapes a hard-fought battle.
Prediction: USC 34, Oregon 30
Who will win the NBA Title?
Drew: The NBA is taking a page out of the NFL's book of parity: the first week is full of surprises. The standings are so mangled in comparison to my expectations that I'm beginning to think I'm stuck in a bad trip where up is down, down is up, Joe Johnson is the new Magic, and Andrew Bynam is the second coming of Wilt Chamberlain. It's a long season though and eventually I'll sober up-even if my gut favorite to win it all had just one win in its first four games-and things will return to normal.
Prediction: I'll stick with my gut favorite, the Phoenix Suns. As big Amare gets healthy and dominant, the team will be tough to beat. We're in a new era of sports, one in which we see franchises that at best were bridesmaids in championship circles win titles: the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and who knows, the Phoenix Suns.
Jordan: Two years ago when Steve Nash first signed with the Suns, I said they would win it all. They shocked the rest of the NBA world in the regular season, but not me. Last year I rode them again, suggesting that a retooling of the team would get it done despite Amare being out. I'm now 0-2 with Phoenix, but I haven't learned my lesson. With Stoudemire healthy and beginning to get his top form back, the Suns are a top five NBA squad and will again find themselves deep in the playoffs. Phoenix will represent the Western Conference in the NBA finals while Chicago, my hometown Baby Bulls, will come out of a flawed East to play for a title.
Prediction: Suns make my third time a charm, beating Chicago in the Final 4-2.
Chicago at New York Giants (-2.5)
Drew: Oh my Chicago. What the F? Rex Grossman suddenly looks like Jake Plummer without the comeback touch and the G-men have the recipe to bring out the turnover king: pressure, pressure and more pressure. However, if the dynamic sack duo of Strahan and Umenyiora are out, that pressure will have to come from the linebackers and that could open up the running game for Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. This will probably be low scoring and I'm resisting the urge to go with the better offense in this match up.
Prediction: Chicago 16, New York 15
Jordan: Both teams looked awful last Sunday, however the Giants pulled out a home victory against the scrappy Texans. Too bad the Bears can't say the same. Chicago was embarrassed in its first loss. Now 7-1, the Bears look not to drop another in risk of possibly losing a chance at home field advantage in the playoffs. The good news for the G-Men is Grossman is starting. The good news for the Bears is that Michael Strahan is out for Sunday's game and so too could be the Giants' other starting defensive end Osi Umenyiora. If both do not play, Grossman will have all day to throw, knowing that the strongest part of the New York defense is its front four. Chicago's defense will continue its dominance and will not allow another loss.
Prediction: Chicago 21, New York 17
New York Jets at New England (-10.5)
Drew: Robbed. My J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, missed out on an overtime shot at 5-3 thanks to incompetent refereeing in Cleveland. Unfortunately, it may be the beginning of the end for what could have been a promising season in rebuilding year. This will be a real test of Mangini, who could establish himself early as the best of the Belichick disciples in the NFL by getting back on track for that 10-5 miracle the schedule promised. Or, he could succumb to his team's lack of mature talent and prove himself to be just a follower.
Prediction: New England 24, New York 13
Jordan: Two games back of the Pats in the AFC East, a road win here and the Jets could get into a serious race with New England for the division. However, after seeing Tom Brady's four-interception performance against Indy he will make it clear after Sunday's game that performance was an anomaly. Defensively the Jets can keep this game close for the first half, but the New York offense will begin to sputter and they won't put enough points on the board to earn a victory. The Patriots' ground game will go for over 150 in a winning effort.
Prediction: New England 27, New York 16
Jordan and Drew will be going Head-to-Head every Thursday. If you have any comments or questions for them, or any topics that you'd like discussed, email us at email@example.com.