Welcome to another edition of "Blending Buddy", where I go through with you some of the healthy drinks that I make. This week's edition is what I call, "The Purple People Eater".
A huge scandal is currently rocking the college basketball world, resulting in the arrest of four basketball coaches. Will it translate over into a college football scandal? Anyways, here are this week's picks.
#16 Washington State 36, #5 USC 35: I thought long and hard about this one and how USC will be greatly tested on the road against Luke Falk and the Cougars. Falk has a 76.9 completion percentage along with 1,378 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and only one interception.
#10 Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 10: Wisconsin's easy ride through the Big Ten West continues as their stout defense will be the answer here. Plus, the game's in Madison, where it's never an easy place to play.
#2 Clemson 24, #12 Virginia Tech 16: They said that Louisville would be a tough road test for Clemson and their defense. Clemson blew them out, 47-21. Now experts are saying this game will be a tough road test for the Tigers. Expect Clemson's proven defense to get the job done here as well.
#13 Auburn 30, #24 Mississippi State 21: Running back Kerryon Johnson will be a big factor in this game as Auburn continues to fly under the radar in the SEC West.
#15 Oklahoma State 42, Texas Tech 31: Expect Mason Rudolph to rebound nicely from last week's game. The Cowboys will beat an unproven Red Raiders squad here.
Upsets to Watch: Duke over #14 Miami, Vanderbilt over #21 Florida
Talk about a topsy-turvy week! The college football week has produced some more exciting games, leading to another shake-up in the polls. Here's who won the week and who lost it.
Winner: Juwan Johnson's Last Minute Heroics: The Penn State wide receiver saved the #4 Nittany Lions from devastation as Penn State escaped Iowa City with a last-second win, 21-19. Johnson's seven-yard touchdown reception came after Iowa's Akrum Wadley had a monster fourth quarter, propelling Iowa to a 19-15 lead with under two minutes to play.
Winner: Upsets! TCU and NC State pulled off major road shockers and Arizona State is in the process of pulling one off against #24 Oregon. Expect a major shake-up in the polls on Sunday.
Winner: TCU Horned Frogs: Don't let Mason Rudolph's 398 passing yards fool you; the Oklahoma State quarterback went 22 for 41 passing with two interceptions. Anyways, Darius Anderson had a big day for TCU, running for 160 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries as #16 TCU beat #6 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, 44-31. With the win, TCU establishes itself as the darkhorse contender for the Big 12.
Loser: Massachusetts Minutemen: The Minutemen had a chance to pull off a road shocker of their own in Knoxville. Instead, they failed to convert third downs as they fell to Tennessee, 17-13.
Loser: Defense in LA-Monroe/ULL: Both teams combined for 1,119 total yards of offense, which were comprised of 481 total rushing yards and 638 total passing yards. Both teams also combined for 106 points in this double-overtime barn burner.
Loser: Iowa Hawkeyes: The Hawkeyes were one play away from establishing themselves as darkhorse contenders for the Big Ten. They ended up getting their hearts ripped out as Penn State pulled out a victory with a last-second touchdown.
Other Winners: Florida's late-game heroics (Again), Myles Gaskin, Duke, Notre Dame
Other Losers: Kentucky, Nevada against Luke Falk, Vanderbilt
Let me get one thing out of the way: The Golden State Warriors are going to repeat as NBA Champions. It'll only be a matter of who the Warriors beat in the playoffs. The shocker in this post is who'll they'll face (If it is a shocker at all).
It won't be a rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Warriors, although that could be another ratings boon. After all, who wouldn't want to see LeBron try and take down the mighty Warriors? Instead, it'll be Kyrie Irving who'll be facing the Warriors again. That's right, the Boston Celtics will be returning to the NBA Finals with a retooled lineup.
They've added Gordon Heyward to move the ball better. While the Celtics did lose Isaiah Thomas, Thomas's injury concerns and age seem to be red flags for Boston. They also traded away Avery Bradley, who's a great role player. But the Celtics are adamant about going all in. I also predict Kyrie will break through as the focal point of the Celtics.
But why won't the Cavaliers make it back? There seems to be some major dysfunction within the organization and it's all but certain that LeBron James leaves Cleveland after this season. This time, owner Dan Gilbert is the one to blame for the ongoing fiasco in Cleveland. His stubborn nature led to general manager David Griffin (who was a favorite of LeBron's) being kicked out the door, ensuring an imminent rebuild in store for Cleveland.
As for the rest of the Western Conference, San Antonio is still the biggest adversary to Golden State. They gave the Warriors a bit of a fit in Game One of the Western Conference Finals before Kawhi Leonard was injured. The question is: Do the Spurs have enough scoring to give the Warriors a major problem? Houston added Chris Paul to bolster their offense, but it was to spite the bench depth. The Rockets also don't have enough defense to stop the Warriors at all. Coach Mike D'Antoni is an offensive genius. However, he hasn't built a quality defense during his time as an NBA head coach.
Oklahoma City added Paul George to give MVP Russell Westbrook a complimentary piece. However, there isn't much depth anywhere else. The Clippers look pedestrian, especially after losing Paul. Portland has a nice backcourt and they added a big body in Caleb Swanigan. But can they find scoring in other places? The Timberwolves added Jimmy Butler to build a budding lineup in Minnesota. The only problem is that the team is still young and a couple years away from possibly usurping the Warriors. The Nuggets have a centerpiece in Nikola Jokic, but still need to build. Same thing for the Lakers and Suns. They got their respective pieces in Lonzo Ball and Devin Booker. It'll be a matter of building in the next couple years. Utah looks decimated after seeing Heyward leave. The Pelicans have the towering twins in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins and added Rajon Rondo. But can they crack the playoffs? The Kings don't stand out to me. The Grizzlies are gritty, but their time may be near. The Mavericks are in the infant stages of a full-scale rebuild. Last year was the first step. Now they must forge ahead will the rebuilding process.
As for the rest of the Eastern Conference, this is the year that "The Process" starts to take fruition for Philadelphia. Adding three-ball threat J.J. Redick will help the Sixers immensely. Milwaukee should be a dark horse to be the Eastern Conference champ, as should the Miami Heat. The Wizards have a nice duo in John Wall and Bradley Beal, but need one more guy to put them over the top. The Knicks are still a circus. The Pistons are enigmatic. Toronto is good, but not good enough. Charlotte should be an interesting bunch, especially after adding Dwight Howard. But will Howard be a distraction for the Hornets? The Hawks are taking a step back. Everyone else is mired in the basement of the Eastern Conference.
It seems unorthodox that I'm doing the NBA Preview before my NHL Preview, especially since the NHL regular season is nearby. But it's best to just get this out of the way and get what you're thinking out in the clear. The Warriors are going to win the title again.
College Football action is ramping up, with many teams beginning inter-conference play. Here's my picks for this week's slate of college football games.
#6 Oklahoma State 30, #16 TCU 23: Mason Rudolph will be tested against TCU's secondary. The Horned Frogs are a darkhorse candidate to win the Big 12.
#17 Mississippi State 19, #11 Georgia 17: There's just something about Georgia that always has them coming up short. Mississippi State's front line could prove to be too much for Georgia in the Battle of the Bulldogs.
#4 Penn State 35, Iowa 16: Penn State is one of the more quiet teams in the Big Ten East, having handled their first three opponents with ease. Coach James Franklin has this team rolling and should win fairly easy in Iowa City.
#7 Washington 38, Colorado 26: Dante Pettis has been a lethal weapon for the Huskies. Watch for him to have another big game in Boulder. It would also behoove Washington to get Jake Browning rolling early and for the young secondary to make plays.
Kentucky 27, #20 Florida 10: Florida looks lackluster on offense this year. Many starters have been suspended for the Gators early on. The Wildcats should feast on a weak Feleipe Franks.
#5 USC 40, California 20: Can the Trojans shake off a shaky performance last week against Texas? They should be able to take care of business in Berkeley, although it would be wise for the Trojans to not get off to a slow start. USC's expected to get back linebacker Uchenna Nwosu for the game.
#1 Alabama 35, Vanderbilt 7: Tide roll here.
Upset Watch: Purdue over #8 Michigan
It's that time again. Time to speculate on whose job will be gone before the end of the season. It's not a good thing to get off to a bad start in the NFL, but these teams have had that unfortunate circumstance bestowed upon them. Is your coach on the hot seat?
This week of college football featured the exciting games that many fans have looked for the whole season. Here's who won the week and who lost it.
Winners: Texas Longhorns: Although the Longhorns lost in double overtime to #4 USC, Texas gave the Trojans fits on the defensive side of the game. Deshon Elliott picked off Sam Darnold twice and the defensive line was lively and swarming. If Texas had somewhat of a pretty good offensive performance, they would have pulled off a big shocker akin to the 2006 Rose Bowl. Chalk this up as a moral victory for the 'Horns.
Winner: Dante Pettis: Washington's Dante Pettis took another punt return to the house against Fresno State, making it eight for his career. That ties the record set by Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma) and Wes Welker (Texas Tech). The Huskies can get back to the college football playoff if Pettis continues to perform at a high level.
Winners: Mississippi State Bulldogs: The Dawgs put on a convincing romp of #12 LSU, routing the Tigers, 37-7. Aeris Williams had 23 carries for 146 yards for Mississippi State.
Winner: The Florida/Tennessee Game: What a thriller of a game. Speaking of which...
Losers: Tennesse Volunteers: PRACTICE THE DRILL MORE!!
Losers: UCLA Bruins: In what can be equated to a 'trap game', the Bruins fell victim to the Memphis Tigers, 48-45. Josh Rosen had a questionable day, throwing two picks in the game (One of them was a pick-six). There wasn't much in the line of pass defense from either side as well.
Loser: Michigan's Inability to Finish Drives: The Wolverines had many opportunities to blow the game wide open against Air Force. However, their pass attack looked lost and Wilton Speight's throws were painful to watch. If Michigan wants to compete in the Big Ten East, they'll have to make some adjustments to their passing game.
Other Winners: Penn State, Clemson's handling of Lamar Jackson, Vanderbilt
Other Losers: Stanford, Defense in SMU-TCU, Nebraska
College Football Playoff Four:
Here's another edition of my college football picks. Last week wasn't as good as the first. However, I would've won some money if I had bet on some of the games (Don't try this on a regular basis unless you're confident in your betting abilities). Still, here are the picks for this week.
#22 South Florida 35, Illinois 14: Charlie Strong has this South Florida team headed in the right direction. South Florida should dominate on both sides of the ball in this match-up.
#23 Tennessee 20, #24 Florida 14: Tennessee has gotten off to a solid start this year. Considering how anemic the Gators are on offense, the Vols have a good chance at getting a leg up on the rest of the SEC East.
#7 Michigan 30, Air Force 21: Is there a quarterback controversy in Michigan? Wilton Speight has looked sub-par in his first two starts, leaving fans to either call for John O'Korn or Brandon Peters.
#3 Clemson 38, #14 Louisville 30: The Cardinals lost running back Jeremy Smith for the season with a foot injury, which will put even more pressure on Lamar Jackson to do it all. Wide receiver Jaylin Smith (Nine receptions, 183 yards, one touchdown last week) should be a pick-me-up for Louisville.
#4 USC 49, Texas 24: USC is rolling on the offensive side of things. The program also wants to avenge their 2006 Rose Bowl loss to the Longhorns.
Upset Watch: Mississippi State over #12 LSU
This week in college football featured a bit of a shake-up near the top and a team in a third-and-goal situation... from their own seven-yard line. Here's who won the week and who lost it.
Winners: Oklahoma Sooners: The Sooners got revenge for last year's shellacking in Norman by handling the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes, 31-16. Baker Mayfield had a 'field' day for the Sooners, going 27 for 35 and throwing for 386 yards and three touchdowns. The Sooners defense shut down a Buckeyes' offense that had an explosive second half last week against Indiana. This win looks extremely nice on Oklahoma's playoff resume and should help them land a playoff spot if they stay the course.
Winner: Lamar Jackson: Last year's Heisman Trophy winner had six touchdowns against North Carolina. He also ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns while throwing for 393 yards, giving him over 1,000 yards of total offense in the past two weeks.
Winners: Georgia Bulldogs: It seems to be coming together for Kirby Smart's squad, as they went into South Bend and edged #24 Notre Dame, 20-19. The defense, led by Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy, recovered a fumble late and limited the Fighting Irish to 266 total yards.
Losers: Louisiana Tech: How in the world do you get a third-and-goal situation from YOUR OWN SEVEN?
Losers: Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights lost to Eastern Michigan (!), 16-13. Eastern Michigan is off to a good start at 2-0, but Rutgers is in a rut once again. Why did they come to the Big Ten in the first place?
Losers: Bowling Green: First Howard, now South Dakota. The betting line wasn't as big as the Howard-UNLV game, but it doesn't help Bowling Green's case; they trailed South Dakota by a score of 21-3 at the end of the first quarter. They ended up losing to South Dakota, 35-27.
Other Winners: Josh Rosen, Tennessee, UNLV's rebound
Other Losers: Iowa barely surviving against Iowa State, Temple barely surviving against Villanova, California barely surviving against Weber State.
The New England Patriots had a 27-21 lead going into the fourth quarter. That was when Alex Smith and rookie running back Kareem Hunt took over for the Kansas City Chiefs, leading them to a 42-27 stunner on the defending champs. Which AFC team benefited the most from Smith's 368 passing yards and four touchdowns against New England in a statement win?
While Oakland and Tennessee are teams that could beat the Patriots in a sneaky fashion, they seem too young to pull off the feat, especially in the postseason. Kansas City showed they're up to the task, but they lost safety Eric Berry for the season with an Achilles injury. The AFC East is far too weak to really give anybody much of a bother for the New England Patriots.
That leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are more loaded than ever on offense. If everything goes right, the Steelers could have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Steelers can expose New England's weak ability to stop the run with Le'Veon Bell. Once the run game has been established, Ben Roethlisberger can go to either Antonio Brown or Martavis Bryant, even trying with a deep ball to tear the Patriots up.
This is wishful thinking for haters of the Patriots and Steelers fans alike. This can only be done if Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy and if Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant both don't show any rust. However, Pittsburgh is one of the most balanced teams in the NFL. The Patriots are still a good bet to make the Super Bowl. They'll just have to be cautious of the Steel City's squad.
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