What to watch this weekend (Nov. 7 – 9)

Remember those sharply dressed fellows in last week’s What to Watch? You know… the ones desperately trying to gain entry into that South Beach BCS night club? Their names were Iowa, TCU, Cincinnati, Boise State and LSU. Well, the lights are coming on and last call is rapidly approaching. This weekend, one of those teams has the opportunity to finagle its way to the front of the line. The others must continue to sit back and watch, hoping the BCS voters who work the door look favorably upon them, which is unlikely if Florida, Texas and Alabama continue to handle their business. The NFL doesn’t rely on doormen, but its season is no less exciting. This Sunday, the NFL reaches its midseason. As one avid SportsChump reader pointed out, we have six games pitting over-.500 teams against each other this weekend, a rarity for this late in the season. Sounds like a separation Sunday worth watching.

mark-ingram-alabama(9) LSU at (3) Alabama – (Saturday, 3:30 pm – CBS – Bama minus 7.5)

The biggest game of the weekend tangles two top ten teams, the Tigers and the Tide, in Tuscaloosa. If Alabama wins, they’ll secure the SEC West and assure themselves a chance to play Florida in the SEC Championship. If LSU wins, they’ll have a tiebreak advantage over the Tide and can force a rematch against Florida if they win out. If LSU hopes to handle Alabama, however, they’ll have to stop Heisman candidate Mark Ingram who has already rushed for 1,000 yards on 6.6 yards per carry. LSU had won the last five meetings in this rivalry before ‘Bama ended that streak last year with a 27-21 overtime victory. Oh yeah, and in case you’ve forgotten, Alabama’s Nick Saban, used to coach at LSU.

legarrette-blount-byron-hout(8) Oregon at Stanford – (Saturday, 3:30 pm – local broadcasting – Oregon minus 6.5)

Now that the Ducks are in the drivers seat in the Pac-10, let’s see if they can stand prosperity. Keep in mind, Stanford stunned USC not long ago so they’re not a program to be overlooked. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has yet to confirm whether running back LeGarrette Blount will be reinstated for the game. Blount was suspended earlier this season for sucker-punching Boise State’s Byron Hout after the game. Blount, who has been practicing with the team, hasn’t been missed all that much as his backup, freshman LaMichael James, is averaging 7 yards per carry. Oregon hasn’t lost that first game, but the Ducks still have four conference games they must win to secure a Rose Bowl berth. Meanwhile, Stanford has yet to lose at home this season.

terrelle-pryor(16) Ohio State at (11) Penn State – (Saturday, 3:30 pm – ABC – PSU minus 5)

Earlier this season, most football fans had assumed these two schools would contend for the Big Ten title. Then Iowa decided to win every game on its schedule. Despite Iowa’s success, neither the Buckeyes nor the Nittany Lions are out of contention yet. Ohio State hosts Iowa next week, meaning a victory this Saturday puts them in the driver’s seat. Win out and it’s a Buckeye Rose Bowl. Lose and the rumblings of whether Terrelle Pryor is suited for Jim Tressel’s offense will linger. Penn State leads the nation in points allowed (9.3), however, if the Bucks can put a few touchdowns on the board and come away with a huge road victory, celebration will ensue in Columbus.

bo-pellini-nebraska

(24) Oklahoma at Nebraska – (Saturday, 8:00 pm – ABC – Okla minus 4)

It seems odd to not mention Oklahoma-Nebraska as a relevant football game, so out of respect for the rivalry, I’ll include it in this week’s ‘What to Watch.’ At the beginning of the season, most probably thought this game afforded Nebraska the chance to play spoiler to the Sooners national championship hopes. Then Oklahoma lost its Heisman trophy winner to a shoulder injury. Nebraska hasn’t beaten Oklahoma since 2001 and will likely be looking to kick the Sooners while they’re down.

Champion Cardinals

Cardinals (4-3) at Bears (4-3) – (Sunday, 1:00 pm – FOX – CHI minus 3)

Sure this is a battle between two over-.500 teams, but if it weren’t for Arizona leading its own division, both teams would be outside the playoff race looking in. The good news for Bears fans is that they still have Minnesota left twice on their schedule. The bad news for Bears fans is that they still have Minnesota left twice on their schedule. The Bears are tied with Green Bay in the NFC North but have already lost to them once. They are, however, coming off successive scrimmages against the Browns and Bengals in which they outscored those teams 75-16. The Cardinals are still struggling to find their Super Bowl form of last year. Kurt Warner is coming off a five interception let-down to one of the worst teams in the league. He might want to locate his receivers more accurately this week if they hope to come out with a win.

ray_lewis4Ravens (4-3) at Bengals (5-2) – (Sunday, 1:00 pm – CBS – BAL minus 3)

If there’s something that Steelers fans enjoy as much as winning Super Bowls, it’s watching division rivals beat up on each other. At times, both the Ravens and the Bengals have looked like Super Bowl contenders, yet on other weekends, they’ve looked like busts. The Bengals have already beaten Baltimore earlier this season, holding them to a season-low 257 yards. The Ravens will be looking to return that favor. There is little room for error atop the AFC North.

76184544DV012_DETROITTexans (5-3) at Colts (7-0) – (Sunday, 1:00 pm – CBS – IND minus 9)

It’s about time an AFC South team runs with the undefeated Colts. The Jaguars and Titans have struggled this season, leaving the Texans with the best chance. Behind Peyton Manning, the Colts are once again the class of the division, yet he’s still unhappy with his team’s play. Only a Peyton Manning-led 7-0 team could still gripe about its imperfections. Their record might be somewhat misleading considering they’ve only played one team over .500, but 7-0 is still 7-0. This will be a great road test for the Texans who are looking to go three games over .500 for the first time in franchise history.

tom-bradyDolphins (3-4) at Patriots (5-2) – (Sunday, 1:00 pm – CBS – NE minus 10.5)

I recently lost a wager to a friend of mine. We were watching last Monday night’s game between the Falcons and the Saints. I forget how the actual wager came about, although I’m sure whiskey was involved. I was impressed by how the Falcons controlled time of possession early on against New Orleans. My buddy felt the Dolphins controlled the clock better. He bet me the Fish had better numbers when it came to time of possession. Thinking the Falcons were the more balanced offense, I mistakenly took his wager. The wildcat-lovin’ Dolphins are fourth in the NFL in time of possession per game (32:52). Unfortunately for them, they travel to Foxboro this weekend to face the Patriots who lead the league in time of possession at 35 minutes. This game itself is of crucial importance to the Pats, who have a better overall record than Miami, but are 1-1 in the division while the Fish are 3-0. The Pats can not afford the loss while the Fish know they have the Patriots just where they want them… if they can control the clock.

ladanian-tomlinson-helmet

Chargers (4-3) at Giants (5-3) – (Sunday, 4:15 pm – CBS – NYG minus 4.5)

The Giants better hope the Yankees are a good luck charm, for the city’s other recent world champion has been on the slide lately. The Giants have lost their last three. This Sunday’s Chargers-Giants matchup will feature two teams of contrasting styles, both struggling to find their former identities. After an inconsistent start, the Chargers have won their last two, but are on their verge of a three-game stretch where they’ll face New York, Philadelphia and Denver. LaDainian Tomlinson hasn’t been himself lately, but he did rush for two touchdowns last week against the Raiders. He’ll look to have continued success this week against a Giants team that is surprisingly 24th in the league against the run.

miles_austinCowboys (5-2) at Eagles (5-2) – (Sunday, 8:00 pm – NBC – PHI minus 3)

Another weekend, another bruising NFC East battle. This week, the Cowboys will try to fare a little better than the Giants did in Philly last week. With the Giants recent cold streak, the winner of this game can give themselves a leg up in the division, although Dallas needs it more as they’re still winless in the NFC East. They have not lost in a month, however, averaging over 30 points a game during that streak. Miles Austin has become Tony Romo’s number one option, scoring five touchdowns over that stretch, including a ridiculous 250-yard game. Then again, none of that came against Philly’s defense.

ben-roethlisbergerSteelers (5-2) at Broncos (6-1) – (Sunday, 8:30 pm – ESPN – PIT minus 3)

When will the Broncos finally get some respect? People were shocked they started the season 6-0. After their first loss of the season last week to Baltimore, they’re home underdogs to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roesthlisberger, one of the league’s leading passers, will take his show on the road this Monday against the league’s stingiest defense. The Steelers once again lead the NFL in rushing yards allowed, so Kyle Orton may have to prove he can air it out against Pittsburgh’s defense. He might want to realize Troy Polomalu is back on the field and looking to get his team back to the Super Bowl.

23 thoughts on “What to watch this weekend (Nov. 7 – 9)

  1. Chris

    This weekend’s slew of games at both the college and NFL ought to be really enthralling.

    What do you think about the mess unfolding in Cleveland with the Browns and Mangini ? His hand picked GM has been fired and his job security is at a tipping point. A loss or two and the owner , Randy Lerner may give him his pink slip.

    Oh What A Tangles Web We Weave ……….

    This is my take on the mess in Cleveland.

    Alan Parkins

  2. I’m thinking Mangini is not getting the credit he deserves, or at least the chance he deserves. He hasn’t been at either place for very long.

    I mean the Browns are a work in progress and have been since Jim Brown retired.

    It wasn’t Mangini that drafted Brady Quinn. That’s just a bad team. They can put whoever they want into that spot.

    The Browns are the perfect example of mismanagement. Maybe they should hire Tim Couch as quarterbacks coach and seal the deal.

  3. Chris

    Send ’em your resume’ and see what transpires as you never know what can happen.

    If all else fails you can always apply to WDAE for Sileo’s radio gig. That’s got to pay well. At least 5 or 6 figures minimum.

    The mess with the Browns started of with the previous GM Phil Savage. He couldn’t spot talent even if you spotted him the …’ T L NT That’s how much of the mess they’re in. And the owner Randy Lerner made things worse by allowing Mangini make the pick as to who the team’s GM should. His choice hardly had a background in player personnel development , much less assessing talent.

    Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave …

    Gearing up for the poker this weekend as I’ve got my fingers crossed for Phil to pull through.

    Alan Parkins

  4. Dude, you and I can have our own PTI in the morning on DAE. Look out!

    I’ve heard that the leaders of the Dawg Pound are organizing a sit out of the Cleveland Monday Night game coming up so that when ESPN begins their broadcast, they’ll show nobody in the stands.

    Heck, all they’d have to do is bring their camera crew to a Bucs game. We don’t need no stinkin’ protests, there’s just no reason for us to go in the first place.

  5. Chris

    We all know how passionate the people of Cleveland are about their sports. They’ve still not forgiven Art Modell as of yet. So imagine how they’re now feeling about Eric Mangini ? If this were the Salem Witch Trials or Tourquemada’s inquisition they’d have burned an effigy of him and be ready tar , feather , dip him in oil and then light his a_s on fire.

    Check ou my piece on the matter titled

    Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave ………….

    I’ll be watching ESPN’s coverage of the poker to see how Phil Ivey does over the remainder of the competition.
    I’m just hoping that he can pull through and win it all !

    Alan Parkins

  6. I’m looking forward to the final table breaking down. How is ESPN handling the coverage? Is it live and when does it begin?

    Cleveland can take solace in the fact that LeBron might be staying put in Cleveland…. maybe.

  7. Chris

    I was under the impression that everything would’ve ended as of last night ? But that appears to be not the case.

    Way to go Fightin’ Irish ? You go out and get your a_ss to’ up, from the ground up, by Navy ? And to think that idiots within the ESPN domain were stating that Claussen was the best NFL ready college quarterback ? He may well throw for a lot of yards but his leadership mindset is p_ss poor to begin with. He’s not in the Tebow mould as a player or leader by any stretch of the imagination . I sometimes wonder what it is the likes of Jesse Palmer , Mark Mays , Lou Holtz and Kirk Herbstreit are seeing , that we’re not ?

    The only reason Claussen looks good is because even when he makes errant throws he’s got the college game’s best receiver in Golden Tate making him look good with some outstanding catches and yardage after the receipt. That’s essentially the only reason. The morons within ESPN are simply blinded by the Irish mystique. As of now there’s not much left of it the way the Weis has brought down into an abyss of mediocrity and then some !

    Dropped this piece on my personal favorite NBA player . You’ve guessed it , it’s Mr Fundamentals .

    Mr Fundamental Tim Duncan

    Alan Parkins

  8. Chris

    Your poll ? Great idea but to my mind the mediocrity within both conferences make it a wash ! It’s too evenly balanced , despite the facts of the unbeatens in either conference.

    Alan Parkins

  9. Al… I didn’t think Ivey had enough chips to make any moves at the final table.

    Yeah, I don’t see how Charlie Weis keeps his job through all this, particularly if Domer brass already has their eye on another candidate.

    Be right there to check out the Duncan piece.

  10. Chris

    So what’s up with AI and the Grizzlies (1-6) ? Either he feels he was being misled or the organization solely wanted him on the bench to sell tickets ? Now he’s supposedly walked out on the team without letting them know why. This had nightmare scenario written all over it from the start.

    Differing reports say he left with permission , while some say he didn’t .

    Alan Parkins

  11. Chris

    It’d appear that Sileo’s exile from WDAE is now over, as he’s now back on the radio.

    So Titans’ running back Chris Johnson believes that the team can reel off 10 straight wins and make it to the playoffs ? How comes he’s able to consume the magic mushrooms and the rest of his teammates aren’t ?

    Dropped these two as and when you’re ready .

    Will Work For Food It’s A Troubling Sign In The NFL , Bad Coaches , Bad Teams …

    Roundup Of The NFL Sports Weekend And Other Pieces of Triviality …..

    Loved Agassi’s interview with Katie Couric last night on ’60 Minutes’. It was almost believable as A-Rod’s apology about his steroid use. What’s up next for Andre , he’ll admit to the fact that he never had sex with either Streisand or Brooke Shields ? As he was still he a virgin ? Well if it sells books , I guess you can say any piece of crap that you want !

    Alan Parkins

  12. Chris

    So Dorothy’s wish I mean Larry Johnson’s wish has been granted he’ll no longer be in Kansas after all. Who’s going to take a flier on this a_hole ?

    Chiefs release RB Larry Johnson

    By DOUG TUCKER, AP Sports Writer 20 minutes ago

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—The Kansas City Chiefs have released troubled running back Larry Johnson(notes).

    A two-paragraph statement from the team Monday simply listed Johnson’s statistics and announced his release. Johnson was due to come off a two-week suspension Monday.

    Johnson apparently caused the Chiefs to run out of patience after his latest brush with controversy. He questioned coach Todd Haley’s credentials on his Twitter accounted, insulted fans and used a gay slur. He then repeated the slur to reporters the next day.

    Johnson needed 75 yards to breaking the team’s career rushing mark.

    He established an NFL single-season record with 416 rushing attempts in 2006 when he set a franchise single-season mark with 1,789 rushing yards. He was a first round draft pick in 2003 from Penn State.

    =====================================

    I love it when a plan goes well, don’t you ?

    Alan Parkins

  13. Al… this is all going to end badly for Iverson and his image, not that it was great to begin with.

    Is his ego that big that he can’t come off the pine? Whether he starts or finishes, he should be scoring 20+ on that team with his eyes closed.

    I haven’t yet heard what these ‘personal matters’ are.

  14. It’s not like he’s hurting for money though, Al. I’m not sure what he has to gain, other than bucks, from these admissions.

    He doesn’t seem all that contrite to me. I want to know what Steffi has to say about all this.

    And how about him admitting he tanked a match to Chang. How do you think Michael Chang feels about that?

  15. Chris

    I look at this way once these guys have won that final table bracelet at the WSOP. No one can take it away from them and that’s it. But more often than they tend to fade off into the sunset.

    As for the Chiefs’ Larry Johnson. I’m not so sure that a lot of teams’ll be willing to take a flier on him . I may well be wrong but there’s far too much luggage that he’s carrying .

    Alan Parkins

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