College Basketball Power Rankings for Nov. 18th, 2012

The 2012-2013 NCAA basketball regular season has officially kicked off, and we’ve already had the chance to see a big game. Kentucky and Duke squared off in a close contest where the Blue Devils pulled away in the end. This huge game is largely responsible for both of the biggest moves from our last power rankings. Let’s take a look at where Duke and Kentucky rank now, along with some thoughts on the rest of the top 10.

1. Louisville (3-0) – We expect the Cardinals to keep this position for quite some time because they won’t be tested for a while. On December 15th, they’ll face the 17th-ranked Memphis Tigers, but for now, the schedule is pretty easy.

2. Indiana (3-0) – Indiana has blown out three cupcakes so far in Bryant, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State. A road game against Georgia tomorrow night should be the Hoosiers closest contest thus far, and they play North Carolina next week.

3. North Carolina State (3-0) – Out of the top three teams here, the Wolfpack have faced the toughest opponents with road wins over Penn State and Massachusetts – although these weren’t truly that tough of games. A road game against Michigan looms in the near future.

4. Ohio State (2-0) – Duke won’t get much chance to celebrate their win over Kentucky since Ohio State rolls into Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 28th. PG Aaron Craft is playing really well for the Buckeyes since he’s scoring 20 PPG and shooting 71.4% from three-point land.

5. Michigan (3-0) – The Wolverines schedule will finally get tough with upcoming games against Pittsburgh and North Carolina State. Trey Burke (18.3 PPG) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (17.3 PPG) give this team a chance to beat anybody in the nation.

6. Duke (2-0) – A fringe top 10 team to open our power rankings, the Blue Devils have now jumped up to number 6 after the victory over defending champion Kentucky. Mike Krzyzewski’s seniors are really providing some strong leadership and scoring for this team.

7. Syracuse (2-0) – The Orange won an interesting opener against San Diego State on an aircraft carrier in San Diego harbor. Unfortunately, there won’t be too many interesting upcoming games until the Big East season opens.

8. Kentucky (2-1) – Nobody can accuse Kentucky of trying to dodge the competition since they played Maryland and Duke in their first two games. The latter game caused the first blemish on the Wildcats’ schedule, but they have plenty of chances to redeem themselves against top teams.

9. Florida Gators (2-0) – Big man Erik Murphy (19.5 PPG) has been nearly unstoppable to open the season, while Florida’s defense has been better than expected so far. Watch out when center Patric Young gets going too.

10. Kansas (2-1) – Much like Kentucky, the Jayhawks have also tumbled down our power rankings following a 67-64 loss to Michigan State. Circle your calendar for December 22nd, when Kansas travels to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.

College Football Power Rankings for Nov. 15th, 2012

Just when it looked like nobody would tarnish Alabama’s undefeated season, they drop a stunner to Texas A&M and send our power rankings into a frenzy. Okay, so it’s not that much of a frenzy because three other top unbeatens survived another week without losing. However, it sure was interesting finding a spot for both Alabama and Texas A&M following last week’s upset.

1. Oregon (10-0) – The rest of the season is going to get tougher for Oregon because of both injuries and their schedule (Stanford, Oregon St., Pac-12 South champ). But for right now, we can firmly say that the Ducks are the best team in college football after a stomping of Cal.

Last Game: 59-17 win over California
Next Game: vs. Stanford

2. Kansas State (10-0) – After an injury scare with QB Collin Klein, the Wildcats appear to be alright since their top playmaker took the field against TCU. Seeing as how their defense keeps shutting down opponents, Kansas State is perfectly balanced on both sides of the ball.

Last Game: 23-10 win over TCU
Next Game: at Baylor

3. Notre Dame (10-0) – There’s no beauty in the way Notre Dame wins each week. But the key is that they do win each week thanks to a dominating defense. Assuming either Oregon or Kansas State loses before the end of the regular season, the Irish could be playing in the national title game.

4. Alabama (9-1) – Based on their performance through the first nine games of the year, we can’t drop the Tide too low following a single loss. But with the season nearing an end and three undefeated teams still left, Alabama may be left out of the national title picture.

Last Game: 29-24 loss to Texas A&M
Next Game: vs. Western Carolina

5. Georgia (9-1) – The Bulldogs look poised to meet Alabama in the SEC Championship game if they can get through their next two games unscathed. Depending upon how things go with the unbeatens, the SEC Championship could decide who goes to the BCS title game.

Last Game: 38-0 win over Auburn
Next Game: vs. Georgia Southern

6. Texas A&M (8-2) – Following an extremely tough road win at Bryant-Denny Stadium, some might argue that the Aggies should be ranked ahead of Alabama. However, we’re already stretching things enough by ranking A&M over two teams that beat them earlier (LSU and Florida). In any case, congratulations to the Aggies for their HUGE win!

Last game: 29-24 win over Alabama
Next game: vs. Sam Houston State

7. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) – Despite being undefeated at this point, many experts are putting Ohio State down as an underdog against Wisconsin this Saturday. It could all come down to how well OSU linebackers Etienne Sabino and Ryan Shazier can shut down Montee Ball and the Badgers run game.

Last game: 52-22 win over Illinois
Next Game: at Wisconsin

8. LSU (8-2) – Unfortunately for LSU, there’ll be no BCS or SEC Championship games in the near future. However, they could certainly land an at-large BCS bowl bid by winning their final two games against Ole Miss and Arkansas. Sure this is no slam dunk, but we definitely like the Tigers chances.

Last Game: 37-17 win over Mississippi State
Next Game: vs. Ole Miss

9. Oklahoma (7-2) – Earlier in the year, it looked as if the upcoming Oklahoma-West Virginia game would have national title implications. But now it’ll merely be a game between two good teams. Actually, the Sooners are a VERY good team which is why we definitely like them to win on the road.

Last Game: 42-34 win over Baylor
Next Game: at West Virginia

10. Florida State (9-1) – The Seminoles aren’t getting much respect outside of the ACC since many experts don’t even consider them a top 10 team. However, we like them better than the fellow 9-1 Florida Gators, which have looked terrible in three straight games. Back to FSU, it’s sad that they aren’t really playing for a chance at the national title with just one loss. But they can still get an at-large BCS bid and beat up on another major conference to prove their point.

NBA Power Rankings for Nov. 14th, 2012

After months of waiting, we’re finally seeing some meaningful NBA basketball being played. Thanks to this, we’ve gotten a chance to see who’s truly the best team at this point in the season. Now keep in mind that our power rankings don’t reflect how we think the playoffs will conclude, but rather who’s number one right now. This being said, here’s a look at the top 10 NBA teams.

1. San Antonio Spurs (7-1) – The Spurs had just about as many questions to answer as anybody else to start the 2012-2013 NBA season. And they’ve definitely answered these questions and then some after beating several top clubs and compiling a 7-1 record. Their lone loss was a road game to the upstart Clippers.

2. New York Knicks (5-0) – With Amare Stoudemire currently injured, the Knicks weren’t expected to have the greatest start. However, Carmelo Anthony is having an MVP-type season thus far, and J.R. Smith is shooting the lights out at a 72.2% clip from 3-point range. We doubt Smith keeps up this torrid pace, but you can’t deny that New York is playing excellent right now.

3. Miami Heat (6-3) – We still aren’t ready to be pushed off our preseason prediction of the Heat winning it all. However, they haven’t beaten any top tier teams yet and have lost games against other contenders such as the Knicks, Clippers and Grizzlies. It is worth mentioning that these were all road games though.

4. L.A. Clippers (6-2) – Jamal Crawford has come back down to earth after an extremely good start. However, the Clippers as a whole are still playing out of this world with wins over the Heat, Grizzlies, Hawks and Spurs. The only reason we don’t have them ranked higher is because of home losses to Cleveland and Golden State.

5. Memphis Grizzlies (6-1) – While we expected the Grizzlies to be good this year, we didn’t anticipate them bolting out to a 6-1 record. A big reason for the hot start is the improved play of PG Mike Conley Jr., who’s averaging 13.9 PPG and 6.9 APG. If he can maintain this, Memphis is a serious contender in the West.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-3) – Following a slow start and the trade of James Harden, the Thunder seem to be back on the right track. So far Kevin Martin has come close to matching Harden’s offensive production at shooting guard; however, the defense can’t be replaced in this situation.

7. L.A. Lakers (3-5) – The only team in our top 10 with a losing record is the Lakers. They’ve easily taken the cake for most disappointing start this year, and coach Mike Brown paid the ultimate price after losing his job. Now we get to see what Mike D’Antoni can do with a lineup that includes Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace……but very little else.

8. Milwaukee Bucks (5-2) – We knew that the Bucks would have a great backcourt this year with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. And they haven’t let anyone down either since Ellis is averaging 20 PPG while Jennings is dishing out 7.9 APG.

9. Chicago Bulls (5-3) – The Bulls make their first appearance in our top 10 after hanging tough without PG Derrick Rose. Luol Deng has stepped up his production (19.1 PPG) in the absence of Rose while Joakim Noah has also been solid with 16 PPG and 9.8 RPG.

10. Brooklyn Nets (5-2) – A new look and arena for the Nets seem to be paying off since they’re one of the East’s top squads. With Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and the newly-added Joe Johnson, Brooklyn has three solid scoring threats now.

College Basketball Power Rankings for Nov. 10th, 2012

On the eve of a new college basketball season, there is no unanimous number one team. However, the Indiana Hoosiers come the closest to being a preseason favorite since they’ve grabbed 43 of a possible 65 first place votes. But Louisville and Kentucky are also highly-rated coming into the 2012-2013 NCAA basketball season. Plus there are several other teams worthy of national title consideration, as you’ll see in our first college basketball power rankings.

1. Louisville Cardinals – Following a Final Four run, the Louisville Cardinals are back with a strong returning group of Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Wayne Blackshear, Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng. With so much returning and some new faces in Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock, the Cardinals look poised to make anoher deep tournament run this year.

2. Indiana Hoosiers – The Hoosiers are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance and big regular season win over Kentucky last year. With Christian Watford and Cody Zeller returning to dominate the paint for Indiana, big things are expected in the upcoming season.

3. North Carolina State – Often a middle-of-the-pack ACC team, the Wolfpack should be leading college basketball’s most prestigious conference this year since they return both C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown.

4. Kentucky Wildcats – The Wildcats added an eighth championship to their decorated basketball history after a 67-59 title game win over the Kansas Jayhawks. Unfortunately, they lose a massive amount of talent, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis. Coach John Callipari had no trouble reloading though after picking up top-flight recruit Nerlens Noel.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes – Ohio State has big shoes to fill after losing  Jared Sullinger and William Buford. However, Deshaun Thomas looks poised to break out this season while Aaron Craft should provide some steady leadership at both ends of the court.

6. Kansas Jayhawks – Few people expected the Jayhawks to make it all the way to the NCAA title game. Now championship expectations are there since veterans Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson will combine with super freshmen Perry Ellis and Ben McLemore.

7. Michigan Wolverines – Following a disappointing second round exit in the NCAA tournament, Michigan returns with a strong nucleus that includes Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Some of the incoming class could provide immediate help as well.

8. Syracuse Orange – Syracuse may have lost some key players, but they still figure to be a powerhouse with Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, Michael Carter-Williams and James Southerland returning.

9. Florida Gators – The loss of Bradley Beal to the NBA is no doubt a huge blow to Florida. However, Patric Young is one of the best centers in college basketball and Kenny Boynton will certainly help ease the loss of Beal.

10. Duke Blue Devils – Maybe this isn’t Coach K’s best Duke team to open the season. But we certainly see a potential top 10 club with Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Tyler Thornton returning as starters.

NFL Power Rankings for Nov. 9th, 2012

As we shift into the second half of the season, it’s hard to deny how good the NFC looks right now. Our weekly power rankings heavily reflect this too since five out of the top six teams are from the NFC. At this point, we can’t see a scenario where an AFC team is walking away with the Lombardi Trophy, but who knows…..maybe something will change in the coming weeks. Now here’s a look at our Week 10 power rankings.

1. Atlanta (8-0) – The slumping Dallas Cowboys gave Atlanta a tough test last game, but not enough to tarnish the Falcons’ undefeated record. Next up for Matt Ryan and company is a matchup against the surging Saints. If the Atlanta pass rush can slow down Drew Brees, there’s no reason why the Falcons won’t be right back at this spot next week.

Last Game: 19-13 win over Dallas
Next Game: at New Orleans Saints

2. Chicago Bears (7-1) – The Bears were running high on all cylinders after stomping the Tennessee Titans last week 51-20. Chicago had two defensive touchdowns during this rout and WR Brandon Marshall added three touchdowns too. If not for an early season loss to the Packers, we’d be ranking the Bears number one.

Last Game: 51-20 win over Tennessee
Next Game: vs. Houston Texans

3. Houston Texans (7-1) – Although last week’s game against the Bills didn’t turn out to be the blowout everybody expected, it was still a fairly easy win. However, nothing will be easy about the upcoming road game against Chicago. We have to favor the Bears thanks to their stout defense and home field advantage, but if QB Matt Schaub can make some plays, the Texans have a strong chance.

Last Game: 21-9 win over Buffalo
Next Game: at Chicago Bears

4. San Francisco (6-2) – The Niners fall one spot from our previous rankings just for the simple fact that the Bears were so impressive. However, they’ll no doubt remain a top Super Bowl contender moving forward.

Last Game: Bye
Next Game: vs. St. Louis

5. Green Bay Packers (6-3) – After a tough start, the Packers are really beginning to take form. And perhaps they’ll be even stronger now that RB James Starks is providing something of a ground game.

Last Game: 31-17 win over Arizona
Next Game: Bye

6. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – It’s no secret that the Ravens defense isn’t living up to the name brand this year following a rash of injuries. But as they recently showed in Cleveland, Baltimore does whatever it takes to get in the win column. You can bet on another W this week against a Raiders team with a decimated backfield.

Last Game: 25-15 win over Cleveland
Next Game: vs. Oakland Raiders

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) – Most of the talk surrounding Pittsburgh this year is how their defense and running game haven’t measured up to past seasons. However, we seem to be witnessing something of a resurgence lately after a tough road win in New York. Isaac Redman rushed for 147 yards while the Steelers D held Eli Manning to just 125 yards passing.

Last Game: 24-20 win over New York Giants
Next Game: vs. Kansas City

8. New York Giants (6-3) – In recent years, the Giants have had a knack for coasting through the regular season, only to come alive during the Playoffs. As of now, they’re coasting through the once-tough NFC East with a 2.5-game lead over the closest competition. That said, they should definitely have another chance to heat up in the postseason.

9. New England Patriots (5-3) – The Pats get an easy home game coming off the bye as they face downtrodden Buffalo. If the past is any indication – where New England has blown the Bills out in every game since 2001 – the Patriots should be one win closer to another playoff berth.

Last Game: Bye
Next Game: vs. Buffalo Bills

10. Denver Broncos (5-3) – Thus far, the Broncos have been the only real standout in the AFC West. Peyton Manning has played like his usual self and LB Von Miller has been a terror to opposing backfields. With a winnable upcoming game in Carolina, Denver will hope to keep distancing themselves from the AFC West pack.

Last Game: 31-23 win over Cincinnati
Next Game: at Carolina Panthers

College Football Power Rankings for Nov. 7th, 2012

We’re going to issue a spoiler alert right away and tell you that most of college football’s top teams won last week. However, there were plenty of close games that put these teams in danger of losing their lofty position. As you’ll find out, Alabama was one such club as they eked out a close win in Baton Rouge.

1. Alabama (9-0) – While LSU is no doubt one of the top teams in the nation this year, most people wouldn’t have been surprised if the Crimson Tide blew them out. After all, Alabama had been destroying opponents by a 31.7-point margin of victory. However, this meant nothing as the Tigers took this game down to the wire. But the Tide persevered on the last drive thanks to a 28-yard screen play TD by T.J. Yeldon.

Last Game: 21-17 win over LSU
Next Game: vs. Texas A&M

2. Oregon Ducks (9-0) – Kenjon Barner had an incredible performance after rushing for 321 yards and 5 touchdowns against USC on the road. With the Trojans out of the way, Oregon should coast towards an undefeated season and hope the BCS favors them.

Last Game: 62-51 win over USC
Next Game: at California

3. Kansas State (9-0) – We cautiously put K-State here while we wait on the extent of QB Collin Klein’s injury. But assuming he can suit up again soon after being knocked out of the Oklahoma State game, the Wildcats are still fairly close to Oregon.

Last Game: 44-30 win over Oklahoma State
Next Game: at TCU

4. Notre Dame (9-0) – The Irish won’t gain any style points for taking three overtimes to polish off a mediocre Pitt team. But a win is a win, and Notre Dame remains in the BCS Championship picture after grinding out a difficult game.

Last Game: 29-26 (3OT) win over Pittsburgh
Next Game: at Boston College

5. Georgia (8-1) – The Bulldogs still lead our list of one-loss teams following a convincing win over Ole Miss. Assuming Georgia can get by their hated rival Auburn this Saturday, they’ll be facing off against Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

Last Game: 37-10 win over Ole Miss
Next Game: at Auburn

6. Ohio State (9-0) – The Buckeyes jump a couple of spots this week because A) they’re still undefeated, and B) they dismantled Illinois last weekend. Sure Ohio State has nothing to play for in regard to the postseason. But you can bet that QB Braxton Miller and the rest of the Bucks will be gunning for an undefeated season.

Last Game: 52-22 win over Illinois
Next Game: at Wisconsin (Nov. 6th)

7. Florida (8-1) – We haven’t exactly been inspired by the Gators’ last two outings: a narrow win over Missouri and an offensively-anemic loss to Georgia. However, all of this can be forgotten if Georgia loses Saturday since Florida would be in line for an SEC Championship Game berth.

Last Game: 14-7 win over Missouri
Next Game: vs. LA-Lafayette

8. LSU (7-2) – Despite two losses, LSU still deserves a top 10 spot after they way they played against Alabama. Many people contend that the Tigers outplayed the Tide before coming up short in the win column. This could be the closest that anybody plays the Tide all year.

Last Game: 21-17 loss to Alabama
Next Game: vs. Mississippi State

9. Oklahoma (6-2) – Much like LSU, Oklahoma benefits from quality losses in our power rankings. Dropping games against Kansas State and Notre Dame is nothing to be ashamed of….but it is enough to keep a team from playing in the National Title Game.

Last Game: 35-20 win over Iowa State
Next Game: vs. Baylor

10. Florida State (8-1) – Once again Florida State rounds out our top 10. They were off last week and got much needed preparation for a tough road game in Blacksburg. If the Seminoles can survive this test, they’ll be one step closer to a major BCS bowl game.

Last Game: Bye
Next Game: at Virginia Tech.