This week is going to be a little different, I have an itch to rant.
In 2014 the Big Ten Conference will be adding Rutgers University (and the University of Maryland, but nobody cares about that right now) and I have a problem with this addition. In the past year Rutgers has been hit with two separate abuse scandals that have severely damaged the image of the school and its athletic department. Yet the Big Ten and its commissioner, Jim Delany, are determined to bring this school into its conference.
Mr. Delany and his group of well-educated cronies seem to be looking past the warning signs that Rutgers and its charming athletic director Julie Hermann keep sending the rest of the NCAA. No, all Delany and the Big Ten see is the ability to get a foot in the door of the New York media market (Rutgers is located in New Jersey and is the only major college football program near the Big Apple).
Mr. Delany needs to stop looking at all the green and start noticing the red (flags, that is) and stop Rutgers from bringing its bad image into the Big Ten.
I know nothing will change but I am still upset about it. So, to make myself feel better, I will not be picking any Big Ten games this weekend. If that doesn’t grab Delany’s attention then, well, nobody should be surprised. But it is still a start!
Okay, my rant is over. On to the picks.
Last Week: 6-4
High School Football Semi-State 11/22
Concord (10-2) at Westfield (11-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: The last remaining fall NLC team lives to see another day. Concord defeated Mishawaka 34-14 in last week’s regional. This week the road only gets harder as the Minutemen travel to Westfield, an Indianapolis suburb, to take on the No.1 ranked Shamrocks. This is certainly a task that the athletic Minutemen can handle but it will have to be a flawless performance for Concord if it wants to make it to Lucas Oil Stadium next weekend.
The Pick: Westfield 34, Concord 21.
Girls high School Basketball 11/22
South Bend Career Academy (0-1) at Wawasee (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: No offense to the other girls programs in the area, but this is the only one I am picking this weekend. It is nothing personal, I will just be covering this game so therefore I am offering my expertise on this marquee match up. SBCA scored a whopping 10 points in its first game and Wawasee watched a 23-11 third quarter lead turn into a 37-33 overtime loss in its last game. Needless to say, this game will be interesting. I wish I could pinpoint exactly what to expect on Friday night but I just don’t. This could be a 15-13 game (seriously) or a 60-57 game. It might be worth it to make it out for the game just see what happens, if nothing else Kem Zolman is always entertaining on the sideline.
The Pick: Wawasee 49, SBCA 21.
Boys High School Basketball 11/26-11/27
Lakeland Christian Academy at Caston, 11/26 7:45 p.m.
The Scoop: LCA tips off on Tuesday night all the way down in Fulton with hopes of improving on last year’s 7-15 record. One of those wins for the Cougars last season came against Caston in a thrilling, last second 50-47 victory. First year head coach Joel Burrus and the Cougars may have an uphill battle this season but should be able to at least match last season’s win total. I’m just not sure if Tuesday will be one of those wins.
The Pick: Caston 51, LCA 40.
Wawasee at Fairfield, 11/26 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: The Steve Wiktorowski era gets underway for Wawasee basketball as ‘Wik’ and the boys travel up the road to Fairfield High School to take on one of Wik’s former teams. The Warriors are bringing back an eye-popping 10 letter winners to their varsity roster. Wawasee beat Fairfield 80-61 last season and this year’s Warrior team should be much improved over last season’s team that only captured five wins.
The Pick: Wawasee 74, Fairfield 66.
Columbia City at Whitko, 11/27 7:45
The Scoop: The Wildcats tip-off the 2013-14 season in South Whitley as the Eagles come to town. It is anything but an easy start to the season for Whitko as Scott Wessel enters his second year at the helm for the Wildcats. After posting just six wins last season fans will be looking for big improvements in this first game. I think the ‘Cats will get more wins and will show sign of improvement on Wednesday night, I just do not think they get the victory.
The Pick: Columbia City 67, Whitko 49.
Warsaw at Tippecanoe Valley, 11/27 7:45
The Scoop: Last season Doug Ogle and the Tigers started off the season well against Bill Patrick and the Vikings in what was a well-played 72-64 victory for Warsaw. Both teams would end up claiming sectional titles before falling in the regional. It is hard to expect similar postseason success as both team’s have lost key pieces and are both in tough sectionals. However, it is perfectly okay to expect another great game between these two county rivals. The best way to kickoff Thanksgiving break will be to have a seat for this match up.
The Pick: Tippecanoe Valley 72, Warsaw 69.
Oregon-Davis at Triton, 11/27 8 p.m.
The Scoop: The Trojans will embark on their journey to make it back to the State Finals. Some might see that as improbable without the dominating force that was Clay Yeo but the Trojans still have Jason Groves as head coach and if you haven’t noticed, the guy can coach. Even if Triton only had four players I would not be picking O-D. I do not like that school and I do not care what anyone says about it. They can keep their awkwardly shaped gymnasium located in the middle of nowhere (Hamlet, IN) and their press box (in the gym, yeah) with the 1970’s shag carpet. Anyways, this is all Trojans, all night.
The Pick: Triton 68, Oregon-Davis 41.
College Football 11/23
BYU (7-3) at Notre Dame (7-3), 3:30 p.m.
The Scoop: With a high of 30 degrees expected on Saturday it should be good, old fashioned football weather. I will be there for the game and am hoping for snow, a lot of it. I mean, why not? The season is a loss for ND so a “Snow Bowl” type of atmosphere would be awesome. Tommy Rees is certainly not going to impress me so the weather might as well provide something. This unofficial “Holy War” should be a good game as both teams are still aiming for a high-profile bowl bid, just not a BCS bid.
The Pick: Notre Dame 27, BYU 14.
NFL Week 12 11/24
Chicago (6-4) at St. Louis (4-6), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: Ever since I publicly dubbed Josh McCown as “RG McCown III” the former Bears backup has been nearly unstoppable when given playing time. This week McCown and the Bears travel down I-55 to St. Louis to take on a dangerous Rams team. St. Louis is either red hot or ice cold. Head coach Jeff Fisher is a great veteran of his profession and will have his team ready to go but I really like the Bears, it is just hard to bet against McCown after he was proclaimed as a combination of “Jesus and Ben Stiller” by a teammate this week.
The Pick: Bears 31, Rams 20.
Indianapolis (7-3) at Arizona (6-4), 4:05 p.m.
The Scoop: Former Colts offensive coordinator and interim head coach Bruce Arians welcomes in his former team to University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday in a game that will truly test Indianapolis. Actually, fun fact, four men that have held the title “Colts offensive coordinator” will be on the sidelines on Sunday. Clyde Chritensen (current Colts QB coach), Pep Hamilton (current Colts OC) Bruce Arians (Cardinals head coach) and Tom Moore (Cardinals offensive consultant). The Cardinals receivers have a lot of talent and will force the Colts secondary to make plays early and often. This will be a telling game for a Colts team that has been inconsistent as of late. I still like Andrew Luck to do what he does best, win.
The Pick: Colts 38, Cardinals 31..