Game of the Week: Auburn vs. Georgia

TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football  is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week LSU vs. Alabama ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.

 

Why Auburn will win the biggest game of the week:

What a difference a season can make. Last year Auburn struggled through a 3-9 season. The Tigers went winless in SEC play. Fast forward to 2013 and Auburn is just two wins from playing for the SEC Championship. Head coach Guz Malzhan has brought a new attitude to Auburn.

One of the reasons for Auburn’s resurgence is the running game. The Tigers average 320 yards per game, third in the country. Runningback Tre Mason has scored seven touchdowns in Auburn’s last two games. Quarterback Nick Marshall, a Georgia transfer, rushed for 214 yards and two scores last week against Tennessee. Georgia ranks 31st in the country in run defense, giving up 138 yards per game.  If Auburn can run the ball, and keep Georgia’s offense off the field, the Tigers should go into the season finale against Alabama with a shot at winning the SEC West.

Why I could be wrong:

Georgia has battled injuries throughout the season. The Bulldogs have been missing key playmakers on offense. Keith Marshall and Justin Scott-Wesley were lost for the season in the Tennessee game. Runningback Todd Gurley has missed three games. Wide receivers Chris Conley and Michael Bennett have missed multiple games. Despite all of the injuries, Georgia has kept fighting. Quarterback Aaron Murray has been the constant in the lineup. Murray set the record for career touchdown passes in the SEC during Georgia’s win over Appalachian State last week. Murray should get Conley and tight end Arthur Lynch back for the Auburn game. With some of his injured weapons returning, Murray gives Georgia a chance on Saturday. Auburn’s pass defense has been suspect, ranking 91st  in the country while giving up 252 yards passing per game.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:

Auburn can’t look past Georgia towards the upcoming Iron Bowl. The wounded Bulldogs still have fight left in them. Georgia has dominated this series, winning six out of the last seven meetings. They would love to spoil Auburn’s magical run this season.

Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table.

Game of the Week: Alabama vs. LSU

TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week LSU vs. Alabama ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.

Why Alabama will win the biggest game of week one:

Alabama can’t look past this game against LSU if it wants to play for the national championship. There are too many other schools just waiting for the Crimson Tide to slip up. No, Alabama will focus on the Tigers and keeping their record unblemished. Nick Saban has veteran leadership to make sure there is no November stumble like the previous two seasons. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has the experience to put the game on his shoulders if necessary. For the season, McCarron is completing nearly seventy percent of his passes and has an impressive 16:3 touchdown to interception ratio. T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake lead the rushing attack and have a combined 17 rushing touchdowns. Alabama is so balanced on offense it has given the defense time to grow up and become dominant again.

Why I could be wrong:

Zach Mettenberger. The senior signal caller has 19 touchdown passes so far this season. He is just 119 passing yards away from eclipsing his total for last season – with four games left to play. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has transformed Mettenberger into a complete quarterback. Of course, it helps when you have weapons like Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at wide receiver. The Tiger’s passing attack has dramatically improved this year. Why is this important? LSU lost quite a bit of talent on the defensive side of the ball last year, so it will be up to Mettenberger and the offense to pull off the upset. The wildcard is every Italian American’s favorite head football coach, Les Miles. He always has a gadget play up his sleeve for big games.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:

Something will have to give on Saturday. The goal is crystal clear for Alabama: win out and play for the BCS National Championship. On the other side of the ball, LSU has its eye on an at-large BCS bowl game. The Tigers would like nothing more than to play spoiler to Alabama’s run at a third national championship. The Crimson Tide can show they are still the team to beat with a victory. There will be a lot of future NFL talent on display at Bryant-Denny Stadium in what should be an exciting clash of SEC powers.

Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table. 

Game of the Week: Michigan vs. Michigan State

TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week Michigan State vs. Michigan ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.

Can Michigan QB Devin Gardner pull off the win in East Lansing?

 

Why Michigan State will win the biggest game of week one:

Rivals square off as Michigan comes to East Lansing to face a red-hot Michigan State team. The Spartans have won four in a row and rank in the Top 25 for the first time this season. Defense has been paving the way for Michigan State. The Spartans lead the country in total defense and have five defensive scores. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner will need to protect the ball against an aggressive Michigan State defense that gives up only 12 points a game. Michigan is last in the Big Ten with 17 turnovers, and Gardner has been shaky on the road. The Spartan offense is not flashy, but it may only need to play mistake-free football to beat its hated rival.

Why I could be wrong:

Sometimes you just have to throw the stats out the window in a rivalry game (see: Texas against Oklahoma). Michigan is coming off a bye week, giving the Wolverines two weeks to prepare for the pressure they will see from Michigan State’s defense. If Gardner and the offense can strike fast, it will put pressure on a very vanilla Spartan offense. Michigan State ranks 89th in the NCAA in overall offense and just 109th in passing. Don’t be surprised to see the Wolverines stack the box and force Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook to beat them with his arm.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:

The stakes are high in this heated rivalry. The winner is in the driver’s seat for the Legends Division title and the Big Ten Championship game. This game could be a defensive battle. Michigan is averaging just 14 points a game against Michigan State the last three seasons. The Spartans, meanwhile, have struggled to put points on the board against quality opponents. A lot is on the line – recruiting edge, state bragging rights and the inside track to the conference championship game. Who do you think will win the Battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy?

Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table. 

Game of the Week: Ohio State vs. Penn State

TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week Ohio State vs. Penn State ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.

OSU’s Braxton Miller could be holding a Heisman trophy when it’s all said and done this season.

 

Why Ohio State will win the biggest game of week one:

If Ohio State didn’t know the Big Ten would be difficult, they do now. The Buckeyes had a wakeup call last week against Iowa, needing a second-half rally to beat the Hawkeyes 34-24. Coach Urban Meyer will have his troops focused against a Penn State team starting a true freshman at quarterback. Running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 106 of his 143 yards after halftime as Ohio State controlled the line of scrimmage and the clock in the second half. More importantly, quarterback Braxton Miller looks to be recovered from his knee injury. Having the dual-threat Miller healthy makes the Buckeye offense even more explosive.

Why I could be wrong:

The Nittany Lions picked up their first Big Ten victory last week with a thrilling 43-40 four-overtime win against then-ranked #18 Michigan. Coach Bill O’Brien has done a magnificent job rebuilding the Penn State program. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to grow into the role as the leader of the offense with 11 touchdown passes. The Nittany Lions should look at taking a page from the Ohio State game plan and establish the run game to keep the potent Buckeye offense off the field. Running back Bill Belton was the workhorse last week, carrying the ball 27 times. Expect a similar workload from Belton this weekend. O’Brien has his players believing in themselves and the program, and that makes them a dangerous team.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:

Sitting at #4 in the first BCS rankings of the season, Ohio State knows that close victories won’t cut it if they want to contend for the BCS Championship game. The Buckeyes need to start winning convincingly. Miller and Hyde lead an explosive Buckeye offense, while the defense will look to key on the Nittany Lions young quarterback. Ohio State also wants to keep the nation’s longest unbeaten streak intact, currently sitting at 19. Meanwhile, Penn State brings a young team to the Horseshoe. The future will be on display and college football fans will get to see the continued resurgence of the Penn State program under O’Brien.

Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table. 

2013 World Series – Red Sox vs. Cardinals

Last time they faced each other, Boston swept St. Louis to win its first title since 1918.

 

With the way Michael Wacha has been pitching, the St. Louis Cardinals may become a regular fixture in the postseason.

The young right-hander has been phenomenal in this year’s playoffs, posting a 3-0 record with a miniscule 0.43 ERA. This comes on the heels of a near no-hitter in his last regular season start. Wacha has been a pleasant surprise for a team that has relied on its pitching in the past.

During the 2011 playoffs St. Louis leaned heavily on ace Chris Carpenter. Carpenter won two of his three World Series starts as the Cardinals edged the Texas Rangers in seven games. In that postseason Carpenter went 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA.

This Cardinals team once again used dominating pitching to make a return trip to the Fall Classic. In addition to Wacha, Adam Wainwright has become the ace of the staff, posting a 1.57 ERA in his three starts. The rotation is set for both pitchers to make two appearances. And history has shown you can win a series with just two pitchers, especially when those two are in the kind of zone Wainwright and Wacha are in. But don’t hand over the World Series trophy just yet.

Boston pitchers might not have the same kind of gaudy numbers, but they are an experienced group familiar with postseason pressure. Jon Lester and John Lackey have been stalwarts in the rotation. Lester sports a 2.33 ERA while Lackey carries a respectable 3.00 ERA into the series. All you need to remember is this group out-pitched the Detroit Tigers duo of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

The Red Sox will count on Jacoby Ellsbury to keep setting the table for the big hitters. Ellsbury is hitting .400 this postseason and leads the team with 10 runs scored. Boston only had two players with home runs going into game six of the ALCS against the Tigers before Shane Victorino smashed a grand slam to win the series.

Boston manager John Farrell has a tough decision to make when the series shifts to St. Louis. What to do with David Ortiz?

Ortiz leads the team with three home runs and can play first base if necessary. But that means taking Mike Napoli’s bat out of the lineup. Napoli is second on the team with two home runs. How Farrell uses Ortiz and Napoli will be an interesting scenario to watch.

Prediction: Runs could be at a premium. Errors and smart base running could be the difference in a series that will feature dominate pitching. I think it will come down to a game 7 matchup that could have Lester facing Wainwright on short rest. I like Boston to win in seven games.

Notes of interest:

  • Cardinal 1B Allen Craig is expected to make his postseason debut. Craig, who led the Cardinals with 97 RBIs in the regular season, has not played since Sept. 4.
  • Carlos Beltran has 12 RBIs in 11 games to lead the Cardinals.
  • Ellsbury has six of the Red Sox’s 11 stolen bases.
  • Since 2004, Boston is 8-0 in the World Series. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals 4-0 in 2004 and the Colorado Rockies 4-0 in 2007.

Don’t miss what should be an exciting series. Whether you’re a die-hard Red Sox fan or loyal Cardinals supporter, TicketCity can help you experience the postseason in person.