Game of the Week: Alabama Crimson Tide vs Texas A&M

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 Alabama vs. Texas A&M 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’s offensive weapons. The Texas A&M defense has really struggled this season. The Aggies gave up over 500 total yards to Rice and 390 to Sam Houston State. Several suspended players will return this weekend, but Alabama has a bevy of talent at the skill positions. QB A.J. McCarron is a Heisman candidate himself. He has explosive weapons in RB T.J. Yeldon, Christian Jones and Amari Cooper. McCarron struggled against Virginia Tech, but Jones scored three touchdowns to pick up the slack. Expect McCarron to bring his ‘A’ game as the Crimson Tide try to avenge their only loss in 2012.

ncf_u_manziel6x_600Why I could be wrong:
Johnny Football. Johnny Manziel has been under the microscope since winning the Heisman. Manziel’s arm seems to have recovered from signing all those autographs (memorabilia or air) and he passed for more than 400 yards last week. The Aggies rolled up 719 yards against Sam Houston State in their tune up for the Crimson Tide. If those suspended players can help shore up the defense Texas A&M could very well beat Alabama for the second year in a row.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:
Some say Alabama fans have been waiting for this game immediately following A&M’s win in Tuscaloosa last year. Do Tide players have revenge on their mind? Nick Saban will have his team focused. Led by a senior quarterback Alabama won’t underestimate this Aggie squad. This is another statement game for Kevin Sumlin and his team as they play for respect in the tough SEC. It’s probably safe to say the tackling epidemic sweeping the country won’t rear its ugly head in this clash.

College Station will be hoppin Saturday. There’s still time to get your ticket to this year’s Game of the Century. Join me Saturday afternoon as I’ll be live-tweeting during the game. Follow @TicketCity and @JeffKubiszyn and share your predictions with us.

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: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Michigan Wolverines

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 Notre Dame vs. Michigan ranks #1 on our list.  Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.

Why Michigan will win the biggest game of week one:

The Big House. More than 100,000 fans under the lights for a rivalry that dates back to 1887. The last time these two schools met in Ann Arbor, Michigan pulled out a 35-31 thriller. A solid running game will keep Notre Dame’s offense on the sidelines. Last week the Wolverines rolled up 242 yards on the ground versus Central Michigan despite having three new starters on the offensive line. Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly caused a stir last Sunday when he said he didn’t think of Michigan as a rival. Although he did back down from this statement this should add to the game’s intensity.

Why I could be wrong:

Tommy Rees. The senior QB lit up Temple for 346 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 completions. The Fighting Irish needed Rees to step up following the announcement of Everett Golson’s ineligibility. Rees led Notre Dame to 543 yards of offense. Michigan QB Devin Gardner threw two interceptions last week against Central Michigan. Michigan turned the ball over six times in a 13-6 loss to the Fighting Irish last season. Ball security has to improve.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:

This is most likely the final game played in the Big House in this storied rivalry. Notre Dame decided not to renew the series in 2015 due to their new ACC schedule. Michigan fans would love to send the Fighting Irish home with a loss and have bragging rights in what may be the series finale. If Notre Dame has BCS aspirations it cannot afford a loss in this evenly-matched game. Join me in prime time on Saturday night as I’ll be live-tweeting during the game. Follow @TicketCity and @JeffKubiszyn and share your predictions with us.

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: LSU Tigers vs TCU Horned Frogs

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. TCU ranks #1 on our list.  Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.

Kenny HilliardWhy LSU will win the biggest game of week one:
The Tiger offense. Senior QB Zack Mettenberger has a new offensive coordinator, but arguably the SEC’s best wide receiver tandem in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. RB Jeremy Hill will be active for this game and anchors a strong running attack that averaged more than 173 yards rushing a game last season. LSU will be well-represented at AT&T Stadium by the Tiger faithful, neutralizing a home field advantage for the Horned Frogs. If TCU DE Devonte Fields does not play the Horned Frogs will miss its best player on defense. This should give Mettenbeger more time to find his wide receivers.

Why I could be wrong:
LSU lost a ton of players to the NFL Draft this spring (including a record 11 underclassmen). This speaks to the wealth of talent head coach Les Miles recruits. But can the Tigers overcome seven new starters on defense? TCU has a chance to come out and show the country they can hang with the big boys. The QB duo of Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin combined for 25 TD passes last season. Both are expected to play, and each offers a different style of football that will keep the Tiger defense on its toes. Gary Patterson is a very good coach and he will have his team ready to face LSU.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:
This is a very important game for both schools. A win for TCU gives the program momentum and could propel the Horned Frogs towards a Big 12 Championship. LSU needs to see what it has on defense. This should be a great match-up of two schools poised to challenge for their conference championships. Join me in prime time on Saturday night as I’ll be live-tweeting during the game. Follow @TicketCity and @JeffKubiszyn and share your predictions with us.

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.

The Stanley Cup Finals

The Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight when the Boston Bruins take the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago. This will be the first time since 1979 that two teams representing the Original Six will meet.

shutterstock_56256406The Bruins are coming off an impressive sweep of cup favorite Pittsburgh in the third round of the playoffs. Sensational goaltending and a balanced scoring attack has been the Bruins trademark this postseason. Boston forward David Krejci leads all players in postseason points with 21. He has had plenty of support though, including Patrice Bergeron netting two overtime game winning goals. Boston is second in the NHL with 50 playoff goals.

The B’s may not need many goals if Tuukka Rask continues his phenomenal play in net. Rask shut down the high scoring Penguins and sports a 1.75 goals against average and a .943 save percentage in the playoffs. Rask has been saving his best hockey for the post season.

Chicago will not be a pushover. The Blackhawks finished the regular season with the NHL’s best record. This is a team that earned a point in a record 24 straight games to begin the season. They can score, led by the trio of Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane (each has 14 points). Look for the speed of the Chicago’s forwards to test Boston’s defense.

While Rask has been lights out for the Bruins, Corey Crawford has been a big reason for the Blackhawks advancing. Crawford has an impressive 1.74 goals against average to go with his .935 save percentage. It was his 33 save effort in Chicago’s double overtime win over Los Angeles that helped propel his team to the cup finals.

This matchup of well-coached teams promises to provide an entertaining series. With Lord Stanley’s cup on the line it will be a test of who can play their game and who will capitalize on the other teams’ mistakes. Boston is chasing its third cup in the last four years while Chicago hopes to hoist hockey’s biggest prize for the third time in five years. Ticketcity can help you experience every bone-crushing hit and lamp-lighting shot in what should be an exciting series.

Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup?

Hope Springs Eternal in Florida and Arizona

The 2013 Major League baseball season kicks off this month as players report to their respective camps in Florida and Arizona. Many teams were busy over the winter revamping their rosters.

In Los Angeles the new owners of the Dodgers didn’t sit in the cheap seats after purchasing the team for $2.15 billion. Led by former Lakers star Magic Johnson the Dodgers spent more than $200 million this offseason on just three players – Zack Grienke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon League. The Dodger lineup is loaded with big name players like Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Andre Either. Only time will tell if the West Coast version of the Yankees can gel into a contender.

Another team making a big splash over the winter is the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto took advantage of the Miami Marlins fire sale and acquired Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle and Emilio Bonifacio. But the Blue Jays weren’t done. A trade with the New York Mets brought knuckleballer R.A. Dickey north of the border to bolster a formidable pitching staff. Suddenly (on paper), the AL East looks like the toughest division in baseball.

620653_24123006The defending World Series champs San Francisco Giants stood pat, not signing any big name players. The Giants will rely on pitching and defense again. Mait Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum will anchor a solid pitching rotation. Pitching health will be important as the Giants’ bats produced the fewest home runs in the National League last year. The Giants need another MVP-type season from Buster Posey to carry San Francisco to another postseason visit.

Change is afoot in Texas as the Houston Astros make the move to the American League. The rebuilding Astros don’t have any household names and look like they are headed for another 100 loss season. The good news is the minor league system continues to improve. Be patient, Astros fans. Houston will join the Texas Rangers in the AL West. Rangers’ fans did not enjoy the last three months of 2012. First the team blew a three game lead with three games left in the regular season to lose the division title to Oakland. Texas was then quickly dismissed from postseason play by Baltimore. Things got worse when Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young left via free agency/trade. Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski were brought in to help fill the void. Pitching now seems to be the strength of the team. Yu Darvish and Derek Holland anchor a strong rotation. Star prospect Jurickson Profar gave Rangers’ fans a glimpse of the future in a late-season call up. He needs to make an impact in 2013 to help fans forget about the offseason departure of key players.

Here are our players to watch in 2013:

  • Tim Lincecum (San Francisco Giants) – The Freak had a forgettable 2012 season. He will need to rebound if the Giants hope for a repeat World Series visit.
  • Adrian Gonzalez (LA Dodgers) – a mid season trade brought Gonzalez to LA. Unfortunately he left his power in Boston. A resurgent Gonzalez will offer protection for Kemp and gives the Dodgers legitimate power at first base.
  • Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals) – Strasburg was on a pitch count in 2012 following Tommy John surgery. The Nats sure could have used him in the postseason. The pitch count has been lifted and Strasburg will be counted on to lead Washington back to the playoffs.
  • Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles) – Jones had a breakout season in 2012. With the AL East wide open the Orioles will need Jones to duplicate last season if they hope to contend.
  • Adrian Beltre (Texas Rangers) – The Rangers lost a ton of offense in the offseason. Beltre will be the focal point in the lineup. Will he be up to the task?

The great thing about Spring Training is everyone starts anew. Optimism is high, and the excitement of another baseball season can help fight the winter chill. Tell us how you think your team will do this season.

 Jeff is a former semi-professional baseball player and contributor to the TicketCity Blog.