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College Pick’Em: Week Four

Sorry that this one is so late! (Click through to keep reading)

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Pick’em Week 3

Not a lot of games to pick this week, so I’ll be short and sweet.

(#1 FBS) USC 34, (#5 FBS) Ohio State 17: Ohio State hasn’t exactly impressed; USC has.  Ohio State will likely be without star back Chris Wells; USC is healthy.  Ohio State was supposed to be scary good; USC actually is.  And it’s in the colosseum.

(#2 FBS) Georgia 21, South Carolina 9: After last week’s loss to Vanderbilt, Steve Spurrier must be walking around with visible question marks floating over his head.  So don’t even think about asking him who will be taking snaps on Saturday.  This rivalry has been close over the years, but this is the best Georgia team the Gamecocks will have encountered in a long time.  

Clemson 38, NC State 10: Clemson is looking forward to a statement win.  NC State is looking forward to next year.  

(#23 FCS) Furman 27, Colgate 17: Furman traditionally (and oddly) hasn’t played well up north.  However, they have to be encouraged by last week’s strong defensive performance at Virginia Tech.  They’ll need an identical effort to keep All-Everything back Jordan Scott at bay.  

(#13 FBS) Kansas 34, (#19 FBS) South Florida 27: Everyone keeps waiting for signs of a drop-off for Kansas.  This will be a chance to prove the naysayers wrong.

(#18 FCS) Elon 38, Presbyterian 21: So far Elon hasn’t lived up to its abnormally-high expectations.  They need a quality win before Southern Conference play hits.  PC has played some tough opponents well so far, but the Phoenix pull away late.

Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 24: It’s time to see how Paul Johnson’s Triple Option offense fairs against the ACC, and the Hokie defense could be the toughest of them all.  Trickeration keeps Georgia Tech in the game, and Virginia Tech scores all 27 points with special teams (and maybe an INT return thrown in).  

(#7 FCS) James Madison 45, (#3 FCS) UMass 35: The Minutemen have done little to live up to their high pre-season ranking…neither has James Madison, come to think of it.  However, time has run out to get acts together, and the frenzied home crowd pushes James Madison forward to a win with major playoff implications.


Week 2 Pick’Em

Almost the weekend again…place your picks in the  comments below!  Also know that you don’t have to pick all of the games.  For example, if you’re only really passionate about the North Greenville-Wingate action this week, then leave your thoughts on that below.


On to the picks…


(#24 FBS) South Carolina 23, Vanderbilt 21– The Commodores always give South Carolina fits (or just outright beat them), and they got off to a surprisingly good start with a big win over Miami (OH) last week.  The Gamecocks are suspect at best at QB, but their defense should be the difference against the always well-coached, well-prepared Commodores.  I’ll be surprised if it’s not a close one.


Clemson 34, (#20 FCS) The Citadel 17– The hopes of Tiger Nation smashed to a million pieces last Saturday night and they’ll be looking to take out some frustration on FCS Citadel.  However, that may be easier said than done; Clemson fans may remember FCS (and underachieving) Furman coming to Death Valley a year ago and playing the then much-more confident Tigers tough for four quarters, shutting down the rushing attack and sacking Harper 5 times.  With Clemson’s even weaker O-Line, this one could make the Tigers sweat a little more than they’d like.  


(#13 FCS) Wofford 38, Charleston Southern 14– Wofford got off to a slow start last week, needing a good fourth quarter to pull away from PC.  Chucktown South, on the other hand, got their heads handed to them in Miami.  I expect Wofford to be a hair sharper this week and Charleston Southern to play decently…however, the game’s last-minute move from Charleston to Spartanburg (thanks to Tropical Storm Hanna) will make an already tall task that much more difficult.  


Virginia Tech 37, Furman 20– Virginia Tech is overflowing with frustration after a heartbreaking loss to East Carolina, while Furman is feeling plenty confident after a dominating 62-14 victory over D2 Mars Hill.  The Hokies will be looking to take care of business– and lower division teams are usually a great opportunity to do so– but the Paladins aren’t your typical lower division team.  Furman has 5 victories over ACC schools since the I-A/I-AA split and is notorious for scaring I-A/FBS squads (and even getting their coaches fired).  Tech’s stout defense and special teams should counter Furman’s potent offense well, but the Hokie offense gives little reason to believe they can pull too far ahead and this one.  


Wingate 27, North Greenville 20– The Crusaders did as well as expected in their 49-10 loss to Liberty last week.  This week they take on Wingate, a better-than-average D2 team, for their home opener.  Wingate will likely continue to ride their 5-game winning streak, but North Greenville gets a boost from the home crowd and keeps it close.


(#1 FCS) Appalachian State 48, Jacksonville 9– The Mountaineers came out sloppy against LSU last week, giving many in the FCS ranks reason to believe that this App State team is a bit more vulnerable.  And they probably are.  But Jacksonville isn’t LSU.  


(#5 FBS) Florida 45, Miami 13– Take a rivalry with an ugly history, make Florida virtually unstoppable, make Miami a mere shell of its former self, and put it in the Swamp.  I think we all see where this one is going.


(#20 FBS) Wake Forest 31, Ole Miss 28– The SEC usually trumps the ACC, and I think Ole Miss may surprise some people this year.  However, they’ll only be able to keep it close; Wake Forest comes away with a late victory.


(#8 FBS) West Virginia 35, East Carolina 28– This one is a toss-up.  The media is riding the East Carolina bandwagon after their “upset” of Virginia Tech a week ago, and I do agree that they’re a team to be reckoned with.  But West Virginia is a far better team than Virginia Tech and has a far better offense.  


(#3 FCS) Richmond 17, Virginia 13– Upset pick of the week: Richmond has gradually proven themselves to be legitimate National Championship contenders over the last few years, and last week’s convincing win at Elon has me thinking this could be the team to do it.  Couple that with some recent success against ACC foes and we’ve got the makings of yet another FCS-over-bad-ACC “upset.”


College Football Pick’Em: Week 1

I know that this makes two out of three posts related to college football, so for those of you could who care less, my apologies.  

Anyways, this post kicks off what we hope becomes a weekly tradition here at Amalgamblog: College Football Pick’Em.  The premise is simple: we’ll pick a number of games with either local or national interest, make our own predictions, and then invite you to comment with your own predictions.  We’ll reward your accuracy with…affirmation!  Maybe something else on down the line, we’ll have to see how much participation we get.

On to the picks:

South Carolina 27, NC State 13: USC has high hopes, a great pass defense and a confident QB.  NC State is still “rebuilding.”

(#9 FBS) Clemson 23, (#24 FBS) Alabama 21: Clemson’s heads are in the clouds (like the beginning of every year), but any SEC foe, Alabama in particular, is a harder-than-normal opener.  Alabama needs to find some consistency, though.  

(#13 FCS) Wofford 34, Presbyterian 17: Wofford has lost some personnel from last season’s Conference Champion team, but they are always an incredibly well-prepared team.  The fighting Bobby Bentleys still have a lot of work to do before they can hang with Southern Conference heavies.  

Furman 52, Mars Hill 10: Not a homer pick, I promise.  But this one won’t be close.  

(#23 FBS) Wake Forest 23, Baylor 13: Wake Forest could challenge for the ACC crown this year, but Baylor isn’t the pushover that they have been in the past.  

(#7 FBS) LSU 42, (#1 FCS) Appalachian State 20: The Mountaineers couldn’t sneak up on a hibernating grizzly bear after last season, but they’re still good enough to keep this unprecedented matchup of defending national champions respectable, especially with LSU’s QB issues.  But the Bayou Bengals are just too deep.

Miami 56, Charleston Southern 10: Miami’s first and second strings may be suspended, but I still take the third string in a “real nail-biter.”

(#6 FBS) Missouri 31, (#20 FBS) Illinois 27: Quietly, this is the best matchup of the week.  Chase Daniel leads Mizzou to a 4th quarter win over the overachieving Illini.  

(#1 FBS) Georgia 42, (#17 FCS) Georgia Southern 13: Until they prove otherwise, I don’t think the Eagles deserve their #17 ranking.  Hanging with the Bulldogs for three quarters or so would change my opinion.  (Not going to happen, guys.) 

(#4 FCS) Richmond 38, (#15 FCS) Elon 35: The Phoenix can throw the ball better than anyone in the FCS, it seems, but Richmond will have a field day with Elon’s “defense.”

Liberty 63, North Greenville 9: Sorry North Greenvillers, but Liberty has become at least a mediocre FCS team.  That doesn’t bode well for the Crusaders.  

(#22 FBS) Penn State 49, Coastal Carolina 3: Unfortunately, Coastal will have landed more players in jail in the last couple of weeks (four) than points on the scoreboard against the Nittany Lions.

Get your picks in before noon on Saturday!


Top Ten Tuesday: The Most Awesomely Random College Football Mascots

College football makes its glorious return this weekend and so the folks here at the Amalgamblog turn our attention to the gridiron. Today, we look at the mascots. Now, any team can name their team the “Tigers” or “Eagles” or just plug in their state nickname (“Buckeyes”, “Hoosiers”, “Wolverines”, etc.). But these 10 schools take the road less traveled and, for that, we salute you. Here are the Top 10 Most Awesomely Random Mascots in all of Division 1 football.

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Goodbye Olympics

It is safe to say that I have been obsessed with the 2008 Summer Olympics. From the Opening Ceremony I have been watching them every spare moment I have (and even some I don’t). I’ve written lesson plans to the tunes of gymnastics, cut out hall passes as USA worked its way to men’s and women’s volleyball golds (both beach and indoor), and I have finished Sudoku puzzles while men and women ran and swam faster than ever before. I love the competition and the fact that the best athletes from all over the world come together to compete. Of course there have been some less than exciting things about the games: doping, dropped batons, (potentially) underage athletes, un-sportsmanlike conduct, and China’s human rights violations. Regardless, these Olympics have been sensational. And I have loved every minute.

One thing that I will always associate with the 2008 games is preparing for my first year of teaching. In some ways teaching and the Olympics are more closely related than some might think. When I walked into a classroom full of students on the first day I had to be prepared. I had to put my best foot forward and I only had once chance to make a good first impression. My first day was good. I spent a good portion of it trying to get to know each of my students. They are why I teach. They are more important than any concept or subject. I may not win a gold medal for my first year of teaching but I hope to be satisfied at the end that I have given my all, that I have invested in every single student and that I have provided them skills they will be able to use in life. 

The Olympics have inspired me to be a better teacher. I am sad that tonight is the closing ceremony, but I have loved watching it and can’t wait for London. I also can’t wait to walk into my room tomorrow to greet my students.


A Cool Story About An Olympic Marathoner

As I watch the men’s marathon right now, Ryan Hall-the top U.S. qualifier-is three minutes off pace. And in our world of winners and losers he is, at least at this moment, a disappointment in the eyes of many. He isn’t in my book. Click on this link to check out this article from Runner’s World about Hall and the role that his faith plays in his being one of the top American marathoners.

[Update: Hall finished 10th in the Marathon, roughly six minutes behind the winning time: an Olympic record. Still not too shabby.]

The Amalgam is a collective of various writers, photographers, artists, and random people in general. This weblog is a collection of their thoughts on faith, life, the arts, sports, and basically anything else. The views of the writers in the Amalgam do not necessarily represent the views of Concoxions Creative Ministries. But where we disagree with them, we still love them.