Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Night viewing: NFL & Bowl games, holiday Office & college hoops

For those of you dreaming of a white Christmas I suggest you go to Denver, that is as soon as you can get in.

As a brutal blizzard bears down on the Mile High City, paralyzing last minute shoppers and preventing the Nuggets newly acquired headache Allen Iverson from joining the team (omen or what?) I would like to give a shout-out to my good friend from back home Bill and his wife Jamie on their newborn son Finn.

Little Finn is barely a couple of weeks old and already he is experiencing life as a fan of New England sports.

Good to see that Daddy is raising the boy right, preparing him for a life of heartbreak; all of us in the Nation welcome one of its newest, and tiniest, members.

As for the blizzard, Bill sent me some up close & personal pix of the coverage.

Over 30 inches of snow has fallen in the past 48 hours, blanketing the greater Denver area, so I hope you guys got your Christmas shopping done.

Oh and Finn, make sure you take care of mommy & daddy and tell them not to let you wander off into the white stuff.

Too bad the bowl game tonight is not being played in the Denver area- a nice snow bowl would have been cool to watch, especially for us down here in the unseasonably warm Tampa Bay area.

But bowl junkies and degenerate gamblers will have to settle for...wait for it...

The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl.

Ah just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

Bowl #2, The Las Vegas Bowl , where dreams come true and family men lose their mortgages.

Tonight's game should be a good match up with plenty of offense.
#22 BYU (10-2) vs. Oregon (7-5)
BYU: -3
O/U: 62 pts
Need to know:
The Cougars are hot, having ripped off 9 wins in a row, and have one of the most high-powered offenses in the country (37 PPG, 5th in NCAA.) The Ducks have a decent offense as well, scoring 31 points per game, and played a much tougher schedule.

Players to Watch:
The BYU offense revolves around senior quarterback John Beck, who compiled over 35oo yards passing with 30 TDs. His favorite target is Johnny Harline, a 6'4" senior who had 700+ yards receiving and 11 TDs.

For Oregon they are led by quarterback Brady Leaf, who replaced the mobile but-ineffective Dennis Dixon 3 games ago and has played well, although the Ducks have lost all three. The stout running attack is anchored by the duo of Jonathan Stewart(960 yds, 10TDs) and Jeremiah Johnson (603 yds, 10TDs.)


BYU has lost its last 4 bowl games while Oregon has failed to win its last 3; rename this the Something's Gotta Give Bowl or what? Plus Oregon sports some of the most hideous Nike-created unis in the history of man.

Everyone is predicting BYU top win a high-scoring shootout. One of my other bad rules of gambling is I like to go the opposite way that everyone is thinking. I still believe it will be pretty high-scoring, but I like the Ducks to keep it close thanks to that tough Pac-10 schedule it played (USC, Cal and also Oklahoma were all ranked.) If it can get a special teams or defensive score it could even pull an upset.
BYU 33, Oregon 31

8PM NFL Network: Vikings (6-8) @ Packers (6-8)
The NFL Network is airing its Thursday Night Game That No One Can watch, a thrilling matchup between the backpedaling Minnesota Vikinks at apathetic Green Bay. The entire story surrounding this game has to do with the fact that this could be Favre's last home game ever.

Yeah right, like he's gonna go out without nailing the touchdown record (he's 8 away from Marino's 420) and on a lousy NFL Net game aganst a crappy Vikings team. He didn't come back this season to go out like that.

But just in case he is you can be sure he will be throwing the ball so much tonight that his arm will operate in a windwmill-like motion for the next 4 months. He might get the record tonight; too bad no one outside of Dairyland will be able to witness it.

I like the Pack to destroy the free-falling Vikes, especially now that it has pulled out the white flag by giving the starting QB spot to undrafted rookie Tarvaris Jackson. Is he older or younger that Tito?

Packers 35, Vikes 11

Other viewing options include a repeat of The Office holiday show from last week at 9:00, Earl at a special time-10:00, and Scrubs following at 10:30 (hey, I guess NBC heard me about playing those two off beat comedies back-to-back.)

Hoop fans will want to check out LeBron James taking on the Detroit Pistons at 8:00 on TNT followed by the Wizards and scoring machine Gilbert Arenas taking on the Kings at 10:30.

College hoop aficionados will want to catch a marquee match up at the Garden tonight as well. Duke takes on Gonzaga at 9 on ESPN in a battle of ranked teams that may have lost a little luster (i.e. marquee players such as JJ Redick & Adam Morrison) from seasons past, but both are still playing great basketball with exciting new casts.

Watch for Morrison replacement Josh Heytfelt, a 6'11" sophomore who is also a world class volleyball player; he's got slick moves to the basket and also knows how to block shots (it's just like spiking.) Also point guard Derek Raivio is an explosive shooter and ball handler who knows how to make the Zags offense go.

The Dukies are led by rising sophomore Josh McRoberts, who is leading the team in points, rebounds, assists and blocks, and his running mate Greg Paulus, who is still recovering from preseason hand surgery; a gaggle of freshmen including Gerald Henderson, Jr., Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek round out the young Devils.

A great night of viewing. And if I want to see snow I can just turn on CNN.

Best of luck, Finn!

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