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Monday, November 19, 2012

Cooking with Banshee: Peach Bulldog

I love a good margarita, and I enjoy beer.  But when I want a good standby drink, I always return to the vodka family.  And for this post, I return to Kathie Wetzel as my source.  Kathie shared the Branberry Schorr with us back in September.  This recipe may at first glance appear to be simply a variation of the familiar Cape Cod.  But, this drink has a distinctly peachy flavor.  Refreshing and delightful.

Peach Bulldog

1 oz vodka
1 oz peach schnapps
5 oz cranberry juice (approximately)

Fill a glass with ice (I actually used a Solo cup, but I am not as classy as Kathie).  Add the vodka and peach schnapps.  Fill the rest of the way with cranberry juice.  Approximately 5 ounces, depending on the glass and the amount of ice.  Stir and enjoy!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

This Week in Sports: November 17, 2012

The plague that is sweeping across central Virginia felled Wild Banshee and kept her under the covers for a good part of the week.  Fortunately, I have rallied for a new weekend of sports ... and to write this weekly column.

The Week That Was:  Sports is drama without a script, so sometimes events jump into this section that I did not anticipate.  This week, Jeff Gordon pushed NASCAR into the headlines ... and not necessarily for the right reasons.

NASCAR:  The Chase for the the Sprint Cup had only two races to go as the circuit headed to Phoenix last weekend.  The championship had basically boiled down to a duel between Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski.  But the ongoing feud between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer stole the headlines from this race.  In the late stages of the race, Bowyer and Gordon had gotten together in a minor incident that caused Gordon to end up in the wall with significant damage.  Instead of heading into the pits and allowing the race to come to an orderly conclusion, Gordon waited for Bowyer and intentionally wrecked him with 2 laps to go.  Bowyer was running in the top five at the time.  The wreck also collected Joey Logano and happened just a few feet in front of championship contender Brad Keselowski.  As Jeff Gordon climbed out of his car in the garage area, he was accosted by members of Bowyer's pit crew.  Gordon's crew was able to pin Gordon against a tool box and keep him safe from the worst of the fray, but the two crews had it out in a full brawl.  Bowyer himself sprinted to the site but was stopped on the doorstep of Gordon's hauler before any more mayhem could ensue.

In actual racing news, Kevin Harvick won the race.  Jimmie Johnson hit the wall early in the race and limped home to a 32nd place finish.  Brad Keselowski avoided two wrecks in the final laps of the race and finished in 6th place.  That allowed Keselowski to wrestle the points lead away from Johnson as they head into the final race of the season.

College Football:  The reason the SEC is the most best conference in the nation is because of its depth.  Every weekend presents a stern test to title contenders.  Alabama was reminded of that last weekend.  Just one week after an emotional nighttime victory over LSU, the undefeated Crimson Tide returned home to host the #15 Texas A&M Aggies.  Led by their freshman sensation Johnny Manziel, the Aggies exploded to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, and held on for a 29-24 victory.  The loss knocked the Crimson Tide out of the top spot in the BCS rankings.  Alabama now sits behind three undefeated teams:  Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame.

NFL:  Football fans had to wait till the Sunday night game for the most anticipated game of the day.  The 7-1 Houston Texans played the 7-1 Chicago Bears in Chicago.  It turned out that it was a sloppy, turnover-filled defensive struggle played in a cold rain.  In the end, the Texans prevailed by a score of 13-6.  The Bears lost more than just a game.  They also lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a concussion in the second quarter.  Cutler will miss at least one more game.

NBA:  After just five games, the Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown.  Last weekend, it seemed all but assured that the Lakers would turn to Phil Jackson to return them to glory.  However, at the last moment, the Lakers changed their mind and hired Mike D'Antoni.  The move reunites D'Antoni with point guard Steve Nash, but it is unclear how D'Antoni's up-tempo style will suit this aging Lakers roster.  D'Antoni is still recovering from knee surgery and will not join the team until next week.

The Week Ahead:  Before the nation turns its focus to turkey and stuffing, there is a full weekend of sports on tap.

NASCAR:  The Chase for the Championship will come to a conclusion on Sunday in Homestead, Florida.  Brad Keselowski has a solid 20-point lead over five-time champion Jimmie Johnson.  Keselowski will start 3rd on Sunday.  If Keselowski finishes in 15th or better, he will capture his first championship.  But Johnson, who will start 10th, can put some serious pressure on the young Keselowski if he puts up a strong effort of his own.  The race will air on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.

College Football:  The SEC has a virtual week off this weekend.  #1 Kansas State and #3 Notre Dame are both playing relatively weak opponents.  That allows the nation to turn its full focus to the west coast.  For the first time in a long time, the annual clash between #18 USC and #17 UCLA will have some national appeal.  Although the game will have no impact on the national championship, there will be plenty of pageantry when this rivalry game is played in the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.  That game will be shown on FOX at 3:05 p.m. EST.  Later in the night, the #2 Oregon Ducks will try to keep their national championship hopes alive when they host the #13 Stanford Cardinal.  It will be interesting to see if the physical Stanford defense can slow down the high-flying Ducks.  One thing that is certain is that atmosphere in Eugene will be electric.  That game will be shown on ABC at 8:00 p.m. EST.

NFL:  As we head into Week 11, almost every game has some sort of playoff implication, either direct or indirect.  That makes it hard to pick just a few games to focus on.  One game with a little extra interest on it will take place in Foxboro when the surprising 6-3 Colts take on the 6-3 Patriots.  Both teams are battling for playoff berths, but this game has extra appeal because it will be rookie QB Andrew Luck's first matchup against the golden boy, Tom Brady.  That game will be played at 4:25 p.m. EST on CBS.  In the Sunday night game, the Ravens will play the Steelers in Pittsburgh.  The Steelers need to win this home game since the Ravens currently have a one game lead at the top of the division.  However, the Steelers will have to do it without QB Ben Roethlisberger who is suffering from shoulder and rib injuries.  That game will be shown in primetime on NBC.  The Chicago Bears will be in the national spotlight again this week when the travel to San Francisco for the Monday night game.  The Bears and Niners both have tenuous leads in their divisions.  The Bears will not have Jay Cutler at QB as he is still recovering from last week's concussion.  All reports are that Niners QB Alex Smith has recovered sufficiently from his concussion to be back in the lineup on Monday night.  This game will be shown on ESPN on Monday night.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

NFL Prediction Report Card: Midterm Grades

I am writing this on a Sunday afternoon during Week 10.  That means that every team has completed at least eight games.  Some have completed as many as ten games.  That also means that it is time for Wild Banshee to take another look at her preseason predictions and hand out some grades.

AFC East:  I predicted that the New England Patriots would win the division and compete for the best record in the AFC.  I also predicted that no other team from this division would make the playoffs.  Early on, that prediction looked a little a little shaky.  After six weeks, all four teams were tied with identical 3-3 records.  But, since that time, the New England Patriots have righted the ship.  The Patriots are now 6-3, and no other team in the division has a winning record.  The Wild Banshee's prediction is looking a little wiser than it did when the first report cards came out.  First Quarter Grade: B+  Midterm Grade: A-

AFC North:  I predicted that this would be a good division and that the Baltimore Ravens would come out on top.  I also predicted that the Bengals would make the playoffs as a wild card.  The boldest part of the prediction was that the Steelers would not make the playoffs.  The Ravens have played some Jekyll and Hyde football this season, but they still seems like a solid pick to win the division.  However, I may have been a bit premature with shoveling dirt on the aging Steelers.  At the end of this week, the Steelers are likely to be 6-3.  That would put the Steelers just one game behind the Ravens for the division lead.  It would also give the Steelers a two-game lead for the wild card.  Due to the developments with the Bengals and Steelers, my grade has slipped a bit in this division.  First Quarter Grade: A  Midterm Grade: B  

AFC South:  Like every other sports writer in the world, I predicted that the Houston Texans would be an excellent team.  The Texans have made all of us look good on that one.  At this moment, they sit on top of the division with a record of 7-1.  Even if the Texans lose in Chicago tonight, they will still be tied with the Ravens for the best record in the AFC.  But the surprise of the division is the excellent performance of the Indianapolis Colts through the first half of the season.  After a Thursday night win against the Jaguars, the Colts are tied with the Steelers for a wild card berth at 6-3.  I certainly did not see that coming.  Missing that badly on the Colts results in a little slip in Wild Banshee's grade.  First Quarter Grade: A+  Midterm Grade: A

AFC West:  I have to admit that I just flat out missed the mark on this entire division.  I predicted that the Raiders would win the division and that the Chiefs would be a wild card team.  Even on my first quarter report card, I wasn't entirely ready to give up on my optimism for the Raiders.  Well, I'm ready to give up now.  The Raiders and the Chiefs don't just have terrible records.  They are truly terrible teams.  More importantly, the Denver Broncos are a good team.  Maybe even a really good team.  Once again, the Wild Banshee's grades slip.  They've now hit rock bottom for this division.  First Quarter Grade: D-  Midterm Grade: F

NFC East:  I predicted that the Eagles would win this division and that they would be the only team to make the playoffs from this division.  That prediction looked pretty solid after the first four games of the year.  At that point, the Eagles were 3-1.  But things have been flat out ugly in Philly since then.  The Eagles have lost five straight games and are in complete disarray.  At this point, the Giants have shown themselves to be the lesser of four evils.  The G-Men sit at the top of the division with a mediocre 6-4 record.  No one else has a winning record.  My faith in the Eagles probably deserves an F, but the truth about the mediocrity of the rest of the division saves me just a bit.  First Quarter Grade: A  Midterm Grade: C

NFC North:  In the preseason, I predicted that this division would be the best division in the NFL.  I also predicted that the Packers and the Bears would both have excellent seasons and would both make the playoffs.  Although I might have the order of finish flip-flopped, those predictions are both looking good at the halfway point.  In addition, the Vikings and the Lions are both solid teams that are a tough match-up every weekend.  I think the first quarter grade was a bit low.  The midterm grade might be a bit high.  First Quarter Grade: B  Midterm Grade: A-

NFC South:  I predicted that the Falcons would win this division, but I predicted that it would be a nip and tuck battle with the Saints right down to the end.  The Falcons have been strong right out of the gate.  The Saints were flat out horrendous at the start of the year.  But, after starting off 0-4, the Saints have clawed their way back to 4-5.  While the 8-1 Falcons still have a strangle hold on the division, the Saints have at least re-entered the discussion for a wild card berth.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also in the thick of the playoff race with a record of 5-4.  Thanks the the Saints getting off the mat, Wild Banshee's grades improved just a bit in this division.  First Quarter Grade: C  Midterm Grade:  B-

NFC West:  It did not take a genius to see that the San Francisco 49ers would be the class of the division.  The 49ers have lived up to expectations and are perched at the top of the division standings.  But, I also predicted that the division would be much improved ... with the exception of the Cardinals.  After four games, I had to apologize for my disparaging preseason remarks about the Cards.  But after getting off to a 4-0 start, the Cardinals have returned to the terrible team that I thought they were.  The Rams are not setting the world on fire, but they are competitive each week.  And, the Seattle Seahawks are a strong contender for a wild card berth.  Wild Banshee's improved grade is largely due to the Cardinal's regression.  First Quarter Grade: B  Midterm Grade: A

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

This Week in Sports: November 10, 2012

The Week that Was:  This past week was an absolute treat for football fans.  College and pro.

College Football:  The afternoon game between Notre Dame and Pitt didn't make it into last week's preview.  The Fighting Irish were returning home after putting a solid beating on the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman.  The lowly Pitt Panthers should not have posed much of an obstacle.  But, the Panthers came to play.  It took #3 Notre Dame three overtimes to get past Pitt and remain undefeated.

Saturday night featured three marquis match ups.  In Manhattan, KS, the #2 Kansas State Wildcats hosted the #24 Oklahoma State Cowboys.  As they've done against their last two ranked opponents, K-State put plenty of points on the board and cruised to a comfortable 44-30 victory.  However, KSU's star quarterback Colin Klein was injured in the second half.  It appeared to be a head injury of some sort, but there is no word about whether he will miss any time due to the injury.  Out on the West Coast, #4 Oregon traveled to #17 USC.  Maintenance staff at the Colosseum must have been busy changing lightbulbs in the scoreboard during this offensive explosion.  Oregon won 62-51 and moved to 9-0 on the season.

Cal Sports Media via AP Images
Heading into the weekend, the game that was getting most of the media attention was Alabama vs. LSU.  And, that game lived up to the hype.  For the most part, this game was a defensive struggle.  The #5 LSU Tigers held the lead in the 4th quarter.  But, the #1 Crimson Tide scored on their final possession to win the game 21-17.

NFL:  We have made it to the halfway point of the NFL season.  The Indianapolis Colts continued their winning ways in a pivotal home game against the Miami Dolphins.  With the win, the Colts moved to 5-3 on the year and put themselves solidly in the running for a playoff berth in the AFC.  The Pittsburg Steelers also made a strong push for an AFC playoff berth by beating the New York Giants in New York.  In the Sunday night game, the Atlanta Falcons showed the world that they really are ready for primetime.  The Falcons beat the Cowboys and remained the only undefeated team in the league.

The Week Ahead:  As November marches along, NFL games start to take on more significance and the Los Angeles Lakers steal some headlines after an ugly start to their NBA season.

College Football:  The biggest game of the college football weekend once again involves Alabama.  Coming off last week's emotional victory at LSU, the #1 Crimson Tide return home to face the high scoring #15 Texas A&M Aggies.  The Aggies are lead by a fabulous freshman quarterback named Johnny Manziel.  It should be interesting to see if Manziel can make anything happen against the vaunted Tide defense.

NFL:  Sunday night might give us the most interesting game of the season up to this point.  The 7-1 Houston Texans will head to Chicago to play the 7-1 Bears.  Both teams are in comfortable position to make the playoffs at the end of the season.  But this game should tell us a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of both teams.  It could very likely be a Super Bowl preview.

NBA:  One of the biggest stories of the offseason was the Los Angeles Lakers' roster makeover.  The Lakers added all-time great point guard Steve Nash to the team and essentially swapped Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard.  The Lakers got off to a slow, 1-4 start this week.  And, after just one week, the Lakers top brass had seen enough.  Mike Brown was fired as head coach.  And guess who is rumored to be on the verge of signing a contract to coach the Lakers once again.  Phil Jackson, of course.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tasty Twelve Months

Wild Banshee cooking for
New Year's Day bowl games
Banshee Sports turns one year old today.  As the name would indicate, this is primarily a sports blog.  But everyone enjoys watching sports more when they have good food and cold beverages to drink.  Over the course of the year, I've shared some of my favorite recipes.  I received a reader request to assemble them all together in one place.  What better opportunity to do that than on Banshee Sports birthday.  Looking back, it sure has been a tasty twelve months.

Toppings and Dips:  Even the most casual of gatherings requires something to munch on.  These recipes are easy to make ahead and serve up on game day.

Triple Threat Topping:  This was the first recipe I posted on Banshee Sports.  I make this on a regular basis and almost always have a supply of it on hand in my fridge.

Artichoke Bacon Dip:  This recipe includes homemade chili pita chips.  This is a strong flavored dip.

Banshee Queso:  This is as simple as cooking can get.  But, I get a request for this at almost every party I host or attend.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip:  This is basically the Olive Garden version of this common dip.  But, I did add just a little twist of my own.

Main Dishes:  Even when there isn't any ball being played, we all need to eat.  These dishes are excellent for any occassion.

Becky Lee's Sweet Chili:  Everyone has their own favorite chili recipe.  I will not claim to be a chili cooking champion.  But, I will say that no one has ever turned their nose up at my version.  It's also perfect for chili cheese fries or to top baked potatoes and nachos.

Chicken Enchiladas:  I originally got this recipe from the Joyful Momma website.  But, I spiced it up a bit.

Flat Iron Steak Burritos
Steak and Veggies:  Back to old school basics with this one.  You can't go wrong with a good steak and complimentary fixins.

Sloppy Swiss Burgers:  The Swiss cheese is a nice compliment to the sweet and spicy Triple Threat Topping.

Flat Iron Steak Burritos:  This is quite possibly my favorite thing to make ... and not only because it's a good excuse to drink margaritas.

Fish and Chips:  Any time you break out the deep fryer, it's a big production.  But there aren't too many things that beat a good fish fry.

Chicken Enchilada Suiza Bake:  This is Mexican style comfort food.  A delicious casserole that can be made ahead and reheats well.

Cocktails and Drinks:  Down in the Banshee Lair, I get to do a lot of experimenting in the art of mixology.  Here are some of my favorite concoctions.

Banshee Collins:  This vodka drink is simple and light, but it does pack a punch.  If you enjoy vodka, you'll enjoy this.

Pomegranate Margarita:  A very sweet margarita.  Not nearly as strong as the traditional version of the drink.

Southern Belle
Gold Margarita:  Of course, the idea of making margaritas with gold tequila is not original.  But, this is largely my own creation.  I don't know how traditionalists will feel about it.  But my guests have always enjoyed it.

Southern Belle:  This vodka drink is pretty and tasty.

Cherry Beer Margaritas:  This is a good party drink.  The recipe makes a small pitcher.

Branberry Schorr:  This recipe came to me from my Aunt Kathie.  She is a classy lady, and she invented this classy drink.

Sweet Tequila Tea:  This is a great party drink.  You can make it ahead of time, and even though it features tequila, it is not too strong.

Well, that's the Cooking with Banshee year in review.  Hope you find something here that suits your fancy.  There should me many more tasty treats in the years to come.  So, stay tuned.  And if you have any recipes that you'd like to share, drop me a line by email or on Facebook.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cooking with Banshee: Chicken Enchilada Suiza Bake

I just finished eating this dish for about the fourth day in a row.  That's how good this is.  Like many Rachel Ray creations, this casserole takes a little planning and work.  But, boy is it worth it!  I tweaked this just a bit from the original version of the recipe.

Serves 4-6.

4 poblano peppers
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
6 jalapeños, seeded, stemmed and diced
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 tomatillos, peeled, rinsed and quartered
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbs honey
1 quart chicken stock (one box)
2 Tbs lime juice (approximately one lime)
4 cups shredded chicken (I used two small rotisserie chickens from the grocery store)
3 six-inch flour tortillas
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 red onion for garnish

Directions for green chili sauce:
Heat broiler to high.  Broil poblano peppers until blackened on all sides, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the peppers from the broiler.  Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow the peppers to cool until they are cool enough to handle.  Peel and seed the peppers.  Roughly chop and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add jalapeños, onions and garlic.  Cook until the onions soften.  About 5 minutes.

While the onions and jalapeños are cooking, put the cilantro, the tomatillos and the chopped poblanos into a food processor.  Process for about one minute, until a fairly smooth sauce is formed.  Once the onions are soft, pour the tomatillo sauce into the skillet.  Add the chicken stock.  Stir in the honey and cumin.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.

Directions for assembly and cooking:
Use a 2 qt casserole dish.  Spoon a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the dish.  Place a flour tortilla in the dish.  Layer with 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of sour cream, and a generous portion of the sauce.  Top with 1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat 3 times or until dish is full.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until heated through and cheese is bubbly on top.  This is likely to bubble over while cooking, so it may be wise to place the casserole dish on tin foil while cooking.

Garnish with red onion slices and serve with corn bread and honey butter.


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Thursday, November 1, 2012

This Week in Sports: November 2, 2012

I'm not sure what happened to the font in my last Weekly Update.  My apologies if anyone had to see an optometrist due to eye strain.  I took a few extra days to get this column together, so hopefully all the kinks are worked out.

The Week That Was:  The World Series came and went within the span of one week.  The landscape of college football changed significantly.  And there was a blockbuster trade in the NBA.  It was a busy week, to say the least.

(H. Darr Beiser/USA Today)
MLB:  The Detroit Tigers won the American League in impressive fashion by sweeping the New York Yankees.  That meant that the Tigers had to wait nearly a full week for the National League to be decided.  The San Francisco Giants won the NLCS at home in Game 7.

The World Series began in San Francisco last Wednesday night.  Pablo Sandoval, the Giants third baseman, had a historic night in Game 1.  The Kung Fu Panda hit a home run in each of his first three at-bats.  That powered the Giants to an 8-3 victory.  Game 2 was a classic pitcher's duel.  Doug Fister and his mates in the Tigers' bullpen held the Giants to just 5 hits.  But, Bumgarner and the Giants' relievers held the Tigers to just 2 hits.  The Giants won Game 2 by a score of 2-0.  The series then moved to Detroit for the weekend.  But, the change of scenery did not change the Tigers' fortunes.  The Giants' pitching dominated again in Game 3 and carried them to another 2-0 victory.  The Tigers showed heart in Game 4, but timely hitting by the Giants propelled them to a 4-3 victory in the 10th inning.  The Giants completed the sweep on enemy soil and won their second World Series championship in three years.  Pablo Sandoval, hero of Game 1, was named the World Series MVP.

College Football:  #1 Alabama, #3 Kansas State and #4 Oregon handled their business and remained undefeated.  As expected, #1 Alabama hammered previously unbeaten but also untested #11 Mississippi State at home.  The #4 Oregon Ducks beat the horrendous Colorado Buffaloes by a score of 70-14.  And, #3 Kansas State made another huge statement by beating #14 Texas Tech at home by a score of 55-24.  Perhaps the most impressive performance from a national championship contender was handed in by the #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  For some reason, the undefeated Irish were a touchdown underdog when they headed to Norman, OK to face the #8 Sooners.  But, the bookies missed the mark on this one.  The Irish made a strong claim for a spot in the BCS title game by routing Oklahoma 30-13.

Those are the good teams that turned in good performances.  But, there was also plenty of heartbreak.  Undefeated #2 Florida's championship hopes took a big hit when they lost 17-7 at home to #10 Georgia.  That is certainly not a shameful loss for the Gators, but Georgia now has the inside track to winning the SEC East the spot in the SEC title game that goes with it.  Three other teams fell out of the ranks of the unbeatens.  #15 Rutgers got beat at home by Kent State.  And #23 Ohio lost on the road to interstate, conference rival Miami of Ohio.  Neither of those teams were realistically being considered a national championship contender, but #7 Oregon State had creeped its way into the conversation.  But, that talk was virtually silenced after the Beavers lost on the road to a very mediocre Washington team.

James Harden ... And his beard
NBA:  The NBA season got started this week.  But, the NBA worked its way into the sports headlines over the weekend due to an preseason trade.  Oklahoma City, the reigning Western Conference champions, dealt away the reigning 6th Man of the Year.  Perhaps more importantly, they dealt away his beard.  The Thunder sent James Harden to the Houston Rockets in a multi-player deal.  In addition to Harden, the Rockets will also get center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.  In exchange, the Thunder will receive guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb.  The Thunder will also receive two first round picks and a second round pick.  One of those first round picks actually belongs to the Toronto Raptor and will likely be a lottery pick.  NBA pundits are fairly divided on the wisdom of this trade for both teams.  Only time will tell.

The Week Ahead:  The NBA will play it's first full week of games, but football and horse racing lead the sports stories for the upcoming week.

College Football:  About two-thirds of the college football season is in the books.  The national championship picture is starting to take shape.  For the handful of teams that still have legitimate championship aspirations, every week is important.  Three games in particular stand out from the rest of the week's schedule.  Unfortunately, all three games are being played at basically the same time.  Thanks to the upsets last weekend, Kansas State has risen to #2 in the BCS standings.  On Saturday night, Kansas State hosts pesky #24 Oklahoma State.  That game will air on ABC at 8:00 p.m. EST.  Out on the west coast, the undefeated #4 Oregon Ducks are headed to Los Angeles to play #17 USC in the Colosseum.  That game will be shown on FOX at 7:00 p.m. EST.  But, on Saturday night, the nation's eyes will be turned towards Baton Rouge, LA.  #1 Alabama will face it's toughest test of the season when they head to Death Valley to face the one-loss #5 LSU Tigers.  CBS will show that game at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Game On Dude
Horse Racing:  It might come as a surprise to some of you, but there are other horse races besides the ones in the Triple Crown.  This weekend, the Breeders Cup will be held at Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles, CA.  The two-day event culminates with the $5,000,000 Breeders Cup Classic on Saturday night.  Game On, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Raphael Bejarano, was installed as the opening line favorite at 9-5.  Another horse that many of you may be familiar with is Mucho Macho Man who placed third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby.   The entire event will be shown on NBC Sports.  The Classic will be run at approximately 8:40 p.m. EST on Saturday night.

NFL:  This week will mark the halfway point in the season for most NFL teams.  One of the most intriguing games of this weekend is one that no one had circled when the schedule came out this summer.  The 4-3 Miami Dolphins will head to Indianapolis to face the 4-3 Colts.  Neither of these teams was projected in the preseason to be serious playoff contender.  Both teams feature rookie quarterbacks and new coaching staffs.  But, the Colts and Dolphins are right in the thick of things for a wild card spot in the AFC.  This head-to-head matchup could go a long way towards deciding who advances and who stays home when the season ends.

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