What 2 Watch (Dec. 16-18)

The Sports world is continuing to roll along with midseason approaching for some and the end of the season approaching for others. The End of the Season is already here for College Football as the Bowl Season will start this weekend. With the New Mexico Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and the New Orleans Bowl all this Saturday the Bowl season will start with a full day of games. The NFL is marching towards the end of their season with an intriguing matchup between one of the best QBs in the NFL and a QB that somehow has helped his team to 5 straight wins. The NHL season is close to the midseason with a Hockey Night in Canada matchup that will see the Canucks take on their cross-country rivals in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The CHL will see a matchup of one the top team in the OHL against their divisional rivals. Basketball in the NCAA is in full swing and will see the return of a classic rivalry after a six-year hiatus. The NBA will finally see some action this weekend as well when preseason starts for the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics after a long CBA layoff. With all the action this weekend What 2 Watch is here to sort it all out and give you the information for a great weekend in sports.

 

CHL Hockey: Guelph Storm vs. London Knights

 

 

 

 

 

The OHL continues their march towards the halfway point in the season as Sportsnet will feature a Midwest matchup. As the top team in the OHL, London is looking to get back on top of the CHL world with a 24-7-0-1 record. Meanwhile the Guelph Storm are looking to get out of the bottom of the division and finally beat their division rivals this year. The season series is a very one-sided 3-0 in favour of the Knights who will try to continue their domination. As usual both teams will have their fair share of top prospects including selections to the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. On London Olli Maatta, D and Andreas Athanasiou, LW will be the ones to watch in this game with both playing on Team Orr in February. On Guelph Scott Kosmachuk, RW and Matthew Finn, D will also be playing on Team Orr come February as they are the top players on the Storm. Guelph will try to pull off the upset on a national audience but the Knights look to be on their way to the memorial Cup with more than half the season left.

 

When: Friday December 16th

Time: 7:00 pm

Channel: Sportsnet

 

NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl

 

 

 

 

The Bowl season will begin this Saturday as the Temple Owls from the Mid-American Conference take on the Wyoming Cowboys from the Mountain West Conference in the New Mexico Bowl. Both teams silently went about successful seasons as they went 8-4 with little notice from the rest of the NCAA. The teams’ similarities do not end there as they are both run first teams but one did it much better than the other. Temple was led by RB Bernard Pierce (248 rsh, 1381 yds, 25 TDs) who was the feature back in the 7th ranked running offence in the NCAA Division-I FBS. Meanwhile Temple’s passing offence is terrible to say the least with starting QB Chester Stewart throwing for only 743 yards and 2 TDs all season. Meanwhile Wyoming is a much more balanced offence with QB Brett Smith (60.5%, 2495 yds, 18 TD, 8 INT) leading the passing game and RB Alvester Alexander (145 rsh, 678 yds, 6 TD) leading the rushing game. The problem with Wyoming will be their rush defence which is one of the worst in the NCAA. The first Bowl game of the season will have a focus on the running game of Temple as these two 8 win teams look to start the season off with a bang.

 

When: Saturday December 17th

Time: 2:00 pm

Channel: TSN2

 

NCAA Basketball: Memphis Tigers vs. #4 Louisville Cardinals

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NCAA Basketball season will continue with a longtime rivalry that will be renewed after a six-year hiatus. The Louisville Cardinals and Memphis Tigers first played each other in 1949 when the Cardinals won 72-53. Since then these teams have played a total of 84 times but the rivalry was squashed after 2005. At the end of the 2004-05 season, Louisville left the C-USA to join the Big East ending the yearly game between the two C-USA teams. This year the game is back and hopefully for a while as many fans hope to see more great games against these two great rivals. This year Louisville is the favorite as they are ranked #4 in the nation thanks to a great defence that has allowed only 52.7 points per game. Thanks to this defence Louisville has enjoyed a 9-0 record as they hope to continue their undefeated record. Memphis is not having their dream season as they just lost their third game of the season to Murray State and will have to travel to face one of the best teams in the country. With an offence that is averaging 81.1 points per game, ranked 15th in the nation, they will have a tough time against the Cardinals defence. As with every rivalry either team could win but this rivalry may need a jump-start that could be the first game in 6 years.

 

When: Saturday December 17th

Time: 4:00 pm

Channel: CBS

 

NCAA Football: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

 

 

 

 

The first bowl weekend will continue with the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl that will feature the Ohio Bobcats from the Mid-American Conference and the Utah State Aggies from the Western Athletic Conference. Ohio is the smaller brother to the Massive Ohio State Buckeye program but have made an impact this year. The Bobcats finished the season with a 9-4 record but many expected them to be better with a weak schedule that saw them face no ranked team. The Aggies started the season against the defending Champion Auburn Tigers and only came within 4 points of an upset. After the loss the Aggies struggled through most of their schedule until they put together 5 straight wins to end the season and finished with a 7-5 record. The Aggies also have the 6th ranked rushing offence as they average 277.5 yards per game and led by Robert Turbin (299 rsh, 1416 yds, 19 TDs). The Bobcats are led by QB Tyler Tettleton (63.6%, 3086 yds, 26 TD, 10 INT) and the passing game but are balanced with a solid running game eld by feature back Donte Harden (172 rsh, 939 yds, 2 TD). Both teams do not have the best bowl records as combined they are 1-11 in Bowl games with Ohio entering their third Bowl game in the last three years while Utah State will be entering their first bowl since 1997. One of these teams will finally walk away with a bowl victory as they look to continue a great first bowl weekend.

 

When: Saturday December 17th

Time: 5:30 pm

Channel: TSN2

 

NHL Hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks

 

 

 

 

Two of the biggest cities in Canada will see both of their teams face off in an East-West Canadian battle. The Vancouver Canucks will go across country to Toronto and take on their Canadian rivals. Both cities are not very fond of each other and the matchups between these two teams are a way to get the bragging rights. The Maple Leafs are continuing a very good season but have struggled as of late. With the return of James Reimer the Leafs are beginning to find the solid goaltending the need but have been just good in most other aspects of the game. Meanwhile the Canucks have had their struggles in goal with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider splitting starts as Luongo tries to find his form from last year. The Canucks are on a two game losing streak as they travel across country while The Leafs are coming off of an overtime win against Carolina and will be playing Buffalo on Friday. Two of the biggest markets for hockey in Canada, along with Montreal, these two teams are used to the limelight being featured on Hockey Night in Canada on an almost weekly basis. They will make another appearance this weekend as the two cross-country rivals face off for the first time this year.

 

When: Saturday December 17th

Time: 7:00 pm

Channel: CBC

 

NCAA Football: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

 

 

 

 

The first set of NCAA bowls will finish as the San Diego State Aztecs from the Mountain West Conference will take on the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns from the Sun Belt Conference. The focus will be squarely on one player for the majority of this game as Ronnie Hillman (287 rsh, 1656 yds, 19 TDs) will lead his Aztecs into the New Orleans Bowl. Hillman is the unknown in the top running backs in the NCAA as the third best RB in the NCAA behind Trent Richardson and LaMichael James. There is no question that the Aztecs will be leaning on their star RB who has recently caught fire rushing for 370 yards and 6 TDs in his last two games. Louisiana Lafayette will be given the task of shutting down Hillman which won’t be easy. The Cajuns have struggled in the past five games allowing 453.8 yards per game and 34.4 points per game. They will need to try to keep up with the Aztec running game and will look to QB Blaine Gautier (63.2%, 2488 yds, 20 TD, 5 INT) to help them on offence. They may also get some help from the inaccuracy of the San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley who only threw for 52.8 completion percentage and 8 INT. The Ragin’ Cajuns will be in tough to keep up with the Aztecs but at any point an upset can happen. They will be making their first appearance in a bowl game in 41 years as they look to complete a great turnaround from last year’s disappointing season. The Aztecs will be more experience than Louisiana-Lafayette as they will be making their second appearance in as many years after beating Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl last year. They will be looking to complete a two-year streak in the postseason and will look to stop an upset while entertaining the fans in the last bowl game of the weekend.

 

When: Saturday December 17th

Time: 9:00 pm

Channel: TSN2

 

NBA Pre-Season: Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics

 

 

 

 

With the NBA season saved the preseason begins and this Saturday the new-look Raptors will take the court for the first time. With new head coach and defensive mastermind Dwane Casey at the helm the Raptors hopes have been tempered as they are clearly in another rebuilding phase. With a number of signings including the first Canadian to ever play for the Raptors Jamaal Magliore the Raptors are looking for a fresh start and will get their first test as a team against the Celtics in pre-season action. The Celtics have been one of the dominant teams in past years with the Boston Three Party including Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. The emergence of Rajon Rondo added to the Three Party to create “The Fantastic Four.” This will be a real test for the Raptors in their first action in a shortened season. Although it is still pre-season and the games do not matter the chance to see the new look Raptors in their first action will be exciting. Will the new defensive minded coach really make a big difference and how will the new additions fair in the team. It will be an interesting game to watch as NBA prepares for a shortened season after a long lockout.

 

When: Sunday December 18th

Time: 1:00 pm

Channel: Sportsnet

 

NFL Football: Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots

 

 

 

 

 

With the NFL season winding down every game has become important but none are more intriguing that the Patriots vs. the Broncos. Both teams have gotten a lot of focus for their QBs this year but for different reasons. The Patriots have the worst defence in the league but still win behind the amazing year of Tom Brady who is putting up too many points for other teams to keep up. Meanwhile Tim Tebow began his starting QB career in week 7 and despite being one of the worst mechanical and technical QBs in the league has helped his team to 7 wins in his 8 games as starting QB. This will be the biggest test in Tebow’s young career as he will need to keep up with Tom Brady to continue the Broncos’ winning streak. Meanwhile Brady will like to continue his success against a very good defence as he has continually made up for poor performances by his defence. The matchup will not only be between these two QBs as both teams are looking to continue their march to the playoffs. The Broncos are one win ahead of the Oakland Raiders and two wins ahead of the surging Chargers. Winning this game along with a Oakland loss would clinch the division putting them into the playoffs behind the leadership of Tebow. The Patriots are also leading their division ahead of the New York Jets who are behind them by two games. With a win the Patriots would clinch their division ensuring that they go back to the playoffs again. Only one team will get the win and the playoff spot and only one QB will come out on top. The biggest question will be whether or not Tebow can help his team to another big win and if it will happen in the final minutes of the game as most of the wins have been.

 

When: Sunday December 18th

Time: 4:15 pm

Channel: Sportsnet East

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