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Head-to-Head: Battle of Big East Unbeatens

By Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione of Doc's Sports Picks

Each week two of Doc's Sports football aficionados will give their alternating perspectives on the key games and interesting issues in the game at both the college and professional levels. You may not agree, they may not agree, but it should be interesting!

Here's this week's topics:

No. 21 Oregon at No. 7 USC (-8)

Drew: What's in a name? You'd think nothing really, but there is no name in college football that is more corny John David Booty. First off, why the middle name? Second, when I think Booty, I do not want to think 6-3, 210 pound man. However, I have to acknowledge that he's a good college player and that the USC QB Factory has forged another star. There's an old saying among good college football teams, "you can't lose to the same state two weeks in a row." But they never said anything about the spread.

Prediction: USC 41, Oregon 37 (OT)

Jordan: The Trojans have a conference loss, but its first real test comes this weekend. The Ducks are one of several teams in the Pac-10 that have enough firepower on match USC in a shootout. The Quack Attack actually comes in ranked higher on total offense and points scored than the Trojans, however quarterback Dennis Dixon's struggles are beginning to be a real issue. USC is nearly unbeatable in the Coliseum, so I'd say USC escapes a hard-fought battle.

Prediction: USC 34, Oregon 30

Who will win the NBA Title?

Drew: The NBA is taking a page out of the NFL's book of parity: the first week is full of surprises. The standings are so mangled in comparison to my expectations that I'm beginning to think I'm stuck in a bad trip where up is down, down is up, Joe Johnson is the new Magic, and Andrew Bynam is the second coming of Wilt Chamberlain. It's a long season though and eventually I'll sober up-even if my gut favorite to win it all had just one win in its first four games-and things will return to normal.

Prediction: I'll stick with my gut favorite, the Phoenix Suns. As big Amare gets healthy and dominant, the team will be tough to beat. We're in a new era of sports, one in which we see franchises that at best were bridesmaids in championship circles win titles: the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and who knows, the Phoenix Suns.

Jordan: Two years ago when Steve Nash first signed with the Suns, I said they would win it all. They shocked the rest of the NBA world in the regular season, but not me. Last year I rode them again, suggesting that a retooling of the team would get it done despite Amare being out. I'm now 0-2 with Phoenix, but I haven't learned my lesson. With Stoudemire healthy and beginning to get his top form back, the Suns are a top five NBA squad and will again find themselves deep in the playoffs. Phoenix will represent the Western Conference in the NBA finals while Chicago, my hometown Baby Bulls, will come out of a flawed East to play for a title.

Prediction: Suns make my third time a charm, beating Chicago in the Final 4-2.

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Chicago at New York Giants (-2.5)

Drew: Oh my Chicago. What the F? Rex Grossman suddenly looks like Jake Plummer without the comeback touch and the G-men have the recipe to bring out the turnover king: pressure, pressure and more pressure. However, if the dynamic sack duo of Strahan and Umenyiora are out, that pressure will have to come from the linebackers and that could open up the running game for Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. This will probably be low scoring and I'm resisting the urge to go with the better offense in this match up.

Prediction: Chicago 16, New York 15

Jordan: Both teams looked awful last Sunday, however the Giants pulled out a home victory against the scrappy Texans. Too bad the Bears can't say the same. Chicago was embarrassed in its first loss. Now 7-1, the Bears look not to drop another in risk of possibly losing a chance at home field advantage in the playoffs. The good news for the G-Men is Grossman is starting. The good news for the Bears is that Michael Strahan is out for Sunday's game and so too could be the Giants' other starting defensive end Osi Umenyiora. If both do not play, Grossman will have all day to throw, knowing that the strongest part of the New York defense is its front four. Chicago's defense will continue its dominance and will not allow another loss.

Prediction: Chicago 21, New York 17

New York Jets at New England (-10.5)

Drew: Robbed. My J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, missed out on an overtime shot at 5-3 thanks to incompetent refereeing in Cleveland. Unfortunately, it may be the beginning of the end for what could have been a promising season in rebuilding year. This will be a real test of Mangini, who could establish himself early as the best of the Belichick disciples in the NFL by getting back on track for that 10-5 miracle the schedule promised. Or, he could succumb to his team's lack of mature talent and prove himself to be just a follower.

Prediction: New England 24, New York 13

Jordan: Two games back of the Pats in the AFC East, a road win here and the Jets could get into a serious race with New England for the division. However, after seeing Tom Brady's four-interception performance against Indy he will make it clear after Sunday's game that performance was an anomaly. Defensively the Jets can keep this game close for the first half, but the New York offense will begin to sputter and they won't put enough points on the board to earn a victory. The Patriots' ground game will go for over 150 in a winning effort.

Prediction: New England 27, New York 16

Jordan and Drew will be going Head-to-Head every Thursday. If you have any comments or questions for them, or any topics that you'd like discussed, email us at service@docsports.com.

Drew: The biggest poser in the NFL resides in the weakened AFC: The San Diego Chargers. Anything with Marty Shottenheimer's paws on it is overrated. LT is the best back in football, but Rivers will come to earth without any real threat at receiver other than Gates, who until last week's game had not gotten the attention Brees gave him. Merriman was crowned the second coming of the original LT, but his drugs aren't cocaine and without him, the defense is suspect with a weak secondary and a 3-4 scheme that will be exposed. The four teams they've beaten are just 6-18 this year.

Prediction: The Chargers lose at least five more games this season, dropping from a team the pundits wanted to crown the best-with-a-loss to out of the playoff chase.

Jordan: The Trojans of Southern California are as overrated and unnecessarily exploited as little leaguers on ESPN in summer. Pete Carroll is a dynamite recruiter and I praise him for his success there. He has the best job in all of sports. However, USC has no noteworthy wins. They routed Arkansas in the season opener and handily beat Nebraska back in September. However, the Razorbacks freshman Mitch Mustain was on the bench for that game and the Cornhuskers had a grossly passive game plan that doomed them from the start. It's still debatable how USC's remaining schedule will play out, but because of its strength of schedule all it will take is one loss to knock them out of the BCS title game.

Prediction: Cal beats USC and goes on to run the table in the Pac-10.

Indianapolis at Denver (-2.5)

Drew: This is a matchup of unofficial kings of running the ball over the last 10 years against the worst rushing defense in the league. This is a showdown of the NFL's most anemic offense against the most prolific QB of our generation. In the end, I think it will be the offense that wins out in this one. Plummer is due to break out or at least show that he's completely worthless after all. Oh, and the over of 39 is the safest part of my prediction.

Prediction: Colts 34, Denver 23

Jordan: The AFC's best offense faces the league's best defense. Denver is as stingy as it comes defensively, however with Plummer's inaccuracies under center the defense will need to hold Indy under 24 to win this game. And as good as Denver has been, the scout team cannot replicate Peyton Manning. He will get his and bring that Mile High defense down to reality. The Colts may be a little too one-dimensional, but Peyton's arm is always enough to win. The Colts' front four will pressure the quarterback formally known as Jake the Snake into several turnovers to make this game winnable.

Prediction: Indianapolis 26, Denver 20

Baltimore at New Orleans (-2)

Drew: I am a believer in Baltimore. The marriage of Ray Lewis's tenacity on defense and Steve McNair's stability on offense gives the Ravens two formidable units. I know you're thinking: "McNair does have 8 picks and just 6 touchdowns." Well, screw you with your facts. This is my gut and my gut gets me into trouble sometimes, but it also treats me right. My only concern is that the Saints are at home, where they seem to be on a saintly mission. My gut is pulling me both ways!

Prediction: Saints 23, Ravens 21

Jordan: It just may be that the Saints don't lose a game in the Superdome all year. Drew Brees has been exceptional to this point, but he gets his toughest test with Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense. New Orleans has too many weapons on offense to be contained and should provide enough points to win. Steve McNair is coming off a bye week and a concussion, however even before that his stats were so-so. He has won two games with late fourth quarter drives, but the Saints are in the midst of a magical season.

Prediction: New Orleans 23, Baltimore 20

Jordan and Drew will be going Head-to-Head every Thursday. If you have any comments or questions for them, or any topics that you'd like discussed, email us at service@docsports.com.

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