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When you’re a member of the SEC, the first thing you do when the schedule is released is find out if and when you play Alabama. Well, unless, of course, you are the Crimson Tide, then you can’t care less about who’s lining up across from you – you’re just going to beat their ass. But for the rest of the Southeastern Conference, a game against Alabama is circled on the calendar months in advance, which means Arkansas is ripe for a possible letdown spot in Week 5 of the upcoming college football season.
The Razorbacks are in Knoxville that weekend for a showdown with the Volunteers, who enter that game fueled by an embarrassing 49-7 smashing at the hands of the Hogs back in 2011. Sure, the Vols players don’t recall that thumping but the Big Orange faithful do. And with Arkansas looking past Tennessee and to Week 6’s trip to Tuscaloosa, this game could move off its current stand of pick’em before kickoff on October 3.
The Green Bay Packers are currently battling a letdown of different proportions following a season-ending knee injury to star WR Jordy Nelson during preseason action last week, but could be ripe for our select version of the letdown spot in Week 4 of the NFL season. The Cheeseheads have an interesting home stand against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football in Week 3, set as 6.5-point favorites at Lambeau Field, then face a tough hike to the West Coast on short rest the following week.
Green Bay travels to San Francisco for a game against the 49ers on October 4, with books dealing the Packers as early 6-point road chalk. San Francisco will be eager for a strong showing with this game being the lone stop at Levi’s Stadium between Weeks 2 and 5. The Niners may have been the punchline of the NFL offseason but six points is a lot to give a home team facing an opponent traveling a long distance on short rest. And we have no clue if the Packers will have figured out how to play without Nelson by then.
The WNBA season is a mix of extended hiatuses from the hardwood and frantic travel schedules, like the one the Phoenix Mercury face this week. The Mercury, currently second in the Western Conference, open play in Connecticut Thursday night taking on the Sun. From there, Phoenix hikes to the nation’s capital for a matchup with the Mystics Friday.
The Mercury get a day off Saturday to travel west to Minnesota for a huge showdown between the top two teams in the conference Sunday, forcing Phoenix to play three games in four days with the most important – and arguably toughest – coming at the end. The Mercury have won three of their four meetings with the Lynx this season, most recently a 79-67 victory at home as 1-point underdogs last Sunday. Not only is the schedule working against them but Minny willl be out for revenge this weekend.