A much needed vacation for the blog last week. On the weekend of the Breeders' Cup, we find ourselves five top 25 matchups this week and two are in the SEC of course. The biggest one of them all is in the Mountain West where #3 TCU plays at #5 Utah on the CBS College channel so approximately 20 people will get to watch the game. What the hell? I believe the ASU Tuesday night game live from Jonesboogie on the ESPN2 got better ratings than this one will get.
SEC games - 10-1 straight up last two weeks (last week via Facebook); 56-11 for the season
Only two games worth talking about in the SEC this week as most teams go out of conference for an unofficial off week to get players healthy against lesser competition. In those games, I'm going Georgia over Idaho St., Kentucky over Charleston Southern, Auburn over Chattanooga, Ole Miss over ULa-La, and Tennessee over Memphis. In the only other SEC matchup except for the two below, I'll take Gators over 'Dores.
#6 Alabama @ #10 LSU - Bama should be happy the Saban Bowl is a 2:30 start where LSU has proven through the years they are not the same during the day at Death Valley than they are at night. They even almost lost to Tennessee earlier this year during the day. Maybe the players even get liquored up before night games and that is why they play so much better at night. LSU will be pumped for this one as it is essentially an SEC West elimination game. Bama will be playing with a renewed sense of urgency as they know if they take care of business the rest of the year, they will be back where they expect to be - playing in the national title game. I'm going Bama here because LSU's offense just cannot keep up. Roll Tide 27-20
#18 Arkansas @ #19 South Carolina - Man this is a tough one! How will this play out? The Hogs passing attack (without Childs) vs. Gamecocks questionable passing defense that gave up over 300 yards passing to Tennessee's duo of Simms (terrible)/Bray (young). Then you have the Cocks balanced offensive attack of Garcia, Jeffery, and Lattimore vs. a Hog defense that continues to revert back to it's '09 ways as the season goes on. As typical with an evenly matched game like this, I gotta lean with the home team but will not be surprised at all if Mallett throws for 400 yards again or the Hogs win. Cocks 35-34
Notable Games Around the Nation - 0-1 straight up two weeks ago (no picks last week); 15-6 for the season
#3 TCU @ #5 Utah - This will end up being for the MWC title, and both of these teams hope it is for much more - a berth in the BCS title game. Both of these teams have dominated their opponents thus far winning by an average margin of over 31 points. It is also the conference's first matchup of top 10 teams ever. Hard to believe the Big (l)East gets an automatic BCS bid but not this conference. I think TCU has too much balance with Dalton and Wesley. Horned Frogs 31-27
#15 Arizona @ #13 Stanford - These two teams have become the forgotten teams in the PAC 10 because Oregon is getting all the love. In my opinion, Stanford is a top 10 team. Arizona has had QB Nick Foles out, but his backup Matt Scott has fit in seamlessly just as Tyler Wilson has for Arkansas. I'll take Stanford at home against every team in the nation except for maybe four or five. Cardinal 31-19
#21 Baylor @ #17 Oklahoma State - Yes Baylor is ranked, they just won at Texas and this IS a Big 12 South elimination game. Come again? Who'd a thunk it? Baylor has to be riding high after their big win in Austin last week. They've been hearing how great they are all week. Okie St has also surprised this year in the division that always comes down to Texas and Oklahoma - not this year. I like the Cowboys balance and the homefield advantage. Robert Griffin is a player though; you have to give him credit for bringing Baylor to respectability. I'm going Cowboys 34-23
If I were a bettin man... - 0-1 two weeks ago (no picks last week); 8-9 for the season
Well I have dipped below the .500 mark for the first time this season. Time to play catchup.
Hawaii @ #4 Boise State (-21) - Hawaii is not a bad team this year, but Boise makes teams look really bad at home. Boise is also getting desperate for style points so they have to blow out teams any chance they get...and what better chance to look good than blowout a team that played USC to an 11 point game earlier in the season. I say Boise by 30.
#8 Oklahoma (-3) @ Texas A&M - The Aggies are a team on the brink of losing their season with a QB controversy brewing and the starting RB out with an injury. Oklahoma needs this game a lot more as they are still in the hunt for the Big 12 South division crown with Baylor and Oklahoma State remaining on the schedule. They can't afford to lose this, and they are a way better team than A&M. Give me the Sooners with a slim 3 point spread on the road in this one. Sooners are at least 10 points better than the Aggies.
Oregon State (-5) @ UCLA - Recently under Mike Riley the Beavers have become known for getting stronger as the season goes on and not caring about its nonconference schedule. Well it is go time for the Beavers now as they remain in the PAC 10 title hunt with the Civil War against the Ducks being the last game of the year that could decide the conference. UCLA has been very inconsistent and are showing that they really haven't improved much since Neuheisel became the coach over two years ago. I like the Beavers here with an improving QB and tough defense that will shut down the Bruins offense.
And They Muffed It...Family Style by Joseph Michael
Well, we all know where I'm going with this, but let's put that aside for a minute and look "through the eyes of Texas," and say what the hell is going on??? They have lost 3 games at home in a row to a horrible UCLA team, a typical Iowa St. team and Baylor. BAYLOR! Texas doesn't lose to Baylor. Also Razorback wise, I could make a case for why in the hell Greg Childs is in the game against Vanderbilt in the 3rd Quarter with the game in hand and one of the deepest receiving corps in the country. I hate this injury because like a lot of Hog fans he has become one of my favorites, and this is going to hurt us down the stretch not having the sure handed beast. Both are head scratchers to me at best, but I digress. Let's get where we are intended to be going with this week's article.
I swear to you that just as sure as Throw Momma from the Train is one of the worst movies you will ever watch, I was about to praise Cam Newton and say that I underestimated him. He is a hell of a quarterback and really looked like a guy who enjoyed playing the game. I still think that their offensive line is vastly underrated because they dominate the line of scrimmage like no other O-line I have seen in recent years. But back to Camputer Newton as Ernie's friend JAMIE COUCH calls him; I guess it would be a fine time to say a Tiger can't change his stripes. No matter how bad Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson wish this was true. I'm sure that unless you have been under a rock the last two days it has come to the NCAA and national media's attention and even trickled down to Ernie and I that Cam may have taken some money to become an Auburn Tiger. I'm not naive; I don't believe it when a stripper tells me she loves me or thinks I'm good looking. I don't believe the guy from the Dos Equis commercials is the most interesting man in the world, and I'm fairly certain that all Hardee's employees don't wash their hands before returning to their work stations. I said all that to say this, I'm not completely jaded either. There are things like fate, true love and a bunch of other things I do believe in which allows me to say this. There is no way that this doesn't go on at every or nearly every Division 1 Program in the country. The NCAA just doesn't have the manpower to police agents, hangers on, and people just not looking out for the best interest of an 18-23 year old kid with unbelievable athletic ability.
So let's get to the Cam situation and talk about what we know. What we know is a guy named Kenny Rogers (go ahead and insert your best ironic Kenny Rogers joke here, I've been thinking for 2 days and have nothing) tried to solicit money through Mississippi St. to secure Cam's services for 2 years. Now here is where the problems for me begin, Auburn comes out Friday and says of course we knew of those allegations and didn't report them because they weren't relevant to us. Couple of problems with that - first if you knew a team like Mississippi St. on the rise and in your division had committed a serious NCAA Violation wouldn't you report it to get them in trouble and cost them a few scholarships to hinder what Dan Mullen is building in that Cow Town??? Second, your damn right it's relevant to you, it has everything in the world to do because a team offered a 21 year old with a checkered past a check for 200,000 dollars and then he ends up signing with you? If you're Auburn of course you report that to cover your ass unless you did something wrong.
Here is where it gets worse for Auburn and the Camputer. His church was about to be condemned and then all of a sudden it is remodeled and up to code a couple of months after he signs with Auburn. The other and I think even more telling problem, when Cam was at Blinn Jr. College, his dad owned a small trucking or delivery firm, (I'm too lazy to look it up) and had two drivers. Now a year later and I'll say it again after his son signed with Auburn, he has 12 drivers, and his business is obviously doing a lot better. It is amazing to me that in this economy we live in which as you all know is the worst in most of our life times, that two such fortuitous happenstances occurred to the same family in a matter of months which also coincided with the same period a 5 star recruit inked with the Auburn Tigers.
It's no secret that I hate Auburn, but anyone including Tiger fans themselves have to find it really strange that they hire a guy named Gene Chizik that won 3 ballgames at Iowa St. in 3 years, then comes back to Auburn where he was formerly the Defensive Coordinator, had a top 10 class in his first recruiting year coming off of a 5-7 year coached by Tommy Tuberville and a top 3 class his first year as the Head Coach. Jaded, realistic or sour grapes, however you want to look at it, there has to be something fishy going down on the plains. I just hope the NCAA does something about it now and doesn't wait 5 years like it did in the Reggie Bush scandal where innocent kids at USC are paying for what players did before them and never paid the price for. Until the NCAA gets off their asses and is proactive, this will be an epidemic in the greatest sport in the world, and that should sadden everyone. Especially the people that end every sentence, email, and text with "War Eagle." Because what's the point in winning a National Championship if it eventually is taken away?