Thursday, November 24, 2011

Week Thirteen – Rivalry Week

So much for the light schedule last week.  The BCS was turned upside down with upsets by Iowa State, USC, and Baylor.  So we are sitting at week 13 with 3 SEC West teams on top in the BCS rankings.  So what happens if the Hogs beat LSU this Friday?  It would seem to common folks like myself that Alabama and Arkansas would move up and drop LSU to #3, which would mean Alabama goes to the SEC Championship Game, and the Hogs are in standby mode at #2 and likely headed to the title game   In the end though, would pollsters want to see a Alabama-Arkansas rematch that wasn’t much of a game the first time around?  There is some talk that LSU is so far ahead in the computer polls, which makes up 1/3 of the BCS formula, that LSU would not even drop from #1 in the rankings.  If that happens, would the Hogs jump Alabama?  Not likely due to the head-to-head win by Bama and with an impressive win over Auburn by the Tide this week.  Whatever happens, someone (or several teams) is gonna get screwed.  It’s unfortunate that this thing could be determined by computers. 

This is rivalry week, which is always a crazy week, because you can throw the records out the window in a lot of these (sorry for using a cliché but it’s true).  Some teams have a lot to play for, and some have nothing to play for except for their pride.  There are division/conference titles on the line in about every conference this week or at least some games that will significantly affect the races.  “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” portion of the blog went 2-1 last week for a 15-9 record for the season.  I went 8-0 in SEC games straight up last week for a 71-12 record on the season.  Last week was a struggle for national games again (3-6 last week, 54-34 on the season).  Now on to a very exciting, long weekend of college football.

Thursday: 7:00: #25 Texas @ Texas A&M (ESPN) – Sadly, this will probably be the last game of this series for a long time due to Texas A&M bolting for the SEC and Texas pouting about it afterwards.  It should be a great game with lots of intensity.  Both teams have struggled more than they expected this year.  Texas has lost two straight and the Aggies have lost three in a row.  Aggie fans are starting to question the direction of the program with current coach Mike Sherman since such a promising season has turned into a huge disappointment.  I’m thinking the Longhorns will have more intensity going into this game and pull off the upset.  Longhorns 31-30.
Friday: Great slate of games today.  It gets started early, so you better be ready.  Send the wife or significant other out shopping all day.  Oh wait, she’s gonna do that anyway.
10:00 AM: Louisville @ South Florida (ESPN2) – The Big East is a mess.  Louisville right now is in the driver’s seat to be the Big East champ and BCS representative.  That is ridiculous folks!  They lost to Florida International this year.  Bulls 24-17.
11:00 AM: #8 Houston @ Tulsa (Fox Sports Affiliates) – This one is for the C-USA West division title but might as well be for the conference title as these two are the only undefeated teams in the conference.  Houston is playing for way more than that – a BCS bowl that seemed unlikely until recently when all of the higher ranked teams started losing.  This may be in Tulsa but give me Case and the boys.  Fireworks galore in this one.  Houston 48-42. 
Iowa @ #21 Nebraska (ABC) – This is the obvious conference rivalry for the Big Ten rookies Nebraska.  They have a lot in common – neighboring states, hard-nosed football and they like to eat a lot of corn.  Both teams need a win here to improve their bowl, but that’s about it riding on this one.  Iowa has been too up and down for me this year.  Huskers 24-20.
1:30: #3 Arkansas @ #1 LSU (CBS) – It's The Big One Part III in the SEC West.  This time the Hogs are ranked #3 and going to Baton Rouge to play some ball.  We can talk about championship scenarios all we want, but we will wait for another day on that.  Before any scenarios play out, the Hogs have to win here.  LSU has dominated their opponents every week this year except for the tough OT win in Tuscaloosa, which they only needed to win and not dominate.  The defense is deep on the line and in the backfield.  Both units are probably the deepest and most talented, athletic and violent in the nation.  The offense doesn't get near as much respect as it deserves.  Miles has been rotating QBs the last few games without missing a beat.  The running game is a bruising one, and they are very deep with Ware, Ford, Blue, and Hilliard.  The receivers are talented with Shepard, Randle, and Beckham.  The Hogs passing game is incredible and has been even better lately.  Wilson has been connecting a ton recently with Wright (tied for leading receiver in SEC), Adams, Hamilton, and the list goes on and on.  Recently, kind of like last year's Sugar Bowl run, the Hogs have started to get the running game going with Dennis Johnson.  The Hogs have to be balanced to beat the Tigers; they can't give up on the run game and become one-dimensional like Geno Smith and West Virginia did against this Tiger defense.  In that one, the passing stats looked good at the end of the game, but the Mountaineers were out of it the minute they started passing every down.  The Razorback defense has stepped it up recently against South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State since the likes of Bequette and Wright got healthy.
Going into Tiger Stadium and getting the win is going to be a monumental task for the Hogs.  I know the Hogs have recently played LSU close every year.  But I also can't get out of my mind the fact that the Hogs have been outscored 90-74 in true road games this season giving up 30 points per game.  The defense has not been championship caliber for the most part all season.  Ultimately, that will be what fails the Hogs again in this one.  LSU has not come this far and played that tough of a schedule to relinquish #1 now.  Speaking of schedule, what is the Hogs best win this year? South Carolina minus Garcia and Lattimore, soon to be 5 loss Auburn, or 5 loss Texas A&M?  I realize the Hogs can't control their schedule at this point, but none of those victories give me any confidence they can get it done at Tiger Stadium with everything on the line.  I do give the Hogs lots of credit for taking care of business and getting to this spot – a spot that 117 other D1 programs would love to be in at this point in the season.  Geaux Tigers 31-17.
6:00: Pittsburgh @ West Virginia (ESPN) – In the terrible, muddled Big East, this is an elimination game for the conference championship and automatic BCS bid (what a joke).  While Pitt is already likely eliminated, West Virginia would have the upper hand on the BCS bid with a win here (just trust me on this if you even care) but would still have to win at South Florida next week.  They call this one the Backyard Brawl, and these teams really dislike each other.  The fans burn mattresses and furniture after a big win in this game, which even one-ups anything the SEC fans do after games.  Pitt has been decimated by injuries this year, but their QB Tino Sunseri has been lighting it up lately as a dual-threat QB.  West Virginia has been just as inconsistent as any other Big East team this year.  They are nothing special at all.  They are just 4-3 their last 7 games, but I like them in this spot at home.  I do think they will blow their chance at the BCS bid next week at South Florida though.  Mountaineers 28-23.
9:15: California @ Arizona State (ESPN) – ASU has gotten worse with every game lately, but they somehow still have a shot to represent the South in the inaugural PAC 12 title game.  They need to win this one and have UCLA lose to USC (remember USC would win the South if they weren’t on probation, but they are so too bad).  This may be a tricky one for ASU because Cal has improved throughout the year, but I’ll take the Sun Devils in coach Dennis Erickson’s last home game (retirement).  ASU 31-28.
11:00 AM:  #13 Georgia @ #23 Georgia Tech (ESPN) – Georgia won the SEC East by default last week and is now only one week away from getting put in their place by an SEC West team in the SEC Championship Game.  Georgia Tech has been really hard to figure out this year losing 3 of their last 4 with the only win being against a top 10 (at the time) Clemson squad.  I wonder how much Georgia really cares about this one this year with the SEC Championship on the line next week.  Since Paul Johnson has been at Tech, they have played Georgia really close every year.  But I have to go with a trend where Georgia is 3-0 against Tech the years that Georgia is the East representative in the SEC Championship Game.  UGA in a close one 30-24.    
Ohio State @ #15 Michigan (ABC National – KARZ Local in LR) – The game that the Midwesterners think is a bigger rivalry than Alabama/Auburn.  While it is a good one, it can’t touch the Bama/Auburn rivalry.  Ohio State has been distracted this week by news that Urban Meyer is looking over Luke Fickell’s shoulder waiting to take over as head coach.  If there were ever a coach and a university that deserve each other more, I do not know of it.  Anyway, Michigan is going for win number 10 on the season – this is not a misprint.  Although the Buckeyes have owned Michigan for 7 straight years now, Michigan is more than a touchdown favorite.  I’m riding the Wolverines momentum and the home crowd in this one.  Go Blue 31-28.
11:21 AM: Tennessee @ Kentucky (ABC – SEC Network) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
2:30: #2 Alabama @ #24 Auburn (CBS) – The Iron Bowl is finally getting the recognition it has always deserved as the fiercest rivalry in college football.  Alabama has everything in the world to play for here, and Auburn not much but their hate for Alabama.  I can’t believe a spread in a rivalry game like this would ever be 3 TDs in favor of the road team.  I’ll take Bama straight up though.  Bama 24-10.
Oregon State @ #10 Oregon (ABC/ESPN2) – The Civil War – a unique rivalry but not much of a game this year as the Ducks clinch the Pac 12 North and a home game for the title.  Ducks 45-20.
#19 Penn State @ #16 Wisconsin (ESPN) – This one is for the Leaders Division title.  Winner plays Michigan State next week in the Big Ten Championship Game.  I’m still a huge fan of Wisconsin and love them at home with everything on the line.  Badgers 24-14.
Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest (ESPNU) – Bless Vandy’s heart.  They were so close to beating the Vols last week and clinching a bowl berth.  Now they have to clinch it on the road at another tough place.  They are still worried about the Vols too based on this week’s discussions.  You gotta give Wake some credit for finishing 2nd in the ACC Atlantic this year.  Who saw that coming?  Wake 28-17.
#5 Virginia Tech @ Virginia (ABC/ESPN2) – Virginia has come out of nowhere this year and won 4 straight and 6 out of 7 under 2nd year coach Mike London.  Virginia Tech has dominated their weak schedule and is overrated as usual.  This game is now for the Coastal Division title.  I like the upset here.  Wahoos of Virginia 21-17.
6:00: Florida State @ Florida (ESPN2) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
Mississippi @ Mississippi State (ESPNU) – Who really cares about this other than the two obnoxious coaches leading the teams in this one?  In a desperate attempt to get some attention this week, Mississippi State is using its Twitter hashtag in the endzones this week.  See it here (  #wtf #really? #nobodycares.  Give me #Hailstate in this one 35-14 as Houston takes one more arse whoopin for the road.   
6:45: #17 Clemson @ #12 South Carolina (ESPN) – Clemson has been Clemson as of late providing some head scratcher games, such as getting blown out at NC State last week.  South Carolina has the defense to keep up with the Clemson offense.  Did I mention that these two teams hate each other?  Gamecocks 27-24.
7:00: #22 Notre Dame @ #6 Stanford (ABC) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
9:00: UCLA @ USC (Fox Sports Net Affiliates) – This will possibly be Matt Barkley’s last game as a USC Trojan since they cannot go to a bowl game this year and he is likely going pro.  UCLA is playing for a division title because USC is banned from postseason play.  It’s simple for UCLA – win and play next Friday for the PAC 12 title.  These teams already hated each other and now the game all of sudden means something.  USC can ruin the division for the Bruins although there will always be an asterisk beside it anyway.  Trojans 38-20. 
10:00: Tulane @ Hawaii ( – Just because it’s the last game of the last full week of the regular season.   
If I Were a Bettin’ Man… - Three games for you this week.  
Tennessee (-7) @ Kentucky – The Vols take the nation's longest winning streak against a single opponent into Lexington today.  The Vols have defeated Kentucky every year since 1984 - 26 straight if you're keeping score at home.  In addition to the huge mental edge from this, they also have a much needed renewed sense of confidence with the return of Tyler Bray and the win over Vanderbilt last week in which the Vols were a home underdog.  The Vols’ defense has been progressively getting better throughout the season minus the Arkansas game debacle.  Da'Rick Rogers continues to pace the offense.  He is now tied for the lead in the SEC in receiving yards with Arkansas' Jarius Wright, which is quite an accomplishment considering he played 4 games with a true freshman QB and most of the season being double-teamed after fellow WR Justin Hunter went down with a torn ACL in game 3.  Bray has continued to get healthier, and the Vols need this win for a bowl game.  Kentucky is playing for pride and maybe for their coach's job, but they've done nothing this year to show that they can win or cover in this one.  Vols 27-13.
Florida State (-2.5) @ Florida – Which team is in more dire need of a big win here?  Florida State went from preseason top 5 to 4 losses on the season.  Florida had an 0 for October followed by a narrow win over Vandy and a no show loss to South Carolina.  They were even down by more than 2 TDs against Furman last week.  The Gators have no offensive identity 11 games into the season, and the defense is bailing now that the going has gotten tough.  I think the Seminoles will be more inspired in this game and have a better offense and defense.  Take the Seminoles in this one.  FSU 30-20.
Notre Dame @ Stanford (-7) – This will be Andrew Luck’s final home game, and Stanford still has an outside shot at making the national title game if enough voters determine they do not want to see an all-SEC BCS title game.  Notre Dame is only jockeying for bowl position, and they struggle with a balanced offense like Stanford’s.  Stanford is a physical team on both sides of the ball that will have the Irish begging for mercy by the 4th quarter.  Stanford 35-20.        
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Week Twelve – Calm Before the Storm

Overall, we have a light schedule this weekend.  While a few rivalry games will be going on this weekend, many teams have scheduled cupcakes to get an easy win before they prepare for the last full week of the regular season.  My attention will be on three big games in the Big Ten this week as they try to figure out who will meet in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.  Last week was a struggle for the blog going 3-5 in national games (51-28 on the season), 0-1 against the spread in the “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” portion – now 13-8 on the season, and 5-2 in SEC games (63-12 on the season).  Time to get back on track.  On to the games…

Friday:  7:00: #2 Oklahoma State @ Iowa State (ESPN) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
11:00 AM:  #16 Nebraska @ #18 Michigan (ESPN) – The Huskers survived all of the moments of silence and the whole circus in Happy Valley last week.  Now they have to go to the Big House to keep their hopes of a Legends Division title alive.  Michigan State still has to lose a game for the Huskers to have a chance, which is probably unlikely with only Indiana and Northwestern left on the schedule although the Huskers did lose to Northwestern.  I have to Michigan at home.  Wolverines 24-21. 
#17 Wisconsin @ Illinois (ESPN2) – Wisconsin’s hopes of a Leaders Division title are still alive.  All they have to do is win here and next week for all the marbles against Penn State at home.  Illinois has been fading fast as they have now lost 4 straight.  I still believe Wisconsin should probably be ranked in the top 7 or 8 in the nation.  They are that good and have lost two heartbreakers in the last minute of the game.  Badgers big 35-17.
11:21 AM: Kentucky @ #14 Georgia (ABC – SEC Network) – Georgia continues their brutal schedule, and their collision course to get destroyed by an SEC West team in the SEC Championship Game.  Don’t buy it that they are “turning the corner” or anything.  A lot of teams can turn the corner with that schedule.  Bulldogs 31-6.
1:00 DI-AA #6 Montana @ DI-AA #1 Montana State (Live Video here: ) – I know you are thinking what the hell? They call it the Brawl of the Wild (really cool rivalry game name).   I was working out there a few years ago the week before this game was played.  The alums of both teams were really into the rivalry, and it was cool to see that on a smaller scale outside of SEC country for these DI-AA teams.  Montana State is 9-1 and 7-0 in conference and ranked #1 in DI-AA.  Montana is 8-2 and 6-1 in conference and #6 in DI-AA.  This one is gonna be intense.  Oh by the way, the weather forecast for the game…a balmy 20 degrees with snow showers.  Click on the link above just to watch for a minute or two.  It will be worth it.
2:30:  Mississippi State @ #6 Arkansas (CBS) – The Hogs continue to try to get ready for next week’s big one.  They have improved some and are getting a running game going.  Mississippi State has had a disappointing season still needing one more victory to go bowling.  Don’t fret though Cowbells – Houston Nutt is on the schedule next week.  Hogs 31-14.
#21 Penn State @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN) – Off the field, this Penn State scandal is getting worse each day.  On the field, the Nittany Lions fell too far behind last week to Nebraska.  You have to wonder how much gas Penn State has left in the tank.  Meanwhile, Ohio State has been all over the radar this year – beating Wisconsin but then losing in OT to Purdue last week, which was the Buckeyes chance to get back in the division race.  Now they are out of it, but they can still ruin the division for Penn State.  The Buckeyes are 5-1 at home this year with the lone loss being by only 3 points to Michigan State.  I have to go Buckeyes 21-17 in this one.  Definitely low scoring.
6:00: #1 LSU @ Mississippi (ESPN) – Houston Nutt’s last home game, and nobody cares except the 25,000 LSU fans that are gonna take over Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday night.  Tigers keep rolling 31-6.
Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (ESPNU) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
7:00: USC @ #4 Oregon (ABC regional/ – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
#13 Kansas State @ #23 Texas (FX) – Kansas State is underdogs every week but still have only lost two games to the #2 and #5 teams in the nation.  Bill Snyder should be national coach of the year…just go ahead and give it to him already.  Texas has been up and down all year.  I do have to favor them at home though in this one although it will be close.  Longhorns 24-21.
#5 Oklahoma @ #22 Baylor (ABC regional/ – How in the world is Baylor still ranked?  They beat Kansas in OT last week for crying out loud.  Kansas may be the worst team in Division I.  Regardless, get ready for some points in this one.  Oklahoma knows what they have to do from here on out…impress the voters in every game and win Bedlam the last week to hope they can get back in the title game.  Boomer Sooner 52-35.
8:30: Arizona @ Arizona State (Fox Sports Net Affiliates) – Very underrated rivalry game.  Arizona State needs to win out and get some help from USC (likely winner over UCLA next week) to win the crappy south division.  Sun Devils 35-21.
9:15: California @ #9 Stanford (ESPN) – The band is not on the field…it is just the Cardinal running circles around the Cal Bears.  Stanford 35-17.
In other SEC games, South Carolina, Auburn, Florida, and Alabama win non-conference games.
Sunday: 9:00 AM: Division I-AA (yes I still call it that) Playoff Bracket Announcement (ESPNU) – Yes, they do have playoffs at other levels.  Imagine with me for a moment how exciting a Selection Sunday type show would be for a Division I-A playoff.  It would be incredible!
If I Were a Bettin’ Man… - I’m goin three games this week, and I’m feelin’ lucky.  
Oklahoma State (-27) @ Iowa State – Friday night special here.  The Cowboys have averaged 55 points per game their last 6 games (all Big 12 games).  The Cyclones have been up and down this year, but they are not ready for this Cowboys offense.  Their defense is giving up 30 points per game, while their offense is only averaging 24 a game.  They won’t be able to keep up just as no one has with Okie State lately.  Cowboys 55-20.
USC @ Oregon (Over 67.5) – You know how fast Oregon runs plays and USC passes the ball about 55 percent of the time and more than that when they are behind, which will be the case here.  The over is 14-3 in Oregon home games the past three years.  Not too shabby.  Quack Quack 46-33.
Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (+1.5) – I never put my Vols in this section.  I feel like I jinx them when I do, but hey I can’t jinx them any more than they have been jinxed this whole season.  Let’s wrap our brains around this line for a minute.  The Vols are 27-1 against Vanderbilt in the last 28 meetings and Vandy is favored in Neyland Stadium.  Vanderbilt has dominated the likes of Kentucky, Ole Miss and Elon this year.  The Vols have played the toughest schedule in the nation and been dominated by 5 of the top 14 teams in the nation.  Tyler Bray missed 4 of those games.  Bray makes the Vols 10-20 points better than they are without him.  The Vols and Derek Dooley desperately need this game to keep their bowl hopes (and those all-important extra bowl practices) alive.  James Franklin has energized the Vandy fanbase although the visiting teams still have way more people than Vandy at their home games.  Franklin has also made some snide remarks about Dooley and the Vols throughout the year.  He’s new to the SEC, but he’ll be reminded of Vandy’s place in the pecking order on Saturday.  Vols 28-20.          

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Week Eleven – Underdog Week

The band Spoon said it best in their song “The Underdog” – “…you got no fear of the underdog, that's why you will not survive.”  I have a feeling this weekend may be one of those weekends where upsets (or near upsets) show up everywhere.  Eleven of the top 25 teams are on the road headlined by a huge one Saturday night – Oregon at Stanford – although it has not gotten the love that last week’s big one got.  There are more mid-tier game matchups this week than in any other week so far this year, which will make for a fun day of football.  Last week, the blog was 0-1 against the spread in the “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” portion – now 13-7 on the season.  The national games were 7-2 (48-23 on the season) and the SEC games were a 6-1 last week and now 58-10 on the season.  Let’s go to the games….

Friday:  7:00: South Florida @ Syracuse (ESPN2) – Ah, it’s okay I guess.  Check out some high school football playoffs instead.
11:00 AM:  This is the best time slot of the day this week.  I challenge you to try to keep up with all of these.  You may need about five TVs/computers though.
Florida @ #13 South Carolina (CBS) – This game usually gets me excited but not this year.  Florida’s offense is a disaster, and South Carolina’s isn’t too far behind since Lattimore was injured.  Gamecocks win 19-17 in a pillow fight.
#17 Michigan State @ Iowa (ESPN2) – The Hawkeyes had a big win over Michigan last week.  They could really screw up the Legends division with a win this week.  A win by Iowa would put four teams at the top with two losses each (at least for the moment).  I think Sparty is on the downhill slide as the  season has progressed while Iowa is picking it up finally.  Hawkeyes 24-21.
#19 Nebraska @ #12 Penn State (ESPN) – My goodness, what a week at Penn State.  No sense in rehashing what happened off the field this week.  ESPN has talked about it for 23 hours a day everyday this week.  The question now is will Penn State show up mentally.  They will either show up and dominate or mail it in and the Huskers will roll.  You can flip a coin on this one, but I will go with the team that doesn’t have Taylor Martinez.  Nittany Lions 17-13.
#2 Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (ABC – KARZ in LR) – Is this the week the Pokes finally go down?  It seems like the whole nation is just waiting for the week the now #2 team loses.  Remember Tech did it to the Sooners a couple of weeks ago and this one is in Lubbock.  I’ll still side with the high-powered offense of the Cowboys, but keep in mind their defense is starting to fail them (gave up 45 to Kansas State last week).  Okie State 44-38.
#16 Texas @ Missouri (FX) – I think Mizzou is seriously overvalued this year, and Texas is too for that matter.  Texas continues to beat the teams they are supposed to and lose to the ones they aren’t.  Longhorns 24-23.
West Virginia @ #23 Cincinnati (ABC/ – Maybe West Virginia will finally remain out of the top 25 for the rest of the season after a terrible home loss to Louisville last week.  Cincinnati is in the driver’s seat for the Big East title and BCS bid.  A win here and Cincy will likely only have to go 1-2 the rest of the season to clinch.  Cincinnati wins 35-28.
11:21 AM: Kentucky @ Vanderbilt (ABC – SEC Network) – I have a funny feeling about this one even though I will not watch a second of it.  Kentucky 21-20 in an upset.
2:30:  #20 Auburn @ #15 Georgia (CBS) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
Miami @ Florida State (ABC/ESPN) – Remember when this game was HUGE?  Not any more although the hate between these teams hasn’t gone away.  The underdog has won this game six straight years.  Noles 31-21.
TCU @ #5 Boise State (Versus) – This may be Boise’s last chance to lose.  It’s at home on the blue turf.  These two teams had a couple of great battles in bowl games after the ’08 and ’09 seasons  splitting the two games. 
Texas A&M @ #14 Kansas State (ABC) – Kansas State is a home underdog again against another team that is fading fast.  The Aggies lost RB Christine Michael for the season last week.  Kansas State’s schedule has picked up big time over the last two weeks, but I was impressed with them hanging around and almost winning in Stillwater last week.  Snyder’s teams are so well coached.  I like them in this spot.  Wildcats 34-31.
5:00: Tennessee @ #8 Arkansas (ESPN2) – The Hogs played a complete game last week dominating the Gamecocks.  Tennessee picked up their first win over a month last week.  The five Vols’ losses have come to teams all ranked in the top 14 in the nation in total defense.  They have also played the toughest schedule in the nation to date.  It doesn’t get any easier this week.  The Vols come in with a Freshman QB because of a QB injury just like they did the last time they played in Fayetteville five years ago.  I’m still not a fan of the Hogs’ defense, but I expect Tyler Wilson and the receivers to shred the Vols in the pass game.  The Vols only hope is the Hogs are already overlooking everyone for the LSU game.  Hogs 31-13.
6:45: #3 Alabama @ Mississippi State (ESPN) – How will Bama react after the very disappointing loss from last week?  They should be motivated since they only fell to #3 in the BCS.  Mississippi State has quietly been improving although I think they still are overrated.  The Bullies won’t have enough cowbell.  Roll Tide 35-13.
7:00: #7 Oregon @ #4 Stanford (ABC) – This game will have the #7 and #8 offenses going at one another.  It should be a helluva game with lots of fireworks so be sure to watch it.  I have had Stanford penciled into the national title game all year long, and I can’t stop now.  I am a firm believer in a team who finishes runner-up to the national title the year before (like Oregon this year) slipping the next year.  Oregon has only lost to LSU to this point but have still had their ups and downs, including key injuries.  Stanford has been on a roll from the beginning.  They are also at home and have to have revenge on their mind after the 52-31 loss last year to the Ducks – their only loss of the year.  Give me the Cardinal in this one 38-34.
In other SEC games, LSU and Ole Miss win non-conference games.
If I Were a Bettin’ Man… -   
Auburn (+13) @ Georgia – Let’s revisit Georgia’s schedule again real quick.  They were dominated by Boise State, lost to the only other ranked team they played (South Carolina), and have beaten only two teams with a winning records (Florida and Mississippi State).  They will win the SEC East by default if they pull this one out more than likely.  Auburn is a team that is improving every week.  Sure they were blasted by LSU but who hasn’t been.  All I know is that they beat Florida by 11 (Georgia beat Florida by 4), Auburn beat South Carolina by 3 (Georgia lost to the Cocks by 3), and Auburn beat Ole Miss by 18 (Georgia beat then by 14).  I’ll give Georgia one – they beat Miss. St. by 14 and Auburn only beat them by 7.  I know it’s hard to compare scores, but when the results of comparing scores are this obvious, and you are giving me 13 points, I will take it all day…if I were a bettin’ man.  Did I mention the vastly improved Auburn team had a week off to prepare?  Georgia barely 28-27.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week Ten – Get Ready for the Showdown

So, do you know of any big games this week?  THE game has only been talked about for months now.  In the SEC alone, we have the Game of the Decade and the worst conference game of the year all in the same week plus another matchup of two highly questionable top 10 teams.  There are some other good games throughout the nation too, but they will all continue to be overshadowed by the big one until 7 PM on Saturday night.  The blog’s picks came back strong last week going 2-0 against the spread in the “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” portion – now 13-6 on the season.  The national games were 7-2 (41-21 on the season) and the SEC games were a blistering 5-0 last week and now 52-9 on the season.  Let’s see what we have on the TV this weekend.

Friday:  8:00: USC @ Colorado (ESPN) – God bless Lane.  He said he was lied to by the PAC 12 officials at the end of the OT loss to Stanford last week.  Karma!  USC gives a very uninspired effort, but Colorado is beyond bad.  Trojans 21-10.
11:00 AM: #15 Michigan @ Iowa (ESPN) – What has happened to Iowa?  I liked them at the beginning of the year and all they have done is let me down.  They lost to Minnesota last week; even North Dakota State won at Minnesota.   Michigan continues to roll and will be 8-1 after Saturday…amazing!  Wolverines 35-27.
Texas Tech @ #21 Texas (FX) – Tech blasts Oklahoma on the road one week and then gets blasted by the mighty Iowa State Cyclones the next week.  What gives?  Texas continues to dominate the weaklings in the Big 12 but can’t play with the big boys.  I see Tech in this game for a while, but the Longhorns win in the end.  Longhorns 28-24.
11:21 AM: Vanderbilt @ Florida (SEC Network – ABC) – The battle of the loudmouth, obnoxious coaches here.  Vandy had a heartbreaker last week.  Florida had a heartbreaking October going 0 for October for the first time in more than 30 years.  Muschamp is already getting on the wrong side of the fair weather Gator fans.  Word is the Gator fans are anxiously awaiting Sunday to see if they need to buy LSU or Alabama gear and wear it for the rest of the season.  The Gators offense is really bad, but surely somehow, someway they pull this one off.  Gators 17-13.
2:30:  Texas A&M @ #6 Oklahoma (ABC or ESPN2) – The Aggies lost another close one last week, and the Sooners took out their frustration on poor K-State.  I think the Sooners continue to roll here because they know they have to impress the pollsters from this point on.  The Aggies have to be feeling the grind of some disappointing close losses this year and now have very little to play for.  Boomer Sooner 45-28.
Mississippi @ Kentucky (ESPNU) – BARF!  Houston Dale pulls out the worst conference game of the year.  Rebel Black Bears 5-4.
#4 Stanford @ Oregon State (ABC) – The Cardinal train keeps on rolling against a struggling Beaver team.  Stanford 45-13.
6:00: Missouri @ Baylor (Fox Sports Net Affiliates) – Points, points and more points!  Da Bears 45-42.
6:15: #9 South Carolina @ #7 Arkansas (ESPN) – How are these teams ranked in the Top 10 again?  I guess the pollsters do not have many choices.  South Carolina has beaten one team that is currently in the Top 25, and the Hogs have beaten a whopping zero.  The Hogs defense gets worse every week.  The same goes for South Carolina’s offense too though.  Spurrier may have found something last week though in the second half versus the Vols.  He started to run Connor Shaw regularly.  The Hogs struggle with running QBs.  I have to think the Gamecocks will try to get Alshon more involved in the offense too after catching 3 balls for 17 yards last week.  I think the Hogs are tired of hearing how they are underperforming and kind of like last year, save their best performance of the year for Spurrier.  Hogs 38-31. 
6:30: #19 Arizona State @ UCLA (Versus) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
7:00: Do not turn the channel off of CBS for the next 3 ½ hours.  This is the only game that matters.
#1 LSU @ #2 Alabama (CBS) – The time has come.  It is finally here.  Defense is the name of this game.  Alabama has the #1 unit in total defense, and LSU has the #4.  Breaking down the units, I have to give the quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line, defensive backfield and special teams edge to the Tigers.  Bama gets the edge on the offensive line, running back, linebackers, and possibly most importantly – the home field.  I have watched most of the Tigers and Tide games this year, and it is very difficult to determine who is better.  The way I see this one playing out is Alabama will try to ride Trent Richardson (of course), but the weakest link in the whole game is the still unproven AJ McCarron.  LSU’s incredible defensive backfield is going to bait him into some bad throws when he has to throw, and he is going to have to throw because the very deep LSU defensive line will be geared up to contain Trent Richardson (not completely stop him though).  LSU’s offense does not get the credit it deserves a lot of times, but outside of Richardson for Alabama (which is no doubt a HUGE difference maker), they have the best playmakers on offense with the likes of Randle, Shepard, Beckham, Ware, and Ford.
There were a couple of interesting stats and trends that I came across this week.  I wondered how big of a home field advantage Alabama has had since Saban has been there (since ’08 actually – I didn’t count his first season).  In 15 SEC home games, Bama is 14-1 at home with an average margin of victory of 18 points.  They are 12-2 on the road with an average margin of victory of 17 points.  So that tells me that Alabama has been great regardless of where they have played under Saban, and the home field that is usually such a big deal in this game may not be that big of an edge for Alabama in this case.  Also, in the last 40 years in the regular season #1 vs. #2 matchups, the home team is only 6-6.  Les Miles is 11-1 on the road in night games at LSU.  Enough breaking the game down – I’m ready to watch this thing.  I have never picked against Alabama in the 1 ½ years of this blog, which spans 21 games and 3 losses by the Crimson Tide.  This is a first…Geaux Tigers 24-17.
#14 Kansas State @ #3 Oklahoma State (ABC or ESPN2) – Kansas State was brought back down to earth last week getting thumped at home by the Sooners.  Expect more of the same as Okie State’s offense is a well-oiled machine and is on fire.  Cowboys 51-28.      
9:30: #8 Oregon @ Washington (Fox Sports Affiliates) – Get ready for the points to come down in Seattle.  Oregon better pay attention to the task at hand though and not be looking ahead to their clash with Stanford next week.  Oregon also has a minor QB controversy going now.  It will be a wild one, but the Ducks pull it out.  Quack Quack 48-37.
11:00: Utah State @ Hawaii ( – God bless the Hawaii game again.  The bonus to this one is at the time this game is finishing up, we fall back an hour and you get an extra hour of football highlights watching tonight.
In other SEC games, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Georgia pick up win against non-conference cupcakes.
If I Were a Bettin’ Man… - I’m going one PAC 12 game this week.  That’s all I got.  It’s getting really hard to find games that Vegas has off as the season’s sample size grows.   
Arizona State (-8.5) @ UCLA – Arizona State has been thumping every team in the PAC 12 not named Oregon.  They’ve been scoring at will averaging 38 points per game in PAC 12 play.  UCLA has been all over the map.  Getting thumped by lowly Arizona two weeks ago and then doing the thumping on Cal last week at home.  If UCLA wins this game, they catapult to the top of the South division somehow, but they aren’t for real.  They have been outscored on the year by over 50 points total.  The Bruins have the #89 total defense in the nation; on the other hand, you know how much I love Arizona State’s defense.  Give me the Sun Devils 38-24.

Enjoy your weekend!