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!

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