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!

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