Friday, October 28, 2011

Things We Should Probably Do: Quit Job, Travel World

The Plan:  Build up enough cash to travel the world for 6 months.

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is people that always talk about doing something and never actually do it.  The easiest thing to pick on is people who talk about going on trips somewhere or traveling to Europe.  Some of them may actually get around to following through with their plans but a large majority never fulfill their grand plans.  The last few days I have been thinking about couples who travel the world when they retire.  This is awesome and something I am extremely jealous of, but many people never get to travel properly because they wait until they are too old.  I want to run myself ragged traveling and not be burn out just because I'm old. 

Quitting your job and embarking on this journey is not something to be taken lightly.  It's one heck of a life altering decision to make and its impossibly to say how you will be affected by dropping everything for the sake of adventure.  Will you enjoy every second of your trip?  Probably not.  There are certainly risks in traveling the globe and going to places where you are completely foreign so some bumps in the road are bound to arise.  Will you get burnt out and want to come home?  Possibly.  As someone who has traveled alot for work, it does get tiring traveling all the time.  But, and this is a very big But, if you are with the right people and are exploring new places life is never boring. 

For all that could go wrong on a trip of this magnitude, will it be more interesting than anything else you can do in 6 months time?  Hell Yes.  You could either be sitting at a desk job for 6 months pulling in $30-50 thousand dollars or you could spend 6 months blowing it all and having the time of your life.  I know which one I'm going to choose.  After the trip and for the rest of your life you can make that money back.  Few people would have the courage to provide themselves with the freedom to make this trip and I hope I'm one of them and more importantly, I hope someone else is too.

More details to come in the future.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

5 For Saturday

1-4 last week and I'm back to a lowly 16-24.  I'm going to need a couple of 4-1 5-0 weekends to get back into it.

Michigan State (+4) @ Nebraska Noon ESPN

If I bet Sparty, they have to lose right?  In all seriousness you have to like the Spartans getting 4 here.   Nebraska will have similar issues that Michigan had against the Spartan defense.  Nebraska should mix up their snap count and practice running slants all week.  The Spartans are an overly agressive defense and this should slow them down.  Either way this is virtually a pickem so hopefully Nebraska wins by a field goal.

Florida vs Georgia (-2.5) 3:30 CBS Jacksonville, FL

I have been riding Georgia every chance I get.  They are still my pick to go to the SEC Championship game and they will have to win this one to do so.  John Brantley is expected to be back from injury so that is a small concern but Charlie Weis is still runnning the show on offense.

Oklahoma (-13.5) @ Kansas State 3:30 ESPN

Winning by two touchdowns is alot to ask here but Oklahoma should come out focused because if a one loss team is going to play for the National Championship if may very well be them.

Stanford (-7.5) @ USC 8 ABC regional

Andrew Luck has a chance to light up the Trojans in LA and I think he will be totally stoked to do so. 

Wisconsin @ Ohio State (+7) 8 ESPN

The Buckeyes are going to have to get the run game going to keep this one a game.  Wisconsin will likely stack the box, and force the Buckeyes to throw. The Buckeyes should find a way to run anyways because throwing anything mid to deep hasn't gone so well. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

5 for Sunday

Same deal as the NCAA - no columns the past two weeks but I promise I did get the picks in. And they were:

Week 5 (3-1-1)
NY GIANTS (-10) over Seattle
BUFFALO (+3) over Philadelphia
NY Jets (+9) over NEW ENGLAND
Green Bay (-6) over ATLANTA
DETROIT (-5.5) over Chicago

Week 6 (2-2-1)
Buffalo (+3) over NY Giants
GREEN BAY (-15.5) over St. Louis
WASHINGTON (+1) over Philadelphia
Carolina (+4) over ATLANTA
Dallas (+7) over NEW ENGLAND

So as we move into Week 7, a rather depleted schedule is waiting for us as several of the intriguing teams are on byes and several other matchups are just ugly. Home teams in CAPS.

Denver (pk) over MIAMI
Or, as this game should be called, The Tim Tebow Party. This game has actually been sold out in Miami due to all the Florida fans wanting to see their favorite son starting for the Broncos, and to boot, the 2008 Florida Gators National Championship team is going to be honored at halftime. The Dolphins quit in the second half against the Jets last week and I can't imagine them putting forth a much better effort when they see that 2/3 of their "home crowd" is rooting for Denver. God Bless.

Tampa Bay (+1) over Chicago (neutral site - London)
I must be crazy to be taking a side on this game, but I have little faith in the Bears this year despite them taking their turn at thrashing the Vikings last week. The Bucs' defensive weakness is through the air, but the Bears' biggest offensive weakness is protecting Jay Cutler. I think Tampa puts Cutler on his back enough and runs the ball well enough against a surprisingly soft Bears defense to squeeze this game out across the pond.

ARIZONA (+4) over Pittsburgh
Let me first say that I don't quite buy the Steelers yet this year, as they have let clearly inferior opponents such as Jacksonville and Indy hang around. Also, I think the Cardinals have to be a better team than what they've shown so far, and the bye week can only have helped Kevin Kolb get himself further indoctrinated with the offense. Even so, this is strictly a bet against the Steelers and against the thought of laying 4 points with them on the road in the desert.

Green Bay (-9) over MINNESOTA
Funny what a difference two years makes, right? This time in 2009, this line may very well have been flipped the other way around for a Packers-Vikings game in the Metrodome. Alas, it's 2011, and Christian Ponder is finally getting his first NFL start in place of Donovan McNabb. Ride the Packers until they falter, it's that simple.

NEW ORLEANS (-13.5) over Indianapolis
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Season: 16-10-4

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cinq Pour Samedi (La Retourne!)

I'm back after a few weeks of not getting a column up here, but starting a new job, moving, not having internet, and getting the flu will do that to you. Thankfully I'm now settled in and once again able to maintain a steady body temperature. Even though there were no columns published, I still got 5 picks in each week and got them on the record via email or text to Kevin, and those picks were:

Week 6 (3-2-0)
Miami (+6) over VIRGINIA TECH
Oklahoma (-10.5) over Texas
ARKANSAS (-8) over Auburn
NEBRASKA (-10) over Ohio St
Florida (+12) over LSU

Week 7 (2-3-0)
Baylor (+9.5) over TEXAS A&M
Michigan (+3) over MICH ST
Oklahoma State (-7) over TEXAS
Florida (-2) over AUBURN
Arizona State (+14.5) over OREGON

So, a naturally mediocre 5-5 over the past few weeks brings us to Week 8, which contains considerably fewer juicy matchups when compared to the past month or so. Home teams in CAPS.

West Virginia (-14) over SYRACUSE (Friday Night)
The Orange are a respectable 4-2, but now they run into by far the best team that they are going to see this season. West Virginia should frighten the hell out of me in this spot laying double digits on the road in what could be a fired-up Carrier Dome, but the Mountaineers have been a second-half team all year and should be able to flex their muscle over the course of 60 minutes and show Syracuse why 4-2 in the Big East is, well, 4-2 in the Big East. Dana Holgorsen's offense keeps scoring and scoring, and Syracuse does not figure to be able to do enough through the air to keep up.

Southern California (+8.5) over NOTRE DAME
I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. Neither team in this game is ranked. USC is 5-1, Notre Dame 4-2. The Trojans don't have a signature win and came up short in their only really tough game thus far (Arizona State). Notre Dame does have a signature win (Week 3 vs. Michigan State), but is that plus two straight trouncings of mediocre Air Force and Purdue enough to make the Irish this big of a favorite? While it's fair to say Notre Dame has gotten its head out of its ass after their 0-2 start, I just don't see their defense intimidating three-year starter Matt Barkley one bit. Give me the points and let's hope for a good one.

Wisconsin (-7.5) over MICHIGAN STATE
I really wanted to take Sparty here, but Wisconsin is too good. They beat the hell out of you up front on offense, and while Michigan State defends the run very well, it's very tough to hold up against the Badgers' offensive line for 60 minutes. Do the Spartans have an answer for Russell Wilson? In the end, I don't think they will. This has a chance to be a very good game, but I think the Badgers go on a long 4th-quarter touchdown drive to go up by 11 points and send the fans toward the exits in East Lansing.

LSU (-22.5) over Auburn
Will the real Auburn team please rise and come to the front of the line? The reigning national champions (remember that?) got embarrassed two weeks ago by Arkansas but rebounded to beat Florida last week. The difference? Auburn hasn't put together a truly solid effort on the road yet this season. LSU, meanwhile, is lights-out at home on both sides of the ball (41.2 ppg offensively, 199.5 total ypg allowed defensively). The huge spread here is begging you to take Auburn, so I'll go the other way and say LSU covers it. Who knows, maybe The Mad Hatter will have another fancy special teams play up his sleeve, like the fake punt against Florida that I can't stop watching.

Washington (+21) over STANFORD
The 5-1 Huskies are making a cameo in the Top 25 and present The Andrew Luck Show with their biggest (and maybe their only) test to date before the schedule gets serious down the stretch. Will the Cardinal be looking past Washington and toward the upcoming month, which features dates with USC and Oregon before closing out the regular season against Notre Dame? I'm not a big believer in that cop-out theory (I love it when blowhards act as if they're in a team's locker room and on their practice field every day), but Washington has a lot to prove in Palo Alto and since they played Nebraska pretty well in an equally tough spot in Week 3, I'll cross my fingers and take my chances being spotted 3 touchdowns.

Season: 17-17-1

Thursday, October 20, 2011

5 For Saturday

3-2 last week and 15-20 on the season.

I never made it to Ole Miss either btw, damn airlines.

North Carolina (+10.5) @ Clemson Noon ESPN

I just don't trust Clemson even after their impressive start.  They should win but I can't bet them to cover here.  North Carolina is well on there way to being irrelevant in football agian but theres so talent that is there for now.

Oklahoma State @ Missouri (+7) Noon FX

Missouri is a decent enough football team to trust at home against OK State.

USC @ Notre Dame (-8) 7:30 NBC

I still won't be rooting for the Irish but they are a solid football team flying under the radar since their 0-2 start.  This seems like a good chance to make a statement and stomp USC at home.

Washington @ Stanford (-20) 8 ESPN

The spread is huge in this one and even bigger than I expected but it's hard to really like Washington here because they are a paper tiger.  Against their only real competition this year they got smoked against Nebraska.  Something like 48-24 seems likely.

Wisconsin (-9) @ Michigan State 8 ABC

If Michigan State were a high school team they would be Woodrow Wilson.  They love to play after the whistle.  Wisconsin is tough enough to withstand the extracuricular activites of Michigan State and pound the football against a good defense.  Russel Wilson will most likely have to win this game for the Badgers because State is going to load the box and blitz like hell.  Just watch the tape of last weeks game in East Lansing and you will be fine Wisconsin.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

5 for Saturday

Finally I had a winning week even after starting off 0-2.  3-2 last week puts me at 12-18 on the season.  I still have a long way to go to break even.

Michigan (+3) @ Michigan State Noon ESPN

Well it is always the most important game of the season for State but this year the same is also true for Michigan.  The winner of this game is a strong favorite to win the B16 TEN West division (screw those other names).  Michigan has been playing the role of Sparty in recent years (coming in hot and undefeated, losing the in state rivalry and seeing the season collapse) and are still in a "prove it" mode despite being 6-0. 

I really don't know what's going to happen, Michigan has been extremely lucky in many ways this year both on and off the field and many people are waiting for their luck to run out.  I think the Wolverines will keep it going against Sparty though.   Michigan State has had issues on the OLine all season long and this has prevented them from being as effective as they would like to be on the ground.   Michigan State has a terrific group of tailbacks but they haven't had much room to operate.  Expect Michigan State to bubble the Wolverines until they can prove they can defend it.  On defense Michigan State is supposedly the best in the country if follow silly data from mational mainstream media.  They will be the stiffest test for Michigan becasue they gameplan for Michigan yearround, but it's difficult to shut down Denard and company.  Michigan should be able to get into the high 20s points wise and the suddenly mediocore defense should be able to slow Sparty down just enough for the win.  

Oklahoma State (-7.5) @ Texas 3:30 ESPN 2/ABC

Can Oklahoma State really win by more than a touchdown in Austin?  It's alot to ask but after last weeks beatdown I'm not sure the Longhorns have turned the corner. 

Alabama @ Ole Miss (+24.5) 6PM ESPN 2

So I'm breaking the rules a little here and picking this game because I'm headed to it.  We will be partying in the Grove and I will be dressed like a dad to fit in and steal a southern beauty.  Eventually I will get around to posting about some of the college football tailgate experiences I've had this year.   I'm pick Ole Miss simply because I'm rooting for them on Saturday.  Saban is not generally one to run the score up but he might make an exception for Houstun Nutt.

Florida @ Auburn (-1) ESPN 7PM

Florida has looked dreadful since John Brantley went down, and no matter which backup starts for Florida they are not ready to handle Jordan Hare at night, even after games against LSU and Bama.

Arizona State (+15.5) @ Oregon 10:15 PM ESPN

The hope is the Arizona State can cover this spread in a high scoring affair.  Oregon always seems to strive to cover the spread, but ASU is one of the better football teams in the conference and should challange the Ducks into the 4th quarter.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

5 For Saturday

From the blog that doesn't have real posts anymore (blame the financial crisis and disinterest) comes more bad picks from me.  2-3 last week, 9-16 on the season.

Oklahoma vs. Texas (+11) @ The Cotton Bowl Noon ABC

I really thought I was going to pick Oklahoma to cover here but the 9.5 line is begging you to take them.  My main reason for picking the Longhorns is their off-season hire of DC Manny Diaz.  Diaz is a huge statistical analysis fan and is a DC that is as agressive as they come.  I think the Oklahoma will hold on to win by a touchdown but Texas isn't going to go quietly.

Florida State (-9) @ Wake Forest 12:30 ESPN Gameplan

Somehow this made Rivals list of games for the weekend.  I'm guessing its because after last weeks performance Ohio State is deemed unwatchable even if they are headed to Lincoln.

Missouri @ Kansas State (+3) 3:30 ABC regional

Kansas State has quietly beat Miami and Baylor the last two weeks.  Maybe if they win this one they will start getting some respect.

Auburn @ Arkansas (-10) 7 ESPN

10 points is alot to lay but I'm dying for a team to hang some on Auburn and Arkansas could be the ones to do it.  Arkansas has an explosive offense that needs to play all four quarters for once to cover this spread.  The team is experienced enough and its time they get their shit together and roll a team they should.

Georgia (-2) @ Tennsesse 7 ESPN 2

You wrote Georgia off didn't you.  I don't blame you, but don't be surprised if they are able to win their division and get to the SEC title game.  The schedule sets up nicely without matchups against LSU and Alabama, every game is winnable.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

5 for Sunday

Finally got a nose across the .500 mark last week, hopefully for good (yeah, right). My approach right now is "half the league stinks and a third of the league is inconsistent, so bet on the few good teams there are and take the points everywhere else." Home teams in CAPS.

San Francisco (+9) over PHILADELPHIA
Until the Eagles show they can play a little fundamental football (especially on defense), I'm continuing to go against them. San Francisco is a miserable team and I can't believe I'm taking a West Coast team in a 1pm road game, but Patrick Willis is as good of a spy on Mike Vick that you can have, and the 49ers can bestow a healthy Frank Gore dose upon the most overrated team in the league. A win would be a surprise, but I think Jim Harbaugh will have his team ready to play.

New Orleans (-7) over JACKSONVILLE
Anyone who pays attention to this column knows that I tend to back the Saints pretty often. Even on the road in what may not be an optimal playing conditions, this team is still far and away better than Jacksonville, who is in a state of total rebuilding outside of MJD. This should be a nice "welcome to the NFL" afternoon for Blaine Gabbert in his first home start, and maybe he can learn a thing or two watching Drew Brees from the opposite side of the field. You can't even get worried about the Saints' suspect pass defense here.

GREEN BAY (-12.5) over Denver
Remember that part about me saying there are only a few very good teams? This is one of them. Possibly the best, even. Can the Broncos move the ball? Ordinarily against Green Bay's secondary, that would be a definite "no," but the Packers have shown cracks there this year. Even so, this doesn't figure to be the type of game that will bring the Tim Tebow billboards down in Denver. I want to see someone make a big stand against the Green Bay offense before I pick against them. The Packers should leave the Broncos cross-eyed this Sunday.

NY Jets (+3.5) over BALTIMORE
Why? Because almost everything else is telling you to go the other way. The Ravens, when not being caught napping, have been very convincing in their two wins this year. The Jets played a miserable second half against Oakland last week and now have Mark Sanchez playing with a broken nose and Nick Mangold possibly still out with an ankle injury suffered in Week 2. However, I think Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie can neutralize, if not full-out stop, Joe Flacco in the Ravens' passing attempts. So, in a run-heavy game, give me the points.

Indianapolis (+10) over TAMPA BAY
Tampa Bay doesn't score enough to lay 10 points to anyone, and there is still enough of a veteran presence on this Colts team to think they can hang tough on Monday night. And just so we're sure: I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out. I swear I'll never bet on a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter again if this doesn't work out.

Last Week: 3-2-0
Season: 7-6-2