Saturday, November 26, 2011

5 for Sunday

A lot of big spreads out there this week, thanks to injuries accumulating throughout the league and the simple economics of betting against the several flat-out terrible teams in the NFL. From the looks of the remainder of Week 12, the best football of the weekend likely took place on Thursday. Home teams in CAPS.

NY JETS (-9.5) over Buffalo
Wait, both of these teams are 5-5? Could have fooled me. Ordinarily it would be insane to give up this many points with the Jets, but Buffalo is in an all-out free fall and now will be playing without Fred Jackson for the rest of the season. If Darrelle Revis locks up on Stevie Johnson, how will the Bills score at all? This is purely a bet against Buffalo, for whom the clock struck midnight three weeks ago.

ATLANTA (-9.5) over Minnesota
All you need to know about this game is that Adrian Peterson is doubtful with the high ankle sprain suffered in last week's loss to Oakland. I still don't think Atlanta is a very good team, but they are arguably an ill-advised 4th down call in overtime away from being on a 5-game winning streak, and their strong run defense figures to be even stronger without AP on the field for the Vikings. Fun fact? This is the seventh straight game that the Falcons have played in a dome.

Carolina (-3.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
It really says something when a 2-8 team is a 3.5 point favorite on the road, but that is the point that the 2011 Indianapolis Colts have reached. The Panthers jumped out to a big early lead on Detroit last week, only to blow it in giving up a total of 49 points. Should Carolina put up anything resembling the first half they played against the Lions, then you can turn the lights out on Indy once again. The Colts have not scored more than 10 points in a game since October 16.

Denver (+6) over SAN DIEGO

NEW ORLEANS (-7) over NY Giants (Monday Night)
I guess nobody ever woke the Giants up and told them how important their game against the Eagles was last week. Their offense was never in sync, their defense let Vince Young go on an 18-play drive to win the game, and Brandon Jacobs thought the result was a good opportunity to bad-mouth his team's fans. The Saints will have had 15 days of rest coming into this Monday Nighter in the Superdome, where they are 4-0 (straight up as well as ATS) this year. Should Ahmad Bradshaw miss yet another game for the Giants, their running game woes will only get worse.

Last Week: 1-3-1
Season: 24-26-5

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cinq Pour Samedi

Some of the biggest rivalries in the land will be renewed over the next few days, so if you can't get at least some enjoyment from college football this weekend, then you don't have a pulse. Either way, a hell of a weekend of football is ahead of us, and if we get games that are half as good as they were last week with the matchups on tap for this week, then we'll remember this weekend for a long time to come. Not to mention, we could be facing an excruciating BCS debate where the top 3 teams could all be from the SEC West. Home teams in CAPS.

Arkansas (+12.5) over LSU (Friday afternoon)
Tough to see the Tigers losing, but this seems like it's just too many points to give. Arkansas has gone almost unnoticed in its rise to the #3 ranking, and they have a chance to blow the BCS picture up completely with a win in Baton Rouge on Black Friday, just like the Darren McFadden/Felix Jones-led team did in 2007. Despite the overrated Bobby Petrino being the Razorbacks' coach, I like their chances of giving LSU all they can handle.

WEST VIRGINIA (-7) over Pittsburgh (Friday night)
Which Mountaineers team will show up? West Virginia has looked excellent at times this year, and less than pedestrian at other times. You have to think they come out swinging in the Backyard Brawl at home, but the money must have come in hard on Pitt this week since the line opened at 10.5. That opens my eye a bit, but West Virginia can be tough to stop on their fast track at home, so I'll grit my teeth and lay the points against a see-sawing, mediocre Pitt team.

MICHIGAN (-7.5) over Ohio State
Can the tables finally be turned this year? Michigan hasn't beaten Ohio State since 2003, but this year they boast the defense that has been, for the most part, sorely lacking over that 8-year drought. The Buckeyes are especially weak this year on offense, which isn't much of a surprise. Will this be close at halftime? Extremely likely. But eventually Ohio State will run out of solutions for the versatility of Michigan's offense, and once the Wolverines get up by 10 or more, you can say goodnight.

SOUTH CAROLINA (-3.5) over Clemson
Well, it was fun while it lasted for Clemson, who got beaten badly last week by NC State and seem light years away from their 8-0 start. South Carolina has handled things as well as team that kicked its quarterback off the team in Week 6 and lost its star running back in Week 7 could possibly handle things, thanks largely to their strong defense. We'll see if the book is truly out on Tajh Boyd, as the Gamecocks' defense is especially suffocating at home.

STANFORD (-7) over Notre Dame
I've been going back and forth on this game all week. Neither the Irish nor the Cardinal looked impressive last week in close victories over Boston College and Cal, respectively. Since I've done terribly with these late West Coast games this year, I thought of going against my gut and taking Notre Dame. But I can't shake the idea that this game is still the men vs. the boys. Has Notre Dame done anything to make you confident that they can travel out west and beat a team like Stanford, who will likely be in their last pre-Heisman showcase for Andrew Luck? Not helping matters for the Irish is last week's injury to RB Jonas Gray. Overall I don't think the Irish will have enough answers for the Stanford offense, to the tune of something like 35-21.

Last Week: 2-3-0
Season: 26-30-2

Thursday, November 24, 2011

5 for the Weekend

3-2 Last week puts me at 31-29 on the season.


Arkansas (+12.5) @ LSU 2:30 CBS

Well the majority of these games have been close and I'm betting that this one wont be different. Arkansas will battle for 4 quarters as they have so much to play for. LSU by 10.


Alabama (-21) @ Auburn 3:30 CBS

Penn State (+15) @ Wisconsin

*****Lou pinch-hitting for Kevin here for the remainder of the column, as he is on a pilgrimage to Ann Arbor this weekend. I assure you that the remaining two picks are his.*****

Michigan (-8) over Ohio State

Virginia (+5) over Virginia Tech

Come on, you guys really didn't think he was taking OSU, did you?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

5 for Saturday

4-1 Last week and for the third consecutive week has put me above .500 for the first time all year.  28-27 on the season.

Nebraska @ Michigan (-2.5) Noon ESPN

Well these two teams are very evenly matched on paper.  Running QBs with questionable arms.  Some talent on both sides of the ball but little depth.  I feel like this game is a toss up and as a Michigan fan I badly want next weeks game more so I'll make that deal right now.  Take the home team when teams are evenly matched.  While both teams are unlikely to get a crack at the divisional title, they can put themselves on the cusp of a BCS game with two straight wins.

SMU @ Houston (-19.5) 3:30 FSN

College Gameday comes to Houston where they are selling out there third game of the season.

Kansas State (+9.5) @ Texas 8PM FX

Is Texas even better than Kansas State?  I might eat those words but I will take my chances with the spread at 9.5.  Bill Synder is a freaking genius and its remarkable how what he has done in his second stint at K State.  Mack Brown's squad is still struggling after last years debacle and are still a year away from being Texas again.

Oklahoma (-15.5) @ Baylor 8PM ABC/ESPN Gameplan

USC @ Oregon (-15.5) ABC/ESPN Gameplan

Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 for Sunday

After somehow pulling a winning week out of my you-know-where in Week 10, I'm back to .500 on the nose with seven weeks to go in the regular season. Not the prettiest slate of games scheduled for Week 11, but hey, play the hand you're dealt. Home teams in CAPS.

Carolina (+7) over DETROIT
Both of these teams threw up absolute turds last week, but I'm willing to give Carolina a pass for their loss to the Titans because Chris Johnson morphed back into Chris Johnson all of a sudden. After all, the Panthers aren't supposed to be very good. The Lions appear to be in free fall, and cannot keep Matthew Stafford or any of their running backs healthy for any extended period of time. It would make sense for Detroit to try to be very aggressive in getting after Cam Newton, but I think Newton's raw play-making ability may show itself if the Lions get too greedy on defense.

Dallas (-7.5) over WASHINGTON
So many things about this game are screaming at me to stay away, but there just aren't enough decent games this week to avoid my usual homer pick here. I really think this is too many points to give, especially when you see that the Cowboys have beaten the Redskins by 8 or more just once in their past ten meetings. But Dallas has been so tough to stop on offense in the past month (not counting the blowout at the hands of the Eagles in Week 8, where the Cowboys fell behind so quickly that their normal offense was moot) that an objective observer would figure them to have little problem taking care of business at FedEx Field. The Redskins seem to get worse every week and have now switched back to Rex Grossman at quarterback. That fact plus Washington's sore lack of receiving threats outside of TE Fred Davis makes you forget that Dallas is still missing its top cornerback in Mike Jenkins. If things go as they should, it will be another banner day for the rookie DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys improve to 6-4 without giving me a heart attack.

Cincinnati (+7) over BALTIMORE
Yankees radio play-by-play man John Sterling must love the Baltimore Ravens, because ya just can't predict them, Suzyn. How can a team that just got trounced by Seattle be 2-0 against Pittsburgh? When you look at the Ravens' last four games as a whole, huge red flags pop up about their offense. The Bengals are right in the thick of the AFC North race and played the Steelers very tough last week. One interesting note: that 24-17 loss to Pittsburgh was the Bengals' largest margin of defeat all year. Cincy is without AJ Green, but Baltimore will likely be playing sans Ray Lewis for the first time in four years. A full touchdown is just too many to lay with the Ravens right now, and the Bengals do tend to play close games so I'll take my chances plus the points.

GREEN BAY (-14) over Tampa Bay
Not that it really really matters because you can pencil Aaron Rodgers in for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns basically every week, but should Green Bay find any lack of smoothness at all in their passing game, they have the Bucs' miserable, 6.1-yards-per-carry run defense to feast upon. And Josh Freeman, who has hit bit of a wall this year for Tampa, won't be the one to expose the Packers defense enough to beat them. It's becoming a bit of a cop-out to simply take the Packers every week, but at this point how can you not? They're simply that good.

CHICAGO (-3.5) over San Diego
This line seems about 2 points too low - and God bless you if you were able to get it when it opened at 2.5. What could possibly possess someone to put money on the Chargers right now? Philip Rivers has been an interception machine this year, the team has lost 4 in a row, and now they must come east (again) to play in what may be less-than-ideal conditions in a late afternoon game at Soldier Field. The Bears have come on very strong in the past month and are still flying under the radar a bit thanks to the unstoppable Packers. Consider this game another nail in the coffin of Norv Turner's job.

Last Week : 3-2-0
Season: 23-23-4

Cinq Pour Samedi

The Saturday before Thanksgiving used to be arguably the best college football day of the year, but now thanks to the drawn out regular season we are forced to wait until next week for a great college football weekend. Of course, spots are still up for grabs for Championship Saturday, but the only possible really intriguing storyline for this week would be if a top team or two had a slip-up. Home teams in CAPS.

The Wolverines are undefeated at home this year and are playing much better defense than anyone had expected of them since Week 2. I'm not crazy about the extra half point on the line (this game was an even 3-pointer if I've ever seen one), but if you like the favorite to win, covering 3.5 is the same as covering 3 (I moonlight as Captain Obvious, it's fun), so no huge deal in the end. These teams are very evenly matched but I think Denard Robinson is a better overall dual threat than Taylor Martinez, as long as he doesn't add to his alarming stack of 13 INTs on the season. Overall, I don't know if Nebraska will have the speed on defense to keep Michigan under 28 points.

OHIO STATE (-6.5) over Penn State
All of a sudden, some bling, cars, and tattoos don't sound so terrible do they? The Buckeyes are still incredibly hard to root for but I'll grin and bear it for this week and this week only, for reasons that I think I made clear last week.

Oklahoma (-16) over BAYLOR
I really wanted to give Baylor a puncher's chance here, but they've been beaten handily by every competent team they've played since the upset of TCU in Week 1, and are coming off two squeakers over Kansas and Missouri. We all know how the Sooners like to light up the scoreboard (especially when they need a few more style points for the BCS), and I expect them to put up a basketball-type number against a Baylor defense that gives up an alarming 36 points a game (40.5 if you take away the Week 2 shutout against Stephen F. Austin). Robert Griffin III won't be able to do it alone for Baylor against Oklahoma, so I'm comfortable giving this many points on the road.

Kansas State (+8.5) over TEXAS
First off, this line looks 3 points too high right off the bat. Second, it opened at 7.5 and has gotten all the way up to 9 and 9.5 in some books, meaning considerable money has come in on Texas. I must be missing something here. The Longhorns are still rebuilding and don't exactly score the way they used to, so I can't really see them getting up quickly on K-State and forcing them out of their game offensively. Kansas State is too good to be this big an underdog to anyone who is ranked outside the Top 10, let alone a team who isn't ranked in either poll and is hanging on for dear life at #23 in the BCS.

OREGON (-14.5) over Southern California
You could make the argument that right now, Oregon is playing the best football of any team in the country. Now that Oklahoma State has fallen off, the Ducks, whose only loss this year came to #1 LSU in Week 1, are in a dead heat with Alabama for the soon-to-be-vacant #2 ranking. It's just a matter of taking care of their business from here on out for Oregon, who played a very impressive game at Stanford last week and will host the Pac-12 Championship Game if they can get past USC this week and Oregon State next week. USC has a chance in this game, and it wouldn't even surprise me if it is a one-score game in the 3rd quarter. But Oregon just does not stop scoring.

Last Week: 2-2-1
Season: 24-29-2

Saturday, November 12, 2011

5 for Sunday

"The Opposite" last week helped stop the bleeding, but still proved to be less than profitable. Oh well, sometimes the actual instinct is the way to go. Fortunately, still just one game under .500 as we move on to Week 10, when the weather starts to get cold, Thursday games and flex scheduling take effect, and the playoff races take shape. Home teams in CAPS.

Tennessee (+3.5) over CAROLINA
Despite the wondrous efforts of Cam Newton in his rookie year, Carolina is largely feast-or-famine. I really don't think the 2-6 Panthers are good enough to be more than 3-point favorites at home to anyone besides the Colts. If Chris Johnson shows up at all for the Titans (a very big IF), then they should be able to beat Carolina by double digits. In the likelihood that Johnson doesn't show up, the Titans offense is extremely pedestrian...and still has a decent chance to come out on top or at least keep it to a field goal game either way.

DALLAS (-5.5) over Buffalo
A few interesting storylines here. One, Bills WR David Nelson is dating Cowboys cheerleader Kelsi Reich. Two, the land acquired to build Cowboys Stadium was actually the neighborhood in which Bills RB Fred Jackson grew up. Three, Bills head coach Chan Gailey faces his old team for the first time since his two-year tenure as Cowboys head coach, during which he never met a called dump pass on 3rd-and-12 that he didn't like. Four, Miles Austin is out for this game and for the next few weeks. The book might be out on Buffalo if their thrashing at the hands of the Jets is any indication, and as long as you refrain from giving the ball away on offense the Bills are quite beatable. Just for fun, here's what happened the last time these two teams met.

Baltimore (-7) over SEATTLE
It took long enough, but the Ravens woke up against Pittsburgh last week and are now in the driver's seat of the AFC North race at 6-2, with two games in hand over Pittsburgh and both games with Cincinnati still to come. Now they get to take their licks against Tarvaris Jackson and the hapless Seahawks, who ran the ball very well last week against Dallas but did so largely because the Cowboys were missing their top MLB Sean Lee. It's highly unlikely that Marshawn Lynch sees the running lanes against Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, et al that he saw against Dallas. It's a bit dubious to lay this many points with a team going on such a long road trip, but the fact remains that Baltimore is a significantly better team than Seattle is.

Detroit (+3) over CHICAGO
The Lions treated Jay Cutler like a rag doll in the last meeting between these teams, and thanks to their Tebowing in Denver a few weeks ago, they're now the NFL's new bad boys. Chicago is sure to protect Cutler better than they did against the Lions in Week 5, but that doesn't mean he'll have nearly the time and space to throw that he did last Monday against the Eagles. I'm leery of taking Detroit because their running back situation is terrible, but they are coming off of a bye while the Bears are on a short week. This game figures to be very close, the 21-20 or 24-23 variety, so I'll take the points and grit my teeth.

GREEN BAY (-13) over Minnesota (Monday Night)
This line opened at 14 or even 14.5, so enough Vikings money has come in to bring it down to 13. That's not a huge surprise given how the Vikings played the Packers pretty tight at the Metrodome just three weeks ago (Sidebar: how seriously weird is that? Minnesota is in a stretch of schedule where two out of three games are against Green Bay.) Even Charles Woodson came out and said the Packers' defense has to play much better and can't be so reliant on pick-sixes and other big-play turnovers to win games. I still think that one of these weeks someone is going to expose that Packers defense to a point to which not even Aaron Rodgers can trade touchdowns, but the Vikings are not that team, and this will not be that week.

Last Week: 2-3-0
Season: 20-21-4

5 for Saturday

4-1 Last week has me flirting with .500 at 24-26 on the season.

Nebraska @ Penn State (+3.5) Noon ESPN

Well even though the all time ratings record for a noon ESPN game was broken once this year (Michigan Michigan State) expect it to be broken again.  I can see the PSU players rallying around each other and getting to the Big Ten Title game.  I can see them also finally being exposed as an average team in the next three games. Can the general public seperate the scandal from the players and cheer them on or does it become impossible to cheer on Penn State?  I will be rooting against them as usual here. Nebraska shit the bed last week at home against Northwestern and were psychially man handle.  Dan Persa went out in the second half and Nebraska still lost.  So maybe they aren't that good either. I think PSU can cover the spread at home and I do think they will play with a ton of passion.

Michigan State (-3) @ Iowa Noon ESPN 2

Well I hope Iowa wins but they weren't too impressive last week even in victory.  Their defense looked better and more like a typical Iowa defense, but Michigan State should be able to take care of business.  Michigan State has revenge on their mind after being destroyed by Iowa last season.

Auburn @ Georgia (-13) 3:30 CBS

Georgia played well offensively in last years contest and Aaron Murray really showed his toughness.  Georgia will step on Auburn's throat and roll.

TCU (+15) @ Boise State 3:30 Versus

I am leary of picking TCU here but 15 points gives me some leeway.  TCU is clearly a notch or two below Boise this year but 15 points man seems like alot here.

Oregon @ Stanford (-3.5) 8 ABC

Stanford Stanford Stanford.  Revenge factor at play again here.  Stanford fell apart in the second half against Oregon last year like many times do.  Stanford will pound the ball,control the clock, and win the game late.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cinq Pour Samedi

A brief side-tracking from the absolute worst scandal in college football history to examine this week's actual on-field matters. Another pitiful week last week has helped Kevin complete a ferocious comeback from his early-season hole. Home teams in CAPS.

Virginia Tech (-1) over GEORGIA TECH (Thursday Night)
Did the Yellow Jackets blow their wad against previously-undefeated Clemson last week? Do the Hokies still stand as the class of the ACC? This game will shed light on both questions. The most interesting matchup is Virginia Tech's outstanding run defense against Georgia Tech's meal ticket of a running game. My guess is that the Georgia Tech team that shows up on Thursday resembles the group that lost to Virginia more than the group that beat Clemson. Hokies by something like 24-17.

Nebraska (-3) over PENN STATE
Screw Penn State. Screw Joe Paterno, screw their administration, and screw the moron students who showed up at Paterno's house to rally in support of the old man. And send Jerry Sandusky to a place where he is regularly on the receiving end of the unspeakable crimes he committed. Even the death penalty is too kind for that sack of shit. The end.

Texas Christian (+15) over BOISE STATE
If anyone is going to conquer the Smurf Turf, it's going to be TCU. The Horned Frogs have their work cut out for them in this attempt to spoil the Boise dream for another year. It's highly likely that Kellen Moore takes another step toward a trip to New York in the second week of December, but I still think that this is too many points. TCU is going to try to run it all day to keep the tempo under control, but in the end it's still going to take 31+ to win. I think Boise takes it 34-24 but TCU has enough to cover.

Auburn (+13) over GEORGIA
This line was almost double what I thought it was going to be for a game where the underdog is ranked 20th and the favorite ranked 15th. Has Auburn peaked? It's possible. Georgia gets standout RB Isaiah Crowell back from his suspension, but that alone doesn't strike me as enough to think they're going to put up 35+ in this game, despite Auburn's horrific, 185-ypg run defense. The Bulldogs will clearly have 2010 revenge on their mind (as most of Auburn's opponents have this year), but the Tigers are still decent enough to hang around.

STANFORD (-3.5) over Oregon
College Gameday makes its way to Palo Alto this week to to focus on this game and maybe help us get our minds off the elephant in the room. Oregon, who is 8-0 since an opening loss to #1 LSU, presents Stanford its biggest challenge yet. It is going to be a question of whether the Cardinal has enough defensive speed to withstand Oregon's running attack and get Andrew Luck back on the field. Stanford gives up a paltry 78.9 ypg on the ground, but then again, most teams usually have to abandon the run against them pretty quickly. It will be interesting to see how Stanford fares against a team that can score with them, but don't act like their OT victory over USC two weeks ago is some sort of sign that they're headed downward. There's still too much to like about Stanford to not back them in this game.

Last Week : 1-4-0
Season: 22-27-1

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 for Sunday

First, a look at last week, for those who aren't queasy:

New Orleans (-13.5) over ST. LOUIS
Indianapolis (+9) over TENNESSEE
DENVER (+3) over Detroit
New England (-2.5) over PITTSBURGH
Dallas (+3.5) over PHILADELPHIA

Wow, I suck. My first 0-5 week ever in either NCAA or the NFL, and like I did at one point last year to pull myself out of a funk, the George Costanza Opposite Method is once again in full effect. Home teams in CAPS.

WASHINGTON (+3.5) over San Francisco
The 49ers have conquered the East Coast time and again this year and have a stranglehold on the NFC West. Jim Harbaugh has people in Rice-a-Roni land entertaining the prospect of buying playoff tickets for the first time in 9 years. The Redskins flat-out stink, have hardly any worthwhile offensive players healthy, and hit their high point about about 5 weeks ago. Was being blanked by Buffalo last week the low point? Sadly, I don't even think so. My instinct and football reasoning loves the 49ers in this give me Washington at home plus the points.

DALLAS (-11.5) over Seattle
I had a front-row seat for the Cowboys' bludgeoning in Philly last week. The Eagles let Rob Ryan's overly aggressive defensive approach play right into their hand, and had the Cowboys lining up wrong, running themselves out of plays, and looking lost the entire night. And oh yeah, middle linebacker Sean Lee is likely out, leaving 86-year-old Keith Brooking to have to start in his place. Football games are won by blocking and tackling, and Dallas did neither very well last week. I have very little confidence in them laying double I'll take them minus the 11.5.

MIAMI (+4) over Kansas City
The Chiefs have won 4 in a row and look like world-beaters after their Monday Night conquest of the Chargers. The Dolphins are inventing more ways to lose and have yet to put 60 respectable minutes of football together this year. KC has new life, while Miami never had any of it. So yeah, give me the Dolphins +4.

SAN DIEGO (+5.5) over Green Bay
The Packers have been unstoppable and are coming off a bye. The Chargers play arguably the worst fundamental football of anyone in the league, have a banged-up backfield, and have a short week after losing last Monday Night to Kansas City. Green Bay runs it well, throws it well, is coached well, and has won 13 straight dating back to last year. The only thing standing in their way is The Opposite. Chargers +5.5, and hell, I like them to win outright.

Baltimore (+3.5) over PITTSBURGH
The Ravens, who looked like a Super Bowl team early this year, have spiraled out of control in the past few weeks and needed a ferocious second-half comeback to beat lowly Arizona at home last week. Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron are far from seeing eye-to-eye, and even Ray Rice has been held to 3.5 yards per carry in his past four games. The Steelers, on the other hand, are throwing the ball at will, have somehow managed to replace their hoard of injured defensive players, and kept complete control of the Patriots in their win last week. Pittsburgh is quite the tough place to play for a team in naturally, the pick goes to Baltimore.

Last Week : 0-5-0
Season: 18-18-4

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cinq Pour Samedi

Before we get going, here are last week's picks, which I promise were submitted before the deadline. A weekend-long wedding in a bizarre October snowstorm has a tendency to prevent a guy from posting things.

Michigan St (+4) over NEBRASKA
Oklahoma (-13.5) over KANSAS STATE
Georgia (-3) over Florida
Clemson (-3.5) over GEORGIA TECH
Wisconsin (-7) over OHIO STATE

So, now that the insane month of October has ended and another 2-3 week is behind me, it's time to get back over .500. Home teams in CAPS.

WEST VIRGINIA (-13) over Louisville
By the infamous "Comparative Score Theory," taking Louisville and the 13 points is a slam dunk. WVU was embarrassed by Syracuse 49-23 two weeks ago, only for Louisville to go ahead and beat the Orange 27-10 last week. However, games are played on turf, not on algorithms, and even though my teeth are clenched, I think the Mountaineers, who finally woke up in the second half against Rutgers last week, will have enough at home to win this game comfortably. I'll also be interested to see what has been made of all the Big East signage in and around Milan Puskar Stadium this week.

OKLAHOMA (-13.5) over Texas A&M
The Sooners have had their stinker for the year, and it came against Texas Tech. One thing you know about Bob Stoops is that he loves to build the résumé when he has the chance, and Oklahoma needs some very convincing wins down the stretch if they are to get back into the BCS picture. I just have an overwhelming feeling that Oklahoma rolls in this one - there's no way they put up two consecutive subpar efforts at home, is there?

South Carolina (+5) over ARKANSAS
Something has to give here. South Carolina threw their quarterback off the team a few weeks ago, and Arkansas is coming off two straight squeakers against teams (Ole Miss and Vanderbilt) that they should have handled easily. Despite their off-field drama and Ol' Ballcoach who made his name at the helm of offensive juggernauts, the Gamecocks have been carried to a 7-1 record this year by their superb defense, which is averaging 7.4 points surrendered in the past 5 games. I'll gladly take the 5 points in what could easily be a low-scoring game.

OKLAHOMA STATE (-21) over Kansas State
At this rate you just have to keep riding Mike Gundy's Cowboys, who in streaking to 8-0 have covered every game this year, with the exception of their 61-34 opening win over Louisiana-Lafayette in which they were favored by 38 points. Kansas State is a good team that showed last week against Oklahoma that it it not quite ready for the big boys in their conference. The most alarming stat? The Wildcats throw for only 130 yards per game, so say goodnight if Oklahoma State gets out to a two-score lead. And considering the way Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, and the rest of the bright orange blur tend to operate, that lead could easily be there after the first 10 minutes.

ALABAMA (-4.5) over Louisiana State
Ladies and gentlemen, your heavyweight bout for this evening showcases #1 LSU in unfriendly Bryant-Denny Stadium against #2 Alabama. Do I have to say much more? 4.5 is a ton of points to give to the supposed best team in the nation, but having seen both play a good amount this year, I'm convinced that Alabama has a better team top-to-bottom. I expect a final score along the lines of 21-14 and a game that comes down to the end, with 'Bama and Trent Richardson eating up the clock and getting a few late first downs to ice it.

Last Week: 2-3-0
Season: 21-23-1

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

5 for Saturday

4-1 last week after a lucky 3OT cover by Stanford.  20-25 on the season is still lousy but its not easy getting yourself out of a crater.

All games are Saturday

Louisville @ West Virginia (-13.5) Noon ESPN Gameplan/ Big East Syndication

I'm not sure why this game made Rivals list but it is an important game in the Big East.  West Virginia has been playing poor the last couple of weeks and should be more comfortable returning home. 

South Carolina @ Arkansas (-4) 7:15 ESPN

South Carolinia is without its star RB Marcus Lattimore and still trying to solve its QB situation under Connor Shaw.  The Gamecock defense should give them a chance but something tells me Tyler Wilson will be able to do enough to win this game by a touchdown for the Razorbacks.

LSU (+5) @ Alabama 8 CBS

Two of the most corrupt coaches and programs meet in the oversigning bowl.  I am rooting for both teams to lose but we know thats not possible.  The winner has a clear path to the National Championship game.

Kansas State (+21) @ Oklahoma State 8PM ESPN 2/ ABC

I'm taking the points here because I expect Kansas State to work the clock and limit the amount of possesions in this game.  KState is barely a top 25 team but they are well coached and should keep this a game beyond half.

Oregon (-15) @ Washington 10:30 FSN

A shootout beckons in this one.  I'm not too sold on Washington yet but its hard to believe that they won't provide a test for Oregon.  Oregon should be able to light up the scoreboard and should pull away late.