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

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