Saturday, November 03, 2007

Week 10 Picks

Running short on's the nitty-gritty:

LSU 31, Bama 24.

Oregon 31, Arizona State 24.

Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24.

South Carolina 31, Arkansas 24.

Michigan State 31, Michigan 24.

Navy 31, Notre Dame 24.

Duke 21, Clemson 20.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Week 9 Picks

I can't say I'm too thrilled about any of these games. I remain fascinated by the possibilities in the SEC East and the Pac-10, and of course the overall BCS picture. But a lot of these games look a lot less lustrous than they appeared in the preseason. Still, they count!

USC at Oregon. I don't think the Trojans will be intimidated at Autzen Stadium. I just think the Ducks are a better team. Oregon, 35-24.

Cal at Arizona State. Much like everyone picking Boston College to be exposed last night at Virginia Tech, everyone seems to be picking Arizona State to be this week's pretenders. I think the Sun Devils are for real, or at least what passes for it in the Pac-10, so I'll go with ASU, 31-28.

Ohio State at Penn State. Another ugly win for the Buckeyes. OSU, 20-13.

Georgia vs. Florida. Quinton is having Tebow-laced nightmares tonight, I'm sure. He'll have more tomorrow night. Gators, 38-24.

South Carolina at Tennessee. I have no idea what to expect in this game. The Vols certainly have the talent to win, but Spurrier just has some kind of voodoo control over the UT psyche. I'll say Gamecocks by some strange score like 18-15.

Duke at Florida State. One of the guys at ACC Nation actually picked Duke to pull the upset. I can see it: early kickoff, so fans won't be fired up, the Noles looking ahead to consecutive road trips to BC and Virginia Tech, Duke's halfway-decent defense against FSU's woeful offense. But seriously, folks, I'm here to tell you -- if Duke wins at Florida State, I think we can finally declare this the weirdest college football season of all time. Unless the defense creates a lot of opportunities for the Devils (turnovers, field position, etc.), FSU just has such an advantage in team speed and depth that this game will probably follow the typical Duke m.o. They'll hang close for way too long, and then give up a couple of easy ones late to make the loss look deceptively worse than it was. That has to be tough to deal with. Heck, look how rough it was for Tech to lose to BC they way they did last night. I would almost rather get blown out than have my hopes dashed after fighting so hard for 55 minutes. Of course, Duke does plenty of both. In any event, it's a real sign of how odd this season is that you could consider the idea of Duke beating Florida State with a straight face. Well, at least I can. I'm predicting that Duke will break its conference losing streak and pull the absolute shocker: Duke, 21-20.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Week 8 Picks

Well, at we know Duke won't lose this weekend. They're facing mighty Brigham Young-East, otherwise known as BYE. As for the real games:

Tennessee at Alabama. I think this one will be close early, but the Vols will score a few late to make it look like more or a rout than it is. I'll say UT, 35-17. Happy, BCB?

Texas Tech at Missouri. If the over/under is double digits, take the over. Tech, 51-49.

Michigan at Illinois. The battle for second place in the Big Ten. Amazing. Unless Mike Hart totes it forty times, I'll go with Illinois, 31-28.

Florida at Kentucky. The Wildcats won't be able to get the big win two weeks in a row, but they'll come close. Florida is one of the best two-loss teams I've seen in a while. I'll say Gators, 31-30.

Auburn at LSU. I love that part of Clay Travis's book where he ponders why people call Tuberville the "riverboat gambler." Maybe he'll have a chance to hit the Shreveport hot spots. I predict that a fake punt or field goal will backfire on Auburn and key a big LSU win. I'll pick the yellow-and-purple Tigers, 27-9.

Michigan State at Ohio State. Here's my upset pick. Yet another highly-ranked team goes down, and Boston College finds itself ranked #1. Ye gods. Sparty, 28-24.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Week 7 Picks

When was the last time Missouri at Oklahoma was the game of the week? What a weird season.

LSU at Kentucky. The Tigers might fall behind early, but they won't need another miracle on the bluegrass to pull this one out. LSU, 30-21.

Boston College at Notre Dame. I knew a guy in law school who was a BC grad. He insisted that the Eagles and the Irish were rivals. This game always means more to BC than Notre Dame, but the Weismen won't want to get embarrassed. The trouble is, they don't have the offense to keep up with Matt Ryan, who will jump way up on the Heisman watch lists. BC by 38-21.

Texas A&M at Texas Tech. Wow, Coach Fran needs a win to dial down the heat a little bit. He will not get it in Lubbock this week. In fact, I predict a romp. Tech, 63-28. Call the moving companies.

Auburn at Arkansas. I have no idea. I'll say Tigers, 20-17, but it's a total shot in the dark.

Missouri at Oklahoma. I think this will be a fun game. Chase Daniel is a great quarterback. But OU just has more talent. If they don't let up on the gas, they should hold off a late Mizzou rally. I'll call it for the Sooners, 31-27.

Virginia Tech at Duke. I was all set to write this before Chris Fowler beat me to it. Tech beat Clemson last week by 19, but scored 21 points on non-offensive touchdowns and managed only nine first downs. If the Hokie offense doesn't get into more of a groove, the Devils could keep this game close. The trouble is, Duke is a great team to rack up non-offensive touchdowns against, and the Tech defense knows is has to be opportunistic to bail out the freshman quarterback and the middling offense. Still, I've got to pull for the alma mater, so I'll predict that the Devils protect the ball and get lucky in stalling some Tech drives, and pick Duke to pull off the upset, 21-20.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Week 6 Picks

Last week's epic dose of upsets has made some of these games slightly less important in the national championship picture, but in some ways more intriguing. On to it! (Oh, and to mollify BCB, I won't be picking the Alabama-Houston tilt.)

Oklahoma v. Texas. The bloom is off the (yellow) rose in this one after both teams lost last week -- the first time that's happened since 1999, I think. I think this could get ugly, because while Texas has not really looked that good in any game this season, the Sooners surely have. Plus, I picked OU to win this one way back in August. So I'll say Oklahoma 35-17.

Virginia Tech at Clemson. Tech's defense will keep them in the game against any team not called LSU, but I don't know what's going on with that offense. It's not all the fault of switching to freshman quarterback Tyrod Taylor, either; Brandon Ore has not been carrying the load. I think the Tigers, playing at home, will get their tailbacks in the groove while their defense stifles the Hokie offense. Clemson, 21-14.

Ohio State at Purdue. What? GameDay didn't go to West Lafayette for this battle of unbeatens? I'm shocked! I think the Boilers will scare OSU before succumbing, 35-27.

Nebraska at Missouri. If Ball State can ring up 40 on the Huskers, what will Chase Daniel be able to do? I'm saying Mizzou, 45-38. You might remember that as the score of the wild 1997 Nebraska-Missouri game, with the crucial difference that the score was reversed -- Nebraska won after the crazy kicked ball in the end zone forced overtime. I distinctly remember where I was when I saw that game: in a bar in Durham with my friend, the rabid Husker fan from Lincoln. So I'll predict a kicked ball on fifth down to springboard the Tigers to victory!

Georgia at Tennessee. This is another one of those contrary conventional wisdom games, where Georgia is the logical pick but people like to call for the Vols in an upset special. I'm with SMQ on this one: Tennessee can't run, can't stop the run, and Georgia can run and neutralize Erik Ainge. Yeah, yeah, Fulmer's on the hot seat and the crowd blah blah. Richt doesn't care. Georgia, 31-20.

Florida at LSU. The Tigers' defense is too good, and their offense is good enough. The Gators will pick up a few meaningless points late to make the score deceiving, but LSU will be in control from start to finish and win 31-23.

Finally, speaking of upset specials, Patrick at ACC Nation is actually calling for Duke to beat Wake Forest! I think it was Ivan Maisel who said last week that, while Duke hasn't quite turned the corner just yet, the blinker is on. This is a winnable game, as the Devils will be able to score some points on the Deacons. I don't even think I have to go too far out on a limb to predict a Duke win, 31-30.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Week 5 Picks

I gotta go see a man about a thing at the I won't add a lot of my musings. On to my picks.

Cal at Oregon. For some reason, I don't see this as the 100-point shootout everyone else does. I think the Bears and Ducks will play a tad of defense. But still, Oregon at home, 34-27.

Michigan State at Wisconsin. I don't have any inside info from my friend at MSU. But the Big Ten looks awful this year (exhibit A: Illinois being picked to beat Penn State by Mandel and Feldman and SMQ), and neither of these 4-0 teams impress me much. I'm calling for Sparty to get the road upset at calling it Michigan State, 24-14.

Auburn at Florida. Speaking of not impressed, Tubs's seat must be heating up. Florida big, like 35-10.

Clemson at Georgia Tech. Clemson loses a game like this every year, just as surely as the Wreck wins one like this just about every season. So of course everyone is picking the Tigers, to be contrary and go against that grain. Plus, Clemson has that great backfield. But Tech's defense will bend but not break. Mild upset here, Georgia Tech, 24-21.

Alabama v. Florida State (at Jacksonville). Ivan Maisel had a nice piece about Bobby Bowden's affection for the Alabama program. I doubt he has as much devotion to Nick Saban. I'm calling for another low-scoring game. I'll say Alabama, 13-10. But it should be neat to watch.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

On Mike Gundy's Rant

As reported all over the place, including EDSBS, Deadspin, and the FanHouse, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy went ballistic in a press conference yesterday after OSU's shoot-out win over Texas Tech. The reason for his displeasure was a column in The Daily Oklahoman by Jenni Carlson. I posted a longish comment about it over at EDSBS, but then later I realized, Hell, I have a blog, too! So I'll post it here as well.

The story came after OSU benched starting quarterback Bobby Reid in favor of newcomer Zac Robinson. Carlson pretty much said that her impression, largely based on scuttlebutt she's heard around the program, is that Reid was whiny and wasn't tough enough, and the coaches had finally had enough, and benched him despite his talent. I should note that the comments I've seen on a lot of blogs, and especially the ones on the Oklahoman web site, have been strongly in favor of Coach Gundy "standing up for a player" and "calling out the media," especially for relying on "rumor" in "assassinating a kid's character."

I have no dog in this fight, but I think I'm with Carlson. It's not the best article ever written, even from that human interest, use an anecdote as a symbol for someone's character style. But the OSU coaches benched Reid for a reason -- that's not rumor. And (without knowing much about the OSU team), it appears that Reid was thought to be more talented than Robinson. So why the benching? It can't solely be because they were losing this year, because they left Robinson in even after they got annihilated by Troy. He did have some kind of injury, but the coaches had said this year that players don't lose starting spots because of injury, and Reid lost his. Carlson says there have been rumors going back years that Reid is a whiny malcontent, and pointed to video of him laughing during a big defeat, and suggested that might be a reason for the benching.

The benching of a starting quarterback is news, and unless you want the beat writers to simply throw up their hands and say, "Oh well, Coach Gundy must know what he's doing! In Gundy We Trust!" then it has to be okay for writers to suggest reasons for the benching. If, after eliminating the other best possibilities, "attitude" seems to be the reason, I think it's okay to print that.

And either Reid is a nearly-22-year-old multi-year starter who is mature enough to lead a Big XII team -- and consequently, mature enough to accept some criticism of his toughness -- or he is still a little boy who has to run home to Momma when some (girl) bully picks on him. Gundy can't have it both ways.

Ultimately, I think Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins said it best when it comes to the sensitivity of players and their families.