Author: sammano

I'm just a guy...just a man trying to survive in this wacky world, stay true to myself (whatever that means), maybe have some fun, have a positive influence on people and events, and navigate this curvy, bumpy road called life.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 14

Happy Thanksgiving Manoverse!! I hope y’all have a wonderful day filled with family, stuffing, pie, and of course football.

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The college football season is just about over, but it looks like it might go out with a bang. Or it could end on a whimper. I suppose it depends on one’s perspective. I’m tg2rooting for total chaos since this whole playoff thing has been exposed as a complete sham. The bastards finally ranked my Marshall Thundering Herd this week, only to also rank Boise St. one spot ahead and give them the leg up on securing a major bowl bid. Ehhh…I’ll just stop there. I don’t want to go on another rant. At any rate, this is Rivalry Week and features several intrastate matchups that…luckily for us…actually matter outside of winning some kind of ridiculous token like a jug, bell, or axe.

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Last week I went 4-1 while Zach went 1-4. That puts me back in the season lead with a record of 39-33, while Zach is still hot on my heels at 37-35. It’s going to be an exciting finish!! We ride!!

 

 

 

 

 

LSU (-3.5) at Texas A&M
a&mThe Texas-Texas A&M Thanksgiving tradition that was the centerpiece of the 1982 classic Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a thing of thelsu_logo past since the Aggies moved to the SEC. Both teams are indeed playing on Thanksgiving Day…just not against each other. A&M and LSU have each had solid seasons, though both are far out of conference title and national championship contention. This game is strictly about pride and bowl positioning. The Bayou Bengals are getting a lot of love by being favored as the visiting team, but I’m going to go with the upset. Zach, on the other hand, is picking LSU to win by 35 points.

My Pick = Texas A&M
Z’s Pick = LSU

 

 

 

Arizona St. at Arizona (-2)
The Wildcats get the nominal home field advantage, but this is essentially a pick ‘em involving two Top 15 teams. I don’t know enough about either team to speak Arizona_State_logo_blanketeruditely about their relative strengths or weaknesses, so this is a total vibe pick for me. The Voices are telling me to go with the Sun Devils, and so I shall. Zach believes Arizona St. will win easily.

My Pick = Arizona St.
Z’s Pick = Arizona St.

 

 

 

Michigan at Ohio St. (-21)
Ohio_State_BuckeyesThis is one of my favorite rivalries in all of sports, but its impact is somewhat muted in 2014. The once mighty Wolverines are in the midst of michanother rough patch and head coach Brady Hoke is likely going to get canned in the coming days. Conversely, the Buckeyes still have a really good chance to sneak into the playoff, which would be cool with me. It’s weird to see such a large point spread in this game, and usually that’d make me rather nervous. However, since Ohio St. has so much on the line & must “impress” the stupid playoff committee (Al “just win baby” Davis would be horrified), and since, regardless of their impressive history, the current Michigan team is just a 5-6 mess, I’ll roll the dice on a big Ohio St. victory. Zach has absolutely no love for the Buckeyes and extreme faith that his Wolverines can pull off the upset.

My Pick = Ohio St.
Z’s Pick = Michigan

 

 

 

Florida at Florida St. (-7.5)
This is kind of the same deal as Ohio St.-Michigan, but slightly different. The Seminoles…the luckiest team I’ve ever seen…are on the verge of a spot in the playoff, florida gators imagewhile the Gators are a pedestrian 6-4 and have already fired their coach. As a matter of fact this will be his last game since he will not coach in a bowl game. I’m just going to be straightforward about this. I know Florida St. is the better team, but I want them to lose so damn bad I can’t see straight. I’m sick of their jackass thug of a quarterback. I’m sick of seeing them getting beaten for most of a game only to make a late comeback and snag victory from the jaws of defeat. And sadly I am sick of their head coach Jimbo Fisher, a man that hails from the same city in which I live and is a fellow alumnus of the same high school from which I graduated, but a man who has transformed into some kind of fast talking televangelist/used car salesman in the space of a couple of years. Please Florida Gators…please for the love of God put all of us out of our misery. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Florida
Z’s Pick = Florida

 

 

 

Mississippi St. (-2) at Ole Miss
ole missWell here is another team that is in the playoff (at the moment) but shouldn’t be. The Bulldogs were beaten by Alabama a few weeks back miss stbut inexplicably didn’t fall out of the Top 4. I told y’all before the season began that the powers-that-be would twist themselves into a pretzel to shoehorn two SEC teams into the playoff and that is exactly what is happening. It makes me sick. If nothing else important happens this weekend this is one upset that does need to occur for the good of college football. Even casual fans are beginning to notice how rigged it all seems. The Rebels were on a roll until late October but have lost 3 out of 4. That win came against a 1-AA school so it doesn’t count for much. The talking heads have all done their best Bruce Ismay and abandoned Ole Miss. No one seems to be giving them a chance in this game. They’re probably right but I’m still going with my heart over my head, which is why I don’t put real money on the line when I pick football games. Zach disagrees and making the smart choice.

My Pick = Ole Miss
Z’s Pick = Mississippi St.

 

 

 

Oregon (-19.5) at Oregon St.
Oregon-DucksThey call this The Civil War. I don’t know why and am too lazy to find out. I have no doubt that the Ducks will win the game, but the point OregonStateBeavers2spread is interesting. The Beavers are 5-6 and won’t be going to a bowl game once they lose this one, but can they stay within three TDs?? Normally I’d go with the underdog, but once again the evil playoff committee rears its ugly head. Oregon is in and I doubt there’s anything they can do to fall out. Even losing the Pac 12 title game likely wouldn’t matter. However, one would assume they have their eye on being #1 instead of #2, so if Alabama wins but struggles in their last couple of games it might be possible for Oregon to ascend to the top position. To do that they need to “impress” the committee, and I think that starts with a huge win this week. Zach likes the Ducks but is spooked by the spread so he’s picking the underdogs.

My Pick = Oregon
Z’s Pick = Oregon St.

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Auburn at Alabama (-9.5)
auburnY’all remember last season’s Iron Bowl, right?? I think they call it The Kick Six. Anyway, I doubt that this year’s edition can live up to its AlabamaCrimsonTide2predecessor. The talking heads have tossed aside Auburn just like they have Ole Miss, but the truth is that the Tigers are still a very good & dangerous team. They’ll be jacked for an opportunity to beat their arch rivals for a second consecutive year and possibly cost them a playoff opportunity (yeah right lol…even if ‘Bama loses they’re still gonna be in the playoff). Of course the Tide is looking to avenge last year’s devastating loss. I’m not exactly sure how this game is going to turn out, but I think it’ll be closer than 9½ points so I’ll pick the underdogs. Zach has a man crush on Nick Saban and thinks the Tide will roll by five TDs.

My Pick = Auburn
Z’s Pick = Alabama

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An Ode to The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past

Thanksgiving…one of our most underrated holidays…is in a couple of days. I am looking forward to a pleasant afternoon with family, food, & a little football. I’ll probably watch the Macy’s Parade in the morning and then watch the 1987 classic Planes, Trains, & Automobiles later in the evening. It will be a lovely day…certainly not a bad way to spend one’s time. But it can never be like it once was.

 

My friend The Owl and I have talked a few times about transitions. There is a progression…one that we define as normal…throughout life. A person grows from a tg1baby to a child to a teenager to an adult. Everyone advances from one grade in school to another until graduation, then maybe they go to college, and then finally enter the workforce. Many move away from their hometown to a different city…maybe even another state or country. And most folks get married and have children. Now I do not need or want any kind of sympathy…that’s not what this is about. But since I have not gotten married or fathered children the significance of these transitions has become clearer to me. It makes a lot of sense really. Having children and then eventually grandchildren allows people to see things thru new eyes and re-experience fond memories with a slightly different twist. Not having the prism of new generations to look thru means that individuals like myself only have our memories. It means that things change but they don’t really evolve. It is what it is and that’s fine, but I can’t help but fondly recall the Thanksgivings of my childhood………..

 

My maternal grandmother…Grandma Pigott…lived in town about 20 minutes from our house. She didn’t drive so my Mom or Dad would pick her up (I did the honors a few times when I was older) and bring her to our house the day before and she’d spend the night. She & my mother got up really early on Thanksgiving Day…about 5 or 6am…and put the turkey in the oven. Then they began fixing all the other accoutrements…sweet potatoes, rolls, green beans, corn, extra stuffing besides what was in the turkey, and of course pumpkin pie. By the time I woke up around 8 or 9am the whole house smelled awesome. You know what a house smells like on Thanksgiving. One never forgets that unique scent.

 

macys-paradeDuring my formative years in the 1970’s & 80’s our entertainment options were pretty limited…atleast by today’s macys2standards. Television didn’t have 300 channels. Video games didn’t become popular until I was almost a teenager and I never really got into gaming anyway. We didn’t have The Internet or smartphones. So I am not ashamed to admit that I looked forward to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Back then I seem to recall that it was hosted by people like Ed McMahon, Bryant Gumbel, & Willard Scott. I always liked ol’ Willard. At any rate, as I got older I began to comprehend how corny the parade really is, and remember being shocked & disappointed when I realized that those people weren’t really singing…they were lip synching!! The horror!!!! But I never stopped watching. I still enjoy watching, although now it’s kind of a nostalgia thing because no matter what kind of new characters they make balloons out of or how many young pop stars are trotted out to make the show seem hip the truth is that it is essentially the same parade it’s always been and that’s just fine with me.

 

I don’t recall what my father or sister were doing while I was watching the parade. My Dad was probably outside doing something manly. My sister was never the domestic type…especially as a teenager…so, while many girls might have been in the kitchen helping Mom & Grandma prepare the feast, I think she stayed holed up in her room being anti-social. Don’t worry though…she became friendlier as an adult. Actually I was more likely to be in the kitchen asking if I could help. If I was as interested in such things now as I was 35 years ago I’d make someone a heck of a husband.

 

The parade always ended at noon (still does) and in our house that meant dinner wasn’t too far away. We normally ate supper about 5 or 6pm on most evenings, but cpon Thanksgiving Day the meal was ready by 1 or 2pm. Not long after the parade was over my paternal grandparents…Papaw & Mamaw Mano…would arrive. They lived “up the holler” just a couple of miles from us. Now I don’t recall if they brought anything else (they probably did), but one thing I do know for sure…Grandma Mano always made chocolate cream pie, and she made it from scratch…even the crust. To this day I have never eaten a pie as good, and I doubt that I ever will.

 

fturkBy this time football was on. There were always two games back then. The Dallas Cowboys played in one and the Detroit Lions played in the other. Their opponents varied from year to year. I am certainly not a Cowboys fan, and at that time I’m pretty sure no one outside of the Motor City gave a darn about the Lions, but it was football and one doesn’t pass up an opportunity to watch football. NBC aired AFC games and the pre-game show was hosted by Bryant Gumbel before he left for the Today Show, as well as folks like Bob Costas, Len Berman, Paul Maguire, Ahmad Rashad, & a few others, while the games were called by legends like Dick Enberg, Don Criqui, Bob Trumpy, Marv Albert, & Merlin Olsen. CBS aired NFC games and their pre-game show had Brent Musburger, Irv Cross, the lovely Phyllis George, & Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, with games being called by…well, I’m sure there were several announcers but the team I remember best is Pat Summerall & John Madden. At any rate, the games themselves were rarely memorable and unless the Steelers were playing I didn’t really care one way or another, but football was & is an undeniable part of the Thanksgiving tradition.

 

I never really got to watch much of the early football game because soon enough dinner was ready. My mother and grandmothers would do the last minute preparations and my sister & I were sometimes recruited to “set the table”, i.e. put out all the plates, bowls, glasses, & silverware. Our kitchen table wasn’t quite big enough for 7 people, but that was easily handled by my father inserting a “leaf”, the one & only time during the year this was necessary.

 

We never made a big deal out of the head of the family theatrically wielding a large knife and carving the turkey while giving some kind of grandiose speech. I think thanksgiving-dinner_1that only happens on TV & in movies. Usually Mom or my grandmother would just cut it into pieces before it ever made it to the table. We had mashed potatoes & gravy (both of my grandmothers made awesome gravy), green beans (not that casserole stuff with crunchy onions), corn, rolls, traditional stuffing, & iced tea. I was never a fan of sweet potatoes as a kid and usually passed on them, although now I really like sweet potatoes. I believe we oftentimes had deviled eggs as well. I don’t recall cranberry sauce being a central part of our meal. It could be that no one made it or it is possible that it is something at which I turned up my nose and blocked out of my memory. I’m still not a fan of cranberry sauce, mostly because I’m not sure why it’s there or how one is supposed to consume it. Am I supposed to eat it with a spoon?? Do I spread it on my roll like jam?? Is one supposed to dip turkey in it?? I honestly have no idea.

 

After saying grace we engaged in polite conversation during the meal, but there was a lot of “pass the rolls please”, “may I have some more potatoes”, “I need some more tea”, & “Mom this stuffing is really good”. What can I say…we had our priorities straight and the focus was on the awesome meal in front of our faces. I usually ate like a pig, not giving a second thought to children in Third World countries who probably hadn’t eaten as much in a month as I was scarfing down in one sitting. That’s the beauty of childhood…complete self-involvement without a care of what is happening outside one’s own little bubble. After dinner the turkey looked like it had been car bombed by the mafia and I was ready for dessert. Two pieces of pie for this kid…pumpkin & chocolate, both smothered in Cool Whip (not that crap in a spray can).

 

familyThe post-dinner festivities were in our living room. I usually tried to watch some football, and I think my Dad and grandfather may have taken a little nap (damn tryptophan) while the ladies were in the kitchen cleaning up and doing dishes. Old-fashioned?? Unevolved?? Misogynistic?? Ehhh…I suppose some people may have that opinion, but it was the way I was. At some point the cleanup was over and we all sat together in the living room…me, my parents, my sister, & my grandparents. That’s what I remember most of all. It’s the memory that makes me happiest & saddest at the same time. I can always eat. I’ve never not had access to food. But those seven people will never be in a room together again. I’ve mentioned this once before in this space:

 

“After dinner we’d all sit in the living room and shoot the breeze, just enjoying each other’s company. As a child I would mostly just sit there and listen as the adults talked about a variety of things. Families have a certain…rhythm…whenever they talk amongst themselves. A stranger coming into the midst of the conversation probably wouldn’t give a rat’s petoot about the topics being tossed about to & fro, but if you’re in the inner circle you get it. Even kids, who probably don’t understand most of what is being said, have a comfort level with the group. It’s like a cold winter night that all the sudden becomes cozy once one slips under the warmth of a soft blanket.”

 

My mother passed on 14 years ago. All of my grandparents are gone. I wish that I had an hour long video of that post-meal conversation that I could just play over & over.

 

At some point…probably about 6 or 7pm…my paternal grandparents would go home. I would eat another piece or two of pie, this time accompanied by a tall glasspumpkin-pie-21 of cold milk, during the evening. There weren’t any other football games and the tradition of playing Christmas movies on television hadn’t started yet (remember…we didn’t have that many channels). We definitely didn’t go shopping and weren’t preparing to do that the next day. I don’t ever remember Black Friday even being a thing when I was a child. So we just relaxed and enjoyed our evening. What a concept, huh??

 

Thanksgiving was over but there was one last memory to create in the coming days. Even though the turkey had seemingly been destroyed there somehow were leftovers, and one thing we did with leftover turkey was make turkey salad. It seems to me that the task usually fell to Grandma Pigott, and she didn’t have any modern gadgets…no Magic Bullet, no Ninja, no Cuisinart, no Ultimate Chopper. What she had, and all she needed, was a big ol’ knife and a hand cranked meat grinder. It took some effort (I helped her a few times when I was a little older) but you know what…that turkey salad was spectacular and nothing one can purchase at the grocery store nowadays even comes close. She would make ham salad the same way after Christmas and it was equally as tasty.

 

Ahhhh those were the days. They may be gone but not forgotten. I’m thankful for the memories, thankful for my family, and thankful that I have the opportunity to forge ahead and enjoy more good times even if it they’ll have a difficult time measuring up. May God bless The Manoverse this Thanksgiving.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.14

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

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With Christmas Creep becoming ever so pervasive and Black Friday beginning earlier & earlier I want to take a moment to give kudos to some Thumbs_upestablishments who will NOT be open on Thanksgiving: Costco, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Marshalls, Pier 1 Imports, Burlington Coat Factory, Crate & Barrel, JoAnn Fabrics, TJ Maxx, Barnes & Noble, Sam’s Club, & Home Depot. I have no problem with restaurants being open on Thanksgiving because not everyone has somewhere to go and a family with which to celebrate with the traditional meal. However, I don’t think that retail shops should be open on the holiday.

 

 

 
jesusI get really tired of people yapping about Christians “ramming their beliefs down others’ throats”. Really?? Cite some examples. I suspect that most anything that would be used to illustrate the point would simply fall under the category of expressing opinions or stating principles, which last I checked was called free speech and not ramming anything anywhere. You don’t want to go to church?? Fine. You don’t even believe in God?? Okay. There will be some Christians who might want to discuss your views and try to show you the light, but again that is hardly forcing anyone to do anything against their will. Believe or don’t believe. Listen or don’t listen. It is your choice. What is really interesting is that the people who hurl these accusations at Christians are the very same folks who have spent the past few decades twisting themselves into knots trying to reshape America and shoving their beliefs…specifically about deviant LGBT lifestyles and abortion…down the throats of the populace under the seemingly hospitable guise of openmindedness, awareness, inclusiveness, multiculturalism, fairness, justice, & equality. And it has worked masterfully. They have skillfully created an environment in which Christians simply expressing Godly values is seen as hatred. Look at our nation in the 21st century vs. just 30 or 40 years ago. If this “fight” were scored like a boxing match in which points were awarded for legal reform and socio-cultural change it is the anti-Christians who would clearly be winning a unanimous decision. So tell me again…just who is shoving their beliefs down whose throats??

 

 

 
RIP Dallas. I loved the original show and was excited when TNT decided to air a reboot “next generation” series in 2012. I watched the first two jrseasons, with the second one including the death of JR Ewing (after the real life death of actor Larry Hagman) and its aftermath. However I admittedly didn’t watch one minute of season 3, and apparently a lot of other folks skipped it as well, hence its cancellation. It was a good long run encompassing a big part of the past 35 years. Everyone involved ought to be proud of the show’s legacy.

 

 

 
mansonCan we please stage an intervention for this woman who is planning to marry Charles Manson?? Obviously she has a screw lose, but she’s only 29 years old. There’s still time for her to get whatever help she needs and resume a normal life. But if she goes thru with it she’ll always be the crazy chick that married Charles Manson. Maybe that’s what it’s all about. We live in a celebrity obsessed culture where talentless people are often rewarded with a certain level of recognition by doing nothing in particular requiring any kind of skill. As a rather private person who prefers to fly under the radar I can’t relate to this desire for fame and sincerely believe we ought to stop indulging people. Getting rid of mindless “reality” TV would be a great place to start, as would denying this woman the opportunity to marry a man she barely knows, can’t possibly love, and with whom she can’t ever have a legitimate relationship.

 

 

 
I’ve been doing my best to stay away from political discussions this year, but I have to offer one opinion. If it were up to me the incoming Republican gopCongress would not have Rep. John Boehner & Sen. Mitch McConnell as their leaders. Been there done that. It’s time for new blood. Of course this won’t happen and the Republicans will destroy themselves from within as usual…just in time for 2016. I hope I’m wrong but I bet I’m not.

 

 

 
I ran across the following thread on Facebook recently:

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Original Post: When I see men post pictures with girls and I rejected them because they were perverted assholes who just wanted a hookup. I think to myself well there is a woman with low self-esteem who will have sex with anyone. Good for him.
Girl #1: Men r dogs
OP: Not all but the majority.
Girl #1: Like 80%
OP: I’m just happy they find what they are looking for.
OP: More like 95%
Girl #1: Most of them are not happy with themselves.
OP: Watch the YouTube video I posted last night. It is heartbreaking and shows men’s true character. Its call Bankok Girl.
OP: Men have way lower self-esteem than women and they are lazy.
Girl #1: True
OP: That’s why they like to humiliate and control women and call it dominance because they know they are not as superior as women.

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crazyWow…bitter much?? First of all, to equate prostitution in Taiwan with all men everywhere is idiotic. I don’t know Girl #1 but I do kinda sorta know the original poster a little bit and she has some legit reasons to be somewhat cynical. That being said, this level of resentment & scorn is disturbing. Yes men can be selfish. We can be juvenile horndogs. Too often we are motivated by the wrong things. But really ladies…is it that bad?? Are men truly that horrific?? And let’s talk about women. Y’all ain’t exactly perfect. The Bible says to take care of the plank in your own eye before judging the speck in another person’s eye. Look, I know women like to get together and whine & complain about men. Guys hang out and talk about women as well. That’s being human. But people should be very careful about what they put out there for public consumption. Both of the women involved in this conversation are…physically…quite lovely. I know the original poster is single…I’m not sure about her friend. But I wouldn’t date either one of them because as pretty as they might be on the outside their souls are ugly & damaged. Most of us have enough problems without becoming involved with a person who might secretly hate us and thinks we are lazy dogs with low self-esteem who enjoy humiliating & controlling others. I’d prefer to remain single.

 

 

 
An historic event has taken place at The Bachelor Palace. I am not a fan of bright overhead light, so when darkness falls across the land I have some bulblamps in my living room that I turn on each evening. A couple of them have those funky looking decorative bulbs, but the others use normal 60 watt incandescent bulbs. It is my understanding that environmentalist wackos have been successful in having incandescent bulbs go the way of 8 tracks, VCRs, floppy disks, & freedom of religion. I just had my last incandescent light bulb burn out, so unless I am mistaken the next time I go shopping I suppose I’ll have to purchase some of those ugly fluorescent things that I’ve been told don’t put out nearly as much light. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate change??

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 13

Okay I just have to vent…again. This college football playoff thing is a complete joke. I never in a million years thought something could be worse than the BCS, but the current system has somehow managed to make the BCS look logical & fair. As an alumnus of Marshall University and a longtime fan of the Thundering Herd I find it outrageously offensive that they have thus far been excluded from the playoff committee’s Top 25. Even some of the talking heads thought this would finally be the week that the Herd was included, but instead Minnesota…a three loss team that was defeated by Ohio St. just a few days earlier…remained in the same #25 spot they’d held previously. Three loss teams Louisville and Clemson (who lost a few days ago just like Minnesota) are both ranked ahead of 10-0 Marshall as well. To add insult to injury, last week on ESPN’s Mike & Mike former Florida St. QB Danny Kanell, whose prickishness just oozes thru the TV screen, said in reference to some highly ranked team (it may have been the Seminoles, who like Marshall have had many question the strength of their schedule) that they can only play theFU teams that are put in front of them. Oh really?? That’s exactly what Marshall has done you sanctimonious assclown, and they’ve beaten the snot out of everyone they’ve faced (unlike Florida St., which is the luckiest team I’ve ever seen and should have lost atleast 2 games already). No one is saying that Marshall should be in the playoff. That’s not the point. The issue is that the committee not even putting them in their Top 25 is ridiculous. It’s basically a bunch of arrogant elitists saying to someone they perceive as “lesser” than them “you’re not invited to our exclusive club”. D*****bags like Kanell even refer to games among the “power” conferences as “big boy football”. The problem with their logic is that the “power” 5 conferences AND the “other” 5 conferences are ALL in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision (what used to be called Division 1-A) and therefore should have equal access to the FBS National Championship. If the “have-nots” aren’t going to have that kind of access then the divisions need revised. Let the chosen ones play “big boy football” while guys like Danny Kanell lube up and pleasure themselves watching it on TV, and allow the teams in the MAC, C-USA, Mountain West, AAC, & Sun Belt to form their own division and play for a separate national title. Maybe some “lower” teams like Boise St. would try to move up to “big boy football”. Maybe some current 1-AA teams would move up into whatever this new “lower” division would be. It’s all good. The point is that we could remove all pretense and let the morons in the media focus their idolatry on their chosen few, while the little guys would still have something legit to play for.

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Anyway, sorry for the rant. Y’all are here for some picks. Last week I went 3-4, bringing my season record to 35-32. Zach was an impressive 6-1 and nailed the prediction that Alabama would defeat Mississippi St. but not cover the 7½ point spread. His season record is now 36-31. This looks like kind of a mediocre week in college football, but I think we’ve found a few noteworthy games as well as a couple of NFL matchups that should be fun. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Arizona at Utah (-4)
Neither of these teams is heading to the playoff or even the Pac 12 title game, but both are solid Top 25 teams that have had quietly successful seasons. The Utes ArizonaWildcatsget the slight home field advantage, but I think Arizona is the better team and will win this game easily. Zach likes the Wildcats by a TD.

My Pick = Arizona
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 

 

Louisville at Notre Dame (-3.5)
It’s awfully convenient that Louisville was never given the time of day when they were in the old Big East, but now all the sudden they are in the ACC and the playoff NotreDame1committee awards them a Top 25 spot even though they’ve lost three games (including an early season loss to now 4-6 Virginia) and have such luminaries as Murray St. and Florida International on their schedule. Oh by the way, Marshall also played Florida International and beat them by almost the same margin as Louisville did. The Irish have lost 3 out of their last 4 games and have quietly slipped out of the polls. Not even the idiotic playoff committee ranks Notre Dame. Apparently Minnesota’s victories over Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, San Jose St., & Purdue (honest to God…the Gophers haven’t beaten anyone with a damn pulse…exactly what Marshall is accused of) are more impressive than Irish wins over Stanford and…well, okay…Stanford is the only decent team Notre Dame has beaten and even they are only 5-5. At any rate, I think Notre Dame is going to open up a can of epic whoopass on Louisville, and I hope it happens just to make the playoff committee look stupid. Zach has no love for Notre Dame, but he thinks they’ll win.

My Pick = Notre Dame
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

 

 

 

USC at UCLA (-3.5)
ucla_bruins2The Battle of L.A. And it may also decides who will meet Oregon in the Pac 12 title game. I suppose UCLA still has an outside shot to make USC_Trojans2the playoff if all the dominoes fall their way, but that is highly unlikely. The Bruins have the slight home field advantage, but I’m not sure that means much considering both teams are based in the same city. I’m going with UCLA if for no other reason than I ranked them 5th in my pre-season poll and they might actually get there if they keep winning, therefore making me look like a freakin’ genius. Conversely, Zach believes that the Trojans will win by three TDs.

My Pick = UCLA
Z’s Pick = USC

 

 

 

Detroit at New England (-7)
New_England_Patriots_HelmetWhen I was a kid the Detroit Lions were a joke. Occasionally they’d have a decent season, but for the most part they were mired in Detroit_Lions_Helmetmediocrity. Not even the great Barry Sanders could lead them to a Super Bowl appearance in the 90’s. But right now they are having a really good season and the folks in Vegas give them 16-1 odds to make it to The Super Bowl. We’ll have a much better idea if the Lions are legit after this game. The Patriots, whose eulogy was being written by the geniuses at ESPN about a month & a half ago, have risen up like one those horror movie killers that never really die. Trust me, there is no one on Earth who’d like to see New England crash & burn more than your humble Potentate of Profundity, but I’d be shocked if that occurred in this game. Zach likes the Patriots…but not by 7 points. He thinks the Lions will lose a close game and cover the points.

My Pick = New England
Z’s Pick = Detroit

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Arizona at Seattle (-6.5)
seattle-seahawks1The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks have been knocked back down to mediocrity quicker & even moreso than I predicted. At thisnflarizonacardinals point it will be a struggle for them to make it to the playoffs. One of the reasons why?? The division leading Cardinals, who own the best record in the NFL. Raise your hand if you saw that coming (put your hands down…liars). However, Arizona has lost QB Carson Palmer for the season and now must rely on journeyman Drew Stanton to lead them the rest of the way. Stanton got off to a good start last week in a victory over the Detroit Lions, but can he keep it up?? If this game were being played in the desert I might say yes, but it is being played in Seattle at one of the league’s most raucous venues. If the Seahawks have any hope of defending their crown this is a must win and I think they will rise to the occasion. Zach has lost faith in Seattle’s celebrated defense and thinks it is the Cardinals who deserve that kind of respect now.

My Pick = Seattle
Z’s Pick = Arizona

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 12

I knew that last week was a giant roll of the dice. Every game involved two highly ranked teams trying to remain in the national championship hunt. Zach & I both went 2-3, splitting the four games in which our opinions differed and losing the one we agreed on when Alabama covered the 6½ point spread with a touchdown in overtime. Close but no cigar for us. At any rate, that brings my season record to 32-28, while Zach is holding serve at 30-30. I’m throwing a curveball this week by starting with a few NFL games, the reason being that our first contest is the Thursday nighter on NFL Network.

 

 

 

 

Buffalo at Miami (-4.5)
As expected it looks like the New England Patriots will easily win the AFC East. However, as I predicted, these two teams are atleast in the discussion for a possibleMiamiDolphins wildcard spot. Actually the Dolphins have been a little bit better than I expected. I’m not sure either one will make it to the playoffs, but I bet none of their opponents look forward to facing them. Miami gets a healthy home field bump from the oddsmakers and I have no reason to disagree. Zach is far less enamored with this matchup than me, but he likes Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill.

My Pick = Miami
Z’s Pick = Miami

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Philadelphia at Green Bay (-5)
eaglesThis should be a really good game. I picked both of these teams to win their division, but both are currently in real battles to be able to fulfill Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetthat prophecy. The Eagles didn’t miss a beat when starting QB Nick Foles went down with a season ending injury and everyone seems suddenly supportive of Mark Sanchez, a guy that was laughed out of New York. It’s funny how things change in the NFL. Meanwhile, the good people of Green Bay have been relaxing per the instructions of their QB Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers have won 5 out of their last 6 games. The Packers get the requisite home field advantage, and if this game were being played a month from now that might be even more relevant…you know, frozen tundra & all that jazz. However I think the Eagles are the better team right now. Zach has jumped on the Sanchez bandwagon but thinks he will get discount double checked by the Packers.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = Green Bay

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New England at Indianapolis (-3)

Indianapolis_Colts_HelmetThis is the Sunday night game on NBC and I’m predicting a barn burner. Take the over. It’ll be something like 38-28. The question is who New_England_Patriots_Helmetcomes out on top?? I try not to let my personal feelings cloud my judgment (Yoda taught me that), but it is easier said than done. Just a month ago the talking heads were sounding the death knell for Tom Brady’s career. Since then, much to my chagrin, the Patriots have reeled off 5 straight victories. Meanwhile the Colts are easily winning a division in which all three of the other teams are below .500. This is youth vs. experience and I am taking youth. Neither team’s defense is that great, but I think Colts’ QB Andrew Luck has more weapons to utilize and a more reliable running game to fall back on. Zach too has doubts about Indy’s defense and thinks Tom Brady will shred their secondary.

My Pick = Indianapolis
Z’s Pick = New England

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Florida St. (-1.5) at Miami, FL
Not that long ago this would have been the headliner. For about two decades these were two of the elite teams in college football, and whenever they met on the miamiufield, whether it was during the regular season or in a New Year’s Day bowl game, it was an event. Since then the Hurricanes have become just another middle-of-the-pack ACC football team that no one pays all that much attention to. Conversely the defending national champion Seminoles are still in the spotlight, although I am not really sure they deserve it this season. They look like a lock to make the 4 team national title playoff if they finish undefeated, but their schedule, in my humble opinion, isn’t much more inspiring than that of my alma mater Marshall, a team that may finish 13-0 but won’t get anywhere near the playoff. Most agree that Florida St. hasn’t looked impressive against that humdrum schedule, barely escaping losses to Clemson, Oklahoma St., & Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Miami has won three in a row and still has an outside shot to win their division and make it to the conference title game, but let’s be honest…this is their Super Bowl. Winning a December bowl game against another mediocre foe doesn’t have the same level of meaning in Coral Gables, FL as beating their long time arch rivals and costing them an opportunity to play for another championship. Can they pull it off?? It is interesting to me that Florida St. is favored by less than 2 points. Sure they are the visitors, but normally one would assume that being the #2 team in the country would hold more prestige. I guess the oddsmakers have watched the same Florida St. Seminoles as the rest of us and know that they are vastly overrated. Maybe I’m looking thru my rose-colored glasses again, but I’m picking the upset. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Miami, FL
Z’s Pick = Miami, FL

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South Carolina at Florida (-6.5)
Steve Spurrier returns to The Swamp. I had high hopes for the Gamecocks, picking them #4 in my pre-season poll. That is undoubtedly the biggest miscalculationGamecocks I’ve made in my prognostications in 2014. South Carolina is currently 4-5 and faces an uphill battle to even become bowl eligible. Meanwhile, the Gators are a once powerful program that have been going thru some hard times. Certainly 5-3 isn’t a horrible record, but it is far from being in the national title discussion. This is another game that just a few years ago might have been a marquee matchup but will instead be a regionally televised noon game. As noted, South Carolina needs to win 2 out of their last 3 games to be invited to a bowl, and I think that will be enough motivation. Zach thinks the Gators will win the game but won’t cover the points.

My Pick = South Carolina
Z’s Pick = South Carolina

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Nebraska at Wisconsin (-6)
These are two teams that haven’t completely disappointed me, but they have underachieved. I picked both as Top 12 teams, and while the Cornhuskers sit right WisconsinBadgersabout where I picked them the Badgers have bounced in & out of the lower tier of the polls. This game will likely decide who plays Ohio St. in the Big Ten (which has 12 teams) championship game. Both clubs are in the top 10 in the nation in rushing, and I expect this game to showcase that. Wisconsin has the home field advantage and I believe that will hold true. Zach agrees.

My Pick = Wisconsin
Z’s Pick = Wisconsin

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Mississippi St. at Alabama (-7.5)
AlabamaCrimsonTide2Will this be an elimination game when it comes to the national title playoff?? Maybe. Both teams are among the chosen 4 right miss stnow, and the loser will almost certain fall out…atleast temporarily. It’s no secret that the success of the two Mississippi schools has been a surprise to me even if everyone else seemed on board since the pre-season. I have to give the Bulldogs credit though. They have met every challenge and defeated heavy hitters like LSU, Auburn, & Texas A&M. Meanwhile, the Tide has rolled even though they haven’t been quite as dominant as usual. They were extremely fortunate to escape potential losses to Arkansas and LSU. Because I am not enamored with this new playoff system (what can I say…as a Marshall alum I am somewhat bitter) I am rooting for chaos. Ideally that’d mean a ‘Bama win here followed by them losing to either archrival Auburn or in the SEC title game (where the likely opponent would be Georgia or Missouri). If Mississippi St. wins this game then all that’d stand between them and the playoff is a season ending game against in-state rival Ole Miss and the SEC title game. I am more comfortable with the former scenario than the latter because I think Auburn has a better chance at upsetting the Tide than the Rebels beating the Bulldogs. This is how my brain works folks…like it or not. Zach, once again, is picking a team to win but not cover. He thinks ‘Bama will score the victory, but by less than a touchdown.

My Pick = Alabama
Z’s Pick = Mississippi St.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 11

5-0 baby!! I’m almost positive I’ve never done that before.

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I have to be honest. I was really really down last weekend. My WV Mountaineers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory due to the poor decision making of their drunken head coach, and my undefeated Marshall Thundering Herd were being totally disrespected by the talking heads. I was so bummed after the WVU loss that I just turned my TV off and went to sleep at 7:30pm. The last time I went to bed that early I was in trouble with my parents. I had pretty much made up my mind to break up with sports altogether. After church Sunday I didn’t watch a minute of the NFL on Redzone, and I didn’t even watch my beloved Steelers defeat the hated Ravens on Sunday Night Football. I was prepared to end these picks as well. You see, I am a firm believer in a kind of male menstrual cycle, and as I emailed my friend The Owl Sunday evening, I was “in a very dark place” and felt “as if I could mow thru a crowded room with a machete and laugh like a giddy child.” Thankfully when the gloom overtakes me I know that if I just disengage for a day or two factory settings will be restored and I regain my emotional equilibrium. Not that I’d ever actually hurt anyone anyway. I am far too delicate for prison. I am much more likely, to paraphrase a line from the 2004 rom-com Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, to tear someone to pieces with vicious rhetoric.

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At any rate, I couldn’t abandon these picks, especially after my brilliant prognosticatory ability led me to a perfect record. I can’t let down my nephew Zach or the citizens of The Manoverse. While I was going 5-0 Zach was going 3-2, so for the season I am 30-25 and he is 28-27. There are several great college games this week that…theoretically…should add clarity to this 4 team playoff deal. Or maybe it’ll just become a bigger mess than it already is. For God’s sake I am actually starting to miss the BCS.

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baylor at Oklahoma (-5.5)
oklahomaThe Big 12 doesn’t have a title game (or 12 teams), but the regular season conference champion might have a decent shot at being one of thebaylor chosen four playoff teams. The Sooners are probably on the outside looking in at a three team race between TCU, Baylor, & Kansas St., but they can certainly play the role of spoiler. This is a must win for the Bears and I am a little surprised that they aren’t favored even though they are the visiting team. Oklahoma’s two losses…to the aforementioned TCU & Kansas St…were by a total of 5 points. I’d be surprised if this game is much different, but I’ll roll the dice. Zach doesn’t think Oklahoma has a chance and predicts the game will be over by halftime with Baylor winning by atleast 4 TDs.

My Pick = Oklahoma
Z’s Pick = Baylor

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Notre Dame at Arizona St. (-2.5)
Arizona_State_logo_blanketThe Sun Devils would need a lot of things to go right for them to make the playoff, but an appearance in the Pac 12 title game certainly NotreDameFightingIrishseems feasible. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the Irish jump back into the national championship picture if their only loss is to an overrated Florida St. team that they clearly outplayed on a call that was dubious to say the least. Unfortunately for Notre Dame I think they receive the death blow in this game and will be eliminated from playoff contention. Zach notes that Notre Dame is “good at beating small conference schools”, which I think may be a big ol’ flip of the bird to the Pac 12.

My Pick = Arizona St.
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

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Kansas St. at TCU (-5.5)
kansas-state-dmThis essentially is a de facto Big 12 championship contest. The winner would almost certainly leap into atleast being on the cusp of the TCU_Horned_Frogsplayoff. I have watched both teams play this season, and in my opinion it all comes down to coaching. Kansas St.’s Bill Snyder won’t be outcoached the way that West Virginia’s head lush was last weekend. Zach believes that Horned Frogs’ QB Trevone Boykin will win the game with his legs.

My Pick = Kansas St.
Z’s Pick = TCU

*

Ohio St. at Michigan St. (-3.5)
Ohio_State_BuckeyesThe Buckeyes are too far down on the totem pole to snag a playoff spot, but they can be spoilers while also securing a spot in the Big Ten Michigan_State_Spartans(which has 12 teams) title game. Meanwhile, the Spartans are in a dog fight for one of those four playoff spots. A win in this game would certainly help, while a loss would likely be the knockout punch. This is one upset that no one seems to be predicting, so I suppose I will be a trailblazer. Zach has a robust disdain for Ohio St. (no one knows why) and is going with Michigan St. all the way.

My Pick = Ohio St.
Z’s Pick = Michigan St.

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Alabama (-6.5) at LSU
Can the Bayou Bengals do it again?? A couple of weeks ago Zach & I correctly predicted the LSU upset of then #3 Ole Miss. LSU is coming into this game well lsu_logorested after a bye week. The Tide are also coming off a bye, so neither team has the advantage there. ‘Bama just hasn’t seemed to be firing on all cylinders this season yet they are a Top 5 team as usual and have won the last three meetings in this series rather handily. I think the momentum shifts back to the underdogs in 2014 and the game will be decided…one way or another…by 3 points or less. Zach concurs.

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

Okay friends…your humble Potentate of Profundity is woefully behind so this is going to be quick & dirty.

 

But first allow me to vent…..

 

I was really looking forward to the new college playoff, but now I’m not so sure. First of all, if there are going to only be 4 teams in the playoff why is the selection committee doing a Top 25?? This on top of the AP & Coaches’ polls seems redundant. Secondly, why is the committee doing their poll on a weekly basis?? It’s the very definition of excess. So many of these teams are going to be playing each other in the coming weeks and knocking one another out of the race, so any & all debate right now is kind of useless. Why wouldn’t the committee do a Top 10 and announce it…at the most…every other week?? Also, though I am admittedly biased since Marshall University is my alma mater, to not have the Herd anywhere in their poll is a huge insult by the committee. Look, I know Marshall’s schedule is weak. I am not one who believes they should be anywhere near the playoff even if they finish the season undefeated. I am hoping that East Carolina, Colorado St., & Boise St. all lose another game and Marshall is the clear choice to represent the non-power conferences in a New Year’s Day bowl game. I think it is the best case scenario. However, to not even rank them as one of the Top 25 teams is wrong. I think it is becoming clear that we are heading for a split wherein the 5 power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac 12, & Big 12) will play for a national title and all other football programs will either drop down to the 1-AA/FCS level or be placed into their own division with their own title game. As it stands teams in conferences like the MAC, AAC, Sun Belt, C-USA, & Mountain West have very little to play for because, as is being proven with Marshall, even an undefeated record will not garner a team enough respect to be considered a championship contender.

 

Anyway, you came here for some picks. Last week I went 4-3 while Zach went 5-3. That brings both of our season records to 25-25. Let’s see if either one of us can get above .500.

 

 

 

 

East Carolina (-7) at Temple
templeI need the Pirates to lose this game…plain & simple. The highest ranking non-power conference team at the end of the season gets to go to East_Carolina_Pirates2either the Orange or Fiesta Bowl and I want that spot to go to my Thundering Herd. Right now East Carolina seems to be getting more love even though they’ve lost a game. I don’t know anything about the Owls except for they always sucked when my WVU Mountaineers used to play them every year. I need them to not suck enough to win this game. Zach…apparently not aware of the stakes…is picking the Pirates to win by 40. Dammit.

My Pick = Temple
Z’s Pick = East Carolina

 

 

 

Arizona at UCLA (-6.5)
ucla_bruins2I had the Bruins as a Top 10 team in my pre-season rankings but they’ve suffered a couple of losses and bounced in & out of the rankings. ArizonaWildcatsMeanwhile the Wildcats have had a nice season (as I predicted) and could eventually sneak into the Top 10. I think the ‘Cats play better as underdogs but despite the point spread they aren’t sneaking up on anyone anymore. A victory here could save UCLA’s season. Zach still thinks Arizona has some magic left and is calling for the upset.

My Pick = UCLA
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 

 

Auburn at Ole Miss (-1.5)
Both of these teams currently hold a playoff spot so this game should be an elimination game. However the talking heads are so in love with the SEC that their auburnteams are kind of like one of those killers in slasher films…never really dead no matter how many times they get taken down. That’s one reason why I have very little interest in the game. It should matter but I’m not sure it does so I don’t really care. I remain convinced that the sports media would have a collective orgasm if they could somehow finagle an all-SEC playoff…no matter how much ESPN’s Colin Blowhard tries to convince me otherwise. I suppose I’ll take Auburn. Zach thinks Auburn is a bit overrated (he’s probably right) but believes they’ll rise to the occasion.

My Pick = Auburn
Z’s Pick = Auburn

 

 

 

Arizona at Dallas (-3.5)
It is looking more & more like the Cardinals are for real. And I guess the Cowboys are as well…atleast until they choke in the playoffs. Since I have a deep & nflarizonacardinalslongstanding disdain for Dallas I suppose I’ll take Arizona. Zach dislikes Dallas and their idiotic owner Jerry Jones as much as I do.

My Pick = Arizona
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 
Indianapolis (-3.5) at NY GiantsIndianapolis_Colts_Helmet
Last week my favorite fantasy team…my decade old dynasty league team…went into the weekend undefeated. I started QB Philip Rivers as I had most of the season because Ben Roethlisberger isn’t usually a great fantasy QB. Big Ben proceeded to torch the Colts like villagers hunting down Frankenstein. If I would have started him my team would have set league records that might never be broken and of course remain undefeated. None of that happened though. However, I don’t think Indianapolis will have another week like that. I believe they’ll score a fairly easy victory. Zach agrees, although he thinks it’ll be a close contest.

My Pick = Indianapolis
Z’s Pick = Indianapolis

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

Your humble Potentate of Profundity hasn’t been feeling well. It’s a long story that I won’t bore citizens of The Manoverse with, but tonight after a couple of mugs of hot tea there seems to be a slight break in my misery, so I figured I’d better get this done now. Just please keep me in your prayers. I wish I had the robust faith of my brother The Owl and my buddy Don, but the truth is that sometimes my “blessed assurance” can occasionally falter. I’ve obviously still got some work to do there. Anyway…..

Last week I went 3-2 while Zach went 2-3. If you’d like all the details check out last week and see for yourself. Sorry…I’m feeling slightly better but still not as verbose as usual. Our season records are 21-22 for myself and 20-22 for Zach. I wasn’t feeling like Mike Tyson has been punching me in the groin for hours a few days ago when I chose this week’s games, so for some strange reason y’all get bonus picks this week. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Texas at Kansas St. (-10)
I like Texas head coach Charlie Strong and think he’ll eventually get the Longhorns turned around even if by the time he does the table is set for his fortunatekansas-state-dm successor. However this season they pretty much stink. Meanwhile, Wildcats’ head coach Bill Snyder, who I believe was born during the Millard Fillmore administration, has his team leading The Big 12 (which has 10 teams) and still with an outside shot to make it to the national title playoff. I think K St. easily covers the spread on their home field. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Kansas St.
Z’s Pick = Kansas St.

 

 
Ole Miss (-3.5) at LSU
The Rebels come into this game as a Top 5 team. I was under the impression that the Bayou Bengals kind of sucked this season but apparently they have snuck lsu_logo-9547into the Top 25. I suppose I should pay more attention. Anyway, I am picking the upset, as is Zach. Great minds think alike.

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

 

 

 

USC at Utah (even)
USC_Trojans2How often is USC vs. Utah a game with even odds?? I’m not buying it even if the Utes are at home. Zach, however, thinks Utah is very utahtalented and is picking them to win the game in double overtime.

My Pick = USC
Z’s Pick = Utah

 

 

 

Ohio St. (-13) at Penn St.
Apparently the NCAA doesn’t believe that all the child molestation that occurred at Penn St. is a big deal, as earlier this season they were all like “You remember Penn_State_logo111111those sanctions that were going to set Nittany Lions football back a decade?? Ehhhh…forget it. Play ball!!”. Regardless of how one feels about that particular ruling the fact is that the Penn St. football program hasn’t gone that far in the crapper, atleast not far enough to get beaten by two TDs in Happy Valley in what I assume will be a nationally televised game. Zach agrees.

My Pick = Penn St.
Z’s Pick = Penn St.

 

 

 

Texas Tech at TCU (-22.5)
The Horned Frogs come into this game as a Top 10 team and are really only one improbable Baylor comeback away from being undefeated. Conversely the RedTexas-Tech-260x300 Raiders are a sub-.500 team that doesn’t seem to play all that well against legitimate competition. That being said, I am not comfortable with a 3+ TD spread. Zach thinks TCU will win…but only by 17. He’s probably right.

My Pick = Texas Tech
Z’s Pick = Texas Tech

 

 

 

Philadelphia at Arizona (-2.5)
The surprising Cards get the slight home field nod but this is essentially a pick ‘em. I am not yet convinced that Arizona is for real so I have to go with the underdogs.eagles Zach agrees.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = Philadelphia

 

 

 

Miami (-5) at Jacksonville
Miami_Dolphins_HelmetHey it’s the Battle of Florida!! I remain convinced that the Jags are headed in the right direction with rookie QB Blake Bortles under center, butJacksonville_Jaguars they still need more pieces. The Dolphins aren’t a serious playoff contender yet but I think they’ll get the job done against less than stellar competition. Zach is predicting a big rushing day from former Michigan Wolverine QB/WR Denard Robinson and thinks Jacksonville will score the upset victory.

My Pick = Miami
Z’s Pick = Jacksonville

 

 

 

Minnesota at Tampa Bay (-3)
Zach doesn’t know this but he’s flying solo on this one. Because of a slight error made earlier in the season he has had one less game on his record than me forvikingshelmet1 several weeks. We’ll even things up now. These two teams are a combined 3-10 thus far and I’d rather take a nap or surf YouTube for…well…anything…than watch them do battle. Zach, because he is probably feeling better than me, has an even funnier (yet depressing) visual, saying that he’d “rather see Oprah Winfrey & Dr. Phil together on Dancing with the Stars” than watch this game. That boy has some good genes. Anyway, he apparently did “eeny meeny miney moe” and is going with the Vikings. That’s cool with me.

My Pick = n/a
Z’s Pick = Minnesota

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 8

Well…last week was definitely an improvement over the previous one, although I remain unsatisfied and determined to do better. I went 3-2, with Louisville, the Denver Broncos, & the Philadelphia Eagles all winning for me. Zach correctly picked the Dallas Cowboys over the Seattle Seahawks while we both whiffed on the Baylor/TCU game. Baylor won an entertaining Arena League-esque 61-58 battle but didn’t cover the 8½ point spread. Zach went 2-3 for the week to fall below .500 for the season:

Me = 18-20
Zach = 18-19

I’m kind of bored with the highly ranked SEC teams beating one another, atleast from a prognosticating standpoint, so those games don’t make the cut this time. They are entertaining to watch but are repetitive & monotonous to analyze. We know that the SEC champion will make it into the national playoff and I think it is inevitable that a 2nd SEC team will be there too, especially if Alabama can realistically be shoehorned in without it seeming like someone is on the take. So basically we just need to sit back and let it all shake out. There are other interesting games on the schedule and I find the question of which teams will secure the other two or three playoff spots much more thought provoking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa at Maryland (-4.5)
The Hawkeyes were in my pre-season Top 25 so I remain mildly invested in their success. They are 5-1 and have a genuine opportunity to break into the rankings ifiowa they continue to win as various other teams knock each other out. I haven’t paid too much attention to the Terrapins since their narrow loss to my WV Mountaineers back in September but they are 4-2, with the other loss being last week to the Ohio St. Buckeyes. Maryland gets the nominal home field advantage but I’m going to stick with my summertime vibes and pick Iowa. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Iowa
Z’s Pick = Iowa

 

 

Nevada at BYU (-10)
I love late night west coast football. I am a night owl and even though I get up fairly early for church on Sunday it is still a part of my routine to watch these games that nevadadon’t start until 10pm or after and aren’t over until atleast 1am. It doesn’t hurt that games involving Pac 12 or Mountain West teams are typically high scoring back & forth affairs with plenty of drama, comebacks, & 4th quarter heroics. I resisted putting the Cougars in my Top 25 this pre-season because whenever I do (which is usually every year) they end up breaking my heart. So of course since I left them out this time they are 4-2 and were ranked before losing two straight so far this month. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack is 3-3 and every game…win or lose…has been a battle. Nevada is a program that seems to be slightly above average with occasional brief spikes of being very good. They have been to a bowl game 9 out of the past 10 seasons. BYU understandably has the home field advantage, but 10 points is just too much. I think it’ll be closer than that. Once again Zach is in agreement.

My Pick = Nevada
Z’s Pick = Nevada

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Stanford (-3.5) at Arizona St.
Stanford was ranked in most pre-season polls, including mine. However most “experts” had them hovering right around the Top 10. I had them at #17, which after photo.stanfordtreetwo early losses (to USC & Notre Dame) is looking like a best case scenario. I said that their schedule is brutal and I was right. Conversely, I didn’t rank the Sun Devils but they are currently sitting right about where most others had them back in August. This is a huge game for both teams. They each have a realistic chance at their division crown and a spot in the Pac 12 title game, but a loss here pretty much ends those hopes. It is interesting that Stanford is favored as the visiting team. I’m not sure what that’s about since it seems to be a fairly even matchup and the home team usually gets the advantage in that scenario. I will assume that the oddsmakers know something that I don’t and go with the favorites. Zach likes Stanford’s defense and believes they will win easily.

My Pick = Stanford
Z’s Pick = Stanford

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Notre Dame at Florida St. (-11.5)
This is the big one. The playoff picture is kinda sorta beginning to take shape. We know the deal with the SEC and just have to see who beats who over the course NotreDame1of the next several weeks, We also know that if the Seminoles win this game their remaining path looks rather rather smooth, while the Irish still have a couple of potential pitfalls along the way. Those rooting for chaos & arguments about who deserves to be in the 4 team playoff should be hoping for a Florida St. loss here and a Notre Dame loss to either Arizona St. or USC next month. I’d be down with that cause it’s just how I roll. Plus the point spread is ridiculous. Zach thinks both of these teams are overrated. He’s not sure who’ll win but certainly doesn’t think it will be by double digits.

My Pick = Notre Dame
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

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New Orleans at Detroit (-3)
10_new_orleans_saintsOur lone NFL game this week is a sleeper. Detroit is 4-2 and tied for the division lead with the Green Bay Packers but I don’t think anyone is paying much attention Detroit_Lions_Helmetbecause…well…it’s the Detroit Lions. The last time they won a playoff game I was a drunken college student, George HW Bush was in The White House, Johnny Carson was still hosting The Tonight Show, Cheers & Home Improvement were dominating the TV ratings, Michael Jackson topped the Billboard charts with Black or White, and Zach hadn’t even been born. Meanwhile, the Saints are struggling at 2-3 but surprisingly remain just a game out of first in their division. The Lions get the customary 3 point bump for being at home, but this is essentially a pick ‘em. Call it unfair if you want, but I just can’t wrap my head around Detroit being a legit playoff contender and N’awlins being a bad team. It is true that every NFL season is different and it isn’t unusual to see teams go from worst to first or fall precipitously from a lofty perch. However I am going to go with the past decade or two of history and pick this game for the Saints to turn around their season. Zach is a bit more openminded than me and is willing to put all that historical perspective stuff aside (the advantages of being young). He likes Detroit’s defense and thinks they win the game easily.

My Pick = New Orleans
Z’s Pick = Detroit

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice: A Whole New Perspective

Is legal suicide the same as legal abortion??

 

This is a question I have been pondering lately as a result of a story out of Oregon where a 29 year old woman with an inoperable brain tumor has think“scheduled” her death. It’s an emotional topic with a variety of opinions. No one wants to disparage a terminally ill individual. However, it’s an issue that is bigger than just one person…partly due to this woman’s actions.

 

I do think there is one significant difference between physician-assisted suicide and abortion even if terminology like “pro-life” and “pro-choice” can be applied to both. One of the things pro-choice advocates always say is that it is a woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body, to which my rebuttal is usually “what about the innocent child’s body??”. In the case of suicide though there is no baby to consider. This woman really is deciding only what happens to her own body.

 

handsAlso, though I have been blessed enough to not have to witness it myself, I empathize with the idea of someone not wanting to suffer and not wanting their family to be burdened with the emotional & financial toll that a dying person’s last days may present. My mother died of lung cancer when she was 52 years old in 2000. I was a grown man by then but it was nevertheless gut wrenching. However, my mother’s passing, though realistically the end result of health problems that she had suffered thru for two decades, was fairly sudden. I only had to see her in a vegetative state for a few days. So I will not criticize a person for not wanting to experience weeks or months of horrific pain and for trying to spare their loved ones everything that encompasses. That being said, I have two problems with this story.

 

First of all, the woman (who I will not name…I’m not trying to pile on) is using her last days to become an advocate for assisted suicide. She’s doing interviews, starring in PSAs, and becoming an outspoken advocate for “death with dignity”. It’s a free country and she certainly has a right to live her life how she wants, especially given the circumstances. However, it is one thing to choose to quietly end your own life, but when a person decides to become a sociopolitical spokesman for a cause then they open themselves up to legitimate critique.

 

Many “hot button” issues these days are inherently controversial, but they are oftentimes made more contentious on purpose. Do we really think that shouthomosexuality didn’t exist a century or two ago?? Of course it did, but it has only been in the last few decades that it has become a topic of intense public debate. Did no one ever have an abortion before Roe v. Wade made it legal in 1973?? Of course they did. Why did no one seem to have an issue with the Washington Redskins in the 1980’s when they were winning Super Bowls?? Why is the team name offensive now yet it apparently wasn’t 20 or 30 years ago?? If this poor woman in Oregon had simply decided to take her own life and kept it low key then very few people would have even noticed. But she had to become an advocate. Okay…fine. But now it’s out there and the debate has begun.

 

Secondly, we must be able to objectively look at the subject matter in general aside from the specific individual(s) involved. Any human being would have sympathy for this person’s particular circumstances…but what about the big picture??

 

jesuslmbMany will have faith-based objections, i.e. it isn’t up to us to play God with our own lives or anyone else’s life. That’s the biggest issue in my book. It’s a real fork-in-the-road. Those who see nothing wrong with suicide…assisted or otherwise…are generally those who don’t exhibit a strong belief in or allegiance to God or His ways. They obviously don’t believe in miracles. People of that ilk are, in our modern times, increasingly self-centered & narcissistic. It’s the Burger King attitude – “I want it MY way, right away, NOW!!”. This woman in Oregon wants to die “on her own terms”. Nevermind that most of us will never have the opportunity to choose how or when we die…nor should we. One has the right to worship or not worship however they choose. However those who do have a deep belief in God and Biblical principles are going to see this as a poor choice. Of course the rebuttal to that is “well it’s her life and she can do what she wants”…which is absolutely true. But by advocating for this “right” for the masses and allowing the situation to go public that gives others…like me…the right to espouse an opinion. I’m really tired of Christians being accused of “shoving our beliefs down other people’s throats” and being called haters, bigots, & judgmental. Why does everyone else get to have an opinion but Christians do not?? Is my opinion not atleast as valid as pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-gun, Muslim, socialist supporters who think God is “our imaginary friend”??

 

Blogger Matt Walsh wrote a really good piece about this story and expresses his thoughts far better than I. His objection isn’t as much with the woman as it is with those who are holding up her choice as heroic, brave, inspiring, & honorable. I’ll let y’all peruse his article, but let me just add that to me this is a slippery slope full of “what ifs” that is all about the value of human life. It is completely understandable that this young lady in Oregon wants to avoid the horror of what is to come…as much for her husband and others as for herself. But let us ponder this. What if there is a person out there that is middle-aged, single, lonely, financially strapped, & professionally unsuccessful?? Should a doctor prescribe them The Pill of Death just because their life kind of sucks?? How about a perfectly healthy 75 year old who has retired to Florida but feels like they’ve accomplished all they can…raised their kids, had a decent career, donated their time & money to various charities…and wants to end things on a high note before they get old & decrepit?? What about the overweight teenager who struggles academically, gets bullied, and isn’t treated especially well by their family?? Should we legally help them end their life just because they’re going thru a rough patch?? Yes I know…none of this would ever happen. I am sure there is an assisted suicide rulebook in the places where it is legal. But it isn’t unusual for rules to be modified. The line in the sand often moves. People use the old chestnut “times change”. This is usually seen as “progress”. Using that logic it isn’t hard to see the very dangerous path all of this could go down without people even batting an eyelash.

 
I have never been terminally ill. I have never been seriously depressed. I have never been suicidal. My life isn’t all that grand but I have hope. I’m not bibleall that exciting but there are things in my life that make me smile and will continue to do so…hopefully for a very long time. I am not always the perfect ideal of morality and scrupulous behavior, but I do have faith in God and His Son, my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that His will is more important than what makes me comfortable or content. It is for that reason that I believe we must be extremely cautious when dealing with certain matters…especially the sanctity of life. We must be sensitive to the issues that others face. But we should not put their decisions on a pedestal. The world is watching, and when we cross the line from empathizing with a person’s tragic plight to rubberstamping & applauding their decision to circumvent the will of God in a vain attempt at making their path easier then I believe we have gone too far.

 
I realize that I am likely in the minority on this. I understand that people are going to continue making these types of decisions whether I approve or not. And I agree that, at the end of the day, each person must choose how to live their own life and not get wrapped up in everyone else’s opinions. I just think the world would be a better place and the golden streets of Heaven would be far more crowded someday if folks were guided by God’s will instead of their own.