Over a year ago I mentioned that I wanted to do a weekly football pick ‘em type of thing here at The Manofesto. However, both the 2011 college & pro seasons got underway without me implementing the plan, so I decided to wait ‘til next year. Well…the time has come. The most glorious time of the year…football season…is upon us. It really is the only thing that makes summer slipping away more tolerable. My plan at the moment is to pick 7 games each week. Normally it will be a mix of NCAA & NFL games, but since the NFL doesn’t begin its season for another week our initial go round will consist of 7 college games. These games are picked at random by me based purely on what I view as interesting, competitive, and entertaining. I was a little leery of the first week of college football simply because it is traditionally chock full of powerhouse vs. cupcake matchups that are in no way interesting, competitive, or entertaining. Fortunately I was able to choose 7 games that do frost my cupcake and I will be interested to see how it all plays out.
One thing that readers can expect from your humble Potentate of Profundity is accountability. I am not like those twits on ESPN (Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Mark May, etc.) who act like a bunch of know-it-all experts and then conveniently forget to ever mention their picks again when they are proven to be completely wrong. I will keep track of my hits & misses. I will own up to it when I am wrong. This whole thing is just for fun, but I cannot deny that there is some sense of pride on the line as I match wits with the talking heads that get paid big bucks to make these kinds of prognostications. Originally I did not plan to utilize point spreads and just wanted to choose straight up winners, but as I pondered the possibilities I figured out that the point spread adds an element of complexity that makes the process that much more enjoyable. I am well aware that the point spread is also meant to be used for gambling, something that I am not going to promote. I’ve done it before and I am sure that I’ll do it again in the future, but I am also well aware that gambling is one more thing…like alcohol, drugs, food, & sex…that one can easily become addicted to and that has destroyed careers, families, and lives. Remember folks…everything in moderation with God in the driver’s seat, okay?? Now on with the picks!!
Tennessee (-3) vs. N.C. State
I’m a bit surprised that the folks in Vegas are favoring the Vols here. Maybe when I put them in my pre-season Top 25 it wasn’t such a shot in the dark after all?? At any rate, since it is a given that their SEC schedule will be tough that makes it imperative for Tennessee to win their non-conference games if they want to have any shot of fulfilling my prophecy and returning to prominence. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack is usually one of the ACC’s more solid yet unspectacular teams. They don’t get a lot of publicity but they always seem to get the job done and go bowling at season’s end. It is interesting to note that this is a neutral site game being played in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. I’m going with the talent & experienced leadership of UT QB Tyler Bray to pull this one out and cover the spread too.
Boise St. at Michigan St. (-7)
I had the Broncos just sneaking into my preseason Top 25’s last spot, but that is more a function of the media’s love affair with them combined with the relative ease of their schedule due to playing in the notably unnotable Mountain West. I don’t think former QB Kellen Moore will be easily replaced, which means there might be a bump or two in the road, especially early on. Meanwhile, over in Lansing, the Spartans are also faced with finding a new signal caller since former 3 year starter Kirk Cousins is now backing up Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins. That would seem to make this game a wash…and a very tough call. This is an opportunity for Boise St. to open lots of eyes and shut lots of mouths, because I know there are many naysayers like me who still aren’t quite convinced they belong at the big table with the adults. I am usually a sucker for the underdog, but I think that Spartan Stadium will be rockin’ and will give the guys in green the edge. Will they cover?? Good question. The vibes are telling me that this might be decided by a field goal, which means that I like Michigan St. to win, but I’ll take Boise St. & the points.
Northwestern (-1.5) at Syracuse
Will this game be fun to watch?? Probably not. I hate watching TV games broadcast from the Carrier Dome. I can’t explain it…it just doesn’t feel like a good football atmosphere. It has always seemed like kind of a boring place even when the Orange were a winning team. And since they have been horrible for most of the past decade and the outcome of most games seemed like a foregone conclusion it was even worse. When a lower tier Big 10 team is the opponent…well, that is an excellent recipe for either a lot of channel flipping or a fine afternoon nap. At any rate, I went out on a limb and put Syracuse in my pre-season Top 25 and said that they might win 8 or 9 games. Getting a win here would sure be a nice way to get off on the right foot, and I think they’ll do it. I’m going with the Orangemen to win this game outright.
Clemson (-3) at Auburn
The last time we saw Clemson on a football field they were getting mauled in the Orange Bowl by my WVU Mountaineers 70-33. That kind of defeat will either haunt your dreams or piss you off…maybe both. I do really like junior QB Tahj Boyd and sophomore WR Sammy Watkins, but the question is can the defense stop anybody?? I put Auburn in my pre-season top 25 because it wasn’t that long ago that they were going undefeated & had a Heisman winning quarterback, and even when they “fell off” last year they still won 8 games. This boils down to 2nd tier ACC vs. 2nd tier SEC, and I think we all know where the smart money is in that battle. With this game being played at Jordan-Hare Stadium I have to give the edge to Auburn. I mean really…all they have to do is watch the Orange Bowl film.
Iowa (-9) at Northern Illinois
On paper a Big 10 vs. MAC matchup usually looks pretty lopsided, and most of the time it is. However, I really like this Northern Illinois team. Their games were rather fun to watch in 2011 and they have been a dominant force in their conference for several years. Iowa, on the other hand, is a hit & miss program. Maybe they’ll win 6 or 7 games and sneak into a forgettable bowl game, or maybe they’ll win 10 or 11 games and compete for the conference title and a spot in the Rose Bowl. They are never really bad, but they are rarely mentioned in the same conversation with elite Big 10 foes Michigan, Ohio St., Wisconsin, and Nebraska. It is interesting to me that this game is being played at Huskie Stadium, which just might be the tipping point. Those fans will know how important defeating a Big 10 opponent would be, and they’ll be ready. I am going to wuss out of picking an outright victory for the underdogs, but I’ll take Northern Illinois and the points.
Miami (-2) at Boston College
Ahhh…a dreaded ACC matchup. The ACC is even more boring to watch than the Big East, the conference these two traitors ditched several years back. I don’t know about all the financial stuff, but on the surface that move has looked like a poor one for both teams, as they have both become lost in the shuffle and gotten far less love from the media than conference darlings Florida St., Georgia Tech, NC State, and Virginia Tech. I remember when Miami…or as I called them, Thug U…was one of the best teams in college football, with coaches like Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, & Dennis Erickson, and alums who went on to be big NFL stars like Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Michael Irvin, Jeremy Shockey, Reggie Wayne, Warren Sapp, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis. They were in the national championship picture for most of the 80’s & 90’s and into the new millennium, but it’s been almost a decade since the Hurricanes were really that good. The Eagles are another hit & miss team. Sometimes they are mediocre, sometimes they can be very good. However, in 2011 they finished 4-8, the worst record for a BC football team since 1998. I don’t have a dog in this particular fight, so I’ll go with the home team and pick Boston College to win.
Michigan at Alabama (-14)
Last but certainly not least, right?? This is the crown jewel of the first week of the college football season. We all know that the Crimson Tide has been…I’m sorry, I can’t avoid it…on a roll, winning 12 or more games 3 out of the past 4 years and capturing two national championships. During that same time span the Wolverines were suffering thru the Fraudriguez Era, going 15-22 and not at all resembling the traditional powerhouse that had been built by Bo Schembechler and had produced dozens of conference titles, multiple Rose Bowl & other bowl victories, and a plethora of NFL talent such as Tom Brady, Tom Harmon, “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, Anthony Carter, Dan Dierdorf, Braylon Edwards, Larry Foote, Brian Griese, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, and Amani Toomer. In 2011 the powers-that-be restored order in Ann Arbor by canning Fraudriguez & hiring Brady Hoke as the new head coach, and the Wolverines went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl. There is no doubt that this will be a tough task for Michigan, especially since the game is being played at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Obviously the oddsmakers aren’t giving the ol’ Maize & Blue much of a chance to win. However, I think a 14 point spread is ridiculous. I would be stunned if ‘Bama actually won by that much. I give the Wolverines more than a decent shot to pull out a victory, but I certainly believe that that they will cover the points even if they lose.
- Countdown to Kickoff 2012: TSFSG’s College Football Top 25 Preview (Plus Bold Bowl Predictions) (thesouthernfriedsportsgirl.wordpress.com)
- College Football Picks: Clemson vs. Auburn Betting Odds and Predictions (bleacherreport.com)
- No winners in ACC-Orange alliance (jacksonville.com)
- ACC, Orange Bowl enter 12-year deal (timesdispatch.com)
- ACC agrees to 12-year deal with Orange Bowl (espn.go.com)
- ACC looking for a redemption year after sour ending to 2011 (newsobserver.com)
- ACC enters another season facing new questions (rep-am.com)
- College Football Playoff: Rumored ‘Replacement’ Policy For Non-Playoff Bowls Could Shut Out Teams Like Houston (houston.sbnation.com)
- ND says it’s had Orange Bowl talks with ACC (espn.go.com)
- Boise St joining Big West for non-football sports (nbcsports.msnbc.com)