Before we forge ahead into this week’s picks let’s take a look back at last week. I went 4-3 in my inaugural round. Tennessee easily handled NC State, Northwestern edged Syracuse but didn’t cover the 1.5 point spread winning by just 1 point (a pyrrhic victory that I am sure I felt much better about than the Orangemen), Michigan St. beat Boise St. but didn’t cover the 7 point spread just as I predicted, and Northern Illinois fell to Iowa but easily stayed within the 9 point spread losing by only 1. On the flip side Clemson defeated Auburn by a touchdown, Miami upended Boston College, and I was way wrong about Michigan, as they were handily dismissed by Alabama. I can certainly do better, but for my first jump into the pool I’ll take it.
This week we add the NFL into the mix as their season gets underway. Enjoy the games, enjoy the tailgates, be safe, and remember…no wagering.
Temple (-10.5) at Maryland
The Owls easily dispatched 1-AA Villanova last week, while Maryland barely defeated tiny little William & Mary 7-6. Maybe my early support of the Terrapins is misguided?? We will know more after this game, because I don’t care that Temple has gone to a couple of bowl games recently and has been welcomed back into the desperate Big East…it’s still Temple. If Maryland loses by double digits to Temple then Maryland head coach Randy Edsall should just go ahead and get his resume ready now because his days are numbered. Fortunately for him I think his team will wake up and atleast make this a competitive contest if not an actual victory.
Florida at Texas A&M (-2.5)
The Gators started their season by beating Bowling Green in solid yet unspectacular fashion, while the Aggies had their game against Louisiana Tech postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. So instead of beginning their maiden voyage in the SEC against a cupcake like so many college teams do nowadays, A&M dives in headfirst against a prominent conference foe. However, this game is being played in College Station, and the current Florida Gators don’t really resemble the team that was so successful during the Steve Spurrier or Urban Myer eras. I think this will be a good, close game and really enjoyable to watch. However, at the end of the day I think the newcomers will make a statement against their highly respected brethren and easily cover the points.
South Florida at Nevada (even)
The Bulls had no problem with UT-Chattanooga in week 1, while Nevada surprised some folks by defeating the Cal Golden Bears. To be honest that “upset” didn’t shock me all that much, and it was a pick I almost made here. I regret now not pulling the trigger. Ah well…c’est la vie. This is the rare “even money” matchup, meaning there is no point spread. That uncomplicates things I suppose. There is a very valid concern that the Wolfpack might suffer a hangover from their previous big victory, but I don’t think that’ll happen. Having home field advantage should give Nevada the edge needed to pull away for the win.
Georgia (-3.5) at Missouri
Here we have a 2nd team making their SEC debut. The Tigers bolted The Big 12 for the SEC just like Texas A&M, and got their season started last week by destroying SE Louisiana. The Bulldogs were highly ranked in most pre-season polls (except mine), and got things off to a good start a week ago with a solid win over Buffalo. I am obviously not quite as sold on Georgia as a lot of folks, and honestly I don’t really have an exact reason for that. I just think that there are a lot of great teams in the SEC and someone’s got to be the proverbial odd man out. I have chosen Georgia to fill that role. I may be right, I may be wrong…who knows. But we will have a better idea of which after this game. Missouri having the home field advantage is once again a key factor in my pick. Their fans will be fired up and so will the team. Can emotion & momentum trump talent?? I think it can, especially when the talent gap isn’t all that huge. I’ll take Missouri in this one, and I think it’ll be a really fun game.
Oklahoma St. (-13.5) at Arizona
The Cowboys obliterated Savannah St. 84-0 in week 1, which sparked an interesting debate amongst the talking heads about the morality and the actual physical hazard involved when a much superior team plays a woefully overmatched cupcake. That is an interesting topic that maybe I’ll pontificate about some other time, however Oklahoma St. has a taller mountain to climb this week in the Wildcats, who edged the Toledo Rockets by just a touchdown last week in the opening volley of the Fraudriguez era in the desert. I do think that Fraudriguez will have much more success (not to mention a longer leash) at Arizona than he did at Michigan, but traditionally it takes a couple of years to install his system, so don ‘t be surprised if the ‘Cats suffer a couple of dismal seasons before things click. I am a bit tentative about this game because of the nearly 2 touchdown point spread and the fact that the game is being played in Tucson, factors that would normally lead me to pick the underdog. However, I am going with the vibes and picking Oklahoma St. to cover.
Buffalo Bills at NY Jets (-3)
Ahhh….our first NFL pick. Pro football is a bit more difficult to gauge than college because the league has been so successful in creating parity over the years. A team may be horrible one year but become Super Bowl contenders the next…or vice versa. Changing a coach, signing or losing a few free agents, and drafting a big time star can all change the fortunes of an NFL franchise…for better or worse…in the blink of an eye. There is rarely such a thing as a huge upset in pro football. It definitely keeps things interesting, but it poses a unique challenge in prognostication. It seems like just yesterday Jets coach Rex Ryan was confidently predicting a Super Bowl for his team (heck…knowing Ryan maybe it WAS yesterday), but the truth is this team has some issues. I don’t think QB Tim Tebow adds anything to the mix except controversy, and even if starter Mark Sanchez overcomes all the haters the fact is that he has no reliable weapons. Meanwhile, the Bills added defensive sack master Mario Williams, who I think once & for all has proven that he was indeed a better #1 overall pick than either QB Vince Young (currently unemployed) or RB Reggie Bush (currently wasting away in Miami with the miserable Dolphins) would have been. I know he is only one player, but to me he transforms that defense. I think Buffalo is going to surprise a lot of folks this year, and it all starts this week.
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (-5)
This is most assuredly one of the marquee contests in week 1 of the NFL season, and may be a preview of the NFC Championship game. The Packers, after 2 stellar seasons and a victory in Super Bowl XLV (that’s 45 for those of you from the backwoods of Kentucky visiting the big city for some vittles & ammo), stumbled in last year’s playoffs against the eventual World Champion NY Giants, while the 49ers also lost to the Giants in the conference title game, a heartbreaking overtime defeat. That means both teams will be angry and out to prove something, which should provide a very entertaining game for fans to watch. The question is, which team will be angrier and more resolute?? After much debate with The Voices I have decided to go with the supposed underdogs. I like the 49ers defense more, and I believe in the old adage that defense wins championships.
- Week 1 NFL Picks: Bills vs. Jets Point Spread: September 9th 2012 (touthouse.com)
- Storylines abound for Missouri’s inaugural SEC matchup (kbiasports.org)
- OK State Listed as Record 67.5 Favorite (lostlettermen.com)
- Blog Post: Buffalo Bills 2012 NFL Predictions and Super Bowl Odds (pregame.com)
- Blog Post: NFL Preseason Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills Start Time, Odds (pregame.com)
- College Football’s Early-Season Issue: Buying Wins and the Familiar Cycle (bleacherreport.com)