2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

 

Well…atleast last week I upgraded back to mediocrity from the depths of ineptitude that plagued my previous effort. That’s my lame effort to polish another turd anyway. I went 4-5. I suppose the good news is that at this point some trends in both college football & the NFL are beginning to emerge, and we are starting to get a better idea of which teams are truly good and which ones aren’t likely to cut the mustard in 2012. I am confident that this knowledge will help me significantly improve my 11-19 record, as long as I can minimize my propensity for making off-the-wall choices. The fact is that my vibes are about as accurate as a Tim Tebow pass across the middle, and I am man enough to admit it. At any rate, let’s talk football and make some picks!!

 

 

 

Tennessee          at            Georgia (-15.5)

Now the real season begins. The Vols come into this game 3-1, but like a lot of other college teams they haven’t played anybody. Ditto for the Bulldogs, who are 4-0 and ranked #5 in the polls. In my pre-season rankings I put Tennessee at #12 and left Georgia unranked. Was I right, or am I insane?? This game might decide that. To be honest, I’d be very surprised if Tennessee actually won. Georgia is as good as most of the pundits said they would be before the season began. My supposition that there are such a plethora of good teams in the SEC that someone has to be left on the outside looking in is very likely true, but it looks like the Bulldogs won’t be that team. However, I find the spread on this game interesting. The only legitimate piece of evidence we have to examine is Tennessee’s loss to Florida a couple of weeks ago, in which they were beaten by 17 points, and that isn’t really any help. So do I go with the experts, or do I go with my unreliable vibes?? There is an element of pride here wherein I just cannot bring myself to abandon what was a risky pre-season pick. The Vols may not win this game, but I have the backs of my boys from Rocky Top and will assume they have enough testicular fortitude to be competitive and cover the spread.

 

 

Ohio State          at            Michigan State (-1)

Ohio St. is 4-0 and ranked among the top 20, even though they are ineligible for post-season play. The Spartans are 3-1, having defeated Boise St. and two cupcakes while falling to the hated Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The Buckeyes have looked less than impressive in narrow victories over Cal & UAB the past two weeks, so they are going to have to wake up and realize they are playing a real opponent now. Michigan St. is a slight favorite only because of the home field advantage. I really like young OSU signal caller Braxton Miller, but I’m not impressed with their defense. Michigan St. RB Le’veon Bell is a native of a small Columbus, OH suburb but wasn’t recruited by Ohio St. One thing I love about college football is that little things like that can be important. Bell is averaging 150 yards/game, and though I don’t expect he’ll be quite that successful this week I do believe he’ll make an impact. That’s enough for me to pick Michigan St.

 

 

Virginia Tech (-6)             vs.          Cincinnati

The Hokies come into this contest 3-1 and giving off mixed signals. They defeated Georgia Tech in overtime but inexplicably lost to the horrible Pitt Panthers a couple weeks ago. I picked the Bearcats #11 in my pre-season poll  with the logic that someone has to win The Big East, and thus far they are 2-0 and coming off a rather early bye week. Cincinnati, by the way, beat the same Pitt team that defeated Virginia Tech. I would really love to pick Cincinnati here, not only because I put them in my Top 25 but also because I have always had a robust disdain for Virginia Tech. However, the game is in Blacksburg and I find it difficult to believe that they’ll lose two games in a row. Coming out of a bye should mean the Bearcats are healthy, well rested, and full of energy. If the game was in Cincy or the spread was larger I’d go with my heart, but neither of things is true so I am forced to hold my nose and pick the hated Hokies.

 

 

Texas (-2)            at            Oklahoma State

West Virginia Mountaineer fans might be fully focused on their inaugural Big 12 game against Baylor, but they should take note of this matchup of two future foes. One team will move forward in its quest for the conference title, while the loser of this game is very likely out of the running pretty darn quickly. Texas is trying to rebound from two straight subpar seasons and thus far have looked more like the old successful Longhorns that we are all used to rather than whoever those impostors were the past couple of years. Oklahoma St. has beaten two cupcakes and lost to Arizona, leading the nation in points scored along the way. I picked both teams to sneak into the Top 25 in my pre-season poll, and that could still happen, but the winner here will certainly have a leg up. I am mildly surprised that the visitors are the favorites, even though it is only a 2 point spread. I almost always go with the home team in these situations, and there is a huge question as to whether or not Texas is truly “back” after the way they have played in recent years. That question may not be fully answered this week, but we’ll get a good idea. The vibes are literally having an argument in my head about this one and I really feel like it’s a tossup. But hey, I have to pick someone, right?? I guess I will play it safe and choose the Longhorns, but no outcome will surprise me all that much.

 

 

Minnesota          at            Detroit (-4.5)

I know the NFL values parity, but this season has been ridiculous. At this point I wouldn’t be shocked if the playoffs are chock full of 8-8 teams. I don’t think anyone foresaw the Vikings upset of San Francisco last week, which made Minnesota 2-1. Meanwhile, the evolution of the Lions from pretenders to contenders seems to have stalled a bit, as they come into this game 1-2, although to be fair they barely lost last week to Tennessee in overtime. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson is kinda sorta back from a knee injury, but he has yet to break 100 yards in a game this season. Detroit might have found its answer at RB with the long awaited debut of Mikel Leshoure, who gained 100 yards in his first NFL game last week. In my mind this matchup comes down to one thing: Matthew Stafford & Calvin Johnson vs. Christian Ponder & Percy Harvin. Whoever hits the big plays will win. I don’t think the Vikings can duplicate their tremendous effort from last week, so I’ll go with the home team favorites.

 

 

Chicago                at            Dallas (-3.5)

This is the Monday night game this week. Both teams are 2-1 and haven’t given fans any inclination one way or another who they really are. Bears’ QB Jay Cutler is a mediocre headcase with loads of unrealized potential. The entire Cowboys franchise is a mediocre headcase with loads of unrealized potential. Seriously…every single year multiple talking heads pick both of these teams to do great things, and every year both teams fall way short of expectations. At this point I’m not sure why anyone cares. Both of these teams are teams that people watch their games to see whoever their opponent is. A game pitting the two of them against each other is like two second-rate and largely disappointing worlds colliding. It’s like watching a movie with a bunch of character actors and no leading men. But I guess I have to pick someone. Honestly I’d have more fun skipping this choice and watching The Weather Channel. In my NFL preview I predicted the Bears to go 9-7 and miss the playoffs, while I said the Cowboys would go 10-6 and be a wildcard. I suppose that one game difference is this one, so I’ll pick Dallas.

 

 

San Diego (1.5)                 at            Kansas City

The Chargers come into this game 2-1, while the Chiefs are 1-2. I would have thought it’d be the other way around. Kansas City leads the NFL in rushing, but that statistic is misleading since it is largely based on RB Jamaal Charles gaining a whopping 233 yards last week in a huge overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints. San Diego is 4th in the NFL in rushing defense, so something will have to give here. This is the Sunday night game on NBC, which in recent years has become a much more entertaining product than ESPN’s Monday night offering. That obviously has nothing to do with the actual game, although I am guessing that teams might get energized by being the prime time center of attention. At any rate, the winner here will gain a small advantage in the race for the AFC West division crown, so it is far from a meaningless game. In my NFL preview I said the Chargers would go 6-10 and head coach Norv Turner would soon be unemployed, while I picked Kansas City to sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard. I guess I should stand behind my own predictions, so I’ll go with the underdog Chiefs.

 

 

 

 

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