2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 10

Congratulations to Zach for his stellar 4-1 record last week, although I did best him in a couple fantasy leagues we’re in, so I guess there’s balance in The Force or something. At any rate, I’ve got to focus because not only are we doing a Thursday night game this week, but we are doing bonus picks because the schedule is just that damn good. Happy Halloween Manoverse!! Eat lots of candy & maybe chase someone with a machete. Whatever gets your juices flowing. 

My Season: 29-22

Zach’s Season: 28-23

Arkansas (-4.5) at Auburn 

Whether we like it or not, SEC matchups are compelling. I think it’s the way the games are produced on TV, combined with the fact that most SEC games seem to be sold out stadiums of 75-100k people who are REALLY invested in the outcome. So it really doesn’t matter that these two teams are occupying the cellar of their division & have no shot at catching up to Alabama or LSU. The Tigers are on a three game losing skid, while the Razorbacks are coming off a bye week after beating BYU. Logic & most metrics seem to point to a comfortable victory for the favorites, but The Voices are pushing me to go with the home team. Zach expects a tight defensive struggle, and he thinks Arkansas is a better team.

My Pick: Auburn 

Z’s Pick: Arkansas

Cincinnati (-1) at Central Florida 

Honestly I haven’t paid much attention to these teams this season, but research indicates the Bearcats are 6-1 & still ranked, while the Knights are 5-2 & just got shellacked by East Carolina. Call me crazy, but I think The Bounce House in Orlando is a pretty hostile place to visit, and I’m smelling an upset. Zach concurs.

My Pick: UCF

Z’s Pick: UCF 

Michigan State at Michigan (-22.5)

Okay, let’s cut to the chase. The Spartans are 3-4, while the Wolverines are undefeated & still in the playoff conversation. I realize statistics & common sense are oftentimes thrown out the window in a rivalry game, but come on…Michigan is winning on Saturday. The only question is whether or not they’ll cover the points, and I’m just not comfortable with 3+ TDs. Despite being a huge Michigan fan Zach is on the same page…those points are simply too much. 

My Pick: Michigan St.

Z’s Pick: Michigan St.

Ohio State (-15) at Penn State

The Buckeyes are undefeated & ranked #2 in the nation. The Nittany Lions only have one loss to Michigan and still have an outside shot at the Big Ten title if they win this game. I suppose “style points” are still a thing in the current playoff format, so going into Happy Valley & trucking the opposition is a reasonable goal for Ohio St. Can they accomplish that goal?? A huge part of me wants to pull the trigger on that, but I just can’t. Perhaps they’ll win by 10…but not 15. As a Michigan fan Zach of course can’t stand Ohio St., although he admits they might be the best team in the country, specifically pointing out that opposing teams have been unable to stop them in the red zone. It’s a head vs. heart thing for him, and sometimes the heart wins. 

My Pick: Penn St.

Z’s Pick: Penn St. 

Florida at Georgia (-22)

I’m still calling it The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, even if pansy ass sports broadcasters & advertisers have backed away from it. At any rate, the Bulldogs have been the best team in college football so far, while the Gators are a pedestrian 4-3. Here we go again…the outcome isn’t in much doubt, but can the favorites cover?? If the game were being played in The Swamp I’d envision a fairly competitive contest, but it’s not so I think Georgia wins by four touchdowns. Zach agrees. 

My Pick: Georgia 

Z’s Pick: Georgia 

Baltimore (-1.5) at Tampa Bay 

This is the Thursday night game & the reason I am feverishly crafting this opus of awesomeness right now. I’ve been waiting for Tom Brady to fall off a cliff for longer than I care to admit, and it looks like it could finally be happening. Of course he’s been harder to put down than Freddie, Jason, & Michael combined, so I’m not assuming anything just yet. The Ravens haven’t been all that & a bag of chips either (dear God…did I just say that?!?!? 👀), although they do lead their division. This game puts me in a weird spot because I’d prefer to see both teams lose. Obviously that won’t happen though, so my sense is that Brady will get his shit together for a national audience & his home crowd. Zach recognizes that the Bucs seem to be spiraling, but he doesn’t think Baltimore is that much better. He feel like this may be the beginning of a turnaround for Tampa. 

My Pick: Tampa Bay 

Z’s Pick: Tampa Bay 

San Francisco (-2) at LA Rams 

You may have heard that the Niners just traded for RB Christian McCaffrey. I’m hesitant to give too much weight to that though…it’s only Thursday so it is entirely possible that Run CMC ends up injured before Sunday. Anyway, the NFC West is as tight as I knew it would be, which makes this game rather important. Kudos to ‘Frisco for addressing a need, but at the end of the day I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference to anyone other than fantasy owners, and I think the Rams are a better team. Zach is looking for the Stafford to Cupp connection to be huge for the Rams. 

My Pick: LA Rams 

Z’s Pick: LA Rams 

Green Bay at Buffalo (-11.5)

While I’ve been praying for the wheels to fall off Brady for years I am a little surprised that Aaron Rodgers is apparently following him into the abyss. I knew the loss of receiver Davante Adams would have an effect, but I expected young guys to step up & keep the Packers on top. That has not happened. Conversely, the Bills are humming along atop the AFC East as expected. It’s Super Bowl or bust for Buffalo, but I suppose defeating Rodgers along the way would be nice for Josh Allen. That being said, we’re back to our apparent theme for the day…can the favorite cover double digit points?? Three months ago I wouldn’t have thought so, but Green Bay has not shown me any reason to believe in them. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Buffalo 

Z’s Pick: Buffalo 

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 9

Greetings football fans & citizens of The Manoverse. I’m running just a little behind schedule for no real reason, but it’s all good as long as we get this posted for the masses before kickoff. This is exactly why we rarely pick Wed./Thurs./Fri. games, because I know  how I get sometimes. Anyway, before we can move forward we have to tie up loose ends from last week. I was 3-0 in the games I solely picked, while Zach was 1-2. In the four games we both picked Zach was 1-3 while I was 2-2. That means overall I was 5-2, Zach was 2-5, and the season lead has changed hands. It might not last long, so allow me this moment. There are several intriguing games on the college schedule this weekend, but many of them seem to involve teams we just dealt with, and I prefer to mix things up a little. Therefore we are leaning heavier toward the NFL. That’ll probably flip flop next go round. 

My Season: 26-20

Zach’s Season: 24-22 

UCLA at Oregon (-6)

The Ducks are on a five game win streak after dropping the season opener against defending national champs Georgia. The Bruins are undefeated. That means this is a matchup of two Top Ten teams seeking to remain in the playoff conversation. This is going to be a high scoring game (the over/under is 70.5), which could mean a few things: a) special teams might make the difference, b) turnovers are critical, & c) penalties will play a key role. I’m going to roll the dice on the home team being able to cover, but to be honest I wouldn’t be shocked if it was closer than that. Zach really believes in UCLA’s offense and thinks they’ll live up to expectations. 

My Pick: Oregon 

Z’s Pick: UCLA 

Kansas State at TCU (-4)

As a lifelong WVU fan I’d prefer to see my Mountaineers atop the Big 12 standings, but it’s atleast refreshing to see teams other than Oklahoma & Texas battling for the conference crown. The Horned Frogs are undefeated, while the Wildcats only have an inexplicable loss to Tulane blemishing their record. Both teams can put up points, so I believe the thing to watch for is which defense will step up in a big moment. TCU is coming off a huge overtime victory against Oklahoma St., and it’s difficult to reach those emotional highs two weeks in a row, so I’m picking the upset. Conversely, Zach likes the home team to keep their momentum going. 

My Pick: Kansas State

Z’s Pick: TCU 

NY Giants at Jacksonville (-3)

Thus far my preseason assessment of the Giants has been way off base. They’ve already won four more games than I predicted they’d win all season. My thoughts on the Jaguars have proven a bit more accurate, as they are certainly headed in the right direction & QB Trevor Lawrence has shown flashes of potential, but they’re unlikely to be a legit playoff threat. I like the home team this week, but it’ll probably be tighter than I’d prefer. I’ll probably be sweating a bit in the 4th quarter. Zach believes new Giants’ head coach Brian Daboll has successfully changed the culture in his first season, which makes a lot of sense when you look at his previous assistant coaching stops (Alabama, NE Patriots, Buffalo Bills). 

My Pick: Jacksonville 

Z’s Pick: NY Giants 

NY Jets at Denver (-3)

Before the season began I predicted that we’d see clear improvement by the Jets, but they’d still finish at the bottom of a tight division. I’m not backing off of that just yet. I also said the Broncos would be a wildcard contender, but the AFC West isn’t shaking out at all the way I thought, although it’s still early. Is it possible that the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver could become one of the worst transactions in NFL history?? I’m not ready to go there at this point, but it’s fair to say that the deal hasn’t paid dividends for either team so far. The home field is a unique edge for Denver, but not insurmountable, so I’m going with the upset. Zach likes the Broncos defense, but doesn’t believe their offensive line is capable of protecting Wilson. 

My Pick: NY Jets 

Z’s Pick: NY Jets 

Pittsburgh at Miami (-7)

Typically we don’t pick games involving our Steelers, but rules are made to be broken, right?? No one expects anything from Pittsburgh this season, but after upsetting “The GOAT” (not 🙄) last week with a depleted secondary, without sack monster TJ Watt, & a tandem effort by quarterbacks Kenny Pickett & Mitch Trubisky, it remains within the realm of possibility that this team could achieve unforeseen success in an inferior division. QB Tua Tagovailoa will be back for the Dolphins, and it’s certainly plausible that he & receiver Tyreek Hill could carve up the Steelers’ defense like Michael Myers in Haddonfield on All Hallows’ Eve, but I don’t believe that’s what will happen. I don’t know how, but I think the Black & Gold will march into south Florida and escape with a victory. Zach has faith in the Steelers’ defense despite all their injuries, and thinks they’ll get enough stops & turnovers to keep it closer than a touchdown and perhaps even lead the team to a huge win. 

My Pick: Pittsburgh 

Z’s Pick:  Pittsburgh 

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 8

We’re trying something new again folks!! This week we’re each picking three separate games, and there are four games we’ll both pick. I hope that makes sense. The season contest is tight and there are a plethora of really interesting matchups, so why not shake things up a little bit, right?? 

My Season: 21-18

Zach’s Season: 22-17

Mississippi State (-7) at Kentucky 

The Wildcats are on a two game losing skid, while the Bulldogs have won three in a row. Kentucky’s Will Levis, a potential Heisman candidate & possibly one of the top quarterbacks in next spring’s NFL Draft, missed last week’s game with a foot injury, and he may or may not be back this weekend. That puts me in an odd position, because with Levis I like the home team, but without him I agree with the oddsmakers. I’m a big believer in home field advantage, so I’m going to hedge my bets and hope that even without Levis the underdogs stay closer that a touchdown. 

My Pick: Kentucky 

Clemson (-3.5) at Florida State

A decade ago this was a marquee matchup, but the Seminoles have fallen on hard times. At 4-2 perhaps a turnaround is on the horizon, but they face a tall task. The Tigers are undefeated and in the playoff hunt. I don’t believe they’ll finish that high, but, as much as I’d love to pick the upset, I don’t think Clemson’s downfall will occur in Tallahassee. 

My Pick: Clemson 

Arizona (-3) at Seattle

The NFC West  certainly reflects parity in the NFL, which is a nice way of saying that none of the teams in the division have separated themselves from the pack & look much more ordinary than most anticipated. I’m not at all surprised that the 2-3 Seahawks have struggled, but the Cards’ 2-3 start is a bit unexpected. I still believe Arizona is a better team, but Seattle enjoys one of the greatest  home fields in the league, and QB Geno Smith has proven himself worthy thus far, so I’m pulling the trigger on an upset. 

My Pick: Seattle 

James Madison (-10.5) at Georgia Southern 

The 5-0 Dukes are ranked in the Top 25 and undoubtedly would like to stay there. The Eagles have lost two in a row and find themselves cellar dwelling in the Sun Belt. This is a 4pm kickoff on ESPN+, and I don’t think many doubt the outcome. The big question is are the points too much?? Zach doesn’t think so. He foresees a huge, high scoring beatdown.

Zach’s Pick: James Madison 

USC at Utah (-3.5)

The Trojans are ahead of schedule thus far, coming into this one unbeaten & ranked in the Top Ten. However, I predicted they’d lose atleast once and specifically mentioned this game and a late November battle with Notre Dame. That being said, I also expected the Utes to be better than 4-2 at this point. Specifically they are 0-2 against ranked teams. Zach thinks USC is actually underrated, and even though he respects Utah’s team speed he smells an upset brewing. 

Zach’s Pick: USC 

Dallas at Philadelphia (-5)

In the immortal words of the late, great Keith Jackson…whooooaaa Nellie!! NBC has themselves a ratings grabber. The Eagles are undefeated, while the Cowboys look like they have one of the better defenses to come down the pike in quite awhile. It doesn’t even matter that they’re starting an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan at quarterback. Philly has the home field, but it’s possible that Dallas QB Dak Prescott could return from the thumb injury that has kept him out of action the past month. In other words, there are a lot of variables to consider. Zach isn’t sure who’ll come out on top, but thinks the winning margin will be under five points. 

Zach’s Pick: Dallas 

Miami (FL) (-7.5) at Virginia Tech

I’m a sucker for these old Big East battles. Call it nostalgia I suppose. The 2-3 Hurricanes are struggling, but the 2-4 Hokies aren’t any better. I hope everyone is enjoying that ACC money while being an afterthought in college athletics. It’s one of those games that I wish both teams could lose, which obviously won’t happen. Even though my WV Mountaineers beat Tech in Blacksburg earlier this season I still think it’s a formidable home field, so I believe they’ll atleast keep things close. Zach thinks the home team will start hot but cool off on the second half, allowing Miami to pull away for the win. 

My Pick: Virginia Tech 

Z’s Pick: Miami (FL)

LSU at Florida (-2.5)

Even though both teams come into this game at 4-2 and only battling for pride & bowl positioning to a couple of late December games no one will watch it’s still a compelling matchup that ESPN will hype the hell out of to make it seem important. I suppose it does matter to a degree in recruiting, so there is that. The Swamp is a difficult place to play, and the Gators seem to be trending in the right direction after losing three straight in September. Zach believes LSU will be competitive for awhile, but The Swamp is just too big of an obstacle to overcome. 

My Pick: Florida 

Z’s Pick: Florida 

Alabama (-7.5) at Tennessee

We have arrived at this week’s Greatest, Biggest, Most Monumental Game of All Time. The Vols aren’t getting much respect from the folks in Vegas, but perhaps that has more to do with their opponents than anything. ‘Bama is a proven commodity, with a track record of championships & steamrolling opponents…recent history that has actually occurred in this century. Conversely, Tennessee hasn’t won 10+ games in consecutive seasons since the late 90s. But…what about this year?? Not only is Neyland Stadium in Knoxville a daunting venue for visitors, but the home team is undefeated against a pretty solid schedule. The Tide is ranked #3, but struggled to beat Texas A&M last weekend without QB Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman winner who is dealing with an injured shoulder. If Young plays Alabama has a great chance at victory…if he sits again Tennessee should win comfortably. My vibe is that Young plays at less than 100%, leading his team in a valiant effort that falls short. Conversely, Zach thinks it’ll be Alabama’s defense that will lead them to an impressive victory. 

My Pick: Tennessee 

Z’s Pick: Alabama 

Buffalo (-2.5) at Kansas City  

The 4-1 Bills beat the hell out of our Steelers last weekend, but face a much more worthy opponent on Sunday. The 4-1 Chiefs are going to be good as long as Patrick Mahomes is leading the charge, so this game comes down to defense. Will it be a high scoring shootout, or can one of these defenses rise up and prove themselves?? After missing four games with an ankle injury will KC kicker Harrison Butker be active?? I foresee a high scoring game decided by special teams late in the 4th quarter, and The Vibes are telling me the home team will score a mild upset. Zach thinks Josh Allen is actually a better QB right now, and Kansas City can look a little sluggish at times. He thinks a last minute drive to win the game will be led by Allen. 

My Pick: Kansas City  

Z’s Pick: Buffalo 

A Pirates Fan Looks At 50

You never thought you’d be alone this far down the line, but I know what’s been on your mind…you’re afraid it’s all been wasted time. – The Eagles 

A decade ago, upon turning 40 years of age, I pontificated about the occasion and put a pretty positive spin on it. I could do the same now, but it would be intellectually dishonest. The truth is that the last few years have given me way too much time to reflect and ample opportunity to compare my life against others, which I know is useless & dumb, but we humans do alot of dumb stuff. My words here are not meant to be a “poor me” kind of thing nor a cry for help. This is simply a candid evaluation on a significant occasion which will be cathartic for me and perhaps helpful to anyone else with similar feelings. It should be noted that, while I’m not jumping for joy neither am I curled up in a fetal position contemplating a purposeful end to my existence. I consider myself unsatisfied & unfulfilled, but not unhappy. Does that sound crazy?? Perhaps…but it makes sense to me.

My father has always taught us that there is a difference between being alone & being lonely, and I finally understand what he means. Being alone was rarely a burden. As an introvert I actually enjoy…perhaps need…a certain level of solitude. That being said, I’ve watched many friends, acquaintances, and classmates get married & raise families. I’ve observed their children grow up from afar. Quite a few of my peers are actually grandparents now!! None of that really bothered me until fairly recently, but now I feel as though I missed out on so much. Realizing that I don’t have anything to offer another person because I’ve been in survival mode my entire life has been a hard pill to swallow. A combination of health issues, poor choices, and self-inflicted inertia means that I do well just to take care of myself, let alone be the kind of husband a woman desires & deserves. The flip side of that coin is that, after serving time in various medical facilities and literally being unable to get out of bed for long stretches, I have a unique appreciation for small things. Sleeping in my own place, eating my own food, going to a show on occasion, reading a good book, watching an exciting football game, and other simple pleasures mean a lot, and for that I am thankful. 

I have this idea…or maybe it’s more of a hope…that when we get to Heaven someone shows us all the forks in the road along the path we took in life, which could be either really cool or pretty painful for a person. Without boring The Manoverse with details I will just say that I think I can identify those key moments in my life with a high degree of accuracy, and more often than not I’ve gone down the wrong road. I occasionally joke that I used to be smart (because I did well in school) but I’ve gotten dumber as I’ve grown older. The truth is that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was back then, and only now can I recognize just how many wrong decisions I made. 

Another thing Dad has always said though, is that one doesn’t need to look too far to see people in much worse circumstances than yourself, and that axiom has sustained me because it is absolutely true. I have gotten frustrated thru the years when people make a big deal out of fairly commonplace things…the fact that I live independently, that I graduated from college, that I drive a vehicle (admittedly not very well)…because those things aren’t a big deal to me, but the fact that medical professionals thought I might die as a baby and now I’ve hung around a half century is a sobering thought. I have friends, neighbors, & family that battle different health issues than me but that doesn’t mean they are any less challenging. I know folks who have endured unimaginable tragedy and still get up to fight another day. I’m not wealthy by any stretch, but I know many people who have less than me. All in all things could be worse. That may not be as inspiring as you’d prefer, but it’s the best I can do.

So, now I am 50 years old. What does life look like going forward?? I won’t be making any more bucket lists because further lack of achievement certainly wouldn’t brighten my outlook, although I still believe some of those old goals are reachable. My objectives are no longer grandiose because I prefer to keep it real nowadays, but I do hope to make some sort of meaningful impact on society before it’s all said & done. My window of opportunity to marry & procreate may be closed, but I wouldn’t be opposed to finding a nice gal with whom I could spend quality time. I’ll hold any other hopes & dreams close to the vest, but just know that I haven’t completely lost faith in myself or given up on the possibilities life may offer. 

I’ve referenced this on previous occasions, but it seems appropriate to do so again. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in the film Cast Away (which is sadly underappreciated by the masses), I have to stay alive…have to keep breathing, because tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide could bring. My life isn’t what I dreamed it could be four decades ago, which is mostly my fault, but a) it’s not too bad, and b) I’m not done yet. Author Victor Hugo opined that “40 is the old age of youth, while 50 is the youth of old age”, which is rather encouraging. Hebrews 10:23 says “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Isaiah 40:31 states that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength”. I can’t change the past, but hope allows me to embrace this as a truly happy birthday.

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 7

Good news!! We’re both above .500!! After we each went 3-2 in our fun little experiment a week ago it’s back to business as usual. Your Godfather of Cyberspace turns 50 this week, but I don’t have anything too wild planned, and honestly I can’t think of a much better way to celebrate than watching hours & hours of awesome football action. 

My Season: 18-16

Zach’s Season: 20-14

TCU (-6.5) at Kansas 

I almost feel bad for the 5-0 Jayhawks. They’re having their best season in years yet find themselves underdogs at home simply because the 4-0 Horned Frogs beat the snot out of Oklahoma last week. I think that’ll be motivation for Kansas to win comfortably. Zach expects a shootout. He thinks TCU is probably the better team, but believes Kansas will atleast cover the points & may win outright.

My Pick: Kansas 

Z’s Pick: Kansas

Tennessee (-2.5) at LSU

The Vols are 4-0, with wins over Pitt & Florida, while LSU is 4-1, with only a one point loss in their season opener as a blemish on their record. I really like Tennessee, but Death Valley is a tough place for visitors. If this game were in prime time (it should’ve been) I’d really be tempted to pick the underdogs simply because of the atmosphere, but I think the light of day makes it a little less intimidating. Zach views this as Tennessee’s offense vs. LSU’s defense, but, though he has observed improvement, doesn’t think the Bayou Bengals are quite thru taking their lumps just yet. 

My Pick: Tennessee 

Z’s Pick: Tennessee 

Texas (-7) vs. Oklahoma 

The Red River Shootout feels like its being played with cap guns. The Sooners are reeling after two straight losses, while the Longhorns are having a roller coaster 3-2 season themselves. This is a neutral site game at the Palace in Dallas, and I’d really like to pick the upset. However, Oklahoma’s starting QB may or may not play, which is significant. They do have a backup quarterback named General Booty, which is hilarious but not really a factor. Zach thinks Texas is probably the better team, but believes Oklahoma will atleast keep it close. 

My Pick: Texas 

Z’s Pick: Oklahoma 

Texas A&M at Alabama (-24)

Nick Saban & Jimbo Fisher grew up about a half hour away from one another here in northcentral West Virginia, although Saban is about 15 years older. I’m fascinated by this matchup mainly due to the heated words the two exchanged this past offseason and would love to hear what is said during the postgame handshake Saturday night. Unfortunately I don’t think it’ll be much of a contest, as the 3-2 Aggies haven’t found the right combination yet while the 5-0 Tide is rolling, as they tend to do more often than not. The only wild card is the points, and I believe Saban will be particularly invested in embarrassing his old buddy Jimbo. Zach is also looking forward to the postgame handshake, but the points are too scary for his taste. He thinks A&M will keep it respectable. 

My Pick: Alabama 

Z’s Pick: Texas A&M

Cincinnati at Baltimore (-3)

Thankfully for our Steelers the AFC North has gotten off to a pretty bad start as a whole, with the winner of this game taking control of first place with just a 3-2 record. The Ravens lost a heartbreaker to Buffalo last weekend, while the Bengals are on a two game winning streak after losing a couple of close ones out of the gate. I feel like momentum has shifted toward the visitors for the moment, although I expect the division to be competitive throughout the season. Zach really likes Lamar Jackson and foresees him leading his team to a two TD victory. 

My Pick: Cincinnati 

Z’s Pick: Baltimore