POINTS OF PONDERATION…..EPISODE 7.22

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

On 12/8/21 I bought a dozen eggs at the grocery store for $1.29. That same purchase right now costs $3.49. Someone needs to inform the deranged leftist dictator currently occupying the Oval Office that Americans care much more about this problem than we do about Ukraine, climate change, a “vaccine” that not only doesn’t work but is probably killing people, transgender BS, or anything else his evil administration has been gaslighting us with the past two years. 

I’m not interested in a ten minute story about your cat. Please shut your piehole 🙄.

I saw this post in a couple of Facebook groups and didn’t feel like I could freely express my opinion since the “January 6th” silliness has been used as a convenient excuse to turn social media into a fascist dictatorship in which any opinions the “fact” checkers disagree with is suppressed. At any rate, let’s be honest…this list was obviously compiled by an airheaded black millennial. 12 out of the “top” 18 shows have black leads and/or a predominantly black cast. There’s nothing wrong with that, except it is intellectually dishonest to call entrants like MartinGirlfriendsBlack-ish, & Living Single great in any way, shape, or form. The Cosby Show was fantastic, as was The Jeffersons. I won’t even push back too much on Sanford & Son or Diff’rent Strokes, although they are ranked far too high. Also, where is The Andy Griffith ShowFrasier, either of Bob Newhart’s two sitcoms, MASH, and a plethora of others more deserving than half of the shows listed?? Look, I realize these things are largely a matter of opinion, and we are all a product of our generation & our worldview. That being said, perhaps anyone compiling such a list should feel somewhat compelled to respect the readers, respect the genre they’re writing about, and have a shred of common sense.

I still have no idea what the hell pickle ball is 🤷🏻‍♂️🤔🥒.

I can’t respect the thought process of anyone who thinks drag shows are acceptable entertainment for children and refuses to admit that it is blatant grooming. I respect a person’s right to have an opinion, but that does not extend to the opinion itself. It is particularly troubling when someone who holds such beliefs has daily access to large groups of young people. Public schools in America need investigated & reformed. They’ve become breeding grounds for intellectually vacant activists who seek to normalize deviance for kids. Whatever happened to reading, writing, math, history, & science?? That’s what used to be taught in schools. 

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 19

We’re in the home stretch, and there are a few things to consider. My season lead is only two games. Razor thin. Both of us are under .500, and though it won’t be easy finishing above that mark is always a goal. The NFL playoff picture has become pretty clear, though there are a couple of spots up for grabs and seeding to be determined. As always we strive to offer some variety and not pick games involving the same teams every week, but that becomes difficult late on the season since we logically focus on playoff drama. At any rate, Happy New Year Manoverse. I’m not into making resolutions & don’t believe everything is magically different on January 1st than it was on December 31st. However, I do think there’s something to be said for fresh starts & new beginnings. Hope is a powerful thing, so if you’re heading into 2023 with positivity & confidence I wish you all the best. 

My Season: 53-56

Zach’s Season: 51-58

Dallas (-10) at Tennessee 

I really thought the Titans would have double digit victories & win their division comfortably. Instead they are 7-8 and in a dogfight to even make the playoffs. Conversely, the Cowboys are 11-4 & will make the playoffs, though the Eagles will win the division. Tennessee has lost five in a row & QB Ryan Tannehill was lost to an ankle injury a couple of weeks ago, so it’s an uphill climb to be sure. Having said that, I’m not buying what the Cowboys are selling and haven’t since Day 1. They may win the game, but it’ll be a lot closer than the oddsmakers believe. Zach is feeling frisky and has more faith in Dallas QB Dak Prescott than the Titans defense. 

My Pick: Tennessee 

Z’s Pick: Dallas

Jacksonville (-4) at Houston 

No one expected much from either club coming into the season, but the Jags are in the playoff hunt, and despite the Texans probably having a shot at the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft they have become a team no one wants to play after beating Tennessee and giving both Dallas & Kansas City all they could handle. I like the upward trajectory Jacksonville is on their way up, but I don’t believe they’re there quite yet. Houston has embraced the role of spoiler, and I think they’ll get the job done on their home turf. Zach thinks it’ll be close, but believes the visitors will overcome all obstacles late in the second half. 

My Pick: Houston 

Z’s Pick: Jacksonville 

Cleveland at Washington (-2.5)

If the Commanders win their final two games they’ll be in the playoffs. They won’t be mathematically eliminated with a loss, but it would certainly complicate things. Conversely, the 6-9 Browns are exactly who I thought they were. I foresee an easy win for the home team.  Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Washington 

Z’s Pick: Washington 

LA Rams vs. LA Chargers (-6.5)

The Battle of Los Angeles sure would be alot more fun if the Rams were better than 5-10. Meanwhile, the 9-6 Chargers have clinched a wildcard berth. With nothing to play for except pride I think the defending Super Bowl champs will somehow find a way to win. Conversely, Zach thinks the Rams have too many injuries to key personnel to stay competitive. 

My Pick: LA Rams 

Z’s Pick: LA Chargers 

Buffalo (-1) at Cincinnati 

Both teams will playing in the postseason, but that doesn’t mean this game is meaningless. The Bills are battling the Chiefs for the AFC’s top seed & a first round bye, while the Bengals will either win the AFC North or earn a wildcard berth. It’s basically a pick ‘em, and think I like Buffalo given the revenge factor dating back to last years conference title game. Zach boldly predicts a game winning drive led by Joe Burrow, ending with a dramatic score with under a minute remaining. 

My Pick: Buffalo 

Z’s Pick: Cincinnati 

2022-23 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL-A-PALOOZA (Part Deux)

I haven’t been keeping close track of the early results, but I don’t think I’ve been doing too well with these bowl picks. To be honest I haven’t actually watched many games thus far, and it’s not because I’m super busy…I am not. Perhaps the latter half of the slate will hold more interest for me. I hope The Manoverse had a very Merry Christmas, and whatever you have planned for New Year’s festivities be safe, end 2022 on a high note, and turn the page with hope, faith, kindness, and a renewed spirit.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 28

Military Bowl
Duke vs. Central Florida 
2pm/ESPN – Annapolis, MD

Everyone knows Duke is a basketball school, but the football team has done fairly well in recent years. They come into this game 8-4, having won three out of their last four. The Knights are 9-4 but got blasted in the AAC title game. I have always opined that UCF is a sleeping giant, something they’ll have an opportunity to prove when they join the Big 12. This could be a sneaky good game, and I think UCF prevails. Conversely, Zach believes the Blue Devils will win easily. 

My Pick: UCF

Zach’s Pick: Duke 

Liberty Bowl
Arkansas vs. Kansas
5:30pm/ESPN – Memphis, TN

I see what the cunning linguist bowl organizers did here!! I’m actually low key excited about this one. The Jayhawks started out hot at 5-0, but faded fast, losing six out of their last seven. The Razorbacks almost tracked the same, showing flashes of being good, but not nearly enough. I think both teams are better than the records indicate, and I think we’ll see Kansas recapture some of that early success in late December. Zach, on the other hand, sees speed as a key factor and likes Arkansas.

My Pick: Kansas

Zach’s Pick: Arkansas 

Holiday Bowl
Oregon vs. North Carolina
8pm/Fox – San Diego, CA

Perhaps the most underrated game of the postseason. The 9-3 Ducks were six total points away over two games of playing field the PAC 12 title, but of course we all know close doesn’t cut it. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels lost their final three games, including the ACC title game. I think UNC will hang tough for awhile, but look for Oregon to pull away in the 4th quarter. Zach thinks it’ll be a shootout and doesn’t have much faith in Carolina’s defense. 

My Pick: Oregon 

Zach’s Pick: Oregon 

Texas Bowl
Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss
9pm/ESPN – Houston, TX

I don’t know…I’m having a hard time getting juiced about two middle of the pack teams in their respective conferences facing off in the fourth game of the day. I think there will be alot of scoring (definitely take the over), but ultimately the Red Raiders will pull away for a double digit victory. Zach thinks rumors of head coach Lane Kiffin bolting for Auburn factored into them losing 4 out of 5 games down the stretch, and now that the issue has been put to rest they can focus on winning. 

My Pick: Texas Tech 

Zach’s Pick: Ole Miss 

THURSDAY, DEC. 29

Pinstripe Bowl
Minnesota vs. Syracuse
2pm/ESPN – NY, NY

It’s a matchup of two underrated teams. Three of the four Gopher losses came consecutively during a rough October, although it should be noted that they played neither Ohio St. nor Michigan. Syracuse started 6-0 before dropping five straight games. Cold weather in The Bronx shouldn’t bother either club, but ‘Cuse will have more fans in the stands. I foresee a low scoring grinder in which Minnesota controls the clock in the 4th quarter to secure a close win. Zach agrees.

My Pick: Minnesota  

Zach’s Pick: Minnesota 

Cheez-It Bowl
Florida State vs. Oklahoma
5:30pm/ESPN – Orlando, FL

Five years ago this would have been a marquee matchup. My perception is that Florida St. is a team on the rise, while Oklahoma is a team in transition. I think it’ll be a rather comfortable victory for the Seminoles. Zach feels that it’ll be close, but foresees the same outcome. 

My Pick: Florida St. 

Zach’s Pick: Florida St.

Alamo Bowl
Washington vs. Texas
9pm/ESPN – San Antonio, TX

It could be a pretty good game. Maybe. I hope. The 10-2 Huskies were back-to-back mid-season losses away from playing for the PAC 12 title, while the 8-4 Longhorns are trying to claw their way back to relevancy before heading to the SEC in the near future. Obviously the crowd will be strongly pro-Texas, but I think Washington will find a way to  snag victory from the jaws of defeat late in the contest. Zach sees Texas outscoring their opponents in a high scoring contest. 

My Pick: Washington 

Zach’s Pick: Texas 

FRIDAY, DEC. 30

Orange Bowl
Tennessee vs. Clemson
8pm/ESPN – Miami, FL

Okay, now we’re getting to the good games. Both teams coulda/woulda/shoulda been in playoff contention, but things happened & they fell short. Vols fans are probably still flummoxed by the ass whoopin’ their guys received from South Carolina in mid-November, while the 11-2 Tigers aren’t in the playoff for a second consecutive season after six straight appearances. I’d love to see Tennessee win the game, but after losing QB Hendon Hooker to a torn ACL late in the season I don’t think this one will be particularly close. Zach thinks defense & coaching are the difference makers, which favors Clemson. 

My Pick: Clemson  

Zach’s Pick: Clemson 

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Maryland
Noon/ESPN – Charlotte, NC

I prefer Miracle Whip, but I suppose that doesn’t matter. The 8-4 Wolfpack fell short of my expectations, while the 7-5 Terrapins get lost in the Big Ten shuffle & really should consider another conference. NC St. might have a bit of a “home” field advantage, and I  think that’ll be enough. Zach disagrees and thinks those Tagovailoa genes matter. 

My Pick: NC St.

Zach’s Pick: Maryland 

Sun Bowl
UCLA vs. Pitt
2pm/CBS – El Paso, TX

The Sun Bowl remains one of the few bowl games not controlled by the Disney Machine. UCLA comes into the game having lost 2 of the last 3 games, while the Panthers are riding a four game winning streak. Normally I’m a big momentum guy, but I think the Bruins find a way to pull this one out. Zach concurs.

My Pick: UCLA

Zach’s Pick: UCLA

Gator Bowl
South Carolina vs. Notre Dame
3:30pm/ESPN – Jacksonville, FL

I had the Gamecocks in my preseason poll, and though they are unlikely to finish in the Top 15 I believe they will be close with a victory. Certainly their wins over Clemson & especially Tennessee were impressive. The Irish haven’t been as good as I thought they’d be, but the back half of they improved in the back half of their schedule. This is what a bowl game should be…an opportunity for two teams that rarely play one another but have something to prove as they build for the future to make a statement. I see bright things ahead for South Carolina, and this could be an important moment for them. Zach, on the other hand, doesn’t think the Gamecocks have any magic left in the tank.

My Pick: South Carolina 

Zach’s Pick: Notre Dame 

Arizona Bowl
Ohio vs. Wyoming
4:30pm/Barstool – Tucson, AZ

Okay, this is weird. Apparently the game isn’t being broadcast on television at all. I am only vaguely familiar with Barstool Sports, but they’ve expanded into streaming live events now. If you’re a really big fan of either team I am sure you will be able to look around & find it, but one can assume that most casual fans won’t bother. At any rate, I think Wyoming has a more explosive offense and will score on a few big plays. Zach agrees.

My Pick: Wyoming 

Zach’s Pick: Wyoming 

SATURDAY, DEC. 31

Fiesta Bowl – Playoff Semifinal
Michigan vs. Texas Christian 
4pm/ESPN – Glendale, AZ

We made it. We’ve finally gotten to the only games that really matter. I know Zach will pick Michigan, and honestly I can’t disagree. The Horned Frogs have had a great season & deserve all kinds of kudos, but the Wolverines are really good. They have better depth & athleticism. I cannot foresee any circumstance, after falling short against Georgia a year ago, in which Michigan fails to get to the next step. To be honest I wouldn’t totally be shocked if it’s not particularly competitive, although as a football fan I’d prefer a close, exciting game. Zach has decided to be conservative and predict a Michigan victory with a late field goal.

My Pick: Michigan 

Zach’s Pick: Michigan 

Peach Bowl – Playoff Semifinal
Georgia vs. Ohio State
8pm/ESPN – Atlanta, GA

At this moment it looks like I’ll be home on New Year’s Eve, and I’ll probably be hanging with my crazy neighbor who is a big Ohio St. fan. Can they beat the defending champions?? I don’t know. Both teams are loaded with NFL caliber talent. I think I’d give the coaching edge to Georgia, but I like the Buckeyes’ QB a little better. It’s going to come down to discipline & the mental aspects of the game…turnovers, penalties, & clock management. Obviously the Bulldogs will enjoy a huge “home” field advantage. Is that enough?? I really hope this isn’t one of those disappointing games that is built up to be so fantastic only for it to be a blowout that is essentially over by halftime, although it wouldn’t shock me that much. The Buckeyes played in the 2020 National Championship but a) they lost to Alabama & b) many people thought they didn’t belong anyway because of their Covid shortened season, so perhaps they feel like they have something to prove. Not surprisingly, Zach is predicting a blowout win for Georgia.

My Pick: Ohio St.

Zach’s Pick: Georgia 

Music City Bowl
Iowa vs. Kentucky
Noon/ABC – Nashville, TN

These teams deserve more respect. First, everyone will be buzzing about the semifinal games later in the day, plus Alabama is playing on another channel at the same time, and y’all know how that goes. The 7-5 Hawkeyes had a tough stretch in October and are better than the record indicates. The 7-5 Wildcats started strong but faded fast. They’ll be without the services of QB Will Levis, who is hoping to be a Top 5 NFL Draft pick. I think Iowa controls the clock with good ol’ fashioned smashmouth football and grinds out a win. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Iowa 

Zach’s Pick: Iowa 

Sugar Bowl
Alabama vs. Kansas State
Noon/ESPN – New Orleans, LA

I’m not a gambler and haven’t researched it, but I’d almost guarantee ‘Bama is a heavy favorite and most of the “experts” aren’t giving K-St. a snowball’s chance in Hell. That’s not how I roll though. I believe the Wildcats have an opportunity to improve the collective opinion of the masses about their program and the Big 12 conference. Does that mean I think they’ll win?? No. However, don’t be surprised if the outcome is in doubt much deeper into the fourth quarter than anyone expected. Zach, though he agrees on the outcome, falls in line with the masses in predicting a huge & fairly easy Tide win. 

My Pick: Alabama 

Zach’s Pick: Alabama 

MONDAY, JAN. 2

ReliaQuest Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Illinois
Noon/ESPN2 – Tampa, FL

Because the NFL takes precedence on Sunday the traditional New Year’s Day college games are happening the next day. This was formerly known as the Hall of Fame & then the Outback Bowl. In case you are curious ReliaQuest is a cybersecurity company in Tampa. Obviously the big storyline will be the recent passing of Bulldogs coach Mike Leach, and I have to think that every football fan outside of Champaign, IL will be pulling for State. The Illini had a six game hot streak in the middle of the season but lost 3 out of their final 4. Mississippi St. is 8-4 in a roller coaster year. The X’s & O’s don’t really matter, because we all know the best outcome is a State victory in honor of Coach Leach. Zach is confident Illinois can slow the pace of the game to their comfort level & grind out a victory. 

My Pick: Mississippi St.

Zach’s Pick: Illinois 

Citrus Bowl
LSU vs. Purdue
1pm/ABC – Orlando, FL

The Bayou Bengals are unpredictable to say the least. At 9-4 they had the opportunity to win the SEC & maybe sneak into the playoff, but they also lost to 5-7 Texas A&M. Which LSU team will show up?? The Boilermakers are another overlooked Big Ten team that were never in the playoff hunt but did earn a spot in the conference title game. This has the potential to be a fantastic game, but I think LSU has the edge in speed & big play ability. Zach doesn’t think it’ll be particularly competitive.

My Pick: LSU 

Zach’s Pick: LSU 

Cotton Bowl
Southern California vs. Tulane
1pm/ESPN – Arlington, TX

The Trojans would’ve been playoff bound had they not screwed the pooch against Utah in the PAC 12 title game. Tulane has had a nice 11 win season, including an AAC Championship, but let’s be real…this might be one of the worst bowl matchups in recent memory. Southern Cal will be playing third stringers by halftime and still win by atleast three TDs. Zach agrees.

My Pick: USC 

Zach’s Pick: USC 

Rose Bowl

Utah vs. Penn State
5pm/ESPN – Pasadena, CA

I have to give the Rose Bowl credit…even in a playoff obsessed environment they’ve figured out how to remain relevant & make the game still feel like an event. Or maybe I just perceive it that way because I am of a certain age and embrace the history & pageantry of college football. It doesn’t hurt that the Big Ten & PAC 12 are deep leagues with several talented teams. Utah might be the most dangerous team out there. I guarantee none of the four playoff contenders would want to face the 10-3 Utes. The Nittany Lions won’t be intimidated though. Their only two losses were against Michigan & Ohio St., which is nothing to be ashamed of obviously. I really like Utah and believe they could be a playoff team next season, so why not get the party started early?? Zach thinks it will be close, but agrees on the outcome. 

My Pick: Utah  

Zach’s Pick: Utah 

MONDAY, JAN. 9

National Championship Game

Michigan/TCU vs. Georgia/Ohio State 
7:30pm/ESPN – Los Angeles, CA

I’m looking at a Michigan-Ohio St. matchup, while Zach thinks it will be Michigan vs. Georgia. Either way it’s going to be a tough task for the Wolverines. The Buckeyes have tremendous offensive prowess, while Georgia is an intimidating defensive force. Michigan marched into Columbus at the end of November and left with a huge 3 TD+ victory, but the stakes are much higher now. At the end of the day I’m not sure the Wolverines are there quite yet. I think they might have to wait another year to get over the hump. Surprisingly Zach agrees, although he thinks it’ll be the defending champs going back-to-back by defeating his beloved Wolverines. 

My Pick: Ohio St.  

Zach’s Pick: Georgia 

Holiday Evolution 

On Christmas Eve I attended a little get together with my neighbors. I made an entire chocolate peanut butter poke cake and ended up bringing 2/3 of it back with me, so that tells you everything you need to know about that shindig. It was a good idea in theory, but a total bust. That’s Christmas in The Manoverse nowadays. 

I’ve written about the traditional Italian Fish Fest that was a Christmas Eve constant throughout my childhood and into middle age, first at my grandparents house then hosted by my aunt for the past couple of decades. Sadly that gathering “ended” a few years ago…my inclusion in it anyway. I’ll leave it at that. C’est la vie. I always hoped I’d find a lovely wife, have a couple of kids, and serve fish to our extended family at my house, but that dream never came true, which is my responsibility.

In 2021 I attended a couple of quite lovely church services on Christmas Eve, and had intended to go to one this year. Unfortunately Mother Nature decided to rear her ugly head. I am not a fan of cold, ice, & snow. They say discretion is the better part of valor, so I decided to be mature & stay home. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify being lazy. I hope God understands. 

Instead of venturing out into the wintry landscape I stayed home with RedZone & my Steelers. There was a full slate of games in the afternoon, then the Steelers played the Raiders in the nightcap, celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Immaculate Reception & retiring the recently departed Franco Harris’ #32 in the process. They won with a thrilling last minute touchdown, which sadly was the highlight of my Christmas weekend. 

It wasn’t the Christmas Eve I loved for most of my life, but it wasn’t too bad. Christmas Day?? Well, that was kind of tough. 

I don’t want to paint the wrong picture of my nuclear family. We love each other, and we’re close. That being said, a variety of circumstances have altered our Christmas celebration thru the years. I won’t bore y’all with details, but suffice to say I spent the day in solitude watching Christmas movies and a little bit of football. No one is at fault…it’s just how life has happened. 

Having said all of that, my mind wanders to much sadder holidays spent in hospitals & “skilled” nursing facilities. As uneventful as it was this year was so much better than any of that. My father has always opined that there is a difference between being alone & being lonely. Am I lonely?? Perhaps a little. Do I wish I had a lovely lady in my life & some kids running around?? Sure. Would it have been fun to attend a big gathering full of food, music, and mirth?? Of course. But that’s not my life, and that’s okay. The choices are looking pretty slim for New Year’s as well, so I’ll probably end up doing the same thing, which is fine. I really do think God has an impish sense of humor. I captioned a photo of my goofy neighbor last New Year’s Eve “I’m hoping for a younger, prettier, more feminine date next NY Eve”, but the joke’s on me…even he has plans this year, so it’s either go to a party by myself or stay home & watch the College Football Playoff.

At any rate, I feel oddly peaceful about these circumstances because I understand how much worse it could be. I am also blessed to know that Christmas isn’t about gifts or any of the other stuff we get caught up stressing over. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, who would grow up to permanently change the world & die for my sins, paving the way for an eternal life I certainly do not deserve. Come on…the Steelers, eggnog, Ralphie Parker & George Bailey, eternity with Jesus…how cool is that?? It was certainly a Christmas worthy of celebration. 

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 18

Merry Christmas Manoverse!! To be honest I’ve struggled a bit to find my holiday mojo this year, but there have been moments. Unfortunately last weekend was not a seasonal highlight, as Zach (3-2) bested me (1-4), although I am holding on…barely…to the overall lead. This is an odd week, as the vast majority of games are being played on Saturday. There are Thursday & Monday night games, as well as a triple header on Christmas Day. So it looks like I’ll be flipping backing forth between football & movies for four days, which is fine with me. Who needs a wife, children, joy, and a house filled with love & happiness?? 👀

My Season: 50-54

Zach’s Season: 49-55

Seattle at Kansas City (-9.5)

At 7-7 the Seahawks haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention, but they’ve lost 4 out of the last five games and seem to be on a downward spiral. Conversely, the Chiefs have won 7 out of 8 and will win their division for the seventh consecutive year. Their goal now is to overcome Buffalo for the AFC’s top seed & a first round bye. Seattle will be without receiver Tyrone Lockett, which simplifies things for KC’s defense. I’d love to see a competitive contest, but I don’t think we will. Zach agrees.

My Pick: Kansas City 

Z’s Pick: Kansas City 

Cincinnati (-3.5) at New England 

The Bengals have once again proven to be the best team in the AFC North, though they haven’t clinched the division title just yet. Meanwhile, the once mighty Patriots need a little help to back into the postseason. This is one of those games where I wish both teams could lose, but since that isn’t possible I believe Cincy goes into enemy territory & comes out with a hard fought victory. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Cincinnati 

Z’s Pick: Cincinnati 

Philadelphia at Dallas (-5.5)

Philadelphia is the best team in the NFC, although if the season ended right now Dallas would be in the playoffs too. The last time these teams met in Philly in mid-October the Cowboys lost by nine points, and despite the possibility that Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts could be sidelined with a shoulder injury I don’t think the outcome will be any different. Zach agrees. 

My Pick: Philadelphia 

Z’s Pick: Philadelphia 

Green Bay at Miami (-4.5)

Despite an atrocious 6-8 record the Packers have not been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but they need a whole lot of things to go right. The Dolphins would be in the playoffs right now, but they’ve lost three straight games, a trend that has to stop immediately. It is certainly advantageous to be playing in the coziness of South Florida instead of the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field, but battling Aaron Rodgers with his back against a wall is dangerous. Zach, on the other hand, foresees Miami snagging a close victory late in the game. 

My Pick: Green Bay 

Z’s Pick: Miami 

Tampa Bay (-6.5) at Arizona 

Perhaps the only thing scarier that Rodgers in a must-win scenario is Tom Brady backed into a corner. The 6-8 Bucs play in the worst division in the NFL, so theoretically they could lose and still be okay, so long as Carolina, Atlanta, & New Orleans continue to be terrible. Meanwhile, the 4-10 Cardinals will be starting their third string QB due to injuries. On paper this should be a massacre…but will it be?? I gotta tell you folks…The Voices are screaming at me to roll the dice on this one…but I just can’t. I’d love to, but it wouldn’t be smart. Zach agrees.

My Pick: Tampa Bay  

Z’s Pick: Tampa Bay

2022-23 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL-A-PALOOZA (Part 1)

This exercise is always fraught with a variety of pitfalls & unknown wildcards. Coaching changes. Players sitting out to “prepare for the NFL Draft”. Injuries. Teams that are disappointed with their season. And now we can add the freakin’ transfer portal to all of that. A slew of players have already entered into the portal, which obviously changes team chemistry & depth. It is unusual for a star player to go elsewhere, but football fans know how valuable that extra receiver, offensive lineman, or cornerback can become, so it’s certainly a factor. All of these things are why we don’t pay attention to point spreads or take these picks too seriously at all. Instead, we choose to sit back, relax, and simply enjoy a month long football feast. As always, I discourage wagering since we have no idea what we’re talking about with most of these games, but you do you. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & Buon Natale. 

FRI. 12/16

Bahamas Bowl
Miami (OH) vs. Alabama-Birmingham 
11:30am/ESPN

I love the fact that two very average teams from two second rate conferences get a trip to The Bahamas as a reward for their mediocrity. God bless those kids. However, just in case the lads begin to get a little cocky, the fact that they’re kicking off at 11:30am on a Friday should bring them back down to Earth. I’ve got to pull for Miami simply because it’s the alma mater of my man Ben Roethlisberger. Conversely, though he believes the teams are evenly matched, Zach likes UAB’s ground game to pound out a victory. 

My Pick: Miami (OH)

Zach’s Pick: UAB

Cure Bowl
Troy vs. UTSA
3pm/ESPN – Orlando, FL

The 11-2 Trojans are the Sun Belt Champions, while the 11-2 Roadrunners rule C-USA. There’s a chance it could be a sneaky good game, but I think Troy is the better team. Zach foresees a shootout, but thinks it’ll be UTSA quarterback Frank Harris who makes the difference.

My Pick: Troy

Zach’s Pick: UTSA

Sat. 12/17

Fenway Bowl
Cincinnati vs. Louisville
11am/ESPN – Boston, MA

This is a weird one because former Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield was just hired to be the new coach at Cincinnati. Odd. Anyway, the 9-3 Bearcats finished third in the AAC, a far cry from a season ago when they faced off against Alabama in The Playoff. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were a solid 7-5 in the ACC and just welcomed former quarterback Jeff Brohm home as their new head coach. Brohm left Purdue for the job, which seems like a step down, but perhaps he knows something we don’t. Anyway, these new coaches won’t be on the sidelines until next season, so I’m not sure what that means for the bowl game. Cincy isn’t the team they were last year, but I think they’ll channel some of that old mojo and snag a victory. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Cincinnati 

Zach’s Pick: Cincinnati 

Celebration Bowl
Jackson State vs. North Carolina Central
Noon/ABC – Atlanta, GA

The Tigers have received plenty of attention the past few years thanks to soon-to-be former head coach Deion Sanders. Despite being named the new head coach at Colorado Coach Prime will lead Jackson in the bowl game, and he deserves kudos for that. Jackson is actually undefeated, which many of y’all might not know. The Eagles are 9-2, so let’s not overlook their achievements. That being said, I can’t imagine Prime Time going out a loser. Who knows what may lie ahead in Boulder, but in this situation Sanders gets his proper farewell. Zach agrees.

My Pick:  Jackson St.

Zach’s Pick: Jackson St.

New Mexico Bowl
SMU vs. BYU
2:15pm/ESPN – Albuquerque, NM

The 7-5 Cougars certainly didn’t live up to my expectations, but there were some highlights. A double OT win over Baylor in September had everyone dreaming big, as did a narrow win on the blue turf at Boise. Unfortunately going 0 for October doomed any Top 10 dreams. The Mustangs have an identical 7-5 record, with a tough out of conference slate not turning out well for them. I’ll be surprised if BYU doesn’t roll big in this one, but that belief is based on very little. Zach thinks BYU is the more physical team. 

My Pick: BYU

Zach’s Pick: BYU

LA Bowl
Washington State vs. Fresno State
3:30pm/ABC – Los Angeles, CA

I assume that whenever a Mountain West team gets a shot against a PAC 12 opponent it’s a big deal. So can the 9-4 Bulldogs hang with the 7-5 Cougars?? I think they can for awhile, but depth means a lot in the 4th quarter. Zach believes in Fresno’s defense. 

My Pick: Washington St.

Zach’s Pick: Fresno St.

LendingTree Bowl
Rice vs. Southern Mississippi
5:45pm/ESPN – Mobile, AL

Am I missing something when it comes to the state of Alabama?? Why are there three bowl games being played there?? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do have information concerning something else about which you may be curious. How are the Owls playing in the postseason?? Well, apparently when there aren’t enough six win teams there is something called Academic Progress Rating used to choose amongst 5-7 teams, and Rice tops the list. Student athletes earn one point for staying in school & one point for being academically eligible. APR is calculated by dividing a team’s total points then multiplying by 1000. It’s a bit convoluted, but I’m cool with rewarding kids for staying in school & doing well academically. That being said, I don’t believe it will translate to a victory over the 6-6 Golden Eagles. Zach is on the same page. 

My Pick: Southern Miss 

Zach’s Pick: Southern Miss 

Las Vegas Bowl
Oregon State vs. Florida
7:30pm/ABC – Las Vegas, NV

Vegas baby!! Vegas!!!! God bless these youngsters for turning a solid yet underappreciated season into a free trip to Sin City. The 9-3 Beavers lost close games to USC & Washington, and there’s no shame in that. They actually beat in-state rival Oregon, costing the Ducks a conference title opportunity. Meanwhile, the 6-6 Gators have had a roller coaster year, and starting QB Anthony Richardson has declared for the NFL Draft & won’t be playing. That’s not good news. Zach thinks the Beavers have been solid all season and looks for that to continue. 

My Pick: Oregon St. 

Zach’s Pick: Oregon St.

Frisco Bowl
Boise State vs. North Texas
9:15pm/ESPN – Frisco, TX

The 7-6 Mean Green play their home games in Denton, TX (a Dallas suburb known for being the home of pro wrestling’s Von Erich family & the birthplace of legendary rocker Meat Loaf), which is only a half hour away from Frisco. So basically this is a home game for them. The 9-4 Broncos are used to much bigger stages than this, although they haven’t played in a New Year’s game since 2014. This one kicks off at the end of a pretty full day of action, and I’m not sure the matchup is compelling enough to make me change the channel from a plethora of Christmas movies that’ll probably be on that night. Zach is impressed with the Mean Green offense, but believes they’ll fall short in this game.

My Pick: Boise St.

Zach’s Pick: Boise St.

MONDAY, DEC. 19

Myrtle Beach Bowl
Marshall vs. Connecticut 
2:30pm/ESPN – Myrtle Beach, SC

I’m a Marshall alum, so y’all know I’m not picking against my guys. After a monumental September upset of Notre Dame in South Bend the Herd lost three out of the next four games, ultimately finishing 8-4. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I find that record slightly disappointing. The 6-6 Huskies got off to a rough start but improved in the second half of the season. The TV ratings probably won’t be great, but I’ll be watching. Zach thinks UConn’s defense is terrible & the Herd will have a field day.

My Pick: Marshall

Zach’s Pick: Marshall 

TUESDAY, DEC. 20

Potato Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State
3:30pm/ESPN – Boise, ID

I feel bad for teams playing in this group of bowl games. The initial postseason fun factor has worn off. It’s the week of Christmas and folks are busy with last minute preparations. The time slots aren’t great. Even hardcore football fans need a breather before the really good matchups start. I suppose being in a bargain basement bowl game is better than being shut out of postseason play altogether though. The 8-4 Eagles out of the MAC and the 7-4 Spartans out of the Mountain West met in the 1987 California Bowl. Eastern Michigan won that game 30-27, and they haven’t won a bowl game since. I think 35 years is long enough. Conversely, Zach foresees an easy Spartan victory. 

My Pick: Eastern Michigan 

Zach’s Pick: San Jose St.

Boca Raton Bowl
Liberty vs. Toledo
7:30pm/ESPN – Boca Raton, FL

The 8-4 Flames already lost head coach Hugh Freeze to Auburn and hired Jamey Chadwell away from Coastal Carolina, although I assume neither will be on the sidelines for this game. The 8-5 Rockets won the MAC title, and I expect them to score another solid victory. Zach thinks we’re in for a low scoring defensive struggle that favors Liberty. 

My Pick: Toledo 

Zach’s Pick: Liberty 

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21

New Orleans Bowl
South Alabama vs. Western Kentucky
9pm/ESPN – New Orleans, LA

I suppose The Big Easy is another pretty cool landing spot. The Jaguars are 10-2 and riding a five game winning streak, but didn’t even play in the Sun Belt title game because of an October loss to Troy. The 8-5 Hilltoppers played an extra game this season, per an NCAA rule that awards teams for traveling to Hawaii. I don’t foresee this being much of a contest, and expect South ‘Bama to win easily. Zach, on the other hand, believes WKU will score a last second victory.

My Pick: South Alabama

Zach’s Pick: Western Kentucky 

THURSDAY, DEC. 22

Armed Forces Bowl
Baylor vs. Air Force
7:30pm/ESPN – Fort Worth, TX

After going 12-2 & finishing in the Top 5 last season the Bears were a very mediocre 6-6 this year. The Falcons are a very solid 9-3, but had the misfortune of finishing a distant second in their division of the Mountain West. I think Baylor’s speed & athleticism will be too much, and they’ll pull away in the second half. Zach makes note of Baylor’s big game experience, and likes them as well.

My Pick: Baylor 

Zach’s Pick: Baylor

FRIDAY, DEC. 23

Gasparilla Bowl
Wake Forest vs. Missouri
6:30pm/ESPN – Tampa, FL

It’s time for your annual history lesson. José Gaspar was an apocryphal Spanish pirate. “The Last of the Buccaneers” allegedly lived in the Tampa area, plundering & pirating across The Caribbean & The Gulf of Mexico during the late 18th to early 19th century, amassing a huge fortune by taking prizes & ransoming hostages, and died by leaping from his ship rather than face capture by the U.S. Navy, leaving behind an enormous and as-yet undiscovered treasure. Hence the name of this bowl game. As far as the matchup, the 7-5 Demon Deacons are another team that fell back to Earth after going 11-3, appearing in the ACC title game, and winning the Gator Bowl a season ago. The Tigers are 6-6 but gave most of their opponents, including #1 Georgia, all they could handle. I expect more of the same…a fun & competitive game that Wake ultimately finds a way to win. Zach predicts the same result in a low scoring battle. 

My Pick: Wake Forest 

Zach’s Pick: Wake Forest 

Independence Bowl
Houston vs. Louisiana
3pm/ESPN – Shreveport, LA

The 7-5 Cougars are going to have to kick it up a notch moving into the Big 12 next year. The 6-6 Ragin’ Cajuns fell off considerably after three straight double digit win seasons. You may think this looks like a home game for Louisiana, but Houston isn’t that much further from Shreveport than Lafayette, so that isn’t the case. This has potential to be a sneaky good game, and since most of the country will be off work & finished Christmas shopping (😉🙏🏻😂) perhaps there’ll be some eyeballs glued to their TV. It’ll be close, but I think Louisiana will grind out a victory. Zach wants all the gamblers out there to take the over, and thinks Houston will prevail. 

My Pick: Louisiana 

Zach’s Pick: Houston 

SATURDAY, DEC. 24

Hawaii Bowl
Middle Tennessee State vs. San Diego State
8pm/ESPN – Honolulu, HI

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day, or in this case, Christmas Eve. If my calculations are correct an 8pm kickoff here in the eastern time zone means it will be a 2pm start on the big island. I think alot more people will be watching Ralphie Parker, George Bailey, & Ebenezer Scrooge (or the Steelers game on NFL Network) than paying attention to the this, but hey, have fun on your Hawaiian vacation of a lifetime kids. The Blue Raiders are a 7-5 middle-of-the-pack CUSA team, while the Aztecs are a 7-5 upper middle tier Mountain West team. This might be one of those games that nobody watches but everybody wishes they would have after seeing the highlights on Sportscenter. I think SD St. will win a shootout.  Zach agrees.

My Pick: San Diego St.

Zach’s Pick: San Diego St.

MONDAY, DEC. 26

Quick Lane Bowl
Bowling Green vs. New Mexico State
2:30pm/ESPN – Detroit, MI

No, the NCAA isn’t altruistic enough to skip having ball games on Christmas out of respect for Jesus & family. Christmas is on Sunday this year so there are NFL games on the schedule. Anyway, the 6-6 Falcons versus the 6-6 Aggies is about as prosaic as it gets, and I can’t put a shiny happy spin on it. I think Bowling Green gets the victory, but I doubt if I’ll be paying attention. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Bowling Green

Zach’s Pick: Bowling Green 

TUESDAY, DEC. 27

First Responder Bowl
Memphis vs. Utah State
3:15pm/ESPN – Dallas, TX

ESPN is looking to cure our post-Christmas blues with a full day of gridiron action, but I’m a bit skeptical. The 6-6 Tigers had a tough second half of the season, while the 6-6 Aggies were the opposite, starting slow then improving in the latter stages. I know absolutely nothing about either team, but The Voices are telling me to lean toward Utah St. Zach foresees the same result, mostly because of Utah St.’s offensive line.

My Pick: Utah St.

Zach’s Pick: Utah St.

Birmingham Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina
6:45pm/ESPN – Birmingham, AL

Whoever is running the state of Alabama, could y’all throw some advice toward the dolts who’ve been ruining West Virginia for decades?? Coastal recently lost head coach Jamey Chadwell to Liberty, which seems like an odd move on his part. QB Grayson McCall is gone as well…into the transfer portal. The Pirates are an inconsistent 7-5 so who knows what to expect. My vibe is that East Carolina wins comfortably, while Zach thinks some time off is exactly what Coastal needed. He believes they’ll be ready to win the Battle of Carolina.

My Pick: East Carolina 

Zach’s Pick: Coastal Carolina 

Camellia Bowl
Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern
Noon/ESPN – Montgomery, AL

Montgomery to Birmingham is an hour & a half drive, so theoretically you could attend two bowl games in one day. As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to bet there will be people doing that exact thing. It could be a fun post-Christmas adventure. Both teams are 6-6, though it wasn’t long ago that both had ten win seasons. It’s a pretty even matchup, but I think the Eagles will win late, with a turnover or big special teams play being a deciding factor. Zach thinks GA Southern’s option attack is a difference maker.

My Pick: Georgia Southern

Zach’s Pick: Georgia Southern 

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin
10:15pm/ESPN – Phoenix, AZ

Now here’s a sneaky good treat. I picked the wrong horse in the Big 12, as it was TCU to emerge from the formidable shadow of Oklahoma & Texas to earn a playoff berth, while the Cowboys finished 7-5 after a 5-0 start. I can’t criticize the Badgers too much for finishing a pedestrian 6-6 in the Big Ten. There’s no shame in losing to Ohio St., Iowa, and Michigan St. Head coach Paul Chryst was fired barely a month into the season, and former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell will take the reins next year. It’s a late night kick for us here in the east, but I might just have to sneak in a nap so I can stay up to watch. I think OK St. is probably slightly better, though I expect a close contest. Zach is looking at another low scoring slugfest, which he believes favors Wisconsin. 

My Pick: Oklahoma St. 

Zach’s Pick: Wisconsin 

Let’s take a break. We’ll be back soon with the rest of the bowl games. Happy Holidays everyone!!

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 17

Okay, so…I’m running out of time in a busy week. As usual it was a bad idea to pick a Thursday night game, but it is what it is. Both of us are still under .500, so hopefully we can improve on that this weekend. Keep an eye out for our college bowl picks as well. Enjoy. 

My Season: 49-50

Zach’s Season:46-53

San Francisco (-3.5) at Seattle 

Is it possible that Mr. Irrelevant could become the next big time NFL quarterback?? That might be a tad optimistic, but Brock Purdy is impressing people in ‘Frisco thus far. At 7-6 the Seahawks have been far better than I anticipated, thanks on part to QB Geno Smith. Still, they are a couple of games behind the Niners in the division, so this feels like a must win. I think the home field is huge and will rattle Purdy. Conversely, despite their quarterback woes, Zach sees ‘Frisco as being on another level right now. 

My Pick: Seattle 

Z’s Pick: San Francisco 

Miami at Buffalo (-7.5)

The talking heads are once again questioning Tua Tagovailoa, who has struggled the past two games. Conversely, though they haven’t been perfect, few are doubting Buffalo’s Super Bowl credentials. Inclement weather could be a factor, but that still favors the Bills. Despite believing they’ve looked a bit sluggish Zach still thinks Buffalo will overcome the Dolphins’ speed at the skill positions on their way to a dominant win. 

My Pick: Buffalo 

Z’s Pick: Buffalo 

NY Giants at Washington (-4.5)

Neither team is winning the division, but I suppose one or the other could earn a wildcard. I have been surprised by the Giants’ relative success, but I still think Washington is a slightly better team. Zach thinks it’s a pretty even matchup, and he likes New York to snag a close win. 

My Pick: Washington 

Z’s Pick: NY Giants 

Tennessee at LA Chargers (-3)

The Titans will win the AFC South unless they completely collapse down the stretch. The Chargers got a huge win last Sunday night and are certainly in play for a wildcard. Can they get two victories in a row?? I don’t believe so. Ball control is important…Tennessee wins in the trenches. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Tennessee

Z’s Pick: Tennessee 

Detroit at NY Jets (-1)

I told you the Lions would pleasantly surprise people this year, and I also said that the Jets were on the rise but aren’t there quite yet. Both assessments have proven accurate. I don’t even know who’s playing quarterback for the home team this week though, and that’s an issue. I’m predicting a dominant Detroit performance. Zach agrees. 

My Pick: Detroit 

Z’s Pick: Detroit 

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 16

College football’s conference championship weekend wasn’t kind to either one of us. Zach had his worst week of the season, going 2-8, while Yours Truly broke even at 5-5, which was good enough to recapture the season lead. Stay tuned for our College Football Bowl-a-Palooza in the near future, but as far as these picks go it’s all NFL all the time from here on out. 

My Season: 46-48

Zach’s Season: 45-49

NY Jets at Buffalo (-9.5)

The 9-3 Bills are humming along just as most expected, and are the odds on Super Bowl favorites. However, they’ve got some work to do. Meanwhile, the 7-5 Jets are a little ahead of schedule and have a realistic opportunity to make the playoffs if a few dominoes fall in the right direction. One of those things has to be their very own quarterback. Has New York given up on Zach Wilson?? Is Mike White, a 2018 5th round pick from Western Kentucky, the answer?? Can either QB lead their team to the postseason?? A win this week would certainly help, but I don’t think it’ll happen. The only question in my mind is whether Buffalo will cover, and I believe that is likely. Zach is concerned about the points, but not enough to pick the underdogs.

My Pick: Buffalo 

Z’s Pick: Buffalo 

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-6)

In the previous installment of The Battle of Ohio the Bengals posted an easy 19 point victory in Cleveland. But that was six weeks ago, way before noted massage enthusiast Deshaun Watson returned to be the Browns QB. Watson may make things a bit more interesting (on the field 👀), but at the end of the day I expect Cincinnati to get the happy ending. Zach thinks Cincy is hitting their stride & QB Joe Burrow is beginning to resemble the guy he was a year ago. 

My Pick: Cincinnati 

Z’s Pick: Cincinnati 

Houston at Dallas (-17)

The 1-10-1 Texans received three first round draft picks (the first of which they flipped for additional picks and took a guard for their O-line) in trading the aforementioned Watson, so they’re in the early stages of a total rebuild. Conversely, the 9-3 Cowboys are right about where I expected them to be…awaiting an early playoff exit that will surprise absolutely no one. Let’s face it…Houston isn’t winning this game. The only debate is whether the generally underwhelming Dallas offense can repeat last week’s performance in which they layeth the smacketh down on the hapless Colts & put 54 points on the board. I don’t think they’ll do that two weeks in a row, so I’m predicting only a two TD victory. Conversely, Zach likes the Cowboys’ solid rushing attack to lead then to another huge win. 

My Pick: Houston 

Z’s Pick: Dallas 

Minnesota at Detroit (-2)

Have I apologized to the Vikings?? I can’t remember. I predicted Minnesota would be 4-13…instead they are currently 10-2 & will easily win what ESPN’s Chris Berman used to call the Norris Division. I was a little more accurate in my assessment of the Lions, opining that the Lions would be a pleasant surprise, and at 5-7, which is already more wins than a year ago, I think they’ve lived up to mildly positive expectations. I’m a little surprised by the points because even though Detroit has the home field I wouldn’t think they’d be favored. Do the folks in Vegas know something we don’t?? I know the visitors have a few injuries, but doesn’t every NFL team have the same problem this time of year?? Anyway, I’d love to see Detroit defend their home field, but for once I’ve got to allow my brain to overrule my heart. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Minnesota 

Z’s Pick: Minnesota 

Miami (-3.5) at LA Chargers 

Tua Tagavailoa is the starting QB on my dynasty team, and I’ve watched with some level of intrigue all season as talking heads intermittently question his abilities. Isn’t the proof in the pudding though?? The Dolphins are 8-4, just a Buffalo collapse away from leading the division. I’m not sure that’s going to happen, but I like their chances of securing a wildcard. Don’t count out the Chargers either. At 6-6 they’re not winning their division, and a playoff berth will be an uphill climb, but they could easily be 2 or 3 victories better if a few balls had bounced their way. It’s a really tough call because I appreciate what both teams bring to the table. That being said, The Voices are telling me an upset is brewing on Sunday night. Zach thinks turnovers could make the difference & believes in Miami to get the job done. 

My Pick: LA Chargers 

Z’s Pick: Miami 

2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 15

Do you want the good news or the bad news?? I suppose it doesn’t really matter, as it’s all about perspective. We were both a dismal 3-7 last week, meaning Zach maintains the season lead. It also means that I’ve fallen below .500, which doesn’t make me happy. We’re ending the college football portion of our programming with Championship Weekend, with some games occurring Friday night & some on Saturday. I am not sure how much football I’ll get to watch because this weekend begins a pretty full dance card for the entirety of December, but in contrast to being laid up in a medical facility for the Christmas season I can’t complain. 

My Season: 41-43

Zach’s Season: 43-41

C-USA Championship 

North Texas at Texas-San Antonio (-8.5)

With all due respect, I am glad my Marshall Thundering Herd escaped Conference USA, which is basically a starter pack league. That being said, I’m kind of digging this game because the teams involved have cool names. I suppose I am easily entertained. I cannot opine with any level of confidence except to say that the Roadrunners won the title a year ago & have the home field advantage. By the time this game ends on Friday night (it’s on the CBS Sports Network in case you’re interested) I expect that they will have defended their championship and overcome the Mean Green. Zach likes UTSA’s offense in a blowout that’ll be all but over by halftime. 

My Pick: UTSA 

Z’s Pick: UTSA

PAC 12 Championship

Utah vs. Southern California (-3)

It’s pretty simple for the Trojans…win & they’re in The Playoff. One would think that’d be plenty of motivation. However, don’t count out the 9-3 Utes. Granted, they backed into this game via a weird tiebreaker system despite the fact they lost to Oregon a few weeks ago, but we cannot overlook the fact that Utah actually defeated the Trojans in mid-October. That game was decided by a gutsy 2 point conversion in the final minute, and it should be noted that it was in Salt Lake City. Can they do it again on a neutral field?? I’m on the fence to be quite honest, but enjoy playoff controversy and generally lean toward the underdog, so I’m pulling for an upset, whether it’s a smart move or not. Zach predicts a shootout, but thinks USC quarterback & Heisman front runner Caleb Williams is a difference maker. 

My Pick: Utah 

Z’s Pick: USC 

MAC Championship 

Toledo (-1.5) vs. Ohio

There was a brief period of time when I occasionally enjoyed some MACtion when they’d have midweek games on ESPN, but it’s been awhile. This is a neutral site game in Detroit, so there’s no home field advantage. The 7-5 Rockets have lost their last two games, while the 9-3 Bobcats have won seven straight. It’s a Noon kickoff Saturday on ESPN, which might hook some viewers tuned into Gameday, including me. Momentum is obviously leaning toward Ohio, while the oddsmakers like Toledo. When in doubt follow the money, right?? Zach has issues with the entire state of Ohio, but he’s picking the Bobcats in a coin flip. 

My Pick: Toledo 

Z’s Pick: Ohio 

Sun Belt Championship 

Coastal Carolina at Troy (-10.5)

It ticks me off that the Herd aren’t in this game. How in the hell does a team upset Notre Dame in South Bend, then lose to Bowling Green?? My guys were also beaten by the 10-2 Trojans, who come into this game as double digit favorites on a nine game winning streak. The Chanticleers are 9-2 themselves, but could be without the services of starting QB Grayson McCall, who has been suffering from an ankle injury. Coastal got trucked by James Madison last week without McCall, so the prognosis isn’t good if he’s out again. They dominated time of possession in that game with over 40 minutes, but punted nine times & had two turnovers. Zach believes Coastal will be fired up after last week’s stunning loss, and he foresees a rebound win. 

My Pick: Troy 

Z’s Pick: Coastal Carolina 

Mountain West Championship

Fresno State at Boise State (-3.5)

We haven’t talked much about the Broncos this year, but they’re 9-3 on a three game winning streak. The 8-4 Bulldogs started slow but have won seven games in a row. It’s a 4pm Saturday kickoff on Fox, and unfortunately I probably won’t get to see the 4th quarter. Will the contest be decided by then?? Probably not, but I like Boise to come out on top on the infamous blue turf. Zach thinks it’ll be a low scoring defensive struggle, with the home team getting a close victory. 

My Pick: Boise St.

Z’s Pick: Boise St. 

AAC Championship 

Central Florida at Tulane (-3)

The American is another conference that doesn’t hold their title game on a neutral field, which makes it feel like a second rate rematch. The 10-2 Green Wave lost to the 9-3 Knights just a few weeks ago. That game was also in New Orleans, so I don’t know why anyone would expect a different outcome this time. Zach is expecting another competitive contest, but also thinks the outcome will be the same. 

My Pick: UCF 

Z’s Pick: UCF 

Big Ten Championship 

Purdue vs. Michigan (-16.5)

I’m not sure what to think about this one. The undefeated Wolverines are clearly a better team and will secure a spot in The Playoff with a victory. Even with a loss…unless they are inexplicably blown out…I expect Michigan is in the Final Four, although that’s certainly not a guarantee. Having said that, Indianapolis is only an hour away from the 8-4 Boilermakers’ home base, so they might enjoy a slight “home field” advantage. Michigan put so much into defeating Ohio St. last week that this becomes a classic trap game. Throw in the questionable health of RB Blake Corum & a two TDs+ point spread, and all the sudden the picture becomes somewhat murky. Of course the Wolverines rushing attack looked just fine a week ago, with sophomore Donovan Edwards averaging over 9 yards/carry on his way to over 200 yards & two touchdowns. Still, the fact is that the favorites just need to win…they don’t need to win big. So what if they’re up 15-20 points in the fourth quarter & the defense is playing well?? Could they take their foot off the gas just enough for Purdue to cover?? That’s what I’m predicting. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Purdue

Z’s Pick: Purdue 

ACC Championship 

Clemson (-7.5) vs. North Carolina 

I knew it. When ranking Clemson 11th in my preseason poll I said “will they be back in the playoff picture this season…I don’t think so….the only shot Clemson has is to go undefeated in convincing fashion & lay a smackdown on Notre Dame in South Bend”. Instead, the Tigers lost by three TDs to the Irish, were narrowly defeated by in-state rival South Carolina last weekend, and sit 9th in the ranking, just about where I predicted. But…are the 9-3 Tar Heels worthy competition?? Charlotte is a truly neutral site & both teams are coming off losses, so essentially it comes down to coaching & talent. As much as I respect UNC coach Mack Brown I believe Dabo Swinney is better right now, and he has superior talent. Zach likes Carolina to keep it close & atleast cover in a high scoring shootout.

My Pick: Clemson 

Z’s Pick: North Carolina 

Big 12 Championship 

Kansas State vs. Texas Christian (-2.5)

The unbeaten Horned Frogs have more riding on this game than perhaps any other team playing this weekend. If they win they’ll be in The Playoff, but I am not at all confident in their chances of being amongst the Final Four with a loss. Let’s face it…the powers-that-be are chomping at the bit for an excuse to insert Ohio St. or Alabama back into the mix. Meanwhile, with everyone’s attention focused on Fort Worth, TX, the 9-3 Wildcats have quietly put together a pretty solid season. I think this will be a hell of a game for awhile. Much like Michigan, TCU just has to win…they don’t need to blow away the competition. The difference is the points are negligible in this one. When the two teams met back in October TCU score a comfortable ten point victory. It might be a little tighter this time, but I expect a similar outcome. Zach agrees. 

My Pick: TCU

Z’s Pick: TCU

SEC Championship

LSU vs. Georgia (-17.5)

LSU is a confusing team. They began the season with a surprising loss to Florida St. in New Orleans, then won a few games before getting demolished by Tennessee at home. They beat Alabama, but finished the season losing to a Texas A&M team that couldn’t even achieve bowl eligibility. Conversely, the #1 Bulldogs have cruised thru an unblemished schedule, unless you want to hold an early October scrape against Missouri that wasn’t decided until late in the 4th quarter against them. They call this a “neutral” field, but I’m pretty sure most of the 75k people on hand in Atlanta will be leaning a certain way. However, a couple of things must be considered. First, Georgia has played in five SEC title games since 2017 and won only once. Secondly, they are going to The Playoff no matter what, it’s just a matter of seeding. All things considered, I believe the points are simply too much. I wouldn’t be shocked by an outright Bayou Bengals victory, but the more likely scenario is that LSU plays balls to the wall, Georgia rests most of their starters in the second half, and the favorites end up winning by less than ten points. Conversely, Zach doesn’t believe it’ll be any different than most other games on Georgia’s schedule, and thinks they’ll win handily. 

My Pick: LSU

Z’s Pick: Georgia