2021 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 14  

After last weekend’s craziness the playoff committee released their rankings as follows: Georgia, Michigan, Alabama, Cincinnati, Oklahoma St., Notre Dame, & Ohio St.. That’s the Top 7 and no one else really matters. Barring any upsets in the conference title games (a huge IF if there ever was one) the essential questions are these: a) how far will the loser of the SEC Championship fall?? & b) can Oklahoma St. leapfrog Cincinnati if they win the Big 12 title?? Notre Dame is screwed because they’re sitting at home while these other teams are still playing. They need Cincinnati AND Oklahoma St. to lose, and even then the 4th playoff spot could go to Ohio St.. At any rate, our marathon of picks during Rivalry Week turned out slightly better for me (6-3) than Zach (2-7), and the lineup is even more packed this weekend. Unfortunately I have plans Friday & Saturday so I probably won’t be watching much of the action. I should be able to keep up with the scores frequently though.

My Season: 43-43

Zach’s Season: 32-54

C-USA

Western Kentucky at UTSA (-2.5)

The first time these teams met on October 9 in Bowling Green, KY the Roadrunners won a high scoring shootout, so the rematch has the potential to be a lot of fun. I’m pretty pissed that my Marshall Thundering Herd isn’t playing in this one, but they blew their chance in spectacular fashion. Texas-San Antonio has the home field and that’s enough for me. Conversely, Zach feels like momentum favors the Hilltoppers and he thinks they’ll eek out a close win.

My Pick: UTSA 

Z’s Pick: Western Kentucky 

PAC 12 (Las Vegas, NV)

Utah (-3) vs. Oregon 

I am intrigued. When these teams met on November 20 in Salt Lake City the Utes scored a huge 38-7 victory and ended Oregon’s playoff aspirations. Will the Ducks face a similar fate on a neutral field?? I don’t think so. It’ll be much closer this time, and I think the underdogs have what it takes to pull off the mild Friday night upset. Zach, on the other hand, believes Utah is firing on all cylinders right now and has a better team with superior athletes. He agrees that it’ll be closer than the first contest between these two, but thinks the favorites will win again. 

My Pick: Oregon 

Z’s Pick: Utah 

Big 12 (Dallas, TX)

Oklahoma State (-7) vs. Baylor 

On October 2 the Bears went into Stillwater and were defeated 24-14, but this game is being played at Jerry World, aka The Palace in Dallas, so there is no home field advantage. The Cowboys could earn a playoff spot if Cincinnati loses, and a convincing win could make the debate interesting even if Cincy wins. I don’t expect anything to be drastically different than the first meeting, and with (potentially) so much at stake I believe we’re looking at another solid OK St. triumph. Zach is impressed by State’s defense and likes their offensive line, but foresees a tight ballgame that could be decided by a late or overtime field goal. 

My Pick: Oklahoma State

Z’s Pick: Baylor 

Mountain West

Utah State at San Diego State (-3.5)

I don’t know who makes the schedule, but c’mon man!! I should be able to hunker down in my warm bed late at night and watch a fun west coast battle, but instead we’re getting a 3pm EST kickoff. Anyway, these teams have not previously met this season, which is a rarity in conference title games. The 9-3 Aggies face a tough task going into hostile territory against the 11-1 Aztecs, who are riding a four game win streak. I don’t expect anything too crazy and believe the home team will win comfortably. Zach likes Utah St.’s ground game but feels like San Diego St.’s defense will come alive in the second half to secure a win.

My Pick: San Diego State 

Z’s Pick: San Diego State

AAC

Houston at Cincinnati (-11)

The Bearcats are causing me a considerable amount of cognitive dissonance. I’m an underdog guy. Always have been, always will be. That being said, I am just not sure Cincinnati belongs in the playoff. They deserve kudos for going thru their schedule undefeated, but are they truly on the level of any Power 5 opponent they’d face in the semifinal?? I have serious doubts. My feelings about this game are further complicated by the presence of current Cougars & former WVU Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen. We expected big things from him in the Mountain State, and he was a fairly decent 51-38 in seven seasons at the helm. However, Holgorsen clearly wasn’t happy here and jumped at the chance to take the Houston job. Both of these teams will be members of the Big 12 in the near future, so the rivalry will continue to grow. This particular contest isn’t hard to pick for me because the points are just too much. Cincy will probably win, but it won’t be a double digit victory. Zach doesn’t think Cincinnati belongs in the playoff but doesn’t believe the committee will deny them if they win this game. However, he foresees Holgorsen having his team ready to pull off the upset. If that happens no one will be happier than the CFP committee. 

My Pick: Houston

Z’s Pick: Houston 

MAC (Detroit, MI)

Northern Illinois vs. Kent State (-5.5)

I used to be a big fan of MACtion. Their random Tuesday or Wednesday night games were a treat. To be honest though, it’s been a few years since I’ve paid any attention to the conference. I vaguely recall when the Huskies went 12-2 in 2012 and lost to Florida St. in the Orange Bowl. NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch finished third in Heisman voting in 2013 behind Alabama QB AJ McCarron & winner Jameis Winston, the quarterback at Florida St. As far as this game, the Golden Flashes are 7-5 and led a rather weak field in the MAC West, while NIU is a solid but unspectacular 8-4 and were beaten by three TDs in their last game. When these teams met just a few weeks ago Kent won a 52-47 shootout, although NIU scored 20 fourth quarter points as their spirited comeback fell short. I suppose there’s a chance it could be a sneakily entertaining contest, but I’m leaning toward Kent winning by double digits. Conversely, Zach likes NIU to pound the rock and score the upset. 

My Pick: Kent State 

Z’s Pick: Northern Illinois 

Sun Belt

Appalachian State (-3.5) at Louisiana

This is my sleeper pick for best game of the week. On October 12 the Mountaineers traveled to Lafayette and suffered a 41-13 loss, so I’m a bit surprised by the odds. The Ragin’ Cajuns haven’t tasted defeat since losing the season opener at Texas, but it seems like they’re not getting much respect. Perhaps the impending departure of head coach Billy Napier to the Florida Gators is a factor. Otherwise, do the oddsmakers have some inside info, or are they simply making assumptions?? I don’t know. Given the current circumstances and taking what we know at face value I have to lean toward the home team scoring a mild “upset”. Zach predicts special teams will play an important role in an App. St. victory. 

My Pick: Louisiana 

Z’s Pick: Appalachian State

SEC (Atlanta, GA)

Georgia (-6.5) vs. Alabama 

As a certain former President might say, this game is YUUUGGGEEE. Not only will an SEC Champion be crowned, but there are major playoff implications. If Georgia wins they’re in, but it is entirely possible that they could lose yet not fall out of the Top 4. And what about ‘Bama?? Obviously they’d be in with a victory, but what happens if they lose?? Will the committee twist themselves in knots trying to justify only dropping the Tide to #4?? The simplest outcome is also the most likely…the Bulldogs win & cover and remain #1, while Alabama drops to #5 and is denied another National Championship opportunity. That’s what I’m hoping to see. As much as Zach respects Nick Saban he just doesn’t think this Alabama team measures up to their predecessors. He thinks Georgia has the best defense in the country and the offense is pretty good too. He’s predicting a big Bulldogs victory. 

My Pick: Georgia 

Z’s Pick: Georgia 

ACC (Charlotte, NC)

Pitt vs. Wake Forest (-2.5)

Good Lord, could there be a more underwhelming matchup?? The ACC really needs Clemson & Florida St. to figure things out because the rest of the conference is a snoozefest. Credit where it is due though, as the 10-2 Panthers have won four straight, while the Demon Deacons lost two of their final four games but still finished 10-2. The game is theoretically being played at a neutral site, but Wake will enjoy a quasi-home field advantage since their campus is only an hour away. That’s enough for me to predict a mundane & unremarkable victory for the favorites. Zach likes Pitt QB Kenny Pickett and believes he will have a great day picking apart Wake’s defense.

My Pick: Wake Forest

Z’s Pick: Pitt

Big Ten (Indianapolis, IN)

Michigan (-9) vs. Iowa 

I’m not a mental health expert, but I know that folks with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs followed by extraordinary lows. I also understand that it is sometimes difficult for athletes to sustain a high level of intensity. Therefore, my question is what do the 11-1 Wolverines have left in the tank after their magnificent beatdown of Ohio St.?? This game isn’t at The Big House against their archrivals, but they are playing for their first Big Ten title since 2004 and a playoff berth that could lead to their first National Championship since 1997. Theoretically that should be ample motivation, right?? The 10-2 Hawkeyes fell off the radar after two consecutive October losses, yet here they are on a four game winning streak. Closer examination reveals that they won those four games by an average of less than 5 points against teams that are collectively 19-29. In other words their schedule was frontloaded, and they didn’t face Michigan or Ohio St.. Iowa’s most impressive victory was a home game against Penn St., a 7-5 team that lost four out of six games in the second half of the season. I don’t think there’s any way Michigan loses this game. However, I can see a dropoff in energy leading to the final margin of victory being a touchdown or less. Zach is also concerned about an emotional letdown for his beloved Wolverines, as well as the enormous pressure they face in restoring the program to its former glory. He points out that Iowa has won 5 out of the last 7 matchups between the two schools. Having said all of that, he isn’t picking against Michigan again (although it did work a week ago). 

My Pick: Iowa 

Z’s Pick: Michigan 

2019 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 14

 

It all comes down to this…for them, not us. We still have a few more weeks of NFL action, but for now we are all college football one last time. It’s Championship Week, when conference titles will be won and playoff berths will be decided. Last week we didn’t do too bad, with me (5-2) edging out Zach (4-3), thanks to a big Auburn victory that seems to have (thankfully) knocked Alabama out of playoff contention. Credit to Zach though…he has brought his season record back to .500, so I’m going to have to do my due diligence and stay on my toes for the remainder of the season. Most of the conference title games are at neutral sites with a couple of exceptions, and most take place on Saturday (with one notable Friday night game). Enjoy!!

My Season:        47-35

Zach’s Season:  41-41

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah (-6.5)                     vs.              Oregon

Pac 12 Championship (Santa Clara, CA)

Oregon is out of playoff contention thanks to that tough November loss to Arizona St., but a conference championship and playing bigtime spoiler would be a nice consolation prize. Utah needs a domino or two to fall, and the playoff committee might hold a September loss to USC against them since the Trojans finished the regular season a slightly above average 8-4. But have you seen the Utes play?? They have the third best defense in the country, and their offense averages 36 points per game. In other words, they’re legit and would be a solid playoff team. The Ducks aren’t going to make it easy though. This is the Friday night game I mentioned and it should be a lot of fun. I think Utah has too much riding on the outcome and will play their best game. Conversely, Zach believes Oregon will really embrace a spoiler role.

My Pick:     Utah

Z’s Pick:     Oregon

 

 

 

Hawaii       at      Boise State (-14)

Mountain West Championship

I kind of feel sorry for Boise. Year in & year out they win 10 or 11 games and almost always play for the conference title, and their big reward is playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. Not that there is anything wrong with Vegas…I’ve been dying to visit there for years. Anyway, the Broncos have made a couple of splashes in the top bowl games, winning the Fiesta Bowl in 2007, 2010, & 2014. Will they receive a similar opportunity this season?? Well, first they’ll need to win this weekend, which I don’t think will be an issue. Zach thinks Hawaii is better than they’re being given credit for. He falls short of predicting an outright upset, but thinks it’ll definitely be closer than two TDs.

My Pick:     Boise State

Z’s Pick:     Hawaii

 

 

 

Virginia     vs.    Clemson (-28.5)

ACC Championship (Charlotte, NC)

First of all, I don’t believe that Clemson deserves to be in the playoff even if they win this game. Their conference is weak & their schedule is weak other than a non-conference win over Texas A&M. The talking heads can yap all they want to about “resume” and “body of work”, but the simple truth is that Clemson will receive a playoff spot because they are Clemson. They are being rewarded for their recent pedigree, not for what they’ve done this season. Having said that, I don’t think the Tigers will have any issues putting away Virginia. The Cavaliers have had a nice season and will head to a sweet bowl location, but they aren’t winning the ACC title. Will Clemson cover?? They usually do, so I’m just going to roll with it. Zach, on the other hand, is making the smart move. He doesn’t think Virginia will win, but he believes they’re good enough to stay within four TDs.

My Pick:     Clemson

Z’s Pick:     Virginia

 

 

 

Baylor                 vs.              Oklahoma (-9)

Big 12 Championship (Dallas, TX)

As much as I truly believe Utah deserves that fourth playoff berth the “experts” seem to be leaning toward Oklahoma because…well, they’re Oklahoma. People like ESPN’s Paul Finebaum are under the delusion that the masses would rather see the Sooners than the Utes compete for the national championship, but he’s absolutely wrong. Trust me, college football fans are tired of the same old thing. Most fans outside of Tuscaloosa are ecstatic that Alabama won’t be in the playoff, and we’d be just as thrilled to see Oklahoma on the outside looking in. These two teams just did battle a few weeks ago, with Oklahoma scoring a narrow three point victory. I think it’ll be just as close again, and I’m hoping for an upset. Conversely, Zach believes the Sooners will learn from the mistakes they made in the previous matchup and won’t trail the entire game, winning by double digits.

My Pick:     Baylor

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

 

 

Cincinnati                              at                         Memphis (-9.5)

American Athletic Championship

Speaking of rematches, these two teams just played each other a week ago. Memphis scored a ten point victory, which explains the point spread. The winner seems likely to beat out Boise for a New Year’s bowl game, although that’s certainly not etched in stone. At any rate, I see no reason to expect a different outcome from what we saw last weekend. Zach believes Memphis will win again but the Bearcats will make it closer than the first contest.

My Pick:     Memphis

Z’s Pick:     Cincinnai

 

 

 

Georgia                        vs.                       LSU (-7)

SEC Championship (Atlanta, GA)

I don’t think I’d be going too far out on a limb to predict that the Bayou Bengals will be a playoff team no matter what happens this week. Worst case scenario is that they drop to #4 with a loss. Conversely, the Bulldogs have to win to hold onto a playoff spot. These two teams have not played one another this year, so that adds a layer of intrigue. It may be instructive to look at a common opponent: Texas A&M. Georgia beat the Aggies by six points a few weeks ago, while the very next week LSU defeated the Aggies in a 43 point blowout. I don’t think LSU will break a sweat winning this game and will have their backups in early in the second half. Zach foresees a defensive struggle and thinks that LSU quarterback & leading Heisman candidate Joe Burrow will make the difference in the 4th quarter.

My Pick:     LSU

Z’s Pick:     LSU

 

 

 

Ohio State (-16.5)                          vs.                       Wisconsin

Big Ten Championship (Indianapolis, IN)

Much like LSU I don’t see any scenario in which the Buckeyes aren’t in the playoff. I also don’t believe there is any way they’ll lose this game. However, I do think Wisconsin is being overlooked a little bit. That mid-October loss at Illinois really screwed up their season, but they are a better team than that, and RB Jonathan Taylor should be the Heisman frontrunner. I foresee a scenario in which Ohio St….with the bigger picture in mind…decides not to risk injuries to their starters by playing them in the fourth quarter. That might not mean a Badger victory because Ohio St. would have to be ahead by a significant margin for them to make that decision, but it could allow the underdogs to score a couple of times and pull closer. Zach likes Ohio St. RB JK Dobbins, but opines that the Buckeyes have choked in big games in previous years. He not only believes it’ll be a close game, but is picking the outright upset.

My Pick:     Wisconsin

Z’s Pick:     Wisconsin

2019 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 13

It’s Rivalry Week in college football, and while conference realignment has obliterated too much of that sacred tradition there are a few tasty morsels remaining. One game we will not be picking though is Ohio St./Michigan. Y’all know we don’t pick Steelers, WV Mountaineers, or Marshall Thundering Herd games specifically because Zach & I both love the Steelers, I’m a Marshall alum, & we’ve both grown up as Mountaineer fans. So it dawned on me that perhaps it is a bit unfair to make Zach pick games involving his beloved Wolverines, atleast when the game is as important as this one. Fortunately there are enough interesting options that we have a full slate+ even without that game. Some of these occur on Black Friday, most are on Saturday. I won’t remember exactly which is which, but The Manoverse is smart enough to figure it out. Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving.

My Season:        42-33

Zach’s Season:  37-38

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cincinnati                             at                Memphis (-10.5)

We don’t pick a lot of “Group of Five” games, but this one is kind of important. The best team from the “other” five conferences gets an opportunity to face one of the big boys in a New Year’s bowl game, and right now it looks like the winner of this game will have a leg up on the competition, although Boise St. is in the mix as well. On top of all that, Cincinnati has already clinched a spot in the AAC title game, and Memphis could do the same with a victory, so there could be a rematch next week. Actually a rematch is pretty much a done deal because Memphis would hold tiebreakers over both Navy & SMU. At any rate, the Tigers have the home field and are riding a five game win streak, while the only blemish for the Bearcats is an early September loss to Ohio St., which is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m not sure why Memphis is a double digit favorite even playing at home. The points are enough to scare me off and choose Cincinnati. Zach concurs and thinks it’ll be a high scoring affair decided by single digits.

My Pick:     Cincinnati

Z’s Pick:     Cincinnati

 

 

 

 

Oregon State               at                Oregon (-19.5)

They call this game The Civil War and it goes back 125 years. The Ducks were in the playoff hunt but got upset last week. They’ve already sewn up a spot in the Pac 12 title game though, so they can focus their attention on battling Utah for a trip to the Rose Bowl. The Beavers are 5-6 and need a victory to achieve bowl eligibility. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but what about the points?? 19 & a half is a lot…but I’m rolling the dice and taking the home favorites to cover. Zach agrees. He likes the Ducks to rebound from that heartbreaking loss and win this one in a blowout.

My Pick:     Oregon

Z’s Pick:     Oregon

 

 

 

 

Clemson (-27)             at                South Carolina

Has Clemson actually played anyone other than Texas A&M?? Why are they in the playoff conversation?? I was under the impression that what happened last year isn’t supposed to matter, but clearly the committee takes reputation into account. Having said that, I don’t think South Carolina can pull off another upset like they did against Georgia back in October, but can they stay within four TDs?? The Gamecocks have the home field, and if they have a shred of pride & an ounce of fight left in them I surely hope they can atleast keep it respectable. Zach thinks Clemson is overrated but concedes that they will be in the playoff. With that in mind he foresees Dabo Swinney calling off the dogs and playing conservatively in the second half.

My Pick:     South Carolina

Z’s Pick:     South Carolina

 

 

 

 

Arizona               at                Arizona State (-13.5)

We were all over our pal Herm Edwards and his early season success with the Sun Devils, but they’ve kind of fallen off a bit in the past couple of months…until last week’s huge upset of Oregon. At 6-5 State has already achieved bowl eligibility, while the 4-7 Wildcats aren’t going anywhere but home after this game. They call this the Duel in the Desert, but I don’t anticipate much of a contest. It might be fairly close for 2 or 3 quarters, but I think State is clearly the superior team and will win easily. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Arizona State

Z’s Pick:     Arizona State

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin (-2.5)                            at                         Minnesota

There are games that will get more attention, but we shouldn’t overlook the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, a rivalry that goes back 128 years. On top of the long history this year’s contest features two teams hoping for a Top Ten finish, even if it is likely they’ll both miss the playoff. The winner will receive the opportunity to get beaten by Ohio St. in the Big Ten title game, but both teams will land in very nice bowl locations. The Badgers are 9-2 and have to be kicking themselves for that close October loss to Illinois. The 9-2 Gophers were an early playoff contender, but losing at Iowa a couple of weeks ago killed that dream. I’m predicting a good old-fashioned slugfest…classic smashmouth football. In that case I like Wisconsin’s offensive line to wear down the opposition and snag a win in the 4th quarter. Zach agrees and thinks Wisconsin will ride Heisman Trophy candidate & the nation’s second leading rusher Jonathan Taylor to victory.

My Pick:     Wisconsin

Z’s Pick:     Wisconsin

 

 

 

Oklahoma (-13)           at                Oklahoma State

They call this game Bedlam, and that could be the case if the Cowboys pull off the upset at home. For some reason there are still a few talking heads who seem to believe that the Sooners have a shot to make the playoff. Anything is possible, but they’d need to have three teams currently ranked above them fall. One definitely will (the loser of the SEC title game). Two is possible. Three is probably asking too much. Nevertheless, they do have a date with Baylor in the Big 12 title game, and finishing the season with two big wins could impress the committee. State has shown me no reason to believe that they can hang with their in-state rival, so I think this is going to be a rather easy win for the road favorites. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Oklahoma

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

 

 

 

Alabama (-3.5)             at                Auburn

The Iron Bowl is always entertaining, but when there is something on the line besides bragging rights it’s even more fun. I’ve always thought that the playoff committee would do everything they possibly could to get the Tide into the playoff no matter what, and this season is no exception. Georgia will meet LSU in the SEC title game, but since ‘Bama is currently ranked fifth it feels like that fourth spot will come down to Utah (if they win the Pac 12 championship), maybe Oklahoma, possibly the loser of the SEC championship (especially if that is LSU)…and Alabama. In that scenario don’t be surprised if Nick Saban gets an early Christmas gift. But…but…they have to take care of business this week first and that’s easier said than done. Auburn is 8-3 but all three losses have come in the past six weeks. I really don’t know what to expect, but I think it’ll come down to the final five minutes and be decided by less than a field goal. Conversely, Zach thinks ‘Bama will be able to run the ball and get a decisive win.

My Pick:     Auburn

Z’s Pick:     Alabama

2018 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 14

Our record setting round of bonus picks didn’t really prove all that much last week. Zach (9-8) lost out to myself (10-7) largely due to his misguided Michigan loyalty, but otherwise it’s basically just more mediocrity from us both. We are still focusing exclusively on college football because this is Championship Week when conference titles will be won & lost and the playoff picture will finally work itself out.

My Season:        42-44

Z’s Season:        36-50

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah                              vs.              Washington (-5.5)

Pac 12 Championship (Santa Clara, CA)

I’m excited because this is a Friday night game and I’ll get to catch the last quarter or so at work. The Huskies upset in-state rival Washington St. last weekend, while the Utes are riding a three game winning streak after a hard fought battle against BYU a week ago. The Vibes are telling me that Washington has the momentum coming into this game, so that’s the way I’m going to lean. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Washington

 

 

 

Texas                  vs.              Oklahoma (-7.5)

Big 12 Championship (Arlington, TX)

I feel like I should be more interested in this one, but I’m having a hard time giving a damn because I really wanted my WV Mountaineers to be playing in the game. If the Sooners win they may find themselves in the playoff…or not. Who knows?? This is a rematch of a game that took place a couple of months ago, when Texas prevailed by a just a field goal in a high scoring shootout. I’d definitely take the over in this one if you’re into that kind of thing, but with so much at stake I expect a different outcome, and so does Zach.

My Pick:     Oklahoma

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

 

 

Memphis            at                Central Florida (-4.5)

American Athletic Championship

The college football community continues to give the Knights zero respect, which may or may not be valid. All I know is that they haven’t lost a game in two years, which is pretty doggone impressive. This is one of the rare conference title games not played on a neutral field, which means UCF is at home. I am somewhat surprised the points aren’t atleast a touchdown or more, but obviously there are questions since UCF starting quarterback McKenzie Milton had his season ended prematurely with a catastrophic knee injury. However, that injury occurred in the first half of last week’s game and the Knights went on to a fairly easy 38-10 win, so clearly the team has talent beyond Milton. I see no reason to expect an upset in this situation. Zach expects a high scoring nail biter but thinks the favorites will win by a touchdown.

My Pick:     UCF

Z’s Pick:     UCF

 

 

 

Alabama (-13.5)          vs.              Georgia

SEC Championship (Atlanta, GA)

I am beyond bored by the idea of this game. I believe ‘Bama is in the playoff win or lose. Georgia would certainly be in with a win, but there is some chatter that they could still make it even with a loss, which is absurd. If that actually happens they need to just scrap the entire playoff system. I have zero interest in watching and don’t care enough to even make a pick. Zach likes the Tide to roll…sort of. He believes the Bulldogs will be pumped up early and keep it close, but Alabama will prevail. He just doesn’t think they’ll cover the points.

My Pick:     I Don’t Care

Z’s Pick:     Georgia

 

 

 

Clemson (-25.5)          vs.              Pitt

ACC Championship (Charlotte, NC)

Yeah…you’re season is over sPitt (except for a meaningless bowl game in which they’ll get throttled). There is no way on God’s green Earth Clemson is losing this game. Will the Tigers cover the points?? Hell, I hope they double it. Conversely, Zach doesn’t like the spread at all. He thinks the Panthers will keep things close until the fourth quarter before ultimately falling short.

My Pick:     Clemson

Z’s Pick:     Pitt

 

 

 

 

Fresno State               at                Boise State (-2.5)

Mountain West Championship

Fresno has had a nice ten win season, but they aren’t beating Boise on the blue turf. I’m kind of ticked that they’re kicking off at 7:45pm EST Saturday night. The charm of the west coast games is that I can usually watch them at work late at night, but I guess they’re trying to get more exposure or something. Zach likes the Broncos to win easily.

My Pick:     Boise St.

Z’s Pick:     Boise St.

 

 

 

Northwestern              vs.              Ohio State (-12.5)

Big Ten Championship (Indianapolis, IN)

It’s not that this is the best game of the weekend because I expect the Buckeyes to win easily, but it is probably the most important contest to keep an eye on. In the battle for an elusive playoff spot the talking heads are all about “style points”. Personally I think beating the snot out of Michigan by three TDs and hanging 62 points on what was supposed to be a stout defense was remarkable, but a similarly dominant performance this week is probably necessary. Zach is still a bit churlish about that beatdown his Wolverines took, so he’s picking the Wildcats to win in overtime.

My Pick:     Ohio St.

Z’s Pick:     Northwestern

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released next week, but we already have a pretty good idea about the teams…probably about a dozen at the moment…that are a legit part of the debate. And while all of that adds a layer of interest to the conversation I must admit that it creates an odd dynamic for these picks since I don’t really want to focus on just a handful of teams over & over again for the next several weeks. We have the same issue with the NFL because, while they are only at the mid-point of the season, the difference between contenders & pretenders is becoming clear. As fans it is expected that we pay more attention to good teams and competitive matchups, but on the other hand I don’t want to bore Zach, myself, & whoever else might be out there reading our silly little opinions. At any rate, we’ll do the best we can, and hopefully going forward that’ll mean being better than last week. I went 2-3, while Zach was 1-4 (a half point made the difference in the Jets-Dolphins game). Overall we are both still keeping our heads above water, but I think we need to wash the nasty taste of a subpar week out of our mouths with some bonus picks today. You’re welcome.

My Season:  25-22

Z’s Season:   24-23

 

 

 

 

 

Miami (FL) (-20.5)        at      North Carolina

Is The U back?? Possibly. Right now the ‘Canes are 6-0 and in the Top Ten, but they still have home games against Virginia Tech & Notre Dame, so we’ll see. The 1-7 Tar Heels can only hope that Miami is looking ahead to those two games and isn’t prepared for this one, which seems unlikely. I am typically uncomfortable with three touchdown point spreads, but I think I’m okay with it for this particular game. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Miami (FL)

Z’s Pick:     Miami (FL)

 

 

Wisconsin (-26.5)       at      Illinois

The Big Ten has Ohio St., Penn St., & Michigan, so up until now no one has paid much attention to the 7-0 Badgers. Well…except whoever votes in the polls since they are in the Top 5. Wisconsin has a very real chance to make it into the playoff, especially since Michigan isn’t living up to the hype and the other two previously mentioned teams aren’t on the schedule. Conversely, the 2-5 Illini have lost five straight after unimpressive victories over inferior opponents to begin the season. Wisconsin will win this game, but by how much?? I’m feeling frisky, so let’s roll the dice on another huge point spread. Zach isn’t sold on Wisconsin, but he believes they’ll win this game…just not by 26 points.

My Pick:     Wisconsin

Z’s Pick:     Illinois

 

 

Georgia (-14)               vs.    Florida

For decades this rivalry was known as The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but the PC Police nixed that moniker several years ago, atleast on an official basis. I’m sure fans & alumni of both schools still call it that. Anyway, it is a “neutral” site game played in Jacksonville, FL, which is about 71 miles from Gainesville, FL and over 300 miles from Athens, GA. I guess they define neutral differently in The South. The 7-0 Bulldogs are serious playoff contenders and seem to be headed toward a clash with Alabama in the SEC title game. The Gators are 3-3…far below expectations. I assume Florida will finish the season with 7 or 8 wins and play in some December bowl game that no one will watch, but let’s be honest…this is their championship game. They would love nothing more than to torpedo Georgia’s National Championship dreams. Do I think that’ll happen?? No, but they’ll give it a good try at home in The Swamp and probably keep it closer than two TDs. Zach isn’t totally sold on Georgia either and thinks they haven’t really been tested yet, but he doesn’t believe the Gators will be much competition either.

My Pick:     Florida

Z’s Pick:     Georgia

 

 

UCLA                            at      Washington (-17.5)

Who will emerge at the top of the Pac 12, and will that team be included in the playoff?? The answers…at this stage…are “Who knows??” and “It’s not looking good”. The Huskies are 6-1 and in a dog fight to win their division. The 4-3 Bruins have not bounced back from a putrid 2016 nearly as well as I thought they would, even though QB Josh Rosen has remained healthy. If this game were being played in Los Angeles I’d pick the underdogs in a heartbeat, but it’s not. I’m kind of ticked off that the game isn’t scheduled for prime time (late at night here on the East Coast) so I could have something to entertain me at work that night, but that’s life. I might regret it, but I’m going to go with my gut and believe in UCLA to keep it competitive. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     UCLA

Z’s Pick:     UCLA

 

 

Houston                       at      South Florida (-10.5)

According to NCAA post-season rules the highest ranked team from the five “lower” conferences gets thrown a bone…an opportunity to play in one of the bigtime New Year’s bowl games. It is the college football equivalent of affirmative action. What they really should do is split Division 1-A, aka the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) into two separate divisions, each with its own national title, but that’s a discussion for another day. Right now South Florida, Central Florida, & Memphis are contenders for that spot. The 7-0 Bulls have had one game cancelled and one rescheduled because of hurricanes, but the cancelled game was against a 1-AA/FCS opponent so it doesn’t really matter. Meanwhile, the 4-3 Cougars have fallen off just a bit under new head coach Major Applewhite. I suspect that’ll change in the future, but for now they’ll have to take their lumps. I ranked South Florida in my pre-season Top Ten, and I think they can still get there if they keep on winning, which I expect they’ll do. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     South Florida

Z’s Pick:     South Florida

 

 

Utah (-3.5)                    at      Oregon

I expect this game to be sneaky good. The Utes have lost three straight games after beginning the season with four wins. The 4-4 Ducks are also on a three game losing streak. Obviously neither team is going to win the conference, but they can play the spoiler role and also position themselves for a lovely tropical bowl location. I think 100+ points collectively will be scored, and I’m going to pick the underdogs to get the job done at home. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Oregon

Z’s Pick:     Oregon

 

 

Penn State                   at      Ohio State (-6.5)

This is it. This is the big one. The greatest game ever…atleast for this week. The Nittany Lions are 7-0, ranked #2 in the country, a shoe-in to play in the Big Ten title game, and solidly in the college football playoff. However, all of that could change with a loss at The Horseshoe in Columbus. After an early season loss to Oklahoma the Buckeyes have rebounded and currently stand at 6-1, still have a shot to play in the conference championship game, and at #6 in the polls could easily vault back into playoff contention. I know Ohio St. has the home field, but I am still surprised that they are favored by a touchdown. That is either wicked awesome respect for the Buckeyes, or total disregard for Penn St. Perhaps it’s a little of both. In my pre-season poll I opined that if the Lions could split games against Ohio St. and Michigan they’d be national title contenders. That may have been too optimistic. They took care of the Wolverines last weekend, but a loss in this game would likely eliminate any playoff hopes. Conversely, I predicted that Ohio St.’s playoff aspirations would be crushed by either Penn St. or Michigan. I honestly didn’t think they’d lose to Oklahoma. So how will this game shake out?? The home field advantage is undeniable, and I’m not sure Penn St. can get “up” two weeks in a row. I’m not confident at all choosing either way, but I will ride the wave of my pre-season forecast. Zach’s disdain for Ohio St. is limitless and actually a bit tedious at this point lol.

My Pick:     Penn St.

Z’s Pick:     Penn St.

 

 

Oakland    at      Buffalo (-2.5)

These are two of the more surprising teams in the NFL…for completely different reasons. The Raiders are 3-4 and already way behind the proverbial eight ball in their division. Conversely, the 4-2 Bills are only a half-game behind the Patriots. I don’t think it’d be out of line to say that this is a battle for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Is Buffalo for real?? Can Oakland battle back from an uneven start and prove they’re the legit contender many thought they’d be?? I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to such matters. If the Bills are really that good this is the time to prove it, but I still think the Raiders are the better team. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Oakland

 

 

Houston   at      Seattle (-6)

The 3-3 Texans are coming out of their bye week, and I think they are better than their record would indicate. That being said, the 4-2 Seahawks are pretty darn good too…especially at home. I love Houston QB Deshaun Watson, and I’ll be rooting for him in this game. However, I think it might be a little too much to ask a rookie to go into Seattle and win. Zach is a little suspicious of Seattle’s offensive line and thinks that might be enough for Houston’s defense to get the job done. I wouldn’t be mad if he’s right.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Houston