2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

pfootIt wasn’t my intention to do bonus picks again so soon, but both the college & NFL schedules are chockful of intriguing matchups and I just can’t resist. Last week was a rough one for yours truly, as I could only muster a record of 1-4, while Zach fared a little better at 2-3. Obviously neither of us have a bright future in the prognostication arts, but we’ll have fun trying.

My Season:        22-24

Z’s Season:        16-31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California                     at                USC (-15.5)

The Bears come into this game 4-3, but it must be noted that two of those losses were by 5 points or less, and they’ve split the last two games in overtime. Meanwhile,cal the Trojans have an identical 4-3 record but are riding a three game winning streak. This is a Thursday night contest, and while it is a home game for Southern Cal the 2 TD+ spread seems a bit much. I think it’ll be closer and Zach agrees.

My Pick:     California

Z’s Pick:     California

 

 

Michigan (-24)             at                Michigan St.

A year ago the Spartans escaped with a thrilling last second victory after a touchdown on a fumbled punt. But that team was undefeated and would go on to play in the national Michigan_State_Spartansplayoff semifinal. In 2016 the tables have been turned. The Wolverines are undefeated and ranked #2 in the country while State has lost five straight to stand at 2-5. I am not quite sure what has happened in East Lansing outside of the normal ebb & flow of players graduating & new ones stepping up take those spots, but obviously things have taken a bad turn. Conversely, Jim Harbaugh has coached his alma mater back to relevancy much quicker than I anticipated, although few are really shocked that they have been successful. I’d be surprised if the favorites lost, but I’d be almost as surprised if Sparty didn’t show some pride in defending their home field. Zach is a big Michigan fan but he agrees.

My Pick:     Michigan St.

Z’s Pick:     Michigan St.

 

 

Baylor (-3)          at                Texas

I thought that it’d be Baylor having a rough year given their…eventful…offseason, while Texas would show some life with Charlie Strong’s job on the line. However the bayloropposite has happened thus far. The Bears are 6-0 and have barely been tested. The Longhorns are 3-4 and probably already have a list of candidates to replace Strong. I’d LOVE to pick the upset…but I just can’t pull the trigger, even with the game being played in Austin. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Baylor

Z’s Pick:     Baylor

 

 

Washington (-10)       at                Utah

utah2The Huskies are a very quiet 7-0, ranked 4th in the polls, & look like a solid playoff team unless they stumble down the stretch. Could that washington2misstep come against the 7-1 Utes in Salt Lake City?? I think it is possible. At the very least I am uncomfortable with a double digit point spread.  Zach has no issues with the spread. He thinks it’ll be close for three quarters but Washington will take over in the end.

My Pick:     Utah

Z’s Pick:     Washington

 

 

Nebraska           at                Wisconsin (-8.5)

nebraskaThis is the prime time game on ESPN Saturday night. The Huskers have rather quietly amassed a perfect 7-0 record, while the Badgers have lost WisconsinBadgerstwice…to Michigan & Ohio St….nothing to be ashamed about. Wisconsin gets the home field bump, which is understandable. But are the points too much?? I think they might be. Zach thinks Nebraska is overrated and he likes Wisconsin’s defense.

My Pick:     Nebraska

Z’s Pick:     Wisconsin

 

 

Clemson (-4.5)            at                Florida St.

Florida_State_SeminolesBefore the season began this game looked like it could decide a playoff spot. Unfortunately the Seminoles have dropped a couple of games and clemsonare unlikely to re-enter the playoff conversation. However the Tigers, despite a few close shaves, remain undefeated and very much in the playoff hunt. As much as I’d love to stick with my pre-season choice and pick Clemson The Vibes are reminding me that this game is in Tallahassee, that Florida St. is still a very good team, & that Clemson has been on the cusp of losing a couple of times and their luck can’t run on forever. Zach believes the Seminoles will put up a good fight but Clemson will be too much in the 4th quarter.

My Pick:     Florida St.

Z’s Pick:     Clemson

 

 

Kansas City (-2.5)      at                Indianapolis

The Chiefs were one of my pre-season Super Bowl picks, but thus far they are an underwhelming 4-2 and trailing both the Raiders & Broncos in the AFC West. The kc-chiefs-logoColts aren’t much better. At 3-4 they still have a chance to win their division as I predicted only because the Texans aren’t very good. It is interesting that Indy is a home underdog. If the folks in Vegas aren’t going to respect them why should I?? Zach likes the Chiefs to outcoach the opponent and snag a victory.

My Pick:     Kansas City

Z’s Pick:     Kansas City

 

 

Oakland             at                Tampa Bay (-1.5)

The Raiders have been fairly impressive in what seems to be the culmination of a decade long rebuild, leading their division at 5-2. The Bucs have been…alright. They raidersare 3-3 and occasionally show flashes of…something. Whatever it is they aren’t there yet and Oakland is ahead of their progress by a country mile. Zach notes that Tampa has suffered some key injuries and thinks the Raiders will be a playoff team.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Oakland

 

 

Arizona               at                Carolina (-2.5)

Many pundits thought the Cards were a Super Bowl favorite this season, but so far they’ve looked rather mediocre. The Panthers have been even worse, following in the footsteps of other Super Bowl losers of the past by stinking up the joint the following year. I have no idea what the problem is, but it is irrefutable that a problem exists.nflarizonacardinals Carolina is probably already out of playoff contention, but Arizona can still recover and win their division. This looks like a tossup on paper, but I’m gonna go with the visiting underdogs. Zach agrees. He likes the Cardinals’ defense to lead them to victory.

My Pick:     Arizona

Z’s Pick:     Arizona

2015 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 8

football_goalThe college football schedule is so unappealing this week that ESPN’s College Gameday is headed to Harrisonburg, VA, the site of a 1-AA game pitting James Madison against Richmond. Nevertheless, not only did I find enough games to choose from, but y’all are getting bonus picks to make up for last week’s shortfall. You’re welcome. Speaking of last week, I went 3-1, while Zach was 1-3. Michigan wasn’t going to cover the 8 ½ points even if they hadn’t lost to Michigan State outright on what is sure to become a legendary last second play. LSU won by 7 points…not 7 ½…which was bad for both Zach and me. Conversely, the hated Patriots beat the Colts by only 7 points…not 7 ½…which was good for me (but not Zach). I don’t know how the oddsmakers come up with point spreads, but it is impressive just how accurate they often are. Anyway, for the season thus far I am 24-13, while Zach is 16-21. Like I said, we’re picking some extra games this week, so enjoy, and don’t hesitate to leave feedback and tell your friends about these picks and other content one can find here. We’re always looking for ways to expand The Manoverse and all are welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

Pitt (-7) at Syracuse
syracuseThis just in…Pitt still sucks to those of us living in West Virginia, although I do miss The Backyard Brawl. I haven’t kept up shitwith these two programs much since they joined the ACC, mostly because they had become irrelevant years before that. But surprisingly enough the Panthers have actually snuck into the rankings with a record of 5-1. I don’t think they are anywhere close to recapturing the glory days of Tony Dorsett & Dan Marino, but I’ll give credit where credit is due. Meanwhile, the Orangemen still seem to be adrift in the wilderness that they’ve been wandering for most of the past fifteen years. I don’t know enough about either team to offer astute analysis, so I’ll just go with my heart, which is figuratively emblazoned with the slogan Eat Shit Pitt. Old habits die hard. On the flip side, Zach is young enough to not be jaded by decades of Panther hate and he likes their potent ground game.

My Pick: Syracuse
Z’s Pick: Pitt

 

 

Kansas at Oklahoma St. (-33.5)
kansasI chose this game simply because of the large point spread. Few doubt the Cowboys will win, but the question is by how much?? Again, it is amazing just how precise the folks in Vegas can oftentimes be, so I don’t doubt the final margin of victory will be somewhere in the 30-35 point range. I’ve won & lost picks over the years by as little as a half point, so that’s probably the kind of situation we have here. Oklahoma St. has only beaten one team by more than 30 points, while the Jayhawks have only lost twice by 30+, so I’ll go out on a limb and say that the favorites will win by four TDs and not cover the spread. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Kansas
Z’s Pick: Kansas

 

 

Iowa St. at Baylor (-37)
Iowa_State_CyclonesHere we have another point spread game, this one involving one of the top teams in the nation. The Bears have been baylormachine-esque in dismantling opponents by an average of 39 points/game. Conversely, the Cyclones are 2-4, although they’ve only been defeated by 30+ points once. At this point Baylor isn’t going to take anyone by surprise and have to expect that they’ll take each foe’s best shot. How good is Iowa St.’s best shot?? It won’t be good enough to win, but it’ll be within five TDs. Zach disagrees. He likens this to a David & Goliath kind of thing except without God involved. He believes Baylor might score 80 points and thinks they are the best team in the country.

My Pick: Iowa St.
Z’s Pick: Baylor

 

 

Utah at USC (-3.5)
USC_Trojans2The marquee college matchup this week is once again in the Pac 12. Fortunately for interested viewers on the east coast it’ll beutah a 7:30pm game which makes it easier to stay awake. I totally overestimated the Trojans in my pre-season rankings. Instead of being in the national title conversation they are riding a two game losing streak and playing under an interim coach after former head coach Steve Sarkisian was revealed to be a lush & consequently fired. Conversely, the Utes are on a roll at 6-0 and are firmly in the playoff hunt. However, both seasons could turn on a dime in this game. I really don’t understand why Southern Cal is favored. Sure they have the home field, but it is utterly disrespectful & dismissive for an undefeated Top 5 team to be underdogs to a 3-3 team in the midst of turmoil. Do the oddsmakers once again know something we don’t?? Why is it so darn difficult for folks (including me) to accept that Utah may be a legitimate contender?? I’ve got to assume that the points are meaningful and that USC will be motivated to prove something to those who have jumped off the bandwagon, so I’ll ride that crazy wave. Zach isn’t buying what the oddsmakers are selling and believes Utah might win by 5 TDs.

My Pick: USC
Z’s Pick: Utah

 

 

 

Minnesota (-2.5) at Detroit
vikingshelmet1The Lions are only 1-5?? Yikes. In my NFL Preview I predicted that the Vikings would be better than Detroit and might even Detroit_Lions_Helmetsneak into the playoffs. So far so good. Detroit has been mostly competitive but couldn’t get into the winner’s circle until last week, and even then it was in overtime & controversial. These two teams met a few weeks ago in Minnesota with the home team scoring a 10 point victory. It is unusual that Detroit isn’t getting the customary three point home field bump, but there is probably a good reason for that. I might regret it, but I’ll go with the flow and stay true to my pre-season prognostications. Conversely, Zach is predicting an upset.

My Pick: Minnesota
Z’s Pick: Detroit

 

 

 

Philadelphia at Carolina (-3)
carolina_panthers_logo-14336In 2014 I picked the Panthers to go 10-6 and make the playoffs. Instead they were 7-8-1 (although oddly enough they did make the playoffs). This year I said they’d go 8-8, so of course thus far they are undefeated. QB Cam Newton is an absolute beast. Meanwhile, the 3-3 Eagles may have actually figured out the right formula. Or not. No one really knows. Chip Kelly’s name is already being thrown around for collegiate openings at South Carolina and Southern Cal, and despite denials I tend to believe in the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” philosophy. Anyway, there’s really no compelling reason to go against the experts so I won’t. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Carolina
Z’s Pick: Carolina

 

 

 

Baltimore at Arizona (-7.5)
nflarizonacardinalsNo one is shocked that the Cardinals are 4-2 and leading the NFC West. But if you would have told me that the Ravens would start the season 1-5 and be AFC North cellar dwellers (worse than the 2-4 Cleveland Browns) I would have said that’s crazy talk. I did say that I expected them to “take a step back” from 2014’s 10-6 outcome, but I never imagined they’d be this inept. I think they’ll get things straightened out at some point, but not this week. Arizona should cruise to an easy win. Zach agrees.

My Pick: Arizona
Z’s Pick: Arizona

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 11

5-0 baby!! I’m almost positive I’ve never done that before.


I have to be honest. I was really really down last weekend. My WV Mountaineers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory due to the poor decision making of their drunken head coach, and my undefeated Marshall Thundering Herd were being totally disrespected by the talking heads. I was so bummed after the WVU loss that I just turned my TV off and went to sleep at 7:30pm. The last time I went to bed that early I was in trouble with my parents. I had pretty much made up my mind to break up with sports altogether. After church Sunday I didn’t watch a minute of the NFL on Redzone, and I didn’t even watch my beloved Steelers defeat the hated Ravens on Sunday Night Football. I was prepared to end these picks as well. You see, I am a firm believer in a kind of male menstrual cycle, and as I emailed my friend The Owl Sunday evening, I was “in a very dark place” and felt “as if I could mow thru a crowded room with a machete and laugh like a giddy child.” Thankfully when the gloom overtakes me I know that if I just disengage for a day or two factory settings will be restored and I regain my emotional equilibrium. Not that I’d ever actually hurt anyone anyway. I am far too delicate for prison. I am much more likely, to paraphrase a line from the 2004 rom-com Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, to tear someone to pieces with vicious rhetoric.


At any rate, I couldn’t abandon these picks, especially after my brilliant prognosticatory ability led me to a perfect record. I can’t let down my nephew Zach or the citizens of The Manoverse. While I was going 5-0 Zach was going 3-2, so for the season I am 30-25 and he is 28-27. There are several great college games this week that…theoretically…should add clarity to this 4 team playoff deal. Or maybe it’ll just become a bigger mess than it already is. For God’s sake I am actually starting to miss the BCS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baylor at Oklahoma (-5.5)
oklahomaThe Big 12 doesn’t have a title game (or 12 teams), but the regular season conference champion might have a decent shot at being one of thebaylor chosen four playoff teams. The Sooners are probably on the outside looking in at a three team race between TCU, Baylor, & Kansas St., but they can certainly play the role of spoiler. This is a must win for the Bears and I am a little surprised that they aren’t favored even though they are the visiting team. Oklahoma’s two losses…to the aforementioned TCU & Kansas St…were by a total of 5 points. I’d be surprised if this game is much different, but I’ll roll the dice. Zach doesn’t think Oklahoma has a chance and predicts the game will be over by halftime with Baylor winning by atleast 4 TDs.

My Pick = Oklahoma
Z’s Pick = Baylor

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Notre Dame at Arizona St. (-2.5)
Arizona_State_logo_blanketThe Sun Devils would need a lot of things to go right for them to make the playoff, but an appearance in the Pac 12 title game certainly NotreDameFightingIrishseems feasible. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the Irish jump back into the national championship picture if their only loss is to an overrated Florida St. team that they clearly outplayed on a call that was dubious to say the least. Unfortunately for Notre Dame I think they receive the death blow in this game and will be eliminated from playoff contention. Zach notes that Notre Dame is “good at beating small conference schools”, which I think may be a big ol’ flip of the bird to the Pac 12.

My Pick = Arizona St.
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

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Kansas St. at TCU (-5.5)
kansas-state-dmThis essentially is a de facto Big 12 championship contest. The winner would almost certainly leap into atleast being on the cusp of the TCU_Horned_Frogsplayoff. I have watched both teams play this season, and in my opinion it all comes down to coaching. Kansas St.’s Bill Snyder won’t be outcoached the way that West Virginia’s head lush was last weekend. Zach believes that Horned Frogs’ QB Trevone Boykin will win the game with his legs.

My Pick = Kansas St.
Z’s Pick = TCU

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Ohio St. at Michigan St. (-3.5)
Ohio_State_BuckeyesThe Buckeyes are too far down on the totem pole to snag a playoff spot, but they can be spoilers while also securing a spot in the Big Ten Michigan_State_Spartans(which has 12 teams) title game. Meanwhile, the Spartans are in a dog fight for one of those four playoff spots. A win in this game would certainly help, while a loss would likely be the knockout punch. This is one upset that no one seems to be predicting, so I suppose I will be a trailblazer. Zach has a robust disdain for Ohio St. (no one knows why) and is going with Michigan St. all the way.

My Pick = Ohio St.
Z’s Pick = Michigan St.

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Alabama (-6.5) at LSU
Can the Bayou Bengals do it again?? A couple of weeks ago Zach & I correctly predicted the LSU upset of then #3 Ole Miss. LSU is coming into this game well lsu_logorested after a bye week. The Tide are also coming off a bye, so neither team has the advantage there. ‘Bama just hasn’t seemed to be firing on all cylinders this season yet they are a Top 5 team as usual and have won the last three meetings in this series rather handily. I think the momentum shifts back to the underdogs in 2014 and the game will be decided…one way or another…by 3 points or less. Zach concurs.

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

Well, last week wasn’t exactly a banner round in the prognostication arts here at The Manofesto. I went 2-5, while Zach was 1-6. The point spread really bit us in the behind, with neither Penn St. nor Nebraska being able to cover the points despite winning their games, and Miami (FL) & Michigan living up to the low expectations of the oddsmakers in spite of our spirited support. Enough said about that debacle. For the season it looks like this:

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity    =       23-22

Zach          =       19-26

This week gets off to an early start with two big Thursday night college games which is why you are reading this a couple of days earlier than usual. I can actually get myself moving when motivated.

Oklahoma      at         Baylor (-14.5)

oklahomaThere are some who don’t believe in Baylor, who say that they haven’t played anyone good. Fair enough. Their schedule is baylorbackloaded, with Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, & Oklahoma still to go after this game, and certainly their out-of-conference opponents weren’t impressive, so I understand the reluctance to embrace the Bears as a legitimate powerhouse. However, having watched them play a couple of times on TV I tend to lean toward the thought that Baylor is the real deal. The question is are they good enough to destroy Oklahoma like they’ve done everyone else?? The Sooners have been solid, beating everyone except archrival Texas. To be honest if this game were being played in Norman, OK I’d take the underdogs in a heartbeat. Then again if the game were in Norman I doubt Baylor would be favored by more than two TDs. I think one of two things will happen. Either Oklahoma will win and “expose” Baylor, making all the talking heads who’ve expressed doubt about them real proud of themselves. Or Baylor will earn a hard fought victory and gain some measure of respect. One thing that I do not think will occur is Baylor covering 14.5 points. Zach disagrees and thinks Baylor wins this one big.

 

Oregon (-10.5)          at         Stanford

photo.stanfordtreeThis is it. This is Oregon’s big chance to prove that they…not Florida State…deserve the opportunity to lose to Alabama inOregon-Ducks the national title game. This will be a Thursday night prime time game on ESPN with almost the entire college football world watching (or atleast flipping back & forth between this and the Oklahoma-Baylor game on Fox Sports 1). Stanford has flown somewhat under the radar thus far, but they are 7-1 and ranked 6th in the polls. The Ducks are getting a lot of respect from the oddsmakers. One doesn’t see Top 10 teams being double digit home underdogs very often. Not only is a spot in the national title game on the line for Oregon, but with a victory Stanford could secure a spot in the conference championship game and have an opportunity to get to The Rose Bowl. Oregon has been mowing people down with almost as much effectiveness as Baylor, but something tells me this one won’t be quite that easy. I won’t go so far as to predict an outright upset, but I think this is going to be far closer than most are expecting. Zach calls this one of the toughest games he’s picked but is going with the boys in Vegas and taking the Ducks.

 

BYU                at         Wisconsin (-7.5)

In my pre-season Top 25 I had BYU at #25 and left Wisconsin out. That prediction could still come to fruition if the Cougars win out and the WisconsinBadgersBadgers lose this game. Wisconsin ranks 10th in the nation in rushing and has one of the NCAA’s best running backs in Melvin Gordon. And of course they always have a tremendous offensive line. BYU has a rather effective rushing attack themselves. This is going to be an old fashioned ground & pound game, with the lines essentially deciding the contest. I think BYU will hang tough for 3+ quarters, but at the end of the day Wisconsin will control time of possession and get a solid 10 point victory. Zach thinks this’ll be an easy Badger win.

 

LSU                at         Alabama (-12)

lsu_logoI must explain something about myself. I am an underdog kind of guy. Plus I can’t stand the idiotic BCS (no matter how many AlabamaCrimsonTide2times it does seem to work out in the end). Therefore I am the contrarian who is always hoping & praying for an upset that’ll send the whole process into chaos. On top of all that I…like many others…am getting just a bit bored with Alabama’s dominance. So I have been looking forward to this game simply because outside of Texas A&M back in September I felt like the Bayou Bengals were the only team with even a prayer of upsetting the Tide. Oh I suppose maybe Missouri or South Carolina might have a puncher’s chance in the SEC title game, but in reality the only thing standing between ‘Bama and yet another appearance in the national championship game are the LSU Tigers. So…will the upset occur?? Well, I’d feel a lot better about LSU’s chances if the game were being played in Baton Rouge. And I’d certainly like it a whole lot better if they didn’t have two losses on their record. Truthfully I wouldn’t dare put money on an upset, but I am intrigued by the point spread. A year ago ‘Bama went into hostile territory and came away with a 4 point victory. Two years ago LSU went into Tuscaloosa and won a 9-6 snoozefest. My vibe is that we are in for something like that…maybe a 17-10 or 28-17 kind of game. I don’t think Alabama will lose, but I don’t think they’re going to cover the points. Zach thinks this will be a low scoring brawl between two well coached teams. He’s picking the Tide to roll to a two touchdown victory.

 

Cincinnati (-1.5)        at         Baltimore

Baltimore_Ravens2It says a lot about the Bengals that they are favored in a game away from home, even if it is by the slightest of margins. The Cincinnati_Bengals_Helmetdefending Super Bowl champion Ravens are 3-5 and actually behind the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Central. If they are going to make any kind of run at a playoff spot this feels like a must win. I am anything but a Ravens fan but my vibe is that they will realize the urgency and take advantage of the home field. Zach is a fellow Steelers fan and is letting his longstanding disdain for Baltimore cloud his judgment. He’s picking the Bengals even if it would likely put the final nail in Pittsburgh’s coffin.