2019 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 8

It is weekends like this when I really feel the need to look for a different job. There is so much action I’m going to miss. Of course there’s also the fact that I haven’t been able to go to church in over a year, but that’s a whole other story. Y’all are here for football, right?? A week ago Zach & I both went 5-3, which is pretty good for us. I understand that much of the attention in the sports world is focused on the impending World Series, but luckily for The Manoverse I can multitask. There are some big games that we are ignoring this week (atleast in this space) for various reasons, but I think we have cobbled together a worthy lineup. Enjoy.

My Season:        26-18

Zach’s Season:  21-23

 

 

 

 

 

TCU (-3)                       at                         Kansas State

The talking heads like to promote the Big Ten & SEC, and credit where it is due…those two conferences are a lot of fun. But let’s not totally overlook the Big 12. At the moment 9 out of 10 teams have a winning or even record, and the games are usually exciting to watch. Both the Horned Frogs and the Wildcats are 3-2. Both are trying to rebound from a loss. Both had a bye last week. It’s interesting that TCU is the favorite, but I’m going to disagree with the oddsmakers and believe that the home field will make a difference. Conversely, Zach likes TCU’s offense better & thinks they’ll get the job done.

My Pick:     Kansas St.

Z’s Pick:     TCU

 

 

Baylor                          at                         Oklahoma State (-3)

More Big 12. Sorry…deal with it. The Bears are undefeated, lead the conference, & got a big double OT victory over Texas Tech a week ago. The Cowboys are coming off a bye week and trying to rebound from a loss to the aforementioned Red Raiders. Baylor is good, but I have to once again lean in the general direction of the home favorites. Zach believes Baylor’s offense is too fast for OK St. to keep up.

My Pick:     Oklahoma St.

Z’s Pick:     Baylor

 

 

 

Boise State (-6)                    at                         BYU

The Broncos are who we thought they were…undefeated and in the Top 15. They haven’t got a prayer of being a playoff team, but winning their conference and playing in a New Year’s bowl game is a nice consolation prize. The Cougars are 2-4 and might not play in any kind of post-season game. This the exactly the kind of late night matchup that I used to look forward to, but instead I’ll be asleep before kickoff because I have to get up so damn early on Sunday morning. At any rate, BYU may not get blown out on their home field, but neither do I expect them to win and the six points seems more than manageable for Boise. Zach likes Boise in a rather mundane defensive struggle.

My Pick:     Boise St.

Z’s Pick:     Boise St.

 

 

 

Miami                           at                         Buffalo (-17)

Yes ladies & gentlemen…it’s true, the Buffalo Bills look like they might actually be a good football team. I don’t know if they’ll make the playoffs (they’re not winning the division), but we’ll let the good folks in upstate New York enjoy their moment. Conversely, the Dolphins may or may not be tanking to secure the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft so they can snag Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, but either way they are winless and I don’t think Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Josh Rosen can save them. The points make me a little nervous, but this is the perfect opportunity to make a statement and prove they’re for real, so I’m going to ride with Buffalo. Zach believes Miami might have enough FitzMagic to atleast cover the points.

My Pick:     Buffalo

Z’s Pick:     Miami

 

 

 

Arizona                        at                         NY Giants (-3)

We knew this was going to be a learning curve season for the Cardinals with a rookie head coach & a rookie QB. All things considered they haven’t fared that badly and the folks in Arizona have reason to be somewhat encouraged. The new norm for the Giants is rookie quarterback Daniel Jones at the helm, and even though the initial excitement has dissipated he too has shown that the future doesn’t have to be bleak for the G-Men. It’ll be interesting to watch the growth & evolution of these two young signal callers in the next few years, but for now I expect a sloppy game with lots of turnovers & mistakes. Defense will win the day, and I think the return of RB Saquon Barkley is enough to secure the home team a close victory. Conversely, Zach foresees a big game from Kyler Murray and an upset for the Cards.

My Pick:     NY Giants

Z’s Pick:     Arizona

2018 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

Better late than never, right?? Well okay…technically I’m not late, but I am cutting things a little too close for comfort. I’ve been a strange mix of busy & lazy this week, and just haven’t had the inclination to write. However, there’s nothing like a deadline to get the juices flowing. Last week was another weak effort, with both Zach(1-4) and myself (2-3) failing to meet our high standards. Sincerest wishes for a happy & safe Halloween. Your Humble Potentate of Profundity is way too old to trick or treat, I have no children, and no kids come begging for candy in my apartment building. Since I’m not a costume party kind of guy I’ll probably spend the evening watching old monster movies…and then I’ll go out the next day and buy a bunch of discounted candy.

My Season:     21-25

Z’s Season:     18-28

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purdue                at                Michigan State (-2.5)

There is no denying that the Boilermakers pulled off possibly the biggest upset of the season last week when they beat Ohio St….but are they the real deal?? After starting the season 0-3b (including a loss to Eastern Michigan) Purdue has reeled off four straight victories. I’m sure there is a logical explanation for this turn of fortune, but quite honestly I just don’t feel motivated to do the required research. The Spartans are coming off a tough loss to in-state rival Michigan, and at 4-3 their season has been more of a roller coaster than the bipolar campaign of their opponents. I am inclined to believe that Purdue simply played out of their freakin’ minds against the Buckeyes and aren’t truly that good, and I also can’t ignore the home field advantage. Conversely, Zach is all in on Purdue and believes they’ll find a way to score a close win.

My Pick:     Michigan St.

Z’s Pick:     Purdue

 

 

 

Iowa                              at                Penn State (-6.5)

The Hawkeyes are sneaky good. At 6-1 they have only a loss to Wisconsin as a blemish and have snuck into the Top 20. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions have dropped two out of their last three games. In my pre-season poll I opined that “Happy Valley might be somewhat less happy in 2018 since Saquon Barkley is now toting the rock for the NY Giants. That doesn’t mean that the Nittany Lions will fall completely off the map, but for me it does take them out of the conference title discussion.”. I ranked them #21, and they currently sit at #17 with Wisconsin & Michigan on the horizon, which means that this is a must-win game for them. I might give Iowa a puncher’s chance if they had the home field, but I just don’t foresee an upset in this scenario. Zach again is going against the grain. He believes that Iowa is better than people realize and Penn St. isn’t as good as everyone thinks. He’s not completely ruling out a Nittany Lions victory, but doesn’t think they’ll cover if they do win.

My Pick:     Penn St.

Z’s Pick:     Iowa

 

 

Texas (-3)           at                Oklahoma State

It’s finally happening. The Longhorns are 6-1, ranked 6th in the country, beat archrival Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, & sit atop the Big 12. They’re back. Maybe. Conversely, the Cowboys are 4-3 and haven’t looked particularly good the past couple of weeks. They aren’t even favored on their home field. I suppose some may think this is a trap game for Texas, and that may be true…but I don’t think so. My vibe is that this won’t be much of a game at all, with the visitors winning by double digits. Zach isn’t quite ready to buy into the Texas hype, but he thinks they’ll win this game easily.

My Pick:     Texas

Z’s Pick:     Texas

 

 

 

Green Bay                   at                LA Rams (-9)

The Rams have been a machine thus far, cruising to an undefeated record and scoring 30+ pointy/game. They don’t appear to have any glaring weaknesses. The Packers are 3-2-1 and certainly not used to being nine point underdogs. For Los Angeles this could be a statement game…an opportunity to put to rest any doubts that some may still have about the team’s validity. For Green Bay the game is a chance to get back on track and soothe the misgivings of the faithful. The points make me nervous, but my vibe is that the Rams will treat this like a playoff game and seize their opportunity to really grab everyone’s attention. Zach likes the Rams as a legit Super Bowl contender, but can’t overlook the fact that they are facing Aaron Rodgers. He likes LA to win…but doesn’t think they’ll cover the points.

My Pick:     LA Rams

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

 

 

 

New Orleans               at                Minnesota (-1)

The last time these two teams met was in last season’s playoffs, and the Vikings pulled off a miracle to send the Saints packing. It has been a different story thus far in 2018, as New Orleans is 5-1 & leads the NFC South, while Minnesota is a disappointing 4-2-1, although they still sit atop the NFC North for now. This feels like a crossroads game for both teams. Neither can rest on their laurels and cruise to a division title or the playoffs. So who will take control of their destiny?? I think the Saints will be seeking revenge for that playoff loss, so look for  to have a huge game and lead his team to a comfortable victory. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     New Orleans

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 12

Despite what NFL players might feel, as a fan I sort of like having football on Thursday nights, and I am especially excited about tonight since my Steelers are playing the Tennessee Titans. It’s a personal highlight during an otherwise prosaic football weekend. The college schedule is unappealing at best, with makeup games like Alabama vs. Mercer and Clemson vs. The Citadel littering the landscape due to hurricane issues a couple of months ago. I understand the various reasons (mostly financial) that those games are being played, but as a fan I’d almost rather they’d been cancelled altogether. At any rate, we forge ahead as best we can, and I can’t resist being slightly braggadocious coming off of a 5-0 week, something I’ve accomplished all too rarely over the years. Zach was 2-3 last week, which means that we are back to being even for the season and both of us have winning records. We’re leaning a little more on pro instead of college games this week, so we’ll see how that goes.

My Season:        35-34

Z’s Season:        35-34

 

 

 

 

 

 

TCU (-7)              at      Texas Tech

In the latest playoff rankings the committee has the 8-2 Horned Frogs 12th, so they’re not really in that conversation any longer. However, they remain in the driver’s seat for a spot in the Big 12 title game if they win out, and I’m sure an opportunity to avenge last weekend’s loss to Oklahoma is great motivation. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders have lost 4 out of their last 5 games and are just looking to become bowl eligible. I never thought TCU was a legit playoff contender, but I don’t believe they’ll have much trouble winning this game on the road. Tech will likely need to beat Texas next week to get invited to a post-season game. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     TCU

Z’s Pick:     TCU

 

 

 

UCLA                  at      USC (-16)

I had high hopes for the Trojans this season, but a couple of stumbles along the way have cost them in the playoff rankings. This is their last regular season game but they’ll be playing in the Pac 12 title game. Conversely, the 5-5 Bruins haven’t rebounded from a tough 2016 like I thought they would and are simply playing for bowl eligibility at this point. NFL scouts will be watching this game closely, as UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and USC quarterback Sam Darnold could very well enter next spring’s draft and would likely both be first round picks. Having said that, football is a team game and USC is clearly the better team. The points make me a bit skittish, but I think they’ll cover. Since this is a rivalry game Zach believes it will be much closer than the oddsmakers think.

My Pick:     USC

Z’s Pick:     UCLA

 

 

 

L.A. Rams                    at      Minnesota          (-2.5)

While no one was paying attention somehow the Rams have actually become a decent NFL team. 31 year old head coach Sean McVay has the 7-2 Rams in first place in the NFC West and young QB Jared Goff suddenly looks worthy of having been a #1 overall draft pick. Not to be outdone, the Vikings are also 7-2 and leading the NFC North. Their quarterback situation is a little strange. Sam Bradford is injured (shocker), journeyman backup Case Keenum is starting, & former starter Teddy Bridgewater was recently activated after being on the shelf for nearly two years. Whatever they’re doing is working though. I haven’t followed these two teams enough this year to have any insightful commentary or expectations, but I do get the sense it might actually be a really fun game to watch. When in doubt I tend to favor the home team, and since I’m stubborn the Rams are going to have to show me a little more before I buy in. Zach calls this a coin flip game, although I’m not sure if he literally flipped a coin before deciding to pick the Rams.

My Pick:     Minnesota

Z’s Pick:     L.A. Rams

 

 

 

Philadelphia (-3.5)      at      Dallas

This is always a good rivalry game and oftentimes a battle for NFC East supremacy, but a few months ago who would’ve guessed that it’d be Philly leading the division while Dallas lagged three games behind?? At this moment (and things could change in an hour and change a half dozen times again before the weekend) word on the street is that Cowboys’ RB Zeke Elliott has decided to drop his legal battle and serve a six game suspension. I’m sure the fact that that’d get him back just in time for the playoffs with fresh legs had absolutely nothing to do with the decision. Of course the question is can they earn a wildcard berth?? It’s going to be really tough. Anyway, the Eagles are much better this season that I expected, and I see no reason to doubt them now. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Philadelphia

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

 

Atlanta                          at      Seattle (-3)

The Super Bowl Curse is real y’all!! After going 11-5 in 2016 and then pulling the most epic choke job in Super Bowl history the Falcons are really behind the eight ball as far as making the playoffs. They aren’t winning the NFC South and the wild card competition is fierce. Conversely, it’s business as usual for the 6-3 Seahawks, except for the fact that the Rams are much improved and lead the division by a game. If this game were being played in Atlanta I might have to ponder things a bit, but Seattle’s home field advantage is amongst the best in the NFL. Zach believes the loss of DB Richard Sherman will have a negative impact on the Seahawks and the Falcons will show flashes of their former glory.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Atlanta

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

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 6

football2I don’t feel particularly verbose today. Last week Zach was 0-5, while I fared a little better at 3-2. In an effort to get back on the right track we’re doing some bonus picks this week. It will either help right the ship, or it’ll totally blow up in our faces. We’ll see.

My Season:         12-14

Z’s Season:          8-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington (-8)                   at      Oregon

oregonThe Huskies are for real folks. They proved that by destroying Stanford and pretty much nailing the coffin shut on Christian washington2McCaffrey’s Heisman hopes. The Ducks are 2-3 and have dropped completely off the grid. However it should be noted that two of those three losses have been by 4 or less points. I have a difficult time fathoming that a team that has been highly ranked and super competitive for several years now has all the sudden become terrible overnight. That doesn’t mean that I believe they’ll win this game, or that I’m not sold on Washington. I just think that, especially in the friendly environment of Eugene, it’ll be much closer than 8 points. Zach is all in on Washington and thinks that Oregon looks like a team in a rebuilding phase.

My Pick:     Oregon

Z’s Pick:     Washington

 

 

Arizona               at      Utah (-9.5)

The Utes were on a 4-0 roll until being upset by the Cal Bears last weekend. Conversely, the Wildcats are an up & down 2-3. The points concern me utah2just a little, but I’m going to take a chance and predict that Utah covers. Zach thinks both of these teams are a bit unpredictable, but he too is picking Utah.

My Pick:     Utah

Z’s Pick:     Utah

 

 

Texas                  at      Oklahoma (-10)

TEXAS LONGHORNS.1271817676They used to call this the Red River Shootout until the PC Police got their panties twisted, so now it is dubbed the much tamer oklahoma2Red River Rivalry. Word on the street is that the powers-that-be in Austin are ready to shove head coach Charlie Strong out the door. A 2-2 start was not what they were hoping for. Of course things at Oklahoma haven’t been that much better thus far, as they have an identically mediocre record. The Sooners are clearly the better team at this point, and they do have the home field advantage. However, human beings are capable of great things when our backs are against the wall, and I believe the Longhorns will put up a heck of a fight for their coach. I’m not sure it’ll be enough to win, but it’ll probably be enough to cover. Zach is going in the opposite direction, predicting that Oklahoma should win by more than two TDs.

My Pick:     Texas

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

LSU  (-3)             at      Florida

The Bayou Bengals have already made a coaching change, and it seemed to work out well last week. I don’t think Ed Orgeron will get the gig lsu_logopermanently in Baton Rouge, but if he guides the team to a successful season after a rocky start perhaps he can snag a head coaching position elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Gators are a solid 4-1 and a fairly quiet Top 20 team. All things considered I am stunned that the oddsmakers aren’t even giving Florida a slight home field advantage. I have to assume that they know something I don’t and go with it. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     LSU

Z’s Pick:     LSU

 

 

Tennessee                  at      Texas A&M (-7)

The Vols are off to a fantastic 5-0 start, but only a miraculous Hail Mary saved them from defeat last weekend. The 5-0 Aggies are surely the toughest 10015tenn_vols_w_helmetopponent Tennessee has faced, and the game is in College Station. Both are Top 10 teams just a tick away from playoff contention should a couple of higher ranked teams go down. I’m going to predict that A&M wins this game…by a field goal. Zach likes Tennessee to get the victory.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     Tennessee

 

 

Florida St.          at      Miami, FL (-3)

miamiuThis used to be one of the biggest games on the schedule, but then the Hurricanes fell on tough times. And now that Miami Florida_State_Seminolesseems to be on the cusp of being back the Seminoles are having a tough year. A month ago I would have picked Florida St. without a second thought. If this game were in Tallahassee I’d still pick them. But given recent events and the fact that the game is being played in Miami it seems the momentum lies with the favorites. Zach disagrees. He’s such a rebel.

My Pick:     Miami, FL

Z’s Pick:     Florida St.

 

 

Philadelphia (-3)                   at      Detroit

Rookie QB Carson Wentz is the real deal. The 3-0 Eagles should have no problem beating the 1-3 Lions. I can’t believe the point spread isn’t higher. philadelphia_eagles-3715Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Philadelphia

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

Washington       at      Baltimore (-3.5)

Washington_Redskins_logoThe Redskins, at 2-2, are having a tougher year than I anticipated. Conversely, the 3-1 Ravens are better than I expected. There Baltimore_Ravens2is only 40 miles separating DC & Baltimore, so I don’t think the home field is that big of an advantage. The Vibes are telling me to go with the upset. Zach feels differently and he’s picking the home team.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Baltimore

 

 

Houston             at      Minnesota (-6)

Could it be that Sam Bradford was as good of a quarterback as a #1 overall draft pick is supposed to be all along and has now finally found the kind of vikingshelmet1good team he’s needed to shine?? It’s an interesting hypothesis. The Vikings’ defense is undeniably great, and there seem to be a plethora of weapons on offense. The Texans aren’t too shabby either, but they are playing on the road. I’m a big believer in Big Mo, and I think that rests with Minnesota. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Minnesota

Z’s Pick:     Minnesota

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

football-introducing-the-science_1Thank God we don’t do this for money. Last week I was a putrid 1-4, while Zach fared slightly better at 2-3. I knew I was taking some chances, and unfortunately they didn’t pan out in my favor. At any rate, my pre-season Top 4 of Clemson, Oklahoma, Alabama, & Ohio St. still looks atleast ¾ solid, with Oklahoma being the lone disappointment at this stage. Conversely my Super Bowl pick of Arizona vs. Kansas City doesn’t look so profound thus far, although it is early in the season. There are lots of good games this week, and I pondered doing some bonus picks, if for no other reason than to try to get back on an even keel. However ultimately I decided against that idea…for now.

My Season:  9-13

Z’s Season:   8-14

 

 

 

 

Stanford       at        Washington (-3)

Stanford got by UCLA last week to improve to 3-0. They are firmly entrenched in the Top 10, and RB/WR Christian McCaffrey looks to be in a two manStanford-Logo-Tree Heisman race with Houston QB Lamar Jackson. The Huskies aren’t too shabby themselves, standing at 4-0, although their schedule hasn’t been all that tough. That all changes this week. This is a rare Friday night gem on ESPN, and since I have a rare Friday night off from work I’m looking forward to watching. Washington is getting the requisite home field bump, but I’m not buying it. I think Stanford is a better team and McCaffrey needs to make a statement to take some of the focus off of Jackson. Zach isn’t all that impressed with Stanford and would like to see the home team get the victory, but his head is guiding him toward the underdogs.

My Pick:        Stanford

Z’s Pick:         Stanford

 

 

Northwestern        at        Iowa (-13)

Northwestern_WildcatsThese two teams are in an uphill battle to win their division of the Big Ten (which has 14 teams). But since a collapse by iowaWisconsin and/or Nebraska isn’t that far-fetched this is an important game with possible conference title implications. Iowa was thought by many to be a possible Top 10 team coming into the season, but an inexplicable loss to 1-AA North Dakota St….at home…has given everybody pause. Meanwhile the unpredictable Wildcats are 1-3, with surprising losses to Western Michigan & Illinois St. derailing their season right out of the gate. A Northwestern victory would certainly be unexpected, but I’m not sure it’d be totally shocking. Do I expect that to happen?? No. However I do think it is very possible that the underdogs stay within ten points. Conversely, Zach believes that Iowa will run away with an easy win in the second half.

My Pick:        Northwestern

Z’s Pick:         Iowa

 

 

Oklahoma (-3.5)    at        TCU

oklahomaThe Sooners were my pre-season #2, but two early losses to Houston & Ohio St….nothing to be ashamed of…have imploded any TCU Cool Logoplayoff aspirations. I did not have the Horned Frogs in my Top 25, but they have gotten off to a solid 3-1 start. It says a lot that Oklahoma is favored on the road, and I have no reason to disagree with that assessment. Zach, on the other hand, likes the home team to prevail.

My Pick:        Oklahoma

Z’s Pick:         TCU

 

 

Louisville (-1.5)      at        Clemson

clemsonThe Cardinals have obliterated perennial national title contender Florida St. and my alma mater, the Marshall Thundering Louisville_Cardinals3Herd, in successive weeks. Almost everybody has jumped on their bandwagon. Yet I just can’t seem to commit to the idea of them being totally legit. Clemson was my pre-season #1, but due to a weak early schedule and a season opener in which Auburn had an opportunity to pull off the upset in the waning seconds before failing to execute many have eased off the hype machine. Don’t worry Clemson…I’m still with you. I just cannot fathom Louisville going into Death Valley and winning this game. Zach is all in on Cardinals’ QB Lamar Jackson. He sees Louisville as a serious playoff contender and thinks they win this game by atleast two TDs.

My Pick:        Clemson

Z’s Pick:         Louisville

 

 

Indianapolis (-2.5)             vs.       Jacksonville

I picked the Colts to win their division, thinking that last season’s 8-8 record was just a bump in the road due to some injuries sustained by QB Indianapolis_Colts_HelmetAndrew Luck. What I failed to consider was that those injuries were a result of a mediocre offensive line, an issue that Indianapolis hasn’t really fixed. Indy comes into this game 1-2, while the Jaguars, who everyone thought was showing signs of improvement, are off to a terrible 0-3 start. The good news for both teams is that Texans’ sack master JJ Watt is out for the season with continued back problems, so Houston doesn’t seem so intimidating now. Which second-rate team will win a pedestrian division?? Stay tuned. This game is being played in London and begins at 9am Sunday morning here in the eastern U.S. Fortunately for clergyman everywhere it’s not one that most will feel the urge to skip church to watch. I am loyal to a fault when it comes to my pre-season choices, so I’m not abandoning the Colts’ ship just yet. Zach concurs.

My Pick:        Indianapolis

Z’s Pick:         Indianapolis

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

football_goalFirst things first. Last week both Zach and I went 2-3. We would’ve done better if the Bengals would’ve score another couple of points or if Texas Tech had played anything resembling defense. At any rate we move on. The college schedule is a little more appetizing this week, and atleast we now have some evidence on which to base NFL picks, so I am hoping we improve our accuracy from now on.

My Season:     6-6

Z’s Season:     4-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida St. (-2.5)           at      Louisville
Florida_State_SeminolesThe Seminoles are 2-0 but haven’t really been tested yet. The Cardinals are also 2-0 but haven’t played anyone. This is a matchup of Louisville-Cardinalstwo Top 10 teams and Louisville has the home field, but I think they are probably overrated. I don’t believe Florida St. will have any problems winning easily. Conversely, Zach really likes Louisville’s big play QB and thinks he’ll get the job done in a shootout.

My Pick:     Florida State

Z’s Pick:     Louisville

 

 

Michigan St.                at      Notre Dame (-7.5)

A year ago this was a marquee matchup, and while it is still interesting I don’t think anyone will deny that neither team is as good as they were in Michigan_State_Spartans2015. The Spartans have only played one game, beating Furman by just two TDs. The Irish are 1-1 and have the home field. Despite that fact I’m going to pick the upset. I think it’ll be a tight game decided in the final five minutes. Zach agrees that Michigan St. will win, although he believes they’ll put a 17 point beatdown on Notre Dame. I’d be okay with that.

My Pick:     Michigan State

Z’s Pick:     Michigan State

 

 

Ohio St.     (-2)             at      Oklahoma

Ohio_State_BuckeyesThe Sooners are still slapping themselves upside the head trying to figure out what went wrong in the season opening loss to oklahomaHouston. They rebounded by beating up a speck of dust last week but that means nothing. Meanwhile, after losing half their team to the NFL Draft, the Buckeyes look like they haven’t missed a beat, although they haven’t played an opponent worthy of their best effort yet. That all changes this week. If it were just about any other team I might pick the upset, but I don’t believe Urban Meyer will allow Ohio St. to let their foot off the gas. As a matter of fact they might actually play better against good competition. Zach has an irrational animosity toward Ohio St. that clouds his judgment.

My Pick:     Ohio State

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

 

Seattle                at                LA Rams

I can’t find odds for this game, but does it really matter?? The Seahawks can, should, & will win easily. Zach concurs.seattle-seahawks1

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

 

 

Green Bay (-2.5)                   at      Minnesota

Both teams are off to a 1-0 start, with the Vikings having defeated the Titans on the road and the Packers squeaking by the Jags, also on the road. This Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetis the Sunday night game on NBC and will be the inaugural game played in Minnesota’s fancy new stadium. I had pretty much given up on the Vikes after QB Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season to a knee injury, but their defense bailed them out in the season opener. It’s just a matter of time before newly acquired Sam Bradford replaces journeyman Shaun Hill behind center, but I’m not sure that is all that much of a confidence booster. As much as I’d love to see Minnesota christen their new digs with a victory I’d be shocked if it actually happened. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 2

cfoot2The NFL season is officially underway, and for the purposes of these picks the timing couldn’t be better. After a stellar opening week schedule the college lineup falls off dramatically, with a gimmicky Tennesee-Virginia Tech matchup at Bristol Motor Speedway getting most of the attention. Despite that fact we’ll forge ahead. Neither of us began the season as well as we’d hoped, with Zach going 2-5 and myself limping to a 4-3 record in Week 1. The trick to all of this is picking the right upsets, and neither of us chose Houston over Oklahoma or Wisconsin over LSU. Both of us did get Texas over Notre Dame right, but that is small comfort in light of the overall results. At any rate, we move forward as the season now gets into full swing. As a summer kind of guy it pains me to admit it, but autumn has arrived. Thankfully football makes the transition much easier.

 

 

 

 

Texas Tech       at      Arizona St. (-3.5)

The Red Raiders are 1-0 after beating up on 1-AA Stephen F. Austin last week, while the Sun Devils began the season with a 4th quarter surge to beat Texas-Tech-260x300small fish Northern Arizona. Virtually nothing can be learned from those wins, so we’re kind of flying blind on this one. This is another one of those late games that I’ll miss because of my job, which makes me want to find a new job. Arizona St. has the home field advantage, but The Voices are telling me to go against the grain and pick the upset. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Texas Tech

Z’s Pick:     Texas Tech

 

 

Virginia               at      Oregon (-24)

The Cavaliers beat in-state “rival” Richmond in Week 1, while the Ducks knocked the snot out of some school called UC-Davis, which is about 15 miles vacavoutside of Sacramento. Again, no real intel is to be gained from such meaningless games. The interesting thing here is the 3TD+ spread. I am always a bit uncomfortable with such large margins, yet am always impressed by how accurate the oddsmakers tend to be. Oregon will probably win easily, and I am sure it’ll be by about three TDs…but I’m going to roll the dice and say the Virginia will keep it just close enough to cover. Zach agrees because he forsees Oregon having their scrubs in during the second half and taking their foot off the gas.

My Pick:     Virginia

Z’s Pick:     Virginia

 

 

NY Giants          at      Dallas (-1)

Giants LogoThe Cowboys begin life without Tony Romo, atleast for now…although it’s really nothing new since it seems like Romo hasdallas-cowboys-logo2 been injured a lot the last couple of years. The difference this time is that rookie Dak Prescott, a rookie 4th round pick from Mississippi St., is filling in. Whether or not that is a good thing is the unknown factor. Prescott apparently had body parts of Dallas fans all tingly in the pre-season, but we all know that the real thing is much different. The Giants have a new head coach and a lot of unknowns as well, but we do know QB Eli Manning pretty well. He’s decent enough, but he’s no Peyton. Anyway, Dallas has the nominal home field advantage, but it is essentially a pick ‘em. I think the Giants defense will smell blood in the water and give the rookie a memorable welcome to the NFL. Conversely, Zach believes in young Prescott and doesn’t think Romo will be missed all that much.

My Pick:     NY Giants

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

 

 

New England    at      Arizona (-6)

nflarizonacardinalsThe Patriots are without Tom Brady for a few weeks for reasons with which we are all familiar. The Cardinals are a popular Deflated Footballpick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and they have the home field advantage. I have no doubt that New England will win their division and make a decent run at another title, but I don’t believe that their season will get off to a successful start. Zach, on the other hand, believes that this will come down to coaching and that the Pats will do enough to get the job done.

My Pick:     Arizona

Z’s Pick:     New England

 

 

Cincinnati (-2.5)           at      NY Jets

We may look back at this game a few months from now and realize that it had playoff implications. The Jets probably aren’t winning their division, Cincinnati_Bengals_Helmetbut they should be in the thick of the wildcard conversation when December rolls around. The Bengals might have a little better chance to win their division, but could also be forced to rely on snagging a wildcard spot. I am not enamored with New York’s QB situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t decide to return until the end of July, and Jets’ fans spent the first 2/3 of summer awaiting his decision as if he is the second coming of Johnny Unitas, which is laughable. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has become surprisingly stable. It’s amazing what can happen when half the team isn’t in jail. As much as it pains me to do it I have to pick the favorites. Zach agrees, noting that the Bengals’ defense tips things in their favor.

My Pick:     Cincinnati

Z’s Pick:     Cincinnati

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 1

football-introducing-the-science_1Annnnnnndddd we’re back!! Football has returned, and so have my nephew Zach & myself to prove that we’re just as smart as the talking heads on ESPN & other sports news outlets. The goal is simple for me my friends…to make it thru the season. Last year we didn’t get past Week 10 because I ended up spending the latter half of November, all of December, & the first part of January in the hospital. There are moments in life when one is faced with obstacles and what matters becomes clear. In the grand scheme of things I understand that this blog, these picks, and football games in general don’t mean a whole lot, but I am so blessed & grateful to be able to exercise my creative juices and embrace my love of something as ultimately frivolous as sports. It may seem silly to some, and I have several friends who’ll spend their weekends doing a hundred other things before watching a ballgame even crosses their mind. That’s cool…but I am totally psyched about spending the next five months of weekends engrossed in one of the most awesome forms of entertainment on the planet. If you have entered The Manoverse to check out these picks I assume we’re in agreement on that.

 

As usual college football starts before the NFL, but fortunately the playoff system has forced teams to re-evaluate their schedule strength. Back in theCollege-Football-Map old days (just a few years ago) we’d be lucky to get even a few watchable, competitive games in the first couple weeks of the season. However, now the powers-that-be recognize the importance of coming out of the gate with a bang and grabbing some attention, so there are a plethora of games on tap that are worthy of attention. We’ll settle into our normal routine of picking five games next week, but will get things started with some bonus picks. As always I remind you that we are just fans and claim no intimate insider knowledge. Also, point spreads are included only to add a layer of intrigue & strategery. We are not here to encourage or endorse gambling, although what y’all do with your disposable income is your choice. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma (-10.5)        vs.              Houston

I have the Sooners as my pre-season #2, with Houston also in the Top 10. This game is being played at the home stadium of the NFL’s Houston oklahomaTexans rather than the Cougars’ normal home field, which shouldn’t make a difference one way or another except that there will be 70k in the stands versus 40k. Houston, TX is over 400 miles away from Norman, OK, so I assume there will be a distinct fan partiality for the underdogs. I suppose that there are those who feel like there is a legitimate chance for an upset. I am not one of those people. So then the question becomes whether or not Oklahoma will cover the points. I don’t anticipate that will be an issue. If Houston can stay within three TDs then finish the remainder of the season without another loss they still might be a solid Top 10 team. Zach believes this game will be a blowout win for the Sooners.

My Pick:         Oklahoma

Z’s Pick:         Oklahoma

 

 

 

UCLA                            at                Texas A&M (-3)

texas_am_01The Bruins return QB Josh Rosen from a solid yet underachieving 9-5 team last season. However they lost RB Paul Perkins & ucla_bruins2LB Myles Jack to the NFL. Is Rosen the next Andrew Luck?? Or is he the next Jimmy Clausen?? I’m willing to bet he’s closer to the former than the latter. The bigger concern is UCLA’s defense, which gave up anywhere from 31-56 points in those five losses in 2015. The Aggies have the nominal home field point advantage, but I suspect that in reality the benefit will be greater. A&M’s QB situation has been interesting the past few years. 2015 starter Kyler Murray transferred to Oklahoma and will be the Sooners’ signal caller this season. Kenny Hill, who began 2014 as the top QB in College Station, transferred last year and will be the starter for the TCU Horned Frogs. Last season at A&M Murray lost his job to Kyle Allen, who has now transferred to Houston. So who is starting for A&M behind center?? Well…that’d be Trevor Knight, who was Oklahoma’s starter in 2014 before losing the job last year to Baker Mayfield, who had transferred to Oklahoma from Texas Tech. I think I have all of that straight. I don’t know…my head is spinning a bit. At any rate, I am looking for this to be a high scoring, close game, but I like the Aggies to win & cover. Zach not only doesn’t agree about the outcome, but is oddly unenthusiastic about watching this game.

My Pick:         Texas A&M

Z’s Pick:         UCLA

 

 

 

Georgia (-2.5)              vs.              North Carolina

The Bulldogs have a new head coach for the first time in 15 years. Mark Richt has moved on to Miami, FL, and former Alabama defensive coordinator carolinaKirby Smart takes over the reins in Athens. Georgia is coming off a 10-3 finish last season and RB Nick Chubb returns after missing the latter half of 2015 with a knee injury. I suspect that Smart will have the defense ready to rock & roll, but I have questions about the state of Chubb’s recovery and what else Georgia has on offense if they are unable to completely rely on their star running back. The Tar Heels had a fine 11-3 season last year, but must start anew at the quarterback position. However they do return most of last year’s contributors elsewhere, including WR Ryan Switzer & RB Elijah Hood, who is a 6ft. 220lb. hoss. This is a “neutral” site game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, meaning it’s not really all that neutral. Despite that fact I’m going to roll the dice and pick the upset. Kirby Smart doesn’t have Nick Saban around anymore, and I think it might take him some time to grow into his new role. Zach thinks special teams will be the key, and he is picking the upset as well.

My Pick:         North Carolina

Z’s Pick:         North Carolina

 

 

 

Notre Dame (-3.5)       at                Texas

Charlie Strong’s critical season begins with a huge game against a tough opponent, but fortunately for the Longhorns the game is in Austin. The Irish TEXAS LONGHORNS.1271817676lost over a dozen players to the NFL. It looks like they’ll be giving time behind center to both QBs DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire, who missed most of last season with a broken ankle. But who will they be throwing or handing off to, and who’ll be protecting them?? And can the defense find new stars to replace those that have moved on?? Texas is in the third year of the Strong era, and the first two haven’t gone well. 6-7 & 5-7 doesn’t cut it in the Lone Star State folks. But here a fantastic opportunity presents itself…a non-conference game at home against a much heralded team that must replace a huge chunk of their roster and may not be on solid footing early on. Word on the street is that Texas will be starting a hotshot freshman QB. Heck…why not?? Nothing else has worked. This could be considered a must-win for Texas, as the Big 12 (which has ten teams) schedule is usually always tough. It’s probably not the wise choice, but I’m rolling with another upset here. Zach thinks that Notre Dame’s on-field changes & off-field issues will catch up to them and once again is picking the upset.

My Pick:         Texas

Z’s Pick:         Texas

 

 

 

LSU (-10)                     vs.              Wisconsin

Leonard Fournette. Learn it. Love it. You’ll be hearing the name a lot this year. The Tigers’ RB begins the season as the early Heisman favorite after lsu_logo-9547racking up 22 TDs and almost 2000 yards rushing in 2015. Unfortunately three late season losses and a poor showing against Alabama (31 yards, 1 TD) doomed his Heisman chances and his team’s season. The opener is another “neutral” site game that isn’t neutral, as it is being played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Well okay…I think it’s safe to assume the weather conditions in early September won’t be quite so chilly. At any rate, the Badgers are coming off a solid 10-3 season, and tough opening games aren’t anything new for them. In 2015 they lost to Alabama and in 2014 it was a close loss to…LSU. I don’t think the pattern will be broken this year, and I don’t believe the Bayou Bengals will have any problem covering the points. Zach sees LSU as a serious national title contender.

My Pick:         LSU

Z’s Pick:         LSU

 

 

 

Arizona (-1)                  vs.              BYU

BYU_CougarsThe Wildcats finished 2015 with a mediocre 6-6 record, with a lot of high scoring games for both they & their opponents. The ArizonaWildcatsPac 12 is a brutally tough conference, which makes it essential to win non-conference games. BYU is an independent, and their schedule is probably one of the toughest in the nation. This was the case last season as well and the Cougars finished an impressive 9-4. Three of those losses were by a total of 13 points. They play atleast seven teams who could challenge for a Top 25 ranking, although it looks to be a frontloaded docket, meaning if they can get to November with a decent record they’ll have an opportunity to finish strong. I don’t know enough about either team to intelligently analyze the rosters, so this is a total vibe game, and I’m going with the underdogs. Zach believes in Rich Fraudriguez’s spread offense and looks for the ‘Cats to put up some big passing numbers.

My Pick:         BYU

Z’s Pick:         Arizona

 

 

 

USC                               vs.              Alabama (-10.5)

This is a big one…or atleast it should be. A matchup pitting two of college football’s most decorated programs against each other in Week 1 would have AlabamaCrimsonTide2been unheard of not long ago. Having said that, one must ponder whether Southern Cal can currently claim that elite status. After records of 7-6, 9-4, 9-4, & 7-6 the last few years there is no doubt that the Trojans have been good…but not that good. Meanwhile, as we all know, the Tide has rolled to four national titles in nine seasons in the Nick Saban era. If ‘Bama loses more than one game it is major news. That’s got to end at some point, right?? I don’t know…we’ll see. This is a true neutral site game at the Palace in Dallas, so I’m not sure either team will have a notable crowd advantage. Until I see some significant chinks in the armor I can’t go against Alabama. They’ll have a tough time getting thru a super strong SEC unblemished, but I think they’ll easily win & cover this game. Zach concurs, predicting a 35 point win for ‘Bama.

My Pick:         Alabama

Z’s Pick:         Alabama

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