Football season really snuck up on me!! There were actually a few college games last weekend, but I didn’t realize it until the night before. I suppose I’m a little out of practice since we took a break from these picks a year ago. Thankfully those games, which ESPN called Week Zero (seriously), weren’t anything…notable. But this week?? Folks, we have interesting matchups from Thursday to Sunday, which is great since our local Italian Heritage Festival…a northcentral WV tradition for over four decades…has been cancelled for the second straight year due to The Sickness and I suddenly find myself with no weekend plans other than watching football. A big shoutout to my nephew Zach who will once again be doing picks with me this season. Two years ago he ended the season with a .500 record of 52-52, while I was 61-43. Zach has already called his shot and predicted that he’ll best me this season. We’ll see.

Boise State at Central Florida (-5)

Neither team is really in the “Group of 5” spotlight anymore, and both are probably praying they’ll get invited to “move up” in the upcoming conference realignment chaos. The Broncos finished 5-2, skipped out on bowl season, and their head coach bolted for Auburn. New head coach Andy Avalos was a longtime Boise St. assistant before spending last season as the defensive coordinator at Oregon. After three straight 10+ win seasons (including going undefeated in 2017) UCF fell to 6-4 a year ago, including a bowl loss to BYU. UCF gets the home field bump in this Thursday night game, but I think Boise comes into town and steals a win for their new coach. Zach concurs, predicting a high scoring affair in which the Broncos’ ground game makes the difference.

My Pick: Boise St.

Z’s Pick: Boise St.

Ohio State (-13.5) at Minnesota

I have defending CFP runner-up Ohio St. as my preseason #1, while Zach despises them with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. The Gophers had won bowl games in 4 out of the previous 5 seasons before last year’s pedestrian 3-4 campaign. I’m not holding anything bad that happened a season ago against anyone, so there is reason to believe that they could be a winning team once again…but Minnesota isn’t beating the Buckeyes. The points make me a bit nervous, but I think the favorites roll big & cover easily. This is also a Thursday night game. Zach doesn’t think Ohio St. will have any issues replacing departed QB Justin Fields, and they may even get into the playoff again…but will choke once they arrive. As far as this game, he calls the Gophers scrappy and believes they could stay close for atleast a half, but at the end of the day the favorites will win.

My Pick: Ohio St.

Z’s Pick: Ohio St.

North Carolina (-5.5) at Virginia Tech

The Tar Heels are a Top 10 team according to some polls, but not mine. I think they’ll have a nice season, but they aren’t winning the ACC. The Hokies haven’t had a 10 win season since 2016, and a year ago they finished 5-6. How’s that move to the ACC working out for them?? I know Tech has the home field, and strange things happen at Lane Stadium after dark, but I foresee a blowout for the favorites on Friday night. Like myself, Zach has doubts about Carolina’s playoff worthiness, but thinks they’ll be pretty good. He believes this will be a closer game than I do, but still predicts the Heels will cover.

My Pick: UNC

Z’s Pick: UNC

Stanford at Kansas State (-2.5)

The Wildcats have been getting some pre-season love and should be in the top half of the Big 12 after finishing 4-6 a year ago. Meanwhile, Stanford feels like a forgotten team in the Pac 12, which seems unfair. Putting aside last year’s 4-8 finish, Stanford had won 9+ games eight of the previous nine seasons. Kansas St. has the home field, but I think it’ll be a comfortable win for the visitors. Zach recalls that Kansas St. oftentimes begins the season strong before fading away, but thinks Stanford’s size & strength will make the difference.

My Pick: Stanford

Z’s Pick: Stanford

Penn State at Wisconsin (-5.5)

This might end up being one of the best games of the (real) opening weekend. After winning 11 games in three of the previous four seasons the Nittany Lions were a pedestrian 4-5 in 2020, but I’m not concerned at all. The Badgers had won 10+ games in five of the previous six seasons until last year when they were 4-3. Both teams will be looking to put a forgettable season behind them, and I look for both to be successful in that endeavor. The loser here is behind the proverbial 8-Ball right out of the gate though, and I think that’ll be Penn St. Look for Wisconsin to run the ball a lot and their offensive line to wear out the opposing defense before surging to victory in the 4th quarter. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Wisconsin

Z’s Pick: Wisconsin

Fresno State at Oregon (-21)

The Ducks are my pre-season #3, and if they’re going to get the playoff committee’s attention a dominant victory in the season opener would be a good start. Fresno seems to have a solid team more often than not, but they’re not winning this game. Can Oregon cover the points?? I think so. Conversely, Zach foresees first game jitters for Oregon being just enough to allow Fresno to keep things closer than three TDs.

My Pick: Oregon

Z’s Pick: Fresno St.

Alabama (-18.5) vs. Miami (FL)

There was a time when this would have been the top matchup of the week. Unfortunately ‘Bama has simply gotten too good (and boring), while the ‘Canes aren’t the powerhouse they once were. Still though, given the storied history of both programs, if we close our eyes and use our imagination we might be able to fool ourselves into believing this is a game awash in nostalgia & greatness. The truth?? As decent as Miami has been lately they’ve only gotten to nine wins three times in the past decade and The Tide will roll in Atlanta. Can they cover the points?? Sure. I think Alabama wins by three TDs. Zach is a big Nick Saban fan and thinks the favorites pull away in the second half for a comfortable win.

My Pick: Alabama

Z’s Pick: Alabama

Georgia vs Clemson (-4)

This is the best game of the weekend. Both teams have legit playoff hopes. The Dawgs face a formidable schedule and will need to beat Alabama in the SEC title game. Conversely, this is the toughest game of the season for Clemson until they get to the ACC Championship. It won’t be easy, but I believe Georgia waltzes into Charlotte, NC and steals a late victory via turnover or some kind of special teams wackiness. Zach also thinks it will be close, but foresees Clemson winning by a touchdown in the last three minutes of game.

My Pick: Georgia

Z’s Pick: Clemson

Notre Dame (-7) at Florida State

Since the NFL doesn’t begin their season until next week this is a Sunday night game, which is cool. Can the Seminoles regain some semblance of their former glory after being a dumpster fire the past few years?? I’m not sure whether or not that’ll happen, but if so it won’t be in this game. The Irish have their eyes on another 10+ win season, something they have accomplished five out of the past eight years, including a playoff appearance a year ago. I predict more of the same in 2021, including an easy win in this one. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Notre Dame

Z’s Pick: Notre Dame

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 1

We’re baaaaaaccccckkkk. I sincerely hope The Manoverse considers that a good thing, although I know there are those that don’t particularly enjoy sports related topics. Be patient. Y’all know that The Manofesto is a cornucopia where we discuss all kinds of stuff, and I will do my best to not focus solely on football for the next five months. This will be my 6th season making these picks, while my nephew Zach joins me for the fifth time. I finished 2016 with a record of 54-49 (a 52% winning percentage), while Zach struggled a bit and finished at 38-65 (37%). As always Week 1 is all about college football since the NFL hasn’t began its season just yet. Fortunately, because of the College Football Playoff, teams are bulking up their schedules with better early season non-conference games, and we fans are the beneficiaries. There are a couple of monster matchups on the opening weekend, so it wasn’t difficult to choose which games to pick. Let me remind you that Zach & I do not have any money riding on these games and I do not encourage gambling, but if that is an activity that frosts your cupcake and you have the disposable income while still paying your bills & feeding your family then go right ahead and do what you enjoy. Just don’t put too much stock in what you read here…we’re not very good at this.







BYU           vs.    LSU (-12.5)

Hurricane Harvey has forced this “neutral site” game, originally to be played in Houston, TX, to the New Orleans Superdome, meaning that it’s not so neutral anymore. I don’t think it makes much of a difference though. The Cougars are coming off of a solid 8-4 season and have already played a game last weekend, beating 1-AA Portland St. in unimpressive fashion. Equaling 2016’s record might be the best BYU can aspire to. The Bayou Bengals also finished last year at 8-4 in a season in which they fired their longtime head coach. RB Leonard Fournette has moved on to the NFL, which isn’t necessarily disastrous for LSU because honestly, he rarely lived up to the hype in my opinion. They probably aren’t winning their conference or even their division, but the boys from Baton Rouge shouldn’t have any problems winning this game. Zach thinks it’ll be a blowout.

My Pick:     LSU

Z’s Pick:     LSU




California           at      North Carolina (-12.5)

I’d have to do research to know for sure (and that ain’t happening), but it seems like a rare occurrence that the Pac 12 and ACC meet up during the regular season. The Golden Bears were an atrocious 5-7 last year, while the Tar Heels were 8-5. QB Mitch Trubisky & WR Ryan Switzer have both left Chapel Hill behind for the NFL, and that concerns me a little, especially for the first game of the season. I’m not bold enough to predict an outright upset, but the points feel like a bit much to me. Zach doesn’t foresee a blowout, but believes Carolina will win by a comfortable enough margin.

My Pick:     California

Z’s Pick:     UNC




Texas A&M        at      UCLA (-3)

After losing starting QB Josh Rosen to a shoulder injury in 2016 the Bruins nosedived to a 4-8 record, but Rosen is back and I expect him to be a first round NFL Draft pick next spring. The Aggies started off strong last season but struggled in the second half, limping to an 8-5 finish. They are without the services of defensive end Myles Garrett, who was chosen #1 overall by the Cleveland Browns. UCLA gets just a slight home field bump from the oddsmakers, but I don’t believe it’ll be that close. Zach likes A&M well enough but can’t overlook the home field advantage.

My Pick:     UCLA

Z’s Pick:     UCLA




Michigan (-5)     vs.    Florida

Michigan might be getting more love and national title hype if a) they didn’t have to replace ¾ of last season’s starters, and b) they didn’t play in the same conference as Ohio St. & Penn St. I expect a slight dropoff for the Wolverines from last year’s 10-3 record, though I still consider them a Top 25 team. Florida plays in the SEC, which might not be as good as in year’s past, but it’s still a pretty tough road. The Gators were 9-4 in 2016 and would probably be more than satisfied to equal that mark this season. This is a neutral site game being played at The Palace in Dallas, which atleast will make it fun to watch on TV. I think the oddsmakers have nailed this one. It’ll be competitive, but Michigan will win by a touchdown. Zach is a huge Michigan fan, but is shocking the world by predicting an upset.

My Pick:     Michigan

Z’s Pick:     Florida




Florida State      vs.    Alabama (-7.5)

Wow, what a huge game on the opening weekend!! Kudos to both teams. Alabama has won four national championships since 2010 and lost last season’s title game to Clemson on a touchdown pass in the final seconds. The Seminoles haven’t won a national title since 2013 but are always in the conversation. The winner of this game will emerge as the undisputed #1 team in the land, although the loser will still have a decent chance to make the playoff. It’s another neutral site game, this time emanating from the brand spankin’ new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. This is a battle of wits between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher. I am expecting a low scoring, smashmouth defensive struggle, with a couple of big plays making the difference. I’m not brave enough to predict the outright upset, but I do think the game will be decided by less than a touchdown. Zach loves Saban and thinks the Tide will roll by two TDs.

My Pick:     Florida St.

Z’s Pick:     Alabama

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 1

Football is back!! It kind of snuck up on me. I have been watching NFL pre-season games, but had no idea that real football_goalcollege games that actually count started tonight. Then when I found out that information a few days ago I wasn’t feeling well. So I am kind of under the gun here and will make this quick & dirty. That’s okay because I am still not quite up to par.

This is the third season for these picks and the second where I am going head-to-head with my nephew Zach. In 2013 I went 45-46, while Zach was 41-49 in his inaugural campaign. I am sure both of us will do better this season. We pick 5 games each week and use point spreads just to make it challenging. I do NOT condone gambling. I don’t think it is the epitome of evil or anything like that, I just believe that there are many many many other things…better things…on which folks should spend their hard earned money. These picks are just a fun way for two diehard fans to entertain ourselves and hopefully others as well. So…onto the picks. Y’all get a bonus pick this week since I am so excited for the return of football and there happens to be an unusual amount of intriguing games for the first week of the college season.




Texas A&M at South Carolina (-10.5)
gamecocks-logoThe Aggies begin life without Johnny Football. He’s the Cleveland Browns’ problem now. A&M suffered other losses as well that leaves them texas_am_01in rebuilding mode. The Gamecocks will be starting a new quarterback, but I expect big things from them under the leadership of head coach Steve Spurrier as he enters his 10th year at the helm in Columbia. Zach thinks replacing Jadeveon Clowney will be atleast as difficult for South Carolina as replacing Manziel will be for A&M. He is predicting a very close South Carolina win…close enough for A&M to cover the points.

My Pick: South Carolina
Z’s Pick: Texas A&M




Ohio St. (-16.5) vs. Navy
I have no doubt that the Buckeyes will win this game. Until recently they were thought to be legit national title contenders, but the loss of QB Braxton Miller to a navyshoulder injury has cooled that talk. Meanwhile I think the Midshipmen are a solid team that can hang tough and cover the spread. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Navy
Z’s Pick: Navy




Clemson at Georgia (-7.5)
georgiaThese look like two solid 7-9 win teams that will hang around the lower tier of the Top 25 most of the season but won’t be in the national titleclemson conversation. Georgia has the home field and their defense is probably a little bit better. Zach likes Clemson’s speed & passing game. He’s predicting big things for the Tigers.

My Pick: Georgia
Z’s Pick: Clemson




Florida St. (-17.5) at Oklahoma St.
The Seminoles are the pre-season #1 in most polls and return Heisman winning QB Jameis Winston. I have no doubt that Oklahoma St. will be athletic, fast, andFlorida_State_Seminoles prolific on offense…but they aren’t beating Florida St. However the point spread gives me pause. Can the defending national champions cover the points?? If they don’t will people begin to doubt them?? Zach apparently has so little interest in this game that he doesn’t even care to make a pick *lol*.

My Pick: Florida St.
Z’s Pick: none




Ole Miss (-10.5) vs Boise St.
boise-state1The Rebels are getting some pre-season attention. I am sure there are legitimate reasons for that, though I am far too lazy to find out what theyole miss are. I just think the SEC is too stacked for a team that has finished 21-29 over the course of the past four seasons to all the sudden be title contenders. Meanwhile everyone seems to have forgotten about Boise St. after they won “only” 8 games last season and head coach Chris Petersen left for the Washington Huskies. My vibes…unreliable as they may be…are telling me that Boise St. is better than people think and Ole Miss won’t live up to expectations. Zach isn’t at all excited about this game but thinks Ole Miss will use defense to win easily.

My Pick: Boise St.
Z’s Pick: Ole Miss




LSU (-4.5) at Wisconsin
I fully expect this to be one of the best games of the opening weekend. The Tigers are nominal favorites despite Wisconsin having the home field. That surprises WisconsinBadgersme. I just think that LSU having to break in a new QB is enough of a disadvantage that the Badgers’ brand of smashmouth football will prevail. It may not be pretty but it can be effective. Look for RB Melvin Gordon to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 125 yards and atleast a couple of touchdowns. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Wisconsin
Z’s Pick: Wisconsin



p style=”text-align:center;”> 

Winning & Musing…..Volume 9.11

We’re in the midst of both the college & pro football season, but there are still a couple other things to talk about.



When did The MAC become such an entertaining football conference?? Seemingly every Tuesday and Wednesday night these belittled teams with nothing to play for except a December bowl game in Detroit have the most engaging and competitive games of the collegiate football week. I’d rather watch a MAC game than a Big East or Big 10 game anytime.




It’s funny how the NBA season was supposed to start a couple of weeks ago but didn’t, yet I haven’t really noticed and don’t really care.


The backlash against Stanford QB Andrew Luck has very quietly begun. His inability to get the Cardinal past Oregon and remain in the national championship hunt has raised the ever-so-slightest of red flags, no matter how much the loss can legitimately be blamed on Stanford’s overall lack of depth & skill. The fact is that someone as hyped up as Luck is supposed to be able to put a subpar team on his back and carry them to victory in such games. I have very little doubt that he will still be the #1 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, but there is now a question in my mind…and the minds of more than a few others…as to whether he is a mortal lock to walk in the footsteps of Elway, Marino, Brady, and Manning.




I absolutely LOVE the fact that college football’s BCS system is in complete chaos. However, it looks like we could be headed toward a LSU-Alabama rematch for the national title, which isn’t creating much excitement since the first game between the two teams was such an overhyped snoozefest. When is the NCAA going to pry their heads from their own asses and create a freakin’ playoff??




Maybe I’m crazy, but when I was growing up a catch was a catch. I’ve always been a big proponent of the use of instant replay, but it has created a little bit of paralysis by analysis when it comes to defining whether or not a receiver really caught a football. I prefer to see games decided by the players, not the officials, and certainly not by redefining what should be the very simple definition of a completed pass.




I watched the main event of the recent UFC free-per-view on Fox and to say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. I remember the early days of UFC back in my college days. On a couple of occasions a group of my fraternity brothers got together and bought the PPV. Maybe I was easily impressed, or maybe I was just drunk, but those shows were the essence of brutality. It was two guys beating the living daylights out of each other until one guy couldn’t continue, and for an 18 year old full of testosterone and cheap beer it was awesome. Unfortunately what I saw on television this time around was a championship match that was stopped less than two minutes in, even though the loser had no marks or bruises, there was no blood, and he was able to give a cogent post-match interview less than 5 minutes later. I am not a huge boxing fan, but atleast when someone gets knocked out in a boxing match one can tell. And the competitor is given a fair shot…a standing 8 count for example…to regain his composure and continue. I will even express a preference for professional wrestling. It may be scripted entertainment, but I know I am going to get a 20-30 minute main event with lots of interesting action. The one positive I can say about my most recent UFC experience is that it was free. If I’d have actually paid for the show and had it end like that I would have demanded my money back from the cable provider.




Wow…what a fantastic, fun, exciting run to the championship by NASCAR’s Tony Stewart. Smoke won 5 of the final 10 races to narrowly edge Carl Edwards in a tiebreaker for the Sprint Cup. Both competitors deserve tons of credit for not only putting on a hell of a show the last two months of the season, but for remaining respectful, classy, and honorable in the midst of the battle. Racing fans were the real winners.





The Arizona Wildcats have chosen former WVU & Michigan coach Rich Fraudriguez to be their new football coach, while former Florida & Utah coach Urban Meyer seems to be headed to Columbus to rebuild a dinged Ohio State program. As much as I despise Fraudriguez and wish him nothing but miserable failure in every single facet of his pathetic excuse for a life, I must admit that on the surface it looks like a decent hire. Fraudriguez’s spread offense will work much better in the Pac 12 then it did in the Big 10, and Arizona doesn’t have any of the pesky tradition & closed-mindedness to “outsiders” that plagued his tenure at Michigan. Ohio State’s issues have mostly been off the field, and interim coach Luke Fickle was an unfortunate victim that was thrown into the frying pan way before he was ready for prime time, so I have no doubt that a proven entity like Meyer will have the Buckeyes back on top in no time, assuming he doesn’t flake out with phantom “health concerns” after a year or two.



Saving College Football – Part Deux Revised

I was wrong, and I am not afraid to admit it. That’s not really difficult since it happens so rarely.

I jest.

Anyway…in June of last year I published the second part of my plan to save college football, detailing how I would abolish all existing conferences and put each team into one of 10 regions, with the ten regional winners + 6 at large teams making up a 16 team playoff. However, in pondering the situation as the 2010-11 season has unfolded before my eyes, I have made a significant revision. I think it would be preferable and allow for much more flexibility to only have 5 regions, with the five winners + 3 at large teams comprising an 8 team playoff. This also would make the survival of the bowl system more viable, with much more entertaining contests possible than if 16 teams were in the playoff.

The current bowl season has about 3 dozen bowl games, which is ridiculous. I cut that in half and hearken back to my childhood when the New Year’s Day bowl games meant something. I am suggesting that there be 19 bowl games broken down into three tiers. Tier 1 consists of five games all played on January 1st. They would have the first choice of the non-playoff, bowl eligible (atleast 7 wins) teams. Tier 2 is comprised of six games played between Christmas and New Year’s. They would invite their teams after the Tier 1 games are all set. Tier 3 would be comprised of eight games all played before Christmas and would choose from amongst bowl eligible teams remaining after Tiers 1 & 2 make their choices. No bowl game would be tied into any particular region, but it obviously would make sense to consider geographic proximity and ticket sales when inviting participants. The three military academies…Army, Navy, & Air Force…would compete for an automatic bid to the Freedom Bowl in Philadelphia. Since I am setting the threshold for bowl eligibility at 7 wins out of an 11 game season we should see more quality matchups, but it still remains possible that some 7 win teams might not get invited anywhere. If that happens the powers-that-be at those schools would be well advised to do a thorough analysis of their program to discover the reason they were left on the outside looking in, whether it be a weak schedule, lack of fan support, or a general perception issue. In the unlikely event that there are not enough eligible teams to fill all available bowl slots Tier 3 bowls would be allowed to appeal to the NCAA for an exemption to be permitted to invite teams with 6 victories.

The 8 team playoff would take place over the course of 2 weeks in December, concluding on January 2nd with the National Championship game. I will not address television contracts for the bowls or the playoffs, and I will leave it up to folks smarter than I to decide where the championship game would be played, although first round and semifinal games would take place at the home field of the higher seed. The three at large teams would be the 3 highest ranked teams who did not automatically qualify by having the best record within their region. The 8 playoff teams would be seeded according to ranking in the one and only poll, which would be comprised of the following: the 25 most recent living Heisman Trophy winners, 100 members of the print media (2 from each state), 25 members of the television sports media, 25 members of the electronic media, 25 former college football coaches, and a nationwide fan vote to be conducted via The Internet on the NCAA website. Voters would be urged to take into consideration strength of schedule when casting their ballots and all ballots (except the fan vote of course) would be made public. No official pre-season rankings would be issued, and the first poll would be done after the 3rd week of the season.

Here are the redrawn regions and the bowl game lineup:

Atlantic South Central Midwest Pacific
Army Black Knights Alabama Crimson Tide Baylor Bears Akron Zips USC Trojans
Boston College Eagles Arkansas Razorbacks Houston Cougars Ball State Cardinals Arizona Wildcats
Buffalo Bulls Arkansas State Red Wolves UTEP Miners Bowling Green Falcons Arizona State Sun Devils
Connecticut Huskies Auburn Tigers Texas Tech Red Raiders Central Michigan Chippewas Wyoming Cowboys
Kentucky Wildcats LSU Tigers Air Force Falcons Cincinnati Bearcats BYU Cougars
Marshall Thundering Herd Clemson Tigers Texas State Bobcats Eastern Michigan Eagles California Golden Bears
Maryland Terrapins Duke Blue Devils Kansas Jayhawks Illinois Fighting Illini Fresno State Bulldogs
Massachusetts Minutemen East Carolina Pirates Kansas State Wildcats Indiana Hoosiers Hawaii Warriors
Navy Midshipmen Florida Gators Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Kent State Golden Flashes Idaho Vandals
Old Dominion Monarchs Florida Atlantic Owls Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Louisville Cardinals Nevada Wolfpack
Penn State Nittany Lions FIU Golden Panthers Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks Miami, OH Red Hawks Oregon Ducks
Pittsburgh Panthers Florida State Seminoles Missouri Tigers Michigan Wolverines Oregon State Beavers
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Georgia Bulldogs Minnesota Golden Gophers Michigan State Spartans San Diego State Aztecs
Syracuse Orange Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Tulsa Golden Hurricane NIU Huskies San Jose State Spartans
Temple Owls Georgia State Panthers South Alabama Jaguars Northwestern Wildcats Stanford Cardinal
Charlotte 49ers Wake Forest Demon Deacons UTSA Roadrunners Notre Dame Fighting Irish UCLA Bruins
Memphis Tigers Miami, FL Hurricanes North Texas Mean Green Ohio Bobcats UNLV Rebels
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders UCF Knights Oklahoma Sooners Ohio State Buckeyes Washington State Cougars
Vanderbilt Commodores Mississippi State Bulldogs Oklahoma State Cowboys Purdue Boilermakers Utah Utes
Virginia Cavaliers NC State Wolfpack Rice Owls Toledo Rockets Utah State Aggies
Virginia Tech Hokies North Carolina Tar Heels SMU Mustangs Western Michigan Broncos Colorado Buffaloes
West Virginia Mountaineers Ole Miss Rebels Tulane Green Wave Wisconsin Badgers Colorado State Rams
Western Kentucky Tennessee Volunteers TCU Horned Frogs Iowa Hawkeyes New Mexico Lobos
Southern Miss Golden Eagles South Carolina Gamecocks Texas Longhorns
Iowa State Cyclones
New Mexico State Aggies
Troy Trojans South Florida Bulls Texas A&M Aggies  Nebraska Cornhuskers Washington Huskies
UAB Blazers Boise State Broncos


Pasadena, CA                                                       

January 1                                         4pm



New Orleans, LA                                               

January1                                          6pm




 January1                                          8pm



Tempe, AZ                                                           

 January 1                                         3pm



Dallas, TX                                                             

January 1                                         1pm




Jacksonville, FL                                                

December 31                                    7pm



El Paso, TX                                                             

December 31                                    9pm



San Antonio, TX                                                  

December 30                                   8pm



Atlanta, GA                                                             

December 29                                   8pm



Memphis, TN                                                        

December 28                                   8pm



Orlando, FL                                                           

December 27                                   8pm



New Orleans, LA                                                  

December 23                                  7pm



San Diego, CA                                                         

December 23                                  10pm



Shreveport, LA                                                     

December 22                                  8pm



Philadelphia, PA                                                  

December 21                                   8pm


Big Apple                                                                            

NY, NY                                                                        

December 20                                  7pm



Mexico City, Mexico                                         

December 20                                  9pm



Toronto, Canada                                           

December 19                                   6pm



Honolulu, HI                                                          

December 19                                   8pm


In the next and likely concluding installment of this project I will tie up some loose ends, addressing things like scheduling, corporate sponsorship, and network affiliations. Until then, enjoy what’s left of this season, and looking ahead to the 2011 season let me just say Go Herd!! and Go Mountaineers!!.



Saving College Football Part Deux

A quick look in the archives will show that awhile back I put forth a 10 point plan to save college football. Because of recent developments involving radical changes in conference membership now seems like the perfect time to dive back into the issue with a follow-up or two or three.


One of the things I proposed was indeed conference realignment. But what I had in mind was NOT what is happening now. What is occurring at the moment is complete chaos fueled simply by greed. I continue to be amazed that these conferences seem to be independent entities over which the NCAA has absolutely no control. I am just a fan and I will not pretend to have command of the ins & outs of the business of big time collegiate athletics. But it seems to me that it shouldn’t be all that complicated.


At any rate, what has dawned on me over the course of the past few weeks is that conference realignment is not enough. What I would do is abolish the conferences altogether. College football should be about tradition and rivalries, and an important driving force has always been geography. As a general rule your favorite team’s biggest rivals are likely somewhat close in proximity. Oklahoma-Texas, Pitt-West Virginia, Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan, Florida-Florida State-Miami, Oregon-Oregon State…all geographical rivals. USC-Notre Dame is a notable exception, but I defy anyone to come with a half dozen more. You can’t. There is a reason Washington St.-Maryland or Arkansas-UCLA aren’t rivalries…they are thousands of miles apart. Therefore, what I am proposing is that all current Division 1-A…or FBS or whatever they are calling them now…teams be placed into regions instead of conferences.


There would be ten regions, each with 10-13 teams. The ten regional winners would go into a 16 team playoff with and additional six at large teams, but more on that later. Since there is a lot of overlap in some areas of the country, most prominently the southeastern and western United States, there is an opportunity to take into consideration competitive balance in placing teams. For example, Ohio State and Akron may both be in the same state, but no one would argue that they are evenly matched programs. But since there are more than enough teams in the midwest for two overlapping regions this issue can be resolved pretty easily. Each team would play 11 games…7 within their region and 4 against whomever they wish. This accomplishes two things. First, it allows strength of scheduled to become an important factor and gives every team plenty of flexibility to take that into consideration when putting together schedules. Secondly, it allows traditional rivals an opportunity to keep playing. USC and Notre Dame may not be in the same region, but they can still play if the powers-that-be at those two schools deem it proper and feasible. The teams that did not play each other one year within any region would be required to play one another the next season. This would mix things up from year to year, which would certainly keep the game fresh for players, coaches, and fans.


As mentioned in the previous post on this topic, three teams…Army, Navy, and Air Force…would remain independent. In an effort to promote those programs every other school would be required to play atleast one of the independents every so many years. I will leave it to people far smarter than me to work out exact details, but you get the drift. So without further adieu, here are the ten regions:


Atlantic Coast



East Carolina

Florida Atlantic

Florida International


Georgia Tech

North Carolina

North Carolina St.

South Carolina

Wake Forest






Central Florida


Florida St.

Louisiana St.

Miami, Fla.

Mississippi St.

Ole Miss.

South Florida








Middle Tennessee St.






Virginia Tech

Western Kentucky



Boston College




Penn St.





West Virginia


Gulf Coast

Arkansas State



Louisiana Tech

North Texas


Southern Methodist

Southern Miss.

Texas Christian




Big Sky

Boise St.


Colorado St.



Kansas St.



San Jose St.


Utah St.



Great Lakes


Ball St.

Bowling Green

Central Michigan


Eastern Michigan

Kent St.

Miami, OH

Northern Illinois

Ohio U.


Western Michigan






Iowa St.


Michigan St.



Notre Dame

Ohio St.




Pacific Coast






Oregon St.

Southern Cal





Washington St.




Arizona State


Fresno State


New Mexico

New Mexico St.


Oklahoma St.

San Diego St.


Texas A&M

Texas Tech

Independent           = Army, Navy, Air Force


I am not foolish enough to think that there is a perfect solution, but I think the NCAA can do much better that the current fiasco that we see playing out in the sports pages and on ESPN. When the mood strikes me to next tackle this subject we will go into more detail about how the playoffs and the revised bowl system will work.

A Fair Review of My College Football Prognostications

Late this past summer I took my annual swing at looking into the crystal pigskin to see what this year’s college football season may have in store. The only thing left of the season is the painfully corporate yet mostly fun to watch bowl season followed by the crowning of a not-as-mythic-as-it-used-to-be national champion. I will go through the bowls in yet another prognostication effort, but first let’s take a look at how I did with The Top 25.

The Good

All the other polls did it, but not me. I even had a much appreciated reader of The Manofesto call me out on it, but I stood my ground. Specifically I am referring to the annual fawning over of that glory hound of yesteryear, that has been of has beens…Notre Dame. They were ranked by most as pre-season Top 10, but I knew something was amiss in South Bend so they appeared nowhere near my Top 25. The Irish rewarded my lack of faith with a 6-6 season and canning their head coach. Yay me.

My poll had Alabama at #2, Texas at #3. They finished #1 & #2.  I specifically said “my vibes are telling me this is the year for The Tide to roll”. And roll they did.

TCU was ranked 11th by me, but I told you they’d be in the BCS hunt. They finished an impressive 3rd and have a date in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise St., who I said would finish 15th but instead finished 6th. The non-traditional powers are getting more respect and that’s good for the game.

I told you I sensed an off year for Southern California, and I was right. I was way too generous in still predicting them to finish 9th when in fact they finished at 8-4 and unranked…but I’m still calling this vibe a good vibe.

15 of my Top 25 teams did indeed finish in the Top 25. That’s 60%, a batting average any of those idiots on ESPN Gameday would give their left…pinky…for.

I predicted Georgia Tech 10th, they finished 9th…I had Nebraska at 17, they finished #20…Ohio St. 5th, they finished 8th…BYU at 19, they finished 15th .

It wasn’t a prediction (afterall I did predict the “Top” 25), but let me take this opportunity to say how much the Michigan Wolverines a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y SUCK and how full of TOTAL JOY that fills my heart. I hate you Rich Fraudriguez…I hate your ^%*@!#^ guts.

The Bad

I said I didn’t buy into the Florida hype…but maybe I should have. They lived up to it nearly the entire season until running into the buzzsaw that was Alabama. I did correctly pick them to lose, but I thought it’d be before the SEC Championship to LSU or Georgia, a prediction that was off to say the least.

Last year I predicted that either Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden would be coaching their last game. This year I somehow foresaw Penn St. at #1 and “a renaissance in Tallahassee, or atleast a one year return to respectability” that would have had Florida St. finish at #8. Oops. Looks like my vibes were exactly one year off. While Penn St. still finished a very respectable #11, Bobby Bowden did indeed coach his last game in Tallahassee after leading the Seminoles to a 6-6 record. The powers-that-be are throwing him a bone by allowing him a nice sendoff in the Gator Bowl against his former team, my WV Mountaineers.

I predicted Oregon to finish 25th…they finished 7th. Kudos to the Ducks. Charlie Simms would be proud.

I had Cincinnati in my Top 25…at #24. Instead the Bearcats finished undefeated and within a whisker of the title game.

I gave Oklahoma a final ranking of 12. They went 7-5 and finished unranked. In my defense (and theirs) unforeseen injuries to key players (most notably QB Sam Bradford) had a deleterious effect on the Sooners’ season.

The Ugly

I had Georgia finishing at #4 and beating Florida. Instead the Bulldogs finished 7-5 and far from the rankings. They had to replace their starting QB and RB. I should have known better than to pick them that high.

My preseason #1 team was Penn State. Unfortunately the Nittany Lions came up short against Iowa and Ohio State. Ohio State wasn’t shocking, but Iowa’s success was a surprise. I would love to see Paterno bow out gracefully, unlike the not-so-gentle shove out the door Bowden is being given after a subpar finish to a legendary career.

10 of my Top 25 teams finished unranked. Wherefore art thou Georgia, Florida St., USC, Oklahoma, Kansas, Ole Miss, Rutgers, UCLA, Boston College, and Maryland?? Rutgers and Maryland?? Wow, what was I smoking?? The Terrapins finished 2-10. Rutgers did go 8-4, but still…Rutgers?? I had Rutgers as a Top 25 team??

2009 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

Nearly every questionnaire or poll that I fill out seems to ask “what is your favorite season?”. I know the accepted answers are autumn, winter, spring, or summer. But my answer is always the same…..football. And thank God it is almost that time of year once more. I always take a shot at predicting the Top 25, a practice that began at an old job where we had a fun little gambling ring. I figure I am atleast as intelligent as the imbeciles that grace our television screens every fall Saturday (and Thursday), especially ESPN’s Lee Corso, one of the biggest jackasses in sports. We’ll get to the NFL in a few weeks, but for now let’s take a look into the old crystal ball and see what college football may have in store this year.

1 Penn State

The only game on the Nittany Lions’ schedule that is even remotely scary on paper is Ohio State…and it’s in Happy Valley this year. Paterno isn’t getting any younger. As a matter of fact he’s old…really old. Can the troops take him to the mountaintop one last time?? If so they better not look past the season ender at Michigan State.

2 Alabama

The SEC is never easy. As a matter of fact, it is most certainly the toughest conference in college football. The bright side for those teams is that whoever emerges on top, even if they have 2 or 3 losses, gets major respect and has a better than decent shot to play for the national championship. If ‘Bama can get past Virginia Tech in its opener they could very well have a clear path until the SEC title game, and my vibes are telling me this is the year for The Tide to roll.

3 Texas

The Longhorns have broken my heart so many times it’s not funny. I’m not a huge Texas fan or anything, but I have chosen them to finish very high several times over the years, and more often than not they let me down. The one year I didn’t put them on a pedestal?? 2005-06…..when they won the national championship. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. Or maybe I noticed they return 8 starters on offense (including senior QB and Heisman runner-up Colt McCoy) and have the big Red River Shootout against Oklahoma on their home turf this season.

4 Georgia

Not only am I picking Alabama to win the SEC title, but I am choosing Georgia as their unfortunate victim. That’s not exactly bad news for the Dawgs though, because it means I am predicting that they will shock the pundits, who fellatiate Tim Tebow worse than the drive-by media does the current President, by upsetting the overly hyped Florida Gators.

5 Ohio State

An early season battle with USC and a late season visit to Happy Valley against my #1 pick Penn State are the only two teams that should cause the Buckeyes any kind of grief. Other than that they have their usual cupcake schedule (Navy, Toledo, New Mexico St., Michigan) to insure a good record.

6 Oklahoma State

I like Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. He’s 40!! He’s a MAN!! And if you don’t understand that reference then give Gundy the YouTube treatment and you’ll soon get it. Anyway, The Big 12 is a really good, deceptively deep conference. OK St. has Texas at home but in-state rival Oklahoma is in Norman, a tough task. Plus they start the season with a very tough contest with Georgia…but it is at home, so they have a fighting chance. It’s possible that the Cowboys could win that contest and because of the bromance the press has with the SEC the Bulldogs will still finish higher in the rankings.


Mathematically it makes no sense to pick three SEC teams in the top 10. However, if any conference could pull off such a power trifecta I suppose it’d be this one. LSU always seems to be in the hunt and this year should be no different. Games at Alabama and at Georgia will be key. If those games are close then the loser won’t suffer too much in the polls. Any kind of blowout and all bets are off.

8 Florida State

Someone has to win the mediocre ACC. And while the trendy pick seems to be Virginia Tech, I’m going to hearken back to the days of yesteryear and go with the Seminoles. I sense a renaissance in Tallahassee, or atleast a one year return to respectability so that Bobby Bowden can keep up with Paterno.

9 Southern California

It’s pretty remarkable that finishing at #9 would be a disappointment and an off year for the Trojans, but such is the level of their recent success. I can’t explain it…..my vibes just seem to be telling me it’s an off year for what has consistently been the top team of the past decade. Maybe it’s the fact that after transitioning from Carson Palmer to Matt Leinart to Mark Sanchez, USC’s signal caller this year seems to be a transitional QB, a guy no one’s ever heard of who is probably just filling in until much heralded freshman Matt Barkley is ready. Also, not that long ago the PAC 10 was “USC and nine others”. That is no longer the case.

10 Georgia Tech

Back to back mid-season battles with Florida State and Virginia Tech will decide the fate of the Yellowjackets.

11 Texas Christian

The Horned Frogs have a challenging schedule, but by no means is it that far into the realm of difficult. They have Utah at home, so if they can win that one they may very well be in the BCS hunt.

12 Oklahoma

Winning The Red River Shootout in hostile territory is a tough task…..maybe too tough.

13 West Virginia

Alright…call me a homer if you wish. It is true that I am a resident of northcentral West Virginia and a lifelong Mountaineer fan. But that doesn’t change the fact that a team will win the Big East and until another club comes along and knocks them off their 5 year perch as the Beast of the East then benefit of the doubt goes to the Mountaineers. It’ll be a tough go without departed QB Pat White, but I think that it is quite probable that the passing game will emerge now and keep this team more than competitive.

14 Florida

Sorry Gator fans, but not only have I not been sucked in by the hype, but I think it may actually work against your team. History is replete with athletes and teams that have believed their own press to their ultimate detriment. I don’t think Tim Tebow is that type of guy…..he seems quite humble and selfless. But I’m not so sure about his teammates. LSU and Georgia could both defeat the Gators, and one of them almost certainly will.

15 Boise State

The WAC has never been a gimme conference, and starting the slate with Oregon won’t be easy.

16 Kansas

I told you The Big 12 was deep.

17 Nebraska


18 Mississippi

Ole Miss, NY Giants QB Eli Manning’s alma mater, seems to be getting an unusual amount of attention this pre-season. I like going against the grain, but I’m left with the assumption that there must be something good happening in Oxford. Some of the optimism likely stems from the fact that they upset Florida last year and then upended a very good Texas Tech club in The Cotton Bowl. The SEC is super tough, but if the Rebels play well against Alabama and Tennessee…both home games…well, they will have everyone’s attention and will deserve it.

19 Brigham Young

When did The Mountain West all the sudden become a power conference?? The people that usually whine about The Big East not deserving an automatic BCS berth seem to use The Mountain West as an example of teams who deserve some love. I can’t argue with the latter side of that argument. Last year I looked at BYU’s schedule and predicted them to finish undefeated and in the top 5. I’m not quite as generous this go round, but I don’t think 9 wins is out of the question.

20 Rutgers

The Big East doesn’t get much respect from the talking heads. I suppose on some level I understand that, but I do think the level of disdain for the conference is irrational. Out of eight teams atleast six have been quite respectable for the past few years…..seven if one takes into consideration that while Louisville has gone into the toilet in the post-Petrino era Connecticut has risen up nicely. If Syracuse ever gets their issues straightened out The Big East may actually become one of the most unpredictably competitive conferences in the country top to bottom. Which would you rather have…..a 12 team conference with about half of them being better than good, or an 8 team conference where every single team has a legitimate claim to being the one to beat?? Anyway, I feel like Rutgers could be a surprise this year.


Traditionally I pick a shocker, a team no one else seems to have on their radar. This year that honor goes to the once powerful Bruins. There is no logical explanation.

22 Boston College

The ACC is a lot like The Big East…..not any great teams, but several solid ones. I like BC’s chances for a 9 win, late December bowl type of season.

23 Maryland


24 Cincinnati

I am hedging my bets with the Big East. The aforementioned West Virginia and Rutgers will be battling Pitt, South Florida, Connecticut, and these Bearcats from Cincinnati for the conference crown. Cincinnati wins the proverbial coin flip for this spot.

25 Oregon

The opener at Boise will go a long way toward deciding where the Ducks finish, and The PAC 10 has become quite deep.

America’s Pastime??

Barry Bonds in action.

Barry Bonds

I had every intention of doing a full blown 2009 baseball preview. That obviously didn’t happen. Opening Day has come and gone and so it seems a rather pointless exercise.

I remember not that long ago when Opening Day was an event. Everyone, even the most fair weather baseball fans, knew when it was approaching. I suppose it’s still a big deal for a significant amount of baseball aficionados, but it certainly doesn’t seem to have the cachet that it once did. I didn’t even realize it was occurring until I heard it mentioned on the radio in my car about an hour before the first pitch was to be tossed. There didn’t seem to be much coverage of spring training this year, or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

There are probably a lot of reasons for the decline in popularity of baseball, atleast in relative terms when compared with our ever-increasing love affair with football. For me personally I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, and they haven’t been anywhere close to competitive for about 17 years. We Pirates fans have no real reason for hope or anticipation and usually quit paying close attention before summer even officially begins. I’m sure this apathy spreads to fans of other teams like the Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals, and Cleveland Indians, whose teams are rarely that good. This can be traced to the lack of a salary cap, something football has and baseball sorely needs. There are also the constant scandals that have rocked the sport for the last couple of decades. I don’t believe it’s out of bounds to hypothesize that the beginning of the end for baseball started with the downfall of Pete Rose about 20 years ago. Then in 1994 there was a players’ strike that cut the season in half and forced the cancellation of the playoffs and World Series. Baseball has never fully recovered from that season and the wrath it instilled in loyal fans. It came very very close to a much desired reconciliation with its public in 1998 due to the excitement involving Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s chase of Roger Maris’ vaunted home run record. But during the past 4 or 5 years even that progress has been unraveled as we’ve learned that all those home runs were likely a mirage, the numbers skewed by illegal substance abuse. One by one mighty heroes of the diamond have fallen from grace, from Barry Bonds to Jose Canseco to McGwire to Alex Rodriguez. Even pitchers, chief among them the legendary Roger Clemens, apparently aren’t above cheating.

We also cannot ignore the changing landscape of our nation. We prefer fast and frenetic these days, as opposed to slow and easy. Football appeals to our more modern, chaotic sensibilities, while baseball seems nostalgic and bucolic. Baseball is a relic, a living monument to a bygone era we recall with a certain sense of wistful wonder. It’s a nice place to visit occasionally, but it’s not something we can really sink our teeth into for the long haul. And with its 162 game season plus playoffs and then a World Series baseball definitely encompasses a long haul. Transversely, football season seems much shorter, even though it really isn’t. Close examination reveals that baseball opens in April and concludes in October…..7 months. Football, if one takes into consideration both college and the NFL season which basically overlap, begins in late August and climaxes in early February…..7 months. Of course there is a significant difference when one factors in that each team in football plays once per week, while in baseball your favorite team likely plays 4 or 5 times. Youngsters today consider baseball slow and boring. They have so many other choices…..video games, the internet, DVDs, Ipods. Our culture is on sensory overload, and baseball easily gets lost in the shuffle.

Football has better PR as well. Does anyone think football players don’t use performance enhancing drugs? If you do, you’re more than naïve. But no one seems to make nearly as big a deal out of it. Also, when was the last time you watched or attended a college baseball game? College baseball has an extremely limited following, while college football is HUGE. We are able to follow our beloved football players every step of the way from their recruitment to the university of their choice, through their entire college career, to speculating who’ll choose them in the NFL Draft (does anyone actually watch the MLB Draft? Ummm…no), through their (hopefully) long NFL career. We’re invested in football every step of the way. Baseball…..not so much.

This examination is not meant as an insult to baseball. I’m still a fan. I just find it unfortunate that circumstances have converged in such a way that prevents me, and legions of others, from being a passionate fan. Calling baseball America’s Pastime is nothing more than a marketing tool. It is more a reflection of America’s past.