The NFL season kicks off Thursday night, so y’all are getting bonus picks!! Honestly…it has nothing to do with the fact that I was 2-3 last week and Zach extended his season lead by going 3-2. Nothing at all. Really. There are intriguing matchups in the college ranks as well, despite the fact that many teams are still in the non-conference portion of their schedule. We’ll talk more about the college playoff next week, but atleast in this moment we’re all the beneficiaries of programs chasing those scant four spots by beefing up their early season slate. Enjoy it while you still can. 

My Season: 3-7

Zach’s Season: 7-3

Alabama (-20.5) at Texas 

A decade ago this would’ve been a marquee matchup. The talking heads will still try to sell it as such, relying on the history & tradition of both programs. However, the truth is that Texas has only had one ten win season since ‘Bama beat them in the 2010 National Championship Game. The Longhorns are pinning all their hopes on freshman QB Quinn Ewers and will be making an idiotic move to the SEC in the not-too-distant future. Meanwhile, Nick Saban opined awhile back that last season…in which they were 13-2 & lost the national title to Georgia…was a rebuilding year for the Tide. So despite any creative PR tactics the fact is that anything else besides Texas getting their ass handed to them would be a surprise. Having said that, the points are kind of eye opening, given the fact this game is being played in Austin (Alabama’s first trip there in 100 years). Can the home team atleast keep it respectable?? Sadly I don’t believe they will. Zach observes that ‘Bama is consistently well coached, disciplined, & fundamentally solid, while Texas is merely mediocre. He thinks that may change when QB Arch Manning arrives on campus next year, but for now believes this will be an easy win for the visitors. 

My Pick: Alabama 

Z’s Pick: Alabama 

Houston at Texas Tech (-3)

The Cougars went into three overtimes before defeating the UTSA Roadrunners in the season opener. Conversely, the Red Raiders beat the snot out of Murray St. Houston is better than what we saw last weekend, while Tech will be facing legit competition for the first time, so I expect an entertaining contest, but I think the home favorites get a solid victory. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Texas Tech

Z’s Pick: Texas Tech 

Iowa State at Iowa (-3.5)

With all the realignment hullabaloo one would think the powers-that-be could get these two in the same conference, but not thus far. The Cyclones beat up a glorified high school team to open the season (one reason why they’ll not be playoff contenders), while the Hawkeyes barely defeated South Dakota St. in an epic 7-3 battle that was either a masterpiece of defense or set the game of football back several decades. I didn’t see the game or any…highlights…so I cannot intelligently opine. At any rate, this is the first real test for both teams and I’m expecting good things. It’ll be on the Big Ten Network and I’ll certainly check it out. I think State will score the mild upset. Zach believes we’re in for a low scoring defensive battle that the home team will win.

My Pick: Iowa State 

Z’s Pick: Iowa

Arizona State at Oklahoma State (-11.5)

I have lofty expectations for the Cowboys, but it’s a bit alarming that they allowed Central Michigan to score 44 points last weekend. Will their offense need to score nearly 60 points in every game?? Conversely, the Sun Devils’ defense allowed only a field goal in their nearly 40 point season opening win. I love my guy Herm Edwards, but it’s way too early to abandon my bold preseason predictions, so I’m going with the home favorites. Zach notes that OK St. consistently underperforms & doesn’t seem to live up to their potential, which is true. However, he likes the home field in this one and foresees a big blowout win for the Cowboys.

My Pick: Oklahoma State 

Z’s Pick: Oklahoma State 

USC (-9) at Stanford 

Everybody is paying attention to the Trojans once again, and they got things started off right with a 66-14 beatdown of Rice. Stanford also won their prosaic season opener. And now, while some teams are pussyfooting around with clearly inferior opponents & others are trying to gain attention with aggressively scheduled non-conferences clashes, these teams are diving right into the conference scrum. Stanford has the home field, and I think that’s significant. Do I believe the home underdogs will win?? No. However, I foresee a closer than expected contest that Southern Cal wins by only a touchdown. Zach thinks USC will cover with a hard fought double digit victory. 

My Pick: Stanford 

Z’s Pick:  USC

Baylor at BYU (-3)

The Bears beat someone unimportant by nearly 60 points in the season opener. Obviously they’re not serious about being a playoff contender. BYU could go undefeated and still get left out of the playoff conversation, but kudos to them for scheduling decent competition to open the season and getting a solid victory. This could be the game of the week, so if you’re not doing anything on Saturday night at 10pm tune into ESPN & check it out. These were two Top 10 teams in my preseason poll, so I have high expectations. The Cougars have the home field and I predict that’ll matter late in the 4th quarter. Conversely, Zach thinks it’ll be Baylor’s defense that’ll come up big late in the game to secure a win.

My Pick: BYU

Z’s Pick: Baylor 

Buffalo (-2.5) at LA Rams 

The Bills are a solid Super Bowl favorite, while very few seem to be giving the defending champion Rams as much respect as they probably deserve. They aren’t even favored at home. Could this be a Super Bowl preview?? Maybe…maybe not. Either way it’s a hell of a way to kick off the season, and I think it’ll be a close game. Things might go differently in February, but for now I believe the underdogs will defend their turf & prove their title run wasn’t a fluke. Zach agrees, opining that the Bills may be a bit overrated. 

My Pick: LA Rams 

Z’s Pick: LA Rams 

Kansas City (-4.5) at Arizona 

It feels like both teams should be getting more love, but the fact that they compete in the two most stacked divisions in the NFL means they both have difficult paths to the Super Bowl. Have defenses figured Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes out after five seasons?? Perhaps, but the biggest reason people are doubting him right now is the departure of receiver Tyreek Hill. Can a pass catching corps of Mecole Hardman, former Steeler Juju Schuster, rookie Skyy Moore, & veteran tight end Travis Kelce pick up the slack & fill the void left by one of the most exciting players in the league?? The Cardinals are another team being disrespected on their home field, but there are reasonable doubts. Former Raven Hollywood Brown was a nice acquisition for the receiving corps, especially given the six game suspension of DeAndre Hopkins, but AJ Green is 34 years old & not the same receiver he used to be. Having said that, I’m more concerned with Arizona’s defense. JJ Watt has lost a step and Tyrann Matthieu signed with the Saints. I think this will be a shootout, but KC has a little too much firepower and will take over in the 4th quarter. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Kansas City

Z’s Pick: Kansas City

Las Vegas at LA Chargers (-3)

As previously mentioned, the AFC West is going to be a dogfight, and we might look back on this one a few months from now & realize it was more important than we realized. I’m a Derek Carr fan, and it’s going to be fun watching him throw passes to former Packer Davante Adams. Unfortunately I think Adams is going to face a lot of double coverage, so it’ll be up to the rest of a rather pedestrian receiving corps to step up, RB Josh Jacobs to fulfill his potential, & tight end Darren Waller to return to his Pro Bowl form of 2020 after a subpar, injury riddled season last year. Don’t sleep on their defense, which added former Cardinals’ pass rusher Chandler Jones. The Chargers fell into the abyss a few years ago but have slowly been rebuilding with the likes of QB Justin Herbert & linebacker Joey Bosa, and they’ve added former Raider & Bear Khalil Mack, who can still be a beast despite the fact he’s on the wrong side of 30. If the Chargers can avoid major injuries their defense will be a force and the team could surprise people. Having said that, I’m picking the mild upset this week. Zach agrees. 

My Pick: Las Vegas 

Z’s Pick: Las Vegas 

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.