2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 17

football-introducing-the-science_1Before we move forward with this week’s picks I must correct an oversight on my part. The past couple of weeks we’ve been dealing strictly with NFL games because I indicated the college football season was over except for the bowl games. The problem is that isn’t exactly true. There are playoff games going on at the FCS, Division II, & other “lower” levels of NCAA football. We wouldn’t pick those games because neither Zach nor myself are knowledgeable at all about any of the teams involved, but I feel like it is important to recognize that those games exist. As a student at Marshall University in the early 90’s I witnessed multiple 1-AA playoff games and was privileged to be in the stadium when my Thundering Herd won the national title in 1992. There are a lot of football snobs out there that only acknowledge “big boy football” as played by the SEC, Big Ten, Notre Dame, Florida State, etc., but the football played in other divisions can be just as exciting & fun to watch, and there have been no shortage of players from lesser known smaller schools that have made an impact in the NFL. Their putrid 2016 season notwithstanding, part of me has often wished Marshall would have stayed in 1-AA/FCS. Since moving up the best they have been able to do is battle for a MAC or C-USA conference title and then play in some prosaic December bowl game that no one cares about or remembers. As a fan it was much more interesting to see my team move thru a 16 team playoff and have an opportunity to play for a championship. At any rate, I felt it important to recognize those other, often overlooked & marginalized, levels of college football. Last week both Zach & I were at our mediocre best, he at 2-3 and I at 3-2. Average seems to be our thing this season. A few NFL teams have already clinched playoff berths, but these last few weeks will see a lot of jockeying for position. Since Sunday is Christmas Day much of the action will take place the day before, which is fine with me. Merry Christmas fellow football fans. I sincerely wish all of you a most delightful holiday.

My Season:        47-46

Z’s Season:        33-60

 

 

 

 

 

Indianapolis      at      Oakland (-4)

raidersThe Raiders are already in the playoff field, while the Colts really need to win their final two games and even then face an uphill battle. I’d really Indianapolis_Colts_Helmetlove to pick Indy since I predicted that they’d win the division, but it just doesn’t feel like the chips are falling in their favor. I think Oakland is just too good. Zach has apparently been infected with my Vibes. He’s picking the upset though he doesn’t really know why. Good luck with that dude…it rarely works out well for me.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Indianapolis

 

 

Tampa Bay        at      New Orleans (-3)

tampa-bay-buccaneersThe Bucs still have an opportunity to win their division, but winning their last two games is probably necessary. Even a wildcard spot is going to be tough. Conversely, the Saints can only play spoiler and have to win out just to finish at .500. I don’t expect any surprises and neither does Zach.

My Pick:     Tampa Bay

Z’s Pick:     Tampa Bay

 

 

Minnesota                    at      Green Bay (-6.5)

After beginning the season 5-0 the Vikings have lost 7 of the last 9 games. Their defense is still formidable, but they’ve sputtered offensively and QB Sam Bradford no Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetlonger looks like a long term answer in case Teddy Bridgewater is unable to make a successful comeback. The Packers have had a roller coaster season but are riding a four game winning streak and have an outside shot at the playoffs…maybe even a division title. These are simply two teams going in opposite directions and I see no evidence the tide will turn this week. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

 

 

Denver                at      Kansas City (-4)

kc-chiefs-logoI told y’all the Chiefs were going to the playoffs, and a win here would probably secure a spot. Denver’s quarterback situation has torpedoed anybroncos-4759 chance they had of achieving the success they had last year. Peyton Manning retiring has that effect. Although it does look like they made the right choice to let Brock Osweiler walk in free agency. There will be no upset here, atleast in my opinion. Conversely, Zach thinks Denver, with their back against the wall and in a dogfight for a playoff spot, will get the job done.

My Pick:     Kansas City

Z’s Pick:     Denver

 

 

Detroit                 at      Dallas (-7)

Detroit_Lions_HelmetThe Cowboys are going to win their division before the inevitable postseason crash & burn. The Lions have snuck up on everybody, but they dallas-cowboys-logo2have Green Bay hot on their trail and need to win out to secure a division title. This is your Monday night game and I am predicting an early start to Dallas’ certain demise. Zach disagrees. He predicts it’ll be a blowout for the favorites.

My Pick:     Detroit

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

football-introducing-the-science_1Sorry folks…running behind so this is going to be quick & dirty. Lots going on in my world. I’m not used to so much activity. Last week I was 6-3, while Zach was 3-6. More than most weeks in recent memory we had several games decided by the point spread…teams winning but not covering. That’s exactly why we have that added layer of strategery. It makes things that much more interesting. The college football schedule is kind of prosaic this week, so we’re leaning a little more on the NFL. I try my best not to be repetitive by choosing games involving the same teams every week, although it is undeniable that some teams are just more interesting and play better opponents than others.

 My Season:     28-27

Z’s Season:     19-37

 

 

 

 

Alabama (-7.5)             at      LSU

Zach & I both agree that the Tide are on another level. Actually they have almost become boring since they tend to bulldoze opposing teams with the outcome never alabamatidereally in doubt. I don’t anticipate anything different even with this game being in Baton Rouge. I wouldn’t mind being wrong.

My Pick:     Alabama

Z’s Pick:     Alabama

 

 

Nebraska            at      Ohio St. (-17.5)

This is another point spread situation. I don’t think the Buckeyes lose at The Horseshoe. However, as Penn St. proved, Ohio St. isn’t infallible. Nebraska is coming off of nebraska-cornhuskersa tough overtime loss, but they still have a lot to fight for, including a spot in the Big Ten (which has 14 teams) title game. At the very least I expect a spirited effort from the Cornhuskers and a fairly close game. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Nebraska

Z’s Pick:     Nebraska

 

 

NY Jets               at      Miami (-3.5)

Jets-Pin-ProNeither team has any chance whatsoever to overtake New England in the AFC East, and the playoffs are a pipe dream. Both teams would be MiamiDolphinslucky to finish with a winning record. But somehow Jets/Dolphins games always seem to be exciting & fun to watch, going all the way back to my childhood. I’m going to roll the dice on an upset just for the hell of it. Conversely, Zach likes the Dolphins’ rushing attack, which is actually better without recently retired Arian Foster.

My Pick:     NY Jets

Z’s Pick:     Miami

 

 

New Orleans (-3.5)     at      San Francisco

Neither of these teams are going to the playoffs either. The Saints have a chance to finish around the .500 mark, but with Atlanta running away with their division that’s new_orleans_saints-3737just not good enough. The Niners are probably in the conversation for the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft, a choice one would assume they’d use on a quarterback. ‘Frisco doesn’t even get the respect of the obligatory home field bump from the oddsmakers…probably because they don’t deserve it. Zach has concerns about N’awleans’ inconsistency, but even less faith that ‘Frisco can field a competent professional football team.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     New Orleans

 

 

Denver                at      Oakland (-1)

QB Derek Carr has the Raiders riding high, topping their division deep into the season for the first time in several years. But the Broncos are right there with them. This raidersis the Sunday night game on NBC, and it’s a big one for both teams, with the winner sitting in the post-season driver’s seat and the loser in a wildcard spot and facing a possible playoff game at New England. I like the Broncos’ defense, but I think Carr figures out a way to keep it close to set up a Sebastian Janikowski game winning field goal. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Oakland

Winning & Musing: Post-Super Bowl 50 Thoughts

Greetings sports fans. Let me first apologize for an abrupt & unforeseen ending to our Pigskin Picks of Profundity. Your humble Potentate of Profundity had two surgeries in November and spent a couple of months in the hospital, so things here in The Manoverse were unfortunately but necessarily backburnered. But now I’m back and ready to talk some sports. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 
manningCongratulations to the Denver Broncos, winners of Super Bowl 50. I had my doubts going into the game, but was pleasantly surprised. It is nice to see Peyton Manning go out on top. Most athletes don’t get that opportunity. I realize that he hasn’t officially announced his retirement yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The Broncos have Brock Osweiler waiting in the wings and I can’t see any other team signing Manning, who is half the QB he used to be. There isn’t any upside to playing another year, especially when he has the opportunity to retire as a Super Bowl Champion.

 

 

 

Lady Gaga has got some pipes, a fact that I recognized long ago. When she drops the outrageous act and just sings it can be quite gagaenjoyable, so I was cool with her singing the national anthem. However, I must point out that her stylist did her no favors. Was that look supposed to be some kind of tribute to David Bowie??

 

 

 

bdfThe old adage is that “defense wins championships”, and no game in recent memory proved that more than Super Bowl 50. Let’s be honest…Manning had very little to do with his team’s victory. Neither offense was impressive. It was the Broncos’ relentless pursuit of Carolina QB Cam Newton that secured the victory. It wasn’t the most exciting game to watch for sure, but kudos to Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for conceiving a plan that worked to perfection. Phillips has been a mediocre head coach more than once and is the perfect example that sometimes knowing one’s role and understanding your limitations isn’t a bad thing.

 

 

 

Speaking of Newton…
Okay, I know that a Denver player was being interviewed (rather loudly) during Newton’s abbreviated post-game press conference and that player bragging about how they’d stymied the Panthers’ offense may have upset Newton. But that’s still not a good enough excuse to pout like a kindergartner whose Mommy didn’t buy the toy he wanted and then end the press conference after a couple of questions. Cam Newton has a track record of being an immature sore loser, and that behavior reared its ugly camhead again on football’s biggest stage. Dozens of star players & coaches have lost the Super Bowl and had to do interviews after the loss, but I can’t ever remember any of them acting so childishly. I know losing sucks, and I can’t imagine how much of a kick in the ‘nads it is to lose The Super Bowl. However, Cam Newton is going to have to learn to suck it up and be a man. My understanding is that he is a good-hearted & charitable guy who does a lot for his community, especially kids. That being said, it took about five minutes on Sunday for him to lose a lot of the respect people had for him, and he’s going to have to earn it back. I suspect that the Carolina Panthers are going to be a good football team for the next several years and may find themselves in this spotlight again eventually. If that happens I hope that Cam Newton…win or lose…will show us all a better version of himself.

 

 

 

A few random thoughts about Super Bowl 50’s commercials:
• Is it really a good idea for The Incredible Hulk to get all caffeined up on Coca-Cola??
• I’ll probably never drink a Mountain Dew Kickstart (whatever that is), but I’m totally on board with PuppyMonkeyBabies, which I find much less creepy than Super Bowl Babies.
• Peyton Manning’s random plug for Budweiser during his post-game interview was much more memorable than the commercials that they probably paid an arm & a leg for.
• Dachsunds (aka weiner dogs) selling Heinz ketchup?? Okay…I guess.
• I don’t care how hard they sell the notion…a Prius will never be cool. An Audi, on the other hand, is very cool.
• I still don’t understand what an Amazon Echo is.
• Jeff Goldblum singing the theme song from The Jeffersons is mildly amusing, even if I don’t recall which company the ad was for.
• I don’t know which is more entertaining…the fact that there was a Super Bowl commercial for Mexican avocadoes, the comforting thought that Scott Baio is alive and earning a paycheck, or that the producers of the spot were obviously fans of The Last Starfighter (or maybe the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars).

 

 

 

Introducing all previous Super Bowl MVP’s was a nice touch. Kudos NFL.

 

 
halftimeI only half paid attention to the halftime show, so I wasn’t immediately offended by the alleged political message within Beyonce’s performance. I was more offended that the powers-that-be made Coldplay the stars of the show and then at some stage in the process realized that if one looks up the term mediocrity in the rock n’ roll dictionary there is a picture of Coldplay, alongside about a half dozen other random acts that look & sound the same. The producers were then forced to bring in Beyonce & Bruno Mars, two of the more popular halftime acts from recent Super Bowls. It smelled of pure desperation. On top of that the performance was average at best. I don’t really care about the political rhetoric because I doubt if 95% of the audience even understood the point.

2015 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 2

laces-football-grassAnd we’re back. It’s another exciting week in Gridironville, as the NFL starts its season. That means I’ll be spending most of my Sunday afternoons parked in front of the TV watching RedZone, undeniably one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century. In the inaugural week of the season your humble Potentate of Profundity went 4-1, while Zach stumbled out of the gate with a 1-4 mark. I can’t believe Auburn didn’t cover!! But it’s a long season, and things just get more fun from here on out. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 
Oklahoma at Tennessee (-1)
Last week the Sooners had no problem blowing out Akron, and the Vols didn’t have too much trouble dealing with Bowling Green, but both teams oklahomamust now step up their game. I’m a little concerned that Tennessee’s defense allowed Bowling Green to score 30 points, and to be honest I thought a lot of the talking heads overrated them coming into the season. I think head coach Butch Jones, now in his third season in Rocky Top, will get them back to respectability eventually…but not this year. I ranked Oklahoma 13th in my pre-season poll, and now is when they have to step up and prove they are worthy. Zach isn’t buying the Tennessee hype either.

 

My Pick = Oklahoma
Z’s Pick = Oklahoma

 

 
Boise St. (-3) at BYU
byuThe Broncos narrowly defeated former head coach Chris Petersen’s Washington Huskies in their initial outing of 2015, while BOISE-ST-LOGOthe Cougars upset Nebraska with a Hail Mary that actually worked. However, BYU lost their starting QB in that game as well. It is really interesting that Boise is favored as a visiting team. That is rare in such a fairly even matchup. It may not be the smart call, but The Vibes are telling me that the BYU train will keep rolling for atleast another week. Zach was unimpressed by Boise St. but thinks BYU’s luck will run out pretty quick.

 

My Pick = BYU
Z’s Pick = Boise St.

 

 

Oregon at Michigan St. (-3.5)
This is obviously the marquee game of the NCAA schedule this week. It’s the Saturday Night Special on ABC. The Ducks put up 61 points (but gave up Michigan_State_Spartans42) in defeating 1-AA Eastern Washington last weekend, while the Spartans probably eased off the gas when defeating in-state opponent Western Michigan. Michigan St. has the home field, which in a game like this can be huge. I said in my pre-season preview that I thought Oregon would fall back just a bit in 2015 and not be a playoff contender. Now it’s time for that to be proven on the field. Zach thinks this will be a great game but believes that the Spartan defense will be the difference maker.

 

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

 

 

New Orleans at Arizona (-2.5)
In my NFL preview I predicted that the Saints would be surprisingly mediocre…again. I’m just not impressed with any of their running backs, and nflarizonacardinalstrading away TE Jimmie Graham was huge. Conversely, the Cardinals are looking for another double digit win season and hope to make an impact in the playoffs as long as QB Carson Palmer stays healthy. I see no reason to go against the grain (or my own predictions) this week. Once again Zach thinks defense is the key to victory and is picking the Cards to stop Drew Brees.

 

My Pick = Arizona
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 
Baltimore at Denver (-4.5)
I predicted that the Ravens would take a step back and miss the playoffs in 2015. The talking heads seem to mostly disagree with my assessment. I denveralso said that Peyton Manning’s decline would become more apparent this regular season but then had the Broncos winning the Super Bowl from a wildcard spot. To be honest that’s probably just wishful thinking. I’m a sucker for happy endings and seeing sports legends go out on top. As far as this game goes, Denver has the home field and I think they will indeed defend their house. As a Steelers fan Zach obviously despises the Ravens, and he’s predicting Manning will throw 5 TDs against the Baltimore defense. That’d be fine with me.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 17

I have to be honest. Choosing which games we are going to pick has become difficult. College football is, of course, over. The NFL is down to the nitty gritty. We have a good idea of which teams are definitely in the playoffs and which teams certainly will not be playoff bound. The real interest lies in the handful of teams who are fighting for just a couple of playoff spots. However, I don’t want to just keep talking about the same half dozen teams every week. That’s redundant & tedious for both myself and The Manoverse. Ah well…there are worse problems, right?? At any rate, last week Zach went 2-3, while I went 3-2. Zach’s faith in Johnny Football proved to be misguided, while we both underestimated how far the San Francisco 49ers have gone off the rails. That brings my season record to 50-41, while Zach is currently 46-45. I think it’s pretty cool that both of us are still above .500. Hey ESPN…call me!!

*

Buffalo (-5.5) at Oakland
raidersNeither team is going to the playoffs. The Bills aren’t mathematically eliminated, but they are definitely fighting an uphill battle. To be fair Buffalo_Bills_Helmetthough they have shown improvement. It looks like they don’t believe QB EJ Manuel is the answer, so they’ll likely have to address that issue in the offseason. Conversely, even though they seem like they have their quarterback of the present & future with Derek Carr, the Raiders are a mess. They’ll be looking to hire a big time coach in the offseason. As far as this game goes I am going to go with the upset. Call it a gut feeling. Zach thinks Buffalo will win easily.

My Pick = Oakland
Z’s Pick = Buffalo

Detroit (-8) at Chicago
The big sports news this week is that the Bears are benching QB Jay Cutler and starting Jimmy Clausen. It’d be shocking if that is a long term answer. Will Cutler Detroit_Lions_Helmetbe with the Bears next season?? Can head coach Marc Trestman keep his job?? I have no idea. Meanwhile, the Lions are in a dogfight for both their division lead and a wildcard spot. They have a lot riding on this game and I don’t think they’ll mess it up. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Detroit
Z’s Pick = Detroit

Indianapolis at Dallas (-3)
The Colts have already clinched their division. The Cowboys lead their division and need to win atleast one more game. This is going to be a shootout. I expect the Indianapolis_Colts_HelmetPalace in Dallas to have a playoff atmosphere. However, I also expect Andrew Luck to have more bullets in his gun than Tony Romo. Zach agrees.

My Pick = Indianapolis
Z’s Pick = Indianapolis

Seattle (-7.5) at Arizona
ss1The defending champion Seahawks are still in the playoff hunt, but the Cardinals have clinched the division title. However, the Cards are azcdown to 3rd string QB Ryan Lindley. I have no doubt that Arizona will put forth their best effort, and eliminating Seattle from playoff contention would be sweet for them (and every other NFC playoff contender). I just don’t believe that a Seattle team with everything on the line will go down easily. Zach, on the other hand, is all in on the Cardinals despite their shaky quarterback situation.

My Pick = Seattle
Z’s Pick = Arizona

Denver (-3) at Cincinnati
The Bengals took care of business last week by knocking that arrogant jackass Manziel down a peg or two, but now it’s time for them to lose. Cincy is just a half denvergame in front of Pittsburgh & Baltimore in the AFC North, and both of those teams have very winnable games this week. The Broncos have already clinched their division and I suppose it’s not out of the question that they could take their foot off the gas these last couple of weeks. I hope they wait until next week versus Oakland to do that. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 16

College football is over except for bowl games and of course the playoff. We’ll deal with that post-season in a few days, but as far as these picks go it’ll be three straight weeks of the NFL. Last week Zach went 3-4, while I went 5-2. That takes my season record to 47-39, while Zach stands at 44-42. These next few weeks will be really interesting though, as I have always found pro football to be much more unpredictable than their collegiate counterparts.

 

 

 

 

 

Miami at New England (-7.5)
The Patriots hold a commanding 3 game lead in the AFC East and would wrap up the division title with a victory. The Dolphins are in the midst of a logjam battling New_England_Patriots_Helmetfor a wildcard playoff spot. They are a skosh better than I thought they’d be, but the Belichick/Brady train just keeps on rolling, which is what I think will happen in this game. Zach concurs.

My Pick = New England
Z’s Pick = New England

 

 

Cincinnati at Cleveland (even)
Cincinnati_Bengals_HelmetThe buzz around this game is all about the debut of Johnny Football as an NFL starting quarterback. I am faced with a conundrum. It wouldCleveland_Browns_Helmet certainly help my Steelers for Cincinnati to lose, but a Cleveland victory would produce ceaseless fawning over Manziel as the second coming of Manning/Marino/Elway/Unitas, which would be intolerable. The last thing that dude needs is his ego stroked. The folks in Vegas obviously have very little respect for the Browns since the pick ‘em odds mean they are getting no home field advantage whatsoever. The Bengals could win this week and then lose their final two games to Denver and Pittsburgh, a plan that sounds peachy to me. Conversely, Zach has bought into the Manziel myth and is rooting for the Browns.

My Pick = Cincinnati
Z’s Pick = Cleveland

 

 

Denver (-4) at San Diego
The Broncos and Peyton Manning have looked a little more…human…this season but are still probably going to win the AFC West and atleast get close to the 13-3 denverrecord they posted in 2013. The Chargers are in the aforementioned wildcard gridlock, and a victory here would be huge. Once again the oddsmakers aren’t giving any love to the home team. I like San Diego, but I think Denver is actually a better team now than a year ago when they went to the Super Bowl. Manning has to know that the window for him to snag another ring won’t stay open much longer, and opposing defenses should look out from now thru January. Zach agrees.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

 

 

San Francisco at Seattle (-10)
Most “experts” seem to believe that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is on his way out the door and I have no reason to doubt those reports. The defending champion San-Francisco-49ersSeahawks haven’t been as dominant this year as last and aren’t going to win their division. However, they are in a four way battle with Dallas, Philadelphia, & Detroit for two wildcard spots and a win against their archrivals would certainly boost those prospects. Having said that, I think San Francisco might have one last gasp of respectability remaining. I’m not sure they can pull off a victory, but a 10 point spread is just too much. Zach thinks the Seahawks will win but not cover the 10 points.

My Pick = San Francisco
Z’s Pick = San Francisco

 

 

Dallas at Philadelphia (-3)
These two teams are currently tied atop the NFC East. One team will win the division, but the other still has a decent opportunity to make the playoffs as a wildcard. eaglesThe Eagles get the nominal home field advantage and smoked the Cowboys by three TDs at the Palace in Dallas on Thanksgiving night. I see no reason to expect anything different this time. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = Philadelphia

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

Last weekend was a bloodbath. There’s no other way to soft sell it. One of the keys to success in the prognostication arts is being able to predict big upsets and last week college football had more than its fair share…very few of which I saw coming. As a fan it was lots of fun to watch, but for the purpose of these picks it was viciously humbling. I ended up going 3-4. Both Zach & I picked Arizona & Virginia Tech correctly, and I was happy to see Nebraska stage a late comeback to atleast cover the points even though they didn’t win. Zach was 4-3 and picked both Mississippi St. and Notre Dame correctly. We both completely whiffed by picking LSU & Alabama. You know it’s a wacky year when both of those teams lose in the same day. So the season records look like this:

Me = 15-18
Zach = 16-16

There are several big college games again this week but I prefer to have a little variety and not pick games involving the same teams week after week. With the NFL this is somewhat unavoidable because there are only 32 teams, but the NCAA has a much bigger selection from which to choose and so we shall.

 

 

 

 

 

TCU at Baylor (-8.5)
The Horned Frogs are 4-0 and coming off a surprising upset of Oklahoma. Baylor is now a legitimate part of the national playoff conversation but they need to keep baylorwinning. I am sure TCU will put forth their best effort, but don’t believe they are an authentic Top 10 team. This game is in Waco and the home team should roll to a solid double digit victory. Zach likes the Bears’ high powered offense and expects that it’ll be hard for TCU to get revved up for another big upset so soon.

My Pick = Baylor
Z’s Pick = Baylor

Louisville at Clemson (-10.5)
Louisville-CardinalsThe Cardinals have represented themselves rather well in their inaugural season in the ACC. They are 5-1 and currently in 2nd place in theirclemson division. I must admit I did not think they’d be that successful this season, especially after losing QB Teddy Bridgewater to the NFL. Conversely Clemson is 3-2 and hasn’t done well against stiff competition. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL and it has shown. I don’t think Louisville will win this game, but I do think they’ll play good enough to cover the points. Zach disagrees and thinks Clemson will win in a blowout.

My Pick = Louisville
Z’s Pick = Clemson

 

 

Denver (-8) at NY Jets
8 point spreads in the NFL are almost like 20 points in the collegiate ranks. Theoretically these guys are all professional athletes and no team should get shellacked denverby 2 or 3 touchdowns. However we all know that it does happen. This spread is especially insulting to the Jets since they are the home team. However, I do agree that the Broncos are a team on a mission…Super Bowl or bust…and that New York is a hot mess without a good starting QB and with a head coach who has to feel the noose tightening. I’d be surprised if the game isn’t essentially over at halftime and Peyton Manning isn’t chillin’ on the sidelines by the 4th quarter. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

Dallas at Seattle (-8)
seattle-seahawks1I know everyone is jumping on the Dallas bandwagon, but I’m not buying it. They are 4-1 but three of their wins are over teams with a dallas-cowboys-logo2combined record of 4-10. Simmer down Cowboys fans…no need to be more obnoxious than usual just yet. Philadelphia is still going to win the division. Meanwhile the defending champs are 3-1 and I think their early season loss to the San Diego Chargers will actually prove beneficial. It’s really easy for champions to become complacent but the Seahawks got a wake-up call and now seem to be back on track. I think this will be an easy win for Seattle. Zach isn’t a Cowboys fan but does believe that there is good reason for folks to have high expectations. He thinks Dallas is a solid playoff team and will atleast cover the points in this one.

My Pick = Seattle
Z’s Pick = Dallas

 

 

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-2.5)
philadelphia_eagles-3715The Giants are another team that everyone suddenly has renewed faith in, although it’s a bit more understandable in their case. They have aGiants Logo history of bouncing between being a playoff contender and a bottom dweller as effortlessly as Marty McFly travels thru time. On the flip side the Eagles are 4-1 but haven’t been quite as dominating as some (including me) expected. RB LeSean McCoy is only averaging 55 yds/game. To call that underwhelming would be like calling President Obama somewhat of a disappointment. Philly’s defense isn’t that good either, ranking 24th in the league against the run and 29th in passing defense. This is the Sunday night game and I think it’ll be a high scoring back & forth kind of contest with the home team getting the victory late in the 4th quarter. Zach agrees that it’ll be close but believes it will be the Giants that score late to seal the victory.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = NY Giants

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

I am so mad at myself. Sometimes something is so obviously staring one right in the face that we too easily look past it. Such was the case last week. There was a fantastic opportunity for me to go 5-0, which I think would have been the very first time in three years that has happened. I am far too lazy to research the archives in order to verify that fact. At any rate, instead I ended up going 3-2. Why?? Well, first of all, the Green Bay Packers only beat the NY Jets by 7 points. The spread was 8. That one wasn’t so much my fault as it was a Packers team who basically phoned it in and may have actually lost were it not for the inexplicable ineptitude of the Jets coaching staff. Then there was the major upset…the San Diego Chargers defeating the Seattle Seahawks. I should have seen it coming. There was no way the Seahawks were going to go undefeated. That just doesn’t happen. I am the guy who said in my NFL Preview that “Super Bowl Champions oftentimes slip a little the following season” while predicting a rather pedestrian 10-6 record for Seattle. At the same time I called the Chargers “sneaky good” and also predicted a 10-6 record as well as a playoff berth. The Seahawks had dismantled Green Bay in the opening game of the season while San Diego lost a heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle-San Diego was a home game for the Chargers & a classic trap game for the Seahawks, and they fell into the trap. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. The good news for me is that while I went 3-2 Zach went 1-4, which means our season thus far looks like this:

Me = 7-9
Zach = 7-8

********************

Iowa at Pitt (-6.5)
iowaI ranked Iowa 14th in my pre-season Top 25, but after a last second loss to in-state rival Iowa pittSt. they have some work to do if they’re going to fulfill that prophecy. Meanwhile, the hated Pitt Panthers have gotten off to a solid 3-0 start, including a victory at Boston College. Heinz Field isn’t much of a home advantage for the Panthers since there are usually only a few dozen people there on Saturdays, including vendors and homeless people hoping to score some scraps from discarded Primanti Brothers wrappers. Most folks in The ‘Burgh wait to spend their hard earned money on Sunday at the Steelers game. Pitt seems like they may be the real deal, but who knows?? I think this will be a close game and it is undoubtedly pivotal to both teams’ seasons. I’m going to support my own pre-season prediction by going with the Hawkeyes. Using the logic that Boston College beat USC and Pitt beat Boston College so therefore Pitt must be a legitimately good team (which actually does make sense) Zach is picking the Panthers to pound the ball with their rushing attack and win easily.

My Pick = Iowa
Z’s Pick = Pitt

Florida at Alabama (-14.5)
Where is the love for ‘Bama?? Are we just so use to them being a top team that we don’t even feel the need to discuss themflorida gators image anymore?? Is there a bit of Tide fatigue amongst the masses?? The answer is probably yes on both counts. However, this game should receive a fair amount of attention. Florida isn’t back to its Spurrier/Urban Meyer heyday just yet, but they are 2-0. Yes it took them 3 overtimes to beat Kentucky last week. I think they may have been looking ahead just a bit. Anyway, if this game were at The Swamp it’d be really intriguing, but alas it is in Tuscaloosa. Therefore I believe there is probably not much of a doubt that Alabama will win. The question is by how much?? I am probably going to regret this, but I guess maybe I am one of the doubters. I think the Tide rolls, but by less than 14 ½ points. Zach has a man crush on Nick Saban but agrees with my assessment that this will be a close game.

My Pick = Florida
Z’s Pick = Florida

Clemson at Florida St. (-20)
There are no shortage of folks who already have had the #1 ranked Seminoles on upset alert. They were less than clemsonimpressive in a season opening victory over Oklahoma St., a game in which the Cowboys narrowed their deficit to within a touchdown with 2 minutes remaining but ran out of time to make anything else happen. Add in the fact that Florida St.’s quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, upstanding citizen, scholar, gentleman, & all around class act Jameis Winston is suspended for the first half of this game because he is a moron. Meanwhile, the Tigers are 1-1 after a season opening loss to Georgia followed by dismantling an overmatched junior high team last week. I honestly don’t know how Clemson is still in anyone’s Top 25. They certainly haven’t earned such accolades. However, that could change with this game. Heck, if the game were being played at Memorial Stadium in South Carolina I might actually give them a puncher’s chance to win. However, it is in Tallahassee. The point spread does concern me just a bit. Florida St. has put up only 37 points in each of its first two contests. I think Clemson will be overmatched but motivated, while I am not sure the apprehension of the doubters has reached enough of a crescendo for Florida St. to pay much attention…yet. Zach not only agrees but is boldly predicting an outright Clemson victory. That boy has a set of brass ones. He gets it from his mother’s side of the family.

My Pick = Clemson
Z’s Pick = Clemson

Denver at Seattle (-5)
For anyone who may have been hiding out in one of those bomb shelters from the 60’s recently, this is a rematch of last denverseason’s Super Bowl. In that game the Seahawks’ defense made living legend Peyton Manning look like…well…Eli Manning and cruised to a 43-8 victory that was even more underwhelming than Bruno Mars’ halftime show. But the beauty of the NFL is that every season is new and teams can change…both for the good and the not so good…at the drop of a hat. The Broncos made notable improvements to their defense, while Seattle lost a few pieces, although I don’t think it’s had a significant impact so far. Adding intrigue to this game is the fact that the defending champions, as previously mentioned, were upset last week. Could they really lose two games in a row?? Is Denver as good as their 2-0 record indicates?? The revenge factor for the Broncos cannot be overlooked, but neither can the anger of the Seahawks after a tough loss. This is a hard game to figure out, but I’m going to roll the dice on Manning and go with the underdogs. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

Chicago at NY Jets (-2.5)
Jets-Pin-ProThe Bears spoiled the opening of their brand new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers last chicago-bears-logo13Sunday night and looked pretty good in doing it, especially in the 4th quarter. But let us not forget that they lost their season opener at home in three OTs to the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are 1-1 as well. So basically no one really knows what to expect in this game. New York gets the nominal home field advantage but I’m not sure that means much. This is the story of two quarterbacks. The Bears’ Jay Cutler is, in my opinion, overrated. The Jets’ Geno Smith…a former WV Mountaineer…has potential and occasionally shows flashes but has been disappointing to some. I look for this to be a defensive battle defined by turnovers and lots of smashmouth football. Which QB will make the least mistakes?? Which one will make a blunder at the worst possible time?? Whose running game will dominate?? This is the Monday night game so I suppose I’ll stay up past my bedtime to find out. In a flip of the proverbial coin I’m going with the Jets. Zach disagrees and is picking the Bears.

My Pick = NY Jets
Z’s Picks = Chicago

2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

cfYou live by the sword you die by the sword. When I began doing this last year I made the decision to oddsutilize point spreads, not for gambling purposes but because it adds a layer of strategery that increases the challenge. Simply choosing a winner means one has a 50/50 shot at being right. I am not good enough at math to figure out how the point spread decreases those odds…I just know it does. At any rate, the points really bit us in the behind last week. Both Alabama and the Kansas City Chiefs won as Zach & I predicted…but ‘Bama won by 7 in a game with an 8 point spread and the Chiefs beat the Dallas Cowboys by only 1 point so they didn’t cover the 2.5 point spread. Ouch…two tough losses. To make matters worse the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions let us down. The only bright spot in a 1-4 week for both of us was the Denver Broncos. So for the season it looks like this:

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity  =  7-8

Zach  =  6-9

We’re flipping the script this week, leaning on more college games and picking only one NFL contest. None of the college games are the kind of big time clashes between highly ranked teams that make guys like ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit or CBS’s Tim Brando wet themselves, but I find them each compelling for one reason or another.

 

 

Boise St.                     at        Fresno St. (-3)

In my pre-season Top 25 I ranked Fresno #18 and did not rank Boise at all. So far I’m looking good, but that could all change fresnopending the outcome of this game. The Bulldogs are 2-0 and the only thing that’s even challenged them thus far is Mother Nature (last week’s game at Colorado was postponed due to flooding). Conversely, the Broncos come into this week having split their first two games. I have to stick with my pre-season vibes and go with Fresno to take this one. Zach likes that Fresn’s offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders and believes they’ll cover the points despite a strong effort from Boise.

My Pick          Fresno St.                 

Z’s Pick           Fresno St.

 

Western Michigan                at        Iowa (-17)

Zach & I both participate in a weekly online pick ‘em sponsored here locally in northcentral WV (high school, college, & pro iowagames are all included), and each week the Iowa game has been on there. I couldn’t fathom why we kept picking the Iowa game until I remembered that a young man from one of the local high schools is now a kicker for the Hawkeyes. What intrigues me about this game is the huge spread. Western Michigan has gotten off to a bad 0-3 start, although to be fair they have played two Top 25 Big Ten teams (Michigan St. & Northwestern). Meanwhile, Iowa lost a close opener to Northern Illinois but now stands at 2-1. I know absolutely nothing about either of these teams so I am just going to wuss out and go with the oddsmakers. Zach graduated from the aforementioned high school that Iowa’s kicker came from so despite being a bit concerned with the points he’s making the homer pick.

My Pick          Iowa

Z’s Pick           Iowa

 

Arizona St.                 at        Stanford (-7.5)

photo.stanfordtreeChristmas came early last week for Arizona St. when extraordinary incompetence by the officials allowed the asuSun Devils to steal a win, which took their record to 2-0. Stanford is 2-0 and ranked in the Top 5, but they really haven’t played anybody. At first glance the points look intriguing, but I don’t think Stanford will have any problem covering en route to a fairly stress-free victory. Zach has been anticipating this game and believes that Arizona St. is a legitimately good team despite last week’s tainted victory. He’s predicting the upset.

My Pick          Stanford

Z’s Pick           Arizona St.

 

Kansas St.      at        Texas (-5)

In my pre-season Top 25 I ranked the Longhorns #4 and predicted that they “are finally primed to re-ascend to the top of The TEXAS LONGHORNS.1271817676Big 12 and possibly contend for a national championship.” It turns out that that assessment may have been…slightly optimistic. Texas has begun the season 1-2 and a lot of folks aren’t too happy about it. Kansas St. is 2-1, but their schedule thus far has been less than compelling and they lost to a 1-AA team to open the season. The vibes are telling me that the heat has been turned up in Austin to a sufficient enough level that the Longhorns won’t let this one slip thru their fingers. Zach isn’t excited at all about this game and would actually prefer to watch paint dry. However, even though he’s convinced that this will be a boring game he agrees that Texas will bounce back and get the win.

My Pick          Texas

Z’s Pick           Texas

 

Kansas City                at        Philadelphia (-3.5)

The lone NFL game on the docket is significant because it marks Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid’s return to The City of Brotherly Lovekc-chiefs-logo to face the team that he coached for 14 years…until they fired him on New Year’s Eve. Kansas City has looked impressive thus far in going 2-0, and my prediction of a 9-7 record with a playoff appearance is looking prescient. Everyone is all aflutter about the magical things new coach Chip Kelly has been doing with the Eagles’ offense, but it has become apparent that defense is an issue. Until Philly gets those problems fixed and stops giving up 30 points per game they’ll be easy pickins for most NFL teams. Zach is all in on the Chiefs and thinks highly of quarterback Alex Smith.

My Pick          Kansas City               

Z’s Pick           Kansas City

Winning & Musing…..Volume 1.12

The first W&M of 2012 finds us ever so close to the annual sports “dead zone”, when football will be over, Nascar not quite back yet, baseball still several weeks away, and only college basketball (which isn’t all that exciting until March Madness) and the NBA (completely useless until the playoffs begin) to keep us company. And no, I have no interest in hockey in case you are wondering. Take heart sports fans…it’s the perfect time to catch up on your reading, hone your culinary skills, and of course become Manotized!!

 

 

 

I must admit that I did not watch one second of the NCAA championship game between LSU & Alabama, and from what I have heard I didn’t miss anything as it wasn’t that much more interesting than the first time the two teams met a couple months ago. Come on NCAA…it’s time for a playoff!! One argument that I have heard ad nauseum by opponents of a playoff system is the ol’ “College football’s regular season IS a playoff every week…lose and you’re out!!”. Well…not quite. LSU did what it was supposed to do by defeating Alabama in the regular season and were still forced into a rematch, which of course they lost. So that “logic” has now officially gone down in flames. The regular season game between the two meant zero, zilch, nada. I have absolutely no clue why we can’t have a 4 team playoff (which this season would have included ‘Bama, LSU, Oklahoma State, and most likely Oregon) and still maintain a thriving, robust bowl system. There’s just no reason for not doing it.

 

Speaking of the bowl games…

I am usually not one to boast, but I have to give myself a bit of a public pat on the back. I picked 28 of the 35 post-season games correctly, which is an 80% winning clip and by far the best I have ever done in forecasting those slate of contests. Go Me!!

 

Conversely, my NFL predictions were mediocre at best. My two Super Bowl teams were San Diego & Tampa Bay. They finished a combined 12-20 and didn’t make the playoffs. Oops. I owe a huge apology to the Cincinnati Bengals, who I picked to go 1-15 and have the top pick in the draft. Instead they went 9-7 and made the playoffs as a wildcard. Mad kudos to Bengals’ rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who exceeded all expectations and in my universe would be a slam dunk choice for Rookie of the Year. Sadly for him that honor will instead go to Carolina Panthers’ signal caller Cam Newton. I was also way wrong on the NY Giants, who I predicted to go 5-12…far from the division winning 9-7 record with which they ended up. I totally whiffed on the Philadelphia Eagles, but everyone else did too so I don’t feel so bad. I nailed the AFC North race by saying that the Steelers & Ravens would tie, with Baltimore winning the division in a tiebreaker and Pittsburgh being a wildcard team. That is exactly what happened. I pretty much had the AFC East & NFC North pegged right on as well. I did not see the utter implosion of the Indianapolis Colts coming, but then again no one did because the extent of Peyton Manning’s injury wasn’t made known until after the season began. I got 2 of the NFC’s 6 playoff teams right, while in the AFC I chose 4 of 6 correctly.

 

NY Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez needs a change of scenery. He has obviously lost the confidence of his coach, his teammates, and the fans. That’s tough enough anywhere, but in New York I just don’t think it’s something from which he can recover.

 

If I am in charge of the Indianapolis Colts I trade the #1 overall choice they “earned” (with a dreadful 2-14 record) for everything it’s worth, which should be atleast a half dozen picks including a slightly lower first rounder. Andrew Luck, as much potential as he has, is overhyped. There will be a next “greatest prospect ever” coming ‘round the bend in a few years (maybe even next year, when Matt Barkley finishes up at USC). Assuming his neck heals Peyton Manning has probably 3 or 4 years left, but he needs a better team around him.

 

To the Penn St. alumni & former players who have been critical of the hiring of new head coach Bill O’Brien…what is your freakin’ problem?? I fully understand the penchant of college sports teams to hire “within the family”, aka a former player or assistant coach who understands the tradition & history of the program. However, in this case, does it shock a-n-y-o-n-e with a brain that the powers-that-be in Happy Valley want to make a completely fresh start and decided to go with a guy with absolutely no ties to the school, the team, and especially any connection whatsoever to Joe Paterno or his former coaching staff?? Sure in a perfect world interim head coach and long-time Paterno assistant Tom Bradley would have gotten the gig as a reward for all his years of loyalty. But in this case that simply was NOT going to happen. They HAD to have a 100% clean break from the past. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the issues the school faces and the unseemly reputation they must now fight an uphill battle to overcome, but it is a step in the right direction and was the only choice that could be made.

 

I will address this issue once & only once, and then I will never speak of it again and erase the abomination from my memory. If the debacle that was the Denver Broncos’ shocking overtime victory over my Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs taught us anything, it is that, despite their ranking as the league’s #1 pass defense, the Steelers’ secondary is atrocious. They somehow managed to make quite possibly the worst “quarterback” in pro football history look like the love child of Dan Fouts & Dan Marino. When April’s draft rolls around the Steelers simply MUST spend atleast 2 or 3 picks…including their 1st rounder…on new cornerbacks. If there are any talented corners available in free agency they need to sign one or two of them as well. Ike Taylor, their supposed top CB, would be no better than a dime package backup on most other teams. And guys like Bryant McFadden, Anthony Madison, and the atrocious William Gay need to be given their walking papers. This has been an issue for several years that has not been properly addressed by the team’s braintrust. Well gentlemen…the time is now. It may also be time to begin grooming a successor for 74 year old defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau. Undoubtedly he has been very successful, but he’s not getting any younger and in two consecutive seasons post-season opponents…the Broncos this year and the Packers in last year’s Super Bowl…have outcoached him and played his defense like a fiddle.

 

Some things never change. Even after the death of nutjob owner Al Davis the Oakland Raiders are as dysfunctional as ever. The new regime just fired head coach Hue Jackson after ONE season…a season in which they went 8-8, tied for the division lead, and fell one tiebreaker short of making the playoffs. Really?? Do the suits there think they’ll be able to lure a big name coach that’ll do any better?? Maybe…maybe…twenty years ago. But not now. When will people learn that organizational stability is the cornerstone of success in sports?? Certainly they haven’t learned that lesson in Tampa, where the Bucs also foolishly fired a coach after one bad season. Raheem Morris was in his third year as head coach and had lead a 7 game turnaround, finishing 10-6 in 2010, a vast improvement over their 3-13 record in his first go round in 2009. In 2011 the team admittedly took a step backward, going 4-12. However, based on the success of the 2010 season I feel like Morris should have been given one more chance. Unfortunately I don’t own an NFL franchise.