2021 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 1

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

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 11

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


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


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

My Pick = Oklahoma
Z’s Pick = Baylor

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

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

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

My Pick = Kansas St.
Z’s Pick = TCU

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

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

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

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

Well, I did it. I gave myself a bye week. It was actually kind of an accident. As usual Friday night snuck up on me, but I had other things going on and just wasn’t in a football kind of mood. But now we are back on track. Right now I am 26-43 and have discovered much to my surprise that the NFL is actually easier to forecast than the NCAA. I would have thought it’d be the other way around.

 

 

 

 

Louisville (-1.5)           at                     Syracuse

I suppose since I put both of these teams in my pre-season Top 25 I have an obligation to pick their game. Louisville has actually fared even better than I thought and currently find themselves undefeated & in the Top 10. The Orange, on the other hand, aren’t quite there yet. They need to win 2 out of their final 3 just to break even and possibly sneak into some lower tier bowl game that no one will watch. I don’t think it’s gonna happen this year, and I don’t think Louisville will have much trouble winning this game. I am a bit surprised the spread is so small.

 

 

Oregon State              at                    Stanford (-4)

This should be an excellent game. Both teams are ranked in the top 15 and could sneak into Rose Bowl consideration if the Oregon Ducks make it to the national championship game. But first they need a victory here. I am going to go against my usual modus operandi of leaning toward the home team by picking a slight upset. I have watched both teams play a couple of times and the Beavers seem like a better team.

 

 

Kansas State (-6)                     at                    TCU

K-St. is in a real battle with Oregon to see who’ll earn the right to be defeated by Alabama in the title game. It looks like, because of the way the BCS computer calculate the various criteria, that the Ducks will ultimately be that team, assuming both they and the Wildcats remain undefeated. But can K-St. stay unbeaten?? The majority of the experts seem to think so, and who am I to argue?? However, I sincerely believe that the Horned Frogs are a very talented team that shouldn’t be overlooked. I think Kansas State wins this game, but it very well might be in OT or with a last second field goal. So I’ll take TCU to cover the points.

 

 

Oregon (-28.5)                  at                California

Wow…both Oregon & Oregon State on the slate this week?? Call it the Charlie Simms Special. Hooah!! Anyway, if the Ducks can stay clean in their remaining games they’ll earn the right to lose to Alabama in the national championship game. They’ll get one of those wins here, but by how much?? The spread…more than 4 TDs…is awfully big. Obviously the 3-7 Golden Bears aren’t that good, but are they that bad?? I get very nervous about huge spreads like this, but Oregon has motivation. They need “style points” to impress voters and get all the BCS advantages they’ll need to edge Kansas State for #2. They have beaten every opponent they have faced soundly…three TDS or more…except Fresno St. (who they defeated by 17) and the USC Trojans, who they edged by 11 points. Something tells me this spread is just a bit too big and that Oregon will win by only 20-25 points.

 

 

Tennessee                    at                 Miami (-6)

The 3-6 Titans get starting QB Jake Locker back this week, which should be a big boost. However, the 4-4 Dolphins have won 3 out their last 4 games and have lost 3 games by a total of 9 points, two of them in overtime. Miami feels like a team on the rise, while Tennessee seems like they are stuck in neutral. But with the exception of a 30-9 trouncing of the beleaguered NY Jets every Dolphin victory has been very close, so the 6 point spread looks rather large and I don’t have any faith that Miami can cover, so Tennessee gets the nod.

 

 

Detroit (-2.5)                at              Minnesota

I had these teams combining for just 11 wins in 2012 in my season preview. Instead they have 9 victories between them already, just past the halfway point of the season. That being said they are both afterthoughts in a division with the Packers & the Bears. I’m not saying the playoffs aren’t a possibility for either club, but it’s going to be a tough road. So this game is all about pride. Unfortunately for the Vikings their star wideout Percy Harvin is likely to be watching this game from the sideline due to an ankle injury, and that will likely cripple their offense. That makes the Lions an easy choice.

 

 

Atlanta (-2.5)                  at              New Orleans

In my pre-season predictions I said about the NFC South that “The surprise might be in Atlanta, where I’m just not sold on the Falcons. QB Matt Ryan will be a free agent after the 2013 season, and by then I think he’ll be ready to flee The Peach State.” and said they’d finish 7-9. I may have been slightly wrong since the Falcons are the NFL’s only remaining unbeaten team. On the flip side I said that “I do not believe that a team can go through the turmoil that the Saints have experienced this offseason and not be affected.”, but still said they’d go 9-7 & win the division. The complete accuracy of that statement is still undecided. New Orleans did in fact get off to a rough start, but it remains to be seen whether they can recover and get back in the playoff hunt. It seems pretty clear that the division crown is out of reach, but a victory here could shift momentum in a positive direction and start a push toward a wildcard berth. I don’t believe for one second that Atlanta will go undefeated, and it might actually help them to lose now instead of at the end of the season. The Saints are the pick.