2021 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 7

Well, it’s been a pretty big week for football, and not necessarily in a good way. Jon Gruden is gone from the Las Vegas Raiders. Alabama isn’t perfect. Neither is Urban Meyer 😳. I don’t feel the need to address any of that right now though. Closer to home our struggles continue, although it should be noted that Zach (4-3) has drawn even with me (3-4) for the season. We’re not going to chase wins this week because it’s not a sprint…it’s a marathon.

My Season: 17-24

Zach’s Season: 17-24

Florida (-10.5)  at LSU

This feels like it should be a bigger game. It typically is, but with the Bayou Bengals sitting at 3-3 and the losers of two straight games while the 4-2 Gators are inconsistent & unreliable it just doesn’t feel as impactful as one would hope. Even the points are weird. I’m way too lazy to research it, but not only is LSU being an underdog in Death Valley unusual, but how often do we see a double digit spread when these teams meet?? I don’t believe Ed Orgeron will be the Tigers’ head coach next season, but I do think his team will rise up & play tough at home. Can they win?? I don’t know, but either way the game will be decided by less than ten points. Zach agrees.

My Pick: LSU

Z’s Pick: LSU

BYU at Baylor (-6)

This is the sleeper game of the week for me. The Cougars dropped several spots in the rankings after a surprising home defeat at the hands of Boise St., but they’re still 5-1. They were never going to be in the playoff conversation. Meanwhile, the Bears are also 5-1 and making some noise in the Big 12 with both Oklahoma & Texas visiting Waco in the next few weeks. My Dad would point out that momentum is with Baylor and he wouldn’t be wrong, but since I like to go against the grain, and since I picked BYU to be a Top 10 team, I’m predicting an upset, and Zach concurs.

My Pick: BYU

Z’s Pick: BYU

Miami (FL) at North Carolina (-3)

What in the world has happened to the Tar Heels?? I opined in my pre-season poll that I wasn’t all in on the UNC hype train and predicted an 8 win season, but I still thought they’d be a ranked ball club. Perhaps they still could be when it’s all said & done, but right now they are 3-3 and just lost to 2-4 Florida St. Meanwhile, the ‘Canes are 2-3 after losing starting QB De’Eriq King to a shoulder injury a few weeks ago. Much like the Florida-LSU game this matchup should be a bigger deal, but it’s just not. I think Mack Brown is smart enough to know that an ACC title is still possible, especially with Clemson having a down year, and he’ll have his guys ready to play. Zach foresees a boring game (he’s probably right) and doesn’t have any faith in Carolina’s defense.

My Pick: UNC

Z’s Pick: Miami

Miami (-3) at Jacksonville

It’s the battle of Florida!! Yeah, I know…I’m not buying it either. Hopefully Urban Meyer can pull himself away from lap dancing bar floozies long enough to prepare his winless team to play, but who knows anymore. Conversely, the 1-4 Dolphins may get starting QB Tua Tagovailoa back this week, and that might just be enough. I’m going to venture out on a limb, assume the best in regard to Tua, and predict a comfortable win for the visitors. Conversely, Zach flipped a coin and is predicting a memorable first NFL win for rookie QB Trevor Lawrence & his Jags.

My Pick: Miami

Z’s Pick: Jacksonville

Minnesota at Carolina (-1)

Let’s be honest…the NFL is a PR machine. The league wants television ratings, merchandise revenue, and lots of good publicity, so there is a hierarchy. We all know the teams that get the most attention…Dallas, the New York teams, whoever Tom Brady plays for, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, the California teams, Da Bears. That’s just the way it is. However, every season there are solid teams that fly under the radar because their TV market and/or pedigree isn’t considered relevant. Such is the case with the 2-3 Vikings, who are better than their record but will never get much respect as long as Aaron Rodgers plays in the same division, and the 3-2 Panthers who have to contend with the aforementioned Brady in their division. Despite that impertinence I am looking forward to this being a great game. I predicted the Vikings would win the NFC North, so I’m picking the upset. Zach really likes Carolina and thinks they’ll win big.

My Pick: Minnesota

Z’s Pick: Carolina

2021 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 4

It’s been really cool to be a football fan the past couple of weeks. There have been some intense & exciting games that were fun to watch even if one didn’t have a particular rooting interest. Unfortunately all of that good football hasn’t translated into many wins for us. Zach was 1-4 last week, while I went 2-3 thanks to Oklahoma St.’s narrow victory over Boise St.. The good news is that we are starting to get a sense, at both the college & NFL levels, of which teams are going to be successful and who might struggle this season. Hopefully that bodes well for us if we’re smart…but don’t hold your breath. 

My Season: 10-11

Zach’s Season: 8-13

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin (-5.5)

The Irish were a preseason playoff team for me, though I also ranked the Badgers in the Top 20. Notre Dame is 3-0 but hasn’t been that impressive against teams they should have beaten soundly. Wisconsin is 1-1, losing a close season opener against Penn St. but handling their business last weekend. This is a neutral site game being played in Chicago, and I’m a bit surprised that Wisconsin is favored. This will set the tone for both teams for the remainder of the season, so the question is who will have the positive momentum going forward. I’m not sure who will actually come out on top, but I smell a close game…closer than five points anyway. Zach, on the other hand, believes Notre Dame is overrated. He is interested in watching grad transfer quarterback Jack Coan lead the Irish against his former team, but doesn’t think it will be enough. 

My Pick: Notre Dame

Z’s Pick: Wisconsin 

Texas A&M (-6) vs. Arkansas

Most “experts” expected the Aggies to do well in Jimbo Fisher’s fourth year at the helm, and thus far they are 3-0. Meanwhile, the 3-0 Razorbacks have kind of snuck up on people, easily upending the competition, including a 19 point win over the Texas Longhorns. This is another neutral site game at the Palace in Dallas and brings back memories of the good ol’ days when the Big 8 was a thing. I think it will be another fun game to watch, but A&M is just too deep & talented so I’m picking them to win by atleast a touchdown. Zach thinks Arkansas is the real deal and is predicting the upset. 

My Pick: Texas A&M

Z’s Pick: Arkansas 

Colorado at Arizona State (-14.5)

My man Herm Edwards has the Sun Devils looking decent at 2-1, but they lost a tough one a week ago to BYU. Conversely, the Buffaloes are 1-2, having played well but not well enough against A&M then getting pummeled by Minnesota. The points concern me just a little. Two TDs+ seems high. I feel like Arizona St. will win comfortably, but it’ll be more like a 10-12 point victory. Zach is concerned that the home team is somewhat inconsistent and believes it will be a close game.

My Pick: Colorado 

Z’s Pick: Colorado 

Miami at Las Vegas (-5)

Those damn Raiders!! They beat our Steelers last week and I’m not happy about it. I can be petty just like any other human being, so there’s part of me that wants to pick Miami out of spite. However, the 1-1 Dolphins got obliterated 35-0 by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and QB Tua Tagovailoa injured his ribs in the process, meaning backup Jacoby Brissett will be under center this weekend. Conversely, 2-0 Vegas is firing on all cylinders and they have the home field. If the visitors had a healthy starting quarterback I might be tempted to go with the upset, but they don’t so I won’t. Zach is predicting an easy win for Vegas. 

My Pick: Las Vegas

Z’s Pick: Las Vegas 

Philadelphia at Dallas (-4)

It’s still a fun rivalry even if both teams aren’t exactly at the top of their game. Philly is 1-1 and the jury is still out on QB Jalen Hurts. I don’t think Joe Flacco or Gardner Minshew are legit threats to seize the job, but never say never in the NFL. On the flip side of that is Cowboys’ signal caller Dak Prescott, who has looked fantastic returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him most of last season. The issue in Dallas is RB Ezekiel Elliott, who has rushed for just over 100 yards and one touchdown thru two games, driving fantasy owners everywhere bonkers. They absolutely have to get Zeke going if they’re going to compete for a division title. This is the Monday night game, and despite the home field I don’t have much faith in Dallas. I smell an upset. Zach respects the Eagles’ toughness, but feels like the combination of the home field, a solid defense, and a better QB in Prescott makes the difference for the Cowboys. 

My Pick: Philadelphia 

Z’s Pick: Dallas

2018 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

Unlike last week the schedule is loaded on both the college & pro levels this go round, to the point that we’re doing bonus picks despite serious reservations on my part. We’re already off to a shaky start and chasing wins is probably a bad idea. Ah well…c’est la vie. Zach (3-2) bested me (2-3) a week ago, and as a reward got an all- expenses paid trip to South Bend, IN, home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Okay okay…his trip is work related and has nothing to do with these picks, but how cool would that be if we won awesome prizes for doing this?? At any rate, my philosophy of mixing things up & not picking games involving the same teams over & over is pretty much out the window this week, but good football is good football and I can’t control which teams are or aren’t interesting, so we’ll just go with the flow.

My Season:   10-13

Z’s Season:   10-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

BYU                 at      Washington (-17.5)

BYU really frustrates me. Every time I leave them out of my pre-season poll they turn out to have a decent team, while anytime I have them ranked they screw the pooch. At the moment the Cougars are 3-1 & a solid Top 20 team, including an upset of my #1 team Wisconsin. The 3-1 Huskies might not make it to the playoff like I anticipated, but they’re still hovering around the Top 10 and have a realistic shot at a conference title. I don’t think BYU will win this game, but the points are a bit much. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     BYU

Z’s Pick:     BYU

 

 

 

 

Oregon (-3)        at      California

The Ducks really let me down last week. They’re 3-1 and still ranked, but they would be an undefeated Top 10 team if they hadn’t given away the game to Stanford a week ago. Cal is a team that is perpetually overlooked in the Pac 12, but they’re 3-0 and ranked as well. I don’t know enough about either team to discuss specifics, but I think this will be a really entertaining game. The home team are underdogs, but I think they might pull off the mild upset. Sorry Ducks…you lost my faith. Zach likes Oregon’s offense to get the job done by a comfortable margin.

My Pick:     Cal

Z’s Pick:     Oregon

 

 

 

Ohio St. (-3.5)    at      Penn St.

This is the big one…the marquee matchup of the weekend. Whatever your opinion might be of head coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes, & everything that has occurred in Columbus the past few months the fact is that they weathered the storm and have been unstoppable thus far. They know a thing or two about controversy & weathering storms in Happy Valley, and the Nittany Lions have regained much of the allure of dominance that once defined the program. I thought Ohio St. would falter a bit in the midst of the Meyer kerfuffle, and I believed that Penn St. would sorely miss RB Saquon Barkley. I was wrong on both counts. It is a testament to how impressive the Buckeyes have been thus far that they will go into Beaver Stadium in front of over 100k fans facing a Top 10 team and are favored. I don’t really have a dog in the fight and simply look forward to a great game, and though I believe an upset is certainly possible I have to go with the favorites. Zach knows that I know that he refuses to pick Ohio St., but as long as they’re playing these big games there is always a chance they’ll be on our agenda.

My Pick:     Ohio State

Z’s Pick:     Penn State

 

 

 

Stanford             at      Notre Dame (-4.5)

It might get overlooked a bit in the shadow of the Ohio St./Penn St. game, but this is also a battle of two Top 10 teams. I’ve heard that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but Stanford seems to be both. They were very fortunate to escape Eugene, OR with an overtime victory, a game in which Heisman candidate RB Bryce Love was held to just 59 yards rushing. After a season opener in which he ran for only 29 yards I think Love’s Heisman chances may be dead in the water, but he’s still a dangerous weapon on a good team. The 4-0 Irish haven’t really played anyone since the season opener against Michigan, but I can’t underestimate their home field advantage. If Notre Dame wants to be in the playoff conversation they have to treat this as a playoff game itself. Can Stanford’s luck prevail a second week in a row?? I don’t know…but I think no matter who wins it’ll be decided by a field goal. Zach did get to visit Touchdown Jesus this week but he flies home on Saturday morning and won’t have an opportunity to overpay for scalped tickets. It’s probably just as well because I don’t think he’d be able to resist the temptation to wear Michigan garb into Notre Dame Stadium and may have gotten beat up by a drunken Indiana millworker. He thinks both teams are overrated but likes Stanford to win a tight defensive struggle.

My Pick:     Stanford

Z’s Pick:     Stanford

 

 

 

Minnesota                   at      LA Rams (-6.5)

I really tried to avoid the Thursday night game, but this one is just too damn enticing. The Vikings were my pre-season choice to represent the NFC in The Super Bowl, but I had them losing that game to the Steelers, so what the hell do I know?? Anyway, Minnesota comes into this game with a less than impressive 1-1-1 record after getting hammered by the Bills last week. The Bills!! Conversely, I have heard more than one talking head call the 3-0 Rams the best team in the NFL. It might be a bit premature to go that far, but it is undeniable that they’ve put together an impressive squad on both sides of the ball. Their defense has some issues with injuries, and kicker Greg Zeurlein is shelved with a groin pull, so this is going to be a test of the team’s depth. I’m not ready to jump on the Rams’ bandwagon just yet, and neither am I willing to abandon my Super Bowl pick, so I’ve got to go with the underdogs and hope defense wins the day. Zach likes Los Angeles to do just enough to win by a touchdown.

My Pick:     Minnesota

Z’s Pick:     LA Rams

 

 

  

Houston             at      Indianapolis (-1)

I really thought the Texans would bounce back and be good this season, but at 2-1 they haven’t looked as impressive as I’d hoped. The Colts are 1-2 and QB Andrew Luck may not be at full strength quite yet. It’s way too early to make a solid judgment about either team, so I have to believe in my original thought process that Houston is clearly better. Zach hasn’t lost faith in Indy’s signal caller yet. He doesn’t believe that Deshaun Watson & the Texans will suddenly find their rhythm this week and thinks Luck will have a big game.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Indianapolis

 

 

 

Tampa Bay                  at      Chicago (-3)

The Bucs gave my Steelers everything they could handle last Monday night, but the FitzMagic ran out of steam. With Jameis Winston returning from his suspension the quarterback situation for 2-1 Tampa is…fluid. Things could get interesting. Meanwhile, the Bears look like they totally swindled the Oakland Raiders when they traded for LB/DE Khalil Mack, although to be fair we’ll have to wait & see what Oakland does with those two first round picks they received. At 2-1 Chicago sits atop the NFC Central, although I think they’ll ultimately finish behind the Vikings. Tampa won’t be able to slice thru a porous defense like they did in the second half of last week’s game, and that will be their downfall in a low scoring slugfest. Zach likes the Bucs to pull out a close victory no matter who their quarterback is.

My Pick:     Chicago

Z’s Pick:     Tampa Bay

 

 

 

Miami                  at      New England (-7)

If you would’ve told me a month ago that the Dolphins would come into this game in first place and two games up on the Patriots I would have said you were insane, but here we are. It seems that most people are scoffing at the reversal of fortunate, unable to process the idea that Miami might actually be good and refusing to believe that New England could finally be reaching the end of their domination. I too am hesitant to buy into those things, despite my longstanding hatred for the Pats. I’d really love to pick Miami, but it just doesn’t feel like the smart choice at the moment. I’d be thrilled to be wrong. Zach concurs. He thinks Brady will throw for 450 yards and lead his team to an easy win.

My Pick:     New England

Z’s Pick:     New England

 

 

 

Kansas City (-4.5)      at      Denver

In my NFL Preview I said that “I really sense a decline coming from Kansas City” and predicted that second year QB Pat Mahomes “might take some time…to figure things out”. That may end up being one of the most boneheaded things I’ve ever written. The Chiefs are 3-0 and Mahomes is averaging almost 300 yards/game with 13 TDs, zero interceptions, & a 66% completion rate. Conversely, I predicted that the Broncos would go 2-14. They’ve already won two games. So the question is can Denver’s defense rise up and make Mahomes look like a rookie?? The deciding factor for me is that the game is being played in the Mile High City. That may be something that Mahomes has to adjust to, and it might just be enough for an upset. Zach loves KC’s team speed and believes they are a legit Super Bowl contender.

My Pick:     Denver

Z’s Pick:     Kansas City

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

2015 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

kickoff_footballLast week I swung for the fences…with mixed results. Both Zach & I went 5-3. I absolutely nailed the wacky Texas Tech/TCU finish, and The Vibes guided me correctly in a very close Colts/Titans game. Zach wisely picked the Utes of Utah, who mauled a shockingly inept Oregon squad, and also took the Green Bay Packers. I suppose the KC Chiefs aren’t as good as I thought they were. So far in 2015 the numbers look like this:

Me = 16-7           Z = 11-12

The schedule is a bit tricky this week. There are a handful of potentially good games, but I really try to have variety in these picks. I don’t want to focus on the same few teams every week. That’s difficult in college football because the cream tends to rise to the top and it is tempting to gravitate toward matchups featuring the same highly ranked teams over & over. It’s even harder with the NFL, which has only 32 teams and fans tend to lose interest in those that we can already see are going to be terrible, which narrows the pool even more. The point spread shouldn’t play a significant role in any of these games, but then again I could have said the same thing last week and I ended up winning two games in which the points did matter. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Minnesota at Northwestern (-3.5)
Northwestern_WildcatsIt seems like every few years Northwestern pops up with a solid season in which they take up residence in the polls and end up minnesotalanding in a nice bowl location. I always know when it’s that kind of year for the Wildcats since one of their biggest fans is my man Greeny from ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, a 1989 graduate of the school. Minnesota was a consistent Top 25 team last year and are off to a pretty decent start this season, with the only blemish being a close loss to highly ranked TCU in the season opener. I am far from an expert on either of these teams, but I would assume we can expect characteristic hard-hitting Big Ten football, a low scoring affair dominated by defense. There may be some concern about Northwestern looking past this game and ahead to next week’s battle with Michigan, but I’d actually be more worried about that if they were playing a lesser opponent. They won’t overlook Minnesota, and I think the home team wins by a touchdown. Zach disagrees and is picking Minnesota to win by a field goal.

My Pick – Northwestern
Z’s Pick – Minnesota

 

 

Alabama at Georgia (-2)
AlabamaCrimsonTide2This is the first game since 2009 in which Alabama has been the underdog. Wow. That’s impressive. The reason folks are georgiadoubting them is a surprising loss to Ole Miss a couple of weeks ago. They also don’t seem to have a QB that impresses anyone, which is an issue. Conversely, the Bulldogs are undefeated and just keep handing the rock to RB Nick Chubb, who is averaging nearly 150 yds/game. This is a must win for ‘Bama if they hope to make it to the playoff. Two losses would kill that dream. We’ll know a lot more about these two teams when this one is over. Is the uncertainty about the Tide valid?? Are the Bulldogs for real?? The question I have is whether or not Georgia has a Plan B if the Alabama defense stuffs Chubb. I don’t think he’s getting 150 yards this week. He may not get 100. Can they chuck the ball downfield and get the job done thru the air?? I’ll believe it if I see it. Alabama with their backs against the wall is dangerous. Zach is putting his mancrush on Nick Saban on the backburner, choosing Georgia to win by two TDs.

My Pick – Alabama
Z’s Pick – Georgia

Notre Dame at Clemson (-1.5)
NotreDameFightingIrishThe talking heads have been bragging on Clemson since before the season began, many of them predicting that the Tigers clemsonwould win the ACC. Meanwhile I have been much higher on Notre Dame than most. My enthusiasm has been tempered just a bit because of all the injuries the Irish have suffered, but they’re 4-0 without the benefit of as easy of a schedule as most have played thus far. This will be Clemson’s first real test and they do have the home field. The winner of this game will be nicely positioned for a playoff run, although it is far too early to really think in those terms. It may not be the wise choice, but I’m pretty stubborn about sticking with my pre-season vibes until I am proven wrong, so I have to lean toward the underdogs. Zach believes that Clemson is the real deal, and isn’t buying the luck of the Irish.

My Pick – Notre Dame
Z’s Pick – Clemson

 

 

NY Jets (-1.5) vs Miami
Miami_Dolphins_HelmetIt’s early, but it is entirely possible that I may have completely misjudged both of these teams. I thought Miami would be solid Jets-Pin-Proand in the hunt for a wildcard playoff spot, but they’ve gotten off to a 1-2 start. People are criticizing the non-impact of free agent defensive end Ndamukong Suh and there are whispers that Joe Philbin could be the first head coach in the unemployment line this season. Conversely, the Jets have already secured the 2 victories that I predicted they’d get for the entire season and the reviews have been much more positive than most expected. This game is in London, England which means that those of us on the east coast will have to watch it at 9:30am, and I can’t imagine that there’ll be anyone out west getting up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning for it. The NFL really needs to rethink this London thing. Anyway, I’m just not buying the good vibes coming out of New York and I still believe the Dolphins are the better team. Zach does buy what the Jets are selling and thinks they’ll win the game easily.

My Pick – Miami
Z’s Pick – NY Jets

 

 

St. Louis at Arizona (-6.5)
nflarizonacardinalsThe Cardinals just might be the best non-cheating franchise in the NFL at the moment. If QB Carson Palmer can remain healthy (a huge IF) they could be a legitimate challenger to Seattle for the division title. Meanwhile, the Rams occasionally show potential but something just seems to be missing. Whatever that something may be is unlikely to suddenly show up in the desert this week. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Arizona
Z’s Pick – Arizona

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

Your humble Potentate of Profundity hasn’t been feeling well. It’s a long story that I won’t bore citizens of The Manoverse with, but tonight after a couple of mugs of hot tea there seems to be a slight break in my misery, so I figured I’d better get this done now. Just please keep me in your prayers. I wish I had the robust faith of my brother The Owl and my buddy Don, but the truth is that sometimes my “blessed assurance” can occasionally falter. I’ve obviously still got some work to do there. Anyway…..

Last week I went 3-2 while Zach went 2-3. If you’d like all the details check out last week and see for yourself. Sorry…I’m feeling slightly better but still not as verbose as usual. Our season records are 21-22 for myself and 20-22 for Zach. I wasn’t feeling like Mike Tyson has been punching me in the groin for hours a few days ago when I chose this week’s games, so for some strange reason y’all get bonus picks this week. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Texas at Kansas St. (-10)
I like Texas head coach Charlie Strong and think he’ll eventually get the Longhorns turned around even if by the time he does the table is set for his fortunatekansas-state-dm successor. However this season they pretty much stink. Meanwhile, Wildcats’ head coach Bill Snyder, who I believe was born during the Millard Fillmore administration, has his team leading The Big 12 (which has 10 teams) and still with an outside shot to make it to the national title playoff. I think K St. easily covers the spread on their home field. Zach concurs.

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

 

 
Ole Miss (-3.5) at LSU
The Rebels come into this game as a Top 5 team. I was under the impression that the Bayou Bengals kind of sucked this season but apparently they have snuck lsu_logo-9547into the Top 25. I suppose I should pay more attention. Anyway, I am picking the upset, as is Zach. Great minds think alike.

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

 

 

 

USC at Utah (even)
USC_Trojans2How often is USC vs. Utah a game with even odds?? I’m not buying it even if the Utes are at home. Zach, however, thinks Utah is very utahtalented and is picking them to win the game in double overtime.

My Pick = USC
Z’s Pick = Utah

 

 

 

Ohio St. (-13) at Penn St.
Apparently the NCAA doesn’t believe that all the child molestation that occurred at Penn St. is a big deal, as earlier this season they were all like “You remember Penn_State_logo111111those sanctions that were going to set Nittany Lions football back a decade?? Ehhhh…forget it. Play ball!!”. Regardless of how one feels about that particular ruling the fact is that the Penn St. football program hasn’t gone that far in the crapper, atleast not far enough to get beaten by two TDs in Happy Valley in what I assume will be a nationally televised game. Zach agrees.

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

 

 

 

Texas Tech at TCU (-22.5)
The Horned Frogs come into this game as a Top 10 team and are really only one improbable Baylor comeback away from being undefeated. Conversely the RedTexas-Tech-260x300 Raiders are a sub-.500 team that doesn’t seem to play all that well against legitimate competition. That being said, I am not comfortable with a 3+ TD spread. Zach thinks TCU will win…but only by 17. He’s probably right.

My Pick = Texas Tech
Z’s Pick = Texas Tech

 

 

 

Philadelphia at Arizona (-2.5)
The surprising Cards get the slight home field nod but this is essentially a pick ‘em. I am not yet convinced that Arizona is for real so I have to go with the underdogs.eagles Zach agrees.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = Philadelphia

 

 

 

Miami (-5) at Jacksonville
Miami_Dolphins_HelmetHey it’s the Battle of Florida!! I remain convinced that the Jags are headed in the right direction with rookie QB Blake Bortles under center, butJacksonville_Jaguars they still need more pieces. The Dolphins aren’t a serious playoff contender yet but I think they’ll get the job done against less than stellar competition. Zach is predicting a big rushing day from former Michigan Wolverine QB/WR Denard Robinson and thinks Jacksonville will score the upset victory.

My Pick = Miami
Z’s Pick = Jacksonville

 

 

 

Minnesota at Tampa Bay (-3)
Zach doesn’t know this but he’s flying solo on this one. Because of a slight error made earlier in the season he has had one less game on his record than me forvikingshelmet1 several weeks. We’ll even things up now. These two teams are a combined 3-10 thus far and I’d rather take a nap or surf YouTube for…well…anything…than watch them do battle. Zach, because he is probably feeling better than me, has an even funnier (yet depressing) visual, saying that he’d “rather see Oprah Winfrey & Dr. Phil together on Dancing with the Stars” than watch this game. That boy has some good genes. Anyway, he apparently did “eeny meeny miney moe” and is going with the Vikings. That’s cool with me.

My Pick = n/a
Z’s Pick = Minnesota

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

Better late than never. Simmer down. No worries. Our first game doesn’t kick off until 10pm EST Saturday night.

There are few things more frustrating than being right and still losing. However, when I began doing these picks I decided that it would be far too prosaic to just do straight win/lose, that the element of the point spread had to be incorporated to increase the complexity of the challenge. Unfortunately, as I am sure hardcore gamblers know all too well, this also means that sometimes the spread can reach up and bite one in the butt. Such was the case last week when the Denver Broncos beat the Indianapolis Colts by 7 points instead of 7 ½ points. Even more infuriating is the fact that at one point the Broncos led the game 24-7. Denver letting their foot off the gas resulted in a loss for me and a win for Zach, making me 2-3 for the week and him 3-2. I am rather competitive so this kind of ticks me off. Thanks a lot Peyton Manning. At any rate I suppose I just need to move on and hope for better things this week. The season thus far shapes up like this:

Me = 4-7
Zach = 6-4

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

Nebraska (-10.5) at Fresno St.
The Huskers barely escaped what would have been a devastating loss to 1-AA (I kick it old school) McNeese St. last week. Meanwhile, the normally solid & nebraska-cornhuskersentertaining Bulldogs come into this game 0-2, having been hammered by an average of 35 points. Double digit spreads make me nervous, but I’ll go with the favorites here. Zach thinks Nebraska will win by 4 TDs.

My Pick – Nebraska
Z’s Pick – Nebraska

 

 

Nevada at Arizona (-15.5)
nevadaThe Wolfpack are one of those teams that no one likes to play. They are usually a solid bowl team and seem to play “bigger” teams tough, pulling off the occasionalcollege_arizona_90 upset. They did go 4-8 in 2013, but come into this game 2-0, including an impressive victory over the PAC 12’s Washington St. Cougars last week. The Wildcats….as much as it physically & emotionally hurts me to say it…have been pretty decent under head coach Rich Fraudriguez and come into this game 2-0 as well, although they had a difficult time defeating Texas-San Antonio last week. It is likely that Arizona holds serve on its home field this week, but the large point spread gives me pause. For that reason I’m going to pick Nevada. Zach, apparently unware of Nevada’s 2-0 record, thinks they suck and reluctantly picks Arizona, even though he hates their coach as much as I do.

My Pick – Nevada
Z’s Pick – Arizona

 

 

Miami at Buffalo (even)
Buffalo_Bills_HelmetNo result from the first week of NFL action was as shocking to me as the Dolphins upsetting the New England Patriots. But the Bills pulled off Miami_Dolphins_Helmeta pretty big surprise themselves by beating the Chicago Bears. Now look, let’s be honest…the Patriots are still winning the division. However, both of these teams (as well as the New York Jets) ae looking to make the jump up to a solid wildcard contender that wins 9 or 10 games. This game will tell us a lot about both teams. The folks in Vegas seem to think they are evenly matched, which both simplifies and complicates things. I’m going with Buffalo because of the home field advantage. Zach doesn’t believe that Miami’s victory last week was a fluke and believes they will be a serious playoff contender.

My Pick – Buffalo
Z’s Pick – Miami

 

 

Seattle (-5.5) at San Diego
The defending Super Bowl champions looked quite impressive in their season debut, soundly defeating the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, the Chargers lost a seattle-seahawks1heartbreaker last week to the Arizona Cardinals. As much as I’d love to go with the underdogs here I just can’t pull the trigger. I thought Seattle might ease off the throttle and fall back just a little bit this season, but so far that prediction looks like it might be wrong. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Seattle
Z’s Pick – Seattle

 

 

NY Jets at Green Bay (-8)
The Packers began the season on the receiving end of the previously mentioned beatdown at the hands of the Seahawks. The Jets took care of the Oakland Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetRaiders. I like Green Bay to rebound here, especially in the friendly confines of the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The points are a bit much for my taste, but if Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are firing on all cylinders it shouldn’t be a problem. Zach agrees.

My Pick – Green Bay
Z’s Pick – Green Bay

2013 NFL Preview & Prognostications

goodell-e1348946003302I strongly dislike Roger Goodell. He is by far the worst commissioner the NFL has had and maybe one of the worst suits in the history of organized sports at any level. I have been watching a lot of pre-season games A) because that’s just how I roll and B) because the NFL Network may be the greatest invention since the light bulb. It saddens me to see what Commissioner Fidel Goodell has done to the game of football. There’s a penalty on every other play. Defenders can’t hit a guy high, and now there’s a movement to ban hitting low due to knee injuries. What the heck is a defensive player supposed to do?? Most of the penalties I have seen called lately were, as recently as 2 or 3 years ago, just good solid football. And then there is the whole paralysis by analysis of what is and what isn’t a catch. When I was a kid a catch was a catch…but not anymore. Within 5-10 years pro football will be unwatchable and the destruction will be the fault of the evil Roger Goodell. The best thing for the NFL would be for Goodell to go away…one way or another…and for a new commissioner to simply say “Oh yeah…all that namby pamby “safety” crap…forget it. Let’s play fnflootball!!”. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime I suppose we’ll forge ahead with business as usual while the game still somewhat resembles the football we knew & loved. Each team’s 2012 record is in parentheses immediately followed by my prediction for this season’s outcome. As always I’ll remind you that your humble Potentate of Profundity does not condone gambling so if you wager your lunch money and lose don’t blame me. Enjoy!!

 

 

AFC

East

New England Patriots         

(12-4)  10-6

Miami Dolphins                    

(7-9)    8-8

Buffalo Bills                           

(6-10)  8-8

New York Jets                        

(6-10)  2-14

The Jets will be terrible and we all know it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Mark Sanchez or rookie Geno Smith starting at quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan might be gone bypatriots the time the bye week rolls around midway thru the season. Buffalo is starting someone named Jeff Tuel at QB in Week 1 which pretty much tells one all they need to know about the Bills. A lot of folks seem to be cautiously jumping on the Dolphins bandwagon but quite frankly I just don’t get it. They’ll be mediocre at best. So there is no doubt that the Patriots will walk away with their 11th division title in the past 13 years…the question is just how quickly they can clinch. I do think New England has plateaued and might take a tiny step back, but in this horrible division it will hardly be noticeable.

 

West

Denver Broncos                    

(13-3)  11-5

Kansas City Chiefs                 

(2-14)  9-7

Oakland Raiders                   

(4-12)  6-10

San Diego Chargers              

(7-9)    5-11

You want proof positive that life is unfair?? Terrelle Pryor is now a starting quarterback in the NFL while his former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel is broncos-4759basically unemployable as a head coach until 2017. Not that Pryor’s presence behind center will help the Oakland Raiders all that much. This is Denver’s division to lose, and though I am a bit concerned about their defense after losing pass rusher Elvis Dumervil to an idiotic clerical error there are no such worries about Peyton Manning and the offense, especially after the addition of receiver Wes Welker. This will be Manning’s best opportunity to add another Super Bowl ring to his collection and I think he’ll make hay while the sun is shining. The Chiefs might be one of the most improved teams in the NFL after hiring new head coach Andy Reid and trading for QB Alex Smith.

 

South

Indianapolis Colts                 

(11-5)  11-5

Houston Texans                    

(12-4)  9-7

Tennessee Titans                  

(6-10)  8-8

Jacksonville Jaguars              

(2-14)  5-11

Colts’ QB Andrew Luck acquitted himself pretty well in his rookie season and I don’t think we’ll see any kind of sophomore slump in 2013. Indianapolis is a Indianapolis_Colts_Helmetyoung team that should continue to grow & achieve, and I really like the addition of running back Ahmad Bradshaw so long as he can stay healthy. What most pundits would likely disagree with is my assertion that the Texans will take a step backward. I am not at all convinced that running back Arian Foster can remain upright thru the entire season and top wideout Andre Johnson is now 32 years old. If first round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins, a wide receiver out of Clemson, can blossom early that might help. The other side of the ball features NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt so there are no worries there. This might be a make or break year for Titans’ quarterback Jake Locker and I am not convinced he’ll deliver. It’d be helpful if running back Chris Johnson could somehow return to his 2009 incarnation when he ran for 2000 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. The Jags are probably going to be bad again, though maybe not quite as bad as last year. When your quarterback competition involves Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne that’s not a good sign.

 

North

Cincinnati Bengals               

(10-6)  11-5

Baltimore Ravens                 

(10-6)  10-6

Pittsburgh Steelers               

(8-8)    9-7

Cleveland Browns                 

(5-11)  7-9

This could be the most competitive division in the NFL in 2013. Opinions vary wildly about the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Some sayCincinnati_Bengals_Helmet this year’s Ravens are even better than last year. I can see that logic. The loss of safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis won’t affect the team all that much on the field as both of those guys were old & slow. Baltimore added sack master Elvis Dumervil so theoretically the defense got younger & more athletic. But I just don’t think a team can go thru so many changes and not be affected. The loss of receiver Anquan Boldin…who was traded to San Francisco…is huge. Defending champs do generally make the playoffs but only 7 have ever repeated. The Bengals have quietly evolved from the Bungles to a nominal favorite to win the division. It is amazing what can be accomplished outside of a prison cell. The Browns are showing signs of life but aren’t quite ready to make a stir just yet. I actually read one fellow prognosticator who thinks the Steelers will win the division. Nothing would make me happier. However, I am very concerned about the offensive line (again), and as excited as I was when Pittsburgh drafted running back Le’veon Bell in the 2nd round that enthusiasm has been tempered by a pre-season foot injury that might keep the rookie off the field for the first couple of games.

 

Playoffs:                               

New England, Indianapolis, Denver, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Kansas City

AFC Championship:           Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos

 

 

NFC

East

Washington Redskins          

(10-6)  10-6

Dallas Cowboys                     

(8-8)    9-7

New York Giants                   

(9-7)    8-8

Philadelphia Eagles              

(4-12)  7-9

I said that the AFC North might be the NFL’s most competitive division. Well here is a worthy rival. The Redskins season likely rests entirely on quarterback Washington_Redskins_logoRGIII’s recovery from a knee injury suffered in a playoff game last season. Will he start in Week 1?? Will the powers-that-be proceed with caution and hold him out for the first few weeks of the season?? When he does see action will he be the same multi-talented threat he used to be?? The Cowboys…as usual…have lofty expectations that they won’t achieve. If I were head coach Jason Garrett I wouldn’t lose my real estate agent’s number just yet. I like the Eagles’ selection of Chip Kelly as their new head coach and I think he’ll do well in due time…but there’ll be some growing pains. I can never seem to get a good read on the NY Giants. When I think they’ll be good they fall apart and when I predict they’ll suck they win the Super Bowl. So it is entirely possible they’ll be a game or two better than my prediction. Or a lot worse. I don’t know.

 

West

Seattle Seahawks                 

(11-5)  12-4

San Francisco 49ers             

(11-4-1) 10-6              

St. Louis Rams                       

(7-8-1)9-7

Arizona Cardinals                 

(5-11)  3-13

I’ll make one bold prediction. There will NOT be another tie this season!! The 49ers have history going against them as 28 out of 42 Super Bowl losers since seattle-seahawks11970 haven’t won a playoff game the next season. Twelve of those teams missed the postseason and 16 lost their first playoff game. I do think ‘Frisco takes a tiny step backward this season simply because everyone will be gunning for them. It’ll be an interesting battle between San Francisco & Seattle. The two teams play each other on 9/15 (in Seattle) and 12/8 (in San Francisco) and my vibe is that Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson will lead his team to a division title. The Rams lost RB Steven Jackson in the offseason but are stacked at the position with younger fresher legs. Quarterback Sam Bradford is at a crossroads in his career but the addition of speedy receiver Tavon Austin will help a lot. The Cardinals are a mess even though Carson Palmer has stabilized the quarterback position just a bit. Arizona will have to rely on their defense to get the job done and I think they need another year or two to gel.

 

South

New Orleans Saints              

(7-9)    10-6

Atlanta Falcons                     

(13-3)  10-6

Carolina Panthers                 

(7-9)    8-8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers        

(7-9)    7-9

There’s not much to say about Carolina & Tampa. I don’t see either team making a positive jump in 2013. I think they’ll just be treading water. The real 10_new_orleans_saintsaction will be at the top of the division where I think the Saints rebound from the collateral damage of BountyGate and get back on the winning track with head coach Sean Payton returning to the sideline. I expect quarterback Drew Brees to once again throw for 4000+ yards & 30+ touchdowns and the defense is now being led by new coordinator Rob Ryan which is a very good thing. Many of those TDs thrown by Brees will be caught by tight end Jimmy Graham who might just be the best in the business. One of my more…risky…forecasts is a slight decline for the Atlanta Falcons who came oh so close to going to The Super Bowl last season. The Falcons added running back Steven Jackson and defensive end Usi Umenyiora in the offseason which would seem to indicate that they believe this year is their big chance to finally get over the hump. Maybe they will. But I just don’t think it’s going to be quite that simple. I’ve been wrong before though.

 

North

Green Bay Packers                

(11-5)  10-6

Chicago Bears                         

(10-6)  9-7

Minnesota Vikings                 

(10-6)  8-8

Detroit Lions                          

(4-12)  7-9

Last year I sang the praises of the Green Bay Packers and predicted that they’d beat New England in the highest scoring Super Bowl of all time. They Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetpromptly went out and lost 3 of their first 5 games and were beaten by the 49ers in the second round of the playoffs. So my expectations are somewhat cowed this time around though I still predict a division crown…they’ll just have to work for it. The Bears are another team like the NY Giants…difficult to read. I’m not a fan of quarterback Jay Cutler although if anyone can bring out his best it is probably new head coach Marc Trestman. The Vikings of course have running back Adrian Peterson, but as good as he is I don’t think he’ll get anywhere near 2000 yards again. For Minnesota to make another run at the playoffs quarterback Christian Ponder will have to show some significant growth and the defense…led by pass rusher Jared Allen…will have to be stellar. Minnesota ranked 2nd in rushing offense last season but 31st in passing offense. They’ll need to find some balance in 2013. The Lions…much like the Cleveland Browns…have shown some occasional signs of life but just aren’t there quite yet.

 

Playoffs:       

Washington, New Orleans, Seattle, Green Bay, San Francisco, Atlanta

NFC Championship:           New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers

 

SB

San Francisco 49ers                       30

Denver Broncos                              34

2011-12 NCAA Bowl Prognostications

Well this ought to be fun. Let me be completely honest…the past 2 years my bowl prognostications have been a total disaster. Teams that I thought would kick ass & take names laid a big ol’ egg. Teams that I thought were horrible and didn’t even deserve to be in a bowl game all the sudden played like the ’72 Miami Dolphins. Fortunately for me (and hopefully for loyal readers & citizens of the Manoverse) this is just a fun exercise completely devoid of meaning & consequence. As always, I do not condone gambling or claim any level of expertise. If one chooses to ignore those friendly warnings they do so at their own peril. Also, so I do not have to keep repeating myself throughout these proceedings, keep in mind a few things. First of all, I think there are way too many bowl games. As much as I love football I would prefer to see an 8 team playoff and about half as many bowl games. Secondly, I detest bowls named after locations or corporate entities. Bowl games should be named after fruit or other agricultural products. I understand the necessary evil of corporate sponsorship, but when they drop all pretense and just name the game after a company I find it irritating. And finally, if it were up to me teams with .500 records wouldn’t get anywhere near a bowl game. Mediocrity should not be rewarded. Having said all that, it is clear that the money grubbing bastards that run the NCAA and all of their member universities do not share my views. So be it. At any rate, I will watch a good many of these games with varying degrees of interest, and maybe I will actually get a majority of my predictions right. We’ll see.

 

 

 

New Mexico

Temple               vs.              Wyoming

I am going to take a total shot in the dark here and pick Temple, mostly because I have a passing familiarity with their team & conference, while I don’t think I have seen a Wyoming game on television since the Reagan Administration.

 

Potato

Ohio                    vs.              Utah State

The Bobcats play in the MAC, which means they don’t get a lot of respect, which is unfortunate since it is a better brand of football than most think. Having seen them play a few times this year I feel comfortable picking Ohio U. in this game.

 

New Orleans

San Diego St.                       vs.              Louisiana-Lafayette

Another shot in the dark since I know zilch about either of these teams. I’ll take La-Lafayette in a high scoring affair.

 

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

Florida International                    vs.                       Marshall

Full disclosure: I am a proud alumnus of Marshall University (Class of ’94), so there’s no way I am picking against my Thundering Herd, even though they are one of those 6-6 teams that would not get any post-season love under my hardcore NCAA regime.

 

Poinsettia

TCU                              vs.                        Louisiana Tech

A year ago the Horned Frogs defeated Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished #2 in the final polls, so this is kind of like dating a matronly old maid after having broken up with a super model. Unfortunately close losses to Baylor and, inexplicably, SMU, cost them. But I don’t see this game as being much of a challenge and I think TCU rolls to an easy victory.

 

Las Vegas

Arizona St.                  vs.              Boise State

The Broncos have to be heartbroken. The only blemish on their record is a close loss to the aforementioned Texas Christian Horned Frogs on a missed last second field goal. That loss plummeted them all the way from national championship contender (or atleast the BCS bowl mix) to this afterthought of a game that no one will be watching against a 6-6 Sun Devils team that doesn’t deserve to be in a bowl. I think Boise has had more than enough time to get over that mid-November misstep and will win big.

 

Hawaii

Nevada                         vs.              Southern Miss

Nevada pulled off a big upset in 2010, costing Boise St. an undefeated season (that seems to happen a lot to those guys), while Southern Miss had the honor this season of shattering another team’s dream, defeating previously undefeated Houston in the C-USA Championship Game, knocking the Cougars out of the Sugar Bowl in the process. Because I think the Golden Eagles may have…ummm…exhausted the full extent of their ammunition…with that huge victory, I am picking the Wolfpack in an upset.

 

Independence

Missouri                       vs.              North Carolina

Does anyone really care?? I suppose I will roll the dice and pick Missouri, based largely on the fact that they should be more battle tested as a Big 12 team than the ACC’s Tar Heels.

 

Little Caesars

Western Michigan               vs.              Purdue

I like Western Michigan. MAC football is fun to watch, and it’s kind of sad that their reward for a solid season is playing a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team, although I suppose that a MAC team defeating a Big Ten team would be sufficient reason for chest thumping, regardless of how mediocre the Big Ten representative may be. I’m going with that scenario.

 

Belk

Louisville           vs.              NC State

Belk, for anyone who may be interested, is a North Carolina department store chain. How Belk has their own bowl game but WalMart, Target, Kohl’s, or JC Penney do not is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, both of these teams skated into post-season play with solid if unspectacular seasons, yet I have high hopes that this may be a fun game to watch. I’ll go with the Cardinals in a squeaker.

 

Military

Toledo                vs.              Air Force

Here we have what might be another sleeper, with lots of offense & scoring. As much as I’d like to give some love to the flyboys, I have to go with the Rockets in this one.

 

Holiday

California           vs.              Texas

The Longhorns have recovered a bit from the disaster of a season they had in 2010, but just happen to play a murderous schedule in one of the top two conferences in the nation. Being battle tested may serve them well though, so I’ll take Texas in a comfortable fashion.

 

Champs Sports

Florida State               vs.              Notre Dame

If this game were being played 20 years ago it might be for the National Championship. However, both of these storied programs have fallen on hard times, atleast by their definition of success. I can tell you that the folks in South Bend didn’t think they’d be playing a December bowl game this year…they had much loftier goals. That level of disappointment, combined with the fact that this game is in Orlando, FL just a few short hours away from Florida St.’s campus, is enough for me to give the nod to the Seminoles. Okay okay…maybe the fact that I detest Notre Dame has a bit to do with it as well.

 

Alamo

Washington                vs.              Baylor

Baylor got robbed. The Bears should have been chosen as a BCS at-large team and be playing in January. QB Robert Griffin III is one of the most exciting players in the country and will almost definitely finish in the top 3 for the Heisman Trophy, if he doesn’t end up actually winning the darn thing. There might be some that express concern about a possible letdown due to the disappointment of getting screwed out of a more prestigious bowl game, but I’d be surprised if that happened. I’m picking Baylor to win easily.

 

 

 

Armed Forces

BYU                              vs.                       Tulsa

It’s pretty cool that our men in uniform get two bowls christened in their honor. It’s just too bad that neither Army nor Navy was good enough to qualify for this one since Air Force is playing in the other one. At any rate, this should be a highly watchable game, with BYU winning a close battle.

 

Pinstripe

Rutgers                        vs.                        Iowa State

I’ve watched Rutgers play a few times this season and they are decent but not unbeatable. Iowa St. ruined Oklahoma St.’s national title hopes. Rutgers has the better record, but the Cyclones are the epitome of my “battle tested” philosophy, so I give them the edge.

 

Music City

Mississippi St.            vs.              Wake Forest

This is a matchup of two 6-6 teams that would never happen if it were up to me, but it’s not so here they are. My vibes are telling me to go with the Bulldogs, and even though the vibes are hardly ever right I continue to listen to them. I don’t know why.

 

Insight

Iowa                              vs.              Oklahoma

No team is probably more disappointed in their 2011 season than the Sooners. Many had them ranked in the top 2 in the preseason, and halfway thru the campaign all seemed well. But after losing 3 out of the final 6 games, including a Big 12 Championship Game in which they appeared to not even give a damn, it is hard to fathom what went wrong. This is the very definition of a contest where the lesser team pulls an upset because the favored team doesn’t really want to be there, and for that reason I suspect a lot of the talking heads on ESPN and other places might try to convince us that the Hawkeyes are going to get the win. However, I just cannot pull the trigger on that logic. I think Oklahoma had their temper tantrum game against Oklahoma St. and will come into this one psyched up and ready to make a statement.

 

Meineke

Texas A&M                 vs.              Northwestern

Didn’t this game used to be in Charlotte?? For some reason Meineke switched their sponsorship to a bowl game in Houston. That should work out well for Aggie fans I guess. This is another dreaded two teams at 6-6 contest, but it might actually be more fun than the numbers would indicate. A&M just fired their coach, so that could have a negative impact. I predicted A&M would finish 8th & Northwestern 15th when I did my pre-season Top 25, and obviously I was way off base on both counts. I’m going to go out on a limb once again and pick the Wildcats in what most would consider a significant upset.

 

Sun

Georgia Tech                       vs.                        Utah

I don’t understand the reason, but I have always had an odd aversion to watching Georgia Tech football. They just aren’t a fun & interesting team. Utah is equally unimpressive since the Urban Meyer/Alex Smith era ended 7 years ago. Still, I’ll go with the Utes in a mild upset.

 

Liberty

Cincinnati                             vs.              Vanderbilt

Cincinnati finished in a 3 way tie as Big East Champions but lost out on the BCS bid due to tiebreaker technicalities so they have something to prove. The Bearcats are being lead by a sophomore backup quarterback, but he’s got a few starts under his belt now and should be fine. On paper this doesn’t look like it’ll even be a close one and I agree…Cincy wins in a laugher.

 

Fight Hunger

Illinois                          vs.                        UCLA

This used to be the Emerald Bowl. Then it was the Walnuts Bowl. Now the powers-that-be are apparently concerned with feeding the hungry. Unfortunately the matchup they are feeding us is a steaming pile of crap. UCLA actually has a LOSING record!! It’s bad enough that all these 6-6 teams (including the Bruins’ opponent Illinois) get bowl bids, but now we’re allowing a team below .500 to play in the post-season?? It’s insane. Fortunately there are three other games on New Year’s Eve…two of them in the afternoon at the same time as this one. Plus the majority of the populace will be making final preparations to go out and get crazy, wasted, and stupid later that night. There was one year that I was already drunk by the time this game kicks off. But I digress. My point is that only the most bored & lonely among us will have to be subjected to this torture. If there was any justice both of these horrible teams would lose, but that won’t happen, and since I refuse to pick a team with a losing record I’ll go with Illinois.

 

Chick-fil-A

Virginia                        vs.                        Auburn

This used to be the Peach Bowl, and the name needs to revert to that ASAP. College football is all about tradition, and the Peach Bowl was a solid traditional bowl game. Anyway, Auburn’s fortunes have fallen significantly since winning last year’s national title, but I suppose that happens when you lose players the caliber of Heisman winning QB Cam Newton and defensive lineman Nick Fairley. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers came within a whisker’s whisper of landing in the ACC title game before being beaten soundly by in-state rivals Virginia Tech. I think UVA is being overlooked and disrespected, and they just might do something about that in this game by upsetting the Tigers.

 

TicketCity

Houston                       vs.              Penn State

TicketCity, it is my understanding, is a poor man’s Ticketmaster. Why the former has a bowl named after it but the latter does not is yet another head scratcher. This isn’t exactly what Houston fans were expecting. The Cougars seemed to be on their way to an undefeated regular season and a huge pay day against Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. Those plans blew up when Southern Miss crushed Houston in the C-USA title game. Meanwhile, anyone interested enough in sports to be reading this knows about the turmoil that has engulfed Penn St. the last couple of months. There had been a train of thought that bowl games might steer clear of the Nittany Lions fearing controversy and sponsor backlash. Thankfully that did not happen because their players & fans should not be punished due to the idiocy of those no longer associated with the program. These are two good teams who should provide us with an entertaining contest. I am glad that Houston still gets to test its mettle against a BCS conference opponent, and I think they will take advantage of the opportunity by winning the game.

 

Outback

Michigan St.                         vs.                        Georgia

This might as well be called the Bridesmaids Bowl. Both teams had solid seasons and legitimate shots to win their conference titles, but there was no way Georgia was going to beat #1 LSU, and after beating Wisconsin on a last second Hail Mary earlier in the season it was too much to ask the Spartans to repeat that feat. So this is a consolation prize for these two teams and a treat for fans. My vibes are telling me to go with Michigan St, and I shall follow that advice.

 

Capital One

Nebraska                              vs.                        South Carolina

I like this game. It should be fun to watch. The Gamecocks are riding a 3 game winning streak coming in to the contest, while the Cornhuskers lost 2 out of their last 4 games. Both had high hopes coming into the season, but tough losses to Auburn & Arkansas lead to South Carolina being edged out in their conference’s east division by Georgia, while Nebraska acquitted themselves quite nicely in their inaugural Big Ten season but stumbled against Wisconsin, Northwestern, & Michigan. The loss of star RB Marcus Lattimore halfway thru the campaign didn’t seem to slow down Spurrier’s Cocks, and I think given several weeks to prepare The Ol’ Ball Coach will have his team ready to win this one.

 

Gator

Ohio St.                        vs.                        Florida

Let’s call this the Urban Meyer Bowl. Meyer’s former team, the Gators, which he left last year due to “health issues” and to spend more time with his family, goes up against the Buckeyes, who just hired Meyer to take over after this season concludes. I guess he decided he’d spent enough time with his family. I’m a little confused by this matchup, because regardless of the past success of these two programs the fact is that they both finished at 6-6 this season, so how in the world they ended up in a New Year’s game is beyond my comprehension. This is where the current system, with all its various bowl tie-ins, fails. There are several teams…TCU, Boise St., Southern Miss, Baylor, BYU, Oklahoma…that are playing in “lesser” bowl games in December but are much more deserving of these slots. I understand that these are “name” programs that will draw good TV ratings and pack the stadium full, but that should not trump the fact that this season they are two mediocre teams who don’t measure up to the high standard of playing in a New Year’s bowl game. But I guess the money does indeed trump won-loss records, which is shameful. I have lost a lot of respect for the Gator Bowl because of these decisions. At any rate, it’s a toss-up kind of game, with neither team having much momentum coming into the contest. The crowd should make this as close to a home game for Florida as it gets, so I’ll give them the nod.

 

Rose

Wisconsin                             vs.                        Oregon

Now we’re getting to the really good games. This should be extremely interesting…Oregon’s fast paced, high powered spread against Wisconsin’s old school grind it out power football. Both of these clubs had national title aspirations that fell just short of the mark, with the Ducks losing out of the gate to #1 LSU and then having a late season hiccup against USC, while the Badgers lost consecutive midseason battles to Michigan St. & Ohio St. Neither team has anything about which to hang their heads though. As much as I like old fashioned smash mouth football, I think Oregon is just too fast and will score too many points on big plays for Wisconsin to keep up.

 

Fiesta

Stanford                       vs.                        Oklahoma St.

The race for #2 will be won & lost in this game. Stanford’s lone miscue was a late season loss to the Oregon Ducks, which began to sow seeds of doubt as to whether All-World quarterback and future #1 overall NFL draft pick Andrew Luck is really as awesome as he’d been hyped up to be. Meanwhile, many would rather be watching the Cowboys compete for the National Championship instead of playing in this game after the Cowboys came oh so close to overtaking Alabama in the polls. Oregon exposed Stanford as a team with a good QB but not much else, and I think the similarly high octane offense of Oklahoma State will do the same. They’ll be out to prove a point after losing out on an opportunity to play for the title, and I think we may be looking at a 100 point game here, with possibly 60 of them being scored by the guys in green.

 

Sugar

Michigan                      vs.                        Virginia Tech

What an odd matchup. Both of these teams got into this game by way of at-large BCS bids, but the question is whether either deserved one. The original plan was for an undefeated Houston team to face Michigan, but Southern Miss torpedoed that idea. That left the powers-that be scrambling. The fall back options seemed to be Baylor or Kansas St. to face the Wolverines, which would have been just fine. Theoretically those teams had earned both slots, but that wasn’t going to happen since they are both Big 12 teams and had faced off earlier in the season. Therefore Michigan, with its lofty pedigree and rabid fanbase, became locked in. I have no problem with that part of the equation. But either Baylor or Kansas St. still should have gotten the other spot. Virginia Tech just got shellacked in the ACC Championship Game last weekend. In the minds of most that knocked them out of BCS contention. But I guess money & reputation won out yet again. Why the folks in charge of the Sugar Bowl would pass up an opportunity to have a very exciting Baylor team, with their Heisman nominee QB Robert Griffin III, face off against an equally exciting Michigan team lead by another electrifying QB in Denard Robinson is mystifying, especially since anyone with any level of football knowledge has known for months that the Hokies are completely overrated and Clemson just proved it. My vibe is that this will be the least interesting of the BCS bowls, with Michigan winning by atleast 3 touchdowns.

 

Orange

West Virginia                        vs.                        Clemson

More full disclosure: I am a lifelong Mountaineer fan and find it very difficult to pick against them most of the time. I even said in my pre-season rankings that West Virginia would upset LSU early in the season. That prediction proved to be slightly wrong. However, I shall not be deterred!! Clemson QB Taj Boyd originally committed to WVU before his Daddy talked him out of it, and I guess it turned out to be a wise course correction given the success he has had with the Tigers thus far. Most of the talking heads on ESPN and other outlets will do their damndest to ignore this game as much as possible, which is a shame because I think it will be a really entertaining affair. Of course I am picking West Virginia to win.

 

Cotton

Kansas State                        vs.                        Arkansas

We’ve already talked a bit about Kansas St., and Arkansas is another team that might have fit into that Sugar Bowl game nicely, atleast moreso than Virginia Tech. But hey, both clubs find themselves in this contest which isn’t a bad thing. I hope that fans haven’t begun to suffer from football fatigue by the time this one kicks off on January 6th, which is four or five days later than it should be played. Those that do tune in should see a great game, but I think the Razorbacks just have too much on both sides of the ball and should win comfortably.

 

Compass

SMU                                       vs.                        Pittsburgh

I still maintain that this game should feature two directional schools. Southern Methodist fulfills half the equation, but Pitt doesn’t hold up the other end. Anyway, I hate Pitt, which has worked out well the past couple of years because they legitimately suck. I suppose the Panthers will be favored, but I’m going with SMU all the way.

 

GoDaddy.com

Arkansas St.     `                            vs.                        Northern Illinois

First of all, this is a ridiculously named bowl, sponsored by a web building company that overtly uses sex to sell what I assume must be an inferior service. Secondly, the game is being played on January 8th, atleast 2 weeks past when a bowl of this caliber should be played. And finally, the matchup isn’t exactly attractive. I honestly thought Arkansas St. was a 1-AA/FCS school. I guess not. I am sure there will be NFL games on since 1/8 is a Sunday, so who knows if more than a dozen people will even be watching. And really, who cares?? I have been entertained a bit by MAC football this season, so I’ll pick Northern Illinois to win this one.

 

National Championship Game

LSU vs. Alabama

The rematch that no none wants to see. Look, I know these are undoubtedly the best two teams in the country. Few people question that fact. But we’ve already seen this game and quite honestly it wasn’t very watchable the first time. I am a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan, so I appreciate great defense, but a 9-6 game with no touchdowns just doesn’t frost my cupcake. I sincerely hope this game is a lot more fun & interesting the second time around, and there’s reason for optimism because really, it can’t get much more tedious than that first contest. I think the result will be the same since there is no way LSU has kicked ass this long only to choke when the trophy is on the line. Of course lots of people said the same thing about the New England Patriots a few years back.

Winning & Musing…..Volume 7.11

It’s my favorite season of the year…football season!! So I have some thoughts on the college game as well as way too early first impressions about the NFL.

 

 

Is it my imagination or has the NFL had an above average amount of serious, season ending injuries thus far?? I have no numbers to back up the supposition and am far too indolent to do the needed research, but that is my notion. Maybe it is because I have had 4 players from my dynasty fantasy league (RBs Jamaal Charles, Mikel Leshoure, & Ryan Williams plus kicker Nate Kaeding) suffer that fate, which has all but killed my chances in that league.

 

Teams that are better than I thought: Washington Redskins – maybe I underrated QB Rex Grossman a bit. Buffalo Bills – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was underrated by e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.

 

I assume the Miami Dolphins will still draft a quarterback in 2012, but so far Chad Henne hasn’t been all that bad.

 

Kudos to rookie QB Cam Newton, whose NFL viability some (including yours truly) have questioned. Even though the Carolina Panthers are 0-2 Newton has thrown for a ton of yards and looked very much like he can hang with the big boys. Sure he’s made the normal rookie mistakes, and those errors may have even cost his team victories, but that’s not necessarily unexpected when a young quarterback is thrown into the deep end and told to swim. The bottom line is that that Newton looks like he belongs and might become scary good if a decent team is ever built around him.

 

I detest the New England Patriots, but I have to give the devil its due…that is one heck of an offense. There isn’t a top tier receiver or running back on the roster but somehow Tom Brady still puts up Dan Marino-esque numbers. And when have we ever seen a team with two tight ends that are such lethal weapons??

 

Teams that haven’t lived up to expectations: St. Louis Rams – I may have had their breakthrough predicted a year or two too early. Philadelphia Eagles – they certainly haven’t looked like a Dream Team.

 

More kudos to the Detroit Lions, who are making believers out of those who hadn’t already jumped on the bandwagon. This is a team that went winless just three years ago and now might actually contend for a playoff spot. They’ve done it the right way, by building around a talented franchise quarterback and concentrating on constructing what one day soon might be a wicked awesome defense. Did I just say “wicked awesome”?? Yes, I did.

 

Early leaders in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes: Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, and…something I never thought I’d say…the Indianapolis Colts. How wild would it be if the Colts are in a position to grab Luck just as the storied career of Peyton Manning winds down to its inevitable conclusion??

 

I don’t even know what to say about the mess that is college football and all its conference realignment/expansion wackiness. The first thing to come to mind is “Go to Hell” to Pitt & Syracuse for leaving the Big East hanging, the SEC & ACC for having no respect at all for my WV Mountaineers, and the “leadership” in the Big East who have stood around with their thumbs up their asses watching it all happen. But beyond my own personal biases I am just sad to see such a wonderful on-the-field product fragmented by a bunch of suits with dollar signs in their eyes and no reverence for the one thing that elevates college football head & shoulders above every other sport…tradition. Do I want to see a “rivalry” between Cincinnati and Kansas St.?? No, not really. Does it make any sense for Texas A&M to abandon annual battles with Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech to play Vanderbilt or Kentucky?? Not at all. Look, I’m not dumb…I understand the business part of all this. I realize that these suits are looking mainly at population and television markets. But I am just a guy whose lone enjoyment in the dank & dreary chill of autumn is to spend my weekends watching hours & hours of football. I want that football to be competitive, entertaining, and meaningful in that unspoken yet understood way in which we know that Michigan-Ohio St., USC-Notre Dame, The Backyard Brawl, The Border War, The Red River Rivalry, The Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, The Iron Bowl, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, and Bedlam are significant just because they are. The fact that these annual rituals are being imploded by a bunch of pointy headed bean counters that probably don’t know a Horned Frog from a Hoosier or the difference between a Golden Flash and a Golden Hurricane should embarrass the hell out of the ineffective and neutered people that supposedly run the NCAA.