2015 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

College-Football-MapA year ago I was so excited about the inaugural four team college football playoff. That enthusiasm was eventually mitigated just a bit. Though, at the end of the day, I admit that the teams selected were deserving, the process itself was severely flawed. It has become clear that the Division 1 FBS level of college football needs to be further subdivided into two tiers, each with its own championship. As it stands now, only half of the FBS teams have a realistic path to the playoff. At any rate, that is a debate for another time. For now let’s just be happy that football is back and there will finally be something worthwhile to vegg out for on the weekend.





1 Ohio State
Last Season: 14-1
Key Games: 11/21 vs. Michigan St., 11/28 at Michigan, 12/5 Big Ten Championship Game
I was WAY wrong in my assessment of the Buckeyes last pre-season. I, like many others, assumed that losing their starting QB was a death blow. Ohio_State_BuckeyesNow…a year later…they return three starting caliber QBs. It looks like Braxton Miller might move to receiver, JT Barrett will be the starter, & Cardale Jones will be forced to be patient and probably delay his NFL aspirations another year. Or not. Who knows?? I’m not at all worried about suspensions for the first game against Virginia Tech, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t get to 10-0 pretty easily before a tough two games to end the regular season.


2 Southern Cal
Last Season: 9-4
Key Games: 9/19 vs. Stanford, 9/26 at Arizona St., 10/17 at Notre Dame, 11/7 vs. Arizona, 11/21 at Oregon, 11/28 vs. UCLAUSC_Trojans2
The Trojans are still recovering from NCAA sanctions and may have some depth issues that make this prediction a bit of a reach. However, they return practically their entire starting roster on both offense & defense, including senior QB Cody Kessler. The schedule is brutal, so we’ll have a good indication by the beginning of October whether or not this team is for real, but even then November is absolutely vicious. It’s going to be feast or famine with Southern Cal in 2015, and I’ll walk away a fool or a king.


3 Notre Dame
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 10/3 at Clemson, 10/17 vs. USC, 11/28 at Stanford
Count me among those that feel The Irish need to eventually be not-so-gently persuaded to join a conference. They’re kind of playing footsie with the NotreDame1ACC, but aren’t all in by any means. On the other hand, until they are forced I understand why they aren’t making the move of their own volition. Why should they?? Being independent certainly isn’t hurting their schedule or national title hopes. They should blow right thru most opponents, although 2 of the 3 key games listed above are on the road. It would seem almost impossible for both Notre Dame & USC to make the playoff after one defeats (and presumably eliminates) the other on October 17. That’s going to be a huge game.


4 Alabama
Last Season: 12-2
Key Games: 10/3 at Georgia, 10/17 at Texas A&M, 11/7 vs. LSU, 11/28 at Auburn
The inaugural playoff proved that SEC teams aren’t just going to enjoy a cakewalk to the Final Four. After having seen the process and how everything AlabamaCrimsonTide2played out I now understand that any conference…including the SEC…getting two teams into the playoff is almost impossible. That being said, the SEC champion will undoubtedly be in the mix and there’s no reason not to think the Crimson Tide won’t be right in the thick of the battle. I don’t expect the season opener…a neutral site game against Wisconsin at the Palace in Dallas…to be a problem, and I don’t think the two Mississippi teams will be serious threats this year. 3 of the 4 key games I’ve noted are on the road, which may pose a bit of a challenge.


5 Michigan State
Last Season: 11-2
Key Games: 9/12 at Oregon, 10/17 at Michigan, 11/7 at Nebraska, 11/21 at Ohio St.
It seems like the Spartans are forever playing the bridesmaid role…always good, but never quite good enough. Until they are able to jump over the Michigan_State_SpartansOhio St. obstacle that will continue to be the case.


6 Baylor
Last Season: 11-2
Key Games: 11/14 vs. Oklahoma, 11/27 at TCU
Big 12 fans aren’t going to like this, but the fact is that until the league expands and adds a championship game the likelihood of the conference’s top baylorteam being left out of the playoff remains high. The Bears’ non-conference slate of SMU, Lamar, & Rice is completely prosaic & unimpressive, which will hurt their playoff chances even if they go undefeated. The conference itself, while fun to watch, doesn’t get the level of respect given to the SEC, Big Ten, or Pac 12, and that is probably going to remain the case as long as Oklahoma & Texas aren’t dominant programs.


Last Season: 12-1
Key Games: 11/21 at Oklahoma, 11/27 vs. Baylor
Remember what I said about Baylor?? Ditto, although I should point out that the non-conference opener at Minnesota is respectable. All one needs to TCU Cool Logoknow about how the Big 12 is viewed by those that matter is that the Baylor-TCU game on November 27th…a de facto conference championship game…is being played on a Friday night. Sure it is Black Friday and people should theoretically be home vegging out in front of the TV after a long day of shopping, but important college football games are NOT played on Fridays.


8 Florida State
Last Season: 13-1
Key Games: 10/24 at Georgia Tech, 11/7 at Clemson
As much as I dislike Jameis Winston I have to admit he was a winning college QB that oftentimes carried his team to victories they otherwise wouldn’t FloridaStateSeminoles1have gotten. But now he is gone, off to wreak havoc in the NFL (whether it’ll be on the field or off is to be determined). Obviously Florida St. is the kind of team that reloads quickly and doesn’t suffer all that much from such personnel losses, but I’d be surprised if they were in the national title mix again. They’ll do well in their conference because the ACC is always relatively weak, but it won’t be enough to get back to the Final Four. I just have this feeling that they’ll stumble unexpectedly atleast once.


Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 9/19 vs. Auburn, 11/7 at Alabama, 11/28 at Texas A&M
Every game is a tough one in the SEC, and every team has the potential to be a top flight national contender if they perform well in that conference. lsu_logo-95472014 was a bit of a down year for the Bayou Bengals, but my vibes are telling me this will be a bounce back season. They’ll need to win one or two big games…probably atleast one on the road.


10 Georgia
Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 10/3 vs. Alabama, 10/10 at Tennessee, 11/14 at Auburn, 11/28 at Georgia Tech
I’m really hesitant to put three SEC teams in the Top 10, but I will for two reasons. First of all, if any conference can pull it off it’s the SEC. Secondly, I georgiasuppose I’m hedging my bets just a bit. RB Todd Gurley has moved on to the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, but one must remember that he didn’t play all that much last year due to a suspension and then a season ending knee injury. Freshman tailback Nick Chubb was thrown into the mix out of necessity and rushed for over 1500 yards, including a 200+ yard game against Arkansas and a 266 yard effort in the Belk Bowl. The bigger loss may be WR Chris Conley…now with the Kansas City Chiefs…who accounted for over 1300 receiving yards and a dozen touchdowns in 2014. Anyway, when a team has a stud like Chubb the game plan is pretty simple…ride that horse all the way to the finish line. It’s not complicated.


11 Oregon
Last Season: 13-2
Key Games: 9/12 at Michigan St., 10/29 at Arizona St., 11/14 at Stanford, 11/21 vs. USC
First of all, the Pac 12 has suddenly become a brutally competitive conference. Secondly, a team usually doesn’t replace a Heisman winning signal Oregon-Duckscaller like Marcus Mariota without a hiccup or two. It’s not that I think the Ducks won’t be good…I just don’t think they’ll be in the playoff discussion. They have a huge game against Southern Cal in Eugene near the end of the season, but before they get to that point they will have to win a couple of battles on the road.


12 Clemson
Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 10/3 vs. Notre Dame, 11/7 vs. Florida St.
I’m not quite ready to choose Clemson over Florida St. in the ACC…but there are some rumblings amongst the masses. A non-conference (kind of) clemsonclash against The Fighting Irish in South Bend will be a good indicator of where the Tigers stand, and then they have the Seminoles at home. An upset in that game could catapult Clemson into the Top 10.


13 Oklahoma
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 9/12 at Tennessee, 11/14 at Baylor, 11/21 vs. TCU
After reeling off four consecutive 10+ win seasons 2014 was a bit of a down year for the Sooners. I expect them to rebound slightly this season. A lot oklahomadepends on the outcome of a quarterback battle between incumbent Trevor Knight and a transfer from Texas Tech that is apparently impressing a lot of people. They’ll need to upset either Baylor or TCU to climb this far in the rankings.


14 Arizona
Last Season: 10-4
Key Games: 9/26 vs. UCLA, 11/7 at USC
To those who may be curious…yes, I still detest Rich Fraudriguez, but I’ll be darned if he doesn’t have a pretty entertaining ball club in Tucson. Last ArizonaWildcatsyear they upset Oregon with a late 4th quarter touchdown, defeated Utah with a last second field goal, & were a failed 2 point conversion away from tying USC. RB Nick Wilson rushed for nearly 1300 yards in his freshman season and should be even better this year, while the defense is led by junior linebacker Scooby Wright (one of the best names in college football). I expect to be up into the wee hours of the morning on several Saturday nights this fall watching the Wildcats, and I think they’re going to win most of those games.


15 Texas A&M
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 9/5 vs. Arizona St., 10/17 vs. Alabama, 11/7 vs. Auburn, 11/25 at LSU
I will never understand exactly why the Aggies joined the SEC. I mean yeah, I get the money & the prestige, but the fact is they are an afterthought aggiesclawing for every ounce of respect & attention. If they would have remained in the Big 12 not only would that conference be deeper but A&M would be amongst the best teams and have a clearer path to the national championship. Nevertheless, they are still a solid team that has a few very big games at home. Opening the season against legitimate competition like Arizona St. is admirable. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not it is a wise idea.


Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 9/26 at Arizona, 10/15 at Stanford, 11/28 at USC
Quarterback Brett Hundley is gone, off to the Green Bay Packers to do Aaron Rodgers’ laundry and test his food for poison like people did for kings in ucla_bruins2The Dark Ages. It is for that reason that I don’t think the Bruins will get to double digit victories in 2015. Some of their biggest games are on the road, so that’ll be tough as well. However, I don’t think 8 or 9 wins and a Top 20 finish are impossible.


17 Northern Illinois
Last Season: 11-3
Key Games: 9/19 at Ohio St., 9/26 at Boston College
The talking heads tend to focus on the “Power 5” conferences and the competition to get into the four team playoff, and I will grant that those are the huskiesstorylines the uninformed masses likely prefer. However, there are ten conferences and the champions of those “other” 5 oftentimes sneak into the rankings and occasionally surprise people with big wins in bowl games. The Huskies have been in that mix on more than one occasion, and until someone comes along and takes the crown they have to be the favorites in the MAC. Two out-of-conference games will define Northern Illinois’ season. I don’t expect them to beat Ohio St., but if they can keep it respectable…say within two TDs…it’ll be an important moral victory. The following week they’ll need to go into Chestnut Hill and defeat the Eagles.


18 Boise State
Last Season: 12-2
Key Games: 9/4 vs. Washington, 9/12 at BYU, 11/20 vs. Air Force
Yep, they’re still here. The Broncos have settled into a comfort zone. They beat up on an inferior conference, rack up a bunch of wins, seem to have a boise-state-logospot in the lower end of the Top 25 reserved for them, & occasionally upset the apple cart with a win against a theoretically better opponent in a big bowl game. That formula won’t get them into the playoff discussion, but maybe…for now…they are happy where they are until the next round of conference upheaval.


19 Memphis
Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 9/24 vs. Cincinnati, 10/17 vs. Ole Miss
The old Big East morphed into the American Athletic Conference a few years ago, but the AAC is about as similar to the Big East as McDonald’s is to memphishealthy food. Yet somebody’s got to win it, and the Tigers are my pick. It should be noted that the AAC has expanded with the addition of Navy and will have a conference title game for the first time in 2015. That’s cool, although I’m not sure that there is any conceivable matchup that’ll draw much interest. I’m predicting a Memphis-East Carolina championship game, with Memphis going on to compete in something yawn inducing like the St. Petersburg Bowl.


20 Fresno State
Last Season: 6-8
Key Games: 9/12 at Ole Miss, 10/24 at Air Force, 11/21 at BYU
I’ve always enjoyed watching Fresno’s ball games. They play an entertaining, up tempo, high scoring brand of football and have been sporadically fresnosuccessful over the years. The question is always how many points will their defense give up since many of their opponents tend to have similarly high powered offenses. I think this will be an “up” year for the Bulldogs, although to be successful they’ll need to win some tough games on the road, and to finish in the rankings will almost have to make it to the Mountain West title game.


21 Air Force
Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 9/19 at Michigan St., 10/24 vs. Fresno St., 11/20 at Boise St.
Okay okay…I’m hedging my bets again. There’s probably no way that three Mountain West teams finish in the Top 25, even if it’s the latter portion. AirForceFalcons4Having said that, winning 8 or 9 games and upsetting one of the above mentioned key opponents would provide a tremendous boost to the Falcons’ chances. It’s not hard to prepare for their offensive attack…opponents know they’re going to run, run, run. But opponents still seem to have a difficult time stopping what they know is coming, as the Air Force rushing attack ranked 7th nationally in 2014 and they won ten games.


22 Georgia Tech
Last Season: 11-3
Key Games: 9/19 at Notre Dame, 10/10 at Clemson, 10/24 vs. Florida St., 11/28 vs. Georgia
Someone has to get beaten by Florida St. in the ACC championship, and I’m predicting it’ll be the Yellowjackets…again. A September battle in Southgatechlogocos-3 Bend looms large and could be the crucial point of the season. Tech is probably going to have to score a couple of huge upsets to sneak into the rankings, and I think they can do it.


23 Wisconsin
Last Season: 11/3
Key Games: 9/5 vs. Alabama, 10/10 at Nebraska
Replacing an All-World RB like Melvin Gordon is nearly impossible, but Wisconsin has had its fair share of really good tailbacks so WisconsinBadgersit could happen. However, I do think we’ll see a decline in production. When one looks at the Badgers’ schedule it becomes clear that a Top 25 ranking would be quite the accomplishment. The season opener against Alabama is a neutral site game in Dallas, but after that Wisconsin could conceivably reel off 9 or 10 wins. An October battle in Lincoln, NE will decide who gets throttled by Ohio St. in the Big Ten (which has 14 teams) title game.


24 Texas
Last Season: 6-7
Key Games: 9/5 at Notre Dame, 10/3 at TCU, 10/10 vs. Oklahoma, 12/5 at Baylor
The Longhorns haven’t had double digit wins since 2009. Will this be the season they get back their mojo?? Maybe…maybe not. I do think they will texasvastly improve over 2014’s losing record. Head coach Charlie Strong is entering his second year at the helm and I think he’ll get Texas back to its winning ways eventually, although more mediocrity will have the spoiled fanbase calling for his head, so who knows if he’ll be given a fair shake. The easy way to solve the problem is to win 8 or 9 games this year and atleast be in the Big 12 (which has ten teams) title conversation.


25 Michigan
Last Season: 5-7
Key Games: 10/17 vs. Michigan St., 11/28 vs. Ohio St.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I think new Wolverines’ head coach Jim Harbaugh will begin rebuilding the program with a solid inaugural season in michigan-wolverines-fan-gearthe captain’s chair. I believe they’ll be legitimate Big Ten & national championship contenders within three years. For now though, an 8 win season, getting back to a bowl game, & ending the season ranked for the first time in a few years will thrill the folks in Ann Arbor.

2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 13

Greetings Manoverse. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with food, family, & football. For a variety of reasons I decided not to include any of the plethora of gridiron goodness on Thursday & Friday in this week’s picks. However, even without those games there’s still a ton of tremendous action on Saturday. It’s Rivalry Week in the NCAA, and a few games even have meaning above & beyond the tradition of the rivalry itself. Heck, there are so many great matchups that we are able to once again focus exclusively on college football and still give y’all bonus picks. You’re welcome. Last week was another poor showing for both myself & Zach as we each went 1-4. We both whiffed in picking Texas A&M, UCLA, & the Indianapolis Colts. I correctly picked Oklahoma St. over Baylor, while Zach got the win with New England defeating Denver. That brings the season records to this:

                Your Humble Potentate of Profundity  =     30-31

                Zach  =    27-34

Zach is running out of time to take the season lead, while I have now fallen below .500. We’ll see what we can do about that.


Ohio State (-16)            at              Michigan

Wmichow…where do I begin?? 2013 certainly hasn’t been a banner year in Ann Arbor. I mean sure, they will finish with a winning record and go bowling, but 7 or 8 wins and some December bowl Ohio_State_Buckeyesgame that no one watches against a mediocre team that no one cares about doesn’t match the high standard that the Wolverines aim at & usually achieve. Meanwhile, there is a very good chance that Ohio State could finish the season having won 25 straight games and still not get a whiff of the national championship, which is a perfect example of why the BCS sucks. Having said all that, I am still a bit surprised at the rather robust point spread. Sure Michigan is a bit down…but are they that down?? Is there a legitimate chance that they will get throttled by more than two TDs in The Big House?? Three of Michigan’s four losses thus far have been away from home. Their one loss at home was 17-13 to Nebraska…far from an epic beatdown. I suppose there are some that might say that the Buckeyes need (and are aware that they need) “style points” in case Auburn upsets Alabama, which would cause ‘Bama to fall out of the national title game but could also mean Auburn would leapfrog Ohio State in the BCS standings, but I honestly don’t think it’ll matter whether they win this game by 1 point or 100 points. So while I think it is likely that the Buckeyes get the victory I would be really surprised if it was by more that 7-10 points. Surprisingly Zach…a diehard Michigan fan…thinks Ohio State wins in a blowout.


Clemson           at              South Carolina (-5)

South Carolina still has an outside shot to play in the SEC title game should Missouri fall to Texas A&M. Clemson needs Florida St. to lose its finale to the Florida Gators to sneak into the ACC title game, and Gamecocksthat simply isn’t going to happen. Given those circumstances plus the home field I have to give the nod to the Gamecocks. Zach concurs.



Notre Dame             at               Stanford (-14.5)

Things have been pretty quiet in South Bend even though the Irish are clinging to a Top 25 ranking. Conversely Stanford has already booked their spot in the PAC 12 title game and had a really impressive win NotreDame1over Oregon a few weeks ago. I don’t think there is any doubt that Stanford gets the victory, but will they cover the points?? They have won only 4 games by more than 14 points, and only one of those victories was over a ranked opponent. The Irish have more to play for, and Stanford hasn’t really blown too many teams out this season, so the vibes are telling me that this will be a close game. Zach feels the same.


Texas A&M              at              Missouri (-4.5)

a&mThese two teams used to be Big 12 opponents, but both are now in the SEC. Not that it matters…I just find it mildly interesting. I went with the Aggies and Johnny Football last week and Missouri_Tigers_Helmetpaid for it, so I am a bit hesitant to pull that particular trigger again. They looked absolutely atrocious against LSU. The only blemish on Missouri’s record is an overtime loss to South Carolina. They are a lot better than people (including me) have given them credit for. I think this may end up being one of the more entertaining games of the weekend, and it’s a total vibe game. The Voices are telling me to go with A&M again even though it doesn’t really make much sense. Zach, being a bit more…practical…than his old uncle, is going with Missouri.


Arizona                            at             Arizona State (-11.5)

Arizona_State_logo_blanketIn 2012 the Arizona Wildcats finished with a rather pedestrian 8-5 record. The Arizona St. Sun Devils did the exact same thing. With a victory in this game the Sun Devils will get their 10th college_arizona_90victory and head to the Pac 12 title game. The Wildcats have pretty much the same record as last year but are on everyone’s radar after a notable beatdown of Oregon last week. I don’t think they can do it two weeks in a row though, so I am picking State to win and cover the points. Zach, however, was really impressed by that Wildcat win over the Ducks and is riding that wave.


UCLA                 at              USC (-3)

USC_Trojans2Who would have ever thought at the end of September, right after the Trojans fired head coach Lane Kiffin, that they would be in the mix for their division lead at the end of the season?? They ucla_bruins2won’t win the division due to that loss to Arizona State that led to Kiffin’s ouster, but the fact that they are riding a 5 game winning streak and have won 6 out of 7 under the leadership of interim head coach Ed Orgeron is impressive. Just a few weeks ago no one thought that Orgeron had a snowball’s chance to land the permanent gig, but now a lot of folks seem to believe that a win this week will almost certainly clinch the job for him. Conversely, after beginning the season 5-0 the Bruins have gone 3-3 in the latter half of the campaign. This feels like two teams going in opposite directions, and who am I to go against momentum (or as my Dad calls it “Big Mo”)?? Zach is a rebel though and scoffs at momentum while picking UCLA.


Alabama (-10.5)           at              Auburn

auburnEven though these two teams have been playing each other since 1893 the game has only been known as The Iron Bowl since 1980, with the name ostensibly referring to BAlabamaCrimsonTide2irmingham, Alabama’s standing as an epicenter of iron & steel production. A year ago ‘Bama won this game 49-0, but a year ago Auburn was a 3-9 football team. They are significantly better this season. Are they good enough to pull off the upset?? The Tide has barely broken a sweat so far in 2013. The only game they haven’t won by double digits was a second week 7 point victory over Johnny Football and Texas A&M. However, Auburn is probably the best team they have faced. Plus the game is at Jordan–Hare Stadium. If I am being honest I am really trying to talk myself into Auburn having a legitimate shot to win because I’d really like to see a little BCS chaos. It’s just really hard to go against Alabama given their recent history of dominance. Having said all of that though I am going to roll the dice on Auburn atleast making this a very close game. Zach sees the game being competitive in the first half but thinks the ‘Bama defense will take over and help the Tide secure a 3 TD victory.


2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 6

Occasionally I feel a little frisky. And when that happens citizens of The Manoverse are the winners because you get bonus picks!! Last week I rolled the dice on a couple of my choices and things didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. I didn’t think Florida would cover 13 points against Kentucky…they won by 17. I thought Ohio State would only beat Wisconsin by 1-3 points…they covered the spread, winning by 7. Both Zach & I picked Notre Dame, who fell to Oklahoma by two TDs. I did a little better with my NFL choices, where Buffalo defeated Baltimore and Seattle covered against Houston (barely…in overtime). So that made me 2-3 for the week and Zach 3-2. For the season at this point this is how it stands:

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity    =       13-12

Zach          =       12-13

None of the games this week really jumped out at me. I think that is partially because I feel like I’ve already said all I can say about several teams, and a little bit because I have a scratchy throat and am praying I don’t actually get sick in the next day or two. At any rate there are several games that I find mildly yet equally intriguing, and thus the bonus picks:




Ohio St. (-7)   at         Northwestern

The Buckeyes are rolling along at 5-0, although Wisconsin did give them just about everything they had last week. Meanwhile, the Wildcats,Ohio_State_Buckeyes who I projected as a Top 25 team, are doing just about as well as I expected but this will be their first serious test. As much as I would love to give the nod to the underdogs I just can’t pull that trigger. Ohio State is merely biding their time until the end of the season when they’ll play at Michigan, and then likely meet either Nebraska or Michigan (again) in the Big Ten championship. And what they are really hoping for is that either Alabama or Oregon stumble, leaving a spot open in the national title game. Zach thinks Northwestern is a good team…but Ohio State is better.

My Pick          Ohio State

Z’s Pick           Ohio State



Georgia St.    at         Alabama (-56)

Look at that spread!! There is no doubt that ‘Bama will win this game. Georgia St. is an 0-4 I-AA team that has certainly filled their coffers this10a rat road kill clipart - merged season with trips to West Virginia and now Alabama. I think Nick Saban will take this opportunity to rest a lot of his starters, atleast after the first half. And while Saban isn’t the kind of milquetoast that’ll genuinely take it easy on a lesser opponent I think he’ll play this one smart, with the main goal being not to have anyone get hurt. I am envisioning a 52-7 kind of game…which would mean the Tide wins but doesn’t cover. Zach concurs.

My Pick          Georgia State

Z’s Pick           Georgia State



Washington   at         Stanford (-7)

Stanford is 4-0 and kind of getting overlooked. The talking heads will spout off all day long about Oregon, Ohio St., Notre Dame, and the entirephoto.stanfordtree SEC, but they barely talk about the #5 team in the country. I suspect that is just fine with the folks in Palo Alto. Sometimes flying under the radar can be advantageous. Meanwhile, the Huskies have garnered a bit of attention with victories over Boise St. and Arizona. This could be the sleeper game of the weekend, but I think that Stanford will take control in the 4th quarter and win by double digits. Zach likes Stanford’s defense and thinks that’ll be the key to victory.

My Pick          Stanford

Z’s Pick           Stanford



Maryland        at         Florida St. (-15.5)

The Terrapins are looking like the Rodney Dangerfield of college football. They are 4-0 and have somewhat impressive victories over WVU,university-of-maryland-terrapins Florida Int’l, & UConn, yet are passed over by 8 one loss teams in the Top 25. Clearly they need to make a statement in Tallahassee…but will they?? The Seminoles are 4-0, haven’t been tested at all, but have only played one 1-AA cupcake. Florida St’s freshman QB Jameis Winston looks like the real deal and will probably get some Heisman love next season before bolting early to the NFL. I think Maryland is atleast as good…and probably much better…than the Boston College team that Florida St. defeated a week ago by 14 points. So while I believe that Florida St. will get the victory I think it’ll be by about 10 or so points. And once again Zach & I are in complete agreement.

My Pick          Maryland

Z’s Pick           Maryland



New England            at         Cincinnati (-2)

I am shocked that the Bengals are favored in this game. Yes they have the home field, and Tom Brady has expressed some frustration with the New_England_Patriots_Helmetyoung receivers he’s had to coddle this season, but the Patriots are 4-0 and will likely just gather steam as the season moves along…especially when tight end Rob Gronkowski and WR Danny Amendola return from injuries. The Bengals are 2-2 and just lost to the Cleveland Browns. I don’t get the spread at all, which is why I’m going against it and picking New England. Zach would rather…and I quote…watch Dancing with the Stars or Teen Mom 2 than this game”. Wow. Anyway, he also thinks the Patriots will win.

My Pick         New England

Z’s Pick           New England



Seattle (-2.5)             at         Indianapolis

seattle-seahawks1The Colts are 3-1 and recently made headlines when they traded for RB Trent Richardson. Quarterback Andrew Luck is Indianapolis_Colts_Helmetstill a youngster but seems to have a tremendous veteran-like presence and maturity. However, the Seahawks have been the hottest thing in sports for the past month and have cruised to a 4-0 start, including a slightly surprising beatdown of the San Francisco 49ers. I think Indy is the team of the future, but Seattle is the team of the here & now and should win this one pretty easily. Zach disagrees and is picking the Colts to win. Interesting!!

My Pick          Seattle

Z’s Pick           Indianapolis



New Orleans             at         Chicago (-1)

This is another spread that surprises me just a tad. The Bears are 3-1 and QB Jay Cutler seems to finally be coming into his own under the 10_new_orleans_saintstutelage of head coach and quarterback guru Marc Trestman. However, the Saints have been an absolute machine thus far. QB Drew Brees has already thrown for over 1400 yards and 10 touchdowns, a record setting pace that is being overshadowed by Peyton Manning’s phenomenal start. I see no reason to start doubting New Orleans now. Zach is a big believer in Brees and tight end Jimmie Graham and thinks New Orleans will roll to a victory.

My Pick          New Orleans

Z’s Pick          New Orleans



Detroit            at         Green Bay (-7)

Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetIf you would have told me a month ago that the Lions would be tied for first place in the division and the Packers would be Detroit_Lions_Helmet1-2 I’d have said you were nuts. But that’s exactly what has happened. Detroit has looked pretty darn good, while the Packers have not fared so well against a tough early season schedule. But as you can tell by the spread folks haven’t quite given up on Green Bay and certainly haven’t bought into Detroit quite yet. I think both perspectives are pretty fair. The Pack is far from done, and the Lions will have to win a few more games before people start believing they’re for real. That process would certainly go a long way with a big win on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field…but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m still rooting for Detroit to have a solid season, but the cream rises to the top and I think this is the week Green Bay starts to figure things out. Zach thinks the bye week may have been helpful to Green Bay but is picking Detroit to pull the upset.

My Pick          Green Bay

Z’s Pick          Detroit

2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 2

I am a day or two later on these picks than I intended to be but it’s all good. I knew we weren’t picking any Thursday night or even Friday games so as long as we do what needs to be done by Friday night we’re all set. The season didn’t get off to as great a start as I’d hoped last week, as I went 2-3 and Zach went 3-2. LSU & Oklahoma St. took care of business, while Nevada & Boise St. did not. I really didn’t see that Boise St. loss coming. And in the big game…the one contest that Zach & I split on…he came out ahead as Clemson beat Georgia. This week the NFL starts which adds a whole new layer of intrigue because there’s always a couple of surprise teams on both ends of the spectrum.


South Carolina                  at            Georgia (-3)

georgiaI don’t usually like to pick games involving teams that just appeared here last week, but this one is just too good to pass up. The Gamecocks took care of business last week, though the victory wasn’t quite as impressive as I would have thought it’d be. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs came up short at Clemson. The point spread is interesting and tells me two things. First is of course the all-important home field advantage. But secondly it says to me that there are others beside myself that weren’t all that overwhelmed by South Carolina’s ho-hum win over North Carolina. I’m a little bit torn on this one because I pegged South Carolina as a Top 5 team in my pre-season poll, but I had Georgia at #11 andGamecocks if they start the season 0-2 they are pretty much done, especially with games against LSU and Florida still remaining. For the second week in a row I am going with Georgia, simply because going 0-2 would be catastrophic. And for the second week in a row Zach is going in the other direction. He isn’t impressed with Georgia QB Aaron Murray and feels as though he caves under pressure. He is somewhat concerned with South Carolina’s endurance but thinks that Jadeveon Clowney will get 3 sacks en route to a close Gamecocks victory.

My Pick:                               Georgia              

Z’s Pick:                                South Carolina


Notre Dame                       at            Michigan (-3.5)

The Fighting Irish & the Wolverines both began their season like so many others…beating up on a team far beneath their skill level, meaning we don’t know much more aboutmichigan-wolverines-fan-gear them than we did a week ago. The spread tells us nothing either other than Michigan is getting a slight home field advantage. However, maybe that advantage isn’t so slight. Coach Brady Hoke is now 15-0 at The Big House. That’s good enough for me. Zach agrees but in all honestly he’s a huge Michigan fan and is picking with his heart.

My Pick:                               Michigan              

Z’s Pick:                                Michigan


Cincinnati                            at            Chicago (-3)

Our first NFL pick of 2013 and it’s a dandy. Both teams are coming off of a 10-6 season last year. In Cincinnati that was cause for an optimistic outlook for the future. In Cincinnati_Bengals_HelmetChicago it was a reason to fire the coach. In retrospect those may have been appropriate reactions. I think the Bengals are moving forward while I am predicting the Bears to take a nominal step back this season. Zach…a fellow Steelers fan…looks for the Bengals to dominate the AFC North, isn’t a believer in Bears QB Jay Cutler, and thinks Cincinnati wins this game easily. I concur.

My Pick:                               Cincinnati              

Z’s Pick:                                Cincinnati


Atlanta                                 at            New Orleans (-3)

new_orleans_saints-3737What a great game to start the season!! A lot of pundits are picking the Falcons to have another great year and finally take that last step toward The falconsSuper Bowl. In my pre-season prognostications I predicted that the Saints would win the division and the Falcons would settle for a wildcard. This game will be a huge indicator as to whether or not I am a genius or an idiot. Conversely, Zach is all in on the Falcons and isn’t buying that the Saints are back just because head coach Sean Payton has returned to the sidelines. He thinks Falcons QB Matt Ryan will have a big game and RB Steven Jackson will be a difference maker.

My Pick:                               New Orleans              

Z’s Pick:                                Atlanta


Green Bay                           at            San Francisco (-5)           

Let’s hop in the ol’ DeLorean and go back in time just a bit. On Saturday January 12, 2013 the Packers traveled to ‘Frisco for a big playoff game. It was a tremendous battle,San-Francisco-49ers but in the end the 49ers gained a solid 45-31 victory and eventually made it to The Super Bowl. The question one must ask is “Has anything changed in the past 8 months??” Well…yes…but not a whole lot. Green Bay drafted stud running back Eddie Lacy so now they have a rushing attack. And San Francisco added WR Anquan Boldin to offset the loss of Michael Crabtree due to an achille’s tendon injury. One thing to remember about that playoff game is that it was QB Colin Kaepernick’s first post-season game and he did pretty darn well…he set the NFL single game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 181. I feel rather confident in saying that he won’t do that again, but still think San Francisco pulls this game out and covers the points. Zach believes that the 49ers have more weapons and thinks Kaepernick’s legs will be the difference.

My Pick:                               San Francisco              

Z’s Pick:                                San Francisco


2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5


Well…atleast last week I upgraded back to mediocrity from the depths of ineptitude that plagued my previous effort. That’s my lame effort to polish another turd anyway. I went 4-5. I suppose the good news is that at this point some trends in both college football & the NFL are beginning to emerge, and we are starting to get a better idea of which teams are truly good and which ones aren’t likely to cut the mustard in 2012. I am confident that this knowledge will help me significantly improve my 11-19 record, as long as I can minimize my propensity for making off-the-wall choices. The fact is that my vibes are about as accurate as a Tim Tebow pass across the middle, and I am man enough to admit it. At any rate, let’s talk football and make some picks!!




Tennessee          at            Georgia (-15.5)

Now the real season begins. The Vols come into this game 3-1, but like a lot of other college teams they haven’t played anybody. Ditto for the Bulldogs, who are 4-0 and ranked #5 in the polls. In my pre-season rankings I put Tennessee at #12 and left Georgia unranked. Was I right, or am I insane?? This game might decide that. To be honest, I’d be very surprised if Tennessee actually won. Georgia is as good as most of the pundits said they would be before the season began. My supposition that there are such a plethora of good teams in the SEC that someone has to be left on the outside looking in is very likely true, but it looks like the Bulldogs won’t be that team. However, I find the spread on this game interesting. The only legitimate piece of evidence we have to examine is Tennessee’s loss to Florida a couple of weeks ago, in which they were beaten by 17 points, and that isn’t really any help. So do I go with the experts, or do I go with my unreliable vibes?? There is an element of pride here wherein I just cannot bring myself to abandon what was a risky pre-season pick. The Vols may not win this game, but I have the backs of my boys from Rocky Top and will assume they have enough testicular fortitude to be competitive and cover the spread.



Ohio State          at            Michigan State (-1)

Ohio St. is 4-0 and ranked among the top 20, even though they are ineligible for post-season play. The Spartans are 3-1, having defeated Boise St. and two cupcakes while falling to the hated Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The Buckeyes have looked less than impressive in narrow victories over Cal & UAB the past two weeks, so they are going to have to wake up and realize they are playing a real opponent now. Michigan St. is a slight favorite only because of the home field advantage. I really like young OSU signal caller Braxton Miller, but I’m not impressed with their defense. Michigan St. RB Le’veon Bell is a native of a small Columbus, OH suburb but wasn’t recruited by Ohio St. One thing I love about college football is that little things like that can be important. Bell is averaging 150 yards/game, and though I don’t expect he’ll be quite that successful this week I do believe he’ll make an impact. That’s enough for me to pick Michigan St.



Virginia Tech (-6)             vs.          Cincinnati

The Hokies come into this contest 3-1 and giving off mixed signals. They defeated Georgia Tech in overtime but inexplicably lost to the horrible Pitt Panthers a couple weeks ago. I picked the Bearcats #11 in my pre-season poll  with the logic that someone has to win The Big East, and thus far they are 2-0 and coming off a rather early bye week. Cincinnati, by the way, beat the same Pitt team that defeated Virginia Tech. I would really love to pick Cincinnati here, not only because I put them in my Top 25 but also because I have always had a robust disdain for Virginia Tech. However, the game is in Blacksburg and I find it difficult to believe that they’ll lose two games in a row. Coming out of a bye should mean the Bearcats are healthy, well rested, and full of energy. If the game was in Cincy or the spread was larger I’d go with my heart, but neither of things is true so I am forced to hold my nose and pick the hated Hokies.



Texas (-2)            at            Oklahoma State

West Virginia Mountaineer fans might be fully focused on their inaugural Big 12 game against Baylor, but they should take note of this matchup of two future foes. One team will move forward in its quest for the conference title, while the loser of this game is very likely out of the running pretty darn quickly. Texas is trying to rebound from two straight subpar seasons and thus far have looked more like the old successful Longhorns that we are all used to rather than whoever those impostors were the past couple of years. Oklahoma St. has beaten two cupcakes and lost to Arizona, leading the nation in points scored along the way. I picked both teams to sneak into the Top 25 in my pre-season poll, and that could still happen, but the winner here will certainly have a leg up. I am mildly surprised that the visitors are the favorites, even though it is only a 2 point spread. I almost always go with the home team in these situations, and there is a huge question as to whether or not Texas is truly “back” after the way they have played in recent years. That question may not be fully answered this week, but we’ll get a good idea. The vibes are literally having an argument in my head about this one and I really feel like it’s a tossup. But hey, I have to pick someone, right?? I guess I will play it safe and choose the Longhorns, but no outcome will surprise me all that much.



Minnesota          at            Detroit (-4.5)

I know the NFL values parity, but this season has been ridiculous. At this point I wouldn’t be shocked if the playoffs are chock full of 8-8 teams. I don’t think anyone foresaw the Vikings upset of San Francisco last week, which made Minnesota 2-1. Meanwhile, the evolution of the Lions from pretenders to contenders seems to have stalled a bit, as they come into this game 1-2, although to be fair they barely lost last week to Tennessee in overtime. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson is kinda sorta back from a knee injury, but he has yet to break 100 yards in a game this season. Detroit might have found its answer at RB with the long awaited debut of Mikel Leshoure, who gained 100 yards in his first NFL game last week. In my mind this matchup comes down to one thing: Matthew Stafford & Calvin Johnson vs. Christian Ponder & Percy Harvin. Whoever hits the big plays will win. I don’t think the Vikings can duplicate their tremendous effort from last week, so I’ll go with the home team favorites.



Chicago                at            Dallas (-3.5)

This is the Monday night game this week. Both teams are 2-1 and haven’t given fans any inclination one way or another who they really are. Bears’ QB Jay Cutler is a mediocre headcase with loads of unrealized potential. The entire Cowboys franchise is a mediocre headcase with loads of unrealized potential. Seriously…every single year multiple talking heads pick both of these teams to do great things, and every year both teams fall way short of expectations. At this point I’m not sure why anyone cares. Both of these teams are teams that people watch their games to see whoever their opponent is. A game pitting the two of them against each other is like two second-rate and largely disappointing worlds colliding. It’s like watching a movie with a bunch of character actors and no leading men. But I guess I have to pick someone. Honestly I’d have more fun skipping this choice and watching The Weather Channel. In my NFL preview I predicted the Bears to go 9-7 and miss the playoffs, while I said the Cowboys would go 10-6 and be a wildcard. I suppose that one game difference is this one, so I’ll pick Dallas.



San Diego (1.5)                 at            Kansas City

The Chargers come into this game 2-1, while the Chiefs are 1-2. I would have thought it’d be the other way around. Kansas City leads the NFL in rushing, but that statistic is misleading since it is largely based on RB Jamaal Charles gaining a whopping 233 yards last week in a huge overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints. San Diego is 4th in the NFL in rushing defense, so something will have to give here. This is the Sunday night game on NBC, which in recent years has become a much more entertaining product than ESPN’s Monday night offering. That obviously has nothing to do with the actual game, although I am guessing that teams might get energized by being the prime time center of attention. At any rate, the winner here will gain a small advantage in the race for the AFC West division crown, so it is far from a meaningless game. In my NFL preview I said the Chargers would go 6-10 and head coach Norv Turner would soon be unemployed, while I picked Kansas City to sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard. I guess I should stand behind my own predictions, so I’ll go with the underdog Chiefs.





2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4


The less said about last week the better. I went 1-6, with my only “win” a Pyrrhic victory at best (Philly beat Baltimore by 1 point, not covering the 2 point spread and making my choice of the Ravens technically correct). So, in classic mid-life crisis fashion I have decided to overcompensate. My record for the season thus far stands at 7-14, and even though I have absolutely nothing riding on these picks except my own pride I feel compelled to try to improve my winning percentage. Plus when I looked at this week’s slate of games that seemed interesting I just couldn’t narrow it down to 7. Therefore you get bonus picks today!! Don’t you feel blessed??




BYU                                       at                            Boise St. (-7.5)

I had both of these teams ranked in my pre-season Top 25, the Cougars at #10 & the Broncos at #25. Thus far the results have been mixed. BYU stands at 2-1 while Boise St. is 1-1, and neither is ranked although a couple of victories could change that status quickly. This is a total vibe game for me. I feel like Boise is declining while BYU is on the rise. Both are usually underdogs when going up against highly regarded power conference competition like Notre Dame or Michigan St., but against one another they seem pretty evenly matched on paper. The Voices are screaming loudly on this one, and they are telling me to go with the underdog BYU, so that’s what I’ll do.



Kentucky                             at                            Florida (-24.5)

I have no doubt that the Gators will win this game. The question is will they cover the spread?? UK enters the contest an unimpressive 1-2, while the Gators are not only 3-0 but have actually played competitive opponents like Texas A&M and Tennessee. However, in their one “cupcake” game Florida, while victorious, only beat Bowling Green by 13 points. That seems significant, and gives me no reason to believe that they can whip a team…even the lowly Wildcats…by 3+ touchdowns. Therefore, even though I think they’ll lose the game, I’m picking Kentucky to cover the spread.



Missouri                              at                            South Carolina (-10)

The Tigers didn’t fare so well in their SEC debut a couple of weeks ago, getting hammered by the Georgia Bulldogs. Meanwhile, Steve Spurrier looks like he has the Gamecocks firing on all cylinders, though it must be pointed out that at 3-0 they haven’t really been tested by a strong opponent thus far. I think South Carolina easily passes this first test, while Missouri’s rough welcome tour continues.



California                            at                            USC (-16)

The talking heads and other pundits all had the Trojans at the top of their rankings as early as last spring. Yours truly didn’t buy the hype and placed them at #7 in my pre-season Top 25. I must admit that I didn’t think it’d be Stanford that crushed USC’s national title hopes, but that’s exactly what occurred last weekend. That’s probably bad news for the 1-2 Cal Golden Bears, because an angry home team isn’t someone you want to go up against. However, the question again is will the Trojans cover what is a pretty hefty spread?? Another factor that must be considered is the Bears’ state-of-mind after coming oh-so-close only to fall short against Ohio State last week. I think the timing is very bad for the underdogs and extremely good for the favorites, who I am picking to win & cover.



Michigan                             at                            Notre Dame (-6)

This will be one of the centerpiece games on Saturday night’s prime time slate. Both teams are ranked in the Top 20, with Notre Dame coming in a not all that shocking 3-0 for the first time in a decade, while the Wolverines are 2-1 but lost to the only legitimate opponent they have faced so far (#1 Alabama). The 2011 contest between these two was a classic, with three TDs being scored in the final minute & a half, the last one a game winning pass from Michigan QB Denard Robinson. We should all be so blessed to see such another exciting game this year, but that may be a bit too much to ask. I will probably regret this, but I’m going to pick Michigan here. As long as Robinson is still running the show the Wolverines can never be counted out.



Arizona                                                at                            Oregon (-23.5)

Have the boys in Vegas not been paying attention?? Yes, the high powered Oregon offense has averaged 54 points per game in route to a 3-0 record. But they haven’t played anyone!! Meanwhile, as much as I hate to give Fraudriguez even one iota of credit, it must be said that the Wildcats have looked pretty good in averaging 46 points per game and going 3-0 themselves, including a big victory over Oklahoma State. So I am more than a bit surprised that the Ducks have been made 3+ touchdown favorites. I could understand 8…maybe 10…even 12…but 23 & a half?? That seems a bit shady to me. Either Oregon has built up a lot of respect in the course of their recent success, or strange things are afoot at the Circle K. Either way I’m not buying what they are trying to sell. I think this’ll be a really good, high scoring, eminently entertaining game. Oregon deserves to be the favorites and will likely win, but not by that much. I’ll take Arizona.



NY Giants (-1.5)                                at                            Carolina

The Giants have gotten a lot of media attention this week due to Coach Coughlin’s temper tantrum over Tampa’s odd end-of-game tactics last weekend, but that isn’t going to help them against Cam Newton. In my NFL prognostications I picked Carolina to go all the way to the NFC championship game, and this would be the perfect game to announce their presence to the world. Both teams are 1-1 (as is over 60% of the league), so this is the time to make a statement and get things headed in a positive direction. It’s still very early, but the difference between 1-2 and 2-1 should not be undervalued. New York will be without the services of RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and Carolina will have the home field in front a captive audience for an NFL Network Thursday night broadcast. Newton has already had his “coming out party” and is no secret at this point, but I think it would be accurate to say that the masses have bought into just him and not his team. This is a golden opportunity to change that and I think the Panthers will take advantage of it.



Houston (-2)                      at                            Denver

Is Peyton Manning back?? Well, at first we thought the answer was a resounding yes. But then last week was a huge “not so fast my friend” kind of thing. There are whispers that Manning cannot yet throw the ball deep. If that is the case then smart defensive coordinators will take advantage of it with a variety of blitzes daring him to launch downfield to receivers in single coverage. However, if the Broncos can construct the game plan in such a way that the long ball isn’t necessary then it may be a moot point. Houston is 2-0, but really how much can be gleaned from the fact that they’ve beaten up on the Miami Dolphins & Jacksonville Jaguars?? That’s the NFL equivalent to defeating two directional schools from 1-AA. I think the altitude in Denver combined with an angry & determined Peyton Manning spells doom for the Texans.



New England                     at                            Baltimore (-3)

This is a preview of my projected AFC championship game. The Ravens looked impressive crushing the Cincinnati Bengals in week one, but last week they got outyanked in the final two minutes by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots also started out well, easily beating the Tennessee Titans a couple of weeks ago,yet last week they needed 10 points in the final 7 minutes to make a loss to the Arizona Cardinals look close. As much as I would LOVE to see pretty boy Tom Brady go down in flames twice in a row I just don’t think that’s going to happen. If the Cardinals would have played along and lost last week like they were supposed to I might have been tempted to go with Baltimore here given the home field advantage, but since I am thoroughly convinced that Bill Belichick is some sort of evil robot from the future sent back in time to wreak havoc on the NFL I think the Patriots will be out to make a statement after last week’s shocking loss and will win going away.





2012 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

As I write this I am suffering from a hacking cough reminiscent of the coal miners in that black lung commercial from a few years back. I’ll be just fine after a lovely steroid shot from my local neighborhood health care provider, but feeling this way just emphasizes the point that summer is nearly over and we are on the cusp of cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and the sweet scents of pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, & cloves filling the air. As much as I love summertime and hate to see it go, one thing that totally rocks about autumn is the return of football. It is time once again to look into the ol’ crystal ball and see what the college football season may have in store. Once again let me remind readers that I am far from an expert. I am not compensated for my expertise and have never claimed to be very good at this, so wager with caution if your choices are based on what you read here.




1          Oklahoma

Last season…10-3

Key games…10/13 vs. Texas, 10/27 vs. Notre Dame, 11/24 vs. Oklahoma St.

I just feel like the team who wins the super tough Big 12 has to be in the national championship conversation, and I think that team will be the Sooners. It is interesting to note that all three of the crucial games noted above will be played in Norman, which will be vital to the team’s title aspirations.


2          Michigan

Last season…11-2

Key games…9/1 vs. Alabama, 9/22 at Notre Dame, 11/24 at Ohio State

Michigan football is back on track following the debacle that was The Fraudriguez Era. One must give much respect to the powers-that-be in Ann Arbor, because this schedule is brutal, especially starting the season against defending national champion Alabama when most other teams will be playing cupcakes. QB Denard Robinson has to be considered a leading Heisman contender and is a threat to take it in for 6 everytime he touches the ball.


3          South Carolina

Last season…11-2

Key games…10/6 vs. Georgia, 10/13 at LSU

The Gamecocks season likely rests largely on how well junior RB Marcus Lattimore comes back from a torn knee ligament suffered last October. If he’s as good as he was before the injury bright things might be ahead in Columbia. The October 13th contest at LSU is huge, and I would not at all be surprised if we see an upset.


4          USC

Last season…10-2

Key games…11/3 vs. Oregon, 11/24 vs. Notre Dame

The Trojans are back in the championship mix after suffering thru 2 years of probation and a post-season ban. Most talking heads are handing them the #1 ranking to start the season, but I think that in the long term other teams from tougher conferences will pass them up. QB Matt Barkley decided to come back for his senior year rather than enter the NFL Draft, which will be an immense help. Barkley will be prominent in the Heisman discussion.


5          Wisconsin

Last season…11-3

Key games…9/29 at Nebraska, 11/17 vs. Ohio State

The Badgers are my kind of football team…smashmouth running, tough defense, concentrate on the fundamentals. Are they exciting to watch?? Probably not for most folks. But they get the job done and always seem to be in the midst of the battle for the Big 10 title. RB Montee Ball is back for his senior season and is the highest returning Heisman vote getter from last year (he finished 4th). Last season the Badgers were led by transfer QB Russell Wilson, and in 2012 they will start another transfer behind center, former Maryland signal caller Danny O’Brien. The formula certainly worked before and I see no reason why it can’t again.


6          Florida St.

Last season…9-4

Key games…9/22 vs. Clemson, 11/8 vs. Virginia Tech, 11/24 vs. Florida.

Coach Jimbo Fisher enters his 3rd season as head coach and is slowly but surely moving from underneath the considerable shadow of legendary former coach Bobby Bowden. QB EJ Manuel returns for his senior season, and though no one would likely put Manuel on the same level as fabled former Seminole signal callers like Charlie Ward, Danny Kanell, or Chris Weinke (2 of those 3 won the Heisman Trophy), one cannot underestimate the value of an experienced veteran field general. I’ve never had a ton of respect for the ACC, and I see no reason why this team shouldn’t blow thru their schedule with relative ease, especially with the two big games noted above being played in Tallahassee.


7          Alabama

Last season…12-1

Key games…9/1 vs. Michigan, 9/15 at Arkansas, 11/3 at LSU

It’s not that I don’t think the defending national champions won’t be good, it’s just that I think their schedule is so tough that it is going to be nearly impossible to maintain the heights that they have achieved the past few years, especially with RB Trent Richardson now plying his trade in the NFL. I’m predicting an upset loss to Michigan in the season opener, which will quickly all but end the dream of a repeat for the Tide. I still think this is a team that’ll secure 9 or 10 wins, which wouldn’t be bad considering their fierce schedule.


8          Nebraska

Last season…9-4

Key games…9/29 vs. Wisconsin, 10/27 vs. Michigan

The Cornhuskers acquitted themselves quite nicely in their inaugural Big 10 season, just as your humble Potentate of Profundity predicted. Now that all the hype is over and the novelty has worn off they can get down to business. This is another team, like the previously mentioned Wisconsin Badgers, that tends to stick with straight ahead, no frills, fundamentally sound football…and it works. I like that their two biggest games are both at home, and that should go a long way in helping to ensure another 9 win season.


9          Oregon

Last year…12-2

Key games…11/3 at USC

Don’t let the 384 flashy uniform combinations fool you…the Ducks are a formidable football foe for any opponent. Their season essentially boils down to one game versus the mighty Trojans in Los Angeles. Whoever wins that game likely wins the Pac-12 and will be in the hunt for a national championship.


10       BYU

Last year…10-3

Key games…9/20 at Boise St., 10/20 at Notre Dame, 10/27 at Georgia Tech

The Cougars enter their 2nd season as an independent, which I am not so sure is a good thing. Eventually they will have to get back into a conference in order to survive the ever changing college football landscape. However, for now it looks like they are having no problems putting together an interesting & competitive schedule, which should earn them respect if they are able to win some big games. It’s a tall order for sure, but I am betting that they’ll pull off an upset or two or three. It must be noted that I put this team in the same exact position in last year’s pre-season poll, but despite finishing with 10 wins they just missed being ranked the Top 25, settling for the top “others receiving votes” spot. That would seem to indicate that they might need to finish undefeated to receive any type of recognition.


11       Cincinnati

Last year…10-3

Key games…9/29 vs. Virginia Tech, 10/26 at Louisville

As I said last year, someone’s got to win the Big East, right?? The conference is depleted this season due to the departure of West Virginia to the Big 12, and next season it will go thru a major overhaul when Pitt & Syracuse flee to the ACC and Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, & SMU join. For 2012 though the race looks to be wide open, and I am picking the Bearcats in a coin flip to emerge at the top of the pack.


12         Tennessee

Last year…5-7

Key games…9/15 vs. Florida, 9/29 at Georgia, 10/20 vs. Alabama, 10/27 at South Carolina

My first real shot in the dark for 2012. When I think of the Volunteers I think of Rocky Top, Peyton Manning, and 102k fans rockin’ the checkered end zones at Neyland Stadium. However, the past few years have been a struggle in Knoxville, where the Vols have finished 7-6, 6-7, and 5-7. 2012 is head coach Derek Dooley’s 3rd season and his team will be lead on the field by junior QB Tyler Bray, who is already being touted as a top NFL prospect. I realize that this team plays in the SEC, the toughest conference in America. Logic would dictate that there are atleast 7 teams just in the conference better than Tennessee on paper. But I just don’t believe that a team with so much tradition and history will stay down forever. Dooley is the son of legendary former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, so there’s got to be something in the genes, right??


13       Arkansas

Last season…11-2

Key games…9/15 vs. Alabama, 11/10 at South Carolina, 11/23 vs. LSU

It has been a tumultuous offseason in Fayetteville, with the scandalous departure of former coach Bobby Petrino and the hiring of journeyman coach John L. Smith. Normally I wouldn’t have much faith in a team that has undergone such turmoil, but the return of senior QB Tyler Wilson as well as the re-emergence of junior stud RB Knile Davis should provide much needed stability.


14       Northern Illinois

Last season…11-3

Key games…9/1 vs. Iowa, 9/22 vs. Kansas

I really enjoyed watching MAC games last year, and the Huskies were the cream of the crop in that conference. A few years ago my alma mater Marshall left the MAC for C-USA, and I contend to this day that it was a shortsighted decision. Out of conference victories against teams from more respected leagues will be vital to this team’s success.


15       Maryland

Last season…2-10

Key games…9/22 at West Virginia, 11/10 at Clemson, 11/17 vs. Florida St.

Head coach Randy Edsall enters his 2nd year at the helm in College Park looking to rebound from a horrible 2011. My pick is based solely on my vibes, not on any concrete evidence that the Terrapins have improved in any significant way. Edsall is simply too good of a coach to have another putrid season.


16       Central Florida

Last season…5-7

Key games…9/8 at Ohio State, 9/29 vs. Missouri, 10/13 vs. Southern Miss.

Did you know that UCF is the largest university in the state of Florida and the 2nd largest in the United States?? Obviously that doesn’t automatically translate into football supremacy, but it should count for something. This will be the Knights last season in C-USA before joining the Big East in 2013, and I am predicting that they’ll go out with a bang. I do not believe that they’ll beat Ohio St., and would be surprised if they defeat Missouri, but those games can provide valuable seasoning before this team gets into the meat of their conference schedule.


17       LSU

Last season…13-1

Key games…10/13 vs. South Carolina, 11/3 at Alabama, 11/23 at Arkansas

A year ago I predicted that the Bayou Bengals would suffer losses “to out-of-conference foes West Virginia & Oregon and atleast two fellow SEC teams.” I was wrong. Way wrong. So now I find myself again in the position of predicting a finish for LSU far lower than what the “experts” are envisioning. The SEC is just too competitive for the same two teams…the Tigers and ‘Bama…to continue to dominate every year. Other teams will rise. They will be hellbent & determined to defeat the perceived top two and prove their worth. One cannot have a huge target on one’s back for long without eventually being taken down. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


18       East Carolina

Last season…5-7

Key games…9/8 at South Carolina, 9/15 at Southern Miss., 10/4 at UCF

I’ve had the opportunity to watch the Pirates play for many years against both the West Virginia Mountaineers and my Marshall Thundering Herd, and I’ve always liked what I see. It would be surprising to see two C-USA teams sneak into the Top 25, but it could happen. This will be head coach Ruffin McNeil’s third season in the captain’s seat, and it is very important that he get his team over the hump. I am betting he will.


19       Auburn

Last season…8-5

Key games…9/1 vs. Clemson, 9/22 vs. LSU, 10/6 vs. Arkansas, 11/10 vs. Georgia, 11/24 at Alabama

The Tigers went from being the undefeated national champions in 2010 to an 8 win season last year after losing Heisman Trophy winning QB Cam Newton to the NFL. That’s really not that bad of a drop off all things considered. 4 of the 5 key contests noted above will be played in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium, and I think it quite conceivable that the War Eagles could win 3 out of the 5. An 8 or 9 win season in the SEC should be enough to merit Top 25 consideration.


20       Louisville

Last season…7-6

Key games…10/26 vs. Cincinnati, 11/10 at Syracuse

I picked Cincinnati to win the Big East in a coin flip. The loser of that toss up?? The Cardinals. But that doesn’t mean I believe they’ll be bad, just that their conference title hopes will boil down to one game that I think they’ll lose. I like what head coach Charlie Strong has done at The ‘Ville the past couple of seasons, and think their trajectory is still heading upward. Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is only going to get better, which is bad news for the rest of the conference.


21       Notre Dame

Last season…8-5

Key games…9/15 at Michigan State, 9/22 vs. Michigan, 10/27 at Oklahoma, 11/24 at USC

Here’s the thing about the Irish…they can lose 3 or 4 games and still sneak into the Top 25 because the media just fawns all over them like they do our current President. So even though they have a murderous schedule and will almost certainly lose atleast 3 of the 4 matchups noted above it won’t matter as long as they take care of business against teams they should beat easily like Navy, Purdue, Pitt, and Wake Forest. The big question right now is at QB, where redshirt freshman Everett Golson has been named the starter due to the one game suspension of junior Tommy Rees. One has to wonder how short of a leash coach Brian Kelly will have on Golson as the season progresses. In 2011 Kelly vacillated between Rees and Dayne Crist, and that instability was likely atleast partially to blame for a couple of losses. If Kelly pulls Golson at halftime of game 2 or 3 it could once again torpedo the entire season.


22       Texas

Last season…8-5

Key games…9/29 at Oklahoma State, 10/13 vs. Oklahoma

The once mighty Longhorns bottomed out in 2010 with a 5-7 record. Last season they rebounded a bit, but still didn’t rise to the heights to which they are accustomed. Sure they beat the teams they were supposed to, but fell flat against ranked opponents. Will that change in 2012?? I think it just might. Coach Mack Brown must choose a quarterback…either sophomore David Ash or junior Case McCoy…and stick with him. At the moment it looks like Ash will begin the season as the top signal caller, but it seems likely that McCoy will also see action. I have never been a fan of utilizing a two QB system, so we’ll see how it all shakes out. All indications are that this is a loaded team at most other positions, but nothing will drag a team down faster than poor play at the game’s most important position.


23       Syracuse

Last season…5-7

Key games…9/8 vs. USC, 11/3 at Cincinnati, 11/10 vs. Louisville

Am I hedging my bets?? I suppose. I mentioned previously that the Big East looks to be a wide open race, but would be surprised if three teams make it into the Top 25. And while I believe that Cincinnati & Louisville will wage a head-to-head battle for the title I won’t be totally shocked if another club inserts itself into the mix. The once mighty Orange…alma mater of running backs Ernie Davis, Jim Brown, & Larry Csonka, quarterback Donovan McNabb, and wide receiver Art Monk…have fallen on hard times recently, posting only one winning record in the past decade, and have lost the respect of most fans & pundits. This will be their last season in the Big East before going to the ACC, and I think they’ll want to go out with their heads held high. Coach Doug Marrone is entering his 4th year, and he will have senior QB Ryan Nassib to lead the offense. No one is going to confuse Nassib with John Elway, but I put a lot of value in a veteran presence behind center. Don’t be surprised if the Orange win 8 or 9 games and sneak into the rankings. Remember…you heard it here first.


24       Oklahoma St.

Last season…12-1

Key games…9/29 vs. Texas, 11/10 vs. West Virginia, 11/24 at Oklahoma

The Cowboys came within a whisper of playing for the national championship in 2011 and probably should have received the opportunity. That being said, in 2012 they face the daunting task of replacing star QB Brandon Weeden and all-world WR Justin Blackmon…no easy task. The Big 12 may be the best football conference top to bottom outside the SEC, so wins won’t come easy, but I feel comfortable giving this team 8 or 9 victories which should be enough to sneak into the Top 25.


25     Boise St.

Last season…12-1

Key games…12/31 at Michigan State, 9/20 vs. BYU

The Broncos will join the Big East next year, and as maligned as that conference is it’ll still be a better situation than this team has been in for awhile. They have achieved double digit wins 5 years in a row but haven’t been in legitimate national title contention because of the weakness of their schedule. That won’t change much this season, and they’ll probably have to win atleast 11 games to be taken seriously. Complicating matters is the need to replace former quarterback Kellen Moore, a 4 year starter who led the team to 50 victories and threw for nearly 15k yards and over 140 touchdowns. However, while a weak schedule won’t get a team much love in regards to playing for a championship it should help with keeping them ranked.

Winning & Musing…..Volume 9.11

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



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




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


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




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




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




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




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





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