The popular theme of Thanksgiving is that it is all about turkey and football. I mean, sure, there’s family and friends, but that’s a given for a holiday. Truth be told, the quality of the pro games on Thanksgiving is always a bit of gamble and if you aren’t a Lions or Cowboys fan, you are counting on the third game to deliver the goods. Thankfully on Friday and Saturday, the college game has far more intriguing and entertaining contests because it is Rivalry Week. The games are often much closer than they should be thanks to the familiarity of the teams and the emotions associated with the rivalries.
It does make the picking the games a bit dicey. Given last week’s results, 2-2, I am not exactly confident about this week. Last week started off well enough with Houston taking care of Memphis easily. I am glad that Cincinnati finally had a big game but not at my expense. Michigan waxed Maryland and put me ahead. UTSA came back to win in the last seconds of their game, but they just missed covering. It left me even for the weekend.
My other observations of Week 12:
- Buckeyes had the most dominant win of the season, routing Michigan State, but all will be for naught if they lose to the Wolverines.
- Utah – Oregon game was another one that was over at half-time. PAC-12 out of the playoff again.
- Notre Dame will be on the outside looking in if Cincy keeps winning – Not the worst thing to happen to college football given their poor historical performance in the FBS.
- Loved Missouri going for two and the win against Florida.
- The Virginia Tech offense was stitched together on a wing and a prayer and they still almost came back to beat Miami. It was a very entertaining game.
I have tried to stay away from the rivalry games this week, but I couldn’t resist Ole Miss getting 2 points against Mississippi State. It was the only rivalry I went with for the weekend. Wake Forest can clinch the ACC Atlantic division with a win against Boston College. It should be incentive enough for them to cover. In a battle of possibly the two worst FBS teams in the country, I am taking New Mexico State over UMass. I saw the Aggies against Utah State and they didn’t look bad for a half. They should have enough to beat the lowly Minutemen. I am not sure why I am high on Memphis against Tulane. I am guessing because a win by the Tigers makes them bowl eligible.
Some other thoughts on a tasty weekend.
- Ohio State vs Michigan is the game of the weekend. The way the Buckeyes dismantled the Spartans, I have to give the nod to Ohio State even if the game is in the Big House.
- Bedlam isn’t too far behind in terms of significance, but the winner is still going to need some help given the SEC bias. I was tempted to take Oklahoma because they seem to always have the Pokes number. Again – avoid the rivalries.
- Maybe Auburn has some magic for the Iron Bowl, but I doubt it. I think Bama’s biggest concern is avoiding any injuries.
- Both Florida and Florida State have losing records. Given the amount of talent in that state, it is inexcusable for those teams to be that bad. Not sure their game could be any more insignificant.
That’s all I’ve got. Skip the shopping and enjoy the games this weekend.
I was a little disappointed that we were in a quieter lot before the UTEP game. The tailgating was pretty chill. Turns out the other lot was nearly a riot. In hindsight, quite happy that we didn’t have to dodge flying bottles. And with that, my 2021 season is a wrap. I may still hit a couple of games before the season ends, but I don’t anticipate ticking the box. Nonetheless, it was great being back out there, mixing it up with fans all over the country. I am still have a few reviews to publish and those will come out in the following weeks. Other season traditions include my annual playoff rant, which gets kicked off later this month, and my year end summary. But, we aren’t there yet. So let’s summarize last week.
The two games I was most confident in were the ones I lost. I thought for sure Air Force had too much fire power for Army, but like I said last week, rivalry games are dicey. I am not looking forward to making those picks Thanksgiving weekend. Earlier in the season I was burned when I relied on the “Win one for the Coach” sentiment. Hence, I picked Baylor to beat a coach-less TCU which they did not. Things weren’t looking any better at halftime of the USU versus NMSU game. Utah State could not get out of their own way, and while I thought they would win, I did not see them covering. However, they roared back in the second half, getting me the win. UTSA against UTEP was not nearly as dramatic. The Roadrunners were pretty much in control from the first play. A 75 yard touchdown will do that.
Other observations from Week 10:
- Cincinnati continues to win, just barely. To be fair, you could put ‘Bama in the same category after their sloppy win against a rudderless LSU.
- I have been busting the Bearcats’ chops for not winning big, but they do keep winning. I have long had the contention that conference foes are tougher wins because they know your team inside and out. Notice Wake Forest falling, along with SMU dropping another game.
- Amazing that Arizona finally got a win despite three turnovers.
- Lastly, someone should tell UMass that you are supposed to beat the lower tier teams you schedule.
I feel good about this week’s picks so you might want to proceed with caution. I think Michigan State is going to be hungry after being upset by Purdue. It could be a bad weekend for the Terps. Virginia Tech should beat Duke, but they continue to slide. Things don’t look good for their coach Justin Fuente. I am taking Duke and the points in a bit of an emotional hedge. I know UTEP got spanked by UTSA, but they did have moments of brilliance against the Roadrunners. I think they will take care of business against the Mean Green. UL Monroe can score points in bunches, especially against a 1-8 Arkansas State.
Other notes for Week 11:
- Cincinnati, please rout USF and don’t let the committee off the hook..
- The worst game of the week: 1-8 New Mexico State against 8-1 Alabama. That game should not be on TV on principle alone.
- It is about time for Michigan to choke. Lions in an upset. I have the same feeling about Oklahoma at Baylor. It’s the kind of game the Sooners lose.
- I like Texas A&M to beat Ole’ Miss in the game of the week. I just don’t trust the Rebels, or Bears or Land Sharks – or whatever the Ole’ Miss mascot is these days.
That’s all got. Enjoy the games
Despite ESPN Game Day giving UTEP the stiff-arm and instead going to see a 3-5 Tulsa get smoked by the Cincinnati Bearcats at the Nip, I am very excited for the last trip of the season. To be honest, all UTEP had to do was take care of business at FAU this weekend, and I bet Game Day would be coming to El Paso. Instead, they lost 28-25 and there went their bid to host Kirk and the Gang, despite an undefeated UTSA coming to town. Oh well, it will make the Friday night recovery easier if we don’t have to get up to wave our flag at Game Day.
This week, we are trying to attempt the very difficult same day double. That means driving up to Las Cruces Saturday morning to see Utah State lay the wood on New Mexico State at a 2 pm kickoff. I am hopefully the Aggies of Utah will roll over the Aggies of NMS so we can bolt out of there at halftime. It should give us plenty of tailgate time at UTEP in advance of what may be the best game of the weekend when the red-hot Roadrunners come to play the Miners at 8pm. I consider myself lucky to have such a big game at UTEP. Historically speaking the Miners haven’t always been good teams when I have seen them play before. That’s not to say their performance was not spirited – the New Mexico State Aggies maybe not so much. So, that’s the plan for this weekend.
As for my picks, it doesn’t get much worse than last week. Just when I thought I had Vegas on the ropes, I have my second 0-4 week. I had mistakenly thought that Iowa would show up against Wisconsin. That game was lost in the first ten minutes. Rice dragged it out later, going to OT before losing to the Mean Green. I got so wrapped up in the PSU vs OSU game that I lost track of Kentucky taking it on the chin against Mississippi State. That little gem ended my dismal week.
Some other random notes from last week:
- Miami just jumped all over Pitt. You really can’t give any team that many points and expect to win. Not mention that the ACC Network coverage was brutal.
- I want to support Cincinnati, but it is hard to argue that they look like a top tier team. They struggled with Tulane this weekend. Of course, so did Oklahoma earlier this season. One more reason for expanded playoffs.
- Iowa State being Iowa State – no consistency
- I am sure I have seen a team self destruct quicker than Florida did in the last two minutes of the first half against Georgia, I just can’t remember when.
- Honorable mention to La Tech for the worst call of the weekend when they tried a bomb on 4th and three with 20 seconds instead of punting. ODU takes over, moves twenty yards and kicks the winner with no time remaining.
- However, the worst call of the weekend was when SMU, after just tying the game with less than a minute to go, decides to kick off to arguably the best kick returner in the country, Houston’s Marcus Jones. Jones takes it to the house and there goes SMUs undefeated season. Absolutely a terrible decision.
There aren’t many match ups I like this week. I generally don’t like betting on rivalry games because anything can happen, particularly when it comes to the Armed Forces. However, I have to believe that Air Force can beat Army by at least three points. Earlier this year I played the “Win one for the fired coach” bit and I got burned. Gary Patterson has left a great legacy, but I don’t think it will help TCU beat Baylor. I always bet the games I am at so that leaves me picking Utah State to cover 18.5 over New Mexico State. I don’t love such a big point spread, but I plan to leave the game at halftime so I will be cheering for Utah State to put New Mexico State away early anyway. I would like to keep the cheering and betting aligned on this one. I have a different take on the night game. I am putting my money on UTSA, but it’s an emotional hedge because if UTEP wins, the Sun Bowl should be rocking.
Other observations for the week:
- If Liberty beats Ole Miss, does that tarnish the SEC and help Cincinnati? I doubt it.
- Likewise, if Auburn beats Texas A&M, does it weaken Bama? Not at all
- But, if Cincinnati only beats Tulsa by a touchdown, it definitely hurts the Bearcats Life is hard when you are a Group of Five team.
- The game not too watch: 2-6 ODU against 1-7 FIU.
Good luck this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy my review of Arizona State.
It was another good week of wagering with a solid 3 -1 week, It was not without drama, though. Alabama gave me a good sweat Saturday night as they struggled with Tennessee in the first half. There are definitely some chinks in the Crimson Tide armor. SMU continues to roll and Minnesota took care of business against Maryland. My only loss was Western Michigan. They were covering at the half, but a 21 point third quarter by the Rockets doomed the Broncos. Some other observations from last week:
- A bit ironic that Illinois runs all over PSU the whole game and then pretty much abandons it in OT. Sorry, that was 9 OT periods of mostly bad football.
- Rough weekend for the Military Academies that went 0-3 despite playing inspired performances
- Speaking of inspired performances, San Diego State’s punter is a beast.
- Oregon was kind of impressive with their win over UCLA while the Oklahoma State loss was as predictable as the turning of leaves
- Pitt looks pretty good, Virginia Tech does not.
- Some big weekends coming for the Big 12 and Big 10. It makes me long for an expanded playoff.
Here this week’s picks.
A lot of tight picks this week. I was surprised to see FAU an 11 point favorite over UTEP. It may be wishful thinking because I really want UTEP to win prior to my visit next week, but I am taking the Miners this weekend. I think Iowa will win a tight one against Wisconsin. Rice is much improved and I think they can cover against North Texas. I am least confident of my pick of Kentucky. I am a strong believer in the mental aspect of the game. In this case, I would think the kids recruited by Mississippi State feel they are just a higher caliber than the kids recruited by Kentucky. It’s almost like. “Look we can’t beat Bama, but we should not lose to Kentucky”. Of course, I am betting against that philosophy this week, especially with Kentucky getting 1.5 points.
Some other thoughts for the week:
- Big week in the Big Ten. I guess I like Michigan against MSU and I was tempted to take PSU getting 19.5 against Ohio State. This is the kind of game the Lions play close, but their gimpy quarterback kept me from making the bet.
- Cincinnati needs to crush Tulane this week to impress the committee along with some help. It isn’t fair, but that’s the reality
- I am very tempted to head downtown to see SMU play Houston. If someone called me to go, I probably would.
- Dog of Game of the Week: A 2-5 La Tech against a 1-6 ODU. Tix running awfully high at $25 on the secondary market. Ouch.
That’s all I got. Enjoy the games.
Yeah, let’s be honest. Week Eight doesn’t have the most intriguing slate of games. It may be the right time to refill the bank with the boss, if you know what I mean. It is fairly likely that I won’t be watching all day this Saturday. I will just check for winners on my phone. Did I mention that I went 3-1 last week? I don’t know if I am taking my picks more seriously or I am just luckier this year. In any case, it was another productive week. Only Arkansas let me down. In hindsight, their 4-0 start was a bit fraudulent. I should have known. UTEP took care of business. Texas A&M had their game in hand very early. Lastly La Monroe held up the state’s high standards by beating Liberty outright despite being a 32.5 point underdog. I have seen a lot of game in Louisiana – they have great athletes.
Some other notes from last week:
- Beating Florida could not save LSU Coach Ed Orgeron’s job.
- UConn not only won a game, it was televised.
- Even though they beat Texas in a comeback, I am not sure I believe in Ok State. Feels like Gundy is the coach that always has a good team, but one that’s never good enough to win it all.
- South Carolina stole that game from Vanderbilt
- Late in the afternoon, I switched to Central Michigan vs Toledo. My reward? OT!
- Don’t want to jinx my late season trip, but UTEP vs. UTSA is looking good.
This week’s picks coming soon.
I love the favorites this week. Correction, I like the favorites this week. I am going to ride SMU until they lose. They should certainly be able to beat a struggling 1-5 Tulane. Maryland may have the same record as Minnesota, but I think there’s a big difference in the level of competition. This is my least favorite pick of the bunch so tread lightly with your wagering. Western Michigan just scores points. I was very confident of this pick until I saw that WMU lost to Ball State, whom Toledo beat. So, this game is essentially a pick ’em. For my last pick, it is ‘Bama, as in “Roll Damn Tide.” I think Tennessee is in trouble in this one. Some other observations on a fairly pedestrian college football weekend:
- Wake Forest is quietly 6-0. Army should be a pretty good test for the Demon Deacons.
- Oklahoma State gets no respect. Undefeated underdogs at 4-2 Iowa State.
- Game day is going to SoCal for Oregon versus UCLA. Hard to fault that pick this week. It may be the best game of the weekend, if not the best teams.
- Clemson aren’t what they normally are, but it is still a big game for Pitt.
- San Diego State is another undefeated team that will be tested this weekend, taking on a 6-1 Air Force.
- The game to avoid. UMass at Florida State. Ugh that’s some bad football.
That’s all I got.