Roll Damn Tide – for real!

This week, I am off to “Bama to witness the execution of Ole Miss at the hands of the Crimson Tide. I know what you are thinking: Why not save “Bama for a big game? I have been trying to for years, but between the strength of the Tide, their steady diet of cupcakes, and a generally weak lower half of the SEC all combine to make finding a competitive home opponent for a ‘Bama game more difficult than Antonio Brown taking the high road.

Notes Games 4

It was a good week to watch a lot of college football. Tulane broke out those sweet light blue uniforms (would have been perfect if only they had included the angry wave helmet as well) for their upset of the Coogs. The exciting finish with the fake kneel down was a sign of more exciting things to come for Week Four. My only regret is going to bed and seeing it the morning after. That put me down one on my picks, but sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. It was sweet hook job by LA Tech on Friday night with an onside kick-off TD return to get me my cover. Unfortunately UConn was clearly not as good on the road as at home. Apparently, even the 27 points they were getting were not going to get me the win against Indiana. (I did find the UConn home game experience to be enjoyable. See the latest review here.) However, ND saved my bacon with their late touchdown against Georgia to put my picks at 2-2 for the week. 

Other thoughts for this weekend:  

  • ESPN’s Game Day feels like it needs a bit of a shake-up. The “you had one job” is getting stale. It is everything you have already seen on Twitter, Reddit, etc.from the previous week. Perhaps, some “On the road” feeds from lesser known stadiums would be a good feature. We, at somanystadiums are ready and willing. 
  • Despite not being selected to share my experience on the “150 Years of College Football”, I did love the Chocolate Labrador storming the field at Georgia story. I am a sucker for dog stories, especially ones with Labs. 
  • I thought Notre Dame played fairly well against Georgia. I am not a big Notre Dam fan, but their tight end Cole Kmet is a stud. I wouldn’t characterize the Dawgs as holding on though. The Irish were in full desperation mode at the end.
  • I would say the same about the Texas A&M and Oklahoma State near comebacks, more “a hope and a prayer” than anything else. And, while I loved the Pitt win, it did feel like UCF was the better team even though they lost.
  • But look, they were all certainly much more competitive than Michigan at Wisconsin. There’s nothing positive for the Wolverines to take away in that absolute beat down. It is beginning to feel the Harbaugh era will be one of good to very good, but never great. 
  • So ODU almost beats VA, Maybe Va Tech is better than I think? Furman did just pound Mercer and nearly beat Georgia State. And, didn’t Georgia State beat the SEC’s Tennessee. And well, beating an SEC team is something right? Wait, San Jose State beat Arkansas this week?!? Nevermind. Va. Tech is still clearly a wait and see proposition.
  • Pitt upsets UCF, Think about that statement, Pitt upsets UCF. I am not sure the AAC is comparable to the ACC, but it is getting much closer. Open the playoffs to eight teams and you may get some surprising answers.
  • UCLA vs. Washington St. – Again, I went to bed. The Bruins were getting boat-race and then a track meet broke out. UCLA roared back for the win. The tackling was atrocious in that game. The defenses were so bad, both teams covered the Over. 
  • Whew: Virginia over ODU, Cal over Ole Miss, Fla St. over Louisville
  • Doh: TCU loss to SMU, Washington St. loss to UCLA UNC loss to App. State. 

Lastly, it is a poke in my eye every time ESPN runs that ad for their new relationship with the ACC network, immediately followed by an ad for Xfinity, who has not yet picked up that network. My only satisfaction is that some poor bastard at ESPN is stuck serving the Comcast/Xfinity relationship.

Week 4 will be tough to match, but there are some good games on the slate this weekend. I am staying consistent with picking Thursday and Friday games. I really don’t like the Navy Memphis game because I don’t think we know enough about either team. Since I have to make a pick, I am going with Navy being able to at least keep it close. Friday night was easy. I think PSU will roll over Maryland despite the extra seats and fans. Saturday, I feel compelled to pick the Ole Miss Bama game since I will be there. The line is 38.5 which seems crazy high, but Ole Miss has looked pretty bad. For my last pick, I am going to keep riding the La. Tech Dawgs. Rice is just struggling.

Other thoughts on this week’s slate:

  • Pretty good slate for Friday night. Beyond PSU, the Duke vs Va Tech game should be a good one. I also think ASU can play with Cal. Will have to find a sports bar in Meridian, Mississippi for the night.
  • I am guessing Michigan will take out all their frustrations on poor Rutgers
  • Same for the Aggies against the Razorbacks
  • NIU could give the SEC another out of conference loss. Stay sharp Vanderbilt
  • Delaware at Pitt – A classic trap game, especially after Pitt upsets UCF
  • I can’t make heads or tails of the PAC12 – Maybe I will understand after USC vs Washington
  • Ark St. vs. Troy – A Sun Belt classic. Seriously, I could see myself watching that game
  • Bleh game of the week: 0-4 Akron at 0-4 UMass. I guess somebody has to win, but it won’t be the fans.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the games.

 

 

2013 – 2014 College Bowl Game Preview

What to do you call games with no significance, plenty of empty seats and teams barely above 500? No, not the Sun Belt; it is College Bowl season. While there will certainly be more than one terrible game among the bowls, there will undoubtedly be a game that was expected to be a dud that turns out to be a dandy. I can remember having to work an inventory on December 29th, 1990 in the middle of nowhere Ohio. This meant staying in roach motel weathering a screaming winter storm on the 28th. However, I was warmed by the hardnosed play of a plucky Air Force squad that upset an underachieving Ohio State. Such is the magic that the bowls sometime create. With that in mind, a not entirely uneducated preview of the 2013-2014 Bowl Season

Update: So there were 70 teams in the Bowls this year and I had seen 16 of them in person. I don’t know if that should have given me a better edge, but at 18-16 in my picks, I finished just better than a monkey throwing darts.

Gildan: New Mexico Colorado State (7-6) vs. Washington State (7-6) Albuquerque, NM. Sat., Dec. 21 / 2 p.m.ESPN. I don’t know anything about these two teams. My suggestion: Put the game while you are wrapping presents on the Saturday before Christmas. It will likely only be worth your divided attention. Pick: Colorado State. Result Colorado State 48 Washington State 45. W

Royal Purple: Las Vegas Bowl Fresno State (11-1) vs. USC (9-4) – Las Vegas, NV. Sat., Dec. 21 / 3:30 p.m.ABC. This is the game to spend your football watching collateral on Saturday. I saw both these teams play and this game could turn out to be a wild one. The Bulldogs’ Derek Carr can flat out sling it. This game should be worth watching. Pick: Fresno State. Result USC 45 Fresno State 20. L

Famous Idaho Potato: Buffalo (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5), Boise, ID. Sat., Dec. 21 / 5:30 p.m.ESPN. I suppose if you have never stayed up to see a game on the blue turf of Bronco’s stadium, this game might be worth watching. I give the edge to the Bulls, playing in frosty Boise. Pick: Buffalo. Result SDSU 49 Buffalo 24. L

R+L Carriers: New Orleans Tulane (7-5) vs. UL Lafayette (8-4), New Orleans, LA. Sat., Dec. 21 / 9 p.m. ESPN. Congrats to Tulane and Lafayette for qualifying for a bowl. They get to play in their backyard. Check on this one at 11pm. If it is close, you can always watch it instead of the local news. Pick: La Layafette. Result UL Lafayette 24 Tulane 21 W

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s: St. Petersburg East Carolina (9-3) vs. Ohio (7-5).; St. Petersburg, FL. Mon., Dec. 23 / 2 p.m. ESPN. The Bobcats are swooning. I saw the Pirates give the Hokies all they could handle which isn’t saying much this year. But it should be more than enough to rout Ohio. Of course, if your boss is insisting you keep working past 2 p.m. on the 23rd, turn the game on. A bad college game is still better than a good day at work. Pick: East Carolina. Result ECU 37 Ohio 20. W

Sheraton Hawaii: Boise State (8-4) vs. Oregon State (6-6). Honolulu, HI. Tue., Dec. 24 / 8 p.m. ESPN. Both programs have had better years and I would imagine if you are a young college man in Hawaii, your thoughts might be on something other than football. This could be a sloppy game. On the other hand, it could be a welcome respite from all your lovely family and friends on Christmas Eve. Pick: Oregon State. Result Oregon State 38 Boise 23. W

Little Caesars Pizza: Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6). Detroit, MI. Thu., Dec. 26 / 6 p.m. ESPN. How’s does a conference like the MAC prove itself if their conference champion gets an also ran like Pitt to play? I saw Bowling Green in their opener and they quite frankly deserve better than this. Watch just to give the Falcons their due. Pick: Bowling Green: Result: Pitt 30 Bowling Green 27. L

San Diego County CU Poinsettia: Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Utah State (8-5). San Diego, CA. Thu., Dec. 26 / 9:30 p.m. ESPN. I saw Utah State give USC all they could handle in the Coliseum. This game would be worth watching for NIU’s QB, Jordan Lynch, alone and you probably won’t even have to fight for the TV. Pick: Northern Illinois. Result: Utah State 21 NIU 14. L

Military: Marshall (9-4) vs. Maryland (7-5) Annapolis, MD. Fri., Dec. 27 / 2:30 p.m. ESPN. I saw Marshall smack around FIU this year and Maryland has been up and down all year. Thundering Herd fans travel well and Annapolis is a stone’s throw away for the Terp fans. This game could be a sleeper so you might want to check it out. Pick: Maryland. Result: Marshall 31 Maryland 20. L

Texas: Minnesota (8-4) vs. Syracuse (6-6) Houston, TX. Fri., Dec. 27 / 6 p.m. ESPN. I am not sure the Orange are ready for the Gophers. I sense a blowout. Pick: Minnesota. Result: ‘Cuse 21 Minnesota 17. L

Fight Hunger: BYU (8-4) vs. Washington (8-5) San Francisco, CA. Fri., Dec. 27 / 9:30 p.m. ESPN. I haven’t seen either of these teams play this year and I don’t plan to on Friday either. I simply don’t have a clue on this one. Pick: Washington. Result: Washington 31 BYU 16. W

New Era Pinstripe: Notre Dame (8-4) vs. Rutgers (6-6) Bronx, NY. Sat., Dec. 28 / 12 p.m. ESPN. Hmm a bowl game in New York in late December, the only thing worse could be a Super Bowl in February. Oh wait. The Irish smack around a very average Rutgers team. Pick: Notre Dame. Result Notre Dame 29 Rutgers 16. W

Belk: Cincinnati (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6), Charlotte, NC. Sat., Dec. 28 / 3:20 p.m. ESPN. Home game for the Tar Heels, meh. Pick: North Carolina. Result NC 39 Cincy 17. W

Russell Athletic: Louisville (11-1) vs. Miami (9-3), FL Orlando, FL. Sat., Dec. 28 / 6:45 p.m. ESPN. Miami’s last chance to prove they weren’t overrated all season. The only thing that makes this game intriguing is watching Teddy B. go off and it still the best bowl game of the day. Pick: Louisville. Result: Louisville 36 Miami 9. W

Buffalo Wild Wings: Kansas State (7-5) vs. Michigan (7-5). Tempe, AZ. Sat., Dec. 28 / 10:15 p.m. ESPN. Michigan made a bowl game? Two major conference also-rans: Don’t reward mediocrity by watching. Pick: Michigan. Result K-State 31, Michigan 14. L

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces: Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4) Fort Worth, TX Mon., Dec. 30 / 11:45 a.m. ESPN. It’s Monday so there’s not much to watch on TV anyway and the triple option does make for lots of big plays. I will be watching. Pick: Navy. Result Navy 24 MTSU 6. W

Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City: Georgia Tech (7-5) vs. Ole Miss (7-5) Nashville, TN Mon., Dec. 30 / 3:15 p. ESPN. Ugh – See Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Different teams, same comment. Pick: Ole Miss. Result Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17. W

Valero Alamo: Oregon (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4) San Antonio, TX Mon., Dec. 30 / 6:45 p.m. ESPN. The question here is whether or not Mack Brown will still have his job at kickoff. Whoops – looks like I should have posted this earlier. Ducks are going to roll in this one. Pick: Oregon. Oregon 30 Texas 7. W

National University Holiday: Arizona State (10-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5) San Diego, CA. Mon., Dec. 30 / 10:15 p.m. ESPN. This is one of those games where the primary interest is to evaluate conference strength. Pick: Sun Devils. Result Texas Tech 37 ASU 23. L

AdvoCare V100: Arizona (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5) Shreveport, LA Tue., Dec. 31 / 12:30 p.m. ESPN. Watch the best back in the country run over the Wildcats like so many duckpins. A good reason to make sure you get out of work early or set the DVR. Pick: Boston College. Result Arizona 42 BC 19. L

Hyundai Sun: UCLA (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (8-4) El Paso, TX. Tue., Dec. 31 / 2 p.m. CBS. I saw both these teams this year, but I couldn’t get much insight on UCLA when they were crushing the hapless New Mexico State Aggies. The Hokies “D” may keep them in this one as long as their QB, Logan Thomas, doesn’t turn the ball over. If Thomas starts chucking picks, the Bruins will run away with this one. Pick: UCLA. Result UCLA 42 Va Tech 12. W

AutoZone Liberty: Mississippi State (6-6) vs. Rice (10-3) Memphis, TN .Tue., Dec. 31 / 4 p.m. ESPN. Rice is the underdog in this one, but take them and the seven points they are getting. Here’s to the Owls smacking around an SEC team. Pick: Rice. Result: Mississippi State 44 Rice 7 L. So much for picking with my heart instead of my head.

Chick-fil-A: Duke (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4) Atlanta, GA. Tue., Dec. 31 / 8 p.m. ESPN. Duke’s great season has earned them the right to face the two best QBs back to back. I planning on kicking back and watching Johnny Football go off one last time. Pick: Texas A&M. Result A&M 52 Duke 48. W

TaxSlayer.com Gator: Georgia (8-4) vs. Nebraska (8-4) Jacksonville, FL Wed., Jan. 1 / 12 p.m. ESPN2. I think this game just might be worth watching. I put both the Dawgs and Huskers in the better than their record says they are category. I hope they prove me right. Pick: Georgia. Result: Nebraska 24 Georgia 19. L

Heart of Dallas:  North Texas (8-4) vs. UNLV (7-5) Dallas, TX. Wed., Jan. 1 / 12 p.m.ESPNU. How does this game get played on January 1? This is the kind of game my mom would throw on the TV and be proud of herself because she put the game on. Sorry mom, I gotta turn the channel. Pick: North Texas. Result North Texas 36 UNLV 14 W

Capital One: South Carolina (10-2) vs. Wisconsin (9-3) Orlando, FL Wed., Jan. 1 / 1 p.m. ABC. So make sure you sober up in time for this one. I know the punters think the Gamecocks will run away with this, but I think they are just inconsistent enough to let the Badgers hang around. However, I don’t have enough confidence to get up early to shower for this one. If it’s a blowout, shower at halftime. If it goes down to the wire, shower right before the Rose Bowl. Pick: South Carolina. Result SC 34 Wisconsin 24. W

Outback: Iowa (8-4) vs. LSU (9-3) Tampa, FL Wed., Jan. 1 / 1 p.m. ESPN. My guess is that at the beginning of the season neither team thought they would be here. Iowa ecstatic just to be in a bowl and LSU disappointed they aren’t in a BCS bowl. This is one of those games that’s either going to be very close upset or total domination by the Tigers. I am rooting for the underdog Hawkeyes. Pick: LSU. Result LSU 21 Iowa 14. W

Rose Bowl: Game Michigan State (12-1) vs. Stanford (11-2) Pasadena, CA Wed., Jan. 1 / 5 p.m. ESPN. If you like good old fashioned smash mouth football, which I do, this is a must see game. I give the edge to a hot Spartan team. Pick: MSU. Result: MSU 24 Stanford 20. W

Tostitos Fiesta: Baylor (11-1) vs. UCF (11-1) Glendale, AZ Wed., Jan. 1 / 8:30 p.m. ESPN. I know everyone thinks UCF is going to get blown out, but the Knights can play, especially their QB Bortles. I saw UCF crush Rutgers this year and will be pulling for them. I can see Baylor blowing out UCF but not the other way around. However, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if UCF wins this game. Pick: Baylor. Result: UCF 52, Baylor 42 L but my analysis was spot on.

Allstate Sugar: Alabama (11-1) vs. Oklahoma (10-2) New Orleans, LA Thu., Jan. 2 / 8:30 p.m. ESPN. The only game on so I will be tuning in but I may able to go to bed early if ‘Bama comes in with their heads screwed on straight. The Tide rolls in this one. Pick: Alabama. Result Oklahoma 45 Alabama 31. L

AT&T Cotton: Missouri (11-2) vs. Oklahoma State (10-2), Arlington, TX Fri., Jan. 3 / 8 p.m. FOX Former Big 12 matchup should be a good one. If the Cowboys light up the Tigers, the SEC will need to tone down their rhetoric. Pick: Oklahoma State. Result Mizzou 41 Ok State 31. L

Discover Orange: Clemson (10-2) vs. Ohio State (12-1) Miami Gardens, FL Fri., Jan. 3 / 8 p.m. ESPN. After the “Debacle in Death Valley”, I have no faith in Clemson whatsoever. Of course, this is a game with no pressure so Clemson will probably shine. Still, I look for the Buckeyes to win in a close one. Pick: Ohio State. Result: Clemson 40, OSU 35. L once again Clemson gives me the shaft.

BBVA Compass: Houston (8-4) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4) Birmingham, AL Sat., Jan. 4 / 1 p.m. ESPN. Not much appeal on this one. I give it to Vandy with the near home field advantage. Someone will have to tell me who won, because I won’t be watching. Pick: Vanderbilt. Result: Vandy 41 Houston 24. W

GoDaddy: Arkansas State (7-5) vs. Ball State (10-2) Mobile, AL Sun., Jan. 5 / 9 p.m. ESPN. Don’t sleep on the MAC. Pick: Arkansas State. Result: Arkansas State 23 Ball State 20. W. I think it was a mistake that I had picked Arkansas State but I will take the win anyway since that was the post.

BCS National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn Pasadena, CA Mon., Jan. 6 / 8:30 p.m. ESPN. This should be a great game. I would really like FSU to win just to end this SEC streak, but it strikes me that FSU really has not been tested at all this year. If Auburn can keep it tight, I think they will win it because they’ve been playing tight games all year long. So my heart says FSU, but my head and my money will be on Auburn. Pick: Auburn. Result: FSU 34, Auburn 31: L

While I am a big fan of the bowls, their time has come and passed. When teams are whining because they didn’t get to a bowl when they were 6 – 6, a change is in order. I long for the day of an eight team tournament and honestly, I can’t see why a sixteen team bracket couldn’t happen. There’s really only one game in December and I don’t see Army or Navy making the top sixteen anytime soon. Imagine a sixteen team tournament starting the first week in December and rolling through to Jan 1: I can’t wait to chase those games.