2012 Predictions – Thanksgiving, “Double Dip” Edition

A bonus combo pack of picks for Thanksgiving.
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.

The “Super Contest” picks:

Detroit (+3.5) over Houston – One of the drawbacks of a handicapping contest is that if you want to select a Thursday game, all of your picks for the weekend must be submitted early. That obviously allows an additional 48 hours for a key player from a team you selected to go all “Stanley Wilson” or “Barret Robbins” and end up AWOL a couple nights before a game. Therefore, I generally stay away from the Thursday games unless there is a spot that is too good to pass.

That is the case with the Lions this week. I know, I know coaching is an issue, but isn’t Jim Schwartz Gary Kubiak, before Kubiak became the Kubiak we know laud over? Think about the Texans back before Wade Phillips, loads of talent, a fantasy cornucopia, but unable to finish most game, which left them the poster children for mediocrity. Sounds just like the 2012 Lions.

So, why do I feel so strongly the Lions are the play in this game? Well, for starters the line is 3.5, so unless the Lions are down a point and fail on 4th down deep in their own territory with precisely enough time for the Texans to run three plays, fail to make a first down and kick a covering field goal, we should be ok with the hook. In other words, the 3.5 makes this a value play.

In addition, the Texans fall into gambling rule #872 – never trust a team with a huge division lead, on the road, as a favorite, coming off an emotional overtime win against a team from the opposing conference, on a short week.

San Diego (+1.0) over Baltimore – Speaking of gambling rules, here is another (#409) – never trust a team traveling cross country in between games against a heated division rival when the line looks too good to be true. Oh, and the heated division rival happens to be the Steelers. The Ravens are just 5-10 ATS after Steelers games since 2004.

And if you think I am crazy to back Norv Turner and Jim Schwartz, thats nothing compared to what’s coming up. . .

Carolina (+2.5) over Philadelphia – That’s right fans, let’s throw Ron Rivera into this three team, “I was a great coordinator, but suck ass as a head coach” bad coaching parlay.

The gambling rule for this game is as follows (#95) – never back a soft team, that has clearly quit on their head coach, when said head coach has been spotted checking out real estate on the opposite coast, in any situation, period! The corollary to this rule is as follows, “if the game in question comes after a Thanksgiving feast where the head coach consumes enough food to feed a third world country, then triple the bet.” Poor money management scheme there, but I don’t write the rules, I just follow them.

Tampa Bay (+1.0) over Atlanta – Despite this being a division game, when the Falcons look in the rearview mirror they don’t see the Buccaneers old rusted “Buffalo Bill” beater of a van, they see a brand spanking new black and gold Maserati driven by Drew Bress and the hard charging, Joe Vitt led Saints. Therefore, this game falls into the “huge division lead” rule, as well as the “look ahead” rule (pretty standard top ten rule, #9, that states be wary of the team with a big game looming).

Also, one of my theories that I never have had the resources to prove but seems true is that NFL coaches will gladly accept a loss in a “lose the battle, but win the war” way. Given all the factors mentioned above, I can see Falcons coach Mike Smith and his staff mailing this game in an attempt to bring a good old fashioned swift ass kicking down on his team that they can then use as a re-focusing point of instruction. Sounds logical, right?

NY Giants (-3.0) over Green Bay – Green Bay has revenge on their minds as they travel to New York to face the defending champion Giants! You want to know what happened to the last team that had revenge on their minds when they played the defending Super Bowl champs? Well, it was Last season, when the Falcons took on these same Packers, the Pack romped. And that was in Atlanta.
Gambling rule #645 – “Revenge is over-rated!”

The “Thanksgiving Day” picks:

Dallas (-3.5) over Washington – The rule (#18) – “never, ever back the Cowboys at home as a favorite” is trumped by rule #491 – “No way in hell all three underdogs cover on Thanksgiving.”

RG III is amazing but let’s not get crazy here – he is still a rookie having to go on the road (albeit in the equivalent of a library), on a short week with the rookie wall rapidly approaching.

NY Jets (-7.0) over New England – This game is the equivalent of a younger brother, who almost never is able to beat his older brother in the annual Thanksgiving day game of one-on-one, getting a crack at the elder after recent knee surgery and a battle with the flu (why didn’t he get the mercury laced, population control flu shot that was made mandatory by his employer, you ask? Well, grasshopper, that is an entirely different column). If he can’t get him this time, when will he?

Bonus “Seven Out” Picks:

And here is a Thanksgiving day bonus, my first couple “Seven Out” losers:

Texas (-7.5) over TCU – Given the picks above it just didn’t seem right not to include Mack Brown, who is the college football equivalent of a “great coordinator, horrible head coach”, as he should absolutely be in the NCAA hall of fame, in the recruiter section, but would not sniff the HOF as a head coach, if the criteria went beyond “I won most of my games because my talent was so far superior, I couldn’t lose.” So, yeah, why not, let’s throw him and the perpetually under-achieving Longhorns into the Turkey day selections.

Iowa (+14.0) over Nebraska – Remember last week I wrote that I am snake-bit when picking the Huskers? So, I went with the total instead. I lost by a single point!

Why do it again? Well, the most important factor is motivation. For the Huskers it’s the “bigger fish to fry” syndrome. Yeah, they have to win, but one look at the Hawkeyes and the Huskers are like, “next!”

For the Hawkeyes, however, this is a self-created rivalry, their “big game”, their “season saver”, their “bowl game” and this is for the “Heroes Trophy.” Little hayseeds in Iowa grow up dreaming about hoisting the “Heroes Trophy” triumphantly above their heads after a stunning victory over the far superior rivals to the west.

Side note – effing “Heroes Trophy!” Really? Now if I was tasked with creating a cheesy B1G trophy for this annual pillow fight, I would have done much better than this meaningless “Heroes Trophy.” This is a conference that has games with trophies such as “Pual Bunyan’s Axe” and “Floyd of Rosedale.” Despite being hokey, those trophies are freaking sweet. It’s almost like Iowa decided on the whole “Heroes Trophy” thing because they were like, “we’ll never have it anyway, so let’s stick them with this hunk of junk.”

Pathetic!

I mean shouldn’t the Iowa/Nebraska trophy have something to do with beef? What about a gigantic wooden butchers knife, simply called “The Butchers Knife.” Think about it, Husker players could then, legally, do the throat slitting gesture. Or what about a giant golden cow, wait that’s already been, unsuccessfully, done. You could also go with the “Our Beef is Bigger than yours” trophy.

It would have even been more creative to simply lift the Iowa/Iowa State trophy name, “CyHawk” and go with “CornHole” or “CornHawk” or “CornEye.” If they choose that cheap way out, my favorite would be “Husker Hawk”, with the trophy being a mythological half Hawk, half Human dressed in overalls and sporting the gayest grin in history.

I half expect when Nebraska wins, but fails to cover, they accidentally leave the trophy in Iowa City. And when Iowa calls to inform them, Nebraska responds with, “ahh, you know what we will pick it up next time we come to Iowa City, in two years.”

Good luck this week, and Happy Thanksgiving!

NFL 2012 – Week 12 Predictions, “Not Buying it” Edition

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.
The “Super Contest” picks:

Oakland (+4.5) over New Orleans – What does it take to be a road favorite by more than a field goal in the 2012 NFL? Well, it takes beating a “circling the drain” team and putting up a miraculous goal-line stand where the opposing team totally butchered not only the play calling but also the execution. NFL fans, I give you the 2012 New Orleans Saints.

What’s interesting is the Saints were -3.0 over Oakland in the preseason, when everyone thought the Raiders would be atrocious and the Saints were a Super Bowl contender, now the Saints are a shell of the preseason image and, true, the Raiders are atrocious, but somehow that warrants a 1.5 movement toward the Saints? Not buying it odds-makers.

San Diego (+7.5) over Denver – So, I am not 100% convinced on this Denver team quite yet, as I think they are the leading candidates for the annual “Winston Wolf, Let’s not start sucking each other’s [BEEP] yet” team. You know the team that looks too good to be true to start the season, has the fan base all-in on them but then falls off a cliff around week 12 taking the overzealous, un-realistic fans with them.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I thought last week was the spot for the Broncos to lose and they destroyed Carolina. So, this week is the spot, right? Well besides that, here are two more reasons why I like the Chargers this week:

  1. Every week there is at least one game that I will call the “teaser killer” game of the week, well every week except two weeks ago when every favorite, public loving team won and covered (goodness Vegas quit whining about it, I am pretty sure you get it all back and then some). Well, 0this week we have four “teaser” plays where you can essentially get the favorites down to a field goal or less. Play all four of those teams on a teaser and you can get roughly 2.5-1. Not bad considering you get a clearly better team in what amounts to a pick’em. Here are some quick stats to back-up that statement – only 7% of the overall games in the last three years have ended on either one or two points; furthermore, only 6% of favorites of more than a touchdown have landed less than a three point margin; and 86% of those teams have won outright.
  2. This is an absolute must-win for the Chargers. A loss here means the Bolts are, for all intents and purposes, doen for 2012 as they would be down four games with six to play. Factor in the Broncos have Northwest Montana twice (Kansas City) and the University of Maine (Oakland) as three of their remaining six games and the Chargers cannot lose this game if they have any designs on winning the division. The wildcard seems unlikely as well.

Cleveland (+7.5) over Dallas – What would be more “Dallas” than the Cowboys losing to Cleveland at home after a huge victory over the Eagles on the road? Yeah, that pretty much seems like the script for this team, especially with the big “Cowboys and Indians” Thanksgiving day game on the horizon. Personally, I think the Cowboys and Redskins game should be a Thanksgiving staple. And what would be better if in every one of those games there was some egregious call against the Redskins at the end of the game that cost them a win. That’s the Thanksgiving story from the Indians perspective, Pale Face!

This game also has the potential to be a “teaser killer” game and when you throw in the Cowboys are starting a three game home stand, the big national game mentioned above and the fact the Giants are circling the drain, the Boys have some hope at the division. It is conceivable that they will completely over-look this AFC team looking ahead to the two division match-ups on the horizon. So, give me that plus the fact the Browns have been competitive in just about every game this season and I believe the Browns are the right side.

Philadelphia (+3.5) over Washington – Washington is in a similar position to the Cowboys, big game looming on a short week. Here is a trend for you from one of the best sites on the web for a sports investor, sportdatabase.com – teams favored by more than 3, with a Thursday road game the following week playing at home are just 22-36 since 1989.

Perfect, so the Eagles have that going for them. In addition, the loss of Vick helps this team because it will (a), force Andy Reid to prepare and coach; (b). change the focus from the quarterback to the best player on the team, Shady McCoy; and (c). unify the team around the oldie, but seemingly insurmountable, mantra of “us against the world.”

Green Bay (-3.5) over Detroit – Hmm, ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth called Ndamakong Suh the third best DT on the Lions. Yeah, I bet Schlereth would have had no problem blocking him with that little weasel 260 lb body of his. Mark, leave the bashing of NFL players to the guys like me who never played in the NFL. Suh couldn’t give two craps about me talking junk about him, but with you, he is apt to hunt you down so he can deliver the patented “Suh Stomp” to your steroid enlarged head.

The Packers situation coming off a bye week and playing on the road as a favorite, this week has been a very profitable 76-46-2 or 62.3%. And since 2010, when the new practice rules for bye weeks went into effect, this situation is 10-3-1 or 76.9%. So, let me get this straight, I get a 75% trend and I get to bet against the Lions? Sign me up.


The “Apathy has set in” pick:

Arizona (+9.5) over Atlanta – The Falcons can go one of the following two ways – 1. Come out pissed off and drill the Cardinals; or 2. Realize that the division is practically wrapped up and now that the undefeated season cannot happen, come out flat and barely win. Three straight division games are up after this battle with the Cardinals, including a re-match with the Saints means the Falcons will likely come out flat. The Cardinals have some value on the money line as well.

The “Loser is out, uh, so is the winner” pick:

St. Louis (-3.5) over NY Jets – Let’s be honest neither of these teams is going anywhere this season, but you have to like the direction the Rams are headed as opposed to the Jets. In fact, this game is like two cars passing on the road, the Jets headed to “the Arena”, while the Rams are headed towards “the Power team.”
The reality for the Jets is they are much closer to Jack ‘Cap’ Rooney than Willie Beamen (Any Given Sunday), nevertheless they still collectively act like Beamen. In other words, Maverick, their ego’s are writing checks their talent level cannot cancel. This team is a complete train wreck.

So, what can the Jets do? Well, for starters they have to address the GM and coach, both need to be relieved of their duties. And for the naysayers who will point out the Jets are just two years removed from the second of two consecutive trips to the AFC championship, I will remind everyone of how they got there in the first place – a lot of good fortune.
Need proff? In 2009, the Colts laid down at halftime of a game they had well in hand essentially handing the Jets a victory that kept their playoff hopes alive. The following week Cincinnati no-showed as the Jets clinched a playoff berth.

The Jets were extremely fortunate to make the playoffs again in 2010, though the 2010 edition of the Jets was the best of the Ryan era by far. Remember the three game stretch of extreme luck for the Jets in that season? Let me remind you, beat the Lions in overtime when a Lions penalty keeps a drive alive and rallied from down 10 with less than five minutes to play; the following week the Jets beat Cleveland in overtime, when again the football gods smiled upon them as Chansi Stuckey fumbled after picking up a first down at the Jets 32; and the following week the Texans were up four with less than a minute to play but decided to give up the one thing the Jets needed to win the game, a deep pass, down the sideline no less.

The “I’ll have the turd a sandwich with a glass of urine” picks:

Houston (-14.5) over Jacksonville, Cincinnati (-3.5) over Kansas City – The first question you have to be asking is “Which team is the turd sandwich?” I am glad you asked. The Jags are definitely the turd sandwich. I know that might be surprisingly, considering I picked the Chiefs to win the division with 11 wins. One would think I would be madder than a “bobcat caught in a piss fire”, but shockingly I still believe there are more redeemable parts on the Chiefs. And we know that, while vile and disgusting, “It’s no slurpee” urine can at least sustain the body’s need for hydration. Outside of the bread, what value is a turd sandwich? The body has already considered it waste once, plus you don’t even get the digestive calorie burn because your intestines are like, “Wait, is that sh.., yeah it is! Boys we’ve got a day off!”

There is very little to like about the Jags. For starters, Gabbert is not the answer at quarterback, despite his comment stating that the Jags are, “. . .happy with their quarterback situation.” Uh, Blaine, get ready for the Tebow circus in 2013. Also, remember when every fantasy geek couldn’t get to the computer fast enough to pick up Rashard Jennings? And yet, four weeks in and the Jags steadfastly refuse to let anyone else carry the load despite Jennings yards per carry barely out-doing the collective GPA of the Kentucky Wildcats starting five. Therefore, either the backup to Jennings is the running back equivalent to Russ Bellomy (Michigan’s worthless back quarterback) or the Jags are determined to pay off those fantasy owners that blew their FAAB budget on Jennings. Even “can’t miss” rookie Justin Blackmon looks lost (I remember ripping the Rams for not only passing on RGIII but also allowing Blackmon to get away from them, glad I know less than Bill Polian’s mailman about talent evaluation).

The Jags have a don’t have simple path back from the abyss, but here is an option that might help – sell the team to the Magic Johnson led group, move the team to LA and, most importantly, change the nickname from Jaguars. You want to rid yourself of all that suck!

The path back for the Chiefs is much easier – fire GM Pioli, Crennel, his staff and start over at quarterback with either Geno Smith or Matt Barkley. The defense, when disciplined, can still play at a high level.

Remember, last week I swore to never, ever, ever, pick either the Chiefs or the Jags again this season.

The “Fool me once, your bad, fool 8 times . . .” picks:

Carolina (+1.5) over Tampa Bay – See New Orleans above. I am just not quite ready to buy Tampa as a road favorite; in fact since 1989 the Bucs are just 18-27-1 as road chalk. Therefore, I am giving Carolina one final shot with this ultimatum – win this week or I cast you into the Chiefs/Jags smorgasbord, they will be the “puke soup.”

The “Reason 1302 why I will not be playing fantasy football in 2013” pick:

New England (-9.5) over Indianapolis – So I heard all week how New England beats Indianapolis, but look for a back door cover by the Colts. OK, so if I logic this out based on that premise being true, then I have the following – the Patriots are going win and the Patriots are going to have the game covered at some point late in the game. I’m always nervous about a late game, backdoor cover against me, but I never play it that way. In fact since 1989, there have only been 35 games where a team favored 7.5 to 10 points has had a game covered after three quarters, failed to cover the final but won the game. So, it’s a bad bet if you don’t believe 1. That a team can win outright; or 2. A team will be within a single score the entire game.

I don’t believe Indy can win this game outright, plus the Pats need a great performance and Indy is due for a stinker. And I truly believe the Pats are up two scores for most of the game.

And I just traded for Andrew Luck this week, so you got that going for the Pats this week.

The “Backup quarterback bowls” picks:

Pittsburgh (+3.5) over Baltimore – If you happen to be a player on the Steelers not named Ben Roethlisberger would you have a chip on your shoulder since this line moved seven points once word came out that Big Ben was sitting out? I certainly would. And don’t rule out the impact of Roethlisberger being out in terms of the Ravens, there will be a certain amount of letdown by them and when coupled with the added focus by the Steelers, this is stealing money.

Look this game is always a battle, a la, “Zach v. C.J,” from the Battle of the Seasons in the “physical” challenge in the Arena this week. Side tangent – that was as good of a battle as you can get in reality TV. First off, I was overly impressed by the grittiness of C.J., until Zach mentioned that C.J. was a MMA fighter. After that it didn’t seem like as big of a deal, despite the fact Zach is like twice as big. Anyway, props to Zach, who once he out-thought C.J., he really had him at his mercy.

One more thing on C.J,, I love that he has the bible verses like Tebow on his eye black, but that had to create some serious conflicts for MTV, right? Like I can imagine prior to bringing C.J. on the show, they had him in and told him, “Look, we are fine with you putting the bible verses on your eye black and you can talk mention God a half dozen times or so, but one mention of Jesus and you’re done, we will erase you from all episodes.”

I think the Steelers show up with a gritty, C.J.-esque performance.

Chicago (+6.0) over San Francisco – This is way too many points for a team that relies on defense, special teams and is balancesd on offense, Cutler or no Cutler. It’s not like the Bears are handing the reins over to Caleb Hanie, this is a proven, moderately successful quarterback in Jason Campbell. It’s not fair to judge Campbell on the performance against the Texans where the weather was a joke, he had to come in off the bench and it was the Texans defense after all. With a full week of reps, he will be much better and give the Bears an opportunity to win.

Good luck this week.

CFB – Week 12 “Seven Out”

Northwestern @ Michigan State (-7.5, O/U 45.0) – It’s official, Sparty and me are done. Yup, I woke up one day to the realization they had really let themselves go, coupled that with the fact they never reciprocated my love for them and that was that. In hindsight, we were doomed to fail from beginning with countless letdowns leading the burning of cash.

The reality for the Spartans is their high end talent is no longer in “let’s leave it on the field and win the Big Ten” mode, instead they’re in “let’s not get hurt prior to the end of the season, so we are ready for the combine” mode. The rest of the team simply isn’t very good or at very best is average for the conference. Plus, they haven’t played a game outside of four point margin of victory since beginning of Big Ten play, why should I trust them giving more than a touchdown.

The only concern over Northwestern covering is how they have been unable to finish games. In their three losses lead late in the 4th quarter, yet in each of those games they went into “come one Northwestern get off your knees, you are blowing the game” mode. Against Penn State they blew a 10 point 4th quarter lead in Happy Valley, at home against Nebraska they lost by one point on virtually the final play.

And last week they Wildcats found a way to lose a game where they had possession of the ball with 23 seconds remaining and the ball at the Michigan 49. Somehow, the managed to merely net 11 yards on the punt, which was seemingly a great play compared to giving up 53 pass completion on the next play. Of course, they lost in overtime.

Taking away the Penn State 4th quarter and the last few seconds against Nebraska and Michigan leaves the Wildcats undefeated. If that were true, what’s the spread in this game? Nowhere near 7.5. Which means there is value on Wildcats.

Play: Northwestern +7.5


Stanford @ Oregon (-20.5, O/U 66.0) – In last week’s Oregon/Cal, I dozed off for about 15 minutes right after Cal scored a touchdown to close within seven points of the Ducks. When I awoke, I was like “Is that a, a 52? No way, you are still sleeping; you are having a nightmare, wake up and look again! WTF happened? 52 points, only 17 points!” At that point, I was holding out hope for a backdoor cover, but I literally could not believe how fast the Ducks play, run, score and run. Goodness, they’re scary! Did I mention that the Ducks can run really fast?

For this game we have comparative recent odds that suggest Oregon should be a 30-34 point favorite. While that is outrageous and would never be posted without the Cardinal getting hit harder than “Little Bill’s wife in Boogie Nights, the posted line seems too low. This tells me that odds makers, who have been taking in the backside the past couple of weeks, are taking a position on this game. Essentially what that means is that the odds-makers like their side (Stanford) and are willing gamble on the game.

Being on the side of the odds-makers in a game with significant lopsided action means either one of two things – 1. The bookies are really, really smart and they know something the rest of us don’t; or 2. They simply fix the game. Either way, I think I will side with the house.

Play: Stanford +20.5

Minnesota @ Nebraska (-20.5, O/U 53) – So, I got dropped by a half point last week when the Huskers kicked a field goal with 18 seconds left in the game, which sparked a heated debate between me and a buddy of mine. Of course, I was biased, but I maintain that there is a better chance of losing the game by kicking the field goal, than merely going for the first down on 4th and 1. Here is my logic:

  1. Do you really want to put the game in the hands of a kicker, long snapper and some snot nosed kid whose main job is to tutor the “athletes” on the team and for that he also gets to be the holder on field goals? Or do you put the game in the hands of your best player, Taylor Martinez? Read that again, I just called Taylor Martinez the best player on the team, yikes!
  2. The Huskers had already successfully converted three straight first downs with one yard to go. Now I am no sabermetrician but I think 100% is pretty good. Ballgame if they covert.
  3. Not only is there a chance that the field goal is blocked and returned for a touchdown, but also kicker could simply miss the kick, which leaves you in a worse position than simply going for the one yard. Even if the FG has an 80% chance of being good and only a 1% chance of being blocked, I would rather not take that chance, when I have 100% chance (same sample size, but still) on converting the first down via power run.
  4. And if you felt like the Penn State defense was due for a stop, why not roll out Martinez, after a fake dive to the tailback, have him run for the first down. If he feels he can’t make the first down then throw the ball a mile in the air and out of bounds. Sure that is risky, but dammit Bo, we didn’t want to cover that spread!

I stared in disbelief at how this Husker team continues to fall behind, yet finds a way to not only win but also cover the spread. And what a way to cover, down 14, rally to take a 4 point lead, get a gift call that eliminates a Penn State touchdown, a safety and the ill fated field goal. I am snake-bit when picking this team.

Therefore, let’s go with the total this week – expect the Huskers to be somewhat flat, especially on defense this week and Minnesota has some talent on offense. Oh and I’ve seen the Gophers play defense. Ovah!

Play: Over 53.0

BYU (-3.0, O/U47.0) @ San Jose State – BYU failed to cover the first game after their alum Mitt Romney blew the presidential election. And yeah he blew it, given where Obama’s approval rating two years ago, he had a cake walk and pulled an Alabama. So, doom on you BYU for not preparing Romney to close the deal.

Play: San Jose State +3.0

USC (-3.5, 66.5) @ UCLA – My employer – yeah, believe it or not I do not make my living from these college plays – has finally decided that the cost of operating six different buildings to house employees is outweighed by the chance an employee might take a lunch hour to pick up groceries for the week and decided to institute a full-time work from home program. Welcome to the 21st century, fellas! Also we should welcome the managers to a whole new process called “managing”! You see a properly managed employee should be able to work on the moon, right? Right!

Anyway, the name of the program is aptly called “inTouch” which has three tracks – 1. inMotion (no set workspace, but remote office work four times a week and one from home); 2. inOffice (in the office five days a week, no exceptions!); and 3. inHome (full time at home, with office visits only when customer meetings require you to have a face-to-face or you need to sneak in a quickie with an inOffice co-worker). I have proposed a fourth track called “the Trojan” named after the USC Trojans, where you essentially show up when you feel like it.

I think this is a week they decide to show up.

Play: USC -3.5

Central Florida @ Tulsa (-1.5, O/U 56.0) – As I yo-yo back and forth each week from 3-4 and 4-3 it occurred to me that I need to implement some of the same rules I have for the NFL. One such example would be “don’t back a quarterback who thinks the world is against his college, on the road with nothing to play for when the opposing team is fighting for the conference championship.” In other words, don’t back a shaky quarterback on the road. I feel into that trap last weekend with Penn State’s quarterback Matt McGloin, who took to the microphone after the game to deliver one of the whiniest, bitchiest, most victimized post-game interviews I ever heard in my life. Now that is a sure sign that a QB is shaky and cannot be trusted. Oh and listen up, Matty , you had the opportunity to leave but you chose to stay, if you failed to realize during decision making process that there would be some, understandable, backlash at what was essentially an entire cultish community supporting a monster, well then you’re not very smart and you deserve to have the refs biased against the Lions. And if you did realize there would be “hell to pay”, then STFU and play for your dream college, then get job as a grad assistant, where can walk in on a child being sodomized and do nothing about it.

What does that have to do with this game, you ask? Well, two things, first off, I don’t feel I have taken enough shots at Penn State and secondly, I backed a shaky quarterback from UCF earlier in the year on an under bet and he single handedly killed the prospect of the game going over. So, the pick is Tulsa, right? Nope. I’ve seen massive growth in Bortles.

Well, I’ve seen enough growth to know he is slightly above shaky and his UCF supporting cast is much better than that of Tulsa. This is a great matchup for UCF, plus they have revenge from a home loss to Tulsa last season.

Play: Central Florida +1.5

Arkansas @ Mississippi State (-5.5, O/U 55.5) – It seems as though when a team starts strong, they tend to get a longer leash on line adjustment when things go south. The opposite is true of a team that is up and down throughout the early part of the season. And even though both example teams have the same record, the edge still goes to the strong start team.

The Bulldogs are an example of this, as the 7-0 promising start to the season has gone up in flames with a three game losing streak, yet they’re still giving Arkansas points. Albeit the Bulldogs have played LSU, A&M and Alabama, but they weren’t competitive in any of those games.

The Razorbacks have a significant edge in overall talent, but they have been terribly inefficient causing the inconsistencies in their results. Though you can’t trust teams like that when giving points, they can be good when getting points. You know the whole “disrespect” thing.

Here is a story that I will tell from personal experience – I was on a team that started the season 7-1, however, it was a bit of a mirage as our final three games were against the top three teams in a very competitive conference. The morale on the team was high going into the first of the three games, but we lost, and we lost again. Then we got drilled 34-7. We never recovered and ended up losing in the playoffs to a team we had beaten soundly earlier in the year. To this day, I still believe had we mixed those three games into our schedule at various non-consecutive points, we would have gone further.

There you have it – Arkansas outright winner!

Play: Arkansas +5.5

Best of luck this week, Colin is calling a winning week this week of no less than 5-2 or your money back!

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.

CFB 2012 – Week 11 “Seven Out”

Michigan (-10.0, O/U 52.0) @ Northwestern – Though it’s a long shot, Northwestern can still represent the Legends Division in the BIG10 championship game. So they got that going for them. For Michigan they will again be without Denard Robinson and while I must admit Devin Gardner is roughly a billion times better than Russ Bellamy, we are still a rolled up ankle, an unfortunate helmet-to-helmet concussing hit, a stray knee to the balls or pile driver sack which leaves Gardner’s arm looking like silly putty away from seeing an investors best friend, Russ Bellamy.

And yeah, yeah I know, Devin Gardner had a big game last weekend, but 1. It was Minnesota; 2. It was Minnesota’s secondary, meaning Gardner accuracy had to be the equivalent of throwing a football into a cruise ship’s swimming pool from the Lido deck; and 3. Minnesota’s coaching staff was completely clueless with their play calling. See failed fake field goal that wouldn’t work if they had 100 tries!

Them Cats going to raise some Kain on Saturday!

Play: Northwestern +10.0

Wisconsin (-7.0, O/U 55.0) @ Indiana – This game represents the Hoosiers chance to become relevant in the Big 10; in fact with half of their division ineligible for the division title Indiana could take a giant step towards that goal by winning on Saturday. I am sure that when the BIG 10 enticed Nebraska to join BIG10 commissioner Jim Delany envisioned an Iowa v. Indiana championship game matchup for the chance to be a 49 point underdog to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

I have to admit, I’ve been impressed with the Hoosiers effort this season. And Wisky’s starting quarterback is some guy name Curt Phillips, which, in terms of individual names is great – Curt like Curt Schilling or Curt Warner and Phillips like Wade or Lawrence, but together the names just don’t mesh. So, if that is the case can we really trust this guy to cover road BIG10 game? Answer – No.

Play: Indiana +7.0

Penn State @ Nebraska (-8.5, O/U 51.5) – So, I am going back to the well once more, and though it’s dried up, you just never know when your bucket will suddenly be full of water. You might be thinking, what an idiot. I would disagree as a true idiot is a person that, for example, reveals that they have a hidden immunity idol for no reason other than they were asked, and at tribal council no less. Goodness if Abi wins Survivor I promise that I will shit-can that show forever. Now that is an idiot. I would argue that Nebraska cannot continue this run of improbable covers, therefore, natural attrition is on my side.

But still I feel the need to justify the Husker plays over the past two weeks like the degenerate gambler asking Nicky Santoro for money so he could “turn on the heat.” Simply put, Michigan wins that game if Devin Gardner plays. And, really Michigan coaching staff after Bellomy stunk up the joint the first three possessions, why wasn’t Gardner at least given a chance. He wasn’t prepared, you say. Fine then put him in the game, run wildcat (which was already in the playbook) or four verticals on every play. Essentially that’s what Michigan did, successfully, last week against Minnesota.

Last week, I admit I over-valued the Spartans, but even at that the Huskers needed a miracle 4th down conversion to, of all players, a tight end (and how does the tight end get that open and then turn and leave the db for an additional 25 yards?) to pull that game out in the final 4 seconds.0

So, why do I like Penn State this week? Three reasons: 1. At 8.5, I merely need Penn State to keep the game close, essentially they can’t get blown out. One thing about this PSU team is that they play 60 minutes; 2. Penn State is well coached, Nebraska is not. That should be enough for the Lions to be in this game late; and 3. The HTM. What is the HTM, you ask? The “Human Turnover Machine”, aka Taylor Martinez. Three picks last week, along with two fumbles that Nebraska was to retain. It’s almost like Martinez and Michael Vick are having a contest to see how can turn over the ball more and keep their starting job. After this week – Advantage, Martinez!

Here is exactly how this game will play out – Martinez turns it over early, Penn State jumps out to the double digit lead, Huskers claw back furiously, Huskers take the lead and Penn State’s rally fall short. Nebraska 34-30.

Play: Penn State +8.5

Missouri @ Tennessee (-3.0, O/U 60.0) – Can Tennessee stop anyone? Now if the answer to that question on Sunday morning is “Turns out they can stop Missouri,” then this prediction went very, very wrong.

Hey, I haven’t lost a total prediction in almost two weeks (1-0 in that time). I am on a roll!

Play: Over 60.0

Oregon (-28.5, 67.5) @ California – There are so many angles supporting the Bears here that this game has to be my “Guaranteed LOCK of the CENTURY!” Ok, maybe I am not quite that confident, but here are four reasons why the Bears are a solid play this week – 1. The Ducks figure to be flat after the emotional win against USC last week. Even though it seems like the Ducks only expended about 5% of their usable energy, I still believe they have to have a bit of a letdown after that near perfect performance; 2. It is sandwich city for the Ducks, last week SC, next week Stanford, then Oregon State and then Alabama in the BCS title game. Wait, I am forgetting an opponent? See how I did that; 3. The former Oregon AD and head coach, Mike Bellotti, said this week that Chip Kelly would “inevitably leave Oregon for the NFL.” Huh? Chipper’s offense is not going to work in the NFL, Mike! And e tu, Mikey! What are you trying to sabotage the entire Ducks season? The players need to be focused on the task at hand, not whether this fast break style of football is going to leave for the NFL; and 4. The Golden Bears actually play the Ducks very tough in Berkley or at least they have the last two meetings. Sure they’ve been free falling the last three weeks, but their ceiling is a blowout victory over UCLA and a narrow lost i Columbus. I like them to play closer to their ceiling than their basement.

Of course I reserve the right to call this bet off if Oregon goes up 35-0 seven minutes into the game.

Play: California +28.5

Tulsa (-3.5, O/U 67.0) @ Houston – This game is a little like one of those “stock alerter” programs – I know very little about the company, but the metrics tell me to buy, so I buy. Tulsa took an SEC to the wire last week, while Houston was crapping themselves against a mediocre East Carolina team. Imaplay.com tells me it’s all Tulsa.

Play: Tulsa -3.5

Kansas @ Texas Tech (-26.5, O/U 56.5) – Once hoop season starts the Jayhawks fan focus shifts from Women’s soccer to Men’s Basketball, therefore no one in Kansas gives a rat’s ass about the Jayhawk football team.

Not that it matters with this game being played in Lubbock, but still think about it when no one gives a crap about what you’re doing, what do you do? Very little, right?

But the reason I am on the Red Raiders is the fact that they are 16-4 ATS the last 20 times they have played the second of a back-to-back home game. Book it!

Play: Texas Tech -26.5

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are five more that didn’t quite make the cut:

Kansas State/TCU – Kansas State -6.5

Wyoming/New Mexico – New Mexico +2.0

Louisiana Lafayette/Florida – Louisiana Lafayette +27.0

Colorado/Arizona – Colorado +29.0

Oklahoma State/West Virginia – Under 77.0
 

Best of luck this week, may none of your games end in the first quarter or in the final seconds!

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.

2012 NFL – Week 09 Predictions, “Finally above the Mendoza Line” Edition

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.
The “Super Contest” picks:

Seattle (-4.5) over Minnesota – It must be awesome to be a Vikings fan in 2012. Take a look at the image below:


The optimism axis is on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being, “Yeah, we are so effing winning the Super Bowl!” and 1 being, “Oh-Fer-Geez, we suck, eh!” Realistically, the Vikings optimism was a façade to begin with, as they have followed a distinct pattern of being a pretender which includes beating several bad teams with a single quality win just to throw off the pundits. Their defense was dominated poor offensive teams and Christian Ponder was getting a healthy amount of “fantasy” love. Opponents took note, made adjustments, and circled the game as a red letter game. Now the Vikings look lost.

The question is – will the completed season graph for the Vikings look like a roller coaster or a “Oh ya, ya know my teers locked up and went over the cliff.” Check the remaining schedule – Chicago twice, Green Bay twice, Houston, St, Louis and Detroit. Maybe two wins, maybe.

Pittsburgh (+3.0) over NY Giants – I have Hakeem Nicks on one of my fantasy teams this and I also happen to have a white Hakeem Nicks jersey. Needing a huge week out of Nicks last week, I decided to throw the #88 jersey to attempt to bring some good karma to Mr. Nicks. Plus, I enjoy wearing NFL jerseys as normal garb, the reactions always assume and entertain me. This particular day was no different as I was at the bank when one of the teller, er I mean banking specialist, asks me, “It’s that an Akeem Nicks jersey?” I turned to him with an incredulous smile, like, you’re kidding, correct, but I could tell he was serious. So, I wanted to mess with him, with something like, “No, it’s a Stevie Nicks jersey. I’m a huge Fleetwood Mac fan and this 88 jersey symbolizes their best year, 1988” or “Actually, it’s a Carl Nicks jersey, yeah, he lost 175 pounds, improved his 40 time to 4.58, got traded to NY and now plays receiver for the Giants.”

And why was he asking? “He better show up this weekend, I have him on my fantasy team.” And now you know that he is number 88, buddy. You can file that under #ThingsYouWouldntKnowBecuaseYourPrintedDraftListDoesntHavePlayerNumbers or “Reason #758 why I won’t play fantasy football in 2013.”


In terms of the game, do you trust the Giants as a favorite at home? Me neither.

Dallas (+4.0) over Atlanta – I could have done without Rob Ryan guaranteeing a victory after I made this pick. However, I will stick with it for three reasons – 1. Dallas rarely gets blown out, regardless of the situation; 2. Atlanta has been begging to lose for over a month now; and 3. I agree with Rob Ryan – I am guaranteeing a Cowboy victory as well.

Indianapolis (+2.5) over Miami – Wow, I guess beating the Jets gets you into “we can now give points on the road” territory. I feel like Indianapolis matches up really, really well with the Dolphins.

Oakland (-1.5) over Tampa Bay – This is a statement game for the 2012 Raiders, a statement in terms of are we for real or pretenders. They could not ask for anything more from the schedule makers, getting the Bucs at home after a long, long flight. The Bucs simply are not good on the west coast, 2-6 SU/ATS since 2003.

The “Rest of the Winners” picks:

Houston (-10.5) over Buffalo – The Texans have been a double digit favorite four times in the last two seasons. They are 3-0-1 in those four games. Plus, Buffalo isn’t exactly a “keep it close” type of team. Look for the Texans defense to suffocate the Bills, force at least three turnovers and use the aggression that the Bills will likely have on defense (because of the Mario Williams chatter this week) against them with mis-direction plays and more bootlegs than a Mississippian during prohibition. Of all the games this weekend, this one is likely the largest margin of victory, something like 34-7.

Jacksonville (+3.5) over Detroit – According to Blaine Gabbert the Jaguars are “quite happy with their quarterback.” Sweet, that is little like you the readers being happy with me as your college football totals consultant. It might not be that bad, but come on, Gabbert isn’t exactly lighting it up for the Jags. Still, the Jags have plenty of fight in them and if they Lions didn’t make the playoffs last year, there is no way they’re giving points on the road. The pre-season line for this game was 4.5; Jacksonville is at least what we thought they would be, but Detroit is significantly worse than expected, way, way more than a single point.

Philadelphia (+3.0) over New Orleans – Here we go:

  • I get the feeling that the Saints bounty players aren’t going to stop bitching about the NFL presiding “judge” until the NFL agree to let their mothers rule.
  • Speaking the bounty players, do you think about now Saints fans are actually hoping Vilma’s suspension is upheld? He has been horrible.
  • I have to give Andy Reid credit by sticking with Vick, in spite of the intense pressure to make the switch. He realized that if he goes with Foles against the Saints, he wouldn’t know what he had because of the suck that is the Saints defense.
  • Some national pundits believe the winner of this game will make the playoffs this year. Uh, ok. That’s not going to happen. Though I will grant you the loser of this game definitely will not make the playoffs

Carolina (+3.0) over Washington – This game feels like something will happen early where the score will get off a traditional track. And because I feel like the game will be a one or two point game.

Green Bay (-10.0) over Arizona – Remember when the Cardinals were 4-0? Yeah, that was fun! Now at 4-4, with the world against them this is where you would expect the unexpected from this team similar to what we witness in their week two win over the Pats. Here are three reasons why that is not going to happen – 1. The defense fueled much of that victory over the Patriots. The current state of the Cardinals defense is not close to that team, they’re tired and they lack faith that the offense can do anything; 2. The Packers had a close call last week that should wake them up to the reality that on any given Sunday. . .; and 3. The NFC underdogs that were sporting a 34-4 record through week 6, is now just 39-14-1 or 5-10-1 over the last two weeks. There are six NFC underdogs this week, I fully expect no better than 3-3 and I already three games I like better – Carolina, Dallas and Philly. It’s a numbers game.

Denver (-5.0) over Cincinnati – I hate laying 5 points here, but this Bengals team has given me no choice. I wanted to believe that Marvin Lewis would be successful this season despite the terabyte of data telling he would not. I’ve backed them too many times this season, only to see them crap the bed. Never again!

Baltimore (-3.5) over Cleveland – The sucker bet of the week, and yes I am biting. Here is the deal the Ravens crawled to their bye week after playing that brutal stretch of four games in 22 days. Now what we saw out of the Ravens prior to the bye is what is driving this line, not the relative strength of the two teams. I fully expect a rested Ravens team to maul the Browns.

Tennessee (+4.0) over Chicago – The Bears are another NFC team that has been begging to lose for the last couple of weeks.

Last week against the Panthers, Jay Cutler had just 84 yards passing through three quarters. 84! How could the Panthers anemic secondary limit Cutler to such a paltry total?

Good luck this week. And rememberColin Wynner call the winners!

CFB – Week Ten “Seven Out”

Nebraska (-1.5, O/U 44.5) @ Michigan State – I admit that it’s tough to go against a team that completely dominated a Michigan team that was down to their 8th string quarterback last Saturday, but I am going back to the well once again this weekend on Michigan State. To be honest, the next road win over a quality opponent for the dynamic duo of Taylor Martinez and Bo Pelini will be their first. Sorry Northwestern, I don’t consider you a quality opponent. But even that soft one point win over the Wildcats stresses the shortcomings the have on the road.

Plus, my man-crush on the Spartans has reached stalker level proportions after that “ballsy” performance against the Badgers last week.

For grins, let’s list the “true” reasons why Sparty emerges with a victory Saturday afternoon:

  • Talent, Michigan State is more talented that Nebraska, period!
  • Blue chip players, in addition to having overall more talent, Michigan State’s high end talent is much better than that of the Huskers
  • You tell me who you trust in a big game – Bo Pelini or Mark Dantonio? Let me remind you that this is not a nostril size competition, it’s big time college football.
  • LeVeon Bell, give this kid 30 carries between the tackles and I guarantee carries 21 through 30 feature at least seven yards a pop and one long, back-breaking gainer.
  • Revenge – the Huskers stomped Michigan State last year in one of those classic “third game flat” situations. You think maybe the Spartans want revenge?

And I get a point and a half? Ok, where do I sign! Thanks to the “sharps” who either have a metric that completely dismisses turnovers or were so impressed by Taylor Martinez’ 4th quarter against Northwestern that they have hammered this game from Michigan State -2. Fair enough, now I can root for the Huskers to win by a point.

Play: Michigan State +1.5

Iowa @ Indiana (-2.0, O/U 56.0) – This Halloween I fortunately got the job of handing out the candy to some very poor costumed kids. Look, little punks, grabbing a mask at the store and throwing it on is not a costume.

Anyway there were a few good costumes, like the group of three little girls dressed as cheerleaders, with a boy as the football captain. That group happens to live next door to me, and since they’re die-hard Iowa fans, the kids were, shockingly in black and gold Iowa Hawkeye gear. Cute nonetheless, but after I give them candy and had a short conversation with mama, the girls do a little “Let’s go Hawks” cheer on my doorstep. Mama, looks at me with glossy eyes that could only come from two too many wine coolers, and states, “we had nothing to do with that!” However, I guess Iowan women don’t learn to lie until their thighs look like they just caught 180 straight innings, because the little girls tell me, “Our dad told us to do that cheer!” Meanwhile, mama waddles off with a sheepish look on her face like, “OMG, he knows I lied!”

That’s precious, the Iowa fans getting so excited about the potential of beating Nebraska three weeks from now so they can finish 4th in the “Legends” division and head to the Poulan WeedEater bowl to play some 3rd place team from the Mountain West. Honestly, I could give a flip about a loss to Iowa, other than probably having to cleanup black and gold toilet paper from lawn. The reality is Iowa is less relevant than Nebraska, so if you want to celebrate becoming bowl eligible by beating the Huskers, hell, who am I to stand in their way, go for it!

But you don’t send your kids to talk junk, especially on Halloween. It’s poor etiquette. And my guess is homie single handedly angered the football gods. That’s pal, this loss is on you!

Play: Indiana -2.0

Penn State (-3.5, O/U 51.0) @ Purdue –Purdue is like the college version of the Arizona Cardinals, I can’t win when picking their games. The obvious question is – in that case, why are you picking this game? Well, here you go – I think the life went out of Penn State last week in that loss to Ohio State. Especially considering how ugly it got at the end. Yep, it has finally caught up with Penn State, but kudos to Bill O’Brien he got about as much mileage out of that team as he could.

Plus, the Boilers play much better against higher end competition.

Play: Purdue +3.5

Vanderbilt (-7.0, 46.0) @ Kentucky – I’ve got Kentucky winning this game out-right, so the points are just a bonus. The balls play here is to take the Wildcats +230 on the money line. Done.

Play: Kentucky +7.0

Alabama (-8.0, O/U 41.0) @ LSU – Steve Spurrier claimed that the Crimson Tide could hang with, and possibly beat, an NFL team. I guess Stev-o is on prescribed medical marijuana, because the worst NFL team of all-time would destroy the best college team of all-time.

But, let’s think about it for a minute – the best college team might send eight players to the NFL a year, which means that they might have 32 NFL players on the current roster. Of course, at least half those players haven’t fully developed. So, even the optimistic estimates would have the NFL with 45 NFL players and the college team with maybe 24 players. Now if you told the 2012 Jaguars that they had to skim their roster to 24 players and then fill in with guys bagging groceries, what do you think the spread would be? Yeah, at least 30, right? Spurrier is insane, and this isn’t even a Lou Holtz tactic as the Gamecocks don’t play Alabama this year. Of course, maybe Steve is jealous of the Tide’s success so he decided to rile up the Tigers.

Either way, I get it, Bama is good, but come on, eight and a half points at night, in Death Valley? That’s too many points!
Play: LSU +8.5

“If the Trojans crap the bed Saturday, I’m going to kill someone . . .”

Oregon (-8.5, O/U 70.0) @ USC – Please tell me that I am not about to back Lane Kiffin.

Ok, here is the case for USC – 1. The Trojans have the speed to handle the Ducks offense; 2. The athletes on the outside for USC are better than anything Oregon has seen this year; 3. USC was looking ahead to this matchup when the Wildcats kicked them in the balls last week. Therefore, we can completely dismiss that game; 4. The Trojans are home, which means the ghosts of Marcus Allen, Reggie Bush, Ronnie Lott, Mike Garrett, Charles White and the double-murderer, aka OJ Simpson will have a presence on the sideline (side note- if you Orenthal on the sidelines with a knife – RUN). Think that doesn’t matter, think back to the 1985 Bears, when they played the Dolphins in Miami and those 1972 Dolphin players roamed the sidelines. It matters; 5. You don’t get into the hottest clubs in LA unless you win games like this. Barkley knows that and so does the rest of the Trojans!; 6. Back in 1997 Nebraska needed to run up the score to impress the voters in an effort to overcome Michigan’s stranglehold atop the polls. That actually created a weird pressure that adversely affected the Huskers, who barely escaped 27-24. Oregon is in a similar position, they need to impress and what better way than to whack the Trojans, of course a funny thing happen on the way to the Coliseum; and 7. Oregon’s quarterback is unproven in big sport and on the road against a quality opponent for the first time in his career.

Play: USC +8.5

Florida Atlantic @ Navy (-16.5, O/U 51.0) – What would the “SevenOut” college football picks be without the “weekly total loser?” I am here to serve. I don’t know much, but I know that the Pelini brothers are terrific at shutting down teams that are one dimensional, even teams with a dark ages “that’s still around?” offense, like Navy. Give me the under in a grind it out, 70s style game.

Play: Under 51.0

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are three more totals that you can take to the bank if you reverse them:

Houston/East Carolina Under 68
UAB/Southern Mississippi Under 63
Texas Tech/Texas Under 68

Best of luck this week.

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.

CFB 2012 – “Seven Out” Week Nine

Michigan @ Nebraska (-2.5, O/U 57.5) – I have lost complete confidence in Bo Pelini’s ability to coach this Huskers team. Bo is an above average defensive coordinator, but is not a head coaching material. And yes, there are some sour grapes here, I am pissed that this program cannot get back to their mid 90s level, but let’s be honest, that run might never happen again for any program let alone a program on the plains of Nebraska. But the thing is the program right now is nowhere near even the early 90’s, when the Huskers were routinely getting trounced every time they ran into a top five team. The program is a train wreck right now and the reality is, it has been since Solich took over the program in 1998.

In fact, if you showed me a random set of games from each of the last three Husker coaches over the last 14 years, I would probably have a difficult time telling who the head coach was for the particular game. Need proof? Tell me the head coach in these three games:

Game

Points Allowed

Yards Allowed

Turnovers

Point Diff

Game #1

76

572

-5

-37

Game #2

62

582

-4

-26

Game #3

63

498

-3

-25

 

At first glance, you might be tempted to utter the words “Bill Callahan” for all three and while it is true that the Huskers were especially bad in Callahan’s final season the above are from Solich’s second to last year (Colorado, Game #2), Callahan’s last season (Kansas, Game #1) and Pelini’s, hopefully, final season (Ohio State, Game #3).

The interesting fact about those three games is each opponent was ranked in the top 15 at the time of the game, Colorado (#14), Kansas (#8) and Ohio State (#12). In other words, the Huskers have been stuck in neutral since the end of the Solich era. Ironically, Solich was fired after a 9-2, because the two losses were so egregious that the administration felt like the Huskers were “surrendering the BIG12 to those teams.” The irony is that the Huskers have not had a signature win over a top opponent since Tom Osborne left the sidelines for Washington D.C. sewer.

The translation to the current state of the program is that they are completely irrelevant on the national scene. If I were to make a comparison to the music industry I would call the Huskers Boyz II Men, who dominated the mid-90s but haven’t cracked the Top 100 since the new millennium.

I get that no program stays on top forever, but I guess I feel like the Huskers should be more like Brittney Spears, who went from dominate to complete train wreck to at least holding her own on the national scene. Saturday the Huskers get another chance to take a step towards national respectability, while telling the new athletic director they care about Pelini’s job. All they have to do is beat the 22nd best team in the country. Wow, how times have changed. Get ready for another #EpicFail from the Huskers.

Play: Michigan +2.5

Michigan State @ Wisconsin (-6.5, O/U 41.0) – You remember that old song by Percy Sledge, “When a Man Loves a Woman?” It was such a classic that the song was remade in the 90s by Michael Bolton, the singer not the guy from Office Space. One of the lines from that song sums up my feelings about Michigan State, “If she is bad, he can’t see it, she can do no wrong.” I love this team, despite the spitting the bit effort four times this season, I will steadfastly and blindly will back them when getting points. True, they have a shaky quarterback, but outside of that this Spartan team is solid across the board, in fact, in my mind, they are the most talented team in the BIG10. On defense they’re loaded with William Gholston wreaking havoc and causing opposing offensive tackles to piss themselves at the mere sight of him. Overall, the roster has four of the top 100 draft prospects according to my good friends at Drafttek.

Plus let’s look further at this line, it seems high but I guess beating up on Illinois and Purdue entitles the Badgers to give a better team close to a touchdown. Sure, Wisconsin seemingly has it figured out, but I remember less than a month ago a text message from a smart-aleck Badgers friend of mine, “How you doing?” after Wisconsin went up 17 in Lincoln. My response, “I’m fine, this Wisconsin team is garbage.” Truer wordswere never texted, as the Huskers rallied to handle the “garbage team.”

My buddy told mo last week, “I just wish we could replay that Nebraska game now that we have figured it out.” Uh, news flash, pal, everybody looks good against Illinois.

And if we look at Sparty’s losses, there is only one legit loss the season and that was to the eventual National Champ, Norte Dame – foreshadowing fella, foreshadowing. The other three losses were by two points to Ohio State (complete with horrific game changing call against MSU), two points to Michigan (where the defense gave up a late drive, but held the Wolverines to 4 field goals) and the horrible overtime loss to Iowa, where I firmly believe they slept walked through the second half because well, to be frank, they were playing Iowa. Now if they win those three games, no way in hell is Wisconsin favored by six!

Maybe the Spartans are playing me for a fool . . . and I am the last one to know.

Play: Michigan State +6.5

Texas Tech @ Kansas State (-7.5, O/U 61.0) – Texas Tech is the “third game flat” situation, two weeks ago they wrecked Geno Smith’s Heisman campaign and last week the Red Raiders won a three overtime thriller against TCU. This is my only total of the week, but I would be willing to make this my “Total of the Year,” guaranteed to win or you get the remainder of October absolutely free.

Play: Under 57.54

North Carolina State @ North Carolina (-7.5, 54.5) – I have these two teams equal so at most I would think this number should be Carolina -4, of course that assumes a normal home field advantage. We know that unless the Heels bring out Roy Williams’ boys for a special halftime show Kenan will be half filled with about a quarter of the fans being rabid college football fans. Therefore, this is more like a neutral field game for the Wolfpack. Given that, I feel like I am getting a free 7.5

Play: North Carolina State +7.5

BYU @ Georgia Tech (-2.5, O/U 51.0) – If this past week’s Presidential debate, and a certain candidate’s alma mater, is any indication of the outcome of coming weekend’s games, BYU is in big trouble. It’s almost like Obama was bored in the first couple debates but decided to “squash this annoying little troll” in the most recent debate.

I uncovered this little known fact about a college football in election years – the alma mater of the losing candidate is 6-0 ATS on the second to last weekend prior to the election.

Yeah, I made that up. . .but look for it to be 1-0 after Saturday and next Tuesday.

Play: BYU +2.5

Baylor @ Iowa State (-3.0, O/U 70.0) – Personally, I don’t see how Iowa State can keep up with Baylor. The posted total of 70 is the highest by a wide margin for the Cyclones this season, meaning they will likely need to accumulate many pointalones. Won’t happen.

Play: Baylor +3.0

Syracuse @ South Florida (-3.5, O/U 52.5) – South Florida had played fairly decent football this season, but that has not translated into wins. That’s ok because they need to focus on the process not necessarily the results. Or least that’s the message from the children’s soccer club. So, focusing on the process instead of results can be translated as “we suck, so we can’t use results as a way to measure our success.” Don’t worry I am not going to go off on a 1500 word rant about some arbitrary soccer club but the reality is South Florida has been competitive this season, but lost several close games, meaning they are getting the best of this line.

I made the case today that Syracuse often gets more respect in football simply because of their basketball program. It almost like everyone takes a glance at this game and thinks, “wow, Syracuse should win this game.” That opinion is based on the Orangemen hoop team and not the mediocre football team. Well, I am here to tell you the Orange are garbage.

Play: South Florida -3.5

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here is onemore that didn’t quite make the cut:

Oklahoma -12.0 over Norte Dame – If the Irish fall behind the Sooners 14-7, they will blink and look up at a 35-7 deficit. A few too many points, but I will tell you that I almost always play against an “obvious” point spread that is mis-aligned with current rankings, for example, ND is #5 and catching almost 2 touchdowns, the play is OU.

Best of luck this week.

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.

NFL 2012 Predictions – Week 07, “Your NFL team’s coach could be worse” edition

I was prepared to write a 1500 word column with the week seven picks integrated, but then I witnessed a Joe Bugel-esque coaching performance by my kid’s soccer coach. I have been stewing about it all day long and thus, I only have time to explain what happened.

So, here goes. First off, Joe Bugel was a hell of a nice guy, a real charming man that the players adored. As you can imagine he was a “player’s coach”, but not just that, he was more like a buddy to his players. There was no separation between coach and player, they were essentially drinking buddies. Now no one likes to lose friends and have people dislike them, especially coach Bugel, so he went to extremes to make sure everyone loved him.

I give the Bugel background for context, if I merely wanted to point out shitty coaches, I have a plethora of choices, from Romeo Crennel to Bo Pelini to Norv Turner to Jason Garrett to Andy Reid to Scott Linehan to Mike Martz to, well, you get the picture. Bugel is different than these coaches because he didn’t want to hurt anyones feelings, he wanted his players to like him and if they like him, he thought, then they would produce for him. Trouble with that is you don’t put players in a position to fail because you want them to like you.

For the benefit of the reader here is some context around the specific soccer team, this “alleged coach” coaches. First off, they’re one of the more talented teams in the state, possibly the most talented. The team’s has one extraordinary athlete, who is a top five player in the state and two other high-end players. The remaining eight players are more than adequate “role” players. So, it is a good team, but that has not translated into wins. In fact, “the coach” has seen merely a single win on the young season.

But the team has had success this year. They lost in the finals of a very tough tournament earlier in the year. Problem is they weren’t coached by “the coach” but rather a couple non-soccer pedigreed, yet soccer knowledgeable parents. . .

Yeah, you guessed it, one of them is me. And no I never played soccer which means that I cannot be part of this exclusive “soccer guy” club. Which infuriates me, because you can be a successful football coach without ever playing the game, but soccer, if you haven’t played its like, “Oh, my, you never played? Really? Wow! He can’t be in our queer club then.” First off, “soccer coach”, the game isn’t that complicated. I mean, “oooo, wow, soccer coach did you just tell your players to execute an over-lapping run. BRILLANT!” And secondly, in my book if you’re a Gen Xer and you actually played soccer beyond like pee-wee age, it was because either a. you were too big of a pussy to play football; b. you sucked at football and couldn’t make the team or c. both. So, I guess you can say “soccer guy” has been re-born with the onset of the sport’s popularity in this country and he is pulling a Ronald McDonald Miller “now I’m popular” scam. Not buying it!

. . .Anyway, so “the coach” resents the success the parent coaches had and refuses to ask them what went well. But with another tournament looming with similar teams, this gives “the coach” a chance to prove themselves.

 

This, finally, brings us to the point of this over-stated rant – the Joe Bugel move. After dropping the first game of the tournament to, oh by the way a team that we have beaten soundly three times in a row, “the coach” asks a parent, “why can’t we get a win?” Not sure the parent is qualified to answer the question because they never played a minute of soccer. But nonetheless the question is asked by “the coach.” Now wouldn’t you think that if “the coach” was given the chance to win a game that they would pull out all the stops? Yeah, me too!

Well, maybe not at the expense of a player being upset with her. Fast forward to today, with a spot in the finals depending on a 3-0 win (don’t ask, it’s a screwy points system that awards a point for seemingly every time you head a ball, have a corner, etc.), “the coach” performs well leading the team to a 2-0 halftime lead.

Now raise your hand if you think a 2-0 lead is insurmountable? Hmm, no hands. That is correct, in fact, a 2-0 lead in soccer at halftime is probably the football equivalent of 14-0. We just witnessed, less than a week ago, a team come back from 24-0 at halftime. So clearly a 2-0 lead at halftime of a soccer is not insurmountable!

But let’s say it was, the team still needed to win 3-0, therefore, they still needed to push for that third goal, while tighten down the defense to allow nothing.

Since this is technically a football column, I am going to describe what happened in football terms and I will use the 2012 St. Louis Rams as my example only if they were coached by Joe Bugel:

Kicker Greg Zuerlein: “Coach Bugel, remember when you said I could get some reps at quarterback in a game? Well, please, pretty please can I go in at quarterback to start the second half?”

Coach Bugel: “Sure Gregor, not a problem!”

Missouri Running Back Marcus Murphy (requested to come up by Bugel for depth): “Coach, I haven’t played in this game yet. I am seriously considering not coming out with you for beers after this game.”

Coach Bugel: “Marcus, come on, you’re simply not ready for this level. But if it means your friendship, you start at running back in the second half.”

Coach Bugel: “OK, guys let’s keep up the good work. Here are a couple more changes – (OT) Wayne Hunter, I’ve seen you tackle on Bradford’s interception, very impressive, now let’s see if you can cover, you go to cornerback. (WR) Brandon Gibson, you go to linebacker, remember, plug the middle and make all the calls. (WR) Chris Givens, head to nose tackle, stay low, man, stay low, you’ll be fine. Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and Chris Long, to the bench. Let’s go get’em guys!”

Yep, that’s effectively what “the coach” did today – put the three best players on the bench, started two players at forward that couldn’t score a goal if the net was empty and placed two players back on defense that had never played the position before. When I saw the lineup, I pissed myself, but before I finished the score was already tied 2-2. Then, and only then, did “the coach” decide to put the best player back in the game at their normal position (Center Mid) but no other subs.

I am sure you can guess what happened next, the best player has a run towards the potential tie-breaking goal, but one of the out of position players gets in the way, actually stealing the ball from the player and then weakly kicking it to nowheresville, which leads directly to a goal for the opposition. 3-2, bye-bye finals! Only now is everyone is back in their normal positions.

The final? 3-3, the best player, only the normal starters on the field, broke through and scored a goal to tie, but such little time remained, that is how it ended in a tie, which essentially ended all hopes of a championship this weekend!

In a life full of bad beats related to sports, I have never been more pissed off than I was today. And that my friends is the reason why you didn’t 1500 words of “why we should put David Wilson in the Hall of Fame right now.”

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.

The “SuperContest” picks:

Dallas (-2.5) over Carolina – There aren’t many times when you can actually get value on “America’s Team”, this is one of those times.

Minnesota (-6.5) over Arizona – On Thursday, I dubbed this weekend, “Favorite’s Revenge”, though I might be tempted to change that to “Shitty Soccer Coaches Revenge.” I cannot call this Arizona team correct, but for some reason this feels like a terrible match-up for the Cards.

Cincinnati (+2.5) over Pittsburgh – I cannot pick the Bengals correctly, either, so it makes sense to make them one of my top five picks this week, right? Look, next time you go 10-4 in a week you can question my methods!

St. Louis (+5.5) over Green Bay – This is based solely on the idea that Greg Zuerlein take exactly zero snaps at quarterback.

Tampa Bay (+2.0) over New Orleans – Please, why are the Saints favored? Because they beat a team that just blew a 24 point halftime lead? Plus, they won’t have Jimmy Graham to trot out as a decoy this week because of a badly sprained vagina, ankle.

 The “Rest of the Winners” picks:

Tennessee (+3.5) over Buffalo – Two bad teams, give me the points.

Indianapolis (-2.5) over Cleveland – Yeah, Cleveland is better than Indianapolis. And that second lineup “the coach” put out there today gave us the best chance to win.

NY Giants (-5.5) over Washington – If I didn’t already “survive” with the 49ers this week, this would be my survivor pick. There is way, way too much being made of the Skins owning the Giants last season.

Baltimore(+7.0) over Houston – Unless Ray Lewis’ pre-game cheer is worth four points, I don’t see how the Ravens are getting seven here. Bottom line is most defensive players are Plug and Play ready.

New England (-10.5) over NY Jets – It’s either a Jets out-right win or a Patriots swift ass-kicking. I will go with the latter.

Oakland (-6) over Jacksonville – Dumbest line of the week, but since I know “Sharps” move the line and this line moved, I am left no choice but to jump of the bandwagon.

Chicago (-6.5) over Detroit – “Favorite’s Revenge” finishes the week with a win and manages to clear .500 for the first time this year.

Colin Wynner does, in fact, call winners!

CFB Week Eight “Seven Out”

Nebraska (-6.5, O/U 61.5) @ Northwestern – Usually this is the spot where I take what is rightfully mine – an easy winner by fading the Huskers on the road against a competent opponent. It’s practically my birth right as a Husker fan since I know this team very well. They have been extremely profitable since 1998 going against them in these spots. But this is not the spot. First off, while the Wildcats are 6-1, it’s an incredibly soft 6-1.

Secondly, the public will obviously over-react to the Huskers implosion in Columbus, while Vegas will stay the course by sticking to their guns, and not wavering, therefore the line is exactly where the power rankings dictate regardless of recent results.

Lastly, while the Huskers have been nothing short of hideous on the road they have traditionally performed well after a bye week regardless of the venue. Why? Well, they have time to adequately prepare for an opponent. One of the problems with this Bo Pelini-led coaching staff is the schemes are too complicated for college kids, therefore, instead of athletes making plays by being athletes, most of the Huskers players are thinking about their assignment and thus slowing down their natural athleticism. But when given time to prepare the players are comfortable with their assignments and play closer to their potential. Yeah, I figured that out, yet the “blue hair” Husker fans want to give Bo another decade.

So, those three reasons are plenty to turn my support to the Huskers, but this quote by Bo Pelini made it a “no-brainer”:

“As I just told the football team, we need to win out,” Pelini said after the 63-38 loss at No. 12 Ohio State.

Perfect! Bo is now out on the line, pretty much win out or get out, pal. The path to Indianapolis starts in Evanston Saturday, Git Er Dun!

Play: Nebraska -6.5

Michigan State @ Michigan (-10.0, O/U 43.0) – I have Michigan as even with Sparty, so something smells fishy here. Let’s not forget the following facts as well: (a). Michigan State is on a six game ATS losing streak, sure they’re due but this is the third week “they’re due”; (b). The Spartans lost to Iowa last week, which is the equivalent of the democratic presidential candidate losing Oregon, meanwhile the Wolverines spanked Illinois; (c). Michigan has lost four straight to MSU, so payback is on their minds, especially those fifth year seniors; and (d). Michigan State seemingly has not recovered from the tough loss to Ohio State.

Adding those facts together is what has given us the inflated line, that and the fact that Vegas has been taking in the shorts on Michigan State, so they finally have reacted. Normally this type of game would be a stay away for me, but this particular game is about personnel and matchups, not about over-thinking the spread. Not only does MSU have the personnel to hang with Michigan, but they match-up well on both sides of the ball with enough talent to force Denard Robinson into throwing and enough discipline to play conservative while featuring their best player, LeVeon Bell. Therefore, I am calling the outright upset here – Spartans 23 Wolverines 20

Play: Michigan State +10.0

Virginia Tech @ Clemson (-7.5, 62.0) – This game reeks of a Clemson blowout, with the Tigers well rested after a bye week and the Hokie being very, well, un-Hokie like this season. Plus, everyone is hammering the Tigers in this game. So, I should too, right? Sure, but first I just need someone to explain to me why the line has moved from -11 to -7.5, despite 70% of the bets being made on Clemson. Something stinks and it’s more than the Yankees ALCS cumulative batting average.

For just one Saturday this season, can we have “Beamer Ball”? Please Hokies! Let’s block a punt for a touchdown, return a fumble off a sack for another six and let’s run the ball to setup a couple of huge plays down the field. Just once in 2012, Frankie!

Play: Virginia Tech +7.5

Penn State @ Iowa (-2.5, O/U 42.0) – Game should be a pick’em at best for Iowa. I would have made Penn State a small favorite if I were a SportsBook Manager.

Look I can’t explain it, but the Nittany Lions are playing hard, despite having nothing to play other than pride. In addition, they continue fighting, which is uncharacteristic of a team that the grim reaper delivered the living death penalty to a couple months ago. And they’re a fairly efficient team on both sides of the ball. On the flip side, I am not sure I’m buying Iowa, in fact, I am certain that I’m not buying Iowa.

The only that scares me about Penn State is they have zero, ziltch confidence in the place kicker and as a result they refuse to attempt field goals. But all that means is that they are a 21st century advanced football stat geek’s wet dream.

Play: Penn State +2.5

BYU @ Norte Dame (-13.0, O/U 40.0) – Speaking of teams I am not buying, yep, Norte Dame is a pretender – chant with me for a moment, “OVER-RATED, OVER-RATED, OVER-RATED.” With a trip to Norman to play the Sooners next week it’s only natural for them to forget about the school that produced the country’s next president.

And give me the over. That’s right, damn the 2-10 record in totals, I refuse to give up. Plus, guess what, 40 points in college is like nothing. I mean two mediocre offensive teams, with staunch defenses, could potentially post a 40 spot in overtime. Imagine this game being a hard fought defensive game that is tied at 13-13, but it’s heading into overtime. They could trade field goals for the first two overtimes – sure BYU won’t kick a field goal because they don’t trust their kicker either, hey wait can we get a bowl game with them and Penn State? – and viola, game is guaranteed to go over. In a lot of ways, it’s crazy to invest anything real money on CFB. . .

Play: BYU +13.0 & Over 40.0

South Carolina @ Florida (-3.5, O/U 41.5) – Attention, attention, the “third game flat” rule is in play for this game. South Carolina is playing their third consecutive huge SEC game, on the road, in a hostile environment; they simply cannot get up for this game. That poor visor. . .

Play: Florida -3.5

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are a few more that didn’t quite make the cut:

Kansas State +2.5 & Under 73.5 – At West Virginia. Ok, so I admit, I fell for WVA after they beat down the Longhorns, but then when OU beat down the Horns, I realized they aren’t special, they’re whores. And ss there any other way to play this game – KSU and Under? There is no way KSU wins a shootout.

Utah +10 over Oregon St. – A few too many points.

TCU +1.5 over Texas Tech – Give it a few years Tech fans, you will figure out that every year a Tommy Tuberville coached team will have one of those “WOW” games, followed by several “R U EFFING KDDING” games. This is the latter.

Texas -8.5 over Baylor – I promised myself that I wouldn’t invest in the Longhorns ever again after they burnt me for the seemingly millionth time earlier this season, but come on, everyone is down on this team, no one believes in them, the line has moved from 13 to 8.5, I cannot resist.

Best of luck.

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.