Monday, October 20, 2014

An update: No ten games last week and ranking Texas college football.

As you may, or may not, have noticed, I didn't list my customary "10 games" pick'em last week and there's a reason.  I was recovering from illness.  I tried to do it for week 7 with little review due to my illness and the results were (in a word) terrible.

Try 3-7 ATS and 4-6 SU terrible.

It'd be easy to try and beg off sick and say that those results shouldn't count against my season totals but....I made the picks so they do. I'll be back next week with 10 games and updated season totals.

Texas College Football:

After Texas aTm's thumping at the hands of the fighting Sabans there's a lot of talk about "who's got the best team in Texas right now?"  I think, going into the season, the consensus was that aTm had the hole-shot with Baylor acting as the heir apparent should the Aggies stumble.

Well, the Aggies have clearly stumbled leaving the top spot open. The obvious answer is to suggest that Baylor is now the top Texas program but their 41-27 loss to Couch Burnin' U has folks asking questions.

As I see it, the State's rankings go like this:

1. Baylor
2. TCU
3. aTm
4. UT-Austin
5. Texas Tech
6. UT- San Antonio
7. UH
8.Texas State
9. Rice
10. UTEP
11. North Texas
12. SMU

I don't think there's much argument regarding numbers one and two, after all, they've met on the field and TCU just demolished Oklahoma State. I still give the nod to aTm over UT-Austin because I think the talent advantage is still there.  That said, ask me next year and I feel there's going to be a big shake-up with UT-Austin moving closer to the top of the chart.

5-7 is hard. I think Tech is overrated and that their coach is one of the reasons why. I still put UTSA ahead of UH because (put simply) they beat them soundly.  UH is improving but they are a team with a ton of talent and zero college level coaching to speak of.  Texas State gets the nod over Rice because I think they'll beat them head-up.  The bottom 3 are interchangeable, but I truly believe that SMU is a huge mess right now and might occupy that position for the next few years.

Maybe not surprisingly, I see the top 5 as having way more volatility over the next few years than the bottom five. Whether you like them or not this UT-Austin team is playing hard for Coach Strong and I think he's going to build them back into a winner, provided the alumni give him time.

I still think the move to the SEC will be good in the long-term for aTm but that doesn't mean that Coach Sumlin is the one who's going to lead them.  I think Sumlin will be gone after the end of either this year or next year and the Aggies will then have to decide if they want to be a football crazy Kentucky in the conference, or something akin to their old-role in the Big XII (which is where I think their cap is). In short, aTm will never be able to compete with the Alabama, Auburn and LSU's in the SEC West because they don't have near the resources or tradition to do so.

They should always have good seasons however, should beat a big team here and there, and they should compete for a division title once every 4-5 years.  Just like it should have been in the Big XII.  That it wasn't illustrates just how poorly ran the program has been running in recent years.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

10 Games (Week 7) At the wire.

After a week sick with a kidney infection I'm getting in this post right before kick-off on Saturday.,,,

Last week I went 7-3 ATS and 5-5 SU putting me at 31-29 ATS and 43-17 SU for the season. With a lot of upsets you would have done well last week betting the underdog money line.

Without further ado.....

1. Texas vs Oklahoma (-17) - Ah the Red River Shoot-out, Rivalry umm Show-down?  PC issues aside it has always been and will always be the Shoot-out.  The Longhorns defense is a little bit underrated this year and you never know which OU team will show up.  I THINK this will be the good, OU team that's creative offensively and takes risks, Stoops teams tend to do that after a loss. UT-Austin 10 OU 35

2. Georgia (-3) @ Mizzou - The Gurley mess, as UGA sells his jersey on their website currently, while the player is suspended, for over $100 each is indicative of everything that is wrong with the NCAA.  Without Gurley UGA is not nearly as good of a team,  UGA 17 Mizzou 20

3. Duke @ Georgia Tech (-3.5) - Heading into the season the rumors were Paul Johnson was on the hot-seat. Apparently, early success has not tempered the anger of the check-scratchers. Johnson and the Ramblin' Wreck seem determined to make the decision difficult.  Duke 17 Ga Tech 24

4. Auburn (-3) @ Mississippi State - Arguably the biggest game of the day. After watching Miss State dominate aTm I've having a hard time picking against them. That said, I think Auburn is much better than people thought and has a real chance to win in Starksville.  And, again, this is Miss State, which has historically been a middling SEC team, Aub 24 Miss State 20

5. Oregon (-6.5) @ UCLA - At the beginning of the season I picked UCLA to win it all in the College Football Playoff. Of course, when I made that pick I thought they had an offensive line. I was wrong about that, but Oregon doesn't have one either so, if my pick is going to be accurate, this is a must-win game for the Bruins.   Oregon 31 UCLA 34

6. TCU @ Baylor (-8) - When the season started the conventional wisdom was that the winner of OU/Baylor would win the Big Twen. Now it seems that this is the key game. TCU's defense is amazing, Baylor's offense could be even better with a reportedly pain-free Petty at the helm. Still, I think it will be close. TCU 27 Baylor 31

7. Alabama (-9) @ Arkansas - Real short, beware angry Tides.  Bama 42 Hogs 17

8. Houston vs. Memphis (-8) - Fire Tony Levine is a thing and the Cougars are in free-fall. Memphis, for a few years a door-mat is actually playing good ball this year. Things continue to crumble in the 3rd Ward.  UH 10 Memphis 31

9. LSU (-1) @ Florida - This has  the potential to be one of the ugliest games of the year. Neither team has a quarterback and, for the first time in recent memory, LSU's defense is porous at best. LSU 17 FU 24

10. Ole Miss @ Texas A&M (-2) - I realize that the Aggies are the favorites here but how can you pick against the Rebels?  I think we finally get the high scoring game that everyone has been looking for this year finally however. Although, if it's a blow-out, I think it goes the way of Mississippi. I don't thing the Aggie offense is clicking. Ole Miss 48 aTm 42

Our weekly bonus look at the train-wreck that is Michigan:

Penn St. @ Michigan (-1) - I about spit out my cranberry juice when I first saw that line. At this point Michigan shouldn't be favored against air.  As a matter of fact, I'm looking at the rest of the schedule and am struggling to get Big Blue to 4 wins. This is an awful team. Penn St 24 GoBlue 10


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ten Games: (Week 6) After 3 straight winning weeks, a couple of games got me.

It all started out OK. I was winning the first three games and then the bottom dropped out on some underdogs that I thought had a chance to cover.  Such is College Football.

In Week 5 I went 4-6 ATS and 8-2 SU so that puts me at 24-26 ATS and 38-12 SU for the season.  The good news is that I'm just one great week from breaking out of mediocrity.  The bad news is I've been stuck in mediocre for most of the year.  It's time to turn it around and this appears to be the week to do it.

Even better, this promises to be one of the best weekends of the College Football season as we finally start to hit the meat of conference play and several good teams are playing each other.  Finally, we will start to get some real information that will mean that Top 25 rankings will start to matter.

Here we go....

1. Arizona @ Oregon (-23) - The thing about the Ducks is that they get some crazy lines. The O/U for this game is 70.  I think Arizona is a little underrated but I'm not sure how they handle Oregon at Autzen.  Take the over, but I'm thinking you might take AZ to (barely) cover.  AZ 30 UO 50

2. Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University @ Mississippi State (-1.5) - What a difference a week makes. Heading into last week you would have thought the Aggies to be the favorites.  But the Bulldogs destroy LSU and the Aggies struggle against Arkansas and.....That said I'm still not a believer in Mullins and I think the Aggies are the more talented team.  aTm 42 MissSt 38

3. Stanford (-2) @ Notre Dame - Even though Notre Dame fans are incapable of talking about Michigan without being catty I can talk about Notre Dame reasonably. I think the Irish have a good team this year and I think Stanford will be a very valid test.  Everett Golston is a good college QB and the Irish are very talented at the skill positions. Plus, they're at home which is huge for them. Stan 21 ND 24

4. Alabama (-6) @ Ole Miss - Expect the Grove to be hoppin' as ESPN Game Day is scheduled to make their first appearance there.  While SEC dribblers like Paul Finebaum are hyping the Tide as the number one team in all the land, I think it's fair to say that there's still a lot of football to play before we crown them King.  Bama 27 Ole Miss 17

5. Oklahoma (-5) @ Texas Christian University - Like Alabama, OU has received a lot of run as the "leader on the course" in terms of the best team in the Country.  Certainly, this is one of Bob Stoops' most talented teams in years and it still appears that the winner of the OU/Baylor tie later this year is the playoff representative for the Big Twen. (since the B1G has collapsed, I think they have the hole-shot.) Again though, there's still a lot of football to play.  OU 35 TCU 20

6. Louisiana State University @ Auburn (-8) - Those of an SEC persuasion, suddenly aTm fans mostly, have spent all year telling me that Auburn was ready for a fall.  I believe this is wishful thinking and it's LSU that's looking like the team who is going to take a step back.  Oh that offense Les.  LSU 27 AU 34

7. Texas Tech @ Kansas State (-8.5) - Tech's coach may be sexier than yours but he doesn't seem to be all that much better. TTU 21 KSU 42

8. Nebraska @ Michigan State (-11.5) - All Nebraska seems to have offensively is Abdullah. I expect Sparty to shut him down convincingly.  NU 10 MSU 38

9. Arizona State University @ University of Southern California (-11.5) - At this point I'm having a hard time trusting the Trojans.  ASU 28 USC 27

10. University of Central Florida @ University of Houston (-3) - My problem with the Cougars is that they don't have a qualified head coach. Plus, they've looked terrible at home. UCF 24 UH 10

Bonus Round:

Michigan @ Rutgers (-3) - Coming off the embarrassment in the Little Brown Jug game I'm hard pressed to pick Michigan for anything.  #HokeMustGo is not only a thing, it's an imperative.  More importantly, the Wolverines need to re-think everything they are doing about college football. The program is in free-fall.  They need fresh thinking to turn it around. GoBlue 10 Rutgers 31

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ten Games (Week 5): Thursday night would have been epic.

As I posted yesterday I've been on the road of late for work so I'm skipping the Thursday night games for this week's listing.  That's good because I thought UCLA wouldn't cover and OSU would.  As in most cases, the thing about gambling is pure, blind luck.

On to tomorrow's games:

1. Iowa (-9) @ Purdue - Purdue is in the running, with Kansas, Vandy and possibly Colorado, for the uncoveted title of "worst program in the big 5 power conferences." Iowa isn't very good but they're heaps better than this mess of a Boilermaker program.  IU 28 PU 7

2. Northwestern @ Penn St. (-9.5) - For all of the talk of a "Franklin miracle" the reality is Bill O'Brien left the cupboard full over in Happy Valley.  NW 14 PSU 35

3. Tennessee @ Georgia (-17) - While I think the Bulldogs win this game I don't think that it will be by all that much.  TU 24 UGA 34

4. Maryland (-3.5) @ Indiana - The Terrapins have a ton of offensive talent and an underrated defense. This is often obscured by their horrendous uniforms. UM 42 IU 35

5. Arkansas vs Texas A&M (-9) - [Game played at Jerry's World in Arlington, TX] - There's a lot of sharp money coming in on the Razorbacks because of their 1st half showing last week. It's a mistake to think that this Aggie team cannot run them into the ground.  Ark 20  aTm 48

6. The University of Texas - Austin (-12) @ Kansas - I don't see any way the Jayhawks can keep it within two touchdowns. Charlie Weiss is a disaster of a HC.  Missing Mangino yet Kansas? UK 3 UT 35

7. Stanford (-7.5) @ Washington - I'm not the biggest fan of UW coach Peterson, and I think he still has a long way to go to get the team he wants.  Stan 27 UW 10

8. Cincinnati @ Ohio State (-17) - I've watched Cincy play a couple of times this year, and I've also seen Ohio State play.  I think Cincy is underrated here.  Cincy 24 OSU 34

9. Rice (-8) @ Southern Miss - The only thing going through my head here is 45-42 Old Dominion.  I think Rice wins but, where at the beginning of the season I had them as a C-USA contender, I now think they are a team in free-fall.  Rice 37 SMU 35

10. Missouri @ South Carolina (-5) - There are a few games that I could have placed in the 10th slot but I went with this one because I truly believe the Gamecocks are going to roll.  MU 10 SC 37

Bonus Game:

Minnesota @ Michigan (-13) - Technically it's a trophy game and the Little Brown Jug makes hearts twitter in the Midwest. In reality it's a game between two coaches who desperately need a win and who's jobs might be in jeopardy regardless.

Either way I'm not expecting a compelling football game.

Gophers 17 Go Blue! 20

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ten Games (Week 5): Administrative note.

My Ten Games picks will be up tomorrow. Clearly I will not be using the Thursday games.

Sorry business travel and real life has interfered with fun and games.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

10 Games (Week 4): Some progress is better than none at all.

First up: Just shut-up Mr. Solomon. Never-mind that the piece was over-long, poorly-written, and one huge logical fallacy, there's also the fact nobody likes a know-it-all.  Especially a know-it-all who thinks his mistaken moral statement should be your mistaken moral statement. This is just a reminder that some Texans should not dabble in our state sport.

On to the games.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  Last week I went 6-4 ATS and 7-3 SO bringing me to 14-16 ATS and 22-8 SO for the season. The sad thing is, after two pretty good weeks, I'm still trying to make up ground from the awful 2-8 ATS start.  Tougher games this week, but let's see if I can crack .500.

1. Auburn (-9) @ Kansas State. - I always have a tough time going against Coach Snyder at the stadium bearing his family's name. Plus, I think Auburn is a little overrated this year.  AU 24 KSU 21

2. Florida @ Alabama (-14.5) - People are suggesting that Gator HC Will Muschamp needs a good year and a signature win to keep his job. I don't know about the good year, but I don't think on the road at Alabama is the best place to get that signature win.  Plus, I'm unconvinced the Gators are any good.  UF 10  Bama 35

3. Oklahoma (-10) @ West Virginia - Coach Dana Holgerson have the Mountaineers playing better football this year, but I think Oklahoma has one of the best teams in the Country. OU 42 WVU 24

4. Clemson @ Florida State (-20) - How fast the mighty have fallen. Head cheerleader Dabo Sweeney seems at a total loss with how to handle this Clemson team. While Florida State is not the juggernaut they were last year, they're still plenty good.  CLEM 20 FSU 34

5. University of Nevada-Las Vegas @ Houston (-20) - I have to admit to almost spitting out my coffee when I saw this line.  UH, by 20?  Over anything other than air?  Houston would need to play a perfect game to cover here, I don't think HC Tony Levine is capable of getting that out of his players. UNLV 27 UH 28

6. Miami @ Nebraska (-7.5) - Of all the games on the schedule this week I think this one is the toughest. The Corn Huskers looked terrible last week but I think they were overlooking McNeese State. I'm not all that sure Miami is a very good team.  The U 14 Neb 35

7. California-Berkeley @ Arizona (-10.5)  - Cal is running on fumes. Coach Sonny Dykes is a sentimental favorite of mine (I was growing up in Midland when Spike Dykes was a local legend) but I like team Bear Down here. Cal 17 AZ 38

8. Virginia @ BYU (-15) - BYU is a tough team to play at home. They have a good QB (although not a Heisman candidate as some are saying) and pretty strong defense. But the Cavaliers are showing a penchant for finding "a way".  Virginia 17 BYU 24

9. Mississippi State @ Louisiana State University (-10) - Last week the Tigers pushed. This week I think they cover against an overrated Miss State team.  MSU 13 LSU 41

10. Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech (-8) - So, which is the real Va Tech?  The team that beat Ohio State at the Horseshoe or the mess that lost to ECU in Blacksburg?  I'm thinking it's the former. Plus, the Rambling Wreck is none too happy with Paul Johnson I'm hearing. GT 7 VaTech 27

Bonus Games:

Utah @ Michigan (-6.5) - Right now it's unclear which of Michigan's four starters who sat during the Miami(OH) game will play against Utah.  The Wolverines are going to need them back if they want to cover this game, especially Funchess.  That said I don't like the Wolverines chances here as their overall lack of team speed is going to be exposed (again).  The term 'Big Ten slow' comes to mind unfortunately.  Utes 24 Michigan 21

Bethune-Cookman @ UCF (no line posted) - There might be a line for this, but I can't find it and it doesn't appear that the Westview Superbook has one posted.  If one shows up before Saturday I'll update this.  Until then I think this is one of those FCS vs. FBS games that might surprise some people. Bethune-Cookman already has an FBS (sorta) win on their schedule against FIU. I don't think they can beat UCF, but they might keep it closer than the experts think.  BCU 17 UCF 31

I'm getting this out of the way early this week, and I realize that there might be many line-moves in advance of the games.  If there are any significant moves I'll update throughout the week.  I'm going to try this going forward, to make it more accurate re: game day betting conditions.

Good luck.

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