Monday, September 28, 2015

College Football: The get-back week and other thoughts.

Finally, a decent week.  After two sub-par weeks (going 0-5 and 1-4 respectively) I finally bounced back (a little) with a solid 4-1 week (which would have been 3-2 had I not gotten smart on Tennessee [More on that later]).

This brings me up to 8-12 (40%) ATS and 16-4 (80%) SO for the season. If I can have another good week in week 5, I'm going to be right on my "around 50% target".  IF I can start stringing some of these together......

Now, some thoughts.

Tennessee vs. Florida: My initial thought on this was Tennessee on the ML. However, given that the Vols have not beat the Gators in 10 years I chickened out and settled for them to cover at a line of +1.5.  I really thought that they would win, but their choke, and the Gators only winning by one, bailed me out for the week.  Given the start that I've had, I'll take it.

UT-Austin vs. OSU: I understand that there might be some confusion on this line as -3 was common, but earlier in the week, when I make my picks, 5Dimes had the line at -2.5 I typically pull their lines for consistency.  However, I've been thinking about moving over to something Vegas based.  If I do that I'll make the change public. 

Now, about the game. Yes, there was a bad call near the end, and yes, it probably bailed OSU out somewhat.  But what it didn't do was drop an easy punt snap and give Oklahoma State the ball within easy FG range.  UT-Austin fans screaming about "game fixing" and other nonsense only reinforces the image that they have of whiny, entitled trust-fund babies. They are, of course, unhappy with the Big XII and pretty much everyone else who refuses to bestow on them the title of college football royalty.  Here's an idea: Execute a punt. Oh, and with your recruiting base, get some offense.

The temptation to overreact:

Utah Version:  Yes, the Utes smacked around Puddles and Co. and looked very good in winning 62-20. As a matter of fact, there are now writers who are placing Utah in their top 4.  While those are meaningless this early I think there might be some overreaction to Utah right now because we tend to view Oregon not as they are, but as they used to be.  I've got the Utes as a solid top 10 program but I think there are many teams much better than they that deserved to be ranked higher.  If Forde wants to continue his anti-B1G crusade and keep Ohio State out of his four that's fine.  It's stupid (and reveals his shortcomings as a serious analyst) but it's fine.

Michigan Version:  Trust me, as a fan of Big Blue no one was happier than I to see the 31-0 dismantling of BYU. It was, quite simply, the best game I've been the Wolverines play in 10 years.  They looked bigger, stronger and faster than the Cougars in almost every way.  It also helps that the loss to Utah is looking better and better as the weeks progress.  Here's the rub:  I still think Michigan is going to struggle against top teams, and I think BYU, while very good, was coming into the Big House at the end of their rope. They looked tired.  What I want to see now is Michigan win some games in the B1G. Then I'll buy into the hype that they should be a favorite against Sparty.

South Carolina Version:  When initially trailing in the 1st half the calls for Coach Spurrier to immediately step down dominated Twitter.  Then the Gamecocks showed their quality and won 31-14.  This is the problem with making snap, in-game, decisions.  Let the season play out and then we'll see just how good or bad South Carolina is and whether or not it's time for Spurrier to step aside.

TCU Version:  While a 55-52 win over Texas Tech seemed pretty bad based on last year, there is evidence to suggest that Coach Better Looking than you has a fairly decent team in Lubbock this year. Add to that the fact that Tech's home field is a very tough place in which to play and you have all of the makings of a close game. The easy comparison to the Frogs are Baylor who beat hapless Rice 70-17.  Art Briles understands the need, in today's College Football landscape, to earn style points against lesser competition, TCU was playing a conference game. I'm not ready to downgrade the Horned Frogs just yet.

Wins vs. Victories.

Speaking of Baylor, no fan base in America needs more to learn the difference between a win and a victory than do the Bears. Beating Rice, not matter the score, is a win.  A victory will come when you beat TCU.  There are a handful of high-profile Baylor alums who take to Twitter and act as if they've won the damn championship when they beat the lesser teams that make up their OOC schedule. A mark of a winning program is when they learn to differentiate between the two. Baylor has not gotten to that point yet.

Not yet naming a top 4.

I typically wait until after week 7 to start talking about any kind of rankings. This year is no different. I still think there are teams with too many questions surrounding them for anyone to have a true idea of what they are looking at.  Give me three more weeks. Then I'll opine.

The week to come.

On paper, week 5 looks to be one of the most competitive weeks this season. It also has a lot of high-stakes games around the country that it should tell us a lot about who's who in the pecking order. I might even include a Thursday Night game in my Five, which means that I'm planning on having my picks out on Wednesday.

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