Wednesday, October 12, 2016

College Football: The Week 7 FIVE (Yeah, about this)

I had no confidence in last week's FIVE, and I ended up with yet another record that illustrated why.

1-3-1 (8-26-1 for the season)

Yup.  This is already the worst college football year that I've ever had picking games. I've been doing this on various blogs for about 5 years now, and I've never gone six weeks in a row without having a winning week. At this point I think I could throw darts at a board and be more accurate. SU I've actually been pretty solid.  But SU is not all that hard.  This is why the ESPN pundits fought back so hard against having to pick the spread.

Because of that I thought I would try and purge with my "Lifetime of running cold" series (more to come).  Also because of that, I've totally scrapped my analytics system (that obviously is off, I'll figure out why in the off-season) and have decided to go with feel this week.  Hey, when you're at rock bottom.

If you're still following these picks, for the love of all that is holy start fading. (Kidding, don't put any stock into them period. Trust me, I don't)

Without further ado. The week 7 FIVE:

1. West Virginia (-1) @ Texas Tech. Neither of these teams strike me as being very good. In fact, I don't think either is going to finish in the top 1/2 of the Big XII now that conference play is under way.  But WVU beat K-State while Tech didn't. And I think that's because the Mountaineers can play a little defense while Tech can't.  High scoring game though.  West Virginia 48 Texas Tech 40. West Virginia to cover -1.

2. Pitt (-3) @ Virginia Virginia started off terribly but are starting to show signs of life. Pitt has played decently this season but have losses to UNC and Okie State on their schedule.  The common thread?  Both the Tarheels and the Cowboys have spread offenses, Virginia does not run an offense like those two teams to that level. I think Pitt grinds them down. Pitt 24 Virginia 10 Pitt to cover -3.

3. Mississippi State @ BYU (-7). The Bulldogs have lost to every good team they've played this year, and they weren't very competitive against an average Auburn team. They also lost to South Alabama. Ouch. BYU started off slow but are starting to ramp things up after beating Michigan State last week. Dan Mullen could really use this win, I don't think he's going to get it.  MSU 17 BYU 31. BYU to cover -7

4. Texas-San Antonio (-3.5) @ Rice. Normally the numbers say that being at home is worth around 3 points. That's a fallacy at Rice however because they have almost zero home-field advantage. Neither of these teams is very good, but UTSA at least has shown a pulse this year. Unrelated to the game on the field but they also have some of the best helmets in Texas. UTSA 38 Rice 10. UTSA to cover -3.5.

5. Ole Miss (-7.5) @ Arkansas. I like this play because Arkansas is coming off of a game against Alabama, and teams NEVER look good the week after getting clobbered by Saban's boys. The Kelly situation could be interesting but this team has lived with distraction all year so I don't think it will matter (that) much. Ole Miss 38 Arkansas 20.

Games that didn't make the cut:

Illinois (-6) @ Rutgers. To be honest this game isn't going to make any cut. Illinois lost a varsity tackle football game to Purdue, and Rutgers just lost a football game 78-0.  When I say this could be the ugliest game of the year I'm not exaggerating. Illini 17 Rutgers 6.

Kansas State @ Oklahoma (-10.5) TBH, it was the size of the line that scared me away from this one. OU fans will scoff but I think this is a dangerous game for the Sooners. Coming off the big Texas win they get a Wildcats team carrying some confidence from a win against Tech. K-State 24 OU 30.

Western Michigan (-11) @ Akron. The Zips have looked pretty good this year, against teams that can barely fog a mirror. And while none of the Mustangs wins look all that impressive as the year moves forward I do think they're a good team. One thing working against the Zips?  Western Michigan NEEDS to look good. Western Michigan 52 Akron 17.

Colorado State @ Boise State (-31). The reason Western Michigan needs to look good is because they're likely going up against Boise State for the Group of 5 New Year's Six spot and Boise has a schedule filled with cream-puffs. Colorado State 7 Boise State 65.

Eastern Michigan @ Ohio (-7). The Eagles have been outstanding against the spread this year. In fact, they are 5-1 in all games.  Hopefully you got in on this game earlier in the week (the spread opened at 10) but if you didn't I think a touchdown and extra point is OK as well.  Full stop if it moves to 6.5.  Eastern Michigan 24 Ohio 27.

Tulsa @ Houston (-21.5). If you are a fan of quality New Year's Day games then you should be pulling for Houston going forward. The loss to Navy killed their CFP chances, but they still have an outside shot at a New Year's Six bid IF they look impressive, and get some conference help in the form of the Midshipmen losing. It all starts here though, against a Tulsa team that can move the ball. Uh-oh. Tulsa 35 Houston 52.

Alabama (-13) @ Tennessee. A game that would have been much more interesting had the Vols not decided to turn the ball over a Million times to the Aggies. Bama 38 Smokey 10. 

USC (-8) @ Arizona. Every year the feeling is that Rich Rod is going to pull an upset somewhere. You just FEEL that it's coming. I think it comes later in the year (either against Colorado or Arizona State) than against a Trajan side that's starting to show some signs of life.  USC 37 Arizona 13.

Nebraska (-3.5) @ Indiana. Nebraska might be the best team in the B1G West and they still might be the 6th best team in the conference. It says something that Indiana looked "Okay" in a 21 point loss to Ohio State. This is my upset pick of the week, if you're into that kind of thing. Nebraska 24 Indiana 28.

Utah (-9) @ Oregon State. Utah has beaten some good teams, and lost to Cal. Oregon State has lost to every decent team they've played, EXCEPT Cal, who they beat by 3. Once again this year, the Pac-12 is a mess (except Washington [so far]). Utah 27 Oregon State 21.

Minnesota @ Maryland (-6.5). Given the lack of speed and athleticism on both of these teams, this game could put you to sleep if you watch it long enough. Minnesota 10 Maryland 17.

Stanford @ Notre Dame (-3) Admit it. At the beginning of the season you looked at this game and went "Ooooh, this could be a good one." Now you're looking at it and going "Eeeeew, this could be ugly."  Such is college football and pre-season rankings.  Stanford 27 Notre Dame 21.

Ohio State (-10) @ Wisconsin. Wisconsin played the game of their lives against Michigan, and came up short. That said, I predict they'll hang with Buckeye for about a half. Don't underestimate the game of one-upmanship that's going on between Harbaugh and Meyer right now. Ohio State 35 Wisconsin 3.

UCLA @ Washington State (-5). At the beginning of the season I picked the Bruins to win the Pac-12, and get a CFP berth.  Yeah.  About that.  After two bad losses to open the season Mike Leach is doing Mike Leach things again with this team.  Plus #Bruining is a thing.  UCLA 34 Wazzu 35.

Teams I root for.

Michigan.  - Off this week to enjoy some tasty 50% off steaks at Ruth's Chris steak house in Ann Arbor. Next week it's Illinois, which should be another blowout.

UNLV @ Hawaii. (-9). IF the Rebels want to make a bowl game this game is HUGE. In fact, the next 4 games (Hawaii, Colorado State, San Jose State and Wyoming) are all winnable games for Coach Sanchez' team.  If they don't sweep these four then they have to win either at Boise, or at home against Nevada.  This game is KEY.  UNLV 23 Hawaii 20.

First game up: 

Appalachian State (-10.5) at ULaLa. A game that won't be close, but could provide some #FunBelt action, in the first half.  App State 35 ULaLa 17

Enjoy the weekend.

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