Thursday, October 2, 2014

Quick Buck Thursday: Fighting Depression

I'm too depressed to make any good picks this week. Consider yourself warned.

Another week, another big bet winner. Ended the week +3. I'll take it. I guess Ames wasn't weird enough to squeak out a win, but I'll take a push.

Unit Roll- 45 Units

Ball St +2.5 @ Army - 2 units
I know, I know. Don't bet against 'merica! Two bad teams. One not terrible ATS on the road. One just slightly better than the other statistically. I don't think Army's option tears up the Cardinals this week.

UMASS @ Miami OH -3.5 - 2 units
The battle of the defeated. Two mighty programs battling it out for their first win of the season. If you can find video of this game, don't watch it.

Buffalo @ Bowling Green -5 - 2 units
I like this game. Only because I like the number. I think BG is maybe a touchdown better here (or two field goals). The trends tell you the road team and the underdog is the pick here. I think they break the trend this year.

LSU @ Auburn -8 - 2 units
I don't think LSU is very LSU this year. I think the defenses are a wash and LSU's offense can't keep up with Auburn. Keep an eye on this line, I have a feeling is may creep down to 7.5 or even 7 by kick.

Oklahoma -5 @ TCU - 2 units
I think it's the depression that's driving me this week. This game makes me nervous. TCU is sneaky good and I think this could be OU's toughest game. That said, I think Stoops knows this and will have the Sooners ready to go. But grab the 5 now before the public starts betting it up. If it gets to 6 look for the sharps to jump on TCU hard.

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over Of The Week
Buffalo @ Bowling Green - Over 77
Take it. We call this a hedge. Both squads are 4-0 on the over.

The Bob Drake "I need another team for my 21-Team teaser" Double Bonus
Michigan @ Rutgers - Under 47
I hesitate to even do this. But man there is so much turmoil around Michigan right now and the only thing good on that team is the defense. As turn over prone as Rutgers QB Nova is this is a decent bet.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Seven More Weeks

It's a busy time of year.

We'll get back to the busy stuff later.

Seven more weeks.

It's also my favorite time of year. If you've been a reader of this blog over the past six years, you know that I live for college football. I started this out covering lots of different subjects. I was just writing about things that were happening in my life. Things that I thought were interesting and/or funny. I was always "known" for doing Letterman-style Top Ten Lists, so I did a few. I "interpreted" some songs in a funny way. I even did a series where I was a "manny".

I also started off writing about college football. The Bowl Game Previews are what started it all. So it made sense the following year to start writing about my favorite team: The Michigan Wolverines.

Seven more weeks.

So that's just what I did. I had already discovered MGoBlog. Through that site I found other Michigan blogs. I figured I'd do weekly previews like those sites. And I thought it would be cool to link out to all the previews each week. Kind of a one stop shop for Michigan football fans to see what the Michigan Blogdom was saying about that week's game.

Seven more weeks.

The Michigan Football program has had a pretty rough decade. It's certainly been a rough 6 years that I have been previewing their football games. I don't think I need to recap it for you.

Seven more weeks.

I've been a big Michigan fans since I really started paying attention to college sports. It wasn't a family thing, no one I knew growing up went there. I just sort of fell in love with the teams. Maybe it was the cool helmets? I don't know. All I know is I have been "invested" in Michigan football pretty deep and for a long time.

Seven more weeks.

This fall is a pretty busy time. I'm getting married this November. On Michigan's bye week (my fiancee is a wonderful woman). So all that prep is going on. My fiancee also has two boys (7, 8). They are getting into youth sports like crazy. Which is great. Fall baseball and flag football are happening right now. Which means Saturday afternoons are pretty well packed. Being on the west coast, those 3:30 start times are smack dab in the middle of the day. Between games and practices, the DVR gets a lot of use.

Seven more weeks.

I've worked out a pretty good system for DVRing games. I text all my college football watching buddies and let them know I'm DVRing the game. Many of them are in the same situation with kid activities so DVRing is a known and respected practice. Then I avoid all TVs, scoring updates and phone alerts. I want to experience the game as if I'm watching it live. It's worked out pretty well.

Seven more weeks

I employed this practice for the second week in a row. Last week, it didn't work out so well. I usually add the hour extension just in case of over time or a late start or something weird. We all know what happened last week with the weather delay. So I missed the end of that game. No biggie, that was a rough one anyway.

Seven more weeks.

Delaying watching the game can be fun. The anticipation to see the team play is brimming almost over the top. The excitement and challenge to avoid all the scores can be exhilarating as well. You get to skip all the damn commercials and halftime talking heads. It's all pretty great.

Eight more weeks.

By the time I get to sit down and watch the game, I am so ready! So I did that at about 5 last night, fully suited up in my Michigan gear. The day behind me. All my attention directed to the TV. And what do I get for the second week in a row? That.

Seven more weeks.

It's tiring. It's painful. But it's getting easier. It use to be that Michigan, losing, put me in an awful mood. I'd either spend the rest of the night sullen, weepy or drunk. Or on especially rough outings all three. Now, I'm super bummed, but on to the next thing. And that "whelp" feeling, that nonchalant feeling stings. A lot.

Seven more weeks.

This team has a ton of talented kids. The recruiting ranking sites don't usually get it wrong. Especially with large groups like an entire football team.

Seven more weeks.

At some point all the "we didn't executes" have to point away from the field and back to the coaching staff.

Seven more weeks.

And I think we've reach that point. The coaches say we "don't see what they see in practice". What the hell are you looking at? One time, maybe. Every single Saturday, though? Maybe you're not seeing the right things.

Seven more weeks.

I'm not a professional coach. But I did play college football. I get it. I know what the coaches are saying. What I can't accept is that they aren't fixing it. That is all on coaching.

Seven more weeks.

I have no idea what's going on with this football team. They lack leadership. They lack direction. At this point it looks like they lack fire.

Seven more weeks.

On November 15th at 2:00 pm I'll be watching my beautiful bride-to-be walk down that aisle to take her her place next to me so we can be joined in holy matrimony. That will be an amazing moment in my life. At the same time in Crisler Arena a GREAT COACH will be guiding yet another young, inexperienced team into a new season.

Seven more weeks.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Minnesota

It might take Golfers to show up for Michigan to win.

Okay, it's B1G time. New season. Michigan still has a chance to make this a respectable year given how awful the B1G is. Here's to hoping man.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-1, 0-0 B1G) @ Michigan Wolverines (2-2, 0-0 B1G)
Michigan Stadium, Saturday 9/27, 3:30 ET ABC/ESPN2

Just don't suck.

Since Hoke thinks it gains him some secret advantage by not giving injury updates or any updates at all, we won't know who's starting at QB until kick off, I imagine. But what ever. I'm not sure it's going to matter. Gardner has no confidence and Morris clearly isn't ready. Not that, THAT, even matters because the line regressed and the backs can't seem to find the small holes that the line does open.

Michigan hasn't shown that it's capable of scoring against anything resembling a good defense. The good news is that the Gophers are closer to Miami OH than Utah. So there is hope.

I think all the fans just want to see something that has rhythm and flow and not some janky, disjointed crap display that we've seen against Notre Dame and Utah.

Keep it up.

Minnesota is starting it's back up quarterback. They completed one pass on seven attempts last week. But they rushed for 380 yards. The good news is that Michigan's run defense is pretty damn good. All the damage has come through the air. This is a good match up for the Wolverines.

Expect more of the same. Great line play and a minor screw up that could turn into some big yards. But basically a good outing by the defense.

Special Teams
Just put enough guys on the field.

Nothing more than that. Just don't be complete morons.

Have I half assed this preview? Yeah maybe a bit. I'm really trying hard here. Really trying. I gave up and came back about 30 times between Saturday night and today. I'm impressed I'm still here.

Anywho, somehow Michigan is favored in this game. By double digits. That's two touchdowns. I don't think Vegas, or better yet, the public think much of Minnesota. I tend to agree.

Michigan's defense continues to play very well. Minnesota can't do anything on offense. Michigan's offense gives the Gophers some good field position from which they score. But Michigan wins an ugly, ugly game.

Michigan 17 - 6

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Quick Buck Thursday: Recovering From the Revenge of the B1G

Revenge is a dish best served cold!

The B1G had it's revenge on me last week. I can somewhat see the Iowa win, but Indiana? WTF Missouri? The good news is I finished in the positives last week. Turning it around from the previous week.

Unit roll - 44 Units

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State -14 - 2 Units
The Cowboys are quiet good this season. Not to mention that TT is just 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games. Oh and OSU is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 home games. I see this as a three score victory.

UTEP @ Kansas State -26 - 2 Units
K State is a good. They should have beat Auburn last week, but continually shot themselves in the foot. Despite the fact that UTEP is 3-0 ATS, I have a feeling this is going to be a "take out your frustrations" game for K State.

Bowling Green -4.5 @ UMASS - 5 Units
This is a straight line move pick. The line started at 10.5 and because of BG's ass whooping at Wisconsin and the fact that it's UMASS's stadium debut, I think it's dropped. UMASS is no Wisconsin. In fact they are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10. The Falcons are 9-3 in their last 12 road games.

Arkansas @ Texas A&M -9 - 2 Units
I like this A&M team. But I like them because of their defense. I know the Hogs are all big and nasty, but A&M will get enough stops and that offense will soar over Arkansas.

Baylor @ Iowa State +21 - 2 Units
It's the every allusive night game in Ames. Weird things happen at Jack Trice Stadium my friends. I've seen it. In this series the home team is 10-1 ATS. Weird things happen at Jack Trice Stadium.

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over of the Week
Arkansas @ Texas A&M - Over 70.5
Arkansas is 4-0 in the over this season. Point are going to be needed to take this one home for A&M. And we're talking about two SEC defenses here, so point will come.

The Bob Drake "I need another team for my 21-team teaser" Double Bonus 
UNLV @ San Diego State - Over 56.5
Neither of these teams are good. And neither are good on defense. Between the two of them they hit the under once this season. This will have both teams in the 30's I feel.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Utah

Let's hope I'm not switching over to Point Break by halftime.

Hey look it's a real, live PAC-12 team. Another measuring stick for Michigan, as we all try and get the taste of tomato soup out of our mouths.

Utah Utes (2-0, 0-0 PAC-12) @ Michigan Wolverines (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Michigan Stadium, Saturday, 9/20, 3:30 pm ET ABC/ESPN2

Well Michigan is lining up against another opponent with a pulse. So how will the offense respond? That's the question on all the fans' minds. Utah is the third ranked defense in FEI. Now, they've played Idaho St and Fresno St, two not-so-good teams. So take that for what its worth. Regardless the offense needs build on the momentum from last week. Against Notre Dame the answer was no. Let's see what happens here.

Devin Gardner has to make better decisions in the passing game. Funchess's status is, oh who the hell knows given Hoke's very Belicheckian policies. I think the Wolverines will need both Devin's to play well to win this game.

The offensive line is actually doing good things. Greene seems to be learning game to game. So I expect a good but not great day from the run game. The "explosive plays", as Nuss calls them, will come in the passing game.

It's hard to say if Utah's offense is any good. I think the defense will be tested once again. I'm certain Utah looked at the ND film and will try to get all slanty with it. I suspect Michigan will see lots of three step drop, quick passes in an effort for the Utes to keep Travis Wilson's jersey clean.

Big key here will be if the DB's can give an extra half a second to Frank Clark. If Utah's timing is off slightly Clark could have a big, big day. Look for Pepper's to reprise his role as the boundary corner and Countess to see time at the nickle. That seemed to work well last game.

Special Teams
For the love of everything good and holy, no more punts from the 37!

Well, I'm not sure. Is Utah any good? Can Michigan step it up against a decent to good team? I'd love to say "yes" with confidence. But I just can't.

The defense should hold up just fine. And if the offense can just keep from turning the damn ball over, Michigan should squeak out a win. But, can they? The offensive line is going to need to control this game. If Michigan can have success on the ground and keep Gardner from having to do it all with his arm, success is there for the taking.

Jake Ryan does something that makes us remember that he's JMFR. Norfleet gets more involved in the offense. Gardner doesn't turn the ball over. Michigan wins.

Michigan 27-24

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quick Buck Thursday: Surviving With Cuteness

Cute animals always make things better.

Mama said they're be days like last week. Or something. Let's rebound from last week and hit this week hard.

Unit Roll - 42 Units

Iowa @ Pittsburgh -6.5 - 2 units
B1G team on the road! B1G team on the road! Grab this number now before it goes any higher.

Marshall -9 @ Akron - 2 units
Marshall has look really good thus far. They should have plenty of offense and enough defense to cover a single digit number. This number has come down from 12, it may bounce back up. Keep an eye on it and don't let it get over 10.

Tulane @ Duke -17 - 2 units
The Dukies are back for another week. And it's a similar story. I think Tulane will give a bit tougher test than Kansas, but 17 still isn't enough points to scare me off.

Indiana @ Missouri -13.5 - 5 units
B1G team on the road! B1G team on the road!

Grab this number now before it goes any higher. Seriously, if I were you I would bet against every B1G team this week. There are 11 games on the board. At the worst you go 7-4. I'll take that all day.

Oklahoma -7.5 @ West Virginia - 5 units
Oh goody. It looks like the public is all giddy after WVU snuck out a win over a B1G team. Come on. Or maybe they're thinking about last year's 16-7 stinker. Live in the now peeps. My guess is the Alabama game is driving this one down. Alabama ain't what they use to be. Give the points and enjoy the look on Holgerson's face as the Sooner's blow out the 'Eers.

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over of the Week
Auburn @ Kansas State - Over 65
Auburn's crazy paced offense against a K-State team that needs points to win. Enjoy this one tonight as you go over the total late in the 3rd or early in the fourth.

The Bob Drake "I need another team for my 21-team teaser" Double Bonus 
Northern Illinois @ Arkansas - Over 64.5
The big man (the namesake of this bonus) hates when I put NIU in the mix. When I tell him he's likely going to say something like "NIU, you asshole. They always F me." And he's right the huskies have burned us a time or two. But, this is more about Arkansas hog of an offensive line and Beilema's tendency to run up the damn score. NIU is good for 17 in this game which is plenty to get you over that 64.5.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Miami (Ohio) (NTM)

See what I did there. I replace "Red" with 'Chicken'. Clever, right?

How do you bounce back from an embarrassing loss to a rival in the final scheduled game of the series? You order up a team that hasn't won a game since October 27th, 2012. Yes, you read that correctly, 2012.

Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (0-2, 0-0 MAC) @ Michigan Wolverines (1-1, 0-0 B1G)
Michigan Stadium, Saturday 9/13, 3:30 pm ET BTN

Well last week happened. This week I'll be looking to see how these kids respond. All the backs (running and Quarter) had a bit of a rough go last week. I suspect they will bounce back just fine. The offense line will continue to gel and look more like they did against Appy St. I'd like to see one of the running backs distance himself from the other. I'm now firmly on Team Smith. But, honestly I don't care who it is, I just want to see one.

Devin Gardner needs to show that he can spread the ball around. He needs to develop his vision in the pocket. He has way to many weapons to just lock into his first option and make a poor throw or take a sack. Progress, young man. Progress.

Can a brotha get a jam at the line, please? Please? I actually played cornerback in high school, on a state-runner up football team. We typically played man, as it was a small school and our schemes weren't that developed. That, and it was the stone age. Anyway, you are going to fail as a defense back, playing man if you can not disrupt the receiver's routes. You can't give up the inside and you can't let the receiver stay in time.

PLUS, you have to disrupt the timing to give your front 7 a chance to get to the quarterback. Frank Clark is going to go postal on the secondary if he has another game with 350 "almost sacks". These aren't Notre Dame receivers we're talking about here, so I don't think this will be an issue. If it is, may the good lord help us all.

Special Teams
For the love of Bo will a kicker please put the ball through the damn uprights. I'm not sure what's going on in Wile's head, but he ain't right. I get the miss on the second kick, he slipped. But that's three other kicks now that just looked awful.

You. Kick. Ball. Uprights. Simple.

I can't see Michigan struggle in this game. Just way too much of a talent difference. This is a team that is going to beat up on inferior talent and struggle against good competition. It just is. They're still too young and green offensively to be dominate.

That said, everyone loves a Mac-Snack early in the season. And thankfully, this snack is more of a Twinkie than a bag of Jack's Link Jerky. No messin' with Sasquatch this day my friends.

Michigan 48 -10

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quick Buck Thursday: A Few Of My Favorites

I don't care what you say, Julie Andrews was a hottie!

It's a good start to the season going 2-0 on the 5-unit games. Stick with me kid, we're going places!

Unit Roll - 51 Units

Louisiana Tech @ North Texas -3.5 - 2 units
Both these teams had rough first games against the Big XII and then convincing wins in their second. These two are pretty evenly matched. But The Mean Green are a convincing 8-1 ATS at home their last nine home games. I like those odds.

Louisville -6.5 @ Virginia - 5 units
Virginia hung tough with UCLA. Louisville doesn't need to travel as far as the Bruins. It looks like Bobby has the Cardinals picking up right were he left off. I'd get on this one before the sharps starting pushing it back up.

Kansas @ Duke -15 - 2 units
Duke is 2-0. But they are just 0-1-1 ATS. And you know what? I don't care. Kansas is, well, Kansas. On the road. Where there are 7-18-1 in their last 26. It's ah not so great. Enjoy this little afternoon W.

Purdue @ Notre Dame -28 - 2 units
Purdue is a dumpster fire. Golson is not the same quarterback he was two years ago. Easy pick.

Arizona State -15.5 @ Colorado - 2 units
What a nice little nightcap. No? Colorado continues to impress this season by starting out 0-2 ATS. I know The Devils have had their struggles on the road, but you just can't pass this up. But grab this number now before it gets any higher.

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over Of The Week
Baylor @ Buffalo - OVER 69
We're going with the namesake in this one. I have a feeling this one comes in around 85.

The Bob Drake "I need another team for my 21 team teaser" Double Bonus 
Nebraska @ Fresno State - Over 63
Both these teams have gone over in both their games thus far. The Black Shirts are non-existent. Grab it before it goes up.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Open Letter To B1G Football

I think what we have here is a case of "Puppy Death Syndrome"

Dear B1G Football,

We need to talk. Like really talk. Like maybe we should go see someone kind of talk. I know how against it you are, but if we don't do something our relationship could be in real trouble. We've been hinting at it for years now. I think it's finally come to a head and we need to listen to what everyone else already know. Our relationship is in trouble.

After what happened yesterday I went on the internet and did some research. Not just for me, but for us. Some of this might hurt, but I think we'll have a stronger bond when we come out the other side.

In this article I found, Dr. Margaret Paul gives us the seven ingredients of a Healthy Relationship. I'd like you to hear my side of things and then just follow up with your feelings or better yet, I'd like to see your actions change after we go through this. Again this is not just for me, but for us.

1) Emotional Responsibility
I'm not suggesting that I have totally abandoned myself here. What I'm saying is I think I've been slipping towards a place where my emotional safety is at risk each and every weekend. This is not your fault. I know that I am the keeper of my own happiness and self-worth. What I want you to understand is when Jesse Palmer suggests in the early part of Saturday that Purdue is indicative of the other B1G schools, I may not be as apt to defend you. I know this may hurt, but I'm afraid, my emotional well being is at risk if I continue to blindly and emotionally defend the quality of the conference.

2) Kindness, Acceptance, Compassion and Empathy
Dr. Paul says that these pillars come naturally once you have stopped abandoning yourself, so for me the time for this is here. I'm concerned that your time may not be. I need you to understand how I feel, Northwestern. I don't want to be unkind, but it's important that you be empathetic to what it will be like when at work on Monday everyone is all like "NIU LOLZ". I accept you for who and what you are. And I promise to be kind and compassionate when I talk about tire fires moving forward.

3) Warmth, Affection, Connection, Laughter and Fun
This use to be fun. We use to laugh at the ACC and Big East together, remember? Michigan? Do you remember how we use to enjoy Saturday afternoons together? Back when you could put points on the board? Buckeyes? Remember when early season home losses were unimaginable? I think we can find that place again, we just need to take responsibility for our own happiness. I'm getting there, I want you to as well.

4) Enjoy Time Together and Time Apart
I think this one is really important. Look, you went out and got your own network, which we both thought would be so great for our relationship. And, during basketball season, it's really great. But now I'm afraid we may be smothering one an other. It use to be that squeaking out a win against an FCS team could be lost to the ether with no one seeing. Now every game is available for us to see. I think it's time we spent some time apart, Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska. I'm just going to need some me time to get us on the right track again. It's time for you, too, to find your happiness. This will make our future "together time" so much better.

5) Learning Through Conflict
It's important that we find our system for learning through our conflicts. Yesterday was a perfect example of this. Me? What I did was turn to booze and tried to avoid texts and twitter. I don't think this is healthy for me or for our relationship. When things get rough, Sparty, and you blow a second half lead, we need a way to get through it. And, you Wisconsin. When you have nine points on the board at halftime against a terrible, terrible team, we need a way to work through our anger. And Michigan, well, I think we'll have to talk later.

6) Trust That You Support Each Other's Highest Good -- Joy for Each Other's Joy
What Dr. Paul is saying here is that we need to trust that we are not out to deliberately hurt one another. This, in my opinion, is the toughest one on the list. This morning I'm running through everything in my head and wondering if you are really capable of breaking through here. I mean Maryland, it looked like you were trying everything in your power to give that game away yesterday. Doesn't that seem deliberate to you? I will support you, I always have. But, it's going to be difficult until we heal.

7) Spark -- Physical, Emotional and Intellectual
Rutgers, I think you've done the best job with number seven. I know that each and every one of you has it in you to come through. I know it's in there. I've seen it before. We have a few more games until conference starts to light that fire. I'm ready if you are.

I hope you take these seven ingredients as seriously as I am. Like I said, I am going to work on my inner healing. And I think we may have to spend some time apart in order to get our relationship back to where it use to be.

I'm counting on you, B1G. Please don't let me down.

With all my undying love and support,

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Dirty Filthy Catholics

I'm sad this is the last scheduled meeting. 

What is always one of my favorite non-conference games of the year will cease to exist after tomorrow. Fear and money do strange things to a man. Yeah, I'm talking to you Jack!

Enough of that nonsense, let's see if the Wolverines can build off their hot start last week.

Michigan Wolverines (1-0, 0-0 B1G) @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0)
Notre Dame Stadium, Saturday, 7:35 pm ET NBC

As far as we know the "Study Hall Cheaters", as I am now referring to them, are still suspended. Which means The Irish defense is missing key contributors. They did hold down Rice last week. But that not very good Rice did rush for 3.5 yd/carry. I think Michigan will have some opportunities on the edges in the running game. The Irish linebacking corps isn't all that impressive either, so look for Funchess and Norfleet to make a living in the middle of the field. I think that Nuss will try and neutralize the ND D-Line, so look for a series of screens for both backs and outside WRs.

Everett Golson is back for the Irish this season. He was mediocre in the opener last week. Again, Rice. The only question for the Defense from last week is the effectiveness of Jake Ryan as the middle linebacker. With Morgan out, he's really going to have to play well to keep this Irish offense down. I am excited to see how the secondary matches up with the Irish wide outs. Should be a good test for the talented secondary.

Special Teams
These games are always so close that a special teams play is going to matter. I'm interested to see if Peppers will be back to return punts again. I hope so. I see Hagerup flipping the field once or twice to make a huge difference in the game.