Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back in the saddle for another SEC run to crystal

Hey Loyal Readers,

Well, it’s great to be back in the saddle again here at the best blog on the net. And I am ready to drop some 2012 college football knowledge. I’m looking forward to another season full of W’s (both on the field and in my predictions) while watching another unpredictable set of games unfold. That is, until the season ends as everyone expects it to…with an SEC team invariably bringing home another crystal ball. 

As you already know, our dear moderator changed things up this year and we’ll be picking four games of interest (plus one GOTW) rather than focusing on one conference. In other words, as you’ve already deduced, my fellow bloggers were just tired of watching life imitate…well life…as yours truly told you week in and week out who to lock in, as the SEC simultaneously proved its preeminence. Then again, I know my fellow scribes enjoyed fighting to see who would bring home the turd in a bowl trophy, better known as the MVP of the “conferences nobody cares about” write ups. 

Anyway, before we get a Facebook post (and photo) of one of my fellow writers proudly smiling because they won the “first annual turd in a bowl trophy,” let’s get to the games (as always, you’re welcome in advance):

Tennessee/NC State(+3)
I have to admit, this game has some “here at home” implications since my better half is a proud alumnus of NCSU. And to make matters even better, her dad (aka my father-in-law) will be in town this weekend and he’s a tried and true graduate of the University of North Carolina. Anyway, emotions aside, even though they are underdogs, I think NCSU gets it done. Mike Glennon should tear up the UT secondary, Tyler Bray will be missing Da’Ri’ck ‘Ro’ger’s (and all his apostrophes) and everyone from TN will be so busy obsessing about getting Dooley fired (and wondering just how bright his orange pants are) that they won’t notice David Amerson intercepting at least one pass (or that the secondary returns all four starters). Expect a back and forth shoot out (the over/under at 52 is definitely enticing) with the ‘Pack secondary making a late defensive play to seal the win 38-35.

Boise State/Michigan State (-7)
Take Sparty. Do it. Do it now. Boise State has to replace their entire starting D Line, Kellen Moore is gone (love him or hate him, he won a ton of games), Doug Martin is in Tampa Bay, and in total 17 starters from last year are now enjoying greener pastures (whether that be farming the fertile Idaho countryside or NFL $$’s). Not to mention, Michigan State sports a dominant defense with eight starters back from a unit that ranked sixth nationally last year. Look for the Broncos to struggle on offense as they break in so many new players and Le’Veon Bell and the MSU O line to pound the ball at a reconfigured Boise State D. The Spartans take care of business at home, 28-17.

Arkansas State/Oregon (-36)
Certainly there are questions about this game – can Gus Malzahn repeat the magic from his time as offensive coordinator at Auburn (when the Cam Newton Criminals, I mean Tigers, beat Oregon)? Will Oregon’s offense be as prolific as years past, without Darron Thomas at quarterback and with LaMichael James now running for the 49ers? Can you trust first time Oregon starting quarterback Marcus Mariota? Does Arkansas State build on last year's 10-3 season (and appearance in the always prestigious Bowl) and make this game competitive? Those are all good questions which is why I’m focused on the over/(under) at 67. Given the Ducks ability to score and the fact that the Red Wolves (that’s ASU’s mascot – totally under rated, if you ask me) will be running Malzahn’s high tempo offense with returning QB Ryan Aplin taking the snaps I don’t think there’s any doubt that these teams combine for at least 70.

SUNY – Buffalo/Georgia (-37)
Honestly I didn’t even know Buffalo had an FBS team until I realized that Turner Gill used to be the coach there for a couple years. You know, until he decided to migrate to Kansas and then live in infamy as "the guy Charlie Weis replaced" (I imagine that “honor” won’t go on his wall of fame). Anyway, I’m not really sure that any stats matter for this game since Georgia is clearly going to roll. The only question is whether they win by 50. I say not quite, but UGA rolls, 56-7.

Michigan/Alabama (-13.5)
I’m not really sure why this is the game of the week other than it’s a chance to shine the spotlight on Alabama (Roll Tide!!). Then again, why am I complaining – as always, the SEC is right where they belong, in the spotlight. Others may say this is going to be a game, but it won’t. AJ McCarron has Saban’s trust after last year’s BCS title game blowout, the offensive line is going to absolutely dominant which will afford Eddie Lacy the chance to get into the Wolverine’s secondary unscathed, and the defense, while adding new starters, won’t struggle as much as the “experts” assume since many of the returning players were on the field for significant minutes last year.

Not to mention, Michigan is without Fitz Toussaint and although they have a veteran O Line, they are replacing two four year starters on the D Line. As noted above, that’s no way to head in to a game against Saban’s troops. And, as we saw last year when the Tide had extra time to prepare for LSU, does anybody really think Shoelace is going to do anything against Kirby Smart and the Tide D? You know, other than wonder why his jock strap is in his nose?

To recap – the #1 (or #2?) team in the country with extra time to prepare is going against a Michigan team that over-achieved last year and is going to be one-dimensional (or is it “half dimensional” since Shoelace can run but not throw) and people think the Wolverines have a shot? Ask LSU how it worked out for them in January with a “running” quarterback. I rest my case. The Tide laugh this game off as a “challenge” and look forward to facing some real competition when SEC play begins. Shoelace punches one in late to close the gap to what Michigan fans will think is a respectable final score, 35-10. New year, same story…Roll Tide.

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