Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hair Bands, Donut Holes, and Football

Hey Loyal Readers,

Well, after taking a week off your humble correspondent is, well, still very tired. Fortunately for me, I've got a cold beverage, a box of donut holes (in festive Halloween packaging!) and Pandora playing a quality of mix '80's hair bands (I think we can all agree that the only thing better than hearing JBJ singing "Shot Through the Heart" is actually seeing JBJ singing "Shot Through the Heart" live from the front row...where are my stone washed jeans?!?!?). And with those positive vibes flowing through the mansion, it's time to get to some games, some winners, and wait...yep, you guessed it..."...every rose has its thorn, just like every night has its dawn..."

Oregon/Arizona State (Over/Under @69) 
Thursday 10/18, 9 p.m. eastern ESPN

I usually don't bother with Thursday night games but this one is easy money. For some unknown reason, the over/under is only 69, even though these teams average a combined 90+ points per game. Add to that the fact the Sun Devils' players and fans will be geared up for the bright lights of the Thursday night spotlight, Coach Graham will be seeking a signature win for his program (to help gain the recruiting edge on Drake's Man-Crush of the Year, Rich-Rod) and Coach Kelly and the Ducks need to continue impressing the voters so they don't slide in the standings. And this one has the makings of a Thursday night shootout. Put it this way, even if Oregon does no better than hitting their scoring and points against averages (52.3 and 20, respectively), you're still winning. Take the over, win some money, and don't forget to tip your waitress.

Iowa State/Oklahoma State (-14) 
Saturday 10/20, 12:00 p.m. eastern FX

I'm sure CyClown will have 1,000,001 (that's a million and a one for those of you with a Big XII education) reasons why Iowa State will (at least) cover. Actually, he'll probably try to talk you in to them winning. And, at first glance, it might make sense since ISU is ranked, they just took K State to the wire, and they even beat TCU. I'm just not buying it. There's a reason Vegas has Okie State as a 14 point favorite and it's because the cornfield crew won't be able to slow down the Cowboy offense. And I don't think the Cyclones have the firepower to keep up once they do fall behind. Add to that, Coach Gundy's added incentive to pour it on since he's still smarting from the loss last year (and the lost chance to play for the national championship with his 45 year old QB) and this one will be over in third quarter. OSU is up by 7 at half, blows it open in the third and wins going away 45-20.

Kansas State/West Virginia (-2.5)
Saturday 10/20, 7:00 p.m. eastern Fox

This line opened at West Virginia -4.5 and has moved to the Mountaineers giving only 2.5 so obviously the world doesn't think the fighting Holgerson's have a shot. I disagree. Yes, WVU looked mortal last week at Texas Tech but I don't think it carries over to this week since Geno Smith and the offense will be out to prove they are better than last week's showing. And, while the WVU defense doesn't exactly bring to mind the Steel Curtain, I think they'll slow Klein and KSU enough and make enough stops to let West Virginia play from ahead, which is when they thrive. Look for West Virginia to jump out to a lead, and while the Wildcats will hang around, they don't possess a quick strike offense capable of keeping up with Geno Smith as he looks to re-enter the Heisman conversation. West Virginia wins by two scores.

Alabama (-20)/Tennessee 
Saturday 10/20, 7:00 p.m. eastern ESPN

Finally, I feel back at home, writing about the best conference in land. Oh wait, never mind, the ACC is good too. Seriously though, Alabama's defense is giving up about 7.5 points per game, and about 55 yards per game on the ground. Meanwhile, they are averaging 40.5 points per game and rushing for 217 yards per game. In other words, they are dominating the line of scrimmage (both offensively and defensively), getting ahead and forcing the other team to become one dimensional. And while Tyler Bray has put up some decent numbers this year, he hasn't faced this level of defense. And, he'll be doing it while playing from behind, given UT's absolutely horrible defense, which is surrendering over 31 points per game. As an added bonus, any time I write about the Volunteers, I always get a great quote from their orange pant wearing head coach. And this week is no his own words, "We're not very good right now..." If that's not a ringing endorsement to take the Tide, I don't know what is. Alright, loyal readers, you know how it goes. so say it with unison.......Roll Tide 38-7.

GOTW: South Carolina/Florida (-3.5) 
Saturday 10/20, 3:30 p.m. eastern CBS

The Ol' Ball Coach returns to Florida with a ton on the line including assuming alpha dog status in the SEC East (and earning the right to lose to Alabama or LSU in the SEC title game) to keep their national championship hopes (dreams?) alive. Meanwhile, Florida is playing for much the same as they've vaulted up the rankings with impressive wins over LSU and Texas AM. While I certainly love the Gamecocks defense (Clowney is a beast), I don't think he'll be as disruptive against a run-heavy Gators team. And now I'm hearing rumblings that Lattimore may be injured. Those things, combined with Florida finding its footing on offense now that they are settled at quarterback, means that USC (and no, I don't mean that over-rated team out west) loses another close one (hello Capital One Bowl!!). Florida by 4, 21-17.

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