Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkeys, Rivalries and Football

Well, I hope my Thanksgiving Dinner is better than my prognosticating. If it’s not, I can look forward to burnt dinner rolls, dry turkey and stuffing that isn’t Stove Top. As a side note, I know that many things are better when not made from a can. Stuffing is not one of them. Stove Top has perfected it and we should stop trying our own creations.

Do not let one bad week fool you, I am going to press on and do better this week. I feel strongly about this week’s picks. Much stronger than last week’s picks. Still, as always, letting me help you decide how you should bet is like letting David Petraeus tell you how to avoid getting caught in an affair. You would think the CIA Director would know what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t.

Of course, its rivalry week, so throw out those records.

Last week:
Straight up: 2-3
ATS: 2-3

Game of the Week:
Georgia Tech (6-5, 5-3) at #3 Georgia (10-1, 7-1); 11 a.m. ESPN
The Georgia Bulldogs control their own destiny. Win here and beat Alabama next week and the ‘Dogs are headed to the title game. The Rambling Wreck though would love nothing more than to spoil their rival’s season.

Tech brings the triple option offense to Athens. The Yellow Jackets score and give up points by the bushel basket. Their offense is 3rd in rushing yards and 119th in passing yards per game. Georgia will have to play smart assignment football to slow them down. Regardless of the outcome, Tech will go to the ACC Championship game next week against Florida State.

The Bulldogs are no slouches averaging 37 ppg and are unbeaten at home. QB Aaron Murray triggers a balanced offense. Georgia gives up only 18 points per game. Keep in mind, Georgia’s SEC schedule has been softer than usual. No Alabama, No LSU. Are they really this good?

I’m having a hard time getting that performance at Mizzou out of my head here. Georgia though has scored at least 30 points in the last 5 meetings with the Jackets.
The Line: Georgia by 13. Over/Under is 64.

The Pick: This is a score-fest. Take the Over. Georgia 41 Ga Tech 35.

#21 Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2) at #13 Oklahoma (8-2, 6-1)  3:30 p.m. ESPN
A great Saturday matchup in the annual Bedlam game in Norman.

Both teams will sling the ball around. Both are in the top 10 in scoring offense. Both teams hate one another.

Oklahoma has been gouged for huge yards the last two games. West Virginia racked up 778 yards…in one game! QB Landry Jones and WR Kenny Stills bailed them out, but can they do it again. Or will Bob Stoops fix the defense?

Oklahoma State’s offense is so hot that one quarterback can’t keep up. So the Cowpokes have been running different passing offenses with different quarterbacks. For good measure they are in the top 20 in rushing offense. They are giving up 26 ppg.

High scoring with little to no defense. Now that’s the Big 12 we all know and love. Also, for added information, OSU hasn’t won in Norman since 2001.

The Line: Oklahoma by 7.

The Pick: The Cowpokes have disappointed me once this year, but lets have ourselves an upset. OSU 49 OU 45. Now that would be Bedlam.

Indiana (4-7, 2-5) at Purdue (5-6, 2-5). 11 a.m. BTN
The Old Oaken Bucket contest. Indiana’s other two universities will duke it out for the prize on Saturday.

Remember when Indiana controlled its destiny. Yeah that was fun for a week. Each team has incentive here. Hooseirs want the Bucket back (I’m assuming this, but no one has told me otherwise) and the Boilers can go to a bowl and maybe save Danny Hope’s job (again, I’m assuming they want to do that).

Purdue is a more balanced offense. Indiana likes to throw the ball and not play defense.   

The Line: Purdue is a 5.5 point favorite.

The Pick: Boilers have won 2 in a row on the road and have a reason to care. Purdue 31 Indiana 24.

#14 Nebraska (9-2, 6-1) at Iowa (4-7, 2-5). 11 a.m. Friday.
Black Friday indeed.

Memo to Iowa. If this series does not get competitive and in a hurry, you are going to lose this sweet spot on the day after Thanksgiving.

Huskers are playing for the right to go to Indianapolis and play Wisconsin. Lose and Michigan may slip in to the spot.

We’ve covered this before- Iowa is an awful football team with nothing to play for except pride. Nebraska will likely walk into a stadium that is 25% red on Friday, playing for a BIG title game berth. Taylor Martinez is still their adequate quarterback and Rex is superman.

Keep an eye on the over/under this game of 53. Nebraska won’t score 54 and it’s a decent bet Iowa won’t even score.

The Line: Huskers by 15.

The Pick: Yeah, I’ll buy that- Nebraska 28 Iowa 10.

#4 Northwest Missouri State (10-2) at #1 Minnesota State-Mankato (11-0). Noon. Saturday.
Well, it could be worse; you could be travelling to Mankato, Minnesota for Thanksgiving.

Northwest advanced on a 35-0 rout of Harding. MSU-Mankato spent the week waiting. Mankato also has very little playoff history to learn from - meaning they wasted the week.

Bearcats reportedly get running back duo Jordan Simmons and James Franklin back. That could be a head game from Head Coach Adam Dorrel. Defense has been solid all year. It’s going to be a balmy 33 degrees and not much for wind, which helps the Bearcats. Cats have an amazing +21 turnover margin. Also, they like to go on the road.

The Mavericks won the NSIC. They are statistically one of the top defenses in Division II. They give up and average of 74 ypg on the ground. Their offense appears versatile, while relying on the ground game. Three backs range between 54 and 61 ypg. Their QB puts up 160 yards passing per game, with a whopping 85 of it going to WR Andy Theilen. The Bearcats might want to find him.

The Mavs have not been in many tight ballgames this year. I think Northwest is far and away the best team they’ve played this year. The ‘Cats will run the ball on them and then pass it for good measure. If the weather is all right, I feel good about Northwest’s chances. Bad weather will favor the Mavs ground game.

The Line: Let’s give the top seed in the region playing at home three points.

The Pick: For the second week in a row C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats. Northwest 31 MSU 24.

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