Week 4 – Let the Games Begin

With the coming of mid-September, we finally begin to see the real slate of games shape up.

Conference play is more the norm than paycheck games, but of course there are still a few of those left. The top of the polls remained static in contrast to the fluidity of the bottom of the 25. It seems that teams like USC and Maryland don’t prefer to be ranked. Utah seems destined to rise to the top and UCF has one its annual big game against a marginal Power 5 school. And the Iowa v Iowa St game had almost as much delay as play as the state was pummeled by storms.

This week we find three rank v rank games. We will know the real Michigan Saturday night, Auburn must travel to Texas A&M, and Notre Dame goes to Georgia for the first time. That will guarantee more movement within the polls. I think the Wolverines, Aggies, and Bulldogs all prevail. BYU has looked pretty good so far with OT wins against big name programs. The season is shaping up to entertain. And what will the nation think if Auburn wins and we find 4 of the top 5 from the SEC on Sunday afternoon?

Last week was another decent wee in the Top 25 and SEC action for me. I went 19-9 bringing my season to 54-28.

In the Vegas 5, I went 4-1 to bring the season to 11-4.

This week I take Washington St (-18.5) over UCLA. I like Oregon (-10.5) at Stanford. Give me The Over (61.5) for Southern Miss @ Alabama and Utah (-4) at USC. Lastly, I take Miami-Ohio (+39.5) at Ohio State, cause that’s a lot of points.

Who’d you have?

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Week 3 – Blah

Hopefully this is the last of the blah weeks. Not many marquee matchups and blowouts should be plentiful.

It was hot in Tuscaloosa. I mean, hot. The Alabama O Line needs to gel if the Tide hope to achieve their goals. Clemson took care of aTm in what now looks like their toughest challenge of the regular season. Outside of that, the races are still too early to call due to lack of quality opponents. Ohio St and Oklahoma are yet to be challenged. Michigan did what the Sooners did last year and went to OT against Army. Let’s see if their season ends with a playoff run, too. Oregon found their offense and LSU found a QB. But the LSU D did not look like the LSU D we are accustomed to seeing.

UCLA, Tennessee, and Miami are 0-2. Florida St probably should be as well. Throw in the recent dip in performance at USC (until last week) and it’s easy to find why the attendance numbers are down in college football. When five of the top programs with massive stadiums can’t fill seats, it skews the numbers.

This week sees Alabama attempting to own an active win streak against every SEC opponent if they beat South Carolina. The teams have not met since Stephen Garcia had his best day ever in 2010. Clemson going to Syracuse no longer looks like a prime-time game after the Orange were routed by a surprisingly good Maryland team. Nebraska looks to rebound after falling to another surprising team in Colorado. The CyHawk will be decided when Iowa travels to Iowa St. Should be one of the better matchups on the day. And stay up late to track Hawaii at Washington. Do the Huskies bounce back or do the Rainbow Warriors shock the West?

Last week I went 3-2 in the Vegas 5 taking the season total to 7-3. In Top 25 and SEC action I went 19-9 (there was a push in the Auburn game) which takes me to 35-19 on the year.

This week the Vegas 5 give me the Over (59.5) for Ohio St @ Indiana. I like Oklahoma (-23.5) against UCLA. I’ll grab the Under (64) for Colorado St @ Arkansas. Give me Georgia Southern (+16.5) at Minnesota. And lastly, I want BYU (+4.5) against USC.

Who are you taking?

Week 2 – The Overreaction

Every major conference suffered perception setbacks in Week 1. The SEC East provided the biggest face plant moments.

There were not a lot of crisp, complete performances by teams. It truly looked like the first week of action. I expect there will be squads looking to make statements this coming weekend. No Thursday games this week as the incorrect assumption that everyone would rather watch the only NFL game instead of three or four different options at the college level. Jalen Hurts looked solid in the Oklahoma opener, but that defense really needs to play Sooner than later (sorry). While I’m not ready to eliminate any of the big boys from contention just yet, FSU and Va Tech both squandered opportunities.

This weekend has two marquee matchups. Texas A&M travels to Clemson for the return game of last year’s classic. I expect aTm to give the Tigers all they want. LSU takes their newly discovered offense to Austin to battle the Texas Longhorns. The SEC (West) could make quite a statement winning both games. I like LSU in this one, but the spread has already moved 3.5 points since opening. Tells me I’m not the only one who likes them Saturday.

Last week was a good start to my Vegas 5. I went 4-1 and the only setback was due to a UGA FG. In Top 25 and SEC action, I went 16-10. I wonder what it could’ve been if the SEC East had shown up. This week I’ll start by taking LSU (-6.5) over Texas. Based on what I saw last week, give me BYU (+4) against Tennessee. Syracuse at Maryland is surprisingly a good matchup. I’ll take the Over (57.5). Hawaii (-6.5) over Oregon St. Lastly, I like the Over (62.5) when WVU travels to Missouri.

Who’d you take?

Week 1 – The Calm

Week 1 opens with hope for all teams. The harsh reality is that after this weekend, nearly half the teams will be unofficially eliminated from playoff contention. A path exists for Group of 5 to make the playoffs, but it is highly unlikely. Any Power 5 school that runs the table would be in the conversation, but let’s face it, we all know that there are really about a dozen worth considering as toe finally meets leather.

Last year was good to me at the book, but unfortunately my school did not finish the season with a win. Each season witnesses its own questions and injury issues. All teams must find their answers and hopefully dodge the injury bug. The pre-season podcasts are posted on The Football page. This year we went with a condensed format that we feel worked. Let us know what you think.

Thursday kicks us off. Clemson will venture into the great unknown that will be Georgia Tech’s offense. It’ll be interesting to see what the Jackets run this season. My sneaky good game that night is UCLA travelling to Cincinnati (a great place to watch a game). The Holy War between Utah and BYU closes the night. I’ve been to one of those and believe me, they don’t particularly care for each other. Friday gives us the Colorado v Colorado St game and a Power 5 match up of Oregon St v Oklahoma St, but I’m more interested in Utah St @ Wake Forest.

The Saturday slate, to me at least, lacks the oomph that some of the more recent season openers had. Granted the sloppiness of Miami v Florida and Arizona @ Hawaii did entertain, but that’s what Week 0 is for. Oregon v Auburn has to be the highlight and I for one think it’ll be a great game. Sunday has Houston @ Oklahoma while Monday is ND @ Louisville. The former should be good while the latter a snooze fest.

Let’s start the season with a solid Vegas 5. For those of you who are new to my Vegas 5, it’s the five games I would take in Vegas this week. I expect Alabama (-33.5) to cover. I’m taking Vandy (+22) and the points. I like the Over (51.5) when Boise St travels to Florida St. I’ll take Cincinnati (-3) to cover over UCLA. And finally, Utah St (+5.5) over Wake Forest.

Who’d you have?

Money Time

Now is the time to reflect upon preseason predictions. I didn’t have the year I did last year. But I did successfully call two of the championship games.

I picked the matchups for the MWC and Big 12. Let’s see if I get those all the way. I have Fresno St and Texas taking those preseason. I called Northern Illinois, Memphis, Washington, Clemson, and Alabama as well. My preseason Heisman pick of Bryce Love will not be correct. I’m still alive with two more of my conference picks; Alabama and Washington. At best I will be 40%. That still gets me paid considering the odds I got.

After the gruesome injury to Milton, UCF stands at a precipice. Memphis has played them better than anyone the last two years including a one-point game this season. Now with the trophy on the line, can the Tigers prevail with the Knights missing their leader? If Memphis wins and Ohio St and Oklahoma fall, the four seed will be very interesting. Could Michigan sneak back in? I think it will end up being Alabama v Ohio St and Clemson v Notre Dame. A quick word about Army/Navy, GO ARMY!

I’m dead even after another losing weekend (9-12) of Top 25/SEC. I sit at 144-144. The Vegas 5 however went 3-1-1 last weekend. That brings me up to 32-29-4. I like the Over (63.5) in Bama v UGA, Marshall (+3.5) against Va Tech, Akron (+30) against South Carolina, the Over (44.5 ) in UAB v Middle Tenn St, and Washington (-5.5) against Utah.

Enjoy the weekend!

Pride Trophy Week

Rivalries. Trophy games. Championship participants. These are what will be on the line when toe meets leather this week.

Ohio St continues to find a way, but this week brings a hot Michigan team to the Horseshoe. West Virginia and Oklahoma will decide the Big 12 championship. The winner is in and will play Texas if the Longhorns take care of Kansas. Vandy meets Tennessee in a loser go home match. One of them is going bowling. Cal/Stanford moved to Dec 1 due to the horrific fires in the region. And the triple option proved too much to contain as The Citadel gave Bama half a game.

I look for Washington St to take the Apple Cup. I’ve been in attendance at the Holy War and like that time I think Utah prevails. Notre Dame will finish the job and send Clay Helton back to coordinator jobs. Texas A&M and LSU should be a great game. The sneaky good game calls for you to stay up late and watch Boise St take on Utah St to decide their division. Another to watch earlier is Troy v Appalachian St. I’m just hoping that my guys can bring home the ODK Foy Trophy back to the Capstone.

Vegas 5 went 3-2 last week. 29-28-3 is now where I sit. I got it handed to me again in Top 25/SEC going 12-15. I’m at 135-132 there.

I’m going with the Over (52.5) again when Auburn visits Bama. But I’ll go Under (64.5) when Purdue plays Indiana. I like Maryland (+13) against Penn St. I’m willing to give a bunch of points in Temple (-29) against U Conn. Lastly, UCLA (+7) stays hot against Stanford.

Who’d you pick?

Status Quo Week

This week the good matchups are fewer and further between. This is especially true in the two conferences that have yet to expand to nine game schedules. That needs to be fixed soon.

Last week’s Ohio State hero was the punter. Let that sink in. Troy took the lead in the FunBelt, my sneaky good game was just that, and Ok State’s 2-point play call left a lot to be desired. Bama’s D is doing their version of No Score November to support defensive awareness.

This week the marquee matchup is Notre Dame v Syracuse in Yankee Stadium. I don’t know if they’ll win, but the Orange will give them a good game. Cincinnati and UCF should be interesting. UCF can score but can’t stop anyone. Wonder if the Big 12 is giving them a look? USC plays UCLA and both teams have been wearing the home colors lately for the matchup. The Game between Cal and Stanford usually provides quality entertainment. I guess a game between ranked teams isn’t a sneaky good one, but Iowa St at Texas will go a long way to decide the Big 12 CG. And San Diego St and Fresno St try to decide their division.

Last week my mediocrity continued. I have been living at .500. The Vegas 5 went 2-2-1 again and moved to 26-26-3 on the season. Top 25/SEC went 11-9 to go to 123-117.

This week the Vegas 5 starts like last week. I want the Over (62) in The Citadel/Bama game. UAB (+16.5) keeps it close with some solid defense. UMass (+41.5) against Georgia because that’s a lot of points and Kirby will put in backups to the backups late. Texas Tech (-6.5) should cover against Kansas St. And I like the Over (57) in the Missouri/Tennesee game.

Who’s your picks?

The Picture Begins to Reveal

After last weekend our playoff contenders have come into view. I agree with the CFP Committee on their top 6. Looks like the next few weeks will go a long way to seeing the finished product. But I highly doubt everyone keeps winning.

We found out the Bama defense was tired of hearing about the O and how they weren’t as good as years past. Clemson seems to be on cruise control, but BC should give them a game, especially in that weather. Notre Dame and Michigan look good enough to run the table, but some tricky spots could trip them up.

Three of the Power 5 conference  title games will involve teams that are barely over .500. The SEC and Big 12 seem to have the proper balance, but the others not so much this season.  This Saturday, the Miss St defense looks to prove itself against the juggernaut of the Bama O. While Georgia got their revenge last year against Auburn, I think they still want a little more. Troy meets Georgia Southern in a monster Sun Belt game. I like Troy’s chances. Bedlam happens this weekend, but Oklahoma should be too string for the Pokes.  Friday noght Fresno St @ Boise St in what could be a very good match up. The sneaky good game of the week should be UCLA @ Arizona St. The Pac 12 remains the most entertaining conference.

Last week was good for the Vegas 5. I went 4-1 to move to 24-24-2. Top25/SEC tally slipped again at 10-12 and 112-108 total.

This week I like the Over (52.5) when Miss St visits Bama. I’ll take Boston College (+20) against Clemson. Weather will be a factor in that one. Kentucky (-6) will rebound at Tennessee. It’s hard to imagine Bedlam is low scoring, so I have the Over (80) in Oklahoma St @ Oklahoma. And give me Pitt (-3) when Va Tech comes to town.

Who’s your locks?

Separation Saturday

I enjoyed a fun Saturday of football with our friends in the Delta last week. Tunica’s books are open for business. It’s be nice if the Horseshoe added some TVs at the tables.

Iowa threw an ill-timed pick at the 5 that destroyed their chances in Happy Valley. Georgia took the Cocktail Party on to find that UK has some magic left in that old silk hat they found. And Oregon St had the stunner last weekend coming from 31-3 to find a way to win in OT.

This week we find out the truth in several division. The headliner, as it has been for a while, is Bama @ LSU. Is the Tide O for real? This will be the best D Bama has seen this year and best by far in the regular season. While it’s a night game in Baton Rouge, Bama has had good success in those situations. Georgia goes to Kentucky with the winner taking the East and likely playing the winner of our headliner. Michigan looks to continue its revenge tour against Penn St. I think ND and Northwestern will play a sneaky good one.

The Big 12 gets clearer this weekend. WVU @ Texas and Oklahoma @ Texas Tech will go a long way to decide that conference. The Pac 12 is still the most entertaining conference. And, with all the MACtion during the week, are any MAC teams playing Saturday? Asking for a friend.

Last week the hook killed me at times in Tunica on a few games. I went 2-2-1 in the Vegas 5 moving me to 20-23-2. My top 25/SEC was brutal again at 8-9 and 102-96 on the season.

This week The Vegas 5 starts with the Over (61) in the Louisville/Clemson game. I like Northwestern (+9) hosting Notre Dame. I have Georgia Tech (-4.5) against North Carolina. The Over (58) when West Virginia goes to Texas. And Illinois (+9) against Minnesota.

Who’d you take?

Bye Week

It’s bye week here at The Blog. That means a full day of watching whatever game strikes me at the time.

I thought the Ohio St/Purdue game would be good. I was kinda wrong as it was a blowout. I felt Purdue had a shot and took them in my picks section and they sure delivered. Michigan has established themselves as a true contender while LSU exposed Miss St as overly one-dimensional. Washington St just may take the PAC 12. Clemson absolutely destroyed NC St. The question there is whether that means the Tigers have awoken or if the Wolfpack were overrated.

This week brings fewer marquee match ups, yet no shortage of great action. The Cocktail Party sees two Top 10 teams for the first time in a decade. I’m a Georgia lean on that one, but I think Florida could sneak out with the win if the Dawgs let them hang around. Iowa travels to Penn St. I think the Hawkeyes are legit contenders for the Big 10 West. Washington St will take the next step if they can handle Stanford.

Last week’s Vegas 5 could’ve gone better. I hit 2-3 to move to 18-21-1. Top 25/SEC went 11-7 moving me to 94-87 for the year. I’m gonna need to start hitting quick if I want to make a move.

This week’s Vegas 5 starts for me with Syracuse (+2.5) hosting NC St. I like the Over (64.5) in the Kansas St/Oklahoma game. I’ll go with the Under (70.5) in the Bama opponent Sun Belt game between Arkansas St and Louisiana. UNLV (+3) is my pick against San Jose St. Lastly, I’ll take Iowa (+6) against Penn St.

Who’s your pick?