Saturday, October 25, 2008

NFL Picks: Week 8

Last week: 11-3
Season: 66-35

Tampa Bay at Dallas: The quickly imploding Cowboys face a solid Bucs team. Tony Romo will still be out for the Cowboys. Is there a quarterback somewhere out there named Roy Williams? There are two other Cowboys with that name. Against my better judgment, I’m picking the Silver and Blue. Pick: Dallas

San Diego vs. New Orleans at London: The second annual game across the pond is a good matchup between two high-powered offenses. Pick: San Diego

Oakland at Baltimore: The Raiders scored a rare win last week in overtime against the Jets. The Ravens also won last week in Miami. The Ravens are more capable of winning two games in a row. Plus, the Raiders are a West Coast team traveling to the East Coast. Never trust a West Coast team crossing the country unless they’re really good. The Raiders aren’t good. Pick: Baltimore

Arizona at Carolina: The Cardinals are a good team at home. On the road, they’re wildly unpredictable. Once again, it’s a Western team going east. Pick: Carolina

Washington at Detroit: The Lions are pathetic. Enough said. Pick: Washington

Buffalo at Miami: Two AFC East teams waking up from the dead. The Bills are the real deal. Pick: Buffalo

St. Louis at New England: The Rams have gotten two wins in a row after making a coaching change. That streak ends here. Pick: New England

Kansas City at NY Jets: The Chiefs are absolutely awful, and are now missing RB Larry Johnson. The Jets shouldn’t have much problem here. Pick: Jets

Atlanta at Philadelphia: Falcons have been one of the big surprises in the league in the first half of the season. Eagles have been up and down, but are tough to beat at home. Pick: Philly

Cincinnati at Houston: Bengals are a bad team. Therefore, I won’t pick them until they win a game. That won’t happen this week, as the Texans will get win #3. Pick: Houston

Cleveland at Jacksonville: Jaguars should be able to handle an inconsistent Browns team. Pick: Jacksonville

New York Giants at Pittsburgh: Game of the week. Steelers keep finding ways to win, no matter who is carrying the ball out of the backfield. Pick: Pittsburgh

Seattle at San Francisco: Yuck. This game is a real stinker. Pick: San Francisco

Indianapolis at Tennessee: The mighty Colts visit Music City to face the undefeated Titans on Monday night. The Colts just aren’t what they used to be. The Titans remain undefeated. Pick: Titans

Thursday, October 23, 2008

College Picks, Week 9

This week features a virtual national championship playoff game in the Big Ten and some wild skirmishes in the Big 12.

Last week: 15-5
Season: 120-40

Oklahoma at Kansas State: Sooners continue their redemption tour in Manhattan, Kansas. The Wildcats just can’t keep up with the high-powered offenses in the Big 12. Pick: OU

Oklahoma State at Texas: Battle of unbeatens in Austin. In four of the last six years, OSU has led at halftime, sometimes convincingly, before losing to the Longhorns every time. Look for lots of points here, with Texas scoring more. Pick: UT

Texas Tech at Kansas: Toughest test of the season thus far for the Raiders. Jayhawks were outscored last week in Norman by OU, 45-31. Flip a coin here. When in doubt, go with the home team. Pick: KU

Colorado at Missouri: Missouri is more like Misery right now, after two consecutive losses to Big 12 South opponents. Buffs won last week against K-State, but Missouri is still better than Kansas State. Tigers bounce back. Pick: Mizzou

Baylor at Nebraska: Huskers should be able to win this one, but Baylor won’t make it easy. Pick: Nebraska

Texas A&M at Iowa State: Two teams battling for Big 12 mediocrity. Pick: Iowa State

Auburn at West Virginia (Thursday): At the beginning of the season, many thought this game might have national championship and BCS implications. How things have changed! West Virginia lost two games early, while Auburn has fallen apart in SEC play. I don’t know if this game will be worthy of a couch-burning, but the Mountaineers should defend their home turf. Pick: WVU

Penn State at Ohio State: Joe Paterno is 174 years old, and has his best chance for his last national championship with the Lions, as they come in undefeated. The Big Horseshoe on the Banks of the Olentangy will be rocking, as the Buckeyes still own the Big Ten. Pick: TOSU

Alabama at Tennessee: This game is supposed to be on the Third Saturday in October, but someone at the SEC office had other ideas this year. That just postponed another loss for the mediocre Volunteers. The Tide remain undefeated for another week. Pick: Alabama

Boston College at North Carolina: The ACC may not have a great team, but they have a lot of decent teams. These are two of them. Pick: UNC

Illinois at Wisconsin: This game once had Rose Bowl implications. Now, it is a battle between disappointing teams. Pick: Wiscy

Wake Forest at Miami: Wake got blasted last week at Maryland. The Canes are a shadow of their former selves. Pick: Miami

Georgia at LSU: Another titanic showdown in the SEC, where there is a Super Bowl just about every week. Tigers got a good come-from-behind win last week at South Carolina, and are home. Pick: LSU

UCLA at Cal: The University of California will win this game. The question is: which one? Pick: Berkeley

Michigan State at Michigan: Spartans were on a roll until last week when they were ripped by Ohio State. This week, they face the reeling and rebuilding Wolverines. Michigan is very mediocre this season, but ought to be able to beat their in-state rival. That would really chap some people in East Lansing, in this, the Wolverines’ worst season in the last 50 years. Pick: Michigan

Virginia Tech at Florida State: Two ACC powers struggling to move past the pack in this balanced conference. The Seminoles are getting better every week. Pick: FSU

Wyoming at TCU: Wyoming? Please. Pick: TCU

Notre Dame at Washington: Huskies are on the way to a possible winless season as they continue the Tyrone Willingham Death March. Pick: Irish

USC at Arizona: Trojans continue their march through the Pac-10 with a trip to the desert. Pick: SC

Slippery Rock at California (Pa.): The Rock has a tough test in the Hotel California. The one in Pennsylvania, that is. Pick: California

Sunday, October 19, 2008

As the BCS Turns

The first installment of Bowl Championship Series rankings came out on Sunday. As expected, Texas is on top of the rankings.

1 Texas
2 Alabama
3 Penn State
4 Oklahoma
6 Oklahoma State
7 Georgia
8 Texas Tech
9 Ohio State
10 Florida
11 Utah
12 Boise State
13 LSU
14 TCU
15 Missouri
16 South Florida
17 Pittsburgh
18 Georgia Tech
19 Tulsa
20 Ball State
21 BYU
22 Northwestern
23 Kansas
24 Minnesota
25 Florida State

Some more observations:

• There is a good chance that at least one BCS conference team will go undefeated. Texas has at least two games left that they could lose: at home against Oklahoma State, and at Texas Tech. They stand a good chance of winning both of those, however. Alabama is undefeated, but still has SEC West battles against LSU and a weakened Auburn team. Penn State has a titanic road trip this week at Ohio State, but should be able to win the remaining games thereafter. At least one of these three teams will probably be in the national championship game, barring a collapse.

• The Big 12 South continues to have a murderers’ row, with four teams in the top 8: #1 Texas, #4 Oklahoma, #6 Oklahoma State, and #8 Texas Tech. OSU must visit Austin this week to play Texas. Tech must still play all three of the other Big 12 South powers. OU has a home game with Tech and a dangerous road trip to Stillwater to play OSU. With just a tiny bit of help, the stage is set for an OU-Texas rematch in the national championship game. Right now, the BCS computers like all of these teams. It is impressive that OU has a loss and is still ranked #4.

• Penn State plays Ohio State in Columbus on Saturday night in what may as well be the Big Ten championship game. No other team in this conference can touch either of those teams. Michigan thought they had something going when they led Penn State 17-7 in the third quarter. Penn State broke out the hammer, crushed the Wolverines, and won 46-17.

• USC is dominating the Pac-10 after an inexplicable brain fart on a Thursday night at Oregon State. It would be a huge upset if they lost to another Pac-10 team.

• There is a very good chance that a non-BCS conference team will make it to a BCS bowl for the third year in a row. For this to happen, one of these teams must finish in the top 12 of the BCS standings, or in the top 16 and ahead of the champion of a BCS-qualifying conference (such as the ACC or Big East). Currently, Utah and Boise State are undefeated and ranked 11th and 12th, respectively. Lurking at #14 is TCU, with one loss. It would be very interesting if TCU could qualify for a BCS bowl with a loss, provided they win at Utah. Boise State, however, has a very good chance to finish undefeated. Also in the rankings are undefeated Tulsa at #19 and undefeated Ball State at #20. Only one of these teams can make a BCS bowl, per the rules of the system.

That's all for now...