Alabama/Florida, who ya got? & Week 11 Picks Post-Mortem

Hello again everybody...

It's Monday again. Sucks how that keeps happening every week, doesn't it? But we persevere and get through it somehow. Especially those of us who have Friday off! (Insert Dan grinning devilishly here.)

But that's Friday and this is Monday, so let's get to the usual Monday slate. First off today I look at the race to the SEC Championship Game. The likeliest match-up has come into focus. I'll break it down. Then it's time for my Week 11 Picks Post-Mortem. Am I back to my winning ways? We shall see!

"The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised."

- George F. Will (1941- ), Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist, journalist and author.

It feels good when you share a theory with a guy who's exponentially smarter than you are.

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Now that Penn State has lost and the Big 10 has been effectively removed from National Title contention, the game with the biggest direct impact on the BCS Title Game is the SEC Championship.

(Aside: Even as a fan of a Big 10 team, I'm kind of glad that the league finally takes a year off from the big game. Let's be honest. Did Penn State really stand a chance against the Alabama's, Florida's, Texas Tech's or Texas' of the world? I don't think so.)

On December 6th, Florida and Alabama will square off for the SEC Championship. Alabama now has a 3-game lead in the SEC West, while Florida enjoys only a 1-game lead in the East. But the team they have that lead over is Georgia, and Florida just got done laying the wood to the Bulldogs in their head-to-head match-up. So, with only one SEC game left on the schedule, Florida has effectively clinched their spot.

So why is this game so important? Assuming both teams run the table (Alabama has Mississippi State and Auburn left; Florida has The Citadel and Florida State), the winner of the SEC Championship will play in the BCS Title game on January 8th.

What I find interesting is that even though Alabama is your consensus #1 team in the country, most of the pundits seem to think that Florida would be a 7-point favorite if the two teams were set to play this week. What does that say about our current system? I don't know about the rest of the Sports Take pollsters, but I'll be factoring that into my ballot this week.

So, Florida or Alabama? Who ya got?

Look at their common opponents. Tennessee - Alabama beat them 29-9, Florida beat them 30-6. Advantage? Push. Mississippi - Alabama beat them 24-20, Florida lost to them 31-30. Advantage? Alabama. Arkansas - Alabama beat them 49-14, Florida beat them 38-7. Advantage? Push. LSU - Alabama beat them 27-21 in OT, Florida beat them 51-21. Advantage? Florida. Kentucky - Alabama beat them 17-14, Florida beat them 63-5. Advantage? Florida. Georgia - Alabama beat them 41-30, Florida beat them 49-10. Advantage? Florida. Sensing a pattern?

So I'm taking the Gators and hoping neither team stumbles between now and then, so that the game has the importance that it ought to have.

Who do you think will win? Feel free to attach a comment and let us know!

Finally today it's time for my Week 11 Picks Post-Mortem. 1-2 last week. This week had to be better didn't it? Let's find out!


Florida State -5.5 vs. Clemson: Final Score - FSU 41, Clemson 27

I saw a little bit of the beginning of this game. I'd have watched more, but once again Spike TV was showing several Bond movies, and though I know this will come as a shock to you, I got sucked in again.

(Did I mention that Quantum of Solace comes out on Friday? Yeah. I've got the day off. Not because of the film opening. But since the coincidence occurred, I'm going to see the movie at least once during the day, and it's quite possible I'll see it again that evening.)

But back to the game...

I saw some of the first half and it wasn't promising. Clemson got off to a good start while FSU started awfully slowly. By halftime, the Seminoles had gained the lead at 20-17. But I still hadn't covered. But the second half was a different story. FSU out-scored Clemson 21-10 and I covered easily.

What Dan Learned: I'm sick with the Bond movies. Really, I need help. Spike showed From Russia With Love, Diamonds Are Forever, and Never Say Never Again. Russia is a Bond classic, but the other two are definitely in the bottom half of the series if you rank them by quality. In fact, most Bond fans don't even consider Never Say Never Again as part of the official Bond series since it was produced by people outside the Broccoli family. But I still got sucked in. I tell myself I'm not going to and yet I always do. Really. It's a sickness.

1-0 and feeling pretty good about today's prospects.


Alabama -3 @ LSU: Final Score - Alabama 27, LSU 21 in OT.

The cover that was almost a push!

Again, the only parts of this game that I saw were during commercials in the Bond marathon, but I won't belabor that point.

What I know is that the Tide got out to an early lead, but lacked the offensive punch to really put LSU away. LSU, for it's part, could've won this game going away if they hadn't been so inept on offense.

As it was, it came down to the Tigers blocking a field goal at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. Had the Tide hit that field goal, I would've had my first push of the season. Not a win, not a loss. The "kissing your sister" of the recreational gaming world.

But instead the game went to overtime where Alabama scored a touchdown, failed on the conversion and then intercepted LSU on it's possession thereby winning the game and getting me the win!

What Dan Learned: I mentioned it earlier, but this game really woke me up to the belief that Florida is better than Alabama right now. Granted, Florida got LSU at home and Alabama had to play them on the road. But the disparity in margins of victory is still important. I'm already looking forward to Florida/Alabama more than any conference championship game I can remember!

2-0, but not getting cocky!


West Virginia -6.5 vs. Cincinnati: Final Score - Cincinnati 26, WVU 23 in OT

I never had a shot in this one really. Cincy got out to a big lead. The Mountaineers came roaring back in the 4th quarter, scoring 13 points to send the game to overtime.

And while I guess WVU could've scored a touchdown, converted and stopped Cincy cold to get me the cover, when a team has to come from that far back to tie it, it's not a likely scenario.

And it wasn't the case here as the Moutaineers only managed a field goal, while Cincy punched it into the endzone to earn the win.

What Dan Learned: Stay the @#$! away from the Big East. I don't know what I was thinking dipping my toe into those mediocre waters. But I won't be doing it again this season!

2-1 and assured of a +.500 record since I only have the Flier Pick remaining.

Texas Tech -3.5 vs. Oklahoma State: Final Score - Tech 56, Oklahoma St 20

This was no contest right from the get-go. Tech scored touchdowns on seven straight possessions.

Let me repeat that: seven straight possessions.

That's just sick. Oklahoma State doesn't possess the greatest defense in the world, but they're not that bad either. And for Tech to score like that ought to scare the bejeezus out of everybody else in BCS contention.

What Dan Learned: Tech is for real. I was one of their chief doubters early in the year because they didn't play anybody. We've seen Tech beat up on also-rans before. But we hadn't seen them win the big one when it counted. Well they did that last week versus Texas and continued it this week against Oklahoma State. They get a bye this week before what could be their biggest test of the year: a trip to Oklahoma. Yes you could argue that Texas was a tougher opponent than Oklahoma, but Tech got the Longhorns in Lubbock. They have to travel to Norman to face the Sooners. And that will be a whole different animal.

So I finished the week 3-1. Feels good to be back on the winning track. Hopefully I can keep it rolling next week. That brings the season total to 25-16 (.610). I'm not at the point where I've clinched a winning season, but you can see it from here!

That's all for today folks. I'll be back on Wednesday with the DFTU. Until then, thanks for reading!

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