Monday

Week 10 Picks Post Mortem


Hello again everybody...

Welcome to the start of the first full week without baseball. Yeah, I'm a little bummed about it, but I take heart in the fact that we're only three and a half months away from Spring Training!

Going into this past Saturday, there was a lot of talk about it being a rather mellow day in terms of Top 25 match-ups. Woops. It it was a crazy day in college football. So today I'll go over my picks from this past week and we'll see if I was crazy enough to pick them right! Off we go...

"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously."
- Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978), 38th Vice President of the United States


Fortunately for me, my loyal readers take me completely seriously. Right? Right?!?!

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I've decided to refer to Week 10 of the college football season as "Stomach Punch Saturday". There were a number of punch-to-the-gut feeling losses this weekend. And unfortunately for me, I had a stake in 3 of them.

I didn't pick the Badger game this weekend, but as a Wisconsin fan, watching Michigan State drive down the field as Bucky's defense did it's best doormat impression was depressing. I really thought they had that game in hand, and then boom - defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Oof.

But the picks had a stomach-punch factor to them as well. Let's take a look!

Minnesota -7 vs. Northwestern: Final Score - Northwestern 24, Minnesota 17

It's not just that Minnesota lost a game that they really were supposed to win. It was how they lost it that provided the "stomach-punch" factor for this game.

Tied at 17 with time running out in the 4th quarter, the Gophers had the ball and were trying to put together a winning drive when out of nowhere, Gopher history rose up on their Homecoming day to bite them.

For those of you not familiar with Gopher football history, Minnesota has found more unique and ridiculous ways to lose games than any team in modern college football history.

Witness 2005 when all the Gophers had to do was execute a punt to beat Wisconsin at home. Instead the snap was dropped by the punter, who tried to get the kick off anyway, had it blocked and returned for a touchdown by the Badgers. (I was at that game. Nobody does "stunned silence" like a Gopher crowd.)

Or look at 2003 when an undefeated Gopher squad was dominating a solid Michigan team and managed to blow a 10 point lead with less than 3:30 remaining in the game.

And then there's the piece de resistance, the 2006 Insight Bowl, when the Gophers blew a 31-point 3rd quarter lead versus Texas Tech and lost in overtime 44-41, putting the final nail in head coach Glen Mason's coffin.

So with all that history, how did they try to top it on Saturday? On that final, fateful drive, Minnesota's All-Conference-worthy QB Adam Webber threw a pass to future NFL star (copyright Sid Hartman) WR Eric Decker. Decker's one of those guys who catches everything thrown his way. I mean everything. Except this particular pass. This time, the ball bounced off his hands, popped up in the air and was intercepted by Northwestern DB Brendan Smith, who then did his best "Steve Young running through the Viking defense" imitation as he returned the interception for a touchdown with less than :05 remaining in the game.

That ladies and gentleman, is a stomach-punch loss. Oof.

What Dan Learned: The Gophers are still the Gophers. Look, even though it was a crazy play that ended the game, the truth is if the Gophers were going to be a legitimate contender in the Big 10, this was a game they should've won. Yes, they're still 7-2, but with Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa still left on the schedule, a 10-win season seems far less likely than it did just a week ago. That being said, I'm still rooting for them whilst reminding Gopher fans that Wisconsin has won 11 out of the last 13 match-ups. Yes, Lon, it's still working!

Okay, so I started the day 0-1. But that's okay, God's team will come through for me right?

Notre Dame -4.5 vs. Pittsburgh: Final Score - Pittsburgh 36, ND 33, 4-OT

Dammit.

I have to admit, I didn't see much of this game. USA was running 3 Bond movies back-to-back ("Quantum of Solace" hits theaters November 14th!) followed by "The Bourne Identity", and I got sucked in. Couldn't be helped, honest!

I skimmed the recap and Notre Dame was covering with less than 3 minutes to go when they allowed Pitt to tie it up. The two teams then traded field goals through the first 3 overtimes until Pitt finally stopped the Irish in the 4th extra stanza.

Ugh... I'm glad I didn't watch it!

What Dan Learned: Pittsburgh's completely schizophrenic at this point. How you get worked by Rutgers at home and then go on the road and beat a decent Notre Dame team is beyond me. The Panthers are going on the list of teams that we're avoiding the rest of the year!

0-2 to start the day?! Not good. But I've got a stone-cold-lock and the #1 team in the nation left. I should get to .500 at least, right?

Alabama -23 vs. Arkansas State: Final Score - Alabama 35, Arkansas St. 0

This one had "Tide names their score" written all over it. And there was no way that Nick Saban was going to let his kids throw their helmets on the field and expect to win.

No, the Tide came to play and worked over Arkansas State, covering the spread by the 3rd quarter.

This wasn't on TV, but I think we can all imagine how it went.

What Dan Learned: Not much. Alabama's good. For some reason Vegas set this line too low. Sometimes they give us a gift. We're not above taking them!

Okay... 1-2, now all I need is Texas to come through!

Texas -4 @ Texas Tech: Final Score - Tech 39, Texas 33.
*This was this week's Sports Take Flier Pick of the Week.

Dammit.

This was probably the craziest game of the day. Tech got up early, but Texas QB Colt McCoy steadily brought his club back and scored a go-ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes remaining in the ball game.

But unfortunately for me, this game turned out to be a "whoever has the ball last wins" game. And that turned out to be Tech.

Red Raider QB Graham Harrell had an incredible night. And he was never better than on that last drive as he expertly guided his club down the field, eventually connecting with all-world WR Michael Crabtree for the game-winning touchdown.

Yup, another "Stomach Punch" game if I've ever seen it!

Oh well, at least it was just the Flier Pick.

What Dan Learned: Texas is still really good. But I don't think there's a college team in America that could've survived the 4-game gauntlet that Texas just went through unscathed.

And okay, I was wrong about Tech. They're a damned good football team too. Though they're now in the midst of their own gauntlet as their reward for beating Texas is games against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Have fun with that fellas!

So with the Flier Pick discount, I end up 1-2 on the week. Not cool, but it could've been worse. For the season, I'm now 22-15 (.595). Not shabby, but I want to break .650 for the year if possible. We shall see.

That's all I've got for today. I'll be back on Wednesday with a new DFTU for you! Until then, thanks for reading!

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