9-28-09: 4 Games To Glory & 2009 College Football Picks: Week 4 Post-Mortem

Hello again everybody...

Hope you survived your weekend intact. Mine was quite relaxing, and fairly fruitful for most of the DFT's.

Not to mention productive for me, as well as for those of you interested in my Gettysburg trip. That's right, I finally managed to get the chronicles of my recent trip written and edited. Now all that remains is the posting.

I explain it in the new blog itself, but briefly, I wrote a post for each of the four days of the trip. I'll post them on the same schedule as The Sports Take. So today, Wednesday, Friday and a week from today you'll be able to check in and read-up on my trip. For those of you who'd rather consume the whole bit at once, wait til a week from today, and you can do just that.

With that, I humbly present to you The Gettysburg Files.

I'll include the link in the emails I send out as well, so you'll have ample opportunity to check it out!

But that's over on that blog. On this blog we talk sports. And Monday at The Sports Take means it's time to run down how I did on my weekly college football picks.

Before we can do that today however, I've got to preview the huge 4-game series between the Twins and the Tigers that kicks off tonight!

Off we go...

”Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.”
A.H. Weiler (1909-2002), writer, editor and critic for the New York Times

Explains a lot about the fine folks in “Management”, doesn't it? “Never mind the details, just do what we say!” But I digress...

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It's do or die time in the American League Central as the Twins and the Tigers, separated by just two games, begin a four-game series tonight in Detroit.

If you're a Twins fan, that two game deficit means that you need the Twins to win three of four. Obviously we wouldn't say no to a four-game sweep, but at a minimum, they need to win three.

Three-of-four puts the Twins in a tie with the Tigers for the division lead with each team having three games remaining. The Twins at home versus the Royals. The Tigers at home versus the White Sox.

The Twins just got done taking two of three from the Royals, while the Tigers lost two of three to Chicago.

A split of the four-gamer doesn't kill the Twins chances, but means they'd need a lot of help over that final weekend. Anything less than two wins basically hands Detroit the division.

Here are the pitching match-ups: Monday – Blackburn (11-11, 4.07) vs. Porcello (14-9, 4.07); Tuesday - Duensing (5-1, 4.11) vs. Verlander (16-9, 2.62); Wednesday – Pavano (8-6, 4.77) vs. Bonine (0-1, 4.60); and Thursday – Baker (7-4, 4.30) vs. Robertson (1-2, 3.70).

Of course, those last two may be subject to change based on Detroit's habit of mixing and matching starters lately, but you get the general idea.

The Twins can't afford to think of it this way, but Game 1 is critical. You know they'll have their hands full in Game 2 against Verlander, so getting a win against Porcello would mitigate a lot of that pressure. The Twins beat Porcello 3-0 back on 9/18, so at least there's some good recent history there.

Tune in tonight. The season's on the line! First pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm Central time.

Next up, it's time to talk college football...

I came in to Week 4 with a 6-4 record. Would that improve, or regress? The only way to find out is to bring you my...

2009 College Football Picks: Week 4 Post-Mortem

Before we get to the actual picks, a few words on the 3 games I passed on...

Arkansas +15 @ Alabama: Final Score – Alabama 35, Arkansas 7
The Razorbacks were never in this game. They looked flat awful against Alabama's vaunted defense. A good pass by me.

Washington State +44.5 @ USC: Final Score – USC 27, Washington St. 6
Bad pass by me. I had several people tell me over the course of the week that I was nuts not to jump on the 44.5 points. What can I tell you? I had a bad feeling about this game. Unfortunately, my bad feelings aren't always right. Should've gone with this one.

Miami -2.5 @ Virginia Tech: Final Score – Virginia Tech 31, Miami 7
Another good pass by me. Scott in Eau Claire was all over this game. I guess “The U” isn't all the way back just yet.

But I don't count the games I don't pick, so let's get to the ones that I did!

First up...

Florida State -14.5 vs. South Florida: Final Score – South Florida 17, FSU 7


Couldn't have been more off with this game, could I?

Florida State apparently never got off the bus, and USF had just enough to pull off the upset in Tallahassee.

I say “apparently” because I didn't realize until the game was nearly over that ESPNU is now a part of Comcast's Digital Tier. It used to be a part of the additional sports package, but apparently when the NFL Network made the move to the regular tier, ESPNU and the NHL Network came along for the ride! Check your local listings.

What Dan Learned: When I said in my preview that FSU has had an “up and down” season, I had no idea the downs would go this low. I won't swear them off just yet, but they're knocking on the door of “Eff You Auburn” territory!

0-1 but hopeful for the rest of the afternoon.


Nebraska -26.5 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette: Final Score – Nebraska 55, LA-Lafayette 0

And the “Official Nebraska Good Luck Charm” bit continues!

After the game, I had the following text conversation with one of my favorite Husker fans:

Me: “55-0. You're welcome for the pick.”

Nebraska fan: “Against the LA School for Girls? Psh. I think it would've taken you and [name redacted to protect the innocent] together to mogambo them!”

Me: “That's harsh man... but I know you say it with love!”

Nebraska fan: “I'm as mean as I am serious about thinking that your (or my) picks can influence the outcomes of games!”

Me: “Well there's that...”

What Dan Learned: Not a lot. As was intimated in that conversation, Lousiania-Lafayette isn't exactly a great measuring stick. Looking for positives, Nebraska's defense looks to be on it's way back to prominence. That should make Husker fans very happy.

1-1 and feeling a roll coming.


Purdue +7.5 vs. Notre Dame: Final Score – Notre Dame 24, Purdue 21

Twice picking Purdue as an underdog, and twice I cover!

So does that make them my darling team this year? Oh hell no!

The Irish were fortunate to come out of West Lafayette with a victory. As predicted, Irish QB Jimmy Clausen's foot injury limited the amount of time he spent in the game, and limited his effectiveness when he was in there.

But as sketchy as Notre Dame looked, Purdue looked even worse. Exhibit A: 26 penalties for 206 yards. Those numbers are astonishing. Especially at home. You're supposed to get calls at home. Purdue seemed to go out of their way to give the Irish the win.

Now I understand how this team lost to Northern Illinois.

What Dan Learned: This cover was more of a failure on Notre Dame's part than a success on Purdue's part. We'll keep a close eye on Clausen's injury status as it relates to the line on Irish games for the next few weeks at least. And we'll be even more careful about taking Purdue, especially if they're on the road.

2-1 and guaranteed a positive week with the Flier Pick to come!


Washington +7 @ Stanford: Final Score – Stanford 34, Washington 14
(*) - This game was this week's Sports Take Flier Pick of the Week

So much for the “Washington beats Stanford, ergo the line against Notre Dame is out of whack” corollary to my “Washington will be undervalued this year” theory.

Keep track of all that? Okay, good.

Admittedly, this was an emotional pick. I saw a potential path laid out before us, and it required Washington to win this game, so I picked it. Needless to say, it didn't work out.

So was this a let-down on Washington's part after their big win versus USC, or is Stanford just that good? As usual with these things, it's probably a combination of the two.

USC's underwhelming performance against Washington State shows their vulnerability. But you can't take anything away from Stanford putting 34 on someone.

What Dan Learned: Time to wave goodbye to picking the Huskies for a while. Thank you Washington, it was fun while it lasted. I have no clue what the line on their game with Notre Dame will be. But I will say that I'm going to stay miles away from that game!

So I end Week 4 with a 2-1 record (thank you Flier Pick rules!), which makes me 8-5 (.615) for the 2009 season. That's still behind last year's .660-pace, but a step forward from last week for sure.

Make sure you come back on Wednesday for a fresh slate of picks for Week 5.

That's all for today. As always, thanks for reading!


  1. You're going to need at least three "3 win" weeks to catch your pace from last year.

    I fully expect the Badger/Gopher tilt to be the Flier pick this week.