10-28-09: 2009 College Football Picks: Week 8 Post-Mortem and Week 9 Picks

Hello again everybody...

Happy Saturday... for me.

I'll admit that I put off writing today's column as long as I could. Last week's picks didn't go so well and I'm not terribly anxious to talk about them. Three straight poor-performing weeks has me in a bit of a college football funk.

But the way I've got it figured, the only way to get out of said slump is to keep battling my way through it. Give in? Never! More picks are headed your way.

Before we get to that however, there's the small issue of Game 1 of the World Series to address. CC Sabathia vs. Cliff Lee heads your way this evening (first pitch is scheduled for 6:57pm Central time, but with all the pregame festivities, I wouldn't count on it starting on time). If you've lost interest in baseball in recent years, or have just never been all that excited by it, I would encourage you to plop yourself down in front of the TV for a few innings tonight and give it a look. These two pitchers have both had outstanding post-seasons, and tonight's tilt has all the makings of a fantastic game.

Me? I'll be following as closely as I can from the Al Shaver Press Box at the Xcel Energy Center as the Minnesota Wild host the Nashville Predators.

What's that you say? If I think this is going to be such a great game, why am I going to see a seemingly meaningless hockey game over watching Game 1 of the World Series in all it's HD goodness from the comfort of my couch?!

I don't think I'll get much of an argument when I say: sports in person always outweighs sports on TV. And trust me, if you've never been in the Al Shaver Press Box, it's about as good a place to watch an event as you can be in.

Plus they've got big, flat-screen HDTV's in the press box, some of which, I'm sure, will be tuned to the baseball game. Between that and their complimentary WiFi connection, I'll be able to follow the game with no troubles. And meanwhile, I'll get to see a hockey game in person, compliments of the Wild media staff.

Trust me, I'll be just fine.

But as I promised, today's column is all college football from here on out. I don't want to do it... but here we go...

”About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.”
- Josh Billings (1818-1885), American humorist

I'll be the first to admit that many of my ideas are culled from writers whom I admire and enjoy. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? I try to put my own spin on those ideas, but to claim much in the way of originality would be dishonest. And I never lie to my people!

Except when I'm making football picks apparently... oof.

«Read More...»

With that, it's time for...

2009 College Football Picks: Week 8 Post-Mortem

First, the games I looked at, but didn't pull the trigger on...

Arkansas +6 at Ole Miss: Final Score – Ole Miss 30, Arkansas 17
Good no-bet by me. I swear, the further the season goes along, the less predictable the SEC gets. Arkansas gave a great effort against Florida last week, but gets fairly well trounced by the Rebs this week. You go figure it... I sure can't.

And then...

Alabama -15 vs. Tennessee: Final Score: Alabama 12, Tennessee 10
This was actually a helluva game. And given Tennessee's defensive prowess as well as Alabama's good, but not great offense, this was probably a game where I should've pulled the trigger on the Volunteers. In fact, they had a shot to win it outright with a field goal in the closing seconds, but couldn't manage to block Terrance Cody, who blocked his second field goal of the day to save the victory for the Tide. On second thought, yeah, this was a good stay-away.

Unfortunately, the games I picked all should've been stay-aways too. Let's go ahead and look at them... *sigh*


Minnesota +17.5 @ Ohio State: Final Score - Ohio state 38, Minnesota 7

Yet another blowout of the Gophers. You'd think after all these years, I'd stop enjoying that, but I just don't. I said it before, I really couldn't lose this game. And I didn't. Oh sure, it won't show up as a “win” when I tally my record. But to watch Minnesota stumble and bumble their way to another 30+ point loss? That's worth an “L” any day of the week!

What Dan Learned: Last year's habit of covering big spreads while still losing? Yeah, that's not working anymore. I'll give the Gophers enough credit to say that Penn State and Ohio State are tough teams to play, especially on the road. But wow, did Minnesota look pathetic. And now WR, Eric Decker is out for the season? Hmmm... I wonder if Minnesota might show up on the other end of the Week 9 picks?

0-1, but still determined to rally...


Nebraska -17.5 vs. Iowa State: Final Score - Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

What the...?! But the “Good Luck Charm” bit was supposed to be in effect?! What the hell happened?! Sorry Cornhusker fans. I tried to hold up my end. I'd say it wasn't my fault, but the way my picks are going? Who knows what kind of reverse jinx I'm whammying teams with these days.

What Dan Learned: The “Official Nebraska Good Luck Charm” bit is dead... for 2009. Come on! You didn't think I was going to give up on it completely, did you?! Two straight weeks of Nebraska looking absolutely anemic offensively (including a reported 6 turnovers in this game... really? 6?!) has to have Husker fans in a tizzy. I gave you all the mojo I had folks. See you in 2010!

0-2, but I can still save this thing!


Michigan +4.5 vs. Penn State: Final Score - Penn State 35, Michigan 10
* This game was this week's Sports Take Flier Pick of the Week

So let me get this straight... Penn State can only muster 20 points against an increasingly awful Minnesota squad at home, but can drop 35 on Michigan on the road?!

The Wolverine defense is that bad? Really?

(You know I'm having a bad week, when my “really?” count is this high this early in the column.)

What Dan Learned: If the SEC has a number of mediocre teams, then the Big Ten is entirely populated by mediocre teams at this point. I have no clue what the hell is going on in this conference at this point. Naturally, this won't stop me from fake-wagering on it. But seriously... I've got nothing.

0-2 (thank you Flier Pick), and starting to doubt myself...


Texas Tech -21.5 vs. Texas A&M: Final Score - A&M 52, Tech 30

Yep, that's about right.

When you're 0-for-the-day, and your last game has you giving 21.5 points, you know you're in trouble.

I had a feeling someone might score 50 in this game, but never in a million years did I think it was going to be A&M.

What Dan Learned: If you're going to give that many points, make sure it's either a mortal lock, or at least an early game. After whiffing three times, I KNEW this game was going to turn out poorly. It just puts a damper on your whole evening, you know?

Well, I promised you something other than 1-3, and boy did I ever deliver! Ugh. What can I say? 0-3 is definitely not 1-3. Though it wasn't exactly the change I had in mind!

But I take my whuppings like a man! 0-3 in Week 8 makes me 13-15 (.464) on the year. And I believe, puts me below .500 for the first time since 2007. Man, that blows.

There's nothing for it but to keep at it right! Maybe try to shake things up a little this week? Step outside the box, as it were?

We'll see as I bring you...

2009 College Football Picks: Week 9

First up, the games I looked at, but am passing on...

Wisconsin -7 vs. Purdue: Again, I want to believe. I really do. But I'm not going to put my fake money on the line just yet. Wisconsin has had two weeks to prepare for this game. I fully expect some trickeration involved in their offense. That being said, I don't trust them. And Purdue? They've beaten Ohio State and lost to Minnesota, so you go figure them out. I can't, ergo, I pass.

Florida -15 vs. Georgia (@ Jacksonville): They call it “The Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”. And with good reason. It's outdoors. And there are a lot of cocktails consumed prior to the game. Florida could really use a “breakout” game (who thought we'd be saying THAT about the #1 team in the country this late in the season) and Georgia's defense has been nothing short of awful this year. But 15 is a lot to give on a neutral field. And I'm going a different direction this week. I'll pass.

So what games am I picking?

Really? After the last three weeks you still want to know? God bless you people! Here you go then...

Were I to have the wherewithal to make a worthwhile wager, these are the games I'd be betting on this week...


Cincinnati -15 at Syracuse (11am, ESPNU): The Bearcats are 7-0 (3-0 in the Big East). The Orange are 3-4 (0-2 in the Big East).

Yep, I'm going to willfully start violating some of those 20 Maxims I threw at you at the beginning of the year. Hey, if you're going to change things up, then for heaven's sake, change them up!

Cincinnati is the odds-on favorite to represent the Big East in the BCS this season, and deservedly so. They haven't scored fewer than 28 points this season, including dropping 34 on the Bulls at South Florida and 47 on the Scarlet Knights at Rutgers.

The Orange have struggled this year. Their sole win of note came at home versus Northwestern, and they barely squeaked that one out. Against decent defenses, they've barely scratched their way into the teens.

I look for Cincy to drop the hammer early, and not let up. I'll give the 15 and see what the Big East can do for me this week.


TCU -35.5 vs. UNLV (3pm, Versus): The Horned Frogs are 7-0 (3-0 in the Mountain West). The Rebels are 3-5 (1-3 in the Mountain West).

Notice a pattern yet? I'm going with the lesser-known undefeateds so far.

Not only is TCU good, they're damned good. Remember Week 1 when BYU upset Oklahoma? Well TCU dropped a 38-7 shellacking on those same Cougars last week - on the road. Prior to that, they pounded Colorado State 44-6 at home.

Now they return to the friendly confines of Amon G. Carter Stadium to face a UNLV squad that can barely get out of it's own way. The same BYU team that TCU just walloped beat UNLV 59-21 three weeks ago.

That's enough for me. I know I bemoaned giving 21.5 earlier... but I made sure I had another two more games coming before I gave 35.5 this week!

Unconventionality? Thy name is moi!


South Carolina +6 at Tennessee (6:45pm, ESPN): The Gamecocks are 6-2 (3-2 in the SEC). The Volunteers are 3-4 (1-3 in the SEC).
*- This game is this week's Sports Take Flier Pick of the Week

Back to my old ways again? Not exactly.

I'm keeping this one simple. This game pits two strong defenses against each other. If you're getting nearly a touchdown in a game like that, you take the points.

Done. Fin. The End.

(Sorry again, Jon. I do seem to keep picking against you. It's nothing personal, I swear.)


Michigan State -3.5 at Minnesota (7pm, Big Ten Network): The Spartans are 4-4 (3-2 in the Big Ten). The Golden Gophers are 4-4 (2-3 in the Big Ten).

Michigan State is coming off a heartbreaking loss versus Iowa. Minnesota is coming off two crushing defeats on the road.

So what's the deciding factor here? Minnesota has averaged 3.5 points in their last two games. And now they've lost their All-Conference WR, Eric Decker. Michigan State was on a roll and nearly upset the #4 team in the nation.

And I only have to give the Gophers 3.5 in this game? Sounds good to me!

So there you have them ladies and gentlemen. Four more picks for you to bet heavily against. And the way I've been going lately, I'm not sure I'm kidding when I say that.

But I'm bound to break out of this slump sometime, right?! Please?! Good lord, I'm begging here!

So tune in Saturday (yours, not mine) and we'll see what happens!

That's all for today. I'll be back on Friday with the usual DFTU nonsense, as well as some World Series thoughts.

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. I hate to make the Nebraska loss worse(well, maybe not), but it was 8 turnovers. The first thing the ISU coach said after the game was pretty much 'We had no right to win that game, but I'll take it'. ISU won the turnover battle 8-0 and only won by 2 pts. And at least 4 turnovers were in the 20, if not the 5.

  2. Yeah, 4 were inside the 6 yard line (depends on where you count that interception).

    Seriously, the local high school team could be NU if they cough it up 8 times.

    Sheesh. Nebraskans might not be much for gun control laws, but they do need some ball control rules.