12-9-09: 2009 College Football Picks: Week 14 Post-Mortem & Week 15 Pick

Hello again everybody...

I'm writing to you today on what I hope will be the last Wednesday I spend at the home offices for a while. Without receiving strict promises, yesterday I was given the strongest indication yet that I'll start back on a Monday-Friday schedule next week.

It's been an interesting few months on an “alternative schedule”. Certainly, I can't say it's all been bad. But as I indicated to you on Monday, I'm more than happy to be getting back to what I'd grown to consider a “normal” schedule.

I don't think the change has affected my blogging much, but if any of you have noticed tweaks, hopefully they'll revert back to normal as well.

Thanks to all who were kind enough to bear with me while I worked these goofy hours. Hopefully I won't have to impose upon you again any time soon!

Lest you think that my schedule caused me to goof and forget a “s” at the end of the column title, there's only one more game to pick in this college football regular season, and it might be my favorite game of the whole year.

So let's get the bloody reviewing out of the way so we can get to the picking, okay?

”Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”
- Don Marquis (1878 - 1937), American humorist, journalist and author.

At this point, I'm not even keeping up with last year! At least not in my picks. Which brings me to...

2009 College Football Picks: Week 14 Post-Mortem

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Fewer games to pick from meant none that I passed on, so let's get to the real deal!

Cincinnati -2 @ Pittsburgh: Final Score - Cincinnati 45, Pittsburgh 44

Oof. I'd almost rather get crushed than lose by one point. Especially when the one point comes from a missed PAT.

Pittsburgh had ample opportunity to win this game, or at least ensure that the game would go to overtime (thereby giving me a chance at a cover), but failed to execute a simple play at a crucial moment and opened the door for the Bearcats to eke out a 1-point win.

I certainly didn't expect this game to be low-scoring, but a 99-point offensive orgy? That wasn't on my list of potential outcomes either. And it leads me to...

What Dan Learned: I still haven't decided about doing a second version of “Bowl Mania” yet. But as I look ahead to the Sugar Bowl (Florida vs. Cincinnati), the Bearcats' distinct lack of defensive presence in this game will be something to remember. It's not like Florida's defense really showed up against Alabama either. But the Gators seem to have more talent on defense than Cincy does, and that could be a crucial factor in deciding that game. Cincy will score on Florida for sure. But I'm liking the Gators more and more. Especially if Bearcat coach Brian Kelly ends up bolting for Notre Dame.

0-1... by thiiiiis much. But still determined to fight it out!


Alabama +5.5 vs. Florida: Final Score - Alabama 32, Florida 13


As I spoke with people about this game throughout the week, I maintained that the only thing that would surprise me is a blow-out. And that's pretty much what we got.

Alabama jumped Florida early, and never let up off the gas. It had been a long time since the Gators had been popped in the mouth early and found themselves on the wrong side of a lopsided score late. And it was clear that Florida didn't have much of an idea of what to do about either situation.

Tide QB Greg McElroy had maybe his best game of the season, and RB Mark Ingram re-stated his case for the Heisman Trophy.

Strangely, what was supposed to be the best of the championship games, was actually the least entertaining.

What Dan Learned: Also looking ahead to a potential “Bowl Mania II”, Alabama's got to be close to a 10-point favorite in the Championship game. If it's any less than that, we bet the Tide with both hands. If it's too much more, then great care has to be taken. Texas has looked very vulnerable at times, but Mack Brown is a great head coach, and there's no way Colt McCoy's going to let his club be embarrassed in that game.

Back to 1-1 and hoping for good things the rest of the day...


Clemson +1 vs. Georgia Tech: Final Score - Georgia Tech 39, Clemson 34

Okay, I flat whiffed on this one. I had it on in the studio on one of the TV's behind me so I could check the score, but I can't say that I watched much of it at all.

In the preview, I said I was going with Clemson because I was concerned about the health of Yellowjackets QB Josh Nesbitt.

Well, he went 9-of-16 for 136 yards passing and one TD. And he ran for 103 yards and another TD. So I guess that little theory wasn't worth much!

I should've known better than to go against the Triple Option!

What Dan Learned: Why not stick with the theme... Georgia Tech plays Iowa in the Orange Bowl. And I haven't the foggiest notion of how that game will go. Off the top of my head, I'd say you make Tech the favorite by 4 or 5 points and see what the betting public decides. But for all the decent feelings I have on the previous two games I've discussed, I've really got no clue here. And that's probably about what you'd expect!

1-2 and praying my Flier Pick can at least get me back to .500 for the week.


Wisconsin -12.5 at Hawaii: Final Score - Wisconsin 51, Hawaii 10
*- This game was this week's Sports Take Flier Pick of the Week.

Now I'm really going to disappoint you. I didn't see a second of this game. Unfortunately, last Thursday, I came down with some form of the crud that's been going around, and by Saturday, it had grabbed hold of me pretty good.

This game didn't tick off until 10:30pm central time, so by the time I got home from work I could have watched a large part of it. But I was so zonked from the virus that I went straight to bed. I crashed so hard in fact, that the updates that I get texted to my phone didn't even wake me up.

Mea Culpa. I wasn't there for you Bucky. But thankfully, you came through anyway!

So that gets me to 2-2 for the week, which leaves me 22-26 (.458) on the year, and officially kills any chance I had of making it back to .500 for the season. Yes, I'm disappointed. No, I'm not sorry I tried.

But if you think that clinching a sub-.500 record is going to stop me from picking one last game, you're sorely mistaken!

2009 College Football Picks: Week 15

There's only one FCS game played this week, and dammit, I'm picking it!

Navy -14 vs. Army (1:30pm, CBS): The Midshipmen are 8-4. The Black Knights are 5-6.

I say this nearly every season, but it bears repeating: this may be my favorite game of the entire college football year.

It's everything that's right about college football, and nearly none of what's wrong with it. Throw in the fact that it's a 3+ hour celebration of those who nobly serve in our country's armed forces, and what's not to love about it?!

I also feel a twinge of regret each time I pick this game. My maternal grandfather served in the Navy, while my paternal grandfather served in the Army. I'm proud of both, so picking one team seems like picking against a grandfather, you know?

But I think that both would enjoy the idea of me paying attention to the game, and hopefully Grandpa Cook won't mind it too much when I point out that Army's been having their lunch handed to them in this annual contest for the last seven years.

Army hasn't won this game since 2001, and has only won it four times in their last 15 tries.

In the last seven losses, the closest Army's come to winning was in 2006 when they lost by only 12 points. Yes, Navy's been that dominant.

Combine those numbers with their records against common opponents - Navy beat Air Force 16-13, while Army lost 35-7; both teams lost to Temple, though Navy's was a 3-point deficit while Army's was by two touchdowns - and the only possible play here is to take Navy and give the points.

Sorry Grandpa Cook, I'm going with Grandpa Chet's Midshipmen this week. I'm sure the two of you can wager a good cigar over the game and have no hard feelings!

So that's it for this week. And really for the season. If any of you have any thoughts for or against “Bowl Mania II”, pass them along. Enough people saying “yeah, do it!” would probably convince me rather quickly.

That'll be all for today. I'm back on Friday to talk DFTU. Could there be another baseball discussion? Tune in Friday and find out!

Until then, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Army/Navy is one of the games that really got me interested in college football. I may watch other games with only half attention, but I am glued to the Army/Navy game. It's always terrible as a football game (since Navy always wins big) but the traditions make it one of the most enjoyable ones to sit and watch.