Wednesday

10-13-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 7

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another Wednesday. My pick-up for the Big Red Road-trip is scheduled for shortly after 9am on Friday morning, so in an effort not to get my sleep-cycle too out of whack, allow me to quickly get to the getting with this column.

The college football picks columns tend to run longer than average, so I don't want to waste my time being all witty and clever in the opening few graphs!

Let's get to the picking!

Right after the quote...

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
*- Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Spanish painter, draughtsman and sculptor


Admirable sentiment. Maybe if I imagine a Big Red blowout hard enough, it might happen? We'll see!


2010 College Football Picks: Week 7



We begin each week with a review of last week's picks. In Week 5, I went 3-1 and was a half-point away from that elusive 4-0 week. Another week like that, and I'll be right on track for where I want to be this season. How'd I do? Let's find out...

Right after we take a look at the game I passed on:

Michigan State -4.5 at Michigan: Final Score - Michigan State 34, Michigan 17

Wow. Should've picked this one I guess, huh? As I said last week, if it had been in East Lansing, I would have, but I was a bit nervous about picking Sparty on the road. As it turned out, I had no reason to worry. Michigan state exposed Wolverine quarterback Denard Robinson as the talented-but-still-raw player that he is, forcing him into three interceptions - two of which were in the red zone. The “emotional comeback” for head coach Mark Dantonio that I thought was coming for the Wisconsin game, actually came in this game. While being on the road meant there wasn't quite the fan reaction that would've occurred at home, it was still awfully inspirational for his players. Michigan State has the schedule to be a force in the Big Ten this season. They're game with Iowa in a couple of weeks will be huge in terms of the league title race.

Okay, so I should've picked that one, but didn't. What does that mean for the games I did pick? We're going to find out...

First...

Minnesota +22 at Wisconsin: Final Score - Wisconsin 41, Minnesota 23

I ripped Bret Bielema on Monday for the classless way he handled this game, but perhaps I should thank him? Maybe the d-bag move he pulled calling for a two-point conversion while up 25 inspired the Gophers to drive the ball down for one last touchdown which covered the spread for me?

I have to correct one thing from last week. I said that Wisconsin had won seven in a row and 13 out of the last 15 games in this series. Unfortunately, I was working ahead. After their 2010 win, they now have won seven in a row. The “13 out of 15” part I had right. Of course, that now becomes 14 out of 16.

Either way, Wisconsin has dominated this series in recent times. And though it's likely that Minnesota will have a new coach enter the fray in 2011, it'll be at least a year or two before that individual has things turned around enough to bring that streak to an end.

As I predicted, Wisconsin physically dominated the Gophers at the point of attack to the tune of 473 yards of total offense, 250 of which came on the ground, 111 of which belonged to 250-pound behemoth John Clay.

Wisconsin's ability to run the ball meant they won the Time of Possession battle 34:02 to 25:58. When Wisconsin does that, they're all but unbeatable.

While 22 wasn't as outlandish a spread as I believed it was going into the game, it still turned out to be too many, and the Gophers did a fine job covering for me.

1-0 and starting strong...

Next...

Arkansas -6 at Texas A&M: Final Score - Arkansas 24, Texas A&M 17
*- This game was this week's WftC Flier Pick of the Week

Make that five straight Flier Picks for your humble author...

I'm not going to lie. I didn't have much justification for this pick, hence it's Flier status.

I also didn't get to see any of the game since, while it was part of ABC/ESPN's rotation, it wasn't available in my area.

From what I've read, Arkansas got out to an early lead, but their offense fizzled as the game went along. Fortunately for me, their defense was up to the task and held down the A&M offense to allow me to cover.

They don't have to be pretty folks, they just have to be covers!

2-0 and feeling a strong week coming!

Thirdly...

Arizona -7.5 vs. Oregon State: Final Score - Oregon St. 29, Arizona 27

So much for that “magic half-point alert” I guess, huh?

Oof.

I don't know if the Wildcats got caught licking their chops looking ahead to their match-up with a woeful Washington State club next week, or of they just flat failed to get off the bus this week. Whatever it was, this was a hugely disappointing effort from a club that was one of the favorites to win the Pac 10.

I knew the Beavers weren't as bad as some of their previous games might have led one to believe - no team with RB Jacquizz Rodgers could be. I had no idea that they had it in them to pull of this upset however. From here on out, I think we have to declare Oregon State a “stay away” team. They can beat good teams and lose to bad teams. That's not the type of squad you want to wager on.

2-1 and reduced to hoping for a second-straight 3-1 week.

Finally...

Northwestern -9.5 vs. Purdue: Final Score - Purdue 20, Northwestern 17

Say what?!?!

Perhaps you could've convinced me that 9.5 was too many to give in this game, but there's no way you could've talked me into Purdue winning outright! Not with the number of injuries to skill players they've had to deal with.

But win outright they did. And it was their special teams that provided the spark.

Trailing in the fourth quarter, the Boilermakers blocked a field goal that would've given Northwestern a touchdown lead, and forced another miss by the Wildcats after Purdue had gone down and scored the go-ahead touchdown.

Don't ask me how they pulled that part off, I have no idea.

Now, however, I have to re-evaluate my labeling of Purdue as the 2010 Big Ten Doormat, as well as the best hope Minnesota had for a Big Ten win this season.

Knowing the Gophers might go 0-fer (ugh, that shouldn't rhyme) is small consolation for being so grossly wrong on this pick.

So for Week 6 I finish a mediocre 2-2 (.500). That makes my season record 12-11 (.522). That's only a few tenths of a percent less than I was at last week, but as we near the midway point of the season, backwards is not the direction you want to be going in!

Time to get another +.500 week under my belt. Hopefully that happens in...

Week 7

Slim pickings this week. Hopefully that doesn't bode ill for the games I do decide to pick, but first, the single games I looked at seriously, but decided to pass on:

Saturday, 10/16 - Arizona -23.5 at Washington State (6pm, Versus):

Arizona's coming off a tough loss to Oregon State and WASU sucks the bag this year. So why did I decide to take a pass on this game? Simple, it's on the road and I don't like giving up four scores on the road if I don't have to. I won't be surprised if this one covers. You have to think that the Wildcats will be eager to get a win after their loss last week. But I can find four other games to pick, so I'll take a pass on this one.

Saturday, 10/16 - Nebraska -9.5 vs. Texas (2:30pm, ABC/ESPN):

Mea Culpa: I had this game picked, and an entire section written to justify it when I realized, I just can't do this. My favorite Nebraska fans in the whole world are bringing me to this game out of the kindness of their hearts. If I pick it, I have to pick the Huskers. If I pick the Huskers and they lose to a Texas team which is as beatable as they're ever going to be? Well, let's just say I wouldn't blame them if they never spoke to me again!

I certainly like Nebraska's chances in this game, but 9.5 is a lot to cover in a game that will be filled with emotion. I want to be bold. I want to go ahead and pick this game. But I'm going to be smart, not mess with the mojo, and take a pass on this one.

So if I'm passing on those, which games am I picking?

As always, were I to have the wherewithal to make a worthwhile wager... these are the games I'd be betting on:

First...

Saturday, 10/16 - California +2.5 at USC (2:30pm, FSN): The Golden Bears are 3-2 (1-1 in the Pac 10). The Trojans are 4-2 (1-2 in the Pac 10).

I'm giving your Bears one more chance, Tafoya! If they screw me on this one, I'm done with them for 2010!

Cal's record may not look spectacular, but dig a litter deeper. Their two losses are at Nevada - who can score points like crazy - and at Arizona, which was a one-point loss to a very good football team.

Meanwhile they whipped a halfway-decent Colorado team 52-7 and thumped UCLA 35-7 after the Bruins had gone on the road and beaten Texas!

That's about as good a 3-2 resume as you can compile.

As for USC, they're coming off of two straight losses (Washington and Stanford) and it's my sincere hope that the wheels are starting to come off that program a bit.

USC doesn't lose two games in a row, they just don't. So the Trojans have to be reeling a bit, not to mention questioning their coaching hire. Lane Kiffin hasn't really proven whether he's a capable head coach or not, despite the multitude of opportunities he's been given.

If fingers are starting to be pointed, things could get dicey in a hurry for USC.

Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part, but this is as good a shot as Cal's going to have to go into the Coliseum and walk out with a win over one of their biggest rivals.

I'll take the 2.5 and hope Tafoya's Bears are as “sturdy” as she keeps singing they are!

Next...

Saturday, 10/16 - Iowa -3.5 at Michigan (2:30pm, ABC/ESPN): The Hawkeyes are 4-1 (1-0 in the Big Ten). The Wolverines are 5-1 (1-1 in the Big Ten).

Michigan State provided the blueprint on how to bottle up sophomore sensation Denard Robinson and beat Michigan last weekend. This weekend, Iowa gets to have a go at him.

The Hawkeyes bring one of the toughest defenses in the Big Ten, if not the country, to the Big House, and my guess is they'll do much the same as Michigan State.

Michigan's better than they were last year, no doubt. But they're a long way from their traditional role as conference heavyweight. Their offense has tended to be one-dimensional so far, and as we saw, if you contain that dimension (Robinson), they don't have many other options to beat you with.

And lest you think that Iowa's not a team that can score a lot of points, they've put up no fewer than 24 in every game this season. The fewest that Michigan has allowed? 10 to Uconn. Other than that, teams have scored at least 21 or more on them.

Put all that together and I only have to give 3.5? Yup, I'll take Iowa. No problemo.

Thirdly...

Saturday, 10/16 - Idaho -1.5 at Louisiana Tech (3:00pm, find a good bar): The Vandals are 3-2 (0-0 in the WAC). The Bulldogs are 2-4 (1-1 in the WAC).
*- This game is this week's WftC Flier Pick of the Week

While I'm loathe to risk a 5-week Flier Pick winning streak, I'm going to try a new angle this week.

I know virtually nothing about either of these clubs, so I'm basing my pick solely on the movement of the line so far.

The game opened at: Louisiana Tech -2. As you can see it's now: Idaho -1.5.

That means that bettors bet Idaho so hard after the line opened that Vegas had to move the line 3.5 points to get anybody to bet on Tech.

To me, that says somebody knows something! And whatever it is, I'm willing to get on board - Flier-style, that is!

I'll take the Vandals, give the 1.5 and hope the cross-country trip doesn't take too much out of them!

Finally...

Saturday, 10/16 - Ohio State -4 at Wisconsin (6pm, ESPN): The Buckeyes are 5-0 (2-0 in the Big Ten). The Badgers are 5-1 (1-1 in the Big Ten).

I'm really not sure why this keeps happening. The Badgers have been over-valued in nearly every game this year. If I recall correctly, they're 1-5 against the spread, with the Austin Peay 70-3 game being the only time they've covered.

This week, the undefeated, number-one-in-the-nation Buckeyes come to Madison, and somehow this game opens at Ohio State -6 and gets bet down to -4?!

I know it's a night game and funky things can happen at Camp Randall at night, but having watched every Badger game this season, I don't really know how anyone can see Wisconsin +6 against a very good Ohio State team and think they're getting a gift?!

Wisconsin's the best team Ohio State has faced so far this season (although that 24-13 win over Illinois looks a lot more impressive after what the Illini did to Penn State last week), so maybe that has something to do with it.

But I just can't see a good-but-not-great Badger squad hanging with the Buckeyes in this game. Being at home helps for sure, but to me this is a 10-point win for Ohio State, easy.

So if Vegas says I only have to give four, that's simply a no-brainer. I'll give the four, pray I'm wrong (for my team's sake) and hope the bad karma Bret Bielema engendered going for two while up 25 on the Gophers doesn't lead to a blowout at home!


There you have them ladies and gentlemen. Four picks for you to peruse, ponder and pontificate on. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and concerns below!

That'll wrap things up for me today. I hope to bang out a brief DFTU before the Big Red Road-trip begins! Check back Friday morning to see if that comes to fruition.

Until then, thanks for reading!

2 comments:

  1. Cal will probably beat USC, unless USC comes up with a whole new offensive scheme in a week.

    Iowa has the more "complete" team, I think they beat Michigan.

    That's quite the limb you're hanging your Flier on this week. ... But I think you're right, Idaho wins.

    I'd love to see Bucky bare some teeth and rip Michigan to the tune of 23-18 (the 23 is 3 TDs and a FG, missed a 2pt conversion; the 18 is 3 FG and 1 TD, and Michigan intercepted the conversion and ran it back).

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  2. Bah, I meant Ohio State, Bucky beats Ohio State. :p

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