Record through Week 10: 107-45, 74-73-5 ATS
Fond Memories for McD and Booter Game of the Week
San Diego State (1-8) at (15) Brigham Young (8-1) (-36)
SDSU football was my initial foray into college football. They were my first live college game, my first rivalry (though it’s not really a rivalry), and my first glimpse of a player so good, he was superior to everyone on the field. Marshall Faulk was that good in college. Until I went to Indiana, SDSU football was my major college football program of choice.
My dad loves to say SDSU is a program that’s been on the verge for 25 years. What he means when he says it is the Aztecs have always been close to taking the next step toward being a small-conference power a la Fresno State and Boise State. What it means now is they’re terrible and might need to be relegated out of Division I.
There have long been segments of the SDSU population and especially within the administration that dislike football. They see it as a waste. Now the program is having major lease issues with Qualcomm Stadium (where they play their games) and they’re running low on money. Plus they suck. The program is a total disaster and it’s going to take something of a miracle to save it.
But it should be saved. When run correctly, the Aztecs are a beloved institution. They are the only major college football program in town and there are a shit-ton of alumni still living in San Diego, including Booter’s mom. It’s a tragedy the student body is left to not care because the administration does not and the team isn’t any good. There should be no joking about how Jim Harbaugh’s old USD teams are the best teams in town.
The thing is, there’s absolutely no reason this program can’t succeed. The administration may need to be cleaned out entirely and the university’s funding for everything may need an overhaul. The school is in San Diego, it has nice facilities for everything but football, and there’s a huge recruiting base out there. I know this because the team used to be good.
So as BYU destroys the Aztecs Saturday, consider how your school’s program could be mismanaged and then run out of town for no reason at all. SDSU deserves a football program to be proud of, and right now, they aren’t getting it.
Update: BYU 41 SDSU 12. Everyone knew they were dead heading into the game, so this is expected. I like to pretend this game is a rivalry, but it’s really not and never has been. They were just the two best teams in the old WAC when I was paying attention to that stuff. College football just isn’t as fun without some one to hate, right? So BYU rolls on, despite not mattering in the BCS picture anymore. Everyone is basically waiting until they play Utah in a couple of weeks, and then there’s chaos. Mormon chaos!
Record: 108-45, 75-73-5 ATS
(11) Ohio State (7-2) at (24) Northwestern (7-2) (+10.5)
Of all the things I thought I’d be taking into account when picking games, I never thought I’d be wondering if C.J. Bacher was going to recover from an injury so he can lead Northwestern. The Big Ten has taken a decidedly left turn this season. Down is up, up is down, the power teams are mediocre and I have no idea who’s in first place because Indiana’s season is a wreck (see below).
Ohio State is one of those mediocre power teams. They’ve given their season over to uber-recruit Terrelle Pryor and it’s clear they’re at least a year away. Well, he’s a year away, anyway. They just don’t move the ball enough. But this is Northwestern, and Ohio State’s size and talent alone win this game for them. I hate to ruin their 7-2 season, but the Wildcats are 7-2, so their season is already too good for them anyway.
Pick: Ohio State but Northwestern beats the spread
Update: Ohio State 45 Northwestern 10. Way to show up, Northwestern. Guess losing your best running back and starting quarterback might hamper your chances for success. I guess. The moral of the story: never trust Northwestern.
Record: 109-45, 75-74-5 ATS
Wisconsin (4-5) at Indiana (3-6) (+9.5)
Indiana’s worst habit this season, by far, is playing down to its competition. It’s been their biggest problem for a lot longer than that, actually. Yeah sure, Lewis is hurt, the defense is awful, and the team plays like it needs a pair, but most of all they have this glitch in their minds that does not allow them to dominate anyone on any level. That’s why they play close with an injured and uninspired Northwestern team, let a slower, smaller Central Michigan team torch them, or let a motivated Ball State team physically dominate them. There’s something in the water around the football program, and that’s the most troublesome part of IU’s crappiness in 2008.
I mention this because IU always gets destroyed by power-running teams in recent years. Lloyd Carr’s Michigan squads, Ohio State, Michigan State (under Dantoni), Wisconsin, and even Minnesota under Glen Mason would absolutely destroy the Hoosiers on the ground. Whenever teams spread it out, the Hoosiers have a fighting chance. They’ll play close with anyone that won’t run it down their throats, hence wins in recent years against finesse teams like Northwestern this year. The reason is recent IU defenders couldn’t tackle for shit, and this group is no different. Wisconsin is still a power-running team, even though they’re down. Not good. Looks like another Saturday fighting the team’s demons.
Update: Wisconsin 55 Indiana 20. Don’t think this game was always a blowout. This was going to be a close game until Ben Chappell got knocked out of the game on a quarterback draw near halftime. Indiana was deep in Badger territory and driving to take the lead after a muffed punt, but Chappell got hurt and the Hoosiers were stuck with a crippled Kellen Lewis and Mitchell Evans to run the offense. Once it was clear Chappy wasn’t coming back, every Hoosier fan knew this thing was over. I kind of held out hope the defense could make a couple of plays, but John Clay and PJ Hill were just too much. The game was officially over when they ran the same end-around for the 87th time only it worked for a 90 yard touchdown. The perfect ending to IU’s atrocious home games in 2008.
Record: 110-45, 76-74-5 ATS
McD’s Adopted ACC Teams Apocalypse 2008
(20) Georgia Tech (7-2) at (19) North Carolina (6-2) (-4)
It’s the 2008 McD’s Adopted ACC Teams Apocalypse! What do I do? Do I stick with my beloved triple-option? Or do I keep honking UNC because Butch Davis can work miracles at pretty much any program? This is a true gambler’s dilemma, so I guess I’m going to have to actually research this game. Weak.
Jaybo Shaw might be replacing Josh Nesbitt at quarterback for Georgia Tech. Shaw is younger and doesn’t pass quite as well (not that this is a throwing team anyway) and that might give the Yellow Jackets some issues. Yet they keep plugging along rushing for over 240 yards per game even though everyone in the stadium knows they’re running the ball. I’d feel much more comfortable if Nesbitt were playing, though.
As for UNC, they keep losing players to injury, but they still win. This is their biggest game of the season, thus far, because it’s against a division-leading team and the Tar Heels are trying to get into the ACC Championship game. If this were against any team but Georgia Tech, I would love UNC’s chances in this game. But then I look at Tech’s defense, especially their defensive line, and I wonder how the Tar Heels are going to move the ball enough. They’ll really have to maximize their chances because the Yellow Jackets are going to hold the ball. It’s what they do. And I’d be remiss if I totally abandoned my favorite triple-option team, right?
Pick: Georgia Tech
Update: UNC 28 Georgia Tech 7. I can’t make excuses for Georgia Tech. I wanted to go opposite popular opinion and I got burned. I guess I have the comfort of having stuck with my guns and backed Tech no matter what. I really could give a crap about sticking to my guns at this point though. Tech was completely stifled in this game, showing the triple-option might indeed have some issues when facing a higher level of defense. Not entirely sure UNC is a higher level, but they were today.
Record: 110-46, 76-75-5 ATS
Purdue (3-6) at (18) Michigan State (8-2) (-9.5)
It’s heretical for me to even think something positive about Purdue, but here goes: they aren’t completely awful when Curtis Painter is on the sideline. God that hurt. Anyway, this is a game the Spartans should dominate. They play good enough defense to stop Kory Sheets and the formerly good Boiler offense. I have no idea who is going to tackle Javon Ringer for Purdue, though. They’re about as good as IU’s defense. On the other hand, Michigan State seems almost too likely to win this game, like something is finally going to go wrong and they’re going to repeat their Ohio State performance. Teams with shitty quarterbacks scare the crap out of me. I hate gambling on them. And so if you want to see a lot of nothing from that position on Saturday, this is your game.
Pick: Michigan State
Update: Michigan State 21 Purdue 7. Pretty standard Big Ten game in East Lansing, MI today. Michigan State ran the ball a whole bunch with Javon Ringer, limited Purdue’s offense, and won a Big Ten “shootout” 21-7. Under normal circumstances, I’d feel kind of bad for Purdue since their beloved coach’s last season is a total disaster, but these aren’t normal circumstances and IU has to play these pathetic fuckers in a couple of weeks. At least it’s a game again. It seemed like Purdue would be decent for a minute this season, and I really wondered if the Hoosiers would get another 60 points hung on them like the last time they were in West Lafayette. But now the Boilers are gawd-awful too and injured too, just like IU. The Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket is a game again. One I have no intention of losing. Puck Furdue! Sorry, typo. Fuck Purdue!
Record: 111-46, 77-75-5 ATS
Louisville (5-3) at Pittsburgh (6-2) (-6)
Serious letdown/trap game for the Panthers. Louisville just got beat by Syracuse, but they aren’t as bad as that, and Pitt just had its biggest win of the season at Notre Dame. I know, I know, beating USF was more meaningful, but there’s nothing that is better psychologically for a crappy team like Pitt than beating a venerable program on the road. But that means there’s a pretty decent chance for a hangover in this week’s game. Pitt just loves to play close, and were it not for an especially shitty day from the Domer passing game, Pitt is sitting at 5-3 instead of 6-2. Louisville loves to throw the ball, and I’m not convinced Pitt’s secondary can’t get torched again like they did against Rutgers. Mind you, Rutgers is a terrible Big East squad this year just like Louisville only Mike Teel is gawd-awful and Hunter Cantwell is just inconsistent.
The big issue for the Cardinals is how in the hell they’re going to stop LeSean McCoy. At least Heinz Field has that notoriously slow track, whose condidtion on which Cantwell has opined, so Louisville might have a fighting chance. Besides, a shootout is actually to their benefit, since Pitt isn’t scoring with anyone. I haven’t trusted Pitt all season, and there’s no reason to start now.
Update: Pitt 45 Louisville 7. Jesus, Louisville. I mean…Jesus. Terrible effort in a winnable game. I guess all the trap-game karma went Penn State’s way and Pitt dodged a bullet. Maybe the turf at Heinz Field really did make a difference. Keep making that excuse, maybe people will start to listen. I officially hate Louisville. I really wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt because of all the chaos Bobby Petrino left behind, but now they just suck.
Record: 111-47, 77-76-5 ATS
Likely Shootout of the Week
Illinois (5-4) at Western Michigan (7-2) (+7.5) Detroit, MI
I don’t know if Western Michigan has the horses to compete with Illinois, but if they play like they have been, this game will have some very entertaining highlights on SportsCenter. And I figured this game would be at a neutral site, since there’s no way in hell Illinois would go to WMU’s home field. A neutral site means more drunked Illini fans and less noise for WMU, not that there’s a ton of their fans just floating around anyway.
What they do have is a fantastic offense, and if Central Michigan is any indicator, they should be able to play with a Big Ten team, as long as the porous Illini defense don’t mind pulling an IU and looking like jackasses for three hours. This game has shootout written all over it.
Update: Western Michigan 23 Illinois 17. I want to say it now: Western Michigan deserves a bowl bid whether they win the MAC or not. This is a good team with or without the win over a Big Ten team. I’d like to stress the shittiness of the Big Ten at this point. Indiana has lost to Ball State and Central Michigan and now Illinois lost to Western Michigan. Respect the MAC.
Record: 111-47, 77-77-5 ATS
(13) Georgia (7-2) at Kentucky (6-3) (+12)
Now that Georgia’s season is over, are they broken and depressed like Missouri? Or are they going to be like LSU last season and press on with the hope everyone in front of them loses one more time? Don’t get me wrong, Georgia is going to win this game. It’s just a question as to by how much and how they’ll look doing it because Kentucky sucks.
Update: Georgia 43 Kentucky 38. How the hell do you get into a shootout with Kentucky? Nevermind how you do it, how does Georgia do it? There really aren’t such things as terrible wins, but this is a terrible win. Kentucky has less than no offense and they still managed to march down the field all day on Georgia’s defense. That’s pathetic. In every major game this season, Georgia’s defense has been awful. It happened against Alabama. It happened against Florida. Now it’s happening against terrible teams like Kentucky. Maybe Mark Richt needs to have the entire team run into the end zone to celebrate a touchdown again.
Record: 112-47, 77-78-5 ATS
San Diego State at BYU (see above)
Virginia (5-4) at Wake Forest (5-3) (-3.5)
I don’t want to say anything crazy or outlandish, but this may end up being the ugliest game of football ever played. Other than play pretty good defense, it’s hard to name one thing these teams do well. Wake Forest’s offense has taken a mysterious, yet major step back. Virginia is a team that sucks but has a good record. I’m not impressed with either team, but I’m definitely disappointed with Wake Forest. The pieces are all there, but they come out flat occasionally and get absolutely nothing done offensively or defensively. It’s totally inexplicable. Or maybe it is, and I’m just not paying attention. Whatever.
Pick: Wake Forest
Update: Wake Forest 28 Virginia 17. It wasn’t as ugly as I’d hoped, but at least Wake Forest won. This made way too much sense before the game. It wasn’t a particularly great game, no one is going to be writing novels about its beauty.
Record: 113-47, 78-78-5 ATS
Clemson (4-4) at (22) Florida State (6-2) (-5.5)
Hey Clemson, you want redemption? You want to feel like you can salvage some dignity this season? Then beat Florida State because Bobby is going to be looking to drop a Cleveland Steamer on the team that just fired his baby boy. I hate not being able to say “screw Clemson” now that Tommy Bowden is gone, but I’ll deal. I’m much more inclined to dislike Florida State in most matchups the Seminoles might have. I worked in a restaurant at which FSU alumni met and watched games. They were loud, they did the cheers, and were absolutely ridiculous and because of that I can’t stand Florida State. No offense to Jenn Sterger.
Pick: Florida State
Update: Florida State 41 Clemson 27. Well, I’ll give Florida State credit, or maybe it’s the alcohol giving them credit. But a Bobby Bowden team beat a team it should, and it wasn’t close. That’s an impressive thing in FSU’s recent history. I like I can say “they don’t suck” and have it be significant. Plus Bowden is one game closer to catching Paterno, though I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Record: 114-47, 79-78-5 ATS
(3) Penn State (9-0) at Iowa (5-4) (+7.5)
Trap game alert! Trap game alert! Penn State has a couple of games to end the season that aren’t full-blown tough games, but they aren’t easy either. This is one of them. The Nittany Lions SHOULD blow the Hawkeyes out, but both teams have been playing close with their opponents and there’s no reason that shouldn’t continue. I hate games like this, and if I were a coach, they’d drive me crazy. It’s so easy for Penn State’s teams to not take this game too seriously since they’ve already beaten Ohio State et al. Besides, they have the Indiana game to look ahead to. How can you beat that distraction?
Pick: Penn State
Update: Iowa 24 Penn State 23. Tragically, Paterno is not getting another national championship in 2008. I really did want to see him get one, though a Penn State/Texas Tech championship game would have been underwhelming at best. It’s also the kind of BCS chaos that we need so the system goes away. Chaos is good, though Texas Tech and Alabama didn’t lose tonight. It’s a start, at least.
Record: 114-48, 79-79-5 ATS
McD: BCS Anarchist Game of the Week
(1) Alabama (9-0) at (16) Louisiana State (6-2) (+3.5)
LSU is way worse than everyone thought, and not just at quarterback. But wow is John Parker Wilson on the road in Baton Rouge a gambler’s dream. I totally forgot this was Saban Bowl II until I read the ESPN preview. I don’t even remember if they played last season. The problem for Alabama is LSU is just plucky enough to give them problems. That said, I’m not discounting the Curse of Keiland Williams. If Williams plays, the Tigers might be ready for an upset, but if it’s all Charles Scott, LSU is done.
Pick: Alabama. I can’t do it. I can’t go with LSU.
Update: Alabama 27 LSU 21. LSU was THIS close to winning. They had no chance to win at the end of the game, even though they had the ball. But they had a decent chance in overtime, but, as Hickey said, Jarrett Lee makes Rex Grossman look like Joe Montana. Enough said. Sorry, Tigers fans, it’s a down year. Feel free to grumble and complain through the offseason and put your coach on the fake hotseat for 2009. Very disappointing season, but that doesn’t mean Alabama is free and clear. They’ve won the SEC West, but they have a very good chance of losing to Florida, if that’s who they play. Chaos is still imminent.
Record: 115-48, 80-79-5 ATS
“Mike Riley Game” Game of the Week
Oregon State (5-3) at UCLA (3-5) (+8)
The Gutty Little Bruins could actually win this game. It’s a classic “Mike Riley Game.” This is the same team that beat USC, and now they’re 5-3 and you know coach Riley is just dying for another bad loss before he miraculously saves the season again. UCLA will be in this one. Oregon State will play close with them the entire game and it’s going to come down to one last-minute possessions for each team. However that ends up doesn’t really matter, but when it’s Mike Riley Game, figure out which team he’s coaching and go the other way.
Pick: Oregon State wins but UCLA beats the spread.
Update: Oregon State 34 UCLA 6. It was a Mike Riley game for two and a half quarters, but the Bruins definitely couldn’t keep up like that. They weren’t scoring and it was clear the Beavers were going to do something eventually. Either way, three wins in the first year of the Neuheisel Era is a wild success compared to the preseason to expectations. As long as Kevin Craft isn’t the starter in 2009, they’ll be fine. Tonight, not so much. At least Arsenal beat Man U, right Booter?
Record: 116-48, 80-80-5 ATS
Cincinnati (6-2) at (25) West Virginia (6-2) (-6.5)
I have no idea how Cincinnati has survived all the injuries at quarterback to stay 6-2. It’s a testament to Brian Kelly’s coaching skill and recruiting that the Bearcats aren’t done already. West Virginia, on the other hand, isn’t really injured all that much. They’re a decent team playing at home against an overachieving team. I’m not a huge fan of West Virginia’s moves now that Rich-Rod is gone, but they’re still a good team and I’m not so sure Cincy has it in them.
Pick: West Virginia
Update: Cincinnati 26 WVU 23 (OT). It’s a miracle West Virginia even tied this game to make it into overtime. They were down 20-7 for most of this game and had no business getting back into it except for a heroic effort by Pat White and the rest of the team. I’m impressed with the comeback, but how do you make that amazing comeback but then lose in OT? Lame.
Record: 116-48, 80-81-5 ATS
(5) Florida (7-1) at Vanderbilt (5-3) (+24)
Letdown game Alert! Letdown game Alert! The Gators are coming off a huge, emotional win against Georgia and are still riding the positive vibes Urban Meyer always sends out. Real groovy guy, that Urban Meyer. Florida can clinch the SEC East with a win on the road, but Vandy is having their best season since Jay Cutler’s senior season. And even then the Commodores didn’t make a bowl. I have no idea if they’ll make it this season, but at least I was right about the tough back end of Vandy’s schedule catching up to them.
Pick: Florida wins but Vandy beats the spread.
Update: Florida 42 Vandy 14. Okay so Vandy wasn’t even close. Florida is very, very hot heading into the SEC title game against Alabama, even though they have more games to play, including one against Florida State, though that’s not terribly dangerous for the Gators. It’s coming down to us relying on Florida to beat Alabama so there’s more BCS chaos. If it comes down to Texas Tech (who still has to play Oklahoma) and a one-loss team, that might be a sufficient amount of BCS chaos, but I want more. Always more.
Record: 117-48, 80-82-5
(21) California (6-2) at (7) USC (7-1) (-22)
This is a sneaky USC blowout waiting to happen. Cal isn’t without talent, but as always, the Trojans are dangerous when they’ve already lost and their name is in the background of the national championship conversation. Plus there’s the whole Northern California/Southern California thing. As long as SoCal keeps stealing NorCal’s water, this game is a rivalry.
Update: USC 17 Cal 3. This was Mark Sanchez’s ‘Medellin’. The offense wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either. No big plays, and the running backs didn’t do very much. Something has happened to the USC passing attack in recent years. They went from one of the most impressive aerial assaults to barely being able to get their quarterback 200 passing yards per game. It’s a weird thing. They still have a hell of a lot of talent, but there’s something wrong. I blame Steve Sarkisian.
Record: 118-48, 80-83-5 ATS
(9) Oklahoma State (8-1) at (2) Texas Tech (9-0) (-3.5)
I know who I’m going to pick, but I don’t know whom to root for. I love an underdog, and Texas Tech making the BCS title game is a pretty big underdog. On the other hand, I want BCS chaos, and OSU has to win this game if that’s going to happen. Tough call.
Matchup-wise, OSU is a better matchup for Texas Tech than Texas was. They run the ball more and I wonder if they can win a shoot out. It’s all going to depend on how both teams’ defenses show up. If Tech can contain Oklahoma State’s offense like they did in the first half of the Texas game, then this is an easy Red Raiders win. On the other hand, this might be the biggest trap game ever.
Pick: Texas Tech
Update: Texas Tech 56 OSU 20. Graham Harrell is your leading Heisman candidate at the moment. 40-50 is very very impressive against Oklahoma State’s defense, which didn’t suck heading into this game. The crazy thing is they still have to play Oklahoma after their bye week. So basically, we need Florida to beat Alabama, Oklahoma to beat Texas Tech, and then we have a really huge amount of BCS chaos. Everyone will have one loss and it will come down to the formula to pick the two teams that will play for the BCS championship, which is great because the formula sucks and needs to be overhauled and maybe even eliminated entirely. CHAOS!
Record through Week 11: 119-48, 81-83-5 ATS
Just a few thoughts on the weekend I wanted to throw out there before I’m done for the weekend and I sink into the misery that is San Diego Chargers football:
That was a truly disgusting effort by Tennessee’s players as they are sending their coach out. Supposedly, they love him and were very upset to lose him, but they went out there and played their worst game of the season against Wyoming (one of the worst teams in division one) instead. Those players are pathetic. If I were the incoming coach, whoever that is, I wouldn’t want one of them on my team. Not one.
It seems as though Ball State is the team most likely to make it into the BCS from outside the warm embrace of the BCS conferences. Utah is still undefeated, but they play BYU in a couple of weeks and the Cougars look like the better team at the moment, despite their loss. The real winners? TCU. They’ve beaten BYU and played extremely close with Utah. That might be a Mountain West program on the rise.
Shout out to Warren Central’s own Darren Evans and his 253 yards against Maryland.
Of the current available jobs, I would want them, were I a prospective head coach, in this order: 1) Clemson. 2) Tennessee. 3) Washington. 4) Syracuse.
Nate Davis should be at that Heisman ceremony next month.
Bill Lynch deserves exactly one more season to see if he can have any kind of success at Indiana. There are a hell of a lot of injuries on this current Hoosier team, and it wasn’t all that experienced to begin with. He’s got some recruits coming in for next season, and if that team can actually win some games and not look like complete shit when they lose, then maybe he really is the right guy to run the program.
Finally, my fantasy football team is playing The Baker’s fantasy football team this weekend. My team is so ravaged by injuries, I’m probably going to lose to him and he isn’t even starting a second running back. Believe me, it’ll be a different story when Romo and Bush are back. InterSpecies Erotica is bottoming out at 6-3, but we will recover quickly.