Updated through GMAC Bowl.
Record: 17-14, 14-17 ATS
Monday, January 5, 2009
(10) Ohio State (10-2) at (3) Texas (11-1) (-8)
This game rests entirely on the defense of Ohio State. If this were a Big Ten game, that would be a good thing, but time and again the Buckeye D is exposed against non-conference teams. They’re slower than they look and are very weak against fast teams, hence getting beaten by LSU and Florida the last couple of years. Sure, James Laurinaitis is good, but he’s only one man and can be isolated. And since there are no stars on the Texas offense, other than Colt McCoy, Laurinaitis can’t just key on one guy. Basically, there’s no reason to trust Ohio State in this game.
The other reason it’s all up to the OSU defense is their offense can’t score with Texas. The Longhorns score a ton of points and are tough to keep up with for a lot of good offensive teams. While the Buckeyes are dangerous, there’s no indication Terrelle Pryor and company are good enough to keep up with them. They haven’t scored a ton of points in any of their games against decent defenses since Pryor took over.
Finally, I’ll tell Texas what I told USC: if you hadn’t lost, you wouldn’t be in this mess. Next time don’t lose to Texas Tech and you won’t have to complain about being left out of the BCS Championship game. Yeah sure, UT beat Oklahoma on a neutral field, and Oklahoma sucks and has no defense etc etc etc. Don’t lose, and this doesn’t happen. Besides, playing at the Texas state fair isn’t exactly a neutral field no matter how evenly the tickets are distributed to OU and UT fans. All that said, those are my only doubts about Texas. And they ain’t much.
Pick: Texas wins but Ohio State beats the spread.
Update: Texas 24 O-H-I-O 21.
How the fuck do you throw for 414 yards and only score 24 points? That’s re-fucking-diculous. Is Texas really trying to tell us the 24 points they got against Ohio State’s D is better than the 35 USC scored? That was USC’s offense! They only scored 28 points on Arizona State! Arizona. Goddamn. State. And in the meantime, Texas’ defense was torched by Chris Wells and pretty much everyone else. So yeah, that win earns them a shot at AP’s national championship. The BCS championship game isn’t the best argument for a playoff, this game is. A playoff tells the bought-and-paid-for pundits to STFU and we’re all better off with that happening. The only team deserving of a whiff of credit from the AP or the BCS is USC, but they fucked that up by taking their foot off the gas in the second half of the Rose Bowl.
I will admit it’s very enjoyable to see Ohio State lose yet another BCS bowl game. If it’s Jim Tressel’s destiny to get this team to the brink of success only to fail miserably every time, then I’m perfectly fine with them in the BCS every year. But only if they lose painfully.
Record: 18-14, 15-17 ATS
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
(22) Ball State (12-1) at Tulsa (10-3) (-2)
This is my nominee for Bowl of the Year. Two non-BCS teams with suspect defenses and fantastic offenses matching up in a major statement game for each team’s seasons. I love it.
This game would be even more interesting had Ball State not lost to Buffalo in the MAC championship game. They’d be fighting for an undefeated season and making a very strong case that the BCS is full of shit. But oh well. Nate Davis is still a fantastic quarterback, and their offense is truly impressive. And this is without Dante Love and with only mediocre arm strength from Davis.
Gus Malzahn is leaving Tulsa for Auburn, which in itself is hilarious since Auburn ran the spread offense out of town just a few months ago. Yet his offense is what has put Tulsa on the map the last two years. They’ve scored a ton of points and gained a shit-ton of yards while maintaining the kind of run/pass balance the talking heads love. I question their speed, but their production is undeniable.
Naturally, this game comes down to the two defenses. Each one is suspect, but one of them is going to need to make some stops. I also trust Ball State’s ability to hold onto the ball and not let Tulsa get as many possessions as they would like. I just don’t know if Ball State is going to come out mentally prepared since they’ve lost their coach between the MAC title game and the GMAC bowl. But hell, West Virginia pulled it off last year, so why not Ball State? Maybe because they have a crappy bowl record and Tulsa won last year’s GMAC Bowl big over a MAC team.
Pick: Ball State
Update: Tulsa 45 Ball State 13.
Wow did Ball State get their asses kicked. I watched this game at a bar with two Ball State alums and even they wanted out by halftime. Then the monsoon moved into Mobile, AL, and Ball State’s chances were shot. Bad times .
Record: 18-15, 15-18 ATS