Record after week 11: 121-53 (88-83-3 ATS)
Friday, November 19, 2010
9:30 pm ET
Fresno State (6-3) at (3) Boise State (9-0) (-30.5)
There was just no way to stay away from this game with so much riding on it. Boise is officially in the part of its schedule that could get it into the national title game if only they could make it through unscathed. And they’ll definitely need a blowout of the Bulldogs on their resume, along with an Auburn or Oregon loss.
I’ve always loved Fresno State’s style, though that “anywhere, anytime” mantra sounds more like bluster when they play defense a lot of the time. But any team, Fresno, Boise, what have you, that is willing to play old-school-ish football and succeed at it is worthy of praise. There’s no gimmicky offense here. No freaky athletes making the system look good. Just solid football. Mostly.
That said, Boise has that “team of destiny” vibe around it. TCU is very, very good, but they just seem different, don’t they? It’s one of those totally unexplainable things, but you’re completely sure Boise will come through every tough spot and play excellent football while TCU could go down at any moment.
Part of that, I’m convinced, is because Boise runs a more conventional, old-school offense. Sure, they use their athletes and throw a lot, but they also are totally committed to the run, and I don’t mean the Denard Robinson-run, either. They do it the regular way. The Horned Frogs use their backs, but they run a spread system that is conventionally spread, if that makes sense. It doesn’t do anything spectacular and they really, really rely on Andy Dalton to do the exact right thing. Boise could win on an average day for Kellen Moore. I’m not so sure about TCU and Andy Dalton.
Pick: Boise State wins but doesn’t cover
Saturday, November 20, 2010
12 pm ET
Pennsylvania State (6-4) at Indiana (4-6) (+10)
Game in Landover, MD
I already know giving up this home game for the money will be worth it financially for the university. It’s a nice pay day and we’ll take our beating with pride, or so I assume.
I hate it when the talking heads on the radio come up with exactly what I was thinking, only they put it better. That also says a lot about the quality of what I think, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, I have to give credit to a local talking head named JMV because he said it best about Bill Lynch: that we’d always hoped that Indiana would be successful enough that “Bill Lynch is a nice guy” wouldn’t be the first thing we said about him anymore.
Sadly, it still is the first thing we say. Usually, it’s followed up with some remark about how he’s recruited fairly well for Indiana, but the team just doesn’t get it done. We are, sad to say, in the same position we were at the end of Gerry DiNardo’s tenure. This, of course, still brings up the “what if” about Terry Heppner’s short time as IU’s coach.I’m still convinced Heppner would have gotten it done in Bloomington, and we’d be a totally different program from what you see today.
Bill Lynch has made progress everywhere but the field for Indiana, and now that we are looking at a winless Big Ten season and only two conference wins in three years, it’s probably time for a change.
It’s not an angry thing, or an “I hate Bill Lynch” thing because I don’t hate him. I think Indiana fans are always indebted to him for what he did in the wake of Heppner’s illness and death. But it’s been a few years now, and I think it might be time to move on.
All that said, if we beat Penn State, then the Purdue game suddenly becomes our ticket to bowl eligibility, that means you can forget what I just wrote.
Purdue (4-6) at (11) Michigan State (9-1) (-20)
It’s not as though Purdue has NO shot in East Lansing. Wait, yes it is. Sucks if this is your regional game.
Pick: Michigan State
(6) Wisconsin (9-1) at Michigan (7-3) (+4)
Why do I get the feeling that Michigan has a shot here? There’s every chance that this could turn into a shoot out, and there’s no way Wisconsin avoids a hangover and scores 83 points again, right? Plus, Michigan’s offense is much better than Indiana’s. The game’s at the Big House…I don’t know. We might get a plucky effort out of the Wolverines.
That said, holy shit their defense is bad. I lament Indiana’s almost every day, but Michigan’s is on a whole other level. You know your defense is bad when everyone else can name your coordinator, but struggle to name their own. And we all know who GERG Robinson is.
Pick: Wisconsin. Just couldn’t do it.
3:30 pm ET
(7) Stanford (9-1) at Cal (5-5) (+6.5)
Knock knock. Who’s there? SNOBBY, ELITIST NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COLLEGE FOOTBALL FANS.
Illinois (5-5) at Northwestern (7-3) (+8)
Game at Wrigley Field
Illini fans are going to be in full riot mode if Illinois can’t beat a Dan Persa-less Northwestern squad. Should be a fun atmosphere for the Northsiders, who get to go to their favorite bar stadium months after the Cubs’ season ended.
Pick: Illinois wins but doesn’t cover
Mississippi (4-6) at (5) Louisiana State (9-1) (-16)
Not as close a game as it seems. Ole Miss has two or three positions in which they are close to LSU’s talent level, but they’re mostly overmatched. Not that LSU is capable of blowing any legit teams out.
Pick: LSU wins but doesn’t cover
(8) Ohio State (9-1) at (21) Iowa (7-3) (+3)
It says a lot about Ohio State that they’re only giving three points to Iowa in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have slid big time since the beginning of the season. Any situation in which they have to run a two-minute offense or get out of their conventional playcalling patters and they’re screwed.
The bad thing for the Buckeyes is that Iowa only has to stop a couple of things and they’ll find themselves in a dogfight. A boring, low-scoring dog fight. And I have no idea whose punter is better. Probably Ohio State’s?
Pick: Ohio State
(14) Virginia Tech (8-2) at (24) Miami (FL) (7-3) (+2.5)
Miami just isn’t good enough this year. I can’t even remember the last time they WERE really good. Probably when they were still cheating. Larry Coker doesn’t look so bad now, does he?
Pick: Virginia Tech
7 pm ET
Army (6-4) at Notre Dame (5-5) (-8)
Game at Yankee Stadium
Big time let-down situation for Notre Dame. That was a big win for their program against Utah, and now they’re playing a game against a service academy they’ll undoubtedly take lightly, but in a situation that will get the young players too fired up (game in New York at Yankee Stadium). And while Army certainly is the worst of the three service academies this year, there’s every reason to believe they’ll be a handful for Notre Dame just like Navy was.
Pick: Notre Dame wins but doesn’t cover
(13) Arkansas (8-2) at (22) Mississippi State (7-3) (+3)
Other than the cowbells, is there anything for Arkansas to fear from Mississippi State? They’re a classic good-bad team, something the SEC has made into a bit of a calling card (LSU, anyone?). Big day for Mallett with a hell of a lot of points scored on both sides.
8 pm ET
(20) Southern California (7-3) at Oregon State (4-5) (-3)
I was going to take Oregon State, hoping they’d build some momentum heading into the Civil War to beat Oregon, but they’re in full meltdown mode instead. There’s a pretty good chance they’re not going to make a bowl at all, and they just got beaten badly by Washington State AT HOME. Washington Fucking State. No way does any team recover from that in just a week.
Beyond that, OSU will probably still muster a Mike Riley game, and give USC a bit of a challenge. They’ve always been trouble for the Trojans, but I think Lane Kiffin can exorcise this particular demon.
(9) Nebraska (9-1) at (18) Texas A&M (7-3) (+2.5)
The Aggies are a totally different team with Ryan (Stephen?) Tanne-something at quarterback. Wonder if this means Jerrod Johnson is going to play receiver for the rest of the season. I think Nebraska keeps it together and wins a shoot out.
10 pm ET
(25) Utah (8-2) at San Diego State (7-3) (+2.5)
What sucks is that if this game had happened before the Chuck Long era sucked all the life out of the program, there’d be a rabid fucking crowd at Jack Murphy Qualcomm Stadium for this game. SDSU fans used to be crazy about football and hating anything from Utah. It’s like a birthright.
Instead, this game will probably be played in front of like 15,000 people and a lot of echoes. Fuck you, Chuck Long.