Your favorite post of the week is here. Mr. Shephard had important stuff going on today, and so I agreed to take over the duties for today, and I'm already running late. Argh. Oh well, y'all know the drill by now. These picks are ATS, we deliver them to you in packs of six, and they are quite obviously for entertainment purposes only because you'd be stupid to use them for more than that.
This week's post is brought to you by Aaron "The Hawk" Pryor. Read on if you dare.
A Look Back
Shep's Aaron Pryor Picks:
- I know that the Vols have historically stunk and sunk in the Swamp, but getting nearly 10 points against a team I don't think is that good is too good to be true for an explosive offense. Call me a homer if you will, but I'm taking UT and the points. I think we win outright, but just for column purposes, I'll keep the 9.5 cushion. [We all lost this one]
- In the most colorful battle of the weekend, Texas and UCLA, ahem, "clash," in a game that would have been awesome back in 1998. Now, it's about as meh as you get. Why the Horns are ranked, I'll never know, but they're only 3 1/2 point favorites over a Bruins team that is simply atrocious. Texas covers. [#winning]
- Arkansas has scored 50-plus points in consecutive games for the first time since 1928. Now, all of a sudden, they're only expected to win by 23 against Troy? Nuh-uh. Arkansas is much better than Clemson, and the Tigers whipped Troy 43-19 to start the season. Easy [monopoly] money on the Hogs here. [He should have stopped cheating off me].
- Listen, I'm completely bought-in to Jimbo Fisher and what he's building at Florida State. The Noles are tough and young and deep and good. But they are a year away from being in the title picture. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is probably one of the three best teams in the country. I think the Sooners will cruise to cover the 3.5 point spread, and people will start calling the Noles overrated at No. 5. You know what? They are. But that doesn't change the soaring direction of the program. [Good pick on this one]
- We don't have to go far from the pick above to find probably the biggest lock of the week. Oklahoma State is ranked ninth in the nation and is an offensive juggernaut. Yet for some reason, the Golden Hurricanes are only a 13.5 point dog. Guz Malzahn ain't there anymore, people. This Tulsa team lost 47-14 in the opening week to Oklahoma, and there's no reason to believe this score vs. the Cowboys won't be much the same. [I like the word Juggernaut too]
- Notre Dame is not a good football team. We all know this now as the Irish stands at 0-2. Michigan State, meanwhile is ranked 17th and has been a defensive stalwart all season. So, why do I think the Irish is going to not only win but cover the 5.5 points? Honestly, I have no idea. But I do. Call it a gut feeling, which I guess isn't exactly a "lock" but we'll gamble a little just to juice things up. That's the name of the game, after all. [Not bad. Not bad.]
Shep goes 4-2 for the week. 9-7 over the last two weeks. Much much better than....
KidB's Aaron Pryor Picks:
- Tennessee is getting 9.5 points handed to them by the Fighting Muschamps. Now, I knew this line would be really high. In fact, I predicted -- to one of my fellow contestants, in fact -- that the line would be double digits. So I'm not shocked that this line is that high. I just think I understand the reason (public perception fueled solely by past success of a particular fabric color), and it is not a reason that I myself put a whole lot of stock into. Vols to the wall, baby. #nohomer. [Argh]
- The mighty mighty Fighting Case Keenums -- fighting out of the hometown of the man who won a gold medal in 1968 in The Sweet Science's heaviest division and is now most commonly identified with fat-reducing grilling machines -- are playing against Louisiana Tech. Houston can score, and score a lot. They are favored by a mere 7 points against a team that I actually can't tell you a single thing about. And this isn't because I'm being secretive. Okay, I actually do know one thing: Louisiana Tech was formerly coached by a fella named Derek Dooley. So they got that going for them, which is nice. But I'm still going with Houston here. [Houston barely won the game. No cover.]
- Alabama is presently favored by 47 points against North Texas, a team that I described last week as "a high school team". Well, that description hasn't changed, but I'm going with the high school team here just because 47 points is a lot of gosh darn points. And whenever I'm picking games against the spread for entertainment purposes only, I try to keep in mind that great teams aren't always great at covering spreads. For instance, if Bama were playing Boise State tomorrow, I think Bama would beat Boise State. And if Boise State were playing North Texas tomorrow and the spread was 47, I am quite confident Boise State would cover that spread. I do not, however, think Bama will cover this spread. And that's my final answer. [North Texas always helps me out]
- Oklahoma State is giving 13.5 points to Tulsa. RTT locals have likely surmised by now that I am a big big fan of teams that can score. It's true. I am. And Oklahoma State, ladies and gentlemen, these cats can scooooooooore. Indeed, this team shares some similarities with our beloved Vols. And, believe you me, if our beloved Vols were playing Tulsa tomorrow and were favored by a mere 13.5 points, I would trust in the magic wand that sometimes also referred to as Tyler Bray's right arm. By extension, I have faith in the Fighting Boone Pickens' ability to cover this spread against this in-state quasi-rival. (hold on, Tulsa is from the state of Oklahoma...right?). [Oklahoma State loves me]
- Hawaii-18 @ UNLV. UNLV is bad, ladies and gentlemen. They aren't quite as bad as Memphis, but they're still pretty much horrendous. [Hawaii didn't even win the game. #epicfail]
- Arkansas-23 vs. some guy named Troy. Certainly Arkansas can cover a 23 point spread against one guy. I mean, how good could this Troy fella be on defense all by himself? [The Troy fella was better than I thought]
- Tennessee getting 9.5 from Florida? I sound like the Kid, but it's gonna be all Vols. Or at least Tennessee will keep it within a touchdown. Tyler Bray is going to get his, and this won't be the blowout that we've seen the last couple years. The Vols will have a chance to win in the 4th quarter. [See, when we all three agree, something could be terribly wrong]
- Virginia always manages to play great games in Chapel Hill. Last time here, they won 16-3 as a double digit underdog. I can't explain this, but it keeps happening. Also, Mike London is a good coach, and they're in the mythical year two. UVA comes to my campus and stays within 10.5. I won't be there, because it kicks off at the same time as another game in which I'm a bit more interested. Hint: it involves orange pants. [They lost by 11. Tough beat there.]
- Do first half lines count? Because Boise State will be beating Toledo by more than 10.5 at halftime. They get early jumps on the road. That's what they do. Even when they lost to Nevada last year, they led 24-7 at half. [They were up by 11 at the half. Close win.]
- Arizona State just beat Missouri on national TV. They rushed the field. Next week, they go to Los Angeles to face the mighty Trogans of Southern California. So they can be forgiven for not paying full attention to a cross-country road trip to take on the Fighting Zookers. This is the kind of game Ron Zook wins. And win he will, as a 1 point favorite. [Strong move to go with the fighting Zookers and win. Quite strong.]
- Yeah, I know, I'm betting against a streak. But when you have one team that struggled in a lookahead game and another that won a huge, emotional victory as a home underdog, it's clear where the value lies. And that's in Clemson as a three point favorite against Auburn. Seriously, people were offering offseason lines closer to 10. All Purple Tigers. *ducks*. [Good pick]
- Yeah, Syracuse barely beat Rhode Island last week. But you know who's the king of barely beating teams? Lane Kiffin. Also, Syracuse plays better on the road. Or they did last year. Look it up. And Southern Cal faces a tough division game with Sparky next week. So I'll take 'Cuse and 17 points, thank you very much. [You needed some more points, it appears]
I_S went 3-3. We got him at 5-6 over the last two weeks.
This is a bye week, but I was stil nice enough to come up with 5 keys for the week.
- Key Largo
- The Black Keys
- The Skeleton Key (featuring Kate Hudson)
- Alicia Keys
- Key Lime Pie
This Week's Locks
Well, I finished 4-2 last week, narrowly missing the UT game thanks to Justin Hunter’s injury, and again missing badly on what I figured was gold in the pocket [Arkansas game]. This week, I’m going to just pick the ones I truly believe and not worry about whether or not they’re "big games." We’re shooting for undefeated this week.
- · I’m stunned to see that the Florida-Kentucky line is only 17 points right now, especially given how nasty the Gators’ defensive front seven looked against the Vols last week coupled with the fact that UK continues to be putrid. Whether that line keeps shrinking or swells to as much as 19, I’d go Gators here. Anything after 20 is getting a bit dicey, though. [Editor's Note: You're "locked in" at 19.5. That pun was intended].
- · The Fire Mark Richt crowd got an off-week with Coastal Carolina, and they’ll be able to save their voices again against Ole Miss, too. We’ll call this one the Lame Duck Bowl because there’s almost no way Houston Nutt’s career deserves salvaging anymore. The Rebel Black Bears are pinning their hopes on Zack Stoudt and his wonderfully hilarious eyebrows, and that’s not going to end well. Dawgs cover 10.
- · Maybe I should, but I just can’t completely buy into the Texas A&M-is-a-top-10-team hype. The Aggies can convince me this weekend when they host Oklahoma State in College Station, where they’re a three-point favorite over the visiting Cowboys. I’m completely sold on Mike Gundy’s air-raid offense, though. And I don’t think the Aggies can slow it enough to win the game, much less by three. Okie State wins straight up.
- · There’s a considerable buzz around the ACC after Clemson stopped Auburn’s 17-game winning streak last week. Tahj Boyd was awesome against the Tigers from the Plains, and Dabo’s Tigers finally looked a little bit like the fast, frenetic team it has been recruiting to the past three years. But Florida State looked really good, too, against what I believe is the best team in the nation in Oklahoma. Auburn is a far cry from that level. Now, the Noles are only three-point favorites? I don’t get that at all. FSU walks.
- · Oregon hasn’t yet looked like the team that played for the national championship in 2010, but almost all those guys are back. Now, they immerse themselves in a Pac-12 schedule where they can truly look dominant again. That starts with an Arizona team that is getting 14 points. I still don’t think that’s enough. The Ducks will cover.
- · Finally, I’m staying in the SEC because it’s what I know best. One of the most intriguing, under-the-radar games of the weekend pits Vanderbilt against homestanding South Carolina in a game that is shaping up to be a little scary for Steve Spurrier. USCe hasn’t looked like a world-beater this year, and while Vandy hasn’t played a terrific schedule, the Commodores did dispose of last year’s Big East BCS representative UCONN and Ole Miss fairly easily. Now, they get 16 ½ points against Carolina. I don’t think VU wins, but I think it’s much closer than that.
Rough week for 'ole KidB last week. Puts me at .500, which is turrible. I'm tossing out my picks (we email them to each other) first this week, so I can give my competitors an opportunity to cheat off the answer sheet (in actuality, it's because I'm going to see a Deadmau5 show later on tonight. Oonsah Oonsah Oonsah.) On to the picks...
- SMU-21.5 @ Memphis: This is quite obviously a vote of no-confidence tossed in the direction of the Tigers, as opposed to a vote of confidence for the Alma Mater of The Great Great Craig James. Six in one. Half dozen the other. Memphis is bad. If Memphis played Akron this year in football, there is a decent possibly that this would result in across-the-board cancellation of the entire sport.
- Arky+12 @ Bama: See, KidB will go on record for important games too (only because he was publicly shamed into doing so). Arkansas didn't hold up so well for me last week, but I think this is going to be a close game. Arkansas can score and Petrino has this Magic that he took some classes in (he sees David Blaine and he's like "what's up man, what's happenin'?"). Nick Saban got an A in "defense against the offensive arts" class last year, and even he has trouble with this counter-spell. Rumor has it that Saban contacted Tyler Bray to get Emma Watson's number for her tips and tricks. Turns out Tyler is still working on that himself.
- Florida-19.5 @ Kentucky: Sure, I Iiked this game a lot better when it was -17. Who didn't? I still like it now, and I would probably still like it if it were -24. Rationale: Kentucky is abjectly terrible at the game of football. Next!
- FSU+2.5 @ Clemson: So this organization of questionable repute known as the "H2H police" -- which has been known to roam around these parts -- may or may not have unlawfully coerced alleged persons into ranking Auburn at #5 (is that right?) in our SEC power poll, even after Auburn lost to Clemson by 14. Yes yes, even after Auburn lost to the same Clemson team that barely eeked out a victory against Wofford. Let the record reflect, ladies and gentlemen, that I don't even know where Wofford is, and indeed that I only know where Clemson is because the answer was inadvertenly inserted into the blank space on the answer sheet. Seminoles prevail with or without starting QB.
- tOSU-15 vs. Colorado: I may or may not be talking myself out of this one even as I type the words. Oh well, such line of reasoning would have served me well last weekend.
- Notre Dame-6.5 @ Pitt: When I look over at Pitt's sideline and I don't see that substantially furry 'stache, I see hopelessness. Utter hopelessness and darkness and despair. Oh yeah, I also see a 6-point MOV over Maine. I have no idea what conference Maine is in, I have no idea what Maine's mascot is, and if you would have told me 3 weeks ago that Maine did not have a football team, I would not have even argued that point. And these are the factors that matter. Yep, KidB's picks is the only spot where you're gonna get this type of hard-hitting analysis. Once it hits your lips it's so gooood. Fill it up again!
- Auburn -32 vs FAU. Tigers ready to get last week's taste out of their mouths, and FAU is the perfect opponent. We all know Auburn will score, and against Michigan State, FAU had one first down. One. Might get their first TD of the year, but it won't matter.
- Florida -17 @Kentucky. Or whatever it is now. Kentucky is awful this year. Florida always comes to Lexington in a sandwich spot, and it never matters. Betting it won't again this year. [Editor's Note: for uniformity, and because this line moved pretty early, we're all going to take it at 19.5]
- Troy -12.5 @MTSU. Like UF/UK, this one is like clockwork. Troy is always sky-high for the MTSU game, and Stockstill doesn't know how to handle a bye week.
- Maryland -9 vs Temple. Rough finish for the Owls last week. Hard to imagine them having a lot left against an improving Terps squad.
- Western Michigan +12 @Illinois. The Zookers had a nice win over a ranked team last week, and they have a rivalry game next week. Sandwich special!
- Texas A&M -4 vs Oklahoma State. If KidB will go out on an important limb, so will I. After all, it was Texas A&M or Kansas State. Last year's game looked pretty dominant by the Aggies, except for the part where they turned it over roughly 23 times for a three point loss. This year, it's at home and they have revenge on their minds. Also, S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!