KidB comes back, Brad tries to hold off I_S, and Tennessee has a game to play. It's Locks & Keys time!
Don't call it a comeback. KidB has been here for years. And after going a solid 5-1 on last week's picks, the former laughingstock has inched right up next to .500, and is now merely a gigglestock. Meanwhile, Shep takes a step back while I_S treads water. This leaves them tied for the top spot that KidB will inevitably secure in his thunderous 4th quarter rally.
Are those apples sweet and tasty? Boom!
Okay, that's all the gloating I'll be doing. It's out of my system now. And I do realize that that being below .500 in an ATS picking contest is not good at all. Some would even say it's downright bad. And, yeah, it's bad. But I know of things that are even worse. I am aware of things so hideous that merely glancing at them could be hazardous to your health in a plurality of ways. I speak, of course, of the following college football games, which I urge you to steer clear from at all costs.
Boston College at Wake Forest: this is a battle between the two worst teams in the ACC. I had an entire paragraph to write about why you shouldn't watch this game, but man that first sentence is really powerful. I think that's all I need to say.
Colorado State at Wyoming: Wyoming's lone victory on the year is a three point victory against an Idaho team that is just unspeakably bad at the game of football. And this is the team that's favored to win. By more than a touchdown. Do what?
UConn at South Florida: I'd rather get punched in the face than watch this game. In a most unfortunate set of circumstances, I watched a portion of a USF game earlier this year, and it just wasn't a pretty sight. An ugly brand of football. Ugly uniforms. I'm just glad they didn't show us any of the coeds in the crowd. Arguably, there might not have been an alibi. And this ugly team is playing against UConn, a team that can't score. Like at all. I just checked the over/under on this game and it's 4.5. And I'm probably taking the under. Okay that was actually a lie....the over is the play.
UAB at Southern Miss: The rules of college football dictate that one of these two teams has to win the game. The rule-mandated win will be the first win against an FBS team for either school. Southern Miss has yet to win a game, and UAB picked up its lone win against Southeastern Louisiana. This is a true cripple fight.
Alright, y'all have a great weekend. I'm pretty sure Tennessee is going to win on Saturday. We're playing against some guy named Troy, and he's really not even that good. I'm thinking this one will end up in the W column.
Onto the Locks & Keys.
FIRST, A QUICK LOOK BACK
SHEP (Week 9: 2-4, Total 31-23)
- Northwestern -5.5 over Iowa. Nice pick. Crazy how helpful the "eyeball test" really is in making picks.
- Oregon State -3.5 over Washington. Washington posed as the winning team. Poseurs indeed.
- Baylor +2.5 over Iowa State. Is 35 points enough offensive firepower?
- TCU +7.5 over Oklahoma State. Stick with favorites, Shep. Taking underdogs is I_S's thing.
- Western Kentucky -7 over Florida International. They won by 8, which is definitely more than a TD. Good pick
- Rutgers -13.5 over Kent State. Shep gets the award for worst pick of the week. He lost this one by 25.5 points.
KID B (Week 9: 5-1: Total: 26-28)
- tOSU-1 over Penn State. This game was easy. People that took Penn State had gone full retard. And you never wanna go full retard.
- Indiana+2 over Illinois. Vegas had no idea how bad Illinois is. No idea whatsoever.
- Ball State-4.5 over Army: Army is really bad at football.
- Northern Illinois-7 over Western Michigan: Northern Illinois is catching fire. Jordan Lynch is homeboy.
- Toledo-7.5 over Buffalo: Toledo wins, but only by 5. KidB was 3 points from a perfect week.
- Western Kentucky-7 over FIU: This game was closer than KidB expected. But he'll take it.
I_S (Week 9: 3-3, Total: 31-23)
- Arizona +7 over Southern California. Rich Rod is the freaking real deal. Realer, in fact, than even Real Deal Holyfield. Nice pick.
- Minnesota +3 over Purdue. Minnesota showed late improvement last season. I see the same happening now.
- Michigan +2 over Nebraska. Michigan only managed 9 points. Rough.
- NC State +7.5 over North Carolina. UNC by 8. On an accidental two-point conversion off a fumbled snap. Ouch!
- Colorado State -6 over Hawai'i. This was a great pick. Pretty bad defeats really bad. I love it.
- TCU +7.5 over Oklahoma State. Wherein I_S cheats off Shep's incorrect answer.
ONTO THE LOCKS
SHEP'S PICKS [Back to my wheelhouse -- picking favorites]
- Oregon -8 over Southern Cal. Maybe the Trogans were overlooking Arizona just a little bit last week, but I don't think that matters too much. USC's defense is atrocious -- seriously dreadful. Not like Tennessee bad, but really, really bad. That's bad news against the Quackers. And Chip Kelly actually has a moderately respectable defense by Pac-12 standards. Lane Kiffin was wrong when he said Oregon was the best team in the country, but it'll feel like that Saturday.
- Penn State -3.5 over Purdue. All we learned last week about Penn State was it isn't good enough to win while making that many mistakes in a 35-23 loss. Inexplicably, the Nittany Lions are only 3.5-point favorites over a team that has lost four straight, just changed starting quarterbacks and is coming off a 16-point drubbing at the hands of Minnesota.
- Texas Tech -7 over Texas. This is only this close because of Texas' name. Period. This Longhorns team is bad, and they've burned me several times this season. Now, they've got a quarterback controversy on their hands. The Longhorns also don't play much defense and after getting lucky against Kansas, the luck stops here.
- Alabama -8.5 over LSU. I don't buy all the "Tide can beat NFL teams" bullcrap. But this is the closest we'll get to a pro game in college ball with all the nation's best collegiate athletes crackin' skulls. While I think it's going to be a great defensive battle, Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers simply can't score points. Bama wins this one 23-10. A.J. McCarron simply doesn't make mistakes.
- Kansas State -8.5 over Oklahoma State. "Surely, there will be a letdown game sometime. Right? RIGHT?" Does Collin Klein look like he will let the Wildcats down? At home? Against another of those finesse Big 12 teams? Bill Snyder's Cats actually play defense. They actually wear teams down. I doubt that stops this week in Manhattan. I'll keep taking KSU.
- New Mexico State +22.5 over Auburn. There are seven games I really like. But I chose this one over Texas A&M covering against Mississippi State for two reasons: The Tigers cannot score points and they're starting a true freshman quarterback [Jonathan Wallace]; and while NMSU isn't good at all, it isn't the worst team in the world. They held a high-flying Louisiana Tech team to 28 points last week in a 14-point loss, and AU's offense is nowhere in that stratosphere.
KID B'S "Trending Upward" PICKS
- Oregon-8 over USC. I've been talking up Oregon all year. I think they're ridiculously good and the only team that has a shot at beating Bama. So I'll ride them here.
- Georgia Tech-8 over Maryland. I hate to do this. I really really hate taking Georgia Tech, a team that I really don't like this year. I really hate messing around with a conference like the ACC that has such a soft and gooey middle. But Maryland is down to like their 5th string QB. They're looking at starting like a TE or a linebacker at QB in this game. Seriously. I just don't see how they'll score.
- Auburn-22.5 over New Mexico State: Auburn is a mess, but if they can't beat New Mexico State by 23 or more points, this should be considered grounds for banishment from the conference.
- UCF-11 over SMU: I don't know why UCF hasn't been getting any love from Vegas, but they haven't. They were favored by 3.5 over Marshall last week and proceeded to win by 237. I'm gonna keep riding them.
- Air Force-7 over Army: I'm just going to keep fading Army until they prove to me that they are something other than atrocious at the game of football.
- San Jose-19.5 @ Idaho: Idaho was arguably the worst team in the FBS, and they just recently fired their coach, which I can't imagine will help their prospects in the short term. I expect this game to be a serious beat down.
- Arkansas -9 over Tulsa. Yeah, Arkansas is bad. But I've been looking for excuses to pick against Tulsa all year. They may be the class of the CUSA, but only because the CUSA is HORRIBLE this year. This was even better at -6 earlier this week, but it's solid at -9.
- Virginia +10.5 over NC State. Yeah, Virginia is bad. But I've been looking for excuses to pick against NC State all year. Sound familiar? Anyways, UVA has played tight games against some other bad ACC teams recently, and the Wolfpack qualify. Also, after that ending in a rivalry game last week, what do they have left this week?
- Oregon State -4 over Arizona State. Oregon State lost last week with lots of turnovers. That's it. Arizona State has been grossly overrated all year. As long as the Beavers don't let Washington beat them twice, they cover easily.
- Ole Miss +14 over Georgia. I'm still not totally a believer in the Bulldogs (who won last week on the strength of 6 Florida turnovers), and Ole Miss is a scrappy underdog. Freeze has those boys competing, and I expect a competitive game.
- Mississippi State +7 over Texas A&M. As you know, I'm not totally a believer in the Bulldogs. Sound familiar? I've been skeptical all year. But not this skeptical. A seven-point home underdog to Texas A&M? Texas A&M is Tennessee without the stupid mistakes at the end of close games. I have no doubt that MSU will get their points. I see this one going down to the wire, like A&M's last trip to Mississippi (and their trip to Louisiana, for that matter).
- Rice/Tulane over 63.5. Rice is bad at defense and competent on offense. Tulane is HORRIBLE at defense and growing competent on offense. That's a recipe for lots of points. Also really like Miami/Buffalo under 55, because who trusts either offense at all? Especially in Buffalo in November. But I didn't want to play two totals in one week, because sides are more fun. Also considered Pitt, Pitt/ND under, and Oregon.
FIVE KEYS FOR TENNESSEE
- Come Out Firing. The last two times Troy faced an SEC team in November, they gave up 69 points to South Carolina and 56 to Arkansas (before Arkansas became a top 25 team). Last week, they lost to Florida Atlantic, most likely the second-worst FBS school East of the Mississippi (thanks, UMass!). If Tennessee plays like they want to be there, the Vols should roll.
- Defense, Stay in Position. This is a key for every game. It will stop being a key when the defense stops being out of position 100% of the time. Jacques Smith is so bad about it that he lost his starting job despite his talent and a backup that's almost as undisciplined.
- Don't Let Southwind Break the Big Ones. He doesn't have a huge propensity to do this, but Tennessee has a propensity to give it up. Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette have kept Southwind bottled up, neither allowing any carries of 10+ yards. Mississippi State and UAB? Not so much. Mississippi State didn't allow any runs greater than 20, but they did allow 7 yards per carry. UAB allowed 204 yards, including a 55 yard scamper to set up a touchdown. Don't do that.
- Don't Become One-Dimensional. This is something Tennessee has been good about this year, but Troy can be beaten through the air and on the ground. If the offense doesn't take one away from themselves, the defense won't be able to.
- Fans, Pull Together for the Team. A lot of people are frustrated with the coaching. There's a good chance a move is made at the end of the year. But those are our boys out there, and they deserve all your support, even if the coaching staff (except Jay Graham) has lost it.