All our front page pictures have to be of Gruden, right? Do they have to be of Jon? I can't remember. - Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
The season is over in Knoxville and has been replaced by silly season. But we're still picking locks at RTT.
Hey, how about we hire a flipping coach!!?? Sheesh.
Onto Locks & Keys, where Kid_B needs a miracle just to tie me. Can he do it? Submit your picks for the last L&K of the year.
SHEP (Week 13: 3-3, Total 46-32)
- Northern Illinois -7 over Kent State. This is going to be a terrific game -- probably a high-scoring affair. I love Kent State and MAC coach of the year Darrell Hazell, but the bottom line is the Huskies have a more balanced offensive attack and a defense that has gotten better as the year has progressed. I'll take NoIll.
- Pittsburgh -7 over South Florida. B.J. Daniels isn't walking through that door, and as reluctant as I am to ever trust a Sunseri, I simply don't think the Bulls will score much at all against the Panthers. This one will end up something gross like 23-10.
- Oklahoma -6 over TCU. The Sooners are one of the most inconsistent, unpredictable teams out there. But they can -- and will -- score points. Gary Patterson's team has been middling since Casey Pachall left the program, and while they too will put up some points, I don't think they'll keep up in this one.
- Middle Tennessee +10 over Arkansas State. HOMER PICK ALERT! I love the Blue Raiders, my dad's alma mater. But I also believe the Blue Raiders can play some football. They can score, they can wear you down with the running game, they can play a bit of defense. Arky State has been good to me this year, but the Blue Raiders are not 10 points worse than this team.
- Over 87 in Oklahoma State/Baylor game. This is a crazy pick, no doubt. MAN THAT'S A LOT OF POINTS!! But an experienced gambler once told me if an over is over 80, you always bet the over. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I've watched both these teams closely this year, and it's crazy how bad the defenses are and how dynamic the offenses are. This one will be something like 51-45.
- Georgia Tech +14 over Florida State. Make no mistake: The Noles are going to win this game. But they are not going to dominate the Jackets in what I like to call The Gross Game. This -- unbelievably -- is the ACC Championship Game, and FSU is going to be without leading tackler Tank Carradine. Also, their defense may struggle knowing that Mark Stoops is coaching his last game. GT is going to put up some points and keep this one from being a blowout. Not that anybody should care.
- Northern Illinois-7 over Kent: Probably my favorite play of the week. It breaks my heart to bet against Kent because they've been mighty mighty good to me all season, but I do think NIU is the better team. Just way more explosive on offense.
- Oklahoma State-4.5 over Baylor: Baylor will regress back to the mean, and will get beat by a sizable margin.
- WVU-19.5 over Kansas: I can't imagine that Kansas is going to be real real excited about going into the Appalachian Mountains to play a meaningless game in freezing cold weather while drunken hillbillies hurl expletives and liquor bottles at them. Just a hunch on my part.
- Cincy-4.5 over UConn: UConn sucks at football. They aren't closing out the season with wins against the two best teams in their league. Last week was an outlier. They'll get worked by Munchie and the gang.
- Boise-8.5 over Nevada: I like this game. Nevada isn't that good this year at all. I mean, this isn't your older brother's Boise State, by any stretch of the imagination, but they're an appreciably better team than Nevada, who just recently eeked out a 7 point win against the Fightign Bob Davies of New Mexico.
- Kansas State-10.5 over Texas: I watched Texas play TCU last week. Texas is a train wreck. And K-State will be fresh off a bye week. I see Kansas State rolling the longhorns in this game. Shouldn't be close.
- Pitt/USF under 46. Let me preface this, and the rest of my picks, by saying I've lost three weeks in a row, I think championship week is always hard to pick because there are very few games and we're at the point of the season where the lines are very tight. But I have to pick six games, so I'm glancing through and looking for the ones that jump out with little additional thought. And Big East unders have been good to me. Neither team is particularly effective on offense.
- Cincy -4.5 over UConn. Is UConn getting better, or have they just played two straight opponents in bad spots? My money is on the latter.
- West Virginia -19.5 over Kansas. WVU has had a forgettable second half of the season, but they've pulled out of their slump, and they have tended to be good at blowing out bad teams.
- Louisiana -9 over FAU. Yes, FAU has gotten better and has been scrappy the last few weeks. But this is still a mismatch.
- Georgia Tech +14 over Florida State. It's possible that this pick is just six kinds of crazy. But the hope of Florida State's season got thumped last week. What do they get by winning the ACC? It's the ACC? Okay, they can go to the Orange Bowl and play Louisville or Kent State. Congratulations. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, has the chance to pull a huge upset that would somewhat salvage an awful season. And they have an offense that's tough to prepare for on a short week. Let's take a flier on the Jackets.
- Boise State -8.5 over Nevada. Yeah, it's a rivalry, but it's also a mismatch. Nevada just isn't good this year. Even in the fortress that usually is Reno. Boise is down, but Nevada is more down, and I think the Broncos will show it.