South Alabama's dangerous enough to not forget about entirely, which surprises me. Then again, they beat Western Kentucky, which still amuses me greatly because watching Bobby Petrino hit every branch on the way down the coaching prestige tree never ceases to get old. (He's still above Derek Dooley.)
KEYS FOR WEEK 5:
Standard Downs. 1st and 10, 2nd and less than 8, 3rd and less than 5. Know it, love it.
Dominate Inferior Line(s). Yeah, contain your shock. Tennessee should have an advantage on both sides of the ball, which should matter fairly well.
Actually Roll Over a Few Third Downs. I don't exactly expect conversions on 3rd and 7 given this passing game (i.e., the N/A passing game). I do, however, expect conversions on 3rd and 2, and those kind of things need to happen.
Held Up Late. Tennessee's defensive third down conversion percentage has bit it in the last three games - no team converted less than half of their third down opportunities. I understand that this is supposed to be a bend-don't-break type of defense, but ....y'know, 40%? The ol' 4-of-10? Is that too much to ask?
Freshman QB play. I don't necessarily want a freshman QB to start. I do, however, want them to get game experience. Run a scripted set of plays for a drive, maybe 2. Free-fire play in the second half would be nice, but not necessary.
No Injuries. This team is playing with a possibly negative margin of error already.
WEEK 4 GAMES, MAY WE NEVER SPEAK OF THEM AGAIN
Chris - 3-3 last week, 12-10-2 overall
- Tennessee @ Florida UNDER 47 - This is the awkward feeling you get when you're glad Tennessee was able to keep it within two scores but the opening pick-six ended up screwing you on the over/under. Maybe this is why you don't bet on your own team, brilliance.
- Utah @ BYU UNDER 61 - I'm thinking BYU's offensive explosion might have to do more with Texas' transition to the Sal Sunseri defense.
- Arky Light (-4) @ Memphis - This was more surprising than Rafa Nadal getting bounced in the first round of Wimbledon.
- UL-Monroe @ Baylor (-29.5) - Baylor outscored Tennessee, Michigan State, and Notre Dame combined.
- Cincinnati (-23) @ Miami (OH) - I see you, Tubs. I see you scared of points. I see you scared of offense.
- Utah State (+7) @ Southern Cal - ALL HAIL CHUCKIE KEETON
Kidb - 3-3 last week, 13-11 overall
- Michigan-18 over Connecticut: as it turns out, this was an overreaction, much like ESPN overreacts whenever John Isner does anything during hardcourt season. Much like Isner, the hype was completely overblown.
- Cincinnati-23 over Hipster Miami: Oxford, OH is so underground you don't even know, man.
- Baylor-29.5 over UL-Monroe: Baylor outscored Tennessee, Michigan State, and Notre Dame combined. Yeah, I used that line already. I don't care.
- Texas A&M-28.5 over SMU: Manziel-Dimitrov, taking over nightclubs the world around. Your guest DJ for the night: Janko Tipsaravec. (We apologize for pumping Axe through the supply ducts.)
- Stanford-6 over Arizona State: You think Will Muschamp watches Stanford football and thinks they're doing the right thing, but it's just too [Kiffin] explosive? Because I do.
- Arkansas State-4 over Memphis: grip it and rip it. (yes, this is a multi-level joke.)
I_S - 2-4 last week, 11-13 overall (aka the number of guys Dooley thinks you can field on defense)
- Cincinnati -23 over Miami Ohio of Ohio (OH). It's almost like everyone assumed it would take more than a few weeks to get a full Tubervilian offense. Lesson learned.
- Louisiana-Lafayette -6 over Akron. Akron: a mean, lean, covering machine.
- Kansas State +5.5 over Texas. Much like Ivo Karlovic facing a return game, I_S will try to gamble against Mack Brown. The results will be about the same.
- Nevada -9 over Hawai'i. As predictable as Fed getting steamrolled by a guy he blew off the court four years ago.
- North Carolina +6 over Georgia Tech. Betting against Georgia Tech in the rain is like betting against David Ferrer against a non-top 3 opponent. It lasts for way too long, is weirdly entertaining, and completely unsatisfying.
- Kansas/Louisiana Tech under 50.5. This was a win, I assume. You're not making me look up this box score, sorry.
WEEK 5 IS ACTUALLY KIND OF AWESOME EXCEPT THESE PICKS MAY NOT BE
Chris Has No Idea What He's Doing
Oklahoma @ Notre Dame OVER 48.5 - the low-scoring games we remember from both these teams were either weird (West Virginia) or a product of a solid D (Sparty). Neither of those other teams are in this game, and neither defense is particularly good.
LSU (+3) @ Georgia - in a game like this, it's not safe to take the points unless you think the road dog can win outright. I'm thinking LSU is either the second or third-best team in the country right now and Georgia isn't, so the outright win it is.
Stanford (-9) @ Wazzu - the only thing that scares me about this game is the backdoor cover.
Cal @ Oregon (-36) - yes, this line is over 5 TDs. 42-3 carries this line, though. So does 59-14.
Miami (-18.5) @ South Florida - I think Willie Taggart is a decent enough coach, but South Florida is an absolute dump truck on fire right now. No, really, they are. Anyone have a fire extinguisher?
MTSU @ BYU UNDER 59 - Ah, BYU under. Some things are tough to give up, much like the idea that the Braves can actually do anything in October.
KidB's "Free Money" Picks
Northern Illinois -3.5 over Purdue: Even as I type this out I'm questioning whether this is a decent pick. Yes, the Huskies beat Iowa. Yes, Iowa is better than Purdue, who is certifiably atrocious at football and arguably worse than James Blake's backhand. BUT...Northern Illinois has been fairly far from awesome in it's last two outings. I mean, when you play Idaho in football, you're supposed to win by 40, not 10. This concerns me, but I'm going in anyway because I do think Purdue is capital-T Terrible at football, and I have a hunch that perhaps the squad from the MAC will have a nice bounce-back game.
South Alabama+20 over Tennessee: Listen guys, I'm All Vol. And I'm not just All Vol, but I'm Vols to the Wall and Vols till I Fall when I'm getting my All Vol on. But we suck at football this year. There's no other way to put it. And teams that suck at football rarely cover spreads. And if I lose this pick, I'm cool with that, because it means we scored at least 20 points.
Duke-13 over Some Guy Named Troy: This guy Troy used to be better at football. He's pretty bad this year. He lost by like 50 to Mississippi State, which is akin to getting double-bageled by Sam Querrey.
Vanderbilt-20 over UAB: This might be my favorite line of the week. UAB is substantially abysmal at the game of football. They even lost to some guy named Troy, and that guy Troy sucks this year. Vanderbilt really should blow this one open. And if I'm wrong, and this game is tight, then maybe just maybe Vandy is just as bad as us, which would be lovely.
Florida-12 over Kentucky: I don't like picking teams that can't score, and I don't like picking teams with terrible coaches. So why then, you might be asking, am I taking Florida, a team that fits into both of the above categories? Because Kentucky. Kentucky, man.
Connecticut-1 over Buffalo: Don't think of this as me picking UConn. Think of it as me picking against Buffalo, who has given me no reason to believe that they're anything other than festering garbage. Stony Brook. Five overtimes. That's all I have to say about that.
I_S's "Milos Raonic Quality" Picks
- Florida -12 over Kentucky. Is Florida's offense bad? Sure. Do they always crush Kentucky even when they have a terrible offense? Absolutely.
- Miami -18.5 over USF. Because USF is that bad.
- MTSU +24 over BYU. BYU has a frightening tendency to blow the doors off inferior competition, but I really hate this spot for them, playing MTSU on a short week after a tough rivalry loss and before another (albeit lesser) rivalry next week.
- Navy/WKU over 58. Both of these teams can score. WKU can score for both teams.
- San Jose State +9.5 over Utah State. Utah State is on a short week, traveling for a second week in a row, and have a huge rivalry game on deck. They're the better team, but all the external factors are going against them. The Spartans looked awful last week, but the scoreboard was worse than the game. I expect improvement this week.
- Kent State +1.5 over Western Michigan. I think we may have the better team getting points here.