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RTTs Locks & Keys Week 10: On The Road Again

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With a freshman quarterback against a wave of Tigers on a night game. All signs point to a Tennessee loss, except this sign.

This is one of the top 24 search results for "NC State" using NCAA Football in the picture editor. I'd make a joke about this, but I don't need to.
This is one of the top 24 search results for "NC State" using NCAA Football in the picture editor. I'd make a joke about this, but I don't need to.
Streeter Lecka

November was supposed to be easy, right? That was how we sold ourselves Year One - we had a mostly new set of skill positions, a new coaching staff, and a horrid schedule up through the end of October, after which it got a bit easier and bowl eligibility was still possible. The good news is that the last point is still true, at least.

Then Missouri had to get good, Auburn had to skip Year One in their development cycle, and, well, at least Vandy's Vandy. Oh, and the starting QB - who admittedly was somewhere between lukewarm and no shakes - got injured.

Hooray sports!

The Keys

  • Grit. Tennessee has to want this game more than Missouri. Who cares about talent level? Go get it. Want the game.
  • Win the ground game. Generally speaking, whoever ends up with more rushing yards wins the game, so, y'know, run all the time. Every. Single. Play. Do you trust a freshman quarterback on the road? Put the ball in the hands of the guys you trust and let the road graders do what they're supposed to.
  • Mistake-free football. Punish guys who make mistakes with grayshirts. Whoops, sorry, copied that from the Alabama keys.
  • Poise. Tennessee's played way more SEC night games than Missouri. Use that experience to their advantage, because really, Missouri lost their last night game they played at home and Tennessee beat that team. Transitive property.
  • Convert third downs. Third down is the most important down in football. Win it. Point blank.

A Look Back to How Our Mediocre to Slightly Above Average Handicappers Fared

Chris, 4-2 last week, 29-22-3 overall

  • Louisville (-20.5) @ South Florida. South Florida is not good at football. 1-0.
  • Toledo @ Bowling Green (-4). The Clawfense is a smart kid offense, right? What are smart kids fascinated by? Rockets, that's what. Fascinated by them and incapable of destroying them. 1-1.
  • FAU @ Auburn (-24). Smoking weed is apparently bad for your career. Probably worse than losing by 35 to Auburn. 2-1
  • Michigan State @ Illinois UNDER 49. Michigan State scored 42 points and this still went under. 3-1
  • Baylor (-35) @ Kansas. DECIDED SCHEMATIC ADVANTAGE. /allows 59 points. 4-1.
  • UCLA @ Oregon OVER 71.5. UCLA forgot that scoring points is advisable against Oregon. 4-2.

KidB, 3-3 last week, 27-26-1 overall

  • Stanford--3.5 over Oregon State. You can tell by the 20-12 score that this was more a Stanford game than an Oregon State one. 1-0.
  • Clemson-16 over Crabcakes and Football. Do you get sympathy for the backdoor cover or scorn because your 16-point favorite only scored 19 points in the first three quarters? 1-1.
  • Northwestern+3.5 over Iowa. Note to kidbourbon: Northwestern cannot score points with everyone on their team injured. 1-2
  • Baylor-35 over Kraptastic Kansas. And we'll throw in a sixth for good measure! 2-2.
  • Louisville-20.5 over South Florida. Teddy Ballgame is still good, South Florida is still not. 3-2.
  • Bowling Green-4 over Toledo. Rockets, man. 3-3.

I_S, 4-1-1 last week, 27-26-1 overall

  • Baylor -35 over Kansas. A consensus pick won? This may be a new record. 1-0
  • Oregon/UCLA over 71.5. Does Oregon maybe have a kinda okay defense? 1-1.
  • SDSU/Fresno State over 62. When you need overtime to win an over, just count yourself lucky and move on. 2-1.
  • Texas A&M/Vandy over 69. Texas A&M has a good offense. Vanderbilt does not have a good defense. Questions? 3-1.
  • Troy +10 over Western Kentucky. I still do not understand this line. Troy won, by the way. 4-1.
  • NC State +32 over Florida State. Florida State didn't come out flat after a pounding of Clemson, but they did decide to rest the starters for an entire half after taking a 42-0 lead, so it evens out. Exactly evens out, in this case. 4-1-1.

The Week 10 Picks

Chris Has No Idea What He's Doing

Northern Illinois (-25) @ UMass - back to the "Northern Illinois against completely terrible opponents" well. I mean, UMass lost to Western Michigan, and they're awful.

Miami (+21.5) @ Florida State - I don't get quite why this line is 21.5. Sure, Florida State's going to win, but 2012 Florida reprise probably isn't going to gack up a game by three scores since Miami's offense at least fakes competency.

Auburn (-7.5) @ Arkansas - I don't get this line either.

Wisconsin @ Iowa OVER 48.5 - I'M TAKING AN IOWA OVER SOMEBODY HOLD ME but seriously this seems a few points off.

North Carolina @ NC State (+5.5) - I'm not sure either of these teams are good, but this seems weird. Yeah, it's one of those weeks for me.

Georgia @ Florida UNDER 47 - don't let me down, Gators. I fully expect to miss this but hoooooo boooooy this will be fun to root for.

KidB's "Free Money" Picks

Clemson-18 over VIRGINIA: Clemson burned me last week, but that was only because they were playing crabcakes and football, who has proven to be my handicapping nemesis. Clemson should win by 30 without breaking a sweat.

ECU-25 over FIU: FIU may not be the worst team in the country, but they're definitely bottom five. ECU should win this game by 35+.

Boise-7 over COLORADO STATE: This is certainly not your older brother's Boise team. No longer are they juggernauting all over the Mountain West and covering 40+ point spreads like it was their job. But they're still more than a touchdown better than Colorado State. In fact, they might be more than two touchdowns better than Colorado State, but I'll take what Vegas gives me.

MTSU-3.5 over UAB: If MTSU can't cover this spread, we're making them change their name to Murfreesboro State so as to avoid tarnishing the name Tennessee. And we'll continue to call them Murfreesboro State even if they change their name to Murfreesboro University.

NOTRE DAME-14.5 over Navy: Call me crazy, but I think Notre Dame might actually be underrated this year.

UNC-5.5 over NC STATE: UNC is the best two win in college football, and NC State is both bad and getting worse.

I_S's "Milos Raonic Quality" Picks

  • Tennessee +10 over Missouri. I said when the South Carolina game ended that I was going against Mizzou this week, and I'm sticking to it. We've had some folks come over and talk about the great leadership and how they'll be able to get the team focused after a demoralizing loss, but if that indeed happens, my hat will be off to them. I expect to get their B or C game, and Missouri's B or C game will keep this well within 10.
  • Indiana -8.5 over Minnesota. The Gophers are off two straight upset wins, but they're less than a month removed from losing by 20 to Iowa and 30 to Michigan. Meanwhile, Indiana can score on anybody and are back at home after a bye. I like the Hoosiers to come out strong here, and Minnesota isn't built to play from behind.
  • West Virginia +12.5 over TCU. The Mountaineers are admittedly schizo, but TCU didn't even beat Kansas by this much.
  • MTSU -3.5 over UAB. The line is telling me this isn't a mismatch. My eyes are telling me I'm pretty sure it's a mismatch.
  • Tulane +2.5 over FAU. Did I miss the part where FAU is better than Tulane? Tulane is good this year. Well, CUSA good. But that should be plenty here.
  • Syracuse -5 over Wake Forest. Buy low, sell high, wait for ACC teams to do ACC things.