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Rocky Top Locks: Championship Week

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This is the final week of a less than stellar season for our resident pickers, but bowl season is going to be the best thing ever.

Mizzou does have *some* talent
Mizzou does have *some* talent
G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images

Conference championship week is a great opportunity to ignore how bad these picks are. So is bowl season, which is also great because we're resetting these picks like it's going out of style.

Current Standings

  • I_S: 4-1-1 last week,  42-39-3 overall [if you had placed a hypothetical $100 wager on all of I_S's recommendations, you would be down 90 bucks on the year]
  • KidB: 2-4 last week,   41-41-2 overall [if you had placed a hypothetical $100 wager on all of KidB's recommendations, you would be down 410  bucks on the year]
  • Chris: 1-5 last week,  38-45-1 overall [if you had placed a hypothetical $100 wager on all of Chris's recommendations, you would be down $1,120 on the year]
  • Hooper:1-5 last week, 38-45-1 overall [if you had placed a hypothetical $100 wager on all of Chris's recommendations because that was what Hooper was doing and so you figured you'd go ahead do that as well, you would also be down $1,120 on the year]

Chris's "Putting David Hooper In The Poorhouse" Picks

BGSU (+7) v. Northern Illinois - look, I've had no luck touching the ACC, so what's the only idea worse than that? Diving into the MAC morass, of course.

UConn v. SMU UNDER 46 - picking a cover in this game just depresses me. Your final: UConn, 27-20.

Okie Light @ Oklahoma UNDER 59 - Okie Light's offense is terrible. I just don't trust either offense, which is how this game ends 51-49.

Missouri v. Alabama OVER 48.5 - I don't know how this game ends up 28-21, but apparently Missouri is the Springfield Mystery Spot of the SEC. And I will laugh so, so hard if Indiana gets a transitive SEC Conference Championship.

Ohio State (+4) v. Wisconsin - I feel like we've talked ourselves into thinking Ohio State isn't just steamrolling towards the playoff. We hoped that losing to Virginia Tech-at home!-would do it, but if we learn nothing in 2014, then we won't learn that Ohio State will just continue winding up in the national title chase.

Boise State (-20.5) v. Fresno State - I mean, I suck picking teams I know. Might as well go off the board.

KidB's "Free Money For Somebody" Picks

Arizona+14.5 over OREGON:  When one can reasonably envision the underdog winning the game without crazy circumstances and the underdog is getting two TDs and some change, one takes the doggy dog. Then again, I've left a lot of money on the table this year by laying off Oregon games where they covered easy breezy, so I don't necessarily have the best read on the ducks this year.

Iowa State+34 over TCU:  34 points in a conference game not involving a Kansas team still coached by Chuckie Weis?

MARSHALL-11.5 OVER Louisiana Tech:  Marshall bounces back a from temporary lapse in their small-conference juggernautdom by going juggernaut all over La Tech's face.

Florida State-4 over Georgia Tech:  If you were to assume, in a complete hypothetical, that Florida State has been shaving points this entire season and that explains their maddening inconsistent play and consistently close outcomes, then perhaps you take them in this game because four points is just too close of a spread to lend itself to any threat of point-shaving.  Right?  Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes when you go with Free Shoes, you win the race, but then sometimes when you go with Free Shoes you trip over every hurdle and it gets caught on camera and goes viral and people laugh at you and will for years and years to come. Last week was a hurdle I didn't quite clear with my Free Shoes.  This week could be better.

Alabama-14.5 over Missouri:  I underestimated Mizzou last week and it didn't work out well for me, and biggie ups to them for proving me wrong.  I'm going back to the well again here because I have this rule in life that a team that loses outright in football to the worst team in the B1G always always loses to the best team in the SEC by 15 points at a minimum.  It's a bright-line rule.

Except that it's actually not a bright-line rule now that I think about it.  Because what if the best team in the SEC were coached by a man whose proclivity for poor decision making is macrocosmically* manifested in the space on his scalp that serves as a line of delineation between hair follicles coached to go left and hair follicles coached to go right.  I mean, that's just the type of poor coaching that would necessitate the need for an exception to an otherwise hard and fast rule. But that doesn't come into play in this season's SECCG, though, so I think we're good.

*not sure if this is an actual word

SMU+12.5 over UCONN: It was tough for me to bring myself to go with this one  because SMU is just so very very very bad, but I think they're the right side on this one, and if I had gone through my picks for the previous 14 weeks and replaced my least confident favorite pick with my next most confident underdog pick, I would be well over the 52.4% break even percentage. I consider myself more of a favorites guy than a "look for the points" guy, but I've found this season that I'd be better served trusting the underdogs I like a bit more and more frequently adding them to my six pack.  And now that I've written all that, SMU is surely going to lose by 40.

Also, it should be noted that, in a cripple fight like this one, the under is usually the play, and so I think Chris probably has the right idea.  But I just don't love playing over/unders.  Just not my stylo.

I_S' "Hey, At Least Milos Is Top Ten" Picks

Temple/Tulane under 44. Sometimes, when you have two teams who can't score, you get a lot of turnovers, which leads to a lot of short fields and ultimately points. More often you get really low-scoring games. Playing the averages.

Louisiana Tech +11.5 over Marshall: Betting the underdog in the CUSA and MAC championship games usually seems like the way to go. For whatever reason, a team stomps through the whole regular season and then loses with one game left. Of course, Marshall lost with two games left also, but they still fit the bill.

UCF +7 over ECU. Is it possible that ECU was never head and shoulders above the AAC, we just thought they were because they stayed within ten of an ultimately 6-6 South Carolina team, beat an ultimately 6-6 Virginia Tech team, and abused an ultimately terrible UNC defense?

Arizona +14.5 over Oregon. This one could get ugly, but Arizona has beaten Oregon twice in a row, and is it possible that RichRod just knows how to scheme against a familiar Ducks squad?

Temple -3 over Tulane. Temple is a better team. Of course, now that I have two picks in this game, Tulane will win 31-28.

SMU +12.5 over UConn. This is possibly the cripple fight of the season. SMU is far and away the worst team in FBS, but do we really expect a UConn side that lost to Army by 14 and beat Stony Brook by 3 to beat anyone, bad or otherwise, by two touchdowns?

Bonus Section:  The Kid Picks The Rest Of The Games For Fun Because There Aren't That Many Left

ECU-7: I think ECU is the right side, but UCF is an up and down team that certainly has the horses to win this game if they play well. Not a game I would toss down big on if gambling happened to be legal.

Northern Illinois-6.5: Bet the MAC this season at your own peril (for starters because gambling isn't legal) but if you make me (and it were even possible given said illegality) I'll take the Huskies here. BGSU just really sucks. Man, the MAC was bad this year. 

Wiscy-4.5: Some say Vegas overreacted to tOSU losing their QB. I say Vegas appropriately reacted.  What toppings do we think Urbz will get on his sad face postgame pizza?



Fresno:+21: But then again no one ever got rich fading Boise against a bad team on the Smurf Turf.  The reasons for that are twofold and are straightforward:  (a) Boise plays really well on The Smurf Turf, and (b) gambling isn't legal.

Cincy-7: This Cincy team has been quite solid this season.   I trust them a little, which is way more than I trust Houston, who lost to Tulane, who is, as noted above, not particularly good at the game of football.

Baylor-7.5: I think this line is perfect. I wouldn't touch it even if gambling were legal. But if you put a gun to my head and I REALLY thought you would pull the trigger unless I picked a side, I'll go with the team that can score at will.

Oklahoma State+20: I think this line was maybe a point too heavy even at opening.

Temple-3: Because Tulane is real bad at football.  This one was right on the bubble for inclusion in my six pack.  It was the "first one out".

A Public Service Announcement

How come nobody else except Pete has been making picks this season?  Picking games against the spread is fun, and we won't judge you if your picks suck because our picks suck too.  So it's a win-win.  Make your picks and see how you do and if you do well then that's great and if you do really poorly that's okay too because nobody is judging you and it's all hypothetical anyway as everybody knows gambling isn't actually legal in this country.

Anyway, I expect more participation during bowl season.  I'm talking to you Hunter Turner.  And I'm talking to you David Hooper.  Down with index picking.  And I'm talking to you guy I didn't mention by name.  And I'm also talking to you girl I didn't mention by name (though that brings up an interesting point about gambling and gender.  Have you ever met a female who really enjoyed gambling and did it frequently (hypothetically, of course)?  Because I haven't.  Not even one.  Food for thought.

So now it really is your turn.  Go!