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Friday, September 11, 2009

Picking the Winners: Week 2

Week 1 was a mixed bag, but hey, we're essentially working blind. Now we have some game-day performances to judge, and no doubt we'll be off to a better start. So, let's pick some winners.

Dan: Well I went 2-8 last week. For those good at math that is 20 percent. If I had put $100 on each game I would have lost $680. That is not a good start. But the encouraging thing is there is nowhere to go but up this week! On to week 2!

Dave: I'd just like to note two important things: 1.) I put zero effort into my picks last week and finished 5-5, and 2.) I'd have had a winning record if I hadn't believed so much in Dan's crappy Virginia Tech Hokies. This week, I'm picking at least eight winners.

North Carolina (-4) at Connecticut

Dan: This game screams take Connecticut. The ACC last week was embarrassing. Wake lost at home to Baylor, UVA lost to Bill and Mary and Dook lost to Richmond. That is pathetic. However, I think UNC is a solid squad, and UConn, not so much. I think the ACC starts rebounding this weekend starting with this game. Take the Tarheels… North Carolina 24, Connecticut 14.

Dave: UVA lost to Bill Murray? Oh, William and Mary. OK. That's not as good. Anyway, make fun of the ACC if you must, but the Big East isn't ready to give up its crown as Worst BCS Conference just yet. Plus, as a Syracuse alum, I'm required by New York State law to pick against the Huskies. Now if only this game could somehow lead to another Jim Calhoun recruiting scandal... North Carolina 20, Connecticut 14.

Stanford (+3) at Wake Forest

Dan: One of my favorite trends in the sports betting world... always go against the team that needs to fly across country. I am telling you more times than not it never fails. You also get a juicy line here due to Wake’s shortcomings last weekend. Take Wake and be happy… Wake Forest 21, Stanford 17.

Dave: More times than not it never fails? Is that like, 60 percent of the time it works every time? Like Sex Panther, Wake Forest stinks worse than that time the raccoon got caught in the copier, and I'll happily take the points... Stanford 21, Wake Forest 20.

Marshall (+19) at Virginia Tech

Dan: Ah, my Hokies. Up 17-16 with 14 minutes to go in the 4th quarter and we pick up the first down getting the ball to the 38. And then a holding call gets called. And then we punt. And then two plays later Alabama scores a TD. Then we fumble a kickoff and they score again. And game over.

Frustrating. By the way, I was down there in Atlanta for the game. If you are ever in Atlanta you have to go to the Hole in the Wall in Buckhead. What a great time that was. Loved it. Ruined me until about 5 p.m. Saturday but it was great. Also, the Alabama folks are nice people, except for their stupid chant, "Sweet Home Alabama . . . Roll Tide Roll." Won’t get that out of my head for years to come. Moving on to this game, Marshall is just what the doctor ordered for Tech. Again, we get a nice line due to a team's shortcomings the previous week. Take Tech, and hopefully Beamer learns to run the ball this weekend… Virginia Tech 38, Marshall 13.

Dave: I enjoyed the constant barrage of texts from you last night during the Georgia Tech-Clemson game as you waffled between thinking the Yellow Jackets would smoke Va Tech when they played or whether it was all an illusion and the Hokies could win easily. My favorite text of the evening, however, was your last one: "Disappointing performance out of Johnson last night." Hahahahahahaha. Ah, classic. Just tell your wife it happens to all guys sometimes… Virginia Tech 35, Marshall 14.

Notre Dame (-3) at Michigan

Dan: How many bottles of gel does Jimmy Clausen use each morning? I say two, minimum. Also are there two coaches you loathe more than Charlie Weiss and Rich Rod... just the term Rich Rod drives me up a wall. Say it over and over again... Rich Rod, Rich Rod, Rich Rod. Ugh. You don’t like him now either. Here you get a dog at home against a team that beat Nevada. Who is Nevada? I don’t know much about Nevada other than I helped to build a new wing at the Luxor with my donations six years ago. So I’m taking Michigan here, which I guess means you should take Notre Dame given my 2-8 record last week… Michigan 20, Notre Dame 17.

Dave: Ah, Vegas. Such good memories. I feel about Vegas the way Michigan fans must feel about good football teams -- a vague happiness of a bygone era that seems like a lifetime ago. Of course, that's still preferable to Notre Dame, which hasn't had a good football team in two decades but still gets BCS bowl bids and Dr. Lou on TV predicting an undefeated season. I'm going to go ahead and say The Spittle Machine's prognostication goes down in flames this week… Michigan 27, Notre Dame 21.

Houston (+15.5) at Oklahoma State

Dan: I have a friend that looks like Georgia’s starting quarterback. We tease him and make fun of him all the time. When I saw that Joe Cox looked like our friend Murph, I knew Georgia would be in for some trouble this year. My apologies Georgia fans. What does this all mean? I think it means that Okie State isn’t as good as they looked on Saturday. Also, this is the prototypical let-down situation. Houston can score with the best of them and more than two TDs is WAY too much. Take the Cougars. Ha ha... Cougars. Saw a lot of them in Atlanta this past weekend… Oklahoma State 45, Houston 31.

Dave: I'm not sure I buy Oklahoma State as a legit national title team, or even a Big 12 title team, but the Cowboys' defense looked much improved under Bill Young and that offense has never had any problem beating up on lesser opponents. So in a tip of the cap to the Georgia fans who have kept their cool this week and said, "Hey, we lost a close game to a top-10 team on the road, let's not panic," I'm going to assume they're right about how good OSU is… Oklahoma State 41, Houston 20.

UCLA (+9) at Tennessee

Dan: Chugga, Chugga, Chugga, Chugga, Chugga... Choo, Choo. You hear that? That’s the Lane Train getting ready to roll all over the SEC. I was dead wrong on my Western Kentucky pick last week. But I won’t be fooled again. Again, team flying cross country to face another team. Always take the home team.

Also, a funny story. I was at Buffalo Wild Wings eating lunch and watching all the games before my Hokies played at night in Atlanta last weekend when in strolled 12 young Tennessee coeds. I’d say all 8s and 9s... knockouts. Well every guy in the bar was happy... until they started cheering after every score and singing "Rocky Top." Factor in that Tennessee scored 63 points and they got VERY annoying. So my question is: Can hot overcome annoying? I debated this all game after Tennessee scored TD after TD, and I still don’t know. Probably one of the seven wonders of the world that needs to be answered… Tennessee 31, UCLA 19.

DH: Your story brings up several intriguing questions:

1.) There are 12 girls from Tennessee who are hot? The last time I covered a game in Knoxville there were 110,000 people there and not a looker in the bunch.

2.) I like that you co-mingled the Seven Wonders of the World and oggling women. Why hasn't Maxim published a Seven Wonders of Hitting on Girls list yet?

3.) Is there a single college song worse than "Rocky Top"? I hate West Virginia's "Country Roads" quite a bit, and I can imagine Duke's constant singing of "It's Raining Men" is pretty annoying, too. Wait... what's that? They don't sing that at Duke games? I just assumed I hadn't heard it because they never scored.

Anyway, back to the pick. I'm far from convinced that Kiffin has this program headed in the right direction, but I'll agree with your cross-country philosophy and take the Vols... Tennessee 35, UCLA 17.

Mississippi State (+14) at Auburn

Dan: Another team I was dead wrong about last week. However, I refuse to bet on a coach that used to coach at Iowa State. Take the Bulldogs… Auburn 17, Mississippi State 6.

Dave: Last year these two teams combined to score five points. Five. And people are complaining about Georgia's offense this season. Anyway, the performance was so ugly that now both teams have new coaches, and to be honest, I think Mississippi State got the better one by a wide margin. So I'll go with the Fightin' Dan Mullens… Auburn 10, Mississippi State 9.

Duke (+1.5) at Army

Dan: Sorry I can’t bet on Army even if it means taking Dook. Yes, the same Dook team that lost to Richmond, who isn’t even Division I or whatever it is called now. Go Dook!… Duke 17, Army 16.

Dave: I bet Duke was wishing it had Greg Paulus at QB last week. Which reminds me: I think I hate Paulus even more now after he sucked me into believing he might not be terrible in the first half of Syracuse's game against Minnesota, only to then decide he was, in fact, just as awful as I'd initially predicted, and the Orange frittered away a six-point lead and eventually lost in overtime. It's just like with tequila, Kevin Costner movies and dinner at Olive Garden… I know I shouldn't do it, yet I let myself be convinced they're a good idea. Never ends well. So screw you, Greg Paulus, and screw Duke for letting him go to Syracuse in the first place… Army 14, Duke 10.

Vanderbilt (+14.5) at LSU

Dan: LSU really disappointed me last weekend, but I blame myself. NEVER take a team that flies cross country. I know better. I will take the points here with Vandy… LSU 24, Vandy 10.

Dave: That half-a-point is what makes me nervous. I think LSU looks a lot better this week, and I don't think Vandy is in the same ballpark. Two touchdowns, I buy. But 14.5? Well, I'll still bet my corn dogs on the better team… LSU 28, Vanderbilt 13.

Southern Cal (-7) at Ohio State

Dan: So you expect a freshman QB starting his second game to walk into The Horseshoe and win by more than a touchdown? Give me a break. The Buckeyes don’t lose by more than seven in this type of game. Yes, they looked embarrassing against Navy, and yes, USC looked good last week. But that is why you get such a juicy line. Take the Buckeyes. They might even win straight up… Ohio State 24, Southern Cal 21.

Dave: You mentioned Jimmy Clausen earlier, and if Notre Dame wasn't so terrible, he's undoubtedly top my list as college football's most annoying quarterback. Greg Paulus makes my list for personal reasons, of course. And the reigning champ pretty much has to be Tim Tebow, not because he's a bad guy but because ESPN has turned the viewing public into a giant Tebow-stuffed foie gras with daily updates on his greatness. I bring this up because I really think this game features a matchup up the top two candidates to take the crown of Quarterback I Hate Most in College Football. First, you have Matt Barkley, who is starting as a true freshman at USC, creating the ideal obnoxiousness scenario of a young kid getting tons of hype super early in a town where he can easily mingle with super-hot celebrities and with a backup quarterback in Mitch Mustain who can provide him with all the weapons he needs for an utter public-relations meltdown. Barkley stands no chance of being likable. On the other side, you have Terrell Pryor, who said this in defense of Michael Vick: "Everybody kills and murders people." Ummmm…. OK? This should be a fun few years… Ohio State 27, Southern Cal 24.

Last week's records:

Dan, 2-8
Dave, 5-5

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