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Friday, September 18, 2009

Picking the Winners: Week 3

We're just a day away from the third Saturday of the fall, so let's get to the picks. As always, good advice comes from my buddy, Dan, and entertaining advice comes from me...

Dan: Don't call it a comeback… I've been here for years. I went 7-3 last week and am 9-11 for the season. I felt really good about last weeks card with lots of good spreads. This week? Not so much. I don't have a good feel. Some big spreads and I am leaning toward the favorites which will leave the backdoor open. Last week my friends were railing on me for my 2-8 record asking me if I ever win. Well you know what guys . . . scoreboard. I expect 6-4 this week, so take that. Moving on…

Dave: One of us had a nice week last week. It wasn't me. The lesson? I'm dumb. But hey, if there's anything Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, Stu Scott, Jay Marriotti and Kanye have proven, it's that being dumb doesn't necessarily prevent people from listening to you. But nevertheless, I want to make this a bit more entertaining, and with the season premier of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" airing this week, beginning a season-long "Seinfeld" reunion, I figured I'd use some advice from one of my all-time favorite shows to help me make my predictions this week.

Northwestern (-3) at Syracuse

Dan: Great. I am stuck between picking a Northwestern team that almost lost at home to Eastern Michigan or Greg Paulus. That is like playing wingman for your buddy who has the good looking chick of the crowd and you are stuck picking between her two horrific friends. Neither option works, but now you're obligated to pick one. Sigh. Well when all else fails take the home team. I'll go with Paulus, unfortunately, as I do like the Syracuse defense… Syracuse 17, Northwestern 13.

Dave: "Kramer goes to a fantasy camp? His whole life is a fantasy camp. People should plunk down $2000 to live like him for a week. Sleep, do nothing, fall ass-backwards into money, mooch food off your neighbors and have sex without dating... THAT'S a fantasy camp."

So let me get this straight? Greg Paulus plays basketball at one of the premier hoops programs in the nation, sucks for four years, undoubtedly meets hundreds of hot women who think he's great in spite of his terrible play, becomes a favorite of the ESPN talking heads because he's a clean-cut point guard for Duke, finishes his basketball eligibility, goes back home to Syracuse, gets another free year of school and is handed the starting quarterback job, still garnering tons of headlines simply because he's now starting for a bad football team after playing on an overrated basketball team for four years. Now THAT is a fantasy camp.

(Side note: In making fun of Paulus' transfer to Syracuse, I also considered using this quote: "Do you realize in the entire history of western civilization no one has successfully accomplished the Roommate Switch? In the Middle Ages you could get locked up for even suggesting it.")

And yet, the accolades will grow this week… Syracuse 20, Northwestern 14.

Mississippi State (+9) at Vanderbilt

Dan: I checked the Mississippi State score last Saturday night and I saw they were up 17-14 on Auburn with four minutes to go in the second quarter. I marked it down as a win. I checked back in the morning and saw they lost 49-24. What?!?! You allowed 49 points to Auburn. Sigh. That was a sucker bet by me last week, and I was the sucker. Well call me a sucker again but I am back on Mississippi State… Vanderbilt 24, Mississippi State 17.

Dave: "It became very clear to me sitting out there today that every decision I've made in my entire life has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat - it's all been wrong."

In "The Opposite," George comes to the conclusion that he's always had the right answers, he just follows a natural instinct to do the opposite. So he gives up tuna on toast and starts ordering chicken salad on rye, he hits on women by telling them he lives with his parents, and he calls out George Steinbrenner for ruining the Yankees. It all works perfectly.

I point this out because, while I had a bad week with my picks last week, I did have one highlight when I summed up my feelings on Vandy getting 14.5 at LSU: "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?"

Of course, my answer to that was to ignore that obvious advice and go with my gut. I picked LSU and they won by -- you guessed it -- 14 points. The answer? Do the opposite. So this week, despite my better judgement, I'm taking the Commies… Vanderbilt 33, Mississippi State 21

Tennessee (+29.5) at Florida

Dan: Quite possibly my favorite game of the week. In the offseason the Lane Train was commenting how his team was going to mop the floor with the Florida Gators. Well, fast forward a few months and all of a sudden he thinks Florida's Tim Tebow is the greatest QB ever and their entire defense is going to get drafted. I think he also said that the water boy does a good job keeping the water cooler filled and the groundskeeper keeps the turf nice and green. What a joke. I can see myself really disliking the Lane Train over the next few years.

Anyway, this game will not even be close. I would love to head back to that bar in Atlanta where I was two weeks ago with those 12 smoking Tennessee girls watching the game. I would be grinning from ear to ear as we do not hear Rocky Top sung once. And then maybe, just maybe I could tolerate them. The silence will be a thing of beauty…. Florida 49, Tennessee 3

Dave: "Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorence on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time."

I love George pleading ignorance after having sex with the cleaning lady on his desk. It's all so much like Lane Kiffin's approach now.

Boss: Um, Lane, it's come to my attention that you insulted the reigning national-championship winning coach by calling him a cheater.
Kiffin: Who said that?
Boss: He did.

As Orson Swindle pointed out earlier this week, Mark Richt might be the nicest guy in the world, and Urban Meyer took him behind the woodshed for 2007's end zone celebration -- and the Bulldogs were actually good. Johnathan Crompton, meanwhile, may give Meyer all the help he needs to make this an embarrassment for the Vols. And while I generally criticize the jorts-wearing Florida fans, I absolutely love that they're planning to sing Rocky Top every time the Gators score a touchdown, just to rub it in. Wait, is rooting for Florida wrong? I gotta plead ignorance on this one… Florida 48, Tennessee 10.

Nebraska (+5) at Virginia Tech

Dan: I go to a message board where people discuss who they like to bet on. Some idiot on this message board was claiming how in his power rankings Arkansas State is equal to Virginia Tech. So since Arkansas State is equal to Virginia Tech and since Nebraska beat Arkansas State 38-9 last week, then Nebraska will kill Virginia Tech this weekend. I honestly think that 80 percent of America is insane. Maybe even more. And statements like those prove this. Listen, Nebraska may win, and they may win by a lot. But it is not because Virginia Tech is near Arkansas State in the power rankings.

Anyway, this should be a very interesting game. This is Nebraska's first real test of the year. My Hokies, of course, already lost to Alabama and destroyed Marshall. Tyrod Taylor has to be a concern for Hokies fans as he struggles to pass the ball. However, it seems Frank Beamer is finally realizing the Hokies' need to run the ball. This is a huge game for Big Red as a win here shows that they have arrived. I just don't see it though. Lane Stadium is going to be a madhouse and people will be juiced. Tyrod might struggle but I think the running game does just enough to bail the Hokies out… Virginia Tech 31, Nebraska 24

Dave: "I'm like the Phoenix, rising from Arizona."

In this case, Nebraska is like the Phoenix, rising from… well, Nebraska. Bo Pelini has the ship headed in the right direction for the Huskers, and Virginia Tech appears to still be trying to figure things out on offense. As a general rule, I assume all teams in the Big 12 North are awful, but I think Nebraska makes this an interesting game… Virginia Tech 21, Nebraska 20.

Michigan State (+10) at Notre Dame

Dan: Is there a bigger fraud conference than the Little 10? Well the Big East, maybe. And I guess you could say the ACC. But the Little 10 is pretty bad. Northwestern barely beat Eastern Michigan last week; Ohio St. lost to USC again; Purdue lost to Oregon and (drumroll please . . . . ) Michigan State lost to Central Michigan. Bwahahahaha. It saddens me that the Big Ten is this bad though because I loathe Penn State, and every year they face zero competition which results in them winning the conference. Then I need to hear from all of my friends how good Penn State is until they get blown out in their respective BCS bowl. It is a cycle that I don't like but looks like I will see again this year.

Moving on that was a tough loss by Notre Dame last week. Nice job throwing the ball with two minutes to go, Charlie. It seems he was too busy thinking about whether he wanted lasagna or meatballs for dinner and forgot you just need to run the ball to close out a game. I must say though, I was impressed with Notre Dame's offense. Real impressed. Not impressed with Michigan State. Notre Dame in a route… Notre Dame 38, Michigan State 20

Dave: "Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it."

I think the scene where Jerry's taking the lie detector test to prove he doesn't watch "Melrose Place" but cracks under the pressure is one of my top five favorite in the show's history. But George's advice fits well for the Irish -- if enough talking heads say they're good, eventually they will be, right? Well, the hype begins anew this week… Notre Dame 30, Michigan State 13.

West Virginia (+7) at Auburn

Dan: I am done betting against Auburn. They are 2-0 against the spread. I am 0-2 betting against them. So this is when all of you readers need to take West Virginia. There is always that team that you can never quite figure out. Auburn has that feel this year.

Speaking of West Virginia, my senior year of college I went there for a Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia football game. I dubbed it the Vick game. This was the game where Michael Vick had a miracle drive at the end of the game to preserve VT's undefeated season. Anyway, I have never met a bigger bunch of savages and hillbillies before in my life. If you had VT clothing on you had to fear for your life. Throw in that Tech made a field goal as time expired to win the game, and I was terrified. I hope to never see the state of West Virginia again. So what does this have to do with anything? Well Auburn was killed by West Virginia last year in West Virginia. Why? They probably feared for their lives! Not this year… Auburn 34, West Virginia 23

Dave: "You know Darren, if you would have told me twenty-five years ago that some day I'd be standing here about to solve the world's energy problems, I would've said you're crazy... Now let's push this giant ball of oil out the window."

You know, readers, if you had told me three weeks ago that Gene Chizik would have his Auburn team looking pretty darned good with an impressive running game and re-energized defense, I would've said you're crazy. Now, let's push this giant ball of oil out the window… West Virginia 24, Auburn 23.

(Side note: How funny is the whole idea of Kramer getting the intern? In a lot of the later episodes of "Seinfeld," the storylines got a bit ridiculous, but this was one of the truly great absurd plotlines of the show. "As far as I can tell, your entire enterprise is little more than a solitary man with a messy apartment which may or may not contain a chicken." And with Gene Chizik's help, Auburn will get that chicken!)

Texas Tech (+17.5) at Texas

Dan: My three least favorite teams in college football are:

1) Florida
2) Penn State
3) Texas

Basically I don't like all of the perennially good teams. I like the little guy. I am not sure why I dislike Texas. I had a blast in Dallas when I was there for work a few times. The people are very friendly, the bars are great and the drinks are cheap. I just don't like their football team. But I cannot allow that to cloud my decision here. Texas Tech is going to get blown up. This is a payback game for last year when Michael Crabtree scored with just a few seconds left to win the game and spoil Texas's title hopes. Speaking of Michael Crabtree, is there a bigger moron on the face of this planet than him? Does he honestly think if he goes back in the draft anyone will draft him higher than No. 10 next year? What is wrong with this guy? So he goes back in the draft meaning he doesn't get paid this year. He then gets drafted around pick 25 next year, which means he gets paid even less. I thought the whole point of things is to get more money? His agent is killing him… Texas 56, Texas Tech 31

Dave: "Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don't stare at it. It's too risky. Ya get a sense of it and then you look away."

The lesson Jerry gives here is that greatness is always fleeting. You can't stare at the sun too long, and while Texas Tech enjoyed one of the most enjoyable wins in college football history a year ago, Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree aren't spending much time in Lubbock these days. This is going to get ugly… Texas 45, Texas Tech 17.

Cincinnati (-1) at Oregon State

Dan: I don't get this line. Yes, Cincy blew up Rutgers in Week 1. But that is Rutgers. Rutgers stinks. So now Cincy is going to be flying cross-country to a hostile environment. Oregon State is not an easy place to win. Remember Rule #1: When team flies cross-country, always take the home team… Oregon State 31, Cincinnati 27

Dave: "When she threw that toupee out the window, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel like my old self again. Neurotic, paranoid, totally inadequate, completely insecure. It's a pleasure."

Through two games, Cincinnati has outscored its opponents 117-18. But they're still a Big East team. In other words, they've been rocking the toupee for the past two games, but Oregon State is about to toss it out the window and remind the Bearcats who they really are… Oregon State 24, Cincinnati 17.

Florida State (+8) at BYU

Dan: Yeah, yeah I know. Florida State is flying cross-country, and they struggled with Jacksonville State. And they lost at home to Miami. This is a HUGE game for BYU. But they should not be giving eight points to Florida State. The 'Noles have better athletes, and it's a big game for FSU, too. They can't start 1-2.

In other news is there a bigger disparity in fans for this game? BYU has the Mormons. Florida State has the party animal girls in bikinis. I'll go with the party animal girls in bikinis… Florida State 28, BYU 27

Dave: "I love the mirror in that bathroom. I don't know what in the hell it is, I look terrific in that mirror. I don't know if its the tile or the lighting... I feel like Robert Wagner in there."

I think BYU's win over Oklahoma is essentially the mirror that made George look like Robert Wagner. It ain't real, but it looked good. Of course, Florida State needed a late comeback in the fourth quarter to beat a I-AA team last week. So where does that leave us? Well, with a crappy game that could essentially send BYU to the BCS… BYU 28, Florida State 17.

Boston College (+7) at Clemson

Dan: Are there a bigger bunch of fans in college football who think they are better than they actually are than Clemson? I mean seriously. What has Clemson won in the last 20 years? Nothing! Zippo! Zero! Yet these fans think they are owed the world. They think if their coach doesn't win within a year, he needs to be fired because Clemson needs to be held to a higher standard. They are owed nothing. They are a mid-tier ACC school. Mid-tier. Nothing more. Last week was great. I turned the game on and this was the sequence of events:

- 85-yard Georgia Tech TD run (Georgia Tech 7-0)
- Georgia Tech punt return for TD (Georgia Tech 14-0)
- Georgia Tech's field goal kicker throws a TD (Georgia Tech 21-0)

Then Georgia Tech lets Clemson back in the game giving them and their fans hope that they might pull one out. But come on everyone, this is Clemson! They are known for blowing games! So of course Georgia Tech kicks a field goal at the end of the game and wins 30-27. Ha ha ha, Clemson! Dabo! Speaking of Dabo how many years do you give him? I say two, tops. ut he is a good fit. I mean remember, Clemson is just a middle tier ACC program. Maybe the 7th best team each year. Poor Clemson.

Anyway BC has owned them for years and will keep this one close enough to take the cover. Clemson gets a win to keep Dabo off the hot seat for now. But it won't be long… Clemson 23, Boston College 19

Dave: "Let me tell you, I didn't intentionally bare myself, but now, I wish I had. For it's not me who has been exposed, but you. For I have seen the nipple on your soul."

Nice work by Clemson last week exposing the nipple on Georgia Tech's offense. Miami added to it today, and Tech has now looked pretty bad in three of its last four games. I'm not willing to say the triple-option has been figured out yet, but boy there's got to be some concerns for the Ramblin' Wreck now. So we'll give old Dabo a tip o' the cap for nearly knocking off Tech and handing a blueprint to Miami… Clemson 28, Boston College 13.

Last week: Dave 3-7, Dan 7-3.

Overall: Dave 8-12, Dan 9-11.

5 comments:

Sam said...

Love the Seinfeld references...reminds me that I need to watch some classics sometime this weekend.

ChicagoDawg said...

Dave -- Well done on the Seinfeld references. An overused adjective, but one that is applicable in the case of that show -- genius. The George line of "it's not a lie if you believe it" is my all time favorite of his, which I quote often. I would have to say that #2 would be "the sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli."

Chance said...

Dave - The Seinfeld references warm the cackles of my heart. I would say that a solid 60% of the conversations between my roommate and myself consist of lobbing Seinfeld quotes between one another. Heck, that may even be a conservative number.

Anonymous said...

"And with Darren's help, we'll get that chicken."

Silver Dawg said...

Not to include Notre Dame on your list of least favorite teams makes me think less of you as a human being.