Last week of the regular season, and it's coming down to the wire as to whether it will be Dave or Dan who wins the coveted Jager Cup, given each year to the person with the better record making picks against the spread. (And by Jager Cup, I of course mean a 750 ml bottle of Jager.) Who would've figured that 13 weeks into the season, we'd have exactly the same record with our picks? Of course, that's nothing for either of us to be proud of.
But fear not, after this latest series of embarrassments, we'll also provide less-than-insightful analysis for every bowl game. Good times...
Dan: I must say, after going through a full year of having to come up with new material for this blog I respect your job a lot more than I did at the beginning of the year. I am mentally and physically worn out trying to come up with new items. Throw in a bunch of horrible picks and you have a writer here who is happy to see the season end. On the flip side though, that also means college basketball is here! And that is where I shine. Short home favorites and home dogs are the way to go… but that is an entirely different issue. Anyway on to our picks.
Dave: Wow, I think you're the first of my friends who has ever really offered any measure of respect for my job. See, that's the problem with being a sports writer. Everyone simply assumes we watch sports all day and then type up a few words after hobnobbing with athletes and eating free press box food. But there's so much more to it! Like how all those spoiled fans get in your way as they trudge two miles to the stadium in the rain on game day instead of moving so that I can drive through to my parking space right next to the entrance. Or like how the press box bathroom always smells really bad because sports writers don't eat very healthy. Or how they kick us off the field before the game starts just as I'm starting to enjoy watching the cheerleaders stretch to loosen up. It's a rough life, and it drives me nuts that most people don't appreciate it. So thanks, buddy. I owe you one.
West Virginia (+1.5) at Rutgers
Dan: The other day I was bored at home so I started looking into how much tuition costs for out of state students and could not believe the disparity between out-of-state students and in-state students. It is ridiculous. This is particularly concerning to me because I live in the great state of New Jersey, and if I wanted to enjoy in-state tuition, I’d have to send my future children to Rutgers. Ugh . . . that is not very appealing at all to me. Who wants to go to Rutgers? I feel that some of the best times in my college life were enjoying a major college football program at Virginia Tech. What is not to like about waking up at 9 a.m. and sucking down Beast Lite and Vodka and Orange Juice trying to get as intoxicated as possible for the noon start? Nothing! So I guess I’ll either need to start winning a lot more bets very soon or my kid will be stuck going to Rutgers. And as you can see with my record on this blog, Rutgers right now looks like the most likely choice. As for this game, I see let-down written all over it for WVU… Rutgers 27, West Virginia 19.
Dave: Well, there is one definite upside to Rutgers… The Fat Darrell. No, no, this has nothing to do with Darryl Strawberry after a coke binge. It's a sandwich that originated at Rutgers that may be the single most unhealthy thing in the world. It features chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, mayo, french fries and about a dozen other greasy delicacies on a hogie roll. The fact that people eat this may be the No. 1 reason we need to pass health care legislation. It's essentially the Applebees appetizer platter on a roll. And someday, little Danny Jr. will be chowing down on dozens of these at 2 a.m. after he finished off a bottle Jager, angered a series of young ladies with tawdry come-ons and decided to end his night with a meal he won't remember consuming. Just like his old man. And when it comes to this game, one team lost to Syracuse and one team didn't. That's the ultimate test in my book… West Virginia 23, Rutgers 20.
Cincinnati (-2) at Pittsburgh
Dan: So Pitt’s best win this year is against who? South Florida? Notre Dame? UConn? Not very impressive. No need to get off the Cinci bandwagon yet as they have a ton of impressive wins, including a pasting of Oregon State in Corvallis. Also it is never fun to bet on “the Stachce." Oh you do not know who the Stache is? That is the one and only Dave Wannstedt, who is a horrible coach. He just has a knack of snatching a loss from victory. This line stinks but I will take it anyway… Cincinnati 38, Pittsburgh 27.
Dave: On one hand, the Brian Kelly-to-Notre Dame rumors have to be a distraction to the Nati. On the other hand, Dave Wannstedt is terrible and Pitt is remarkably overrated. On the other hand, this is the Big East's de facto championship so no one really cares. It's basketball season and Jim Boeheim still has three or four more tiny schools from upstate New York to embarrass this month, and that's all that matters this time of year… Cincinnati 38, Pittsburgh 17.
Houston (-2) at East Carolina
Dan: Last week Houston scored 59 points… in the first half. Problem for Houston is they cannot stop anybody. ECU on the other hand has a decent offense and can score some points as well. ECU wins this… East Carolina 42, Houston 41.
Dave: I finally went to see "The Blind Side" last night. It was a fine movie overall, but man, Lou Holtz just ruins everything he touches. He's terrible on ESPN, he leaves every team he coaches with NCAA violations and his acting is just awful. And yet, he never really gets called out for it… he just gets lumped into this category of, "Oh, Lou, he's just a crazy old man." He's like Snoop Dogg… no other rapper could get away with selling out quite as much as Snoop, but it's OK, because he's just a crazy, pot-smoking guy who accomplished something important 15 years ago. Of course, I enjoyed Snoop's acting in "Half Baked" and "Old School" much more than Dr. Lou in "The Blind Side." Anyway, I'm punishing Loose Boltz this week by picking against his son in the C-USA title game… Houston 35, East Carolina 27.
Arizona (+7) at Southern Cal
Dan: Is it me or is USC getting worse each week? They struggled to beat UCLA and haven’t looked good in weeks. What is going on in Southern California? Seems to me the players are having too much fun with the local coeds (guess we can’t blame them). This week they face a pesky Arizona team that had Oregon all but beat a week ago before completely blowing it. I’m taking the points… USC 24, Arizona 21.
Dave: Where do you think Mike Stoops ranks in the pantheon of less successful celebrity brothers? I mean, Arizona is decent, so he's not exactly in Daniel Baldwin territory. But it's not like he was on "Entourage" or anything, so he hasn't quite reached Kevin Dillon stature. And I think Bob Stoops is too good at his job for a Stallones comparison, although I do enjoy Frank Stallone's work. Maybe Chad Lowe… mild success, people know who he is, was once married to a legit star, but hasn't ever come close to the success of his brother Rob. Still, as much as Rob Lowe is known (like Bob Stoops), he's not been without his share of failures and scandals. So there you have it… The Stoops brothers are the college football equivalent of Rob and Chad Lowe. I like it… Southern Cal 28, Arizona 20.
Florida (-5.5) vs. Alabama
Dan: Two more games until Tim Tebow is gone. Two more games until Tim Tebow is gone. That is what I keep telling myself. I am not sure why I dislike him so much. Maybe it is because I always root against the favorite and do not like the top dog. From what I can tell he seems like a pretty decent guy and has a squeaky clean image. But for some reason I do not like him. At all. And I root for him and his criminal teammates to lose every week. And of course they do not. So now I am left happy that he only has two games left, hoping that his replacement next year is not good enough to lead them to another undefeated season. As for this game I just do not see how the Bama QB is going to be able to make enough plays to win this game. I think the only game he looked good throwing the ball was against my Hokies. And Florida has a much better defense. Take the Gators (unfortunately)… Florida 24, Alabama 14.
Dave: No Carlos Dunlap means a much more comfortable day for Greg McElroy. The Alabama defense will torment Tim Tebow and that lackluster Florida offense throughout. Mark Ingram is banged up, but Trent Richardson is poised to make some moves, too. But most importantly, I get to enjoy the press-box dessert options at the Georgia Dome for this one. Fan-friggin-tastic…. Alabama 30, Florida 27.
(Also, I expect Tebow to make a tearful speech after the loss promising to never again let this happen, then beat down Boise State in the Sugar Bowl to let everyone know what a warrior he is.)
California (-7) at Washington
Dan: Remember how everyone said Washington was back when they beat USC at the beginning of the year? How foolish do those people look now? USC stinks. And Washington does too. That being said I am not sure what to make of Cal. They go on the road and beat The Tree but other than that have been less than impressive. Take the points here… Washington 24, California 21.
Dave: No Javon Best and Cal is still giving a touchdown on the road to Washington? Seems fishy to me. Also, do you think Jake Locker's locker has the word "Locker" taped above it? That has the makings of some great "Who's on first?" humor. "Hey coach, which one's mine?" "The Locker." "Right, I know, but which one?" Ah, comedy gold. (The jar is round, the glass is round, why don't they call it Round-tine?… Gold, Jerry!)… California 21, Washington 20.
Texas (-14) vs. Nebraska
Dan: I, for one, am ready for Colt McCoy to move on. The last seven years Texas has had two really good QBs and as a result Texas has been a really good team. I am ready for them to experience what USC has been experiencing the last few years. One can wish huh? This week they face a Nebraska team with good defense but no offense. I think Nebraska can keep it just close enough… Texas 34, Nebraska 21.
Dave: I hate the Big 12. Absolutely hate it. What a fraud of a conference. I'm happy to make fun of Florida's schedule, but at least the Gators play in a conference that is strong top to bottom. The Big 12 annually has 2 or 3 good teams, none of those teams schedule anyone worthwhile out of conference, and when it comes time for the conference title game, it's always a joke, too. Do you realize that this is the fourth time in the past six years that the Big 12 title game has had a spread of at least 14 points? Do you realize that the last time a Big 12 North team won this game, U.S. troops had been in Iraq for a whopping six months, "In Da Club" had just been released and the world was still weeks away from viewing the final "Lord of the Rings" films? And once again, we come to a title game that pits the surefire Big 12 rep for the national title game up against a lackluster opponent. Every year I pray that a miracle will come along to keep either Oklahoma or Texas out of the title game, and every year I'm treated to the same garbage performance by the Big 12 North. This year will be no exception… Texas 45, Nebraska 21.
Georgia Tech (pick) vs. Clemson
Dan: Wow… if the ACC doesn’t get beat up on for being a weak conference enough, the two so-called heavyweights were embarrassed by their rivals last Saturday. Mind you these rivals were not even having good seasons as each struggled to a 7-5 finish. Embarrassing. Of course this was probably to be expected from the Fightin Dabo’s as Dabo hadn’t laid an egg in quite some time. So I shouldn’t be that surprised. Seems the recurring theme from last weekend was Clemson and Georgia Tech’s inability to stop the run. So this game truly is a toss up. What does one do when the game is a toss up? Go against Dabo!.. Georgia Tech 34, Clemson 24.
Dave: A quick bit of advice to Georgia Tech fans… if a Clemson fan talks smack to you before this game, just go ahead and punch them in the face. See, your coach says that's OK, even though as a general rule of thumb the only physical conflict you, as a Tech fan, have ever gotten into involves first-person video games. But that's OK, real life works the same way. Just hit the pause button before you go to punch the Clemson fan. Then, select your proper weapon and make sure you have enough health points to survive the encounter. Then go ahead and start the game again, then swing away (you'll actually have to use your arm and fist for this, rather than the 'X' button). Now, once you land that first punch, you'll need to remember the cheat code to be sure you vanquish your enemy. The cheat code is -- "Help, help, he's hurting me, help!" -- so you just go ahead and yell that out at any time… Clemson 24, Georgia Tech 23.
Wisconsin (-12) at Hawaii
Dan: Wake up special! Woot! Woot! Now yes this is a wake-up special but a few weeks ago we truly experienced the wake-up special. College basketball had 24 hours of basketball in row live on ESPN. I was thrilled to be able to bet on a game at not only 2 a.m… but 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Is there anything better? As for this game some weird stuff happens when teams visit the island. I just don’t know what it is. That being said Hawaii is horrible. Take Bucky… Wisconsin 42, Hawaii 24.
Dave: I never take the 'Sconnies on the road, and this is really far on the road. On the other side, the once terrible Fightin' Rainbows have won four in a row. And remember last year when Wisconsin wrapped up its season by hosting that stellar squad from Cal-Poly and eeked out a 1-point win at home? I like Hawaii here, but I'm still confused as to why they get to play 13 regular season games. If anyone can explain this to me, I'd like to hear it… Wisconsin 33, Hawaii 30.
South Florida (+7) at Connecticut
Dan: So last week everything was looking good for my Syracuse +15 bet vs. UConn. Greg Paulus was playing out of his mind and UConn was up 11 with 40 seconds to go and was running the clock out. They had fourth-and-8 from the Syracuse 30, so I figured they’d either run it again or they’d kick the field goal. Regardless I’d cover. So what did they do? They threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to earn the cover. I was LIVID. Those are the things that just make my blood boil. Who the heck throws there?!?!?! What was to be earned there other than being a classless coach. Sigh. Of course if I had UConn there I’d be as happy as can be with the coach. But I did not. This week I’d like to say karma will get UConn but South Florida in the cold is terrible… Connecticut 31, South Florida 10.
Dave: Ah, we get to the final pick of the regular season. And what a game to go out on! The thrilling drama that comes with watching Jim Leavitt coach the fourth best team in Florida. The mystery and excitement that surrounds a team that has been D-IA for five years and plays in a state that ranks women's basketball above football on its favorite sports. It's the Big East baby! Catch the excitement!… South Florida 20, Connecticut 17.
Last Week: Dan 4-5-1, Dave 3-6-1.
Season: 53-66-3 (.445), Dave 53-66-3 (.445).