This is the 5th installment where me & Mr. ADMohr (of ADMohr twitter fame)
Week 7 of the college football season is here. It has not been pretty for ADMohr and I over the last few weeks although we are still above .500 so that's a good thing. It feels like today's post is long (even for us) but it is probably the best football breakdown we've done yet. Plus, there's a bonus story in here that you probably won't hear anywhere else.
Here's our overall record and our records from last week.
No (trying to be) funny stuff this week. Too many great matchups, no time for attempted humor. Throw your jersey on and hook up the cable splitters and back up televisions. It's big-time matchup weekend.
Texas (+6) v. OU (Dallas, TX) 11:00 AM ABC
What to watch for: Will Muschamp. The subject of my greatest current man-crush is going to be given the world's tallest task – slow down the unstoppable OU offense with a weak and unproven secondary. I want to make it clear that I think Texas has an incredible shot to play sleeper in this game (if that's even possible with this magnitude of matchup) if the Horns can score with efficiency and if we find out that the power of the OU offense may have been fueled by some weak/overrated defenses. The problem for Texas is this – for the most part OU HAS been bad defenses – except for the TCU team that may actually have a better defense than the Horns, which OU beat by 25 (and was never in doubt). The good for Texas is Texas has a FAR better offense than TCU – but as SMQ/Doc Saturday points out much of the strength of the Horns running game comes on the fragile Colt McCoy. I think McCoy is having and will continue to have a far better season this year than he had last. But this Saturday, the Sooners are really going to give him Hell. I expect a high scoring game, something along the lines of 45-30, and the Sooners win and cover the spread.
Let me give you some insight into sports gambling: When I pick for money, occasionally I will look at a pick that I think is lopsided and go the other way simply because everyone is picking "the obvious" side. I don't do this every week (I don't know a single person that thought Nebraska was going to hang with Missouri), but occasionally, you can find a game that you can make a lot of money on because the betting is one-sided. Of course, you can lose a lot of money this way too, because conventional wisdom can be correct just as often as it is wrong. I think this game falls into the latter of the two scenarios. Usually, all bets are off in a "rivalry" game, but lately Oklahoma has just won a lot. Arbitrarily going back to 1984, Texas has only won 10 times (and only twice since 1999) and in those wins Texas has only blown out OU twice (once with Vince Young and once right after Rhett Bomar got kicked out of OU). In these games, OU always hangs around and wins way more often than not. Oklahoma wins and covers. Now here's an awesome video about the OU/Texas rivalry (H/T: EDSBS:
Colorado (+14) @ Kansas 11:30 AM ESPN2
What to Watch For: Can the Buffs offense put up 300 yards? The Hawkins-O was anemic at Florida State and against Texas, and they're likely going to need an efficient performance to have a shot against the Jayhawks in Lawrence. But the Jawhawks defense kept the Cyclones in the game last week and was a big reason for their loss at South Florida. The Hawks might be susceptible via the air, but the Buffs offense looks only good for about 200 yards passing. BUT – the Buffs offense has looked anemic against a pretty good FSU defense... but how good is the Texas offense? This one's tough, and I think the 14 points Colorado is getting is actually too much. And remember – next week KU has a huge game at OU. Kansas wins, but Colorado beats the spread.
This seems like an awfully large spread for a team that's coming off a close win over Iowa State. I think they should win, but there's no way it's by 14. Colorado +6.5 would be a spread I believe in. Besides, the crowd at Kansas is going to be all confused since the administration has asked the "classiest fans" not to yell expletives (shown below) during the game - which is pretty much what their fans do. Unfortunately, Kansas fans aren't nearly as creative as Va Tech and the Stick It In chant. Kansas wins but Colorado covers and Mark Mangino eats a 2 whole slabs of ribs, a roasted pig, and some Jello.
Vanderbilt (-2) @ Mississippi State 1:30 PM
What to Watch For: Well the Vandy offense actually outgained someone this week, although it was an Auburn team who fired Offensive Cooridnator Tony Franklin the Wednesday following. Still though, Vandy has an average deficit of approx 50 yards on offense to how many yards they give up on defense, and there is going to come a time that is finally going to beat them. That said, Mississippi State seems to bring even less to the table than what Auburn brought to Vandy last week though the Bulldogs managed 285 yards in a surprisingly close game in Baton Rouge two weeks back. So, if Vandy can put up at least 280, 290 yards of offense I think this is a game that they can win. The difference though is that Vandy faced an Auburn offense (somehow) getting worse, and the Bulldog Offense may actually be better than the Auburn offense, despite the 3-2 loss a few weeks back (a surprising 400 yards in a blowout loss at Georgia Tech, and a respectable performance in Baton Rouge). I think the Bulldogs will get up for a game that they can semi-save their already lost season with a big win at home. Bulldogs win and beat the spread.
Chris Nickson is the starting QB at Vanderbilt. If I were him, I would be worried about what the Vanderbilt training staff is feeding me because the last starting quarterback to come through Vandy had Type 1 diabetes and they no one had any clue about it until he got to the NFL. Outside of that, it seems like everything else is going really, really for Vandy - they are this year's Rutgers - and I'm pretty sure that Mississippi State is a homeless man's Auburn, and Vandy just beat Auburn. Vandy should win and cover the 2 point spread, even on the road.
Nebraska (+20.5) @ Tex Tech 2:00 PM FSN
ADMohr: What to Watch For: The Red Raiders had an impressive 626 total yards against just 296 for Kansas State last week. Silver lining for the Huskers here is that Mizzou only outgained them 462 to 369. Of course, Nebraska was only able to actually stop the Mizzou offense once, and that was in the 4th quarter after a 12 play 60 yard drive on downs. So, basically, unless Nebraska whips up some offense scoring efficiency, or a bunch of turnovers, they really don't have a shot in covering in this one. For Husker fans though, it needs to be said again – the Pelini era began last Monday. Callahan showed no ability to keep a team from self-destructing on itself. If Pelini can get this team to show up and play like it didn't get humiliated last week, then they might actually have a shot of finding some success offensively and then maybe the 20.5 spread isn't all that far off. But the Huskers have done nothing to prove they're capable of that this week yet, and until they do, there's no reason to pick otherwise. Tech covers the spread.
MM: Before the season, I told everyone that if we were 3-3 after 6 games, I wouldn't be mad as long as we held our own. Nebraska did that against Virginia Tech, but failed miserably against Missouri. Texas Tech has one of those crazy offenses - it has like 20 plays and they just keep running them over and over until the defense wears out and then they score like 40 points. It's why they can't ever beat Texas or Oklahoma consistently - those schools have enough athletes 2/3 deep at each position that they can cycle guys whereas I'm not sure Nebraska even has enough athletes on the first team anymore. In any case, won't be a 70-10 (which, FYI, is really fun to heckle Nebraska fans with - and I'm a Nebraska fan) but something like 56-21 Tech wouldn't be too far off. Side note: Mike Leach is probably my favorite coach in college football. Here's an interview he did with ESPN the Magazine.
Tennessee (+12.5) @ Georgia 2:30 PM CBS
ADMohr: What to Watch For: Can the Georgia offense be effective enough against another solid defense to beat a team with absolutely no offense? The Vols managed only 225 yards against Northern Illinois last week, and the Georgia defense is likely as good as at least the Auburn, Florida, and Huskies defenses. So Georgia wins and covers the spread in this one, and the final score will probably be about 20-3.
MM: Well, I've made fun of Fulmer for being fat 2 weeks in a row, so I will take this week off. Hmmm...what to say about this game...I literally have nothing. It should be fun to watch. I usually go to most Nebraska road games, but I've decided not to go to the game this week which means I'll get to watch a lot more games this weekend, rather than tailgate. Georgia is not as good as they were considered at the beginning of the year, but they are definitely better than Tennessee. Georgia wins and covers.
Notre Dame (+8.5) @ North Carolina 2:30 PM ABC
ADMohr: What to Watch For: You know what's great about this matchup? Both of these teams are averaging approx. 20 yards less than what they're gaining on their own. The Heels were actually outgained by 120 yards last week in a game where they blew out Connecticut (thanks to 3 picks), but Notre Dame was a significantly worse team on the road against a similar, not-great but good Michigan State team. So here's the deal, Notre Dame actually has the tools to win this game if they can put up around 400 yards of offense as they have the last two weeks. Will they do that on the road? Will the Domers crumble again. I think ND will regress on the road again this week, but I think they're better than when they were at Mich State, so I think North Carolina wins, but not enough to cover the spread.
MM: I'm baffled that we live in a world where North Carolina is ranked in football. It blows my mind - I guess getting Joe Dailey off the roster really helped them out. North Carolina should win and cover. As far as Notre Dame goes, they seem to be on their way towards something like an 8-9 win season in which they go to a bowl that they really shouldn't get to and get spanked by somebody for something like the 15th straight time. After the bowl, Notre Dame's administration will complain about the massive food bill "the team" ran up. Really, it was just a case of Charlie Weis sampling every buffet in town (ah, there's the fat joke). Anyway, here's a video that features Fulmer (I guess I couldn't leave him alone(, Mangino, and Weis (H/T: EDSBS again).
LSU (+6) @ Florida 7:00 PM CBS
ADMohr: What to watch for: This is the type of game that the incredible CBS music was made for. Last year's game was one of the greatest games of the year, the type of hard-hitting SEC action that usually ends up beating each team up to the point where they won't perform half as well the following week (oh and by the way, next week LSU faces the likely tougher defense of South Carolina). The factor that will decide this game is Jarrett Lee's ability to drive/maintain the LSU offense in the insanity that will be the Swamp in a revenge game. Meanwhile, the Gators offense has looked solid against non-defenders Ole Miss and Arkansas, and don't forget that it is still the defense that has to prove it has the ability to win games for the Gators. Will LSU be able to establish the run to the point of taking the pressure off of Jarrett Lee? My guess is, LSU will find success in running the ball, but the Gators defense is not bad enough to keep the game from not winding up in Lee's hands. I think Lee will be a great quarterback, but this environment is the epitome of what makes the SEC great. The Gators win and cover the spread in this one.
MM: It feels like Florida's magic is gone, although mainly it feels like Tebow's magic is gone. Maybe spending the off-season circumsizing Filipinos wasn't such a good idea. LSU covers the spread and wins outright, even in Florida. FYI, Erin Andrews is (gratuitously) pictured on the left because she is a UF graduate.
Boise State (-10.5) @ Southern Miss 7:00 PM CBSC
ADMohr: What to Watch For: This is a fun matchup that will really test Boise in a cross-country road trip against a team that can really hang it up offensively, at least in terms of yardage. Southern lost a close shootout to UTEP in 2nd overtime last week, in a game where they gained 541 yards of offense. Boise's worst defensive performance of the year came in a win at Oregon, but in each game since then, they've given up no more than 7 points. So can the Boise State offense make a statement across the country on the road against a high-octane yardage offense? I think we'll see a Southern Miss offense click in a game where they have a shot to finally get a win in their favor, after many close losses this year. They won't win, and Boise will look like a different team away from the Wednesday night blue-turf Idaho home field. Boise wins, but in a close one and Southern Miss beats the spread.
MM: Boise State just seems to be around every year. Every year they beat the shit out of a bad opponent from a "legit" conference and a bunch of crappy opponents. And every year they get to a good bowl and because they beat Oklahoma one time in a crazy ass game, they are considered legit. In any case, this is one of the crappy opponents. Boise State wins, covers, and makes the BCS selection committee cry tears of sadness.
Penn St (-6) @ Wisconsin 7:00 PM ESPN
ADMohr: What to watch for: Wisconsin's ability to shrug off a second consecutive week's back-breaking, last-drive of the game loss. Oh, and per usual, their ability to establish/dominate with the run, which they did have some success with against the Buckeyes last week in a game that the Badgers were almost exactly equals (327-326 total yards). Meanwhile, we don't have proof yet (yet) that the Lions' defense is better/worse than the same Buckeye defense the Badgers had mixed success with last week. Last week the Lions had a close game in score with Purdue (20-6) though total yardage was approaching 2 to 1 (422 – 241). I think we can expect a similar line this week, with Penn State likely just having too much offensive firepower for the Badger offense to keep up with and the average Badger D to stop. Penn State wins and covers.
MM: For some reason, I still don't believe in Penn State. Still. To be honest, Penn State seems like one of those teams that if I bet on them (were I to be in Vegas) they would immediately lose. So, I'm not sure where that puts me here. Also, how long until Joe Paterno just coaches the game while sitting at home in his favorite recliner? I say 2 years: he's already just sitting up in the booth - next year it's going to be a video screen from his office and the year after that will be with a webcam his great-grandkid sets up for him on top of his TV. There's a video about how old Joe Pa is below.
Wisconsin seems to play everyone close in the Big 10 and I would assume that continues here. If they lose, it will be late and heart-breaking to all the drunk fans and horny band nerds. I think they pull it out though - Wisconsin beats the spread and wins outright.
Oklahoma State (+14) @ Mizzou 7:00 PM ESPN2
ADMohr: What to watch for: Holy. Offense. Mizzou averaging 568 total yards per game offense, and Oklahoma State averaging 530 total offense per game. Wow. The difference? Oklahoma State's ability to run the ball, with the Cowboys AVERAGING 315 yards per game on the ground alone. The difference in this game is obviously the Cowboys' ability to dominate as they have on the ground game to open up the Mizzou defense to a shootout that Ok State can then ball-control to win. We're talking about an offense with the ability to control a game going up against an offense that has the ability to score in 2 plays, every single drive. Burden of pressure is on the Mizzou defense to stop the run, and obviously the Oklahoma State defense to TRY to stop the Mizzou offense for a drive, maybe two (field goals will do). I don't know if Oklahoma State will be able to keep up with Mizzou (I don't know if anybody can) but the 14 points Oklahoma State is getting is far too many, and generally in these types of shootouts if a team can run the ball at will, I like that teams chances to have a shot at winning the game. Oklahoma State beats the spread.
MM: Let's talk a little bit about Missouri. Even if Missouri loses a couple games this year, Pinkel had to win one game this year - at Nebraska. Long term, nothing else mattered. If you don't think his team really cared about this game just look at the way they acted - his players doused him with Gatorade in the waning moments after beating a mediocre Nebraska team for their first conference win. They hadn't won in Lincoln in over 30 years, so it was a big deal - kudos to them. Enjoy it this year, because you're losing 80% of your offense next year.
I'll get a chance to talk more about Missouri later in the year, but I wanted to give a little bit of bonus insight for the few people who read this far through the post (see, I teased you up front and put it in the last pick - I'm kinda shady like that). Last week I said I hate Missouri and there is probably no greater example than Chase Daniel. If you've watched pre-game at a college football game, you'll notice the teams often line up at about mid-field and run some warm-up drills. Well, a couple Nebraska players, Ndamukong Suh being one of them, were around mid-field tossing a ball back and forth. A few of Missouri players began walking in their direction. This isn't really a big deal, because, as I said earlier, all the players from both teams are generally around the 50 yard line.
Here's where shit gets crazy. Every Missouri player in the group decides not to walk in the middle of the Nebraska players tossing the ball around. Every player except Chase Daniel. He, of course, decides to walk right through the middle of these guys. Douchey, but whatever, that's who he is. Coincidentally, right as he breaks off to walk through the middle of the Nebraska players, Suh turned his head to spit. Now if you're a guy and you've played baseball/football/soccer/done anything outside, you know the spit motion - you don't look - you just turn your head and spit in a snap second. Well, as he turned, guess who's walking right by him to walk through the warm up - Chase Daniel. I have no clue if he got his ass spit on - I've heard both ways, but it doesn't matter - this wasn't a confrontation or a fight. Hell, it wasn't even intentional. Trust me - if a Nebraska player f'd up, I'd be the first to say get your shit right or get out - but this sounds like Chase Daniel being a douche and karma kicking him in the nuts. Of course, after the game Chase said that someone spit on him, but don't you think if it was intentional he would have started a fight or named names in the press conference? Didn't you see the Flavor of Love where Pumpkin spit on New York? If he got spit on for real, that's what would have happened. This is just a case of Chase Daniel consistently being a little bitch.
Anyway, Oklahoma State, led by Mike "I'm a Man" Gundy covers the spread but Missouri wins because they are the better team. If you watch one college football game this weekend, I'd watch Texas/Oklahoma. If you watch two games, I'd make this the second. Anyway, here's the Mike Gundy video which never gets old.
That's the picks for the week. Here's the chart.
Have a good weekend.