Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bowl Picks, Part 3

Bowls To Date: 12-10
Season: 231-93

The bowl season drags on and on. Next up is New Year’s Day. Once upon a time, New Year’s Day was a celebration of college football. You had the Cotton Bowl when it was a big game. You had the Rose Bowl, when it was an excuse to prepare for the really important game that night. Then, you had the Orange Bowl, which usually featured a Big 8 team and/or Miami playing for a national championship. Ok, not every year, but it sure seemed like it. Now, there is a glut of meaningless games on New Year’s Day and spreading to the days after. There is only one game that counts, and it is on January 8.

Outback Bowl, January 1, Tampa: Iowa vs. South Carolina: Slow Big Ten team plays underachieving SEC team. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier was once quarterback for an NFL team in Tampa. They went 0-14. He’ll do better on New Year’s Day. Pick: SC

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, January 1, Jacksonville: Nebraska vs. Clemson: Middle of the road Big 12 team meets middle of the road ACC team. It won’t be great TV, but they’ll sell plenty of tickets and fill plenty of hotel rooms. Pick: Clemson

Capital One Bowl, January 1, Orlando: Georgia vs. Michigan State: See Outback Bowl-slow Big Ten team plays underachieving SEC team. That’s right, the Bulldogs underachieved, having lost to both rivals in Florida and Georgia Tech. Still, they should be able to handle the Spartans. Pick: Jawja

Rose Bowl presented by Citi, January 1, Pasadena, California: USC vs. Penn State: Once again, USC is in the Rose Bowl, and once again, a Big Ten team loses the Rose Bowl. Penn State should be able to keep it close, but SC’s defense should keep Penn State’s offense out of the end zone for most of the game. Pick: USC

FedEx Orange Bowl, January 1, Miami: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech: This really is a BCS bowl game. None of the other BCS bowls wanted either of these teams, but the Orange Bowl gets the national championship game this year, so they’re stuck with this matchup. VT came out of a gaggle of evenly balanced teams in the ACC. Cincinnati dominated the Big East this year. Pick: Cincy

AT&T Cotton Bowl, January 2, Dallas: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech: Ole Miss surprised the SEC and the world this season in their first year under Houston Nutt. Tech has won 11 games for the first time in the history of man. Make that 12. Pick: Tech

Liberty Bowl, January 2, Memphis: Kentucky vs. East Carolina: Zzzz. Did you know this is Kentucky’s third bowl in a row? So-so SEC team vs. champion of Conference USA. Give me the SEC. Pick: Kentucky

Sugar Bowl, January 2, New Orleans: Alabama vs. Utah: Bama has to be disappointed after running the table in the regular season before losing to Florida in the SEC championship game. The Utes had an awesome year, going undefeated to represent the non-BCS world in one of the $17 million BCS bowl. This won’t be as bad as Hawaii’s game last year against Georgia, but don’t look for the ’06 Boise State team to show up, either. Pick: Alabama

International Bowl, January 3, Toronto: Buffalo vs. Connecticut: Somebody has to go to Toronto in January for a bowl game. It may as well be two snowbound schools. At least the game is indoors. Buffalo won the MAC in Turner Gill’s third year as coach. UConn is becoming a bowl regular. The Bulls have had a great run, but UConn knows what they’re doing here. Pick: UConn

Fiesta Bowl, January 5, Glendale, Arizona: Texas vs. Ohio State: The Longhorns are really, really mad that they came out on the wrong end of the Big 12’s three-way tiebreaker for the South division championship. They really do have a case to be in the national championship game. On the other side of this matchup is Ohio State, winners of 10 games and a regular to this game in the desert. The Buckeyes had a nice season in the Big Ten, but they’re no match for Texas. Pick: Texas

GMAC Bowl, January 6, Mobile, Alabama: Tulsa vs. Ball State: Ball State had a great season, going 12-0 before being upset by Buffalo in the MAC championship game. Since then, head coach Brady Hoke has flown the coop for the warmer climes at San Diego State. Tulsa had a great year, as well, winning 10 games. Tulsa has faded a bit at the end of the season, losing three of their last five games. Pick: Ball State

BCS National Championship Game, January 8, Miami: Oklahoma vs. Florida: Get ready to stay up all night for this one, as there will be lots of offense here. Both teams have Heisman trophy winners. Both teams won premier conferences. Bob Stoops has national championship rings from both schools. As a Sooner fan, I cannot review this game objectively. Sooners win national championship number 8. Pick: OU

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bowl Picks, Part 2

Bowls to date: 6-6
Season: 219-83 Bowl at Birmingham, December 29: N.C. State vs. Rutgers. I think I’ll be doing other things Monday afternoon. Besides, I prefer Pizza Hut or Domino’s to Papa John’s. When we last saw Rutgers, they were hanging 63 on Louisville. Pick: Rutgers

Valero Alamo Bowl at San Antonio, December 29: Missouri vs. Northwestern. Tigers have to be disappointed with this season. They managed to win the Big 12 North, but that’s about like winning District 1-5A in Texas high school football. Missouri expected a lot more from this season. Northwestern rang up a lot of points in the Big Ten this year. Expect a lot of scoring in this one. Pick: Northwestern

Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl at Boise, Idaho, December 30: Maryland vs. Nevada. Somebody has to go to this bowl, played on Boise State’s blue turf. Pick: Maryland

Texas Bowl at Houston, December 30: Rice vs. Western Michigan. Another bowl slot that the Big 12 could not fill due to lack of teams. Neither of these teams have a sexy name, but both are actually pretty good. Plenty of good seats available. Pick: Rice

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at San Diego, December 30: Oklahoma State vs. Oregon. This bowl is known for high-scoring shootouts, and this promises to live up to that reputation. OSU has three losses, all to teams ranked in the top 8 in the nation. Oregon has already beaten one orange-clad OSU: their archrival Oregon State. Pick: OSU

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth, December 31: Houston vs. Air Force. Rematch of a game played earlier this season, won by Air Force and played in Dallas due to Hurricane Ike. Cougars hope to have a less stressful trip to the Town of the Cow. It’s hard to beat a team twice. Pick: Houston

Brut Sun Bowl at El Paso, December 31: Pittsburgh vs. Oregon State. I wonder if my wife would like it if I bought some Brut? Oregon State had a great run in the Pac-10, including an upset win over USC. Pitt is coming around. Pick: Oregon State

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl at Nashville, December 31: Boston College vs. Vanderbilt. Vandy is in its first bowl game since the Reagan administration, and only has to travel across town to get to it. Boston College has made a living in minor bowl games, winning eight consecutive bowls while never making it to the BCS. Vandy better enjoy the trip to the Opryland hotel, because the game won’t be much fun for them. Pick: BC

Insight Bowl at Tempe, Arizona, December 31: Kansas vs. Minnesota. The Glen Mason Bowl. Mason formerly coached at both schools. This year, KU survived numerous injuries and a murderous Big 12 schedule to qualify for a bowl game. Minnesota won 7 of their first 8 games before collapsing down the stretch. Pick: KU

Chick-Fil-A Bowl at Atlanta, December 31: Georgia Tech vs. LSU: I like chicken. I like Chick-Fil-A. Tigers went 7-5 one year after winning a national championship. Yellow Jackets won 9 games in their first season under Paul Johnson, including a win over archrival Georgia. One team is headed up, the other is headed down. Pick: Ramblin’ Wreck

Friday, December 26, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 17

Last Week: 10-6
Season: 152-87-1

It’s the most fun week of the season. While a handful of teams know their post-season destiny and are resting starters accordingly, a whole bunch of teams are slugging it out for their playoff lives this week. It’s shape up or turn in the pads for a lot of NFL teams. Plus, a team has a date with infamy on Sunday unless something really strange and positive happens for them.

Dallas at Philadelphia: The Cowboys suffered a bone-headed loss last week to the Ravens, and find themselves going into a den of wolves as they play the Eagles in Philly. There is no bigger game in Philadelphia than the Cowboys’ yearly visit. Combine that with the Eagles’ slight playoff chances and the Cowboys’ must-win situation, and the Philly fans will be loaded for bear, especially with a late game. As inconsistent as the Cowboys have been this season, they have played their best with their backs against the wall. Pick: Dallas

St. Louis at Atlanta: The Falcons have been the surprise of the year. They still have a chance at a division title and a #2 seed in the NFC playoffs, with a win and a Carolina loss. They should have little problem against a putrid Rams team. Pick: Atlanta

New England at Buffalo: The Pats can win a division title with a win against Buffalo. The Bills had been in hibernation for several weeks before upsetting the Broncos in Denver last week. Can the Bills ruin another team’s season this week? No. Pick: New England

Kansas City at Cincinnati: The Mega Suck Bowl. The Bengals have shown signs of life in recent weeks, and play a bad Kansas City team to close out the season. Pick: Cincy

Detroit at Green Bay: The Lions, with a loss, will finish 0-16. A loss would make them one of the worst, if not the worst, teams in NFL history. The Packers let one slip away Monday night in Chicago. They won’t allow themselves to lose to the awful Lions. Pick: Green Bay

Chicago at Houston: The Bears have used defense and special teams to win the last three games in a row and to place themselves within spitting distance of a division title. The Texans laid an egg in Oakland last week, but have recovered well from an 0-4 start. Texans ruin the Bears’ playoff hopes. Pick: Houston

Tennessee at Indianapolis: This is a great matchup that will have the look and feel of a pre-season game. Neither team can improve their playoff position with a win. Which team has better scrubs? Pick: Tennessee

New York Giants at Minnesota: The Giants clinched home field advantage in the NFC playoffs last week with a comeback win over the Panthers. The Vikings need a win to clinch the NFC North division title. The Giants will play to win, but the Vikes need it more. Pick: Minnesota

Carolina at New Orleans: Panthers blew a big lead last week in New York, and need to come up big against the Saints in order to win the NFC South. Look for lots of points here. Pick: Carolina

Cleveland at Pittsburgh: Yuck. Browns have not scored a touchdown in over a month. Steelers should roll. Pick: Pittsburgh.

Oakland at Tampa Bay: A few years ago, these teams met in a Super Bowl. Not this year. The Raiders have a surprising four wins. The Bucs need a win plus some help to make the playoffs. The Bucs will do their part. Pick: Tampa Bay

Jacksonville at Baltimore: Ravens need a win to make the playoffs. Jaguars have their bags packed for the off-season. Pick: Baltimore

Miami at New York Jets: Big, big game in the AFC East. Depending on the Patriots’ result in the early game, this will either be for a division title or a mere wild-card berth. There is also a chance that neither team will make the playoffs. Can the Dolphins win a big game in cold weather? The trends favor them. Pick: Miami

Seattle at Arizona: Mike Holmgren’s last game as coach of the Seahawks. Cardinals play their third game in a row with nothing to gain. Ugly game in the making. Pick: Arizona

Washington at San Francisco: What was once a promising season for the Redskins has melted down. Still, the Redskins beat the Eagles last week and severely damaged their playoff chances. The 49ers have a chance to win their 7th game of the regular season. Pick: 49ers

Denver at San Diego: What goes around, comes around. Denver beat the Chargers in the first game of the season, with a questionable call enabling the Broncos to hold on for a victory. The Broncos have now lost two games in a row with a chance to clinch the AFC West title. Make that a third. The Chargers finish 8-8 and win the division in spite of themselves. Pick: San Diego

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bowl Picks, Part 1

Week of December 6: 5-5
Season: 213-77

There are 34 bowls this year. This means that every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a winning record made it to a bowl game. If rewarding excellence is the purpose of bowl games, then some of these games are an absolute joke. What these games provide are a way to fill some hotel rooms and to give some cities some publicity on national TV. And, they provide programming for ESPN. Some of these games are glorified exhibitions between mediocre teams. Others are great matchups.

The first of three installments of bowl picks:

EagleBank Bowl, Dec. 20, Washington, D.C. Navy vs. Wake Forest. This amounts to a home game for Navy against a team that the Midshipmen upset earlier in the year. My question is: who wants to go to a bowl game at RFK Stadium in D.C. in December? That’s not exactly a garden spot. Wake Forest gets revenge. Pick: Demon Deacons

New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 20, Albuquerque. Fresno State vs. Colorado State. The first edition of this bowl that does not feature the hometown Lobos. Fresno State has been to bowl games before, while the Rams have made a major improvement this year. Pick: Fresno State

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl, Dec. 20, St. Petersburg. Memphis vs. South Florida. The latest bowl to be played in a baseball stadium, this new bowl is sponsored by a tool that allows you to plug your phone into a computer. Ok, at least it’s not sponsored by LoJack. Who wants to watch a bowl game between Memphis and USF? Ugh. Pick: USF

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 20, Las Vegas. Arizona vs. BYU. Did you know Las Vegas got three inches of snow yesterday? This is BYU’s fourth consecutive trip to this bowl. I wonder how this bowl would do without BYU in it. Zona finally gets to a bowl in Mike Stoops’ fifth year. The Mountain West has had its way against the Pac-10 this year. That won’t change in this game. Pick: BYU

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 21, New Orleans. Southern Miss vs. Troy. Southern Miss makes a bowl game in a rebuilding year. The men of Troy, Alabama once again won the Sun Belt conference. Troy is a little better than Southern Miss. Pick: Troy

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 23, San Diego. TCU vs. Boise State. There’s something wrong when a matchup between the 8th and 11th ranked teams in the nation occurs two days before Christmas in a bowl named for a credit union. At least it’s in San Diego. This game has greatness written all over it. Can the Broncos go 13-0? I don’t know. Pick: TCU

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24, Honolulu. Notre Dame vs. Hawaii. It’s pretty sad when Notre Dame can royally suck and still get a trip to Hawaii. Problem is, they’re playing Hawaii on their home field. It’ll feel just like a BCS bowl in one way for the Irish: they’ll lose. Pick: Hawaii.

Motor City Bowl, Dec. 26, Detroit. Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan. Yuck. There are some bad bowls out there, and this is one of them. Florida Atlantic went 6-6, played in the worst conference in college football, and still made it to a bowl. There’s something wrong with this picture. Central Michigan had it going this year in the MAC before losing to Ball State and Eastern Michigan. Pick: Central Michigan

Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 27, Charlotte. West Virginia vs. North Carolina. Good matchup bound to sell lots of tickets in Charlotte. Tar Heels were one of the better teams in a dreadfully balanced ACC. West Virginia was favored to win the Big East, but ended up here. Pick: North Carolina

Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 27, Orlando. Wisconsin vs. Florida State. Badgers nearly lost their last game to Cal Poly. Seminoles showed signs of improvement this year, but aren’t quite where they want to be. Pick: FSU

Emerald Bowl, Dec. 27, San Francisco. Miami vs. California. Canes visit the City by the Bay. Hopefully, they’ll have a good sightseeing trip, because there’s no way they’ll beat Cal out there. Pick: Cal

Independence Bowl, Dec. 28, Shreveport. Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech. How did the 6-6 Huskies get into this bowl? The former executive director of the bowl now works for NIU. This is a really lame matchup, brought about because the Big 12 and SEC each sent two teams to the BCS and didn’t have enough teams left for the Indy Bowl to pick. Somebody has to win this game. Pick: Tech

Thursday, December 18, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 16

Here are more picks from 30,000 feet. Once again, Thursday night’s game will start before I post. However, that game has an overwhelming favorite, so this week’s picks will not be adversely affected.

Last week: 9-7
Season: 142-81-1

Baltimore at Dallas (Saturday): The NFL Network brings us the last game ever at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys kissed and made up with each other, at least for one week, while beating the Giants in an ugly 20-8 game. The Ravens, on the other hand, lost a heartbreaker to the Steelers last week in Baltimore. The Cowboys have also lost a heartbreaker late in the game to Pittsburgh. The Ravens are good, but it would be totally wrong for the Cowboys to lose the last game at the Stadium With The Hole In The Roof. Pick: Dallas

Indianapolis at Jacksonville (Thursday): The Colts are the hottest team in the league. The Jaguars have given up the season. Irresistible force meets movable object. Gee, I wonder who’s going to win this game? Pick: Indy

Pittsburgh at Tennessee: Possible preview of the AFC championship game. The Titans were stunned last week by the Texans. The Steelers have pulled two exciting wins out the hat in recent weeks, over Dallas and Baltimore. Go with the home team. Pick: Titans

Miami at Kansas City: The Chiefs found another way to lose on Sunday, giving up two touchdowns to the Chargers in 82 seconds before missing a long desperation field goal try. Now, the Dolphins visit Kansas City with a chance to make the playoffs. Can the Chiefs finish someone off? Don’t bet on it. Pick: Miami

Arizona at New England: The Cardinals were atrocious last week in a 35-14 loss to Minnesota. They now face another week with nothing to gain. That’s the result of winning the awful NFC West by default. The Patriots keep plugging along and still have a chance to win the AFC East. This pick is so easy. Pick: New England

Cincinnati at Cleveland: The Mega Suck Bowl. The only way this game could be worse is if Detroit were involved. Both teams have stunk up the joint this year, though the Bengals got a win last week over the Redskins. The Browns haven’t scored a touchdown in a month, and have lost both parts of their two-headed quarterback monster. Does someone have to win this game? Do Browns’ season ticket holders have to sit in the cold to watch this game? Do they have to play this game? Do I have to pick a winner? The answer to those questions is yes. Pick: Cincy

Philadelphia at Washington: One team is going up, the other is going down. Pick: Philly

San Francisco at St. Louis: The Suck Bowl. This is not quite to the level of Mega Suck, but almost. The Rams lost last week at home to the Seattle Seabags. Ugh. The 49ers are headed nowhere as well. Pick: San Francisco

Atlanta at Minnesota: These teams could see each other again in two weeks in the first round of the playoffs. The injury bug is starting to hit the Vikings, but they’re at home. Pick: Minnesota

New Orleans at Detroit: The Saints are playing out the string, but face a test on Sunday: keeping from becoming the first team to lose to Detroit this season. The Lions are 0-14, but aren’t as bad as their record indicates. I’m going to go out on a limb here. There will be no 0-16 team in the NFL this year. Pick: Detroit

Carolina at New York Giants: The Giants have been hammered hard by injury and have lost their last two games. The Panthers have played as well as anyone in the league. This game is for home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Giants get well at home on a cold December Sunday night. Pick: Giants

New York Jets at Seattle: The Jets face a classic trap game as they go to the Northwest to play a bad team with nothing to lose. New York is 0-3 this year in previous trips to the West Coast, including losses to the putrid 49ers and Raiders. The Jets have everything to lose, as the AFC East division title is in sight. The Jets revert to form this week and become the same old Jets. They’ll find a way to lose this game. Pick: Seattle

Houston at Oakland: The Texans have come out of nowhere to win four in a row. They now head to Oakland to play the sad-sack Raiders. Make that five in a row. Pick: Houston

Buffalo at Denver: It would be fitting if Denver got a snowstorm this weekend with the Bills in town. The Bills threw a game away last week, and can’t wait for this season to be over. The Broncos have another chance to clinch the AFC West this week. They get the job done. Pick: Denver

Tampa Bay at San Diego: The Bucs lost a heartbreaking overtime game last week in Atlanta, severely impairing their playoff chances. They now have to head to the West Coast to play a mercurial Chargers team. Will the men in pewter have anything left? Who knows? Pick: San Diego

Green Bay at Chicago (Monday): Monday Night Football returns to the shore of Lake Michigan for the resumption of one of the league’s great rivalries. The Packers have nothing left to play for but pride. The Bears are trying to keep pace with the Vikings for the NFC North crown. It’ll be really cold in Chicago on Monday night. Pick: Bears

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 15

These picks are being made at 30,000 feet somewhere over the southern United States before Thursday night’s game, so I have no idea of the outcome before I make this post.

Last week: 11-5
Season: 133-74-1

New York Giants at Dallas: Giants return to the scene of last year’s upset playoff win at Texas Stadium. This year, the Giants have rolled through the regular season to win the NFC East. The Cowboys have been hit with injuries and inconsistency. The Cowboys are also coming off a heartbreaking loss in Pittsburgh, when the Steelers returned a Tony Romo interception for a touchdown with two minutes left in the game. Dallas needs this one a lot worse. Pick: Dallas

New Orleans at Chicago (Thursday): Southern team (and dome team) goes north for a frigid Thursday night game on the shores of Lake Michigan. Good luck. Pick: Chicago

Buffalo at New York Jets: Freefalling Bills visit the Jets, who are looking to end a two-game skid of their own. Pick: Jets

Tennessee at Houston: It’s been 10 years since the Titans were the Oilers. The NFL’s best team returns to the city of its origin. Texans are looking to play spoiler. Tough pick. Pick: Tennessee

Seattle at St. Louis: The Suck Bowl. Two awful teams slug it out to stay out of the cellar of the NFC West. Pick: St. Louis

Tampa Bay at Atlanta: One of the better games of the week. Winner will look good for a wildcard playoff berth, while the other will be in danger of missing the playoffs. Pick: Atlanta

San Francisco at Miami: The 49ers are getting a little better, but so are the Dolphins. Pick: Miami

Detroit at Indianapolis: Puhleeze. The awful Lions are on a collision course with infamy and 0-16. The Colts are one of the hottest teams in football. Pick: Colts

San Diego at Kansas City: The disappointing Chargers visit the young Chiefs. The Chiefs are better than 2-11, but not by much. The Chargers are playing for coach Norv Turner’s job. Go with the Fighting Tyler Thigpens. Pick: Chiefs

Washington at Cincinnati: The Redskins visit the second-worst team in the league. The Redskins have problems of their own, but should be able to handle the Bengals. Pick: Washington

Green Bay at Jacksonville: At least this game isn’t in Green Bay. Two teams with nothing to play for. Pick: Green Bay

Minnesota at Arizona: NFC North leader visits NFC West champion. That’s right, the Cardinals are champions of something for the first time since 1975. Cardinals continue to roll. Pick: Arizona

Denver at Carolina: Denver is in first place in the AFC West despite a lack of defense. The Panthers can actually clinch home field throughout the playoffs by winning the rest of their games. Pick: Carolina

New England at Oakland: Yuck. Any game involving the Raiders should be called Yuck. The Pats should win this one. Pick: New England

Pittsburgh at Baltimore: The Steelers stole one last week at home against Dallas, while the Ravens owned their backyard rival Redskins. Pick the home team here. Pick: Ravens

Cleveland at Philadelphia (Monday): Donovan McNabb now knows that there are ties in the NFL, but this one shouldn’t need overtime. The Browns have been a major disappointment this year. Pick: Philly

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Load of BCS

The pairings for the BCS are set. As expected, there are a lot of happy people in Florida and Oklahoma. There are a lot of upset people in Texas. The rest of the country is indifferent to the results of a sham of a system designed more to generate money for bowls and certain conferences than to determine a true national champion.

Some thoughts on the various BCS matchups:

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati. Not too long ago, these schools were members of the Metro conference for basketball and other sports, and independents in football playing each other every year. Fast forward 20 years, and these two schools are playing each other in a big-money bowl. On the field, it’ll actually be a pretty good game. However, it is a TV ratings disaster in the making. Plus, how many people are going to pay $125 per ticket to see Virginia Tech play Cincinnati? Good luck filling the stadium for this one. This is the price the Orange Bowl pays for hosting the national championship game a week later. VT won a very balanced but mediocre ACC. Cincinnati won an equally mediocre Big East going away. Both teams would finish 5th or worse in the Big 12 South, and it is questionable if either would win the North. Boise State would beat both teams by at least two touchdowns. So would Texas Tech. Flip a coin for a winner here. Picks will be made in a future blog post.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Utah. The Crimson Tide are back on the map in Nick Saban’s second year, going undefeated before losing the SEC championship game to the Florida Gators. Utah, in the meantime, went undefeated and won an underrated Mountain West conference. This will be a pretty good game.

Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State vs. Texas. The Buckeyes are here on the strength of their large traveling fan base, their huge alumni base, and their ability to draw a TV audience. Their second place finish in the Big Ten is not impressive due to the weakness of that conference. The Big Ten is definitely stronger in the classroom than on the field. Texas, on the other hand, has a case to be in the national championship game. The Longhorns were the only team to defeat Oklahoma, and were a last-second touchdown pass away from going undefeated. This is the most attractive matchup of the non-championship BCS bowls.

Rose Bowl: USC vs. Penn State. Penn State is this year’s sacrificial lamb put up by the Big Ten to be slaughtered by USC. 5:00 Central Time on New Year’s Day would be a good time to eat your black-eyed peas, as USC will have this one well in hand by then.

BCS National Championship Game: Oklahoma vs. Florida: Look for lots and lots of points in this one. Both teams are averaging over 50 points per game, and won the two dominant conferences in college football: the Big 12 and SEC. There is a possibility of a matchup of Heisman Trophy winners here, with Florida’s Tim Tebow and OU’s Sam Bradford. That is, if Bradford does what many expect and wins the Heisman on Saturday night. OU is looking to break a string of four consecutive losses in BCS games, including losses in the championship game in 2003 and 2004. This blog would love to see a rematch of OU and Texas in this game. However, Florida is very deserving of their spot here.

Cool Uniform of the Day

Credit must be given where credit is due, and this blog will do just that when it is warranted.

Saturday, Nike rolled out a great uniform design that works for one and only one team. The United States Military Academy, aka Army, rolled out these black and camouflage uniforms for their annual grudge match with Navy. The helmets and pants are camouflage, as are the numbers and lettering on the black jersey. On the back of the jersey, in place of the name plate, appears the quote "Honor. Duty. Country.". On one pants leg appears the Army quote, "Boots On The Ground", while "West Point" appears on the other leg.

No other team should try to duplicate this look. However, for Army, this is an awesome look. These guys look ready to head for the Middle East and kick the crap out of a bunch of terrorists.

Army lost the game to Navy in a big way, 34-0. However, they won the uniform battle.

Go Army.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 14

Last Week: 10-6 (.625)
Season: 122-69-1 (.712)

Dallas at Pittsburgh: The Cowboys have rescued their season with three consecutive wins following the pinkie injury to Tony Romo. Now they head into the Steel City for a matchup with the Super Bowl contender Steelers. Tough matchup for Dallas. However, this is a Cowboys homer blog. Pick: Dallas

Oakland at San Diego (Thursday): The NFL Network got a dud game this week. It’s a good thing it’s only available to about 30% of the United States. Pick: San Diego

Jacksonville at Chicago: Struggling warm-weather team goes to the Great White North of Chicago in December. Good luck with all that. Pick: Chicago

Minnesota at Detroit: Could this be the week the Lions get a W? Don’t count on it. Pick: Minnesota

Houston at Green Bay: Mediocre warm-weather team goes to the Great White North of Green Bay in December. Good luck with all that. See Jacksonville vs. Chicago. Pick: Green Bay

Cincinnati at Indianapolis: The Colts have righted the ship, and now host the woeful Bengals. Pick: Indy

Atlanta at New Orleans: The Falcons are the surprise of the year in the NFL. They continue to roll in a shootout. Pick: Atlanta

Philadelphia at New York Giants: The Giants’ star receiver literally shoots himself in the foot, but they roll right along. Pick: Giants

Cleveland at Tennessee: The Browns are another disappointing team, and lost their second quarterback of the season last week due to injury. The Titans have a good chance to go to the Super Bowl. Pick: Titans

Miami vs. Buffalo at Toronto: The Bills play the first of a series of regular season home games in Toronto over the next five years. They’ve struggled so much in recent weeks that they had to leave the country. The Dolphins are a pleasant surprise this year. Pick: Miami

Kansas City at Denver: Will there be any defense in this game? Pick: Denver

New York Jets at San Francisco: The 49ers look for their second consecutive win. The Jets are trying to reassume control of the AFC East. The Jets are a better team. Pick: Jets

New England at Seattle: Patriots should roll over this shell of a once-excellent team. Pick: New England

St. Louis at Arizona: Cardinals return home where they are a much better team. Pick: Arizona

Washington at Baltimore: Winner gets bragging rights to the entire state of Maryland. Redskins are walking into a lions’ den. Pick: Baltimore

Tampa Bay at Carolina (Monday): Great game for Monday Night Football. Both teams are tied for the NFC South division lead. Winner will be in good position to win the division. Pick: Carolina

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

College Picks, Week 15

Last week: 16-4 (.800)
Season: 208-72 (.742)

This is Championship Weekend. It is as close as college football gets to playoff competition. Large conferences use this weekend to hold championship games. More importantly to athletic departments, they generate huge sums of cash. Non-revenue sports cost a lot of money, and these championships help pay for them. In addition, the Big East and Pac-10 have moved some games to this weekend for TV exposure. Plus, Army and Navy meet for their annual showdown. If you like college football, this is your weekend.

Just 10 picks this week…

Big XII Championship at Kansas City: Oklahoma vs. Missouri: The Sooners arrive in Kansas City as the beneficiaries of a slight bump in the BCS computers, placing them in this game ahead of Texas. Missouri is the best of a mediocre bunch in the Big 12 North, despite losing a week ago on this same field to archrival Kansas. Strange things can happen in conference championship games, so don’t count Mizzou out, especially on a cold night in Kansas City. Nonetheless, OU is on a gigantic roll. Pick: OU

SEC Championship at Atlanta: Alabama vs. Florida: A virtual national semifinal. Florida has been impressive since a September loss to Ole Miss. Alabama has gone 12-0. Many think it is a foregone conclusion that Florida is going to win going away. Vegas agrees, making the Gators 9 ½ point favorites. However, Alabama is undefeated for a reason. Tide shocks the world once again. Pick: Alabama

ACC Championship at Tampa: Boston College vs. Virginia Tech: The ACC was nothing if not balanced this season. 10 teams are bowl eligible, and every team lost at least three conference games. BC and Tech survived the tiebreakers in the two divisions and make the trip to Tampa. The conference hopes to draw a better crowd in Tampa than they did in Jacksonville last year for the same two teams. Pick: BC

MAC Championship at Detroit (Friday): Ball State vs. Buffalo: The Cardinals are undefeated at 12-0, and have moved up to 12th in the latest BCS standings. They are the real deal. On the opposite sideline are the Buffalo Bulls. Before former Nebraska great Turner Gill arrived as coach, Buffalo was the worst program in college football. It is a miracle that they are bowl eligible within four years of Gill’s arrival. A bigger school needs to hire him. In the meantime, it’s the year of the Cardinals. Ball State should roll again. Pick: Ball State

Conference USA Championship: East Carolina at Tulsa: Both teams made noise earlier in the year, and finished with enough to make it to the championship game. The West division was strongest this year, with similar offensive results to their cousins in the Big 12 South. Tulsa was the best of those teams, and is playing at home. Pick: Tulsa

Army vs. Navy at Philadelphia: The annual classic returns to Philly, and Navy once again has a better team. Both teams will win when fighting terrorists and other enemies of the state. Only one team will win this game, however. Pick: Navy

USC vs. UCLA: The Trojans will wear red jerseys in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. USC coach Pete Carroll is willing to lose a timeout in each half to honor the previous tradition set by the schools when both played at the Coliseum. What a stupid NCAA rule, as teams should be able to wear whatever color they want as long as they are not the same as their opponents. Outside of this, there’s not much else to this game. USC should roll. Pick: SC

Arizona State at Arizona: Both teams would like to be better. The Sun Devils need a win to become bowl eligible, while the Wildcats need a win to achieve a winning season at 7-5. Pick: Arizona

South Florida at West Virginia: The Disappointment Bowl. This game was originally scheduled as a de facto Big East championship game. Instead, these teams are trying to save face. Don’t trust a team from Florida traveling north in December. Pick: West Virginia

Pittsburgh at Connecticut: Two Big East bowl-eligible teams do battle in a season-ender. UConn is tough at home. Pick: UConn

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Last Saturday, the Missouri Tigers broke out these threads in their annual rivalry game against Kansas. The Tigers came out on the short end of a 40-37 loss played in the sleet in Kansas City.

The game was great, but the uniforms are as ugly as the weather they played in. It looks like something my high school wore in the 80's, only Mizzou's has some white trim on it. The only thing worse was when Missouri last broke out gold uniforms, in a 1984 home date with Notre Dame. That day, the Tigers wore gold pants with the gold jerseys. Interestingly enough, they lost that day, too. Maybe the Tigers won't wear these again any time soon.

These uniforms are really bad. We won't be subject to them Saturday night in the Big 12 championship game, since the North team wears white when the championship game is played in the North. These jerseys look like puke.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breaking Ties Is Hard To Do

There is going to be a Big 12 championship game Saturday night in Kansas City, and Oklahoma is going to be in it. The Sooners used a 61-41 win at Oklahoma State to impress enough of the BCS computers to pass Texas in this week’s BCS ratings, enabling OU to win the league’s 5th tiebreaker over Texas and Texas Tech for the spot in Kansas City against the Missouri Tigers. (Wait, that’s a basketball score! The two schools have scored fewer points in basketball games against each other!)

The involvement of hard drives and statistical formulas provides a fitting end to the greatest season in the short history of the Big 12. OU, Texas, and Tech ran up point totals that would make the best video gamer proud. Not far behind them was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were the fourth best team in the South division, but would have won the North. Heck, the Cowboys would have won the ACC, the Big East, and a few other conferences.

OU, Texas, and Tech were ESPN and ABC’s dream. The ABC Saturday night crew spent a lot of time this fall in Texas and Oklahoma, as that is where the best matchups were. It’s not that there was a lack of defense here. It’s just that the offenses were so good that nothing could stop them. These four teams gave fans plenty of reason to spend money to attend games and to make time to watch them on TV.

Teeth are gnashing and mouths are wailing tonight in the city of Austin, as the Texas Longhorns came out on the wrong end of this tiebreaker. They have good reason, as Texas beat OU in Dallas, 45-35. The wildcard in this scenario is that there is a third team in this scenario, Texas Tech, that finished with the same record as OU and UT. If the head-to-head result between OU and UT matters, then so does the head-to-head matchup between UT and Tech. By the way, Tech won that game, 39-33 in Lubbock. OU’s later pounding of the Red Raiders does not take away from Tech’s great season or their role in the tiebreaker.

Is there a better way to break the tie? Perhaps. The SEC and ACC drops the third team from the tie if said team is more than 5 places below the higher-ranked team in the BCS standings. That would not happen here, as Tech is ranked 7th behind OU’s 2nd and UT’s 3rd. Maybe the three schools should do what high schools in Florida do: meet at a neutral site on a Tuesday night, play one quarter each against each other, and let the two top teams play a final quarter for all the marbles. Just kidding, as this would be logistically impossible. A more logical solution would be for the three coaches to meet at a truck stop in Wichita Falls and flip coins. Or, draw straws. Or, better yet, play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Ok, with as much money as these teams generate and these coaches make, they could meet at the Grand Hyatt at DFW Airport. The truck stop would make for better TV, though. Kinda like the real story in the book, Friday Night Lights. To sum it up, there’s not a good way to break a tie between three really good teams.

There is hope for the Longhorns. OU could very well lose to Missouri Saturday night in Kansas City. And, the Longhorns could very well stay ahead of Florida if the Gators defeat #1 Alabama in the SEC championship game. Both of these scenarios would give Bevo a trip to Miami for the national championship game.

The BCS is good for nothing but controversy. So is anything involving OU and Texas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 13

Last week: 7-9 (first losing week of the year..yuck!)
Season: 112-63-1 (.639)

Seattle at Dallas (Thursday): The Cowboys have won two in a row since the return of Tony Romo. Make that three, as the Seahawks make a nice addition to Thanksgiving dinner for Dallas. Pick: Dallas

Tennessee at Detroit (Thursday): The Titans suffered their first loss on Sunday at the hands of the Jets. No worries, as they follow that up with a game against the dreadful Lions. There is no way the Lions are as bad as the worst team in NFL history, the ’76 Buccaneers. They’re getting close, though. Pick: Tennessee

Arizona at Philadelphia (Thursday): Kurt Warner and the boys head East for Thanksgiving to face a team in turmoil. Eagles coach Andy Reid benched QB Donovan McNabb during Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, only to re-insert him as the starter for this game. Home teams have an advantage in a short week, as do East Coast teams hosting teams from the West. Pick: Philly

San Francisco at Buffalo: The Niners are pretty awful, and now get to experience Western New York in November. What a lovely time for the guys from the City By The Bay. The Bills hung half a hundred on Kansas City last week. Pick: Buffalo

Carolina at Green Bay: The Packers were at the wrong end of a blowout on Monday night in New Orleans. Nonetheless, this is a tough trip for the Panthers. If Carolina can win this one, they’re the real deal. Pick: Green Bay

New Orleans at Tampa Bay: Break up the Saints! They’ve won two in a row! The Bucs are still very much in the playoff chase, and should be able to handle the Saints at home. Pick: Tampa Bay

Miami at St. Louis: The Dolphins came down to earth last week as they were plastered by the Patriots, 48-28. No need for the Dolphins to worry, because the Rams are one of the worst teams in football. Pick: Miami

New York Giants at Washington: Another big rivalry from the greatest division in football, the NFC East. The Redskins just keep plugging along. The Giants are much better than they were last year, when they won the Super Bowl. However, even good teams lose once in a while. Pick: Redskins

Indianapolis at Cleveland: Don’t look now, but that’s the Colts you see in the rear view mirror chasing down the rest of the NFL elite after a slow start. The Browns have been nothing short of a disappointment this year. Pick: Indy

Baltimore at Cincinnati: Chalk this one up as a W for the visitors. Pick: Baltimore

Atlanta at San Diego: The Chargers lost yet another close game Sunday night to the Colts, and now must face the turnaround team of the season, the Falcons. The Chargers’ misery continues. Pick: Atlanta

Pittsburgh at New England: The Patriots are in a desperate position as they try to keep up with the Jets in the AFC East. Meanwhile, the Steelers are tough to beat anywhere. Pick: New England

Kansas City at Oakland: Yuck. Perhaps the biggest rivalry in the old AFL now matches two of the worst teams in the league. With that being said, the Raiders surprised the Broncos with a whipping last week. Can they win two in a row? Yes. Pick: Oakland

Denver at New York Jets: The Broncos have an awful defense, and now must visit the Meadowlands, where the ageless gunslinger, Brett Favre, resides. Favre played in a Super Bowl against the Broncos during the Clinton administration. Pick: Jets

Chicago at Minnesota: Battle for first place in the mediocre NFC North. Vikings find a way to win at home. Pick: Minnesota

Jacksonville at Houston (Monday): Another disappointing team is the Jaguars. The Texans won last week, and usually do well at home against the Jags, even when the Jags are good and the Texans are bad. Pick: Houston

College Picks, Week 14

Last Week: 12-8 (.600)
Season: 192-68 (.738)

In many ways, this is the biggest weekend of the college football season. Big rivalries are being played this weekend. Bowl bids are on the line. Spots in the BCS National Championship Game are at stake. The only guarantee is that something really strange will happen.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State: The Sooners, fresh off a 65-21 beatdown of Texas Tech, visit Stillwater to take on the Cowboys. As always, this is OSU’s Super Bowl, but the Cowboys actually have a pretty good team this year. This is a dangerous game. A win gives OU strength of schedule points in the BCS computers, possibly enough to pass Texas in the standings for a trip to the Big XII championship game. This will be quality television on Saturday night. That’s good, because you can’t buy a ticket to this one unless you buy OSU season tickets. It’s a lot cheaper to stay home and watch and listen to Brent and Kirk. Pick: OU

Texas A&M at Texas (Thursday): Poor Aggies. The worst A&M team in a quarter-century has to visit Austin when the Longhorns need BCS style points. If you don’t get enough turkey at dinner on Thanksgiving, you’ll get more of it from this game. Pick: Texas

Baylor at Texas Tech: The Red Raiders went home with their heads between their legs after the butt-kicking they took in Norman last week for their first loss. Baylor will show up and represent themselves. Tech will be on the rebound, though, and should be dangerous. Pick: Tech

Colorado at Nebraska (Friday): Believe it or not, the Huskers can win their eighth game of the season by beating the Buffs. They should be able to do so with relatively little problem. Pick: Nebraska

Kansas vs. Missouri at Kansas City: A disappointing season ends for the Jayhawks at Arrowhead Stadium. After losing two mid-season games to Texas and Oklahoma State, the Tigers have feasted on Big 12 North opposition. They’ll do so again while awaiting their chance to mess up the BCS next week in the Big 12 championship game. Pick: Mizzou

Auburn at Alabama: The Iron Bowl. Tommy Tuberville better have an iron posterior, because his seat is hot after this debacle of a season. All will be well on the Plains if War Eagle can upset the hated Tide. Auburn has won five in a row in this series. Bama looks to erase that record of futility while they keep their undefeated season alive. There is way too much going Bama’s way. Pick: Alabama

Florida at Florida State: The Seminoles finally had a great game last week as they plastered Maryland on the road. They’ll need another one this week at home if they want to beat the Fighting Tim Tebows and truly mess up the BCS. At least a couple of Big 12 teams will be rooting for them. Even in Tallahassee, though, the Gators are too good. At least this year, they are. Pick: Florida

Oregon at Oregon State: With a win, Oregon State can go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the days of leather helmets. It hasn’t been quite that long, but it’s been long enough for the Beavers. As far as the Ducks are concerned, which set of ugly uniforms will they wear this week? Pick: Oregon State

Georgia Tech at Georgia: This game is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Both teams have looked awesome at times. At other times, they’ve been pretty mediocre. Go with the home team here. Pick: Georgia

South Carolina at Clemson: No matter how much Clemson seems to disappoint on a yearly basis, they usually seem to find a way to beat the Gamecocks. USC-East ought to be able to win this game. They’ll find a way not to. Pick: Clemson

Virginia at Virginia Tech: The Hokies actually have a chance to come out of the scrum in the ACC to advance to the ACC championship game. All they need to do is beat the Cavaliers. Virginia has looked really good at times, and really awful at times. Pick: Hokies

Maryland at Boston College: The Eagles have a chance to survive the other half of the ACC to make the championship game with a win. They got a big road win last week at Wake Forest, while the Terps laid a big egg at home in being squashed by Florida State. It’s really cold in Boston at this time of year. Pick: BC

West Virginia at Pittsburgh: The Backyard Brawl. Both teams have shown flashes of brilliance. Both teams have also shown flashes of inconsistency. The Mountaineers will be looking for revenge, after the Panthers knocked them out of a shot at last year’s national championship. Pick: Pittsburgh

Western Michigan at Ball State (Tuesday): Ball State is still undefeated, but must face a strong and dangerous Western Michigan team. The Cardinals are kings of the mid-week MAC games. Give them another one. Pick: Ball State

Houston at Rice: The battle for the Bayou Bucket is also a battle for the Conference USA West division championship. If you like offense, this is your game. Pick: Rice

LSU at Arkansas (Friday): These teams play for a trophy that looks like a golden boot, but is really the states of Arkansas and Louisiana on top of each other. Both teams will be glad to end this season. LSU has more talent, though they have struggled of late. Pick: LSU

Notre Dame at USC: Yawn. When Notre Dame loses this game, they’ll be 6-6. What bowl will pick them in spite of that record? Some bowl will, and that game will be ugly. Not as ugly as this will be, though. Pick: SC

Kentucky at Tennessee: Phil Fulmer’s farewell as coach of the Vols. Rocky Top bounced back last week to beat Vanderbilt. Kentucky is bowl eligible, but still hasn’t beaten the Vols in a coon’s age. They won’t win this year, either. Pick: Tennessee

North Carolina at Duke: Blue Devils have won four games this year, and have a chance to spoil the Tar Heels’ season. Carolina was embarrassed last week by rival N.C. State, 41-10. The Heels won’t let that happen two years in a row. Pick: UNC

Vanderbilt at Wake Forest: Both teams are looking for more respect and a better bowl. Vandy has been slipping in the second half of the season, while Wake lost a nail-biter at home last week to Boston College, most likely costing themselves an appearance in the ACC championship game. The Deacons are a little better than Vandy. Pick: Wake Forest

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Wednesday night, ESPN2 showed a great game between Ball State and Central Michigan. Ball State stayed undefeated with a win over the two-time defending MAC champions.

The Chippewas broke out these never-worn uniforms for this special game on national television. The jerseys are described as "Vegas Gold". My question is: which part of Vegas? This jersey looks like it is straight from one of the not-so-nice casinos in Vegas.

To add insult to injury, or vice versa, Central Michigan lost the game. They sure didn't get any Vegas luck with the Vegas jerseys.

Maroon is a good color for them. They need to stick with it.

NFL Picks, Week 12

Last Week: 12-3-1
Season: 105-54-1

San Francisco at Dallas: The Fighting Mike Singletarys visit the Stadium With The Hole in the Roof. Dallas saved their season last week in Washington. Marion Barber runs all over the 49ers. Pick: Dallas

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (Thursday): The Bengals are coming off of a rare tie. They’re still awful. Steelers roll. Pick: Pittsburgh

Houston at Cleveland: This game brought to you by Continental Airlines. The Texans aren’t very good. I’m picking against them until they win. Pick: Cleveland

Buffalo at Kansas City: The Chiefs are getting close, but just aren’t closing the deal. The Bills lost another tight game last week against Cleveland, and are fading. Pick: Kansas City

New England at Miami: A suddenly huge game in the AFC East. The Dolphins have already multiplied last year’s win total by six. Make that seven. Pick: Miami

New York Jets at Tennessee: Big, big game between two first-place teams. Titans remain undefeated for another week. Pick: Tennessee

Philadelphia at Baltimore: Winner gets bragging rights to the huge state of Delaware. Pick: Ravens

Tampa Bay at Detroit: The Lions are going to beat someone, sometime. I don’t know if it’ll be this week, though. Pick: Tampa Bay

Minnesota at Jacksonville: The Jags are one of the season’s biggest disappointments. The Vikings return to Florida after losing last week in Tampa. Pick: Jacksonville

Chicago at St. Louis: The Rams are awful. Bears get a road win. Pick: Chicago

Oakland at Denver: Raiders are absolutely pathetic. Pick: Denver

Carolina at Atlanta: Battle for first place in the NFC South. The Falcons are one of the better stories in the NFL this year. Pick: Atlanta

New York Giants at Arizona: Another battle between two first-place teams. Can the Cardinals win a big game at home? Against my better judgment, yes. Pick: Arizona

Washington at Seattle: The Seahawks have gone to the birds this year. Make that dogs. Pick: Washington

Indianapolis at San Diego: Must-win game for both teams. Both teams have slipped this season, though the Colts have looked better in recent weeks. Chargers come through, at least this week. Pick: San Diego

Green Bay at New Orleans: Whatever the over-under is in this game, take the over. Look for lots of points in this one. Pick: Green Bay

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

College Picks, Week 13

Now is the time when all of this starts to get good. Conference championships, bowl bids, national championship game appearances, and pure bragging rights will be decided over the next three weeks. Here is this week’s 20 fearless picks:

Last week: 13-7
Season: 180-60

Texas Tech at Oklahoma: The latest and possibly greatest of a series of gargantuan matchups in the Big 12 South. A Tech win would send them to the Big 12 championship game and a possible trip to the national championship game. An OU win would create a possible three-way tie for the Big 12 South title, sending the team with the highest BCS ranking to Kansas City to play Missouri. OU has lost two, count ‘em, two home games in the 10 years of the Bob Stoops era. Pick: OU

Iowa State at Kansas State: Plenty of good seats are available as the Cyclones and Wildcats battle for the Big 12 North cellar. K-State is in the market for a new coach, as well. Which team will get up for this stinker of a game? Pick: Iowa State

Miami at Georgia Tech (Thursday): The Canes suddenly have control of their own destiny in the ACC Coastal division. Which means, they’ll lose, as all the other teams have done in that league when faced with a similar situation. It is forecast to be cold in Atlanta on Thursday night. Pick: Tech

Michigan at Ohio State: Michigan is having its worst season since Henry Ford started building cars. The Buckeyes are out for blood, and won’t feel sorry for the mediocre Wolverines. This is a no-brainer. Pick: TOSU

Michigan State at Penn State: This is the Big Ten championship game. Penn State goes to the Rose Bowl with a win. Michigan State needs help. The Spartans would most likely be co-champions of the Big Ten with a win, but would lose a tiebreaker to Ohio State. That is, if they don’t get unlikely help from Michigan. The Lions can start booking trips to California. Pick: Penn State

Indiana at Purdue: The only thing on the line in this game is the Old Oaken Bucket. Indiana has been awful this year. Purdue has only been mediocre. Pick: Purdue

N.C. State at North Carolina: This is the ACC, which means anyone can win, and usually does. Carolina is just a little better, and is playing at home. Pick: UNC

Tennessee at Vanderbilt: Tennessee lost to Wyoming. How in the world are they going to beat Vanderbilt in the Commodores’ best season in 25 years? Pick: Vandy

Air Force at TCU: A TCU win gives the Frogs yet another 10 win season. Pick: TCU

Ole Miss at LSU: Ole Miss has improved this year. LSU pulled the biggest comeback in school history last week to beat Troy. Pick: LSU

Boston College at Wake Forest: Huge matchup in the ACC Atlantic division. BC won last week in Tallahassee, where the Deacons also beat Florida State earlier in the year. Can the Eagles win two road games in a row? No. Pick: Wake

Stanford at California: The Big Game. In High School Musical 3, Gabriella accepted an academic scholarship to Stanford. Her boyfriend Troy, on the other hand, accepted a basketball/music scholarship to Cal. Pick: Cal

Illinois at Northwestern: The Illini have been disappointing this season, while the Wildcats have had a great year, and could be playing somewhere on New Year’s Day. Pick: Northwestern

BYU at Utah: The Holy War. BYU can still get a share of the conference title, while Utah can go to a BCS bowl with a win, capping an undefeated season. Pick: Utah

Oregon State at Arizona: Last season, Oregon traveled down to Tucson with a chance for a national championship. They lost. Now, Oregon State goes down to the desert with a chance to go to the Rose Bowl. Tucson is where dreams go to die. Pick: Arizona

Iowa at Minnesota: Two weeks ago, the Gophers lost the Little Brown Jug to Michigan. Last week, the Gophers lost Paul Bunyan’s Axe to Wisconsin. This week, they play Iowa for Floyd of Rosedale, a bronze pig. The pig goes back to Iowa City. Pick: Iowa

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: The Bearcats are staring a BCS bowl in the face, while coach Brian Kelly is flirting with the Tennessee job. Still, the Bearcats have been impressive this year while rotating quarterbacks due to injury. Pick: Cincy

Florida State at Maryland: The Terps kept their conference title hopes alive last week with a game-winning field goal to beat North Carolina. The Seminoles are still just one of many ACC teams with approximately the same record, a far cry from the decade of the 90’s in Tallahassee. Pick: Maryland

Washington at Washington State: The Apple Cup. This year, it would be more accurately known as the Rotten Apple Cup. U-Dub is 0-10, while Wazzu is 1-10 with only a win over Portland State. Wazzu has allowed less than 50 points to only two Pac-10 opponents. UW hasn't been quite as bad, but the Huskies have only been competitive in one game, a 28-27 loss to BYU. If you want to see some bad football, tune in to Fox Sports Net at 12 PM Pacific. Pick: U-Dub

Yale at Harvard: In the Ivy League, this is simply called, “The Game”. Harvard can win the Ivy League with a win. Pick: Harvard

Monday, November 17, 2008

Learning On The Job...After 10 Years!

Donovan McNabb is in his 10th year as a quarterback in the National Football League. Until yesterday, he did not know that a regular season game could end in a tie. He learned it the hard way, as the Eagles and Bengals played to a 13-13 tie. In this video clip, he mentions his lack of knowledge of regular season overtime.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 11

Bye weeks are history, and every team is playing every week from now until the end of the season. Here are 16 big ones:

Dallas at Washington: The Cowboys come off a much-needed bye week, but are thrown directly into the fire as they travel to D.C. to play the Redskins. Washington shocked the Cowboys in Irving in September. Dallas gets QB Tony Romo back from injury. Or, they hope so. Pick: Dallas

New England at New York Jets: The NFL Network gets a great matchup for Thursday night. Both teams are 6-3. This is where the Jets’ acquisition of Brett Favre pays off. Pick: Jets

New Orleans at Kansas City: Yuck. The Chiefs are improving, but don’t have anything to show for it in the win column, especially after losing a heartbreaker last week in San Diego. RB Larry Johnson returns this week after sitting out due to a plethora of personal issues. Chiefs get win #2 this week. Pick: KC

Philadelphia at Cincinnati: The Bengals are awful. Enough said. Pick: Philly

Baltimore at NY Giants: The Ravens will see how they stack up against a good team. The Giants keep rolling on. Pick: Giants

Minnesota at Tampa Bay: Both of these teams are bad on the road and good at home. The Bucs are at home. Pick: Tampa Bay

Chicago at Green Bay: Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot from the NFC North. This matchup is pretty even, so give the edge to the home team. Pick: Packers

Oakland at Miami: Senile owner Al Davis took play-calling responsibilities away from offensive coordinator Greg Knapp this week. Is Al going to call plays himself? Will the Raiders make the trip to South Florida? Pick: Miami

Detroit at Carolina: Daunte Culpepper makes his first start for the Lions. The Panthers are a good team. This might be ugly, but the Panthers will win. Pick: Carolina

Denver at Atlanta: Look out for the Falcons. They’re for real. Pick: Atlanta

Houston at Indianapolis: Last time these teams met, the Texans blew an 18 point lead in the last six minutes of the game. Indy is a lot better now. Pick: Colts

Arizona at Seattle: The Cardinals won a wild one on Monday night, and now travel to the Great Northwest. The Cardinals can’t let success go to their head. Pick: Arizona

St. Louis at San Francisco: The Suck Bowl. Both teams are bad. The Rams gave up 47 to the Jets last week, and it could have been worse. San Francisco should have won Monday night in Arizona. They win this week. Pick: 49ers

San Diego at Pittsburgh: The Chargers are underachieving in a big way. They now have to go to Pittsburgh, where the Steelers were upset last week by the Colts. Pittsburgh bounces back. Pick: Pittsburgh

Tennessee at Jacksonville: Titans roll on. Pick: Tennessee

Cleveland at Buffalo: Bragging rights to Erie, Pennsylvania are on the line here. Shoot, bragging rights to all of Lake Erie are on the line in this game. Pick: Buffalo

College Picks, Week 12

Last Week: 16-4
Season: 167-43

This week is a relative breather in college football, as we await the next titanic Big 12 South matchup between Oklahoma and Texas Tech. This week’s picks:

Texas at Kansas: The last time Texas visited Larryville, the Longhorns needed some last-minute heroics from Vince Young and some questionable officiating to win. After the game, KU coach Mark Mangino accused the Big 12 officials of conspiring to allow Texas to win in order to keep their national championship hopes and Big 12 payday alive. KU lost last week to Nebraska, and probably won’t be able to keep up with the Horns. Pick: UT

Oklahoma State at Colorado: Saturday Night Football moves this week to Boulder, where OSU will be looking to rebound from the butt-kicking they took last week in Lubbock. CU will be jacked for this one, but the Buffs aren’t as good as OSU. Pick: OSU

Nebraska at Kansas State: Two teams headed in opposite directions. The Huskers are trying to squeeze out a bowl bid in Bo Pelini’s first year. K-State is playing out the string as the Ron Prince era comes to an end. Pick: Nebraska

Texas A&M at Baylor: The Suck Bowl. The two Big 12 South teams that are unranked and headed nowhere. Both teams will be glad to play someone the other can beat. Pick: Baylor

Missouri at Iowa State: Missouri dominates the Big 12 North. Pick: Mizzou

Virginia Tech at Miami (Thursday): ESPN is showing some good games on Thursday nights. This is another one of them. Tech is coming around, evidenced by their convincing win over Maryland last week. Miami is no pushover, but VT is better. Pick: Tech

Cincinnati at Louisville (Friday): Winner gets a barge on the Ohio River. Cincinnati can win out and go to a BCS bowl. The Bearcats should be able to win this one against a rival on the road. Pick: Cincy

Notre Dame vs. Navy at Baltimore: Last year, Navy finally beat the Irish in triple overtime, winning this game for the first time since Roger Staubach was their quarterback. Can they make it two in a row? Yes. Pick: Navy

Ohio State at Illinois: The Buckeyes can still win the Big Ten, but they need some more help. Meanwhile, they should get revenge for last year’s loss in Columbus. Pick: TOSU

Georgia at Auburn: Yes, that was Auburn that was tied with Tennessee-Martin in the third quarter last week. The Tigers went on to beat UTM 37-20, but looked awful doing it. Georgia is trying to salvage a season in which they were ranked #1 in pre-season. Pick: Georgia

South Carolina at Florida: Steve Spurrier returns to the Swamp once again. The Gators, however, are on a mission in the second half of the season, and are destroying all comers. How did this team ever lose to Ole Miss? Pick: Gators

California at Oregon State: The Beavers are in control of their own destiny. All they need to do is win out, and they are going to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. They win this one. Pick: OSU-West

Minnesota at Wisconsin: The Gophers are slipping back to becoming the same old Gophers, after winning 7 of their first 8 games. Wiscy has been injury-plagued and inconsistent. This one is in Madison, so go with the home team. Pick: Badgers

North Carolina at Maryland: The Tar Heels are one of the better teams in a balanced ACC. But, they’re not that much better than Maryland. The Terps come through at home. Fear the turtle. Pick: Maryland

Boston College at Florida State: In Massachusetts, BC is a well-respected university. In the South, BC is a headache powder. It’ll be a tough trip to Tallahassee for the Eagles. Pick: FSU

Vanderbilt at Kentucky: Two teams headed in opposite directions. Pick: Kentucky

BYU at Air Force: The two best teams in the Mountain West conference not named Utah or TCU. Pick: BYU

Northwestern at Michigan: Northwestern is having a better season than Michigan. But, this is in the Big House, and the Wolverines haven’t given up on the season just yet. Pick: Michigan

Tulsa at Houston: The Hurricane have been rolling through Conference USA. The Cougars should make it tough for Tulsa, but TU is playing too well this season. Pick: Tulsa

DePauw at Wabash: The 115th Battle for the Monon Bell. Both teams are good this year, but Wabash is undefeated and ranked #3 in the nation in Division III. Pick: Wabash

Friday, November 07, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 10

Last Week: 8-6
Season: 83-46

So glad the Cowboys have a bye this week…so is Tony Romo’s pinky.

Denver at Cleveland: I totally didn’t realize that the Thursday night NFL Network games started this week. That is, until after this game started. In the interest of honesty, I would have picked Cleveland. Denver won the game. That’s minus 1 for the week. Pick: Cleveland

New Orleans at Atlanta: The Falcons are this year’s surprise team. The surprise continues. Pick: Atlanta

Tennessee at Chicago: The Titans have been the best team in the league for the first half of the year. The Bears are back to starting Rex Grossman at quarterback. Pick: Tennessee

Jacksonville at Detroit: The Lions have been competitive recently, but still haven’t won a game. Enter Daunte Culpepper, signed off the street in mid-season to a two-year contract to play quarterback for this facsimile of a team. Good luck with all that. Pick: Jacksonville

Baltimore at Houston: The Texans play a pretty good team this week. That doesn’t bode well for the guys down on Loop 610. Pick: Baltimore

Seattle at Miami: The Seahawks make the longest possible road trip in the NFL. The Emerald City is closer to Russia than it is to Miami, or so it seems. At least you can’t see Russia from Seattle. West Coast to East Coast=loss, especially with a team still missing their quarterback. Pick: Miami

Green Bay at Minnesota: The ultimate dead-even matchup, with both teams at .500. The Vikings are at home, indoors. Pick: Minnesota

Buffalo at New England: Very important game in a suddenly competitive AFC East. This game has ugly written all over it. The margin won’t be ugly, but there’ll be lots of ball control in this one. Pick: Pats

St. Louis at New York Jets: The Rams have improved from their awful start, but still aren’t that good. Jets are in the middle of that scrum in the AFC East. Pick: Jets

Carolina at Oakland: Yuck. It’s nasty any time the Raiders play, and it was never worse than that piece of dung they laid last week against the Falcons. Al Davis needs to sell the team, fast. Pick: Carolina

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh: Colts are beginning to show a pulse, but they’ll need more than that to handle the Steelers. Pick: Pittsburgh

Kansas City at San Diego: Chiefs blew a big lead last week against the Bucs, but appear to have found a quarterback in Tyler Thigpen. Chargers are good enough to beat anybody when they feel like it. Problem is, they haven’t felt like it much this season. It comes together for the Bolts this week. Pick: San Diego

New York Giants at Philadelphia: It doesn’t get much better than an NFC East game on a chilly November night on the East coast. Winner gets bragging rights to a service area of their choice on the New Jersey Turnpike. Pick: Iggles

San Francisco at Arizona: Dud of a Monday night matchup. The 49ers aren’t very good, but Mike Singletary is good for a halftime speech or a post-game press conference. Cardinals are coming into their own, especially at home, and especially with Kurt Warner at quarterback. Pick: Arizona

Thursday, November 06, 2008

College Picks, Week 11

Last Week: 16-4
Season: 151-39

Another set of picks, just in the nick of time before Thursday night’s games…

Oklahoma at Texas A&M: Aggies are riding high after winning two in a row. Sooners are still on a redemption tour. No one has come close to them except Texas. Look for more of the same here. Pick: OU

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech: The next in a series of titanic Big 12 South matchups. ABC’s cameras return to Lubbock for the second Saturday night in a row. Tech finds themselves ranked #2 in the latest BCS rankings. This will be yet another Big 12 game where offense will rule and defenses will be outmatched. Pick: Tech

Baylor at Texas: The Bears are improving, but will be no match for the Longhorns. Pick: UT

Iowa State at Colorado: Battle for last place in the Big 12 North. Colorado is a better team, especially at home. Pick: CU

Kansas at Nebraska: The Huskers have some problems, but get the Jayhawks at home. The last time these teams met, KU broke 70. They won’t score that many points this time, but they should be good enough to win in Lincoln. Pick: KU

Kansas State at Missouri: Kansas State fired coach Ron Prince this week, meaning there wasn’t enough Purple Reign in Manhattan. K-State would really like to win like it was 1999. The Wildcats now travel to Columbia, where Mizzou takes no prisoners. Pick: Missouri

TCU at Utah (Thursday): This game has Mountain West and BCS implications. A TCU win gives them at least a share of the conference title and a shot at a BCS bowl. A Utah win keeps the Utes’ unbeaten season alive, and keeps them in prime contention for the BCS. As much as I’d like to see the Frogs win, the Utes are at home on a Thursday night. Pick: Utah

Maryland at Virginia Tech (Thursday): The ACC is nothing if not balanced. Maryland is the only team left in the conference with less than 2 losses. That will change Thursday night. It’s hard to win in Blacksburg on a Thursday night. Pick: VT

Alabama at LSU: Nick Saban returns to Baton Rouge, home of the national championship trophy he won with the Tigers in 2003. Tiger fans will be waiting for him, loud and drunk. Bama is now #1 in the nation, but not for long. Pick: LSU

Michigan at Minnesota: This battle for the Little Brown Jug will be nothing if not interesting. Michigan comes into this game at 2-7 and headed nowhere. Minnesota is 6-2 and coming off a heartbreaking loss at home to Northwestern, in which the Wildcats returned an interception for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the game for the game-winner. Can the Gophers recover? Good question. Pick: Michigan

Ohio State at Northwestern: This will not be a pushover for the Buckeyes. Still, TOSU should have enough to win. Pick: TOSU

Penn State at Iowa: Lions are three wins away from an undefeated season, while rooting for Alabama and Texas Tech to lose. This won’t be an easy road trip, but these guys won in Columbus. Of course they’ll win in Iowa City. Pick: Penn State

Clemson at Florida State: This was scheduled to be another Bowden Bowl, but Clemson fired Tommy Bowden last month. Seminoles fumbled a win away in the final minute at Georgia Tech last week. Still, these Seminoles are better than they have been in recent years. Pick: FSU

Oregon State at UCLA: Beavers can still win the Pac-10 if they win out. They’ll outscore the Bruins this week. Pick: OSU-West

California at USC: The Bears should be able to hang with USC. They won’t win, though. Pick: SC

Notre Dame at Boston College: Who does the Pope root for? Or, does he care about American football? The Irish return to Boston for a tough matchup with a feisty Eagles team. Pick: BC

Florida at Vanderbilt: Vandy is looking to make some more noise and to become eligible for its first bowl since the Reagan administration. Gators beat Georgia like a drum last week. Nashville will be rocking Saturday night. However, Florida is better. Pick: UF

Stanford at Oregon: Quack, quack, quack. Pick: Oregon

Wyoming at Tennessee: The Vols put coach Philip Fulmer out to pasture this week. Fulmer only won 75 percent of his games and a national championship as head man of the Vols. But, it’s “what have you done lately?”, and the Vols aren’t doing much these days. Wyoming will be a much weaker opponent than what Tennessee is finding in the SEC. Pick: Vols

Fordham at Holy Cross: Once again, who does the Pope root for? Holy Cross, Batman! Pick: Crusaders

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 9

Last Week: 9-5
Season: 75-40

Dallas at New York Giants: The Cowboys, in spite of all their issues, out-uglied the Bucs last week. They now have one more game without the injured Tony Romo before their bye week. Problem is, it’s on the road against the best team in the league. The Cowboys desperately need a win, or else they’re looking at a wildcard playoff spot at best. Tough spot for the ‘Boys. I picked them last week against my better judgment, and they won. I’ll stick with that for another week. Pick: Dallas

New York Jets at Buffalo: The Bills dropped down to earth a bit with a loss to the Dolphins, making the AFC East wide open. Don’t look for that to happen two weeks in a row. Pick: Buffalo

Jacksonville at Cincinnati: The Jags have been disappointing this season. But, they haven’t played a team as bad as the Bengals. Pick: Jaguars

Baltimore at Cleveland: The Browns are struggling to get out of their funk, but did get a big win last week at Jacksonville. You never know which Ravens team will show up. Pick: Cleveland

Houston at Minnesota: The Texans are once again respectable, aided by home wins over the two worst teams in the league. They now take their show on the road to meet an underachieving Vikings team. Pick: Vikes

Detroit at Chicago: Mismatch. Pick: Chicago

Tampa Bay at Kansas City: The sad-sack Chiefs were competitive in a loss last week to the Jets. The Bucs were ugly in a loss to the Cowboys. The Chiefs are a lot worse than the Cowboys. Pick: Tampa Bay

Arizona at St. Louis: The Cardinals return to St. Louis, where the Rams have bounced back under interim coach Jim Haslett. The Cardinals are an awful road team. Pick: St. Louis

Green Bay at Tennessee: The league’s best team in the first half of the year resides in Nashville. Pick: Titans

Miami at Denver: The Dolphins have improved a ton over the season, and face an injury-riddled Denver team. Still, this is a home game for the Broncos. Pick: Denver

Philadelphia at Seattle: An East Coast team makes the toughest road trip in the NFL to the Pacific Northwest. However, the Seahawks are not as good as they have been in the past, especially with QB Matt Hasselbeck still out due to injury. Pick: Philly

Atlanta at Oakland: Yuck. The Falcons have been a pleasant surprise this year. They’ll get a road win in the Black Hole. Pick: Atlanta

New England at Indianapolis: This was once a matchup for the ages. Now, both teams have seen better days, especially the Colts. Pick: New England

Pittsburgh at Washington: The Redskins get a home game on Election Eve. D.C. will be hopping, especially because their team will get a win on Monday night. Pick: Redskins

Bonus Pick: John McCain vs. Barack Obama: Obama has had the flash and dash, and the air game and media love to match. McCain has been vastly outspent, but has a ground game flying under the radar to pull the upset. Ground will beat air in this one. Look for a surprise in Pennsylvania. And, as Pennsylvania goes, so goes the nation. Pick: McCain

Thursday, October 30, 2008

College Picks, Week 10

Last Week: 15-5
Season: 135-35

Nebraska at Oklahoma: This was once one of the biggest games of the year, every year. Now, it’s just another Big 12 North-South game played twice every four years. Nebraska is showing signs of improvement under Bo Pelini. However, they’re no match for the Sooners in Norman. Pick: OU

Texas at Texas Tech: The biggest game in the history of Texas Tech. It’s always a big game when the Longhorns visit Lubbock, but it’s never like this. UT is undefeated and ranked #1 in the nation. Tech is also undefeated and ranked #7 in the BCS. Like most games in the Big 12 this season, there will be lots of points in this one. With all the passing, this game will take all night, so all those Saturday night anchors at ABC stations around the country will just have to wait to do their local news. Tech is really good, but Texas is better. Yuck. Pick: Texas

Iowa State at Oklahoma State: ISU is just in over their heads this season. OSU lost a close game last week in Austin. This one shouldn’t be close. Pick: OSU

Kansas State at Kansas: Both teams got their heads handed to them last week, though K-State was a little more respectable last week against OU. KU royally stunk last week against Tech, but is a little better than K-State, especially in Larryville. Pick: KU

Missouri at Baylor: The Tigers are on a redemption tour of their own, and hung half a hundred on Colorado last week while holding the Buffs scoreless. Baylor led Nebraska in the third quarter before losing to the Huskers last week. Mizzou is still a lot better than Baylor. Pick: Mizzou

Colorado at Texas A&M: Both teams need a win in the worst way. The Aggies got their first conference win last week against Iowa State. Make that two in a row for the Ags. Pick: A&M

Florida vs. Georgia at Jacksonville: The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party takes place once again on the banks of the St. Johns River. This is also, for all intents and purposes, the SEC East Division Championship Game. Both teams have scored some big wins. Both teams have an unexplainable loss: Florida to Ole Miss, and Georgia being whipped by Alabama. The Gators have revenge on their minds. Pick: Florida

Tulsa at Arkansas: This was once an annual trip to Fayetteville for the Golden Hurricane. TU is undefeated, ranked 18th in the nation, and leads the nation in scoring and total offense. TU broke a contract with Texas Tech to play this game, which happens to be in the Hogs’ worst season in years. The Hogs are improving, but not up to their fans’ standards. Still, there’s a big difference between Conference USA and the SEC. Pick: Arkansas

TCU at UNLV: Viva Las Vegas. Pick: TCU

Florida State at Georgia Tech: Don’t look now, but the Seminoles are 6-1. They go to Atlanta to face the triple option offense of the Ramblin’ Wreck. Pick: FSU

Oregon at Cal: Ok, which team is going to wear the loud yellow uniforms? Pick: Cal

West Virginia at Connecticut: This is bizarro world: UConn is ranked, and West Virginia is not. That won’t last long. Pick: WVU

Michigan at Purdue: The Wolverines have to win out to have a winning season. That is unlikely. Pick: Purdue

Wisconsin at Michigan State: Spartans are a top-level Big Ten team, and look to finish third behind Penn State and Ohio State. Pick: MSU

Northwestern at Minnesota: Minnesota is also making a run toward the top of the Big Ten, as is Northwestern. This should feature lots of offense. Pick: Minnesota

Temple at Navy: John McCain’s alma mater should get a relatively easy win. Pick: Navy

Miami at Virginia: What once looked like a bad Virginia team is now leading their division in the ACC. What a difference a few weeks make. Pick: Virginia

Pittsburgh at Notre Dame: The Panthers have been hard to beat this year. The Irish are improved, but not national championship caliber. Pick: Pittsburgh

Iowa at Illinois: A team that begins with I will win this game. Pick: Illinois

Occidental at California Lutheran: Occidental is one of Barack Obama’s alma maters, and is undefeated on the season. Oxy and Cal Lutheran are playing for the lead in their conference. Pick: Occidental

Saturday, October 25, 2008

NFL Picks: Week 8

Last week: 11-3
Season: 66-35

Tampa Bay at Dallas: The quickly imploding Cowboys face a solid Bucs team. Tony Romo will still be out for the Cowboys. Is there a quarterback somewhere out there named Roy Williams? There are two other Cowboys with that name. Against my better judgment, I’m picking the Silver and Blue. Pick: Dallas

San Diego vs. New Orleans at London: The second annual game across the pond is a good matchup between two high-powered offenses. Pick: San Diego

Oakland at Baltimore: The Raiders scored a rare win last week in overtime against the Jets. The Ravens also won last week in Miami. The Ravens are more capable of winning two games in a row. Plus, the Raiders are a West Coast team traveling to the East Coast. Never trust a West Coast team crossing the country unless they’re really good. The Raiders aren’t good. Pick: Baltimore

Arizona at Carolina: The Cardinals are a good team at home. On the road, they’re wildly unpredictable. Once again, it’s a Western team going east. Pick: Carolina

Washington at Detroit: The Lions are pathetic. Enough said. Pick: Washington

Buffalo at Miami: Two AFC East teams waking up from the dead. The Bills are the real deal. Pick: Buffalo

St. Louis at New England: The Rams have gotten two wins in a row after making a coaching change. That streak ends here. Pick: New England

Kansas City at NY Jets: The Chiefs are absolutely awful, and are now missing RB Larry Johnson. The Jets shouldn’t have much problem here. Pick: Jets

Atlanta at Philadelphia: Falcons have been one of the big surprises in the league in the first half of the season. Eagles have been up and down, but are tough to beat at home. Pick: Philly

Cincinnati at Houston: Bengals are a bad team. Therefore, I won’t pick them until they win a game. That won’t happen this week, as the Texans will get win #3. Pick: Houston

Cleveland at Jacksonville: Jaguars should be able to handle an inconsistent Browns team. Pick: Jacksonville

New York Giants at Pittsburgh: Game of the week. Steelers keep finding ways to win, no matter who is carrying the ball out of the backfield. Pick: Pittsburgh

Seattle at San Francisco: Yuck. This game is a real stinker. Pick: San Francisco

Indianapolis at Tennessee: The mighty Colts visit Music City to face the undefeated Titans on Monday night. The Colts just aren’t what they used to be. The Titans remain undefeated. Pick: Titans

Thursday, October 23, 2008

College Picks, Week 9

This week features a virtual national championship playoff game in the Big Ten and some wild skirmishes in the Big 12.

Last week: 15-5
Season: 120-40

Oklahoma at Kansas State: Sooners continue their redemption tour in Manhattan, Kansas. The Wildcats just can’t keep up with the high-powered offenses in the Big 12. Pick: OU

Oklahoma State at Texas: Battle of unbeatens in Austin. In four of the last six years, OSU has led at halftime, sometimes convincingly, before losing to the Longhorns every time. Look for lots of points here, with Texas scoring more. Pick: UT

Texas Tech at Kansas: Toughest test of the season thus far for the Raiders. Jayhawks were outscored last week in Norman by OU, 45-31. Flip a coin here. When in doubt, go with the home team. Pick: KU

Colorado at Missouri: Missouri is more like Misery right now, after two consecutive losses to Big 12 South opponents. Buffs won last week against K-State, but Missouri is still better than Kansas State. Tigers bounce back. Pick: Mizzou

Baylor at Nebraska: Huskers should be able to win this one, but Baylor won’t make it easy. Pick: Nebraska

Texas A&M at Iowa State: Two teams battling for Big 12 mediocrity. Pick: Iowa State

Auburn at West Virginia (Thursday): At the beginning of the season, many thought this game might have national championship and BCS implications. How things have changed! West Virginia lost two games early, while Auburn has fallen apart in SEC play. I don’t know if this game will be worthy of a couch-burning, but the Mountaineers should defend their home turf. Pick: WVU

Penn State at Ohio State: Joe Paterno is 174 years old, and has his best chance for his last national championship with the Lions, as they come in undefeated. The Big Horseshoe on the Banks of the Olentangy will be rocking, as the Buckeyes still own the Big Ten. Pick: TOSU

Alabama at Tennessee: This game is supposed to be on the Third Saturday in October, but someone at the SEC office had other ideas this year. That just postponed another loss for the mediocre Volunteers. The Tide remain undefeated for another week. Pick: Alabama

Boston College at North Carolina: The ACC may not have a great team, but they have a lot of decent teams. These are two of them. Pick: UNC

Illinois at Wisconsin: This game once had Rose Bowl implications. Now, it is a battle between disappointing teams. Pick: Wiscy

Wake Forest at Miami: Wake got blasted last week at Maryland. The Canes are a shadow of their former selves. Pick: Miami

Georgia at LSU: Another titanic showdown in the SEC, where there is a Super Bowl just about every week. Tigers got a good come-from-behind win last week at South Carolina, and are home. Pick: LSU

UCLA at Cal: The University of California will win this game. The question is: which one? Pick: Berkeley

Michigan State at Michigan: Spartans were on a roll until last week when they were ripped by Ohio State. This week, they face the reeling and rebuilding Wolverines. Michigan is very mediocre this season, but ought to be able to beat their in-state rival. That would really chap some people in East Lansing, in this, the Wolverines’ worst season in the last 50 years. Pick: Michigan

Virginia Tech at Florida State: Two ACC powers struggling to move past the pack in this balanced conference. The Seminoles are getting better every week. Pick: FSU

Wyoming at TCU: Wyoming? Please. Pick: TCU

Notre Dame at Washington: Huskies are on the way to a possible winless season as they continue the Tyrone Willingham Death March. Pick: Irish

USC at Arizona: Trojans continue their march through the Pac-10 with a trip to the desert. Pick: SC

Slippery Rock at California (Pa.): The Rock has a tough test in the Hotel California. The one in Pennsylvania, that is. Pick: California

Sunday, October 19, 2008

As the BCS Turns

The first installment of Bowl Championship Series rankings came out on Sunday. As expected, Texas is on top of the rankings.

1 Texas
2 Alabama
3 Penn State
4 Oklahoma
6 Oklahoma State
7 Georgia
8 Texas Tech
9 Ohio State
10 Florida
11 Utah
12 Boise State
13 LSU
14 TCU
15 Missouri
16 South Florida
17 Pittsburgh
18 Georgia Tech
19 Tulsa
20 Ball State
21 BYU
22 Northwestern
23 Kansas
24 Minnesota
25 Florida State

Some more observations:

• There is a good chance that at least one BCS conference team will go undefeated. Texas has at least two games left that they could lose: at home against Oklahoma State, and at Texas Tech. They stand a good chance of winning both of those, however. Alabama is undefeated, but still has SEC West battles against LSU and a weakened Auburn team. Penn State has a titanic road trip this week at Ohio State, but should be able to win the remaining games thereafter. At least one of these three teams will probably be in the national championship game, barring a collapse.

• The Big 12 South continues to have a murderers’ row, with four teams in the top 8: #1 Texas, #4 Oklahoma, #6 Oklahoma State, and #8 Texas Tech. OSU must visit Austin this week to play Texas. Tech must still play all three of the other Big 12 South powers. OU has a home game with Tech and a dangerous road trip to Stillwater to play OSU. With just a tiny bit of help, the stage is set for an OU-Texas rematch in the national championship game. Right now, the BCS computers like all of these teams. It is impressive that OU has a loss and is still ranked #4.

• Penn State plays Ohio State in Columbus on Saturday night in what may as well be the Big Ten championship game. No other team in this conference can touch either of those teams. Michigan thought they had something going when they led Penn State 17-7 in the third quarter. Penn State broke out the hammer, crushed the Wolverines, and won 46-17.

• USC is dominating the Pac-10 after an inexplicable brain fart on a Thursday night at Oregon State. It would be a huge upset if they lost to another Pac-10 team.

• There is a very good chance that a non-BCS conference team will make it to a BCS bowl for the third year in a row. For this to happen, one of these teams must finish in the top 12 of the BCS standings, or in the top 16 and ahead of the champion of a BCS-qualifying conference (such as the ACC or Big East). Currently, Utah and Boise State are undefeated and ranked 11th and 12th, respectively. Lurking at #14 is TCU, with one loss. It would be very interesting if TCU could qualify for a BCS bowl with a loss, provided they win at Utah. Boise State, however, has a very good chance to finish undefeated. Also in the rankings are undefeated Tulsa at #19 and undefeated Ball State at #20. Only one of these teams can make a BCS bowl, per the rules of the system.

That's all for now...