Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 9 recap:Message board free week for me.

Tiger nation is in full meltdown mode today.  Gary Pinkel, Dave Yost and Dave Steckel are apparently back to being idiots that have no business coaching in a BCS conference and our players should have their scholarships revoked.  And if Mike Alden doesn't take care of this then by golly we're going to storm his house and run him out too.  God there are days when I hate a percentage of our fan base.  
Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, the Huskers jumped out to a 24-0 lead 12 minutes into the game and the Tigers were never able to get back into the contest.  Roy Helu rushed for 307 yards as the hicks were able to control the line of scrimmage, and the offensive line gave Blaine Gabbert no time to throw.  There is no way around it, it was a dominating effort by a pretty darned good husker team.  I made a trip to my favorite pay site and read the message board for about 3 minutes and realized I would spend no time there this week.  And I'm not even going going to think about heading over to Tigerboard.  Anyway, I was 4-2 straight up for the week but only 2-3 vs the spread.  (No line was given on kansas/ISU)  For the year I'm 59-15 straight up and 34-30 playing the odds.
As angry as Missouri fan is today, I can't begin to imagine what things are like on the Longhorn boards as Texas dropped to 4-4 and 2-3 in conference play following a 30-22 loss to Baylor in Austin.  The Bears didn't do anything particularly well yesterday.  They passed for a little over 200 yards and rushed for a little over 100 and simply stuck around and waited for the Longwhorns to implode in the 4th quarter.  Yes, this is another game that I completely whiffed on but it's hard to hate on Baylor.  I can only imagine how much dancing was going on in the streets of Waco.  Or would have been going on if Baptists danced.  
The game that I split on this week was in College Station where the Aggies hosted Texas Tech as a 7 point favorite.  I thought A&M would win but fail to cover, but they drilled the Red Raiders 45-27.  The Tigers have to hope that A&M is coming into it's own as they host the huskers in a couple of weeks.
Going into the games I picked correctly this week, one occurred in Norman where the Sooners hosted Colorado.  OU came in as a 24 point favorite and you just knew that they'd be in a foul mood after dropping last weeks game against the Tigers.  Oklahoma used a 26 point 2nd quarter to end this game at the half as they rolled 43-10.
When I began making my predictions for last week, the Oklahoma State team still had their star receiver, Justin Blackmon on tap for this week.  However, a DUI arrest put him out of commission.  Fortunately for the Cowboys, they had a trip to Manhattan to face the Wildcats who are generally always undermanned.  Brandon Weeden still threw for almost 300 yards and a couple of touchdown as Okie State won and covered 24-14.
The final game of the week was in Ames where the Cyclones played host to a kansas team that may be among the worst in conference history this year.    There was no line on this game since the beaks were down to their 3rd string quarterback.  It was easily ku's best defensive effort of the year, but in the end, the result was the same as the jayhawks dropped their 11th straight conference game 28-16.  It was win # 5 for the clones as they hope to go to consecutive bowls under Paul Rhodes.  They close with 2 games at home and just one on the road, which is at Colorado so you'd think they were a shoe in.  Unfortunately for ISU, their 2 home games are against Nebraska next week and closing their season against Missouri.  For kansas fans the season can't end quickly enough.  heh.
That's all I've got for this week.  There are some interesting games next weekend involving some unlikely players as Baylor visits Oklahoma State, and Colorado travels to lawrence as those 2 teams battle for uncontested possession of 11th place in the conference.      

Friday, October 29, 2010

Week 9:The next "biggest game of the year"

It's a by-product of success.  Every time you win a big game, it makes the next game even bigger and adds more pressure to the coaches and players.  It's not like this week wasn't going to huge to begin with.  For the last 4 years the winner of the Missouri/Nebraska game has won the division and the right to be the sacrificial lamb in the conference championship game.  Well, make it # 5 with a bullet.  Mizzou travels north and puts their 7-0 record on the line against the 6-1 Huskers.  The Tigers will be without their best defensive tackle, Dominique Hamilton who suffered a broken ankle in Saturday nights 36-27 win over # 2 ranked Oklahoma.  The hicks bounced back from a home loss to Texas to out gun Oklahoma State 51-41 in Stillwater.  Corn nation has actually fared better on the road the last couple of years and some of their players, Nyles Paul in particular, not to mention head coach Bo Pelini have made disparaging comments about their fans.  Nebraska opens as an 8 point favorite in this one and I don't buy it for a minute.  The game opened at 7 but apparently money has been pouring in on the nubs.  I'm guessing a lot of farmers have suddenly taken out loans on their combines.  Despite the fact that I've admitted to being a shameless homer, I just have no idea what the odds makers and betters are thinking.  I'm taking the Tigers to not only cover, but to win outright.  MU 31-21.
Columbia wasn't the only program that was celebrating homecoming last weekend. A few miles to the west of here the jayhawks were taking on Texas A&M, Missouri's victim the week before in College Station Saturday night in larry.  While the crowd may not have been quite as large as the one in CoMo, there's something to be said for the ability to sit most anywhere you want.  This week the Crimson and Blue wrecking crew travel north to face Iowa State who pulled the upset of the week, and maybe the year last Saturday in a 28-21 win over Texas in Austin.  There hasn't been a line established for this game as of Tuesday.  I don't know if it's because of some Iowa State injury I haven't heard about of if the gamblers just plain forgot this game was being played.  At any rate, I'm going to predict the beaks fall to 0-4 in the conference as the Cyclones win 38-13.
In Austin, the bowl eligible Bears from Baylor visit the not yet bowl eligible Texas Longhorns.  It's like we've entered some sort of parallel universe as the whorns sit at 4-3 and suffered that home loss to Iowa State.  Texas fans being Texas fans, there has been some rumbling that Mack Brown may have lost his edge and they might need to replace him.  Mack himself has told his assistants that their jobs could be in jeopardy if they can't get the team playing with more emotion.  The fact that Texas was in the NC game last year doesn't really mean much to UT fans.  The athletic department at UT rakes in over 120 million a year and they aren't really familiar with the term rebuilding.  Texas opens as a 7 1/2 point favorite and I'm thinking they get off the 2 game home skid Saturday and win 38-24.   If Baylor was to pull off the upset here, and I certainly believe they're capable, we'll be hearing some major bitching from the Longhorn not so faithful.
Speaking of coaches and hot seats, Dan Hawkins makes his last trip to Norman to face a pissed off Sooner team in his farewell tour.  Expect the Hawk to be terminated before the last fan leaves the stadium in their final game, and really why wouldn't he be?  Meanwhile the Sooners will still be smarting from their nationally televised loss at the hands of my Tigers last weekend and you just know that Bob Stoops and company are going to take it out on someone.  Big game Bob has no problem running the score up on an over matched opponent as they try to get back in the national championship picture.  Oklahoma opens as a 24 point favorite in this one and they may cover that before the 1st quarter ends.  Pick OU in a rout, 59-7.  They will have one less rabid fan following the game this week so maybe they can dedicate the game to him.   Boomer Sooner.
Over in Manhattan the 5-2 K State Wildcats have another opportunity to get to bowl eligibility this week as they host Oklahoma State.  The Cowboys dreams of an unbeaten season were shattered last week in a 51-41 loss to hick nation.  Early Tuesday morning they got more bad news when star receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested for speeding and suspected driving under the influence as he was returning from the Monday night football game in Dallas.  The Cowboys open as a 6 point favorite in this one and I'm really tempted to call for the upset.  However, the Wildcats just aren't very good yet and I'm not ready to call for Carson Coffman to pull off a Taylor Martinez performance this weekend.  Look for the Cowboys to rally and win 41-24.
The week wraps up in College Station as the Aggies play host to the Red Raiders from Texas Tech.  Both  teams should be feeling better about themselves after wins last week over perennial powers Colorado and kansas.  A&M opens as a 7 point favorite in this one and the winning coach will feel the temperature of the seat he's on to cool a bit, but just a bit.  I'm going to take the Aggies to win, but fail to cover 24-21.
That's all I have for this week.  It should be a beautiful weekend in Kansas City and my honey do list is long.  I'll probably have to DVR the Missouri game and just catch some scores during the afternoon while I go out and mutilate some bushes in the yard.  Have a good weekend folks and we'll talk next Sunday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 8 recap:How do you like us now?

What a night in Columbia!  A packed house of rowdy fans, some who had been there since 3:30 Saturday morning when the Quad was opened up for the weeks edition of ESPN's Game Day.  An Oklahoma team that was ranked 2nd in the nation and 1st in the BCS rankings had few answers but left with plenty of questions as Mizzou rolled them 36-27, in a game that really wasn't quite that close.  OU had 402 yards of offense in the game, but only 99 of them came after halftime as the Tigers defense again rose to the challenge.  Missouri accounted for 486 yards of total offense including 178 rushing yards.  Let that one sink in.  Blaine Gabbert was once again very effective managing the offense as he threw for 308 yards on a 30 of 42 night.  He was never sacked and spread the ball around with 10 receivers making catches.  It was electric inside of Faurot and a night we that were there will be talking about in the years to come, along with 2003 vs Nebraska, and other huge wins from the past.  I called this one, but I'm not going to claim much if any credit for a gutsy prediction.  Pure and simple, I'm a homer.  So now the Tigers will get to celebrate this Sunday afternoon before the next biggest game of the year hits next weekend as the Tigers travel north to face the Cornhuskers in the battle for the north and just possibly this year, the conference.
Speaking of the hicks, there wasn't a black shirt to be found in Stillwater as the Huskers won a 51-41 shootout with the Cowboys.  Taylor Martinez threw for 323 yards and repeatedly gashed Okie Lite's secondary that came into the game ranked 114th against the pass.  We can expect that ranking will not improve with this effort.  The fact that Martinez demonstrated he can indeed throw the ball came along at the best possible moment for the nubs since I see no way they could have beaten Missouri as one dimensional as they'd shown the first 6 games.  I'd picked OSU to upset in this one, so I fell to 1-1 for the week.
Another game that I, along with the rest of American missed went down in Austin where the Iowa State Cyclones pulled the 28-21 upset of Texas.  Alexander Robinson rushed for 120 yards and 2 scores and the Clones defense forced Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert into 4 turnovers.  After their upset in Lincoln last weekend the whorns had moved back into the top 25.  I think this turd should insure they don't see that again this weekend, but who knows.  The media infatuation with Texas will likely continue as soon as they beat someone else with a pulse.
The 3rd game I missed on the weekend can't really be described as an upset.  Texas Tech walked into Boulder as 2 1/2 point favorites, but I'd picked the Buffs to win one at home for the Hawk.  However, Tech held on for a 27-24 win.  With reports this week that former coach Bill McCartney would be interested in taking over the job, I'll be surprised if Hawkins is employed longer than a half hour or so after their season ends.
In Waco it was the battle for bowl eligibility as the Bears hosted Kansas State.  I'm not interested enough to look it up, but I believe this will be the first bowl for Baylor since the 1994 season, making them the final team in the conference to play in a bowl game.  I've made no bones about the fact that Art Briles is a good coach that I like a lot.  I'm really happy for the Bears, and happy for myself since it was a game I'd picked correctly.
Another game I picked right happened just down the road in lawrence where Texas A&M found the right cure for what ails you when you're on a 3 game losing streak.  The Aggies not only won, but rolled in a 45-10 win over the hapless jayhawks.  Adding insult to injury was a disclosure this week that there was no buyout stipulation in the contract former AD Lew Perkins negotiated with Turner Gill.  In the first place, Gill was given a 2 million dollar a year salary, and now it appears if he's terminated the remainder of his contract will have to be paid within 30 days.  Frankly, I think the beaks are stuck for at least 2 or 3 more years.
For the week I wound up 3-3 on the spread and straight up.  For the year I'm 55-13 straight up and 32-27 vs the spread.  There's a lot of games this week that could go either way, so I'm going to think about things for a few days and I'll get back to you.  Have a good week and let me close with M  I  Z.....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Week 8: The rubber hits the road

It's on.  ESPN will be in Columbia Saturday morning for Game Day.  The columns will be the backdrop for America to watch as OU and Missouri prepare to meet Saturday night on ABC in the marquis match up of the weekend.   Both teams are 6-0 and 2-0 in conference.  Both are coming off impressive wins last weekend as the Tigers dominated a Texas A&M team that was desperate for a win in College Station while the Sooners blasted Iowa State 52-0 in front of a home crowd in Norman.  The Sooners are ranked # 2 in the country right now while the Tigers are ranked 18th in the AP poll and 16th in the coaches poll.  This is going to be the biggest party in Columbia since 2007 when Nebraska came to town full of high expectations before Mizzou sent them home with a 41-6 loss that sent their season down the tubes and ultimately cost Bill Callahan his job.  Oklahoma opens as a 3 point favorite in this one.  Bob Stoops has absolutely owned Gary Pinkel since both came into the league, and the Sooners seem to be hitting their stride.  Missouri played it's best and most complete game of the year last weekend against A&M.  The defense has been the best we've seen since Al Onofrio was roaming the sidelines as the defensive coordinator.  This being said, OU is and should be the favorite this week.  My head tells me to pick OU.  Well fuck my head.  I'm picking the Tigers to pull the upset again this week.  I'm taking Missouri to win 24-20.
In the other big game this week, the Cornhuskers travel to Stillwater to face the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys.  Corn nation suffered their first loss last Saturday in the game they'd had circled since last December when Texas kicked a field goal with 1 second on the clock.  In true hick fashion they even had tee shirts made to commemorate what was going to be their revenge game.  However, the Whorns gave out a blueprint on how to shut down Taylor Martinez and the Nebraska offense while scoring enough on the blackshirts to send 85,000 big red fans home, sadly dragging their oxygen tanks behind them.  It's about time we put this whole "worlds classiest fans" shit to bed as they booed an injured Texas player late in the game because they felt he was faking to give their defense a breather.  Yeah, like that's never happened before.  The Huskers open as a 5 1/2 point favorite in this one, but upsets were really good to me last week and I'm going to call another one here.  I'm taking Okie Lite to win this one 31-27 and next week my Tigers will walk into Lincoln facing a desperate Nebraska team and a crowd that suddenly finds Bo Pelini's histrionics less endearing than they did 2 weeks ago.
To the west, we wait with baited breath to see who can come out of their slide this weekend.  Texas A&M, losers of 3 straight, travels to lawrence to face Turner Gill and his jayhawks who've been outscored 114-14 in their first 2 conference games.  Mike Sherman's seat is almost as hot as Dan Hawkins in Colorado, and we're already seeing squawk nation grumbling about new HC Turner Gill and his staff.  What did they expect for 2 million a year?  To be competitive?  The Aggies open as a 13 1/2 point favorite in this one and my initial thought was no problem.  Then I remembered watching them against the Tigers last weekend.  I still believe they'll win and find a way to cover so I'm going to pick A&M 31-17.  The game will do nothing to quiet the angry mob in College Station and the beaks season just continues to circle the drain.  Another prediction is Sherman is gone after this year but Gill gets at least 1 more to show some signs of life.  I don't think he'll ever turn things around but I don't think ku can afford the PR hit by firing him 1 year into a 5 year contract.  Just remember beaks about how proud you were of having Lew Perkins as your AD.  Nice going away present from him huh?
Speaking of coaches on the hot seat, there should be a dandy in Boulder when Texas Tech and new coach Tommy Tuberville meet the Buffalos and everyone's favorite whipping boy, Dan Hawkins.  Both teams sit 3-3 and have suffered some mind numbing losses to get to this point.  Tech opens as a 2 1/2 point favorite in this game but I think that the curse of the pirate is going to play out again and I'm going to take Colorado to pull the mild upset at home.  Buffs 27, Red Faders 21.   
Things just don't get any easier for Iowa State.  A week after getting pounded at home 52-0 to Oklahoma, they now travel to Austin to face a Texas team that saved their season, at least for now last week when they upset corn nation in Lincoln.   I've said time and time again that I like Paul Rhodes, but he just doesn't have much talent to work with right now and the Clones are going to have to bite the bullet for a couple more years.  The whorns open as 21 point favorites and will probably have little trouble covering.  Take Texas in a romp, 41-13.
There should be a pretty decent ball game down in Waco as the 5-2 Bears play host to the 5-1 K State Wildcats. Baylor comes in at 5-2 while the Cats are 5-1.  Both have good coaches and should make bowl games.  As a matter of fact the winner of this game will become bowl eligible for the first time in a while.  The Bears open as a 6 point favorite and while I think they'll win, I think Bill Snyder will figure out a way to keep it close.  I'll take Baylor to win it late, 27-24.  If you've read any of my work you know I have a soft spot for the Baylor cheerleaders.  In fairness, there is some talent at K State also.
That's all I have for this week.  Hope you have a good weekend and it's dry Saturday night in Columbia.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week 7 recap:Sorting things out

Well, it's probably safe to say that basketball season has begun at the university of kansas.  Thursday night they met their cross state rival, the Wildcats of Kansas State at Memorial Stadium in lawrence.  This time last year the beaks were 5-0 and Mark Mangino and Lew Perkins were regarded as the 2 saviors of ku football.  What a difference a year makes huh?  Now Mangino is gone after being terminated for player abuse, Perkins suddenly retired and spends his time debating on which country he might want to visit that has no extradition treaties with the United States.  K State took control in the 2nd quarter as they blasted the hawks 59 to 7.   In my predictions I stated that I thought it was ridiculous that beak nation was favored in this game and I called for the upset.  To be fair though, I never saw this coming.  I see no one on the rest of the beaks schedule that they should be favored against and they may well have a 15 game conference losing streak by the end of the year.  Next up for the beaks is Texas A&M coming to town while K State travels to Baylor.
Speaking of A&M, my Tigers traveled to Kyle Field Saturday morning and were viewed as underdogs for the first time this season.  A&M is a tough place to play and it wouldn't be surprising to see a Missouri team that had superior talent lose there.  However, the Aggies have been prone to turnovers this year while the Missouri defense has been solid and opportunistic.  That was my logic for picking the Tigers in an upset.  Well, that and the fact that I'm a shameless homer.  However, A&M held on to the ball well on Saturday, which was the only way they were able to keep the game somewhat close.  Blaine Gabbert, coming off a hip injury was outstanding and had his best game distributing the ball as he discovered he had other targets beside TJ Moe and Michael Egnew.  Wes Kemp particularly had a big day as he caught 10 balls for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The defense remained lights out as they didn't give up a touchdown until midway through the 4th quarter.  I fully expect to see college gameday in Columbia next Saturday when the Sooners come to town.
In Norman, those same Sooners blasted the Iowa State 52-0.  Demarco Murray rushed for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns as they scored early and often against an overmatched Cyclone team.  The OU defense held Iowa State to less than 200 yards to add insult to injury.  Things don't get a lot easier for the Clones next week as they travel to Austin to take on the Longhorns who showed yesterday that they weren't quite ready to write off this season yet.
Nebraska opened as 9 1/2 point favorites at home against that Texas team that was reeling and desperately needed a win.  This was the game that hick nation had circled since the Big XII title game last fall.  They were ranked 5th in the country and had a young quarterback, Taylor Martinez, that was the type of option QB that had made them a power in the 70's through the late 90's.  However, when push came to shove they were unable to move the ball when Texas proved to be athletic enough to stop their running attack. Martinez was held to 34 yards rushing and managed only 63 through the air and looked exactly what you'd expect a freshman quarterback to look like.  The corn are going to have problems with teams that can line up and shut the rushing attack down.  UT gave a blueprint how to do it yesterday and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the corn weren't subjected to another anal probe next week when they travel to Stillwater.  This was the only game I missed on this week and I couldn't be happier about it.
In Lubbock the Red Raiders played host to the Cowboys who have surprised this season.  Tech opened as a 3 1/2 point favorite which I just didn't see.  Okie Lite jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and held on for a 34-17 win.  Kendall Hunter rushed for 126 yards and Brandon Weeden threw for 356 and a touchdown.  Tech travels to Boulder next weekend to take on the Cowboys in what has to be a must win game for them. 
Home cooking didn't work that well for the Buffs yesterday as they fell to Robert Griffin and the Baylor Bears, 31-25.  Griffin threw for 236 yards and rushed for another 135 as the Bears overcame a slow start to pull away for the win.  Next week the K State Wildcats travel to Waco where one of these teams will become bowl eligible for the first time in quite a while.
This was a very good week for me as I went 5-1 both against the spread and straight up.  For the year I moved to 52-10 straight up and 29-24 against the spread.   This kind of luck against the spread is strange territory for me so I'm going to sit back and enjoy it.  I also have an extra day or so to take a look at next weeks games since we don't have a Thursday night game for one of the few times this season.  It's a beautiful day here in Kansas City and I'm going to get out and enjoy it.  Have a great week folks.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Week 7: Things begin to get interesting

Ok everyone, we're officially knee deep into the season as all 12 teams match up in conference action this week and weekend.  Some really interesting games are on tap but a couple of dogs in the mix also.  But it's all Big XII football
The week begins Thursday night again with that classic match up that all America has been talking about and waiting for; The Sunflower Showdown, being held in lawrence this year between the university of kansas and Kay State.  This one is for all the marbles and bragging rights for the next year in the entire state of kansas.  For some inexplicable reason the beaks open as 3 point favorites in this one.  Apparently the odds makers watched the Wildcats last game, again on a Thursday night against the children of the corn, where Mr. Burns team laid a gigantic egg.  It kind of gives me pause until I think back just 5 days before that when the beaks traveled down to Waco to face Baylor.  I'm going to go with the upset here and take Kansas State to win this straight up, 27-21.
On Saturday morning my Tigers take the field, Kyle Field to be exact to take on the Aggies of Texas A&M.  Mizzou enters the game a perfect 5-0 and 1-0 in conference, while A&M is 3-2 and 0-1 in league play.  A&M is going to be hungry for a win after 2 straight losses, while the Tigers still have not convinced people that they're for real yet. A&M has outscored their opponents 175-105 in their 5 games, but c'mon; their 3 wins have been against Stephen F Austin, Louisiana Tech and Florida International.  Not exactly murderers row if you know what I mean.  They are pretty good against the run, which Missouri doesn't do all that well sometimes, but vulnerable to the pass and their offense is a turn over machine.  The Tigers can control the line of scrimmage in this one with any luck and because of that, I'm going to pick my second upset of the week.  I'm taking Mizzou 31-21.
In another big game this week, the 3-2 Texas Longwhorns travel north to hick nation to face the fighting Pelini's.  The nub faithful have been pointing to this game since last December when Texas beat them on a last second field goal to win the Big XII title game.  The hicks are favored by 9 1/2 points in this one.  At first I thought this was way too much considering the athleticism of Texas.  I've changed my mind on that since I really haven't seen much from the whorns that makes me think they are very good offensively.  I'm going to go with Nebraska to cover in this one 27-17.
Iowa State proved last weekend that they weren't ready for prime time as they were crushed at home 68-27 by Utah.  Things don't get a lot better this week as they travel to Norman to face the Sooners.  OU opens as a whopping 23 1/2 favorites.  I don't see them having much problem covering this one so I'll take OU 47-21.
In Boulder, it should be a case of cultural shock as the fighting Baptists of Baylor travel north to face the place that never left the 60's behind.  I was impressed with Colorado last week in Columbia and wish I could pick them to win this week.  However, I think they were pointing to the game against Missouri and the fact that they were really never in the game and that most pot smokers have short attention spans, I'm going with the Bears.  Baylor is a 1 1/2 point favorite in this one.  I think they'll do a little better than that and I'm picking them to win and cover, 34-31.
The week winds up at Lubbock where Oklahoma State comes to town to face the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.  Despite the fact that the Cowboys are 5-0 they're 3 1/2 point underdogs in this game.  I'm going to predict my 3rd upset of the week here and go with Okie Lite winning 23-21.
That's it for me this week.  I've been loving the weather in western Missouri this fall and hoping for more of it.  Hopefully things are going well for you and I'll see you Sunday.   

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 6 recap:Contenders and pretenders.

Well, everyone in the conference has played at least 1 game now, and while it's still far too early to make assessments on the season, we may at least know some teams that didn't appear to be what we thought they were during the non conference schedule.
That much became apparent in the Little Apple Thursday night when what was billed as an early season battle for the north title turned into a clubbing as Taylor Martinez ran wild and the Huskers ran over the K State Wildcats 48-13.  Martinez ran for almost 250 yards and 4 touchdowns, but continued to struggle with the passing game as he threw for about a buck thirty.  I still believe the hicks are going to struggle against a defense that can run, but I'm not sure when that's going to occur.  Possibly against Texas next week but I'm not at all sure the whorns have an offense that can keep them in the game against a stout Husker defense.  Nebraska opened as a 12 point favorite in this game.  I didn't expect the Wildcats to win but thought they might cover.  I was obviously wrong.  But, while Nebraska may have won the battle, K State won the war.  Never forget the N stands for knowledge.
Friday night, Oklahoma State traveled to LaFayette to take on the Ragin' Cajuns.  This was a dogfight in the first half as Okie Light trailed 21-17 at halftime.  OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden threw three 2nd half touchdown passes however as the Cowboys erupted for 37 points to pull away with a 54-28 win.  They came in as a 24 point favorite so they did manage to cover, which I'd predicted.
In Columbia Saturday night my Tigers came in as 13 point favorites.  Both my head and my heart told me the Tigers would cover this, but when you've dominated a really bad team that has shown signs of life this year, a little doubt crept into my mind.  Despite that little shred of doubt, I still predicted Mizzou to cover and win this, which they did.  However, I wasn't prepared for what unfolded as the Tiger defense pitched a shutout and won 26-0.   Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel has the Missouri defense flying to the ball and punishing people.  I always hear Andrew Gachkars name mentioned a lot and Saturday was no exception.  The defensive backs play has done a 180 from years past and the defensive tackles, Terrell Resonno and Dominique Hamilton were simply dominant in shutting down a Colorado rushing attack that had been quite productive before last night.  Blaine Gabbert suffered a hip pointer and was mostly ineffective after that but true freshman James Franklin got his first taste of conference football and led the Tigers to a touchdown and almost a 2nd before his pass which was intended to float over a defensive lineman floated a bit too close to him.  Got to remember that freshmen make mistakes but James play was really encouraging, and he showed some shiftiness on his runs.  The Tigers have a big test in College Station next weekend.  If the defense continues to play this well, then we should see a 6-0 team waiting in Columbia in 2 weeks waiting for homecoming opponent Oklahoma come to town.
Just when I was ready to annoint Baylor as a potential division player after they dismantled kansas last week, they showed me that yes, ku is indeed ku and Baylor is still Baylor.  They traveled to Lubbock to meet what appears to be a very vulnerable Texas Tech team.  Tech was a 2 point favorite but I was picking Baylor in the upset.  The Red Raiders were able to contain the Baylor rushing attack and Robert Griffin, despite another good night throwing the ball fell short as Tech won 45-38 and sent these girls, among their other fans home a little happier this weekend.
In Dallas, it was SEC vs Big XII as Texas A&M met the Razorbacks at Jerry Jones monument to conspicuous consumption as well as his own ego.  I really didn't think this was going to be much of a game as the hogs came in as 7 point favorites, but their defense played much better as the hogs held on to win by the spread, 24-17.  I got the winner right, but a push against the spread.  But at least it wasn't another loss for me.
In Ames the 10th ranked Utes of Utah, (clever huh?) rolled into town as 6 1/2 point favorites over the Cyclones.  I didn't think that was nearly enough as I predicted a 38-24 Utah win.  However, I wasn't prepared for the offensive show as Utah rolled to a 68-27 pounding.  Things aren't looking up for the Clones as they travel to Norman next weekend to take on the Sooners.
Finally, I went out of conference as Michigan hosted Michigan State as 4 1/2 point favorites over the Spartans.  I picked the Wolverines to cover in this one but it wasn't to be as State pulled the 34-17 upset.  I really just have to say, who cares?  Fuck the Big Ten.
So for the week I was again 5-2 straight up but a paltry 3-3 against the spread.  For the year I'm now 47-9 straight up and still slightly above water at 24-23 were I a betting man.  I'll have to get this thing out early again this coming week as once again we have a Thursday night game featuring the nationally acclaimed "Sunflower Showdown" in lawrence Thursday night featuring perennial powers Kansas State and kansas.  Have a great week folks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week 6: When the season really begins.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some of the non con games.  But it's not the same as a conference match up.  And this is going to be the last time Missouri and Colorado meet as conference opponents.  Kind of a sentimental attachment that I'll miss in a way.  At least until I remember that this is the 20th anniversary of the "5th down" game.  And Johnson still hasn't scored.
But that was then and this is now.  The Tigers have won 4 in a row and outscored the Buffs 149-27 in the last 3 games, 2 of which were held in Boulder.  Kickoff is at 6:00 Saturday evening, the weather should be beautiful and I hope that there will be at least 65,000 out there with me to welcome the team back after a weeks layoff.  The Tigers open as a 13 point favorite in this one.  Mizzou isn't scoring points like they have the last 3 years but so far we appear to be playing much better defense.  I'm going to go with my Tigers to win and cover here by a score of 31-13.
The week opens up in Manhattan, ks on Thursday as hick nation takes the tractor caravan down to the little apple to face Bill Snyder and the Wildcats.  This is a game the K State fans have had circled since last season.  Both teams appear to be somewhat one dimensional, with very good rushing attacks.  We've all been told that Daniel Thomas is the best back in the conference, if not the nation and he may well be.  But if Carson Coffman can't offer some sort of a threat when he drops back, teams are going to follow the example provided by Central Florida and stack 8 or 9 in the box to shut him down.  Likewise for the children of the corn.  Taylor Martinez has been great running the option as his almost 500 yards of rushing will attest to.  But he's only passed for about 500 yards so far and I don't believe that's going to get it done in Big XII play.  Nebraska opens as a 12 point favorite in this one and I've gone back and forth.  I think they have better personnel than the cats, but the game is at home and you generally have to give the coaching advantage to Snyder.  I'm taking Nebraska to win this game, but fail to cover.  Nebraska 24-14.
On Friday night we'll have another game played as the Oklahoma State Cowboys travel to Lafayette, to face the Ragin' Cajuns.  All you really need to know here is they lost to Georgia 55-7 in week 1.  Yep, same Georgia team that fell to Colorado last week.  Okie lite opens as a 24 point favorite here.  I'll take the
Cowboys to win and cover 49-13.
The most intriguing game of the week may be in Lubbock, where the Red Raiders desperately need a win as they sit 0-2 in conference play.  Generally having Baylor come to town would seem the perfect cure, but these appear to be a much improved crop of Bears.  If you don't believe me, ask Turner Gill.  Tech opens as a 2 point favorite here and they should go into this game as a cornered animal.  But I'm going to take Baylor to pull the upset here 28-24.  If this occurs, TT coach Tommy Tubberville can forget about the call coming from Georgia after the season and Tech can start wondering what the hell they were thinking when they made the pirate walk the plank last year.
In Ames, the Cyclones welcome the 10th ranked Utes to town.  The 'Clones have done pretty well this year and I'm really not surprised.  I'm a pretty big Paul Rhodes fan, but was still more than surprised when they took Texas Tech to the woodshed last week.  But the Utes are very good and I think the Iowa State fans will leave disappointed this Saturday.  Utah opens as a 6 1/2 point favorite here.  I think they cover and win 38-24.
In Dallas, we have the 2nd installment of Texas A&M vs Arkansas played in Jerry World.  Both teams are 3-1, but the Aggies are showing more nicks than a space shuttle after re-entry into the atmosphere.  The hogs have had 2 weeks to think about that late loss to Alabama and I expect them to do some rolling this weekend.  Arkansas opens as a 7 point favorite here.  I'm taking them to cover with the potential that this could get out of hand.  I'll take the Razorbacks to win, 41-27.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan the Michigan Wolverines take on their cross state rivals, the Michigan State Spartans.  Both teams are 5-0 and 1-0 in Big Ten play.  I just can't help but feel however, that these records have been built with some smoke and mirrors and having Notre Dame on their schedules.  None the less, this is the big game of the day and you just know that the Big House will be rocking.  Michigan opens as a 4 1/2 point favorite in this one.  The winner is going to have a leg up with both having tough schedules coming up.  I'm going to go with the Wolverines to cover 27-21 in this one, mostly due to the fact that I think they can less afford a loss with Iowa coming to town next week.  Rich Rod also needs a win in this one to keep the crowd quieted, since I don't believe they've bought into the team turning the corner yet anymore than I have.
That's all I have for now.  I hope that whoever you follow they do well, and hopefully you can make it out to a game.  I intend to be hitting Columbia around 2:00 that afternoon and enjoy some great tailgate food before the 6:00 kickoff.  Have a great rest of the week folks!      


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week 5 recap: A taste of conference play.

There are still a few non conference games sprinkled in.  We're going to be looking at a pretty good one next week in Dallas when  Texas A&M and Arkansas meet up at Jerry World.  But by in large we're going to be watching conference match ups from now on.  We did get a little taste of it this week with 4 games featuring Big XII opponents.   It all started Thursday night as the above mentioned A&M Aggies visited Stillwater and the Cowboys.  The teams gave their best imitation of arena football as Okie Light hit a 40 yard field goal as time expired to escape with a 38-35 win.  The preseason pick for Big XII offensive player of the year, Jerrod Johnson turned the ball over 5 times to single handedly keep the Cowboys in the game.  That makes 9 turnovers for him in the last 2 weeks and I think the questions about his shoulders health have pretty much been answered.  This opened with OSU as a 3 point favorite.  I expected them to win and cover but they hit the spread exactly, so I started the week with a win straight up but a push on the spread.
The weekend opened up in Waco when Turner Gill was introduced to Big XII conference football.    This was a game that the Bears controlled from the second the last strains of the national anthem echoed throughout a half empty Floyd Casey Stadium.  Robert Griffin was unstoppable as Baylor rolled over a hapless kansas squad by a score of 55-7.  The Bears opened as a 9 1/2 point favorite and I had them covering and winning 34-21, but I didn't see anything like this coming.  This was really the first time I've seen ku play and man did they look mediocre.  Small and slow is no way to play college football.  With the Gill decisions on cell phones, profanity and no interaction with females after 10:00 pm, he could lose this team quickly.  Somewhere Mark Mangino is laughing over a plate of twinkies.
How fast the mighty have fallen, as perennial SEC big boys, the Georgia Bulldogs fell to former Big XII whipping boys, the Buffs of Colorado 29-27.  Georgia is now 1-4 on the season while Colorado improves to 3-1.  Suddenly their trip to Columbia next week doesn't look like such a cake walk for my Tigers.  I had Georgia to win this game, but fail to cover the 4 point spread so it was a win for me vs the spread, but a loss straight up.
In Ames, the Red Raiders of Texas Tech rode into town with the taste of a loss to Texas lingering in their mouths for the last 2 weeks.  Well, it's not going to get any better for them this week.  Tech opened as a 7 1/2 point favorite, and I picked them to cover 31-14.  Instead, the Cyclones were hitting on all cylinders offensively as Austen Arnaud threw for 4 touchdown passes and the Clones won 52-38.  A double loss for me but this one has to be crushing for Tech head coach Tommy Tubberville as he continues his quest to find a head job in the SEC.  Psst, Tommy, so far the audition isn't going so well.
In Dallas it was the weekend of the Red River shootout.  The game began like Oklahoma was going to take Texas to the woodshed but finished up a somewhat lackluster 28-20 win for the Sooners over a Texas team that really doesn't appear to do anything very well right now.  I had picked the Sooners to win and cover the 4 point spread fairly easily but this turned into a first class pillow fight.  But as Bob Stoops has to be saying to himself today, a win is a win.
There were a couple of really big games out of conference this weekend, and both were played at the same time.  It made for a nice evening of channel surfing.  In Tuscaloosa, the 2 big boys of the SEC got together when #7 Florida visited the top ranked Crimson Tide and Nick Saban.  Bama opened as a 9 1/2 point favorite and I believe I said something about this one being over by halftime.  Cue the blind squirrel and the nut comment.  The Tide scored early and often to win this one 31-6.  Saban has my vote for the best coach in America, and the only team that may have a chance against them in a title game was playing at the same time in Eugene, Oregon.
When Pac 10 teams get together, you know you're going to see plenty of offensive firepower and very little defense.  This was never more true in the Ducks 52-31 win over the Stanford Cardinal which was pretty much what I expected with just a touch more scoring.  I'm actually looking forward to the possibility of a Tide/Duck show in the national championship game.  But I don't want to get ahead of myself, we have a lot of good football to come before that.  Oh, and while I'd generally take this as an opportunity to include a photo of the Oregon cheerleaders, I thought I'd throw you a curve and include a shot of college athletics most disturbing mascot.    
For the week I went 5-2 straight up and an uncharacteristic 5-1 against the spread.  For the year I'm 42-7 straight up and moved above water at 21-20 with the oddsmakers.  I hope your weekend went well, and I think I'll bask for a couple of days before taking a look at next week.  It can't be too long though since we again have a Thursday night match up in the little Apple as hick nation travels south to take on Mr Burns and the Wildcats.  Have a solid week folks.