Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 13 recap:Rivalry week rewind

It's one of the best weeks of the football season.  Up there with the Red River shootout, bowl week and the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament.  Rivals get together to close out their season in a contest that means everything to each of them, regardless of each others record.  USC-Notre Dame, Auburn-Alabama, Bedlam, the list just goes on.  Three years ago, Missouri and kansas met in the first Border War game held at Arrowhead, ranked 2nd and 4th in the country.  It was the highest rated regular season game of the year, propelled both teams to great bowl games that year and high hopes for both programs futures.  However, since the close of the 2007 season, the teams have headed in somewhat different directions.  Missouri has won 28 games since and has reached double digit wins in 2 of the 3 seasons.  kansas has won 16 games, lost 16 of their last 19, finished last in a weak north division twice and as you can see from the photo, pretty much embarrassed their university with poor attendance; make that piss poor attendance in a game held 45 minutes from their campus.
To see how far this has fallen, we rolled into Arrowhead Stadium yesterday at 10:00 am for the 11:30 kickoff in a morning game broadcast on Fox Sports.  Missouri opened as a 28 point favorite, and despite the records, this is almost always a game that comes down to whoever has the ball last.  But not yesterday.  Missouri jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and 21-0 by halftime.  They held the jayhawks to 141 yards of offense and dominated both lines of scrimmage.  Frankly, the game was never in doubt, and while some would say it makes for a boring game, there's a lot to love about destroying your rival.  The Tigers opened as a 28 point favorite, but I didn't believe they would cover.  Since the final margin was in fact 28, the game was a push and didn't figure in, on what was a pretty mediocre week for me.  I wound up 5-1 straight up, pushing me to 70-20 for the year, but 2-3 against the spread and 39-42 for the season.  I need some luck this week as a few regular season games as well as conference title games remain to be played.
The weekend began on Thanksgiving evening in the Big XII where Texas A&M traveled to cross state rival Texas, attempting to gain a share of the south title, and the horns hoping to salvage something, anything from a lost season.  The Aggies opened up as 4 1/2 point favorites but I really thought that UT had already packed it in for the season.  I was correct for a change.  The whorns tried to make a game of it, but A&M running back Cyrus Gray rushed for 223 yards yards and 2 touchdown as the Aggies held on to win, 24-17.
A game that I whiffed on completely happened Friday in Lincoln where corn nation opened as 24 point favorites over a Colorado team that had enjoyed something of a revival since Dan Hawkins was fired.  I thought the Buffs would make more of a game of it, but the hicks were firing on all cylinders, despite losing Taylor Martinez and Niles Paul.  Nebraska covered and won 45-17.  Next week the tractors will be fueled up and heading south as a combine caravan heads toward Dallas and Jerry World for the final Big XII title game against Oklahoma, who won in something of an upset their selves in a 47-41semi upset of Oklahoma State in Stillwater.  Had the Cowboys won they would have taken sole possession of the south and would have gotten their rematch with the corn.  But it wasn't to be.  Okie Lite reminds me of the 2008 Tigers in that they can score at will, but play absolutely no defense when they face an offense with a pulse.  Like Missouri, they'll sit at home with their 10-2 record and hope for the best when bowl selection Sunday captures all of our attention a week from today. 
In a couple of games that fall into the "who gives a shit" catagory, the Kansas State Wildcats played a surprisingly tough North Texas team that really had nothing to look forward to except possibly closing out with a win against a team from a BCS conference team.  It was the Mean Green's final game at Fouts Field and apparently not much of a turnout.  K State finished the season at 7-5 and may well be appearing in the first ever Pinstripe bowl played in balmy New York City at some point over the holidays, for some unknown reason.  Texas Tech also went to 7-5 with a 35-20 win over the Houston Cougars.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the Red Raiders win up in Houston this year at the Texas Bowl.
So, it's an off week for most of college football, except for a few remaining games and some conference championship match ups.  We'll take a look at those later this week.  In the meantime, have a great week.   

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 13:A season is ending, but tradition continues.

As you've probably guessed, I just love college football.  I enjoy basketball also, but pretty much only when Missouri is playing.  But I could sit and watch football regardless of the teams playing.  This is kind of a bittersweet week for me.  My Tigers are poised to win their 10th game this weekend and we're facing our most hated rival at Arrowhead, and of course I'll be there.  If the Tigers win, and they're heavily favored it will be their 40th win in the last 4 years, which not a lot of teams can boast about.  It's Thanksgiving week as well as rivalry week and I want to stop a bit and thank some of the guys that have made this possible.  Thanks Gary Pinkel and staff, for coming to my favorite team and turning what had been pretty much two decades of failure into something where now our fan base spends more time complaining about a Texas Tech loss than the 9 wins we've already enjoyed this year.  Thanks to guys like Chase Daniel, Chase Coffman, Martin Rucker, Zo Williams, Ziggy Hood and Sean Weatherspoon.  Thank you William Moore, William Franklin, Jeremy Maclin, Van Alexander and Stryker Sulak.  Thanks to Blaine Gabbert, DeVion Moore, Jerrell Jackson, TJ Moe, Michael Egnew, Elvis Fisher, Dan Hoch, Tim Barnes and Aldon Smith.  Looking forward to seeing players like Henry Josey, Tristan Holt, James Franklin, Marcus Lucas, Bud Sasser, Jimmy Hunt, Lucas Vincent, Nick Demien and Anthony Gatti in future years.  And  to fallen Tigers like Damian Nash and Aaron O'Neal, rest in peace.  Thanks to Mike Alden for placing coaches like Gary Pinkel, Mike Anderson, Tim Jamieson, Brian Smith, the Kreklow's, and Robin Pingeton in charge of their respective programs.  It is indeed a great time to be a Tigers fan.  And my apologies to the folks I've missed.  It's a tribute to the athletic department that there were too many great coaches and players to remember them all.
But enough of this sentimentality, it is after all hate week.  Saturday morning for the 119th time and 91st consecutive (no game in 1918 due to an influenza epidemic in lawrence) the Tigers and jayhawks will square off.  The 2 schools hate each other so much that they can't agree on the record for this series.  Both teams count 1960 as a win when kansas prevailed 23-7, but the game was later taken away due to their use of an ineligible player.  Regardless, the series has been as close as it can be using either teams numbers.  Missouri opens as a 28 point favorite, which is simply ludicrous in my opinion.  All three games that have been played at Arrowhead have come down to the last play to determine the winner.  I realize that the beaks have been nothing short of terrible this year, but in this game it just doesn't matter.  I expect this game to be close, but I do think that the talent disparity will raise it's head late and the Tigers pull away.  I'm calling this a 34-20 Missouri win, and they close out the regular season 10-2. 
A huge game for Tiger fans also happens the day before the Border War as the two north teams leaving the conference meet in Lincoln as hick nation hosts the Colorado Buffalo's.  Currently both the Tigers and Huskers sit with identical 9-2 and 5-2 conference records, but the corn hold the tie breaker.  Last weekend America was treated to an epic Pelini meltdown as head coach Bo first verbally berated his injured quarterback and spent the remainder of the game attacking the referee's as the corn fell 9-6 in College Station to the Aggies.  Were the huskers hosed on some calls during the game?  No doubt, but Bo, you might want to file this for future reference.  Calling the line judge a "cocksucker" might not be the best idea if you're hoping for a cleanly called game.  Not to be outdone, defensive coordinator and older brother Carl attacked an A&M photographer following the game.  Quarterback Taylor Martinez reportedly quit and rejoined the team this weekend, and whether he plays or not, he's not going to be near 100%.  The hicks open as a 24 point favorite, and like Mizzou, I think this line is just too high, considering they're playing a Colorado team that has improved dramatically since former coach Dan Hawkins was fired.  I'd love to go with my heart and call for the upset, but I just can't.  I do however believe that this one will be much closer than expected.  I'm picking the corn to win 21-17.
Usually one of the bigger games of the weekend would be down south as as disappointing Texas team hosts a suddenly resurgent Texas A&M squad that has won 5 straight games since an October 16th drilling at the hands of my Tigers.  It's not all a benefit of scheduling as they've beaten both Nebraska and Oklahoma in that streak.  A win this week would bring the Aggies conference record to 6-2 and give them a share of the south division title, assuming Oklahoma could beat Okie Lite on Saturday.  For the whorns, it's been a train wreck of a season as they sit at 5-6 and just 2-5 in conference matchups.  However, win this game and UT would be bowling again, although I'm not certain a trip to New York for the Pin Stripe Bowl would be exactly what they had in mind before the season began.  It might, however save a few coaches jobs or at least extend them until the holidays are over.  I don't think the Longhorns make it past turkey day however and I'm picking the Aggies to win and cover, 37-21.   
A couple of non conference games are also on tap for this weekend.  Kansas State travels south as a 19 point favorite to take on the Texas State Armadillo's.  I don't know a lot about the Texas State squad except that their quarterback is in his late 30's, they have a former black comedian at offensive tackle and the sexiest kicker in the history of the game.  Huh?  Oh, my apologies, Kay State plays North Texas this weekend.  In that case, I really don't much give a shit about this game, but I'll take the mildcats to win and cover 38-14.  Talk about a letdown though.
In the other out of conference game, Texas Tech hosts the Houston Cougars, who still need a win to gain bowl eligibility, and with 35 bowl games, God knows we need as many eligible teams as possible.  Tech opens as a 10 point favorite.  This is another game that holds absolutely no interest to me, but I do think that the Red Raiders post their 7th win and cover...barely.  I'm taking Tech to win, 35-24. 
But the biggest game of the weekend happens Saturday night in Stillwater as the 9-2 Sooners take on the 10-1 Cowboys in a battle to determine the Big XII south.  If Mike Gundy's band of immortals win, they will be the south champions and will play either Nebraska (likely) or Missouri (less likely) in the conference championship game a week from Saturday at Jerry World.  If the Sooners win, and Texas can beat A&M then the Sooners are champs.  If the Sooners and A&M both win, then the champion will be determined by some convulated system that takes in BCS ranking, point differential and the amount of Mary Kay cosmetics the respective coaches wives have sold.  Okie Lite comes in as a 2 1/2 point favorite and I expect this game to go down to the wire.  I'm taking the Cowboys to cover, due to their home field advantage.  Okie State wins 38-35. 
That's all I've got for this week.  Good luck to your team, unless you root for either Nebraska or kansas.  In that case, have a shitty Thanksgiving and your turkey is as dry as the Sahara. :^) Talk to you on Sunday or Monday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 12 recap:The Clone Wars.

It was a little taste of winter last night in Ames when Missouri rolled into town seeking their 9th win of the season.  The Cyclones were a desperate team, needing a win to extend their season with their second straight bowl.  It wasn't frigid, but the weather obviously played a part as both offenses struggled in the passing game.  However, tight end Michael Egnew was able to pull in 7 passes including a 1st quarter touchdown and the Tigers defense did the rest, as Missouri held on for a 14-0 win.  Missouri came in as an 11 point favorite and I knew this would be a tough game.  Ok, I thought it would be a tough game, and uncharacteristically I was right.  However, I didn't think the Tigers would cover the spread, and there I was wrong.  However, for the week I went 6-1 straight up and 4-1 against the spread.  (2 games had no lines)  For the year I'm 71-20 straight up and 41-40 vs Vegas. 
A big game that I nailed happened in College Station Saturday night as hick nation rolled into town as a 2 1/2 point favorite.  It was vintage Bo Pelini as he drew an unsportsmanlike conduct flag to go with 15 other Nebraska penalties.  You don't have to be Nostradamus to see that sooner or later this is going to end badly for Pelini.  His volatile temper and complete inability to control it is sooner or later going to cause him to punch a referee.  Do I think the refs played a part in the corn loss?  Absolutely.  I also think that when you're constantly in someones face, sooner or later they're going to retaliate.  I have a feeling that Dr. Tom is going to be taking Pelini behind the woodshed this week for a little tough love.  Whether it does any good or not is another story.  The loss prevented the corn from clinching the division title, but they'll have another chance next Friday when they host a suddenly rejuvenated Colorado.
Speaking of the Buffs, they hosted K State yesterday, still clinging to a faint hope of reaching bowl eligibility.  There was no line on this game, but I fully expected the Wildcats would put Colorado out of their misery.  However, tailback Rodney Stewart rushed for 195 yards, caught 2 passes for 50 and threw a 23 yard touchdown pass as the Buffs swept past the kitties 44-36.  Interim head coach Brian Cabral is making a strong case for the job as Colorado is 2-0 since firing Dan Hawkins.  If they somehow can pull out a win next week in Hooterville, I don't see why he wouldn't get the opportunity.
The season will soon mercifully end for the folks in larry.  Yesterday on their senior day, the ku crowd, many of which were disguised as empty seats, watched the beaks give it everything they had, only trailing the 9-1 Oklahoma State Cowboys 20-14 at halftime.  The 2nd half was another matter however, as the beaks managed 6 yards of offense in the 3rd quarter and fell 48-14, which was remarkably close to my prediction of 48-13.  Next week the Cowboys host Oklahoma in bedlam, for the right to play the Big XII title game, while the beaks drive up the road 30 miles for their season finale at Arrowhead against my Tigers.
The season ended at the right time for Baylor as they hosted Oklahoma in their finale.  I'm glad the Bears are going to be playing in a bowl game, but they aren't quite ready for prime time yet as they fell 53-24 to a Sooner team that showed they aren't quite ready to concede the south to their cross state rivals just yet.  The Bears will be able to continue practicing while they await the decision on where they go, which is a very good thing for their program.  I don't know who will select them, but they better be ready for thousands of rabid Baptists coming to party hard.
In one of the week's 2 non-conference tilts, Texas Tech notched their 6th win against a hapless Weber State team 64-21.  If the Red Raiders are selected for a bowl game, and I have no reason to believe they won't be, it will mark their 17th straight bowl appearance, top streak in the conference.  Tech closes their season at home next week against Houston.
The other non conference match up was in Austin, where the longhorns faced a Florida Atlantic team that isn't going anywhere this bowl season.  The whorns flexed their muscles in a 51-17 win that was probably their 2nd best performance of the year, outside of that glorious Saturday afternoon in Lincoln when they revealed the first chinks in the husker armor.  Thanksgiving day Texas will close out their season at home against Texas A&M.  It's a chance for them to assume the role of spoiler, which is usually the part the Aggies play.  It also would give them their 6th win, and God knows, this Texas team needs the extra practice.
I'll have to get started early for next weeks games, since we have a Thursday and Friday matchup.  Have a great holiday week folks and we'll talk about Wednesday or so.      

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Week 12:Style points or hanging on by a thread.

There is very little in-between this week as we roll toward the end of the season.  The seven Big XII teams that have qualified for bowl games are now playing for style points and bowl positioning.  4 more teams still have at least a punchers chance of getting to six wins, and only one poor miserable bastard of an athletic department has a program that has no hope of getting to six wins and very little of getting to four.  Any guesses who I might be talking about?   Well of course, it's my 2nd favorite team next to the Oakland Raiders.  Every Tiger fan realizes I mean the kansas jayhawks.  The last 2 weeks have been quite kind to the peckerheads as they rallied from 28 points down 2 weeks ago to pull out their first conference win in over a year against the Buffalo's of Colorado.  They then backed that up with a solid defensive performance against hick nation last week as they fell, but a much shorter distance than expected, 20-3.  It's senior day in Larry and Oklahoma State is coming to town to send off a graduating class that just 3 short years ago left Miami as Orange Bowl champs.  Since that day they've won 16 games in 3 years.  9-1 Okie Lite comes in as a 24 point favorite.  I see no way the beaks keep it that close, but they've probably provided me with more losses than anyone this year.  However, I'm going to do what Tiger fans do and lead with my heart.  Take the Cowboys to cover and win, 48-13.
My guys travel north to Ames this weekend to face the Cyclones, who are as desperate as anyone in the country.  The Clones blew a golden opportunity to qualify for their 2nd bowl game in a row last week as they fell 34-14 in Boulder.  They've lost starting quarterback Austin Arnaud for the season in the process and HAVE to win this weeks game if they're to continue practicing next week.  Missouri got back on track a bit last weekend as they withstood a 4th quarter rally by the K State Wildcats and hung on for a 38-28 win in the final game at Faurot Field for this season.  The Tigers have been devastated by injuries on the defensive side of the ball and plagued by inconsistancy on the offensive side.  The Tigers open as 11 point favorites but I don't expect the Cyclones to go down without a fight.  I'm picking Mizzou to win, but fail to cover, 31-24 on a late touchdown run from Kendial Lawrence.   
In Waco, two teams that already know they are going to be playing after Thanksgiving are matching up as Baylor hosts Oklahoma.  The Sooners have to win this game to make their contest against cross state rival OSU mean something as far as the title game to be played in Jerry World.  Baylor has a chance to win it's 8th game and take a trip to someplace a little more exotic than Houston for the Texas Bowl.   OU opens as an 8 point favorite in this game, and really just needs a win.  However, Bob Stoops will still be trying to make a statement going into next weeks road trip to Stillwater.  I'm looking for the Sooners to win and cover, 42-20.
Another team that has already qualified for the post season was the team that I watched last weekend in Columbia.  The Wildcats travel west to Boulder to face a Colorado team that won it's first conference game last weekend against Iowa State.  This had to be a good sign for interim head coach Brian Cabral, who would like to have the job.  The fact that he could probably be had fairly cheaply is another.  The Buffs need to close out with a win this week and next at Nebraska to qualify for a bowl game.  As much as I'd love to see that, I just don't believe they have a prayer.  For some reason, there's no line for this game but I see Bill Snyder going for win # 7 and a chance to move up in the bowl pecking order.  K State 34, Colorado 24.
Another team that needs to win out to be eligible for post season play surprisingly resides in Austin, where the 4-6 Longhorns host the 4-5 Florida Atlantic Owls.  The Owls have won 3 straight game, but is a streak over Florida International, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Lafayette all that impressive?  I think not.  UT meanwhile is on a 4 game losing streak that includes Iowa State, K State and Baylor.  Both the team and the fans appear to have mailed in the season but this game still has to be played.  Texas opens as a 21 point favorite in this showdown and I feel like they might, just might pull a little bit of self respect out and attempt to make a run at a bowl game.  God knows they could use they extra practice.  It probably won't matter much since they'll also need to win next week at home against A&M, but I do expect them to cover this Saturday.  I'm taking the whorns, 38-14.  
Yet another team that needs a win this weekend is Texas Tech.  The Red Raiders sit at 5-5 with 2 remaining non conference games to go.  The easiest of the two happens this weekend as they host Weber State from the "Is that really a" Conference.  All you need to know about Weber State is that this is their season finale as they only play 11 games.  No line on this game either, but I'm picking Tech to get their 6th win this week, with a score in the 41-21 range.
Probably the best game of the week is in College Station where a suddenly resurgent Aggies team goes for win number 8 against 9-1 and likely north representative Nebraska.   A&M has won 3 straight games since they hit their low point of the season, a 30-9 loss at home to Missouri while Nebraska sits at 9-1 but has struggled the last two weeks against Iowa State and kansas.  Hick nation opens as a 2 1/2 point favorite this week, and maybe I'm calling this one with my heart instead of my head, but I'm taking the Aggies to pull the upset and win 31-27 late. 
That's about all I've got for this week.  I did want to say thanks to those who've been reading this.  This is my 100th post.  I've been somewhat amazed at the number of hits this has been receiving.  If you get a spare few minutes, I hope you'll stop by my website at  Thanks and we'll talk again on Sunday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week 11 recap:Back on track.

It wasn't a thing of beauty, but Mizzou's win over over Kansas State Saturday was just what the doctor ordered for the Tigers.  It was senior day in Columbia and Missouri capped off a 6-0 record for the season to send them out in style.  Blaine Gabbert wasn't spectacular but very efficient as he threw for 206 yards on a 17 for 26 performance with 1 interception which was more about a great play rather than a poor throw.  Blaine added 91 yards rushing as Mizzou went for 227.  The game wasn't as close as the final score of 38-28 indicated.  It was 38-14 with less than 7 minutes remaining when K State scored it's 3rd touchdown and their final came with just over a minute left.  The Wildcats rushed for 190 yards themselves, which is what they have done well all season and Daniel Thomas was held to 66 yards on 12 carries.  Not a bad effort at all considering the Tigers are still without Dominique Hamilton and Luke Lambert in the middle as well as Will Ebner.  Andrew Wilson filled in at middle linebacker and did well in his first start.  I predicted the Tigers to cover the 13 point spread, which they failed to do, but this team needed a win badly and that's all that matters in the long run.  The Tigers are 8-2 overall and 4-2 in conference play.  A 10 win regular season is within reach which would made 3 of the last 4 seasons Missouri would have recorded double digit wins.  In my view, today is a pretty good day.
For the week I went 4-2 straight up but just 2-4 against the spread.  For the year I'm 65-19 straight up but fell to 37-39 against the point spread.   
One of the games I whiffed completely on happened in Boulder, where Iowa State came in as a 2 point favorite over a Colorado team that hadn't won a conference game and fired their coach this past week.  ISU quarterback Austen Arnaud was injured in the 4th quarter and likely won't be available to the Clones this week as they close out their season at home against my Tigers, needing a win to reach bowl eligibility.  Next Saturday means a lot to both teams as the Tigers are now playing for a better bowl as well as keeping their slim (anorexic actually) hopes for a division crown alive. 
My other strike happened in Waco as Texas A&M came to town facing a Baylor team that's qualified for it's first bowl game in 16 years.  A&M has come a long way since the Missouri game as Ryan Tannehill has taken over as trigger man for the Aggies.  They've moved their record to 7-3 and 4-2 in conference and host Nebraska next week.  Baylor is now 7-4 and closes their season next weekend at home against Oklahoma.  Then they can do something they haven't done since 1994.  Sit home and wait to see which bowl selects them.
The other game I split on, besides the Tigers happened last night in Lincoln, where the kansas jayhawks continued their good play from last week in a 20-3 loss to the 9th ranked huskers.  Hick nation sits at 9-1 and can claim the division title with a win at A&M next Saturday.  kansas, despite the moral victory yesterday remains 3-7 on the season and closes out their home schedule next week playing host to Oklahoma State.
Speaking of Okie Lite, they moved to 9-1 yesterday, continuing this nightmare season for the Longhorns as they beat Texas in Austin by a score of 33-16.  Changes will be coming following this season for a UT team that currently sits at 4-6 and needs to win out to become eligible for a bowl game.  In Austin, they aren't familiar with the term "rebuilding".
The other game that I nailed was in Norman, where the Sooners brought Texas Tech back to Earth with a dominating 45-7 win.  Next week the Sooners bring their 4-2 conference record to Waco, needing to win so their season finale at Stillwater is for the division title.  Tech falls to 5-5, but should have no problem getting bowl eligible as their last 2 contests are at home with non conference opponents Weber State and Houston.
Once again, some big games next week as some teams are facing must win games if they want their seasons to continue after Thanksgiving.  Have a great week and we'll talk again on Thursday.    

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week 11:The biggest game of the season.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, the games always get bigger this time of year if you're having some success.  A game against Kansas State at home is probably the biggest game the Tigers have played this year due to previous circumstances.  The last game I attended was the OU game, two weeks passed now.  The mood was buoyant after that game; the Tigers were 7-0 and cracked the top 10.  Then bang.  The Tigers unquestionably played their worst quarter of football in Lincoln to fall behind 24-0, and then to add insult to injury, after an early 14-0 lead the offense goes into hiding as they lose their 2nd game in a row to Texas Tech.
Coach Pinkel is a victim of his own success now.  After that 7-0 start, anything less than 10 wins is going to be considered a failure.  The OC, David Yost is taking the lions share of the blame right now, which I can't disagree with, along with the quarterback Blaine Gabbert, which while I can't completely agree with, is understandable.  Missouri needs this game badly.  A loss now and a final regular season record of 8-4 is staring the team in the face, which is going to make for a very disappointed fan base.  Win Saturday, and you should be guaranteed at least a 9 win, and very possibly a 10 win regular season.  I'd take that every September if you offered it to me.
Last week was brutal for me as I went 2-4 straight up and 1-5 against the spread.  For the year, I'm 61-17 straight up and 35-35 against the point spread.  The game against K State really worries me this weekend.  The Wildcats are bowl eligible at 6-3 and playing for position and style points right now.  They are still a fairly one dimensional team, but Missouri hasn't proved incredibly successful at stopping the run since Dominique Hamilton went down with a broken ankle during the OU win.  Kay State only put the ball up 4 times last weekend against Texas but Daniel Thomas and new quarterback Collin "Calvin" Klein combined for 233 yards as the Cats basically put the final bullet in the head of the Longwhorns season.  I think Missouri can reasonable keep 7 in the box this weekend with the occasional safety or corner blitz and keep the Cats to a manageable amount of rushing yards and time taken off the clock.  I'm probably saying this more out of my heart than my head.  The Tigers are favored by 13 points in this game.  I'm taking them to win and cover, 38-21.   
In Waco, the bowl eligible Baylor Bears play host to the bowl eligible Teas A&M Aggies.  That's not one many folks saw coming before the season began, at least not with 3 games remaining in the season.  A&M has played well the last couple of weeks since replacing Jerrod Johnson at quarterback.  The Aggies come to town as 3 point favorites in this one, but I believe the Bears are going to protect their home turf.  I'm taking Baylor 31-30 in a nail biter.
We all knew it was going to happen at one time or another and this week the Colorado athletic department finally did the merciful thing and put a bullet in the head of Dan Hawkins career as the Buff's head coach.  Sometimes you'll see a team use this as motivation to win in support of a popular coach that's been terminated.  I don't look for that here.  The Clones come in as 2 point favorites in this one and need 1 more win in their last 2 games to reach bowl eligibility again.  I don't think they want their season to depend on beating Missouri next week, despite the Tigers recent struggles.  I think ISU wins and covers easily.  Take the Cyclones, 31-21.
The kansas jayhawks, fresh off tasting the heady beverage of conference victory for the 2nd time in 14 months head north to the land of corn as they put their winning streak up against the huskers.  Nebraska barely got out of Ames alive, escaping with a 31-30 victory.  The hicks open as a 35 point favorite and I don't believe this game will ever be in doubt.  But I think that at some point Dr. Tom may whisper in Bo Pelini's ear and ask him to take it easy on the Doc's best friend.  The hicks win but miss covering 38-10.
In Norman, the suddenly vulnerable appearing Sooners host the guys that my team played last weekend, the Red Raiders from Texas Tech.  OU is out of the national championship picture now after last weeks loss to A&M but a BCS bid is still within their grasp.  Big game Bob wants the trip to the championship game and he needs a win badly this week to ensure the chance.  This isn't good for coach Tommy Tubberville's Raiders.  Oklahoma enters this game as a 15 point favorite.  I'm taking the Sooners to win and cover 38-10.
In another south face-off, the Oklahoma State Cowboys travel to Austin to face the disappointing Texas Longhorns.  Okie Lite is 8-1 on the season, and 4-1 in conference play, and represent the best chance anyone has of winning the southern division of the Big XII conference other than OU or Tejas.  The whorns haven't played well at home, or on the road for that matter outside of a glorious afternoon at Gomer Pyle Stadium in Lincoln a few weeks ago.  The Cowboys open as a 6 point favorite.  I think they're going to roll Texas, who may well mail the rest of their season in.  I'm picking the fighting Picken's to win 41-17.
That's all I've got for this week.  I'm heading back to 8 hour shifts next week which should make it much easier to write.  Have a great weekend folks, unless you're fans of Mr Burns.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week 10 recap:Waterloo, Appomattox and Lubbock?

History is full of monumental victories.  With every one of those comes a monumental defeat.  I've always defended Coach Pinkel as a man that I was proud to have in charge of my adopted team.  I will continue to support GP in spite of last night, but I've also thought if he had a major fault, it was the amount of loyalty he's shown to his assistant coaches.  It's apparent that a combination of things is threatening to tank the Tigers season and they have to be laid at the feet of offensive coordinator David Yost.  Yes, Blaine Gabbert suffered his 2nd consecutive bad game going 12-30 for less than 100 yards, although there were several dropped passes.  We appear to lack a guy that can stretch the defense, but you know what?  Good coordinators adjust their offense to fit the talent and we've not seen that.  The Tigers did rush for 260 yards, but most of that was in the first half.  And if you were looking for a season MVP, allow me to nominate Dominique Hamilton.  Since Dom went down in the OU game, the Tigers defense which had been so good against the run has floundered which has put more pressure on the pass defense.  Yet, that wasn't the cause of the loss last night as the Tigers scored exactly 0 points after intermission, although the inability to get off the field was a contributor.  To continue to improve, I'm afraid that Coach Pinkel is going to have to address some deficiencies in the coaching staff.   Next week Missouri hosts it's final home game against Kansas State, in a game that suddenly appears to be entirely loosable.  Tech travels to Norman to face a pissed off Sooner squad that is 30-0 in it's last 30 home games.
It was one of those Waterloo weekends for me also as I went 2-4 for the week and a hideous 1-5 against the spread.  For the year I'm 61-17 straight up but once again sitting at .500 with a 35-35 record against Vegas.
The only game I was completely successful in the week happened in Stillwater, as the Oklahoma State Cowboys ignored the fact that they were merely 7 1/2 point favorites as they routed the Baylor Bears 55-28.  Okie Lite now has to be considered the favorite to win the south as next week they take their 8-1 record to Austin to face the suddenly pedestrian Texas Longhorns.  Baylor is at home to face a Texas A&M squad that has discovered new life.
In Ames, it was hoped, at least by Missouri fans that the Cyclones could pull another upset over corn nation.  The hicks came in as 19 1/2 point favorites but it took an interception of a 2 point conversion attempt to allow them to escape with a 31-30 win.  Next up for the huskers is a date at home with the university of kansas while the 'Clones travel to Colorado.
Another loss for me happened in of all places lawrence as the jawhawks erupted for 35 4th quarter point to overtake Colorado 52-45 despite being installed as 9 point underdogs.  If Dan Hawkins was allowed to ride home on the plane it's a travesty of justice.
Another coach whose seat just went up another 50 degrees is in Austin after the Longwhorns fell to 4-5 on the season after losing 39-14 to Kansas State.  There are schools where a rebuilding year would be considered acceptable following an appearance in the national championship game the previous season.  However, the University of Texas isn't one of those places.  Things don't get any easier for UT as Oklahoma State comes to town next week, while the Wildcats will attempt to take over 2nd place in the north when they travel to Columbia.
At College Station it appears that Mike Sherman will retain his job for another year as the Aggies upset the Oklahoma Sooners 33-19.  A&M is now bowl eligible at 6-3 with a good chance to reach 8 or 9 wins with trip to Baylor and Texas and a home date with a Nebraska squad that despite it's record hasn't shown itself to be unbeatable by any means.
That's all I've got for this week.  I'm going to take a couple of days off to get some work on my new web site that will be up and running within a few weeks.  In case you'd like to stop by and see how things are progressing, just travel to    My Tiger blog will continue here, but there are other things I enjoy talking about and that will be more of a focus there.  There will also be a shopping site where you'll be able to purchase items that may be useful as well as many that will be nothing short of obscure.  Some interesting games to talk about and we'll be doing just that around Thursday or Friday.  Have a great week.   

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 10:Time to snap back

Toward the end of the Larry Smith era at Missouri the Tigers had reverted to the form they'd shown during the Woody Widenhoffer and Bob Stull years.  That means they were bad...really bad.  Larry was trying to figure out ways to keep morale up after the devastating losses would continue to pile up.  One time he gave every player a tennis ball so they'd remember to bounce back.  That seemed stupid enough but when he gave everyone rubber bands to wear around their wrists to remember to snap back I knew he was a dead man walking, and it probably was going to end badly in Columbia for him.  At that point we'd pretty much been terrible for the better part of 2 decades and I wondered if we'd ever be decent again.  I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was less than excited when I heard we'd hired Gary Pinkel.  Mainly because I'd never heard of Gary Pinkel.  Thankfully I was wrong and now I couldn't be happier to have him coaching my team.
Both the Tigers and I have to snap back this week.  They suffered their first loss of the season at Lincoln last week against the soon departing hicks and I once again lost more than I won against the spread with my predictions.  I went 4-2 straight up but on 2-3 against the spread.  For the year I'm 59-15 straight up but only a touch above water at 34-30 against the point spread.  So I'm hoping for better things from both of us this weekend, but mostly my Tigers.
Mizzou travels to Lubbock Saturday night on ABC's nationally televised game against the Red Raiders.  Tech is 4-4 on the season and 2-4 in conference play.  Last weekend they fell 45-27 to Texas A&M at College Station in a game that really wasn't that close.  Mike Leach no longer patrols the sideline for Tech which isn't particularly good news since Coach Pinkel seemed to have his number.  However, Tommy Tuberville has experienced a lot of growing pains and it appears that the Red Raiders bowl streak may well end this year.  Missouri only opens as a 4 1/2 point favorite and the crowd isn't going to be nearly as intimidating as it was last week in Bugtussel.  If I was a gambler this would be like taking money to me.  I'm going to pick the Tigers to get back into the win column this week and cover 31-17.
Something happened this year that no one forsaw and that's the rebirth of the Baylor football program.  The Bears, fresh off an upset of Texas last week in Austin travel north this weekend to Stillwater to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who are 6-1 themselves.  Okie Light opens as a 7 1/2 point favorite in this one but I believe they'll do a bit better.  I'm taking the Cowboys to win and cover 35-27.
In lawrence this weekend it's the rumble at Mount Oread as the Colorado Buffalo's come to town to face the jayhawks for undisputed possession of 11th place in the conference.  Both teams are 0-4 in Big XII play and this represents their last best chance to avoid the cellar.  The Buff's open as a 9 point favorite.  I love to hate on kansas as much as anyone, but that line seems ridiculous to me.  Not that I think ku doesn't suck; they do, but so does Colorado and their dead man walking coach.  In a game where neither team has an offense or defense, I'm going to take the Pac 10's newest crown jewel to win but fail to cover.  Colorado wins 28-24.
It's back to grand times in Lincoln as their countrified version of the big red machine pulls up stakes and heads east for their final battle with Iowa State.  After their convincing win over the Tigers last weekend, hick nation is once again out in full force and predicting losses to the 7 or 8 teams in front of them as they march to their rightful destination in Glendale at the national championship game.  The corn open as 19 point favorites in this game and believe me, nothing would give me more pleasure than watching a repeat of last years game in Hooterville.  Unfortunately I don't see it happening.  Nebraska wins and covers 38-13.
Oh how the mighty have fallen this year.  In Manhattan, last years national champion runner's up the Texas Longhorns limp in with their 4-4 record to face the Wildcats who are still looking for their 6th win and bowl eligibility.  The whorns open as 4 point favorites in this game and while I'd like to pick the Cats, I think that UT has enough to pull this one out on the road, although I think it will be a nail biter.  I'm picking Texas 24-21.
The week closes out at College Station where the A&M Aggies play host to the Sooners who are still walking a bit stiff from their loss in Columbia a couple of weeks ago.  Texas A&M switched out to quarterback Ryan Tannehill last weekend and it paid off big as they swept past Texas Tech 45-27.  I feel safe saying this OU team is light years better than the Red Raiders, and the line opening at OU minus 3 1/2 looks like a license to print money.  The Sooners roll, 41-14.   
That's all I have for now.  I hope to get back to you Sunday with a recap of my Tigers getting back in the win column.  Have a great weekend!