Saturday, September 13, 2014

College Football Picks

10-15. Ehh. Here goes: UCF +11 at Missouri. Georgia southern +17 at GT West Virginia-Maryland over 60. Wyoming +44 at Oregon. South Carolina +7 hosting Georgia. Arkansas-TT over 67. Arkansas State +15 at Miami. South Alabama +13.5 hosting Miss State. UL Lafayette +28 at Miss. Illinois +13 at Washington. Minnesota +16 at TCU. La-Monroe +31.5 at LSU. Purdue +29 versus ND. Kentucky +19 at florida. Tennessee +21 at OU. UCLA -8 at UT. PSU -3.5 at RU. ASU -15.5 at Colorado. Nevada +18 at Arizona.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tonight's Pick

I went .500 Saturday, which, of course, is not good enough. I am leaning to Louisiana Tech tonight against North Texas but not by enough to pull the trigger. I will take Houston +18.8 at BYU. I love BYU this year but the spread is an overreaction to BYU's 2-0 start being that they have blown out two programs, Texas and UConn, that are playing horrible football. Houston's loss to UTSA is not shameful as that program is excellent and the Cougars of Houston went toe-to-toe with the Cougars of BYU last year. They will lose tonight but by a lot closer than 18.5. I also like the over 58 in this game.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

June Jones Resigns as SMU Coach

It is a bit ironic that SMU and June Jones ended their marriage-gone-bad while the college football world was focused on the NCAA reducing Penn State's penalties. That is because Jones was the latest coach to fail to return SMU to the glory it enjoyed before they received a death penalty that was not reduced despite the Mustangs doing all that was asked and more (but was it with integrity?) after being caught for the xth time paying for players. But that was then and this is now and SMU was always in the way of bigger programs who wanted to pay the very same players SMU bought. Anyway, Jones can go back to Hawaii and play golf with the incredible amount of money he earned returning SMU to mediocrity. He should have always stayed there as he was a perfect fit both schematically and personally for Hawaii but they could not afford the success he brought to the program. Hell, he took Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl. Think of that. Sure they got killed, but Hawaii? But his earning $800,000 annually was a problem for a state-run school without booster money for football. A private school in Dallas with booster money that could no longer go to five star prospects seemed like a good fit. Financially it was, but Jones wanted an even bigger program and his flirtations with ASU--remember that crazy situation with their boosters canceling him?--and Maryland left SMU fans with a bad taste in their mouths. But while he was winning they kept quiet, especially after he beat TCU in its stadium in OT in 2011. But it went all downhill quickly from there as the Mustangs stopped winning (12-15 since beginning of 2012) and Jones's refusal to recruit and don't-really-want-to-be-here body language doomed the situation. The Mustangs need to rebuild yet again. As for Jones, he will always have the crazy run-and-shoot days from Hawaii, which gave me something to check on when getting home late on a Saturday (loved hitting those ungodly overs).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rest of Penn State Sanctions Lifted

The Penn State case was always a complicated one and without precedent (thank God this is a unique situation) the punishment handed down by the NCAA was not going to be met with approval by everyone. And when the NCAA announced the multiple years of bowl bans and scholarship losses, plus monetary fines, half of the population applauded them and the other half was upset. Well the other half just won out as the NCAA, after already reducing sanctions once before, wiped them out today while mentioning the magic word--"integrity". Everyone's first reaction when the Penn State scandal erupted was horror. It was a black and white situation. What Sandusky clearly did--and he had admitted a fair amount before--was wrong and then once the shower scene was brought to our attention, we all were aghast. But almost immediately the gray aspect of this came into play centered on what coach Joe Paterno knew etc, etc. I do not want to rehash that here. But as we see with the Ray Rice case, video is the be all and end all. The victims did not have video. Mike McQueary did not video the meeting he had with Paterno in which he told his boss something about what he saw. If there were videos of elements of what we think we know about the case Penn State may have gotten the death penalty. Look at Rice. Video of him dragging an unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator is two games. Video of him knocking her out--even though everyone knows he knocked her out--pretty much ends his career. As to the timing, I feel that it is in direct relationship to what happened on the field Saturday night. The Big Ten is falling apart and the quicker Penn State can return to the top ten the better. Not only will they need PSU in a decent bowl this winter, they also need one of their members in the final four by next year (this year seems long gone although it is only September). Having the cream of the conference, or at least four or five from the likes of OSU, Michigan, MSU, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa, plus PSU, playing well and crowding the rankings will guarantee the conference winner a spot. Only one Big Ten team, Michigan State, is currently in the top 15 and all three of the conference teams ranked in the AP Poll sit at uninspiring 1-1 records. The conference needed a boost.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

College Football Conference Recap Week Two

American Athletic: Only two wins for conference members this week and both were against lower division foes. Memphis had the best performance in a close loss to UCLA but the conference's free fall into oblivion continues. ACC: This conference was undefeated yesterday and only one member, BC, lost and that was to another ACC team, Pitt. Most of these wins are not worth mentioning but Virginia Tech's beat-down of Ohio State on the road adds a great pelt to the ACC tent. While this win may have been more about how badly OSU played, this is still a we-are-back statement win for the Hokies. They do not play FSU and Notre Dame this season but do have their toughest ACC Coastal competition on the road in October versus UNC and Pitt, followed by a home game against rival Miami. Big 12: If anyone thought that this conference race was going to involve anyone else but OU and Baylor they had better revisit those thoughts. Assuming that Baylor QB Bryce Petty's back problems heal as expected, those two teams are loaded with visions of a conference title. The hope was that Texas would rejoin them as a national contender but the problems in Austin run deep. With BYU routing Texas for the second straight year--no DC fired this time--the honeymoon period with new coach Charlie Strong is officially over. Players are being dismissed every week. That situation is ready to blow. Okie State and West Virginia had impressive losses last weekend but they were still losses, while ranked Kansas State had to rally to beat lowly ISU. Big Ten: Can it get any worse? Enough has been written about the woes of this once-grand conference--and I will have more to say later--but that was not only an awful day yesterday for the Big Ten, they have very little chance to rebound from it. The perception is that the conference stinks and yesterday's play converted that perception into reality. This is beyond PR. Good luck. Conference USA: There were some near misses, but misses nonetheless. UTSA has another shot this Saturday when they travel to Stillwater. Independents: This group of four is 6-1 on the season with wins over Michigan and Texas. Not bad. While Notre Dame gained the lion share of press today for a 31-0 win over Michigan, BYU has scored 76 points this year in two wins on the road. The Cougars are very good. MAC: While beating Big Ten teams no longer has the national cache that it once did, Central Michigan and Northern Illinois are still quite happy with their wins over Purdue and Northwestern. Mountain West: Wyoming has scored only 17 points in each of its two games but that is good enough for a 2-0 record. Good luck getting to 3-0 with Oregon on deck. Nevada is the only other 2-0 team remaining in the MWC and they get to play Arizona next. Should be closer than most think. Pac 12: The Pac 12 has a whopping nine teams sitting at 2-0. Yet beyond Oregon, and maybe USC, how many of them have looked impressive? Even the Trojans are lucky to have beaten a Stanford team that continually shot itself in the foot, but a marquee win is a marquee win. As for their crosstown rivals, UCLA, will the Bruins improve their play in time? They will beat Texas this Saturday but then face ASU on the road. SEC: The SEC was off this weekend. Right? Ole Miss and Vandy did play a conference game--well, the Rebels showed up. Vandy is done. Sun Belt: I am still trying to get a handle on which teams are now in the Sun Belt, but I do now know that New Mexico State and UL-Monroe are now atop the conference with matching 2-0, 1-0 records. And that is all those two schools have in common.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Today's Picks

Last Saturday was ugly, no ifs, ands or buts. Now I sit at 4-9 for the season. Back on the horse with these: Kansas State -13 at ISU. Akron +14 at PSU. So. Alabama -3 at Kent State. No. Illinois +7 at NW. Kentucky -13.5 vs Ohio. Maryland -13.5 at USF. Mississippi -20 at Vandy. ODU +17 at NC State. MSU +12.5 at Oregon. Auburn over 66. OSU under 47. CSU +9 at Boise. Enjoy

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Human Must Be Eliminated (college football voters anyway)

Every time I see a college football poll I am reminded that it is impossible to get enough qualified people to decide which college football teams, playing games against different competition, should be ranked each week and, later this season, chosen to play in a final four championship-deciding playoff. Keeping the big guys up top, even with mediocre performances from Florida State and Alabama, is fine as they have earned that and you do not want to blow up the rankings for one game. But what does Ohio State have to do to lose its top ten ranking? They crashed at the end of last season and then lost QB Braxton Miller. They struggled for most of the Navy game and are not a top ten team at the moment. Why are they ranked ahead of Baylor? And why is UCLA ranked ahead of Stanford? They were outclassed by Stanford last year and then looked awful against lowly Virginia this past Saturday. And sorry fans from the Palmetto State but neither South Carolina nor Clemson should be ranked. How did North Carolina move up after struggling with Liberty (yes that Liberty). All of this is the main reason why there should not be a preseason poll as that places teams in positions that then get used during the season's voting. Louisville was pretty good last year and looked very good in week one against a better opponent, Miami, than Liberty, yet UNC, not as good as Louisville last year, remains ahead of the Cardinals. This normally corrects itself but wins over over-rated teams--think A&M over SC--greatly effect the polls and computers. Humans, or at least the bad college football voters, must go.