Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Hail Mary - Week 8

Week 8 is filled with fantastic games but none will capture the attention of the country like Brett Favre's return to Green Bay as a Minnesota Viking. I expect the Lambeau faithful to boo Favre pretty vociferously. If he had returned to Lambeau as a Jet I think he would have been warmly received. But he is playing for one of the Packers biggest rivals, and it is a must win game for the Packers. Should be great theater.

This weekend is also Halloween weekend so I would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

Games That I Will Be Watching

New York Giants (5-2) at Philadelphia (4-2), Philadelphia favored by 1

Huge NFC East battle in Philadelphia. The last two weeks have exposed the Giants as complete fluke frauds as they finally had to play some good teams. Philadelphia isn't much more proven though, as they haven't beaten anyone of substance. The key to this game will be Eagles WR Desean Jackson. I think he can expose the weak Giants corners and get some big plays like he did against the Redskins.

Prediction: Philadelphia 24, New York Giants 21

Denver (6-0) at Baltimore (3-3), Baltimore favored by 3 1/2

Both these teams will be coming off bye weeks, which should lead to even more hard hitting than normal from these two teams. The Ravens have suffered three straight tough losses, while the Broncos officially announced they were for real with wins in their last three games against the Cowboys, Patriots, and Chargers. This is a really tough game to call. While I believe the Broncos are the best team in football, this brutal schedule has to win at some point. Just not this week, as I think Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal can have big days against a weak Ravens secondary.

Prediction: Denver 27, Baltimore 26

Minnesota (6-1) at Green Bay (4-2), Green Bay favored by 3

Beyond the whole Brett Favre angle, this should be a tremendous game. The Vikings dominated when they met in the Metrodome about a month ago, as they harassed and sacked Packers QB Aaron Rodgers all game. Both teams have explosive offenses, but the Vikings have a much better defense than Green Bay. Jared Allen will have another great game and while Favre won't put up the numbers he did in the first meeting, he will do enough and win in his return to Lambeau.

Prediction: Minnesota 28, Green Bay 24

Atlanta (4-2) at New Orleans (6-0), New Orleans favored by 10

The Saints looked down and out at Miami, trailing 24-3 in the second quarter. Then they did what great teams do, and found a way to win. The Saints offense apparently is unstoppable, especially at home, hence the reason they are favored by 10 in this one. The Falcons were completely disappointing in being blown out at Dallas. I thought the Falcons were for real but apparently they can only compete when playing at home. I think they give the Saints a battle and cover, but won't get the win.

Prediction: New Orleans 42, Atlanta 34

Rest of Week 8

Miami (2-4) at New York Jets (4-3), New York Jets favored by 3

For the second straight season the Dolphins have started 2-4. Last year they won 9 of their last 10 games and won the AFC East. I am not sure this team has that kind of run in them. I hope they can their minds right for this one and get over the demoralizing loss to the Saints. Last time Jets QB Mark Sansuck was at home he threw 5 interceptions. If he gets off to a slow start again the crowd will be on him. Question, why was it a big deal that Sanchez ate a hot dog on the sideline during the game? Maybe someone who played football can explain it to me. Anyways, back to this game, the Dolphins are better than the Jets, they will win.

Prediction: Miami 20, New York Jets 14

Houston (4-3) at Buffalo (3-4), Houston favored by 3 1/2

At least these two are playing each other so I can only incorrectly predict one game. These two, along with the Bengals are the hardest teams to figure out. The Bills were completely outplayed at Carolina but somehow won. Houston tried their damnedest to give away the game to the Niners but were able to hold on. The Texans could really start making a move as a playoff contender if they get the win here. Their QB Matt Schaub has been under the radar but leads the NFL with 16 TDs.

Prediction: Houston 21, Buffalo 19

Cleveland (1-6) at Chicago (3-3), Chicago favored by 13

Wow, the Bears were destroyed by Cincinnati. Cleveland is atrocious but there is no way I can take a team that just got waxed like the Bears did and expect them to cover a 13 point spread.

Prediction: Chicago 30, Cleveland 18

Seattle (2-4) at Dallas (4-2), Dallas favored by 9 1/2

The Cowboys bandwagon is getting full again after they crushed the Falcons. I don't think that performance is who the Cowboys really are. Sure they can be good but I still don't buy into them. WR Miles Austin has been amazing the last two games, he can't possibly keep up that pace for a third straight game. I think the Seahawks hang around in this one.

Prediction: Dallas 31, Seattle 24

St. Louis (0-7) at Detroit (1-5), No line

Damn, Detroit's one chance to be favored and the game doesn't have a line! Detroit just can't win, well, unless they play the Redskins, or the Rams.

Prediction: Detroit 3, St. Louis 2

San Francisco (3-3) at Indianapolis (6-0), Indianapolis favored by 12

What was once a promising season for the 49ers has started to spiral downward. Trailing 21-0 to Houston, coach Mike Singletary made the change to Alex Smith at quarterback. He definitely provided a spark and was rightfully given back the starting job he lost over a year ago. I'm not ready to believe in Alex because he played well for a half, and it will be tough to judge him on this game too. The Colts have been dominant but I think the 49ers can give Peyton Manning some trouble. I think the line for this game is absurdly high. A loss for the 49ers would be devastating as the Cardinals could be up by 2 games in the NFC West. I just can't see San Francisco winning.

Prediction: Indianapolis 27, San Francisco 20

Jacksonville (3-3) at Tennessee (0-6), Tennessee favored by 3

How bad is Jacksonville that an 0-6 Titans team, that in its last game lost 59-0, is favored against them? Overrated Titans coach Jeff Fisher continues to perplex me. What took him so long to name Vince Young the starter? What exactly do you have left to play for Jeff? Find out whether Young is worth keeping around after this season or not. You already know Kerry Collins is an old fossil.

Prediction: Jacksonville 23, Tennessee 20

Oakland (2-5) at San Diego (3-3), San Diego favored by 16 1/2

The Raiders suck, I am never picking them to cover another game again.

Prediction: San Diego 38, Oakland 10

Carolina (2-4) at Arizona (4-2), Arizona favored by 10

Is Jake Delhomme blackmailing Panthers coach John Fox? Are the Panthers backups really that bad? Fox is going to go down fighting with Delhomme apparently, and I have a feeling both will be out of jobs next season. Arizona put the rest of the league on notice with their impressive road win at New York. Its looking bad for the 49ers to make the playoffs.

Prediction: Arizona 31, Carolina 14

Last Week Against the Spread: 5-7-1
Overall Against the Spread: 56-46-1

Last Week Straight Up: 7-6
Overall Straight Up: 65-38

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cram Session - Week 9

A new conference takes center stage this weekend as the Pac-10 might have their title decided when #10 Oregon hosts #5 USC. USC Freshman QB Matt Barkley has already won at Ohio State and Notre Dame. Can he complete the trifecta and keep the Trojans national title hopes alive?

Games That Matter to Me That May Not Matter to You

Nebraska (4-3, 1-2) at Baylor (3-4, 0-3)

It is hard to believe that just two weeks ago the Huskers won at Missouri. Since that time Missouri has kept losing, taking the shine off the Huskers victory, and the Huskers suffered back to back embarrassing home losses. At the center of both of those losses has been the offense. QB Zac Lee has struggled and he wasn't helped by the embarrassing case of the butter fingers that the entire offense seemed to have. 8 turnovers still boggles my mind. Nebraska should beat a bad Baylor team. The wheels have come off for the Bears since losing star QB Robert Griffin III to injury. They haven't score more than 10 points in three weeks and with the way the Blackshirts have been playing they should be held under that again. I can't imagine the Huskers turning it over 8 times again, the offense just needs to score 2 TDs.

Prediction: Nebraska 17, Baylor 12

Top 25

Georgia (4-3, 3-2) at #1 Florida (7-0, 5-0)

It's the Worlds Largest Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL! The Gators have been winning but not with any style for the past month. The Bulldogs have been up and down all season. Last year Florida completely destroyed Georgia but it is obvious the Gators are not that team from 2008. QB Tim Tebow still continues to struggle and it amazes me that despite his uneven, crappy play, he is at the top of some Heisman lists. Florida should crush Georgia but I don't think they will.

Prediction: Florida 30, Georgia 20

#3 Texas (7-0, 4-0) at #15 Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-0)

The second best game of the weekend will take place in Stillwater. The Longhorns keep on winning and much like last year head into a tough road game unbeaten. Last season they fell to Texas Tech on the last play of the game. I think the reverse will happen this year. Texas wins with a last second field goal.

Prediction: Texas 31, Oklahoma State 28

Indiana (4-4, 1-3) at #4 Iowa (8-0, 4-0)

The question for the Hawkeyes now becomes, how do they handle the positive attention they are getting? They had been under the radar most of the season but after winning another tough road game, people are starting to take notice. I think the Hoosiers will compete with the Hawkeyes the whole way, but Iowa will improve to 9-0.

Prediction: Iowa 27, Indiana 20

#5 USC (6-1, 3-1) at #10 Oregon (6-1, 4-0)

The Oregon Ducks could arguably be considered the hottest team in the nation. Six straight wins, including a demolition of Washington at Washington, where USC suffered a loss. USC desperately needs a win or will be eliminated from the Pac-10 race for all intents and purposes. I don't think a Freshman QB like Barkley can win at three tough road venues in one season. I think that Ducks QB Jeremiah Massoli will have a good game, and the Ducks defense, which has been very good this season, will create enough turnovers to win the game.

Prediction: Oregon 31, USC 24

UNLV (3-5, 1-3) at #6 TCU (7-0, 3-0)

TCU crushed BYU but that seems more just like BYU absolutely sucks, then how good TCU actually is. TCU will be favored to run the table and crash the BCS party. UNLV won't put up any objections.

Prediction: TCU 45, UNLV 14

San Jose State (1-5, 0-2) at #7 Boise State (7-0, 2-0)

The Broncos are into their WAC schedule and it could turn out to be a death knell for their BCS chances. San Jose State is a terrible team and an impressive win for Boise will do nothing to impress the ones that matter.

Prediction: Boise State 48, San Jose State 9

#8 Cincinnati (7-0, 3-0) at Syracuse (3-4, 0-2)

The Bearcats are a team that should be getting more respect. They have played well with a backup QB, and have some very impressive road wins. Syracuse already has 3 wins this year, but none in the Big East. QB Greg Paulus had played alright, but his 10 interceptions have been killers. He will throw three in this one.

Prediction: Cincinnati 40, Syracuse 23

Tulane (2-5) at #9 LSU (6-1)

Everyone is in love with LSU again after they crushed Auburn. Nevermind that Auburn is far removed from their 5-0 start and now sucks.

Prediction: LSU 49, Tulane 10

#11 Georgia Tech (7-1) at Vanderbilt (2-6)

The Yellow Jackets continue their run through the doormats of the SEC. First it was Mississippi State, now Vanderbilt. The Yellow Jackets have quietly played very well since being embarrassed by the U. Their remaining schedule is too weak though for them to garner any national championship talk.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 30, Vanderbilt 14

#12 Penn State (7-1, 3-1) at Northwestern (5-3, 2-2)

Penn State had a great road, blowout win at Michigan. However, they should not overlook a dangerous Northwestern team. A win will make the Wildcats bowl eligible so they have plenty to play for.

Prediction: Penn State 31, Northwestern 21

North Carolina (4-3, 0-3) at #13 Virginia Tech (5-2, 3-1)

The Tar Heels blew a 21-point home lead to Florida State last Thursday, dropping them to 0-3 in the ACC. Last time we saw Tech they lost their chance at the BCS Championship and likely the ACC title, with a loss to Georgia Tech. Blacksburg is a tough enough place to play but on Thursday night it is almost impossible for the road team.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 35, North Carolina 17

Wyoming (4-3, 2-1) at #16 Utah (6-1, 3-0)

Wyoming had won three straight before being shut out by Air Force last weekend. The Utes are just biding their time, until two weeks from now, when they try to spoil TCU's season.

Prediction: Utah 27, Wyoming 14

New Mexico State (3-5) at #17 Ohio State (6-2)

New Mexico State will collect a check, then collect a beatdown. Funny how Notre Dame' s schedule is supposedly so easy, but the other big boys schedule cupcakes like this and it's not even talked about.

Prediction: Ohio State 42, New Mexico State 10

Southern Miss (5-3, 3-1) at #18 Houston (6-1, 2-1)

Don't let Southern Miss' record fool you. They have lost on the road and when they have faced good teams. Houston will be at home and is a good team, you do the math.

Prediction: Houston 38, Southern Miss 24

#19 Miami (5-2, 2-2) at Wake Forest (4-4, 2-2)

Miami is not nearly as good as everyone thought, proven by their loss to a mediocre Clemson team at home. They should get a win here though because Wake Forest is garbage.

Prediction: Miami 27, Wake Forest 16

#21 West Virginia (6-1, 2-0) at South Florida (5-2, 1-2)

South Florida seems to have started their annual second half swoon as they were blown out in their last two games. West Virginia is making Pittsburgh and Cincinnati sweat a little as they keep winning. South Florida hasn't really beaten anyone good, and while I think the Moutaineers aren't as good as their record indicates, I expect them to get the road win in this one.

Prediction: West Virginia 27, South Florida 21

#22 South Carolina (6-2, 3-2) at Tennessee (3-4, 1-3)

The record doesn't show it but Lane Kiffin and more specifically his father, defensive coorindator Monte, have improved Tennessee exponentially. The defense is keeping them in games and they were a field goal away from winning at Alabama. The Vols have come close a few times against ranked teams, South Carolina is weak enough on offense where the Vols defense can carry them to a win.

Prediction: Tennessee 17, South Carolina 14

Washington State (1-6) at #23 Notre Dame (5-2)

This is the Irish's last easy game of the season. All the talk has been about Notre Dame's easy schedule but that is bull. Their last 4 opponents have a combined record of 22-9. This game will be played in San Antonio, as the Irish look to expand their recruiting base. This game should be a good showcase as the Cougars are awful. The Irish have been in close games for 6 straight weeks now. Time for a laugher, and a day where Jimmy Clausen will boost his stats and his chances for a Heisman trophy.

Prediction: Notre Dame 42, Washington State 13

#24 California (5-2, 2-2) at Arizona State (4-3, 2-2)

Cal has recovered from their awful Pac-10 start, to win their last 2 games. Unfortunately, those wins came against also-rans UCLA and Washington State. Arizona State is pretty mediocre but will have the homefield advantage. Eh, what the heck, I'll go with the upset.

Prediction: Arizona State 30, California 23

#25 Mississippi (5-2, 2-2) at Auburn (5-3, 2-3)

The Gene Chizik soap opera in Auburn continues. First it was a horrible hire, then they started 5-0 and it was a great hire, now they have lost 3 in a row and played like poo, so its a bad hire. Who knows anymore. Mississippi was exposed quickly as frauds and are finally ranked where they belong. Auburn's losing streak continues, as their offense seems to have been figured out.

Prediction: Mississippi 28, Auburn 20

Last Week: 19-5
Overall: 129-37

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Week That Was

Another pretty crappy sports weekend for me. The Nebraska Cornuskers found a new, embarrassing way to lose at home, this time to Iowa State. Nebraska had 8 (!?!?!?!) turnovers to the Cyclones 0 turnovers, and still somehow only lost 9-7. Incredibly, 4 of the turnovers occurred inside the Cyclone's 4-yard line. It was the ugliest offensive performance I have ever seen. What once seemed like such a promising season after a win at Missouri two weeks ago has turned into a nightmare. Nebraska plays at Baylor this weekend and while that may have seemed like a guaranteed win before, is completely up in the air now, due to the ineptness of the Nebraska offense.

For the first time since 2000 Notre Dame defeated Boston College, improving their record to 5-2. The defense played better than it has in recent weeks, and finally made a freshman QB make some mistakes. Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate came up big when they had to for the Irish. Next for Notre Dame is a "home" game in San Antonio, TX against hapless Washington State. The schedule picks up considerably after that as the combined record of their final four opponents is 22-9. I am still wondering where this easy schedule is that everyone talked about in the preseason?

In the NFL, the 49ers dropped their second straight and with the Arizona Cardinals upset of the New York Giants, have dropped out of first in the NFC West. It looks like after a 1 1/2 year layoff it might be the return of the Alex Smith era. Smith replaced Shaun Hill at halftime and sparked the 49ers to 3 second half touchdowns, all to TE Vernon Davis. Hill has really struggled in recent games and I wouldn't be against a full time switch to Smith. I am not expecting greatness over the Niners former #1 pick but maybe the passing game can open up a little. WR Michael Crabtree had an encouraging debut, 5 catches for 56 yards.

The Miami Dolphins looked like they were going to affirm my faith in them, as they raced out to a 24-3 lead over the undefeated New Orleans Saints. However, no lead is safe against a team that scores 40 points or more like its nothing. With some help from their defense, the Saints came roaring back to win 46-34. The Dolphins are now 2-4 for the second straight season and have a must-win game Sunday at home against the Jets. I am really growing tired of watching Ted Ginn Jr. drop balls.

The Minnesota Vikings suffered their first loss of the year, 27-17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Vikings moved the ball well on offense but turnovers and penalties in the red zone did them in. Next week is the emotional return of Brett Favre to Lambeau, and behind that story is a crucial game in the NFC North against the hot, 4-2 Packers.

In baseball, it will be the New York Yankees against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 World Series. As I predicted almost three weeks ago the Yankees won in 6 in the ALCS and the Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in 5. I am going to stick with what I predicted and say Yankees over the Phillies in 5. Ugh.

The NBA season tips off tomorrow night. I did a guest post on with a mini preview for the upcoming season, including my predictions on the Eastern and Western Conference, and NBA champions. You can check it out here:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Hail Mary - Week 7

So what's a bingo board doing as the picture for an NFL column? Don't ask me, ask the Washington Redskins! There are a lot better games this weekend than the Monday Nighter between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Redskins, but none will be as fascinating. Sherm Lewis, out of the league for 5 years, will make his triumphant return from bingo duty and serve as the Redskins Offensive Coordinator. Sure he doesn't know all of the players names, and QB Jason Campbell has admitted to probably having to improvise, but that just makes it more fun to watch!

Games That I Will Be Watching

Minnesota (6-0) at Pittsburgh (4-2), Pittsburgh favored by 4

The Vikings face their first true road test of the season as they take on the Steelers. The Vikings had another nail biting finish last weekend against Baltimore and I would not be surprised to see more Brett Favre heroics needed in this one. The Vikings defensive line can exploit a weak Steelers offensive line, but I have a bad feeling about this game. I feel like the conditions will work in the Steelers favor and I also think Favre is going to be hit like he hasn't been hit all season. Vikings suffer their first loss.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Minnesota 17

New England (4-2) at Tampa Bay (0-6), New England favored by 14 1/2

This will be the third straight year a game has been played in London. Last year, the Brits were treated to a great game between the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints. This game figures to not be so good. New England is coming off a 59-0 drubbing of the Tennessee Titans, while Tampa is still searching for their first victory. This will be an ugly, ugly game.

Prediction: New England 38, Tampa Bay 17

Atlanta (4-1) at Dallas (3-2), Dallas favored by 3 1/2

This should be a very close, tight game. The Cowboys are pretty mediocre, while the Falcons have gotten off to an impressive start. However, I expect the Falcons to play more like they did at New England, then how they did at San Francisco. I think Cowboys QB Tony Romo will make a late, critical mistake, securing the victory for the Falcons.

Prediction: Atlanta 27, Dallas 21

Arizona (3-2) at New York Giants (5-1), New York Giants favored by 7

The Giants were humbled by the Saints last weekend, proving that beating up a bunch of nobodies doesn't make you a good team. However, luckily for them this game is at night, will be very cold, and I expect the Cardinals to have problems with that. Sure, they won at Carolina in the playoffs at night last year, but Eli Manning won't throw five picks like Jake Delhomme.

Prediction: New York Giants 27, Arizona 14

Philadelphia (3-2) at Washington (2-4), Philadelphia favored by 7

If I were betting anything more than pride in this game I would definitely stay away from it. The Redskins are garnering most of the embarrassing headlines but the Eagles proved to not be much better by not only losing at Oakland, but being unable to even score a touchdown! The Redskins can stay in the game behind their defense, and by creating sacks and turnovers. I think they can do that for a half, but in the second half the Skins offense will continue to flounder, and the defense will finally crumble.

Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Washington 10

Rest of Week 7

San Francisco (3-2) at Houston (3-3), Houston favored by 3

This game will mark the debut of 49ers WR Michael Crabtree. The Texans are definitely the hardest team to figure out in the NFL. Much like their entire existence as a franchise they are up and down. This season they have been mostly down at home, and the Niners have had two weeks to stew over being embarrassed by the Falcons. I don't expect Crabtree to make much of an impact, but the return of RB Frank Gore will.

Prediction: San Francisco 24, Houston 21

Green Bay (3-2) at Cleveland (1-5), Green Bay favored by 7

The Browns showed some heart at Pittsburgh last week and weren't completely blown out. I think at home they will show that same fight, but of course come up short.

Prediction: Green Bay 23, Cleveland 17

San Diego (2-3) at Kansas City (1-5), San Diego favored by 4 1/2

The Chargers are once again floundering to start a season. Last year they got a huge come from behind win at Arrowhead that kept their slim playoff hopes alive. They are not quite in that desperate of shape yet but a loss would be pretty damaging. I think the Chiefs can beat the Chargers, but that the Bolts QB Philip Rivers will come through when he needs to.

Prediction: San Diego 28, Kansas City 21

Indianapolis (5-0) at St. Louis (0-6), Indianapolis favored by 13

The Colts are lucky enough to get an additional bye week!

Prediction: Indianapolis 34, St. Louis 14

New York Jets (3-3) at Oakland (2-4), New York Jets favored by 6

Tough game to call. Mark Sansuck has come crashing down to Earth, but he is actually better than Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell. Imagining Oakland with a 2-game winning streak is tough. So I will go somewhere in the middle. Jets win, Raiders cover.

Prediction: New York Jets 16, Oakland 13

Buffalo (2-4) at Carolina (2-3), No Line

The Bills will likely be without QB Trent Edwards but Bills fans aren't sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Both Terrell Owens and Steve Smith suck and have conspired to be complete busts for one of my fantasy football teams. Hopefully, Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart will run all over the Bills 32nd rank rush defense.

Prediction: Carolina 26, Buffalo 17

Chicago (3-2) at Cincinnati (4-2), Cincinnati favored by 1 1/2

Another game between two teams that are tough to figure out. The Bengals looked to be good to go but apparently read too many press clippings and looked flat against Houston. The Bears two losses have come because of way too many turnovers, either by that bust of a RB Matt Forte or QB Jay Cutler. Former Bears and current Bengals RB Cedric Benson will be highly motivated in this one and will have a good game. Unfortunately, Cutler will lead the Bears to victory late.

Prediction: Chicago 23, Cincinnati 20

New Orleans (5-0) at Miami (2-3), New Orleans favored by 6 1/2

After an 0-3 start the Dolphins showed plenty of fight in winning their last two games. The Wildcat, (its not a gimmick) has been working wonders for them, and RB Ronnie Brown is having a career year. The Saints are everyone's pick for the NFL's best team because of the way they have clobbered all of their opponents. This might be more hopeful than realistic but I think the Dolphins will be the ones to knock off the Saints. I think they can control the ball enough that Brees won't be able to score 40+ on them.

Prediction: Miami 27, New Orleans 24

Last Week Against the Spread: 7-7
Overall Against the Spread: 51-39

Last Week Straight Up: 7-7
Overall Straight Up: 58-32

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cram Session - Week 8

The Mountain West Conference takes top billing this weekend in college football. The game between TCU and BYU is the only game between ranked teams in Week 8. My favorite teams Nebraska and Notre Dame both fell out of the Top 25 and look to get their seasons back on track.

Games That Matter to Me That May Not Matter to You

Boston College (5-2) at Notre Dame (4-2)

The one attainable remaining goal for the Irish the rest of the way is to run the table and give themselves a shot at a BCS bowl. The road is easier than it has been in most years but that goal could die this weekend when they host the Eagles. Boston College has been a thorn in Notre Dame's side for many years, including last year when they shut the Irish out. The Eagles have been dominant at home, including last weekend's blow out of North Carolina State. On the road they are just 0-2, losing by a combined score of 73-21. QB Dave Shinskie has done a decent job thus far, throwing 9 TDs against 4 INTs. The Eagles have a dangerous RB in Montel Harris. Last week against NC State, Harris rushed for 264 yards and 5 TDs. This game scares me a lot and I know it will be close, but am counting on the Irish coming through with some late game heroics.

Prediction: Notre Dame 33, Boston College 30

Iowa State (4-3, 1-2) at Nebraska (4-2, 1-1)

It is unknown at this time whether Nebraska will stick with Zac Lee at QB or go to the heralded freshman Cody Green. Personally, I wouldn't mind if the Huskers went with Green as I have grown tired of them churning through quarterbacks every two years. If they get Green experience now, they could have a bonafide quarterback for at least 3 1/2 seasons. Lee has not done a good job moving the offense when playing real competition, and I think the team could use a lift. The Cyclones record isn't the greatest but they actually aren't as bad as I originally thought. Their QB Austen Arnaud is a weapon both throwing and passing the ball. I think the Huskers can contain him but this game will come down to how the offense produces. I expect Huskers coach Bo Pelini to make the conservative decision and stick with Lee, and at least this week it will pay off with a win.

Prediction: Nebraska 28, Iowa State 21

Top 25

#1 Florida (6-0, 4-0) at Mississippi State (3-4, 1-2)

Gators coach Urban Meyer faces his former assistant, Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen. Mullen has the Bulldogs playing more competitively, and the Gators have shown that they aren't invincible like everyone believed coming into the season. I think the Bulldogs will put up a good effort but not good enough.

Prediction: Florida 35, Mississippi State 17

Tennessee (3-3, 1-2) at #2 Alabama (7-0, 4-0)

Alabama is the true number one team in the country and they get a chance to cement that when they host the Volunteers. Florida had some problems with Tennessee at home. If the Crimson Tide can blow them out, I will fail to see why anyone would keep the Gators at #1.

Prediction: Alabama 28, Tennessee 13

#3 Texas (6-0, 3-0) at Missouri (4-2, 0-2)

Texas won in ugly fashion against Oklahoma and continues to be pretty unimpressive. The atmosphere at Missouri will be difficult as that crowd can get loud especially for a night game. It is hard to compare weeks but if the Huskers could handle that crowd, I think the Longhorns will be fine.

Prediction: Texas 27, Missouri 14

#4 Boise State (6-0, 1-0) at Hawaii (2-4, 0-3)

Hawaii hasn't been the same ever since June Jones left for SMU and their program was taken over by a homophobe. The Broncos would like to get a convincing win here, as their last two wins have allowed people to start picking at how good they really are.

Prediction: Boise State 31, Hawaii 17

Louisville (2-4, 0-2) at #5 Cincinnati (6-0, 2-0)

The big question mark in this game is whether Bearcats QB Tony Pike will be able to start. Pike was injured in the win at South Florida last week, but was capably replaced by Zach Collaros. The Cardinals have lost six in a row on the road but I think this could be a trap game for the Bearcats. I am not calling the upset, but the game will be closer than people expect.

Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Louisville 21

#6 Iowa (7-0, 3-0) at Michigan State (4-3, 3-1)

Iowa keeps winning, so much like the Denver Broncos in the NFL, I have to stop calling them a fraud. I want to pick them to lose this game at East Lansing but I keep being wrong when picking against the Hawkeyes.

Prediction: Iowa 24, Michigan State 21

Oregon State (4-2, 2-1) at #7 USC (5-1, 2-1)

USC has a very good QB in Matt Barkley. I doubted Barkley but he absolutely shredded Notre Dame's defense and showed a lot of poise in a tough environment for the second time this season. I think the Trojans win this game against the Beavers with relative ease.

Prediction: USC 35, Oregon State 17

#8 TCU (6-0, 2-0) at #16 BYU (6-1, 3-0)

TCU has managed to stay pretty under the radar for a team that is 6-0 and has only been seriously tested twice. BYU, save for that embarrassing home performance against Florida State, has been very good as well. The Horned Frogs have a fantastic defense that is only giving up 13.7 points a game. Their weapons on offense include QB Andy Dalton, and RB Joseph Turner. Something will have to give in this one as the BYU offense is as potent as the TCU defense. QB Max Hall has thrown 16 TDs but is prone to errors as he has also thrown 10 INTs. TE Dennis Pitta is their leading receiver with 34 receptions and 5 touchdowns. I think the Cougars will find a way to get some points and not blow another important home game, knocking TCU out of the BCS buster race.

Prediction: BYU 19, TCU 17

Auburn (5-2, 2-2) at #9 LSU (5-1, 3-1)

The shine has really come off of Auburn in the last two weeks, as they were blown out by Arkansas and then lost at home to Kentucky. Their high powered offense was shut down by the Wildcats last weekend, and they face a very fierce LSU defense. LSU has had problems on offense all year so that will keep the game interesting.

Prediction: LSU 23, Auburn 17

Clemson (3-3, 2-2) at #10 Miami (5-1, 2-1)

This is a game Miami should definitely not overlook. Clemson RB C.J. Spiller is a game changer and will likely bust off a big play in this game. Unfortunately, the talent around him is lacking and will allow the Hurricanes to escape with a victory.

Prediction: Miami 30, Clemson 23

#11 Oregon (5-1, 3-0) at Washington (3-4, 2-2)

The Huskies lost in heartbreaking fashion at Arizona State last weekend and continued their season of incredible highs and lows. Their crowd will be ramped up for Oregon, who has reeled off 5 straight wins since their embarrassing opening night loss at Boise State. I think another close, late loss is in order for the Huskies.

Prediction: Oregon 35, Washington 28

#12 Georgia Tech (6-1, 4-1) at Virginia (3-3, 2-0)

After a nightmarish start to the season the Cavaliers have won three in a row and are legitimate contenders in the ACC. They've done it behind excellent defense, as they haven't allowed double digits in points during the streak. They face a very good Georgia Tech offense and the Yellow Jackets are coming off an emotional win at home against Virginia Tech. This is another game that tempts me to pick an upset but I have been burned picking against the Yellow Jackets multiple times this year.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 24, Virginia 20

#13 Penn State (6-1, 2-1) at Michigan (5-2, 1-2)

Travelling to Michigan has always been a nightmare for the Nittany Lions. Penn State QB Daryl Clark had a terrible game in his last major game against Iowa. I expect more of the same in this one.

Prediction: Michigan 31, Penn State 21

#15 Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-0) at Baylor (3-3, 0-2)

Not much to say.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 37, Baylor 20

SMU (3-3, 2-0) at #17 Houston (5-1, 1-1)

The Cougars return home for the first time in a month and play a pretty big game for them against a team ahead of them in the Conference USA standings. Although 2-0 in C-USA, I don't think SMU is really that good.

Prediction: Houston 35, SMU 24

Air Force (4-3, 3-1) at #18 Utah (5-1, 2-0)

Air Force's suffocating defense will likely give the Utes some problems. The Utes will have to have better ball control than they had against UNLV last weekend. Another game with a close call but the favorite wins out.

Prediction: Utah 20, Air Force 13

Minnesota (4-3, 2-2) at #19 Ohio State (5-2, 3-1)

The Buckeyes suffered a shocking loss at Purdue last weekend and sloppy play by QB Terrelle Pryor has Buckeye fans calling for a change. A home date with the Gophers should get him and the Buckeyes back on track.

Prediction: Ohio State 28, Minnesota 10

South Florida (5-1, 1-1) at #20 Pittsburgh (6-1, 3-0)

The Panthers are in the Top 25 after starting 3-0 in the Big East. If the Panthers can keep winning it could set up a huge season finale for the Big East against Cincinnati. South Florida was handled pretty easily at home by the Bearcats and I think it is time for them to start their annual late season swoon.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, South Florida 19

UCLA (3-3, 0-3) at #22 Arizona (4-2, 2-1)

Who the heck has Arizona beaten to be ranked despite being just 4-2? UCLA has not seen a revival thus far under coach Rick Neuheisel and have looked awful in Pac-10 play.

Prediction: Arizona 38, UCLA 17

Connecticut (4-2, 1-1) at #23 West Virginia (5-1, 1-0)

The Huskies will play this one with heavy hearts following the stabbing death of CB Jasper Howard. The Huskies will likely be struggling all week to think about this game and not the loss of their friend and teammate. I think they will come out inspired but a tragedy such as this doesn't lend well to game preparation.

Prediction: West Virginia 27, Connecticut 20

Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-4) at #24 South Carolina (5-2, 2-2)

The Cocks fought hard at Alabama but came up short. They essentially get a bye week with the Commodores coming to town.

Prediction: South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 12

Oklahoma (3-3, 1-1) at #25 Kansas (5-1, 1-1)

Oklahoma likely lost QB Sam Bradford for the year, after he reinjured his shoulder against Texas. Kansas proved to be frauds as they were taken down by a bad Colorado team. The Sooners are still a top notch team defensively, but without Bradford their offense suffers greatly. Kansas is a terrible defensive team but I think they can force Sooners QB Landry Jones into some mistakes. Todd Reesing will take care of the rest for Kansas.

Prediction: Kansas 27, Oklahoma 24

Last Week: 12-5
Overall: 110-32

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Week That Was

It was more of the same for Notre Dame, as they once again lost to USC. Sure, they didn't get killed but a loss is still a loss. Besides, they were on their way to being killed, losing 34-14 at one point. Jimmy Clausen didn't get going until the second half, and once again the Notre Dame defense couldn't stop anything. The Irish are now 4-2 and pretty much have to run the table to make a BCS bowl.

As disappointing as Notre Dame's loss was, at least they didn't get destroyed like Nebraska. The Huskers were crushed by Texas Tech, and it has become apparent that Nebraska has an anemic offense. QB Zac Lee was pulled during the game and it is not clear if he will be replaced or not. The next two games are very winnable for Nebraska against Iowa State and Baylor, so hopefully they can get back on track.

In the NFL, things weren't much better. The Redskins handed another winless team a victory, losing at home to Kansas City 14-6. Jason Campbell was benched in the second half, and following the game coach Jim Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties. The Redskins are now 2-4 and are starting the difficult stretch of their schedule. Jason Campbell has way too many apologists in this town but I think he should get the start against Philadelphia. If the offensive line was in better shape then Todd Collins would definitely be the guy, but against Philly's blitzing defense he would get destroyed.

Speaking of the Eagles, they didn't fare much better, losing to the Oakland Raiders. The Eagles were killed by an injury to offensive lineman Stacy Andrews to start the game. That allowed the Raiders to harass Donovan McNabb all day, and the Eagles could never get in a rhythm. The other thing is, why sign Mike Vick and then only play him 2 snaps? What a waste.

The New York Yankees are up 2-0 on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALCS. They won in typical late game fashion on Saturday night as apparently Alex Rodriguez in now clutch in October. In the NLCS, the Phillies are leading that series 2-1, and waxed the Dodgers last night 11-0. I still am liking my prediction of Phillies in 5. My Phillies/Yankees World Series prediction is looking pretty good.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Hail Mary - Week 6

In my NFL previews I predicted a 4-12 record for the DenverBroncos. For five straight weeks I have predicted that the Broncos would lose, and all five weeks they have won. Three of those five weeks they defeated pretty good teams in the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, and New England Patriots. Heading into a divisional game at San Diego the Broncos are 5-0 and with a win can increase their division lead to 3 1/2 games. Their were only two people that I knew, including Broncos fans that believed in Denver this year. My friend Omar, and ESPN writer Bill Simmons. However, despite having a rookie coach, a new quarterback, tons of new parts on defense, and an off-season filled with turmoil the Broncos are the best team in the AFC. How will they fare in San Diego this weekend? Let's find out.

Games That I Will Be Watching

Kansas City (0-5) at Washington (2-3), Washington favored by 6

When will Vegas ever learn? The Skins won't cover this 6 point spread, and I wouldn't be surprised if they lose. They love to give other teams their first win and they might be in a giving mood against Kansas City. Reports have surfaced that Redskins players want Daniel Snyder to give coach Jim Zorn a vote of confidence. The players need to shut up and play. You know how Zorn will earn a vote of confidence? If you win! Especially against the pile of dung called a schedule that the Skins have played to this point. The Skins win but it won't be pretty.

Prediction: Washington 17, Kansas City 13

Philadelphia (3-1) at Oakland (1-4), Philadelphia favored by 14

I foolishly thought the Raiders could cover a large spread in the Meadowlands, but I am sticking with the Raiders to cover in this one. The only reason I think they will lose by less than 14 is because they are at home, where they usually are at least somewhat competent. JaMarcus Russell will probably pass for 75 yards but maybe the Raiders running game, ok, nevermind, Philly covers easily.

Prediction: Philadelphia 35, Oakland 14

Buffalo (1-4) at New York Jets (3-2), New York Jets favored by 9 1/2

Man, some really crappy games this weekend getting shown to the DC area. The Jets shine has come off after a 3-0 start, while the Bills are absolutely putrid. The Bills looked like they could be a sleeper team with the way they played the Patriots on opening night, but since have been atrocious. They can't seem to get Terrell Owens involved at all. The Jets defense was dominated by Miami's Wildcat but the Bils don't have tricks like those under their sleeve.

Prediction: New York Jets 27, Buffalo 13

Chicago (3-1) at Atlanta (3-1), Atlanta favored by 3

Finally a good game! These teams had a classic game last year where a miracle finish got the Falcons the win at home. This rematch should be even better. The Falcons destroyed the 49ers and continue to look like a team on the rise. The Bears have won three in a row, with two of those wins coming by the skin of their teeth. I think they will run out of late game magic against Atlanta.

Prediction: Atlanta 28, Chicago 24

Denver (5-0) at San Diego (2-2), San Diego favored by 3 1/2

Vegas is even slower than me in believing in the Broncos, making them underdogs in this Monday Night game. People keep expecting things out of the Chargers that we just aren't getting. Maybe they have to fall to 4-8 again but I don't think San Diego is better than Denver. The Broncos defense can slow down Philip Rivers and company, while the Chargers defense could have a heck of a time trying to slow down Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno and WR Brandon Marshall.

Prediction: Denver 24, San Diego 20

Rest of Week 6

Houston (2-3) at Cincinnati (4-1), Cincinnati favored by 4 1/2

The Bengals continue to find new and exciting ways to win. 5 games in and all of them have come down to the final seconds. I think that trend will continue this weekend. The Texans continue to be mystifying, good one week, bad the next. They even go from good to bad in the middle of games as evidenced by them nearly overcoming a 21 point deficit at Arizona last Sunday.

Prediction: Cincinnati 27, Houston 23

Detroit (1-4) at Green Bay (2-2), Green Bay favored by 13 1/2

The Lions pass defense is pretty terrible and something that Packers should definitely take advantage of but I will repeat what I wrote last week, the Lions really aren't that tbad. They hung in with defending Super Bowl champions last week, and I think they will test the Packers in Lambeau.

Prediction: Green Bay 30, Detroit 20

Baltimore (3-2) at Minnesota (5-0), Minnesota favored by 3

Baltimore is in danger from being 3-0 and considered the best team in football to 3-3 and beginning to panic. The Vikings have been impressive this year but this will be by far the best team they would have played. The Ravens defense isn't quite as fearsome as it has been, especially their pass defense. Adrian Peterson will have his work cut out for him, but if Cedric Benson can go over 100 on Baltimore, Peterson is certainly capable. Favre will take his share of hits but he will once again make plays late to keep Minnesota unbeaten.

Prediction: Minnesota 24, Baltimore 23

New York Giants (5-0) at New Orleans (4-0), New Orleans favored by 3

It is the battle of the unbeaten in N'awlins. The Saints offense hasn't been as prolific in their last two games, but their defense has looked much improved under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The Giants have played a schedule almost as easy as the Redskins but have been dominant against teams that they should be dominant against. I think the Saints are good but I don't think they are tough enough yet to compete with the Giants. The key for the Saints will be whether or not they can make life hell for a hobbled Eli Manning. I expect Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to run well and keep the Giants rolling.

Prediction: New York Giants 27, New Orleans 20

Cleveland (1-4) at Pittsburgh (3-2), Pittsburgh favored by 14

Can anyone remember the last time the Browns beat Pittsburgh? If you do let me know because I am too lazy to look it up. The Steelers are expecting S Troy Polamalu to return as well as RB Willie Parker. Even if Parker can play the Steelers should stick with RB Rashard Mendenhall, who has played fantastic the last two games. Oh and he is on my fantasy team.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Cleveland 10

Carolina (1-3) at Tampa Bay (0-5), Carolina favored by 3

The Panthers are lucky that the Redskins were inept enough to hand them a victory. The Panthers aren't very good. Their running game isn't clicking, and Jake Delhomme is a turnover waiting to happen. I have been impressed with Tampa QB Josh Johnson. His numbers aren't the greatest but I like the poise he has shown and his ability to make plays. I think Tampa get's Raheem Morris his first win as coach.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Carolina 21

St. Louis (0-5) at Jacksonville (2-3), Jacksonville favored by 9 1/2

The Rams are so bad that they can be 9 1/2 point underdogs to a team that just lost 41-0 last week. However, I can't say I disagree, the Rams are atrocious in every way possible, who knows when they will get a win.

Prediction: Jacksonville 30, St. Louis 17

Arizona (2-2) at Seattle (2-3), Seattle favored by 3

It has become obvious that QB Matt Hasselbeck is the Seahawaks MVP. I still am not liking what I am seeing out of the Cardinals. I think this will be a close game but Hasselbeck will make the difference.

Prediction: Seattle 26, Arizona 24

Tennessee (0-5) at New England (3-2), New England favored by 9

I predicted the Titans would be bad but even I would have never guessed they would be this bad. Why is Jeff Fisher keeping Kerry Collins as the starting quarterback? The Titans season is over, get Vince Young in there and see what he can do. The Patriots have been an underwhelming road team but are 3-0 at home and should have no problem with the Titans.

Prediction: New England 27, Tennessee 14

Last Week Against the Spread: 8-6
Overall Against the Spread: 44-32

Last Week Straight Up: 10-4
Overall Straight Up: 51-25

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cram Session - Week 7

I know we have The Red River Shootout, and Virginia Tech has a pretty big game at Georgia Tech, but the game of the weekend is USC traveling to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. If Charlie Weis wants to keep his job, a win in this game would go a long way towards ensuring that.

Top 25

Arkansas (3-2, 1-2) at #1 Florida (5-0, 3-0)

Some are calling this a potential trap game for the Gators following their win over LSU. Arkansas will have the best offense that Florida has faced all season, but on the flip the Razorbacks will be facing the Gators dominant defense. Alabama had little problem with Arkansas, I expect Florida to have even less.

Prediction: Florida 35, Arkansas 14

#22 South Carolina (5-1, 2-1) at #2 Alabama (6-0, 3-0)

Alabama has rightfully moved past Texas into the number 2 spot in the polls. South Carolina is off to a good start having won four straight. However, this is their first road game in over a month and the Crimson Tide are by far the toughest competition they will have faced. I think the Gamecocks keep it relatively close but Bama is too good.

Prediction: Alabama 31, South Carolina 17

#20 Oklahoma (3-2, 1-0) at #3 Texas (5-0, 2-0)

This game has lost a bit of its luster with the Sooners already having lost twice. That being said, the Big 12 South is still very much up for grabs and Oklahoma has QB Sam Bradford back. Texas is undefeated but hasn't been overly impressive, including struggling with Colorado for way too long. However, the Sooners are weaker than they were a year ago and I think Texas is just plain better.

Prediction: Texas 28, Oklahoma 21

#4 Virginia Tech (5-1, 3-0) at #19 Georgia Tech (5-1, 3-1)

This game appears to be the Hokies toughest remaining game of the season. There is a long way to go but if they can this one they will have the inside track to being in the mix for a national title. This will be a good offense versus defense battle with the high powered Yellow Jacket offense taking on the stout Hokies defense. I am not a big believer in Georgia Tech this year and I think the recent uprising of the Hokies offense will get them the win.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, Georgia Tech 31

#6 USC (4-1) at #25 Notre Dame (4-1)

Remember how I said how hyped I was for Nebraska at Missouri last week? Times that excitement by about 100 and you get my excitement for this game. I believe that Notre Dame can finally beat USC for the first time since 2001. The law of averages says USC can't beat Notre Dame forever and this is the best Irish team USC would have faced since their amazing game in 2005. The Irish have one of the best offenses in all of college football. They will face a very good Trojans defense, which hasn't allowed more than 16 points in a game this season. However, the Trojans haven't seen the kind of skill players that the Irish have. It is a shame that WR Michael Floyd is going to miss this game, but WR Golden Tate and TE Kyle Rudolph have stepped up in his place. Where the big question mark comes for Notre Dame is on defense. Ever since an impressive opening game performance against Nevada the defense has struggled. The defense doesn't have to pitch a shut out but they need to cause turnovers and not let the Trojans march down the field effortlessly. USC QB Matt Barkley is a freshman and while he has played well, he is still very young and can be made to make mistakes. The Irish will also have to contain USC RB Joe McKnight, if they can do that they have a great chance because the Trojans passing attack isn't scary at all. I could turn out to be completely wrong but the Irish will get the win and Charlie Weis will get a 100-year extension.

Prediction: Notre Dame 29, USC 28

#7 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0) at Purdue (1-5, 0-2)

Ohio State will have smooth sailing for the next three weeks until they play Penn State and Iowa back to back.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Purdue 13

#8 Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0) at #21 South Florida (5-0, 1-0)

Huge Big East battle on Thursday night. Cincinnati has been very impressive so far while South Florida has been able to keep winning despite losing senior QB Matt Grothe to a season ending injury. I really like this Bearcats team, especially their QB Tony Pike. However, Pike will have his work cut out for him against a very good Bulls defense.

Prediction: Cincinnati 21, South Florida 20

#9 Miami (4-1) at Central Florida (3-2)

This will be quite the leap in competition for Central Florida as they have played a bunch of nobodies up until this Saturday. I think the atmosphere could give Hurricanes QB Jacory Harris some problems early but then the Canes pull away.

Prediction: Miami 34, Central Florida 16

#11 Iowa (6-0, 2-0) at Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1)

Despite being 6-0 I still consider the Hawkeyes flukefrauds of the highest order. A trip to Madison will prove that.

Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Iowa 24

Colorado State (3-3, 0-2) at #12 TCU (5-0, 1-0)

TCU might get caught looking ahead to their showdown at BYU next week and could give the Rams some life in this one.

Prediction: TCU 27, Colorado State 17

Minnesota (4-2, 2-1) at #14 Penn State (5-1, 1-1)

The Golden Gophers could give the Nittany Lions a test, especially since Penn State lost to the only good team they have played this year. If this was at Minnesota I would pick the upset but I think Happy Valley makes the difference.

Prediction: Penn State 31, Minnesota 23

Texas Tech (4-2, 1-1) at #15 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0)

I hope the Cornhuskers aren't overlooking Texas Tech. They may not have Graham Harrell or Michael Crabtree anymore but led by coach Mike Leach they are always dangerous offensively. I believe that the Blackshirts are back for Nebraska and if they can manhandle the Red Raiders I will be fully convinced. Texas Tech has the best passing offense in the country heading into this game. It is unknown whether Taylor Potts or Steven Sheffield will start the game at quarterback for the Red Raiders. The Huskers do know they will have to contend with WRs Alexander Torres and Detron Lewis. I think the Huskers offense can move down the field against the weak defense of the Red Raiders. This will be close but I like the Huskers. Suh for Heisman!

Prediction: Nebraska 34, Texas Tech 24

Missouri (4-1, 0-1) at #16 Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-0)

I saw how overrated Missouri was against Nebraska. Their defense played well but their offense looked atrocious, especially QB Blaine Gabbert. The Cowboys aren't as good defensively as the Huskers but good enough to pull out a win.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 28, Missouri 17

#17 Kansas (5-0, 1-0) at Colorado (1-4, 0-1)

Kansas proved themselves to be tremendous frauds by barely beating an awful Iowa State team at home. Colorado keeps on losing but they have been fighting pretty hard. I am calling the upset.

Prediction: Colorado 28, Kansas 27

#18 BYU (5-1, 2-0) at San Diego State (2-3, 0-1)

The Aztecs are awful, Cougars roll.

Prediction: BYU 42, San Diego State 17

#23 Houston (4-1, 0-1) at Tulane (2-3, 0-2)

Somehow a win at Mississippi State vaulted the Cougars back into the Top 25. They try to get their first conference win of the season, after being embarrassed at UTEP a few weeks ago. They will do the embarrassing this time.

Prediction: Houston 37, Tulane 10

#24 Utah (4-1, 1-0) at UNLV (2-4, 0-2)

UNLV has been horrendous the last two weeks, losing by scores of 63-28 and 59-21. The Utes are not an offensive juggernaut but with the way the Runnin Rebels have been playing defense, I wouldn't be surprised if they put up at least 40.

Prediction: Utah 40, UNLV 24

Last Week: 14-4
Overall: 98-27

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Week That Was

The Nebraska Cornhuskers finally beat a ranked team on the road, and they did it the Husker way, with dominating defense. There is no longer any denying that the Blackshirts are back for Nebraska, led by Ndamukong Suh. Suh won't win the Heisman because somehow voters have become convinced that only offensive players or defensive players that play some offense are worthy of being named the best player in the nation. However, under a fair vote, there is no doubting that Suh is the best player in college football. He absolutely dominated Missouri's defensive line, and also dropped back into coverage, picking off a pass that helped seal Nebraska's victory. For three quarters it was very ugly, the Huskers looked awful on offense and insisted on throwing despite QB Zac Lee being completely inaccurate. However, in the fourth quarter something awoke within them, Lee started hitting his passes, the defense started creating turnovers and now Nebraska finds themselves as the favorites to take the Big 12 North. After Kansas barely beat Iowa State at home this past weekend I am much less worried about the Huskers trip to Lawrence. I am looking at when Choklahoma comes to Lincoln. Choklahoma has whipped Nebrasa the last few meetings, but this year I think the Huskers can take them.

Notre Dame had the weekend off but we are nowfive days away from perhaps the biggest game in Charlie Weis' coaching career. The Irish are now ranked #25 and get to face USC at home on Saturday. This is the Irish's best chance to beat the Trojans since Weis first year, when the Irish had the Trojans beat before Reggie Bush cheated and shoved in Matt Leinart for a touchdown. While I think the Irish can win I won't be entirely disappointed with a loss. However, if the Irish get embarrassed by the Trojans, then Charlie will have to go. USC is good but not nearly as talented as the other USC teams Weis has faced. The Irish have a fantastic quarterback in Jimmy Clausen, a good running back in Armando Allen, and a great wide receiver in Golden Tate. Defense is still lacking but the offense should be able to go score to score with the Trojans. I will have much more on this game Thursday in Cram Session.

Looks like I jinxed the 49ers, as they were shellacked at home by the Falcons 45-10. I didn't get to see the game but from the looks of things the defense completely collapsed, including CB Dre Bly's idiotic play where he intercepted it, then left the ball out to celebrate and fumbled and lost it to the Falcons. QB Shaun Hill also played like crap and it is obvious that the 49ers miss RB Frank Gore. I have complete confidence in coach Mike Singletary and am not too worried yet.

I wasn't expecting the Redskins to beat the Carolina Panthers, so of course they go out and get a 17-2 lead, getting my hopes up, then blow the game like only they can. The offense scored two touchdowns but that was all because of the defense causing turnovers. Otherwise, they couldn't move the ball at all. The Skins also lost Chris Samuels early, and had some guy named Batiste replace him and play like crap. Mike Williams started on the offensive line for the first time in 4 years. I doubt anyone caught his interview on Fox after the game but he is a weird dude. Fox also receives an EPIC fail for crapping out during the game. I also want to know why it is legal for the kicking team to block a receiving teams player on a punt into a returner who has called for a fair catch. The Redskins have now been the first win for the Panthers and the Detroit Lions. On Sunday they get the opportunity to be the Chiefs first win, as 0-5 Kansas City comes to FedEx.

The divisional playoffs are wrapping up quickly in baseball. The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles all swept their series. The Philadelphia Phillies can move on to the NLCS with win tonight over the Colorado Rockies. The only true surprise winner to me was the Angels as they finally exorcised their Red Sox demons. As I suspected this Red Sox team was not made for a long run in October. Their pitching was up in the air and their offense was a shell of its former self. It was especially gratifying to see that douche Jonathan Papelbon blow the game yesterday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Hail Mary - Week 5

The revival of the San Francisco 49ers has me ecstatic. I know it is still early, and they are just 3-1, but with this team I can tell they are destined to make a playoff run this year. It is even more fitting that this revival is happening as the Niners have gone back to the jerseys from their heyday. The Niners face a tough Atlanta Falcons team at home. The one thing the Niners can't say yet is that they have defeated a good team. They get their chance on Sunday.

Games That I Will Be Watching

Washington (2-2) at Carolina (0-3), Carolina favored by 3 1/2

The Redskins tour of winless teams continues this weekend in Carolina. Carolina is the "best" of the winless that they will face but the potential is their for a Redskins win. The Panthers offense, led by QB Jake Delhomme is turnover prone, and the Redskins defense has created 2 or more turnovers in three of the four games this season. However, the Redskins offense proved last weekend that they can be just as turnover prone. I expect an ugly, mistake filled game, that the Redskins will lose.

P.S. Not making anything out of Sherman Lewis being hired as an offensive consultant. I doubt he will add or detract anything to the offense. The Redskins have hired consultants in the past and they have done very little. I expect this to be no different. However, it possibly allows the Redskins to fire Jim Zorn during the season.

Prediction: Carolina 24, Washington 21

Cincinnati (3-1) at Baltimore (3-1), Baltimore favored by 8 1/2

The Bengals get a chance to prove that they are legitimate contenders in the AFC North. Vegas obviously doesn't think they are, making the Ravens 8 1/2 point favorites. The Ravens are a dominant home team, and while the Bengals played crappy in Cleveland, I think they can cover here.

Prediction: Baltimore 28, Cincinnati 21

New England (3-1) at Denver (4-0), New England favored by 3 1/2

The Broncos keep on winning despite me picking against them every week. I still am not sold on their offense but any defense that gives up 26 points through 4 weeks is pretty legit. I give Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan a ton of credit for how quickly he has turned around that unit. Reports of the Patriots demise a few weeks ago are proving to be premature, and I think Tom Brady and Randy Moss are the ones to bring the Broncos back down to Earth.

Prediction: New England 20, Denver 17

Indianapolis (4-0) at Tennessee (0-4), Indianapolis favored by 3 1/2

Not quite the records NBC executives were expecting when they made this the Sunday Night game for Week 5. However, this game is still intriguing because the Titans season will be officially meaningless if they lose this one. Vegas obviously still can't believe the Titans are that bad, but I called them sucking in the preseason. Let it go Vegas, the Colts cover this easily.

Prediction: Indianapolis 34, Tennessee 21

New York Jets (3-1) at Miami (1-3), New York Jets favored by 1 1/2

The key to this game for the Dolphins will be ball control. When the Wildcat is working the Dolphins absolutely dominate the time of possession. RB Ronnie Brown has played great through four weeks but he will definitely have his work cut out for him against a stout Jets defense. Jets QB Mark Sanchez proved last weekend that he still has a lot of growing to do, and I think the Dolphins defense can pressure him. The Dolphins need this game more than the Jets, I like the desperate home team.

Prediction: Miami 20, New York Jets 14

Rest of Week 5

Cleveland (0-4) at Buffalo (1-3), Buffalo favored by 6

The Bills are a much better team at home, so I expect them to get back on the winning track against the Browns. TO, no excuses, get your ass in gear this weekend!

Prediction: Buffalo 24, Cleveland 10

Pittsburgh (2-2) at Detroit (1-3), Pittsburgh favored by 10 1/2

It will take people time to grow accustomed to the Lions not being completely terrible but I think that is the case this year. I wouldn't go printing playoff tickets in Detroit but I expect them to be pretty competitive throughout the season. Whether it is Matthew Stafford or Daunte Culpepper at quarterback in this one, the Lions will cover.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, Detroit 15

Dallas (2-2) at Kansas City (0-4), Dallas favored by 8 1/2

Tony Romo has suffered quite the fall from grace in Dallas. It is becoming more and more apparent that the Cowboys passing game misses Terrell Owens. They were able to mask it with the running game going so well, but with the run shut down by the Broncos, Romo was unable to make the plays necessary to win. Romo shouldn't have to do much to beat the Chiefs. One of the saddest things to watch has been the deterioration of Arrowhead Stadium as being a tough place to win.

Prediction: Dallas 23, Kansas City 16

Minnesota (4-0) at St. Louis (0-4), Minnesota favored by 9 1/2

Mismatch of the weekend. This line should be higher. Vikings fans are aware that Brett Favre started off last year hot as well but also know that the Vikings are a much better team than the Jets were last year.

Prediction: Minnesota 35, St. Louis 10

Oakland (1-3) at New York Giants (4-0), New York Giants favored by 15 1/2

Could the Giants early season schedule be any easier? Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell will have an awful day at the Meadowlands, I am thinking 30% passing, 3 INTs awful. However, 15 1/2 is just too high of a number, especially with QB Eli Manning possibly not starting.

Prediction: New York Giants 27, Oakland 13

Tampa Bay (0-4) at Philadelphia (2-1), Philadelphia favored by 15

Eagles QB Donovan McNabb makes his first start since Week 1. RB Brian Westbrook is also returning to the lineup for the Eagles. Expect Michael Vick to see plenty of action as well. Buccaneers QB Josh Johnson impressed me last weekend. He hung in there against a pretty good Redskins defense and showed a lot of comfort and poise.

Prediction: Philadelphia 30, Tampa Bay 16

Atlanta (2-1) at San Francisco (3-1), San Francisco favored by 2 1/2

I may have to start doing something I hate, and that is going to the bar to watch football. I feel like the bar makes me not follow the games as close and is too distracting an atmosphere. However, with the 49ers being beasts again, that will be the only way I can see most of their games on the East coast. The Broncos/Patriots game that will be on at this time is too good to make me go to the bar this weekend but I will be following this one closely. If only stupid Cox cable got the NFL Network's new Red Zone Channel. This should be a great game. The Falcons have the edge on offense, while the Niners have the edge on defense. The 49ers will have to keep RB Michael Turner contained, as he seems poised for a breakout game. The Niners offense can move the ball on this Falcons defense, and QB Shaun Hill continues doing what is necessary to win games. New signing WR Michael Crabtree can sit on the sidelines, shut his mouth, and see what he has the privilege to now be a part of.

Prediction: San Francisco 24, Atlanta 21

Jacksonville (2-2) at Seattle (1-3), No Line

No line on this game as the status of Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck remains in the air. Whether it is him or Seneca Wallace I like the Seahawks at home.

Prediction: Seattle 24, Jacksonville 18

Houston (2-2) at Arizona (1-2), Arizona favored by 5 1/2

This is a very tough game to call. The Cardinals aren't in sync and are 0-2 at home. The Texans have played just one road game and it was their best played game of the season. I guess I just can't see Arizona dropping to 0-3 at home, a place they have played very well at in recent years. This game will likely be a shoot out and come down to the final seconds.

Prediction: Arizona 34, Houston 31

Last Week Against the Spread: 5-9 (ouch)
Overall Against the Spread: 36-26

Last Week Straight Up: 11-3
Overall Straight Up: 41-21

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cram Session - Week 6

The big national game is #1 Florida and likely Tim Tebow traveling to LSU to face the #4 Tigers. However, the big game to me is Thursday night's Nebraska at Missouri Big 12 North battle. The Huskers get a second opportunity to win a tough road game against a ranked team. Notre Dame has the weekend off, as they get two weeks to prepare for USC.

Top 25

#1 Florida (4-0, 2-0) at #4 LSU (5-0, 3-0)

The winner of this game the last three years has gone on to win the National Championship. That is about all you need to know to understand the importance of this game. The biggest storyline is will Florida QB Tim Tebow play after suffering a concussion two weeks ago. With him already doing some practice I expect him to play, but I don't think he will play particularly well. I don't think LSU is that great a team but the stars seem to be aligning for them in this one. A night game at home against a shaky Tebow will equal upset.

Prediction: LSU 27, Florida 23

Colorado (1-3, 0-0) at #2 Texas (4-0, 1-0)

I think if Texas blows out Colorado they will vault to number one in the polls with a Florida loss. However, if they aren't impressive, I could definitely see the voters vaulting LSU or Alabama above them. I think the Longhorns impress.

Prediction: Texas 45, Colorado 27

#3 Alabama (5-0, 2-0) at #20 Mississippi (3-1, 1-1)

Another big SEC game is this one. Some people are starting to believe that the Crimson Tide, not the Gators, are the best team in the SEC. The Rebels were exposed as frauds at South Carolina a couple weeks ago, and a loss here will further cement that status.

Prediction: Alabama 34, Mississippi 21

Boston College (4-1, 2-1) at #5 Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0)

Tech struggled more than they should have with Duke and now host a pretty hot Boston College team. Despite good numbers Eagles QB Dave Shinskie is no Matt Ryan, so the Hokies will take this one.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Boston College 16

Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0) at #9 Ohio State (4-1, 2-0)

Despite the Badgers being 5-0 they aren't ranked, which gives you an idea of how crappy the Big 10 is considered to be. Ohio State has looked really impressive since the loss to USC and I think they hold off a game Wisconsin team.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 24

#10 TCU (4-0, 0-0) at Air Force (3-2, 2-0)

TCU is quietly undefeated while Air Force goes back to conference play where they seem to be most comfortable. The Frogs defense will continue to play well.

Prediction: TCU 24, Air Force 10

Florida A & M (4-0) at #11 Miami (3-1)

Look at the kind of crap Miami plays.

Prediction: Miami 42, Florida A & M 21

Michigan (4-1, 1-1) at #12 Iowa (5-0, 1-0)

Iowa showed their fraud selves by barely beating Arkansas State at home. Michigan QB Tate Forcier has one road game under his belt now, the scene won't seem so big to him this weekend.

Prediction: Michigan 27, Iowa 20

#13 Oregon (4-1, 2-0) at UCLA (3-1, 0-1)

Oregon has stormed back ever since being embarrassed on opening night by Boise State. Winning at UCLA will be tough but I think the Ducks have grown a lot in the last month.

Prediction: Oregon 32, UCLA 24

Eastern Illinois (4-1) at #14 Penn State (4-1)

Bobby Bowden should take some notes from Joe Paterno. If you want to keep coaching until you die you need to schedule teams like these.

Prediction: Penn State 34, Eastern Illinois 10

#15 Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-0) at Texas A & M (3-1. 0-0)

I know that the Aggies just got destroyed by Arkansas but the Cowboys seem completely overrated to me, and the type of team that would lose a conference road opener, no matter the opponent.

Prediction: Texas A & M 35, Oklahoma State 31

Iowa State (3-2, 0-1) at #16 Kansas (4-0, 0-0)

We are going to be 5 games in and Kansas still wouldn't have played a good team. Nebraska will have played 2. See you November 14th.

Prediction: Kansas 28, Iowa State 13

#17 Auburn (5-0, 2-0) at Arkansas (2-2, 0-2)

This is a real tough game for me to pick. I worry about Auburn reading too many press clippings this week, now that the public has finally noticed that they are 5-0. Arkansas has a pretty potent offense and will be at home. I will go out on a limb.

Prediction: Arkansas 28, Auburn 27

#18 BYU (4-1, 1-0) at UNLV (2-3, 0-1)

I got nothing.

Prediction: BYU 35, UNLV 21

Baylor (3-1, 0-0) at #19 Oklahoma (2-2, 0-0)

All Choklahoma has left to play for is the Big 12 championship, as their national title hopes died last Saturday. QB Sam Bradford might return for this one, doesn't really matter.

Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Baylor 20

#21 Nebraska (3-1, 0-0) at #24 Missouri (4-0, 0-0)

I was surprised to see that Vegas has the Huskers as favorites in this one. It also worries me because home underdogs have killed on Thursday nights. However, I like the Huskers to win this one. Missouri may be 4-0 but they haven't played anyone good. Their QB Blaine Gabbert has 11 TDs to 0 INTs, but he hasn't faced a tough defense like Nebraska will throw at him. The Huskers will have to get pressure on him, much more pressure than they got on Tyrod Taylor. The Huskers will also need their QB Zac Lee to be much more accurate than he was in Blacksburg. Missouri's defense has played well to start the season, but again, I am waiting to see how they do against a good team. The atmosphere will be very tough but the Huskers looked more than ready at Virginia Tech, so I think they can handle it. This is a must win for Nebraska, not just for the season, but for the program. A loss, especially if that loss ends up being embarrassing will be demoralizing.

Prediction: Nebraska 24, Missouri 20

#22 Georgia Tech (4-1, 2-1) at Florida State (2-3, 0-2)

All of the talk this week has centered around Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden and whether he should retire in peace or be forced out. The Seminoles are pretty bad but have shown they can play well at times. I think they are motivated after all the talk this week, plus the ACC home teams usually win.

Prediction: Florida State 27, Georgia Tech 19

Kentucky (2-2, 0-2) at #25 South Carolina (4-1, 1-1)

The Gamecocks have to avoid looking ahead to their game at Alabama next weekend. Kentucky will put up some fight but the Cocks will rise to the occasion.

Prediction: South Carolina 20, Kentucky 13

Last Week: 13-6
Overall: 84-23

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Week That Was

Things are looking up for the moment in South Bend. Notre Dame is 4-1 heading into their bye week and have their best chance in years to beat USC when they visit in two weeks. The Irish survived by the skin of their teeth against Washington, defeating them in overtime 37-30. Watching the Huskies you could see what a difference head coach Steve Sarkisian has made. The Huskies now have an energetic coach, instead of a bumbling, in over their head coach. Irish QB Jimmy Clausen had a tremendous day, as did WR Golden Tate. The Notre Dame offense has been spectacular this year and is the reason the Irish are playing better. You can't ask for much more than Clausen has done this year. He is completing 67.6% of his passes, and has thrown 12 TDs against 2 INTs. The Notre Dame haters want to say he hasn't done it against any good defenses, but does he control that? He has done about all you can ask of your quarterback, and I would take him over almost every QB in college football besides Tim "God" Tebow. The defense still is struggling but made huge plays when needed to on Saturday, with three goal line stands. I will have much more on the USC game next week, but I can't wait for that one.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers have a huge game of their own this Thursday. They travel to take on #24 Missouri in a prime time, 9:00 PM game. The Huskers came so close to winning at Blacksburg, and now have another chance to get a signature win under coach Bo Pelini. Check back on Thursday when I preview this game in Cram Session.

The San Francisco 49ers continue to put the rest of the NFL on notice, as they obliterated the St. Louis Rams 35-0, to improve to 3-1 and more importantly, 3-0 in the NFC West. I couldn't be a bigger Patrick Willis or Mike Singletary fan right now.

The Miami Dolphins got their first win of the season, destroying the Buffalo Bills. I didn't think the Dolphins were as bad as their 0-3 record indicated and kept trying to remind myself that they started 0-2, and 2-4 last year, and still made the playoffs.

The Washington Redskins improved to 2-2 with an ugly come from behind win against the putrid, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The offense continues to struggle, with Jason Campbell throwing 3 INTs. Campbell did make 2 good throws, on his touchdown passes to TE Chris Cooley and WR Santana Moss. As most of you know I am no Campbell fan, and while I would like to see Todd Collins given a chance, I realize it probably won't happen. The Redskins face a winless team for the third straight week on Sunday, when they travel to Carolina. I am not liking their chances on the road, as I don't think the Panthers are as bad as their record indicates.

The NHL season began this past Thursday and their are high hopes for the Washington Capitals. I think the Capitals will win the Stanley Cup this season and they did nothing to dampen my confidence, looking awesome in wins over the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. I won't get into hockey much until after college basketball season but will be keeping my eye on the Caps.

Mercifully, the Major League Baseball season finally came to a close for the Baltimore Orioles. The O's finished in last place in the AL East and last place in the American League with a 64-98 record. It was a familiar story for Baltimore as they started off playing alright and then saw the wheels fall off in the second half of the season. I was happy that they avoided 100 losses, but I still think unfortunately we are a few years away from contending. The goal next year should be 82, win 82 games and have their first winning season since 1997.

Before the playoffs can begin the AL Central still has to be decided between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. Last year I did awful in my MLB playoff predictions but will try to do better this year.

American League

Division Series

#1 New York Yankees over #3 Minnesota Twins, 3-1
#4 Boston Red Sox over #2 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 3-1

American League Championship Series

#1 New York Yankees over #4 Boston Red Sox, 4-2

National League

Division Series

#1 Los Angeles Dodgers over #3 St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2
#2 Philadelphia Phillies over #4 Colorado Rockies, 3-2

National League Championship Series

#2 Philadelphia Phillies over #1 Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-1

World Series

#1 New York Yankees over #2 Philadelphia Phillies, 4-1

As much as I hate to say it I am sticking with my preseason prediction of the New York Yankees as World Series champions. Hopefully, I have cursed them with this prediction.