November 04, 2010

WeIs Roundtable Week 10 Picks: BCS Non-AQ Cagematch Edition

A plate of delicious courses as the calendars turn to November.  Two heavyweight matchups make up for the #1 and #2 teams having open book pop quizzes (Washington and Chatanooga, respectively; really Auburn?  Why in the name of Tracy Rocker are the Tigers scheduling a Southern Conference foe this late?  This score better be 70-3).  On to the picks...

Baylor (+7) at Oklahoma State

Dan: Oklahoma State (-7)

My week 10 and week 11 picks are going to have to be brief due to travel limitations. 7 points seems an awful lot, but I feel Baylor is more of a pretender than OSU.

OSU 31 Baylor 20

Jeremy: Baylor (+7)

I’m not sure what to make of Baylor.  Seeing the Bears in the Top 25 is a bit off-putting.  What I do know is that Robert Griffin might be the best player on the field in this game.  Add in the disappointing efforts to Cowboys have put forth in the past few weeks (shellacked by the Huskers, only putting up 24 points in a 10-point victory over KSU) and I think you’ve got a recipe for a close game.  Don’t think the Bears can pull the straight upset, but it wouldn’t shock me.

Oklahoma St. 31  Baylor 27

Jimmy: Oklahoma State (-7)  Lock of the Week

Can everyone take a moment to stretch the legs and put your hands together in a standing O for the Baylor Bears?  A feel good story for all Waconites (Wacoans?  Wackos?  The Waco populace unaffiliated with David Koresh?)  Kudos to Robert Griffin III, a bonafide stud, leading the Bear charge in a huge win over Texas.  This may be an once in a blue moon occasion for Baylor football to be competitive in the Big XII, so let’s savor the moment a little.  But their 3-game winning streak comes to a screeching halt this week as they won’t be able to keep pace with the Cowboys in Stillwater.  With the nation’s leading WR back in the mix Kendall Hunter channeling the spirits of Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders, Mike Gundy should win this shootout handily.

Oklahoma State 46 Baylor 38

Matt: Oklahoma State (-7)

This one has all the makings of a shootout in Stillwater, with the added bonus that it is a de facto elimination game in the Big 12 South chase.  Who would have thought that the calendar would flip to November and it would be Baylor sitting on top of the South.  It goes to show you what an explosive offense and a competent coach can get you these days.  Robert Griffin is a track star who also happens to play QB, and he is back from a knee injury last year and lighting up Big 12 defenses.  And Art Briles,  who dominated the Texas high school football scene, turned around Houston and now has done the same at previous doormat Baylor.  Good thing ND got that Baylor game in New Orleans off the schedule – that would have been embarrassing for Our Lady.

Despite all of this, I am picking the Cowboys at home.  Blackmon is back from suspension, Weeden is putting up huge numbers, and Kendall Hunter may be the best back in the country not named LaMichael.  And I am not yet willing to live in a world where Baylor is playing in the Big 12 Championship Game. 

Oklahoma State 48 Baylor 40

Mike: Oklahoma State (-7)

I watched a bit of Oklahoma State last week and came away quite impressed with the Pokes’ offense, particularly sans Justin Blackmon.  Baylor has proven that it can score plenty of points too, but its defense will be helpless against Oklahoma State.   Throw in the heightened expectations and letdown angle for Baylor, which is now ranked, and you’ve got a recipe for a comfortable win for the hosts.

Oklahoma State 49 Baylor 31

Arkansas (+3) at South Carolina

Dan: Arkansas (+3)

A la MSU I just feel like South Carolina is due for a letdown. On the road, this would be easy. Either way, I’ll take the points.

Arkansas 24 South Carolina 17

Jeremy: Arkansas (+3)  Lock of the Week

Every time I’ve anointed the Gamecocks as the “it” team in the SEC East over the years, they’ve found ways to disappoint me.  Sorry Steve (Spurrier & Garcia), I just don’t trust you.  I’ve been burned too many times in the past.

Arkansas 27  South Carolina 24

Jimmy: South Carolina (-3)

The Gamecocks have lost two heartbreakers on the road and played very tough at home in Williams-Brice Stadium.  The same defense that stifled Alabama must rise to the occasion again to keep the Razorbacks in check.  Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore are certainly capable of running amok if their amokness is needed.  Arkansas is still the same team that gave up 65 points to Auburn. 

South Carolina 32 Arkansas 27

Matt: South Carolina (-3)

Big game for Steve Spurrier as he looks to keep his hopes alive for an SEC East crown.  I really wouldn’t be surprised if Arkansas came in and threw the ball all over the yard, but I’m going to go with the home team in this one.  Give the ball to Lattimore and Jeffrey and get out of the way.  Two of the most exciting freshman in the country.  Bright days ahead for USC, whether Spurrier stays or goes.

South Carolina 24 Arkansas 20

Mike: South Carolina (-3)

South Carolina still has a great shot at the SEC West crown, so the Gamecocks should be well focused for this game if they are not caught looking ahead to Florida next week.  Meanwhile, Arkansas has feasted on some weaker conference opponents over the last few weeks and I expect a strong effort for the Hogs.  These two teams are very evenly matched from a personnel and coaching standpoint, but I will side with the Gamecocks because they have a better running game and rushing defense than Arkansas, as well as home field advantage.

South Carolina 27 Arkansas 21

Arizona (+8) at Stanford

Dan: Arizona (+8)

A physical team like Stanford may wear down towards the end of a season. I think they control the game and win, but it’s closer than it should be.

Stanford 33 Arizona 27

Jeremy: Arizona (+8)

I don’t really think Arizona is all that great, but this just seems like too many points.  The Cardinal seem due for a “fall on your face” type game too. 

Stanford 24  Arizona 21

Jimmy: Arizona (+8)

Haven’t watched Mike Stoops’ squad in action at all this year.  But I’m a believer in their defense to slow down the all-but crowned #1 pick Andrew Luck.  That win vs. Iowa gave the Wildcats some street cred.  Let’s be honest, Pal Alto doesn’t intimidate too many teams.  Who renovates their stadium, only to make it smaller?  (And yes, ND took this very same approach with the Joyce Center, but football stadiums and bball arenas are peaches and pears).  Nick Foles (or Matt Scott – no, not the ND tennis legend/heartthrob) will match Luck throw for throw in a dramatic contest.  In the end, Harbaugh finds a way to win. 

Stanford 29 Arizona 26

Matt: Arizona (+8)

Meh.  Not interested.  Haven’t seen Arizona play but rumor has it back east here that they have a good defense.  Stanford has been a little overhyped, but I think Luck will have a big day.  Really ABC, this is what you’re giving us in primetime?

Stanford 31 Arizona 24

Mike: Arizona (+8)

I am not certain that Nick Foles will be back for Arizona, but Matt Scott has filled in admirably for Foles over the last two weeks.  Regardless of who starts at QB, the Wildcats should have an excellent chance for the outright upset team against a Stanford team that I consider to be somewhat overrated.  Nonetheless, Andrew Luck is a tremendous player and he will be the difference in a very entertaining game in Palo Alto.

Stanford 35 Arizona 34

Alabama (-6.5) at LSU

Dan: Alabama (-6.5)  Lock of the Week

I am not and never have been (this year) a believer in LSU. Tide roll.

Alabama 24 LSU 13

Jeremy: Alabama (-6.5)

Really interesting game.  ‘Bama must be licking their chops with all these title game contenders falling by the wayside.  Everything is playing out perfectly for the Tide to win the gigantic upcoming Iron Bowl matchup, roll the SEC East sacrificial lamb and sneak their way back into the BCS title game.  An Auburn-Oregon matchup would be great fun, but I think I might rather see Saban match wits against the Chip Kelly offense.  Bama takes care of business in Death Valley in a BIG way.

Alabama 34  LSU 14

Jimmy: Alabama (-6.5)

Nick Saban is on a mission to climb back into the title chase, and he’ll be damned if his former employer stands in his way.  It will be college football at its vitriolic best.  Wouldn’t be surprised to see tempers flare a little as both sides will be dialed up to 11.  The deficiencies of the Tiger offense will be glaring as this figures to be a battle for field position.  The Tide eventually wears down the home team and marches on towards the ginormous Iron Bowl. 

Alabama 27 LSU 13

Matt: Alabama (-6.5)  Lock of the Week

It’s often on days when there aren’t any marquee games that some of the craziest developments in the national championship race occurs.   I debated long and hard about this game, with the fact that LSU has played Bama tough in Baton Rouge recently weighing into my decision.  And really if the coaching matchup wasn’t SO lopsided, I would pick LSU to pull off the huge upset.  But the fact that Nicholas Saban is roaming the visitors sideline and Jordan Jefferson is taking snaps for the home team leaves me no choice – Bama rolls.

Alabama 27 LSU 13

Mike: Alabama (-6.5)

Alabama is in a perfect position right now:  under the radar with just one loss and a real shot to climb back into the title picture.  Aside from a difficult loss at South Carolina, in which the Gamecocks played a near perfect game, Alabama has been the best team in the nation this year and I expect a very strong finish for the Tide.  LSU’s defense is obviously top notch, but its offense will struggle badly to move the ball against Alabama, even at home.  The Tigers’ home field advantage will be somewhat neutralized by the early start to this game (3:30 ET).  All signs point to a big Alabama win.

Alabama 23 LSU 7

TCU (-5.5) at Utah

Dan: Utah (+5.5)

This is an awfully large spread given it is in Utah and both teams are amongst the top 5. I definitely think TCU is the better team, and Utah could be caught looking forward to their HUGE match up against Notre Dame next week, but I will take the points in a game like this.

TCU 21 Utah 17

Jeremy: TCU (-5.5)

Neither of these teams has really done anything of note so far this year, but I suppose I’m more impressed with the TCU’s resume at this point.  Mix in the fact that I’ll be spending most of Saturday afternoon/evening at a wedding with the only TCU fan I know, and I’ll go ahead and throw in my rooting interest behind the Horned Frogs as well (probably a kiss of death).

TCU 24  Utah 14

Jimmy: TCU (-5.5)

A terrific matchup of two well-constructed and excellently coached teams.  A rabid crowd will greet the Horned Frogs and will likely fluster Andy Dalton and the TCU offense, which has been the most overlooked element of their success.  But Gary Patterson’s trademark Purple Haze defense will make life hard on the Utes.  Did you know it was more than a month ago that a school scored double digits on TCU?  If you want to look at a common opponent, Air Force faced both teams the last two weeks.  Utah squeaked by last week while TCU destroyed the Falcons 38-7.  I’ve liked TCU all year and I’m not giving up on them yet.

TCU 24 Utah 17

PS - I’m positively fearful of how bad Utah will decimate the Irish ranks if, in fact, they lose and are looking to gain back the respect of voters. 

Matt: TCU (-5.5)

The game of the century!  Ok, maybe not, and it doesn’t quite have the cache or history of Alabama – Florida or Texas-Oklahoma, but I guess this is about as good as mid-major football gets.  Excuse me, non automatic qualifier football.  I’ve been a Boise State supporter all year, so I guess that means I should support whoever wins this game as well, but really there is (and probably should be) only room for one of the little guys at the big boys table.  So even if TCU comes out and blows the doors off of Utah, or vice versa, it doesn’t really change anything for me (unless something else happens Saturday – see below). 

TCU has a dominant defense, always has under Gary Patterson, and Utah is pretty much untested save for that OT win over Pitt.  As long as TCU kicks away from Shaky Smithson (add that to the laundry list of things wrong with ND football – no Shaky’s or guys with any cool nicknames), they should smother the Utah offense.  Utah did put up 68 at Iowa State, so I don’t want to dismiss their chances completely, especially at home, but if TCU shows up to play I think they win.

TCU 24 Utah 16

Mike: TCU (-5.5)

This game reminds me of last year’s TCU-BYU game, which brought College Gameday in Provo before a frenzied home crowd.  TCU yawned, then proceeded to pummel BYU mercilessly en route to an undefeated regular season.  Utah is better than last year’s BYU team, but the Utes will be rendered similarly inept by the TCU defense.  To illustrate my point, look at Baylor’s offensive statistics this year and then check the box score of the Baylor-TCU game.  Simply put, the Horned Frogs are too stingy on defense to lose this week.

TCU 31 Utah 10

Bonus Picks

Dan: Rice (+17.5) at Tulsa

See: Duke v. Navy last week.

Jeremy: Illinois (+3) at Michigan

I’m shocked to be writing this, but Ron Zook appears to be doing some nice things with this Illini program.  I always thought he was a pretty good fit down there, but, apart from the Rose Bowl season, he’s had a tough time staying out of his own way.  Illinois has a solid defense and a productive running game as well, which isn’t exactly the ideal prescription to beat the sad-sack Wolverine defense (who get gashed through the air worse than the Iraqi Republican Guard), but I think it will be enough to beat Michigan even on the road. 

Michigan’s going to have some interesting decisions to make at the end of the year.  Say they drop the game this weekend to Illinois, and lose their upcoming matchups against Bucky and Brutus, they’ll likely finish at 6-6.  Can Rich Rod survive a 6-6 season?  Can Michigan afford to fire him and start another rebuilding job? 

Illinois 31  Michigan 28

Jimmy: Boston College (-3) at Wake Forest

Following Matt’s lead on the debacle underway in the Dash.  Don’t construe this for a vote of confidence in BC, but rather a good feeling the Eagles can “trounce” Wake by at least a touchdown. 

BC 17 Wake 10

Matt: Rice (+17.5) at Tulsa

I know nothing about Rice’s football team.  Do they still run the option?  The spread?  No clue.  Here’s what I do know.  Tulsa celebrated like it had just won the national championship last weekend, and deservedly so.  They beat a terrible Notre Dame team, but still a Notre Dame team in the fabled stadium in front of 60,000 lads and 20,000 Irish fans.  Hats off to them.  

But there is no way that they are ready to play this weekend.  They get a little lucky in that the game is at home, but we saw last weekend what beating Notre Dame does to a team.  Navy played putrid Duke and got beat soundly, ending the Heisman campaign of Alexander Teich.  I think the same fate befalls the Golden Hurricane.  Bank on it…

Rice 36 Tulsa 35

Second Bonus Pick That Doesn’t Count In the Standings But I Want to Be the First To Tell You

Matt: HAWAII (+21) at Boise State

Remember how I said it’s these blah Saturdays that often shake up the picture a little bit.  Well, Oregon is not losing at home to Locker-less Washington, and Auburn is playing Chattanooga.  But…the Boise State Broncos are playing Hawaii, a team who just happens to be leading the country in total offense.  If this game was on the island I would feel a little more confident, but Boise did not look good last week against La Tech despite a 29 point win, and I think that Hawaii puts some points on the board. 

I’ve been rooting for Boise all year, and am hoping for a Boise-Auburn championship, so I hope this doesn’t happen.  But I just have a sneaking suspicion that Boise goes down this week.  You heard it here first.

Hawaii 38 Boise State 35

Mike: Colorado at Kansas (+9)

I don’t care how bad Kansas has been this year.  Colorado is not good enough to be laying 9 points against anyone on the road.

Colorado 21 Kansas 17

Last Week
Dan: 4-3 (-)
Jeremy: 3-4 (+)
Jimmy: 5-1-1 (+)
Matt: 4-3 (+)
Mike: 4-3 (-)

Dan: 34-28-1 (3-5-1)
Jeremy: 40-22-1 (6-3)
Jimmy: 36-25-2 (5-4)
Matt: 31-30-2 (4-4)
Mike: 39-23-1 (6-2-1)

1 comment:

Mike said...

I swear, I keep picking locks of the week, but they aren't showing up on the final post.

I'll take TCU.