November 18, 2010

WeIs Roundtable Week 12 Picks: "The Band is Out on the Field!" Edition

In what may be a WeIs first, we spotlight five games, all of which are road favorites.  Expect some surprises.  On to the picks… 

Ohio State (-3) at Iowa

Dan: Ohio State (-3)

Hate this game. Really tough to bet. Iowa is in a tough spot having just ruined their season at the end of an emotional game, but Ohio State has been bad on the road. I’ll play the spot rather than the road history.

Ohio State 20 Iowa 13

Jeremy: Ohio State (-3)

Straight chalk picks this week devoid of explanation.  Yawn.

Jimmy: Ohio State (-3)

I'd love to see the Hawkeyes win this just to knock OSU down a peg and let a fresh face (Michigan State or Wisconsin) partake in the Rose Bowl festivities.  But if Northwestern can knock off Iowa (which is becoming old hat in Evanston now that they've won 6 of the last 7), a dialed in Buckeyes team should overcome the Kinnick Stadium crowd.  Pryor will follow the Dan Persa script and dominate like only he can.

Ohio State 27  Iowa 23

Matt: Ohio State (-3)  Lock of the Week

A weak slate of games this week leaves this Big Ten tussle as the premier game of the week.  Ohio State is fighting to remain a part of the ménage a trios atop the Big Ten standings, while Iowa is perhaps fighting for what seems like their annual appearance in the Outback Bowl.  After an auspicious first half last week against Penn State, the Vest rallied the troops at halftime and punished Joe Pa and the Lions en route to a surprising cover. 

No reason to think that TP and Boom Herron will have any more trouble this week.  In fact, I think the game will play out similar to last week, with the Hawkeyes staying close for a half and then fading as the talent gap is demonstrated between the two teams.

Ohio State 31 Iowa 17

Mike: Iowa (+3)

The Hawkeyes have been somewhat underwhelming this year, particularly in the past few weeks on the road against Indiana and Northwestern.  Although last week’s loss eliminated Iowa from contention in the Big Ten, I suspect that they will put together their best performance of the year at home against the Buckeyes.  Ohio State, despite having just one loss, has not performed as well as many expected this year and I do not believe they will be able to hang with Iowa if the Hawkeyes are indeed on top of their game.

Iowa 24 Ohio State 21

Stanford (-7.5) at California

Dan: Stanford (-7.5)  Lock of the Week

The line has moved down under a touchdown, which means people are betting Cal. I actually like Stanford here. Cal has a letdown after their close loss last week.

Stanford 31 Cal 20

Jeremy: Stanford (-7.5)

Jimmy: California (+7.5)

The 113th meeting of The Big Game.  Anything can happen in this rivalry contest with the Stanford Axe at stake.  Found a terrific article detailing the greatest Cal upsets in this storied rivalry, including the crown jewel of sports highlights, The Play. 

Looking past the lame and blatant attempts to slow the Oregon offense down, the Bears proved that they certainly are a different team in Berkeley, whereas Stanford was lucky to emerge from Scottsdale with a victory.  Throw the records out the door in this one.  I think Cal finds a way to sour Stanford’s great season.

Cal 37  Stanford 34 (OT)

Matt: California (+7.5)

Ok, now this is just getting weird.  The team that was pummeled on the road against Nevada and USC and a bad Oregon State team and also nearly lost at Wazzu, is just a different team at home.  Last week’s scare of Oregon proved a few things: the Bears can play with anyone in the country, the Bears do not have a clutch field goal kicker, and Jeff Tedford will stoop to the lowest of the lows to give his team an advantage.  Seriously, instructing your players to fake injuries to slow down the notoriously quick stike Oregon offense is just in poor sportsmanship.  The Youtube clip where the Cal d lineman gets up, walks fine, looks to his bench, and that keels over in agony right on the ball as if he was taken out by a sniper is pathetic. 

Stanford has been out of sight out of mind for me since the ND game.  They’ve just gone about their business and kept piling up wins.  It’s funny to hear the complaint that Stanford is going to be left out of the BCS.  You mean a big money-making bowl doesn’t want to invite a program with no fans, no history and can’t even sell out their own stadium.  I’m shocked. 

Stanford 27 Cal 20

Mike: California (+7.5)

Tough loss for the Bears against Oregon last week, but, even in defeat, Cal showed that they are a difficult team to beat in Strawberry Canyon.  Although Brock Mansion hasn’t been particularly effective for Cal at quarterback, he should take another step forward this week with another game under his belt.  Unfortunately for Cal, the passing ability of Andrew Luck will enable the Cardinal to avenge last year’s home defeat in the Big Game.

Stanford 31 California 27

Virginia Tech (-2.5) at Miami

Dan: Miami (+2.5)

I have been getting these 2 teams wrong all season. I’ll take the points at home and I need a dog this week.

Miami 13 Va Tech 10

Jeremy: Virginia Tech (-2.5)

Jimmy: Virginia Tech (-2.5)

Miami had a big road win last week with Stephen Morris under center.  Too bad it was against a Georgia Tech team in turmoil replacing the main cog in their offense.  Va. Tech's defense will present a whole new set of problems for the true freshman QB.  And the Canes defense will have their hands full with Tyrod Taylor's multi-versatile attack.  The Hokies will stamp their ticket to the ACC Championship after this.

Virginia Tech 27  Miami  20

Matt: Virginia Tech (-2.5)

For anyone who reads my picks week to week, this shouldn’t be surprising.  I mean, I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is just what teams under Frank Beamer do.  If you want a coach to win you games in October and November, look no further than Beamer.  Sure this game is in Miami (although home field advantage has been diminished heavily with the destruction of the OB and the games now being held in a cookie cutter pro stadium).  And Miami has gotten a lift from freshman QB Stephen Morris.  And finally, Randy Shannon may be in full forced job saving mode.  But the Hokies under a veteran QB and with a strong running game are playing their best ball of the season.  Hokies survive.

Virginia Tech 27 Miami 21

Mike: Virginia Tech (-2.5)

This is a tough game to call without knowing whether Jacory Harris will play.  Then again, even if Harris plays, he might not even be an upgrade over the rapidly maturing Stephen Morris, whose performance last week at Georgia Tech caused me to consume a healthy plate of crow.  Either way, the Virginia Tech defense appears to be hitting its stride, as Bud Foster’s lunch pail crew notched four interceptions against T.J. Yates last week in Chapel Hill.  Until proven otherwise, the Hokies are the kings of the ACC and I can’t pick against them, even in Coral Gables.

Virginia Tech 30 Miami 21

Arkansas (-4.5) at Mississippi State

Dan: Arkansas (-4.5)

I’ve liked Arkansas all year. But Mississippi State has become a very hard place to play. Their only home loss was by 3 points to Auburn. That said, I think Arkansas can score just enough points to eke out the cover.

Arkansas 27 Mississippi State 21

Jeremy: Arkansas (-4.5)

Jimmy: Arkansas (-4.5)  Lock of the Week

The Razorbacks are really hitting their stride on offense with Knile Davis keying the rushing attack and Ryan Mallett slinging it everywhere.  They proved they can win big on the road two weeks ago by torching the SEC East champs.  Mississippi State shouldn't be ranked.  Of their two worthwhile wins, Georgia was playing without AJ Green and Florida was still stuck in the mud on offense.  This shouldn't be close.  

Arkansas 38  Miss. St. 17

Matt: Arkansas (-4.5)

I admire what Mississippi State has done on the field this year.  Just the fact that we are even picking an MSU game this late in the season is a testament to the job that Dan Mullen has done in Starkville.  (BTW, Starkville is dead last on the list of SEC college towns I would like to visit.  My list, and I’ve been to a few of these: Baton Rouge, Tuscaloosa, Oxford, Athens, Auburn, Knoxville, Gainesville, Columbia, Lexington, Nashville, Fayetteville, Starkville)  But, this is still a team that has trouble scoring points.  The only time they’ve scored over 30 points was against Memphis, Alcorn State and Houston, while scoring 10 points against Florida (in a win) and Alabama, 7 against LSU and 14 against that terrible Auburn D. 

Of course, Arkansas likes to put up points in bunches, and they are coming off back to back thrashings of South Carolina and UTEP.  I know that Miss State has a good D, and I know that the cowbells will be ringing in Starkville, and I know the emotions will be running high for the first home game since the tragic death of Nick Bell.  But for football reasons, I’m picking Arkansas to win.

Last note on this game – the SEC West has the number 2, 5, 11, 13 and 21 ranked teams in the country.  That is just crazy. 

Arkansas 30 Mississippi State 17

Mike: Arkansas (-4.5)  Lock of the Week

The Razorbacks are quietly playing like an elite team right now under Bobby Petrino, so I would imagine that Arkansas supporters are still kicking themselves for letting Alabama off the hook earlier this season.  In any event, Mississippi State has overachieved this season, but last week’s affair in Tuscaloosa proved that they aren’t quite ready for primetime yet.  Look for the Hogs to roll right through the Bulldogs to set the stage for a huge Thanksgiving weekend tilt with LSU in Little Rock.

Arkansas 38 Mississippi State 21

Nebraska (-3.5) at Texas A&M

Dan: Nebraska (-3.5)

A&M has been hot and it’s Saturday night deep in the heart of Texas. But I don’t think A&M has seen the type of physical offense that the Huskers will bring to town. I like the favorites again (getting nervous here).

Nebraska 35 A&M 24

Jeremy: Nebraska (-3.5)

Jimmy: Nebraska (-3.5)

Kyle Field will be rocking for this Saturday night showdown.  A&M is one of the hottest teams in the country with a mid-season QB switcheroo.  In a stroke of irony, Ryan Tannehill, a QB -converted to WR - and now back to QB replaces the school's all-time total offense leader, Jerrod Johnson, and hasn't looked back.  The Aggies have scored over 40 in three of their last four games in typical Big 12 shootout fashion.  They still have a chance at winning the South division for a chance to play Nebraska or Missouri again for a BCS bid.

The Huskers haven't lost on the road yet, but were pressed in overtime to win at Iowa State two weeks back.  Nebraska has been a hard team to get a read on.  Some weeks it's the Taylor Martinez running show.  Others, T-Magic gets pass happy.  Still others, Roy Helu sets single game records for a tradition rich running program.  The common denominator is Nebraska can hurt you in many ways.  Whether they choose the best one Saturday will be crucial because A&M will put some points on the board.  

At the end of the day, I think the Huskers are more talented, even if they rarely play like it for 4 quarters.  I’ll get behind Big Red this week in what could be a very entertaining game. 

Nebraska 45  Texas A&M 40

Matt: Texas A&M (+3.5)

Something is brewing in College Station.  It looked like a month ago that the Mike Sherman experiment was going to have a premature ending in December after another disappointing season.  But here we are four weeks later, and the Aggies are ranked after four straight blowout wins, including OU, in state rival Texas Tech and Baylor.  If they win this game and then beat Texas, all of a sudden they’re looking at a Top 10 or 15 type season and a New Year’s Day bowl game. 

The catalyst for the in-season transformation has been QB Ryan Tannehill, the QB turned WR turned QB.  The disappointing Jerrod Johnson was finally benched after a disastrous run where he turned the ball at will.  This is a guy who was the number one pick in my (and many others I’m sure) college fantasy football league this year.  Just a tremendous fall from grace. 

Nebraska has been chugging along since that bizarre loss to an awful Texas team, but I think that playing in College Station is a different beast.  They handled their previous road test in Stillwater, albeit in a shootout that made former Blackshirt greats look away in horror, but a night game against a rejuvenated A&M team could be trouble.

Texas A&M 34 Nebraska 31

Mike: Nebraska (-3.5)

Speaking of teams kicking themselves, Nebraska fans are surely lamenting the fact that their national championship hopes were dashed in an ugly home loss to a bad (and hated) Texas team.  The Huskers, however, have otherwise played quite well this year and their defense should be able to slow Texas A&M’s high powered offensive attack.  On the other side of the ball, the Nebraska rushing game will likely have its way with the Aggie defense, which is a far cry from the old “Wrecking Crew” units of the 1990s.

Nebraska 37 Texas A&M 27

Bonus Picks 

Dan:  Clemson (-13.5) at Wake Forest

Wake is terrible.

Clemson 38 Wake 17

Jeremy: Penn State (-10) vs. Indiana (Andover, Maryland)

Jimmy: UCLA at Washington (-2.5)

Pulling out my TERDS theory once again (Thursday Evening RoaD Syndrome), Jake Locker has to beat a below average UCLA team by more than a field goal if he still clings to any chance of playing on Sundays.  Wow has his stock plummeted.  I don't buy the "he'll rise again after workouts" line that scouts toss out there.  Sure, it may improve his draft status, but for a guy talked about being the #1 overall, he's easily slid out of the 1st round with this craptastic season.  Hopefully he emerges from the fog for one night and delivers a much needed win for the Husky faithful.  

Washington 23  UCLA 16

Matt: Clemson (-13.5) at Wake Forest

I hate to kick my alma mater when they’re down.  But Vegas leaves me no choice.  Clemson is by no means a good team, and the Dabo Swinney era appears to be going nowhere fast, but they have beaten NC State, beaten Georgia Tech by 14 and Maryland by 24.  Let me tell you, Wake Forest is no GT or Maryland.  They’ve lost four straight against the spread and a shocking eight straight games overall.  This is a downright terrible Wake Forest team.  Give the points and laugh all the way to the bank.
Normally in Winston-Salem, there is the sweetness of ACC basketball season to soothe the ache from a rough football season.  This year however, looks like it could be a downright disaster.  Wake has already lost to Stetson and VCU at home, and neither game was close!  Wow.  The Jeff Bzdelik era could not have gotten off to a rougher start, and the message boards are already on fire with heated complaints about him.  Of course, it didn’t help that the only scholarship point guard on the roster, freshman Tony Chennault from Philly, broke his foot in the first game and is out for three months.  Could be a long season in the Dash, and keep an eye on how Vegas treats Wake in the early period of the season.  This is not the Wake teams of Randolph Childress and Tim Duncan, or even Justin Gray and Eric Williams.  Ugly.

Clemson 41 Wake 13

Mike: West Virginia at Louisville (+5.5)

Despite a tough loss to an improving South Florida team, Louisville can certainly hang with any team in the Big East on its home field.  Moreover, given the inconsistency of West Virginia, I am putting almost zero stock into the Mountaineers’ blowout win over Cincinnati.  I like the outright upset here, which will further intensify the scrutiny on the embattled Bill Stewart.

Louisville 20 West Virginia 17

Last Week
Dan: 4-3 (+)
Jeremy: 2-5 (+)
Jimmy: 3-4 (+)
Matt: 4-3 (+)
Mike: 4-3 (+)

Dan: 40-35-1 (4-6-1)
Jeremy: 45-30-1 (8-3)
Jimmy: 42-32-2 (7-4)
Matt: 37-37-2 (5-5)
Mike: 46-29-1 (8-2-1)

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

I'll take the Hokies for Lock of the Week.