October 13, 2011

WeIs Roundtable Week 7 Picks: Spreading Love to 4 Conferences (Sorry ACC & Not So Big East)

A worry-free weekend for Irish fans who can kick the feet up and polish up on their clicker skills.  Will this be the weekend some of the undefeateds start toppling?  I predict at least one takes a tumble (that's right, I'm looking at you Ron "Falling Ass Backwards Into Wins" Zook), but the non-playoff hand-wringing will likely continue as a popular (read: overdone) media subject well into November.  Let's get to this weeks picks...

Michigan (+3) @ Michigan State

Dan: Michigan (+3)

Michigan is not a good football team. Michigan State, is not great, but they are better than Michigan. But this comes down to Michigan State loving to shoot themselves in the foot come late October. “This is why you’re Michigan State”. I only hope I’m wrong.

Michigan 31 Michigan State 27
Jeremy: Michigan State (-3)
I went back and forth on this one a few times.  I keep coming back to the fact that the Irish were pretty successful in stopping the Michigan offense until Denard Robinson started chucking it in Gary Gray's direction.  MSU is very sound in defending the run, and they've had a goodly amount of success against the Wolverines the past few years.  The Michigan defense is improving, but Cousins and the Spartan running game can exploit some of the holes in Michigan's front seven to limit Michigan's possessions and full away late in the 2nd half.
MSU 27  Michigan 21
Jimmy: Michigan State (-3)
Wolverines are due for a loss.  Sparty is due for a statement win.  They’re a talented team that hasn’t allowed more than 7 points to a school not named Notre Dame.  Granted, Ohio State’s decrepit excuse for an offense has been the only other major conference team they’ve faced, but I’m sure Mark Dantonio used the bye week to plan a way to bottle up Denard Robinson, if that’s at all possible.  Kirk Cousins should be able to expose the Wolverines defense for the impostors they are.  Is my Michigan venom influencing this pick a little?  Absolutely, but I certainly believe  the Spartans have a lot going for them at home having won the last 3 contests in this bitter rivalry.  

MSU 26  Michigan 22
Mike: Michigan State (-3)
It was classic Denard Robinson against Northwestern, as he was able to atone for three terrible interceptions by running all over the Wildcat defense and completing another of his patented "throw it deep to the well covered receiver and pray" passes.  Robinson will face a much stiffer task, however, against the Michigan State defense, which is far more athletic than their counterparts for Northwestern.  Kirk Cousins and the Michigan State offense have been disappointing this season, but they should elevate their game against a Michigan defense that still lacks playmakers, despite being improved from 2010.  Look for Sparty to retain control over the Paul Bunyan Trophy by notching a 4th consecutive victory over its little brother from Ann Arbor.
Michigan State 33 Michigan 24
Phil: Michigan (+3)
Despite what Denard has done to the Irish the past 2 years, my disdain for MSU runs very deep. Plus, I don't think they are a very good football team, and I am quite partial to Denard and his thug like antics and ghetto game. Big fan. Go big blue!
Michigan 31 MSU 27
Oklahoma State (-7) @ Texas
Dan: Oklahoma State (-7)  Lock of the Week

Texas needs a big bounce back performance after the drubbing last week at OU. Unfortunately, instead, they encounter an OSU team on a mission. The Cowboys have a high tempo offense similar enough to OU’s that they should easily put up points against the maligned Texas secondary. I don’t see Texas keeping pace.

OSU 38 Texas 24
Jeremy: Oklahoma State (-7)  Lock of the Week
I don't think a whole lot of people were surprised that Oklahoma ran away from the Horns (except for me I suppose), but the manner in which they did so was quite eye-opening.  And not so much for the Sooners' dominance, but more for Texas' complete ineptitude.  The Horns are real, real young, and its tough to see things getting a whole lot better in a short amount of time.  The Cowboys run away with this one.
Oklahoma St. 31  Texas 17
Jimmy: Oklahoma State (-7)  Lock of the Week
The Cowboys are seemingly playing a video game on Easy mode with the clockwork efficiency they're displaying on offense.  I watched the 1st half of Texas-OU and it was evident they'll need more than a home crowd to contain Brandon Weeden and his wideout posse.  Granted, Mike Gundy's defense isn't nearly as talented as the unit in Norman, so the Texas QB du Jour should at least keep this interesting into the 2nd half.  But I don't see how they can keep up with OSU's dizzying ability to score in droves.

Oklahoma State 47  Texas 27
Mike: Texas (+7)
These two teams could not have looked more different last week.  The young Longhorn quarterbacks were under siege all day against Oklahoma, while Oklahoma State was able to pull their starters in the second quarter of their demolition of Kansas.  Nonetheless, I suspect that Texas' young coordinators will put together a better game plan on both sides of the ball against the Cowboys, who have been known to respond poorly to prosperity and high expectations.  Weeden and Blackmon will get their fair share of yards, but Texas will keep the game close by moving the ball effectively as well, which will be the recipe for a delicious home dog.
Oklahoma State 35 Texas 31
Phil: Oklahoma State (-7)  Lock of the Week
I know Texas was undefeated and looking improved before last week's debacle at the hands of rival Oklahoma. It was a complete dismantling and it never even appeared that Texas was in the game. Personally, I think OK St has a better offense than OU and I look for Weeden to spray it around the field and drop HUGE numbers this weekend. OK St. BIG.
OK St 48 Texas 17
Arizona State (+15.5) @ Oregon
Dan: Arizona State (+15.5)

This Oregon team is tough. As evidenced last week, they have the electric ability to score points in bunches quickly. But in the first half last week, they struggled against a pretty mediocre Cal team. I was not all that impressed with Arizona State. I watched a bit of that Utah game last week, and it looked more like Utah beating themselves than Arizona State winning. Throw in that Autzen is a tough place to play, and I am having a hard time picking against the Ducks. But that is just too many points.

Oregon 38 Arizona 24
Jeremy: Oregon (-15.5)
Haven't had the opportunity to watch the Ducks too often this year.  But I'm guessing this is about the time they start hitting their stride and turning up the offense to max warp speed.  Chip Kelly realizes that, with that one loss, the Ducks are going to have to start blowing people out of the water for the voters to take notice.  If they fancy themselves a darkhorse title contender, the march begins this weekend.  Even without LaMichael James, the Ducks roll here.

Oregon 34  Arizona St. 17
Jimmy: Oregon (-15.5)
Color me a little concerned for Oregon with LaMichael James' injury.  Sure, Barner and DeAnthony Thomas might be adequate substitutes, but this is the best RB in the land we're' talking about.  (OK, in the top 2...settle down Bama fans, Paul Finebaum doesn't need to call us out).  Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State's star LB, could play a huge role in limiting the Quack Attack.  If this game were in Sun Devil Stadium, I'd be tempted to pick an ASU cover, but not in the noisy drone of Autzen.  This may be the most exciting game of the day that almost nobody will see with its 10:15pm Eastern start.  A shame.  

Oregon 48  Arizona State 31
Mike: Oregon (-15.5)
As seen last Thursday, the Oregon ground machine is rolling along at full strength again.  LaMichael James might not return this week for the Ducks, but his replacements (e.g., Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas) are more than capable of carrying the load against a banged up and overrated Arizona State team.   The Sun Devils will come crashing down to Earth quickly in Eugene.
Oregon 55 Arizona State 28
Phil: Oregon (-15.5)
Big win for ASU over Southern Cal last week. Anytime one of the Pac 12's mid levels can beat up on a blue blood- I am all for it. That being said, Oregon is a big favorite and they are at home, so I fully anticipate that Chip Kelly will unleash the dogs and pour it on, pulling away in the 2nd half. Not sure about the availability of LaMike after that gruesome elbow injury, but it shouldn't matter. Kenjon Barner and the freshman phenom DeAnthony Thomas will get plenty of touches. Oregon is just on another level.
Oregon 52 ASU 27
Florida (Pk) @ Auburn
Dan: Auburn (Pick)

I don’t think the Gators are as bad as they have looked the last two weeks. LSU and Alabama are just that good. Auburn is not great either, but the home field advantage is just enough to pull out a close one.

Auburn 16 Florida 13
Jeremy: Auburn (Pick)
I almost feel bad for Gator fans, but they're in for some serious growing pains.  The Irish faithful are extremely familiar with Charlie Weis' inability to adjust on the fly, especially when younger personnel is prominently involved.  I'll take the Tigers at home against a freshman QB.
Auburn 23  Florida 13
Jimmy: Florida (Pick)
Has there been a more difficult 2 week stretch in the history of their program?  Losing 79-21 to their biggest nemeses was a cold shower without a towel.  Make no mistake, there's still plenty of talent in Gainesville.  Chuck Weis has his hands full ramping up a new QB to SEC proficiency, but the opponent could be much worse.  Auburn gets the benefit of playing in Jordan-Hare, but I like the Gators defense to be up to the challenge of stalling the enigmatic Tigers offense.  Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey make some breathtaking plays en route to the road "upset."

Florida 23  Auburn 20
Mike: Auburn (Pick)
This seems like a strange line.  Although Auburn certainly has not been dominant, they should be able to handle the offensively challenged Gators at home.  Florida will find more success on the ground this week and Jacoby Brissett should improve with another week of seasoning, but it won't be enough to keep pace with the host Tigers.
Auburn 31 Florida 24
Phil: Auburn (Pick)
First, let me take this time to say exoneration feels wonderful. This is like celebrating the BCS championship all over again. After fighting all the mediots and the bammers that tried to ruin a magical season and defile the good name of one of the most transcendent athletes of our time, being cleared of any wrong doing feels darn great. WAR CAM EAGLE!
Now, on to the game this weekend. Last weekend was an embarrassment of sorts.Our offense is in shambles. The OL, which showed some promise earlier, again cannot block. Dyer will squeeze by some yards, but it becomes exceedingly difficult because of our poor QB play. I cannot fathom how the last 4 high school QBs that Auburn has recruited (not including Cam obviously) have all been spindly white kids with glaring physical limitations. Barrett Trotter cannot throw and cannot run, and does not inspire this leaderless, freshman laden team. It is obvious Keihl Frazier is not ready to take the reigns. I cannot believe that we have no other option. The time is now for Gus Malzahn to earn his 1.2 million dollar salary and come up with a plan to move the ball. 
Florida is also limping in with a young QB, licking its wounds after the toughest imaginable 2 game stretch. Their skill players will quickly learn that our defensive speed and power is nowhere near that of Bama and LSU, and Weis should be able to get some points on the board. That said, the recent news of being cleared by the NCAA should rejuvenate Jordan Hare Stadium for the first home evening kick off of the season. I am hoping for an electric atmosphere and for our boys to pull of a W. 
Auburn 27 Florida 23
Bonus Picks
Dan: Alabama (-25.5) @ Mississippi State
I had a tough time picking my bonus game this week. This has been the year of the big favorites. Stanford, Alabama, LSU, and OU are all doing great against big spreads. But all of them, as well as a few other options (Wisconsin) all head out on the road as 3+ touchdown favorites. My pick is Alabama. If they can go in and win at the swamp by 28, I think they can beat Ole Miss by 28. Last week Vandy failed to even score on them. Comparatively, Vandy beat Ole Miss 30-7. Roll tide.

Alabama 38 Mississippi 7
Jeremy: LSU (-14) @ Tennessee
It’s a shame that the whole college football world has to keep waiting for the LSU-Bama game.  I wouldn't be opposed to simply allowing those two teams to play a 3-game series (home-home-neutral) to decide the national champion this year.  This line could be 20 and I still wouldn't hesitate to take the Bayou Bengals.  They're 14 points better than just about any team in the country, not to mention a backsliding middle-of-the-pack SEC unit like the Vols.
LSU 34  Tennessee 13
Jimmy: Baylor (+9) @ Texas A&M
Let me get this straight - the team that choked away cushy 2nd half leads and had a 3rd scare last week, the same team allowed an eye-popping 510 passing yards vs. Arkansas - is a 9 point favorite facing the most talented QB in the country.  This sounds like gambling larceny waiting to happen.  Are the Bears talented enough to win outright?  Absolutely.  But I'm confident RGIII keeps this within one score at the bare minimum.  

A&M 44  Baylor 38

Mike: South Carolina (-3.5) @ Mississippi State
Back on the Spurrier bandwagon!  Kentucky sucks, of course, but Connor Shaw was quite impressive in his return to the starting lineup for the Gamecocks.  Mississippi State has its own QB issues and, unless the cowbells or the ouster of Stephen Garcia create a massive distraction for the visitors, Carolina should take care of business.
South Carolina 27 Mississippi State 21
Phil: Baylor (+9) @ Texas A&M
Anytime you can pick Robert Griffin getting points, you have to like it. Anytime you get him getting points against a squad that has twice been shredded this year in 2nd half melt downs, you have to like it better. I am truly amazed with Griffin and I like the way he leads the notoriously hapless Baylor squad. I think this game will be close and despite the heart breaking loss last week, I think Baylor could win outright. 
Baylor 41 TAMU 37 
Last Week
Dan: 4-2 (+ Lock of Week)
Jeremy: 4-2 (+)
Jimmy: 4-2 (+)
Mike: 3-3 (+)
Phil: 4-2 (+)
Season to Date
Dan: 23-12 (5-1)
Jeremy: 21-14-1 (3-3)
Jimmy: 21-12-3 (5-1)
Mike: 17-18-1 (2-3-1)
Phil: 15-19-1 (3-2-1)


Dan said...

Canfield - Lock of the week?

Mike said...

Sorry- Auburn.