My picks were on point once again for college. I went 8-2 this week after having at least seven correct per week for as long as I can remember. I only have a few weeks left to pick regular season games for college, so hopefully I can keep it up and maybe close the gap on the NFL side to where it is not completely embarrassing. As for now, let’s unpack the weekend that was.
The picks that I missed on this week came from the ever-erratic Pac-10 conference. Stanford was a touchdown and a half favorite over Cal. Now, the line was set around seven so that both sides would chip in and fatten the pot, but this was a game that Stanford should have won by seven, at least. I was under the impression that since Stanford is the hottest team in the country at the moment-as everybody that gets paid more than me is saying- they should be able to keep the streak going, right? I even likened them to the Arkansas Razorbacks, who have not lost since their game at Mississippi the week before Halloween. Yes, the quality of opponents is better for the Cardinals, but when you’re hot you’re hot, right? What most will say is, “They’ll surely have a letdown from scoring 50+ the past two weeks against the conference’s two marquee teams, at some point.” While I understand your logic-and agree for the most part- this game seemed a lock for the Cardinals since Cal’s best player Jahvid Best, who is still recovering from a concussion stemming from the scariest leap we’ll see all year, was not in the lineup. Little did we expect Shane Vereen, a Sophomore backup running back who, to run as he did the week before against Arizona, would probably have an average game. In the game versus the Wildcats, Vereen, had 30 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown. Not only did he return to the benchmark that he set in the win against Arizona, he took it to a higher standard while playing the role of workhorse. You know you have a good back in the bullpen when he can come out on consecutive weeks and give you 30 attempts against Arizona, and 42 against Stanford! Not to mention that his average in the Stanford game was 4.6 a pop-with 42 carries equals 193 yards. Those numbers would not sound as sweet if you were a starter with, say, Toby Gerhart’s size. Vereen, is 5-10 198 pounds- which is right on the average for a college running back- and a guy who’s reps are split 60-40 favoring Best nonetheless. So while we will applaud-and rightfully so-Toby Gerhart, for his four touchdown performance given in throwback fashion against the Cal Bears, we must also appreciate a guy who is used to splitting carries, load his team on his back and grind out the win for his team. Plus, the game was on the cusp of entering full-blown shootout mode until Andrew Luck, the talented freshman starting Quarterback, lazily floated a pass across the middle of the field in the red zone and ended any realistic chances of coming back and winning the game.
I also was a few points off on my Oregon prediction against Arizona. Everybody and their mother knew that Oregon would put up the points- as the Ducks became only the third team in Pac-10 history to score 40 points in five straight league games, but we also thought the defense would show up and at least hold the Wildcats to thirty or thirty-five measly points. Add that to how spotty Arizona has played this year and you have my reasoning for thinking Oregon would easily cover at -6.
On another note, I was extremely let down at how ABC/ESPN handled their lineup of games on Saturday night. You would think with Texas throttling Kansas the way they were that the executives would want to switch to the better/more exciting game, but that’s too easy and I’m sure that there is a huge check involved somewhere, so let’s just move on. So, while I was watching Coach Mangino cover tire marks on his face and jacket from where multiple players-past and present- have dissertated on his prohibitive behavior and illicit comments, I had to miss a better game. I could have watched one of the most exciting teams in America have a shoot-out with a Rose Bowl bid on the line, but no. Thanks, suits! Speaking of teams with BCS hopes and dreams… That Jeremiah Masoli from Oregon is an absolute stud. Talk about complete domination; take a look at his stats from the game against Arizona:
26 of 47, 284 yds 3 Td 1 Int 122.89 Passer Rating 16 Rushes 61 yds 3 Td
Sure, there have been better overall numbers this year-he even had a similar game against USC, but one fact that most forget is after the loss to Boise State, and the loss of star RB Legarrette Blount for the majority of the season, this became his team and season, for better or worse.
That the most physical team in Georgia has the mascot of a yellow jacket. Yikes. Looks like UGA VII got out just in time before he had to witness the undisciplined, turnover prone (#119 in the country. Gained-8, Lost-26 avg per game -1.64, yeah that’s a negative) dogs lose to the shoddy Wildcats of Kentucky in prime time on senior night.
Toby Gerhart, Pac-10’s resident beast, is a bad man. He has over 1500 yards on the year and 23 touchdowns for the fiery Cardinals. Best running back in the nation- and I love me some Mark Ingram- but with the game on the line, and only a few yards between your team and pay dirt, if you don’t take Gerhart you’re just stupid and I don’t know what else to tell you.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/11/18/mic_556215.shtml AB already addressed the issues with this but I did want to just drop a quick line about it.
This is a pie-in-the-sky approach to fixing a vexing problem at any college campus that has athletic appropriations built up enough to even go as far as donate back to the school, not just squirrel it away for the athletic budget. People have been reckless and lazy for thousands of years, not just at UGA tailgates. The school comparison was weak. That might be because all the comparable ones have similar problems as well.
Happy Trails to Chris Hatcher, former Georgia Southern Head coach, after going 5-6 in his third year. Eagles’ faithful were hoping for a spark after the failed one season experiment with Brian Van Gorder, so they experimented and brought in what they thought would be a high-energy, high-scoring system that has left fans and administrators feeling limp. Having been on the team the last year he was in Valdosta, I can easily say that he will resurface on a positive note- he has the drive to better himself, and everyone else everyday that is essential for a head coach on any level. This coupled with the fact that the school wants the next Paul Johnson, the growing problems with handing out too many Super exemptions (Players in the high 700 and 800 range on the SAT, this after the school upped its admissions requirements) with only 40% still left in school. You do not have to have great players to be successful in a good system- just ask Paul Johnson. While they certainly help, you still have to coach up what you got and take it from there. What it comes down to is that things have been flat in Statesboro ever since Jayson Foster-noted great player-moved on. Who knew after that promising first season for Hatcher, and last for Foster, that he would not only be an incredible gift for the program, but a curse as well.
How LSU lost against Mississippi. No explanation will due. You blew it. Not only was leadership not present on the field, it was nowhere to be found on the sideline as well. You are the head coach of the team; make it obvious that you want a timeout. Moreover, have your thoughts and field goal team prepared to go win the game. I can’t wait to see Les Miles win some big games with his own recruits.
My capacity to pick NFL game lines. If you need me, I’ll be basking in the afterglow of my college picks.