Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday football picks (along with other stuff)

Let's start with college football for this week--my first week of picks (home team in CAPS):

AUBURN 14 over Mississippi State. PICK: TIGERS. No reason yet to believe that MSU has gotten out of the doldrums.

GEORGIA 7 over South Carolina. PICK: BULLDOGS. Georgia acquitted itself well on the road at Okie State. The Gamecocks have yet to prove they can score.

Iowa 6.5 over IOWA STATE. PICK: HAWKEYES. Iowa is bound to improve a lot from game 1. Meanwhile, I think Iowa State has yet to play.

MINNESOTA 3.5 over Air Force. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS. I like their defense. And they're at home.

Notre Dame 3 over MICHIGAN. PICK: WOLVERINES (upset special!) Notre Dame is improved over last year. But so is Michigan; and they're at home in the Big House. Can Notre Dame play well as the favorite on the road against a tough opponent? They haven't proven they can yet. I like the Maize and Blue in an upset here.

OREGON 12 over Purdue. PICK: DUCKS. Purdue has a history of playing poorly on the road.

PENN STATE 29 over Syracuse. PICK: ORANGEMEN. Not to win; but to keep the game closer than 29. That's a lot of points. And even though Syracuse lost last week, they're obviously an improved club with Greg Paulus as QB.

TCU 12 over VIRGINIA. PICK: HORNED FROGS. This is a good TCU ballclub, with a lot of starters back from last year's 11-2-and-within-a-whisker-of-being-in the-BCS team. They're fast and aggressive, especially on defense. Meanwhile UVa lost to William and Mary last week.

TENNESSEE 10 over UCLA. PICK: VOLUNTEERS. They'll avenge last year's upset loss to the UCLAns.

Southern California 7 over OHIO STATE. PICK: BUCKEYES. They're at home. They struggled last week against Navy, but undoubtedly they were looking ahead to this game. They've got Terrelle Pryor, who has a lot of talent. Meanwhile USC has talent too, but they start a very inexperienced QB in a big game in a hostile environment. I think a Big 10 team will finally win a big one. Aren't they due?

WAKE FOREST 3 over Stanford. PICK: CARDINAL. Stanford is a much improved team.

WISCONSIN 9 over Fresno State. PICK: BADGERS. They're tough at home in openers.

I'm 0-1 so far this year; I was correct that the Steelers would beat the Titans...but they didn't cover the spread. Let's see if I can do better Sunday:

ARIZONA 6.5 over San Francisco. PICK: CARDINALS. They have Kurt Warner, and are at home; the Niners have Shaun Hill. "Nuff said. The Niners just can't move the ball.

ATLANTA 4 over Miami. PICK: FALCONS. Again, the Falcons are at home, they've upgraded the offense some with Tony Gonzalez, and the Dolphins won't catch folks by surprise this year.

BALTIMORE 13 over Kansas City. PICK: RAVENS. That's a lot of points to cover, but by all appearances the Ravens are as tough as ever, while the Chiefs are still working Matt Cassel in...and he may be hurt. Look for the Ravens to hold this team to 7 points or less.

CINCINNATI 4 over Denver. PICK: BENGALS. Carson Palmer should play, and be ready. The Bengals defense improved last year--they were ranked 12th in the NFL by year's end. Meanwhile, the Broncos have a banged-up Kyle Orton, all the drama with Brandon Marshall and new coach Josh McDaniel, etc etc etc...gotta go with Cincy.

Dallas 6 over TAMPA BAY. PICK: COWBOYS. The Bucs seem to be in disarray, and Byron Leftwich, despite being named the starting QB, hasn't wowed anyone. Meanwhile the Cowboys still have talent--look for Felix Jones to star.

GREEN BAY 3.5 over Chicago. PICK: PACKERS. Aaron Rodgers is coming on; the Pack in the pre-season played fast. And they're at home.

HOUSTON 4.5 over NY Jets. PICK: TEXANS. The Jets have a new coach and new QB, and are on the road. Usually not a great combo.

INDIANAPOLIS 7 over Jacksonville. PICK: COLTS. Peyton Manning and the offense this year had the whole pre-season to get in sync. And they're at home.

Minnesota 4 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BROWNS. Not sure if they'll win outright; but look for this to be a very tight game, with the Browns maybe winning or losing by a FG or less. I just have a feeling that, before a fired-up Browns crowd and team, Brett Favre and the Vikes will struggle. Remember that Favre really hasn't been a Viking for that long.

NEW ORLEANS 13 over Detroit. PICK: SAINTS. That Saints offense with Drew Brees looks to be in high gear already. And while the Lions will improve, still they have a new coach and rookie QB, and are on the road. Their improvement will take time; it won't show much here in week 1.

NY GIANTS 6.5 over Washington. PICK: REDSKINS. Again, I don't know that Washington will win outright; but look for this to be a close game. It's a divisional battle between old foes. The "Skins are bolstered by the arrival of Albert Haynesworth. There are questions about the Giants' receivers. Should be a battle.

Philadelphia 2.5 over CAROLINA. PICK: EAGLES. This too will be a real battle. But one suspects that Donovan McNabb will make one more big play than will Jake Delhomme.

SEATTLE 8.5 over St. Louis. PICK: SEAHAWKS. They're at home, Matt Hasselbeck is back, and the Rams are rebuilding.

NEW ENGLAND 11 over Buffalo. PICK: BILLS. Not to win outright; but to keep this a closer game than 11. The Bills have TO now; they should be able to put a few more points on the board than last year. And they have an opportunistic defense that's been good at causing turnovers.

San Diego 9.5 over OAKLAND. PICK: CHARGERS. San Diego looks to be the best, again, of the AFC West. And the Raiders still appear to be in disarray.

In other matters...

Today is September 11th.
Hopefully few have forgotten what they were doing 8 years ago. But, one suspects some have. The cure:
"We are fighting a war on terrorism. Several years ago, it wouldn’t have been necessary to say that, but today it may be worth reminding people."
Read the whole thing.

And speaking of terrorism, today the home-grown "terrorists" opposing civility and decency and all that is good in the world about whom liberals in this country need to get in a lather is...a pro-choicer who killed anti-abortion protesters.

Check the latest polls on the 2010 Connecticut Senate race--there, incumbent Democratic Senator Chris Dodd trails his likely GOP opponent by a whopping 10 points.

The GOP's death remains greatly exaggerated...