Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday football picks (and other stuff)

First, let's get to the football picks.
Last week I was only 3-7-1. I'm 43-42-1 for the season.
Time to improve!

ALABAMA 14.5 over Tennessee. PICK: VOLUNTEERS. Not to win; but to keep it close. Did you see the Crimson Tide offense struggle last week against South Carolina? Might just happen again.

CINCINNATI 18 over Louisville. PICK: BEARCATS. That Cincy offense will roll at home over the defense-challenged Cardinals.

Florida 23 over MISSISSIPPI STATE. PICK: BULLDOGS. When will Vegas keep giving the Gators these ridiculous spreads to cover? They're having a hard time doing it--their defense struggles a bit against the run, and Tebow and that offense, partly due to injuries, have struggled to execute at times, too. Mississippi State should have beaten LSU at home earlier this year. Tomorrow, they'll have a good shot at keeping this one close.

Georgia Tech 5.5 over VIRGINIA. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Yes, Virginia has improved after a horrible start, and has won 3 in a row. But the Ramblin' Wreck has improved too, and that option offense is hard to stop.

LSU 7.5 over Auburn. PICK: LSU. Auburn's lost 2 in a row and you have the sense they're reeling a bit. Meanwhile Les Miles and his team know that with only one loss, they're not excluded from championship talk.

MICHIGAN STATE pick'em vs Iowa. PICK: HAWKEYES. I'm not convinced that MSU knows how to win against really good teams. And Iowa, with wins this year at Penn State and at Wisconsin, is looking like a really good team.

NORTHWESTERN 6 over Indiana. PICK: WILDCATS. Northwestern still has a good chance to be bowl-eligible; Indiana always seem to struggle defensively on the road.

NOTRE DAME 7.5 over Boston College. PICK: EAGLES. Not necessarily to win; but to keep it very, very close---partly because ND has shown this year, in their many close games, that they too often play to the level of their opponent, and because ND's defense continues to struggle.

Oklahoma 7.5 over KANSAS. PICK: JAYHAWKS. I don't know who's going to win this game, but I see it as a close one; it's at Kansas, Oklahoma's bound to have a letdown after losing both Sam Bradford and the game to Texas last week, and Todd Reesing of Kansas is a QB who can move a team and score points---though in their loss to Colorado, they showed again their defensive weaknesses.

Penn State 4.5 over MICHIGAN. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. Tate Forcier has struggled recently at QB, and there's some uncertainty there. He'll come out of it eventually, but for right now it's a problem. The Wolverine defense has struggled in many phases, including against the run, and you know Penn State can run it.

USC 20.5 over Oregon State. PICK: TROJANS. They'll be on a roll after the big win on the road against Notre Dame; Matt Barclay should have lots of confidence.

TCU 2.5 over BYU. PICK: HORNED FROGS. This is in Provo, and BYU is a solid team. But TCU has been pointing for this game, they don't make a lot of mistakes, and that defense can dominate. And good defense wins championships.

TEXAS TECH 21.5 over Texas A&M. PICK: RED RAIDERS. It doesn't matter who Mike Leach plays at QB; they score. And did you see how that defense is coming on last week at Nebraska? Meanwhile, the Aggies laid a huge egg in giving up 59 points last week--to Kansas State of all people.

Last week I was 6-8 (but was only literally a handful of points from being something like 9-5; ugh!). I'm 47-42-1 for the season.

CAROLINA 7 over Buffalo. PICK: PANTHERS. That Buffalo offensive line is ravaged by injuries; they wouldn't have been close to the Jets save for all of Sanchez's INTs. Meanwhile Carolina is coming on, spurred on by DeAngelo Williams.

CINCINNATI 1 over Chicago. PICK: BEARS. Houston last week exposed the Bengals' D--they got Steve Slaton and co. isolated in space on bubble screens and let 'em run. Look for the Bears to do the same with Hester and Forte; and that Bears' defense remains tough.

DALLAS 4 over Atlanta. PICK: FALCONS. Dallas has won 3 games this year, all against sub .500 teams. When they've played a good team, they've lost. News flash: Atlanta is a good team, and the Cowboys will have to show me they can get the job done against a solid squad.

Green Bay 9 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BROWNS. Yes, the Browns have struggled; but they're at home, and 9 points is a lot of points for a Packer team that still gives up too many sacks, and can be prone to letdowns.

HOUSTON 3 over San Francisco. PICK: TEXANS. That San Fran offense continues to struggle. And Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are showing they can do it against any defense.

Indianapolis 13 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: RAMS. Not to win; but to keep it closer than 13. I worry that Indy will be a bit rusty coming off the bye, and that Stephen Jackson will gain some yards.

New England 14.5 over Tampa Bay (in London). PICK: PATRIOTS. I just can't see the Bucs keeping this one close, what with a rookie QB and with Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker starting to click.

New Orleans 6 over MIAMI. PICK: SAINTS. I just don't think Miami can slow down that Saints offense, even with the Wildcat offense trying to play keep-away.

NY GIANTS 7 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. To at least keep this one close--New Orleans exposed that Giants secondary last week; look for Kurt Warner to do the same.

NY Jets 6 over Oakland. PICK: JETS. I guess the Eagles badly overlooked the Raiders and got real careless. I don't think the Jets will do the same--they really need the win.

PITTSBURGH 4.5 over Minnesota. PICK: STEELERS. The Vikings have barely survived a couple of real scares; eventually their luck will run out, especially in Pittsburgh, where Ben Roethlisberger will exploit their secondary and Troy Polamalu will give Brett Favre fits.

San Diego 4.5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: CHARGERS. Because the Chargers can and will score; and while San Diego's defense has issues, I don't think KC's pathetic offense can exploit them.

Philadelphia 7 over WASHINGTON. PICK: EAGLES. I just can't believe the Eagles will play as badly this week as they did last; they have too much talent and this is a division game. The Redskins offense has been pathetic, and there's no evidence that Jim Zorn or Sherm Lewis or whoever appears next on the Redskins' insane merry-go-round knows how to fix it.


No, and it now seems clear that even the Obama White House knows that Republican Bob McDonnell is about to win in Virginia. How do we know? The White House is already blaming Deeds and his campaign for the expected defeat.
Always a good sign.
Meanwhile, the latest New Jersey SurveyUSA poll has Republican Chris Christie maintaining a slight lead in the governor's race there.