Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's football picks (and other stuff)

First, the other stuff...
It sure appears that what we have here is yet another shooting done by a Muslim extremist:
"Soldiers who witnessed the shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — an Arabic phrase for "God is great!" — before opening fire, the base commander said Friday."

Read the whole thing. We also learn that he posted on radical Islamist sites, praising suicide bombers. I've heard elsewhere from good sources that the shooter's "problems" with patients in Walter Reed Hospital had to do with the fact that he tried to convert them to Islam.
The real question is why this guy had any responsible position at all in the U.S. military.

So in polls examining the state of the generic congressional ballot, what we see right now is Democrats with a lead...but not a huge one. Ipsos/McClatchy has Dems up 7; CNN has them up 6; but Rasmussen has Republicans up 4.
You have to question the Rasmussen result a bit; it seems so out of line with other polling results, and Rasmussen does much of its polling through robocalls. But, consider this: Rasmussen called the Christie/Corzine race in New Jersey pretty much on the button in its last polling result. Many other polls didn't.
So it seems to me Democrats have only a narrow lead. That's good news for Republicans and conservatives--there's still plenty of time before November 2010 to narrow the gap, and it means the gap between the GOP and Democrats has significantly narrowed since 2008. It's gonna be interesting...

I was only 5-10 last week; I'm 57-56-1 for the year.

Boise State 21 over LOUISIANA TECH. PICK: LA TECH. It's a road game; La Tech will be fired up; Boise's a long way from home. I expect they'll win, but by less than 3 TDs.

ALABAMA 7.5 over LSU. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE. The Tigers haven't done too well this season on the road or against good teams. Here they face both. And that 'Bama offense has to break out some time...

CINCINNATI 17 over UConn. PICK: BEARCATS. I doubt the Huskies' defense can contain Cincy; and look for the Bearcats to make a big play on special teams, too (teams have run back kicks for TDs in each of the last two games against UConn).

CLEMSON 8.5 over Florida State. PICK: TIGERS. They're hot, and at home. FSU's defense has more holes in it than swiss cheese.

FLORIDA 35 over Vanderbilt. PICK: GATORS. It's a lot of points, but Vandy gave up over 50 last week, and one senses that Florida and Tim Tebow are getting in a groove.

GEORGIA TECH 16 over Wake Forest. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Tech is hot; ride 'em.

IOWA 16 over Northwestern. PICK: WILDCATS. Not to win, but to keep it close. And as we've seen, Iowa has a way of keeping its opponents in the game.

MICHIGAN 6 over Purdue. PICK: WOLVERINES. I'm going to keep picking Michigan until they get it right. This week, they have the perfect opponent to do so.

MICHIGAN STATE 20.5 over Western Michigan. PICK: BRONCOS. Michigan State should win this in the end, but they too do a lot to keep their opponents in the game.

MINNESOTA 7 over Illinois. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS. I doubt Illinois will sustain their momentum; and Minnesota gained some last week.

NOTRE DAME 11 over Navy. PICK: MIDSHIPMEN. That triple option always gives the Irish trouble; and Ricky Dobbs is back this week to run it.

Oklahoma 5.5 over NEBRASKA. PICK: SOONERS. That Sooner defense will shut another opponent down.

Oregon 7 over STANFORD. PICK: DUCKS. Stanford is better than they were last year, and they're at home. They're the sexy upset pick this week. But it won't happen--that Oregon offense is humming.

PENN STATE 3.5 over Ohio State. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. If Purdue's defense can cause Terrelle Pryor problems, just wait til he sees the Penn State D.

PITTSBURGH 21.5 over Syracuse. PICK: PANTHERS. Bill Stull is a fine QB, and that offense is rolling. Again, they're hot; ride 'em.

TCU 24.5 over San Diego State. PICK: HORNED FROGS. They're hot, and they know what's at stake. Coach Gary Patterson makes sure of it. They won't slip up here.

TEXAS 36 over Central Florida. PICK: LONGHORNS. That's a lot of points, but with Texas evidently jelling in the last few weeks, they can cover.

USC 10 over ARIZONA STATE. PICK: TROJANS. They'll bounce back.

Wisconsin 10.5 over INDIANA. PICK: BADGERS. You have to think the Hoosiers will be down after blowing yet another lead last week. Meanwhile, Wisconsin will use their power football to get it done.

I was only 6-7 last week; again, I was only 3 or 4 points from being way over .500 for the week. Argh! But I'm still 60-54-2 for the season.

ATLANTA 10 over Washington. PICK: FALCONS. It's a lot of points, but the Redskin offense is putrid. Atlanta can cover.

Baltimore 3 over CINCINNATI. PICK: BENGALS. I know, a lot of folks still don't believe in the Bengals. But--they beat the Ravens on the road, and the Steelers at home, and they're coming off a bye week after a very effective performance against the Bears. I guess I'm a Bengal believer.

CHICAGO 3 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. I know; the Cardinals lost last week, and the Bears won. So the Cardinals, as is their Jekyll/Hyde habit, are due for a good performance, and don't forget they have a lot of good players at the skill positions. And I'm not yet a believer in Jay Cutler and the Bears.

Green Bay 9.5 over TAMPA BAY. PICK: PACKERS. The Packers will start Aaron Rodgers; the Bucs, rookie Josh Freeman. "Nuff said.

INDIANAPOLIS 9 over Houston. PICK: TEXANS. I suspect Indy will find a way to win this game late. But I'm concerned about the Colts' injuries on defense, and Houston offensively is red hot.

JACKSONVILLE 6.5 over Kansas City. PICK: JAGUARS. Both teams have had plenty of troubles. But the Jags seem to at times play capably at home; and the Chiefs' offense is just horrid.

NEW ENGLAND 10.5 over Miami. PICK: PATRIOTS. Miami was fortunate to win last week, largely riding Ted Ginn's kickoff returns. That won't happen against the Patriots in Foxboro, and there's plenty of evidence Tom Brady and co. are returning to form.

NEW ORLEANS 13.5 over Carolina. PICK: SAINTS. Who's gonna stop these Saints, especially this offense?

NY GIANTS 4.5 over San Diego. PICK: GIANTS. They're getting a bit more healthy, and they're at home. Against good QBs, San Diego's defense has gotten exposed this season. Look for that to happen again here.

PHILADELPHIA 3 over Dallas. PICK: EAGLES. Look for the Eagles' blitzes to pressure Tony Romo, and for the Eagle corners to take away Miles Austin. The Cowboys have improved; this game won't be a blowout. But I think the Eagles will win by, say, 7.

SAN FRANCISCO 4 over Tennessee. PICK: 49ERS. Yes, Vince Young gave the Titans a spark last week. But the 49ers played some tough, good football both against the Texans and the Colts on the road. They too have gotten a spark--from Alex Smith. I look for them to win this one by a TD or so.

SEATTLE 10 over Detroit. PICK: LIONS. I know; a shocker after the Lions' bad loss at home to the Rams. But the Lions actually are much the healthier team here, especially with big-time receiver Calvin Johnson returning. With him and with Stafford shaking off some rust, the Lions can keep this game closer than 10.

Pittsburgh 3 over DENVER. [PICK: STEELERS. I don't look for this to be a blowout, but I sense Denver coming back to earth, and you've got to like Ben Roethlisberger over Kyle Orton.