Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday's football picks (and other stuff)

First, some other stuff:

"A surprising drop in the unemployment rate and far fewer job losses last month cheered investors Friday and raised hopes for a sustained economic recovery. The rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent, from 10.2 percent in October, as employers cut the fewest number of jobs since the recession began. The government also said 159,000 fewer jobs were lost in September and October than first reported."

But, question for the Obama administration: if in fact your first "stimulus" plan is now suddenly working, why do we need a second one???

President Obama and most of those around him believed, when he was elected, that indeed the American people were voting for a more activist government. Turns out, though, that they were wrong:
" today's hard economic times, something startling began showing up in public-opinion polls: fewer people than in the past wanted Washington to step in. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 23% of respondents said they trust the government "always or most of the time"--the smallest proportion in 12 years. The percentage of voters who think government should "do more to solve problems and meet the needs of people" has dropped 5 points since Obama's first weeks in office, while that of those who think government should leave more things "to businesses" rose 8 points. The shift is especially noticeable among independent voters, a small plurality of whom wanted government to "do more" after Obama took office; now--by a margin of 17--they think government does "too much." "Audacity" was a catchy campaign theme, but it's less attractive as a governing principle. The all-important swing voters who decide elections are nervous about dramatic expansions of the Federal Government--even and especially in this time of economic distress. As it turns out, this financial crisis was not the call to bold action that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said shouldn't "go to waste." Quite the opposite: if he doesn't want his presidency to be held hostage by a string of nail-biter votes in Congress, Obama needs to recognize that he overestimated the public's appetite for taxpayer-funded solutions."

Don't try telling that to Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate; he STILL trails his Republican opponents significantly in polls of his upcoming 2010 Senate race.

Now, on to this week's football picks!
I'm under .500. But maybe the conference championships and the bowl season will redeem me:

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 13 over Ohio. PICK: CHIPPEWAS. This is a good Central Michigan team.

Cincinnati 1.5 over PITTSBURGH. PICK: PANTHERS. Cincy's had some close escapes this year. Pitt is coming off a loss. But they're at home, and this is their chance at saving their season and going to the BCS.

SOUTHERN CAL 7 over Arizona. PICK: TROJANS. Just too much talent there to keep struggling in big games.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: Florida 5 over Alabama. PICK: GATORS. Seems like the trendy pick is Alabama, due to their defense and running game. But I think Florida has a clear edge in this game at the QB position in Tebow, and that counts for a lot. 'Bama struggles to score. That's not good when you play the Gators.

ACC: Georgia Tech 1 over Clemson. PICK: YELLOWJACKETS. They'll outscore 'em in a wild shootout affair.

BIG 12: Texas 14 over Nebraska. PICK: CORNHUSKERS. Texas will likely win. But look for Nebraska's defense and running game to keep this one close.

Again, I'm under .500 for the season now. But now the comeback begins!

CAROLINA 6 over Tampa Bay. PICK; PANTHERS. Carolina will get a boost from finally starting backup QB Matt Moore, replacing turnover-happy Jake Delhomme.

CHICAGO 9 over St. Louis. PICK: RAMS. The Bears will likely win, but in the December weather of Chicago, with the Bears' offense struggling, and with both teams beat up, look for both to struggle to score.

CINCINNATI 13 over Detroit. PICK: LIONS. The Bengals will surely win here. But in cold weather and with injuries existing on both sides, look for the Bengals to feature the run...and thus to run clock, shorten the game, and keep the score closer than many expect.

Dallas 2 over NY GIANTS. PICK: GIANTS. Because they're at home, and the more desperate team here (see Dallas' game a few weeks ago at Green Bay).

Denver 4.5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: BRONCOS. Because just maybe the Broncos have righted the ship.

INDIANAPOLIS 6.5 over Tennessee. PICK: COLTS. Yes, the Titans are on a winning streak. But they have yet to beat a team of the Colts' caliber, not to mention on the road.

JACKSONVILLE pick'em vs Houston. PICK: TEXANS. Houston's offensive talent and ability to score will get them a road win over the inconsistent Jags.

Minnesota 3.5 over ARIZONA. PICK: VIKINGS. The Minnesota front 4 will get pressure on either Leinart or Warner, and rule the day.

New England 3 over MIAMI. PICK: PATRIOTS. Tom Brady and co. need this game; it's hard to believe all that offensive talent for the Pats won't get it done here.

New Orleans 9.5 over WASHINGTON. PICK: REDSKINS. The Saints will pull this win out; but look for them to have a bit of a letdown, and for Washington's running game to help keep this one close.

Philadelphia 5.5 over ATLANTA. PICK: FALCONS. The trendy pick is Philly here, due to all the Falcons' injuries. But Philly has injuries too, and this game is in Atlanta. Look for the Falcons to pull a surprise.

PITTSBURGH 14.5 over Oakland. PICK: RAIDERS. Not to win; but to keep it closer than 14. Steeler injuries and bad weather I think will also help keep it close.

San Diego 13 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BROWNS. Again, look for a Charger letdown, for Brady Quinn to maybe do a few things offensively, and for the general wear and tear of a season to affect the favored team and keep this game close.

San Francisco pick 'em at SEATTLE. PICK: 49ERS. The Niners appear to have righted the ship.

GREEN BAY 3 over Baltimore. PICK: PACKERS. The Packer defense, especially its secondary, is rounding into form. So is Aaron Rodgers. The Ravens meanwhile struggle in the red zone.