Week 7 Picks  

Posted by Walter

@ BC +2.5 over Virginia Tech

I won’t even try and deny it, this is a homer pick. I will be at the game tonight, and damned if I will be rooting for anything other than a BC victory. OK, so now that my ulterior motive is out there I can get down to justifying it. Basically, this pick comes down to what I have seen on the field from each team. Both teams have but a single loss, and, frankly, each loss is looking better and better by the day (both NC State and Georgia Tech are flourishing). That aside, let’s look at the four wins each of the teams have. On the one hand we have Virginia Tech who has beaten a Division 1AA team (Northeastern), the two worst teams in their conference (North Carolina and Duke), and the barely slipped by a Cincinnati team at home that got pasted by Pittsburgh. On the other hand we have Boston College who has beaten a solid MAC team on the road that is every bit the equal of Cincinnati (C Michigan), a very talented 4-2 Brigham Young team, the best team in the ACC (Clemson), and a 1AA team (Maine). The bottom line is that I think we know how good this BC team is, but I’m not certain we can say anything definitive about Tech. Look for the Eagles to try and pass on the Hokies. While they don’t have a WR near the caliber of Calvin Johnson, the BC passing game is probably a bit better than that of Georgia Tech. Matt Ryan is certainly a better downfield passer that Reggie Ball, and the Eagles receiving corpse is deep if not spectacular. Expect Tech to bring a ton of pressure, something that has given the Eagles trouble in the past. But this is a veteran offensive line and I am betting that they give Ryan the time he needs to pick apart a Hokies secondary that looked very vulnerable against the Yellow Jackets. As a bonus, the BC kicker will be playing his first football game…..EVER. He was a soccer player in high school who walked onto the football team. Sounds like some magic might be in the air. I’ll take BC over Tech, 21-20 on a field goal at the horn.

Wake Forest +4 over @ NC State

Two things are at work with this pick: (1) Wake still isn’t getting any respect, and (2) Chuck Chuck is prominently involved. Last week against the ACC’s best, Wake thoroughly dominated Clemson for three quarters. Wake controlled the ball, they totally shut down the Clemson rushing attack, they generally played three outstanding quarters. Unfortunately a football game is four quarters and their meltdown resulted in a loss. The difference between a well coached team and a poorly coached team is what happens next. A poorly coached team folds up like a piece of origami paper (see Michigan State losing to Illinois). A well coached team rises to the occasion and gets back on track. Jim Grobe is a very good football coach, and I am betting that Wake is more of the latter than the former. If I were Grobe I would play the disrespect card all week long in getting my team jacked up for this game. Wake has been very consistent all year, and I intent to ride them until the oddsmakers take notice. Now, on to #2. NC State has had two HUGE wins in consecutive games over BC and over Florida State. A well coached team uses this as momentum to keep playing better and better (see Florida). A poorly coached team lets the success go to their head and complacency sets in. Well Chuck Chuck, which are you? The one hallmark of Amato’s tenure in Raleigh has been underachieving. He has had tons of talent and done nothing with it. With this pick I am betting that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Look for Wake to win this game on the strength of superior discipline and gameplanning. Call it Wake 24-21.

Ohio State -15 over @ Michigan State

Let’s kick this SAT style…..Jim Tressel:John L. Smith as Richard Nixon:_______. Well if you answered George McGovern then you comprehend the lopsidedness of this matchup. Call it Ohio State 112, Michigan State 3.

Not a man that inspires much confidence huh?....
well unless you're Frazier. Holla at your boy!

Missouri -2.5 over @ Texas A&M

This line looks way too low to me. Missouri has been a nice surprise this season, but unlike my esteemed co-blogger I do not believe they are doing it with smoke and mirrors. People forget that star sophomore QB Chase Daniels was one of the most touted high school quarterbacks in the nation just two years ago. Give Coach Pinkel credit for locking him up before Mack Brown could convince him to sit two years behind Vince Young (he ended up sitting two years behind Brad Smith instead). Daniels has been outstanding this season thanks in large part to an veteran offensive line that has proven quite adept at keeping him upright. In fact, the Missouri O-Line is going to be the difference in this game as they are one of the few units in the nation that are equally effective run blocking and pass blocking. Missouri took a huge step last week with an impressive 38-21 win at Texas Tech. And while critics may point out that the rest of the Tigers’ schedule has been soft (it has), it hasn’t been nearly as soft as Texas A&M’s. At least Missouri can point to their domination of Texas Tech in Lubbock as a quality win. So far this season A & M has beaten 2 service academies (Citadel and Army), two terrible teams from Louisiana (LA Lafayette and LA Tech), and one of the worst teams in the big 12 (Kansas); not to mention losing to Texas Tech at home. Missouri is just way to solid on both sides of the football to blow this one. Call it 31-17.

California -8 over Washington State

I agree with Frazier that this could be the game where people start to think Cal is better than USC. And frankly, they’ll be right. California has really come into its own recently. Nate Longshore has fully recovered from his broken leg last season, and his debacle in Knoxville to open the season, and has displayed the pinpoint accuracy on deep balls that is a mainstay of Jeff Tedford’s system. At the start of the season I thought the Bears had the most talented offense in the nation, and now they are proving it. With Desean Jackon, Lavelle Hawkins, Robert Jordan, Marshawn Lynch, and Justin Forsett, the Bears have a quintent of skill position players most NFL teams would die to have. Jackson has really been the key though. He has made huge plays in the passing game and the return game, and his 4.2 speed really stretches a defense. While Washington State is a solid, well coached team, they simply don’t have the athletes to keep up with Cal. Look for Jackson and Lynch to take over this game early, and help California coast to another easy victory 35-19.

@ Auburn over Florida

As I said, when well coached teams hiccup they come back with a vengeance the next week. Tommy Tubberville is an outstanding coach, although I bet he wishes he didn’t open his mouth about possibly getting screwed by the BCS, and I am betting that he, Al Borges, and Mike Munchamp have the Tigers ready to blow back into the national top 10 on Saturday. In retrospect, perhaps we should have seen the loss to Arkansas coming based on the previous pieces of evidence: (1) Wisconsin and Brian Coulhoun’s dominance of the Tigers in last year’s bowl game, (2) squeaking by LSU 7-3 at home, and (3) needing an interception in the endzone to escape South Carolina with a victory. Aside from the South Carolina game, which can be chalked up to absolute mastery by Steve Spurrier, what do the other teams (Arkansas included) have in common? They are all big, physical, punishing teams. The last two teams to beat Auburn, Wisconsin and Arkansas, did so by running the ball right down their throats. Florida cannot do this. LSU was able to stay in the game against Auburn because their defense was simply faster and meaner than the Tigers offense. Florida’s is not. The Gators are a soft team. They stop the run fairly well, but they have yet to face a team that will smack them right in the mouth like Auburn will. LSU hasn’t been able to run the ball all season. Trust me, this is a totally different opponent for Florida. On the other side of the ball, Florida hasn’t been able to run the ball all season long. Tim Tebow has been great on short yardage plays, but when your backup QB is your toughest runner…..well that’s not a good thing. I expect the Tigers to be ready for the Tim Tebow show and give him a healthy dose of humility and possibly even force a Tebow turnover. This is going to be a great game, with a very low score. Inasmuch, it seems worth noting that Florida still hasn’t kicked a field goal this season. I’m just saying, that could come into play in a game that figures to be as close as this one. Call it Auburn 13-7.

USC -18.5 @ Arizona State

Ugh I hate this pick. USC has shown me nothing all year to warrant a spread this high. That said, Dirk Koetter is a terrible coach until proven otherwise, and Rudy Carpenter is playing like a man looking over his shoulder at a QB who is no longer with the program (Sam Keller). Arizona State’s defense is an absolute disgrace (they look like they are playing two hand touch) and they will make USC’s offense look a lot better than they actually are. OK I’ve had enough of this game already. Call it USC 42-21.

Michigan -6.5 over @ Penn. State

Let’s be clear on something, the Manningham injury could hurt Michigan most in this game. Penn. State has a poor secondary. This we know. They also have outstanding linebackers. This we also know. Without Mannigham, Michigan is going to be forced to pound the ball with Mike Hart, which is exactly what the Nittany Lions want the Wolverines to do. Well then, you may ask, why have I picked Michigan to win the game? The answer is simple……Anthony Morelli. This guy stinks, that’s all I have to say. Tony Hunt has been outstanding for Penn State this year, but there is no way he is going to run against this Michigan front 7. That puts the game on Morelli against what is a deservedly vaunted Michigan secondary. That, my friends, is a mismatch worth of narration. Look for the Penn State defense to put forth another valiant effort (like the one they gave against Ohio State), but have to watch as it is wasted by Morelli (just like it was against Ohio State). If Michigan was smart they would alter their game plan somewhat, and resort to a shorter to mid range passing attack. While this does not play to Henne’s strengths, it would allow the Michigan offense to soften up the Penn State linebackers somewhat while getting the ball to Steve Breaston (their next best playmaker after Hart and Manningham). Either way, Michigan wins the game, but it’s not going to be a blowout that most people thing. Call it Michigan 17-3.


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