Week 4 Picks - Walter  

Posted by Walter

Penn State -3 over @ Michigan

This is a tough call because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion we don’t know as much about either team as we think we do. Everybody knows that Michigan got off to a horrendous start, at home no less. And we also know that they supposedly got things fixed against Notre Dame. But to be honest, what can we take from any of those three games? The Wolverines were unfocused against Appalachian State and took them for granted. They were shocked and chagrined against Oregon and just rolled over and died. Then, in the game they supposedly “made things right” they beat up on a Notre Dame team that is amongst the worst in the nation. So looking at all that do we know what kind of team Michigan has? No freakin way. Same goes for the Nittany Lions. They’ve played Florida International, Notre Dame, and Buffalo all at home. And while they whupped on all of them, those are three of the worst teams in 1A so I lend no credence whatsoever to those scores. So we know nothing about either team, how do we make the call? Well Michigan is at home (that’s good), but they are missing their star QB (that’s bad). The Nittany Lions are 3-0 (that’s good), but they are playing their first road game and their fist overall game against real competition (that’s bad). Michigan has Mike Hart (that’s good). Penn State has Anthony Morrelli (that's.....good?). Actually it's good, the way he's been playing. With Chad Henne out of the lineup (or in but hobbled) Morrelli is the difference. Penn State 27, Michigan 21.

South Carolina +17 over @ LSU

The way I look at it, this game can go only one of two way. Either South Carolina’s defense proves it’s for real, shuts down the LSU attack, and forces a couple of turnovers to keep the Gamecocks in the game, or, in the alternative, LSU runs the Ol Ballcoach out of the building by the end of the first quarter. I’m going with the former because, well, I love Spurrier and frankly I would rather root for him than against him. Still, this game makes me nervous. LSU’s defense has been nothing short of other-worldly, while the SC offense has been everything short of pedestrian. On paper, that looks like the biggest mismatch of the game. On the other side of the ball, South Carolina’s front 7 is definitely physical enough to match up with LSU, the key will be whether their secondary holds up against a speedy set of Tiger receivers (that Early Doucet is hurting with an ankle helps the Gamecocks defense immeasurably). Whether this game is a blowout or not should come down to turnovers. The South Carolina offense isn’t going to be able to move the ball consistently against LSU (hell, who can), but they absolutely MUST avoid turning it over even if it means 3 and out. Conversely, the South Carolina defense is going to have to make a couple of plays to keep them in the game. The defense is the strength of the team and they need to give the offense a couple of short fields, or, dare I say, score a touchdown themselves. There are two X factors in this game that lead me to believe South Carolina keeps it close. First is South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, who has a huge leg and will enable the Gamecocks to play more conservatively (thus avoiding turnovers) and settle for field goals. Second is Spurrier. Friday night, against the #2 team in the nation, on their field. This is the stuff legends are made of, and he loves it. He’s got something up his sleeve, I can guarantee you that. SC proves they belong, but LSU is just too much. Call it 24-14.

Kentucky +7 over @ Arkansas

Now this line just doesn’t make any sense to me. Both teams played big time rivalry games last week. Both teams scored a ton of points. Both teams allowed the other team to score a ton of points. Only one of them won (although Arkansas was damn close). The Kentucky offense is clicking on all cylinders right now. Andre Woodson, Keenan Burton, Rafael Little. These guys can just flat out play. On the other hand, Arkansas has Darren McFadden. Simply put, he is the most unstoppable force in college football. This game looks like a classic shootout, and I expect a ton of points to be scored. Even though the game is in Fayetville, Andre Woodson simply does not make mistakes (he is, I believe, 8 pass attempts away from setting the school record for most consecutive passes without an interception). The Kentucky offense is explosive and under Woodson’s leadership it shouldn’t be susceptible to the rabid Arkansas crowd. With neither defense showing up, this game will go vertical fast. When you’ve got a shootout, the golden rule says take the points and run. Call it Arkansas 45, Kentucky 42 on a McFadden interception at the horn (heck he’s played every position on offense, why not try him on D).

@ Alabama -3.5 over Georgia

Ugh, I got a bad feeling about this game. Alabama is riding high, perhaps too high, after the monster win over Arkansas. Enter Mark Richt. He of the absurd road winning percentage in SEC play. This is just the type of game Mark Richt loves. His team is down, although not yet out, and its his turn to crash the opponents’ party in their house. Tuscaloosa will be rocking on Saturday and, frankly, the Crimson Tide should win this game. Georgia’s offense has been sputtering since the opening week shellacking of Oklahoma State, mostly because they can’t seem to find any help at all for Matt Stafford. Alabama, on the other hand, finally got things going on offense, and that is a scary thing. Terry Grant has been the surprise, but we all knew it was just a matter of time for John Parker Wilson, DJ Hall, Keith Brown and the passing game. Working their magic at home should help, and I do expect the Tide to put some points up against a Bulldog defense that still has to prove something to me (they lost a LOT of talent in the offseason and I find it hard to believe they could lose all that and still be this good). Richt’s Dawgs put up a good fight, but fall at the end. Call it Alabama 24-17

@ Wisconsin -7.5 over Iowa

Yep Wisconsin was lucky to get out of Las Vegas with a win. And yep, being tied with the Citadel at home at halftime was a disgrace. Yep I’ve heard a lot about this Wisconsin team. But you know what, so have they. I just get the feeling that the Badgers are sick and tired of hearing about how overrated they are. Bret Beilema and Co. are ready to remind us all why they were the chic Big 10 pick entering the season. Iowa, on the other hand, is still a nice name, but they have been mediocre at best this season. Kirk Ferentz is a great coach, but I don’t think he has the horses to go into Wisconsin and take this one. Not against a fired up Badger team. Iowa’s front 7 is good enough to hold PJ Hill in check, but Tyler Donovan and his dynamic set of receivers should be able to make some big plays. Wisconsin isn’t as good as people think they are, but this is a great matchup for them in a spot where they really need a dominating performance to silence some critics. Wisconsin will win big, but the score will be more indicative of Iowa’s mediocrity than Wisconsin’s dominance. Call it Wisconsin 35, Iowa 20.

Last Week: 1-3-1

Overall: 7-7-1


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