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CFB Week 2 Pick ’em

No. 13 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan (-4) – The line for this game could not be more perfect: Three of the last four meetings between these two have been decided by exactly four points. Last year’s meeting, a 13-6 Notre Dame win in South Bend, was decided mostly by turnovers. Michigan was -4 in TOs, even though it finished +60 in yards, holding the Irish to just 239 yards of offense. Both teams won easily last week with Michigan beating Central Michigan 59-9 and Notre Dame beating Temple 28-6. Both teams have plenty on offense to make tonight’s matchup more like 2011’s than last year’s. Both teams had four receivers go over the 40-yard mark in last week’s games, and Michigan had three rushers go over 50 yards while ND had two. Tommy Rees had a very good game last week, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns, but Temple finished 92nd in total defense last year by giving up over 31 points a game. I trust Devin Gardner at home a lot more than Rees. Notre Dame 20 Michigan 26.

No. 6 South Carolina at No. 12 Georgia (-3) – Aaron Murray threw for 323 yards on 20-of-29 passing last week against Clemson, but he didn’t throw a touchdown and was intercepted once. That’s bad news considering Clemson gave up 25 points and 240 passing yards a game last year. South Carolina held North Carolina to just 10 points last week. Last year the Gamecocks held opponents to just 18 points and 195 pass yards (132 two years ago). South Carolina has won the last two, including 35-7 last year, holding Murray to just 109 yards and 3.2 yards per attempt. Murray’s thrown 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in his three-plus years against ranked teams, and he’s 3-10 against them. I’m not worried about this game being at Georgia, because SCar has two upperclassmen quarterbacks who are the real deal. South Carolina 27 Georgia 21.

San Jose St. at No. 4 Stanford (-26.5) – You see the line here and think this is just going to be a cakewalk for the Cardinal, but last year San Jose St. outgained Stanford in its 20-17 loss. SJSU, which finished 11-2 last year, is led by QB David Fales, who led the country in completion percentage last year and finished third in yards per attempt. The Spartans lost Coach Mike MacIntyre to Colorado in the offseason, but they return three of their top four receivers, including Noel Grigsby, who had 1,307 receiving yards last year. Stanford’s installing a new offense this season, but it’ll probably continue to consist of 14 tight ends and a mammoth offensive line. The Cardinal return eight defensive starters from a top-20 unit last year, most of whom helped Stanford lead the nation in sacks, with 57. This shouldn’t be a blow out, but Stanford is just too good for SJSU to keep it very close. SJSU 18 Stanford 34. 

 

CFB Week 1 Pick ’em

Virginia Tech vs. No. 1 Alabama (-20.5) – It seems like Alabama always has the best luck and gets the benefit of the doubt. Excuse me. Alabama ALWAYS has the best luck and gets the benefit of the doubt. How many times can Oregon miss a field goal? How many times can Oklahoma St., Kansas St. and other teams lose to unranked opponents? How many ‘name’ programs can the Tide schedule, defeat handily and brainwash people into thinking it beat a top team even though the opponent isn’t near as good as it has been?

Welcome to a new college football season, but the same ol’ Alabama. Just like in 2010 and ’11 with Penn St., and last year with Michigan, Alabama plays a ‘name’ school that’s had a ton of success in the recent past but is coming off a down year or won’t be near as good as its name suggests. Virginia Tech is coming off its worst season in at least the past 10 years, only finishing with a winning record thanks to an overtime bowl victory over Rutgers. VT isn’t what it used to be, but will finish with a pretty good record thanks to a weak schedule after today’s game. QB Logan Thomas had a really bad year last year, but should bounce back a bit this year. But no matter how you spin it this game won’t be a contest. VT is missing several starters due to a variety of reasons, and Alabama is just too good, anyways. It’s going to be a rout, just like last year’s season opener. Alabama 34, Virginia Tech 10.

No. 5 Georgia at No. 8 Clemson (+1.5) – Now this is what I’m talking about. A top-notch SEC-ACC showdown, possibly with national title ramifications. Clemson lost its top rusher and receiver from last year’s 11-win squad, but Tajh Boyd, one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, returns along with junior Sammy Watkins, who set the world on fire in his freshman year with over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. Martavis Bryant should be a solid No. 2 receiver, and Clemson returns four of five starting offensive linemen from last year. The Tigers finished sixth in scoring last year, averaging 41 points a game. How tough the Georgia D will be remains a question, as the Dogs lost nine starters, including their top four tacklers, from a unit that was 19th in scoring defense last year. Georgia shouldn’t have any problem scoring as Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are all studs. But Clemson will be just as good offensively, and they proved they can beat an SEC defense in last year’s bowl victory over LSU. They’re 13-1 at home the past two years, too. Clemson 37, Georgia 33.

No. 19 Boise St. at Washington (-3.5) – Outside of the LSU game this is the game I’ve been looking forward to the most for the opening weekend. Boise pretty much always steps up for its big non-conference matchup. In just the last five years, Boise’s beaten Oregon twice (once in Eugene), Virginia Tech in Washington D.C., SEC East champion Georgia in Atlanta, and lost by four to a tough defensive MIchigan St. squad in last year’s opener (Had Boise played MSU later last year I believe the Broncos easily win). Despite just two returning defensive starters last year Boise improved its scoring D by three points a game and recorded 14 more sacks than in 2011. The Broncos return just three starters on D this season, but junior DeMarcus Lawrence (9.5 sacks last year) and senior DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe will anchor another strong Boise defense.

That defense will have its hands full, but not as much as it could. Star Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been suspended for tonight’s game after a DUI guilty plead from the offseason. ASJ had 69 catches, 850 yards and seven touchdowns last year, and is one of the top tight end prospects in the nation. However, Keith Price will still have options to spread the ball around to. Running back Bishop Sankey scored 15 touchdowns last year (and rushed for 205 yards against Boise in the bowl game last year), and receiver Kasen Williams, who led the team in receptions and yards last year. Boise is 8-4 against top 25 teams in Chris Peterson’s eight seasons as head coach, and if this game was played a little bit later in the season I’d probably pick Boise. But Washington played the Broncos very tough in the bowl game and have home-field tonight. Boise St. 20 Washington 22.

No. 20 TCU vs. No. 13 LSU (-4) – This should be a very defensive-oriented matchup, as both teams have finished in the top 30 of scoring defense each of the past three years. TCU has nine returning starters on defense, and even if stud SOPHOMORE DE Devonte Fields (10 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss last year) doesn’t play due to suspension, the Horned Frogs still have plenty of playmakers on D. LSU lost like 47 defensive starters to the NFL, but DT Anthony Johnson is the next great LSU defensive lineman, and Lamin Barrow, Craig Loston and Kwon Alexander will help LSU’s back seven really not miss a beat.

But both teams do have the offensive firepower to put some points up. Zach Mettenberger has all the skills to be a top quarterback in the SEC, and he gets his four leading receivers back plus three very good running backs (even if Jeremy Hill doesn’t play today the Tigers’ ground game will be fine). Both offenses can be inconsistent, and LSU reloads as well as anyone in the country on defense. TCU struggled in the Big 12 last year, and LSU always plays well in these games. TCU 16, LSU 20.

2013 College Football Predictions

SEC

EAST

  1. South Carolina 11-1, 8-0
  2. Georgia 11-1, 7-1
  3. Florida 9-3, 6-2
  4. Vanderbilt 8-4, 4-4
  5. Tennessee 6-6, 3-5
  6. Missouri 6-6, 2-6
  7. Kentucky 3-9, 0-8

WEST

  1. Alabama 11-1, 7-1
  2. LSU 10-2, 6-2
  3. Texas A&M 10-2, 6-2
  4. Mississippi 8-4, 5-3
  5. Mississippi St. 5-7, 2-6
  6. Arkansas 4-8, 1-7
  7. Auburn 3-9, 0-8

 

Big Ten

LEADERS

  1. Ohio St. 12-0, 8-0
  2. Wisconsin 9-3, 6-2
  3. Penn St. 8-4, 5-3
  4. Indiana 4-8, 2-6
  5. Purdue 3-9, 2-6
  6. Illinois 1-11, 0-8

LEGENDS

  1. Nebraska 11-1, 7-1
  2. Michigan 9-3, 5-3
  3. Michigan St. 8-4, 5-3
  4. Northwestern 7-5, 4-4
  5. Iowa 4-8, 2-6
  6. Minnesota 4-8, 1-7

 

BIG 12

  1. Oklahoma St. 11-1, 8-1
  2. TCU 9-3, 7-2
  3. Texas 10-2, 7-2
  4. Oklahoma 8-4, 6-3
  5. Baylor 8-4, 5-4
  6. Texas Tech 6-6, 3-6
  7. West Virginia 6-6, 3-6
  8. Kansas St. 5-7, 2-7
  9. Iowa St. 2-11, 1-8
  10. Kansas 2-10, 0-9

 

ACC

ATLANTIC

  1. Clemson 11-1, 8-0
  2. Florida St. 10-2, 7-1
  3. North Carolina St. 7-5, 5-3
  4. Maryland 7-5, 4-4
  5. Syracuse 4-8, 2-6
  6. Wake Forest 3-9, 2-6
  7. Boston College 3-9, 1-7

COASTAL

  1. Virginia Tech
  2. Miami 10-2, 6-2
  3. North Carolina 9-3, 6-2
  4. Georgia Tech 6-6, 4-4
  5. Duke 4-8, 2-6
  6. Virginia 3-9, 1-7
  7. Pittsburgh 3-9, 1-7

 

PAC 12

NORTH

  1. Oregon 12-0, 9-0
  2. Stanford 10-2, 7-2
  3. Washington 7-5, 4-5
  4. Oregon St. 6-6, 4-5
  5. California 3-9, 2-7
  6. Washington St. 3-9, 1-8

SOUTH

  1. Arizona St. 9-3, 6-3
  2. USC 10-3, 6-3
  3. UCLA 8-5, 6-3
  4. Arizona 6-6, 3-6
  5. Utah 3-8, 2-7
  6. Colorado 1-11, 0-9

 

Other Notables

Louisville 11-1, 7-1 (Lose to Rutgers Oct. 10 or Cincinnati Dec. 5)

MOUNTAIN WEST (aka The Best Conference Nobody Knows About)

  • Boise St. 10-2, 7-1
  • Fresno St. 10-2, 6-2
  • San Jose St. 9-3, 6-2
  • Nevada 8-4, 5-3
  • Utah St. 8-4, 5-3
  • San Diego St. 7-5, 5-3

Notre Dame 8-4

National Championship Game

Oregon vs. Ohio St.

We’re Going Polling: Week 11

  1. Kansas State – The Wildcats aim to avoid the SI curse this week.
  2. Oregon
  3. Notre Dame – I wouldn’t disagree with anyone having the Irish at two, but both teams have four quality wins, by my count, and Oregon’s been more dominant in those wins.
  4. Ohio State – There’s about four tiers of top 20 teams this year: Your three undefeated, bowl-eligible teams; Ohio State; Georgia through Oklahoma – name schools that are going to be ranked highly regardless of strength of schedule; and then the last few teams that have a few losses but most are quality and have won a few nice games.
  5. Georgia
  6. Florida
  7. Alabama
  8. Stanford
  9. LSU
  10. Texas A&M
  11. South Carolina
  12. Oregon State
  13. Florida State
  14. Clemson
  15. Oklahoma
  16. UCLA
  17. Texas
  18. Louisiana Tech
  19. Texas Tech
  20. USC
  21. Nebraska
  22. Rutgers
  23. Michigan
  24. North Carolina State
  25. Northern Illinois – one point away from being undefeated

We’re Going Polling: Week 10

  1. Kansas State
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Oregon
  4. Alabama – I moved K-State to No. 1 due to Notre Dame struggling against Pitt and K-State’s growing body of work – a complete beat down of Miami, holding Oklahoma to its lowest second fewest point output, a win at Iowa State, more beat downs at West Virginia and against Texas Tech and a win against an albeit overrated Oklahoma State. The Cats have dominated every team they’ve played this year, offensively and defensively. Notre Dame still has a better resume than Oregon or Alabama. Its fourth best win, against Michigan, is Alabama’s second best win, and the Irish dominated the Wolverines as much as the Tide did. Oregon’s been just as dominant as Alabama has; it’s just unfortunate that a national championship could be decided by preseason polls.
  5. Louisville – I’m higher on Louisville than most anyone, but staying undefeated, regardless of schedule strength, this late in the season is cause for praise.
  6. Ohio State
  7. Florida
  8. LSU – Had to keep Florida above LSU due to head-to-head result
  9. Oregon State
  10. Georgia – I don’t believe Georgia is that good, but I can’t bring myself to put any other team above it. Yes, the Dogs beat Florida, but they barely escaped from the Swamp with a win and were clobbered by South Carolina in their only other game against a good team.
  11. Stanford
  12. South Carolina – Another overrated SEC team. Yes, you beat Georgia but were dismantled in your other two games against good teams.
  13. Texas A&M – The Aggies just had to move to the SEC, didn’t they? They’ve actually been impressive in their wins and their losses.
  14. Oklahoma – Two good losses, and been pretty dominant in their wins against good competition.
  15. Texas – Longhorns really aren’t that good, but there’s really no one else that’s any better.
  16. Texas Tech
  17. TCU
  18. Louisiana Tech
  19. UCLA
  20. Florida State – Ranked sixth in the coaches’ poll despite only having one quality win.
  21. Clemson – Ranked eighth in the coaches’ poll even though it doesn’t have anywhere close to a good win.
  22. Northwestern
  23. Penn State
  24. West Virginia
  25. Toledo

College Football Recap: Week 9

Four games this past weekend featured opponents both ranked in the top 14. In each game a statement was made one way or the other. No. 3 Kansas State demolished No. 14 Texas Tech 55-24; No. 10 Georgia beat No. 2 Florida 17-9; and No. 5 Notre Dame beat No. 8 Oklahoma 30-13. K-State and Notre Dame just again solidified what we already knew about them – that they’re very real title threats. Georgia, while looking shaky all year long, finally beat a quality opponent behind its stingy defense. But 11th-ranked Mississippi State got thoroughly dominated by No. 1 Alabama, proving what I’ve said about the Bulldogs all year long – that they’re a product of a soft schedule and aren’t worthy of being in the top 25, let alone ranked 11th.

Texas Tech had won two games in a row against quality opponents – West Virginia and TCU – before heading to Manhattan. Tech made some noise early in the season, ranking at the top in total defense. But that was just a product of playing a crappy schedule, and in against West Virginia and TCU the Red Raiders gave up 924 yards of offense – a good sign for Kansas State. The Wildcats horsed around a little bit, falling behind 10-3 early in the second, but then scored 24 unanswered points before giving up a touchdown. Then they scored 28 unanswered points, including a touchdown on an interception return by stud linebacker Arthur Brown, who’s one of the five best ‘backers in the country. One of the five best quarterbacks in the country also plays for Kansas State. Colin Klein had over 300 yards of offense and four touchdowns Saturday, raising his season totals to 28 total touchdowns. He ranks 29th in total offense despite only being involved in 287 plays, the 55th most in the country.

Before Saturday Georgia hadn’t beaten anyone of consequence and was crushed by its only ranked opponent. But Georgia’s defense, led by an LB who’s even better than Brown, Jarvis Jones, finally lived up to its preseason billing, holding Florida to a season-low 81 rushing yards. This game was ugly, or if you live in the south then it was beautiful. The teams combined for nine turnovers, including six by Florida. There were 24 penalties for 227 yards, and Florida didn’t score a touchdown. The game was decided by a defensive play by Jones, who stripped Jordan Reed as Reed was jumping for the end zone with two minutes left in the fourth. Jones finished with 13 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The guy literally looks like a cyborg and will be a top pick in next year’s draft.

Notre Dame also won in part due to linebacker play. Manti Te’o intercepted a Landry Jones pass late in the fourth to seal the Irish’s win. He also had a monster sack on Jones earlier in the game when he came untouched on a delayed blitz in the B gap. Unless he gets hurt or several offensive players go off in November, Te’o should go ahead and book his flight to New York. Notre Dame’s 30 points were the most scored on Oklahoma this year, and the 13 scored by Oklahoma was the fewest its scored all year. Notre Dame played great in a hostile environment, with three players scoring a rushing touchdown and rushing for at least 64 yards a piece. The Irish gave up a ton of yards through the air, but Jones was inefficient, only averaging seven yards per attempt – fewer than his counterpart Everett Golson’s YPA that night. The Irish also kept Jones from passing for a touchdown and limited the Sooners to 50 rushing yards on 20 attempts.

Mississippi State had won seven in a row to start off the season and was up to No. 11 in the polls before its game against Alabama. But the Bulldogs had only played one team with a winning record – Middle Tennessee State. Against their only quality opponent all year the Bulldogs fell behind 24-0 at half and were down 38-0 late in the fourth before they scored against Alabama’s backups, which prompted Nick Saban to yell at them. “You don’t get to be 7-0 by accident,” Nick Saban said after the game. That’s true, Nick. Because in college football you can purposefully schedule crappy teams to win games. And when you play Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama and MTSU, you better win those games. MSU will probably finish the season 7-5 and un-ranked, but it plays in the SEC so if it’s 7-0 it should be ranked really high! We knew Alabama is for real, and now we just know what we thought we knew: MSU is not for real.

2012-13 NBA Season Predictions

Eastern Conference

  1. Miami
  2. Boston
  3. Brooklyn
  4. Atlanta
  5. Indiana
  6. Chicago
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Toronto

Western Conference

  1. Oklahoma City
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Denver
  4. San Antonio
  5. Memphis
  6. Los Angeles Clippers
  7. Utah
  8. Dallas

Miami over Lakers in Finals

Jordan Sharp

  1. Miami
  2. Boston
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Chicago
  5. Brooklyn
  6. Indiana
  7. New York
  8. Toronto
  1. Lakers
  2. OKC
  3. Denver
  4. San Antonio
  5. Clippers
  6. Memphis
  7. Dallas
  8. Minnesota

Lakers over Celtics in Finals

Bryce Tucker

  1. Miami
  2. Boston
  3. Indiana
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Philadelphia
  6. Chicago
  7. New York
  8. Atlanta
  1. OKC
  2. Lakers
  3. Denver
  4. San Antonio
  5. Clippers
  6. Memphis
  7. Minnesota
  8. Dallas

Miami over Denver in Finals

Trevor Ile

  1. Miami
  2. Brooklyn
  3. Boston
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Indiana
  6. Chicago
  7. New York
  8. Atlanta
  1. Lakers
  2. OKC
  3. San Antonio
  4. Clippers
  5. Denver
  6. Minnesota
  7. Memphis
  8. Dallas

Lakers over Heat in Finals

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