Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Offensive Line: 9/23-9/25

So, if the first week is any indication, the Offensive Line knows a good deal about College Football (8-1, with my only loss coming when Boise State failed to cover by .5, probably because they were focusing on diving season), and pretty much nothing about NFL (2-3, although all of my warning games were just that, only Baltimore covered, because Oakland really just is that, that bad.)

This week is the opposite of last weekend in terms of excitement. We're back to the doldrums of non-conference whuppings and trying to figure out who's for real (Atlanta?) and who's not (Baltimore?) in the NFL.

Regardless, here's your Offensive Line.

NFL:
Virginia (+17.5) at Georgia Tech (-17.5):
Makes me a little nervous, that's a heckofa spread, but Virginia is just really, really bad. They lost to Western Michigan last week, and they're ranked 111th in scoring. Tech has Reggie Ball and a stifling defense. Plus, when you think about it, the name "The Cavaliers" is pretty weak.

Pick: Georgia Tech to cover.

(Friday update: GT failed to cover by .5. Seriously. Could they not kick a completely spiteful, unsportsmanlike field goal when they were up by 17 on the Virginia 21 with less than 30 seconds to go? Is that too much to ask?)

Northwestern (+7) at Nevada (-7):
I don't necessarily like Northwestern to win straight up here, but that spread is just a little loose for my tastes. I think Northwestern figures out how to keep this close. And as usual, the farther from the center, the better the food, the closer to the center of the country, the better the football. Unless it's USC and barbecue. Then switch.

Pick: Northwestern to cover.

Wisconsin (+14) at Michigan (-14):
So, it's the opener of Big 10 play for both teams, both teams are undefeated, and Michigan is coming off it's biggest win in years, reestablishing itself as a major player in the top 10. That's ripe for an upset in a letdown ga...wait. What the fuck am I talking about? Haven't I been preaching "Do not underestimate Henne and Hart!" to everyone I know? Meanwhile, Wisconsin beat San Diego State but only 14-0 last week, behind only 85 yards from QB Stocco. And all this from a team that had a LB suspended for stealing a moped. Hermmm.... yeah, the Wolverines are way better than the hangover.

Pick: Michigan to cover.

Minnesota (-3) at Purdue (+3):
They haven't set the over. Doesn't matter. Take it. This is no.4 vs. no.5 in scoring. Purdue is 6-1 in last seven against the spread versus Minnesota, and the Gophers have let me down hardcore in terms of looking ferocious. I like Boilermakers here, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just cold.

Pick: Purdue.

Louisville (-14.5) at Kansas State (+14.5):
I know. They beat Miami. And that makes them hotter than a two dollar pistol (or a fresh fucked fox in a forest fire, apparently). But Miami is not as good as we thought they would be. And, losing Michael Bush was one thing. Losing Brohm is something else all together, especially when they're facing KState, who's biggest strength is their defense. I still think Louisville will win, but I think the Wildcats will keep it under 14.

Pick: Kansas State inside the spread

North Carolina(+17) at Clemson (-17):
You could double this spread and I'd take Clemson with the points. This spread is wide enough even for this hunk-a-hunk.

Pick: Clemson covers.

Cincinnati (+27) at Virginia Tech (-27):
Ditto for VT.

Pick: VT covers.

Colorado (+27.5) at Georgia (-27.5):
If you're Georgia, who do you have to maim to get consideration as a powerhouse? It won't be Colorado, because they are horrible. Of course, I'm waiting for the inevitable "Big 12 North crappy team gets it together after their season is already wrecked and starts knocking off the good teams in the division to once again ensure the suckery of the Big 12 North" effect to kick in once they start conference play. However, probably not a good idea to start talking smack to one of the best defenses in the country when ASU holds you to three points. Rejoice, Colorado!

Pick: Georgia to cover eleventy billion.

Buffalo U (+42.5) at Auburn (-42.5)
They're just trying to find spreads Auburn can't cover, aren't they? And you know, Buffalo is 8-3-1 in it's last 12 versus the spread. I think Auburn will get close, say 48 to 7, but not quite close enough. That's an over under right there. If you're the Buffalo coach, how do you prepare for this game? Lobotomy? Scotch? Whores? What do you do to get yourself in a mindset to play these guys? I love the attitude of the guys over at BfloBlog.com . "There will be no shame in this beat-down, especially if the Bulls can look respectable while taking their beating. " I can appreciate that kind of positive attitude in the face of a giant, scary, "I'm going to eat your children" SEC juggernaut.

Pick: Buffalo U to cover.

Arizona State (+8) at Cal (-8):
I'm not drinking the KoolAid. Cal lost to Tennesee, period. Tennessee is questionable at QB, and the Sun Devils lead 1A with 18 sacks. And that spread is just a bit too wide. The best part about this matchup is that after this week there will be one less Pac10 team in the top 25.

Pick: Arizona State, straight up.

West Virginia (-21.5) at East Carolina (+21.5):
And the gauntlet of West Virginia's schedule keeps rolling on. Next week? Krispy Kreme.

Pick: Um... yeah.

Notre Dame (-4) at Michigan State (+4):
Stay away from this one. It's not good for you. Drew Stanton is the best quarterback I've seen play this year, and Notre Dame is in that treacherous point of either snapping back or self-destructing.

Pick: Avoid like the black plague. Or spinach.

NFL:
Tennessee(+10.5) at Miami(-10.5):
One team has to get their shit together in this game. It's been an absolute disaster for the Fins. Daunte Culpepper has looked like Courtney Love at the end of "The People Versus Larry Flynt." Meanwhile, Tennessee isn't bad. No, they, along with the Raiders and the Packers, are redefining the term bad. We're talking epic bad. The kind of bad that makes fans question how they got here. The thing is, everyone knows Miami is a better team than they've been. They have all the weapons. They have the coaching. They just haven't performed. And given this team's propensity for December meltdowns, this really doesn't look good for Miami in terms of a playoff run. However, I still think they can get it together, and maybe playing a team this awful is just what the doctor ordered.

Pick: Miami to cover.

Bears (-3) at Minnesota (+3):
So I guess Brad Johnson ran across my preseason picks and posted it on the bulletin board, huh? Minnesota goes two weeks of making my head hurt, beating teams they have no business beating. Maybe new coach Brad Childress just really is that smart. Maybe I should start rethinking some other things I thought were givens. Maybe alcohol isn't a necessary component of family holidays. Maybe Brad Lidge doesn't wake up in the middle of the night crying, screaming about Albert Pujols. Maybe I have underestimated REO Speedwagon.

Or maybe the Bears cover, because reality is still stable.

Pick: Chicago to cover.

Carolina(-3) at Tampa Bay (+3):
This should be a tough matchup between two great defensive teams that haven't quite clicked. This could be an epic battle between two closely matched teams...

What?

Steve Smith is back?

Nevermind, Panthers kill.

Pick: Carolina to cover.

Washington (-4) at Houston (+4):
Houston's gotta win sometime, right? 'Skins gotta win sometime, right? Hmm... David Carr versus Mark Brunell. It's like in Back to the Future Part 2 when young Jennifer sees old Jennifer. Luckily, the time/space continuum will not be destroyed because they will never see each other. You can't see the sideline if you're constantly falling backwards. The Texans have actually played tougher teams, but they've also been beaten more soundly.

Pick: Washington

NY Jests (+5.5) at Buffalo (-5.5):
Well, slap my ass and call me Suzy. The Bills are actually pretty good. J.P. Losman apparently was at the magical circle jerk with Brad Childress and the entire New Orleans Saints. And the hits just keep on coming, because they've got Pennington and the game comin' along. And Buffalo has played inspired. However. I think they'll win, but I don't think they cover. this one wraps up in four or under.

Pick: NY Jests barely cover spread.

Cincinatti (+2) at Pittsburgh (-2):
Road Rash McGee and the Joey Porter Experience struck out on Monday Night when the devil came to collect. I'd also like to add that Mellissa Stark's in depth presentation on appendectomies included this nugget: "(symptoms can include) bowel shutdown. None of it pleasant, Mike." No shit, Melissa. Wait, no, that's wrong. That's the opposite...nevermind. Anyway, Chad Johnson, who's cookoo for CocoPuffs, and Palmer have got a better team this year, as opposed to last year. Wait, they had a better team last year. Oh, that's right, the difference is there "probably" won't be any late hits that split Carson's ACL like they were Paris Hilton's legs.

Pick: Cincinatti to win and cover.

Green Bay(+2) at Detroit (-2):
Go back and read that again. Go ahead. I'll wait. ... Yes, the Lions are favored. Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Packers are underdogs to a team led by John Kitna and whose fans have led protests to get the GM fired. Trying to figure this one out makes my brain hurt.

So I'm going to go with the rational thought. Never bet against Brett Favre, and never bet on Matt Millen.

Pick: Green Bay

Jacksonville (+7) at Indianapolis (-7):
People are saying this line is too wide given how well the Jags are playing. And I like the Jags. A lot. And they almost won last year. And I heart Matt Jones.

I heart Matt Jones so much, I'm going to go out and buy his jersey. Using my Mastercard! Hey didn't I just see a commercial for Mastercard? Who was on that?

Oh, yeah, the MVP with the unstoppable offense.

Pick: Indianapolis to cover.

Baltimore (-6.5) at Cleveland (+6.5):
I give! I give! The Ravens actually got better. Steve McNair is pulling the Tom Petty gig. Been doing it forever, and everytime he comes around, he puts out the same quality stuff he did before. Somebody buy Romeo Crennell some bourbon, please. And a weight watchers guide.

Pick: Baltimore to cover.

NY Giants (+3.5) at Seattle (-3.5):
Yeah, because if and when the Seahawks build a lead, they're going to blow it. If I were Seattle, I'd go into military intelligence. Because they could be awesome at spying. No one notices what they do, anyway.

Pick: Seattle to cover. Eli to cry like a girl.

St. Louis (+4.5) at Arizona (-4.5):
Irony: Arizona now plays in a stadium that is likened to a spaceship, quarterbacked by a guy that people used to say was an alien. Let's call it: Close Encounters of the Spread Offense. Meanwhile, St. Louis is living the sports equivalent of the Bourne Supremacy. "I don't know who I am, I don't know what I'm doing, but sometimes, I'm fucking terrifying. Hey, hot chick!"

Pick: Arizona to barely cover.

Denver (+7) at New England (-7):
This was a huge game last year. This year it's two teams that have remarkably underachieved. This one's a hard one to figure out, since it's Jake The Snake versus Tom Brady and that's one of those tooth and nail matchups that...

Pick: New England whups the shit out of the Broncos, premier receiver or not.

Stay away from Philadelphia at San Francisco. I got a hoodoo voodoo feeling about Alex Smith.

Atlanta (-4) at New Orleans (+4):
Everyone's convinced Atlanta is amazing and the Saints have no chance. People said the same thing last year in the opener versus Carolina. Some things outweigh stats. And what better way for Michael Vick to completely crush his newfound respect than on Monday Night Football?

Pick: New Orleans, and the Reggie Bush coming out party.

Good hunting!

God Bless:
Deadspin
Arbiter Online
Awful Announcing
BfloBlog
Everyday Should Be Saturday
ESPN
Georgia Sports Blog



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