Wednesday, September 28
The Crystal Ball Speaketh, Vol. 2
The Crystal Ball returns after a warm up round in week one. A little Windex and another week of observation have the Ball ready for some mortal lock picks in week two. Actually, these are not which games I’d necessarily bet on were I placing my own money on the line. Rather, this is a look at the more interesting games of the weekend and an attempt to pick the winners. If enough people clamor for it, I’ll add a section of the bets I’d be willing to risk money on. On to the games!
Michigan (+6) @ Michigan State
The Wolverines are down, the Spartans are up. Drew Stanton has been the best quarterback in the Big 10. Chad Henne has had one eye on Cleveland (come back, Braylon!) and struggled. Hell, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Michigan State had been favored by more than six. But, it’s a rivalry game, which usually means a close game. It’s hard to totally disembark off the Michigan train. I really thought this team would be better than they are. But I think that ship has sailed. I’m out. Michigan State looks like the real deal to me. I’m laying the points and taking the Spartans at home, 30-20.
Florida (-4) @ Alabama
Alabama is undefeated? I thought Florida would be, but I’ll admit to being surprised by Bama’s good start. They looked so bad last year; at least on offense. SEC road games are always tough, but Florida can win this on the road. I suspect we won’t see a shootout in this one, but I like the Gators defense and I think Urban Meyer will find ways to get points on the board. A four point spread is not enough here. I’m laying the points again. Florida wins it 24-13.
USC (-17) @ Arizona State
Somebody has to give the Trojans a game, right? Not a loss; just a competitive game. I thought the Ducks might do it last week, and for one half, they did. Unfortunately for them (and my prediction), it’s a two half game. USC went bananas in the second half to bury them. I said in my weekend recap that for a team to give USC a game they’d have to have a lot of offensive firepower, as it’s proving impossible to keep USC off the board. Well, the Sun Devils can play a little offense. Enough to beat USC? Doubtful. Enough to get in a shootout? Possibly. I’ll risk making the same mistake twice here and assume that somebody’s got to give USC a tough game this year, and that somebody is Arizona State. I’m taking the points and Arizona State, but picking USC to win. Trojans win a wild one, 49-37.
Kansas (+18.5) @ Texas Tech
The PA announcer in Lubbock has a tricky job this week. Technically, the Red Raiders are 3-0. In reality, this is their season opener. The Texas Tech non-conference schedule this year was absolutely criminal. Raise your hand if you can name the cities where Tech’s opponents reside: Florida International, Sam Houston State, and Indiana State. Yeah, me neither. Before we pile on Tech too hard, though, let’s give Kansas a little flogging too. Florida Atlantic, Appalachian State, and Louisiana Tech. Needless to say, both teams are 3-0 and starting their season on Saturday. I hate Texas Tech, their patsy schedule, their tortilla-throwing fans, and Lubbock in general. I hate their gimmicky offense. I think they’re wildly overrated. In fact, I’m embarrassed to have them ranked as highly as I do in my own ballot. It’s mostly a product of wishcasting, as my self-interest in Texas’ fate is praying that the Big 12 is good. In reality, I don’t think Tech is a great team, and I think Kansas will hang with them. I don’t know that they can win on the road, but I don’t see them getting blown out, either. Look for Tech to score a lot less than they did against the junior varsity academies that they bullied to start the year. I’ll say they win it, but it won’t be a blow out. Tech wins, 35-24.
Notre Dame (+3) @ Purdue
Let me get this straight. Purdue loses at home to Minnesota and Notre Dame won at Michigan. The Boilermakers are favored by three? Something doesn’t smell right. These are the games I’ve taught myself to avoid as a bettor over the years; when something looks really wrong to you, there’s often something you don’t know. Purdue probably matches up really, really well with Notre Dame, or Charlie Weiss is secretly dating the Purdue quarterback and owes him a favor for cheating on him with Tom Brady. Who knows. The Crystal Ball is as cloudy as ever on this one, but I’ll go with my gut here and pick what I feel. Notre Dame wins, 31-23.
Michigan (+6) over Michigan State.
I'm not on the Michigan State bandwagon – yet. I can't Michigan having three losses already, and getting six points makes this an easy one for me.
Florida (-4) over Alabama
Just because Kirk Herbstreit keeps hyping Alabama doesn't make them for real. The Gators roll on. I'm a charter member of the Urban Meyer fan club. I like the Gators big.
USC (-17.5) over Arizona State
Arizona State allowed LSU to score 35. That means USC's getting to 50. The Trojans aren't losing this season unless one of their two NFL ringers gets hurt.
Texas Tech (-18.5) over Kansas
Tech can score against anyone, they just also turn it over a lot against good teams. Kansas is not a good team, unless we're talking basketball. Tech will be 6-0 and with a top-10 ranking (whether they deserve it or not) when the Red Raiders come to Austin on Oct. 22.
Notre Dame (+3) over Purdue
That is a wacky spread. Whatever. Give me the Irish straight up. Charlie don't surf, and Charlie Weis don't lose to Purdue.
Michigan +6. Something tells me to make a small moneyline wager here. Michigan can't beat ND but has beaten MSU three straight and seven of the last ten. UM 28-27.
Florida -4. Gators in a close one 24-19.
ASU +17.5. I want to pick them to win but can't. USC doesn't lose this shootout. 48-35.
Texas Tech -18.5. Bean is right, spring practice is now over. Welcome the Red Raiders to the Big 12. Leach and the Masked Gunmen huge 54-17.
Notre Dame +3. I agree. The Golden Domers win another road game. Unless Drew Brees shows up, the Irish 24-21.
<< Home |