"Unbelievable" is the word that came from my lips after David Freese led off the bottom of the 11th inning by hitting a homerun over the centerfield wall, giving the St. Louis Cardinals an improbable 10-9 come from behind victory against the Texas Rangers, sending the World Series to a deciding Game 7 on Friday night. The Cardinals were down to their last strike in both the 9th and 10th innings, but managed to tie the game each time, setting up Freese's heroics in the 11th. It was actually Freese who saved the day for the Cards in the 9th also, hitting a two-strike triple to right field, which tied the game 7-7. This is the first time that I thought the Rangers should have had the game. Nelson Cruz seemed to coast back toward the right field wall after his first few steps, and I am not sure if he was fooled by the ball (because line drives hit right at you are among the hardest balls to judge for outfielders), or if he thought that he was closer to the wall, but I do know that I expected him to jump (to where he didn't land on his feet), dive, crash into the wall... it's the game-winning catch of the WORLD SERIES! Anyway, I thought that Cruz played the ball awkwardly, and I am not taking anything away from what he has done in the playoffs - the Rangers probably aren't in the spot they are now if not for all of his homeruns in October. The second thing that surprised me was the Rangers not bringing Neftali Feliz back out for the 10th inning. I have no idea if he was spent physically, if he has any arm problems, or something of that nature, but the Rangers were facing the weaker batters in the Cardinals lineup in the 10th, and I thought that they would have been better served by leaving Feliz in the game. Well, what we are left with is the first 7th game of a World Series since 2002.
Now back to the football field for my usual Friday predictions, where I am still running surprisingly well for the season. Overall, I am now 12-7 picking college games (straight up), and 9-3 picking NFL wagers (against the spread). Last week I was 2-1 with both the college and the NFL picks. For a quick recap, my college winners were Michigan State over Wisconsin (the Spartans won on a last second Hail Mary pass which I still haven't seen), and Stanford beating Washington. My loss was picking Notre Dame against USC. On the NFL picks, the Steelers did beat Arizona by more than 3 1/2 (32-20) and the Bears/Bucs game did stay under 43 1/2 points (24-18). My loss was the Raiders beating the Chiefs by more than five (28-0 CHIEFS)... :P
This week in the college ranks, we'll start off with #9 Oklahoma @ #8 Kansas State (Hey Kathryn!)... ;) I have managed to mess up the Wildcats pick every time I've included their game in these predictions by picking against them, and I hope it doesn't jinx them when I pick them to WIN the game against the Sooners in Manhattan. This is the best that the Wildcats have looked in a long time, maybe since they had Darren Sproles in the backfield (now he's in my fantasy football backfield)... I'm thinking that a rowdy, hungry crowd at home may be enough to help propel this talented team over a Sooners team that was upset at home by Texas Tech last Saturday. #11 Michigan State @ #14 Nebraska is another tough game to call. I am again going to take the home team, and pick the Cornhuskers to defeat Michigan State. It's a cruel thing to do after the Spartans made me look good on my upset pick last week, but Nebraska at home is going to be a tough order for the guys in green I believe. #6 Stanford @ #20 USC also has the potential of being an intriguing game based on how the Trojans handled Notre Dame last weekend, but I am going to go with the favored Cardinal, who are the PAC 12's hope of having an undefeated team play in the national championship game (we still haven't seen this team misstep since they lost Coach Harbaugh to the 6-1 49ers). Continuing to pick Notre Dame games for one of my loyal readers, I have to go with the Irish over a Navy team which has gone downhill since their overtime loss to the Air Force Academy in the first week that I did this blog. The game is in South Bend, the Irish have been the stronger team, and they should be more than ready to get the taste of last week's game out of their mouth. Nothing else that I saw involving Big 12 teams is projected to be closer than a 10-point game, so I won't officially forecast any of them. Baylor could play the role of spoiler against #3 Oklahoma State, but if that happens, the Bedlam matchup featuring the Cowboys and Sooners will lose a lot of its luster.
For my NFL picks, I'll lead off with the Arizona/Baltimore game, taking the under 43 1/2 points. The game is in Baltimore, and between the Ravens solid defense and their lack of offense against Jacksonville, I'm thinking that less than 43 1/2 points is a very real possibility. Going to Sunday night's game, I am also going to take the under 51 points in the Cowboys/Eagles game. Dallas has had a decent defense this year, and I am thinking that the Philly defense will look better after the bye week. Just a few forced field goal attempts in this game and I'll feel good. I definitely won't be rooting for this one, but since I'm not in Las Vegas, I am going to make my 3rd pick the New England Patriots covering the -2 1/2 against the Steelers. The two times that my Steelers have played decent teams this year, we were embarassed by the Ravens, and we lost by 7 to a Texans team who I thought should have won by more. I am going to be rooting for my Steelers, but if they do lose the game, I probably get this pick right.
I want to thank all of you who continue to find my little blog. It's been viewed over 250 times now, and I still plan on posting at least 4 times per week, just as I did this week. I hope that all of you enjoy the 7th and final game of the World Series, and that you have a great football weekend!