Good morning and Happy Veterans Day to everyone. My dad, my mom, and my brother all served in the Air Force, and I would like to wish them and all of our country's veterans a great day today. I would also like to wish a great day to my sister-in-law, who is currently serving in the Air Force, and I'm doing this in spite of the fact that her Ravens beat my Steelers on a touchdown pass with eight seconds left in last Sunday's game... :P I failed to mention this in yesterday's post, but my little blog has been viewed more than 400 times now, so thanks again to everyone who has clicked in. For those of you who may be new followers, I am posting entries on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays. Fridays will always include football predictions up through and including the Super Bowl, while during the rest of the week I will post about other sports topics and random things. Also, when it comes time for the bowl games next month, I intend to make picks on all of them. I will pick the bowl games against the spread as I have been doing for my NFL selections. When I lived in Las Vegas, I usually did better on my NFL picks than on my college picks, but when it came down to bowl time, I usually did very well in December and January.
For the second straight week I had an unusual personal outcome predicting football games here, as I was again more successful on the college games than on the pros. I went 4-0 on last week's college picks, and 1-2 on the NFL props. I am now 19-8 on the college games this year (straight up) and 11-7 on my NFL selections (against the spread). I called these winners in the college contests: LSU, Oklahoma State (I FINALLY picked a Kansas State game right, to the dismay of Wildcats fans everywhere...), Arkansas, and Notre Dame. I was right about the Giants/Patriots game being under 51 (44), although I went to sleep at halftime when it was scoreless, thus never seeing how it ended up 24-20... :) I did see that the Chiefs got slaughtered by the Dophins, blowing my Chiefs -4. This is just the type of game that Vegas cleans up on - who expects a winless Miami team to beat Kansas City 31-3 AT ARROWHEAD?! The Bears scored much more than I thought they would, and their field goal with just under four minutes to play got the game off of being a push as the total went to 54 (I picked under 51).
This week has my brother going to South Bend evidently, so I'll have to take the Irish over the Maryland Terapins (for that reason, and the fact that Notre Dame is favored by almost three touchdowns...). The Irish only won by a touchdown at Wake Forest last week, but the Terps have just disappeared (maybe all of those possible uniform combinations are just too confusing), as they now sit at 2-7 after a 31-13 loss to Virginia last week. Before I get into the 3 matchups involving Top 25 teams this week, let me just say that I don't like ANY of the 10 games that ESPN is dishing out in their College Pick 'Em contest this week - very tough week... #20 Auburn @ # 15 Georgia - I am honestly going to go with Georgia in this game just because they are at home. When I looked at this game, I kept wavering from one side to the other, and I am simply picking the home team. #19 Nebraska @ #12 Penn State - Like the previous game, if I was living in Las Vegas right now, I wouldn't bet this game. This was a tough game to pick anyway, and this was before all of the happenings in Happy Valley this week. It's obviously a very sad situation for those children who were involved, and I'm curious to see what the situation at the stadium will be like on Saturday, given that some students were rioting around the Penn State campus on Wednesday night. I will take the Cornhuskers in this game, if for no other reason than it has to be extremely difficult for the players in the Penn State program to focus this week. #7 Oregon @ #4 Stanford - Intriguing game to say the least. For the second week in a row, I am going to go with the lower-ranked team in the big game of the week. USC proved that Stanford can be scored on, and I think that the Ducks defense is a little better than that of the Trojans. What I like about this game is that it should provide a real test for Andrew Luck. People have been talking about him being a lock as the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. I am very curious to see how he performs on Saturdary, and obviously rooting against him just enough to lose, since I'm picking the Ducks.
If I had to predict a score for last night's game, I would say Oakland 24 San Diego 17... ;) I'm seeing that the Raiders were actually a 7-point underdog... Watch out for the Raiders - they have the easiest schedule on paper down the stretch in the AFC West, and the next 10 days off now... For my first pick, I will take the Steelers -3 against the Bengals. Andy Dalton has had a nice rookie year so far, but if he can keep Cincinnati within 3 points of the Black and Gold, then so be it... I also like the Ravens -6 1/2 against the Seahawks. Anytime that I can be on the other side of this year's Seahawks staying within a touchdown of any good team, I'm going to think about it very seriously. Just picturing Seattle's offense on the field against Baltimore's defense, I can't see how they are going to move the ball at all... I will take the under 47 in the Patriots/Jets game for my final pick. The Jets have a pretty salty defense, and this season Mark Sanchez has lived down to the opinion that I had of him entering the league. I think that Rex Ryan will try to run the ball as much as possible to keep it away from Brady, thus shortening the game.
I hope that all of you have a great Veterans Day and an outstanding football weekend, and I'll see ya again on Monday.