Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fab Five: Week III

Week II was infinitely more kind to your humble prognosticator. I went 7-3 and raised my overall record to just north of .500 at 11-9. We'll see if I can continue my winning ways this week. As always, home teams are in Bold.

5 Dogs I Like

Last Week: 4-1
Overall: 5-5

Kansas +5.5 Southern Miss
Kansas surprised a lot of folks and severely damaged the ACC's reputation by winning as a 14-point underdog against Georgia Tech last week. This week they try to avoid becoming a BCS conference scalp for Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles used to be known as giant-killers, but they have gone just 2-9 against BCS conference teams since 2005, with the wins coming against low-wattage outfits from NC State in 2006 (3-9 record) and Virginia last season (3-9 record). Both incidentally did come at home, so they have that going for them. Still the Golden Eagles do not have a good track record of beating decent BCS conference opponents. I expect that trend to continue on Friday night.

Arizona State +14 Wisconsin
If nothing else, Arizona State has started the 2010 season by gaining confidence. Their first 2 opponents were IAA schools (Portland State and Northern Arizona). The Sun Devils were not challenged in either game, winning both by a combined 66 points. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has also opened against a pair of light weights, albeit IA lightweights in UNLV and San Jose State. Interestingly, Wisconsin has failed to cover rather large numbers in both games, beating UNLV by 20 and San Jose State 13. Wisconsin will almost certainly emerge victorious from this game, but the Sun Devils are an under the radar Pac-10 team that could end up bowl eligible after consecutive losing seasons. For this reason, its hard to best against them getting 2 touchdowns.

Baylor +21.5 TCU
I don't think the Horned Frogs are in any danger of losing this game, and with it their hopes of a national championship. However, the Bears have one of the games best playmakers in quarterback Robert Griffin. TCU has speed on defense, but Mr. Griffin will likely be the fastest, quickest, most athletic quarterback they face this season. Unfortunately, for the Bears, TCU should be able to move the ball at will against them, thus meaning Mr. Griffin will likely have to play a perfect game for Baylor to have any shot of actually winning. He won't, but the Bears should stay within 3 touchdowns.

Tennessee +14 Florida
The Vols were crushed by an Oregon avalanche in the second half last week. After playing the Ducks even for a half, a barrage of turnovers and special teams errors allowed the Ducks to lay the lumber in the second half. While Florida may be a better overall team than the Ducks, their offense has not been as dynamic this season. Miami of Ohio was able to hold them in check, as was South Florida until the Gator defense turned the game with a multitude of turnovers. As long as Tennessee avoids the turnover gaffe that did them in against Oregon, and I think they will with a very conservative gameplan, they should be able to hang with the Gators.

North Texas +6 Army
Sooner or later, one would think North Texas could catch a break. After going 0-6 in games decided by 7 points or less last season, the Mean Green dropped a winnable home game against Rice by a single point. The good news for North Texas is that the offense is humming, gaining over 400 yards against both Rice and Clemson. Unfortunately, the defense has been very permissive as well, allowing 774 yards in both games. If the Mean Green can avoid the turnover bugaboo, they should win their first road game since opening the 2009 season upsetting Ball State.

Five Faves I Like

Last Week: 3-2
Overall: 6-4

Florida State -10 BYU
Florida State is akin to an undervalued stock. They were humbled last week in Norman, Oklahoma, a place where Bob Stoops has lost just twice in over a decade coaching the Sooners. While their game flew under the radar, the Cougars were also humbled on the road, losing to Air Force 35-14. The Cougars managed only 309 yards against the Falcons, including just 88 through the air. Defending the pass is Florida State's biggest weakness, but with a pair of first year starters, including freshman Jake Heaps, under center, the Cougars are ill-equipped to gash the Seminoles through the air.

Houston -3 UCLA
The Bruins have looked like they are intent on giving Washington State a run for their money at the bottom of the Pac-10 in 2010. OK, maybe not that bad, but they have struggled, particularly on offense on the early going. Houston rolled over UTEP last Friday despite losing all-world quarterback Case Keenum to a concussion. Keenum is day-to-day, whatever that means. Even without him, the Cougars should be able to win by more than a field goal if running back Bryce Beall, who is averaging over 10 yards a rush, can do his best Daniel Thomas impression. Thomas, you may remember, rang up over 230 yards against the Bruins over Labor Day weekend.

Indiana -12 Western Kentucky
I was amazed when I saw the Hoosiers were giving less than a pair of touchdowns at Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are currently riding a 22-game losing streak and have opened this campaign with a pair of defeats to Nebraska and Kentucky by 39 and 35 points respectively. I know this game is at Western Kentucky, but if Indiana has any pulse whatsoever, they should win by at least 20.

Northwestern -6.5 Rice
The Owls hung tough in their opener against Texas, losing by just 17. However, Rice has seemingly had issues on defense since the game of football was invented, and facing a quarterback as accurate as Dan Persa (just 6 incompletions in 44 attempts on the season) does not bode well for them. Rice may be able to hang with Northwestern, by putting up some scores of their own, but I doubt they can stay within a touchdown.

Oklahoma State -7 Tulsa
This small number is a bit of an overreaction to Oklahoma State's narrow escape (41-38) versus Troy last week. Despite the narrow margin, the Cowboys outgained the Trojans by over 150 yards and have put up over 1000 yards of total offense in their first 2 contests. Tulsa has also gained over 1000 yards in their first 2 games (1125 to be exact), but have also allowed 841 yards. This game figures to be very high-scoring and exciting, but look for the Cowboys to pull away and win by about 10 points.


Michael said...


matt said...

Nice Joe Wilson reference. Only what, a year late?