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Friday, 17 October 2014

Off to Eugene this weekend...plus other college football picks/thoughts

Last Week: 36-17
Overall: 48-22

So last week I ventured out and picked every game on the slate (for Friday and Saturday).  Overall I would say not too bad of a result, going 36-17, a 67.9% winning percentage.  Not great, but not embarrassing.  Some weekly highlights included picking UMass to get their first win of the season and Iowa State finally winning at home.  I had a few bad picks though as well, such as betting against both Mississippi schools.  I am still not of the belief both these schools will sustain their high quality of play over the remainder of the season.  I was also duped with Troy picking up their first win of the year and I tried to go out on a limb and picked against Vanderbilt.  Lessons learned I suppose....

I am VERY EXCITED for this week of college football action.  The main reason is I finally will return to Autzen Stadium to watch my beloved Ducks battle the much-hated Washington Huskies, otherwise known as #HuskieHateWeek.  It is also alumni weekend in Eugene so the atmosphere is going to be amazing.  It has been a few years since I have been to a game at UO, I cannot tell you how incredible it is.  The stadium is loud, you have no voice by halftime and you are on your feet all game.  I cannot wait to just look around and soak it all in again!

Week 8 should see more fantastic match-ups as teams are jockeying for position within their conference, with a handful of teams still in the hunt for the big Final Four playoff.  A few teams should have their dreams of a national championship season dashed this weekend.  The real question is will any team finally look like the best in the country and solidify themselves as the favorite?  I doubt it...

Here are my Week 8 picks:
Boise State over Fresno State – As a Ducks fan, I dislike Boise State still...but I like their chances at home.

Temple over Houston – So Houston burned me last week with their upset win vs. Memphis on the road no less.  Which Cougs team shows up this week though: the one who beat Memphis or the one who lost to UTSA?  Houston has gone L-W-L-W-L-W this season, why mess with the trend?

South Florida over Tulsa

UCF over Tulane

Wake Forest over Syracuse – The combination of Wake’s D plus home field advantage is enough to make me pick a mild upset here. 

West Virginia over (4) Baylor – This has trap game written all over it.  Baylor coming off an emotional win last weekend and looking like the best team in the Big 12.  West Virginia is also coming off a nice win and is playing at home.  A few years ago West Virginia was one win away from playing in the national championship game and was upset by an inferior Pitt squad.  Could they turn the tables on Baylor this week?  Baylor has looked vulnerable the past few weeks and the Mountaineers look ready to pounce.

(11) Oklahoma over (14) Kansas State – I am very tempted to go with the Wildcats but the Sooners are at home.  They play the same time as Baylor so they will not know how the Bears are doing, which could be a good thing.  I just cannot see the Sooners losing at home, they are too good of a team to suffer another loss.

Iowa over Maryland – Another Big 10 game where either team can win...or is either team is capable of losing?  No idea on this one.  Maryland is at home.  Iowa doesn’t give up a lot of points.  Why not go with the surprise Hawkeyes to continue winning and go to 6-1?  Still no love from the polls though.

Minnesota over Purdue – A Big 10 team everyone is rallying behind and excited about?  Well, how about them Gophers?  Big matchup at home against a weak Purdue team should send them to 6-1 on the season.  Who would have thought that one?  Might be time to give them some love in the polls.

Western Kentucky over Florida Atlantic

Louisiana Tech over UTSA

South Carolina over Furman – SEC vs inferior opponent?  Middle of the season?  Yup, that sounds about right!

Virginia over Duke – Duke looked great last week in its win over GTech.  I think Virginia is a better team though.

Akron over Ohio

Bowling Green over Western Michigan

UMASS over Eastern Michigan – Can UMASS put together a two-game winning streak?  They are playing at home and this is a winnable game.  Why not?

Troy over Appalachian State – The trend continues.  A team coming off their first win of the season last week, wins again this week.  I bet against you last week Troy, I will not make that mistake again this week.

(21) Texas A&M over (7) Alabama – Ok so how would have thought at the beginning of the season the Aggies would be glad to get out of the state of Mississippi and be excited to venture into Alabama?  Mississippi was not kind to the Aggies but I think Alabama will be.  The Tide have not looked good all season.  They are lucky to have only one win and could very easily be 3-2, not 5-1.  The Aggies are playing to save their season and I think they can take advantage of a weak ‘Bama squad.

UCLA over California

Air Force over New Mexico

Army over Kent State – Kent State is winless and just lost to UMASS.  Even at home, I am not taking them to finally crack the W column.

Central Michigan over Ball State

(13) Ohio State over Rutgers – Sure Rutgers record of 5-1 looks good, but come on now.  This week will show just how ready for Big 10 play Rutgers really is.  Ohio State at home, this game should be over by halftime.

Middle Tennessee over UAB

Louisville over NC State – Can you believe NC State s 0-3 in the ACC?  I feel like they should have at least one win already (probably against Florida State).  But they are too inconsistent.  Take Louisville at home!

Cincinnati over SMU – Stay winless Mustangs!

(24) Clemson over Boston College – The Eagles could pull off the upset this week.  This feels like the USC game all over again.

(8) Michigan State over Indiana – Sparty wins big on the road..ho hum!

Texas Tech over Kansas

(12) TCU over (15) Oklahoma State – A battle of one-loss teams with hopes of still making the Final Four.  One will have their dream end this weekend. 

Arkansas over (10) Georgia – This is my upset special of the week.  Yes Georgia looked very good last weekend in beating Mizzou.  But Arkansas looked more impressive in their loss.  The Hogs are 0-3 in the SEC but I think they are due for a conference win and what bigger way than knocking off a 5-1 Bulldogs team at home?

Wyoming over San Jose State – Oh Cowboys, I went with you last week when I knew I shouldn’t when you are on the road in Hawaii.  Don’t make me wrong with this one!

Idaho over New Mexico State – New Mexico State game Troy their first win of the year last week.  Why not do it again and give the Vandals their first win?  Plus Idaho is at home and the favorite actually.

Northern Illinois over Miami (OH)

(25) Marshall over FIU – The Herd continue their run towards an undefeated season.  Glad to see them finally get ranked at least.

(22) USC over Colorado

(3) Ole Miss over Tennessee – My bad Rebels for picking against you last week.  I have learned my lesson!

Missouri over Florida

Southern Miss over North Texas

Utah State over Colorado State

North Carolina over Georgia Tech – UNC looked very good last week in almost knocking off the Irish.  Georgia Tech, as I mentioned last week, wins when I bet against them and suffers a loss when I finally pick them.  With this pick, expect Tech to go to 6-1. 

(19) Nebraska over Northwestern

South Alabama over Georgia State

Kentucky over LSU – Time to take the Wildcats serious.  LSU is a 10 point favorite in this game but Kentucky can go on the road and knock off the Tigers.  This would be a huge upset, given just the history of both programs.  Imagine the Wildcats at 6-1.

(9) Oregon over Washington – My game of the week, mostly because I will be there!  Huge rivalry game.  Both teams 5-1 and 1-1 in the Pac-12.  The Ducks looked like their old selves last week on the road against UCLA.  The Ducks have won the last 10 games vs. the Huskies.  Those trends should continue.  The Huskies will keep it close at halftime but the Ducks will pull away in the second half.

Texas over Iowa State

(2) Florida State over (5) Notre Dame – I do not think either of these teams have looked impressive this season.  The bad news here is whoever does win will be a huge favorite to make the playoff, when neither team looks like a top 4.  I will roll with the Seminoles at home though.  I think the Irish have been overrated all season.  Prove me wrong Irish!?

BYU over Nevada

San Diego State over Hawaii

(23) Stanford over (17) Arizona State – Playing in AZ is never easy but I think the Stanford D will be the difference in this game.

Last Week: 4-2
Overall: 14-4

Last week was a quiet one on the CIS front given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Full schedule of action this week though.  Teams are getting into the playoff grind with only 2 or 3 weeks of the season remaining (depending on the league).  Here are my thoughts:

(8) Saskatchewan over Manitoba – The Bisons last game was an upset loss against UAlberta Golden Bears.  They need to turn their season around and fast.  The Huskies on the other hand are trying to stay with Calgary for tops in Canada West.  The Huskies are the better team and, although Winnipeg is not an easy place to play, I think the better team can win on the road this week.

(7) Mount Allison over Acadia – Continue destroying the Atlantic, Mounties!

St. FX over St. Mary’s – I thought the X-men would win last week, I was wrong.  Will they prove me wrong again this week and hand the Huskies their first win of the season?  I don’t think...

(3) McMaster over Laurier

(10) Windsor over Carleton – The Ravens are having a surprisingly good season but the Lancers are even better.

Sherbrooke over McGill

Queen’s over York – Pillowfight of the Week #1.  1-5 Queen’s vs. 0-6 York.  Queen’s won their first game last week, why should the winning ways stop against a winless York team?  Queen’s for the winning streak!

(4) Western over (6) Guelph – Battle of two 5-1 teams should be the highlight of the week.  Both teams have strong defences, two of the best in the country.  The difference is the offense.  Western has a high-octane offense.  It may not be able to put up as many points as usual but it will have enough firepower to make at least one extra score to squeak out the win.

Waterloo over Toronto – Pillowfight of the Week #2.  1-6 Toronto vs 0-6 Waterloo.  I never expect 
Toronto to win, as I mentioned last week.  Time to see Waterloo pick up their first win of the season.

(2) Calgary over Alberta – Last time they played, Alberta put up 70 points.  Then they had their win stripped from them due to an academic ineligible player.  I think Calgary is going to take out some frustration on their provincial rivals this week.

Regina over UBC – The Rams are trying to make a playoff push.  UBC has not looked good all season.  I expect a Rams road victory.  Both teams are 1-4 and Regina is on a 4 game slide.  Time to right the ship.  The loser of this game will basically be eliminated from playoff contention.  Sidenote: hoping to see another outstanding game for my cousin #21

      (1) Laval over Bishop’s – The top ranked team in the country demolishes another weak Quebec team....and the sun comes up in the morning and the moon comes up at night.  Boring!
As an aside, there is always talk about the jersey combinations for NCAA teams but CIS teams also have some great looks.  For those unfamiliar with the CIS and some of the teams, take a look at this great article by Sportsnet personality Donnovan Bennett (@donnocanbennett) breaking down the Top 10 CIS looks.

Enjoy the action this weekend!  I know I will from Eugene, OR :)