Posted tagged ‘ohio state buckeyes’

NCAA Football Picks ATS – Week 12

November 19, 2009

Well, I’ve taken my lumps the last two weeks going 6-14 in the process but we’ll see if I have something to be thankful for next Thursday after the games this weekend.  It’s a funky week with a lot of big spreads and almost no home underdogs so I tried, as I normally do, to pick the games that I find most compelling for one reason or another. As always, here are the picks…

No. 10 Ohio State at Michigan (+11 ½)—“The Game” does not have much to hype up about it other than your typical border war; Ohio State is already Rose Bowl-bound and Michigan is trying to avoid losing seven straight Big Ten games. Ohio State has knocked off two consecutive ranked opponents and will use their tenacious defense (ranked 6th in scoring defense in FBS) to shut down Michigan’s spread attack. The Wolverines need this game to somewhat salvage another miserable season. Coaching change rumors and last-place standings are far away from where they thought they would be this season but a win over their hated rival would cure what ails them. No chance but it’s closer than some might expect. Ohio State 27, Michigan 20.

North Carolina at Boston College (-3 ½)—The Tar Heels come to Chestnut Hill with a chance to end the Eagles’ bid for a third consecutive ACC Championship Game appearance. North Carolina has been an up-and down team but are on a three-game roll that resulted most recently in an upset of No. 14 Miami last weekend; their 13th ranked defense has been their biggest asset. BC has had similar issues staying consistent but they are 6-0 at home and will play at noon not knowing the result of the Clemson game; the Tigers need to lose for BC to have a shot at the ACC Title. BC struggled badly against the good defenses in Clemson and Virginia Tech but you can never count the Eagles out of a must win game. BC 21, UNC 20.

Connecticut at Notre Dame (-6)—UConn has lost their five games this year by a combined 15 points and have been in every game to the last minute. The Huskies can become bowl-eligible with a little late-season run starting with this one at South Bend. Notre Dame comes in besieged by rumors of head coach Charlie Weis’ imminent departure but will try to salvage these last two games, run their record to 8-4, and let the chips fall. While it’s possible to think that ND has checked out during another disappointing season, keep in mind Clausen, Tate, and others are still showcasing for the NFL. Notre Dame 30, UConn 20.

No. 8 LSU at Mississippi (-4)—One of the eye-opening spreads of the week has Ole Miss as a favorite against the LSU Tigers who lost their only two games in hard fought contests versus the nation’s top two teams in Florida and ‘Bama. The Tigers allow less than 14 points a game (10th in FBS) but have struggled throughout the season on offense (107th in yardage in FBS). Mississippi’s lethal combo of QB Jevan Snead and RB Dexter McCluster can punish any time as Tennessee learned last week in a 42-17 blowout. A win here would give Ole Miss a second place finish behind Florida and I think they will get it in a close one in a strange upset-but-not-an-upset showdown. Ole Miss 24, LSU 21.

Virginia at No. 23 Clemson (-20 ½)—Clemson comes into this game with a chance to close out the ACC Atlantic Division which would put them in the ACC Championship Game for the first time. The Tigers are averaging 42 points per game during a five-game winning streak and will host the struggling Cavaliers in order to advance and try to win their first ACC title since 1991. Virginia ranks 118th in the nation with 266.7 yards per game and 106th in scoring offense, averaging 19.8 points and will try to move the ball against Clemson’s 20th ranked defense that leads the nation in INTs. This should be a blowout as the wheels came off the wagon for UVA over a month ago and they will play only the role of spoiler on Saturday. But, I think Clemson calls off the dogs in the second half after the game is in hand – back door cover. Clemson 37, UVA 17

Southern Methodist at Marshall (-4)—In another amazing (and under-the-radar) turnaround job by head coach June Jones, SMU can actually lock up a bowl with a win over Marshall this Saturday. The Mustangs sit in first place in their division in C-USA and will try to hang on to it for their last two games. Marshall will also be looking to become bowl-eligible despite being banged up and sporting an offense that ranks in the 100s in the scoring department. I think SMU finally gets noticed after this win. SMU 27, Marshall 24.

Gerhart has dominated in recent wins over Oregon and USC

No. 25 California at No. 17 Stanford (-7)—Generally, one would not expect that Stanford would become a weekly entry regarding the “hot” games on the college gridiron but here we are again chatting about the Cardinal. Stanford is now bowl-eligible for the first time since 2001 thanks to Heisman candidate RB Toby Gerhart who leads the way for the 10th-ranked offense in the country. Cal will be without star RB Jahvid Best when they take on their biggest rival. Points should be abundant in this contest and the PAC-10 has been tricky this season but Stanford should take care of business at home. Stanford 35, Cal 27.

No. 11 Oregon at Arizona (+6)—Oregon needs to practice the mantra “Win and advance” which is usually reserved for basketball teams in March. As the only one-loss team remaining in the PAC-10, the Ducks control their road to the Rose Bowl and will take their ninth-ranked offense to Tucson and try to waddle past the Wildcats. Arizona fell from the rankings after a loss to Cal last week but actually control their own destiny for the Rose Bowl if they can win their last three games. Zona was gashed last week by Cal which was a terrible way to enter the game against Oregon whuch has the most powerful offense in the conference. Ducks take it and cover…Oregon 41, Arizona 30.

Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana-Lafayette (+2 ½)—Louisiana-Monroe (their nickname is the Warhawks for all those keeping score) is looking to become bowl-eligible for the first time in school history. The Ragin’ Cajuns will also be looking to go bowling if they can win their last two. The reality is not many of us have seen these teams play this year but it is a HUGE game for both teams determining potential bowl games and definite bragging rights for a year at least. This is my one chance to take the home underdog this week, so I will. ULL 28, ULM 24.

Kansas at No. 3 Texas (-27 ½)—The Longhorns have the opportunity to put away their division against Kansas and continue their run toward the BCS Championship Game in Pasadena on Jan 7th. With an offense that is as prolific as the defense is fierce, Texas is on a mission right now and the Jayhawks are simply in their way. Adding to this mix is Kansas’ inability to keep teams out of the end zone and a dark cloud hanging over head coach Mark Mangino’s head. Allegations of mistreatment of his players, both present and former, have hit the news and will only serve as further distraction. Texas’ second stringers should see some time on Saturday. Texas 52, Kansas 21.

Last week: 4-6

Season: 46-45

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NCAA Football Picks ATS – Week 10

November 7, 2009

Navy at No. 22 Notre Dame (-12)—Navy brings their signature triple-option rushing attack to South Bend this week in a bid to upset the Irish for the second time in three years. The Midshipmen, currently the third-ranked rushing attack in the nation, are led by QB Ricky Dobbs who leads the nation with 16 touchdowns. The Irish have a QB standout of their own in Jimmy Clausen who is second in the nation in pass efficiency having thrown 18 TDs to only two INTs. Clausen may very well lead the Heisman race at this point of the season and will continue the campaign with a comfortable win over Navy. Notre Dame 34, Navy 17.

 

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Ingram hopes to roll the Tide and himself to the BCS title game

No. 9 LSU at No. 3 Alabama (-7 ½)—Undoubtedly the ‘Game of the Week’ in college football this weekend, the Tigers head to Tuscaloosa to try to pull off the upset over the Tide. LSU has won four straight at Alabama but their offense has had some well-chronicled struggles finding the end zone this season. ‘Bama RB Mark Ingram will continue pacing the rushing attack which is averaging 217 yards per contest. With two top 10 scoring defenses playing for keeps, this will be another low-scoring affair, I think LSU keeps it close but ‘Bama will prevail on their home turf. Alabama 20, LSU 13.

No. 8 Oregon at Stanford (+7)—Everything about this game screams “letdown” as Oregon goes to The Farm to take on Stanford who are undefeated at home in 2009. The Ducks were so impressive last week against USC that they have launched themselves into talks regarding the BCS title game if they get a little help from some teams losing ahead of them. Stanford QB Andrew Luck ranks first in the PAC-10 in passing efficiency and RB Toby Gerhart leads the conference in rushing but they will have their work cut out for them against Oregon’s defense which lets up only 17 points a game. Oregon’s eighth-ranked rushing attack will simply be tough for Stanford to handle. Oregon 38, Stanford 27.

No. 16 Ohio State at No. 11 Penn State (-4)—The stakes are high in this Big Ten matchup and Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor will visit Beaver Stadium, a place the western Pennsylvania native spurned last year to end a highly publicized recruiting battle. The Buckeyes still control their own destiny in the conference but have struggled to find an identity on offense this season even with the talented Pryor. The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in offense and have the nation’s stingiest defense, yielding just 9.3 points per contest. Expect a hard-hitting, low scoring affair (even with some possible defensive scores) and Penn State to shut down Pryor when it counts. Penn State 16, Ohio State 10.

No. 6 TCU at San Diego State (+24 ½)—At this point, TCU is focused on winning one game at a time…but some style point wouldn’t hurt in their quest for a BCS bowl. The Horned Frogs have the nation’s top-ranked total defense (yardage) and will look to grind it out with their rushing offense that averages over 233 yards per game. San Diego State’s offense is almost exclusively an aerial attack which ranks in the top 20 in the FBS. There is not much debate as to who will win this game but can TCU provide another blowout to impress voters? I think they may be looking towards the big contest with Utah next week…TCU 35, San Diego State 14.

Florida State at Clemson (-9)—The ACC has become an impossibility in regards to predictions but this game holds major importance in the divisional race for Clemson who controls their own destiny. Seminoles’ QB Christian Ponder has become a leader of this team and a standout player in a tumultuous year for FSU; he is banged-up but ready to go against the Tigers in Death Valley. Clemson will be missing pass-rushing monster Da’Quan Bowers for this contest and their inconsistent offense will need to be in check against the ‘Noles who always have enough talent to beat anyone. Clemson is so bad in these games that everyone is picking the upset but I say they squeak one out. Clemson 30, FSU 28.

Connecticut at No. 5 Cincinnati (-17 ½)—The Cincinnati Bearcats will be showing off their squad in prime time when they host the UConn Huskies on Saturday night. UConn’s season has been heartbreaking both on and off the field but they have played extremely hard every step of the way. Cincinnati boasts a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense and will look to go 9-0 for the first time since 1951, a school record. The Bearcats will be just too much for most teams in the Big East this season and the buzz saw continues. Cincinnati 34, UConn 14.

No. 24 Oklahoma at Nebraska (+4)—This historic rivalry may not carry the weight it used to but the teams will be going at it just like the teams of the 60s and 70s used to in its heyday. The Sooners are back on track with QB Landry Jones filling in well for Sam Bradford and still leading an explosive offense. Nebraska has a top 10 defense led by DT Ndamukong Suh and will look to slow down the Sooners by pressuring the quarterback. I think Oklahoma has had some bumps in the road but is clearly the better team this season. Oklahoma 27, Nebraska 17.

No. 15 Houston at Tulsa (+1)—Houston QB Case Keenum takes his Heisman dark-horse aerial show on the road to Tulsa who is looking to avoid a four-game losing streak. The Cougars score more points than anyone in the country not named Texas and will likely continue the onslaught this Saturday. The Golden Hurricane has been inconsistent and will have a QB question with starter G.J. Kinne questionable with a concussion. This spread is the ultimate red flag since it should be a blowout but I am going against the home underdog this time. Houston 45, Tulsa 31.

Fresno State at Idaho (+8)—Idaho has put themselves in position at 7-2 to receive their first bowl bid since 1998 and will try to continue the good feelings this week against Fresno who looks to gain bowl eligibility this weekend. Both teams rank in the top 25 in yards and points on offense so expect a back-and-forth contest in Moscow. Idaho will have to avoid the trap of looking ahead to an even bigger game in Boise but the real question is whether or not they can slow down the nation’s leading rusher in RB Ryan Mathews. I expect a fairly close one like most Idaho games this season but Fresno State may be too much for the Vandals, just as Nevada was two weeks ago. Fresno State 40, Idaho 30.

Last Week: 8-2

Season: 40-31

NCAA Football Picks ATS – Week 6

October 9, 2009

No. 21 Nebraska at No. 24 Missouri (+4) – Both teams have proven they can move the ball ranking in the Top 20 in the country in points scored and yards gained. Interesting back-story: Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert, who has yet to throw an interception in four games, originally committed to the Huskers before backing out and committing to the Tigers. This is a huge game in the battle for the Big 12 North; I like Mizzou as the home underdog playing in inclement weather. Missouri 24, Nebraska 20.

Boston College at No. 5 Virginia Tech (-13 ½)  – This will be the fifth meeting in the last three seasons as these two rivals have matched up in the regular season and the ACC Championship for two years running…and possibly a third this December. Boston College is the last team to win in Lane Stadium (October 2007) and is revitalized by the play of 25-year old freshman QB Dave Shinskie. Virginia Tech is fighting for more than just an ACC title this season as their No. 5 overall ranking suggests. BC will put up a good fight (and barely cover) but the Hokies are a bit too strong for them defensively and on special teams this time around. Virginia Tech 30, BC 17.

No. 17 Auburn at Arkansas (+2.5) – Auburn has raced off to a 5-0 start and go into this SEC battle ranked for the first time this season. Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has the Tigers in the Top 5 nationally in points scored and yardage. Arkansas has been airing it out with talented QB Ryan Mallett with mixed results and will try to avoid a three-game conference losing streak. Arkansas’ inability to stop their SEC foes has been their undoing so until they do, I can’t wager with them even as a home ‘dog. Auburn 35, Arkansas 27.

No. 3 Alabama at No. 20 Mississippi (+4) – Many would argue that Alabama is the most impressive team in the country at this stage of the season, with dominant performances on both sides of the ball in each of their first five games. Ole Miss stumbled against South Carolina early and looked to fold under the pressure of being a Top 5 team for the first time in decades. Frankly, if they walked into this game undefeated it wouldn’t change my outlook – Bama takes care of business again in Oxford. Alabama 34, Ole Miss 14.

Connecticut at Pittsburgh (-6 ½) – Pitt’s offense has looked much improved this season with QB Bill Stull leading them to 37 points-per-game. UConn will try to grind it out on the ground in their Big East opener and try to win a smash mouth contest but can their defense hold up? This one may not be easy to watch but Pitt covers very close. Pittsburgh 30, UConn 23.

Wisconsin at No. 9 Ohio State (-16) – The under-the-radar Badgers are 14th in the country in rushing behind John Clay as they have sped off to a 5-0 start. The Buckeyes have not let up a 100-yard rusher since September of 2008 and will be looking to take command of the Big Ten Conference. I just don’t see that many points being scored in Columbus so take them and run. Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 16.

Stanford at Oregon State (Pick) – Stanford is making an argument for a ranking and will look to go 4-0 in the Pac-10 led by the 1-2 offensive punch of QB Andrew Luck and RB Toby Gerhart. However, Corvallis is never a soft landing spot for opponents (see USC 2008) and sophomore RB Jacquizz Rodgers already has nine touchdowns on the season. This truly is a coin flip but I think Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh secures another signature win. Stanford 24, Oregon State 23.

UTEP at Memphis (+2 ½) – UTEP managed 18 yards rushing two weeks ago against Texas only to come back and upset No. 12-ranked Houston by scoring 58 points and picking up 305 yards on the ground. Memphis has struggled mightily to score points but I like them as the home underdog playing a team who will have a huge letdown after a major upset. Memphis 23, UTEP 20.

No. 1 Florida at No. 4 LSU (+7 ½) – There have been some very big matchups early on this season (USC-Ohio St., Bama-Virginia Tech) but none takes on the ultimate meaning quite like this game. The winner of this game is in charge of the national championship race, period. While there is cause for concern with Tebow, there is no doubt he will be out there playing his heart out for the Gators. LSU has won 32 consecutive Saturday night games but has been far from impressive on offense during their 5-0 start.  The winner of this game has gone on to capture the last three BCS championships and this year will make it four for the Gators. Florida 33, LSU 20

Michigan at No. 12 Iowa (-8) – Iowa is 5-0 for the first time since 1995 and has won nine straight dating back to last season. Michigan suffered an OT heartbreaker to in-state rival Michigan State last week and will look for redemption in another huge Big Ten matchup. Michigan may be using a freshman QB in Tate Forcier but they look incredibly dynamic at times while Iowa has been inconsistent enough to keep the doubters filled with ammo. Michigan 33, Iowa 30.

Last Week: 8-2

Season: 17-14