Sugar Bowl Predictions: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Florida Gators

One of these teams was supposed to go undefeated. One of these teams had a quarterback that was supposed to find himself at the top of the Heisman list, and one of these two programs were heavy favorites to win a National Championship – but the other team actually went undefeated, and the other team should have had a quarterback on the Heisman list (and would have had he not been out for a handful of games), and the other team got robbed a chance at the National Championship despite being undefeated, because they don’t play in a conference with “big” money. There it is. So Cincinnati comes to the Sugar Bowl trying to prove themselves a legit title contender, and Florida, well, they come to show that their game against Alabama was a fluke, and to send one of the best college players of all time out on a win.

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Both of these teams will be without the head coach that got them to where they are. Cincinnati’s head man Brian Kelly bolted for a chance to rebuild and their interim coach, Jeff Quinn headed out promptly, taking the Buffalo head job. Then you have Florida, and Urban Meyer’s health problems have him out of this game, and almost retiring from the position altogether, but that’s all up in the air, or changed, or – well, we’ll see how that goes in due time.

The bottom line is Florida is an elite team in the country. Their defense has heaps of NFL talent and their offense has one of the greatest leaders of college football history – not to mention speed that Cincinnati hasn’t seen. And I think Cincinnati’s luck has run it’s course – this is a team that had their fair share of close games, and should have lost their last one. Having something to prove is a little overrated, especially when you’re going up against one of the best teams in college football after they got kicked around and embarrassed in front of the sporting world. Something tells me they’ll be plenty motivated.

Cincinnati Bearcats @ Florida Gators (-10.5)

Arkansas Razorbacks vs Mississippi Rebels Football Pick

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Arkansas Razorbacks (+6.5) @ Mississippi Rebels: I have to be honest here, the Rebels just kind of gross me out. All pre-season all I heard about was how great Jevan Snead was going to be, he was highly ranked, touted as a Top NFL Prospect. So far the kid hasn’t completed 50% of his passes and Ryan freaking Mallet looks like a better pro prospect than him. The Razorbacks lost a close one to Georgia, then got blown out by Alabama, and took a tough three point loss to the Gators last week – but they have talent, and they can put up points on any defense in the Nation. Ole Miss has not impressed me, beating up on teams like Vanderbilt and UAB doesn’t make up for looking like absolute dump against South Carolina and Alabama in losses. The Razorbacks just have to fight that post-Florida hangover, and they’ll cover this easily. Arkansas has won 4 of the last 5 against Ole Miss, covering in each of those 5 contests. I’ll take them for 6 in a row…

Connecticut Huskies vs West Virginia Mountaineers Pick

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UConn Huskies (+7.5) @ West Virginia Mountaineers: The Huskies have to have heavy hearts coming into this game, but I’ll be rooting for them, and I think they have a very good chance. The Connecticut Huskies are as good as any team West Virginia has played thus far, and the Mountaineers haven’t impressed me with their ability to step on the gas. I know a lot has happened this week since their teammate was stabbed and killed at a school dance, and different teams react different ways, but from what I’ve heard from the Huskies, I like their chances to keep this one close on Saturday. I speak from experience when I say that a teammates death can cause a team to really come together, to rely on each other, to put the team first – those are all key things in team success. I’ll take them and a touchdown plus.

Maryland Terrapins vs Duke Blue Devils NCAA Pick

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Maryland Terrapins @ Duke Blue Devils (-4.5): I know Duke is Duke, and that this isn’t college hoops or Lacrosse, but they’ve impressed me so far this season. Playing tough against Virginia Tech, then beating up on NC State, you have to like that sequence moving forward. They easily could have ran with that close Va Tech game, and just came out sluggish against the Wolfpack, but no, they came out drilling NC State from the get go. At 3-3, they are much improved from the terrible Duke days. Thaddeus Lewis is a game breaking QB, and they do other things well to. Duke hasn’t beaten Maryland since 1999, but this is as good a year as any. You never know what you’re going to get with Maryland, a beat down by Rutgers, a loss to Middle Tennessee, an overtime win over James Madison, or an upset over Clemson – who will you get? I’m expecting Duke to draw that pathetic team with all those losses, lets hope it’s not the Maryland team that downed Clemson. I never though I’d see myself taking Duke as a favorite, lets hope that doesn’t backfire.

Free NCAA Football Picks: Week 5

I haven’t had a big winner yet with my free NCAA picks, so it’s bound to happen this week. I’ve had a tough time with big dogs so far this year, so I’m taking at least a one-week hiatus from those options. I’ve eliminated all my super-fades until I get a better hold on what the state of Washington is up to, but am hoping to find some great value headed in to Wednesday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, Friday Night Football, and of course the fantastic weekend to come. I know it looks like road-team galore… but here’s a dozen big ones for you… Enjoy!

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Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Lousiana Tech Bulldogs (-3.5): On the road for the Warriors isn’t that bad this week as they haven’t played since the 19th. However, I’m still on Tech here. They’ve played pretty well against equal competition, which I think the Rainbows are. Giving up a little over a field goal at home on Wednesday Night seems like a good value pick to me. The favored team has won this battle in all but one occasion in 7 meetings since 2000. The home team has covered in 6 of the last 7.

Colorado Buffaloes (+17) @ West Virginia Mountaineers: I know I said I was big with BIG DOGS, but I promised a reader I’d pick this game, and after looking into it I have to take the Buffaloes and all those Thursday Night points. The Buffs have had nearly 2 weeks to prepare for the Mounties spread offense, and the same goes for WV against Colorado’s rushing attack.This game won’t be as high scoring as expected, and the points look like a hot brunette with light eyes… Sexy. I’ll take ’em!

Pittsburgh Panthers (-6.5) @ Louisville Cardinals: The Panthers finally got over the Louisville hump last season when they rocked the Cardinals 41-7. That marked the first time in the last 20 years (8 total meetings) that Pitt won this match-up. I think they make it a steak against a Louisville team that just doesn’t do the program much justice. Pittsburgh can really run the ball, and they’re making fewer mistakes than in recent years. That helps in a short week.

Michigan Wolverines (pk) @ Michigan State Spartans: I’ll be the first one to tell you that I don’t think Michigan is as good as people give them credit for being. But the Spartans are worse. And if Forcier is playing, and it’s said that he’ll be just fine for this one, I have to give a pick-em nod to the Wolverines. A team that is better on the ground and defensively. They have better athletes and a better coach (though he’s kind of a donkey), and they just win this game.

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Florida State Seminoles (-4.5) @ Boston College Eagles: Smoke BYU, then come out like you own the world only to lose to South Florida – but then walk right on out in an ACC match-up and ice the 3-1 Boston College Eagles… Yeah, I’m predicting that last one. BC isn’t a 3-1 team, they don’t really do anything exceptionally well despite being 3-1 thus far. I like them to get closer to the .500 team they are destined to be by losing to the Seminoles this Saturday.

Alabama Crimson Tide (-17) @ Kentucky Wildcats: The Tide have really beat up on everyone thus far. Their closest game was a 10 point Week 1 win over Virginia Tech where the Hokies needed lots of fluke happenings to keep it close. They’ve dominated thus far, and it’s because they have bigger badder players than most other schools in the country. What was the last game Kentucky played like that? Last week’s 41-7 blitzing at the hands of the Gators. I don’t think it will be that bad, but ‘Bama runs the ball too well, and makes too few mistakes not to hand it to the Wildcats.

LSU Tigers (-2.5) @ Georgia Bulldogs: The Tigers aren’t the 4th best team in the country, I’ll tell you that is one sure thing I know: and you might think that might make them an upset candidate heading into Week 5, but I don’t think Georgia has it in them. They aren’t a Top 15 team in my opinion. I know both these teams play in SEC land where every team is better than every team in other conferences (please) but there’s something about really close wins over Arizona State, Arkansas, and South Carolina that just don’t say 14th in the Nation to me. The Bulldogs won’t be able to put up the points they’ll need to win this one. I’ll take the road favorite in this SEC showdown.

Washington Huskies (+17) @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish:(Again, a pretty big dog, what can I say they just attract me) I don’t see the Irish covering against the big Husky dog in this one. WA had a tough match-up last week, a dominant running team that doesn’t make mistakes. That’s not Notre Dame. This one should be tough, and I don’t think the Huskies will come out in a lull like they did last week. Something about going to Notre Dame with a chance to upset the Irish that has me taking the Dogs here. I think they have a good chance to not only cover, but pull the upset, so I’ll take all those points.

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Oklahoma Sooners @ Miami Hurricanes (+7): I think Miami has the kids to play with a team like Oklahoma. They are playing at home, in front of a crowd that will be nuts, getting hyped for a huge chance to prove themselves once again after they really tumbled in last week’s game against Virginia Tech. A little slap in the face to show you that you may not be everything you think you are usually does a team good, and I think last week’s loss will have that effect on the Hurricanes. Since their loss to BYU, the Sooners haven’t had a tough game to show me what they are really made of, as Idaho State and Tulsa don’t really do it for me. I’ll take the home dog here, even if Bradford gets cleared.

Ohio State Buckeyes (-17) @ Indiana Hoosiers: The Hoosiers played a real tough game last week, many think they should have won, but they fought really hard only to get their hearts broken by Tate Forcier and company. This week the Buckeyes come to town, and I don’t think they’ll be feeling bad for the Hoosiers. Ohio State can beat up on some mediocre Big 10 teams in a hurry. I think they do exactly that in Indy this weekend.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-4.5) @ Mississippi State Bulldogs: They Yellow Jackets may have figured it out last week. However, I don’t think I’d be taking them here anyway if it wasn’t for the great match-up they have against a team that struggles to stop the run. That being said, I think the Jackets are a lot like Auburn, and I see 350+ rushing yards getting fed to the Bulldogs defense this weekend. Gotta take the road favorites here.

USC Trojans @ California Golden Bears (+6): Apparently it’s hard to win against a physical team when you’re looking forward to next week’s huge battle. Fortunately for the Bears, the battle this weekend had some pressure relieved when they got trounced by the Ducks. They are no longer an undefeated top ranked powerhouse heading into a huge game against a Trojans team that always beats them. Nope, they are now in the same boat as USC, 3-1 on the season, one loss to a team that isn’t as good as they are, and looking for redemption against the toughest opponent they’ll have all season. USC’s offense doesn’t impress me, and they aren’t as tough defensively as they’ve been. Jahvid Best has a stigma where he just can’t get yards against top ranked foes, I’m willing to be he pops that bubble in Week 5. This one could go either way, that’s why I’ll be taking the Bears and the point at home.

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Washington State Cougars @ Oregon Ducks (-31): Fade the Cougars… even after two big wins. I stayed away from WSU last week, as they stayed close to the Trojans, so good for me. But they are terrible, and Oregon has figured out what they’re doing. If they don’t put up 50 on the Cougars I will be surprised.

College Football Review: Week 1

Three and Seven, 3 and 7, 3 for 7, 3-7…. However you say it, look at it, write it – it looks bad. But I’ve had tougher weeks and always seem to fight back. I took Week 1 on the chin, but not for a lack of effort, here’s what I missed, or what went wrong, or how I was tricked…. Hopefully I can turn the tables next week.

Oregon Ducks @ Boise State Broncos (OVER 64): LOSS – “While I like the Broncos to win, and likely cover the 4 point spread in this one, I like the OVER even more.” Lucky for me all I bet was the over. That gives me a loss. What I didn’t take into account was Oregon starting 4 new offensive linemen. That will mess up anyone’s offensive flow, even the Ducks. The Punch heard round the states put an interesting spin on this game, but the truth of the matter is the Broncos killed the Ducks. Kellen Moore was a sniper at the Q and the Ducks couldn’t find much room to run anywhere. Boise should have a scored a couple more TDs, shooting themselves in the foot more than a couple times. And the turnovers didn’t help the total – but in the end, Oregon just didn’t have enough to get even close to their side of the over.

South Carolina Gamecocks (+5) @ North Carolina State Wolfpack: WINNER – “Gamecocks will get big contributions from freshman, a better season out of the quarterback position, and an upset win at NC State this Thursday Night.” I liked my chances at an upset win, didn’t think the Wolfpack would do much against that SC defense. At least one of my picks went right, get ready for a nice little downhill slide…

Minnesota Golden Gophers (-6.5) @ Syracuse Orange: LOSS –  I thought I had this game well in hand early, the Orange were stinking and the Gophers were moving, but Greg Paulus started to remember how to play this game and the Orange put some points up, eventually sending this one into overtime. Tough deal, the Gophers couldn’t quite cover with an OT field goal to win it.

Baylor Bears @ Wake Forrest Demon Deacons (-2.5): LOSS – A really tough start put the Deacons too far behind. They fought back late but lost a close one to the Bears. I expected accuracy from Riley, he threw a couple interceptions, and missed target on a few more. I still think Wake is a decent team to take this year.

BYU Cougars @ Oklahoma Sooners (-22): LOSS – I must admit, the offensive line change killed me this week, assuming Oregon would score points, and in this game as well – but I have to think that if Sam Bradford played, went into halftime, came out with a new plan of attack, this not only wouldn’t have been a loss for the Sooners, but possibly a cover. I expected an early struggle, but once they settled down I expected the Sooners to dominate. Well, even without their stud running back, the Cougars pulled off a big one, and I was on the wrong side of it.

Virginia Tech Hokies (+6.5) @ Alabama Crimson Tide: LOSS – the Hokies didn’t play nearly as well as they needed to, and I still thought I was going to get a win. Offensively they couldn’t hang, but I was only down three in the 4th quarter, and a defensive stop would have given me a much better chance at a W. But ‘Bama kept pushing past the smaller VT front, and scored again, and the Hokies lost by 10. Alabama just has too many big guy7s up frong

Maryland Terrapins (+21.5) @ California Golden Bears: LOSS –  The Bears ran all over the Terps, laughing at my claim that 21 was too high… I cried about it.

LSU Tigers (-17.5) @ Washington Huskies: LOSS –  There’s lots I could say about this game, but the bottom line is Washington is not the team they used to be. Fade Washington schools might have to be changed to fade WSU….

Mississippi Rebels (-16.5) @ Memphis Tigers: WINNER –  “Anybody worth anything hammered Memphis last season. The Rebels were one of those teams.”  It took a while for them to remember they were one of those teams, but in the 4th they finally figured it out and did work, covering for me by plenty.

Miami Hurricanes (+6.5) @ Florida State Seminoles: WINNER “I think Miami’s the better team. There it is.” And I think that’s what it came down to. They had more firepower on both sides of the ball, and while it was one hell of a game, the Canes were the better team.

Better next week, that’s what I’m thinking…