NCAA Free Football Picks Review: Week 14 2009

And it was a very nice week to end my free NCAA football picks on. It started nice and finished even better. I wish both Alabama and Florida would have lost, but since that was impossible, I guess I’ll settle for the Gators getting upset in their bid for a repeat of the National Championship. Lots of good teams barely got by this week, but some nice underdogs made looking for the upset bid very profitable. Here’s how 7-3-1 looked…

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Arkansas State Indians @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+7) (WINNER) The Indians needed fourteen 4th quarter points just to win, but it wasn’t by enough to make me a loser – the Hilltoppers looked like the better team throughout, and I was definitely right about these two teams being more equal than the records suggested.

Oregon State Beavers (+10) @ Oregon Ducks (WINNER) The Beavers gave it a shot, and they had some chances. But the normally accurate Canfield couldn’t get some key completions late, and the Ducks offense ended up being just too tough to stop. Oregon completed two 4th downs on their final drive to seal the victory. But OSU covered in a game that was very close.

Ohio Bobcats (+12) @ Central Michigan Chippewas (WINNER) The Bobcats continued to do what they’ve done all year, keep it close against good teams. They were underrated coming in, and while Dan LeFevour was too much for them to pull the upset, a solid defensive performance got me a close cover.

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+2.5) (Loss) Just by the hair on my chubby chin chin. The Mountaineers pulled out a 3-point victory over a Scarlet Knights team that was their own worst enemy early. A late comeback fell just short, and Rutgers go me a rare loss in the last week of the season.

Cincinnati Bearcats (-1) @ Pittsburgh Panthers (Push) Well, this was one hell of a game. I can’t believe the small mishaps went the way the did, the unbelievable performances the Bearcats got from key players to stay undefeated, and the overall amazingness from this game. I thought the Panthers had it all wrapped up, but apparently they had it “all but wrapped up” as the Bearcats did what they needed to do, just like thy had all year. The 1 point win wasn’t enough for me, though, as Cinci’s win just got me a push. Amazing.

Fresno State Bulldogs (+1) @ Illinois Fighting Illini (Winner) This was another great game, and while it didn’t have an undefeated or a National Championship on the line, it had two teams playing solid football at the end of the year. As close as Rutgers loss was, this win was equal. The Bulldogs went for two to win it, and a tipped pass ended up in a lineman’s hands, and he took it in for the game winning conversion. Amazing.

Arizona Wildcats (+7.5) @ USC Trojans (Winner) The Wildcats beat the Trojans. Yeah, just like I predicted. Just like I said, the better team won this game.

Florida Gators (-5.5) @ Alabama Crimson Tide (Loss) The Gators got stomped, rolled, beaten, battered, destroyed, embarrassed, and Tim Tebow cried, and I’m okay with that. But I must say, it was fun to be a part of, even if I had picked the Gators.

California Golden Bears (-6) @ Washington Huskies (Loss) Well, it’s rare when I miss a Huskies cover, but I sure did exactly that this Saturday. The Huskies straight stomped the Bears, even though Cal had two weeks to prepare for the Dawgs. I stand surprised and impressed, and I’m back to being disgusted with Cal.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-2.5) @ Clemson Tigers (Winner) The Yellow Jackets needed a last minute touchdown to get the win over a game-Clemson team. C.J. Spiller showed the Nation why he’s labeled “one of the most dynamic football players in the country” and he almost single handily won the ACC Crown. But Jonathan Dwyer made a case for why he might be the best pro-style running back in college football, using his strength and speed to get the game winning score. What a week in college football.

Texas Longhorns @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (+13.5) (Winner) The Longhorns were out-played by the Cornhuskers, and again didn’t look like a National Championship level team -but they managed a win out of the situation, and that’s good enough to get them there. A 46 yard field goal won them their Big 12 crown and a spot in the BCS Title game. But I still easily covered.

Fresno State Bulldogs at Illinois Fighting Illini Free Pick

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Fresno State Bulldogs at Illinois Fighting Illini Free Pick: Everybody has completely bought in to the Illini’s recent change in play, and I must admit, this is more of the team I expected when the season started. Juice Williams is playing pretty good football, and the team has some offensive playmakers, definitely. The problem is, when they’re playing good or bad football, they still can’t stop anybody. Especially a team like Fresno State that is much better than people give them credit for.

I thought this line was kind pretty off when I first saw the line, and it’s only moved in my favor. I took the Bulldogs +1 and they’ve moved to a field goal underdog, and still, 60+% of the public likes the Illini. I’m starting to think (or have always thought, would be a better way to put it) that “names” of a program means a lot more to bettors than the actual ability of said team. Really, the Bulldogs are the better team, there’s no doubt in my mind.

But Illinois is a “Big Conference School” (I know, the Big 10, so powerful!) and they’ve won 4 of their last 5 against the spread (including a big win over big powerhouse, Michigan). They are hot, so to say. Sure, they only have 3 wins on the year and have been beaten by double digits in almost every single one of their 8 losses, but they’re “hot”.

Listen, Fresno State’s only losses come against Nevada, Boise State, Cincinnati, and Wisconsin. Two of those were decided by one score. One went to overtime. I’ll take the much better team and a field goal, thank you very much.

Fresno State Bulldogs (+1) @ Illinois Fighting Illini

Cincinnati Bearcats vs Pittsburgh Panthers CFB Free Pick

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Cincinnati Bearcats vs Pittsburgh Panthers CFB Free Pick: These two teams have definitely been the class of the Big East this season. Rutgers made a nice little run, and West Virginia capped off some solid play of late with a win over Pittsburgh last week, but the Bearcats and Panthers have been on top of the conference from start to finish. Cincinnati remains undefeated headed into Pittsburgh to play the Panthers. It will be tough, and they’ll need some help, but the Bearcats could be playing for a National Championship if the dominoes fall correctly. Better yet, if Humpty Dumpty goes splat.

This line has really moved 3.5 points away from Pittsburgh and what started as the Panthers being a small favorite has become the Bearcats being a small road favorite. I took the game right in between where it started and where it is now, but when it comes right down to it, the chances of those few points mattering in the game are pretty slim. If it got to a field goal, my feelings might have changed a little, but -1, -2, +1 – rarely does that change make a difference.

What I like about the Bearcats is their awesome offensive firepower. I know the Panthers can score some points, and they are certainly efficient – but I think they’ll struggle with the speed of Cincinnati’s defense and I doubt the Panthers can score enough to keep up with the Bearcats.

Cincinnati Bearcats (-1) @ Pittsburgh Panthers

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick

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West Virginia Mountaineers vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick: This game has really moved around on me this week. I believe it opened up at even, and the line moved fast in betting favor of the Scarlet Knights, giving the home team 2.5 points when I picked my lines for the week on Monday Night. Since then, despite the high traffic of public bets on West Virginia, the line has moved in West Virginia’s favor, and now the Mountaineers are the underdog, +1.5 almost everywhere you look. 58% of the public bet is on WVU.

Rutgers has won 8 of their last 10, losing to Pittsburgh by a touchdown and getting routed by Syracuse, of all teams.But sometimes that’s what happens to young quarterbacks. Tom Savage has been great since taking over for the Scarlet Knights, and he’s been even more impressive at home. The only home games Rutgers lost all season were against Cincinnati and Pitt.

West Virginia has wan 6 of their last 8, getting beat by a field goal @ Cincinnati, and losing by 11 @ South Florida. The Mountaineers are 1-3 on the road this season. Their only road win was a beat down performed on the same Syracuse team Rutgers lost to a couple weeks ago. They are 4-6 ATS this season.

I like the home field advantage, I like the positive feel to the season thus far for the Knights. I like Tom Savage and the way he’s led his team. West Virginia is good, they’ll come to battle, but I like the home team.

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+2.5)