Saturday, November 27, 2010
NFL Week 12 Picks, RIP BCS Turmoil
Last night was the BCS version of The Empire Strikes Back. With Alabama up 24-7 at half, the Death Star, as it seemed, had been destroyed, and the stage was set to see Boise or TCU (but at that point, probably Boise if they won) in the national championship. But then Alabama squandered their lead in historic fashion, Auburn came back and took the game 28-27. That was Hoth, to continue this strained Star Wars analogy. There was a chance for real change, but it was lost. The night continued with #1 Oregon handling their business impressively against a game Arizona team. Then came Boise St.-Nevada. Nevada fell behind early, and then burst back in the fourth quarter to tie the game with :13 seconds left. Kellen Moore made an amazing throw, a miracle as it seemed, to set Boise up for a win that would propel them to at least #3, to at least the Rose Bowl. Here's your Lando Carlissian moment, though. (You know, the guy who betrays Han Solo, Luke and Leia, and gives them to Vader?). Boise's kicker misses the kick. And then misses again in overtime. Nevada wins. Boise, you ain't a going nowhere (here's your Luke, I am your father moment. NO! THAT CAN'T BE TRUE!). So all that remains is TCU, who have to hope that Arkansas beats LSU this week AND that South Carolina beats Auburn next week/ Oregon loses to Oregon State to get to the championship game, but, barring a loss to UNM (1-10), they'll be in the Rose Bowl, at least. Does TCU have a Death Star run in them? The Force isn't so strong with this one.
To put it simply, I'm fine with an Oregon-Auburn Championship. It would be a great game. Both teams have great offenses that would make for a compelling game. But what really annoys me is that an undefeated TCU won't be given a chance to prove if they're among the best. They'll get a Rose Bowl birth. Who remembers the Rose Bowl winner? Besides fans of the team, they are usually forgotten after a couple of years. The other BCS bowls may be the best teams, but they mean less than a championship. Why not turn them into playoff games, and watch the money roll in?
And for all those who say that this proved Boise wasn't a top flight team, that is ridiculous. They barely lost to a RANKED team in overtime. If they were in the Big East, they would have won pretty handily. They could compete in the Big Ten (Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, even Penn St. this year have been wholly decent. Not exactly a murderers row). This is a good team, and non AQ programs can't be further degraded. A playoff would prove it once and for all.
Onto the professionals. I went 2-1 in my Thanksgiving Picks, just barely missing out on the Saints pick. So hooray me.
Minnesota (-1) at Washington
An interim coach's first game? Yes, please. The Vikings hated Childress, so I'm sure they'll be excited to play under anyone else. And play well. If it worked for the Cowboys, masking their deficiencies for a couple of weeks, it can work for a talented Vikings team. Look for a lot of Adrian Peterson (probably to keep the ball out of Favre's hands) and the defense to handle the Redskins. Vikings win and cover.
Pittsburgh (-6.5) at Buffalo
I thought this spread would be much higher. Buffalo's been hanging around with teams all season- but worse teams than this. Even when they kept it close against the Patriots, that was against a team with a worse defense than the Steelers. The Steelers will be able to run all over the Bills, and be able to stop most of what the Bills throw at them. Maybe Fitzpatrick will get some good plays off, but it won't be as easy as it recently has been. Steelers win and cover. On the subject, Fitzpatrick has been good, but I don't see him as the QB of the future (Tyler Thigpen did similarly well under Chan Gailey, and he's not so good now), so please Bills, if you have the opportunity, TAKE ANDREW LUCK. And here's my naive self thinking that Chan Gailey saying that Fitzpatrick will be the QB next year is just to keep his confidence up. Please be just that. And go Jimmy Clausen! MAKE SOME MIRACLES FOR CAROLINA!
Tennessee at Houston (-6)
Oy. If I had money to bet on this game, I wouldn't touch this with any amount. Can Rusty Smith, new QB for the Titans (and winner of the Best QB Name Ever) carve up the terrible Texans pass defense? I'm thinking that Chris Johnson will more likely tear up their bad run defense. So yeah, I think the Titans win, or at least cover, and Gary Kubiak moves closer and closer to the unemployment line. Texans are on a sliiiiiiiiide.
Jacksonville at NY Giants (-7)
Both teams are hanging around in their divisions next to seemingly superior teams (the Eagles and the Colts). The Giants haven't even been playing that well lately, whereas the Jaguars are finding ways to win. I think their luck stops here, though, and they lose to the Giants, BUT the Jaguars cover.
Carolina at Cleveland (-9.5)
With Colt McCoy playing, I would've called this an easy Cleveland win, but, instead, it's Jake Delhomme, who epitomizes shaky Quarterback play. The Panthers have been bad, but I think they have it in them to keep this one close with Jimmy Clausen back (Right? RIGHT? RIGHT?!?!?). Browns win and Panthers cover. Look for the Great White Hope Peyton Hillis to keep his good season going.
Tampa Bay at Baltimore (-7.5)
Ok, so the Buccaneers only beat bad teams. Do I think they can stay with a team that almost lose to the Bills? Yes. Bucs cover, Ravens win.
Philadelphia (-3) at Chicago
It seems like its high time for the Bears to start disappointing their melodramatic fan base, and what better way than to lay an egg against a quality opponent? Mike Vick is on fire at the moment (IF you haven't noticed), and I don't see the Bears doing anything about it. I'm sure Asante Samuel is licking his chops at the prospect of playing Jay Cutler. Eagles win and cover.
Green Bay at Atlanta (-2)
This is the best game of the weekend. Both teams have been playing at a very high level for the past few weeks. I can't figure out any way to separate these two teams talent wise, offense or defense wise, so I'll take the Falcons at home, where they are almost unbeatable under Matt Ryan. But its gonna be close. Falcons win, Green Bay covers.
Miami at Oakland(-2.5)
Yeuch. I couldn't be less interested in this game, unless it was Arizona-San Francisco. Ba dum pshhhhh! Anyway, Miami has no QB and no offense. The Raiders have a semblance of a running game, so I'm looking for them to take this one. Raiders win and cover.
Kansas City (-2.5) at Seattle
Seattle's home field advantage allows them to stay in the game against a team that doesn't play well on the road. Chiefs can still win though, behind a strong running game and Dwayne Bowe. Chiefs win, cover, but it won't be easy.
St. Louis at Denver (-3.5)
NFC West vs. AFC West? Snooze. Denver wins and covers, I guess? It's hard to care. I bet Denver puts up a lot of points and St. Louis can't keep up. So yeah, Denver wins and covers.
San Diego at Indianapolis (-2.5)
Who have the Chargers beat this year? No one really that good. Peyton Manning's gonna be pissed after last weeks game against the Patriots, and take it out on the bad Chargers pass defense, even with all of his players injured. Philip Rivers will continue to be a whiny little jerk, with great stats, who also fails in the clutch. Indy wins and covers.
San Francisco (-1) at Arizona
Monday Night Football is dead. Who at ESPN POSSIBLY thought that this could be a good game. It's this weeks hell game, thats for sure. Down there, Jon Gruden is announcing the game with two clones of himself. "THISGUYTHISGUYTHISGUYTHISGUY" is all you can hear. God save us all. I guess I'll take the point and say Arizona covers, and SF wins.