So, I took a mulligan on my Arkansas pick, and decided to not count it toward my record. Why? Because Ryan Mallett (aka one of only a few really, really good Arkansas players) got hurt and missed a good deal of the game. What does that mean for you as a reader? First, it probably hurts my credibility a little. I can deal with that. The more exciting result is that I am picking 6 games this weekend so we can keep it at a 5/week average.
(1) Oklahoma vs (11) Mizzou
Give me the Sooners. Mizzou has played no one, and my early-season appraisal of Oklahoma was flawed. I was crushing them for their close wins over weak teams, but it turns out those “weak” teams like Air Force and Cincinnati are decent and now look like pretty quality wins. Utah State was simply a case of 1st game rust for the Sooners, and they are on track to win the Big 12 (soon to be 10).
Mizzou, on the other hand, has really played no one. That certainly doesn’t make them a bad team. Rather it just means they have not really played up to the level they have had to yet. Oklahoma will certainly push them there, and we will find out quickly if Mizzou is game or not. I actually think Mizzou can keep this close, because Oklahoma is not a blowout type team, but I do not think they have what it takes to beat the Sooners.
Oklahoma 31, Mizzou 20
(16) Nebraska vs (14) Oklahoma State
Nebraska is favored by 6 in this game? Why? Because it seems that everyone has forgotten just how good Nebraska was until their stinker against Texas, which was much more due to a few horrible drops than game plan. Not I said the fly. I think Oklahoma State is exactly like Mizzou really. They are untested, talented, and good enough to be real. Except they aren’t. This Nebraska defense is something that the Cowboys have not had to deal with yet, and I do not trust the Cowboys to respond positively when they get hit in the nose for the first time. It is a home game, so there is no blowout here, but I would even take the Huskers to cover that spread and handle the Cowboys in Stillwater rather comfortably.
Nebraska 40, Oklahoma State 21
Philadelphia Eagles vs Tennessee Titans
These are a couple teams I just do not know enough about yet. The Eagles have been going back and forth with QBs, the Titans are somewhat untrustworthy, and there could not be a bigger contrast of styles. The Eagles will be without Desean Jackson, but frankly, they have so much speed anyway with Maclin, McCoy and co. that I am not to worried about it. The Titans are coming off a somewhat shorter week with their Monday game, and I think that knee is just ok enough to keep Vince in, but just bad enough to keep him from scrambling to hurt the Eagles. Bottom line is that I do not trust Young to handle the Eagles’ blitzes, and I trust Kolb to get it out fast enough to not get killed by the Titans.
Eagles 27, Titans 22
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers
This could be one of the worst good games all year. I mean there is all the tension of Favre in Green Bay, and that divisional matchup we crave, but neither team is playing well. At all. The Vikes got kind of lucky against the Cowboys last week, but they are running into another team with a penchant for shooting itself in the foot in the Packers. I don’t trust the Packers offensive line to handle the Vikes rush. I don’t trust the Packers secondary to handle Moss and Harvin, and I don’t trust the Packers to not commit 9 penalties. On the other hand, I know Adrian Peterson will fumble once, I know that Aaron Rodgers will make some plays, and I know this will be close enough for people to call it a “good” game. However, I think the Vikes have the Packers number, and that the Packers are not quite panicked enough to fight their way out of it with all guns blazing. The injuries are just too much for the Pack.
Vikings 24, Packers 17
New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
Who ya got, the team that needs a win, or the team that is riding a little high, but also OWNS the other? I don’t know. I know I posted earlier in the year about the Cowboys beating the Texans because they need it, but the Giants have really owned them the last few years. At the beginning of the week, I thought that the Giants ownership would win out. Towards midweek, I thought the desperation would take it for the Cowboys. Right now, I have no idea. I am going to stick with my “the more desperate team wins” idea for now, because I think Dallas might be able to avoid an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty and pull out a win on Monday night.
As for any actual analysis of the game, sorry, not happening. Throw out the records and stats for rivalry games, even in the pros, when they are as deeply felt as this one with the players,
Giants 26, Cowboys 30
Here are the options:
Jacksonville (+9.5) @ Kansas City
Cleveland (+13) @ New Orleans
Buffalo (+13) @ Baltimore
Oakland (+8.5) @ Denver
Arizona (+6.5) @ Seattle
I know. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Luckily, you might have noticed we overlooked a HUGE college game earlier. Know why? The line was 6.
(6) LSU Tigers (+6) over (4) Auburn Tigers
Hold that Tiger! Oh, that is Clemson? My bad. Anyway, I wrote last week that Auburn’s head was getting big. I still think that is true, but they clearly handled it well against Arkansas. Why is LSU different from Arkansas in being able to beat them? Because their QBs suck and Mallett is pretty good? Well, that doesn’t really help, but the Tigers do have a defense and some sense of destiny after several incredibly lucky endings already this year. This pick is by no means an endorsement of bad clock management, visors, and everything else that comes with LSU football, but is rather a pick for defense, for hard-nosed football, and against Auburn. Call me a hater, if you must, but while I will endorse a Cam Newton Heisman campaign, I want nothing to do with a National Championship charge for a team with zero defense and total dependence on one player.
When it comes to the classic offense vs defense battle, I look at it like this: It is easier to crank out a little offense and get by in a low-scoring defensive game than to go guns blazing and then crank out some good defense. If the sum of the score is over 51.5, Auburn wins, but I am saying it is lower.
LSU 20, Auburn 17
Last Week: 2-2
Overall: 15-14 on the tough games
Upset Special: 2-4