Friday, October 30, 2009

Week 9 Predictions

West Virginia @ South Florida (+3.5)

The Mountaineers have shown balance and the ability to just get the ball in the end zone against any opponent - they've put up 24 or more every game. The Bulls were on a roll there but have stumbled their last two games against actual competition. I have a feeling the Mountaineers are gearing up and ready for their tough home stretch.

The Call: West Virginia by 9
The Result: South Florida 30-19

If that's gearing up, then it's gonna be a long road home for the Mountaineers. The Bulls get back on track, and they'll be able to finish strong against the bottom of the BigEast, but a conference championship is probably not in the cards unless the teams ahead of them implode.

Cincinnati @ Syracuse (+15)

The Orangemen do have some wins this year, but against poor competition - in their games against decent foes they've been pretty much manhandled. The Bearcats are a bit more than "decent".

The Call: Cincinnati by 18
The Result: Cincinnati 28-7

The Bearcats have a tough finishing road - UConn, West Virginia, and Pitt should help their SoS in the computers, and if they're able to run that gauntlet we could see some interesting things happen in the BCS.

New Mexico State @ Ohio State (+44)

This is just one of those odd games where you just gotta ask, "what the hell were the AD's thinking when they set this one up?" The Aggies are 3-5, but they're godawful and have put just 10 points on the board in the last two weeks. The Buckeyes have rebounded from that staggering loss to Purdue, and it seems like Tressel might have gotten the message to just let Pryor loose. But still, 44 points is a hell of a spread.

The Call: Ohio State wins, but New Mexico State covers the spread
The Result: Ohio State 45-0

That's two weeks in a row I've picked the Buckeyes to not cover big spreads, and its the second week they have, this time just barely. Damn.

Indiana @ Iowa (-17.5)

Lest we forget, the Hoosiers took Michigan to the edge and are better than they usually are. The Hawkeyes have played their best games against their best opponents, but have struggled against the lesser teams. I don't see this one being any different.

The Call: Iowa wins, but Indiana covers the spread
The Result: Iowa 42-24

Argh! Another spread missed by a point or less. The Hawkeyes have the Buckeyes standing in their way to glory - will they be able to seize it?

Mississippi @ Auburn (+4.5)

It seems the people have finally found a way to stop the Tigers. Add to that what the Rebels were able to do to Texas Tech's high-octane offense in the Cotton Bowl last year and their own offense abilities, and I don't see it happening for the Tigers.

The Call: Mississippi by 10
The Result: Auburn 33-20

Let this be a lesson to you all - last season's bowl performance doesn't really mean jack squat in the middle of this season, apparently.

Nebraska @ Baylor (+13)

It's a testament to Nebraska's D that they were able to stay in the game until the very end last week even when their offense was handing Iowa State the ball their every possession. The Bears have fallen a long way from their opening week win at Wake Forest.

The Call: Nebraska by 17
The Result: Nebraska 20-10

We thought that this year might be the turnaround for the Bears, and they were improved with good QB play, but it just hasn't happened. If the Cornhuskers' offense can stay out of the way of their defense, they could give Texas a scare in the Big12 Championship game...

Georgia v Florida (-14.5)

The Gators are struggling, but they usually don't against the Dawgs. Georgia is having troubles of their own, but AJ Green should be able to work some magic against the Florida secondary. I just have a feeling Corch and the boys are gonna take some jive in this one...

The Call: Florida wins, but Georgia covers the spread
The Result: Florida 41-17

Yeah, no jive taken in Jacksonville. The Gators should roll all the way to Atlanta.

Central Michigan @ Boston College (-5.5)

The Chippewas aren't getting any love, even though their only loss of the year came to a good Arizona team on the road. A win over Michigan State and dominating the MAC boost their chances in this one. The Eagles have run hot and cold this year, but they'll need a solid all-around game to win. I don't think they'll have it -

The Call: Central Michigan by 7
The Result: Boston College 31-10

Yeah, straight-up bad call. That is why the MAC (and the Chippewas) aren't getting any love, I suppose.

Duke (+7.5) @ Virginia

These two are tricky to figure out. Both have lost to I-AA teams this year, but both have also put up more W's than people expected, especially the Blue Devils. Tough call, but if you can't get behind Duke now, when can you? This might be your only chance people!

The Call: Duke by 3
The Result: Duke 28-17

One more win to go, Blue Devils!

Washington State v Notre Dame (-27.5)

And yet I can't bring myself to get behind the Cougars, even with a 4 TD spread.

The Call: Notre Dame by 35
The Result: Notre Dame 41-17

Another cover just missed... jeez. If the Irish can navigate their tougher-than-average remaining games with one loss, they'll be an attractive BCS choice at 9-3. If they win them all they're a lock.

South Carolina @ Tennessee (-6)

The Vols have had a better year than most thought they would, hanging with Florida & Alabama and pounding Georgia. The Gamecocks beat Ole Miss, sure, but I can't help feeling that at 6-2 they're a bit overrated. They've struggled their last three games, while the Vols are looking to be heading up.

The Call: Tennessee by 7
The Result: Tennessee 31-13

The Vols are looking good and should be able to really compete for the SEC East next year. Yeah, I liked the unis.

Texas (-9.5) @ Oklahoma State

The Cowboys always put good points on the board and their D has been getting better. But Texas is just too tough this year, even with their struggles. I wouldn't be shocked by an upset, but I don't think there's a good chance of it.

The Call: Texas by 14
The Result: Texas 41-14

Clear sailing to the Big12 Championship game for the Longhorns.

USC (-3) @ Oregon

Really, no possible outcome of this one would surprise me. Both the Ducks & the Trojans have the ability to completely dominate the other, and it's going to come down to who's actually able to play up to their potential. Home-field will help the Ducks a bit, but the Trojans have already weathered hostile environments this year. I don't see a lot of back and forth in this one - whoever can take firm control first should be able to hang on.

The Call: Oregon by 4
The Result: Oregon 47-20

And thus the Trojans' reign atop the Pac10 ends. They'll still be favored in their remaining games, and should end up in a solid bowl, and will be more experienced next year - but they haven't been on that end of a beatdown loss in a loooong time.

The Ducks are soaring, and I can understand the idea of not ranking Oregon above Boise State in lieu of the Bronco's defeat of the Ducks in week one. But the problem with that viewpoint is that you're letting one game trump 11 others, elevating it way above the rest. What have I said in the past? You've gotta keep the Betters separate, people. Better in one game doesn't mean better over the whole season. Staples even admits that he's ragged on the Broncos' uber-weak schedule all season - does that mean nothing any more? It's a tricky path to tread, I understand, but a blanket, tunnel-vision statement like, "no matter how high I rank Oregon, I will rank Boise State one spot higher" is hurting the process by not taking all factors into account. I'm not saying that you can't rank Boise State higher if you think they're the better team overall, or that they've achieved more. But to ignore a whole season in favor of one game is counterproductive and ridiculous, especially as the season winds down and we have lots of games & ways to compare teams.

Oregon just did some things that haven't been done to the Trojans in years or even decades. They've knocked the Trojans from the top of the mountain, something no team has been able to do in seven years. And while the Trojans are significantly weaker this year, they're still 6-2 and a team that has a good chance of making it to ten wins. To not take this game and the rest of Oregon's stunningly good season thus far into account is ridiculous and demeaning.

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