Archive for October, 2008

Picks Trying Not to Suck: Week 10

October 31, 2008

The casino companies are suffering through a historically weak year. Coincidence that Homerism and The Skinny are hammering the books? Straight cash, homey!

Just five games each this week, as The Skinny can’t count…

WEEK 10–The Skinny
(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 33-21)

The Skin finally entered the 21st century this week. With the help of the good folks at Apple, Skin is now fully equipped with the newest technology. The newest MacBook and iPhone (first music downloads: Kayne West’s ‘Homecoming” and, of course, “Boomer Sooner”) have Skin feeling like he has entered a new age of enlightenment. A higher level of existence, if you will. Now let’s see if the new, enlightened Skin can bring you even more winners.

Advice of the Week: I am assuming you are reading this column because you enjoy gambling on a game now and then. My experience is that most gamblers like to dabble in the stock market. While you’re probably safer letting it all ride on black these days, the Skin is here to offer you a can’t miss stock pick, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS). I hate giving money to these arrogant douches–they are the Notre Dame of the financial world. Still, this stock represents great value. If you won’t take my word for it, take it from the Oracle of Omaha. Mr. Buffet purchased shares of GS a month go for $40 less than it is trading today. I know the analysts fear Goldman is on the wrong end of a credit-swap with Chrysler, but if this is true, it will only hold the stock down for a short time.

Bonus Advice: Don’t buy the iPhone. What the obviously over-excited salesmen don’t tell you is that many of the phones often freeze. If your phone actually works, don’t depend on it for reception. If that is not enough for you, typing sucks, and the sound for your music is awful.

Missouri (-21) at Baylor
I will say it again–Mizzou was overrated to start the season. Chase Daniel and the Tigers have yet to beat a good team, but they excel against the Nevadas and Iowa States of the world. As I have said all year, Baylor is much improved under Art Briles and Griffin III will eventually be an all-conference quarterback. They‘re no match for the Tigers this year. This game is easy. Mizzou will put up 60, and the defense will be good enough to keep the Bears in the 20s.

Skinny Says: Mizzou… Lock it up!

Tennessee at South Carolina (-6)
Against my better judgment, I went with Tennessee last week on a hunch. The Skin paid for it, 100 times over. Tennessee is a bad team, especially on offense, with a lame duck coach. That’s the perfect recipe for a 3-8 season.

The Vols head to Columbia this week to face Coach Tee Time and the Gamecocks. Redskin fans may not have liked Superier’s affinity for golf, but he can still coach the college game. The Gamecocks have one of the best defenses in the country, giving up a mere 250 yards and 15 points per game. Spurrier’s offense is far cry from the touchdown-making machines he employed at Florida. The offense has improved under Smelley, but the Cocks’ run game is still bad.

The Skin Says: South Carolina wins on the strength of its defense.

Georgia vs. Florida (-6.5)
*Jacksonville

Skin admits he has never been to the World’s Largest Cocktail Party. This game just doesn’t seem to measure up to the Red River Rivalry. I know I am biased, but this contest doesn’t seem to have the passion and tradition of the game played in the Cotton Bowl.

The matchup on the field won’t be as exciting as this year’s Red River game, either. Florida is one of a handful of teams in Skin’s running for best team in the country. Georgia, on the other hand, doesn’t make the cut. Moreno and Stafford are symbolic of Georgia’s team–really good players, but not top-five players at their positions.

Skin Alert: Don’t buy into the idea that Florida will be motivated by Georgia’s infamous end zone celebration! That was last year. The players are over it, and you should be, too. The real motivation here is to remain in the national title hunt, which should motivate both teams.

The Skinny Says: Florida, the better team, wins in this game.

Pitt at Notre Dame (-5.5)
Skin has been riding the ND bandwagon pretty hard this season, and I see no reason to stop this weekend.

Skin hates Charlie Weis. His waistline is the only thing bigger than his ego. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). Anyway, the Irish have a nice squad this year. They finally have playmakers on offense, Clausen is developing as a quaterback and the ND defense is deceptively good.

Pittsburgh remains really inconsistent this season, although they have been more bad than good this year, with losses to Bowling Green and Rutgers. At 2-6, the Panthers have been even worse against the spread.

Skin Says: ND wins by two touchdowns at home.

Lee Greenwood Special: Temple at Navy (-6.5)
In the words of one of Skin’s idols, don’t call it a comeback, but Skin has won the LGS two weeks in a row. With this matchup, Skin’s primed to make it three weeks in a row. I like the way Navy is playing. The offensive attack has caused problems for opposing defenses all season, and Shun White is one of the better players you’ve never heard of. You know you’re bad when the TV crew has to resort to showing clips of your washed-up comedian alumnus.

The Skinny Says: Navy wins big at home.

WEEK 10–Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 1-5; Overall: 35-19)

Ah, the comforts of home.

All looked lost last week, as Homerism stood at 0-5 at the end of the day on Saturday. And it wasn’t like I was just missing on some of my calls: SMU drilled by Navy. KU smoked by Texas Tech. Iowa State rolled by Texas A&M. Favored Pittsburgh trounced by Rutgers. San Jose State socked by Boise.

The only thing standing between Homerism and an embarrassing bagel was the team from my hometown, the high-scoring Golden Hurricane. With Tulsa favored by 23.5 over conference rival Central Florida, I had the sinking feeling this was going to turn into a tighter-than-expected 14-point win for the 8th Street boys. It just made sense, given the way the week had gone.

No surprise, then, that UCF was up 19-14 at the half. Somehow, some way, though, TU coach Todd Graham ws able to light a fire under the ‘Cane at the break, as his squad came out smoking in the third stanza. Graham and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn kept the hammer down all the way until the end, scoring a TD for the cover with less than two minutes left in the game.

Yes, these are the small moments that make the difference between 1-5 and 0-6. Drink it in.

Florida (-6.5) at Georgia
*Jacksonville, Fla.
Not sure if you heard, but Georgia pulled some mass celebration stunt in last year’s big win over Florida. The Gators are angry. Urban Meyer is vowing revenge.

Who cares? Florida doesn’t need some contrived motivational ploy here. The Gators are looking strong to quite strong at the moment. Florida’s defense is allowing a paltry 12 points per game this season. The Gators just aren’t giving up much yardage, and that’s bad news for a Georgia team that has struggled to score at times this year.

By the way, if you happened to watch last week’s LSU-Georgia game, were you as uncomfortable as I was listening to CBS analyst Gary Danielson talk about Matthew Stafford? It sounded like he was going to need a smoke after the game was over.

Homerism Says: Florida, 33-20.

Arkansas State (+23.5) at Alabama
If you’re Nick Saban, are you more interested in:

A.) Sticking it to the ungrateful LSU fans who have badmouthed your national championship-winning ass since you skipped town for the Dolphins (a team whose fans actually do have a right to kick dirt on your name);

or

B.) Beating the Indians, er, Red Wolves by more than 23 points.

If you’ve been watching the Tide at all this year, you know the answer. Slick Nick has had his team laser-focused on the big games all season, treating match-ups versus the Tulanes and Mississippis with about as much interest as he has in his kids. The game plan here will be to get a comfortable lead early and then prop up the feet in the second half.

Homerism Says: Bama, 28-7.

San Jose State at Idaho (+16.5)
“But, Homerism,” you say, “Idaho stinks.”

Well, first of all, I’m surprised you know anything about Idaho. Second of all, you’re right. Third of all, it doesn’t matter.

I suspect SJSU kinda stinks, too. Keep in mind that this is a team that barely squeaked by UC-Davis in the season opener. Like Homerism, the Spartans probably thought they had a shot to knock off undefeated Boise State at home last Friday night. Turns out, though, that they were completely outclassed by the Broncos. Had to be pretty disappointing. (At least it was for me.)

A trip to play the Vandals doesn’t sound like any reason to get excited coming off that kind of loss. Idaho may be in for a letdown after getting the straight up win last week, and SJSU could see this as its best shot to get bowl-eligible. I’m going to set that aside and make this pick more going against the Spartans than favoring Idaho.

Homerism Says: Vandals cover.

TCU at UNLV (+14)
The Runnin’ Rebels don’t have much to show for it, but they’re not a bad team. UNLV comes into this game at 3-5, having lost four straight. The last two games of that stretch, however, were a one-point loss to Air Force and a last-minute loss at BYU.

Homerism suspects TCU is the best mid-major in the country. Having already waxed BYU, the Horned Frogs will want to prove as much next week when they travel to Utah for a Thursday night game. In other words, TCU will be looking ahead. 

Homerism Says: Go with the home underdog coming off a road loss.
LGS: Temple (+6.5) at Navy
Adam DiMichele, Temple’s veteran quarterback, returned last week after missing essentially four games with a shoulder injury. The seasoned signal caller sparked the Owls to a late comeback win over Ohio. Temple will have had 10 days off leading up to this much-anticipated game once it kicks off on Saturday. Rested, refreshed and replete with a defensive game plan to shut down a team that didn’t attempt a pass last week.
Homerism Says: Temple straight up.

Potential Title Game Match-ups

October 30, 2008

Las Vegas Sports Consultants have put together some projected point spreads for potential national title match-ups.

Seeing as USC tops this week’s Oddsmakers Poll, it’s no surprise that the bookies see the Trojans as favorites over all potential opponents. Southern Cal is listed as one-point favorite over Texas and would give 1.5 points to OU.
The biggest title game mismatches in Vegas’ opinion? 
USC (-7.5) vs. Texas Tech
USC (-7) vs. Georgia
Texas (-6.5) vs. Alabama
Texas (-6.5) vs. Georgia
Interestingly, LVSC doesn’t list a number for rematches between Texas and Texas Tech of Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Like the rest of us, Vegas seems to recognizes these potential title games are near impossibilities at this point.

Guest Column: Wang Presses On

October 30, 2008

After a rough 1-5 record two weeks ago, the Wang needed to prove he was more than just another pretty face. A 4-2 week not only increased the Wang’s ever-expanding lead over Homerism, it proved that, yes, there is more to this guy than just his looks… He can really pick the hell out of some Big 12 games! No sense in getting overconfident with this lead I have built. No prevent defenses here; the Wang is applying his patented full court press!

Quick update on CBS-gate here in Buffalo. The Wang was forced to leave the comfort of his living room couch this weekend to catch the Bills game last Sunday. If you have ever tried to listen to an entire sporting event via radio, you know it’s not easy to follow the action. After enduring this conflict for more than three weeks, I have finally decided to switch my cable provider. The Wang has had enough… and so have more than 2,000 other Buffalo residents who have made the same move. If there is one thing you don’t want to mess with here in Buffalo, it’s sports teams. So, come Nov. 3, the Wang will be back with complete CBS coverage. Hasta la vista, SMU field hockey!

Just a few thoughts about last week’s Sooner game. Before getting into the defensive woes ,let’s focus on some of the bright spots. First, anytime an Oklahoma team is able to set a scoring record of any type, something must be said. This program has a long history of prolific offenses putting up some gaudy numbers. When I learned that last week’s 55 points at halftime was a record, the Wang stood at attention. The four touchdowns scored in the final eight minutes of the first half after KSU had tied the game were quite impressive. The ability to bury an opponent like this after facing some adversity is championship material.

The fact that KSU was able to score 28 first half points and come back and tie the game after being down 28-7 is a different story. If you would have told me before the game that Josh Freeman would out-throw Sam Bradford by more than 200 yards, I would have thought you were crazy. The defense, particularly against the pass, is downright atrocious right now. I am afraid it will end up being the downfall of this team once they reach Tech and Oklahoma State.

On to the running game and Demarco Murray. The Wang wanted to see Murray build on his confidence from the previous week and continue to run with more conviction. While he has still yet to bust any real long run yet, he seems to be getting better and better as the season progresses. Murray scored four touchdowns while averaging more than six yards per carry and also happened to be Bradford’s leading receiver this week. Also, not enough gets said about Chris Brown, who has become about as reliable as an OU fan could hope for. The Sooners rushed for 273 yards as a team on a day when Bradford didn’t seem to be on top his game. If this trend holds up, there isn’t a defense in the country that can hold this team under 40.

One last thought… Something has to be done with these special teams. Jimmy Stevens missed yet another extra point. The kickoff team allowed a 75-yard return. Mike Knall averaged a dismal 28 yards per punt. Mark the Wang’s words: this type of special teams play will eventually cost the Sooners another game.

Last week, the Wang turned to Thomas Edison for inspiration. This week, Winston Churchill: “Responsibility is the price of greatness.”

I think you get the point.

Nebraska at Oklahoma (-22)
The Sooners head back to Norman for a Saturday evening tussle with an old nemesis, Nebraska. Last week, Nebraska was able to clutch defeat from the hands of victory for the Wang by the slimmest of margins. The Wang was looking good at the half, with Baylor leading by three points and getting 11 from Vegas. Unfortunately, Baylor was unable to score a single point in the second half, and a fourth quarter safety gave the Cornhuskers the 12-point lead needed for the cover. The Nebraska defense held Robert Griffin to just 134 yards passing and without a touchdown pass, while Joe Ganz went off for 336 yards and three touchdowns. The defense did give up over 200 yards on the ground to the Bears, and I think this is where Nebraska will be in trouble.

I look for Sam Bradford to rebound from his “subpar” performance last week and put up huge numbers against Nebraska. Combine that with a rejuvenated OU run game, and I foresee another 50-point OU outburst. These two teams haven’t faced off in the regular season since 2005. And, after Saturday night, Nebraska will be wishing they had waited a little longer to play again…

The Pick: OU, 55-20.
Blatant Homerism: Nebraska.

Texas at Texas Tech (+3.5)
The Wang was right on the money last week when he predicted that OSU would be able to keep it close with Texas. Nevertheless, Texas again proved why it is the top team in the country after winning despite a few late mistakes my Colt McCoy. The Wang likens Jordan Shipley to Elton Brand during his days at Duke. Brand was about as reliable a player as Duke has ever seen. He was able to score almost at will. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand Duke about as much as I can’t stand Texas. But Brand was a special player in college. It seems the same can be said for Shipley, who finds a way to make every catch despite the fact that the defense knows the ball is coming his way. Case in point: Shipley had 15 grabs for 168 yards last week. I don’t know how he does it, but he seems to always be open while running the exact same route every time.

While I hit the nail on the head with my Texas pick last week, I couldn’t have been more wrong about Tech. The Wang was really doubting Tech as a legitimate contender this year going into the Kansas game. I even went so far as to predict KU to win the game outright. Sixty-three Tech points later, the Wang and KU were handed an embarrassing loss. Graham Harrell catapulted himself into the Heisman talk with Bradford and McCoy, throwing for 386 yards and five touchdowns. I expect another tight battle for Texas this week, but this time the clock will strike midnight for Cinderella…

The Pick: Tech straight up.
BH: Tech straight up.

Kansas State at Kansas (-11)
The Wang pointed to Brandon Banks last week in his picks as a player that had some big-play potential for the Wildcats. Five catches and 145 yards later it seems the Wang was right on. Yet, Banks wasn’t even the leading receiver for KSU against Oklahoma, as Ernie Pierce made 11 catches for 176 yards. Considering Pierce had six catches for the entire year coming into this game, it appears the OU secondary can make anyone a star.

Kansas, on the other hand, was completely dominated last week on both sides of the ball against Texas Tech. Todd Reesing could only manage 154 yards through the air and suffered three interceptions. The Wang continues to struggle with this year’s Jayhawk team. Looking at their list of wins against the likes of Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston State, Iowa State and Colorado, I am beginning to think they are more pretenders than anything…

The Pick: Give me the underdog Wildcats in this rivalry game.
BH: KU.

Colorado at Texas A&M (-3.5)
The Wang was chastised by one of his readers last week for picking the Aggies. Please, everyone, have some faith in the Wang. I didn’t go to four years of medical school for nothing!

The Aggies made winners out of the Wang by handily defeating the lowly Iowa St. Cyclones, 49-35. Jerrod Johnson had a huge day, throwing for 381 yards and accounting for five touchdowns. Earlier this year, I called Texas A&M the new Baylor of the Big 12. Well, they didn’t hold that title for long, as I believe the torch has now been passed to the Cyclones.

Colorado hung tough with Missouri last week for the first minute and nine seconds of the game en route to a 58-0 loss. Freshman Tyler Hansen got his first career start and promptly fumbled the first snap of the game away. He finished with 30 yards rushing on 16 carries to lead the Buffalos. Never a good sign. Colorado has now lost four of its last five games and is staring at a quarterback controversy between Hansen and Cody Hawkins. The controversy being that neither is any good.

Time for another ride on the Aggie train…

The Pick: Gig ‘em!
BH: A&M.

Iowa State at Oklahoma State (-30)
Won’t take long before this one starts getting ugly. Vegas can’t make the spread big enough here for me to go against the Pokes. OSU proved a lot to the Wang last week by going on the road and putting a scare into Texas. This is a legitimate team with lots of firepower on a very balanced offense. The defense couldn’t do much to stop Colt McCoy, but then again, no one has been able to do that this year. Despite his big numbers, OSU did force a couple key turnovers to keep them in the game. Kendall Hunter is a stud at running back and put up 161 yards on the ground against a team ranked number two in the nation against the run. As hard as it is to admit this, OSU is a damn good team, and one that is going to give the Sooners a lot of problems down the road.

As for Iowa State—where do I begin? The losing streak has reached six games after starting the season with wins against powerhouses Kent State and South Dakota State. If you want a silver lining, I guess Austen Arnaud did throw for 371 yards without an interception. Other than that, the Wang sees nothing to like about this team. My official diagnosis for this team is “dismal.” Time to pull the plug…

The Pick: I will take the Pokes big here.
BH: OSU.

Missouri (-20) at Baylor
After a rough two-week stretch, Mizzou had the good fortune of playing Colorado at home last week. The Tigers took full advantage of the situation. The assault was spread out over the entire game, as Missouri scored at least 10 points in each quarter. Chase Daniel was back to his Heisman form with 300 yards passing and five touchdowns. The running game got into the action, too, with 189 yards on the ground. This was the Missouri team the Wang expected to see the previous two weeks.

Baylor had a chance to reverse a long trend of futility in Lincoln last weekend, but fell short with a lackluster second half performance. Robert Griffin still has yet to throw an interception, yet his passing numbers were far from impressive, as he completed nine out of 20 attempts for 134 yards. He was able to make some plays with his feet, though, leading the team with 121 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Baylor did its best Kansas State impression by failing to convert one of its 10 third down opportunities. Baylor continues to show signs of life and improvement, but this week will be tough.

Mark my words, Missouri will prove to be a difficult opponent this December in Kansas City for whomever makes the championship game from the South. Despite looking overrated in their two losses, this is still a team that can easily ruin the year for a team like Texas looking to make the BCS title game…

The Pick: I will take the Tigers in this one.
BH: Baylor.

Circular Reasoning

October 29, 2008

The question of how we construct meaning has come to occupy a central place in the postmodern philosophical discourse. Such issues even have given rise to their own discipline, “hermeneutics,” the study of theories and methods of interpretation of texts and systems of meaning. (“Texts” meaning any object or idea subject to interpretation, of course.)

German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, the true father of hermeneutics, posited in Truth and Method that the primary dilemma of interpretation is the so-called “hermeneutic circle.” That is, when we construct a text’s meaning, we do so through a never-ending string of signifiers referring to more signifiers. For example, when we look up a word in the dictionary, the definition refers us to more words. Consequently, we’re thrown into a self-referential circle, negating our ability to establish objective meaning.

Enter The Wall Street Journal. Of all places, the financial journal of record recently offered up this stinging critique of the Big XII. In a nutshell: Big XII teams don’t play defense and have made hay against weak nonconference schedules.

When we engage in these discussions as college football fans, have we unwittingly jumped into our own hermeneutic circle?
Put a different way: How do we know a team is good? By the other teams they’ve beat, of course. But, how do we know the teams they’ve beat are any good? Well, we can tell by the teams they’ve beat… You can see where this is going.
Unfortunately for numbers geeks, we can apply this same line of thinking to statistical rankings in college football: “Oklahoma ranks 54th in defense.” That sounds bad, but what about the offenses they’ve faced? Well, they’re all bad, too. I see, but are the offenses bad, or have they all faced good defenses… Same thing.
So before we go writing off the Big XII as a no-defense conference that has fattened up on cupcakes this, let’s ask: Can we really say other conferences have played stronger nonconference competition with any kind of certainty? Likewise, how do we know if the Big XII defenses are so bad?
So, before all you conference homers read a story like this one from the WSJ and start spouting off about how dominant your league is and weak the Big XII, remember the hermeneutic circle.

Resurrecting the Raiders (and Tide)

October 28, 2008

“Time is running out on Alabama and Texas Tech.”

Aside from Homerism’s weekly picks, if you need any further evidence that I know not of what I speak, I give you last week’s proclamation regarding the Crimson Tide and Red Raiders. 
Yes, Tennessee is no good, but a convincing road win in a night game in the SEC still speaks to the Tide’s bonafides. ‘Bama closes Arkansas State, at LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn. After seeing what Georgia and Florida did to LSU, think Nick Saban is shaking over his triumphant return to Tiger Stadium? Of course, there’s also the matter of the SEC championship, and Florida looks tough.
Meanwhile, Tech rolled into Lawrence and demolished a very good KU team, made even more impressive by the fact that the Longhorns were on the Raiders’ horizon. Looking ahead, the Raiders have a much taller order than the Tide when it comes to closing the season out: Texas, Oklahoma State, at Oklahoma and Baylor. If Mike Leach’s air show makes it through that stretch, there’s the prospect of a shootout with Missouri for the Big XII title in Kansas City.
Even though both ‘Bama and Tech did some good work over the weekend, it wasn’t enough to cause much of a stir in this week’s power rankings. When Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson’s desperation heave fell short as time expired Saturday afternoon, Texas had secured its grip on the top spot. The loss makes OSU the best once-beaten team in the country for the time being, elevating Penn State and Tech one spot from last week.
I love the Sooners, but I can’t raise OU’s ranking in good conscience for beating up on lowly Kansas State. 
 

Blatant Homerism Power Poll Week Nine
1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Penn State
4. Texas Tech
5. Utah
6. Oklahoma State

7. Oklahoma
8. Boise State
9. USC
10. Tulsa

OU in Review: Kansas State

October 27, 2008

Homerism doesn’t really feel qualified to speak to the Sooners’ performance on Saturday. Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic opted to show New Hampshire’s blowout of Towson in lieu of the shootout in Manhattan. I was reduced to following the online gamecast.

Anyway, I wonder if the coaching staff, particularly head coach Bob Stoops, had an idea before the season that the defense would struggle so mightily this season. Think about it–OU has had prolific offenses before, but when was the last time the Sooners seemed to put such a premium on quick scores and rolling up ridiculous offensive numbers? Why now?
Maybe the coaching staff figured that with all the turnover in personnel from last year, the defense was bound to struggle this season. So, why fight it? Install a souped-up offensive scheme, then hope the defense can create enough turnovers or get just enough big stops to prevent other teams from keeping pace.
(Assuming this is true, I’m guessing they weren’t counting on a year of astonishingly poor special teams play.)
On its face, it seems ridiculous. Still, at least in public, Stoops seems less upset with the defense’s struggles than he has been in years past. If the season was playing out like he expected, it would explain a lot.

Picks Trying Not to Suck: Week Nine

October 24, 2008

The Skinny picked up two games on Homerism last week. This week, the brothers both like some of the same games, although not necessarily the same plays.
WEEK NINE–The Skinny
(Last Week: 5-1; Overall: 30-18)

This is one of the more interesting college football seasons The Skin can remember. The season hasn’t been chocked full of crazy upsets like last year, but the parity at the top is incredible. Let’s face it: this is a weak year in college football. Maybe you know that Texas or Penn State or Alabama are contenders, but I am not sure they are even really good teams. Name your 2008 contender and compare them to the national championship team from an average year in college football. The 2008 You-Name-It-U loses by double digits. 

What accounts for the difference, you might ask? No one can play defense. The top team in the nation gave up a total of 66 points in back-to-back weekends. I know offensive advances have outpaced those of defense’s in recent years, but these teams couldn’t stop Jim Frazier’s old veer attack at Oklahoma 2A power Cascia Hall.

Advice of the Week: Load up on Oklahoma and Texas if they are anything less than a three-touchdown favorite at home. Trust me!

Texas A&M (+3.5) at Iowa State 

Skin is dubbing this one the anti-Herbie Bowl, and it’s not because of the pathetic teams on the field. Oxford this is not!
Skin’s hunch on A&M paid off last week as the Aggies hung tough against Tech. Granted a blocked extra point returned for a touchdown by A&M provided a backdoor cover. I hate to admit it but I watched this entire game, and A&M seems to be improving as they learn Mike Sherman’s pro style offense. The ‘vaunted’ Aggie D, which for some reason I have been hyping all season, seems to be rounding into form. A&M is still a bad team but Iowa State is well… Iowa State. 
Skin Says: Take the Aggies getting the points.
(Can anyone tell me why ABC decided to pick up the Oklahoma State/Iowa St next weekend? I guess it’s these teams huge fan bases and the appeal this matchup has on the East Coast.)

Notre Dame (-11) at Washington

Is this a joke? This line seems way off to me, but this isn’t a sucker play! Skin has said all season the Irish are a much improved team on both offense and defense this year. No one wants to see the pear-shaped Irish head coach struggle more than Skin, but I have to admit he has assembled some talent in South Bend.
Don’t buy into anyone selling you on the revenge factor. None of these players were involved in Willingham’s dismissal, and they don’t care. Willingham seems unable to motivate his team. They aren’t going to take on his personal grudge. Notre Dame has superior talent and coaching, bottom line. 
The Skinny Says: The Irish win big.

Texas Tech at Kansas (-1)  

Mark Mangino… Now there is a rotund football coach the Skin loves. Despite his insistent love for the shuffle pass, the most annoying play in football, Mangino is a good coach, and he has done an outstanding job at KU. Mangino can’t handpick his recruits, a la Hollywood Carroll, but he is an outstanding evaluator of talent. (Side note: The success of Kansas football is a tribute to the quality of high school football in Oklahoma. Just check the number of Oklahomans on KU’s roster the past two seasons.)
As I said last week, The Skin is on to the fraud that is Texas Tech. Tech’s offense is not what it has been in past years, and the defense is par for the course at Tech. Crabtree should have a field day against a weak KU secondary, but the Jayhawks run defense is solid. That will allow Mangino & Co. to scheme for the passing game. Todd Reesing, the most underrated QB in the country, will put up enough points to for the Hawks to win in a close game. 
Skinny Says: KU by 2.

Oklahoma State at Texas (-13)

Skin really hopes he is wrong on this one, but I see Texas rolling in this game. When Texas wins 56-34 on Saturday, at least Skin can take a little solace in the fact he gave you a winner. Texas’ offense has been on a roll, and it won’t stop this weekend against a decent OSU defense. Given the Pokes’ success this season, there is no chance Mack’s Longhorns overlook the Cowboys.
In a stroke of shear “genius,” I am sure Mack Brown will bury the Mizzou game ball too. In a stroke of even greater “genius,” I am sure the brilliant folks at ESPN/ABC will have a live report from Jack Arute standing over this graveyard. 
OSU will put up points through the air against a very pedestrian UT secondary. The Longhorns defensive line will be critical in this one. UT’s D-line will be able to shut down the Pokes run game and get pressure on Zack Robinson.
The Skin Says: Texas rolls.

Alabama at Tennessee (+5)

Skin wanted to use this spot to pick against his whipping boy Utah State Aggies, but what fun is that? In Skin’s opinion this is one of the more intriguing matchups on this week’s slate. The hatred between these two programs is well chronicled, and you can bet Vols fans will be fired up.
The Skin has railed against Phil Fulmer and Tennessee all season, so you’re probably going to call me a hypocrite for taking the Vols. For the record, my issue with Tennessee is that they were overrated to begin the season. I also believe Fulmer has reached a point in his tenure in which he is no longer an effective coach. The Vols have talent, and I think they put it together this week. This game is Tennessee’s season. The only thing they have left to play for is ruining Alabama’s cinderella run to the title. Alabama, on the other hand, has everything to lose, and that is a dangerous thing for a young team.
Skin Says: Vols straight up.
Lee Greenwood Special: SMU at Navy (-13.5)
Skin gives big ups to Wanny and his Pitt Panthers for giving him his first win in the LGS. I think this week’s service academy game is pretty obvious. The 1-7 SMU Mustangs are a bad team, although they have been playing a bit better lately in narrow losses to Tulsa and Houston. In the “Bonehead Move of the Year,” June Jones left Hawaii for this coaching graveyard. Maybe it’s a backdoor strategy to eventually land the OC job at Ball State or Akron?
Navy has faced a tougher schedule than the Mustangs and  have faired pretty well. Navy’s wishbone-option attack presents problems for defenses. This week should be no exception, as SMU is yet to hold an opponent under 30 points, and that includes Texas State. 
The Skinny Says: The streak begins!  Navy by 20.
(Note: If you want to learn the intricacies of Jones’ run and shoot, check out his breakdown with Bob Davie on espn.com. My Indian urologist tells me it is quite informative!)

WEEK NINE–Blatant Homerism

(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 34-14)
Homerism newcomers frequently ask me what the most important elements of quality handicapping are. The answer, of course, is that there aren’t any, so far as I know.

How important is coaching? What about home field? Do weather conditions matter? Unfortunately for Joe Six-Pack, it all depends.

It’s kind of like picking which new movie to go see. Presumably, you hit up the flick that looks most appealing based on a host of factors: stars, director, genre, length, etc. For example, I hate Hugh Jackman—I think it has something to do with his affection for musical theater. Anyway, I make it a point to avoid his films. Jackman’s like a 40-point favorite.

Now, if one of Homerism’s trusted associates told me Hugh Jackman is in an awesome movie that will change your life and he’s rarely on screen, I might consider seeing it. That’s like finding out the underdog’s coach has been talkin’ mess on the other coach’s mom.

I guess what I’m saying is be flexible. Consider the whole “mosaic” of a matchup. And be suspicious if everyone likes something, because chances are that it’s going to disappoint.

Central Florida at Tulsa (-23.5)
Remember when Homerism compared a big favorite to a Hugh Jackman movie. Well, this is one of those exceptions.

These teams have developed somewhat of a history since joining Conference USA. In fact, they’ve become the two best programs in the conference, at least based on track record.
Last year, the Golden Knights hammered the Golden Hurricane not once, but twice. Each win came by roughly three touchdowns. You don’t mess with the ‘Cane like that and live to tell about it.

TU coach Todd Graham is bound for bigger—not necessarily better—things, possibly as soon as the end of this season. He’s not going to pass up a chance to lay the wood to the most ruthless tactician in college football, George O’Leary.

Sunday night, primetime, ESPN… These are the games TU lives for.

Homerism Says: TU by 30.

Texas A&M at Iowa State (-3)
Why? Why does Homerism keep picking these Iowa St. games, especially given that I’ve had such mixed results with them this year? I don’t know what’s so sexy about these Cyclones, but I just can’t seem to get enough. They’re the Mary-Louise Parker of college football.

A&M gave a game effort last week against highly ranked intrastate rival Texas Tech, playing the Red Raiders close into the second half. Texas Tech struggles against a (supposedly) vastly inferior opponent… Stop the presses! Playing Tech closes doesn’t seem to be much of an achievement anymore.

A&M was pumped up at home with an opportunity to take down a foundering rival, and blew it. The Aggies are playing for nothing but pride at this point, and they don’t appear to have any.

Homerism Says: Iowa State, 17-13.

Boise State at San Jose State (+7)
The Broncos had a score to settle with Hawaii last week—something about a conference championship banner and being disrespected by the Rainbows. So what’s supposed to have Boise’s blood boiling this week? I can’t think of anything.

Anyway, Boise St. is supposed to be ready for a repeat of past BCS-busting, which makes this line seem awfully short, right? Maybe it’s just a little too short…

Homerism Says: SJSU straight up.
LGS: SMU (+12.5) at Navy
1-7 probably isn’t what the head honchos at SMU had in mind when they threw all that scratch at June Jones. A closer look reveals that the Mustangs are improving, though. Ever since being blown out by TCU in late September, the Ponies have had respectable showings against Tulane, Central Florida, Tulsa and Houston, losing by an average of about nine points in each game.

Homerism suspects the SMU players are warming up to the run-and-shoot. I have no idea what kind of offensive system defensive guru Phil Bennett ran while he was in charge in Highland Park, but I doubt it was similar to Jones’ pass-heavy scheme. Could this be the week SMU puts it together and gets a win against a decent opponent? Possibly. Either way, SMU looks like the play.

Homerism Says: Mustangs.

Texas Tech at Kansas (-1)
First of all, Kansas actually may be a better team than Tech at the moment. So why not go with the Jayhawks at home?

Anyway, outside of rolling Kansas State in Manhattan, the Red Raiders seem to be pretty mediocre on the road. Now, they have to go on the road to Lawrence for a noon kickoff. With a primetime home date against Texas looming next week, there’s a definite look-ahead factor at play for Tech here.

Homerism Says: KU gets out to an early lead, and The Manginius’ crew holds on.

Rutgers at Pittsburgh (-9.5)
In a dicey week, Homerism struggled to find a final game to pick. Enter Homerism associate E$ to save the day. Why Pitt, E$?
“I like the way they’re playing, and I think Rutgers is just plain bad.”
I’m convinced.
Homerism Says: Pitt by 20.

Guest Column: The Lone Wang-er Rides Again

October 23, 2008

Even the greats have off nights. What makes them great is their ability to come back the next night and dominate. And that’s exactly what the Wang has planned after a disappointing performance last week.

A quick update on the CBS situation developing here in Buffalo. The Wang was again forced to take in the Bills game this past weekend via radio thanks to the ongoing dispute between the local CBS affiliate and its parent company. For the past two weeks, we have been treated to a barrage of college sports coverage instead of regularly scheduled CBS programs. This is great if you are a fan of Memphis women’s soccer, Stanford volleyball, or ironically enough, Tulsa football, but not so great for the average Western New York viewer.

Even more frustrating was what happened during this week’s Bills game when a large collection of balloons that were released during pre-game festivities wreaked havoc on the local power grid. These balloons apparently found there way to nearby power lines, causing a complete power outage at Ralph Wilson Stadium for a large portion of the first half. No scoreboard, no sound, no on-the-field-electronic equipment—nothing. First-hand accounts from fans at the game brought tales of urinating in complete darkness, all thanks to a bunch of balloons. 
You may be asking, why do you care what happened at the stadium, Wang? Well, when the power went out at the game, so did the radio feed. So as the Wang was sitting in his living room, staring at his blank HD TV, his radio feed suddenly vanished. After a few puzzling minutes, the announcer could be heard once again, this time with a bit of a muffled voice. He explained to the fans the circumstances of the power outage and what had been happening on the field during the absence. Then, he explained how he was able to broadcast to the listeners with no power. He was calling into the station on his cell phone…Yes, faithful Homerism readers, the Wang was forced to listen to this week’s Bills game via a cell phone conversation over the radio. Only in Buffalo…

A quick rundown of last week’s OU game:

The Wang made a few points after the Texas game regarding flaws I had seen in the Sooners during the loss. Let’s go back and see how the team responded this week against Kansas in these areas. After all, a championship team stands out by its ability to improve from week to week.

My first gripe came with the special teams. Mike Knall’s 37.2 yards per kick average isn’t great, but Kansas was unable to return a punt all day. Whether this is a function of a short kick or great coverage I am not sure, but it is promising nonetheless. After allowing a 42-yard return on the first kickoff, the OU coverage team actually performed quite well. Take out that one return and Kansas doesn’t even average 14 yards a return for remaining five kickoffs. Couple this with Matt Moreland finding the end zone for a touchback a few times, and the Sooners maybe on to something. Now Jimmy Stevens… Let’s just say he still needs some improvement. I sure hope he has things figured out by the time OU needs a field goal at the end of a close game.

My next complaint regarded the running game. I think the Sooners showed their greatest improvement here. OU rushed for over 200 yards as a team, including 175 combined yards from Chris Brown and Demarco Murray. Don’t forget the 8 yards added by Matt “No One Wants to Catch the” Clapp. Murray had a few decisive and powerful runs that hopefully point to an increased confidence level that he can carry the rest of the season.

What about the offensive line? Kansas does not boast the same kind of defensive line that Texas does, but they are still a top 20 team with good athletes up front. The previously mentioned 200 yards rushing and zero sacks allowed are a drastic improvement from the Texas game and a sorely needed shot in the arm for this crew, who were beginning to garner an appropriate “overrated” label.

As the great Thomas Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” The Wang likes what the Wizard of Menlo Park has to say here, and so he will try once more for a perfect week of Big 12 picks.

Oklahoma at Kansas State (+19)
The Wang felt last week’s Kansas State/Colorado game would be a close one and that the game would be decided on home-field advantage. Unfortunately for the Wang, the home field was good for just one point–not the three needed for the Colorado cover. Kansas State again failed to impress me and to this point in the season has shown me no real reason why I should be confident with what they put out on the field. Josh Freeman is a serviceable quarterback and Brandon Banks, standing just 5’7”, is a nice player with some big-play ability. Yet, all in all, there just isn’t anything to get excited about the Wildcats. Head coach Ron Prince already sits on the hot seat. With the next three games coming against OU, Kansas and Missouri, that seat ain’t getting any colder.

This will be a good week for the Sooners to continue building on the phases of the game I’ve already discussed. The Wang wants to see a continued improvement in the ground game, with Demarco Murray building on the confidence from last week. I also want to see another dominating performance from an offensive line that should have a decided advantage all game. 

I don’t want to see a kickoff returned for more than 30 yards. I want to see every extra point and reasonable field goal made. Yes, I think a 30-yard field goal for a major college football team is reasonable.
I want to see Quentin Chaney step up again for Manny Johnson and prove he truly is a starting-quality receiver playing a backup role. 
Finally, I would like the offense to continue with the up-tempo, no-huddle style. I love when the team comes to the line and rattles off play after play. The team loses its advantage with this style of play when it gets to the line and stalls, waiting for the play to come in. No more standing around. Let’s get to the line and get the ball snapped. It’s time for the Sooners to bust out old tapes of Jim Kelly orchestrating the “K-Gun” offense of the early 1990s.
It’s time that train gets back on track… 
The Pick: OU wins big, 51-10.
Blatant Homerism: KSU.
Oklahoma State at Texas (-13)
Another week, another huge game for the Texas Longhorns, as Mike Gundy and the top 10- ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys come to town. 
Homerism recently spelled out his roadmap to an OU/Texas BCS championship game. That formula called for Texas to go undefeated leading up to the championship game. I have to agree with this assessment insofar as a one-loss Texas team would spell doom for the Sooners. On the other hand, as long as we are wishing here, why not wish for a two-loss Texas team and a Sooner trip to Kansas City this December? A closer look at Texas’ schedule proves that this isn’t so far-fetched. Granted, if Texas continues to play at the level they are at now, an undefeated regular season is inevitable. But it will be hard to sustain such a high level of play for the remainder of the year.
A loss this week at the hands of the Pokes would help, but as I said, a one-loss Texas team won’t help a thing. Which brings us to road trips to Kansas and Texas Tech, both losable games for the Horns. All this may be a moot point, though. With the way Colt McCoy and the rest of the ‘Horns are playing, they will continue to be two-touchdown favorites the rest of the way.

The Pokes are finally garnering the national respect they deserve. Just another typical day at the office for Dez Bryant last week against Baylor, catching 11 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. The Wang likes Bryant as the midway leader for the coveted Biletnikoff award.

OSU gained almost equal yards on the ground and through the air. This balance seems to be the Poke’s biggest asset. The unheralded OSU defense held Baylor to just 42 yards rushing on 31 attempts and 204 total yards on offense. In the process, they forced the first Baylor turnover in four games.
Also, the Baylor game drew more than 50,000 fans to the newly renovated Boone Pickens Stadium for the third straight game, a new Oklahoma State record!!! 

Texas is good but the Pokes can keep it close… 

The Pick: Give me OSU plus the points.
BH: Texas.

Texas Tech at Kansas (-1)
The Wang came away impressed with Kansas after the Jayhawks stayed close with the Sooners through three quarters. Todd Reesing appears to be the real deal, even if he is a little cavalier with the ball at times. Then again, so is Brett Favre. Dezmon Briscoe also appears to be a stud at wide receiver, as OU had no answer for him the entire game. I also like Jake Sharp at running back, and I am thankful that he only carried the ball 12 times last week. The quick and shifty running style he employs is just the type that has given OU trouble over the years.

On the other hand, the Wang isn’t so high on the Red Raiders. Yes, Graham Harrell threw for 450 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, the offense put up almost 600 total yards. Yes, Michael Crabtree caught two more touchdown passes. But I just don’t see the dominating style of play from this team that I have seen from Texas, OU and OSU. 

There is so reason why this top 10 team should go into halftime losing to someone like Texas A&M. In reality this was an 11-point, hard-fought win, given that Tech scored a meaningless touchdown as time expired. There’s no one thing I can put my finger on, but my medical opinion is that Tech is about to start a rough four-game losing streak…

The Pick: I want Kansas in this one.

BH: KU.

Colorado at Missouri (-22)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. And, oh, how wrong was the Wang about Missouri? Coming off a rough loss against Oklahoma State, I thought the Tigers would be out to prove themselves as national title contenders against Texas. Finding themselves down 35-3 at halftime, those hopes became a distant memory. Missouri looked overmatched on both sides of the ball all game. It didn’t shock the Wang that Texas was able to move the ball so easily. Yet, the way the Texas defense completely shut down Chase Daniel in the first half was stunning. Texas held the Tigers to just one first down on their first four possessions, and most of Daniel’s 318 yards came in the second half once the game was already decided. Missouri could only muster 30 yards rushing, thanks in large part to the deficit they faced almost from opening kickoff.

The Wang had a feeling last week that Cody Hawkins would soon see his playing time diminish despite being the son of the coach. This came to fruition last week in a one-point Colorado win over Kansas State, as Hawkins split time with freshman Tyler Hansen. Hansen actually sparked the Buffalo offense with the game’s only touchdown pass and 86 yards on the ground. Running back Rodney Stewart continues to put up big numbers  for the Buffs, rushing for 141 yards and a touchdown.

This is an awfully big number for a team that has looked quite pedestrian in the last two games. Nonetheless, I don’t think very highly of Colorado, no matter who is under center. The Wang is thinking Missouri comes out angry and beats up on an inferior opponent this week… 

The Pick: I will take the Tigers.
BH: Mizzou.

Baylor at Nebraska (-11)
Baylor was a real disappointment last week. I thought the Bears had turned the Big XII corner and could possibly give the Pokes a good game. After jumping out and scoring the first touchdown, Baylor could do little more the rest of the way, as OSU scored the next 34 points. Robert Griffin did set a freshman record for most passes thrown without an interception to start a career. This may be more of a commentary on the state of the Oklahoma State Cowboys more than anything, so I am not giving up on Baylor yet. I still like the direction this team is moving in, and I think the future is bright in Waco.

Nebraska had the fortune of playing Iowa State last week and took full advantage of the situation with a convincing 35-7 win. The Huskers ran for 220 yards as a team, and Joe Ganz passed for 328 yards in the balanced Nebraska attack. The defense held the Cyclones to a season-low 218 total yards of offense. Bottom line is Nebraska took care of business in a game in which it was clearly the superior team.

I am beginning to have a change of heart with this Nebraska team, but I still like what Baylor is doing this year…

The Pick: I will take the Bears here.
BH: Nebraska.

Texas A&M at Iowa State (-3)
The Aggie well has run dry for the Wanger after A&M was able to cover the spread against Texas Tech. Prior to last week’s results, I would not have even thought twice about this game. Yet, Iowa State came out last week and looked deserving of the title of “Worst Team in the Big XII,” while A&M was showing some fight against Tech. I have said it before and I will say it again: there is nothing to like with this Iowa State team that has dropped five in a row. It is hard for the Wang to point to even one thing the Cyclones do that is above average, let alone well.

That being said, it is equally hard to find what the Aggies do “best.” I guess they did lead Tech at halftime last week. They also forced three Tech turnovers. Jerrod Johnson attempted 39 passes without throwing a pick. That’s enough for me.

The Pick: With a complete 180 degree turn–drumroll please–the Wang will take the Aggies!

BH: ISU.

Red River Rematch?

October 20, 2008

As the college football world inches closer to a repeat of 2007’s season of chaos, we’ve all learned not to put the cart before the horse when it comes to predicting the national championship matchup. These days, when we say there’s plenty of football left to be played, it’s not some cliche.

(For the first edition of the BCS standings, click here.)

But that doesn’t mean the thought of an OU-Texas rematch in the BCS championship hasn’t at least cross your mind. The reaction from SEC homers and USC sycophants alone would be priceless. Sooner and Longhorn fans, on the other hand, likely would make the game one of the toughest tickets in BCS history.
How do we get there? Let’s take a look at the elements of any plausible scenario. (We’re assuming that the pool of title-eligible teams only includes one-loss and undefeated teams from BCS conferences.)
*The Voters
Obviously, the pollsters will have a major say in all this. OU actually appears to have an advantage over other one-loss teams here, because the Sooners currently lead that pack in the polls.
*Penn State
Homerism isn’t ruling out Ohio State from playing in the title game. The Buckeyes’ demolishment at the hands of USC coupled with a generally weak Big Ten slate do make them a long shot, however. OSU could do OU a favor and knock off the Nittany Lions this week. If PSU runs the table, OU-Texas II isn’t happening. A loss, on the other hand, probably would knock JoePa’s crew out of contention, again courtesy of the Big Ten’s down year.
*USC
Working in the Trojans’ favor would be an impressive win over Ohio State and the argument that comes up at the end of every season that “USC is the most-talented team and is playing the best football right now.” The Trojans must overcome its own weak conference and a bad loss to Oregon State, which lost to Stanford and was blown out by Penn State in Happy Valley. OU should be ahead of USC in the queue at the end of the year, but count on a strong media push behind the Trojans if they continue to stomp their remaining opposition.
(By the way, USC and Oregon State are tied atop the Pac-10 at present. Not sure how the conference champ is determined if both win out. If the tiebreaker is head-to-head record, that would be some sweet irony.)
*SEC
As is the case with Penn St., Alabama must lose. Even with as poor as Tennessee has played this year, a Volunteer win over the Crimson Tide this weekend is plausible. After that ‘Bama heads to LSU on Nov. 8 for Nick Saban’s return to Baton Rouge and closes the year with the intrastate tilt with Auburn. Then, there’s the SEC championship game, where it would behoove the Tide to draw Florida. The bottom line for ‘Bama is that a loss to LSU wouldn’t eliminate the Tide, but that’s about it.
LSU was thumped by Florida, making a repeat shot at the national crown unlikely. On the other hand, winning out would give the Tigers wins over Georgia and ‘Bama. Then, if LSU could get revenge against Florida in the championship game, it would give Les Miles a stronger argument regarding his team’s worthiness. Like Ohio St., the Tigers could give OU a big boost by knocking off the Tide in Nick Saban’s return to Death Valley.
Georgia will mount its case in the next two weeks, when the Bulldogs go to LSU and then meet Florida in Jacksonville. Say UGa can pull those two off. The Bulldogs then have a sneaky letdown game at Kentucky the week after Florida. At that point, it would probably help Georgia’s case if the Bulldogs got to play–and beat–Alabama in the conference championship.
Florida’s home loss to Ole Miss sticks out like a sore thumb almost as much as USC’s OSU snafu. However, the Gators gained some major respect nationally by destroying LSU. With Georgia and a trip to Florida State still left, Florida can beef up its resume. South Carolina historically has played the Gators tough, so that could be a trouble spot for Florida. Like Georgia, Florida would benefit from a chance to beat ‘Bama in the SEC championship game.
*Big XII
The situation in the Big XII is relatively simple. For OU, the Sooners just need to win out, and they should do so convincingly.
Ironically, given that Texas has beaten OU, a rematch between the two would be best served by the Longhorns winning out. First, given the nature of OU’s close loss to Texas, the Sooners would have the “best” loss of the once-defeated teams. Second, a Texas loss would throw the Longhorns into the muck of one-loss teams. In that case, the Longhorns probably would be slotted ahead of OU in the queue, while simultaneously tarnishing the Sooners’ resume. As such, the chances of getting both teams into the title game seem remote.
If both OU and Texas win out, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State necessarily would be knocked out of contention.
*Kansas
OU missed Mizzou on this year’s Big XII schedule. While Mizzou’s recent slide has taken the Tigers out of national championship contention, the Tigers still look like the the Big XII North frontrunners. However, should the Jayhawks beat Mizzou in their regular season finale at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, it would make last week’s win over KU look that much better for OU.
*TCU
On the strength of their win over BYU, the Horned Frogs opened the BCS rankings at 14. If the Horned Frogs can win out, that would give TCU the Mountain West Conference title in a year in which the league is considered quite strong. Additionally, that would include a win at BCS number 11 Utah, propelling TCU up the rankings. This would strengthen OU’s body of work in the process.
Obviously, arriving at an OU-Texas rematch in the national championship looks like a tall order. In fact, the Sooners need some serious help just to stay in the title hunt. If it was to happen, here’s how Homerism would see it playing out:
OU wins out (decisively).
Texas wins out.
TCU wins out.
Kansas beats Missouri. (KU wins Big XII North.)
Ohio State beats Penn State. (PSU is eliminated.)
‘Bama loses to LSU.
Georgia beats Florida. (Florida is eliminated.)
Georgia beats LSU. (LSU is eliminated.)
Georgia loses to Kentucky. (Georgia is eliminated.)
‘Bama loses to Georgia in SEC title game. (‘Bama is eliminated.)

Living on the Edge

October 19, 2008
Time is running out on Alabama and Texas Tech.
Both teams remain in the top five of this week’s power poll based on their body of work up to this point, but both look ready for a fall. While Bama’s offense is solid, they seem to lack the big-play ability needed to keep up with the best of the bunch. Tech, meanwhile, has notched two statement wins in the past two weeks against Nebraska and Texas A&M. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, the statements being made are along the lines of “we’re overrated.”
In other news, good riddance to BYU. The Cougars had staked their reputation on rolling middling UCLA in Provo. Everyone–including Homerism–neglected that BYU had yet to do anything of note on the road, a fact that TCU made abundantly clear on Thursday night. Homerism is all for giving the mid-majors their due when it’s merited, but the whining from most of these wannabes has become annoying.

Blatant Homerism Power Poll Week Eight
1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma State
4. Penn State
5. Texas Tech
6. Utah
7. Boise St.
8. Oklahoma

9. USC
10. Tulsa