Ugly. Brutal. Putrid. Goat-fucking bad. All would be apt descriptions of the abortion that was week 7. There were no excuses and no bad beats. Well except South Carolina failing to score in the 2nd half and doinking a would-be covering 46 yard field goal. No excuses.
My picks are good enough, and smart enough, and goshdarnit people like them.
So, after taking a long, hard look in the mirror this week I've come to the realization that 22-18-3, up 4 units and change ain't too shabby. I also realize that another week like last week and my readership falls from a number that's comfortably seated in a mini-van to being able to fit in HenryJames' Eclipse. I won't let that happen, as I've spent twice the time capping half the games. On to the picks.
**Wake Forest -3 @ Navy. Game of the Week. 2 units** Short number to be laying for a Demon Deacon team that fields a defensive unit a cut above anything Navy has faced to date. Wake's giving up a salty 100.3 rushing yards per contest against a schedule that includes statistically decent offenses in Nebraska, Boston College, Florida State, Maryland, and Duke. Of that group only Duke, Nebraska, and Maryland were able to average more than 3 yards per carry, gaining 3.1, 3.4, and 3.5 yards respectively per tote. On the road Wake's D allowed 3.1 ypc @ Duke and 2.4 ypc @ Boston College. With the active front 7 the Deac's will employ to slow down Navy's option attack, the only other worry on that side of ball is playaction passing of Kaipo-Noa-idea-how-to-spell-your-name.
But not to worry. With an extra two days to prepare coming off a Thursday night game, coupled with a terrific game preparation coach in Jim Grobe, the element of surprise in facing the option should be somewhat mitigated. Plus Grobe has the horses at all 3 levels of the defense to stop that style of attack. Think Don Johnson era Miami athletes raping Nebraska's attack. Well, not really, but almost. Boo Robinson, a 295 lb. nose tackle, should be able to handle the simple FB belly play and generally wreak havoc on the interior of Navy's Oline. Senior DE's Jeremy Thompson (6 sacks 8.5 TFL's) and Zachary Stukes are athletic players that can either feather the option allowing LB's to flow and make plays or punish Kaipo when forcing quick pitches. The LB's are sure tackling led by OLB Aaron Curry (5.5 TFL's). Chip Vaughn, the 190 lb junior safety leads the team in tackles and will need to fill the alley on Kaipo pitches and keeps.
You're a lousy fucking softball player, KAIPO-NOA KAHEAKU-ENHADA.
On the other side of the ball all you really need to know is that Navy gives up an assload of yards. 476 to Rutgers, 539 to Ball State, 500 to Duke, 474 to Air Force, and 418 to Pitt. While Wake isn't the most dynamic offense in the nation, they do sport playmakers that can exploit a porous Navy defense. All everything senior wideout Kenneth Moore leads the team in receptions and is second in rushing yards. He and freshman RB Josh Adams (83 yard TD run vs. FSU) will provide explosive plays that a porous, undermanned Navy D makes readily available to its opponents, even Dave Wannstadt. John Tereshinski, a reliable senior TE, is Riley Skinner's security blanket and is coming off a huge game vs. FSU. If Skinner can be efficient and protect the ball, Navy will have a difficult time getting Wake off the field. And given Wake's ability to stop the run with an athletic front I think Wake gets it done in a big way. 35 to 14 Wake.
**Big 12 game of the week. Colorado +4 vs. Kansas. 2 units**Yep, that's me getting out in front of a Kansas freight train that has gone 5-0 against the number in 2007. Still, I'll take my chances, because CU backers are getting the best of both worlds in this game. We're getting tremendous value in a line based on KU's soft schedule, while the spot here for KU is atrocious. More on the angle later. The line is off atleast 4 points since there's no way KU should be an 8 point favorite on a neutral field. Not if you take strength of schedule into consideration. Plus if you give Folsom Field it's true homefield advantage value based on elevation, the oddsmakers have KU as 9-10 faves at a neutral site. This is what oddsmakers do when a team is 5-0 against them. They inflate the line by 4-5 points. On to the numbers.
Pfffff, like the numbers matter. Kansas has played exactly 1 team in the top 80 of my power rankings which was Kansas State in a rivalry game. Someone needs to tell Kansas State it's a rivalry game. Two years in a row KSU has gone out and beaten a heavily favored Texas team only to get pimp-slapped by, we'll call them an in-state "counterpart", KU afterward. I don't know if I buy that win either. Look, KU is averaging 517 yards of offense and holding opponents to 240 yards. They've played KSU, Baylor, Central Michigan, Toledo, FIU, and the Fighting Midget Wrestlers of Southeastern Louisiana State University Tech. Have any of those games, save the KSU game, made them better or helped them improve as a football team?
On the flip side, Colorado is averaging 390 yards per game and giving up 336 yards/per against a schedule of CSU, ASU, FSU, OU, Miami OH, KSU, and Baylor. And they have shown improvement every week with the exception of last week @ KSU where they were -4 in turnovers yet gaining over 400 yards of total offense. Last week's hiccup aside, this is a solid defensive squad that held Oklahoma to 240 yards of total offense, outgaining them by 150 yards in a 27-24 win two weeks ago. They return home Saturday to face the undefeated Kansas Jayhawks, and they'll be eager to knock off another undefeated.
Which leads me to the angle. KU is leaving the state of Kansas to play a ball game for the first time all year. They'll also be playing on grass for the first time all year, and at elevation to boot, which stands to be a factor considering KU has had to compete in a grand total of 1 four quarter game all year. Colorado's played 5. And, for the first time all year, Kansas will be the hunted. They certainly weren't a target in the only real game they played thus far vs. KSU.
All in all, this should be a pick 'em game if Kansas had played a similar schedule to that of CU. Throw in the horrid spot and I think the wrong team is favored. Colorado wins 31 to 27.
Northwestern -9 vs. Eastern Michigan. Neutral site. Well, four games into Big 10 conference play is a strange time to jump out of conference and take on a MAC school, but I see you working here Wildcats. After a brutal 4 game stretch that included Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State, it's nice to jump over to Detroit and pick up that 5th win vs. a club that's likely shaving points anyway. Those wiley Northwesterners. And why not, the numbers don't lie to us here.
NWU's averaging 441 per game, EMU gives up 414. NWU gives up 421. EMU averages 292? Yep, EMU doesn't move the football. They had 8 firstdowns and 145 yards vs. a mediocre Pitt defense, 11 fd's and 242 yards vs. the Ball State fighting Lettermans, 10 fd's for 173 yards at Vandy. Yikes. Granted, Northwestern ain't the '85 Bears, but EMU stops themself. A self-check ala Doug Gottlieb, Panama Meyers, or Charles Oakley. Shit. Wrong Sport.
Flip it over and we get a Northwestern club that moved it 400 yards vs. Big Blue and 500 yards vs. Minnesota. Two defenses that are simply a cut above an EMU squad that has given up on the season. Northwestern wins 42 to 24.
After putting up quite a struggle during the opening kick, Southeastern Louisiana fell short to Kansas 62 to 0.
Texas -24.5 @ Baylor. Let's face it, this is at the very least a neutral field for Texas. The stadium should be half burnt orange come Saturday and the Baylor Bears will take the field looking for an excuse to lay down. And in the Mack Brown era, Texas has simply bludgeoned multi-TD underdogs weeks after a loss to Oklahoma. We saw it last week and you can expect to see it this Saturday. This Texas team likes nothing more than to beat up on scrubs. It's a perfect storm of coaches letting their balls hang down low enough to do outlandish shit like play younger players who continually outperform upperclassmen, open up the playbook to include innovative nuance like double moves, play press coverage with safety help over the top, and bigger orange wedges for everyone at halftime. Life is good when you drop 50 on Baylor.
The numbers are pretty damning as well. Baylor is giving up 250 yards passing per contest and will be facing the best passing offense they've faced all year. Why, you ask, is 250 yards anything to get excited about? Because Baylor has been behind the entirefuckingyear. Texas is averaging 270 yards through the air, but beside Rice, this is the worst pass defense they'll face all year.
On defense, Texas will be facing a statistically sound passing unit led by QB Blake Syzmanski who averages about 280 per outing. Good numbers until you see he was 12-36 with two picks at TAMU and 22-43 with 3 picks at Kansas. Certainly not Texas caliber defenses. He also comes into this game after suffering a concussion last week. I doubt he finishes the game Saturday as Duane Akina will blitz early and often without the credible threat of a Baylor running attack which averages 80 yards per. Texas will get to 40 before Baylor gets to double digits. 49 to 14 Texas.
With two double unit plays, it's a smaller card this week, but hopefully that will prove to be a winning formula. More time capping fewer games. Good luck to everyone. See you in the van next week.