Trips Right has apparently been held hostage by a rogue gambler that took offense at his tardiness in posting this week's picks. So I'm posting his picks in exchange for a hefty ransom. When Trips regains his freedom (and Internet access), he'll post some thoughts.
As an aside, you can make handsome profits betting against these picks each week, as I have for the last two years.
The one he did get right is Cal -13.5 @ Minny. With all respect to Tim Brewster, Cal will roll the Gophers, as they would any team that got taken to OT by Syracuse. I also like Arkansas to beat Georgia straight up and Navy to cover against Pitt. This is apparently the week of the road team cover.
Okay from here on out it's Trips. Thank you, Vasher. I really appreciate you blowing my Chicago Bears cover by giving up a Greg Jennings bomb with two minutes to go in that Monday Nighter. With the vig alone that I lost on that game, I could have bought 3 Izod alligator polos, and popped enough collars to make Ken Tremendous jealous. In a word, cover somebody!
Also, I want to mention that I'm going to try, with the help of Vegas Kyle, Vasher's Karma, and Huck's Super Computer, to get these picks out Monday or Tuesday to take advantage of line moves, or at least not get screwed by them. Let me know if that works better for the 6 of you that read this. On to the picks...
Cal -14 @ Minny. Two units.
Vegas will catch up to the fact that the Bears are the best team West of Austin in good time, but for now we'll take advantage of their USC idolatry. The Bears have dominated in their first two ballgames against Maryland and Eastern Washington, and they'll take their show on the road to face the Gophers in an early morning kick. The 11 CST Game time should be somewhat of a concern considering it'll be 9 in Cali, but on the flipside, the early start somewhat mitigates Minny's crowd advantage. And so does lack of talent. Minnesota averaged just 3.5 yards per carry against a talentless Orangemen team, and then validated that performance with just 108 yards rushing against Air Force at home. The Gophers needed 17 4th quarter points to avoid the upset.
On defense, Minny gave up 246 yards on the ground to the Falcons and they'll face a Cal squad that is averaging over 7 yards per carry as a team. Stud RB Jahvid Best is averaging over 10 yards per carry including a 10 carry 137 yard performance against the Terps. This bet is predicated on Cal being able to run the ball, while stifling Minny's ground attack, which more than likely means Cal wins the turnover battle and we win some cheddar.
Cal 38 Minnesota 17.
Navy +9 @ Pitt. 2 units.
After falling behind two touchdowns to Shreveport's finest last week, the Midshipmen came roaring back and dominated a decent squad in a manner that left me dumbfounded and penniless. These cats are a bit better on both sides of the ball than either me or Vegas has been giving them credit for up to this point in the season. Hell Navy went into to Columbus and moved the ball better on the Buckeyes than the Trojans did, so I doubt they're worried about this Pitt stop unit. If they can average over 4 yards per carry against the Panthers, Navy will keep it within the number and they may even win. Eventhough I cashed on the Panthers last week, I was somewhat unimpressed by Pitt's inability to physically dominate the matchup against Turner Gill's group.
It's also apparent that folks been overlooking Navy's improved passing attack. Dobbs has given the Midshipmen a new dimension as a credible threat to throw the ball, so look for Pitt to blow some assignments and give away points via some big plays when selling out to stop the option.
On the other side of the ball, I'm a bit concerned about Pitt pushing around the smallish Navy D after what the Panthers did to Buff averaging over 7 yards per carry in that game. I hoping that had to do with 4 demoralizing turnovers by the mistake prone Buff offense and I'm counting on Navy to play a cleaner game. If they can force Stull to be a playmaker here, they have a great chance to stay within the number and even win it in the end. It's also a golden opportunity to bet against the 'stache getting a big number. Navy is underrated and Pitt's due for sloppy game. This one will go down to the wire. 31 to 30 Pitt.
San Jose state +19 @ Stanford. 2 units.
I'm always a bit worried about putting Benjis up against Harbaugh because the Stanford Coach is one of the top one or two spread-conscious coaches in college football. It's either him or Urban Meyer because both of them shy away from the victory formation if their team is inside the number. That said, I love this spot for SJSU in a one way rivalry game of sorts. The Spartans have already been kicked in the teeth by USC and I fully expect them to compete in this game because Stanford is several notches below teeth-kicking programs.
Five of the 7 leading tacklers for SJSU are back from last year's game, a game in which the Spartans went toe to toe with Stanford. That's comforting considering Stanford struggled to run the football against Wake Forest. With most of last year's defense returning, and Stanford's inability to tote the rock, I expect SJSU to be able to control the line of scrimmage somewhat against the Tree, and force former Texas Prep star Andrew Luck to move the ball through the air. If you want to bet on Luck covering the 19 for you, more power to you.
Offensively, SJSU has finally settled on a QB as Jordan La Secla has supplanted former starter Kyle Reed. La Secla had a respectable 21/33 and 242 yard performance last week against a solid Utah defense and his presence under center gives the Spartans marked improvement at the position from a year ago. In last year's ballgame against the Cardinal, Kyle Reed and his Oline had a horrible 165 yards passing, 9 sack abortion of a game. La Secla and an improved offensive line guarantee improvement on this side of the ball.
Remember, Stanford led this game last year 16 to 10 with one minute to play before scoring the game covering TD when they should have been kneeling. I like the Trojans to keep it close. 30 to 21 Stanford.
1 unit games.
Nevada -1.5 @ Colorado State
Kappernick will make enough plays here while Dan Hawkins won't be anywhere near Fort Collins. 31 to 24 Fighting Nick Fazekases.
Akron -4 vs. Indiana... No play due to QB suspension.
Western Michigan should have beaten this Big 10 also-ran last weekend. The zips finish the job for the MAC. 28 to 17.
Mississippi state +9 @ Vanderbilt
Can Vandy score 9 points in a ball game? The over/under should be 17 points which makes getting a TD and a half pretty valuable. 17 to 13 Vandy.
Iowa State -2 @ Kent State
Kent State would be dogs to a bunch of FBS teams. They averaged 3 yards a carry against Coastal Carolina. 21 to 10 ISU.
Cincinnati -1 @ Oregon State
Cincinatti is finally getting solid QB play to go along with an athletic defense. 31 to 27 Cincy.
Arkansas -1 vs. Georgia
Arkansas has had this game circled and they have the athletes to do something about it. 24 to 20 Hogs.