Some Sparty Love from The Worldwide Leader.

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Check out this ESPN article on the Spartans by Ryan McGee, it’s pretty well done and comprehensive (link HERE). I feel that the Oldsmobile analogy is forced and not really accurate, but it comes from a good place.

The issue I have with the Olds connection is it implies MSU is a rusted-out beater, a relic to a bygone era. Michigan State is far from that. MSU is a cutting-edge, leading university. It’s the largest university in the state of Michigan. It’s campus is vibrant and beautiful, especially this time of year. From my experience and observations of friends who attended Michigan, Western and Central, none other university in the state offers the balance of academic and social experience that MSU provides. So yes, for Lansing folks, there is a history and a loyalty to Oldsmobile, and that is great. But it has very little to do with East Lansing and Michigan State .

From the article you get a good sense of how Michigan State football is evolving; transforming form an undisciplined program with an attitude problem in to a motivated, disciplined and confident threat to the College Football Playoffs.

Yes, the Spartans have beaten Wisconsin, Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan (a whole bunch of times), but we’ve also beaten Ohio State under Urban Meyers and no other B1G squad can say that. Add to that wins over Georgia, TCU, Stanford, Baylor and Oregon and you could say that the proof is there. The world has changed.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Week #5 Picks.

i’m trending in the right direction. I went from 6-7 in Week #2 to 7-6 in Week #3 to 9-5 in Week #4. Why do I feel like I just got lucky?  No, this is really skill and knowledge; no luck whatsoever. Yeah, right. I’m at 29-26 overall, or 53% which is far below my year-end goal of 70%. With the conference schedule starting, there are fewer games which means less opportunity to move the needle. Every game is that much more important. No pressure.

Okay then, let’s get on with the picks. Who’s up first…

Lions

Army @ Penn State – Noon on ESPN-U.  The Black Knights have two narrow losses against Wake, U-Conn, and… Fordham. That’s not good. The Knights are simply not the cream of the service academies this year. They are one-dimensional (read Run Army, run) on offense and their defense is weak. The Nittany Lions are going to expose and expand upon those weaknesses. Penn State wins by 21 (no spread avail.).

Boilermakers Spartans

Purdue @ #2 Michigan State – Noon on ESPN-2.  I’ll be driving west to for a family get together so I’ll probably be trying to listen to this in the car with some internet radio or whatever I can manage. I’ll record the game and watch it Sunday, of course. Anyway, the Boilermakers are struggling at 1-3, but somehow, they still make me nervous. Why? First off, the Spartans are suffering from a bunch of injuries. Second, the Boilermakers always seem to get up for the Spartans and they play a bit better than we expect them too. I’m glad the game is in East Lansing. I’m expecting a big day for Burbs. Michigan State is favored by 21.5 and they win by 17 not covering.

Gophers Wildcats

Minnesota @ #16 Northwestern – Noon on BTN.  I like this match-up, I think this could be a good game. Hey, what’s the Gophers deal with winning by three? So odd. The Gophers will look to move the ball in the air while the Wildcats will be on the ground, and both will have to work hard for what they get. Ultimately, it’s the Cat’s defense that will carry the day. Northwestern is a 4-point favorite and they win by 10 covering.

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Iowa @ #19 Wisconsin – Noon on ESPN.  This should be a great game and I’m happy to see ESPN is featuring it as the early game. The Badgers have been steady-rolling after their loss to Bama, but against mediocre at best competition. The Hawkeyes are undefeated and have beat okay teams like Iowa State and Pitt. Looking at the stats, the teams are pretty close actually. The Hawkeyes could steal this one, but don’t ignore that the game is being played at Camp Randall and that ends up being the edge. Wisconsin is a 7-point favorite and they win by 10 and cover.

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Nebraska @ Illinois – 3:30pm on BTN.  The Huskers have two losses this year against good teams (BYU and Miami) mainly attributable to weak-ass defensive play. The BlackShirts are a joke this year. But do they need BlackShirts against the Illini? Probably not. I think the Huskers come in hungry and throw down. Nebraska is a 7-point favorite and they win by 3 not covering.

Buckeyes Hoosiers

#1 Ohio State @ Indiana – 3:30pm on ABC / ESPN-2.  Cardale Jones has four TDs and four picks. Ouch. And he only has 622 yards through the air. Ouch again. The Buckeyes QB riches don’t seem to be holding their value, but there is a lot of football to be played so let’s not go selling short just yet. In this game, it will be the defenses that determine the outcome. The Bucknuts defense is outstanding and they will hold the Illini to 14-17 points. The Illini defense is not outstanding and they will allow the Buckeyes something like 27-31 points. Ohio State is a 21-point favorite but they win by 24 and cover.

Wolverines Terps

#22 Michigan @ Maryland – 8:00pm on BTN.  I hate Michigan. Even worse, an over-ranked Michigan. Story of my life. But the Terps are for shit and they can not be trusted. And the Wolverines are gaining momentum with a very solid defense and improving offense. At the end of this one, the Terrapins offense just can’t get the job done, that’s the deal. Michigan is a 16-point favorite and they win by 17 covering.

Knights

Rutgers get’s the week off, FYI.

The pics are in. The conference race begins. This is happening. What do you think of the picks? Let me know with some comments. Best of luck to all the B1G squads this week. Let’s do this.

Go B1G!

B1G

2015 Week #4 Rankings & Ramblings.

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The B1G adds an additional squad to the Top25 rankings this week.

Buckeyes

The Buckeyes of Ohio State remain #1, no big news there. As I’ve said before, I think they hold this position until they drop a game, assuming they drop a game.

Spartans

The Spartans of Michigan State hold at #2 for a second week following their win over Central Michigan. Steady as she goes Spartans. Injuries are my nightmare.

Wildcats

the Wildcats of Northwestern continue to climb moving from #17 to #16 after beating Ball State.

Badgers

The Badgers of Wisconsin see a big leap from #22 to #19 following their their third shut-out game in a row.

Wolverines

And finally, the Wolverines of Michigan make an appearance for the first time since 2013 I believe entering the rankings at #22. They beat #22 BYU and basically took their spot. Is Michigan over-ranked? We will find out 10/10 vs. Northwestern and 10/17 vs. MSU. Also, note that the coaches do not have Michigan ranked; they’re not seeing the need just yet.

In the almost-but-not-quite-ranked category is Iowa at #29 and Minnesota at #39.

Five teams ranked, not too shabby.

Go B1G!

B1G

Big Week #4 Winners, Losers and the Point Spread.

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I haven’t checked the scores yet but my gut feeling is that the B1G did pretty well this week. I also have a feeling that my picks were better than last week, so I’m optimistic going in to this post. We’ll catch back up on the other side to see if I was correct in being somewhat confident.

I’m 20-21 coming out of the first three weeks so I really need to see some improvement. Come on B1G, help me out…

Knights

Kansas @ Rutgers – Rutgers is a 14-point favorite but they win by 10 not covering. Ha ha ha… awesome. The Knight finally came through for me in a close one. Rutgers wins by 13 and doesn’t cover. 21-21

Wolverines

#22 BYU @ Michigan – Michigan is a 7-point favorite but they lose by 3 and certainly don’t cover.  I hate Michigan. And Michigan hates me right back. Michigan wins by 31 and easily covers. 21-22

Spartans

Central Michigan @ #2 Michigan State – Michigan State is a 27-point favorite but they win by 24 and don’t cover.  Go GREEN!!! The Spartans kept this one closer than I would have liked but I shouldn’t complain. Michigan State wins by 20 and doesn’t cover. 22-22

Huskers

Southern Mississippi @ Nebraska – Nebraska is a 21.5-point favorite and they win by 24 covering.  My wife told me to clearly that the Huskers wouldn’t cover but I went out on a limb for Big Red. Note to self, do not go out on a limb for Big Red. Nebraska wins by 8 and certainly does not cover. 22-23

Boilermakers

Bowling Green @ Purdue – Purdue is a 5.5-point dog but they lose by 7; Bowling Green covers.  Wow, nailed this one. Bingo! I’m amazing. Purdue loses by 7, Bowling Green covers. 23-23

Hoosiers

Indiana @ Wake Forest – Indiana is a 3.5-point favorite and they win by 10 covering.  I liked the Hoosiers helmets for this one, they should wear them more often. Especially since they got the road win, a rarity for them. Indiana wins by 7 and covers. 24-23

Terps

Maryland @ West Virginia – Maryland is a 17-point dog and they lose by 14 just covering.  I keep saying it but when will I finally believe it? Good Lord. MARYLAND IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED! Sheesh. Maryland loses by 39 and do not cover. 24-24

Hawkeyes

North Texas @ Iowa – Iowa is a 25-point favorite but they only win by 24 and don’t cover.  Ouch. The Hawkeyes deserve a little more respect I guess. Iowa wins by 45 easily covering. 24-25

Gophers

Ohio @ Minnesota – Minnesota is a 10-point favorite and I’m going to say they win by 3 and don’t cover.  Another Bingo. When I’m good, I’m real good. (not really). Nailed this one. Minnesota wins by 3 and do not cover. 25-25

Buckeyes

Western Michigan @ #1 Ohio State – Ohio State is 31.5-point favorite but they win by only 27 and don’t cover.  Almost nailed it again, but just off by one. I didn’t watch this game but the score would indicate a more convincing win for the Bucknuts. Ohio State wins by 26 and doesn’t cover. 26-25

Lions

San Diego State @ Penn State – Penn State is a 15-point favorite and they win by 17 and cover.  Wow, another super close pick. Dangerously close. Nice home win Lions. Penn State wins by 16 and just cover. 27-25

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Middle Tennessee @ Illinois – Illinois is a 6-point favorite but they win by 10 and cover.  They all count one, I get that, but this win should probably only count half. Pretty sad. Thanks for nuthin’ Illini. Illinois wins by 2 and do not cover. 27-26

Wildcats

Ball State @ #17 Northwestern – Northwestern is a 20-point favorite but they win by 14 and do not cover.  Ball State can kick the shit out of of some FGs apparently. Enough to put the fear of God in the Cats. But I’ll take it, and I believe Coach Fitz will too. Northwestern wins by 5 and do not cover. 28-26

Badgers

Hawaii @ #22 Wisconsin – Wisconsin is a 24.5-point favorite and they win by 31 easily covering.  And to bring it all home, Wiscy with the shutout. Nice work Badgers, you got it done and covered in style. Wisconsin wins by 28 and covers. 29-26

Not perfect, hell, not even great, but a good week of picks. Best yet in 2015. I’ll take it. I went 9-5 this week bringing my running total up to 29-26 for 53%. I’m still a long, long way off of my 70% goal but at least I’m back in the black.

Five teams remain unbeaten, which is awesome. Another five teams have only one loss, which is pretty darn good too. Only one team has a losing record but I won’t name names Purdue, so don’t worry about being embarrassed. And starting next week we’ve got some great conference action to get excited about including Minnesota at Northwestern, Iowa at Wisconsin and Ohio State at Indiana. Penn State finished off their non-con against Army which should be an easy win for them at home.

Go B1G!

B1G

B1G Week #4 Picks.

Week #3 was a slight winner for me as I went 7-6 to bring my running total to 20-21. I’m nowheres near 70% but at least I’m improving. Again, if I could avoid the obvious “stay away” games, my percentage would be better. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Alrighty then, let’s have a look at the Week #4 match-ups are we start to wrap-up the non-con schedule…

Knights

Kansas @ Rutgers – Noon on BTN.  Rutgers is not to be trusted. I do think the Knights win this game, but I just don’t see them putting up a bunch of points, even against Jayhawks. Rutgers is a 14-point favorite but they win by 10 not covering.

Wolverines

#22 BYU @ Michigan – Noon on ABC.  I hate Michigan, but you know that. And now they get the featured Noon on ABC spot so that the rest of world can see they for clunky, cranky, goofy team they are. Well, not counting their defense which is very good. The Cougars are legit too with wins against Nebraska and Boise State and their loss being a one-pointer to #10 UCLA. I just don’t see why the mormons aren’t favored? Michigan is a 7-point favorite but they lose by 3 and certainly don’t cover.

Spartans

Central Michigan @ #2 Michigan State – Noon on BTN.  The Chips are better than most people think and they should not be taken lightly. They throw the ball alot and will test the Spartan secondary. But in the end the secondary holds and the D-liine’s continuous pressure will break CMU down. Michigan State is a 27-point favorite but they win by 24 and don’t cover.

Huskers

Southern Mississippi @ Nebraska – Noon on ESPN-N.  This has been a tough year so far for the Huskers with loses to BYU and Miami. The Golden Eagles are not quite that calibre of opponent, but they are still dangerous, especially though the air. The Huskers will manage just fine getting back to even at home. Nebraska is a 21.5-point favorite and they win by 24 covering.

Boilermakers

Bowling Green @ Purdue – Noon on BTN.  Let’s just start with the bottom line, I think the Falcons are a better team than the Boilermakers. They beat Memphis and Maryland and put 30 points on a ranked Tennessee squad. They hurl the ball alot and subscribe to the high-risk, high-reward style of offense. I think Purdue puts up a good fight but is just a bit outmatched. Purdue is a 5.5-point dog but they lose by 7; Bowling Green covers.

Hoosiers

Indiana @ Wake Forest – 12:30pm on ESPN-3.  The Hoosiers are 3-0 against good (not great) teams including the Western Kentucky HillToppers which is legit tough. They are on the road in Winston-Salem taking on a not very good Demon Deacon squad who lost to Cuse and barely beat Army. Yeah, the Hoosiers can get this job done on the road I think. Indiana is a 3.5-point favorite and they win by 10 covering.

Terps

Maryland @ West Virginia – 3:00pm on FoxSports1.  Why Fox for this one? Who knows. Maryland can not be trusted, let’s put that fact out there front and center. Add to that the Terps are on the road against a better team. This is going to be Bowling Green all over again I think. Maryland is a 17-point dog and they lose by 14 just covering.

Hawkeyes

North Texas @ Iowa – 3:30pm on ESPN-U.  A game nobody really wants to watch. The Hawkeyes will dominate but not destroy the Mean Green. Iowa is a 25-point favorite but they only win by 24 and don’t cover.

Gophers

Ohio @ Minnesota – 3:30pm on BTN.  I’m not so confident in the Gophers after last weeks shit-show against Kent State where they eked out a 3-point victory. That is just sad for a B1G team in my book. Ohio is better than Kent State. Theoretically, The Gophers are better than the Bobcats, but good Lord, who knows anymore. Minnesota is a 10-point favorite and I’m going to say they win by 3 and don’t cover.

Buckeyes

Western Michigan @ #1 Ohio State – 3:30pm on ABC / ESPN-2.  The Broncos are taking on some big dogs this year and I think that is the right thing for them to do. I also think WMU plays up / down to their competition, so it will be interesting to see if they are up for this one like they were for MSU. The Bucknuts have looked flat the last two weeks, especially the QB play. My gut tells me that they make progress this week and start to clean up their mess a bit. Ohio State is 31.5-point favorite but they win by only 27 and don’t cover.

Lions

San Diego State @ Penn State – 3:30pm on BTN.  Hack seems to be spending less time on his ass and more time slinging the ball, which is very good news for the Lions. Granted, he has only thrown one TD (and two picks) and his completion percentage is below 50%, but his uniform is a hell of a lot cleaner. To me, these teams are pretty close (and I would never bet my money on game, fyi) but the difference is the Lions run game vs. the Aztecs run defense. I project that Barkley and co. have a big day and pound away on the ground. Penn State is a 15-point favorite and they win by 17 and cover.

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Middle Tennessee @ Illinois – 4:00pm on ESPN-N.  It’s nice to see the Illini favored even if it is against the Blue Raiders (had to look that up). Well hell, they beat Kent State by a much larger margin than Minnesota. I think both of these teams can put up a lot of points and the over/under at 63 might be low. This will not be pretty but I think Illinois get’s it done. Illinois is a 6-point favorite but they win by 10 and cover.

Wildcats

Ball State @ #17 Northwestern – 8:00pm on BTN.  A night game, nice. but why? Are the Cardinals some kind of rival for the Wildcats? No idea. Anyway, the Cardinals put up 23 on a highly ranked Texas Tech squad and I think they hang some points on the Cats too. But in the end, can Ball State’s awful defense hold the big purple machine? Nope. Northwestern is a 20-point favorite but they win by 14 and do not cover.

Badgers

Hawaii @ #22 Wisconsin – 8:00pm on BTN.  Another BTN night game with non-rivals. Why? No idea. The Rainbow Warriors are back on the mainland but they are simply no match on the road against the Badgers. Camp Randall will be rocking and Wiscy will get it done for the drunken home crowd bundled up for a cool evening of the football. Wisconsin is a 24.5-point favorite and they win by 31 easily covering.

I’m so glad the non-con is coming to a close as doing 14 picks takes forever. We can half that starting next week. And that’s when things start to get a lot more interesting too. Best of luck to all of the B1G squads, let’s go win some ballgames.

Go B1G!

B1G

2015 Week #3 Rankings & Ramblings.

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The B1G has five unbeaten teams and four of them are ranked. Not to bad at all.

Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes remain #1 but they are bleeding #1 votes to Michigan State (7) and Old Miss (11). Their play has not been as dominant as expected and suddenly QB performance is in question. The Bucks will stay #1 until they drop a game is my guess, and that probably won’t happen until November.

Spartans

Our Michigan State Spartans move up two spots from #4 to #2 after beating Air Force, and thanks to a loss by Alabama and a lack-luster performance by TCU. This is the highest-ranked that the Spartans have been in my lifetime. Awesome!

Wildcats

Northwestern continues to impress moving up from #23 to #17 after beating Duke on the road last week. Nice work Wildcats.

Badgers

Wisconsin also moves up from #24 to #22 based more on the losers dropping than their light-stomping of Troy. Sometimes a vacuum works in your favor.

In the almost-but-not-quite-ranked category we have Iowa at #38 and Minnesota at #43. You’ve got some work to do their boys, let’s get at it.

The B1G is looking solid with #1 and #2 plus a Top20 and a Top25. Let’s keep it going.

Go B!G!

B1G

Michigan State 35, Air Force 21; The Spartans are 3-0.

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It was the Connor Cook to Aaron Burbridge show on Saturday, and it was a fun show to watch. Yes, the running game struggled and the balanced approach that MSU strives for wasn’t really achieved, but the Falcons are an odd duck in the world of college football and you need to change your schematic and adapt to them or you lose. The Spartans came out of the gate strong, had some good fortune, and ultimately were victorious without too much anxiety.

OFFENSE

First off, it’s nice not to be starting with Special Teams this week; no news to report there.

As mentioned already, this was not the patented Spartan balanced stats, but it’s not for lack of trying. Michigan State had 324 total yards of offense with 247 through the air and 77 on the ground. Keep in mind that the Spartans had more running plays than pass plays (42 versus 23), but the Falcons bottle up the run pretty much all day. My opinion is that the Falcons defense practices against the run-centric Falcons offense, so they are experts at fighting on the line and winning the battle of the trenches. That’s just what they do.

Our man Connor Cook continues to impress going 15-23 passing for 247 yards and four TDs. There were some really nice, big, explosive plays in this game as Cook picked apart the Air Force secondary. Cook was sacked three times, the first sacks of the year, but he remained clean in terms of turn-overs. Cook looked good today and mostly made good decisions and threw with confidence and accuracy.

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The man of the hour is Aaron Burbridge who reeled in eight passes for 156 yards and three TDs. Burbs was on fire and he is lighting up the interwebs and ESPN with the clip of his diving TD catch where he is completely laid-out horizontally, makes an amazing catch and has the presence of mind to drop one foot down like landing gear on a fighter jet to touch down on the deck while still in-bounds. Awesome. Some are saying catch of the year, and maybe they are right, but there is a lot of “year” left to go so let’s not get too excited.

Other notable Spartan catch-haulers include RJ Shelton who looked great with five receptions for 68 yards and Josiah Price with one catch for 15 yards and a TD.

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On the ground, the Spartans had some tough sledding and just couldn’t wear the Falcon D-line down. I expected to see some cracks and breaks later in the game, but damn if Air Force didn’t hold up. Madre London ran hard with 17 carries for 40 yards including the longest Spartan run of the day: 11 yards. L.J. Scott has 11 carries for 23 yards and Gerald Holmes had three for seven. The play calling on running plays was pretty conventional with the exception of a couple of plays, and I think that is by design. With the passing game working, why open up the bag of tricks when you don’t need to; save it for the B1G.

DEFENSE

The Spartan defense came in knowing that Air Force is a three-headed mega-bitch to deal with and you just have to hunker down and make the best of it. And that they did. Sure, they were bending and a few times, they were breaking, but they held the Falcons to 21 points on 428 yards including 149 through the air on six completions. I’d say this, the Falcons had our number schematically, but the size and skill of the Spartans made the difference. Turn-overs where a big factor as the Spartans scooped-up an  Air Force fumble for a TD. MSU also snagged another fumbler recovery as well as an interception. Those three turn-overs where huge. If you take away that scoop-six, this game is a lot scarier than it was. Good job forcing turn-overs Spartans!

In college football at least 10 players were ejected Saturday for targeting including Riley Bullough for the Spartans. This ejection didn’t factor too much in the game as the clock was down to about 2:30 in the fourth when it happened, but Bullough will have to sit out the first half next week against Central Michigan. Again, not too much of a concern there. The hit did deserve the flag and the ejection, but it wasn’t overly egregious or hostile in my opinion. It happened quickly and Bullough was leading with is shoulder but the positioning just wasn’t right. It happens.

I’m not sure what else to say about the defense this week. I was very nervous about facing Air Force’s crazy-ass triple-option scheme and my hope was that we could stop it enough to win without any real concern. We did that. It wasn’t great fun to watch and there isn’t anything there to brag about, but the Spartans got the job done well enough.

SPECIAL TEAMS

No return TDs this week, so that is great news. Overall, nothing big to report. Jake Hartbarger continues to punt the shit out of the ball although is average dropped a bit this game to 44.3. He knows how to flip the field. Oh, and Michael Geiger missed his only FG attempt. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Geiger other than his first year was excellent and his second and third years seem to be pretty mediocre at best. He really needs to work this shit out before it costs MSU a game.

OVERALL

Once again, the Spartans win but don’t cover. That’s okay with me as that is what I’ve expected so far this year. The line play looked less dominant this week but I’m discounting that because this is Air Force and they are so stinking strange to deal with. It was a great day in East Lansing as the weather threatened but never unleashed. Spartan Stadium was packed and the crowd was LOUD. We had a great time at the game watching the Spartans bring home the victory. All respect to the Falcons, they played hard and competed well.

Next up, Central Michigan in the final non-con for the Spartans. This game should be an easy tune-up before we open the B1G season hosting Purdue. Now that I’ve said “easy tune-up”, I’m freaked out that the Chips are better than I think. I’ll look in to that. Great game Spartans, let’s do it again next week.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Week #3 Winners, Losers and the Point Spread.

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The college football season is getting in to high gear as teams start to find their stride or show their asses. Injuries are already starting to be a factor as the strongest and deepest teams prevail. Some teams are in the hunt and others are already looking forward to next season. And I love all of it.

Week #3 has been a whole lot of fun. I’m in East Lansing this weekend so I didn’t get to watch many of the games on TV (although I did watch the Spartans from primo seats), but I’ve seen the highlights and the scores and my gut tells me I did slightly better than last week (which probably means I went down in flames). Let’s get to it…

Spartans

Air Force @ #4 Michigan State – Michigan State is a 26.5-point favorite but they win by 24 not covering. I’m three for three with the Spartans in terms of picking them to win but not to cover. Not covering will change, probably even next week, but for now, winning is good enough. Michigan State wins by 14 and doesn’t cover. 14-15

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Illinois @ North Carolina – Illinois is a 10-point dog and I’ll take them and the points; UNC wins by a score. The Illini simply got out-played. The Tar Heals defense was able to hold them to two scores, and the Heals offense ran away with it as the game went on. Illinois loses by 34 on the road, UNC easily covers. 14-16

Terps

South Florida @ Maryland – Maryland is favored by 7 but they win by 2 and don’t cover. I know I said the Terps are not to be trusted but they handled the Bulls pretty well this week. Maybe they’re not totally un-trustable? Maryland wins by 18 and covers. 14-17

Wolverines

UNLV @ Michigan – Michigan wins by 13 (no spread avail.) I hate Michigan, but I picked them to win and win they did. Michigan wins by 21. 15-17

Gophers

Kent State @ Minnesota – Minnesota is a 23.5-point favorite but they win by 34 and cover. Gophers, what the hell? 10 points is all you could muster? Really. No, really? All I can say is “What the hell?” Minnesota wins by 3 and doesn’t cover. 15-18

Wildcats

#23 Northwestern @ Duke – Northwestern is a 3.5-point dog but they win by a score; Duke doesn’t cover. Another B1G squad playing in NC, but this one get’s it done. This game was all about the third quarter when the Wildcats took a meager lead and never gave it back. Northwestern wins by 9. 16-18

Huskers

Nebraska @ Miami – Nebraska is a 3.5-point dog and I’ll take them and the points; Miami doesn’t cover. Wow. Really, wow, what a game. The Huskers fights like hell scoring 23 fourth quarter points to tie it up and take it to OT. This was full-on legit too with a two-point conversion to take it to OT. Great game in regulation. In OT, the Huskers threw a catastrophic pick and that was that. Nebraska loses by 3, Miami doesn’t cover. 17-18

Buckeyes

Northern Illinois @ #1 Ohio State – Ohio State is a 34.5-point favorite but they win by 31 and don’t cover. Maybe the Buckeyes are beatable? Looked that way last week and even more so this week. Take away their pick-six in the third quarter and you have a tied ballgame. The Huskies are good, don’t get me wrong, but the Bucknuts were a 34.5-point favorite and the #1 team in the country. Whoa. Ohio State wins by 7 and certainly do not even come close to covering. 18-18

Boilermakers

Virginia Tech @ Purdue – Purdue is a 6-point dog but Virginia Tech wins by 10 covering. The Boilermakers put up some points, which is good. The Boilermakers allowed twice as many points, which is bad. So, typical Purdue, right? Purdue loses by 27, VT covers. 19-18

Badgers

Troy @ #24 Wisconsin – Wisconsin is a 35.5-point favorite and they win by 42. The Badgers just kind of idled through this game. Yes, they won, but I expected a firehose and I got a squirt gun. Wisconsin wins by 25 and do not cover. 19-19

Hoosiers

Western Kentucky @ Indiana – Indiana is a 1-point favorite but Western KY wins by 10. I thought the Hilltoppers might get their first ever B1G win, but the Hoosiers came up with two big picks in the second half and that was the difference maker. Well done Hoosiers. Indiana wins by 3 and covers. 19-20

Knights Lions

Rutgers @ Penn State – Penn State is a 10-point favorite but they win by 7 and don’t cover. B1G match-up #1 for the 2015 season and it was a lop-sided one. Why did I believe in Rutgers to put up a fight? I said they were not to be trusted and yet I trusted them. That’s on me. Penn State wins by 25 and cover. 19-21

Hawkeyes

Pittsburgh @ Iowa – Iowa is a 5.5-point favorite but I’m taking Pitt and the points, Pitt wins by 3 in OT. I was so stinking close to calling this one but the Hawkeyes kicked a FG as time expired to avoid OT and get the win. So close. Iowa wins by 3 and doesn’t cover. 20-21

I was hoping for much better but I am technically “better” than last week. I went 7-6 in Week #3 giving me my first winning record for a week thus far. I’m 20-21 for the season witch is right around 49% so I have quite a bit of work to do.

We’ve got one more week of mostly non-con action and then the B1G season starts in earnest. There are still five undefeated B1G squads after three weeks, I’d like to see that continue. Week #4 is looking pretty sweet with BYU @ Michigan (Maybe the state of Utah can shut-out the Wolverines?), Indiana @ Wake Forrest and Maryland @ West Virginia. There are some cupcakes out there too, but that’s typical of the final non-conner of the season. Let’s win some games.

Go B1G!

B1G

I’m Off to East Lansing.

Downtown (19)

I’m catching a flight to Detroit today and then I’ll make the short trip up to East Lansing for the Michigan State vs. Air Force game on Saturday.

The weather is not looking great but you can’t rain-out my excitement to the watch the Spartans take on the Falcons. It should be a really interesting game as the Falcons are a very interesting team that every opponent needs to scheme for. The X-factor in this game will be Ron Burton, the Spartans defensive line coach who is a former Air Force coach. I would be remiss not to mention the excellent Spartan D-line and linebacker corps that will be key to stopping the triple-option.

The game is on ABC at Noon for those of you not going to the game in-person. Let’s fire up Spartans. Beat Air Force.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Week #3 Picks.

If Week #1 was bad, then Week #2 was a disaster. I was 6-8 in Week #2 bringing my running total to 13-15 or 46% which is a far cry from my goal of 70%. I did realize that this is not a true betting simulation because if I was betting with my money, I would not bet on many of these games. In fact, many of these games are “stay away” games for betting folks who know what they are doing. My model forces me to pick every game and that is what I’ll do, but I shouldn’t feel so bad about not winning at a higher percentage.

Alrighty then, let’s feel better about ourselves as we dive in to Week #3…

Spartans

Air Force @ #4 Michigan State – Noon on ABC.  Holy crap, our game against Air Force is the ABC Noon game, that’s amazing. The Falcons scare me a little bit because of the bizarro triple-option offense they run that 400+ yards rushing per game. Yikes. The good news is that the Spartans are really good at stopping the run, but what about the shifty, crafty, goofy, crazy triple-option run? Who knows because nobody that we play runs that scheme. I believe AF’s starting QB is out, so that may help. Michigan State is a 26.5-point favorite but they win by 24 not covering.

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Illinois @ North Carolina – Noon on ESPN-2.  This is a good non-con match-up and I applaud the Illini for scheduling the Tar Heels. Carolina (North) looked pretty good against Carolina (South) and they may be the best team in Carolina (North) this year which they can prove when they play Duke. I think the Illini defense is looking pretty good but it’s hard to say based on the level of competition they’ve faced. The Heel’s offense is pretty balanced where as the Illini are pass-heavy. Hmm, this is a tough call. Illinois is a 10-point dog and I’ll take them and the points; UNC wins by a score.

Terps

South Florida @ Maryland – Noon on ESPN-U.  If SFU can score 14 on FSU, then they can probably put up 28 on Maryland. I’ve discovered that the Terps are terrible. They are not to be trusted. Of course, I shouldn’t really be trusting the Bulls either. I kind of hate this game. Maryland is favored by 7 but they win by 2 and don’t cover.

Wolverines

UNLV @ Michigan – Noon on BTN.  Lord how I hate Michigan, and apparently the Harbaugh magic is wearing off as they are relegated to BTN while Maryland gets ESPN coverage. Sad to watch a brand in decline. Anyway, there is no line for this game. The Rebels are 0-2 against UCLA and Northern Illinois mainly because there defense can’t get the job done. The Wolverine’s offense isn’t much to speak of, but they are probably enough to get this job done. Michigan wins by 13 (no spread avail.)

Gophers

Kent State @ Minnesota – Noon on BTN.  The Gophers will win, the question really is by what margin. Will they cover? They don’t typically rack-up huge points, it’s just not their style, but if Illinois can score 52 on Golden Flashes, then I think the Gophers can do something similar. Minnesota is a 23.5-point favorite but they win by 34 and cover.

Wildcats

#23 Northwestern @ Duke – 12:30PM on ESPN-3.  Another smarty-party for the Wildcats after knocking off Stanford, but this one is on the road. The Blue Devils haven’t played anyone worth mentioning as of yet so they are untested no matter how good the stats look. The Wildcats are tested and have been victorious. I got burned by NW repeatedly last year but I’m impressed this year so I’m going to gamble. Northwestern is a 3.5-point dog but they win by a score; Duke doesn’t cover.

Huskers

Nebraska @ Miami – 3:30PM on ABC/ESPN-2.  This is a pretty interesting match-up against two storied programs. The Huskers lost a heartbreaker to BYU opening weekend, but overall have looked pretty good. They’re throwing the ball well but their defense is not exactly Black Shirt caliber. The Hurricanes are utterly untested and all of their stats are worthless. This is a close one I think. Nebraska is a 3.5-point dog and I’ll take them and the points; Miami doesn’t cover.

Buckeyes

Northern Illinois @ #1 Ohio State – 3:30PM on ABC/ESPN-2.  The Huskies rack-up a lot of yards but they also allow a lot of yards. The Buckeyes will dismantle them, no question. But by how much. The Bucknuts didn’t exactly impress against the Rainbow Warriors last week. Ohio State is a 34.5-point favorite but they win by 31 and don’t cover.

Boilermakers

Virginia Tech @ Purdue – 3:30PM on ESPN-U.  The Hokies are spending a lot of time playing B1G teams this season, but who wouldn’t want to play the Boilermakers, it’s a Power-Five win without all that messy competition to slow you down. Bottom line, VT wins but do they cover? I think yes. Purdue is a 6-point dog but Virginia Tech wins by 10 covering.

Badgers

Troy @ #24 Wisconsin – 3:30PM on BTN.  The Trojans are more like Trojan wrappers… okay, that was incredibly mean. Troy is not up to this task. They will not win let alone cover. Wisconsin is a 35.5-point favorite and they win by 42.

Hoosiers

Western Kentucky @ Indiana – 4:00PM on ESPN-N.  Wow, a 1-point spread. This is basically a pick-em game and the home-field advantage is only worth one-third of it’s typical value. Ouch Hoosiers. Indiana is like a video game team, all high-flying offense and no defense. Well shit, so are the Hilltoppers. Both teams allow more yards than they produce. ugly. Indiana is a 1-point favorite but Western KY wins by 10.

Knights Lions

Rutgers @ Penn State – 8:00PM on BTN.  The first B1G conference game of the season. Yes! But then looking at these teams… No. I’m not impressed with either team here and I think this could be a very ugly game. I’m kind of glad they are tucking this one away on BTN where the general population can’t find it. Penn State is a 10-point favorite but they win by 7 and don’t cover.

Hawkeyes

Pittsburgh @ Iowa – 8:00PM on BTN.  This should be a pretty good game. Doozer will see some B1G action for the first time as a Head Coach which is cool. Both teams are 2-0 and both teams have beat okay but not good teams thus far. Iowa hasn’t been 3-0 in years and years so maybe this will be year? But Pitt has momentum right now with their new coach and convincing wins but I don’t love the two-QB system. Iowa is a 5.5-point favorite but I’m taking Pitt and the points, Pitt wins by 3 in OT.

Done and done. The picks are in. Agree? Disagree? Don’t care? Chime in if you like. Best of luck to all of the B1G squads this week. Don’t forget to look for me on TV during the Michigan State vs. Air Force game, I’ll be behind the Spartan bench on about the 50 about 20 rows up. Can’t wait. Let’s win some games.

Go B1G!

B1G