Gang, we're rolling on a record-setting pace this week — we almost feel like Gary from "Weird Science" when he says, "It's moving, it's working, it's working by itself." Well-played indeed all the way around, from the veterans to the newcomers. Heck, let's even give Urban Meyer a shoutout: "Hey Urban, pull up a chair and relax for 4 minutes... then get back to work or family or work or family... or the back nine at the country club. Holla." (PS — don't forget about Friday's mailbag.)
From the "Mama McNabb stage here at the Al Davis Studio," here we go...
Fab 4 (plus 1) picks
We are going to have a boss bowl competition. We'll pick them all, maybe even have a print-out and all kinds of fun stuff. Should be good times.
Before that, however, we have to finish this drill. Last week we went 4-1 (stupid Clemson) on our official picks and 8-1 on all the picks we offered. It was a great week, and hopefully you made some BRAGGING RIGHTS by using those picks since they are completely for entertainment purposes only. (Side story, let's say someone you know put $10 on an eight-team parlay that paid 75-to-1 and hit every game but one — stupid Clemson. Purely speculation, but if that happened, would said person you know have a right to hold a grudge against stupid Clemson? Dang right they would.)
To date we're 41-21-1 against the spread, that's pretty stout, and at least five of those losses are picking games that involved stupid Clemson.
Well with a limited field this week, we were faced with either trying to pick pro games — and that will come soon enough — or making picks on games that are much more difficult than hunting out lines you like. Here we go:
— Virginia Tech minus-7 over Clemson: Buy the hook and be careful, our feelings about stupid Clemson could have clouded our judgment here.
— Houston minus-12 over Southern Miss: Southern Miss is better than most anyone gives them credit for, but amid the coaching rumors and the fact that Houston has a BCS shot to play for and a Heisman candidate to promote, here's saying the 12 is not a big enough number.
— West Virginia minus-1 at South Florida: This feels like a trap game, and under most circumstances we'd stay away from one like this. But the pickings are slim, and by evaluations, West Virginia is better than the Bulls.
— North Texas minus-5 over MTSU: We reiterated SportTalk's Dr. B's (he's a doctor after all) simple advice about picking on the weak in betting. Well, there are few weaker than MTSU, which has lost against the spread in seven of its last eight games.
As for the plus one game, well, we have to go with SEC title game, right? Well, since it was probably in our subscription plan and you folks could get an extra few months free if we don't let's give it our best shot...
Before we get to the pick, here are a few factoids to share:
— We told you this week that our crack college football ace David Paschall is in his element right now. Well here are stories six-through-eight (Paschall's Picks: UGA, LSU could meet in 2012, too, Georgia quarterback Murray on a roll as Bulldogs prepare for SEC title game and Georgia wary of LSU's ability to score quickly) this week on the SEC title game and the game's still 48 hours away.
— Who's in for a mini-contest: Pick the score of the title game and we'll decide it, in order, by winning team, the margin of victory and total points. As always "Price is Right" rules are in effect, which means if you go over you're out. We'll bring back an XL T-shirt from the title game for the winners.
— Want to know why Urban Meyer has a chance to blend football and family in the laid-back Big Ten. First their divisions are called legends and leaders, which sounds all library and silly to football fans. Second, as Paschall pointed out, tickets for the first Big Ten title game Saturday can be found online for $10. Yep, TEN bucks. The cheapest seat at the Georgia Dome online starts at $117.99. Plus, there was a swirling report Wednesday that someone — be the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Big Ten or TV affliates or whomever — took out an internet ad offering to pay people $75 to attend the game. The listing has been removed, but here's one discussion of it at outkickthecoverage.com http://outkickthecoverage.com/big-ten-paying-fans-75-to-attend-inaugural-title-game.php. That's right, it appears people are needed to be seat fillers for the Big Ten title, where as we all know of SEC fans who would consider trading family members for tickets to the SEC title game.
OK, let's break it down, old-school:
Talent — LSU, plus-14
Motivation — LSU, plus-11
Us-against-the-world factor — Georgia, plus-8
If one coach wins will he suck face with his wife on national TV — Georgia, minus-3
Quarterback — Georgia, plus-8
Does either team have a defensive end with a super-boss football name like Barkevious Mingo — LSU, plus-7
Can either team counter with a Baccari, I-Perfection or Scientific — Georgia, plus-3
Which coach has the coolest nickname — LSU, plus-2 (The Mad Hatter)
Add them up, LSU 34, Georgia 16. Sometimes, it's just that easy.
Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky, center, arrives in handcuffs at the office of Centre County Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot. (AP Photo/The Patriot-News, Andy Colwell)
And that settles all doubt
If there was any doubt that Jerry Sandusky was guilty of the evil he's accused of, the news this morning cleared all of that up.
As the first civil suit was filed this week against Sandusky, his former charity, the Second Mile, and his former employer, Penn State, that alleges more than 100 acts of sexually assault against a boy, Sandusky's attorney told the Patriot-News that exploring a plea deal is an option. Read the story here (Jerry Sandusky's lawyer says plea deal is possible if more victims come forward, previews his defense) by Sara Ganim, who has been one of the top reporters on this story from the start.
OK, ball game. That seals it. If a person is accused of this level of evil — because that's what this is — and the defense team is will to even
Hey, the legal system can be an intricate thing filled with lots of difficult decisions and debates. But this is not settling a slew of parking tickets or believing your innocent, but thinking the deal is easier that fighting it out in court. In this case and with these crimes, there is no hedging the system. There would never be a reason to say, "Well, I can see where the person may think this, so may be we better listen to the deal..."
No way. NO WAY. If you are accused of hundreds of acts of sexual assault against boys, you either fight for your innocence to the end or you did it.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) huddles the team against the Detroit Lions in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
This and that
— We think the Packers can go unbeaten. But is 16-0 the goal? Nope, winning the Super Bowl is the goal, and sometimes a regular-season loss is not the worst thing in the world — especially when you have a playoff system.
— That was a nice win for UNC on Wednesday. The Tar Heels got 20 points from player-of-the-year candidate Harrison Barnes (who is a S-T-U-D, by the way) in a 60-57 win over No. 7-ranked Wisconsin (which needs to be added to the list of teams that can win the whole thing, 9er). UNC-Kentucky on Saturday will be fun, and could show us some things about what figures to be a big-time year in college hoops, as ace columnist Mark Wiedmer tells us here (Wiedmer: Is SEC hoops like football?).
— There's a whole bunch of whispers and wondering about if Tiger Woods is back after his better-than-expected showing at the Presidents Cup. Well, he appears healthy and he's saying the right things, but let's be really clear about this — Tiger, circa 2006, when he was nuking the golf world and you'd be happy with Tiger vs. the field in every event from Moc Bend 4-ball to the Masters is done. No matter how much he improves or how healthy he gets or well he's striking the ball, Tiger lost his air of invincibility to his competitors and here's saying he'll never intimidate the field the way he did pre-Thanksgiving 2009 and the subsequent personal-life meltdown. Will Tiger win again? More than likely. Could he make a run at Jack's 18 majors? Doubtful. Will he be the Hulk Hogan-Michael Jordan-Muhammed Ali-Jon Bon Jovi combination that ruled sports? Never again.
— As if there are some left after a 9-40 stretch under recently fired coach Paullllll Wullllllff (those extra L's were added to make a point) here's saying that every Johnny Washington State Fan is tickled pink with the hiring of Mike Leach. The Pirate can coach offense and will make the program better. Think Texas Tech is a little upset for siding with ESPN goof Craig James in the dispute between Leach and Adam James? Tech finished 5-7 in Year 2 under Tommy Tuberville and missed a bowl game for the first time in 11 years. Ouch-standing.
— Bobby Valentine will be introduced as the Red Sox manager today. Red Sox Nation will take Friday off to mourn the news. Yankees Nation will take Friday off to nurse the ensuing hangover from celebrating the decision.
— Another Paschall stat of note: UT football has lost 27 games in the last four years. The Vols lost 22 games in the 1990s. Ouch-standing.
You knew this was coming:
SEC title game... Who you got, by how many and why?
Bring it, the fate of middle Earth and an SEC title game T-shirt are at stake.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...