Fab 4 (times 2) picks
Call it a bad bounce back. Call it bouncing bad. Call it bad bounces.
Whatever name you put on it, we went 2-4 last week against the number and that is assuredly not entertaining.
We like this week better. We like our conviction this week more. We like the games we left on the cutting room floor — a sneaky big difference in entertaining weekends and "Ishtar" weekends — this week more.
To that last point, we skipped a very playable Clemson bunch (Tigers minus-33) because of the uncertain weather coming toward Tiger Stadium. We skipped a very playable Hawaii bunch getting points because of an extreme time change and playing a noon Eastern game at Army. We skipped UNLV because, well, they play an FCS school and there is no VegasInsider.com line. (Otherwise we are riding with the Rebels friends.)
Alabama minus-21 over Ole Miss. Buy the half for a fair measure of protection on a backdoor cover, and yes, the over is an attractive play here too. But if we had to push chips on one or the other, we want to back Alabama dominating rather than needing Ole Miss to protect the quarterback against an NFL-ready front seven Seriously, how many points would it take for you feel comfortable taking the Rebels. So here's the skinny on this, and we'll double up the skinny: First, does anyone anywhere think anyone not named Georgia or called Tigers have a chance on Alabama's pre-playoff schedule to hold the Tide under half a hundred? No, is the answer. Second, and you will notice this trend throughout today's show and until the road ends. We're riding Alabama until they give us a reason not to ride any more.
Georgia minus-31 over MTSU. We like the Bulldogs for a slew of reasons. First, when they go to the second string (and even the third string) they have better players than the Blue Raiders starters. Second, Vandy beat MTSU 35-7 and we believe in our soul that a) the Mrs. 5-at-10 is aces; b) Jesus is the ultimate Dude; c) If Auburn paid Cam Newton it was the bets money ever spent; and d) if Vandy is 28 points better than any team, Georgia is 48 points better than that team. Math people. Math.
Tennessee-UTEP over 47.5. Read skinny No. 2 above from the Alabama diatribe and know this: This ride is not about belief in Tennessee as much as it is believing that UTEP is one of there three worst FBS teams in the country. Know this about the UTEP defense: Northern Arizona put 30 on the Miners in El Paso; UNLV put 52 on the Miners in Vegas. Now comes a 1,476-mile trip to Knoxville a week after a roughly 600-mile flight to Vegas. We offered a tempered pass to Jeremy Pruitt for getting blasted against a West Virginia team that will blast plenty of folks. If Pruitt's Vols can't match UNLV's offensive numbers against a bad UTEP team, well, that's a different matter entirely. And for a first-year coach, optics matter in terms of thumping teams you should thump. Side note: Cool gesture by UT to offer free tickets to Hurricane Florence evacuees. Here's more on that from TFP UT beat ace Dancin' David Cobb.
Oklahoma minus-17 over Iowa State. OK, a conference team laying three scores on the road, you ask. Well, yes. And this is not the only one this weekend either. (See Bama, Ala.) Yes Oklahoma is without Rodney Anderson, and he is a dude by every measure. But Iowa State managed all of 3 points in 60 minutes last week against Iowa. Iowa. If you are going to play with these Sooners, you are going to need to be much closer to 43 points than 3 points when it's all said and done. Simply put, the Sooners offense will put 50 plus on everyone this side of the NFC North.
Oklahoma State-Boise State over 64. At the opposite end of the spectrum, let's buckle up and watch the points pour in. Oklahoma State is averaging 56.5 points a game. And here's the kicker: Boise State is averaging more than that. Between the two programs, they have scored 31 TDs in 16 quarters. Math is your friend.
Miami minus-9.5 over Toldeo. Miami is going to be at a good price because of the LSU debacle for the next few weeks. This, friends, is a great price. Toledo's QB is making his second career start. His first was last week against VMI. Here's betting the Miami front seven is going to be a little more distributive.
Houston minus-1 over Texas Tech. We like the look of Houston's offense. We love the look of Houston defensive star Ed Oliver, who could very well be the best player on any field against any opponent in any game this year. Seriously. We think Houston is a handful.
Syracuse plus-3 over FSU. But the half to be clear and safe here. Samford went up and down the field against FSU with an offense led by a feisty and capable quarterback. And that game was in Tallahassee. Now, with what you would expect to be a rocking Carrier Dome, Orange quarterback Eric Dungey is better than what Samford threw out there. Is there a chance that FSU wakes up and drops a 42-17 on the Orange? Yes. There's always a chance. But we believe Syracuse has the better coach and the better quarterback and that is enough for a home underdog.
Last week: 2-4 against the spread (33.3 percent)
This season: 7-5 against the spread (58.3 percent)
College football items of interest
Tussling Tigers. Auburn-LSU is the most intriguing game on the docket, and that's true even for those of you who did not drive through Lee County, Alabama with your window down and have someone throw a diploma into your car. Auburn has the edge being at home and at quarterback. Auburn's front seven is among the best in the country. LSU's defense front to back may be the nation's most complete. (Side note: The over/under here is 45, which means Vegas thinks each team is going to celebrate drives that feature multiple first downs.) Now add to the fact that either of these teams — with a win — becomes a player in the national playoff conversation. Giddy-up. Tell 'em bout it Jo-Jo.
THE Ohio State faces THE first test. Man, this Buckeyes bunch is fast. Everywhere. TCU is wellcoached and we believe Gary Patterson has several tricks up his sleeve for this one. That said, as THE OSU counts down the days until THE Urban Liar returns, here's betting this one becomes a shootout. We're just hoping the Frogs have enough spring in their step to keep up.
Your perfect Mocs. We stated here before we are a card-carrying member of the Tom Arth Fan Club. We're in and hope he and his family are part of our community for a decade (or more). Side note: We think in the end, it will be a case of UTC not being able to keep Arth than not wanting Arth as their football coach. So it goes. Anyhoo, UTC goes to UT Martin in another stepping-stone game that continues to build the blocks for a breakthrough year. Prediction: UTC 89, UT-Martin 1.
How does Florida bounce back? We are not now nor have ever been a Gators backer. That said, we like Dan Mullen as a coach and as a dude. We want him to succeed. And truth be told, the SEC is better nationally and more interesting around these parts when Florida is meaningful. (Same can be said for Tennessee too friends. Sorry Julie and Alejandro and Dawg 747 and the rest of our UGA regulars, but it's true.) After last week's debacle, how the Gators answer Saturday against an overmatched foe could be telling.
Weather delays, derailments and changes of destinations. Hurricane Florence is a mother. Side question: If we asked for the Rushmore of Florences and offered Florence Henderson (Carol Brady), Flo from Mel's Diner and "Alice" (Queen of "Kiss my grits."), Florence Nightingale and Florence Griffith Joyner, who can crack that? As for the storm, she's going to bring feet of rain to the Southeast. The results will be soggy. Stay thirsty my friends.
Hockey handles its BID-ness
Hey, NFL, THE Ohio State, everyone else in other sports dealing with issues of domestic violence are you watching this?
The NHL suspended Austin Watson for a third of the season for pleading no contest to a charge of domestic violence. It was quick and quiet and direct and properly handled under the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players.
Here's part of the statement released by the league:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman levied the suspension under Rule 18-A of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Commissioner's ruling came following an investigation by the League and an in-person hearing in New York on Friday, Sept. 7. The investigation and hearing were conducted, pursuant to the CBA, to determine the relevant facts and circumstances relating to a June 16, 2018, incident involving Austin Watson and his domestic partner. The incident ultimately resulted in Watson pleading no contest to a charge of domestic assault on July 24, 2018.
"I have determined that Nashville Player Austin Watson engaged in a physical confrontation with his domestic partner," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Today's ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL's strongly held view that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct."
Watson and his girlfriend had an argument in June. Witnesses of the event at a Franklin, Tenn., gas station called for police. Watson's girlfriend had red marks on her chest and told authorities Watson was responsible for them. She also told the police "sometimes (Watson) gets hands."
So let's review.
An incident happened. No knee jerk reactions in the moment.
The legal process happened. The league investigated further — and took it's time to make sure it got it right — and we're willing to bet the "sometimes he gets hands line" turned some heads in the league office.
Also of note here is that the NHL has no formal domestic violence policy and handles each incident on a case-by-case basis.
The NHL players association will appeal because they always do, but being thorough and consistent and diligent when situations like this unfortunately come up is a matter of leadership and direction.
And Bettman and Co. look like they handled this one properly.
This and that
— Yes we are slacking about our Survivor Pool. There are a lot of footballs in the air friends. It will be in Friday's installment for sure.
— We are still offering the chance to have the 5-at-10 emailed directly to you. Go here to learn more and get on board. For those of you who occasional discuss our antics with buddies, suggest it to them as well.
— The Seattle Storm won the WNBA title Wednesday. Couple of points: Storm is a swell team name, especially for a team from Seattle. Breanna Stewart is really good at hoops. She went 151-5 at UConn with four titles and now has a rookie of the year award, a league MVP, a Finals MVP and a title in two WNBA seasons.
— Been a while since we've made time to see a non-animated or non-Star Wars movie in the theater. Color me truly intrigued and hopeful to see "White Boy Rick" sooner rather than later.
— NFL quarterbacking updates: Aaron Rodgers' status is uncertain. Josh Allen's status as the Bills starter is certain. His outlook with a very sketchy offense, however is quite uncertain.
— Dodgers and Rockies each won Thursday, meaning L.A. still trails Colorado by 1.5 games. While that may surprise many, considering the preseason expectations and the payrolls, looking at the analytics the standings in the NL West are even more shocking. Colorado is 1.5 games ahead despite having a minus-2 run differential. The Dodgers' run differential is plus-133.
— Gene of Many Hats Henley with some soccer tidbits for you to kick around. (See what we did there Spy?)
— Yes, we are partial about his work, but Chattanooga sports fans have a true blessing to have TFP SEC ace David Paschall during college football season. We link his story today on Deandre Baker, the Georgia corner. Know this: Baker is a Dude, and his Sunday future is exceedingly bright considering his size, speed corollary. Somewhere Dr. Emmitt Brown is checking his Flux Capacitor to recognize in terms of cornerbacks, Baker is worth the full 1.21 gigawatts.
We enjoy Thursdays. Always have.
That said, we miss the good Thursday night game. Back in the day there would be a random SEC game here and there and even a good ACC game. A Thursday night trip to Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, for example, was always entertaining.
Alas. We get it. Home football weekends are big BID-ness for college towns and Thursdays do not bring as much as Saturdays. So it goes. (We like BC tonight laying the 4.5 at Wake Forest if you want to make a play.)
Today is Sept. 13, and on this day in 1956 IBM introduced the RAMAC 305, which was the first commercial computer. It was far from a laptop, considering it weighed in just over a ton.
Today in 1965, the Beatles released "Yesterday."
Tupac was killed on this day in 1996. (Allegedly.) George Wallace died on this day in 1998. Here's betting Pac and George were not close friends.
Also on this day in 1969, the cartoon "Scooby Doo Where are You" debuted on CBS.
Rushmore of cartoon pooches. Go, and remember the mailbag and the Survivor Pool.