Fab 4 picks
OK, that was more like it. Other than committing the red-letter mistake of going against Will Healy — as Coach Finstock told Scottie Howard in Teen Wolf, "Never get less than 12 hours sleep, never play cards with a guy whose got the same first name as a city and never go near a lady whose got a tattoo of a dagger on her body; if you stick with that, everything else is cream cheese" — we were 5-0 on the rest of Saturday's games.
Is this a turning point? Hard to know, because remember your rules, it's called gambling for a reason and nothing is due but library books and postage.
The one main difference was picking games involving teams with which I am more familiar. I think that helped, rather than trying to find some sneaky upset number or riding a hot tip.
So we'll do that again, and roll the dice. And while it may be convenient — Twain said there are 'lies, damn lies and statistics' — we are 5-2 in November.
Forget No-Shave November friends. We're angling for a No-Pay November in which your entertainment broker is finding you rather than the other way around.
> UT pick 'em over UK. Forget all the hyperbole and the rigamarole. (Side question: Why are we not using 'Rigamarole' more? That's a great word. That's such a coach-speak word, considering the definition according to Merriam-Webster is 'confused or meaningless talk' right? I can hear Saban throwing out 'I've been very consistent on this point since the surgery; Tua is a game-time decision. As for the rest of the team, we're not worried about your rat poison or all the rigamarole around this game. Aight." Perfection. And because of we love things like this, the origin is pretty neat. Under Edward I of England, Hammer of the Scots, there was a Ragman Roll that subjects had to sign. Through time, that scroll was viewed with more and more disdain, and was viewed as nonsense. Hence, after time, reading off the Ragman Roll was viewed as junk, and eventually was viewed as, you guessed it, 'Rig-Amp-roll.' Who could have guessed that that 'rigamarole' was onomatopeic?) Where were we? Oh yes, UT-UK. (Side point: Man, now that schools are selling beer ar football games can't we go back to calling this the "Battle for the Barrel" again? Yes, I know the reasoning and the story about the unfortunate death of two UK football players in an alcohol-related car accident. But we're going to sell booze at these games — is UK selling beer at home games yet, Chas? — but we not going to call them the Battle for the Barrel or the Cocktail Party because of uneasiness about the terms? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.) Where were we? Oh yeah, UT-UK. In some ways Mark Stoops may be doing a better coaching job this year than last considering the losses to the NFL and the players lost to injury. Winner of this game will get a big push toward the bowl season, and we'll ride the hotter hand with the Vols. (Side note: I also wonder how much the 'Will Mark Stoops be a candidate for the FSU job' chatter has invested the rooms in Lexington. Man, we had a lot of side items here, like Golden Corral-number of side items. Mini-Rushmore of cafeteria side items: Mac-n-Cheese has to be there. Give me some good-old-fashioned red Jello, whipped potatoes and the roll. No wonder everyone — other than the Mrs. 5-at-10 that is — loves the Golden Corral. Does the soft-serve ice cream machine count as a side item? Discuss.)
OK, that was entirely too long, and man did we get sidetracked. (Side note about sidetracked: The Akron Arths and the Auburn Tigers are off this week. Cue the 'Akron is a 4-poing 'dog against Bye' and 'Auburn is hoping to score more than 24 against idle' jokes. Thank you, thank you, and don't forget your wait staff. The 7:30 show is different from the 9:30 show. Where were we?)
Picks, yes, picks. Pickers gotta pick right. (Thursday morning tunes: Here's a little Jamey Johnson singing with all-timer country group Alabama on "My Home's in Alabama." Jamey Johnson = wicked underrated.)
> Alabama-LSU under 65. Hey, I get it. The top two QBs in the 2020 draft will be on the field. A slew of guys you will need to know next year at your fantasy draft will be running patterns. Yes, these are the two most dynamic offenses in college football. And it could absolutely be 41-38 early in the fourth if those receivers find space. But there are few chances for Saban to remind us how great he is at actually coaching defensive football and this feels like one of those times. A week off. Defensive getting healthy and the young dudes getting more experience. The line (Bama minus-6.5) is borderline perfect; the over is too high. Science.
> Louisville plus-7 over Miami. Let's way the off-the-field trends we prefer while we ignore the 11th Commandment of trying to find entertainment "Thou shall not wager on ACC football." Let's look at what we know: Miami of a HUGE rivalry game; Louisville was off last week. How big is the FSU factor on Miami? In the last six years, the 'Canes are 1-5 vs. the number with four straight-up losses in the week after the FSU game. And I know it will be Matt Ruhle at Baylor or PJ Fleck at Minnesota, but in terms of turnaround, Scott Satterfield at Louisville has been as good as anyone coach in the country this year.
> The thing about the rankings is figuring who is whom, and I think Baylor is pretty legit. Especially at minus-2 over a TCU team that offensively is not that good. I'll go over too, but that feels a little sketchy, but hey, we're rolling the dice, right?
> Illinois plus-15 over Michigan State. The Spartans are not as good as we traditionally believe. Illinois is not as bad as we are traditionally believe. MSU offensively is stagnant, and that's actually the nicest thing I can say, and that's before Sparty lost its leading receiver and its starting center. This line should be closer to minus-5, and any time you can grab an extra 10 points, you have to play it. Have to.
> Arizona State pick 'em over USC. USC is classically overvalued. Now add in the coaching drama and the controversy with the new AD and the whispers behind the scenes that no doubt will be heard and felt. On the other side, Herm Edwards is way better than any of us expected, he has a freshman QB who can really play, had an off week last week, is 3-1 at home and staring bowl eligibility in the face with win.
> Purdue-Northwestern under 39. Purdue is down to its third-string quarterback. Some guy named Aiden O'Connell will take over and put his career 22 pass attempts to the test. On the other side, Northwestern has scored more than 15 points once this year, and that was against UNLV. Now, add in the serious threat of inclement weather and wala, 16-13.
> Louisiana Tech minus-5.5 over North Texas. I've been a big believer in the Techsters/Bulldogs. They can score and they have a legit home-field edge. Yes please.
(This leaves off the Arkansas-Western Kentucky game. Seriously, if you are Chad Morris, this has to be an absolute must-win game right? Lose this one — Arkansas is a 1.5-point favorite over a WKU team that opened the season with a loss to Central Arkansas — and he could be fired by the time we get out of church on Sunday. It also leaves off all the plays on Army, which has been crazy disappointing this year, but plays UMass, which is dead last in points per game (52.6), rushing yards allowed (268.6 per game) and total yards allowed (570 per game) and wants zero part of this game.)
Last week: 5-3 (62.5 percent) against the number
This season: 33-34-2 (49.3 percent) against the number
We discussed some QB news on Wednesday, and after the news that Cam Newton is shelved for the season — and his time with the Panthers likely done — we have some questions.
First, what will the offseason QB market look like.
We know there is chatter about Tanking for Tua or Bagging it for Burrow or whatever. And there are teams that have clear need, but not as many as you would think.
As we look around the league and the landscape of QB needs and try-outs across the NFL is amazingly intriguing to me.
About half the league believes its set, right? (In no particular order, Mahomes, Brees, Rodgers, Wilson, Watson, Ryan, Goff, Jackson, Dak, Wentz, Derek Carr, Stafford, Garappolo, Cousins.)
The there are several teams with aging guys that they are comfortable with as long as they are there. (Rivers, Brady, Big Ben come to mind.)
Then add in the first-, second- and third- year guys on original rookie deals who are still trying to make their case. (Mayfield, Trubisky, Darnold, Josh Allen, Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones.) (Side note: Why is everyone making a big deal about the Mitchell trubisky "Turn the TVs off" quote? Gang, we as media folk can never expect QBs or coaches to say anything interesting if we are going to pounce on every mis-spoken sentiment. Move along on this story, because it's not like there's not enough of his football miscues to focus on with Trubisky. Buckets.)
That leaves a quarter of the league outside of those QB circles. Let's explore:
Miami — Must add a QB;
Indy — Colts have to be wondering if Jacoby Brissett is the guy, and it's a fair question;
Jacksonville — Signed Nick Foles to big buckets and have to believe that Gardner Minshew has a future, so not in the market;
Titans — Absolutely must address QB, because they clearly do not believe that Marcus Mariota is the guy, and no one not named Tannehill thinks Ryan Tannehill is the answer;
Cincinnati — Ryan Finley gets half a season to state his case, if not, and considering the Bengals will have a super-high pick next spring, they could be in the market;
Denver — Not as clear cut as you think, and when/if former Missouri QB Drew Lock gets healthy on the field, he will get a chance to state his case for the gig;
Carolina — If Cam is gone — as it seems almost certain — the starting point is Kyle Allen, who is 5-1 as a starter this year;
Tampa Bay — I thought at the beginning of the year Jameis Winston was going to sent packing, but while I certainly do not want him watching my kids, Winston has been better than expected this year and I think Bruce Arians likes the vertical threat Winston provides.
What does that tell us?
Well, if former Pro Bowl starters Newton, Mariota, and Andy Dalton are out there, never mind what happens with Teddy Bridgewater, there will be several QBs available on the open market even before the draft.
Yes, Tua and Burrow will be much-coveted and the rookie QB deal is arguably the biggest edge this side of Belichick in the NFL.
But if there are only say three or four real openings for the starting gig and you are Indy or Denver and your roster is ready to compete now, would you draft or sign?
Wow, we got wordy, no?
OK, let's move this puppy.
The NBA has an issue and it's not going anywhere. We mentioned this briefly on Wednesday, but it had a face last night when Kawhi Leonard sat out his one trip to Milwaukee this year last night.
The term 'Load Management' is comical but it's a real thing and the truth is it's not going anywhere.
The duality of the conversation was perfectly stated by Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who said he hates it as a fan but understands it as a principle.
Because Rivers and his colleagues will never be judged by an early November game in Milwaukee as opposed to Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
This is the rare instance that I'm not sure there is answer, but we can all see the problem.
This and that
— Man, sometimes it's amazing how no matter what the President does there is controversy around it. Cue the Alabama SGA threatening students not to protest or boo the president during his visit to the Bama-LSU game. So it goes.
— Speaking of picks, Here's what TFP college football guru and Press Row cohost David Paschall sees this weekend.
— Wow, Cole Anthony, welcome to the party. The UNC freshman dropped 34 on Notre Dame, the most points scored by a freshman in his ACC debut. Ever. (And in case you're curious, there have been some pretty decent players in the ACC through the years.)
— Speaking of 34 points in the ACC, well, that's what Syracuse posted against Virginia on Wednesday night. Yes, 34. Wowser. Hey Jimmy Boeheim, Pearl Washington is not walking through that door. Derrick Coleman is not walking through that door.
— Speaking of college hoops, in the No-Pay November, we're 2-0 to start our college hoops picks. We had Kansas plus-3 over Duke and the last second 3 was much-appreciated. Last night we did not need the late assistance. We had St. John's minus-10.5 over Mercer. The Red Weather System won by 30. Tonight, on a much lighter night of college hoops, we'll ride with Marshall minus-9 over Robert Morris.
Open forum friends, and remember the mailbag.
Will start here, should the president be going to sporting events? Just a general question in theory.
On this day, wow, one of those 'I remember where I was" moments happened on this day in 1991 when Magic Johnson announced he has HIV.
Steve McQueen died on this day in 1980. So there's that. Butch Casidy bought it on this day in 1908.
It's also 11/7, two generally viewed as lucky numbers.
Rushmore of 'luck' and be creative.