Fab 4 picks
OK, the Akron train finally bucked us. That's OK.
We went 2-1 on MACtion this week. That's entertaining. (Side question: I understand the value of being on ESPN — How else would we know that much about Buffalo and Toledo? — but those Tuesday and Wednesday night crowds are dreadful.)
We're 18-8 in No-Pay November. That works.
This week, the pickings for entertaining match-ups — especially in the SEC — are thin. But that does not mean there's no entertainment to be found.
We are laying a large number of points in some areas and looking for teams wanting to finish their seasons in style and teams just looking to finish the string.
(Also of note here: If your guy allows first-half bets, second-half bets or in-game wagering, let's follow this hunch: Bet all the SEC teams to cover the first-half numbers against the FCS foes and take all the FCS schools to cover in the second half when all the walk-ons walk on the field.)
Nebraska minus-4 at Maryland. OK, Nebraska still has bowl hopes. Nebraska is starting to get healthy. Nebraska extended head coach Scott Frost. Nebraska has the feel of coming on a business trip. Maryland? The Terrapins feel cooked and have three wins on the season: Blowouts over Howard, Syracuse and Rutgers. Those three teams are a combined 7-24.
THE Ohio State minus-18 over Penn State. I'm not sure f they can make this number big enough — it would have to be at least 24 to consider backing the Lions — for a Buckeyes bunch that is historically whipping people. THE OSU is the first team since the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers to win its first 10 games by at least 24 points and have a margin of victory of more than 41 per. Yes, Michigan is next week, but three points about motivation: a) Making a statement for the 1 seed; b) Penn State has played them very close each of the last three years and certainly has THE OSU's attention, c) Chase Young returns and bet he will lead an energized defensive front seven.
Air Force minus-21 New Mexico. The Lobos have been injury-ravaged to the place that they reportedly have fewer than 60 scholarship players. And speaking of motivated teams, the military academies are always certain to show up ready to play.
Tennessee plus-4.5 over Missouri. Missouri coach Barry Odom was forlorn when asked about the NCAA and the unresolved bowl ban. Sigh. Missouri has underwhelmed mightily, and simply put this is a meeting of two teams going in the opposite directions since early September. Each is 5-5, but UT was 1-4 before Mississippi State, and Missouri was 5-1 before dropping four straight.
TCU plus-19 over Oklahoma. TCU's defense may be the best Oklahoma has played all year. Which is not saying all that much.
Cal plus-3 over Stanford. Both teams are beat up but Cal has been injured for longer, which means its back-ups have more experience. First team to 17 wins this one, and that will be the Bears.
Louisville minus-9.5 over Syracuse. Speaking of motivated, the Cardinals have become one of my favorite plays of the last few weeks.
Tulsa minus-3 over Houston. Buy the half, and know this: Since D'Eriq King decided to redshirt and theoretically tank the rest of the season, Houston is 1-4 in its last five and that win was a 24-17 win over wickedly terrible UConn.
Boise State minus-8.5 over Utah State. Boise State is rolling and Utah State quarterback and future pro Jordan Love is banged up and is doubtful.
Say what? Say nothing?
Did you see the story about Eric Weddle?
To recap: Weddle was an All-Pro safety with Baltimore and signed with the Los Angeles Rams in the offseason. Weddle and the Rams host the Ravens on Monday in another pretty good Monday matchup.
OK, on Wednesday, Weddle was asked about his former team and his take was downright surprising, to be honest.
As Weddle told ESPN: "I could tell them a lot of stuff, but that's just not who I am. So we're going to play it on the field, and the best team is going to win. I have a lot of respect for that place, not only how it helped my career and rejuvenated my career, how they treated myself and my family. But it's a very tight-knit group, and what would I be — what kind of man would I be if I just turned my back on all of them?"
Everyone is entitled to their views, I suppose, but if I was a Rams linebacker and was looking for some input on how to slow down Lamar Jackson, and Weddle's got nothing, well, I'd downright have questions about where Weddle's loyalties lie.
And that's not even mentioning what my feelings would be if I'm in the ownership group that gave a safety in his mid-30s more than $10 million over two years to help you win football games. The questions about how serious Weddle is about helping the Rams win would have to be asked.
Not a wide move, man
James Wiseman is going to miss 11 more games.
The Memphis freshman and possible No. 1 overall pick took some money from Penny Hardaway to move to Memphis when he was in high school. You know the story. Here's more.
Well, Memphis and Penny pretty much gave the NCAA the bird when the original penalties were announced and played Wiseman anyway.
Which makes you wonder if the NCAA — which worded the ruling that the penalty was made longer because of that decision — is trying to find a way out of this in which it could save some face and retain some governing power.
That said, here's betting the Memphis approach of "Oh yeah, whatever" in terms of the NCAA is going to be the norm moving forward.
(Also of note: With the ruling, Vegas dropped Memphis from 40-to-1 to 20-to-1 to win it all. Hmmmmmmm.)
This and that
— Here's a youth league ump having his fill of some rowdy, heckling parents and walking off. Thoughts?
— Tommy Brady hates the Cowboys. So there's that.
— Our college hoops picks is now at .500. We had the Mocs plus-20 or so last night at FSU. It was not close to enough.
Got a mailbag question? Fire away.
As for today, well, on this day in 1976 "Rocky" premiered. That's on everyone's Rushmore of sports movies, right?
Does Mickey make the Rushmore of sports movie coaches?