At last. Phog Blog is back on line. And, as luck would have it, during the four weeks of technical difficulties, I enjoyed an unprecedented unblemished 60-0 run vs. the spread. Were this venture not for entertainment purposes only, you could have literally taken my picks to a Vegas bank and quit your day job. Unfotunately, the way things usually work in this world, now that my picks are back on line, I will probably miss a game or two this week. But as they say at Notre Dame, "C'est la vie."
The Games of week 10*:
1. Nebraska +17 at KU
This line has got to be a mistake. KU has lost 37 of the last 38 to Nebraska, dontcha know? KU has beaten the three teams it has played with Big 12 talent by 6 (and survived a last possession scare), 5 (and survived a last possession scare, and 8 (and survived a last possession scare). Plus, the last two weeks, they have allowed points late while allowing a multiple possession game to tighten up—a tendency not conducive to covering a three score line. Not to mention that NU resembled a talented football team for three quarters last week in Austin. And not to mention that new blood at QB could provide them with an unexpected spark. Or that they are a desperate team, frantic for anything to redeem their season and their self-respect.
I stated in August that I expected the Hawks to win this game, by which I meant their chances of prevailing were in the 55-60% range. I upped my assessment two weeks ago to 80%. But in neither case did I say anything about 17 points. In fact, Saturday night, while the A&M game was in progress, I figured that the line for Nebraska would be around 10.5. Of course, that was before becoming aware that Keller was out. Not that it would have made any difference. How could NU do worse with his replacement—who might be a Nolan Cromwell or Vince Young in waiting? i.e., a difference maker destined to save NU’s season and/or program to the Jayhawks’ chagrin.
Seventeen points. The odds-makers have not only finally caught up to the Jayhawks, they have exaggerated the remedy in search of pinpointing the happy medium. At any rate, no more flying below Vegas’s radar.
Still, NU has not yet shown that it can run the ball or stop the run. And a lesser KU team two years ago beat a better NU team by more than 17.
Most importantly, the Hawks are 8-0 not only outright, but ATS. Gotta let it ride until they get a 1 on the right (wrong?) side of the Vegas ledger.
2. k-state -14 at Iowa St
Iowa St has covered easily two straight weeks—at Home vs. the league’s second best team and on the Road vs. the third. Look for another cover at Home against the fourth.
3. A&M +20.5 at Oklahoma
Even the league’s best team never led the Aggies by more than 19.
4. Texas Tech -21 at Baylor
Tech has been outed two straight weeks. By better teams than Baylor. The Red Raiders enjoy a week unfettered by pesky little things like legitimate Big 12 defenders.
5. Texas -3 at Okie St
Texas has failed to cover two straight weeks, first against Baylor (see above), then free-falling Nebraska. Why they are favored on the Road against the league’s fifth best team is a puzzler.
6. Mizzou -4.5 at Colorado
Mizzou will have to beat Colorado by as many points as KU to cover this spread. They will score more than KU, bit also give up more. Let’s say 29-24.
7. Navy + 3.5 at Notre Dame
For years I prayed to the football gods that Notre Dame would win this game, so KU would not have the longest losing streak in the nation against one team. Now that NU’s dominance is not only over, but about to be turned on its head (i.e., 33 1/3% since 2004), GO NAVY! If you can’t take down the Mildly Combative Irish this year, your streak is likely to reach triple digits, unless the series is called off first under the mercy rule.
8. Purdue +7.5 at Penn St
After Saturday’s thrashing at the hands of the second best team in the country, Joe Pa needs this one to avoid the age old question about his old age.
9. Wisconsin +16 at Ohio St
Will the country’s second best team be the first of the remaining undefeated to go fall? Nah. But covering 16 points against Wisconsin is less likely than KU by 17 over Nebraska.
10. Michigan -4.5 at Michigan St
Rivalry games are always tough. Especially on the Road. The Wolverines score late, stretching a 3-4 point lead to 6-10.
11. Maryland -1 at UNC
Isn’t it nice to be the best football school among the traditional basketball powers? Although I had been hoping for a KU-UK Sugar Bowl until the team from Lexington failed to uphold its end of the bargain. What does this have to do with UNC and Maryland? Nothing. But what is there to say about these two in football?
12. Florida St +7.5 at BC
Let me get this straight: Matt Ryan is now the favorite (or co-) for the Heisman because Virginia Tech failed to field an onside kick cleanly? And this is also enough to make BC the nation’s third best team? I am not buying it. I am tempted to buy the Home Field advantage. If only it weren’t for that .5 thing after the 7.
13. LSU -7.5 at Alabama
Sorry, Bayou Bengals. You might be the REAL second or third best team in the nation, but Alabama invented the Home Field Advantage.
14. UCLA -3.5 at Arizona
Home Cooking all the way.
15. Arizona St +7.5 at Oregon
The most likely of the remaining undefeated to go down this weekend.
Q. How many Cornhuskers does it take to change a light bulb?
Oops. Sorry. Still in Aggie-mode.
*For entertainment purposes only. You get what you pay for. There are no refunds.