After a two week hiatus, we've returned. Let's just say that workin' to pay off the bookie followed by a bout of strep throat can really put a cramp in a gamblin' man's style. And by style, we mean baller moves like being glued to the TV well past midnight, praying for a miracle cover on the late PAC game to erase our day's losses. But like all true professionals, we're dedicated to our craft, so we return with a vengeance... ready to hemorrhage cash at an even more impressive rate as we near the season's midway point.
When we say Last Week, we really mean three weeks ago. It was a 3-4 mark, which is what we call IMPROVEMENT around these parts given the 1-6 stool pushing we endured the week prior. The passage of time has made it all pretty hazy at this point. Not to go all Tony Robbins here, but YOU CANNOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR PAST YOU CAN ONLY INFLUENCE YOUR FUTURE! Let's get it on.
THE GAME: TEXAS +3.5 vs. OKLAHOMA
We can't lie, we're rooting for "giant sinkhole" or "meteor impact" in this one. The world would be a better place. Unfortunately Vegas has yet to make that a prop bet, so we're stuck watching two teams battle it out with two past-their-prime head coaches. Stoops' troops appeared to finally have their affairs in order last week, handling texas tech with relative ease. Mack's bunch, on the other hand, put on a clinic in bad tackling in the secondary and non-existent linebacker play versus WVU. (MORE LIKE MANNY -IAZ, AMIRITE?!) And shaky special teams. At home. A trip to the Cotton Bowl and fried wonders at the state fair won't result in much improvement.
THE PICK: OKLAHOMA -3.5
THE GAME: FLORIDA -8.5 at VANDERBILT
Neither of these teams are what we'd call offensively competent. And for those look-at-the-schedule types, this sets up as the trap game of trap games for the Gators: A road trip to Vandy sandwiched between last week's LSU game in the Swamp and next week's cocktail party of some repute. That said, we can't bring ourselves to take the 'Dores here when it's likely they don't crack double digits in the all important point column. Muschamp and Pease take the boring sledgehammer approach on offense but still win by two scores.
THE PICK: FLORIDA -8.5
THE GAME: AUBURN +5.5 at OLE MISS
Congrats to the Chiz on having a wife crazier than Kristi Malzahn. According to the Chiz's better half, Auburn's anemic offense should be blamed on a lack of uplifting fan support and the Prince of Darkness, not cover-your-eyes-awful quarterback play. Ole Miss has lost FIFTEEN STRAIGHT SEC games, and yet they're favored here. So to say expectations of Auburn have been lowered is a wee bit of an understatement. Yet as chippy as the Rebels looked last week when handed six turnovers, we need to see a conference W or two on the board before we take ya as chalk. We're also looking to keep alive our personal perfect 0-fer on picking Auburn games.
THE PICK: AUBURN +5.5
THE GAME: ALABAMA -21 at MISSOURI
Oh, this is NOT what the MIZ-SEC crowd signed up for, is it? An 0-3 mark and Nick Saban's Not-The-Least-Bit-Erotic Asphyxiation Squad coming to town. We should probably also note the that utter disaster that is Mizzou's O-Line, and the fact that the Tigers are starting their backup quarterback, a guy who went 9 of 30 vs. Vanderbilt. That Berk is Stressed. We recommend several jumbo glasses of wine for Gary Pinkel before, during, and after the game. Just keep the Merlot comin' all day, really.
THE PICK: ALABAMA -21
THE GAME: TENNESSEE +3 at MISSISSIPPI ST
Has Mississippi State [COWBELL CLANGING] beaten anyone of note yet? No, not really. [COWBELL CLANGING] We did, however, learn this week that Derek Dooley's been coaching the entire season with [COWBELL CLANGING] a fractured hip. We can't say we're familiar with such ailments, but we can't [COWBELL CLANGING] imagine it's a pleasant experience. The painkillers and change of scenery to the press box [COWBELL CLANGING] are just what a guy coaching for his life needs.
THE PICK: TENNESSEE +3
THE GAME: SOUTH CAROLINA +2.5 at LSU
Is the ol' ball coach's group for real? At home, yes. It also helps when Mark Richt came to Columbia last week with a team that looked like they spent the entire week doing something other than preparing for a college football game. Regardless, we'd normally be inclined to take Les Miles in this spot, on the tasty home turf of Tiger Stadium (Les recommends sprinkling it with a light vinaigrette, BTW). BUT! The matchup of Jadaveon Clowney vs. a suddenly thin Tiger O-Line and the already-less-than-competent Mettenberger is too much to ignore.
THE PICK: SOUTH CAROLINA +2.5
THE GAME: TEXAS A&M -7.5 at LOUISIANA TECH
All the touchdowns you found yourself craving throughout the day will be delivered in a massive glut at 8:15pm CDT. As Spencer Hall noted earlier this week, Johnny Football just might put up 500+ yards of offense by his own self, and you really should plant your ass in a chair and enjoy The Johnny Manziel Experience. (No, we don't have any clue what will happen on any given play, either.). LaTech is coming in undefeated, but they're also coming in without a defense. When you've faced Houston, Rice, Illinois, Virginia, and UNLV, and your defense is approaching Baylor levels of ineptitude, that's problematic. A&M forces a service break or three and wins by double digits.
THE PICK: TEXAS A&M -7.5
If you follow these picks, please seek assistance. Good day, sirs.
LAST WEEK: 3-4
YEAR TO DATE: 11-17