So I'm going to be a year older this weekend. You know that I'm going to be feeling some HYYYYYYYPPPPPPE!
Yes, that's correct. Happy almost 15th birthday, young fella! How did you get so old, anyway?
It's not like I had a choice, Decrepit! But you know what is the best part about being an adolescent?
I'm sure you'll tell me.
Well, yeah. I get to be adolescent! Yeah, baybee! That means it's time to lay down some smack and pick some games. Did you notice that I was almost right with my Badger pick last week? Well, didya? Ha-ha!
That turned out okay. Good thing that the Badgers were playing a team that didn't bother to play defense.
Lotta that thing going around, old dude. Watch me work. . . .
Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (-4) vs. Meeshegan Hail to the Vanquished. I would not expect Michigan to just lay down and die like Indiana did last week, but they play defense like France. Do you know why they planted trees along Division Street in Ann Arbor? So that Brett Bielema could walk in the shade! I think we need more Nelson Muntz. The Badgers win by keeping Denard Robinson standing on the sidelines, next to RichRod. BadgerBadgerBadger 30, Meeshegan 17.
I think I understand your theory and it's a good one, youngblood. If the Badgers can play ball control and score touchdowns, Michigan has no shot. I think it won't be easy, since the Badgers haven't won in Ann Arbor in your lifetime, Seabiscuit. But that streak comes to an end tomorrow afternoon. Badgers 38, Michigan 27.
Illinois Fighting Zooks (-7 1/2) vs. Northwestern Wildcat Offense, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. So this is a strange thing, AARP wannabe -- the Wildcats gave up a home game to play at Wrigley. The last time a college game took place in Wrigley, I think it involved either the University of Chicago or a joust. It's been a loooong time, Decrepit! But I'm sure this guy was there. Lemme hear ya! No, I'd rather not, Harry. There's a problem with playing at Wrigley. Because one end zone is about two feet from the right field wall, they are concerned about safety and will have to do some switching around to handle plays in the end zone. Maybe they're afraid that this guy will show up. None of this has much to do with football, but let's face it, tormenting Cubs fans never gets old! Maybe I'd better stay clear of the North Side. As for the game, it's tough for Northwestern since they lost their star quarterback. The Zooks got embarrassed by our Gophers last week and they'll be angry and on the warpath. Chief Illiniwek 100, Steve Bartman Nation 0.
I dimly remember watching Da Bearz play at Wrigley when I was a kid and I don't remember the right field wall being a problem. Then again, the Bears had a hard time scoring in those days and the end zone was mostly a rumor to them. I think Northwestern is a better team if they have Dan Persa. But they don't. So I'll agree with the birthday boy. Illinois 27, Northwestern 23.
The Ohio State University Buckeyes (-3) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes. I still think Iowa fans worship Hayden Fry. They probably have some temple out in a cornfield some place. Since it's Iowa, that doesn't really narrow down a location, though. Maybe it's in Kankakee? No wait, that's Illinois. Maybe it's in Keokuk. But no matter where they keep the secret temple of Fry, the Hawkeyes will need to get someone better than Ricky Stanzi as their quarterback. He's just good enough to lose. Iowa should play their hearts out and it will be enough to overcome the Stanzi Factor and squeak by. Temple of Hayden 10, Brutus Buckeye 9.
I don't know what to think, although I'd suggest a game of Scrabble between Iowa wideout Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and OSU flanker Dane Sanzenbacher. Long names, good games. I think OSU wins because they're just a better team, but I thought the same thing about Michigan State. Oh well, we'll take our chances. Ohio State 27, Iowa 20.
Glorious Green Bay Packers (-3) vs. Minnesota Turmoils. So I heard they changed the name of the Vikings pre-game television show to "All My Childress," in honor of the soap opera going on at Winter Park. I obviously want the Packers to win this game really badly, since it falls on my birthday. Did I mention my birthday? Did I? The Vikings are like the Titanic about a half hour after they've hit the iceberg. They still think they're on the Love Boat, but noooo! Favre sees his old team for likely the last time, unless he changes his mind and signs on with Lions. The problem is, about the only team that will want him are these Lions. I also would not be surprised if Favre gets the number 52 implanted on his chest courtesy of the Claymaker. However, I am worried that Chad Clifton won't be able to hear the snap count and we might have to put about six tight ends on the side with Jared Allen. Verde Bay 30, All My Childress 0.
Oh, I think the old guy has a little something left over for my beloved Packers. It's going to be tough. I think the key is stopping Percy Harvin. If the Packers keep him from going nuts, the Vikings go down easily. If not, watch out. Packers 27, Vikings 24.
Motor City Kitties (+6 1/2) vs. Dallas Cowboahs. So I'm confused, old dude -- the Cowboys who came up to Green Bay, they weren't the same guys who were in New Jersey last week. I know Wade Phillips was channeling his inner Tim Brewster, but what gives? I wonder which team is going to show up? Bet Jerry Jones does, too. As for the Kitties, Matthew Stafford is now as likely to play quarterback for the Lions as Jim Stafford. Since the game is in Dallas and not Branson, I'm going to pick the Cowboys. Cowboy Up 3, Tame House Cats 2.
Think you're in the wrong ballpark there, Grasshopper. This game doesn't involve the Rangers as far as I know. I saw enough of the Cowboy game last week to be very confused, too. There's no way they should have dominated the Giants, but they did. Go figure! As for the Lions, it's clear they are a better team now but without Stafford they'll have trouble scoring. Your instincts are correct on this one, but in football the scores go up by 3s and 7s, so: Cowboys 14, Lions 13.
Indianapolis Mannings (+3 1/2) vs. New England Bradys. How can Peyton Manning win with guys I've never heard of playing receiver? He's some kind of genius. The problem is that the Patriots have some geniuses, too. And better talent. I'm also very fond of saying Benjarvis Green-Ellis. No doubt that the Patriots remember how the last game ended and will try to keep Manning off the field. Brady's Bunch 24, Peyton Place 7.
I have nothing to support this pick other than a hunch. So I'll just make the pick. Colts 28, Patriots 17.
Favre is old. The Ghost of Bartman is out and about. It's cold outside. And it's my birthday. Did I mention that it's my birthday? I must have said something about it. ¡Feliz cumpleaños a Ben! ¡Feliz cumpleaños a Ben! Ben out!