|Two for the price of one|
Yep. And thanks for the reminder.
But we're not here to talk about money. No, it's my football picks that you want, which are money. Watch me work:
Penn State Probationary Lions (+2.5) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers. So, old dude, the Gophers have been playing better lately, in fact a lot better. They've beaten Northwestern, Nebraska and Indiana in the last three weeks, which is what you have to do to get into a bowl game that's not named after a substandard casual dining restaurant, or a department store. Penn State is improving under Bill O'Brien, but they haven't been very good on the road. And they are here, in Minnesota, one of the longest road trips that the Big Ten can muster, until that exciting Lincoln to New Jersey thing that's happening next year. But I digress. Gophers 31, Come to Penn State 17.
The Gophers are better, almost suddenly, after looking terrible against Iowa and Michigan. I think they'll prevail this week, but it won't be easy. Minnesota 28, Penn State 24.
Brigham Young Cougars (+8.5) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. If you may remember, the Badgers played their conference opener against hapless Purdue a week early, which opened the window for this unusual non-conference game. BYU has a long and distinguished history and beat the Badgers in Camp Randall back in the the early 1980s. Many, many, many things have changed since then. Jim McMahon is no longer the BYU quarterback and the Badgers have figured things out since then. BYU will be a tough outfit for the Badgers, since they are quick and can score. But if you've been watching the Badgers, you know that they can score on just about any play, especially if Melvin Gordon gets his hands on the ball. And he will get his hands on the ball this game. Wisconsin 42, BYU 38.
I think the Badger defense is pretty good this year -- Iowa may not be an offensive juggernaut, but holding the Hawkeyes to 9 points in Kinnick Stadium without Chris Borland playing was an impressive thing to see. I think they find a way to slow down the BYU attack. Badgers 38, Cougars 24.
LSU Bayou Bengals (+12.5) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide. I'm hoping to avoid the nightmare scenario of a national title game, which would be Alabama against Ohio State. I'm sick of Alabama, because they get favors from the BCS. The question today is, can LSU come into Tuscaloosa and win. Well, they did that two years ago, so they won't be intimidated. And Nick Saban is going to lose eventually. It might even be in 2013. LSU 21, Tide Rolled 13.
Nope. Not gonna happen. LSU is too inconsistent this year. Alabama 31, LSU 20.
Okay, now that we've established the superiority of facial hair, let's get to the game itself, in which the Packers are going to face the Eagles, who are now under the reign of Chip Kelly, who thinks that all offenses should be like NASCAR, or something like that. He's gonna have a couple of problems to deal with, including the return of Clay Matthews, who will be chasing Nick Foles around Lambeau the way a lion chases a wildebeest. It's going to be hard to generate a lot of offense in this game on both sides, although I think Wallace will be better with a week to prepare and play with the first team. And don't worry, Packer fans, the season is not over. Packers 24, Eagles 7.
The uncomfortable comparison I saw some rueful Packer fans make to Wallace was this guy:
That's what I'm talkin' about. I think it will go better than that, but I wouldn't be surprised if you don't see Scott Tolzien before this is over. Put it this way -- Eddie Lacy and John Starks better be ready to be John Brockington and MacArthur Lane, circa 1972: Packers 24, Eagles 16.
Detroit Motor City Kitties (Pick) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. I can imagine that Gino was very happy on Monday night and well played, Bears. The final drive that sucked out the entire 4th quarter was mighty impressive, and this is coming from one of your bigger Bears haters around. However, this week is going to be a little different. The word on the street is that Jay Cutler is coming back. I wonder if it's a little early. I don't question Cutler's toughness at all, but I would have rewarded Josh McCown with another start, just to be safe. The Lions are a different team outside of Ford Field, but I don't know that da Bearz can handle Megatron, especially off a short week. Bottom line is that the Lions are going to do the Packers a favor. Lions 24, da Bearz 23.
I agree -- Cutler should wait a week to come back; a groin injury might be amusing, but it hurts like crazy and affects his mobility. And Ndamukong Suh is a ruthless fellow who wouldn't hesitate to rag-doll Mr. Cutler if he gets the chance. That's what concerns me about this game. I think the Bears win at home, but I'm hardly confident in this pick. Bears 31, Lions 27.
Obviously, we couldn't pick the Vikings since they played on Thursday, but let's face it -- does anyone really care that much about the Vikings right now? Maybe in Minnesota, but not so much anywhere else. It's hard to build up much HYYYYYYYYYYPPPPE! for the Vikes these days. And I wanted to avoid talking about a certain name controversy, since, well, I'm deeply offended by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, given my Irish heritage as a grandson of a McNulty and a great-grandson of a Donovan. Ben out!