I don't even greet NIU, usually.
I understand that. Here's the thing -- NIU is not going to the BCS, which means that the final BCS as we know it will be entirely the playground of the big boys. That's all right with me; the Boise States were cute, but that day is dead now. They aren't likely to get a fair shot any time soon. But we concentrate on the world the way it is, not how it could be, or maybe should be.
That's a surprisingly sensible view coming from the guy who is concerned with HYYYYYYPPPPPE!
I'm maturing here. Well, maybe not quite entirely. I'm still capable of HYYYYYYYYPPPPPPPE!!!! Watch me work!
Aw-Barn Tiger/War Eagle! (-1) vs. Mizzou Tigers, in Atlanta. Ooh, it's the alma mater of Night Writer, the mighty Missouri Tigers, who this year have proven that they can hang with the big, bad boys of the SEC, at least for one year. I know a lot of people were thinking that Alabama would be here, but they lost last week in amazing fashion to their bitter rival Auburn, which begs the question -- is Nick Saban headed for Texas? Or is he going to replace Chris Peterson at Boise State? It's good to have options here. But that's not for me to decide. Anyway, Auburn always gets lucky in these big games. They wouldn't even be here, if not for a tipped pass that got them past Georgia a few weeks back, to say nothing of returning a missed field goal for about 172 yards for a touchdown last week. I know, the field is only 110 yards, but remember, I'm all about the HYYYYYYYPPPPPPPE! It's real simple -- Mizzou has the better offense and Auburn expended too many bullets to get to Atlanta. Mizzou 42, Auburn 21.
Hmmm. Maybe. I think Mizzou is very good and I'm especially impressed with their wide receivers, who are Calvin Johnson-like at the collegiate level. Since we were at Camp Randall last week being bitterly disappointed, I didn't get to see the Auburn game, but I would remind you of Branch Rickey's famous observation concerning luck: luck is the residue of design. You get lucky if you are in a position to be lucky, which Auburn has been all season long. I think that continues for one more week. Auburn 24, Mizzou 21.
Michigan State Sparty the Spartan (+5.5) vs. The Ohio State University, in Indianapolis. I'm willing to bet that Sparty wants this game badly, but there's a catch. The reason I brought up the NIU game at the beginning of this post is because NIU's loss opens up that last BCS spot for the Spartans, pretty much regardless of what happens tonight in Indy. I don't think the Spartans will lose their focus, but they now know they have a ticket to Pasadena in their pocket. As it happens, Ohio State is going to Pasadena either way, but they'd prefer to wait until a little later in 2014 before they travel. OSU has been good all year, but there's a catch -- this is the best defense they've seen yet. Last week Ohio State got ambushed in the Big House and barely lived to tell the tale. Ohio State has also been ambushed in Columbus by Iowa and Wisconsin, but they've survived. Now, they're facing a Spartan team that might finally break its curse of choking in big games. I hate to do this, but self-interest is on the line. Ohio State 42, Michigan State 39.
That might be the first time you've actually picked Ohio State in a game. Putting your hatred for all things Buckeye aside is a sign of maturity, I think. It's going to be a lot of fun; I think the Spartans are a tough-minded team. But the prize is in sight for the Buckeyes and they won't falter. Ohio State 24, Michigan State 17.
Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens. It's an all-purple showdown in Charm City, baby! The Vikings have been playing a little better lately and are doing their level best to (a) save Leslie Frazier's job and (b) royally screw up their draft position. Will the trend continue in Baltimore? Well, considering that the Packers struggled in Baltimore earlier this season, and that the Ravens are still in the hunt, one would think that the Vikes would have a tough assignment this week. Baltimore 19, Minnesota 6.
I think you've hit on the dynamic here, Seabiscuit. The Ravens are as mediocre as their record would indicate, but they do have incentive, given the general crappiness of the AFC this year. If this game is in Minnesota, I think the Vikes win. It's not. Ravens 27, Vikings 20.
Hotlanta Falcons (NL) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers. If ever NBC had a reason to flex out a game, this would be the one. Both teams were considered Super Bowl contenders when the season began, but now, they both kinda suck. I love my Packers to death, but, seriously, what happened in Detroit? That was the worst Packer game I have ever seen in my lifetime. It kinda looked like this:
It's interesting -- I hadn't realized that Mike Tomlin appeared in a Monty Python movie before! Bottom line is this; Atlanta is facing a very angry team just looking to save their season, while the Falcons are trying get on the bus to leave 2013 behind. Packers 45, Atlanta 17.
Have the Packers even scored 45 points since Rodgers got injured? Insane as it might seem, if the Packers could win this game and get Rodgers back, they might still be able to sneak into the playoffs, because the Lions are quite capable of choking it up. But I kinda wish they wouldn't; I'd keep Rodgers on the sideline and reload for 2014. Packers 21, Falcons 14.
Dallas How 'Bout Them Cowboahs (Pick) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. No Jay Cutler again for da Bearz, who ought to consider dumping Cutler, quite frankly. Josh McCown has played well enough to keep his job as a backup, and at this point the Bears should continue to play the hot hand anyway. Alshon Jeffrey is now getting scary and when combined with Brandon Marshall, da Bearz have something going on offensively. The problem is that their defense is about out of bullets. As far as the Cowboys, who knows? Either they show up, or they are like the kids in the rugby video. You never know. Da Bearz 28, Cowboahs 17.
Good point. The Cowboahs are showing up this week. Dallas 27, Bears 24.
Time for another Very Special Comment from the Benster.