"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Monday, September 30, 2013

NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 5 RECAP

It was a great college football weekend, from a thriller between LSU and Georgia between the hedges to a surprise by West Virginia against Oklahoma State to a drubbing in Tempe by Arizona State that cost USC coach Lane Kiffin his job. I had mixed results in my picks this week, whiffing on the upset bids of Wisconsin and Arkansas.  My pick of the Hogs over Texas A&M was mostly a sentimental homer pick, but I made it and it counts. Oklahoma State didn't show up until late in Morgantown and it cost them. My other loss was because I picked my hated Virginia Cavaliers to actually beat someone on the road.  My bad...

Last Week: 15 - 4

Overall: 88 - 18

(21) Ole Miss (3-0)  27 @ (1) Alabama (3-0) 30: Okay, how good is Alabama? ...Really good. Correct. 0 - 25..

California (1-2)  20 @ (2) Oregon (3-0)  41: I really didn't learn anything new about Oregon in this one. Correct. 16 - 55..

Wake Forest (2-2) 14 @ (3) Clemson (3-0)  31: Clemson delivered as expected. Correct. 7 - 56..

(23) Wisconsin (3-1)  31 @ (4) Ohio St. (4-0) 30: It was good win for the Buckeyes, but I'm still not convinced. Maybe I'm just stubborn.  No. 24 - 31.

(5) Stanford (3-0) 27 @ Washington St. (3-1) 24: I incorrectly called this a road game for Stanford, but it was actually a neutral site game played in Seattle. Okay, not totally neutral, but it didn't matter to Stanford.  Correct. 55 - 17.

(6) LSU (4-0)  24 @ (9) Georgia (2-1) 27: This was coin flip game for me, so I guess I have a pretty smart coin. What a game for Georgia to stay alive in the national championship hunt. Correct. 41 - 44.

(8) Florida St. (3-0) 30 @ Boston College (2-1) 17: A little concerned by the Seminole defense giving up 34 points. What  will Clemson do to these guys?  Correct. 48 - 34.

(10) Texas A&M (3-1) 34 @ Arkansas (3-1) 37: I was at this game, and the atmosphere was electric. The difference ended up being a pick six thrown my Hog QB Brandon Allen at the beginning of the third quarter, giving the Aggies a 31 - 20 lead. The Razorbacks fought back, but ultimately Johnny Football was just too much. No. 45 - 33.

(11) Oklahoma St. (3-0) 40 @ West Virginia (2-2) 14: I've said it before that you're vulnerable when you have to score 30 points to win. Well, the Cowboys came out a little flat and they paid the price.  No. 21 - 30.

(12) South Carolina (2-1) 34 @ UCF (3-0) 24: As I predicted, this was a real battle for the Gamecocks, having to come back from a ten point deficit at halftime. Correct. 28 - 25.

(14) Oklahoma (3-0) 24 @ (22) Notre Dame (3-1) 20: Can we finally put Notre Dame out of the running for its conference of its own automatic BCS bid? I sure hope so.  Correct. 35 - 21.

(15) Miami, FL (3-0) 42 @ South Florida (0-3)  14:This one went just like I thought is would. Correct.  49 - 21.

Arizona (3-0) 21 @ (16) Washington (3-0) 28: Washington may be the best kept secret in college football.  Correct. 13 - 31.

(20) Florida (2-1) 27 @ Kentucky (1-2) 17: Florida keeps finding ways to win. They're still not a complete team and they'll be challenged to keep it going as they hit the meat of their SEC schedule.  Correct. 24 - 7.

(25) Fresno St. (3-0)  42 @ Hawaii (0-3) 21: I'll ask the question again: Why is Fresno St. ranked 25th in the nation? Are you kidding? They give up 37 to a bad Hawaii team and hold on to win. I think there are at least 50 other teams that could beat these guys. Correct. 42 - 37.

Virginia Tech (3-1) 23 Ga. Tech (3-0) 20: My Hokies are playing defense at a very high level. When you hold Ga. Tech to 129 yards rushing, you're doing something right. We saw a little more production from QB Logan Thomas, but the Va. Tech offense is still very much a work in progress. Correct. 17 - 10.

Virginia (2-1) 31 @ Pittsburgh (2-1) 30: This goes in the "What was I thinking?" category. No. 3 - 14.

USC (3-1) 24 @ Arizona St. (2-1) 27: I predicted that Lane Kiffin's job was on the line, I just didn't think his firing would come when he got off the plane in L.A. Correct. 41 - 62.


Iowa (3-1) 28 @ Minnesota (4-0) 27:Minnesota finally got exposed for who they are. Correct. 23 - 7.

Friday, September 27, 2013

NCAA WEEK 5 PREDICTIONS

The college football season begins in earnest this weekend with several key conference matchups.  As a fan, you have to love it when things start to be very meaningful. Can Georgia stay in the hunt, is Notre Dame capable of making a run at a BCS game, how good is Ohio State, can someone pull the BIG upset? And to top it all off, Johhny Football comes to Fayetteville and I'll be in the stands for it Saturday night. Now let's get to this week's picks.

(21) Ole Miss (3-0)  27 @ (1) Alabama (3-0) 30: This game illustrates just how tough the SEC West is. Ole Miss is possibly the fourth best team in their division and they're ranked twenty first in the country. We'll see how it all turns out, but the Rebels could end up ahead of Texas A&M when it's all said and done. If this game was in Oxford, I might give the nod to Ole Miss, but they have to travel the short distance to Tuscaloosa. I'll stay with the Tide in a thriller.

California (1-2)  20 @ (2) Oregon (3-0)  41: I'm not sure Oregon isn't the best team in the country, but they play out west and don't get the same love as Alabama. Cal is battle tested, having played a tough schedule, and won't be intimidated by the Ducks. But Oregon just has too much for the Golden Bears.

Wake Forest (2-2) 14 @ (3) Clemson (3-0)  31: The Tigers' Tajh Boyd has looked terrific this season and should be able to make plays against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are just overmatched here, especially on the road in Death Valley East.

(23) Wisconsin (3-1)  31 @ (4) Ohio St. (4-0) 30: Wisconsin's lone loss was a controversial one where the officials botched the final seconds, denying the Badgers a chance at a game-winning field goal. Ohio State is ranked fourth, but the records of their opponents in the games other than their losses to the Buckeyes is 3 - 6, and those wins were against Stony Brook, Portland St. and Miss. Valley St. So how are we supposed to figure out how good Ohio State is? I'm going with the upset here as the Buckeyes will have trouble adjusting to big boy football for the first time this season.

(5) Stanford (3-0) 27 @ Washington St. (3-1) 24:This road game for Stanford is wedged between games at home against ranked opponents. The Cougars have already upset USC, and that was on the road. Nonetheless, Stanford's pretty impressive with their size and physicality. But don't be shocked if Washington State give the Cardinal everything they can handle.

(6) LSU (4-0)  24 @ (9) Georgia (2-1) 27: It's hard to believe that Georgia is facing irrelevance as far as the national championship is concerned if they lose Saturday. LSU has been very good, despite losing eleven players to the NFL. This is Georgia's third game against a team ranked in the top ten in their first four games. They lost a tough one to Clemson, who is very good and then dominated South Carolina. This is a coin flip for me... Heads, it's Georgia.

(8) Florida St. (3-0) 30 @ Boston College (2-1) 17: I'm not sure Florida State's freshman phenom, Jameis Winston, can keep it up, but even with a bit of a comedown, the Seminoles should handle BC.

(10) Texas A&M (3-1) 34 @ Arkansas (3-1) 37: I'm very excited to see this game live. The Hogs let one get away that they had dominated for three quarters. I think Bret Bielema has been pointing to this game since he took the Arkansas job. The Razorbacks have been very basic on both sides of the ball and I think the A&M defense is going to get exposed by a very tough Arkansas running game. Call me crazy, but I'm going with the huge upset in a homer pick.

(11) Oklahoma St. (3-0) 40 @ West Virginia (2-2) 14: The Cowboys score a lot of points and until last week, the Mountaineers had shown an improved defense. But West Virginia scored 24 against FCS William and Mary, 7 against Oklahoma and were shut out by Maryland. This might be rather ugly.

(12) South Carolina (2-1) 34 @ UCF (3-0) 24: The Gamecocks better not be looking too far past their visit to Orlando to play the Knights. They went to State College a couple of weeks ago and beat Penn State, so their familiar with big time football. UCF controlled the game most of the way, then held on for the victory. South Carolina, of course, is better than the Nittany Lions, but they better be on upset alert in this one.

(14) Oklahoma (3-0) 24 @ (22) Notre Dame (3-1) 20: Okay, it's no secret that I'm not a big fan of Notre Dame's this year. Oklahoma lost to the Fighting Irish last year, but this Sooner team is improved, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Notre Dame's offense hasn't been that strong  and I think in this one, OU will be slightly better on offense, giving them a close win.

(15) Miami, FL (3-0) 42 @ South Florida (0-3)  14: South Florida is just plain bad and Al Golden has his Hurricanes on the rise. This should be a rout.
Arizona (3-0) 21 @ (16) Washington (3-0) 28: The Huskies new stadium is a tough place to play and the weather for this one should be nasty. I like the improvement in the Wildcats, but Washington has a little too much at home, despite Arizona only giving up less than 9 points a game to three cupcakes.

(20) Florida (2-1) 27 @ Kentucky (1-2) 17: The Gators have an offense, but only because they have to. If Kentucky can put together a few drives, they may have a chance at a big upset. But I just don't think Kentucky's good enough on offense to pull it off.

(25) Fresno St. (3-0)  42 @ Hawaii (0-3) 21: Why Fresno St. is ranked is way beyond my level of understanding. Really? They've given up 45 points to Rutgers in regulation, 25 to FCS Cal Poly and 40 to a rebuilding Boise St. Are you kidding me? They're 3 - 0, but the Rutgers and Boise wins were by one point each. Fresno St. should win this because Hawaii doesn't score a lot of points and they give up a lot points. Last time I checked, that's not exactly to formula for victory in football.

Virginia Tech (3-1) 23 Ga. Tech (3-0) 20: This game was played Thursday night and I made this prediction in a separate post prior to kickoff.

Virginia (2-1) 31 @ Pittsburgh (2-1) 30: The Panthers are tough at home, but they give up a ton of points, 41 a game that puts them 120th in the nation. But they can also light up the scoreboard at the rate of 40 a game. Virginia's lone loss was to Oregon, hardly an embarrassment, but the Ducks scored 59 on the Cavs in Charlottesville. My feeling is that eventually, when you have to score a lot of points to keep winning, it comes back to haunt you. I hate picking Virginia in anything, but I'll go with the Hoos in a mild upset.

USC (3-1) 24 @ Arizona St. (2-1) 27: I don't think it's farfetched to say that USC's coach Lane Kiffin's job is probably on the line in this game. The Sun Devils got down early last week to Stanford, then played better in the second half. I just don't see how USC will score enough to win the game.

Iowa (3-1) 28 @ Minnesota (4-0) 27: I don't follow the bottom tier of the Big Ten, but Minnesota is clearly an undefeated pretender. Iowa has defeated Iowa St., not a big accomplishment, but it's better than anything on Minnesota's resume at this point.

NCAA WEEK 4 RECAP

NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 4 RECAP

Last Week: 21 - 2

Season: 73 - 14

I missed with the Notre Dame - Michigan St. game, but I'm still not convinced that Notre Dame can play with the big boys this season. There weren't many contested games last week, but I did manage to pick Texas to come out of its slump against Kansas St., Florida to stop Tennessee and Ga. Tech to defeat North Carolina. The hometown Arkansas Razorbacks disappointed against Rutgers in an ugly fourth quarter meltdown.

(3) Clemson 37 @ NC State 20: Correct. 26 - 14.

Florida A&M 14 @ (4) Ohio St. 41:  Correct. 0 - 76.

FIU  7 @ (7) Louisville - Infinity: Correct. 0 - 72.

North Texas 20 @ (9) Georgia 41: Correct. 21 - 45.

Idaho St. 14 @ (17) Washington 30: Correct. 0 - 56.

Michigan St.  31 @ (22) Notre Dame 30: The Irish escaped in a low scoring affair. I still think their schedule will be too much for them going forward. No. 13 - 17.

Purdue 17 @ (24) Wisconsin 35: Correct. 10 - 41. 

Tennessee 16 @ (19) Florida 24: Correct. 17 - 31.

Maine 27 @ (18) Northwestern 30: Correct. 21 - 35.

Louisiana-Monroe 17 @ (20) Baylor 38: Correct. 7 - 70. (I actually bet on L-M to cover in this one. Oops.)

Bethune-Cookman  10 @ (8) Florida St. - Name your score.: Correct. 6 - 54.

(23) Arizona St. 24 @ (5) Stanford 31: Correct. 28 - 42.

SMU 21 @ (10) Texas A&M 49: Correct. 13 - 42.

Colorado St. 13 @ (1) Alabama 35:  Correct. 6 - 31.

Texas St. 20 @ (25) Texas Tech 31: Correct. 7 - 33.

Savannah St. 3 @ (16) Miami, Fl 34: Correct. 7 - 77.

Auburn 24 @ (6) LSU 34: Correct. 21 - 35.

(15) Michigan 37 @ Connecticut 13: Correct. 24 - 21.

N. Mexico St. 10 @ (13) UCLA 51: Correct. 13 - 59.

Arkansas  27 @ Rutgers 24: A disastrous fourth quarter put the Hogs in a tough spot for bowl eligibility as they have to run the SEC West gauntlet. No. 24 - 28.

Marshall 10 @ Virginia Tech 24: Correct. 21 - 29 3 OT.

UNC 28 @ Ga. Tech 30: Correct. 20 - 28.


Kansas St. 28 @ Texas 30: Correct. 21 - 31.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

VIRGINIA TECH AT GEORGIA TECH PREVIEW AND PREDICTION

I haven't made my NCAA football picks yet for the weekend. They'll be posted tomorrow. But there's a game that's close to my heart tonight in Atlanta between ACC Coastal Division rivals Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. There's no doubt that Tech will emerge victorious, but the question is which one. The visiting Hokies have had pretty good success against Paul Johnson's triple option offense in the past, thanks mostly to Bud Foster's defensive schemes and a secondary that can take away the downfield passing option even though they need to keep seven or eight players in the box to defense the run. With the exception of the first half of last week's game against Marshall, Virginia Tech has exhibited a shut down defense, even against top-ranked Alabama.

The big issue for the Hokies is on the offensive side of the ball, specifically quarterback Logan Thomas. His passing has been erratic and his decision making suspect. Despite his incredible physical skills, he's failed to progress at all since his breakout sophomore season. He played terribly against Marshall, missing pass after pass, finally eking out the game with his legs and his size. But tonight, the Hokies can't afford to give the Yellow Jackets a lot of possessions, so he needs to find a way to keep his defense off the field with short passes that keep the chains moving and the clock ticking. Frankly, from what I've seen this season, I'm not overly confident of his ability to accomplish that.


All of that being said, I like the Hokies to pull what most would consider an upset tonight. I think they'll deny the run with their front seven and their always talented secondary will make enough plays to deny Georgia Tech a consistent passing game. My prediction? Virginia Tech 23 Georgia Tech 20.

NFL WEEK 3 RECAP AND WEEK 4 PREDICTIONS

Last Week:  8 - 8. Well, it was bound to happen. The Packers let me down with a late fumble and no one can figure out what's happening with the Giants. And what about the 'Niners? A mini slump, or is there more going on in San Francisco than we think? My best pick of the week was the Jets win over the Bills. I'm hoping for a rebound this week.

Season:  30 - 18

Week 3 Recap:

Kansas City  (2-0) 24 @ Philadelphia (1-1) 27: Are the Chiefs really good or are the Eagles still experiencing some growing pains under new coach Chip Kelly? Probably a little of both.  No. 26 - 16.

Arizona (1-1)  20  @ New Orleans  (2-0) 24: Correct. 7 - 31.

Green Bay  (1-1) 28 @ Cincinnati (1-1) 20: As I mentioned before, the Pack had this one in the bag before the Bengals returned a fourth down fumble for a late TD. I like the Bengals in the AFC North, but this one was a gift. No. 30 -34.

St. Louis (1-1) 20 @ Dallas (1-1) 30: Correct. 7 - 31.

Cleveland  (0-2) 13 @ Minnesota  (0-2) 24: It's hard to explain this one, a classic NFL result. No. 31 - 27.

San Diego  (1-1) 27 @ Tennessee (1-1) 24: Maybe the Chargers were jet lagged after back to back trips to the east. Of course, the Titan defense had something to do with it, too. No. 17 - 20.

Tampa Bay (0-2) 17 @ New England (2-0) 24: Correct. 3 - 23.

Detroit (2-0) 27 @ Washington (0-2) 28: I said this one was a pick from my heart. Well, that's always a mistake.  No. 27 - 20.

NY Giants (0-2) 27 @ Carolina (0-2) 21: Probably not a big shocker that the Panthers held serve at home, but this was real beat down of one of the recent elite teams. There are a lot of problems in Giant land. No. 0 - 38.

Houston (2-0) 30 @ Baltimore (1-1) 20: The Texans did it with mirrors the first two weeks and they fooled me. The Ravens seem to be coming back from their offseason personnel changes. No. 9 - 30.

Atlanta (1-1) 24 @ Miami (2-0) 27: I really like Miami after picking against them the first two weeks. At least I can adapt. Correct. 23 - 27.

Buffalo (1-1) 17 @ NY Jets (1-1) 20: This was probably my best pick of the week. A team that everyone was burying in the preseason is now 2 - 1. Correct. 20 - 27.

Indianapolis (1-1) 27 @ San Francisco (1-1) 31: I'm starting to wonder if San Francisco is the same team as a year ago. They struggled to beat a now 1 - 2 Green Bay squad at home in week one and now have suffered two lopsided losses.  No. 27 - 7.

Jacksonville (0-2) 13 @ Seattle (2-0) 30: Correct. 17 - 45.

Chicago  (2-0) 27 @ Pittsburgh (0-2) 17: Correct. 40 - 23.

Oakland (1-1) 20 @ Denver (2-0) 27: Correct. 21 - 37.

This Week's Picks:

The NFL season is beginning to take shape, with the good teams getting some separation from the teams that have significant weaknesses. But beginning with tonight's game, the schedule is full of great  matchups that are very difficult to predict. But I'm a glutton for punishment, so here we go with this week's games.

San Francisco (1-2) 27 @ St. Louis (1-2) 17: With Seattle already 3-0 and a win over the 'Niners, San Francisco needs to win this one on the road. The Rams return home after a couple of weeks on the road where they gave up 31 points in each game. I like Jeff Fisher, but his defense doesn't have enough weapons to stop what will be an angry 'Niners squad.

Seattle (3-0) 28 @ Houston (2-1) 24: The Texans won a couple of close games to start the season, then got shredded at Baltimore last week. The Seahawks, after a squeaker on the road at Carolina, have been predictably tough at home the last two weeks. I'm not sure the Texans can score enough to win this week.

Chicago (3-0) 30 @ Detroit (2-1) 24: Is Chicago for real? I'm uncomfortable with picking all of these road teams to win, but I like what Bears' QB Jay Cutler is doing to go along with their always opportunistic defense and special teams.

Cincinnati (2-1) 27 @ Cleveland (1-2) 17: Was last week's victory by the Browns a fluke, or have the changes at QB and the trading of Trent Richardson motivated the team? The Bengals are coming off a good  game that they found a way to win, despite looking like they would fall short. This is a coin flip for me, but I'm taking the better team.

Indianapolis (2-1) 31 @ Jacksonville (0-3) 20: Trap game for the Colts? I can't believe that if I go with Indy, it'll be five straight road teams. But the Jags are just plain awful and I can't go with the upset, even though I think it's possible as the Colts have to go coast to coast after last week's big win over San Francisco.

NY Giants (0-3) 21 @ Kansas City (3-0) 27: How bad did the Giants play last week? ... No, probably worse than that. The Chiefs are a really tough team at home and Giants are a train wreck. I'll take Kansas City at home, putting the Giants at an unthinkable 0-4.

Arizona (1-2) 17 @ Tampa Bay (0-3) 20: Last week, the Browns made a change at QB and won a game on the road. This week, the Bucs changed direction by determining that Josh Freeman is no longer in their plans. Will it work? I'm not sure, but Tampa Bay can play some defense, so I'll go with the Bucs at home to get their first win.

Baltimore (2-1) 24 @ Buffalo (1-2) 20: The Bills are a decent team, but the Ravens appear to have regained their swagger. Even on the road, Baltimore should prevail.

Pittsburgh (0-3) 23 @ Minnesota (0-3) 28: Pittsburgh found a way score last week, finding a running game for the first time this season. The Vikings were shocked by the Browns. I have no clue on this one, so I'll stick with the home team, although I don't believe the Steelers will stay this bad for the entire season.

NY Jets (2-1) 23@ Tennessee (2-1) 20: Are the Jets for real? All of a sudden the AFC East looks like it could be pretty tough, with the Dolphins making early season noise in Miami. I'm jumping on the bandwagon until they lose. Classy move, huh?

Washington (0-3) 27 @ Oakland (1-2) 24: Will my Redskins finally break through? Last week I went with my heart and paid the price. The Raiders have a tenacious defense, but Peyton Manning found a way to victimize them Monday night. If the Redskins can finally unleash RGIII, they may find a way to go west and win.

Philadelphia (1-2) 27 @ Denver (3-0) 38: Let's see. The Eagles have given up 27, 33 and 26 points, two of them at home to quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning. If the Eagles continue with the up tempo offense, Peyton could put up 60. Manning will cool off and the Broncos will eventually lose one, but not this week.

Dallas (2-1) 30@ San Diego (1-2) 21: The Cowboys are another team that can show they're a true contender this week. The Chargers laid an egg last week, but this time they're at home. I consider this one a coin toss, but I'll go with the 'Boys to continue some momentum.

New England (3-0)  27 @ Atlanta (1-2) 28: The Falcons have their backs to the wall, especially with the way the Saints are playing. And how the Patriots are 3 - 0 without any experienced weapons for Tom Brady is a mystery. The Falcons are generally pretty reliable at home, so I'll take them in what could be a war of the tight ends as Gronkowski likely returns for the Pats and Tony Gonzalez continues to turn back the clock.


Miami  (3-0) 20 @ New Orleans (3-0) 27: This is the game of the week and it's very cool that it's on Monday night. The Dolphins and second-year QB Ryan Tannehill are in for quite a challenge with an after dark game in the Superdome. The Saints' defense has experienced a resurgence under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and I believe they'll be enough to go to 4 - 0.

Friday, September 20, 2013

TGIF NFL, NCAA AND TIGER WOODS MUSINGS

Thursday Night Recap:

Just like last week, my predictions got off to a difficult start as the Chiefs defeated the Eagles. I enjoyed the outcome, as there is currently no NFC East team with a winning record, providing hope that my Redskins can stay in the race as they try to figure out how to win a football game. What's more impressive is how Kansas City, under new and former Eagle head coach Andy Reid, has started the season with a 3 - 0 record. They are showing what you can do by playing tough defense and avoid mistakes. Alex Smith is pretty impressive in managing a conservative offensive scheme and made a great throw from his own goal line that eventually ended up being a huge play. I'll be very interested to see how the Chiefs match up against the Broncos in the AFC West who they go against twice in three weeks, the first game at Denver on November 17.

Clemson went into NC State and came out with a win last night, helped in part by a blown call on what should have been a Wolfpack go ahead touchdown in the third quarter. College has a review system, but apparently they only use it for that type of play if it occurs inside the five yard line. However, it was a play that easily could have been overturned but instead Clemson got the ball back and went in to score, essentially sealing the win. The Tigers' QB Tajh Boyd got off to a slow start, but seemed to come alive after a bench side conversation with coach Dabo Swinney. Carter-Finley stadium has been a place of nightmares for highly ranked ACC teams in recent years, but Clemson ended up taking care of business. Now they need to make sure they get past Wake Forest, Syracuse and Boston College to set up a huge game at home against Florida State on October 19.

Tiger' Woes:

Now  to a different type of Tiger, this one in the golf world. Tiger Woods alternated between disinterest and frustration yesterday during a birdieless (if that's even a word) first round in the Tour Championship. Reports were that his back was bothering him, keeping him from practicing. He looked like Tiger Woods, he swung like Tiger Woods, but he sure didn't play like Tiger Woods. I have to believe that his injured back is a factor. It will be interesting to see if there's any improvement today. As it stands, he will most likely lose his grasp on the FedEx Cup points race, one he has held most of the season. Henrik Stenson was unbelievably accurate with his iron shots and is in the lead at the moment to collect the $10 million for winning the season-long competition. However, there are three rounds left and if the wind comes up at the East Lake course, anything can happen.

MLB Races:

With nine or ten games left, depending on the team, it appears that with the exception of the NL Central the division races are all but decided. That division has three teams separated by two games. In all likelihood, the two teams that don't win the division will become the wild-card teams, barring a big push by the Nationals. I think the Cardinals will end up prevailing. In the American League, six teams are within 3 1/2 games in the wild-card race. Although the Yankees are only 3 1/2 back, they would have to climb over four other teams to get that second spot. The teams to watch are Cleveland, which has a very favorable schedule, and Texas, which is fading as the season ends. My prediction is we'll see Tampa Bay and the Indians in the one game playoff.

College Football Hot Seats:

Texas' Mack Brown faces a must win against Kansas State tomorrow.  Reports indicate that Texas boosters were sniffing around the possibility that Nick Saban, following the national championship game earlier this year, would come to Austin .  If the Longhorns start 1 - 3, I have no doubt that the search will begin in earnest, if it hasn't already. Even though Brown is under contract until 2020, Texas is one of the few programs with enough money to buy him out of the duration of his deal. The big question is, if Saban turns them down, who will they get? Will Muschamp was the coach in waiting before he went to Florida, but he hasn't exactly wowed anyone with the offense in Gainesville. Colin Cowherd mentioned Chris Petersen at Boise State or John Gruden from ESPN would probably be available. I'll add Dabo Swinney from Clemson or Gary Patterson from TCU.  And what about Les Miles from LSU? Okay, he's pretty quirky and might not fit with Texas, plus he has some bad press hanging over him from the recent Oklahoma State series in "Sports Illustrated". But the guy can flat out recruit and coach. There's no way Texas can bring in a high profile assistant, but instead need to hire someone with extensive and successful  head coaching experience. Now, I predicted that Brown would find a way to get his team past Kansas State, but the Wildcats are hardly the toughest team left on his schedule, so I think it's pretty inevitable that he'll be out after this season.


The other hot seat is the one that USC coach Lane Kiffin finds himself sitting on. I didn't make a prediction on the Trojans' game with Utah St. this week, but Kiffin can't afford another low scoring effort from his offense, as the Aggies can put points on the board. They've scored 122 points in their two victories against no losses to start the season. Granted, 70 of those were against a toothless FCS member Weber State. But still, this will not be a walk in the park for the Trojans, who still have Arizona State, Notre Dame, Stanford and UCLA on the schedule. My prediction is that USC may find a way to survive this weekend, but Kiffin won't make it to next season as head coach of the Trojans. Once again, you have to speculate who might be on the short list to replace him. Can you say Bobby Petrino, late of Arkansas and currently at FCS Western Kentucky? Petrino successfully recruited in California while at Louisville and Arkansas. The question is whether AD Pat Haden would be comfortable with Petrino's past character issues, none of which were the types of things that result in NCAA infractions. It's a long shot, but if it happens, remember you heard it here first.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

NFL WEEK 3 PREDICTIONS

The 0-2 teams have their backs to the wall, especially the ones that were predicted to or expected to have significant success. Those are the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Of these, the Redskins have looked the worst, giving up 50 points and not scoring an offensive touchdown in the first half of the first two games. RGIII looks tentative and his throwing mechanics are way off. The defense can't stop anyone and if they go 0 - 3, it may be too big of a hill to climb, even in the very balanced NFC East.

The Steelers are short on weapons in an offensive system that probably doesn't suit the skills of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well as it could. But that being said, they were in the game against the Bengals well into the fourth quarter in Monday night's game. That division should be pretty tight, especially with the departures from the Ravens.

Without ten turnovers in the first two games, the Giants could very well be 2 - 0. I doubt they'll be great this season, but if they hold on to the ball and get even a semblance of a running game, who knows, especially given their late season success in the recent past.

Last Week:  12 - 4

Season:  22 - 10 - I've had some pretty good success early, but this week has a lot of close picks, so I expect to have some rough times one of these weeks. Now for the picks:

Kansas City  (2-0) 24 @ Philadelphia (1-1) 27: This is a really tough one to pick. There are so many story lines, including Andy Reid's return to Philly so early in the season, Chip Kelly's mismanagement of the final couple of minutes that allowed San Diego too much time for a winning field goal, the number of plays Kelly's offense wants to run, trying to gauge how good the Chiefs really are and the fact that it's a Thursday night game. I'll go with the home team on a short week even though I think the Chiefs' defense can slow down Vick and the Eagles.

Arizona (1-1)  20  @ New Orleans  (2-0) 24: Even with the return of head coach Sean Payton, the Saints don't seem to be clicking on all cylinders offensively. They've scored 23 points in each of their first two games, both wins. Right now, it's Rob Ryan's defense that's winning games for the Saints. I'll stick with that scenario against a pretty good Cardinals squad.

Green Bay  (1-1) 28 @ Cincinnati (1-1) 20: I'm impressed with Cincinnati, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. They've been in the playoffs three of the last four years, but with little success. The Packers have won a Super Bowl in that span and look really good this season. They were within a touchdown of the 'Niners on the road, scorched Washington and now this week Aaron Rodgers brings them into Cincy. I don't think Andy Dalton is good enough to outscore Rodgers. I'm going with the Pack.

St. Louis (1-1) 20 @ Dallas (1-1) 30: The Cowboys got six turnovers in week 1 to beat the Giants, then had a bad call keep them from winning last week. Although I like the improvement of the Rams, but the Cowboys should win on Sunday.

Cleveland  (0-2) 13 @ Minnesota  (0-2) 24: The Vikings are a very good 0 - 2 team, the Browns are playing their third string QB and just traded Trent Richardson to the Colts.  This doesn't add up to a great result for Clevelend.

San Diego  (1-1) 27 @ Tennessee (1-1) 24: The Chargers head east for the second week in a row, not a great quirk of scheduling. But San Diego should have won in week 1 against the Texans and then surprised the Eagles. I like how the Chargers are playing and if QB Rivers gives it 100% for 60 minutes, then they can prevail over the Titans.

Tampa Bay (0-2) 17 @ New England (2-0) 24: Whether Patriots' tight end plays or not, I think New England will win this game. They'll have had ten days to get their young guys more familiar with Brady and to prepare for a disjointed Bucs' offense. It looks like Gronk will be ready, but I'm told by a reporter that follows the Pats that it's less than 50/50 for him to play.

Detroit (2-0) 27 @ Washington (0-2) 28: It's time for the 'Skins to unleash RGIII on what he says is a 100% knee. I agree with many who say that unless they call plays to utilize RGIII's running ability, the Redskins are better off starting Kirk Cousins at QB.  Detroit is off to a good start, but Reggie Bush is probably out, which makes give Washington a better shot at winning. Last week I went with my head and picked the Pack over the 'Skins, but I'm going with my heart this time.

NY Giants (0-2) 27 @ Carolina (0-2) 21: This is most likely a must win for the Giants, although Dallas and Philadelphia are both playing losable games, which would drop them to 1 -2. But going 0 - 3 to start the season would certainly cause the team to doubt their chances at making the playoffs.  Carolina has lost two close ones and really hasn't exhibited the ability to win tight games under Cam Newton. Without turnovers, the Giants win.

Houston (2-0) 30 @ Baltimore (1-1) 20: The Ravens got toasted by the Broncos and barely beat a weak Browns fan. Although the Texans are a couple of plays away 0 - 2, they still have a lot of talent and the Ravens are still trying to adjust to all of the personnel changes they experienced after their Super Bowl win. Also, after the Chargers' win over Philadelphia, Houston's win in San Diego is looking better and better.

Atlanta (1-1) 24 @ Miami (2-0) 27: This is a very compelling matchup. The Falcons play their first outdoor game of the year in what will surely be a hot and humid environment. The Dolphins, behind second-year QB Ryan Tannehill, have begun the season with two impressive road wins. Atlanta hasn't exactly been impressive and I believe the Dolphins will remain unbeaten.

Buffalo (1-1) 17 @ NY Jets (1-1) 20: Both of these teams have lost to New England in close games and each has a rookie starting QB. I'm sure Jets coach Rex Ryan will be showing a lot of different looks to the Bills' QB EJ Manuel. Although it's fashionable to knock the Jets, I really like the Jets to pull what would be considered a mild upset.

Indianapolis (1-1) 27 @ San Francisco (1-1) 31: The Niners have to be hurting after taking a drubbing from the Seahawks in Seattle. San Francisco's coach Jim Harbaugh is 17 - 0 after a loss, not a good sign for the Colts, who traded for Browns running back Trent Richardson to bolster their running game.  I'm not sure the Niners are as good as last year, but they should prevail in a close games.

Jacksonville (0-2) 13 @ Seattle (2-0) 30: The Seahawks are an unbelievable 20-point favorite, but given their talent edge and home field advantage, they can probably approach that margin of victory. This is as big a lock as you get, but it's the NFL and on any given Sunday...

Chicago  (2-0) 27 @ Pittsburgh (0-2) 17: I think this one will look very much like Monday night's game between the Steelers and the Bengals. Pittsburgh just doesn't have the weapons and their offensive line is just a mess right now. The Bears' QB Jay Cutler looks a lot better in Mark Tressman's system and the defense will just be too much for the Steelers.


Oakland (1-1) 20 @ Denver (2-0) 27: It's improbable to think that the Raiders can roll into Denver and pull an upset, but it's an AFC West contest and always a grudge match for these longtime rivals. The Broncos' offensive line has been decimated by injury and the Raiders have nine sacks in the first two games. Still, Denver is one of the top three teams in the league and should take care of business, but it won't be easy.

NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 4 PREDICTIONS

This is the Last Week of So-Called "Preseason" Games: With a few notable exceptions, this is the last week prior to conference play beginning in the BCS conferences. In addition, there's only one game that matches two top 25 teams, a conference matchup between Arizona St. and Stanford. My record last week was 21 -1, but that was diminished considering the number of  "fluff" games on the schedule. Things don't change too much for this week, but perhaps we'll get a surprise or two.

(3) Clemson 37 @ NC State 20: Clemson may be a bit overrated at number three and NC State can be very tough at home. Add the fact that the Tigers are on the road for a Thursday night game and there may be some suspense here. However, Clemson is a very good team and should win this one if Tajh Boyd plays his usual game.

Florida A&M 14 @ (4) Ohio St. 41:  The Buckeyes continue their very challenging...NOT...early season schedule. The Rattlers are 1 -2 and pose little threat to Ohio State. Unless of course A&M turns into Akron and Ohio State becomes Michigan. Just sayin'.

FIU  7 @ (7) Louisville - Infinity: Okay, maybe not that bad. But you get my point. 

North Texas 20 @ (9) Georgia 41: Another breather for a BCS conference school, but the Mean Green might be able to put up some points on the Bulldogs.

Idaho St. 14 @ (17) Washington 30: Idaho St. has played and beaten, and I'm not making this up, Dixie St. and Western St. Those sound like made up schools in a bad B-movie. I mean, Dixie State's schedule doesn't even come up on Yahoo Sports. Really? I'll take Washington.

Michigan St.  31 @ (22) Notre Dame 30: I think this is a major trap game for the Irish. Michigan St., even though they're 3 - 0, is not considered much of a threat in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, Notre Dame can't really stop anyone, giving up more yardage to its opponents than any other team any of them has played. Not a good sign. In fact, I think Notre Dame could lose its next four games. Not much of a follow up season to its national championship game appearance. I'm taking the Spartans in an upset.

Purdue 17 @ (24) Wisconsin 35: The Badgers will be smarting after the game-ending debacle that cost them a potential game-winning field goal shot against Arizona State. Purdue gave Notre Dame a game, but Wisconsin will be a different level of opponent (see previous pick). 

Tennessee 16 @ (19) Florida 24: Florida's offense has sputtered so far and Tennessee feasted on a pair of FCS foes before getting waxed at Oregon. Although I'm not sold on the Gators, they should have enough on the defensive side of the ball to defeat the Volunteers in the swamp.

Maine 27 @ (18) Northwestern 30: The Wildcats get a bit of a break with the FCS Black Bears coming to town. However, Maine's 3 - 0  and the Northwestern defense is not exactly stellar. After this one, Northwestern has an open date before hosting Ohio State in the biggest game in Evanston in recent memory, but only if they take care of business on Saturday. This one could be a nail biter.

Louisiana-Monroe 17 @ (20) Baylor 38: Baylor may be the best team in the Big 12, with a schedule that is totally back loaded and should be 7 - 0 heading into their Nov. 7 matchup with Oklahoma, followed by Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., TCU and Texas to end the season. The Warhawks are a step up for the Bears, but the result should be the same as the two wins that started the season.

Bethune-Cookman  10 @ (8) Florida St. - Name your score.: Really? Can we get rid of these games? I know the Wildcats are 3 - 0, but against who?

(23) Arizona St. 24 @ (5) Stanford 31: This is the only game of the week featuring two ranked teams. I'm not ready to go all in on Stanford, but Arizona St., while I like the Sun Devils, are a cut below on defense. The Cardinal need to play 60 minutes, but I think they just have too much for Arizona St.

SMU 21 @ (10) Texas A&M 49: Despite the loss to Alabama, the Aggies remain a potent force in the SEC. Johnny Manziel should continue to impress and the Mustangs will offer little resistance in advance of A&M's trip to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas next week.

Colorado St. 13 @ (1) Alabama 35:  There is nothing in the resume of the Rams that would suggest they can stay on the field with the Crimson Tide, despite Alabama coming off an emotional win over Texas A&M and the return to Tuscaloosa of former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain as head coach of Colorado St.

Texas St. 20 @ (25) Texas Tech 31: Texas St. won't present nearly the test for the Red Raiders that TCU did last week. It was an big win for Texas Tech, so the only thing they really need to guard against will be a letdown. There is a chance of that, but I don't see an upset in this one.

Savannah St. 3 @ (16) Miami, Fl 34: The Hurricanes had a bye week to come down off their win over Florida. Svannah St. is a mediocre to poor FCS team with virtually no chance to compete with Miami.

Auburn 24 @ (6) LSU 34: This is an interesting start to the Bayou Bengals' SEC schedule. Auburn is a surprising 3 - 0 under new coach Gus Malzahn, who orchestrated the Tigers ' offense during their national championship run. If Auburn was hosting the game, I might give them a fighting chance. But I like LSU's defense to make stops and their offense under new coordinator Cam Cameron is putting up a lot of points.

(15) Michigan 37 @ Connecticut 13: A week ago, this would have been an easy pick for Michigan. I don't see Connecticut winning this game, but I'll be interested in seeing how the Wolverines rebound from a poor performance last week against Akron. I expect Michigan coach Brady Hoke to have his team ready to play against a Huskie squad that has really struggled running the ball.

N. Mexico St. 10 @ (13) UCLA 51: The Aggies have given up 42 points or more in their first three games and might be the worst FBS school in the nation. UCLA can really light up the scoreboard behind quarterback Brett Hundley, a Heisman trophy candidate. This game is going to be over very early.

Arkansas  27 @ Rutgers 24: The Hogs travel to New Jersey to try to avenge last year's loss to the Scarlet Knights in Fayetteville. Rutgers runs a balanced offense, while Arkansas has relied mostly on a punishing running game. The Hogs lost FB Kiero Small for the season, so we'll have to see how that impacts the offense. Starting QB Brandon Allen suffered a shoulder injury last week and is questionable for Saturday's game. All in all, this one's a tossup, so I'll take the homer pick and go with Arkansas.

Marshall 10 @ Virginia Tech 24: The Hokies are still struggling on offense and were a little lucky to get out of Greenville last week with a win over East Carolina. If their defense plays as they have in the first three games, they should still prevail, regardless of their offensive production. For Tech fans like me, we're just hoping the offense improves as the season progresses, despite early injuries that depleted their talent at the skill positions.

UNC 28 @ Ga. Tech 30: I don't have great read on either of these teams. The Tar Heels looked inept in their season opening loss to South Carolina, then scored 40 points in a win over Conference USA member Middle Tennessee State.  Georgia Tech took care of business against Duke before that, drilled Elon in a huge mismatch. It was fashionable before the season to pick UNC to have a very good season, but I'm not sold on them. I'm staying with Ga. Tech and that rushing offense.


Kansas St. 28 @ Texas 30: Mack Brown is on a very hot seat in Austin, so the Longhorns have a lot of incentive to try to reverse their two game skid in which they've given up 40+ points both times. In addition, Texas has been beaten by Kansas State the last three seasons. It astounds me, as it does a lot of football gurus, that Texas can look so bad when they supposedly have so much talent. I don't think K-State is all that good this year, so I'm going to predict that Texas finds a way to prevail, as long as they can remember how to tackle.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NFL WEEK 2 PREDICTION RECAP

Last Week:  12 - 4.

Season: 22 - 10.

Not a bad week, with a two-game improvement over week 1. I made a big mistake in thinking that San Francisco could beat the best home team in the league, but other than that one, the other losses were pretty close and for the most part, mild upsets.  In some other observations, the Redskins look pretty bad and need to make some big defensive adjustments heading into next week, although even at 0 -2, they aren't in terrible shape considering there are no 2 - 0 teams in the NFC East.  I like what Andy Reid is doing in Kansas City with Alex Smith on offense and as well as how they're playing on the defensive side of the ball. And Miami appears to be able to challenge the Patriots in the AFC East if New England continues to have trouble finding consistent offensive weapons to support QB Tom Brady.

WEEK 2 PREDICTION RESULTS:

NEW ENGLAND   24 New York Jets  16: Correct.   13 - 10.

GREEN BAY 28  Washington 24: Correct.  38 - 20.

BALTIMORE  27 Cleveland 20: Correct. 14 - 6.

ATLANTA  27 St. Louis 24: Correct.  31 - 24.

PHILADELPHIA  38  San Diego  27: The Eagles need to shore up their defense in order to be successful this season, especially if they continue playing a hurry up style that gives their opponents the ball so many times during a game. NO.  30 - 33.

CHICAGO  27 Minnesota 21: Correct. 31 - 30.

BUFFALO  20 Carolina 24: This was really close, as I thought it would be. The Panthers are probably better than 0 - 2, but I doubt they have the talent to compete with Atlanta and New Orleans in the NFC South.  NO.  24 - 23.

HOUSTON  27 Tennessee  21: Correct. 30 - 24.

INDIANAPOLIS  28 Miami 27: I was tempted to take the Dolphins, and probably should have.  NO.  20 - 24.

KANSAS CITY  30 Dallas 27: Correct.  17 - `16.

TAMPA BAY   17 New Orleans  31:  Correct.  16 - 14.

ARIZONA  27  Detroit 24: Correct. 25 - 21.

NEW YORK GIANTS  30 Denver 34: Correct. 23 - 41.

OAKLAND  27 Jacksonville 14: Correct. 19 - 9.

SEATTLE  20 San Francisco 28: This was easily my worst pick of the week, college or pro. I fell asleep at the switch here. NO. 29 - 3.


CINCINNATI  21  Pittsburgh 20: Correct.  20 - 10.

Monday, September 16, 2013

NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 3 RECAP:

Week 3 NCAA Football Recap: After a tough start with a loss in the first game Thursday night, I rebounded by running  the table on Saturday. Granted, it wasn't the toughest of weeks to pick the top 25, but there were still some close games that could have gone either way.  I also had games that didn't involve ranked teams, so all in all, not a bad week. I'm certain I'll be coming back to earth pretty soon.
I was especially surprised, as everyone else probably was, at Michigan's almost losing performance against Akron. The MAC seems to be down a little this year, so a Zips' upset would have been a shocker. And of course, the shootout in College Station between Alabama and Texas A&M probably did little to taint the reputation of Johnnie "Football" Manzell.  He almost orchestrated what would have been a stunning comeback against Alabama, coming up just short in a great game.
The other game of note was Wisconsin's loss to Arizona State as the Badgers and the officials conspired to make the final seconds a total mess. Wisconsin, despite having about 15 seconds to work with, failed to get off another play that would have set up a 32 yard game-winning field goal. My take was that with no timeouts left, the Badger coach just tried to get too cute and, with no margin for error, paid the price.
Last Week: 21 - 1
Season: 52 - 12
(24) TCU 24 at Texas Tech 21: This game was close late, but Tech hung tough and pulled the mild upset. 10 - 20.
Akron 13 at (11) Michigan 38: Correct. 24 - 28.
(5) Stanford  31 at Army 10: Correct. 34 -20.
(16) UCLA 34 at (23) Nebraska 31:  Correct. 41 - 21.
(7) Louisville 45 at Kentucky 14:  Correct. 27 - 13.
Tulsa 10 at (14) Oklahoma 27: Correct. 20 - 51.
Nevada  7 at (10) Florida St. 51: Correct. 7 - 62.
Tennessee 17 at (2) Oregon 49:  Correct. 14 - 59.
(1) Alabama 28 at (6) Texas A&M 27: Correct. 49 - 42.
(19) Washington 30 at Illinois 28: Correct. 34 - 24.
(4) Ohio St.  38 at California 21: Correct. 52 - 34.
 Kent St. 10 at (8) LSU 41: Correct. 13 - 45.
Vanderbilt 24 at (13) South Carolina 34: Correct. 25 - 35.
Lamar 13 at (12) Oklahoma State 35: Correct. 3 - 59.
(25) Mississippi 31 at Texas 27: Correct. 44 - 23.
(21) Notre Dame 38 at Purdue 17: Correct. 31 - 24.
Western Michigan 17 at (17) Northwestern  40:  Correct. 17 - 38.  
(20) Wisconsin 27 at Arizona St. 30: Correct. 30 - 32.
Virginia Tech 27 at East Carolina 17: Correct. 15 - 10.
Southern Mississippi  14 at Arkansas 37: Correct. 3 - 24.
Georgia Tech 30 at Duke 24: Correct. 38 - 14.

Mississippi St. 27 at Auburn 31: Correct. 20 - 24.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

NFL WEEK 1 RECAP AND WEEK 2 PREDICTIONS

WEEK 1 RECAP:

Last Week: A very respectable 10 - 6.

The big disappointment of the week was probably the Steelers losing to the Titans at home.  I think the most surprising game was how the Jets were able to eke out a one point win over the Bucs.

DENVER (HOME TEAM IN CAPS) 30 Baltimore 24: Correct. 49 - 27.

PITTSBURGH 27 Tennessee 24: Ouch! The Steelers weren't able to do anything against the Titans defense.  9 - 16.

New England  27 BUFFALO 20: Correct. 23 - 21.

Atlanta 30 NEW ORLEANS 28: As predicted, this was one of the best Week One matchups. It was a tossup for me and I whiffed on it.  17 - 23.

Tampa Bay 24 NEW YORK JETS 17: The Jets got a gift at the end of the game, but it was still a big win.   17 - 18.

Kansas City 27 JACKSONVILLE 24: Correct. 28 - 2.

SEATTLE 30 Carolina 20: Correct. 12 - 7.

CLEVELAND 27 Miami 24: There was really no logic to this pick and it showed. 10 - 23.

DETROIT 21 Minnesota 20: Correct. 34 - 24.

INDIANAPOLIS 34 Oakland 17: Correct. 21 - 17.

CHICAGO 28 Cincinnati 27: Correct. 24 - 21.

ST. LOUIS 24 Arizona 17: Correct. 27 - 24.

SAN FRANCISCO 37 Green Bay 34: Correct. 34 - 28.

DALLAS 30 New York Giants 20: Correct. 36 - 31.

WASHINGTON 27 Philadelphia 20:  Too many turnovers hurt the 'Skins and RGIII was clearly rusty in the first half. 27 - 33.

SAN DIEGO 31 Houston 28: This one made me 0 for Monday night. New coach, same result for the Chargers. At least I got the final score right. 28 - 31.


WEEK 2 PREDICTIONS:

NEW ENGLAND   24 New York Jets  16: A couple of weeks ago, there wouldn't be much doubt as to who to pick here. But the Jets pulled off a miracle and Brady is lacking offensive weapons. If I was going to bet against the spread, I'd surely pick the Jets to cover 12 points. But I think the Patriots can confuse Geno Smith of the Jets enough to pull out a win.

GREEN BAY 28  Washington 24: As much as it pains me to do so, Washington faces a short week and having to travel to Green Bay to play a dangerous Packer offense. Unless the 'Skins defense can make some big plays, it looks like they'll fall to 0 - 2.

BALTIMORE  27 Cleveland 20: The Ravens will be smarting from the drubbing at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. They face a Cleveland team that is still struggling to find an offensive identity. I like the Ravens here.

ATLANTA  27 St. Louis 24: Coming off a disappointing loss in New Orleans, the Falcons come home for a critical game to keep from starting the season 0 -2. The Rams continue to improve under Jeff Fisher, but the Georgia Dome should be good to Atlanta this weekend.

PHILADELPHIA  38  San Diego  27: This could look a lot like last week, with the Eagles getting a big lead early and then holding on. The Chargers are coming off a short week and a long trip to the east.

CHICAGO  27 Minnesota 21: A big NFC North matchup, with the improved Bears looking to continue the momentum of last week's win over the Bengals. Cutler should find a way to win this one.

BUFFALO  20 Carolina 24: Both teams are coming off tough losses to elite teams. This is a tossup for me, but I'll go with Cam Newton to put this one in the W column for the Panthers.

HOUSTON  27 Tennessee  21: I like the progress the Titans are making, but I don't think they have enough on offense to win against a jubilant Texans squad that stole one from the Chargers.

INDIANAPOLIS  28 Miami 27: I'm really tempted to take the Dolphins here. They posted a good win against the Browns last week, but it's tough to go against Andrew Luck and the Colts at home.

KANSAS CITY  30 Dallas 27: Who knows the Cowboys better than Andy Reid? The Chiefs dismantled the Jags last week and I wasn't impressed with the Dallas defense Sunday night. Maybe it's wishful thinking that a 'Skins' divisional rival will drop a game, but I like Kansas City this season.

TAMPA BAY   17 New Orleans  31: The Bucs are dealing with a lot of controversy this week following their meltdown against the Jets. The Saints looked great against the Falcons, especially on defense.

ARIZONA  27  Detroit 24: Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald is going to be tough to defend as the season goes on. If the Colts can defense Reggie Bush, then they can get a victory on Sunday.

NEW YORK GIANTS  30 Denver 34: Well, the easiest prediction is that a Manning will win Sunday. Seriously though, I think Denver will win a lot of football games this season, probably 13 or 14 and this will be one of them. Despite going east, the Broncos are on a mission and have the personnel, especially the QB, to pull it off.

OAKLAND  27 Jacksonville 14: The Jaguars are a train wreck and the Raiders are probably a little better than people projected, given their performance on the road against the Colts. Terrell Pryor is definitely their man at QB and they're physical enough on defense to cause teams problems.  The Jags are a train wreck and headed west, or south...

SEATTLE  20 San Francisco 28: What a matchup for week 2. The Seahawks barely beat the Panthers, looking pretty poorly offensively. The 49er's defeated a good Packers squad. To hear most pundits, these are the two best teams in the league. Despite being on the road at a very difficult place to play, I'm going with San Francisco.


CINCINNATI  21 Pittsburgh 20: It's hard to be predicting that the Steelers will drop to 0 -  2, but that's what I'm doing. I like the personnel that the Bengals have and they gave the Bears a real game on the road to begin the season. 

NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP AND PREDICTIONS

Don't forget to check out my new E-book, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", now available in all E-book formats.

Week 2 Recap:

Last week: 16 - 5. Season: 31- 11

Once again, the SEC did me in, costing me two of the five games that I missed. However, it was good to see the Miami Hurricanes give the ACC a quality win, although we'll see how big a win that is as the season progresses. I'm still not sold on the Gators, especially in that tough SEC. And although I gave the BYU Cougars a chance, I didn't think Texas would lay a defensive egg.  And then there's what happened to USC, scoring just seven points in a crippling loss to Wahington St., one that clearly puts coach Lane Kiffen on the hot seat.

(13) Oklahoma St. 35 UTSA 10:  Correct.  56 - 35

(12) Florida 24 at Miami, FL 20: Missed this one. Florida just couldn't convert in the red zone.  16 - 21

Eastern Kentucky 13 at (8) Louisville 34: Correct.  7 - 44

Tennessee Tech  7 at (21) Wisconsin 34: Correct.  0 - 48
SE Louisiana 13 at (21) TCU  31: Correct.  17 - 38
S. Car. St. 6 (4) Clemson 41: Correct. 13 - 52
(2) Oregon 35 at Virginia 14: Correct. 59 - 10
San Diego St. 7 at (3) Ohio St. 44: Correct.  7 - 42
Buffalo 24 at (23) Baylor 38: Correct.  13 - 70
(6) South Carolina 27 at (11) Georgia 24:  It was a terrific game, I just failed to predict the correct winner. It will be difficult now for the national champion to come out of the SEC East. 30 - 41
Syracuse  20 at (19) Northwestern  28: Correct.  27 - 48
Southern Mississippi  24 at (22) Nebraska 30: Correct.   13 - 56
West Virginia  10 at (16) Oklahoma 37: Correct. 7 - 16
(15) Texas  27 at BYU 21:  Maybe Texas coach Mack Brown and USC coach Lane Kiffen can get a hot seat for two...  21 - 40
Sam Houston St. 34 at (7) Texas A&M 54:  Correct.  28 - 65
UAB 13 @ (9) LSU 38: Correct.  17 - 56
(14) Notre Dame 24 at (17) Michigan 31: Correct. 30 - 41
Washington St. 21 at  (25) USC 30: Trouble in Tinseltown, big time.  10 - 7
San Jose St. 27 at (5) Stanford 24: I either overestimated San Jose's offense or underestimated Stanford's defense, or maybe a little of both.  13 - 34
Samford 6 at Arkansas  41 (in Little Rock): Correct.  21 - 31
Western Carolina 6 at Virginia Tech 20: Correct.  3 - 45
This Week:
(24) TCU 24 at Texas Tech 21: TCU is without their starting QB for s few weeks, but I think they'll still have enough to hold off the Red Raiders.
Akron 13 at (11) Michigan 38: I really like Michigan, which is probably bad news for the Wolverines. Seriously, though, I think they're a bit underrated and may be able to challenge Ohio St. for the Big Ten crown.
(5) Stanford  31 at Army 10: I'm not making the same mistake with Stanford this week. Even though Stanford is having to travel East and play at 9:00 am PDT, they have way too much for Army.
(16) UCLA 34 at (23) Nebraska 31: The Bruins defeated the Cornhuskers last year, but that game was in Los Angeles. This one will be in Lincoln, with another West Coast team having to play at 9:00 am PDT. After a sluggish start to the season, Nebraska found their offense against Southern Miss in a 56 - 13 win. UCLA put up 58 against Nevada, so this is a pretty compelling matchup. I'm going with the Bruins in another close one.
(7) Louisville 45 at Kentucky 14:  This would make a great basketball matchup, but Kentucky got drilled in week 1 by Bobby Petrino's FCS Western Kentucky while Louisville is on a roll. It's going to take Mark Stoops, the new coach at Kentucky a while to do one of two things: 1) Make the Wildcats competitive, or 2) Give up after three years and go back to coaching defense at a real football school.
Tulsa 10 at (14) Oklahoma 27: The Sooners seem to have something no Big 12 team has exhibited in a while, and that's a real defense. Unfortunately, they haven't shown much on offense, but they should be able to handle cross state rival Tulsa, who aren't nearly as strong as they have been in recent years.
Nevada  7 at (10) Florida St. 51: So let's see what we have in this one. Nevada is going east to play in Tallahassee, Florida at 3:30 in the afternoon in oppressing heat and humidity. They were beaten last week by UCLA, 58 - 20. The 'Noles'  Jameis Winston is coming off an incredible debut against Pittsburgh on the road. At some point Florida State will probably stub its toe, but not in this one.
Tennessee 17 at (2) Oregon 49:  The Vols have run over two FCS schools, rolling up 97 points for new coach Butch Jones, partly because Western Kentucky committed five turnovers in a six play span. So if an FCS school can turn the ball over six times and still put up 20 on Tennessee in Knoxville, what's Oregon going to do at home to the Vols?
(1) Alabama 28 at (6) Texas A&M 27: This is the one we've been waiting for since last year's upset by the Aggies and Johnnie Football's coming out party in Tuscaloosa. Alabama's offense was stifled by Virginia Tech in a 35 - 10 victory, relying instead on defense and special teams. A&M shredded the Crimson Tide a season ago, but I'm pretty sure Nick Saban has an answer for the now sophomore sensation. I think Alabama will prevail, but this should be one of the most entertaining games of the season.
(19) Washington 30 at Illinois 28: I really like Washington's resurgence, but Illinois is going through a similar process. This is a big test for the Huskies, especially since they'll be going east to Champaign.  Washington should still prevail, but it'll be closer than most people think.
(4) Ohio St.  38 at California 21: I'm not totally sold yet on Ohio State. They beat Buffalo 40 -20, then the Bulls got trounced by Baylor, giving up 70 points in the process. San Diego State is really bad, so a 42 - 7 win by the Buckeyes wasn't all that great. Cal isn't going to win this one, but I'm interested to see how Ohio State plays on the road.
Kent St. 10 at (8) LSU 41: Kent St. isn't all that good and they have to go into Death Valley on a September Saturday night. Heat, humidity, noise and a very good Tiger team will all serve to make this one a laugher.
Vanderbilt 24 at (13) South Carolina 34: The Gamecocks are coming off a disappointing loss to Georgia. Otherwise, I may have given thought to picking the Commodores in an upset. South Carolina has talent and should prevail.
Lamar 13 at (12) Oklahoma State 35: Lamar beat someone called Panhandle State 75 - 0 in their first game. Panhandle State? Really? Anyway, the Cowboys have had a distracting week, but they'll have plenty of firepower on both sides of the ball to easily win this one.
(25) Mississippi 31 at Texas 27: This is really not the game the Longhorns wanted to have following a crushing loss to BYU. The Rebels are on the rise and Texas is reeling, so much that Mack Brown fired his defensive coordinator during the week. Wow, talk about a little intrigue in Austin. The truth is that Texas hasn't been the same since defensive coordinator Will Muschamp left to coach Florida. This may signal the beginning of the end for Mack Brown.
(21) Notre Dame 38 at Purdue 17: This game should be a good one for the Irish to be able to rebound after a tough loss to Michigan. Purdue is a bottom feeder in the Big Ten, and despite this being a rivalry game, Notre Dame is much better than the Boilermakers.
Western Michigan 17 at (17) Northwestern  40: I'm not impressed with Northwestern's defense and this game won't tell me anything about that. Western Michigan really can't compete with the big-time programs this season, already losing to a mediocre Michigan State team by the score of 26 - 13.  Add a loss to Nicholls and it comes out to an easy win for the Wildcats.
(20) Wisconsin 27 at Arizona St. 30: In a combined three games against inferior competition, and I use that term loosely, neither of these teams has given up a point. Now they both have to play a real, quality FBS team. The Badgers will have to deal with the desert heat in Tempe. The Sun Devils will have to deal with the size and talent of Wisconsin. I'm going to pick the upset here and go with a program on the rise.
Virginia Tech 27 at East Carolina 17: In the past, this has been a nightmare for the Hokies. It's  tough to say where Tech is in terms of bouncing back from last year's disappointing  7 - 6 season. East Carolina has had early season success, but FCS Old Dominion and Florida Atlantic from Conference USA are clearly not the caliber of competition that the Hokies will present on Saturday. The Hokies' defense looks close to being impenetrable and the Pirates have put up a lot of points. It's the Tech offense that's the question mark here. I'll stick with my team and sweat it out while sitting in the stadium for the Arkansas - Southern Mississippi game.
Southern Mississippi  14 at Arkansas 37: The Razorbacks dodged a bullet Saturday in Little Rock by coming back to defeat FCS Samford. They jumped out to a big lead and then seemed to ease up a little bit. Knowing coach Bret Bielema's style, it'll probably be the last time that happens. Southern Mississippi should be dominated both offensively and defensively as the Hogs continue to make progress.
Georgia Tech 30 at Duke 24: This game should be a good gauge of how far the Blue Devils have come in upgrading their football program. Georgia Tech is really tough to defend and I don't think Duke will be able to handle it.
Mississippi St. 27 at Auburn 31: Auburn's win against Washington St. looks a lot better now that the Cougars upset USC last week. I liked Mississippi State to begin the season, but I have to go with Gus Malzahn's Tigers to put up more points.






Thursday, September 5, 2013

NFL WEEK ONE PREDICTIONS

Disclaimer: I haven't really been following the off season NFL stories, as I've been busy publishing one book and starting another. So this is kind of a crap shoot. I pick the games straight up, with little regard for the betting lines. Don't get me wrong, I bet, but that's a whole different process. Anyway, here are the first picks of the season.

DENVER (HOME TEAM IN CAPS) 30 Baltimore 24: I think there will be a true revenge factor here. The Broncos literally gave that playoff game to the Ravens. I don't think they'll be that generous tonight.

PITTSBURGH 27 Tennessee 24: When in doubt in the NFL, I generally take the home team. The Steelers, off a down year, have something to prove.

New England  27 BUFFALO 20: I know there were a lot of distractions for the Patriots and they have a real issue at tight end, but the Bills are going with untested rookie EJ Manuel at QB. Brady and Company will find a way to get it done.

Atlanta 30 NEW ORLEANS 28: This is one of the best Week One matchups. Sean Payton is back coaching the Saints and they'll be hungry to show the home crowd that they can contend again. But the Falcons also have a lot to prove. This was a tossup for me.

Tampa Bay 24 NEW YORK JETS 17: I'm being very generous by thinking the Jets can score 17 points. This team and organization is a train wreck right now. The Bucs, while not yet an elite team, are on the rise.

Kansas City 27 JACKSONVILLE 24: Not sure why I'm going with the Chiefs, but I like Andy Reid hooked up with Alex Smith at QB. You add Jamal Charles at RB and you have a pretty formidable combo.

SEATTLE 30 Carolina 20: Let's see, the Panthers have Cam Newton. The Seahawks have Russell Wilson. The Panthers have Cam Newton. The Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch. The Panthers have Cam Newton. The Seahawks have a shut down defense. Okay, you get the picture.

CLEVELAND 27 Miami 24: There is really no logic to this pick.

DETROIT 21 Minnesota 20: Eventually all of that talent that the Lions have should come together. This is another pick 'em game for me, but I'll go with the home team.

INDIANAPOLIS 34 Oakland 17: The Raiders are the worst organization in the league and the product they will put on the field this season will reflect that. Outside of Darren McFadden, they have, well, nothing.

CHICAGO 28 Cincinnati 27: Another really close pick, but I'll give the nod to the Bears at Soldier Field.

ST. LOUIS 24 Arizona 17: The Cardinals are a bit of a mystery to me, but the Rams, in their second season under coach Jeff Fisher, need to make things happen. I like them here.

SAN FRANCISCO 37 Green Bay 34: In the playoffs last season, Colin Kaepernick totally dismantled the Packers.  I think they'll make some adjustments, but the Niners are the complete deal and should manage to withstand an Aaron Rodgers assault.

DALLAS 30 New York Giants 20: The Giants have a lot of question marks and the Cowboys are poised to make a run, if Romo can avoid the brain farts.

WASHINGTON 27 Philadelphia 20:  As a diehard Redskin fan, this one is a great start to the season. I'm also a Virginia Tech Hokie, so you can throw in the Michael Vick piece of the story as well. I think the difference will be the Washington running game.  At least I hope so.


SAN DIEGO 31 Houston 28: The Texans' Gary Kubiak is on the hot seat and this game won't help much. I have no reason for picking the Chargers, other than they have a new coach and they're at home. 

NCAA Football Predictions and Last Week's Recap

Last week: 15 - 6. Of the six games I missed, five of them involved SEC teams. I guess I need to be a little more diligent in my assessments. I also feel the MAC won't be as strong as a conference as last year, if their  performances from last week are any indication. Here's a recap of last week's picks, followed by this week's predictions.

UNC 21 at (6) South Carolina 24: Yes. 10 - 27.

(24) USC 31 at Hawaii  17: Yes. 13 - 30

Ole Miss 28 at Vanderbilt 30: No. I was beaten on this one by a late 75 yard TD by the Rebels.  39-35.

Massachusetts  6  at (23) Wisconsin 42: Yes. 0 - 45

Buffalo 10 at (2) Ohio St 38.: Yes. 20 -40.

Toledo 27 at (10) Florida 24: No. Toledo really didn't show up offensively and Florida may be better than I thought. 6 - 24.

Rice  21 at (7) Texas A&M 31:Yes. 31 - 52.

Mississippi St. 34 at (13) Oklahoma St. 31: No. The Bulldog's offense never got going against a defense that should still be suspect. If that Cowboy defense is for real, then they could seriously compete for the national championship. 3 - 21.

Temple  13 at (14) Notre Dame 31:  Yes. 6 - 28.

Central Michigan 13 at (17) Michigan 34: Yes. 9 - 59.

Eastern Washington  24 at (25) Oregon St. 30: No. Even though I missed this one, it didn't surprise me at all. 49 - 46.

Louisiana-Monroe 27 at (16) Oklahoma 34: Yes. 0 - 34.

Wyoming 10 at (18) Nebraska 38: Yes. 34 - 37.

New Mexico St. 7 at (15) Texas 42: Yes. 7 - 56.

(5) Georgia  38 at (8) Clemson 35: No. I picked the score right, I just had the teams reversed. I'm actually very pleased with the outcome. 35 - 38.

(12) LSU 24 vs. (20) TCU 27: No. I got TCU's score correct in this one, but LSU ended up bringing a strong offensive attack. 37 -- 27.

(19) Boise St. 27 at Washington 31: Yes. 6 - 38.  
  
Nevada 17 at (21) UCLA 28: Yes. 20 - 58.

(22) Northwestern  34 at California 13: Yes. 44 - 30.

Ohio 24 at (9) Louisville 30: Yes. 7 - 49.

 (11) Florida St. 27 at Pittsburgh 17:  Yes. 41 - 13.

Nicholls 6 at (3) Oregon 58: Yes. 3 - 66.

Louisiana-Lafayette 24 at Arkansas 28: Yes. 14 - 34.

Virginia Tech 17 vs. (1) Alabama 28: Yes. 10 - 35.

Week 2 Predictions:

(13) Oklahoma St. 35 UTSA 10: I was pretty impressed with the Cowboys last week. UTSA shouldn't pose much of a problem this weekend.

(12) Florida 24 at Miami, FL 20: Okay, another SEC game, this one against another ACC foe. Miami is supposed to be much improved over last season, but Florida looked very good last week against Toledo. My record with the SEC teams wasn't very good. But I'll stick with Florida. I think the Hurricanes are still a year away from being really good.

Eastern Kentucky 13 at (8) Louisville 34: Eastern Kentucky will not be able to give Louisville much of a game in this one.

Tennessee Tech  7 at (21) Wisconsin 34: Ditto here. Wisconsin is tough and shouldn't have any problem with Tennessee Tech.
SE Louisiana 13 at (21) TCU  31: TCU came on late last week, but fell short against LSU. I look for them to rebound pretty well in this one.
S. Car. St. 6 (4) Clemson 41: In some cases, I might expect a letdown from the Tigers after their big win over Georgia last week. But their opponent this week won't offer much of a struggle. If Georgia couldn't slow down Taj Boyd, it won't happen Saturday.
(2) Oregon 35 at Virginia 14: Last week the Cavaliers pulled out a squeaker against BYU, but this game will be a big step up for UVA. The Ducks come east, but it shouldn't do much to slow them down. An upset here would be huge for the ACC, but I don't see much chance of it happening.
San Diego St. 7 at (3) Ohio St. 44: This one's already over, if that's possible. San Diego St. was trounced last week by Eastern Illinois. Game over!
Buffalo 24 at (23) Baylor 38: It seems as if Buffalo can score on the top level teams, but can't stop them. Baylor hasn't played a game yet and the Bulls have faced a tough Ohio St. team, so the Bears need to be on guard. But I think Baylor's offense will prevail.
(6) South Carolina 27 at (11) Georgia 24:  This, of course, is the game of the week. especially in the south and particularly in the SEC.  I watched both of these teams last week and I liked what I saw from South Carolina. But of course, they weren't playing Clemson. It's hard for me to know how well the Gamecocks played on defense until we see North Carolina play more games.  Since my record on the SEC was terrible last week, I'll go with South Carolina in what should be a terrific game.
Syracuse  20 at (19) Northwestern  28: The ranked Wildcats went out to California and got a 44 - 30 victory over a team that may be near the bottom of the Pac-12. I'm not sold on Northwestern, but I think they can outscore Syracuse, a 23 -17 loser at home to Penn St. But I won't be shocked if there's an upset in this one.
Southern Mississippi  24 at (22) Nebraska 30: Both of these teams struggled last week, So. Miss. in a loss to Conference USA newcomer Texas St. and the Cornhuskers in a close win against Wyoming. My sense is that Nebraska just isn't all that good, but neither is So. Miss., so stick with the 'Huskers in this one.
West Virginia  10 at (16) Oklahoma 37: This is going to be a very long season for West Virginia, who last week struggled to defeat FBS William and Mary in Morgantown. I watched enough of that game to figure out that the Mountaineers just don't have the athletes they had in the past. Oklahoma may finally a defense that can get them back into the national picture. This one is going to be very ugly.
(15) Texas  27 at BYU 21: Texas had a slow start last week before putting away a miserable New Mexico St. team. BYU lost to Virginia, so I'll go with Texas, who I think is much improved from previous seasons. But the game's in Provo, so I'll give the Cougars a chance.
Sam Houston St. 34 at (7) Texas A&M 54: Sam Houston St. is a high scoring FBS squad that put up 28 points on Texas A&M in a 47 - 28 loss. Last week, the Aggies gave up 31 points to what should have been an overmatched Rice team. A&M better not let down, or they could suffer an embarrassing loss.
UAB 13 @ (9) LSU 38: Saturday night at Death Valley in Baton Rouge. Enough said.
(14) Notre Dame 24 at (17) Michigan 31: For most of the country outside of the south, this is probably the game of the week. Last year's national championship runner-up used a win in this game a season ago to vault into contention. This year, I see Michigan doing the same thing. I like the Wolverines to end any Irish national championship hopes early.
Washington St. 21 at  (25) USC 30: The Trojans passed their first test of the season on the road against Hawaii and seem poised to contend in the Pac-12 this season. This is one of those games they can't afford to lose and won't.
San Jose St. 27 at (5) Stanford 24: San Jose St. may be the best unknown team in the country. They were ranked at the end of last season and lost by only a field goal to Stanford last year. The Spartans have a game under their belt, a shutout victory, while Stanford will be playing their season opener. This is a very scary game for the Cardinal. This is my upset pick of the week.
Samford 6 at Arkansas  41 (in Little Rock): No contest here. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema just won't let the Hogs let down against an FBS team.

Western Carolina 6 at Virginia Tech 20: The Hokies' defense was brilliant against the Crimson Tide and actually kept its team in the ball game late into the third quarter. But the offense continues to struggle and probably will for quite a while.