"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, October 31, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF COMMITTEE RANKINGS OUT TOMORROW: WHERE I WAS RIGHT, WHERE I WAS WRONG IN PRESEASON

When it comes to college football, I'm all about predictions and what happens between the lines of the field. Before the season started, I had some bold ideas on what things would look like at the end of the season. On the eve of the College Football Playoff Committee releasing its first rankings of the season, I thought it would be interesting to see where I was pretty much on target, and where I was way off.

Where I Was Right:

In the ACC, I had Clemson not only winning the Atlantic division and conference, but also the national championship. With wins over Louisville and Florida State, plus a favorable schedule the rest of the way, they are still on track to at least play their way into the playoffs. Can they afford a defeat to rival South Carolina and still get consideration? That remains to be seen. I also was correct on the emergence of Louisville, a close second to Clemson, but they'll need some good fortune to contend. Regarding Florida State, I was right on the mark there as well. On the other side of the league, I went with North Carolina in a close race, but pointed out that Virginia Tech was a bit of a wild card in Justin Fuente's first season heading the Hokies' program. Right now the two teams are tied atop the Coastal division, but Tech owns the tiebreaker and controls their own destiny.

Moving to the Big 12, I correctly predicted the bit of a slump for Oklahoma, but their losses so far have come in non-conference games. However, they have the teeth of their conference schedule remaining, and right now the league is clearly up for grabs. I picked Oklahoma State to emerge, and after a Cowboys win over undefeated West Virginia last week, that final game in Norman against Oklahoma might just decide the champion.

I didn't get much right in the Big Ten, except that my prediction algorithm correctly had Michigan as the team to beat, except I went with Ohio State instead. With the Buckeyes struggling a bit the last three games, Jim Harbaugh has Michigan in excellent position to run the table. Of course, they'll need to get past Ohio State in regular season finale. My prediction that Wisconsin's schedule would doom them is also fairly accurate, as they're easily the best two-loss team in the country.

About the only thing about the Pac-12 that I had even partly correct was that I didn't have Stanford winning the North, and it's a certainty now that they won't, already mathematically eliminated having lost to Washington and Washington State. I wasn't sold yet on Washington, and believe it or not, I'm still not. My pick was Washington State, and I'm not changing it yet. In the South, I thought USC would challenge UCLA and they're still in the hunt.

In the SEC East, I had little confidence in Tennessee and despite a solid start, albeit a little lucky, they've dropped three in a row and will need a miracle of sorts, namely a collapse by Florida, to contend. In the West, I correctly predicted a step back for the Mississippi schools, as they currently stand with two conference wins between them.

Finally, I recognized Notre Dame's demise, due mainly to a lack of quality players to get them even to a bowl game. They still have a chance, but finishing up with Virginia Tech and USC will challenge them to become bowl eligible, especially with their other two opponents, Navy and Army, having solid seasons.

Where I Was Wrong:

In the Big 12, I didn't see the emergence of West Virginia, but I might not be too far off on that, given that my pick for the title, Oklahoma State, just beat them last week. A team that could be very disruptive is Kansas State. My choice in the Big Ten was Iowa, so I whiffed on that, even though they're still in the mix if things get crazy in the West. In the East, I thought Urban Meyer's coaching and recruiting could make up for a lack of returning starters. It still may, but Michigan looks very good right now. Heading out west, I didn't see Colorado making the move they have, but they still have some tough games left to play, and their loss to USC could hurt them in a tiebreaker. My UCLA pick is just dismal, with the Bruins standing at 1 - 4 in the conference. Of course, no one predicted  that the Bruins' potential All-American QB would have to battle injuries that have no doubt diminished Josh Rosen's effectiveness and playing time.

The three things I really missed on in the SEC, at least so far, were Alabama's continued dominance, the emergence of Auburn's defense and the ability of Florida to continue to win primarily with strength on only the defensive side of the ball. I felt the East would be a three team dogfight between Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, but now only the Gators are still in the race.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Saturday, October 29, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: WEEK NINE PICKS

Last Week:  13 - 7        65.0 %
Overall:       184 - 56    76.7 %

After this week's games, the college football playoff committee with release its top 25. There are several games that will have a big impact on that list, particularly Washington at Utah, Nebraska at Wisconsin and Clemson at Florida State. Ohio State's fourth quarter collapse against Penn State changed the landscape a bit, but a win over Michigan later in the season could still put them in playoff position.

 Thursday: (from an earlier post)

(25) Virginia Tech (5 - 2) 27 @ Pittsburgh (5 - 2) 21: The Hokies looked better last week in downing Miami, but they travel to another place that has not been particularly good to them throughout the years. Even going back to Big East days, Pittsburgh has given Tech fits at Heinz Field and before that old Pitt Stadium. The difference in this game should be Virginia Tech's defense, but that should have been the case a couple of weeks ago at Syracuse. Hopefully for Hokie fans, perhaps the team will play with a little more focus against a Panthers team that has the talent to win.

California (4 - 3) 31@ USC (4 - 3) 41: These two teams have very contrasting styles, with USC more controlled on offense while Cal is wide open. The Trojans, after to falling to 1 - 3, have won three in a row, but they'll need to make some big stops to slow down the Golden Bears. Cal has to rebound from a short week after getting upset at Oregon State last week and they probably haven't had enough time to find a defense to replace the one that's giving up over 40 points a game.

Friday: (from an earlier post)

(22) Navy (5 - 1) 28 @ South Florida (6 - 2) 24: These two teams like to run the ball and both are in the top twelve in rushing offense. Navy's big win over Houston has been diminished a little with the Cougars' loss last week to SMU, but South Florida's inability to stop the run has me leaning toward the Midshipmen to continue their very good season with a win in Tamps. The key will be Navy's ability to control the ball and limit the Bulls' chances on offense. This one should be pretty entertaining.

Saturday:

(10) West Virginia (6 - 0) 34 @ Oklahoma State (5 - 2) 27: Two good passing teams against a couple of shaky pass defenses. West Virginia has looked good the last couple of weeks in impressive wins over Texas Tech and TCU. The Cowboys, besides getting robbed by the officials against Central Michigan, have only one true loss to undefeated Baylor. This is a tough call,, but I'm going to go with West Virginia's balance.

(2) Michigan (7 - 0) 34 @ Michigan State (2 - 5) 14: Can a team that's clearly down come alive to pull a huge upset at home in a rivalry game? Michigan is playing at such a high level right now I seriously doubt if the Spartans can dig deep enough to do what Penn State did to Ohio State last week.

(5) Louisville (6 - 1) 38 @ Virginia (2 - 5) 16: A Clemson loss to Florida State and Louisville's playoff hopes could still be alive. Virginia has shown flashes of pass offense in the last few weeks, but I don't think they have the firepower on offense or the strength on defense to stay with the Cardinals. 

(24) Penn State (5 - 2) 27 @ Purdue (3 - 4) 20: Can the Nittany Lions stay focused after their biggest victory in a couple of decades? Purdue is in it's second game under an interim coach and could cause some problems for Penn State's passing game. I'm tempted to take the home team here, but I'll stay with a pretty hot Nittany Lion squad.

(14) Florida (5 - 1) 23 vs. Georgia (4 - 3) 16 (Jacksonville, FL): Florida is quietly putting together a solid season and controls its own destiny in the SEC East. In one of the biggest rivalry games in college football, the world's biggest outdoor cocktail party can sometimes bring about an unexpected result. But Georgia lost to Vanderbilt, a poor man's version of Gators at home, so I have to give the edge to Florida's defense. The most compelling part of the day might  be CBS' Verne Lunqvist's last call of the great rivalry.

(8) Baylor (6 - 0) 30 @ Texas (3 - 4) 24: Baylor's schedule hasn't exactly been a demanding run, but they beat a good Oklahoma State team. Unless Texas can somehow turn things around in a big way, coach Charlie Strong is clearly on his way out. The Longhorns have some talent on offense, but the defense is a mess. A lot of credit needs to go to Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe for getting the team ready to play after the offseason turmoil.

Northwestern (4 - 3) 13 @  (6) Ohio State (6 - 1) 47: Not a great situation for Northwestern to have to enter the Horseshoe after Ohio State gave up a 14 point fourth quarter lead to drop last week's game to Penn State, leaving no margin for error in their attempt to win the Big Ten. I can't imagine that this week's practices for the Buckeyes were much fun under head coach Urban Meyer. This one could get ugly.

(4) Washington (7 - 0) 28 @ (17) Utah (7 - 1) 20: Washington has become the Cinderella darling of the college football world, especially since Houston has stubbed their toe a couple of times. This game poses a bit of a match-up problem for Washington in a difficult place to play. My problem with Utah is where they're going to get the offensive production to derail the Huskies. I'm looking forward to a Washington at Washington State season finale to decide the Pac-12 North.

Kansas (1 - 6) 24@ (16) Oklahoma (5 - 2) 43: Oklahoma still has major issues on defense, but the next couple of games won't post much of an issue as they face Iowa State next week before finishing against Baylor, West Virginia and rival Oklahoma State.

(7) Nebraska (7 - 0) 20 @ (11) Wisconsin (5 - 2) 23: The 'Huskers take a step up in class against a real battle-tested team. Wisconsin has played Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa in succession. In the same span Nebraska has played Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue. This should be a good game, but I'm not sure the 'Huskers are prepared for that Badger defense.

(13) Boise State (7 - 0) 34 @ Wyoming (5 - 2) 17: Boise should be able to shred a porous Wyoming pass defense. With their ranking, the Broncos could make some noise come College Football Playoff time.


(15) Auburn (5 - 2) 37 @ Ole Miss (3 - 4) 20: The way Auburn handled Arkansas last week was impressive. Ole Miss is a victim of a brutal stretch in their schedule, and they also face some distractions caused by their quarterback Chad Kelly. It looked a few weeks ago like Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was on the hot seat, but a strong finish and a win over Alabama would change all of that.

(18) Tennessee (5 - 2) 27 @ South Carolina (3 - 4) 16: I'm still mystified what the attraction of coach Will Muschamp was for South Carolina. His Gamecocks are just as one-dimensional as his teams at Florida, but with less talent. Tennessee has been doing it with mirrors, but they should be able to handle this one.

New Mexico State (2 - 5) 17 @ (9) Texas A&M (6 - 1) 58: Against one of the worst defenses in the country, the Aggies will be looking to make amends for getting outclassed at Alabama.

(3) Clemson (7 - 0) 31 @ (12) Florida State (5 - 2) 27: Before getting scorched at Louisville and surprised by North Carolina, Florida State had revenge on their mind to recapture the ACC Atlantic and get back to the playoffs. That's off the table now, but the revenge isn't. The problem isn't the motivation, it's the Seminole defense.

Kansas State (4 - 3) 23 @ Iowa State (1 - 6) 17: Defensively, especially against the run, Kansas State is very good.  Iowa State can throw the ball pretty well, but can't stop anyone. I'm staying with K-State, but Ames can be a tough place to escape with a win.

Boston College (3 - 4) 16 @ NC State (4 - 3) 27: The Wolfpack got steamrolled by Louisville last week, but should have more success against a team whose defense, although good, is getting exposed by better competition.

Miami (4 - 3) 24 @ Notre Dame (2 - 5) 21: Before the season, this was shaping up as one of those great intersectional battles with both teams having national reputations. Unfortunately, neither team has lived up to expectations and the only thing Notre Dame is playing for is a chance at a minor bowl game.

Maryland (5 - 2) 30 @ Indiana (3 - 4) 24: Maryland is more susceptible to the run, which Indiana doesn't do particularly well. The Terps ended a two-game losing streak by topping slumping Michigan State and should be able to handle Indiana, but they need to play pretty well. The Hoosiers are probably a little better team than their record indicates.

Army (4 - 3) 20 @ Wake Forest (5 - 2) 23: The Demon Deacons are strong defensively, especially against the run which isn't a good thing for Army's one-dimensional attack. The Black Knights are much improved, but Wake is just a better team.

Texas Tech (3 - 4)  47 @ TCU (4 - 3) 41: TCU's achilles heel this year is their pass defense and the Red Raiders boast the most potent air attack in the country. I just don't know if TCU can keep pace offensively.

Arizona State (5 - 3) 41 @ Oregon (2 - 5) 37: Oregon is the favorite in this one by a whopping 9 1/2 points. The Ducks are giving up over 43 points a game while Arizona State’s defense isn’t great, they do a good job of stopping the run, which is what Oregon relies on for offensive production. I’ll take the Sun Devils to win this outright, no points needed.

Stanford (4 - 3) 27 @ Arizona (2 - 5) 17: Despite averaging just 17 points a game, Stanford has still managed to maintain a winning record. Arizona’s defense should allow the Cardinal to get their offense going.

Washington State (5 - 2) 44 @ Oregon State (2 - 5) 27: I really like Washington State to run the table to set up a big meeting with Washington to end the season. But they’ll need to take care of business at Oregon State first.

Kentucky (4 - 3) 28 @ Missouri (2 - 5) 23: For some reason Missouri is a six and a half point favorite. It makes me think that Vegas knows something we don’t, but I just don’t think the Tigers are as good as Kentucky, even though neither team is all that great. Missouri’s stats are deceiving because they were padded with a couple of total cream puff wins in an embarrassingly weak non-conference schedule.

Minnesota (5 - 2) 30 @ Illinois (2 - 5) 17: Minnesota is quietly having a pretty good season, They should be able to stop the Illini’s tepid offense to become bowl eligible.

Tulsa (5 - 2) 37 @ Memphis (5 - 2) 34: In a rare non-power five pick for me, I find this game very interesting, If circumstances were different, I’d be tempted to make the five hour drive to Memphis to watch this one. Memphis is the favorite, but I’m taking the Golden Hurricane in this one.

Duke (3 - 4) 20 @ Ga. Tech (4 - 3) 31: Georgia Tech can’t really compete with the best teams in the ACC, but Duke isn’t one of those this season. I don’t believe the Blue Devils will be able to stop the Yellow Jacket running game effectively enough to have a chance for their anemic offense to score enough points to get a victory.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Thursday, October 27, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: WEEK NINE THURSDAY AND FRIDAY PICKS

Last Week:  13 - 7        65.0 %
Overall:       184 - 56    76.7 %

 Thursday:

(25) Virginia Tech (5 - 2) 27 @ Pittsburgh (5 - 2) 21: The Hokies looked better last week in downing Miami, but they travel to another place that has not been particularly good to them throughout the years. Even going back to Big East days, Pittsburgh has given Tech fits at Heinz Field and before that old Pitt Stadium. The difference in this game should be Virginia Tech's defense, but that should have been the case a couple of weeks ago at Syracuse. Hopefully for Hokie fans, perhaps the team will play with a little more focus against a Panthers team that has the talent to win.

California (4 - 3) 31@ USC (4 - 3) 41: These two teams have very contrasting styles, with USC more controlled on offense while Cal is wide open. The Trojans, after to falling to 1 - 3, have won three in a row, but they'll need to make some big stops to slow down the Golden Bears. Cal has to rebound from a short week after getting upset at Oregon State last week and they probably haven't had enough time to find a defense to replace the one that's giving up over 40 points a game.

Friday:

(22) Navy (5 - 1) 28 @ South Florida (6 - 2) 24: These two teams like to run the ball and both are in the top twelve in rushing offense. Navy's big win over Houston has been diminished a little with the Cougars' loss last week to SMU, but South Florida's inability to stop the run has me leaning toward the Midshipmen to continue their very good season with a win in Tamps. The key will be Navy's ability to control the ball and limit the Bulls' chances on offense. This one should be pretty entertaining.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WORLD SERIES MEMORIES: NONE OF THE CUBS, OF COURSE

By now most people, at least sports fans, are aware that the Chicago Cubs last played a World Series game in 1945 and won one in 1908. The Cleveland Indians haven't been victorious in the fall classic since 1948.  The fact that these two teams are meeting in this year's World Series shouldn't be surprising, considering the craziness taking place around the 2016 presidential race. The city of Cleveland shed the loser label earlier this year when the Cavaliers shocked the Warriors by coming back from a 3 - 1 deficit to win the NBA title. Now the Cubs are trying to break the longest drought in Big Four history, hoping they can join the city's other franchises for titles in the last twenty years. As the series gets underway tonight, I'm thinking back on specific memories for me, which begin with the earliest one I can remember in 1964.

At that time, there were no night games, so the weekday contests were played partially during school hours. The '64 Series was a classic, with Cardinals greats Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver taking on Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Mel Stottlemyre of the Yankees. I can still remember racing home from school to catch games 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7, the transistor radio still not in full use in the mid-60's. Mantle hit three home runs, including what we now call a walk-off in game 3 in Yankee Stadium to give the home team a two games to one lead. But Gibson would come back and win games five and seven with complete games, including a ten inning performance in game 5. Talk about the first one to remember.

The next year, it was the Dodgers of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale taking on the Minnesota Twins, led by Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat. It was another seven-game thriller with Sandy Koufax throwing a three hit shutout to secure the win for the Dodgers. I remember the Dodgers, in essentially the same style uniforms they have today, playing in the bright Southern California sunshine in Dodger Stadium. The performance of Sandy Koufax, an awesome pitcher that played a short career, was the highlight of the series. Almost as a footnote, the following year the Orioles allowed just two runs, shutting out the Dodgers in the final three games of a 4 - 0 sweep of the defending champs.

Gibson and the Cardinals would return again in 1967 to take on the Red Sox led by Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski.  By now the transistor radios were in style and even though we thought the teachers were unaware of their use, as I look back on it they must have chuckled at how obvious we probably were. Gibson pitched three complete games, struckout twenty-six and walked five in twenty-six innings, giving up fourteen hits and three runs in the process with an ERA of 1.00. His dominance was incredible and his legacy probably isn't what it should be in the sport. To end the run of great World Series, the next season Gibson led the Cardinals to a 3 - 1 lead against the Tigers, only to see Detroit win three straight, including game seven against Gibson, to grab the title.

As the 1970's dawned, so did divisional play (1969), a plethora of new stadiums and night World Series games (1971). As a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, the 1971 series was especially memorable. Three Rivers Stadium was new and the Pirates had an exciting team led by Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. The initial night World Series game was in Pittsburgh and this time I remember how great it was to be able to watch an entire game on a weekday. Game seven was on a Sunday and I was on a church retreat with my youth group. I ended up listening on a car radio as Steve Blass held on for complete game, 2 - 1 win to secure the series for the Pirates.

My World Series memories were fleeting in mid-70's, as high school and then college tended to diminish my attention. But in 1975, as a freshman at Virginia Tech, the Red Sox and Reds treated us to what might have been, at least to that time, the most memorable of all World Series. We were riveted as the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati, with Pete Rose and Johnny Bench faced off against Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn. There were five one-run games and a game six twelve inning masterpiece won by the Red Sox with a home run by Carlton Fisk, highlighted by Fisk waving the ball fair as he makes his way down the first base line. We watched all of the games on a fifteen inch, black and white television, and even though the Reds ended up winning,  I've never loved watching any World Series more.

By 1979 I was in graduate school and the Pirates were once again in the playoffs, this time against that same Reds juggernaut. My aunt had season tickets and invited me to Pittsburgh for the National League Championship Series. The Bucs had won the first two games in Cincinnati and came back to Three Rivers only needing one win to get to the World Series. I drove from Blacksburg Friday morning and attended the game on a picture perfect night for baseball. The Pirates took care of the Reds 7 - 1 and we were able to go out on the field as "We Are Family" blared over the public address system. The following week, I made the trip again, this time after game one had been snowed out in Baltimore and the teams split the first two games in the Queen City. I can't remember if it was Friday night's game or the one on Saturday, but one of them was delayed by a cold drizzle. By the time we got to a dreary Three Rivers Stadium on Sunday evening, the Pirates found themselves down three game to one and had to face Mike Flanagan, Jim Palmer and Scott McGregor in succession in order to win the series. Well, the rest is "We Are Family" history, as they outscored the Orioles 15 - 2, led by Willie Stargell, the rest of the way and brought the last World Series title to Pittsburgh.

As a finishing touch, I can provide another memory, but it wasn't mine. My aunt was a lifelong Pirates fan and was especially fond of Willie Stargell. Her tickets were even on the first base side so she had an up close view of Stargell. In 1960, she was at Forbes Field when Bill Mazeroski hit arguably the most famous home run in history to win the World Series over the mighty New York Yankees. She passed away in 1998, and I dedicate this to the memory of my Aunt Ginny.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Saturday, October 22, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: WEEK 8 PICKS

Last Week:    21 - 7      75.0 %
Overall:        171 - 49   77.7 %

NC State (4 - 2) 30 @ (7) Louisville (6 - 1) 28: Last week I predicted that NC State would give Clemson all they could handle and I was right. This week I'm going to go one step farther and pick the Wolfpack to break through with a big win over the Cardinals.

(10) Wisconsin (4 - 2) 21 @ Iowa  (5 - 2) 23: I picked Iowa to win the Big Ten  West before the season and they seem to have found their running game after a tough start. Wisconsin might be the class of the division, but the schedule just isn't doing them any favors. After a couple of road wins, Iowa returns home and I think they can pull the upset.

(22) North Carolina (5 - 2) 37 @ Virginia (2 - 4) 27: The Tar Heels took out Miami last week to stay in the ACC Coastal race, but they don't control their own destiny, needing a Va. Tech loss to have a chance at the division title. I think Virginia will give them a tough battle in Charlottesville, but Carolina probably has too much offense for the 'Hoos.

E. Michigan (5 - 2) 17 @ (20) W. Michigan (7 - 0) 38: Western is looking to position themselves for a New Year's Day bowl and they should be able to take care of business against Eastern. However, I think this one will be a lot closer than the 24 point line.

(6) Texas A&M (6 - 0) 31 @ (1) Alabama (7 - 0) 40: It's almost impossible to fathom that the Tide are 17 1/2 point favorites over a very good A&M team. I like Alabama to win, but not by that much.

Illinois (2 - 4) 13 @ (3) Michigan (6 - 0) 51: There's no reason to think that Michigan won't continue to roll toward their meeting with Ohio State.

Purdue (3 - 3) 16 @ (8) Nebraska (6 - 0) 30: Purdue fired their head coach, apparently because they feel that without a decent recruiting base, up to date facilities and really no track record of success in the last ten years, a .500 record just doesn't cut it. Really?

Memphis (5 - 1) 27 @ (24) Navy (4 - 1) 30: Navy shocked Houston and now they face another tough league foe. Memphis has a decent rushing defense, but the Middies gained a lot of confidence against the Cougars.

TCU (4 - 2) 27 @ (12) West Virginia (5 - 0) 31: This is a big game for the Mountaineers as they try to make a case to be in the upper echelon of the Big 12. TCU isn't quite as strong as in the last couple of seasons and are going into a very hostile environment.

(19) Utah (6 - 1) 17 @  UCLA (3 - 4) 20: UCLA has a pretty god team, but they just don't seem to be firing on all cylinders. Their defense has been tough, but offensively QB Josh Rosen is banged up and just not as effective as I thought he would be this season. I'm taking the Bruins to win a close, low scoring game.

(17) Arkansas (5 - 2) 27 @ (21) Auburn (4 - 2) 24: Arkansas rebounded from a loss to Alabama with a close win over Ole Miss. After a tough start, Auburn's defense has stiffened and the Hogs will be challenged to put points on the board, but Arkansas has shown a lot of balance offensively.

Oregon State (2 - 4) 13 @ (5) Washington (6 - 0) 34: I have a feeling the Huskies will eventually have a tough game, but this probably isn't the week. They should keep on rolling.

(11) Houston (6 - 1) 41 @ SMU (2 - 4) 16: SMU doesn't have a lot to offer for a chance at a big upset against Houston. The Cougars are still in the running to be the Group of Five representative in a New Years Day bowl game.

(2) Ohio State (6 - 0) 27 @ Penn State (4 - 2) 17: The Nittany Lions are hosting their third consecutive Big Ten opponent and looked very good two weeks ago against Maryland. After a week off, they take on one of the top teams in college football. This game will be a good barometer for how far James Franklin's team has come.

(16) Oklahoma (4 - 2) 41 @ Texas Tech (3 - 3) 30: After a tough start to the season, Oklahoma has started to look more like the team that made it to the playoffs last season. To win against the Red Raiders they're likely to have to win a shootout as they are vulnerable against the pass.

(25) Ole Miss (3 - 3) 24 @ (25) LSU (4 - 2) 27: Ole Miss lost a heartbreaker at Arkansas last week and now have to regroup in time for a trip to Death Valley. If LSU gets the running game going, it could be a long night for the Rebels.

Syracuse (4 - 3) 24  @ Boston College (3 - 3) 16: Syracuse drilled Va. Tech last week and is still an underdog to a one-dimensional Boston College team. I think the Orange has too much offense for the Eagles.

Oklahoma State (4 - 2) 34 @ Kansas (1 - 5) 24: This should be an easy one for Oklahoma State, but a shaky defense keeps Cowboy fans from taking anything for granted.

Texas (3 - 3) 30 @ Kansas State (3 - 3) 23: There are lot of indications that Texas coach Charlie Strong is probably on his way out, and a loss today in Manhattan would just solidify those thoughts. Kansas State plays tough defense but they've been shredded the last two weeks.

Rutgers (2 - 5) 17 @ Minnesota (4 - 2) 34: Rutgers has struggled this season and it won't be much different today on the road.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.






Saturday, October 15, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: WEEK 7 PICKS

Last Week:    21 - 11   65.6%
Overall:       150 - 42   78.1%


NC State (4 - 1) 20 @  (3) Clemson (6 - 0) 27: Clemson's a 19 point favorite against the eighth rated defense in the country. I think the Tigers still find a way to win, but the Wolfpack might make it very interesting for them.

Kansas State (3 - 3) 17 @  (19) Oklahoma (3 - 2) 28: Kansas State makes you win ugly and that's pretty much what Oklahoma's been this season. The Wildcats are thirteen and a half point road dogs, but their defense should keep them in the game while the offense gets to go against a below average Sooner defense.

(20) West Virginia (4 - 0) 30 @  Texas Tech (3 - 2) 40: West Virginia is undefeated and ranked in the top twenty, but they've been unimpressive on offense and they'll have to put up some big numbers in Lubbock to remain with an umblemished record. I don't think they can keep up with the Red Raiders.

(10) Nebraska (5 - 0) 27@  Indiana (3 - 2) 21: The difference in this one should be Nebraska's ability to run the ball on the Hoosiers. If they can't, they may be headed back to Lincoln with their first loss.

North Carolina (4 - 2) 17 @  (16) Miami (4 - 1) 27: Miami is built a lot like Va. Tech, who put a 34 - 3 beatdown on the Tar Heels in Hurricane Matthew last week. They'll be facing a different kind of Hurricane this week, but the results are likely to be similar.

(24) W. Michigan (6 - 0) 41 @ Akron (4 - 2) 20: With Houston losing last week, the Broncos of Western Michigan have their eyes on a New Year's Day Bowl. Akron will be overmatched in this one.

Wake Forest (5 - 1) 20 @  (14) Florida State (4 - 2) 26: The Seminoles are heavy favorites over Wake, but the Demon Deacons' defense is probably good enough to give Florida State fits. This game is wedged in between a couple of big matchups for the 'Noles and could be a trap game. If they look ahead to Clemson, they might get surprised.

Kansas (1 - 4) 17 @  (11) Baylor (5 - 0) 37: Baylor is quietly putting together a decent season, although their schedule is basically back loaded. This one shouldn't be much trouble for the Bears.

(1) Alabama (6 - 0) 37 @  (9) Tennessee (5 - 1) 27: Can Tennessee get the same good fortune against 'Bama that they've had all season? It's doubtful, even if Alabama is vulnerable against the deep ball. The real problem is Tennessee's porous defense.

(17) Va. Tech (4 - 1) 38 @  Syracuse (2 - 4) 13: The Hokies are 20 pint favorites in a place that they've traditionally struggled. But there's a new head man in Blacksburg and he seems to have Tech headed up. Wake Forest held Syracuse to nine points last week and I'm sure Hokie defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been studying that tape.

(21) Utah (5 - 1) 30 @ Oregon State (2 - 3) 21: Not a great match-up for Oregon State. They'll be trying to move the ball on the ground against a pretty good rushing defense. Utah should be able to win the battles on both sides of the ball.

Missouri (2 - 3) 13 @ (18) Florida (4 - 1) 27: Missouri is a lot better statistically than they are on the field. Florida got an unexpected week of rest while the Tigers were nursing their wounds after a 42 - 7 drubbing from LSU.

Tulsa (4 - 1) 20 @ (13) Houston (5 - 1) 38: We'll get to see if Houston can rebound after a big upset loss at Navy. The Middies can really run the ball, but Tulsa isn't too bad either.

(12) Ole Miss (3 -2) 27 @ (22) Arkansas (4 - 2) 30: This shapes up as a very even football game, despite the Rebels being favored by a touchdown. Arkansas is going to have to do something that's been difficult the last few seasons: winning the week after playing Alabama. I think they can.

(2) Ohio State (5 - 0) 23 @ (8) Wisconsin (4 - 1) 17: This is shaping up as a great game. Ohio State has been dominating in their undefeated start, but the schedule hasn't been particularly challenging. Yes, they have the win at Oklahoma, but going into Camp Randall is a different story. Wisconsin has been battle tested and took a strong Michigan team to the wire before a bye week. I like the Badger defense, but I'm not sure they have enough offensively to pull out a win.

Colorado State (3 - 3) 17 @ (15) Boise State (5 - 0) 38: Boise State has plenty of weapons to overpower Colorado State that's lacking potency on defense.

Pittsburgh (4 - 2) 28 @ Virginia (2 - 3) 31: After three embarrassing losses to start the season, Virginia has looked much better the last couple of weeks under new coach Bronco Mendenhall. Pittsburgh's pass defense is vulnerable and Mendenhall has his team throwing the ball pretty well. I smell upset here.

Iowa State (1 - 5) 27 @ Texas (2 - 3) 37: If Texas drops this one, head coach Charlie Strong won't last the weekend. They should be able to dominate offensively, but they'll need to make sure Iowa State doesn't stay in the ball game in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota (3 - 2) 21 @ Maryland (4 - 1) 26: If Minnesota can run the ball on the Terps, the visitors stand a chance of pulling the upsets. Maryland was exposed by Penn State last week, but the Golden Gophers aren't quite as potent.

Iowa (4 - 2) 28 @ Purdue (3 - 2) 20: Iowa seems to have gotten their running game going and Purdue hasn't been good against the rush. Purdue will probably be able to keep it close, though.

Northwestern (2 - 3) 24 @ Michigan State (2 - 3) 27: The Spartans have dropped three in a row Neither of these teams is doing much offensively, but Michigan State's defense is better and it should get them the win.

USC (3 - 3) 37 @ Arizona (2 - 4) 31: USC is playing much better and has a chance to put up some points against a porous defense. The Wildcats have had trouble stopping people and it probably won't change much against the Trojans.

Stanford (3 - 2) 20 @ Notre Dame (2 - 4) 30: Stanford is having a down year and Notre Dame needs to win to keep from the brink of bowl elimination. The Irish will win this one through the air.

Arizona State (5 - 1) 30 @ Colorado (4 - 2) 31: Arizona State has been impressive, but Colorado should be able to move the ball against a defense that hasn't been stopping many people. I'll take the Buffs at home in Boulder.

UCLA (3 - 3) 34 @ Washington St. (3 - 2) 37: This game comes down to whether UCLA QB Josh Rosen is healthy enough to exploit a weak Cougar pass defense. I liked Washington State before the season and they appear to be rounding into form..

Vanderbilt (2 - 4) 14 @ Georgia (4 - 2) 20: Georgia isn't great, but they're better than Vandy, although the Commodores have a pretty decent defense. The Bulldogs will need to avoid turnovers or they could go down to defeat between the hedges.

So. Miss. (4 - 2) 24 @ LSU (3 - 2) 34: Leonard Fournette's absence for LSU could be a factor in this game, but LSU should have too much for a Southern Miss team that will be taking a big step up in class in Death Valley.

Georgia So. (3 - 2) 23 @ Georgia Tech (3 - 3) 37: You won't see many passes in this game, which could be one of the fastest ones we'll see all season. Georgia Southern is playing their third of four consecutive road games. The Yellow Jackets are just a bigger, faster version and will be able to win with better play in the trenches.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Monday, October 10, 2016

MONDAY MUSINGS: TIGER WITHDRAWS, BASEBALL GETS SERIOUS AND NAVY SURPRISES

I wrote the following prior to Tiger's withdrawal from the Safeway Open. Most of the content is still relevant for whenever he decides to return. Golf Digest reported that Tiger is healthy, but that his game, particularly around the greens, isn't quite ready for him to compete on the PGA Tour. He'll most likely return at his own Hero Challenge in December, also skipping an event in Turkey that he had hoped to compete in.

Tiger's Back: After more than fourteen months away from the game, Tiger Woods will tee it up Thursday in the Safeway Open, the first event on the 2017 PGA Tour schedule. I know it's still 2016, but the Tour began wrap around schedule a couple of years ago to add more importance to the events that occur between the Tour Championship and the end of the calendar year. Woods will be paired with Phil Mickelson for the first two rounds, something that Mickelson had requested. The former dominant player and the fan's favorite playing in the same group will surely add some interest to an event that would otherwise go largely unnoticed by the non-golfing world.  But with Woods attempting another comeback (I've lost count of the number), this time from injury, and most likely with a new manufacturers clubs in his bag, Thursday's and Friday's action will be getting a lot of attention. Speculation abounds regarding the state of Tiger's golf game. Fellow pro Jesper Parnevik commented last week that he had seen Woods hit the ball recently and that apparently he looks like the Tiger of old. It remains to be seen if he turns out to just be old Tiger instead, but despite the popularity of Mickelson, Jordan Speith, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler and Bubba Watson, none of them have the ability to move the ratings needle like Tiger Woods. Coming off an exciting Ryder Cup, golf can certainly use Woods' return to keep the momentum going. Can Tiger win again? Well, as recently as 2013 he was still dominant, winning five times, so the answer is probably yes. The more important question is whether he still has a shot at Jack Nicklaus' eighteen career major titles. Given that golfers tend to tail off after they turn forty, it's unlikely. But we're not talking about any normal, or even really good player here. From 1999 to 2008, Tiger Woods, as I've written and justified before, was the most dominating golfer in history. His competitive drive, shotmaking and putting put him literally in a class by himself. If he remains healthy and gets on a roll, it's possible he could give Jack's record a run. As a fan of the game of golf, I hope he at least gets back in the competitive mix, especially at the majors.

MLB Playoffs in Full Swing: With the Toronto Blue Jays already in the ALCS and the Cubs and Indians holding 2 - 0 leads in their best of five series, it's time to take a look at major league baseball. Of course the big story line is the Cubs' and whether or not they can break their 108 year World Series victory drought. While that is getting a lot of attention, the Cleveland Indians, who have a 70 year streak of their own, seem to be a little under the radar. After the Cavaliers won the NBA title earlier this year to end the city's 52 lack of championships, some of the pressure is off of the Indians. Can they rise to the occasion and follow in the Cavs' footsteps? In baseball, it's always possible. A couple of hot pitchers can carry a team a long way in the postseason, much like a hot goalie can do in hockey. I thought the toughest series for the Cubs would be the first one against the Giants, a team that has won the last three World Series contested in even-numbered years. But that hasn't been the case, at least not yet, so I still like Chicago with their lethal combination of hitting and pitching. But it's baseball, which explains why the Florida Marlins have two titles and the Indians and Cubs have gone 0 for 178.

Houston Does it Again: For the second consecutive season, high-flying Houston of college football's  American Athletic Conference lost a road game to a lesser regarded team to lose a chance to crash the College Football Playoff party. I'm sure the committee is heaving a collective sigh of relief because even if the Cougars manage to defeat Louisville later in the season, they are probably out of consideration for a coveted spot in the four-team playoff field. With teams like Michigan, Ohio State and Louisville likely to emerge with no more than one loss, it would be difficult for the committee to take a team with one loss from outside the power five conferences. Coming into Saturday's game, Houston had boasted a stingy running defense. But Navy was able to expose it, and more importantly keep the game close so they didn't have to abandon their own running attack, which is difficult to prepare for and defend. I still think Houston has a very good team and stand a good chance of challenging Louisville, but they've lost their opportunity to go undefeated and make the committee's job all that much tougher.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Saturday, October 8, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: WEEK SIX PICKS

Last Week:     23 - 9     71.8%
Overall:         129 - 31  80.6%

Hurricane Matthew has impacted the college football schedule this week, with one SEC game getting cancelled and another one moved to Sunday. My prayers go out to all of the families impacted by the storm and hope the recovery time is quick, despite the power of Matthew. Other than the weather, it's October and the conference schedules are in full swing. My record is suffering from the close games, especially ones involving teams farther down in the standings. 

Friday (from an earlier post):

(3) Clemson (5 - 0) 27 @ Boston College (3 - 2) 14:Boston College boasts the top defense, at least statistically, in the nation. The problem is they got pummeled by Virginia Tech 49 - 0. They may be able to slow down Deshaun Watson and the Tigers, but their offense is really anemic, so I don't give them much chance to surprise the Tigers. Clemson would be vulnerable if BC had any firepower, especially on a short week following their huge win over Louisville last week.

(19) Boise State (4 - 0) 31 @ New Mexico (2 - 2) 16: New Mexico runs a one-dimensional ground attack and has the second most rushing yards per game in the nation. The problem with this match-up is that Boise State is in the top five in stopping the run. Statistically, these teams are very close, but Boise has faced a far tougher schedule so far this season and given up far fewer points.

Saturday:

LSU (3 - 2) @ (18) Florida (4 - 1): Postponed

Texas (2 - 2) 34 vs. Oklahoma (2 - 2) 38 (Dallas, TX): Last season Texas shocked their rival, handing the Sooners their only regular season loss. Oklahoma has losses so far this year to two top six teams and showed last week at TCU that they may be returning to form. Sooner quarterback Baker Mayfield should have a big day at the expense of the Longhorns' weak pass defense.

(6) Houston (5 - 0) 30 @ Navy (3 - 1) 13: Navy likes to run the ball, as has been their style for many years. Unfortunately for the Midshipmen, Houston leads the nation in rushing defense. I don't think Navy's defense is good enough to hold the Cougars to a point level that will give them a shot at an upset.

Indiana (3 - 1) 20 @ (2) Ohio State (4 - 0) 37: Ohio State is the only team ranked in the top five in both total offense and total defense. Indiana is improved, especially defensively, but they don't have what it takes to defeat the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe.

(9) Tennessee (5 - 0) 24 @ (8) Texas A&M (5 - 0) 31: This is one of two showcase games in the SEC this weekend. Tennessee has been fortunate to start undefeated, squeaking by Appalachian State, getting the game handed to them by Virginia Tech, and then overcoming a huge defensive gaffe to win on a hail Mary to escape against Georgia. I'm pretty sure the carriage turns into a big orange pumpkin this week.

(25) Va. Tech (3 - 1) 30 @ (17) North Carolina (4 - 1) 23: Virginia Tech brings a stingy defense into Chapel Hill this week. The Hokies gave up 45 points to Tennessee, primarily due to six turnovers. If they can hold onto the football, Tech can maintain control of their own destiny in the ACC Coastal. If not, a potent Tar Heel passing game could lift UNC to the win.

(21) Colorado (4 - 1) 31 @ USC (2 - 3) 27: USC showed some hope last  week in knocking off Arizona State, but the Sun Devils are dead last in the nation in pass defense. Colorado is much tougher to throw the ball against. It's good to see a resurgence in the Buffalo program and I think they'll take another step forward on Saturday.

(1) Alabama (5 - 0) 27 @ (16) Arkansas (4 - 1) 17: I'll be in the stands for this one and I wish I could look at these teams and see a way for Arkansas to come out on top. Unfortunately for the Hogs, this just doesn't look like a very good matchup for them. Arkansas runs an effective, balanced offense, but Alabama will most likely play to stuff the run and force quarterback Austin Allen to beat them with his arm.

(4) Michigan (5 - 0) 41 @ Rutgers (2 - 3) 10: Rutgers just isn't very good, and Michigan is.

(5) Washington (5 - 0) 41@ Oregon (2 - 3) 30: A couple of weeks ago this was shaping up as quite a game. but then Oregon forgot how to win and the Huskies dismantled Washington after edging Arizona in Tuscon. Oregon's a mess defensively and Washington is good enough to slow the Ducks down on the ground.

(23) Florida State (3 - 2) 34 @ (10) Miami (4 - 0) 26: This one is tough to call because Miami hasn't really been tested, while the Seminoles have played Ole Miss, at Louisville, at South Florida and suffered a last second loss to North Carolina. Statistically, the Hurricanes, who dodged one to keep this game on Saturday, are far more impressive, but that schedule has been a cupcake. I like Florida State to overwhelm the home team.

Arizona (2 - 3) 24 @ (24) Utah (4 - 1) 27: This is not a great match-up for Arizona. Utah prefers to throw the ball, but the Wildcats have a suspect pass defense. Arizona likes to run it, but Utah does a pretty good job of stopping the ground game.

Washington State (2 - 2) 31 @ (15) Stanford (3 - 1) 28: Washington totally exposed Stanford a week ago and after a big win over Oregon, Washington State is hoping to do the same thing. I thought before the season that the Cougars had a good chance to contend in the Pac-12 North and I still do. Stanford's offense is anemic and relies primarily on running back Christian McCaffery. Not a good idea when you have to score thirty points to win football games.

Notre Dame (2 - 3) 30 @ NC State (3 - 1) 37: Notre Dame has been a huge disappointment this season, rebounding last week to outscore a mediocre Syracuse team. NC State has a much better defense than the Orange and their balanced offense will put a lot of pressure on the Irish pass defense.

Ga. Tech (3 - 2) 20 @ Pittsburgh (3 - 2) 26: Pittsburgh has the fourth best rushing defense in the nation, not a good thing for run oriented Georgia Tech. I think the Panthers will be able to stop the Jackets and put enough points on the board to win the game.

Syracuse (2 -3)  26 @ Wake Forest (4 - 1) 27: Even Wake Forest's offense should be able to score points against Syracuse, a team giving up thirty eight points a game. But the Orange can throw the ball and that's not the strength of the Deacon defense.


TCU (3 - 2) 47 @ Kansas (1 - 3) 24: Kansas' offense isn't very good, but their defense isn't either. Uh oh.

Iowa State (1 - 4) 27 @ Oklahoma State (3 - 2) 35: Iowa State gave Baylor all they could handle last week, but that one was in Ames. The Cowboys are starting to play better and can probably make a run at the Big 12 title.

Texas Tech (3 - 1) 31 @ Kansas State (2 - 2) 30: This game presents an incredible contrast in styles. Texas Tech puts up points at the rate of almost 60 a game. Kansas State's defense in the fourth stingiest in the country. I know in many cases it's conventional wisdom to take a good defense to stop a good offense, but even though the Wildcats have stymied a couple of good offenses, they haven't seen anything like Texas Tech.

Iowas (3 - 2) 24 @ Minnesota (3 - 1) 32: Minnesota likes to run the ball and Iowa's rush defense is suspect. I picked the Hawkeyes to win the Big 10, but they just have no spark on offense.

Maryland (4 - 0) 37 @ Penn State (3 - 2) 27: If this game holds true to form, Maryland should be able to run all over Penn State. The Terrapins are averaging 300 yards a game on the ground while Penn State is giving up almost 220. Not a great combination for the Nittany Lions.

BYU (2 - 3) 23 @ Michigan State (2 - 2) 27: Michigan State is hard to figure out, but I like their run defense to make the difference in this one.

Purdue (2 - 2) 21 @ Illinois (1 - 3) 27: Similar teams, with both having difficulty putting points on the board.  The Illini are slightly better defensively, so I'll give them the edge.

California (3 - 2) 42 @ Oregon State (1 - 3) 27: Corvallis can be a tough place to play, but neither team has a very good defense and Oregon State can't really move the ball. Cal should be able to put up a lot of points.

UCLA (3 - 2) 34 @ Arizona State (4 - 1) 31: UCLA should have beaten Stanford a couple of weeks ago and then drubbed Arizona in their last game. I like the way QB Josh Rosen is playing and the Bruin defense should be able to do enough to give them a chance to win.

Auburn (3 - 2) 21 @ Mississippi State (2 - 2) 23: This isn't likely to be a high scoring game with both teams preferring to run the football. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is reported to be on the hot seat and this game probably won't improve his situation.

Vanderbilt (2 - 3) 24 @ Kentucky (2 - 3) 21: This game is between a couple of perennial bottom feeders in the SEC East. The result won't matter much on a national level but it could be one of the closest   games of the day. I like Vandy's defense to give them the edge.

Georgia (3 - 2) 27 @ South Carolina (2 - 3): 20 Georgia isn't great, but they're better than the Gamecocks.


Army (3 - 1) 27 @ Duke (2 - 3) 24: Army has one of the best teams they've had in recent memory. Although their schedule hasn't been the caliber of Duke's, they've played well and have a very good defense.

East Carolina (2 - 3) 30 @ South Florida (4 - 1) 38: South Florida got run over by Florida State but are still a pretty good team. I'm not sure East Carolina has enough firepower to stay with the Bulls.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Friday, October 7, 2016

COLEGE FOOTBALL: WEEK 6 FRIDAY NIGHT PICKS

Last Week:     23 - 9     71.8%
Overall:         129 - 31  80.6%

Friday:

(3) Clemson (5 - 0) 27 @ Boston College (3 - 2) 14:Boston College boasts the top defense, at least statistically, in the nation. The problem is they got pummeled by Virginia Tech 49 - 0. They may be able to slow down Deshaun Watson and the Tigers, but their offense is really anemic, so I don't give them much chance to surprise the Tigers. Clemson would be vulnerable if BC had any firepower, especially on a short week following their huge win over Louisville last week.

(19) Boise State (4 - 0) 31 @ New Mexico (2 - 2) 16: New Mexico runs a one-dimensional ground attack and has the second most rushing yards per game in the nation. The problem with this match-up is that Boise State is in the top five in stopping the run. Statistically, these teams are very close, but Boise has faced a far tougher schedule so far this season and given up far fewer points.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.




Saturday, October 1, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: WEEK FIVE SATURDAY PICKS

Last Week:    21 - 11   65.6%
Overall         106 - 22  82.8%

I took a lot of chances last week and it definitely hurt. Hopefully I can return to form as conference play revs up in earnest.

(23) Florida (3 - 1) 24 @ Vanderbilt (2 - 2) 16: The Gators lost an important game to Tennessee last week, but they remain one of the contenders for the SEC East. They'll need to stay focused for another game in the Volunteer state to stay alive in the race.

(13) Baylor (4 - 0) 37 @ Iowa St. (1 - 3) 17: The Cyclones really can't compete with the top teams in the Big 12. They've pulled some stunners over the years, but not this time.

Alcorn State (1 - 2) 13 @ (20) Arkansas (3 - 1) 34: The Razorbacks had a disappointing loss to Texas A&M last week, but FCS Alcorn State should be able to give them a good chance to bounce back before hosting Alabama next week.

(22) Texas (2 - 1) 31 @ Oklahoma State (2 - 2) 34: This is a tough pick. Despite showing improvement, Texas' opening win over Notre Dame is somewhat diminished given the performance of the Irish since. Oklahoma State, my early pick to win the Big 12, has been inconsistent but might be able to get it together against the Longhorns.

Rutgers (2 - 2) 10 @ (2) Ohio State (4 - 0) 30: Rutgers gave Iowa a tough game last week, but playing the Buckeyes at the Horseshoe is a different matter altogether.

(14) Miami (3 - 0) 23 @ Georgia Tech (3 - 1) 17: Georgia Tech's option offense always poses a challenge for defenses, but it isn't quite as potent as past versions. Defensively, the Hurricanes are very good, but the offense hasn't gotten geared up, but should be good enough to escape Atlanta with a win.

North Carolina (3 - 1) 34 @ (12) Florida State (3 - 1) 38: North Carolina can put points on the board, but they're suspect defensively and I look for the 'Noles to exploit their weaknesses.

(8) Wisconsin (4 - 0) 24 @ (4) Michigan (4 - 0) 27: The Badgers have a brutal schedule, this one their second consecutive game against a top ten team in the state of Michigan. Their next game is against Ohio State, so it doesn't get any easier. The Wolverines are on an early season roll and I give them a slight edge at home.

Illinois (1 - 2) 13 @ (15) Nebraska (4 - 0) 30: If you're looking for a national darkhorse, Nebraska might fit the bill. They have a favorable schedule and are beginning to click offensively in their second year under coach Mike Riley.

(10) Tennessee (4 - 0) 27 @ (25) Georgia (3 - 1) 17: Georgia was really exposed against Ole Miss last week while Tennessee is starting to meet early expectations. I'm still not totally sold on either one of these teams, but I'll go with the Vols' offense to get the win.

(9) Texas A&M (4 - 0) 30 @ South Carolina (2 - 2) 16: The Aggies sent a  big message with a fourth quarter surge against Arkansas last week. Despite a .500 record, South Carolina just isn't that good.

Oklahoma (1 - 2) 37 @ (21) TCU (3 - 1) 30: I initially had TCU in this one, but something tells me that the Sooners will bring some renewed intensity after a week to think about the beating they took from Ohio State.

(18) Utah (4 - 0) 28 @ California (2 - 2) 27: The Pac-12 has a lot of good teams and the Utes are one of them. I think they'll contain Cal enough to remain undefeated.

Memphis (3 - 0) 30 @ (16) Ole Miss (2 - 2) 34: Last season Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch and head coach Justin Fuente had a coming out party by shocking the Rebels. Despite a strong team, they won't be able to sneak up on Ole Miss this time around.

Kentucky (2 - 2) 10 @ (1) Alabama (4 - 0) 34: This is the last easy game for the Tide before facing Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU in succession. Despite a win over South Carolina last week, the Wildcats are overmatched in this one.

(19) San Diego State (3 - 0) 31 @ South Alabama (2 - 2) 20: West Coast teams going east sometimes have a lot of difficulty, but fortunately for San Diego State it's a night game beginning at 5:00 pm PDT.

(3) Louisville (4 - 0) 31 @ (5) Clemson (4 - 0) 34: In the game of the day, and maybe the season, Louisville is looking to almost lock up the ACC Atlantic before the leaves turn. This should be a great one and giving a slight edge to the Tigers defense at home.

(17) Michigan State (2 - 1) 28 @ Indiana (2 - 1) 17: Indiana is definitely improving, but Michigan State will be looking to erase the memory of a beat down by Wisconsin last week. I don't think the Spartans are as good as their ranking, but they're better than the Hoosiers.

Utah State (2 - 2) 19 @ (24) Boise State (3 - 0) 33: Boise State is quietly re-emerging on the national scene. They should be able to prevail on the blue turf.

Virginia (1 - 3) 20 @ Duke (2 - 2) 27: Virginia finally got a win last week by outscoring Central Michigan, while Duke surprised Notre Dame after a disappointing start to the season.

Kansas State (2 - 1) 20 @ West Virginia (3 - 0) 27: The Mountaineers might end up making some noise in the Big 12, especially without a clear cut favorite having emerged yet.

Northwestern (1 - 3) 17 @ Iowa (3 - 1) 21: Iowa's offense hasn't come together, but they should have enough for Northwestern, who has also had a tough time scoring points.

Purdue (2 - 1) 21@ Maryland (3 - 0) 27: The Terrapins are trying to claw their way back to respectability, as is Purdue. Maryland is probably a little farther ahead in the effort.

Minnesota (3 - 0) 31 @ Penn State (2 - 2) 30: Most people probably think I'm crazy to think Minnesota could even think about defeating the Nittany Lions in State College, but Penn State has problems on defense.

Oregon State (1 - 2) 20 @ Colorado (3 - 1) 31:The Buffaloes took a big step in their rebuilding process with a win at Oregon last week. Now they get the other team from the state, but this time in Boulder.

Arizona State (4 - 0) 38 @ USC (1 - 3) 27: Arizona State is another one of those good Pac-12 teams, and USC isn't.

Oregon (2 - 2) 34 @ Washington State (1 - 2) 38: Oregon is 99th in the nation against the pass and Washington State can really sling it around. The Ducks were exposed by an improving Colorado passing game last week. I like the Cougars in an upset today.

Arizona (2 - 2) 17 @ UCLA (2 - 2) 23: UCLA is much better than their record and despite a tough loss to Stanford last week, they can still control the Pac-12 South.

Missouri (2 - 2) 20 @ LSU (2 - 2) 27: After firing head coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, LSU is looking to start a new era under interim. coach Ed Orgero, who probably should have been retained by USC after Lane Kiffin's firing. Maybe LSU won't make the same mistake as the Trojans.

Notre Dame (1 - 3) 24 @ Syracuse (2 - 2) 28: Notre Dame is starting to looking like a major disappointment, dropping a home game to a mediocre Duke team. Athletically, they should have too much for Syracuse, but on the road in a difficult environment isn't the best way to try to right a listing ship.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.