Don't Call It A Bromance

Three amigos, one blog.

DCIAPC NFL Wild Card Edition

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[Bob on the mic]

Thank you thank you thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you! What in the world am I talking about? Well, after we released a year-transcending picksapalooza earlier this week, we have another DCIAPC this week featuring the NFL Wild Card matchups… meaning WE SET THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR MOST DCIAPC GAMES PICKED IN ONE WEEK. I just got off the phone with Mr. Guinness World Records, and he said we will be featured in the 2018 Guinness Book of World Records, which comes out next month. It’s just humbling to be mentioned in the same book as the eye-popping woman and the guy with the really long dick. [ED Harry: You weren’t supposed to spoil my appearance in the book, Bob!] Perhaps most notable about this record-setting week? We did it all without Harry writing a column. COULD DCIAB BE EXPERIENCING THE EWING THEORY? [Ed Matt: This may be the best paragraph in DCIAB history.]

I know that it’s cruel of us to move on so quickly after a great couple days of the college game to an inferior product, but that’s how life is. College football is like a vacation: so many possibilities, you have no idea what to expect, and no one gets paid. Meanwhile, the NFL is regimented factory labor. So, just a day after the climax of vacation, it’s a return to the factory for everyone. That said, we still very much enjoy our job in the factory, particularly in the high-stakes, win-or-go-home-but-wait-both-teams-go-home-anyway NFL playoffs. Hopefully I can replicate my 7-3-1 form from last year’s playoffs, which gave me a three-game win over my co-writers. I’m going to deliver a hot take and say I don’t do as well this year, and if that comes true, I have psychic abilities.

Onto the games! Remember, you can pick as well, and we will have a brand new set of standings for the NFL edition. I don’t want to use up my jokes or hint at my analysis before I get to my picks, so here are the matchups this weekend (spreads via Pinnacle):

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-5.5), 3:20 CT, ESPN

Bob: The NFL playoffs kick off with the annual matchup between teams that 90% of America assumes are bad, and this year, they just might be correct. You probably think I’m kidding or exaggerating, but it actually is pretty rough: Arizona is 22nd in DVOA, while Carolina is 25th. It feels odd that an 11-win NFC West team has to go on the road to a 7-win NFC South team, much less be a 5.5-point underdog, but that it makes sense is probably even weirder. Arizona has struggled in every game since… ‘nam, while Carolina has looked pretty strong the last four weeks. I have no faith in a Ryan Lindley-led offense, but I also can’t really pick a Carolina squad that hasn’t beaten a playoff team since Detroit in Week 2. I expect a low-scoring game, and I’ll take the points. Arizona +5.5

Matt: These teams suck and I have no idea who to pick. I guess I’ll give the points. Whatever. Panthers by a touchdown. Carolina -5.5

Harry: While it’s my own fault, I feel a little deprived because I didn’t write either column this week, so let’s see how many jokes I can bang out in the space for my picks. Here we go!

Boy, ESPN really got shafted. I know it’s the NFL so the ratings will still be higher than the number of people who Lindsey Lohan has $%#&ed in a questionably locked Denny’s bathroom, but the Worldwide Leader paid all of this money for a playoff game and instead essentially ended up getting “Final Destination 6″ because almost everyone subjected to this game live at the stadium is going to kill themselves by the end of it. Nine incredibly attractive people will escape the stadium with their lives intact before being slowly hunted down by Maurice Clarett and Cam Newton’s erratic driving. (Too soon?) Congrats, ESPN! No one feels sorry for you. Arizona +5.5

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3), 7:15 CT, NBC:

Bob: I am so sick of these generally boring teams playing each other on national television three times every year ever since I have closely followed the NFL. DVOA has loved Baltimore all season, as they were very close to having the highest DVOA ever of a non-playoff team. These two teams each won by 20 at home in the regular season matchups. Down the stretch, Baltimore has looked extremely shaky, while Pittsburgh has looked strong. This line is likely this low because as of now, Le’Veon Bell looks to be out or very limited, but I still like Pittsburgh to win at home. Pittsburgh -3

Matt: Pittsburgh is going to throw the ball all over the field against Baltimore’s questionable secondary. I struggle to see how the Ravens can hold the Steelers under 27 points in this one, and I don’t think Joe Flacco will be able to put up that many without an unbelievable performance. Pittsburgh -3

Harry: I think the real question in this game has to be, “Is Joe Flacco elite?” Now, I know that this topic has never been broached before, so you’ll have to laud me for my originality. I’m basically a pioneer, except I didn’t die of dysentery somewhere in the middle of the rocky mountains while attempting to traverse from Massachusetts to Washington in a fucking wooden cart with a sheet on the top of it pulled by two shitty horses that I was only able to purchase by selling my oldest daughter to John Quincy Adams’s eldest son, a noted perverted jackass. Here’s my to the original question: who gives a shit?!?! WHY DOES ANYONE TALK ABOUT WHO IS “ELITE” AND NOT “ELITE”? This is one of the 34,897,228 reasons that I don’t really watch or care about the NFL outside of Aaron Rodgers because seriously how could you not watch Aaron Rodgers? That man is a wizard. And not the overrated basketball team that won one fucking playoff series against a injured/tired/limited Bulls team and sent everyone over the fucking moon. Jesus. Anyway, I definitely like the Steelers as I see Big Ben [tasteless rape joke redacted] with the aforementioned Ravens’ secondary. Pittsburgh -3

[Ed Matt: Ahem.]
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[ED Harry: Counting wins in January is something a Wizards fan would do.]

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5), 12:05 CT, CBS:

Bob: Andy Dalton (0-3 in the playoffs) is going on the road against my man Andrew Luck? This is easy… not so fast. Both teams have strong cases for Bill Simmons’ Good Bad Team, used to describe a team that can beat all the bad teams but struggles against anyone good. I should also note that DVOA says these teams are even. In my head, I consider Cincinnati the better team, but then I remember that Indianapolis beat Cincinnati 27-0 earlier this year, limiting the Bengals to just 135 yards of total offense. I am not convinced that performance is repeatable. I think Cincinnati has a great shot at winning, and the spread’s being over a field goal is tough, but here is what makes me like Indianapolis: Cincinnati has spent the last four weeks playing important games against Denver, Pittsburgh twice, and at Cleveland, while Indianapolis has sat at home masturbating and playing video games the last two weeks. Indianapolis -3.5

Matt: I started to trust Cincinnati after their great game against the Broncos, but they promptly followed that up with a stinker against Pittsburgh in prime time. I’ll take the Bob’s favorite jacking off material Andrew Luck and the Colts here. Indianapolis -3.5

Harry: This feels like an even game that goes down to the wire, so I’ll happily take the extra half point that pushes the spread over a field goal. I’m a little too fired up right now, so I’m going to mail  in this pick and not attempt to be funny. Cincinnati +3.5
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-7), 3:40 CT, FOX:

Bob: Dallas is good – I would be worried if the Packers were going there – and Detroit is bad. This is the easy pick of the week in my opinion. Dallas -7

Matt: I don’t think Detroit is bad but Dallas seems to be improving every week. It might finally be time to invest a small amount of faith in the Cowboys. Dallas -7 (Apologies for abbreviated picks this week, but I’m burned out from the college DCIAPC. I’ll be better next week.) [ED Harry: BURNED OUT? “Oh look at me, I’m Matt and I wrote one &%$#ing column the entire year for DCIAPC and I’m so burned out. In fairness to me, I was really busy neglecting my duties at The Champaign Room, where I have written two solo posts since November 21 (!!!!).” Go to hell Matt, which for you is probably standard life except you’re only allowed to spend a couple hours a day on Twitter instead of 13.]

[Ed Matt: Here are Harry’s recent contributions to Canes Warning.]

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Harry: A key indicator that a team is not very good but snuck into the playoffs anyway is if it has an absurdly good record in one-score games, the outcomes of which are largely based on luck. (If you would like a college example, see 2012 Notre Dame or this year’s Florida State outfit. Those two went a combined 25-0 in the regular season by repeated razor-thin margins and then lost by a combined score of 101-34 against Alabama and Oregon, respectively, in championship or playoff games.) The Lions played a bunch of one-scores games this year and finished 316-1 in them (all numbers approximate). That is what you call a “harbinger of vicissitude” if you’re pompous asshole or a “bad sign” if you’re a normal human being. Dallas -7

DCIAPC 2.17: Picksapalooza 2014-15

Bowls of all shapes and sizes should be unilaterally accepted by the college football community.

What’s happening, ladies and gentlemen? In for Harry this week, this is Matt posting what I believe is just the second time all year I’ve taken over the lead-in column for a DCIAPC. Frankly, I just haven’t had too many topics I’d like to discuss. Most of my college football thoughts are Illini-centric, and I know you guys don’t want to read 1,000 words about that god-awful program (which is currently improving! [a little!] {let me have this one!}). Even more important than that, I’m usually pretty lazy and writing 1.5 columns a week for TCR keeps me satiated in terms of #content creation.

Why is this intro so boring and uninteresting? Perhaps because it is well past midnight in my current time zone and I am well past tired. Or perhaps it is because I am a terrible writer. There are myriad possibilities.

Since I feel guilty completely blowing off this intro, let’s talk about bowl games. If you are “that guy” who complains about there being too many bowl games, you are wrong and stupid. In fact, there are too few bowl games. Every team should go to a bowl game.

Think about the advantages of a bowl-bound team. These teams get roughly 15 extra practices to scout and develop their potential future starters, who’ve been stuck on the scout team all year trying to play like opposing teams. Bowl teams have extra recruiting opportunities to bring prospects in and see how the team operates when preparing for a game.

If you hate on the quantity of bowl games, you’re simply hating on fun. The teams want to play them, the bowl sponsors and stadiums want to host them, and the fans of every team involved want to watch them. Believe it or not, you are not obligated to watch Nevada play Louisiana-Lafayette. Just ignore it and watch the best teams play in late December and January if games between lesser teams bother you so much. I’ll continue to enjoy watching the excellent selection of early season bowl games, with contests like Western Kentucky/Central Michigan and Bowling Green/South Alabama.

Similar to the fight against LGBTQ folks (late-night brain tells me we should definitely go there), the allegedly excessive bowl games are easily ignored if you don’t support it. It doesn’t have to be your job to personally condemn and bring down the horrible institution that is the Bitcoin Bowl.

Further, because somebody out there is making this argument as I type, it doesn’t devalue the perk of going to a bowl game if you allow any .500 team to go. There are clear distinctions between the prestige of each bowl game and it’s fairly obvious to anyone who understands college football. A season that ends in the Outback Bowl is better than a season that ends in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. And if you believe that allowing .500 teams to cling to the “We made a bowl game” narrative to argue their success is a major issue, then perhaps you should just take a more nuanced approach to breaking down a team’s successes and failures.

Let other people have their fun in peace, you dumb Scrooges. Nobody cares what you think. Hopefully these words make sense when I read them tomorrow.

Last week’s games:

  • Louisiana Tech (-6) took advantage of Illinois making 400 critical miscues and won by 17.
  • Duke (+7.5) impressively hung in there until the very end with Arizona State, but was unable to pull out a victory in the closing minutes.
  • South Carolina (+3.5) won outright against a Miami team that may have some serious internal issues.
  • Nebraska (+7) played an inspired game against USC, but came up short in the fourth quarter. Frankly, it was amazing they were able to put up 42 points.
  • Clemson (+3) kicked the Oklahoma Sooners off the Empire State Building, ejected spittle (traveling at its terminal velocity) onto their body from the top of the building, walked downstairs and punched them in the nuts, brought out a medieval trebuchet to launch flaming balls of gasoline-covered wax at their corpses, allowed them to decompose for 72-96 hours, collected their remains, put them aboard a North Korean cargo vessel, and then launched torpedoes into the bottom of the ship, sending the entire team to a Communist, watery grave in the East China Sea.

The standings, which I lead because I am the best:

Season Bowl Record
Matt 40-45 5-5
Harry 37-48 4-6
Bob 36-49 5-5

And the splits, which I may have catastrophically miscalculated:

We All Agree  18-28
Matt Alone  6-4
Bob Alone  6-8
Harry Alone  7-8

From Harry last week:

As a reminder, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a post in the future, you can subscribe by email on the top right of this page for just four installments of $89.99. However, if you act now, we’ll waive all four installments and allow to subscribe ABSOLUTELY FREE. Happy Holidays! 

Peanut gallery:

Winning Percentage Season Record Bowl Record
Creed Tucker .538 43-37 5-5
Andrew Hunt .533 24-21
Andrew Kelley .475 19-21
Mike .433 26-34 2-3
Bobby .413 31-44 5-5
Drew .400 22-33 1-4

Here are all six million (all numbers approximate) bowls we’ll be picking this week. Get excited, because I’m excited (even though picking extra games greatly the chances that I do not finish in first place). As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern. Rankings are from the College Football Playoff Rankings.

Wednesday, December 31st:

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Atlanta, Georgia

#9 Ole Miss vs. #6 TCU (-3.5), 12:30 PM, ESPN

Ole Miss managed to put together a spirited win over Mississippi State in their final game. Can they stay that motivated against TCU? This one’s a real peach.

Vizio Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Arizona

#20 Boise State vs. #10 Arizona (-3), 4:00 PM, ESPN

For some reason, I find myself giddily excited for this game. Boise State has as much to prove as they ever have, with the chance to stick it to a Power Five conference team once again in the Fiesta Bowl. Jinkies!

Capital One Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

#12 Georgia Tech vs. #7 Mississippi State (-7), 8:00 PM, ESPN

I almost got stung by a bee today. This has been a game description.

Thursday, January 1:

Outback Bowl, Tampa, Florida

#19 Auburn (-6.5) vs. #18 Wisconsin, 12:00 PM, ESPN2

This game is taking place in Tampa, so be sure to check out one of the independent tattoo parlors located conveniently outside every entrance to Raymond James Stadium.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Arlington, Texas

#8 Michigan State vs. #5 Baylor (-2.5), 12:30 PM, ESPN

Between Michigan State’s sneakily-good offense and Baylor’s sneakily-good defense, this game’s most interesting match-up may come on the exact opposite side of the ball than what most are expecting.

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida

#25 Minnesota vs. #16 Missouri (-4.5), 1:00 PM, ABC

Jerry Kill is literally a gopher.

BRIEF INTERLUDE — Friday, January 2:

Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, Texas

#14 UCLA (-1.5) vs. #11 Kansas State, 6:45 PM, ESPN

I was a bit surprised to see UCLA favored in this game, but given the Big 12’s performance in bowl games thus far, this spread could be far too low.

CFB PLAYOFF GAMES — Thursday, January 1:

Rose Bowl Game presented by Napswestern Mutual, Pasadena, California

#3 Florida State vs. #2 Oregon (-9), 5:00 PM, ESPN

Jameis Winston and the Semenoles (sic) take on Marcus Mariota and the Ducks in a battle of the soon-to-be top two quarterbacks in the 2015 NFL Draft. Whose cuisine will reign supreme? Nobody gives a shit because Alabama is winning it all anyway and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Go home and tell your kids you love them because Nick Saban is taking over the world and soon we’ll all be helpless pawns, tirelessly working every day to ensure that no black person enters a predominantly white fraternity and no gay people have the right to marry each other (twice in one column, that’s good for a lifetime ban from Chick-Fil-A). [ED Harry: I swear, I didn’t write those shots at the South. This time.]

Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, Louisiana

#4 Ohio State vs. #1 Alabama (-9), 8:30 PM, ESPN

I don’t know what to say. Do you like Josh Groban music?

Without further ado, here are the DCIAB crew’s picks for every single important, semi-important, and quasi-important game over the next couple days. Note that most of the pick explanations will be pretty short, due to the sheer number of picks we have to make.

Ole Miss-TCU:

Matt: Even taking into account their win over Mississippi State, I can’t help but think TCU is going to come out and put a number on the Rebels. The Horned Frogs should be quite salty after missing the fourth spot in the CFB Playoff and will come out firing. The only non-outlier way I could see Ole Miss pulling this out is if they get an early two-score lead and grind away the rest of the game. That won’t happen. Texas Christian Jewniversity -3.5

Bob: F/+ loves both of these teams, and I’ve loved TCU all year (the best of the TCU-Baylor-Ohio State triumvirate in my opinion), and I’ll happily take Gary Patterson (big-game experience and a great coach) and Trevone Boykin (awesome) over Hugh Freeze (probably a good coach but no real bowl game experience) and Bo Wallace (not good). TCU -3.5

Harry: I’ve held firm on Ole Miss’s bandwagon in big games all season after they legitimized themselves with a victory over Alabama that only looks more impressive now. This team is damn good and it’s deliciously appealing to me to pick the Rebels and receive more than a field goal at the same time. AND MATT AND BOB BOTH PICKED TCU?!?! Looks like that Jew-hater Santa didn’t skip my house after all. Better late than never Kringle, you antisemitic fuck. REBELS +3.5

Boise State-Arizona:

Matt: In picking this game throughout confidence pools and whatnot, I’ve come to realize that I’m now a complete Boise State homer for no reason at all. I have picked them to win outright at every opportunity and now, faced with the high pressure of DCIAPC, I find myself second-guessing my confidence in the Broncos. They did, after all, lose to Air Force this year (then again, the military schools steal a lot of sneaky wins because of their offensive styles). Still, I’m going to remain true to my word even though I have a bad feeling Arizona wins this game by 20-plus. Boyz II Men State +3

Bob: Boise State is the better team according to F/+, but who gives a fuck about advanced statistics? I find it hard to take a team that lost to Air Force and beat a bunch of scrubs over a team that delivered consistent results and won a stacked PAC-12 South. I can totally envision Rich Rodriguez with a deer-in-the-headlights look as the Broncos roll them, but I like Arizona here. Arizona -3

Harry: Yeah, this one’s pretty easy in my view. Arizona essentially has a home game and I think they’re the better team. I’m aware that Boise State is returning to where the magic first happened, but this is pretty cut-and-dried. It’s astounding to me that the line is this low. I swear I’m not just picking against Matt every game in a desperate attempt to win. Seriously. *Spoiler Alert* IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME CHECK MY NEXT PICK. Arizona -3

Georgia Tech-Mississippi State:

Matt: Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Georgia Tech Yellow Short-Skirt-And-A-Long-Jackets +7

Bob: This one is tough. I see the Bulldog defense just out-athleting the Yellow Jacket option attack (which hasn’t been particularly good or bad in bowl games, as narratives would be tempted to say), with its offense moving the ball comfortably enough to win the game. The spread is pretty large between two perceptively even teams, but I’m going SEC on this one and taking all three favorites on New Year’s Eve. Mississippi State -7

Harry: AN ENTIRE TOUCHDOWN? Why does no one respect Georgia Tech’s offense? Especially going against the sieve that is Mississippi State’s defense, one that managed to allow more than 200 rushing yards to an offense piloted by the aforementioned Bo Wallace, this is a great opportunity to grab the points. GT +7

Auburn-Wisconsin:

Matt: I’ve been working on this post for over 1.5 hours now, and I’m tired of it. Somebody get me off this train. Help. Help. Help. I’m in need of assistance. I’ve made a horrible mistake. Auburn -6.5

Bob: Auburn is as good a four-loss team as I recall ever seeing and should handle Melvin Gordon better than Big Ten teams did. I was shocked the line was this low even before I remembered that Gary Andersen is gone. Auburn -6.5

Harry: USC failed me against Nebraska but I refuse to step off the Betting Against Teams That Just Lost Their Head Coaches bandwagon after just one bad result. Man, I really need to start picking against Matt again to give myself a chance at the crown. Auburn -6.5

Michigan State-Baylor:

Matt: Right now, Art Briles’ right hand is completely rubbed raw from masturbating to film of the Spartans’ defensive performance against Ohio State. Few are talking about it because they were never a strong national title contender, but Michigan State’s defense has taken a significant step back from last year’s squad, particularly in the secondary. Expect Briles and a probably-almost-fully healthy Bryce Petty to take advantage of that and put up some big numbers. This is my most confident bet of the entire bowl season (it’s doomed to fail). Baylor -2.5

Bob: Michigan State’s best win was at home to Nebraska, while Baylor beat TCU. Michigan State struggled against Oregon’s and Ohio State’s high-speed offenses, and Baylor’s is just as lethal. That said, I have a gut feeling that this Michigan State team is strong, and I don’t really trust Baylor, who lost its bowl game last year to UCF and has really not been that overwhelmingly impressive aside from the dumb TCU game. I’m going with my gut here. Michigan State +2.5

Harry: Well shit, I strongly agree with Matt again. This game is another no-brainer. (Naturally, this means I’ll be horribly wrong and Michigan State will win 66-3.) Has anyone actually bothered to check if MSU is any good? They picked up a decent home win by the skin of their teeth against Nebraska and beat…no one else. They were embarrassed by the only two elite teams on their schedule, Oregon and Ohio State. Michigan State is not that good. Baylor -2.5

Minnesota-Missouri:

Matt: As hard as it is for me to say this… deal with it.

Yes, I only picked them so I could insert that video. Minnesota Golden Kills +4.5

Bob: We can’t condescendingly scream “SEC” regarding a Missouri team who played as weak an SEC schedule as possible, but I like its defense to make it tough for Minnesota. I am not too confident about this, but an upper-middle class SEC team only giving up 5 points to an upper-middle class Big Ten team sounds like a good take. Missouri -4.5

Harry: Okay, now I’m going to blindly pick against Matt in a desperate attempt for the crown. Mizzou -4.5

UCLA-Kansas State:

Matt: Kansas State has flown casually under the radar this year since losing to Auburn early on. UCLA has more wild swings from awful to outstanding than any team in the nation. In this one, I think I’ll pick against the team with an offensive line consisting of origami sculptures. Can-Sass State +1.5

Bob: Are you guys even reading anymore? Kansas State’s three losses come to Auburn, TCU, and Baylor, and virtually every result this year has been respectable, while arguably more than half of UCLA’s have been rough. Kansas State +1.5

Harry: UCLA is definitely superior than Kansas State at its best, but who knows if the best version of the Bruins will show up. I certainly hope they do because I’m going to continue to big against Matt here. *Gus Johnson voice*UCLA -1.5  Never mind, Kansas State is the safer pick here and I can actually take it. You can see my final pick for the logic. Fighting Bill Snyders +1.5

Florida State-Oregon:

Matt: I really, really like Oregon to win this game, but I can’t help but feel this is too many points. Florida State isn’t going to roll over and certainly has a better shot at victory than Ohio State. Florida State +9

Bob: We here at DCIAB (and everyone who understands that win-loss records show little) have called Florida State overrated all year, but now I think the public has caught on and over-compensated. I have a strong feeling that Florida State is a historically notable outlier in close games with a phenomenal(-ly underrated right now) quarterback leading a team that plays up and down to opponents at an alarming level. The defending champion on a 29-game winning streak with Jameis Winston at quarterback is getting 9 points against a team missing its best defensive player by far. I’m confident in this one. Florida State +9

Harry: This is simply too many points for me to not agree with Matt here. :/ Florida State +9

Ohio State-Alabama:

Matt: THEM BEE-ONE-GEE PRETENDEERS AIN’T GAWT NUTHIN ON MY CRIMZON TIDE TO GO PAWWWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLL. Alabama -9

Bob: These are the top two teams in F/+, which will probably surprise a lot of people with regard to Ohio State’s ranking. I think Ohio State is very good and can keep it pretty close, and I think too many people are getting caught up in the holy Alabama (whom I have been saying is the best team all year, but still) versus the LOL BIG TEN Ohio State. That said, visions of Alabama finishing off Notre Dame and Michigan in five minutes coupled with the thought of Cardale Jones going up against the Alabama defense frighten me. Stud safety Landon Collins said of Jones, “He’s going to have to do a lot of processing and a lot of thinking. We’re definitely going to confuse him as much as possible.” I’m scared for Jones right now. Alabama -9

Harry: *checks how many games I’ve picked against Matt so far*

*realizes that choosing four games against him as opposed to three actually makes me less likely to tie it up and thus win on the bowl record tiebreaker*

*for those confused, the logic there is simple: because I sit three games back, if I choose three games against him, I need to win all of them; if I choose four games against him, I still need to win all of them because even going 3-1 would only give me a two-game swing; I am less likely go 4-0 than 3-0; thus, I can choose a fifth game against him and hope to go at least 4-1 or change one of my previous picks and hope for 3-0*

*changes the UCLA pick because I would rather try to go 3-0 than bet against Nick Saban matching wits with a young quarterback in his second career start*

Bama -9

 

DCIAPC 2.16: Here’s One More Present for Your Stocking

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 5.22.08 PMWhile most publications take Christmas off to spend some quality time with family, DCIAB will do no such thing! You can say that we can do this because two-thirds of us either don’t really celebrate Christmas or actively celebrate not celebrating Christmas, but I say it’s because we are better than everyone else.

It’s the second installment of our three-week coverage of bowl season, and the games this time around are certainly much better than last week’s meager slate. While this is a friendly competition, as we go down to the wire in the last couple weeks, things could get a bit chippy. I’m studying the BYU-Memphis post-game tape just in case I need to pull some moves to protect myself. So again, in case you missed us last week, here’s how this works from here on out:

We’ll pick our standard five games this week and then we’ll do all six major bowl games next week, with the column going up Monday to give you a couple days before the Peach and Orange Bowls kick on New Year’s Eve. Each bowl pick counts the same as the regular season standings and we’ll crown a champ after the New Year’s Day games. If there is a tie, the tiebreaker will be bowl record.

In a hilarious set of games that we managed to pick with mostly straight faces last week:

  • Louisiana-Lafayette (+1) rolled a Nevada team that might as well have not stepped off the plane in New Orleans
  • Utah (-3) flattened a Colorado State team that would have been an underdog even if its coach hadn’t left for Florida weeks before the game
  • Air Force (-1.5) completed a miraculous turnaround with a 38-24 win over Western Michigan, polishing off a 10-win season after finishing 3-9 in 2013
  • Memphis (-1.5) pulled off a thrilling double-overtime victory over BYU in Miami that will be remembered for being a thrilling contest between two sneaky-good football teams and for no other reasons at all
  • Marshall (-10) stomped Northern Illinois and likely sealed its distinction as the best college football team outside of the Power 5 conferences this year (although Boise State may have something to say about that in the Fiesta Bowl)

After a very good collective week for the three of us, here are the standings:

Season Bowl Record
Matt 38-42 3-2
Harry 37-43 4-1
Bob 35-45 4-1

And the splits:

We All Agree  18-25
Matt Alone  5-4
Bob Alone  6-8
Harry Alone  7-7

It was a sparse week for the peanut gallery, as Bob and I dropped the ball in Facebook promotion. We’ll do a better job this week. As a reminder, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a post in the future, you can subscribe by email on the top right of this page for just four installments of $89.99. However, if you act now, we’ll waive all four installments and allow to subscribe ABSOLUTELY FREE. Happy Holidays! Anyway, here’s the peanut gallery:

Winning Percentage Season Record Bowl Record
Creed Tucker .533 40-35 2-3
Andrew Hunt .533 24-21
Andrew Kelley .475 19-21
Mike .436 24-31
Drew .420 21-29
Bobby .414 29-41 3-2

Here are this week’s games. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern. The rankings come from the College Football Playoff Rankings. Illinois and Miami are both in action this week, so you get to waste time thinking about Matt’s and my shitty football teams again! Congratulations! As a matter of principle, I refuse to call bowls by their corporate sponsor name, so the final game on this list may appear to have a confusing name, but it is the original name of the bowl before money ate it.

Friday, December 26:

Heart of Dallas Bowl; Dallas, Texas

Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech (-6), 1, ESPN

Congratulations on making a bowl game for the first time in a few years, Illinois! Your reward is…a no-win situation against a Conference USA team! If Illinois wins, everyone will say, “That’s exactly what they should have done, they were playing a Conference USA team.” If they lose, everyone will point and laugh. Enjoy your stay in Dallas, Illini!

Saturday, December 27:

Sun Bowl; El Paso, Texas

#15 Arizona State (-7.5) vs. Duke, 2, CBS

Pretty good matchup for the Sun Bowl—at least on paper—between two solid teams near the top of their respective conferences. How good is Duke really, though? We’ll find out.

Independence Bowl; Shreveport, Louisiana

Miami (-3.5) vs. South Carolina, 3:30, ABC

Can’t think of a better place to spend Christmas than Shreveport, Louisiana. I bet people are just snatching up tickets for this one.

Holiday Bowl; San Diego, California

Nebraska vs. #24 USC (-7), 8, ESPN

The storyline for this game will likely center around how Nebraska plays without Bo Pelini, but USC is a solid team poised to make some noise in 2015. We’ll see if that starts in San Diego.

Monday, December 29:

Tangerine Bowl; Orlando, Florida

Oklahoma (-3) vs. #17 Clemson, 5:45, ESPN

I’ll definitely be skipping this one to avoid triggering my PTSD from watching Miami’s evisceration at the hands of Louisville in last year’s edition of this game. Onto the picks.

Illinois-La. Tech:

Harry: Louisiana Tech is certainly a decent team, but I think this line is a bit high. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulldogs covered this spread, but I definitely don’t trust them to do it. Can’t wait until I get to hate myself for picking Illinois for one last time this year. Illinois +6

Matt: Recently, I’m realizing that it’s somewhat unwise to pick against teams hailing from the better conference in bowl games, even if advanced statistics indicate the other team’s superiority. This is one such case that scares me, as the statistically formidable Bulldogs rank ahead of Illinois in every category. Add that to my nervous feeling that Illinois was extremely lucky to win more than three games this year, and we could have a recipe for disaster. Still, six is a lot of points and I’ll nervously take the Illini to at least cover. Illinois +6

Bob: I’m the guy who actually celebrates Christmas here, and I’m scribing this up post-church, pre-dinner, so I apologize if I’m a little light on the analysis this week. I agree with what these guys said. I generally like to pick the power conference teams (i.e. Utah over Colorado State), and I am not too impressed Louisiana Tech’s results. Illinois +6

ASU-Duke:

Harry: I’ve thought of Duke as incredibly fortunate to have such a cupcake schedule this season and extremely overrated all year long. The Blue Devils confirmed my doubts with bad home losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina in the final three weeks of the season. In one of my most confident picks that I’ve made all season, I’ll happily take the Sun Devils in a line that’s at least three points too low. ASU -7.5

Matt: Arizona State finished the season with several consecutive excellent performances, while Duke did just about the exact opposite. Ride with the Devils. Arizona State -7.5

Bob: Although F/+ pegs these teams as approximately even, I concur with the above statements. Duke has successfully handled the bad teams while struggling with better opponents, and Arizona State is arguably their best opponent of the season. Arizona State -7.5

Miami-S. Carolina:

Harry: This is a tough one because it’s a game that Miami really should win easily, especially now that Carolina’s leading receiver Shaq Rolland left the team before the bowl game to declare for the NFL draft. That said, Miami dropped games to Virginia and Pittsburgh in embarrassing fashion at the end of the year because of what looked like apathy. Despite the happy faces they’ve put on for the media, I can’t imagine that the UM players are too happy to be spending Christmas in freaking Shreveport either. I’ll take Miami because this should be a fairly easy victory on paper, but if apathy sets in again, the ‘Canes could easily flop again. Miami -3.5

Matt: This one comes down to whether or not Miami tries in my opinion, which Harry mentioned above. If they bring a Florida State-like effort to this game, they’ll win. If they slack and try to play SC like UVA/PITT, they’ll lose. I’m betting they’ve given up on this season and the ‘Cocks are able to pull out with a victory. South Carolina +3.5

Bob: I completely agree with Matt. South Carolina legitimately sucked this season, which worries me a little bit, but it’s tough for me to drop more than a field goal with a Miami team that botched games against Virginia and Pittsburgh in its two most recent games. South Carolina +3.5

Nebraska-USC:

Harry: After the decisive thumping that Colorado State took without its head coach, I’m not about to step off the Betting Against Teams That Just Lost Their Head Coaches bandwagon, especially with an underrated USC team laying just a touchdown. USC -7

Matt: Betting Against Teams That Just Lost Their Head Coaches bandwagon. USC -7

Bob: I’m not on that bandwagon usually, but the Pelini loss looks especially brutal to the players (but you can argue THE PLAYERS ARE WINNING THIS FOR BO and that stuff, which makes the whole argument senseless). I also just think USC has been the better team this year. It’s a lot of points to give up, but I am okay with it. Southern California -7

Oklahoma-Clemson:

Harry: Unfortunately for Clemson, Deshaun Watson will not be available in this game. Did anyone watch Clemson without him this season? I don’t care how disappointing Oklahoma was; I can’t believe the line is this low. Oklahoma -3

Matt: As bad as Clemson’s offense was this year without Deshaun Watson, they sport one of the top ten defenses in the country. They’ll hang in there and manage to cover or even win in a boring, low-scoring affair. Clemson +3

Bob: When only getting three points, I think it’s foolish to expect to “manage a cover” without winning. I think it’s fair to pick them to win given how tough their defense has been fantastic this year (#1 in F/+). This is a tough pick, but I just can’t take a Cole Stoudt-led team against a quality opponent. Oklahoma -3

DCIAPC 2.15 It’s Bowl Season!

As conventional wisdom states, the sequel is never as good as the original. That certainly held true for this second season of DCIAPC. While we had a couple high notes—such as my journey to find and resurrect “We Are ND” and Bob’s annual column—we also had numerous weeks of mailed-in columns written at the last minute and the glaring omission of not even writing a column on conference championship weekend. (We did at least pick those games on Facebook, and the records in this column reflect that.)

*Stephen A. Smith voice* HOWEVA, we have decided to take a short break from playing Trivia Crack to top last year in a very important way: we’re actually going to pick bowl games and wrap up the season properly! Last year, after the end of the regular season we did haphazardly throw some picks up on Twitter, but never in a truly organized way and we never even announced the winner. In the words of Roger Goodell, “I never saw that tape.” Wait, wrong quote. In the words of Roger Goodell, “I got it wrong.” As a collective group, the three of us got it terribly wrong last year, and as a result we’ll be sure to change Ray Rice’s punishment on the fly without seeing any new evidence, effectively trying him twice for the same crime, which is an incredible violation of one of the core principles of this country  extend DCIAPC to bowl season this year!

Here’s how this will work: for this week and the next two, we’ll post a standard DCAIPC column with five bowl games, except the final week when we’ll pick each of the six major bowls. The bowl picks will count towards your record and carry the same weight as regular season picks. They won’t necessarily be on Thursday—for example, next week Illinois plays on Friday so we’ll probably put up DCIAPC on Wednesday to give people enough time to get their picks in. Each post will get the standard Facebook promotion treatment. (Or, to make sure you don’t miss a post, you can subscribe by email on the top right of this page! Hooray for shameless self-promotion.) After that, we’ll take stock of where we end up and celebrate a champion. If a tiebreaker is necessary, we’ll use the National Championship Game.

So all of that said, here are the current standings, along with our social security numbers because last week’s standings are irrelevant at this point, but I was too lazy to modify the table. As an expression of gratitude for my laziness, feel free to steal our identities.

Season Social Security #
Matt 35-40 867-53-09eeeiinn
Harry 33-42 [redacted]
Bob 31-44 112-35-8132

Here are the splits:

We All Agree  15-24
Matt Alone  5-3
Bob Alone  6-8
Harry Alone  7-7

Huge props to anyone who noticed that Bob’s “social security number” was the first 10 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence. Meanwhile, if you didn’t get the reference in Matt’s, then your musical knowledge is bad and you should feel bad. Here’s the peanut gallery, again with an arbitrary category that I completely made up in the time that I could have just spent deleting the column:

Winning Percentage Season Record Favorite Animal
Creed Tucker .543 38-32 Snow leopard
Andrew Hunt .533 24-21 Venus fly trap
Andrew Kelley .475 19-21 Dog
Mike .436 24-31 Cheespider
Drew .420 21-29 Somali ostrich
Bobby .400 26-39 Mahi mahi

Here are this week’s games. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern. The rankings come from the College Football Playoff Rankings. I’ll be honest—this slate is weak. That’s just the price you pay for attempting to find five decent match-ups in the first week of bowl season. Oh well.

Saturday, December 20:

New Orleans Bowl; New Orleans, Louisiana

Nevada (-1) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 11 a.m., ESPN

Bowl season kicks off with quite a doozy this year in the Superdome. Can’t say I’ve seen either of these teams play this year, but I can definitely tell you which state both teams come from.

Las Vegas Bowl; Las Vegas, Nevada

#22 Utah (-3) vs. Colorado State, 3:30, ABC

One team doesn’t have a coach. The other has 85 scholarship athletes who have never had sex or tasted alcohol before. Wow!

Idaho Potato Bowl; Boise, Idaha

Western Michigan vs. Air Force (-1.5), 5:45, ESPN

After their victories over Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan, I present to you the Michigan Directional Schools State Champion, Western Michigan Broncos!

Monday, December 22:

Miami Beach Bowl; Miami, Florida

Memphis (-1.5) vs. BYU

I’m low-key fired up to watch this game. Justin Fuente is really building something impressive at Memphis and they’ll get a pretty good test from a solid BYU team that is also composed of 85 scholarship athletes who have never had sex or tasted alcohol before. Ladies and gentlemen, the state of Utah!!!!

Tuesday, December 23:

Boca Raton Bowl; Boca Raton, Florida

Marshall (-10) vs. Northern Illinois, 6, ESPN

These teams lost three games combined this season. Regardless of whether they’re actually any good or not (Marshall is okay; NIU is pretty bad), bravo to the Boca Raton Bowl for putting this match-up together. Let’s get to the picks.

Nevada-ULL:

Harry: I’ll plainly admit this is the least informed pick that I have ever made here on DCIAPC, but this line seems a bit low to me. Nevada is typically decent and while it’s tough to travel across the country when your opponent is essentially playing in its backyard, I like the Wolfpack here. Nevada -1

Matt: Bet real money on this game. I’m not going to call it a lock, mostly because I’m not a cocky dick like Harry, but this Nevada team is really good (relatively speaking of course) and I kind of feel like ULL is only being favored because they’ve had recent success in the postseason (three straight bowl victories against some surprisingly solid programs). ULL has taken a step backwards from last year’s squad, especially on the defensive end. Expect Nevada to win this one by two scores; I’m happy to take an extra point to the bank with me. That, or I’m completely full of it and ULL wins this one by 40. Nevada -1

Bob: I don’t know much about either of these teams, so, of course, I turned to my go-to advanced statistics over at Football Outsiders. Basically, Nevada is an average team with a solid offense, while UL-Lafayette is a below-average team with a terrible defense. Oh no, we all agree. Nevada –1

Utah-CSU:

Harry: I’m shocked that the line is this low. Colorado State put together a great season this year, but lost its head coach to Florida a couple weeks ago. I’ll happily lay just a field goal with the Utes. Utah -3

Matt: If Jim McElwain weren’t currently down in the swamp with Dabo Swinney and the boys (I don’t expect you to understand that reference because I don’t even understand that reference, I just laugh at that tweet every time I read it), I would feel pretty good about taking CSU to win this game. Instead, I’m going to feel pretty crappy about taking CSU to win this game. Colorado State +3

Bob: A lot of people tried to be cool and shit on Utah all year, but they have actually been a pretty consistently decent team this year. I would love to see a study on bowl records with interim coaches, since I suspect it’s not quite as bad as one would expect it to be. Either way, I like a 5-4 PAC-12 South team over a 6-2 Mountain West team. Utah -3

WMU-Air Force:

Harry: Here’s another game where I’m grasping for straws to come up with any analysis. Football Outsiders F/+ sees this as a virtual toss-up, ranking Air Force 44th and Western Michigan 47th. I’ll roll with the Falcons simply because they employ a unique triple-option offense that WMU certainly isn’t used to seeing. Air Force -1.5

Matt: Strangely, I’m picking Air Force with a decent amount of confidence in all of my bowl picking pools right now, yet I find myself suddenly drawn to Western Michigan. WMU’s PJ Fleck is at the very least a pretty fun coach, and I guess I’ll trust him to have a solid game-plan set up for Air Force’s triple option given the extra time to work. ROW THE BOAT. Western Michigan +1.5 I just saw that Air Force somehow beat both Boise State AND Colorado State this year. That’s impressive. I’m back on the Falcons bandwagon. Air Force -1.5

Bob: I strongly concur with the above statements. Air Force -1.5

Memphis-BYU:

Harry: Like WMU-Air Force, this is a toss-up. Both teams have put together some impressive performances against quality competition this year and this one is pretty much too close to call. I like Memphis’s staunch defense to be the difference in a down-to-the-wire game. Memphis -1.5

Matt:

Memphis -1.5

Bob: Wow, these lines are tighter than BYU students’ vaginas. [ED Harry: https://seohacker-seohacker.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Shocked-Face.jpg%5D Memphis has just three losses, two of them on the road to UCLA and Ole Miss, while the other was a four-point loss to bowl-bound Houston. Otherwise, Memphis has put together an impressive string of performances, while we have not really seen much from BYU since September. Memphis -1.5

Marshall-NIU:

Harry: Northern Illinois put up yet another shiny record this year, but its road to 11-2 featured some shaky wins against poor quality teams and shellackings at the hands of Arkansas (forgivable) and Central Michigan (not so forgivable). On the other hand, Marshall absolutely steamrolled everyone it faced until a shaky final three weeks that included two wins by a total of eight points and a one-point overtime loss. I think Marshall can regroup and win easily again against a low-quality NIU team that isn’t as good as its record suggests. Marshall -10

Matt: The only Marshall game I watched this year was their shootout against my beloved Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. I guess I’m just going to have to trust the numbers and other people who have actually seen this team play in 2014. Also, NIU kinda sucked this year. Marshall -10

Bob: Hey, Northern Illinois beat Northwestern! So… both teams have inflated records after beating a lot of bad teams, including looking shaky against a few of them. I see a bunch of shitty of teams whose names mean little to me, so we’ll have to turn to F/+ here. It feels like Marshall would be the kind of team F/+ would hate despite its inflated record, but the Thundering Herd sit at #15, 57 spots ahead of Northern Illinois, meaning Marshall should be favored by more than three touchdowns. Obviously, the game is not played on spreadsheets, but this pick looks pretty easy. Yup, somehow we agree on four of these five games. Marshall -10

DCIAPC 2.14: If a Game is Played in Front of Nobody, Did It Really Happen?

 

I searched for a Northwestern-Illinois football picture, and this is the most compelling photograph that came up. I'm not kidding.

I searched for a Northwestern-Illinois football picture, and this is the most compelling photograph that came up. I’m not kidding.

[ED Harry: Bob did a really nice job on the write-up this week, so naturally I’m going to take over the top of this post to promote myself. For any Illinois (or Miami) fans out there, I’ll be broadcasting the Illinois-Miami basketball game on December 2nd (this Tuesday!) at 9 pm eastern, 8 pm central. You can listen live by clicking on this link. Take it away, Bob.]

What’s up, everybody? You may not know this, but occasionally guys not named Harry write the introductions for our fine college football picks program. This week, Bob (hi, that’s me) decided to take a break from shouting vulgar answers while playing Taboo with his grandparents following Thanksgiving dinner. Fun strategy: If you shout something that’s enough colloquially vulgar, the adults won’t even know how inappropriate your answers are (i.e. “jacking off” instead of “masturbating”).

Just like last year, neither Matt nor Harry get around to doing DCIAB over Thanksgiving break, so I have to put the team on my back – if you somehow don’t get the reference, you must click the hyperlink – and whip this together for the first time all year. It’s my time to shine, just like it is Zach Oliver’s in Evanston in this weekend’s premiere matchup.

ICYMI, this week is the holy RIVALRY WEEKEND. Ironically, the most highly marketed rivalry games are played the one weekend when students are home, hence the title of this week’s DCIAPC. Unfortunately, this year, there is not one particularly amazing game because all of the good teams have beaten each other too many times (see: SEC West). This means that the most important game of the weekend is none other than the Land of Lincoln rivalry game between the big state school in Urbana-Champaign and the superior-in-nearly-every-way-despite-having-fewer-students Northwestern. Yeah, shots fired. Just like [redacted Ferguson joke]. [ED Harry: That was bold, Hayes.]

In exciting news, the game in Evanston will be the first ever DCIAB voyage to a football game. For some reason, the Northwestern athletics department declined our request for press passes because they’re scared that DCIAB is better than The Daily Northwestern, so we’ll be enjoying this one with the peasants.

Last week, the unanimously selected Miami (-5.5) and Penn State (-6.5) flopped on the road to mediocre opponents, while we all actually got a game right with the UCLA (-3) win over a condom manufacturer. Northwestern (-1.5) won in a game that I couldn’t even get myself to watch, while Arkansas (+3) shut out a bunch of racists.

Onto the ugly but still tight (hehe) standings:

Season Last Week
Matt 29-36 2-3
Harry 26-39 1-4
Bob 26-39 1-4

Here are the splits:

We All Agree  13-23
Matt Alone  5-2
Bob Alone  6-6
Harry Alone  5-5

And to DCIAB’s dedicated fans:

Winning Percentage Season Record Last Week
Creed Tucker .533 32-28 3-2
Andrew Hunt .525 21-19 2-3
Andrew Kelley .475 19-21 0-5
Mike .420 21-29 1-4
Bobby .382 21-34 1-4
Drew .356 16-29 2-3

Here are this week’s games. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are easte – FUCK THAT WE GOIN’ CENTRAL IN HONOR OF THANKSGIVING. The rankings come from the College Football Playoff Rankings.

Illinois at Northwestern (-8), 11 AM, ESPNU

In seriousness, this game matters for both teams, as the winner will be bowl eligible and the loser’s season is done. WIN OR GO HOME EXCEPT EITHER WAY EACH TEAM IS GOING HOME BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS AFTER FOOTBALL GAMES.

#16 Georgia Tech at #9 Georgia (-12.5), 11 AM, SEC Network

The Yellow Jackets get no respect despite their successful season so far. Solid test for a top-ten SEC team.

#4 Mississippi State (-2.5) at #19 Ole Miss, 2:30, CBS

I hear they call this one the egg Bowl bc both teams will lay a egg and score 0 pts folks! (H/T PFTCommenter)

Pittsburgh at Miami (-10), 6, ESPN2

I don’t know.

#15 Auburn at #1 Alabama (-8.5), 6:45, ESPN

Nothing memorable has ever happened in one of these games, so don’t bother watching.

TO THE PICKS.

Illinois-Northwestern

Bob: I would love to see what my record on Northwestern games is the last two years. I honestly would be surprised if I have gotten more than four of its games correct in total. With no Siemian – who was never amazing but overall a better quarterback than fans gave him credit for – I can’t really trust the NU offense, while Illinois is coming off a win over Penn State. That said, Justin Jackson still exists and will likely run all over the Fighting Illini defense, while the Wildcats still have a couple capable quarterbacks. I’ll happily close out the regular season by picking my school, which I rarely do. Northwestern -8

Matt: This game sorta feels like it could go either way at first glance. Illinois has performed decently against the worst teams in the Big Ten (Purdue, Penn State) and Northwestern just lost their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. One major issue for Illinois: you don’t need a quarterback to hand the ball off 40 times and run for 250 yards. Northwestern has blown out those same bad teams with whom Illinois matched up evenly. Northwestern is the best of the worst in the Big Ten. Not only that, but this is a bad matchup for Illinois. Penn State had a terrible rushing offense; Northwestern will have little trouble running this Saturday. Penn State allowed a couple sustained drives to a running quarterback they hadn’t prepared for; Northwestern will be prepared for Reilly O’Toole, no matter how much he plays. It’s hard to pick a spread this big in a rivalry game between two somewhat similarly successful teams, but I think the Tim Beckman era comes to a close this weekend in Evanston. ALL OF THAT BEING SAID: I’m deliberately going to pick against my belief for this one because I just gotta rep my school in #TheGame. (Yes, that just happened.) Illinois +8

Harry: Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if both teams combined to score fewer than eight points. This spread is simply too large for what should be a close, terrible football game. Illinois +8

Georgia Tech-Georgia

Bob: I don’t know much about Georgia Tech beyond their results and their general offense. This line is as massive as a beluga whale, and Georgia sits just six spots higher (6 vs. 12) in F/+, which doesn’t factor in the loss of Todd Gurley. I’m taking the nation’s #1 F/+ offense to cover. Georgia Tech +12.5

Matt: This game is my weekly “Why is this spread so large?” pick. Georgia Tech +12.5

Harry: To quote the prophetic (at least that week) Matt when Florida State was a 12-point favorite against Notre Dame, “This line is re-fucking-diculous.” Georgia Tech +12.5

Mississippi State-Mississippi

Bob: Mississsippi has lost its last three games against FBS opponents, including a 30-0 loss in Arkansas last week, and they’re getting less than a field goal against a one-loss SEC West team. Mississippi State -2.5

Matt: Ole Miss is cratering now the way I thought they’d crater earlier in the season (see: my pick for Alabama game). Mississippi State -2.5

Harry: UPSET ALERT!! (Kind of.) In a rivalry where the underdog frequently wins, I like the Rebels at home to beat a very good but also slightly overrated MSU squad. Ole Miss +2.5

Pittsburgh-Miami

Bob: Despite how different their seasons have felt, both teams sit at 3-4 in the ACC. Based on game results, recruiting/eyes, and F/+, Miami looks like the far superior team and should get an easy win at home. Miami -10

Matt: In my opinion, the only reason to pick Pitt in this game is if you believe Miami has given up because they no longer have anything for which to play. I’m not a huge fan of platitudes like that. Miami -10

Harry: I believe Miami has given up because they no longer have anything for which to play. Pittsburgh +10 (Just kidding, I have actual reasons for picking Pitt. They’ve been competitive in most games when they don’t fumble on the first five possessions of the game and I think they hang around—though ultimately lose—in a sleepy game in front of at least 17 fans in Sun Life Stadium. Hey look, basketball season!)

Auburn-Alabama

Bob: My two SEC mantras this year have been “Alabama is the best team” and “Don’t give up a bunch of points when the game could very very easily be close or swing the other way.” I’m sticking to the latter here. Auburn +8.5

Matt: My two SEC mantras this year have been “It’s funny how SEC fans have completely disassociated their conference from Vanderbilt now that James Frankin’s gone” and “Ole Miss sucks”. Neither of those two relate to these two teams, and also neither of them has been a mantra of mine this year. I made them up for comedic effect. Did you laugh. Is anybody out there. Roll Tide. Alabama -8.5

Harry: My two SEC mantras this year have been “Liquor before beer, have no fear, but beer before liquor, Bret Bielema comes to your house and gives you a stern lecture on the virtues of attempting to change any rules that you don’t really like because you play a brand of football that was en vogue in like 1953″ and “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? A woodchuck would chuck all it could if a woodchuck could chuck wood, but the woodchuck would be unable to join a fraternity if it were African American and attended the University of Alabama”. With those in mind, I think the pick here is obvious. Alabama -8.5

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