Weekly disclaimer: In case I have been actually offending people with the content of these posts, every installment of this feature and all the jokes contained within it are simply that—jokes. The humor is intentionally way over the top and I do not mean to actually demean any institution of higher learning. Make no mistake, I want to make you feel bad about your football team at times. However, your degree and the school you attend is always something to be proud of and I certainly would never tell you otherwise in seriousness. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to the offensive stuff, shall we?
As a reminder, this is a weekly feature, publishing every Thursday during the season. Matt, Bob and I pick five games each week: the games from each of our schools (Illinois, Northwestern and Miami, respectively) and a couple national games. Anyone is invited to pick with us in the comments and we’ll throw the standings of the peanut gallery up each week. [Matt: Please keep in mind that our knowledge of college football is far, FAR superior to yours and our good records thus far are not based on luck in any way. Okay you can go back to being a regular lesser human being now.]
Well, it’s finally over. The NCAA concluded its ridiculous investigation of the Nevin Shapiro scandal on Tuesday by docking the Canes nine scholarships over the next three years in football and three over the same time period in basketball. In the aftermath of uninformed idiots going off on Twitter about how much of a “slap on the wrist” this was and how Miami “completely got away with it”, I nearly deleted my Twitter account out of anger. (Side note: Is there any way we can institute some type of IQ test that one would need to receive a certain score on in order to have the right to tweet?) Look, I understand how severe Miami’s transgressions were, but this punishment is completely fair. Saying Miami “completely got away with it” only shows how little you understand about what went on here.
Here’s the thing: for the past two-and-a-half years the football and basketball program have suffered from this scandal, in some ways measurable and some ways not. First off, the football team instituted a two-year bowl ban on itself and skipped going bowling in both of those years. Some may say this isn’t significant because the ‘Canes were just 6-6 and 7-5 those years, but I would counter that Miami made it to the ACC Championship game in the 7-5 year. Anything can happen in a one-game scenario and Miami gave up a real chance to go to the Orange Bowl, so it was significant. Additionally, the basketball team gave up the right to go to the NCAA Tournament two years ago when they were a lock to be selected as a middle seed. On the immeasurable side, the NCAA hanging this over Miami’s head for an unprecedented amount of time hurt the ‘Canes A LOT in recruiting. You know freak of nature freshman running back Alex Collins at Arkansas? Yeah, he was going to come here and Arkansas got him to switch his commitment because of the sanctions. While he’s the most prominent name, he’s certainly not the only one.
So let’s summarize. Because of the scandal, Miami lost three postseason football games, an NCAA Tournament bid and A LOT of ground in recruiting for both football and basketball. People want more….why? Would you feel better if two years ago the NCAA had just made this punishment itself instead of the university doing their job for them? There are literally ZERO people involved with either football and basketball here at the U currently who were involved with the scandal. Enough was enough and myself—and other sensible people like ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and MGoBlog’s Brian Cook—have stated that Miami did suffer and did not get off scot-free [Bob: FOTB (Friend of the Blog) Colin Cowherd of ESPN also vehemently argued on Miami’s behalf]. And I haven’t even mentioned how the NCAA bungled the case. USC fans, I hear you and you’re completely right that your situation is extremely unfair. That doesn’t mean Miami’s should be too.
Enough was enough, and the NCAA made the right call to save a little face at this end of this whole ordeal. Now that it’s over, Miami can finally fully focus on the field. We have a hotbed of high school talent in the area and a coach that’s accomplished so much despite all of this. The sky is truly the limit for this program and as long as Al Golden doesn’t leave, the U will be back to winning championships sooner rather than later. [Matt: Just like that! Wow championships are easy guys.]
— Miami Hurricanes (@hurricanesports) October 22, 2013
Couldn’t agree more. Moving on, Sunday night marked the release of the first BCS Standings of 2013. Since the AP Poll no longer matters, I’m going to ditch the whole WHY THE %#&@ IS THIS TEAM RANKED?!?! bit and just give you a rundown of the BCS Top 25. Who’s ranked too high? How about too low? And how about the teams fit for Goldilocks; you know, just right. The following is not exact—if a team is within a few spots of where I think they should be I pegged them just right—and is my opinion. If you disagree, feel free to show everyone why you are wrong with your reasoning in the comments. I’d also like to state that my analysis is based of off where a team SHOULD BE RANKED, not how good they are. For example, Miami is ranked #7. I think this is fair because they’ve beaten everyone they’ve played—including an SEC team and conference road night game—and have a game against FSU coming up to either prove their mettle or show where they should be. However, I’m not delusional and I do not think they’re actually the seventh-best team in the nation. Let’s do this.
The Bob Marley Group (Too high!)
- #4 Ohio State Close calls with Northwestern and Iowa show this team is waaaaaaay overrated.
- #6 Stanford Don’t deserve to be ranked over Miami and Baylor…yet.
- [From Bob] #7 Miami Only real win was over a Driskel-led Florida team that gave the ball away six times and totally outplayed the Canes; also narrowly defeated North Carolina, who has ONE WIN.
- [From Matt] #11 Auburn Texas A&M’s close-ish calls this year (against ARK and MISS) are too discouraging to support a 13-rank jump (!!!) for an Auburn squad that has a lot to prove after being a train wreck last year. While Auburn is a good team with a pretty record, #11 is too high after one signature close victory over a very good team and a few close wins over meh SEC teams. Prove to me you deserve it Auburn!
- #15 Oklahoma They got blown out by Texas! Texas!!!!!!!
- #17 Fresno State/#18 Northern Illinois Both of these teams haven’t impressed enough against poor competition to be ranked in the Top 20. [Bob: I think both of these teams are pretty good, but it’s a classic WE-NEED-TO-HAVE-NON-AQ-TEAMS-IN-THE-TOP-25-SO-LET’S-JUST-PICK-TWO kind of thing]
- #19 Oklahoma State Should not even be ranked.
- #21 Michigan Ditto.
The Soulja Boy Group (Too low!)
- #8 Baylor Can someone explain to me why these guys aren’t #4 in the country? They put up 70 most weeks! [Bob: I can. The best team they’ve played is a 2-4 Kansas State team, whom they only beat by 10.] [<————– ~Matt]
- #20 Louisville Keep in mind the Cards won the Sugar Bowl last year. UCF is a good team; UL shouldn’t have dropped quite this much.
- #23 UCF That Louisville win was really impressive. I’m a believer in these guys.
- #25 Oregon State I know they lost to Eastern Washington, but look what they’ve done since. I think they can give Stanford a run for their money this week.
- [From Bob] NR Arizona State 5-2 in a tough PAC-12, competitive in both losses, and just beat Washington by more than Stanford and Oregon did combined.
- [From Matt] NR Wisconsin Wisconsin is the second best team in the Big Ten, and it’s not very close. NEB/UM/MSU are fine, but Wisconsin has a top 3 rushing attack in the country and an okay defense to go with it. Their only real loss is against Ohio State, because they beat ASU on the road and everyone knows it (a loss*** that looks even better after ASU beat down UW). This team should be ranked at the least, and I believe it is a top 15 squad after having seen them methodically pummel Illinois in person last weekend.
The Goldilocks Group (Just right!)
- #1 Alabama/#2 Florida State/#3 Oregon/#5 Missouri/#7 Miami/#10 Texas Tech All undefeated teams that will get a chance to prove themselves or already have done so.
- #9 Clemson FSU is really good, folks.
- #11 Auburn Great win for the Tigers last Saturday.
- #12 UCLA A loss at Stanford is nothing to hang your head about.
- #13 LSU Same goes for close road losses in the SEC.
- #14 Virginia Tech I don’t think they’re that good, but if they can beat Miami on November 9, they’ll get a shot at FSU in the ACCCG.
- #16 Texas A&M Only losses came by 7 to ‘Bama and 4 to Auburn. Meh.
- #21 South Carolina Double meh. Tough loss to Tennessee, but won at UCF earlier this year.
- #24 Nebraska Whatever, dude.
To the competition part of this post! Last week’s rapid-fire recap: Minnesota (+12.5) furthered Northwestern’s dive from relevancy. Don’t the ‘Cats normally wait until late in the season to do this? [Bob: Look at their results the last couple years. I have no idea where you’re getting that.] [Matt: Basketball?] Stanford (-5.5) bounced back from their loss at Utah with a quality win over UCLA. Auburn (+13) knocked Johnny Goofball and Co. out of the national title race. Wisconsin (-13) rolled in Champaign under the lights. Florida State (-3) WINSTON WINSTON WINSTON WINSTOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNN!
The standings to date, which aren’t close at all:
- Bob 23-16-1
- Matt 23-16-1
- Harry 22-17-1
And the peanut gallery! Standings are listed by total wins, not winning percentage.
- Michael W 20-19-1
- Thomas Bechtel 17-12-1
- Creed Tucker 15-20
- Return of the GPAB 11-18-1
- Andrew Kelley 11-13-1
- Arnim “I’m still at .500 but I totally would be in first place if I had started from Week 1″ Whisler 10-9-1
- Ben Greene 9-15-1
- mdrose16 5-5
- Nik Valdiserri 5-10
Here are the five games for this week. As always, the lines come from Vegas Insider and all game times are eastern. Rankings now reflect the BCS Standings.
Wake Forest at #7 Miami (-22.5), Noon, ESPNU
This is pretty much the definition of a trap game for Miami. The ‘Canes host a middling-at-best conference opponent with a lot of confidence (they crushed Maryland 34-10 last week) the week before going on the road to face their biggest rival in a game that will be a Top 10/College GameDay/Saturday Night Football showdown. Wake shouldn’t be a problem, but if Miami starts looking ahead too early, who knows what could happen?
Northwestern at Iowa (-4), Noon, Big Ten Network
What if I told you that three weeks into the Big Ten season, Iowa had a better chance of going to the Big Ten Championship game than Northwestern? What if I told you that Venric Mark would go from a Big Ten POY-candidate to a sideline sweatshirt model? What if I told you it’s alright, it’s okay, we’ll all be driving their cars someday? DCIAB Films presents: a DCIAB 30-for-30, “Adjusted Expectations”. Saturday at noon on the Big Ten Network.
Michigan State (-10.5) at Illinois, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2
Okay, we’re officially over the 1,500 word mark. Things are going to get snappy from here. Spartans! Illini! Somehow on ABC in some places (WTF?!?!) and more fittingly on ESPN2 in other places!
#10 Texas Tech at #15 Oklahoma (-6.5), 3:30, FOX
Undefeated Red Raiders! Bob Stoops! GUS JOHNSON!
#12 UCLA at #3 Oregon (-23), 7, ESPN
Do you like points I like points I think there’s going to be a lot of points holy points points points points
WAKE vs MIA I’m really on the fence here. Wake Forest has shown signs of life recently, albeit against competition not nearly as stout at the Hurricanes. At the same time, this is also the same Wake team that lost to Boston College by two touchdowns, Louisiana-Monroe and Clemson 548-7 (all numbers approximate) and I don’t think Miami will fall into the looking ahead trap (friend of the blog Will Siskel reported that a player who shall be unnamed was even watching Wake Forest game tape in class today). Give me the ‘Canes. Miami -22.5
NU vs IOWA Yeah, the ‘Cats have played terribly in recent weeks and they’re probably just not very good. But it seems like every year Northwestern plays well against Iowa. Remember when Iowa was undefeated and ranked fourth in the country and a middling Northwestern team went into Kinnick Stadium and won? I like NU to win outright, and I’m thrilled that I’m getting four points. Northwestern +4
MSU vs ILL Michigan State actually does not have an offense, but their defense is so stout I wouldn’t be surprised if the Illini don’t find the endzone all day. Giving up more than 10 points to a road team that can’t score if so difficult, even if they have a great D, so I guess I won’t. Just know that I really don’t like picking this game and would abstain if I could. Illinois +10.5
TTU vs OKLA No. %#&@ing. Clue. I guess I’ll take the points. Texas Tech +6.5
Nobody Noticing That I Use the Same Characters To Censor The Word “Fuck” Every Time I Do It -110
Me Rubbing It In Bob’s Face That He Mocked Me When I Said Miami’s Floor This Year Was 9-3 -5400
Me Rubbing It In Bob’s Face That After He Mocked Me He Said That The Same Could Be Said About Northwestern -5400000000
Bob Denying He Ever Said This To Some Degree -225
OVER 88.5 Heat Index In Sun Life Stadium On Saturday -110 (SERIOUSLY, CUT IT OUT WITH THE %#&@ING NOON HOME GAMES)
UCLA vs ORE I firmly believe that if Oregon really wanted to, they could beat UCLA by more than 23 points. However, there’s too much garbage-time backdoor cover potential to justify giving up this many points to a team like UCLA. UCLA +23
Last Week: 3-2
WAKE vs MIA Too many points for a not-Clemson team to be laying against a not-terrible Wake Forest team. I don’t care who wasn’t paying attention in class. Wake +22.5
NU vs IOWA I have so little confidence anymore after being present for the last three losses for the Wildcats, but Colter and Mark should both be back this week, which means Northwestern will hopefully have an offense. It’s really tough to pick the ‘Cats after the last two terrible weeks and on the road against a pretty good team, but I’ll go for it. Northwestern +4
MSU vs ILL I’m still feeling pretty solid about this Illinois team, and I like all these points at home against a Michigan State team that only scored 14 at home against Purdue last week. Illinois +10.5
TTU vs OU I like Big Game Bob at home with a top-ten scoring defense against a pass-happy walk-on freshman, especially in a big game heading into a bye week before playing Baylor. This is going to be an interesting game between two very different teams, but I like Oklahoma here. Oklahoma -6.5
Almost Taking All ‘Dogs When I Usually Stay Away from Them (Not Sure How To Make A Bet Out of That)
Harry I Don’t Deny Any of That So You Just Lost Money (Ditto)
I Didn’t Realize How Soft the Miami Schedule Was, Plus My Argument Was More That Calling 9-3 the Floor is Tough; Thus, You Didn’t Actually Prove Me Wrong in Any Way (Ditto)
Check The Fucking Standings (Ditto)
Suck My Dick (Ditto)
UCLA vs ORE I was very surprised to see this spread so big. UCLA is a good team. Too many puntos. UCLA +23
Last Week: 2-3
THE COMEBACK IS COMPLETE FOLKS. I’M TIED FOR FIRST PLACE. I know y’all were rooting for me, and I came through with a 4-1 performance last week. The only problem: I hate nearly every single game we’re picking this week. Here Weego.
WAKE vs MIA It’s tiring saying every week that Miami is not as good as their record/ranking. Finally, last week, a bad UNC team gave them everything they could possibly handle and the U started to show signs of weakness. That said… Boston College 24, Wake Forest 10. UL-Monroe 21, Wake Forest 19, at home. Clemson 56, Wake Forest 7. None of these results are things you want to see when you’re looking for reasons to pick an underdog on the road in a hostile, 2/3 filled Sun Life Stadium. Miami -22.5 (Miami 42, Wake Forest 17)
NU vs IOWA Iowa’s offense has definitely improved from last year’s James-Vandenberg-Throws-Balls-Into-The-Dirt-A-Palooza gameplan, and the defense has stepped up their game as well. However, none of this will likely matter if Kain Colter is back at 100% for the ‘Cats on Saturday. Bob mentioned Venric Mark earlier and he’s very important too, but Trevor Siemian has been downright embarrassing the last couple weeks and they need a consistent quarterback ASAP. I’m not sure about this pick, but I think Northwestern will at least be able to keep it close enough to cover. Northwestern +4 (Northwestern 30, Iowa 27)
MSU vs ILL Following MSU’s offensive explosion against Indiana a couple weeks ago, I was telling anyone who’d listen that Sparty would blow out Illinois at Memorial Stadium. Then, the Spartans struggled to score against Purdue and won 14-0 at home. Indiana’s defense is terrible, but surely MSU’s offense isn’t that bad, right? This is the toughest game of the week in my opinion, because it all depends on MSU’s bad offense vs the horrifying Illini defense: I’m not sure who is going to out-suck the other. At the end of the day, it’s hard for me to see Illinois keeping this close without turnovers (which they’re second worst in the nation at acquiring) and several big plays from the offense. Michigan State -10.5 (Michigan State 30, Illinois 14)
TTU vs OU See: Harry’s answer. Texas Tech +6.5 (Oklahoma 23, Texas Tech 17)
Me Immediately Falling Out Of The Tie For First Place +340
Me Going 1-4 This Week +690
Curve on My Physics Exam Yesterday Under 5% +1250
Alabama/Florida State Being the Eventual Championship Game +IHaveNoIdeaIsThisAnActualBetICanMakeBecauseIMight
UCLA vs ORE Oregon was undefeated against the spread this season until last week, when the game was over after twenty minutes and they could’ve easily covered if not for Mike Leach pushing his team to score late on the second unit of Oregon’s defense. They’ve easily handled everybody on their schedule thus far. Marcus Mariota is in a two-man battle for the Heisman with Jameis Winston, with the trophy going to the man whose team makes the title game. The Ducks are really, really good. But this spread is incredibly high for a game against the #12 team, and I’m not going to trust the Ducks with this many points, especially with huge backdoor TD potential as Harry mentioned. UCLA +23 (Oregon 42, UCLA 28)
Last Week: 4-1