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Friday, November 5, 2010

Week 9 NFL Picks, College Pick, Week-in-Review

I had a so-so week with my picks in the last Thursday through Wednesday cycle, ending up at -12.53 points with a lousy 2-6 in terms of wins and losses. If only I’d listened to myself, and stayed away from the World Series games where I went 0-3 for -15 points, I would have been ok.

I know . . . woulda, coulda, shoulda.

The only good news came in football, where I hit my two biggest picks. But even there I gave some back, finishing 2-3 for a measly +2.47 in points.

It’s probably the worst time in the world for my biggest picks of the season because anyone following along would say I’m chasing points. But I really don’t feel that way, and I honestly feel strongly enough to bump up my points on the games this week. Normally, I’m very conservative after losing, and it’s not like I got crushed last week. The two big picks are in the NFL, where I’m +83.83 in points in the last 3 weeks. (You gotta love Excel after putting in the time to put in all of the old data, don’t ya?)

At the risk of looking like an idiot on Monday, I’ve learned over the last several years that making the Super Bowl a big pick just because it’s the “big game” is flat out stupid. The game is totally over hyped, and actually should be the hardest game to pick as, theoretically, the best two teams are playing.

Normally, I don’t offer analysis of my picks, but in this case I think I should since they’re rather large compared to most of my selections. Don’t misunderstand, they’re certainly not “bet the house” big. In fact, they’re probably average or below average for most guys playing with their bookie. But here they are:

Alabama -6.5 over LSU (20pts. to win 19.05)
New England -4.5 over Cleveland (50 to win 47.62)
Indianapolis +130 over Philadelphia (50pts. to win 65)

The college pick actually isn’t that big for the site, except that it’s in college. Alabama was projected by many as the best team in college football this year, and several teams have scheduled them after their off week. This time, both teams were off last week. Alabama crushed Tennessee, the one common opponent so far, on the road, and LSU beat the Vols at home, 16-14.

I realize all three selections are on the road, and New England’s defense stinks. But they’re still 6-1, their offense is perfectly fine, possibly better, without Randy Moss, and they’re going to Cleveland. Yes, the Browns beat New Orleans, which no one can figure out just yet, and they are coming off of a bye. And? They’re still 2-6, and probably starting Colt McCoy.

Finally, picking against the Eagles is always treacherous for me. And I’m very aware that Andy Reid never loses after a bye, which the Eagles had last week, and that Michael Vick is back this week. I’m also aware that Peyton Manning is coming to town, the Eagles secondary got lit up against Tennessee, and there defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is most assuredly not Jimmy Johnson. (More on that below.)

Week-in-Review:

• Tomorrow fans can go to the Spectrum and take out whatever can be carried. Woo-hoo! Wasn’t the place gutted a year ago for the apparently-never-coming demolition of the building? And for the privilege of carrying out the junk Comcast doesn’t want, people pay $25 to enter the building. Unless this is a secret experiment to weed out the dumbest people in the city because the building is actually being demolished once all of the idiots are inside, it makes no sense.

• Doug Collins missed the second half of his first win as the Sixers head coach with vertigo. From what I’ve read the condition is brought on by stress. Anyone else slightly concerned.

• Andre Iguodala is supposed to be a great player, yet he can’t manage to give a two-shot foul in the closing seconds of a game in which the Sixers are used 3. Pathetic.

• Rob Ellis wrote on Philadelphia Sports Daily:

The defense has given up 13 passing touchdowns this season – eight in the last three games. Last season the Eagles allowed an alarming 27 touchdowns through the air. They are also 32nd in red zone pass defense, giving up 12 touchdowns in 16 attempts.

But most worrisome is the penchant for coughing up big leads late in games. They held an 18-point lead over Detroit, a two-touchdown advantage over San Francisco, and were up by nine at Tennessee – all in the fourth quarter. They barely held off the Lions and Niners and saw the Titans offense hang a 20-spot on them in the last frame. Keep in mind this was not exactly Montana and Elway shredding them. Shaun Hill and Alex Smith are never-was’ and Kerry Collins is older than Abe Vigoda.

. . . Rumors have begun to surface that McDermott’s job is in jeopardy. It’s far too early for that talk. He is owed this year.

No, it’s not too early for that talk.

• I forgot about this item last week on SI.com: “Baseball’s playoffs could be expanding in two years. The new head of the players’ union says his members are open to adding more wild-card teams for 2012 and possibly extending the division series to a best-of-seven. Union head Michael Weiner says it’s also possible players would agree to cutting the regular season from 162 games, but that’s more problematic because it would cost teams revenue.
The impact of the World Series going into November was watered-down by the Texas – San Francisco match-up. Playing the most important series of a summer game in potentially winter-like temperatures is absurd. Like it or not, doing so calls the integrity of the World Series into question. It’s just not the same.

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