By Tom Z
11:45 AM EDT, September 28, 2012
Before we get into this week’s picks, I’d like to quickly honor the 3 biggest stars of the past week.
3) Collin Klein, Kansas State – With a lot of help from the K-State defense, Klein led the Wildcats to a victory over Oklahoma and a well-deserved spot in the top 10. He also established himself in the eyes of many as the Heisman frontrunner. I’ve even heard a few Tebow comparisons thrown around. Personally I think that’s overboard. Yes, they have similarities, but you don’t just toss out a Tebow comparison haphazardly. A Tebow comparison is like that nuclear suitcase the President carries around. You break it out only when it’s absolutely necessary. Great game by Klein, though. He’s making a strong push to unseat Tyler Bray as my college football man-crush of the year.
2) EJ Manuel, Florida State – I owe EJ “I Spell My First Name With No Periods” Manuel an apology. In fact, I owe an apology to the entire Seminoles team. I doubted their legitimacy during the preseason and during their 3-week run against cupcakes to start the year. But after last week’s Clemson game, there can be no doubt that the Seminoles and Erik Jr. are for real. I’m sorry, guys. More on Florida State later in the column.
1) The Arizona State Kegstand Baby – Just when I thought EJ Manuel was the superstar of the week, a new contender emerged out of nowhere. The picture above, which appeared on TheDirty.com, was taken at an Arizona State tailgate. The photographer was an ASU student who was “disgusted” by the incident. They sent it to TheDirty.com, whose editor was equally offended. Of course, it caused an uproar in the community and now campus police are investigating.
Before I explain why this baby is an American hero, let’s talk about these “offended people” for a second.
First, the student who took the photo: Arizona State has been the number one party school for 37 years straight. Why did you go there when you obviously hate fun? I suggest transferring immediately. There’s plenty of room for you at BYU.
Next up, the editor of the website: I don’t believe this guy was genuinely offended. This is the same website that became famous for posting pictures of Matt Leinart and Nick Lachey in a hot tub with co-eds. I sincerely doubt that a staged photo of a baby upset his delicate sensibilities.
Next, the community: Right now your state is best known for hating immigrants and brandishing AK-47s. You might want to reel in the anger for a second, especially over such a trivial cause.
And finally, let’s address the school: Investigating the incident, really? You are Arizona State. You’ve been the #1 party school in the country since they started tracking that sort of thing. You’re the backdrop to every other “Girls Gone Wild” video. Your student section has been described as “scandalous” by my friends who live there. There’s a reason all your games start at 10:30pm. It’s not because you’re out west, it’s because shots of your student section qualify as softcore porn in certain states. Sometimes I turn on your games and I’m not sure whether I’m seeing a shot of the student section or one of those Questchat commercials.
So, in conclusion, everyone relax.
Now let’s talk about this baby. He’s the best. Listen, kids are going to try alcohol eventually. You can’t stop it. All you can do is teach them some alcohol safety and try to ensure that, when the time comes, they’re able to make wise decisions. In France they serve children wine with dinner, and France’s alcoholism rates are much lower than ours. The same principle applies here. Every day in America, thousands of freshmen pass out in the corner of frat parties because of errant kegstands. Even the smallest of errors can result in skunked Busch Light shooting out your nose. It’s a tough world out there. Now look at that baby. His form is perfect. When he finally goes on college visits, rest assured he won’t be the passed out prefrosh with penises drawn on his forehead.
Winners aren’t born, they’re made. And the people at this tailgate are making this baby into a winner. Coddle your baby and they’ll grow up to be someone who snitches to campus police. But make your baby do a kegstand, and they’ll grow up to be a champ. Could Kegstand Baby be the next great Heisman-winning quarterback? Yes. In fact it’s a 100% guarantee. He’s got the tenacity to make it happen. Remember earlier when I said that you don’t just throw around a Tim Tebow reference? Well, this is one of those few times where the comparison is apt. Kegstand Baby is a winner. Kegstand Baby is victory in the face of adversity. The soul of our nation is reflected in the eyes of Kegstand Baby. Kegstand Baby is the next Tim Tebow. You either support Kegstand Baby, or you hate freedom. Pick a side, America!
Speaking of choosing a side, here are this week’s picks...
West Virginia vs. Baylor UNDER 82
Way too many points. As we learned in last week’s Oregon vs. Arizona game, all it takes is a couple botched plays to completely blow your chance at a steep OVER. Both teams have strong offenses, but you can’t expect both squads to come out firing on all cylinders in such a high-profile game. One bad quarter will win this bet easily. Making an 82-point over is like hitting on a sober girl at the bar. Everything has to go perfectly in order to succeed. But one whiff of your Jack Daniels breath and it’s game over. Or in this case, game UNDER. By the way, please excuse all the alcohol references in this column. Kegstand Baby has got me all fired up.
UConn vs. Buffalo UNDER 41.5
Buffalo scored one touchdown last week, and it was on a Hail Mary right before halftime. 7 points, that’s all the Bulls could muster. In fairness, that was against a MAC school. This week they only have to play UConn.
Penn State (pick ‘em) over Illinois
The Bill O’Brien offense is finally starting to click. Taking the UNDER in Penn State games has been the lock of the year so far this season, but the Nittany Lions have looked better and better with each passing week. I think this is the week they finally go OVER in a game. I also think they pick up the win and go home with a (gasp) winning record. On the flip side, Illinois is a train wreck. They’ve had to play without their starting QB, and quite frankly, the rest of the team has barely shown up either. Lastly, let’s not forget there’s a payback element to this game. Illinois coaches infamously tried to poach Penn State players after the NCAA sanctions came down this summer. The teams are trying to downplay this in the media, saying everything is cool, but trust me, Penn State players haven’t forgotten. If these two teams were chicks, Penn State would be ripping out Illinois’ weave right now. Lions 24, Illini 20.
Ohio -24 over UMass
I never thought I’d see the day where Ohio was favored by 24 over anyone, let alone the day where I thought it was a good bet. But the Bobcats have a very good offense and a realistic shot at going undefeated this year. UMass is a TERRIBLE football team who will finish the season 1-11 and could very well lose this game by 40. If these teams were coffee, Ohio would be a Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Latte. Not the best Pumpkin Latte out there, but surprisingly refreshing on a crisp fall day. UMass would be McDaniels instant coffee in a rusty tin cup with traces of gasoline inside.
Clemson -8 over Boston College SCRATCH
*Note: I originally thought Clemson would cover, but WR Sammy Watkins has been ruled out for this game, making it a clear STAY AWAY in my eyes. I’m leaving this write-up in the article only because I like the white people joke at the end.
In an effort to dissect this game, my brother Dave explained the Clemson Tigers in the following manner:
“I subscribe to the sin curve theory for football teams. If they put up a stinker one week, they'll play the best game of the season the following week.”
I’m pretty sure he meant the sine curve theory, which essentially says that nature follows a wave pattern, where an entity naturally oscillates between high and low points.
Or, to put that in words that a football player can understand: Clemson got smacked around last week. This week, they do the smacking.
The only chance for Boston College is if Clemson’s players are blinded by the incredible amount of white people at this game. Possible, but not likely.
Georgia -14 over Tennessee
I’ve avoided betting on Georgia all year as I think Mark Richt is one of the worst major coaches in college football. But I can’t ignore the Bulldogs any more. They’ve been crushing teams, and in my opinion, have clearly established themselves as the second-best team in the SEC and a top 3 team in the nation. I like Tennessee’s Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter a lot, but the Vols as a unit are too inconsistent and weak on the lines to hang with Georgia. Florida handled Tennessee on the road. Georgia should dominate them at home. Georgia 43, Tennessee 20.
Florida State -17 over South Florida
My friend Dan says to stay away from this game, but I can’t help myself. Florida State looked GREAT in that night game against Clemson. They’re really good, like National Championship Game good. I know that there’s a letdown potential in this game, but I think FSU smells the championship now and will assert their will on teams for the rest of the season. Granted, Florida State football players have always asserted their will on others, but usually they do it at a frat party, not on the field. That changes now. Just like his massive diamond earring, I think EJ Manuel will shine in this game. Florida State 44, South Florida 21.
South Carolina -21 over Kentucky
Kentucky is not only bad, but seems to have checked out mentally as well. Their game against Florida was embarrassing, and their loss to Western Kentucky was tragic. Kentucky should let John Calipari handle recruiting for the football team. It couldn’t hurt. Actually it could hurt when they eventually go on probation, but at least they’d be good for a little while. Then there’s South Carolina. They’re just starting to come into their own as a team. Connor Shaw played excellent last week in a 31-10 pounding of Missouri that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. I’m not expecting a 70-point blowout, but I do think the Gamecocks win in a business-like performance. SC 34, Kentucky 7.
Texas -2 over Oklahoma State
I really like this Texas team. They should be ranked in the top 10, if not higher. They’re balanced on offense and very strong on defense. Oklahoma State has a promising young team, but they’re in a rebuilding year and it shows. They’ve had to deal with an injury to quarterback Wes Lunt, who I’m guessing had a really offensive nickname in high school. Backup J.W. Walsh, who sounds like a character from 90210, would probably be better in this game just because his running ability throws an added element at the tough Texas D. Either way, the Longhorns will eventually force the Cowboys to throw the ball, and that spells trouble for these inexperienced QBs. Texas 31, OK State 23.
Nebraska (-11.5) vs. Wisconsin – STAY AWAY
Each week I discuss my picks with “my team,” by which I mean the aforementioned Dan and Dave (plus one other guy who was busy this week). I think the best play in this game is betting the OVER, which is roughly 50. My friend Dan thinks the best bet is to take Nebraska, as he expects them to hammer the struggling Wisconsin. My brother expects a defensive struggle (a.k.a. terrible offense) and thinks that the OVER is a dangerous bet. So there you have it. Three people who love college football and follow pretty closely, all with completely conflicting viewpoints on the same game. What besides college football can get three rational people to totally disagree like that? Even our toughest national issues don’t produce such a wide variety of opinions. Imagine if the Supreme Court had to rule on abortion. First Sanda Day O’Connor voted for us to be pro-choice. Then Scalia voted anti-abortion. And then Justice Roberts voted to throw the baby into the ocean and let it be raised by dolphins. That’s basically what just happened. Ironically, our wildly varying opinions prove that there is one clear answer for this game: STAY AWAY.
See you all next week.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @thefaketomz
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