Welcome to the week 5 Take the Points column. This is a tremendous week for college football, and I can't wait to sit back and watch the action unfold. I'm closing on a house tomorrow and I've spent this entire week doing annoying busywork, so there's nothing I want more than to sit on the couch all day, drinking beer and watching football. They say that being a homeowner is the American Dream, but after going through the process, watching LSU-Georgia with a Pumpkin Ale sounds way better to me. If you've never had the honor of purchasing a house before, let me explain how it works: A bunch of people in khakis try to scare the shit out of you for two months, then you sign documents until your hand is permanently morphed into a claw-like shape. Oh, and also, they need to know every financial transaction you've ever done in your entire life. "You want to know where this one payment came from? Well, awhile back, Alabama was playing Notre Dame, and for some reason the line was only 9 points…" I'm joking of course; thankfully deposits to offshore gambling websites don't appear on a credit report, otherwise I would be renting for eternity.
Anyway, long story short, I'm about to be paying insane property taxes for the rest of my life, so like any good American, my plan is to hit big on some lines this week. Here are my picks...
East Carolina +12.5 over North Carolina
I like this as a potential upset pick. I'm not sold on UNC's team this year. They're like "The Newsroom" on HBO. They have some talent, everybody says they're pretty good, but I've watched a couple times and I just don't see it. Meanwhile East Carolina is a perennial spoiler. You know the motto. Take the points.
UConn -1 over Buffalo
UConn almost pulled off the performance of a lifetime last week against Michigan. I'm not sure how good the Wolverines are, but I know this: UConn isn't as horrible as their loss to Towson would indicate. I think the Huskies head to Buffalo with a newfound confidence and leave with their first victory of the season. To the UConn team, I'm an Upstate NY native, and I'd like to recommend a place in Buffalo for after the game. It's called the Thruway. It gets you the hell out of Buffalo. Enjoy it, it's the best thing the city has to offer.
Florida State -22.5 over Boston College
I've bet Florida State the past couple weeks and they haven't disappointed. I intend to ride them this season until they falter, or until Vegas decides, "fuck it, we're making the line -70." Jameis Winston is a stud. Boston College is no good and 22.5 is not nearly enough to steer me away. FSU in a blowout.
Kentucky +13 over Florida
Florida is officially on upset alert for the rest of 2013. Not only are they without Jeff Driscoll for the season, but now they've lost DT Dominique Easley with an ACL. This is not Florida's year. I don't know if it's karma for Aaron Hernandez, a black hole created by the loss of Tim Tebow from organized sports, or if everyone in Florida spent too much time watching "Duck Dynasty" and forgot to do their conditioning drills, but either way, it's over. I'll take the points and I wouldn't be surprised if Kentucky shocks the Gators with an outright win.
Stanford -10 at Washington State
I won't insult my readers by explaining this one.
Notre Dame +4 over Oklahoma
Blake Bell has started one game in his career, two weeks ago against Tulsa. In that game, he threw for 413 yards and won the game by 31 points. So he's the man, right? Well, first off, that was Tulsa at home. This week they play Notre Dame in front of the Touchdown Jesus. Also, I watched that Tulsa game, and most of Bell's yard were from bubble screens and other short passes where the skill players racked up a lot of yards after catch. I expect Bell to crash back to Earth this weekend. Not that Tommy Rees 2: European Gigolo is any better, but I'll take the Irish and the points in what should be a messy, low-scoring affair.
[Unrelated side note: When I was trying to come up with a Tommy Rees sequel joke, I googled both "Best Movie Sequels" and "Worst Movie Sequels" and 99.9% of the pages I found offered either a pop-up or interstitial ad when I clicked on them. And most were in slideshow format, with some asking me to click through as many as 50 pages. I thought we had moved past this era of the Internet where people tried to make money by annoying the hell out of their customers. Even telemarketers stopped calling during dinner time. Get your shit together, Internet. I'm now having Agent Orange-style flashbacks to 1997 Geocities pages. We're gonna have to wrap this up soon before I set my monitor on fire and run around the streets naked making noises like an AOL dial-up modem.]
Wisconsin at Ohio State OVER 55.5
Anything could happen in this game. Ohio State could blow out Wisconsin by 30. Wisconsin could dominate time of possession and win by a field goal. Kenny Guiton could pull a Tonya Harding and hire a goon to break Braxton Miller's kneecaps, then lead the Buckeyes to victory on a last-minute scoring drive. None of these things would surprise me. So for that reason, I'm betting the OVER. The Buckeyes have demonstrated that they can put up points no matter who is at the helm, and I think the OSU defense is weaker than normal this year. Wisconsin's three-headed rushing attack will play a factor, but if -- or more likely, when -- the Badgers fall behind, they'll have to pick up the pace and get into the end zone. This is going to be a good game. Can't wait to watch.
Alabama -14.5 over Ole Miss
When you go to the zoo, they tell you it's not a good idea to taunt the wild animals.* You don't want to poke a bear with a stick and awaken a killer from its slumber. Apparently Ole Miss players have never been to the zoo, because the message about not taunting predators wasn't received. Earlier this week, their freshman wide receiver predicted an upset over Alabama. Then quarterback Bo Wallace came out and said that Alabama's secondary was sub-standard. Granted, these aren't the worst things you can say about an opponent, but you have to understand, Nick Saban is a wild grizzly bear just waiting to chomp off the head of anyone who gets too close. Ole Miss is a solid team, but now Bama is going to be angry. Not smart, Ole Miss. An angry Tide team will show the Rebels why they're #1 in the country. Expect the Bama defense to crush Wallace, and Saban to run up the score. Alabama 40, Ole Miss 13. And for anyone playing Alabama in the future, a word to the wise: Just be quiet.
*It's also not a good idea to invite children into your "gingerbread van," but of course no one tells you anything about that until it's too late. Thanks for nothing, zookeepers!
LSU +2.5 at Georgia - STAY AWAY
I hate this game from a gambling perspective. From a fan perspective, it's the game of the week, but for betting purposes, I'm staying as far away as possible. I think Georgia is the (slightly) more talented team, but LSU is always tough and Les Miles is a much better coach than Mark Richt. How will Georgia's talented offense match up against LSU's stout D? Will Jeremy Hill be able to gain yardage against the Dawgs' front seven? Who will have a better day, Aaron Murray or Zach Mettenberger? If you Google any of these questions, you'll get porn. So you're stuck with my opinion. I think Georgia probably wins this game for three reasons. 1) They have the better QB. 2) They're at home. 3) They need this game much more than LSU. So, with a confidence level of 35%, I pick Georgia to win this game, 32-30. Put the wallet away and enjoy.
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Tom Z: @thefaketomz
Take the Points Week 5 Podcast