By: Jamie Samuelsen
Let’s sum up what we’ve learned so far with nearly a month of actual football under our belts.
In the NFL – the 49ers are really good. As for the rest of the league? Eh, we’re still investigating.
In the NCAA – Alabama is really good. As for the other 500 or so teams? Let’s just say the jury is still out.
Seriously, has so little ever been gleaned from so much football. We thought that USC was a serious contender to Alabama’s throne. The Trojans even opened the season #1 in the nation (which is adorable when you stop and think about it). Then they went out and struggled with Syracuse and lost to Stanford (which struggled to beat San Jose State.) The Packers were supposed to be as good as last year when they went 15-1 in the regular season, then they went out and lost badly to the 49ers in week one. The Saints are 0-2 amid rumors that the defensive players are actually putting together a bounty system to pay teammates when they do nasty things like “stop a team on third down” and “tackle an opponent who’s carrying the ball.” According to reports, none of those bounties has been paid out yet.
So it’s understandable that your fearless prognosticators are having a slow time getting up and running. I made the egregious mistake last week of assuming that Michigan State was good. They sure showed me on Saturday night.
So with NO discernable information upon which to rely, we offer up our picks for week three.
EASTERN MICHIGAN (+33 ½) AT MICHIGAN STATE – If you refer back to last week’s picks, I said that Michigan would cover against UMass largely because every so often a game comes along in the non-conference schedule where everything goes right for the favorite, and they get physically and mentally right playing against a patsy. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. The Eagles enter Spartan Stadium 0-3 and are allowing 312.3 yards per game on the ground. When I see that state, my cogent football analysis tells me one thing – yipes. PICK – MSU
WOJO – MSU
WOOLEY – EMU
MICHIGAN (+5) AT NOTRE DAME – Rumors have it that ND head coach Brian Kelly spent the week consulting with Alabama head coach Nick Saban to learn what clever strategy Saban employed that forced the Michigan coaches to turn Denard Robinson into a passing quarterback. Robinson would be just another running quarterback if it weren’t for his two year run against Notre Dame. In the two games Robinson started against the Irish, he’s accounted for 948 yards of total offense. That said, ND did bottle him up for much of the night game last year at Michigan Stadium before things got really out of hand in the 4th quarter. I don’t think that things get out of hand in this one, especially in very hostile nighttime atmosphere. PICK – NOTRE DAME
WOJO – MICHIGAN
WOOLEY – NOTRE DAME
LIONS (- 3 ½) AT TENNESSEE – I read a story this week that some odds makers are literally adding a half a point to a full point to each NFL spread to account for the replacement refs. THAT’S how much they’re affecting the game. So if Mike Trout’s WAR is in the double-digits, it must mean that the replacement refs WAR is trending somewhere below that. And really, that’s the only thing that scares me about this game for the Lions. If the Titan secondary somehow gets away with locking onto Calvin Johnson or the rest of the Lions receivers and drags them down in the middle of the field, then we might have a problem. But other than that, this is the game where the offense finally gets on track. Calvin will get a touchdown. Matthew Stafford has a big day. And the Lions roll. I started this blog by stating that we really don’t know much about the NFL through two games. But we do know this – the Titans stink. PICK- LIONS
WOJO – LIONS
WOOLEY – LIONS