Archive for year 2010

Week 4 Game Picks

This week’s picks are pretty tough. Dienhart continues to rule, but it’s a long season. Lots of yardage to cover.

Giddyup. Daylight’s burnin’.
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Pac-10 Conference Predictions

The Pac-10 is much stronger this season. It’s no longer USC, Oregon and the Little 8. Here’s how I see the conference stacking up for the 2010 season.

1. Oregon Ducks. Quite simply, the Quacks are better without Jeremiah Masoli – plus they get their two top challengers to the crown at home (Stanford on Oct 2 and Arizona on Nov 26).

2. Stanford Cardinal. Jim Harbaugh is a miracle worker. There doesn’t seem to be any drop-off without Toby Gerhart in the lineup, in fact, the team seems more explosive and less predictable. They also get Arizona at home on Nov 6.

3. Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats are my wild card pick to take the conference. They face three drawbacks: Road games at Oregon and Stanford, and their traditional late season swoon. If they can upset the Ducks in Eugene and get through the conference schedule with just one loss, ‘Cats fans can say hello to Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

4. USC Trojans. Understandably, the boys from Troy are playing uninspired football this season. I see them losing at Stanford, at Arizona, and at home to Oregon. There’s another loss in their schedule somewhere, perhaps ASU on Nov 6.

5. Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers and Cal are a toss-up for the fifth and sixth positions in the conference. The tie-breaker is in Oregon State’s favor because they host the Golden Bears this season.

6. California Golden Bears. The Nevada loss exposed Cal’s defense. Consider this a rebuilding year if you’re a Cal fan and you’ll be happy.

7. Arizona State Sun Devils. ASU looked tough on the road at Wisconsin, but they’ll open conference with a loss to Oregon, and they they have to travel to Corvallis to face Oregon State which will be feeling mighty nasty after getting stampeded at Boise State. Other difficult road games include Cal, USC, and Arizona.

8. Washington Huskies. I was on the Jake Locker bandwagon in the preseason, but lucky for me, I chose to hold back my conference picks until the non-conference games were well underway. Steve Sarkisian is a fine coach and I truly believe he will lead Washington to greatness again. It just won’t happen for another 2-3 years.

9. UCLA Bruins. This team has the talent to end up as high as the number 5 spot in the conference, but their offensive line has been devastated early on. Kevin Prince will be fortunate to make it through the entire season intact. The Bruins are probably two years away from challenging for the conference title – Prince’s senior season.

10. Washington State Cougars. What can you say about this hapless program? How Mike Price ever got them to the Rose Bowl Game twice in six years is a mystery to even the most astute college football student.

Big Ten Conference Predictions

The Big Ten has five, perhaps six, solid programs that can trade knocks with the best in the country on any given Saturday. Not that they’d win at more than a fifty percent clip, but still, the upper half of the conference is pretty strong this year … Ohio State is the alpha male in the conference. The title is theirs to lose.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes. Jim Tressel has the Scarlet and Gray beginning to hum like a Maserati as they head into conference play. Their last three games of the season are Penn State, at Iowa, and Michigan. Any one of those could prove to be a stumbling block, but their Oct 16 road game vs. Wisconsin might be the toughest mountain to climb.

2. Wisconsin Badgers. Besides the mid-October clash with Ohio State, the Badgers have three tough road games at Michigan State, Iowa and Michigan. If Wisconsin can upset the Buckeyes, they have an excellent chance of running the table. Despite getting by Arizona State on a blocked extra point in Week 3, the important juice to extract from that sugar lemon is the Badgers had the speed to limit a lightning quick and dangerous ASU squad to 19 points.

3. Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa’s prospects rest on the backs of Ricky Stanzi and soph running back Adam Robinson. If either gets injured, they can kiss their Pasadena dreams goodbye. They have the schedule primed to pull off the conference title this year. Despite a tough 4-game stretch with Penn State, at Michigan, Wisconsin and then Michigan State, they also get Ohio State at home on Nov 20.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions. The Big Ten’s 4-5-6 teams are practically interchangeable. I’m giving the conference dean of coaches the benefit of the doubt that he can navigate the schedule better than Dantonio and RichRod. PSU’s schedule is not kind this year with Iowa and Ohio State on the road, but they do get to do a Pennsylvania shuffle to sidestep Wisconsin on the calendar.

5. Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans are a bit of a mystery and the real dark horse in this year’s race. They hold the wild card with a Buckeye-free schedule and could send shock waves through the conference with a win over Wisconsin on Oct 2. After that, their two toughest contests are road games at Iowa (Oct 30) and Penn State (Nov 27).

6. Michigan Wolverines. Michigan’s hopes live and die with Denard Robinson. I’ve had him #1 on my Heisman list since the first game of the season, but I’m really concerned about the load he carries as QB and featured running back. It’s his ground yards that have been driving opponents absolutely crazy. Will his body hold up through a grueling Big Ten schedule when he’s logging over 20 carries a game and taking some hits as a signal caller? The Wolverine defense is the Swiss cheese variety this year and that adds even more pressure on Robinson to carry the team.

7. Northwestern Wildcats. Pat Fitzgerald is working miracles in Evanston. The Wildcats are just two wins short of heading to a bowl game for an unprecedented third straight season, which indicates PF has the program reloading more quickly than ever before. Look for NU to go 8-4 or 7-5 on the regular season, and 4-4 in conference play.

8. Illinois Fighting Illini. Of all the teams in the Big Ten, Illinois has drawn the toughest three games to begin conference play (Ohio State, at Penn State, at Michigan State). They shouldn’t be an easy win for any of their opponents, but those three games will define their conference season. I see the Illini rebounding from an 0-3 start to finish 3-5 in the conference. A 5-7 record and another post-season at home might spell doom for Ron Zook’s reign in Champaign.

9. Indiana Hoosiers. I’m really impressed with the Hoosiers’ three straight wins to open 2010, but that shiny zero in the loss column is going to get marred quickly in games 1 and 2 of the conference campaign (Michigan, then at Ohio State). They’ll get a bit of a break with a non-con game vs. Arkansas State, and then it’s back to the Big Ten grind. Indiana doesn’t look to be an easy win for anyone in the conference. Depending on where their wins fall in place, they’ll end up 3-5 in conference, in a tussle with Illinois for the numero ocho spot.

10. Purdue Boilermakers. The Boiler’s Brew this year hinges on the health of Robert Marve. Without him, Purdue lost handily at home to Toledo. That means the Boilermakers are 1-1 with Marve and 1-1 without him. I see the Black and Gold going 2-6 in conference. They are playing without their leading receiver and running back from last season, and their #2 ball carrier has already missed two games with a toe injury. This isn’t going to be the year they thought it would be with Marve behind center.

11. Minnesota Golden Gophers. It’s pretty sad to see the state of affairs in Golden Gopher football. Their new stadium is absolutely beautiful and there’s a rich tradition to tap into if you care to go back to the early 1960s. In fact, Minnesota is the only program that can claim three national titles in a row, but you have to time travel to the late Thirties for those heady days. Unfortunately, Tim Brewster is not getting the job done in the Twin Cities and the 2010 version of Maroon and Gold football looks like a 1-7 conference team, 2-10 overall. Buh-bye Brewster.

Week 4 Game Pick Results

Man, this was a tough week. I thought Notre Dame would rebound and pull off a close win over Stanford in South Bend. How could Brian Kelly lose three in a row with the talent he has at his disposal? And who in their right mind would’ve picked UCLA to knock off Texas in Austin, North Carolina State rolling over Georgia Tech in Atlanta or Mississippi State handing it to Georgia? More >

CG365 Sweet Sixteen – Week 4

Alabama passed their first major test in SEC play but it doesn’t get any easier with #7 Florida visiting Tuscaloosa this weekend. Arkansas proved they deserve to retain a lofty spot in the Sweet 16, at least for the time being. I downgraded Oregon after seeing them struggle mightily with ASU. They should rebound at home this week vs. #12 Stanford.

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Week 5 Game Picks

Time to go out on a limb again … I think ASU can take Oregon State if they play up to their potential this weekend and eliminate turnovers. North Carolina State has a solid chance to handle Virginia Tech, too. Sure bets: Alabama over Florida and Iowa over Penn State. More >