And at least we weren't like Travis Roastbeef and predicted some big Michigan comeback. Boy was that a dead fish he laid on all of us late last week. But the good news is, I've been to the buffet for this week, and I see a lot of things I like. Some tasty things to see if we can't climb out of our rabbit hole. But first, regarding USC...
Somebody ran around the office this week saying, "USC is only a 5 1/2 point favorite over the Huskers! This is gotta be a miss print. Who do we call to bet the house." Yes, it was printed in the Kansas City Star on Wednesday as being 5 1/2, and I was like Steve Martin in The Jerk when he saw that first check he got for $187,000 for inventing the opti-grab.
As usual, Vegas gets it right. They don't continue to build new hotels on misprints int he KC Star. The line is actually USC by 10, which is probably about right. I've been having some visions of the Corn keeping the game close, ala Texas last year, and losing by a touchdown or less. A year ago I saw 56-10 Auburn. But here's why Billy C has the perfect storm going for him...
- USC isn't the USC of old, or at least not the Carson Palmer/Matt Leinart versions of USC. After getting my inside source on LSU, and looking more at the Trojans, it's so obvious that everyone in the media grabbed the low hanging fruit. USC was such the easy, sexy pick that nobody dared go against them. Everyone looked at them as Tiger Woods and all other teams as the field. They had all of their defense coming back. But they also still have a quarterback who has three first names (never a good sign, and I will not argue that "Booty" is not a first name. Travis has a son named Booty.), and let's not forget, USC lost two games last year, and then got everybody salivating when they beat the holy shit out of a Michigan squad that in hindsight was and still is clearly overrated.
- Eventually, the clock's gonna strike midnight on this program. Pete Carroll has had one impressive run, and he gets all kinds of credit for being a great 2nd half coach, how his staff figures out everything over halftime. This run can't last forever. Even if he runs the table, I don't see how his team can handle an LSU team that's dripping with future NFL stars. But more importantly, the dynasty days in this new day of college football are going to be very short. It's impressive enough with what Carroll has done this decade. But sooner or later, Tatoo's gonna ask you to leave Fantasy Island.
- I firmly believe, that going back to January, 2004, when Billy C was introduced as the new sheriff in town, that he and Stevie P pulled out the 2007 calendar, and circled this Saturday's game as extremely critical. And it's all set up as the "turning point" game. As if to say no other game before them really meant all that much, but by the USC game in Lincoln, he'd better have a team that's at least extremely competitive. Remember, Frankie Solich had his fate sealed after getting embarrassed at home in 2003 to Kansas State. Stevie P hates nothing more than getting embarrassed at home. It's bad for business. This is the game they've both been waiting for.
- The Jekyl and Hyde Coach who Just got a contract extension from the University of Lincoln. He suffered one of the most humiliating losses in school history in year 1, getting pounded 70-10 at Texas Tech. The next year, Tech comes to Lincoln and he almost beats the Red Raiders. He had Texas beat at home last year. Billy C is just a different coach at home, no doubt about it. Which is to say that I'm not expecting him to keep it close to the vest like he did against USC last year.
- Sam Keller. I don't care if the Corn is losing 21-0, I feel safe with this kid. Does he still make mistakes that bring the Beavis-face cringe to everyone? Yes. But this kid is John Elway in his early days at Denver. Yes, he's going to throw some picks, but he's going to dazzle like that final touchdown at the end of the first half against Wake Forrest that more or less decided the game. You want an Elway for a game like this, for a team like this. What I'm saying is, if there was a 1st and 98 situation like "The Drive" in 1987 in that Cleveland playoff game, I'd be perfectly calm with Keller under center. Even if that bastard insists on wearing that visor. Somewhere, Steve Spurrier is happy for that look though.
- The line is 10, not 5 1/2 (if it was actually 5 1/2, the Trojans would be our #1 this week). It's a smart line, which leads us to our final, and most critical reasoning...
- The fucking kicking game. In the off-season, Billy C's smartest move was finding the absolute strongest and most reliable leg in the nation. He's got a field goal kicker who can hit from anywhere. And now with the new kick-off rules, this guy's hell bent on kicking every single ball through the end zone.
So let's get 1-3 out of mouths and go on to what you'll need to play this weekend, starting tonight kids:
- TCU (-8 1/2) against Air Force. This game's tonight, so get in early. TCU is a good team, and you're telling me they're only 8 1/2 points better than fucking AIR FORCE?
- Kansas (-23) against Toledo, at Lawrence. Here's something nobody's talking about. There's a big point shaving scandal involving Toledo that has really rocked the core of their football team. They might not even be able to bring enough players to Lawrence. Plus, KU coach Mangino is big enough to find a way to roll up 80 points in this game just because he's that fucking nuts. He might even leave his starters in with the score 50-3. I love this game more than anything else this weekend (except for when we get to something called the EMMYS....)
- Virginia (+3) against North Carolina. Is everyone now aware that Joe Dailey is no longer the starting quarterback at North Carolina? Not that any of that matters, but I think Virginia's only GETTING points because Dailey's not involved. Pretty please, with sugar on top, take fucking Virginia.
- Hawaii (-17) at UNLV. I'm sure everyone is now vastly aware of how incredible Hawaii's quarterback is. He's more accurate than the Doppler Radar System. Last week, a game they had to win in overtime, was this team's wake-up call.
- LSU (-40) against Middle Tennesse State. That's a lot of points, of course, but understand that even when LSU puts in their 2nd and 3rd stringers, those boys are better than some of the better teams in the nation. LSU looks a lot more loaded than USC. They've got a Reggie Busch/Leinart era USC about them. It can't quit LSU.
- Colorado (+4 1/2) against Florida State. Not a misprint. First of all, is everyone aware at how Bobby Knight-esque this CU coach is? It wouldn't surprise me if he decided to coach this game dressed up as Little Bo Peep. But more importantly, Bobby Bowden looks like Bob Hope in his final years. I'm not even sure if Bowden knows where he's at most of the time. In fact, I'm not so sure Bowden's still alive and his assistants aren't just hanging him around like the dead guy in Weekend at Bernie's. And to make matters worse, without Bowden's leadership, the inmates are running the asylum. Meaning, there are a bunch of assistant coaches trying to grab the brass ring. Lots of sloppy play, penalties, and oh by the way they're going to Boulder. The Bowden death watch is officially on.
- BYU (-7) at Tulsa. I've learned my lesson regarding Tulsa. BYU should win this game 42-17, but then again, I should have tried harder to have sex Cindy Crawford.
- NU (+10) against USC. I still think the Trojans win, but it'll be by something like a touchdown rather than the blowout I originally anticipated. I was so keeping away from this, but unlike Billy C, I learn from history. On year ago, I would have never thought of picking this game this way.
- Chiefs (+13) at Chicago. Insider tip of the week, and I'm STILL taking the Chefs: "That team's (Chiefs) GM and Coach are not on the same page AT ALL!" Yes, it could be an ugly season for the Chefs, but nothing's going to be as ugly as this game, in the rain, in Chicago. Hell, I figure the OVERS were at 13. The Bears could win something like 2-0.
- EMMYS: OK, for the first one I'm going to make you do some research and click on this link to read why this number one is an absolute lock. I thought so going in, but this just confirmed it. Finally, here's your Emmy cheat sheet. Who knew that in all the acting categories, the performer submits just ONE episode? You get nominated based on that one episode along, and then you WIN based on the single episode. So after looking at this of who go nominated and for what "episodes", that helps narrow down the field. All you need to do is put forth the performance of a lifetime in one fucking episode, and that determines who wins? No wonder people are all over the Emmys. Maybe you've seen most of these episodes, maybe not. But the one that our number 1 lock turned in assures he's walking home with new hardware on Sunday night. Again, we won't pick everything, just the one's we think are locks. So head to Vegas, because they let you wager on these sorts of things.
- Best Drama Actor, James Gandolfini
- Best Drama Supporting Actor, Michael Imperriolli
- Best Drama Supporting Actress, Lorraine Bracco
- Best Comedy Series, 30 Rock
- Best Comedy Actor, Alec Baldwin
- Best Comedy Supporting Actor, Kevin Dillon
- Best Drama, Sopranos
By that point in the weekend, we'll probably have to send a thank you card to the makers of xanax. As always, remember, that Makers Mark Whiskey aint gonna drink itself.
LAST WEEK: 1-3