Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports


LHD_PotW (295) MLB (115) NFL (110) NCAA (98) NBA (50) NFL Playoffs (47) NHL (41)

Friday, October 20, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Eight

I love October Saturdays
With some bigger spreads last week, it wasn't too hard to hit 80% of the straight winners action (as both of our pickers did).  ATS there were some close calls, but overall our pickers went 5-5.  On to the next, we're still hitting winners at a pretty good rate.  This week we have some much tighter spreads and spoiler alert, we will have some disagreement!

So now our weekly take on last week and this week, in five bullets:

1) It's always way too early to talk playoff teams, especially seeding, in October. Evidence Clemson, two Washington schools, and Auburn going down. None of these teams are out of it BTW (except maybe Auburn).
2) Michigan took a big step back last week, looking like a two horse race in the Big 10 East to play Wisconsin.  That being said, I feel a few more upsets are in the cards in the top heavy Big 10
3) I believe the Pac 12 and Big 12 are the deepest conferences with fewer soft teams.  It might result in both missing the college football playoff, but strong Bowl game performances
4) It's nice to have USC and Notre Dame be a big national game again. One of the great rivalries in college football.  Two national brands and there will be a lot of NFL talent on the field in South Bend this Saturday.
5) Is this the swan song for Butch Jones? I have trouble believing he'll do anything but get destroyed by Alabama, and I can't see how he can be kept much longer.  If nothing else, Tennessee gets a jump on the hot candidates. And they might as well, this season is a dumpster fire.

No Georgia game this week makes me sad
This blog will typically pick five games, including the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs by default (unless bad matchups).  We try and go for one game in each of the Power 5 conferences, sometimes skipping one that might not have a marquee.  For each week's games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison. This week Georgia has a Bye (sad face for Bulldog Babe) while Texas plays their third Top 10 opponent in five games.  We had one snafu, because of personal commitments the blog was not released prior to the Memphis vs. Houston matchup.  Bulldog Babe got her pick in so we'll give her credit for that winner!.

Our two analysts are J.R. Ewing, Texas Longhorns fan and general loud mouth.  And we feature big time Georgia Bulldog fan Bulldog Babe (BDB) (@bulldogbabexo) as a guest expert.

Last week
JR: 4-1 S/U, 3-2 ATS
BDB: 4-1 S/U, 2-3 ATS

Season to date:
JR: 22-13 S/U, 20-15 ATS
BDB: 24-11 S/U, 23-12 ATS

Both of us missed Auburn winning and covering; BDB went on to miss both Georgia covering and Oregon beating the spread, while JR foolishly underestimated the Longhorns.

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Memphis (+3) at Houston (8:00 p.m. EDT, Thursday)

JR Ewing:
Missed pick window

Bulldog Babe: 
Memphis is the final team inside of the AP Top 25. They face off against Houston this weekend and I think they can keep their winning ways going. They’re 5-1 on the season and they have the talent to show for it. Memphis wins.
Memphis 20, Houston 14

Game 2: Louisville (+7) at Florida State (Noon EDT)

JR Ewing:
Here we have two teams that have been nothing short of disappointment.  A returning Heisman winner for the Cardinals and Florida State with a Heisman contender hurt the first game.  The teams are a combined 3-5 in the ACC so far and are reduced to spoiler.  Both teams will fight hard, and Florida State wins by a FG late. 
Florida State 24, Louisville 21

Bulldog Babe:
 I love this matchup! Two very talented football teams with their own storylines on the season. They both have three losses on the season, but Florida State just hasn’t lived up to any expectations this season. Louisville wins.
Louisville 34, Florida State 20

Game 3: Oklahoma State (-7) at Texas (Noon EDT)

JR Ewing:
I will not pick against Texas again.  At least against the spread. They are now 5-1 against the spread and really are playing up to their competition; noting that this week will be their third Top 10 matchup in five games.  They fight hard at home with emerging freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger, but fall short in a shootout.
Oklahoma State 38, Texas 35

Bulldog Babe:
This is an interesting matchup, which will hopefully be fun to watch. Oklahoma State is ranked #10 in the country, so they will bring their best game against Texas. I think they will pull off the win
Oklahoma State 30, Texas 24

Game 4: Michigan (+9.5) at Penn State (7:30 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Finally the Big 10 has a matchup of their best four teams.  That being said, Michigan has slipped with a loss and overtime win that should have been bigger.  But Michigan is talented and I'm not sold on Penn State, who hasn't played a team currently ranked yet.  This will be tight, Michigan escapes with a win.
Michigan 21, Penn State 20

Bulldog Babe:
This is one matchup where I cannot decide between, two very talented teams with a lot of strengths. Michigan is ranked #19 and Penn State is ranked #2, but the difference is one team is undefeated. Penn State hasn’t had impressive wins up until this point, but I think they will change that this weekend against Michigan. 
Penn State 34, Michigan 21

Game 5: Southern California (+3.5) at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. EDT) 

JR Ewing:
It's great for college football when these teams are good.  And good they are.  Notre Dame has bounced back from a really bad 2016 while Southern Cal lost a heartbreaker to Washington State.  Both teams have been tested, but I think the Trojans get the victory in South Bend.  More talent.
Southern California 27, Notre Dame 24

Bulldog Babe:
Another AP Top 15 matchup, there’s been a good bit of those matchups already and they have been exciting. I think Notre Dame is the stronger team on both sides of the ball, they showed that against most of the teams they played & I think they’ll win. 30-17 .
Notre Dame 30, Southern California 17

Have a great college football Saturday, American!

- JR and BDB

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/15/2017

A thrilling MLB postseason so far, and a new hero has emerged on the only team west of the Pecos still alive.  The Los Angeles Dodgers Justin Turner has rekindled the momentum that the team had during their stretch of 56 wins in 67 games over the summer (56-11).  But for the postseason, the Dodgers are up to 5-0 overall record through Sunday and marching toward the Fall Classic.  Turner has done his part, going 9-21 with 2 HR, and 10 RBI, the biggest of which was a walk off 3 run HR to win Game 2 against the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.  He's become the man in LA, and is hoping to deliver the first Dodgers title in nearly 30 years for Tinsel Town. Meanwhile Turner is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Seven

Yessir, Texas football is back!
Well yeeeeee hawwww.  About time the two experts on this Blog had a rampage.  Both Bulldog Babe and me, JR Ewing, would have taken Vega$ to the cleaners last week.  Something like 11-1 ATS.  More on that in a minute.  But we now enter the meat of the regular season.  Hard to believe some teams are half way through their schedule and already bowl eligible.  Meanwhile Baylor, no wins.

So now our weekly take on last week and this week, in five bullets:

1) Clemson and Georgia continue to assault Vegas and the rankings. They do nothing but win by a lot of points.
2) The Big 12 never gets national respect, because when a team like Iowa State beats Oklahoma, nobody considers it something like a Michigan State over Michigan where both teams are good.  Let me tell you, the Big 12 is a deep conference.
3) The Pac 12 continues to play their biggest marquee games really late and the feeling that they may be passed over for a second team east of the Mississippi is palpable. Meanwhile the Apple Cup is shaping up to be huge.
4) Not seeing a lot of upset potential this week.  Which pretty much means it will be Upset Saturday.
5) I get the fun of talking about the college football playoff and potential seeding, slights, conference representation, etc. because it's fun.  But really, it's so meaningless at this point.  Nobody in the NFL is sitting there saying "well Kansas City will be the 1 seed and Jacksonville the 2, so they'll probably play New England, etc."  Because really, so much football left.  Sit back and enjoy!

Take me to Vegas, baby,  I'm red hot!
This blog will typically pick five games, including the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs by default (unless bad matchups).  We try and go for one game in each of the Power 5 conferences, sometimes skipping one that might not have a marquee.  For each week's games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison. We go three games before Saturday, and all road favorites.

Our two analysts are J.R. Ewing, Texas Longhorns fan and general loud mouth.  And we feature big time Georgia Bulldog fan Bulldog Babe (BDB) (@bulldogbabexo) as a guest expert.

Last week
JR: 4-2 S/U, 5-1 ATS
BDB: 5-1 S/U, 6-0 ATS

Season to date:
JR: 18-12 S/U, 17-13 ATS
BDB: 20-10 S/U, 21-9 ATS

Easier to say games missed.  Both JR and BDB had Michigan State covering but not winning.  BDB had Washington State plus cover, JR had an Oregon upset.  On this alone, once again she schools the master.

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Auburn (-6.5) at Louisiana State (3:30 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Auburn's only blemish is a loss to top ranked Clemson.  LSU is still finding their identity.  Even though this game is at the Swamp, Auburn wins a back yard brawl.  Better coached and more confident.
Auburn 24, LSU 17

Bulldog Babe: 
Last year’s matchup between these two teams came with a lot of drama. This year won’t be any different, considering the SEC West competition this season. Auburn is a favorite at the midway point of the season, and LSU has had an up and down year. I think Auburn continues their momentum and they win this weekend.
Auburn 37, LSU 20

Game 2: Oklahoma (-7.5) vs Texas (3:30 p.m. EDT) - Dallas

JR Ewing:
Tough game to pick, Texas has played a lot better since an initial loss to Maryland.  Oklahoma coming off a shocking home loss.  They just didn't look like themselves.  The game features two first year coaches in what could be a decade or more rivalry between the two. Oklahoma gets round one, they have more polished talent.  Texas takes over the series in a couple of years, just not yet.
Oklahoma 35, Texas 24

Bulldog Babe:
Texas and Oklahoma is a great matchup, with both teams having their own strengths. Oklahoma was upset by Iowa State last week and Texas had a crazy win in double overtime against Kansas State, so they have their own storylines from the previous week. I think Oklahoma will take this practice week to recover and fix their problems. They will bounce back and take the win this weekend, but it will be close.
Oklahoma 30, Texas 24

Game 3: Missouri (+30) at Georgia (7:30 p.m. EDT) 

JR Ewing:
Yes, this is a lopsided matchup.  I've been riding Georgia and the cover all year, but this is just so many points.  Georgia wins it easily, but they probably ease off the gas enough to let Missouri cover.
Georgia 35, Missouri 10

Bulldog Babe:
Another year, another late October matchup for the two SEC East teams. Georgia is playing lights out right now, starting out 6-0 for the first time since 2005 and Missouri having a not so great fun so far this season and in SEC East competition. I don’t think this will be much of a competition, but as Coach Kirby says, humility is a week away so anything can happen. I think Georgia will have another dominating win and go into the bye week with a lot of momentum
Georgia 45, Missouri 7

Game 4: Ohio State (-24) at Nebraska (7:30 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
This is the dream matchup that the Big 10 envisioned when they pilfered Nebraska from the Big 10.  But this ain't your old Big 12 Nebraska.  Coach on the hot seat and Ohio State is in the mode of impressing pollsters. This is a romp in Lincoln for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State 49, Nebraska 10

Bulldog Babe:
I think this is a great matchup. Nebraska is coming off a bad loss to Wisconsin and Ohio State had a blowout win against Maryland. Looking at last week’s game for Nebraska, I don’t think they have the mojo to keep up with Ohio State. Ohio State wins in dominating fashion. 
Ohio State 52, Nebraska 21

Game 5: Oregon (+11) at Stanford (11:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Fool me once, shame on me.  Fool me twice?  Not so Oregon.  Still trying to rebuild, they're not there yet.  Stanford usually wins this matchup physically and that continues in Palo Alto.  They outman the Ducks and take this one easily.
Stanford 31, Oregon 14

Bulldog Babe:
Oregon vs. Stanford is a great matchup. While both teams are great, one has more strengths than the other. Stanford so far has had a great year and I think they continue that.
Stanford 30, Oregon 20

Enjoy fall and enjoy your football weekend America!

- JR and BDB

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/8/2017

The Major League Baseball playoffs kicked off this week with loaded teams (3 teams with 100 wins; not to mention the Red Sox, Cubs, and Yankees stocked with talent).  One diminutive player stood above the rest.  The Houston Astros Jose Altuve made a statement against the Boston Red Sox in three amazing, if not historic games.  In his first playoff game, he tied a postseason record with three HR (including the likes of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and yes, Sportsman of the Week winner Pablo Sandoval.).  But it wasn't just those HR, he got on base, got hits, and led his Astros to a 2-1 series lead by the end of the week.  Within 20 hours after the week ended, the Astros were the first MLB team to advance to the League Championship Series.  Stats to end the week, 8-11, .727 average, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, .787 OBP, 1.545 SLG, 2.332 OPS.  Can you say MVP? Probably. But certainly the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Six

Finally, a decent week!
Well well well, Bulldog Babe had an off day (well, we can consider 3-2 off for her.  Although the 1-4 against the spread will dent her unbelievable streak.  The most important thing is that both my Longhorns, and her Bulldogs won conference road games.  On to the next.

So now our weekly take on last week and this week, in five bullets:

1) It's time we realize USC was never that good to begin with.  Scuffled with Western Michigan and Texas at home.  Washington State is dangerous, but also not world beaters.  We'll see as they're on the card again this week.
2) Clemson hasn't missed a beat.  This years team may be better than last years because of their winning mentality.  Remember they almost lost 3 times last year (last second wins vs. Alabama and NC State).  I have them at number 1.
3) Tennessee and LSU may be looking for new coaches soon.  Wow on LSU.  Literally a third of the way into a new season.
4) I'm calling it now on the Big 10 being overrated.  There's four good teams in the Top 10. None of the other ten teams are getting votes except a couple for Michigan State (which lost by 20 at home to Notre Dame).  Most only have two games against the others so 10-2 is worst case scenario. Until they all lose their bowl games.  Again.
5) Baylor is the only winless FBS team at 0-5 and is now 1-11 in their last 12 games.  Their only win was against Boise State in the Cactus Bowl. Go figure.

I always get the Georgia game right
This blog will typically pick five games, including the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs by default (unless bad matchups).  This week we pick six games because of the Miami at Florida State Hurricane Irma makeup game.  For each week's games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison. We go three games before Saturday, and all road favorites.

Our two analysts are J.R. Ewing, Texas Longhorns fan and general loud mouth.  And we feature big time Georgia Bulldog fan Bulldog Babe (BDB) (@bulldogbabexo) as a guest expert.

Last week
JR: 5-0 S/U, 3-2 ATS
BDB: 3-2 S/U, 1-4 ATS

Season to date:
JR: 14-10 S/U, 12-12 ATS
BDB: 15-9 S/U, 15-9 ATS

Both JR and BDB nailed Georgia, Clemson, and Miami winning.  BDB upset of Texas didn't come to fruition (ha ha) and JR correctly picked the Washington State upset (I've seen Mike Leach win too many games like that.  Overall we're pretty close, BDB has the distinct edge when looking against the spread as she is hitting 62.5%

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Georgia (-17.5) at Vanderbilt (12:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Georgia has been a covering machine.  I'm tempted to think "they're due for an off day" but until I see it, I won't believe it.  They're balanced, with good running backs to provide stability to a precocious quarterback.  Their defense is ball hawks and they have an amazing killer instinct.  Another easy win.
Georgia 37, Vanderbilt 10

Bulldog Babe: 
Georgia at Vanderbilt, another SEC matchup this week. Georgia is off to their best start in a long time while Vanderbilt has had only one impressive win and that was the upset against Kansas State. After getting completely mauled by Alabama a few weeks ago, they’re mentally not ready for the rest of the year. Georgia is coming off a dominating win, shutting out Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1994. That’s very impressive and i’m not only saying that because i’m a dawg ;) if Georgia keeps their winning ways up, I think they’ll be the biggest threat for Alabama and the CFB playoff. Georgia wins this one.
Georgia 37, Vanderbilt 7

Game 2: Miami (-3.5) at Florida State (3:30 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Mark Richt has Miami looking like the dominant team of the 80s and 90s.  The win at Duke was impressive.  Florida State was a last second drive from being 0-3.  I just don't see how the 'Noles hang close.  Miami has lost seven straight in this matchup, but that ends now.  They come out and make a statement.
Miami 31, Florida State 17

Bulldog Babe:
Miami at Florida State this is an in state rivalry going back a long time, it's always a great showing. Rivalry games have a lot more intensity than other games and this Saturday won't be any different. Florida State losing their quarterback in week 1 has hurt them a lot and it’s kinda surprising to see considering how well they’ve done over the last few seasons. After seeing how they’ve done since losing their starting QB, I think Miami wins this one.
Miami 30, Florida State 17

Game 3: West Virginia (+14) at Texas Christian (Saturday 3:30 p.m. EDT) 

JR Ewing:
This is a matchup of two solid Big 12 teams.  West Virginia lost to a solid Virginia Tech team as an opener, but has since scored 56 or more points in three straight.  TCU had the big upset of Oklahoma State, but I think we're putting a bit too much faith in that result.  TCU wins, but it's much closer than two TD.
TCU 38, West Virginia 35

Bulldog Babe:
West Virginia at TCU will be another interesting game. TCU has been strong and West Virginia has been promising, it’s a perfect AP Top 25 matchup. TCU is undefeated and they have worked hard to be undefeated, I think they continue their winning ways and they have a great game this weekend. TCU wins,
TCU 27, West Virginia 14

Game 4: Kansas State (+4) at Texas (7:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
So for the record I'm 3-1 picking Texas ATS so listen closely.  These are two lower tier bowl teams.  Texas defense is solid, offense not so much.  But at home they can get it going (43.5 PPG).  Kansas State is your typical Kansas State team.  Fundamentally sound. well coached if not undetalented players.  They fight you every game.  This series has been won by the home team for six straight years.  
Texas 21, Kansas State 13

Bulldog Babe:
Kansas State at Texas will be interesting, I think. Texas is coming off a dominating win against Iowa State and I think they keep up their winning ways. Kansas State is 3-1, but looking at their stats from the season, I’m not impressed with how Jesse Ertz has only completed half of his passes as to where Shane Buechele has completed over half of his passes. Texas wins this one
Texas 24, Kansas State 17

Game 5: Michigan State (+13.5) at Michigan (7:30 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Rivalry.  And one that Michigan State usually plays pretty well (7-2 in the last 9). Michigan is the better team and at home, so I can't pick a straight up upset.  I do think that this will be a very competitive game.  Michigan runs away at the end a bit, but not by as many points as you might think.
Michigan 28, Michigan State 21

Bulldog Babe:
Michigan State at Michigan is one classic rivalry that I think everyone secretly enjoys a little bit. Michigan is ranked #7 on the AP poll and they always look to beat their little brother in something, so I think that happens again this time. Michigan wins.
Michigan 20, Michigan State 14

Game 6: Washington State (+2) at Oregon (8:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Oregon hasn't looked like world beaters, which makes this line look puzzling.  But Mike Leach led teams typically go see saw, so experts are predicting a down week (in Autzen stadium, a tough place).  I'm tempted to go Washington State again, but like I just said, I see Leach lay duds after a big win.  Oregon wins this one by a FG.
Oregon 31, Washington State 28

Bulldog Babe:
Washington State at Oregon will be interesting considering the way the media is pursuing this game. Oregon is a 1.5 point favorite, but Washington State is ranked #11 and undefeated. I’m not buying that Oregon is a favorite, mainly because I don’t really think they’ve done a lot this year. Washington State wins.
Washington State 27, Oregon 17

More tragic news this week for the massacre in Las Vegas.  Unbelievable in every aspect.  Prayers to the victims, their families, and America. Hopefully college football provides a day of respite from a society that is tough to bear sometimes.

- JR and BDB

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/1/2017

One of the emerging stars in the NFL led his team to a big road win, positioning his team for a potential division title.  Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams is off to a start that many forecasted when he came out of Georgia.  But it's taken him a couple of years, an ACL recovery, and maybe a maturing QB to make the leap.  This week, he went into north Texas to take on America's team.  But it was Gurley who came out opening eyes.  He ended his day as the player with the most rushing yards, most catches, and only four yards from being the highest receiving yards.  On either team.  That's 23 carries for 121 yards, 7 catches for 94 yards and a TD.  So over 300 yards on just 30 touches.  Pretty good.  The Rams are 3-1 and in front in the NFC West.  They might stay there with the efforts of our Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Five

It's not going well.  Don't ask.
We might just have to start calling our Blog "Listen to what Bulldog Babe says because she's usually right."  Another unbelievable week for our sage from Charlotte while I (that's JR Ewing) can't even pick winners.  Sigh.  We try another week.

So now our weekly take on last week and this week, in five bullets:

1) Florida State has to be the most disappointing team so far.  From Top 3 to out of the Top 25.  The Alabama game was tough, particularly the injury to their starting QB.  Followed by Hurricane Irma disrupting what would have been a couple of weeks to get healthy and get some wins under their belt.  Don't be surprised to see them in the ACC title hunt even after the loss to North Carolina State
2) Still waiting for some impactful Big 10 games.  No, Penn State vs. Iowa doesn't count.  To me, the conference has too many soft matchups compared to the others. Not saying the top isn't just as good as other big conferences.
3) Alabama is still the best team in the SEC and the country.
4) Is this it for Tennessee's Butch Jones if he doesn't win?
5) Texas (1-2) faces almost a must win on the road in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday.  Their next five feature three top 15 teams, plus 2016 Bowl Game winners Kansas State and Baylor as the Big 12 gauntlet is brutal.

Just another 4-1 week, ho hum.
This blog will typically pick the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs by default.  Texas plays on Thursday, but after a bye and Georgia plays a huge rivalry game.  So for this week's five games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison. We go three games before Saturday, and all road favorites.

Our two analysts are J.R. Ewing, Texas Longhorns fan and general loud mouth.  And we feature big time Georgia Bulldog fan Bulldog Babe (BDB) (@bulldogbabexo) as a guest expert.

Last week
JR: 2-3 S/U, 2-3 ATS
BDB: 4-1 S/U, 4-1 ATS

Season to date:
JR: 9-10 S/U, 9-10 ATS
BDB: 12-7 S/U, 14-5 ATS

Both JR and BDB missed North Carolina State's upset (although JR had the cover).  BDB nailed the TCU upset.  Both got the Georgia win and cover, while BDB had Washington and Notre Dame winning and covering, JR only had Washington winning.  She's dominating.  14-5 ATS, are you kidding me????

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Texas (-6.5) at Iowa State (Thursday 8:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
It's a make or break week for the Longhorns.  With a tough gauntlet of games coming up, the Horns need a win here.  And it will be tough.  They were shut out on their last trip to Ames.  Coming off a competitive loss to Top 5 Southern Cal, they'll need a repeat performance.  Iowa State played Iowa close and has two other easy wins.  Both teams are bowl caliber, but the loser may not be able to scramble for enough wins in the deep Big 12.  All that being said, I think the Longhorns answer the bell and win a tough one going away.  Tight at halftime, easy at the end.
Texas 31, Iowa State 14

Bulldog Babe: 
Texas and Iowa State will be interesting. Texas is a six and a half point favorite over Iowa State, but after their performance over the last three weeks, I’m just not convinced they have their qualities together as a football team. I think Iowa State wins it.
Iowa State 27, Texas 20

Game 2: Miami (-6.5) at Duke (Friday 7:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
I used to make a living off picking Duke.  Nobody thinks they are good, but here they are at 4-0.  They welcome the rival Miami Hurricanes, same matchup in Durham that produced a ridiculous (yet not really legal) kick return TD to decide the game two years ago.  I expect Duke to keep it close against the Canes under the lights.  But Miami will be too much in a close one.
Miami 38, Duke 34

Bulldog Babe:
Miami and Duke is personally one of my favorite matchups, two talented teams with a lot of charisma and poise. Duke may be the favorite, but I think Miami is an up and coming team and they will win this time around. 
Miami 20, Duke 14

Game 3: Southern California (-3.5) at Washington State (Friday 10:30 p.m. EDT) 

JR Ewing:
Southern Cal has really only been impressive in their win against Stanford.  The other wins were slogs.  They travel to a bizarre land in eastern Washington.  Where Mike Leach loves to pick off big name teams.  Washington State has earned a Top 20 rank and they blow out a weary Trojan squad at home.
Washington State 42, Southern California 21

Bulldog Babe:
USC and Washington State is another game that has both teams ranked on the AP poll. In my opinion, ranked teams playing each other is always bound for some excitement. I think USC has been a dream team so far, I have them winning.
Southern California 30, Washington State 20

Game 4: Georgia (-7) at Tennessee (3:30 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
I can't wait to see what this Georgia team does next.  Impressive so far this year with wins against ranked Notre Dame and Mississippi State teams.  Tennessee has oodles of talent but keeps underachieving.  They're at home and really really need this game.  Last year they won this game on a hail mary.  After losing a couple of weeks ago on a hail mary.  No hail mary this time.  Georgia is built to win on the road with their running game and QB with nerves of steel.  I do think it will be closer than experts think.
Georgia 31, Tennessee 21

Bulldog Babe:
Georgia & Tennessee, over the last four years, has been a chest bumping match for sure. One bitter rivalry that does not go unnoticed. I honestly think that after seeing how Tennessee has played over the first four weeks, they don’t have what it takes to keep up with Georgia and their improving team. Georgia just has the better weapons, better running game, and better defensive qualities. I think Georgia runs away with the win! 
Georgia 27, Tennessee 14

Game 5: Clemson (-7.5) at Virginia Tech (7:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer was renown for being unbeatable at home at night.  Can they recapture that glory under Justin Fuente?  Maybe.  Meanwhile Clemson has that look of a champion.  A tough schedule so far and they haven't flinched.  I think they lose one in the ACC, but not this one.  Virginia Tech gives Clemson all they can handle, but the Tigers, who are used to winning close games, take this one.  Again, under the number.. 
Clemson 24, Virginia Tech 20

Bulldog Babe:
Clemson and Virginia Tech is an AP top 15 matchup, so it’s bound for some excitement. Clemson is undefeated and they have also had a couple of close calls this season, but come out on top each time. Virginia Tech is also undefeated with another strong team for the 2017 season. This will be a back and forth game, I feel like. I have Clemson winning this one, but it will be close. 
Clemson 27, Virginia Tech 24

Enjoy your football Saturday, America!

- JR and BDB

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/24/2017

Conference play began in college football across the country, and while no games decided the title, many games left teams scrambling to stay in the hunt.  One was #4 Penn State.  With a tricky conference opener at undefeated Iowa, they needed to find a way to escape with a win.  And escape they did.  The game will most be remembered for the Nittany Lions touchdown as the clock struck zero to preserve their Big 10 title hopes.  But it was Saquon Barkley that was the star of the show.  In hostile territory against an aggressive defense, Barkley toted the rock 28 times while catching another 12 passes.  The result?  305 total yards (over 7 yards a play) and a touchdown.  And there were not many holes, he turned 3 yard losses into 5 yard gains, and 5 yard gains into 20 yard bursts.  Hurdling, going through tacklers, getting better as the game went on.  The first big Heisman performance happened, and it was our Sportsman of the Week Saquon Barkley who delivered to shot across the bow.

Friday, September 22, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Four

Nothing short of a trainwreck last week for JR
It's that time for conference play to hit full stride and there are a lot of great matchups this week.  One thing about conference play is that you have to go on the road for half of 'em.  So teams that have played solely within the friendly confines of their own stadium or a neutral site (e.g. Michigan, Southern Cal, Alabama) will find themselves venturing into hostile territory for the first time.  Teams with one early loss such as preaseason Top 5 Ohio State and Florida State will work to rebuild their resume, as a conference championship for either will likely end up in a playoff berth.

So now our weekly take on last week and this week, in five bullets

1) The SEC game of the week on CBS continues to produce crazy finishes.  You can't script it any better.
2) Nebraska is in a free fall.  It's hard to believe how quickly the program has fallen from elite.
3) The Pac 12 had a high rate of road victories last year in big games.  Will that continue?  Division favorites Southern Cal and Washington will face tough road tests
4) Mississippi State and Georgia appear to be the most likely teams to unseat Alabama in the SEC.  This weekend one will emerge.  I guarantee a Bulldogs win.
5) Oklahoma State and Oklahoma appear to be on a collision course for perhaps a Bedlam game, then rematch one week later in the Big 12 championship game. The Big 12 is deep though, with TCU, West Virginia, Texas (taking USC to the end), Kansas State, as well as Texas Tech and Iowa State looking good early. Because of the round robin of 9 games, maybe the toughest schedule to navigate.
Bulldog Babe just keeps nailing games correctly
And now for our picks.

This blog will typically pick the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs by default.  Texas has a bye, but Georgia most certainly is a game of interest.  Last week we only had four games due to the Florida State vs. Miami matchup being rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma.  We might sneak in a six game week later.  So for this week's five games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison.

Our two analysts are J.R. Ewing, Texas Longhorns fan and general loud mouth.  And we feature big time Georgia Bulldog fan Bulldog Babe (BDB) (@bulldogbabexo) as a guest expert.

Last week
JR: 1-3 S/U, 0-4 ATS
BDB: 2-2 S/U, 3-1 ATS

Season to date:
JR: 7-7 S/U, 7-7 ATS
BDB: 8-6 S/U, 10-4 ATS

Both JR and BDB missed Louisville and LSU winning straight up.  Both got USC correct, with BDB adding a Florida win.  JR was absolutely miserable only getting USC as a winner, but missing the Texas cover

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: North Carolina State (+12.5) at Florida State (Noon EDT)

JR Ewing:
It's a bit of a slow week in the ACC in terms of ranked teams playing each other.  This matchup is the most intriguing with Florida State having not played since the opening weekend due to Hurricane Irma and having lost their starting QB for the season.  It will be interesting to see if they're rusty.  Meanwhile North Carolina State comes into the game 2-1 having lost to a South Carolina team that might be better than we think.  That being said, Florida State wins this one, but within the spread. 
Florida State 28, North Carolina State 20

Bulldog Babe: 
Honestly NC State and Florida State isn't really a good competition because I think Florida State is the stronger team and they have more charisma than NC State does. Give me the 'Noles in this one.
Florida State 34, North Carolina State 17

Game 2: Texas Christian (+12.5) at Oklahoma State (3:30 EDT) 

JR Ewing:
A big conference matchup early in the Big 12 will help sort out the pecking order.  Oklahoma State's spread offense has looked tough to stop as they rang up 49 points in a half last week at Pittsburgh.  TCU struggled early against SMU, but bounced back for an easy win.  This will be high scoring and closer than the final score indicates, but Oklahoma State wins by two TD. 
Oklahoma State 42, Texas Christian 28

Bulldog Babe:
TCU and Oklahoma State are two great teams, with their own strengths on each side of the ball. TCU dominated last Arkansas and I think that if they keep up their winning ways, they'll be in serious talks to be in the playoffs in my opinion. I think they'll win over OKST.
Texas Christian 30, Oklahoma State 20

Game 3: Mississippi State (+5) at Georgia (7:00 EDT)

JR Ewing:
I might be looking forward to this game more than any this weekend.  Georgia was so impressive with a win on the road using their backup quarterback, now they come home between the hedges to open conference play against a strong opponent.  I was a Mississippi State doubter but they manhandled a good LSU team to win their opener.  This will be a physical matchup of athletes.  Georgia wins by a TD. 
Georgia 28, Mississippi State 21

Bulldog Babe:
Mississippi State and Georgia is gonna be another enjoyable game. Mississippi State is coming off a strong win against LSU and Georgia is coming off a dominant victory against Samford. Although everyone seems to be hyping Mississippi State, I think their offense won't be able to handle the strong Georgia defense, they will get after the quarterback and make sure the offense stays off the field. Give me Georgia in this one! 
Georgia 27, Mississippi State 20

Game 4: Notre Dame (-3) at Michigan State  (8:00 EDT)

JR Ewing:
Notre Dame lost a key game to Georgia earlier in the year, but bounced back well against a mediocre Boston College team to win the next one.  Michigan State is coming off a bafflingly bad 2016 campaign and looks pointed in the right direction.  They always play the Irish tough at home.  I think they win a squeaker. 
Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 30

Bulldog Babe:
Notre Dame came out last week after a tough loss to Georgia and completely ran over Boston College. I think Notre Dame is one serious team and they have the chance to go undefeated, I think they'll steal the win this week. 
Notre Dame 37, Michigan State 20

Game 5: Washington (-11.5) at Colorado (10:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Washington was the playoff team everyone thought shouldn't have been in the playoffs last year.  Part of it due to the late kickoffs that media don't necessarily watch before rubber stamping a Big 10 or SEC team instead. But I digress, this is a rematch of the Pac 12 title game which should be closer than people think.  Colorado can be tough to play at altitude and an improving team.  Washington escapes, but barely. 
Washington 31, Colorado 28

Bulldog Babe:
Washington and Colorado is an interesting matchup. I think after Washington was able to sneak their way into the playoffs last year, they're a force to be reckoned with. Give me the Huskies. 
Washington 31, Colorado 14

BDB and JR want to offer their prayers for the victims of the earthquake in Mexico City and fellow Americans in Puerto Rico who were devastated by Hurricane Maria (as well as others still recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma).  It's hard to celebrate too much these days with people suffering.  You are not forgotten.

Enjoy your football Saturday, America!

- JR and BDB

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/17/2017

The pennant race is sharpening focus as some of the best teams from 2017 punch their ticket to the playoffs.  One of the teams that made the biggest moves was the Houston Astros, in acquiring Justin Verlander at the postseason roster deadline of August 31.  The former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner has delivered as advertised, going 3-0 so far in 3 starts.  This week, he went 2-0, with 15 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 earned run, and 19 strikeouts.  This was against two American League West opponents in Seattle and Los Angeles (Anaheim) in the playoff race.  His victory on Sunday clinched the first division title for the Astros since 2001, beginning what could be a Randy Johnson like postseason run.  It was his home debut.  But Verlander will be in Houston for two more years as long as they are willing to pay his salary.  His performance this week earns the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!