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 (317) NFL (120) MLB (118) NCAA (101) NFL Playoffs (55) NBA (51) NHL (41)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Conference Championship Week

I might just have to pull for TCU this week!
It's officially time for playoff talk.  Much talk before Thanksgiving is really just a waste of time.  Not that debating football or anything is a waste, it's just too many what if scenarios.  Well, the what if scenarios are down to a manageable lot.  It's do or die time with probably 6 teams controlling their own fate to make the playoffs.

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

1) Alabama got exposed. If you looked at their schedule, their biggest wins were over LSU (which also lost to Troy) and Mississippi State (which also lost to Ole Miss).  They didn't look that good. Even their offense was pretty much just throw it up to Calvin Ridley and hope he comes down with it.  I'd be hard pressed to include them in a playoff at one loss.
2) Like Jason with an axe through their mask, Ohio State also won't go away.  Solid win on the road at Michigan has them in the playoff conversation.  One thing they are good at is playing their best football at the end of the year.  They seem to catch breaks!
3) Last week I threw out seven favored road teams at risk of losing (Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Notre Dame).  Three did.
4) To me, the SEC Champion is the only certainty in the College Football Playoff.  Oklahoma, Clemson, and Wisconsin are in if they win.  If Miami beats Clemson, watch out for politicking for the more recently power schools like Ohio State and Alabama.  If TCU wins too, it could be SEC winner, Alabama, Ohio State, and Miami barely.
5) Still not sure why Georgia is out of the Top 4.  Better losses than Oklahoma and Clemson.  Fewer losses than Auburn.  If it were up to me, it would be Wisconsin, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson in that order.  Followed by Auburn.  I know Auburn beat Georgia, but they also lost twice.

It's revenge time on Auburn. We're taking the SEC, baby!
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.  The Longhorns are done until bowl season so no game there.  For each week's games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison. This week's slate is easy.  All the Power Five title games.  The largest point spread is still single digits.  Three of the five are rematches (note that the Big 12 Championship Game will always be a rematch).

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).  Don't let her innocent cute look fool you.  She's quite the handicapper.  Just look at the ATS she's featuring below!

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

Season to date:
JR: 40-24 S/U, 35-27 ATS
BDB: 48-17 S/U, 43-21 ATS

BDB and JR both plodded through a winning week.  Neither had the Auburn or Texas upsets for straight up losses.  Although both had the Auburn cover and JR had the Texas Tech cover.  BDB had Georgia and Washington covers, JR had Michigan for his third.  Not a bad effort by our two experts.  BDB definitely wins the crown for this season!

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: #12 Stanford (+4) vs. #10 Southern California
FRIDAY 8:00 p.m. EST, Santa Clara, California

JR Ewing:
Somewhat the forgotten game of the weekend because it doesn't have playoff implications, but these two could beat any playoff team on a given day.  They met earlier in the year and USC rolled.  But that was barely September.  I like the way Stanford as been improving and they have won 8 of 9 games.  Meanwhile USC hasn't been good away from home against good teams.  I think Stanford is the better all around team and wins easily.
Stanford 31, Southern California 21

Bulldog Babe: 
SC is another sleeper team. They have done very well all season and I think they’re strong enough to come into their game this weekend and completely show out. Stanford I think just won’t be able to keep up, so I have USC in this one. 34-20.
Southern California 34, Stanford 20

Game 2: #11 Texas Christian (+7) vs #3 Oklahoma (12:30 EST)
12:30 p.m. EST, Arlington, Texas

JR Ewing:
It's hard to beat a team twice.  Especially when the second game is in the defeated teams' backyard.  Oklahoma has cruised lately, but their defense is very soft.  TCU has the much better coach to make adjustments and wants revenge.  What will Oklahoma do when punched in the mouth?  Or if Baker Mayfield has a bad game?  Probably fold.  Frogs in an upset.
Texas Christian 35, Oklahoma 28

Bulldog Babe:
This is another tough matchup to predict. Just like all of the conference matchups this weekend, these teams are more than deserving to be in this position. Oklahoma is a sleeper team in my opinion. If they have a good game this weekend, I believe it’ll solidify their spot in the playoffs. Baker Mayfield has a lot of mojo and he’s my pick for the Heisman this year, and Oklahoma is also my pick to win this weekend.
Oklahoma 31, Texas Christian 28

Game 3: #6 Georgia (+2) vs. #2 Auburn
4:00 p.m. EST, Atlanta, Georgia

JR Ewing:
Again, beating a team twice is difficult.  Plus the Alabama game had to take a lot out of Auburn's emotions.  Georgia suddenly is an underdog for only the second time this year.  The last time they were underdogs, they won a hard fought game.  This game is in Georgia mind you.  They outlast a tired Auburn team and win on revenge and more talent.
Georgia 27, Auburn 20

Bulldog Babe:
The rematch. Georgia had a whipping last time they faced Auburn, but I feel like this time will be different. It’s on a neutral site and the fan turnout will be 50/50. I think Georgia will be able to pay attention to what went wrong three weeks ago and turn it into a playoff spot. They will win against Auburn and win the conference title for the first time since 2005.
Georgia 34, Auburn 20

Game 4: #1 Clemson (-9.5) vs. #7 Miami
8:00 p.m. EST, Charlotte, North Carolina

JR Ewing:
Clemson is hitting their stride.  They've been here so many times the last few years and know how to win.  Miami is just learning to win and coming off a very disappointing performance at Pittsburgh.  While Miami could put it together in their biggest home game, this one away from south Florida will be impossible.  The Tigers roll the Hurricanes.
Clemson 35, Miami 14

Bulldog Babe:
Two of the strongest teams in the ACC, by far. This will be one of the top two best matchups of the weekend. Clemson, the defending national champions looking to go back to back. Miami, the Cinderella story team. Miami may have lost last weekend, but I don’t think that will slow them down. In my honest opinion, I feel like Miami will play their best football and they will upset Clemson but it will be close.
Miami 24, Clemson 20

Game 5: #8 Ohio State (-6) vs. #4 Wisconsin (8:00 p.m. EST)
8:00 p.m. EST, Indianapolis, Indiana

JR Ewing:
Ohio State favored over the higher ranked Wisconsin?  By nearly a touchdown?  It's true.  And deserved.  Ohio State also knows how to win this game.  Wisconsin just hasn't played enough tough competition and lacks the athleticism of the Buckeyes.  I see a relatively easy Ohio State win.
Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24

Bulldog Babe:
This is one tough matchup. Both teams have their strong points to their teams and they both have been impressive over the course of the regular season, but there can only be one winner and I think it’ll be Wisconsin. They have a very strong case with their team making the CFB Playoff and I think they will play their best game this weekend. Ohio State will keep it close, but Wisconsin will come out on top.
Wisconsin 34, Ohio State 24

So sad that the College Football regular season is over.  I want to thank Bulldog Babe for her partnership in the Blog this season.  Her involvement made it ten times as entertaining as we walked through a magical Georgia season and fun college football season overall.  Look for her expertise here maybe on the College Football playoffs, NFL playoffs, and NASCAR 2018 as her time allows!  And don't forget to check our her outstanding work in the NASCAR blog the Ladies in Black!

- JR and BDB

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/26/2017

Football and Thanksgiving is a sports tradition going back generations. The Los Angeles (or San Diego) Chargers on Thanksgiving.  Not as much.  At least since 1969.  But the Chargers crashed the usual Dallas Cowboys late afternoon Thanksgiving party with a thumping that even the turkey had to hide his eyes.  Led by veteran QB Philip Rivers, the Los Angeles Chargers shredded the Pokes to the tune of 434 yards and 3 TD.  Practically throwing against only air, Rivers passes only hit the ground six times in 33 tries.  I dropped more spoonfuls of stuffing than that.  Rivers and the Chargers coasted to a 28-6 win, winning their fifth in seven games and moving within a game of the free-falling Kansas City Chiefs for first place.  Could playoff football be back in LA?  It will if Rivers has anything to do with it.  He is our Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Thirteen

My Longhorns are back! God Bless Texas!
The Thanksgiving feast is here people!  A long weekend of rivalry games and ranking shakeups.  It's sad that we're to the last weekend of regular season for the five Power Five conferences (all of which have title games this year for the first time).  And also teams jockeying for Bowl position.  As the saying goes, the more you win, the warmer your destination gets.  A shout out to my Texas Longhorns for a big road win to be come bowl eligible (which I predicted last week). Six or seven wins and a bowl isn't what Texas expects to be.  But for this season, it's a step forward.

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

1) Last week was a complete fizzle.  As expected since a lot of teams scheduled weekly.  Outside of a somewhat eye brow raising loss by Oklahoma State to Kansas State (this just in, the Big 12 is deep), not much movement.  The Playoff Committee decided to jockey Clemson and Miami in the 2/3 spots.  Basically correcting a bad ranking the week before.  We could have a whole other debate how Georgia's loss to Auburn is worse than Clemson's loss to Syracuse.
2) It remains to be seen whether the Big 12 title game will help or hurt the conference. Oklahoma is likely to have to beat TCU again.  But without it, I could see a scenario of passing up the Big 12 for some combination of two SEC teams, plus Wisconsin (or dare I say Ohio State) and the ACC winner without the extra data point.  One would think a head to head win for Oklahoma over Ohio State might carry weight, but ask Penn State about that can work out.
3) I predict a big shakeup this week.  So many of the better ranked rival teams are on the road.  Alabama.  Clemson.  Miami.  Georgia. Wisconsin.  Ohio State.  Notre Dame.  Some of these will lose.
4) I can't think of two rivalry matchups I want to watch more than Ohio State going to Michigan, and Alabama to Auburn.  You just don't get better than that.  Two different regions, but complete hatred.
5) Don't be surprised to see a big upset for a team not expected to lose.  I'm looking at you Miami, Wisconsin, or Oklahoma.

I cannot stand [Georgia Tech] & we will give
them a...beating on Saturday
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. Georgia is done with their conference schedule and now focuses on a revenge game against Georgia Tech, who defeated them in Athens last season.  Texas is fresh off a solid win on the road against West Virginia and now faces Texas Tech (instead of real rival Texas A+M because feelings are still hurt since the Aggies defected to the SEC).   We had to add the Iron Bowl and Michigan vs. Ohio State game.  And add the Apple Cup, which will be a factor in deciding the Pac 12 North Champion.

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). She's as tried and true a fan of her team in any sport of anyone I know.

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

Season to date:
JR: 37-22 S/U, 32-25 ATS
BDB: 45-15 S/U, 40-19 ATS

BDB jumped back last week for another solid effort.  Didn't predict the Texas upset, but otherwise had all the covers except Wisconsin.  Still hitting over 2/3 ATS, which is better than JR can do straight up.  Meanwhile, JR was also solid, although missed a couple of underdogs that didn't cover, including Michigan.  Got that Texas game, which is what is important.

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Texas Tech (+9.5) at Texas (FRIDAY 8:00 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
A rivalry game it is not, but there is a lot on the line for the Longhorns and Red Raiders.  The Longhorns have secured a bowl berth at 6-5 but want to angle for a top tier bowl, which if they finish the conference at 6-3, they'll be no worse than third in the conference.  Meanwhile, Tech needs a win to be the eighth Big 12 Bowl eligible team (out of 10).  All that being said, the Raiders typically play well in Austin and keep in close.  But the Longhorns win in the end.
Texas 31, Texas Tech 27

Bulldog Babe: 
Texas Tech/Texas is one of many rivalry matchups this weekend. I think that Texas is the better team, but they will have their hands full with Texas Tech because they’re wanting to become bowl eligible and this is their last opportunity. I have Texas in this one though because I think they’re the better and more complete team.
Texas 34, Texas Tech 24

Game 2: Ohio State (-12) at Michigan (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
I'm going to say this a few times.  A rivalry game between two good teams shouldn't be double digits to the road team.  It's tough to win on the road.  Michigan is very hungry after an overtime defeat last year extended their losing streak to five.  They're hungry.  Will they win?  Probably not.  Will it be close.  Yes.
Ohio State 31, Michigan 28

Bulldog Babe:
Another nasty rivalry. Same as the Georgia/Georgia Tech rivalry, they HATE each other and so do the fans. I think that Ohio State is the better team, period. They have really come out the last few years against all of their opponents and I think they will win on Saturday.
Ohio State 26, Michigan 10

Game 3: Georgia (-11) at Georgia Tech (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
See my note above.  Georgia is very much better than Georgia Tech.  But in Atlanta this will be close.  Throw in the upset last year, either Georgia fights back and dominates or it is close.  I think Tech keeps in close.  Again, within double digits.
Georgia 27, Georgia Tech 20

Bulldog Babe:
Clean old fashioned hate. This is a way of the world, Georgia hates GT and GT hates Georgia. This is a nasty rivalry and it’s shown that Georgia is completely the better team because they have always dominated GT minus a couple of bad years, but overall, Georgia is the better team and they will come out and completely dominate the Yellow Jackets. Georgia wins.
Georgia 34, Georgia Tech 17

Game 4: Alabama (-4.5) at Auburn (3:30 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
Perhaps the game of the year.  Alabama is relatively untested believe it or not.  Jeff Sagarin has their strength of schedule as worse than Wisconsin.  Mostly because of the bad out of conference teams they played.  But still.  Auburn seems to have gotten better as the season has gone along.  And is at home.  It's going to finish right at the line, Alabama wins.
Alabama 24, Auburn 20

Bulldog Babe:
The Iron Bowl. My second favorite rivalry. Alabama and Auburn are both very strong this year and I think that this won’t be a smooth sailing ride for Alabama. They have a lot of starters out for the rest of the season due to injuries and Auburn is completely healthy, so it will be a chest bumping match. Alabama I think will come through, but it will be very close.
Alabama 32, Auburn 28

Game 5: Washington State (+10) at Washington (8:00 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
Lest we forget about the Pac 12, there's some good football up there.  The conference is deeper than most, just without a couple of title contenders.  This is going to be a huge game for both teams.  Washington State can still win the Pac 12 North with a win.  They're an unpredictable force and I'm not sold on Washington.  I do think the Huskies win, but it will be tighter than the experts think.
Washington 35, Washington State 31

Bulldog Babe:
Washington State at Washington This is a hard matchup to predict considering they’re both ranked in the top 25 and their records are the exact same. So you basically have to look at who you think is the stronger team, and I think that is Washington. They’ve come out completely over the last year and they will win this weekend.
Washington 34, Washington State 21

We wish all our Blog readers a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Enjoy your weekend of football and be nice to one another.

- JR and BDB

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/19/2017

Our blog always loves an underdog and a new champion and both were served in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Championship race on Sunday.  And a veteran pulled through.  Martin Truex Jr. and his number 78 car was the best team all season with a Series high 8 wins and over 2250 laps led in 2017.  But at the Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead, Florida, was a winner-take-all and it was a chess match all race.  Kyle Larson (not in the playoff four) led much of the race (including the first two stages), but it was Kyle Busch and Truex Jr. who seemed to have the better cars (over Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick, the other two contenders).  Truex Jr. continually won the race off pit row on cautions and built a lead that the faster Busch could not run down. Busch got to Truex Jr.'s rear bumper on the last lap, but that was it.  The 37-year-old Truex Jr. broke through, and is a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Twelve

Yeah haw, this has been a season of making dough
After a huge week of key matchups that shook up the college football rankings, we get a little break this week.  Not that anybody wanted it.  Most teams are gearing up for their rivalry games on Thanksgiving weekend, then many for conference title games the following week.  Meanwhile, the air is crisp, the pads are popping, there is still a lot that could go wrong for a number of teams this weekend.

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

1) One main reason to discount early polls...just wait until they play the games.  Teams get better or worse over the season. Have off weeks.  Injuries.  By the end, it all works out.
2) The only comment I'll make about the college football playoff is that I hope the committee avoids two teams from a single conference.  Exception might be an 11-1 non SEC East champion Alabama.  Otherwise, it should basically be four conference champions. Don't care who, don't care from which conference.
3) The college football coaches free-for-all got serious quickly, with Tennessee joining Florida in the immediate hunt.  To go with Ole Miss.  Maybe Arkansas and Texas A+M.  And that's just one conference.  This year is going to be a doozy.
4) Last week we noted road games are always dangerous.  Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, Washington all faced big tests.  Only Alabama won.  Barely.
5) The three teams with the most to lose this week are Wisconsin, Georgia, and TCU.  All are favored, but face dangerous conference opponents.  The pressure is getting intense!

My Dawgs may be down, but just like me, they'll be back!
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. Coming off a difficult loss, Georgia faces a beatable but dangerous Kentucky team.  Texas is fighting for bowl eligibility with yet another tough Big 12 conference game in Morgantown, WV.   We also add a Group of 5 game, there really aren't that much to pick from.

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). Can we give some love to BDB's hot new profile photo? A tribute to T-Roy from Montgomery Gentry.

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

Season to date:
JR: 33-21 S/U, 30-22 ATS
BDB: 41-14 S/U, 37-17 ATS

Last week BDB had by far her worse week.  It was just one of those times when nothing goes right.  Her season numbers are still amazing at over 68% ATS.  You could make good money in Vegas on that!  .  Both pickers missed Georgia and Michigan State ATS.  J.R. successfully picked upsets (S/U) for Miami and Stanford while also getting Oklahoma (for which DBD picked a TCU upset).  BDB last minute changed her pick to Miami (see below) salvaging one ATS and another S/U.
Will she do better this week? My money is on "yes".

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Michigan (+7.5) at Wisconsin (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
I've been a Wisconsin doubter all year. Not for anything other than they haven't played anybody.  I guess Michigan is anybody, but they are still barely in the Top 25.  Wisconsin gets the game at Madison and the crowd will be pumped.  I like Michigan in the role of spoiler here.  They have a variance on performance wider than most teams.  Harbaugh has them ready and they win. 
Michigan 28, Wisconsin 24

Bulldog Babe: 
Michigan @ Wisconsin: I think this is gonna be a good game. Wisconsin is having one strong season and it’s very impressive! I don’t think Michigan will be able to keep up with Wisconsin, but they will keep it close. Wisconsin will win though. 32-28.
Wisconsin 32, Michigan 28

Game 2: Texas (+3.5) at West Virginia (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
As mentioned Texas is fighting for bowl eligibility.  Outside of Week 1, all their losses are to teams in the Top 13, two in OT, only one at home.  This is the time that Coach Herman has them ready for an upset.  And the point spread is tight on the road for a team ranked in the AP poll.  Texas wins a close one.  Maybe overtime.
Texas 28, West Virginia 26

Bulldog Babe:
West Virginia has impressed me a lot this season, they are a very put together team. Texas on the other hand has gotten stronger with every passing week. I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up with WVU though, WVU will definitely continue bringing their A game and WVU will win this weekend.
West Virginia 34, Texas 20

Game 3: Central Florida (-14) at Temple (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
Central Florida is rocking an undefeated record.  But the pressure mounts.  Tough road game in cold weather has this game closer than the spread.  UCF wins, but not by that much.
Central Florida 31, Temple 24

Bulldog Babe:
UCF is one of those surprising teams this season. They’re ranked in the top 15 after tonight’s (11/14/17) CFB playoff rankings and they definitely deserve it. Temple on the other hand won’t be able to handle the tough UCF team, so UCF will win.
Central Florida 34, Temple 17

Game 4: Navy (+18) at Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
One of the greatest David vs. Goliath rivalries in college football.  Disciplined Navy vs. Behemoth Notre Dame.  Notre Dame is coming off a very disappointing loss while Navy is scrappy.  I see this as reasonably close, but the Irish win.
Notre Dame 31, Navy 20

Bulldog Babe:
Notre Dame is the second team that got exposed last weekend, with a blowout loss against the Miami Hurricanes. Despite that, I think they will come back and win this weekend against Navy. They’re too good of a team to be kicked down like that. Notre Dame wins.
Notre Dame 40, Navy 25

Game 5: Kentucky (+21) at Georgia (3:30 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
This is dangerous for Georgia.  Licking their wounds from a thumping at Auburn, they return home to face a hungry Kentucky squad.  Kentucky is probably better than experts think.  Will Georgia bounce back?  Yes.  But they're looking forward to rivalry week as well as the SEC title game so this one again is closer than experts think.
Georgia 38, Kentucky 24

Bulldog Babe:
Georgia definitely had one of the toughest losses of last weekend against Auburn. While it severely dented their CFB playoff hopes, it’s not all over for the Bulldogs. If they win their next three games (Kentucky, Georgia Tech, SEC Championship), they will be back in the top 4. I think the Dawgs will bounce back in dominating fashion and it will be a smooth sailing win this weekend for UGA.
Georgia 35, Kentucky 7

Amazing the season is winding down.  But the excitement is reaching peak with rivalries and playoff talk.  Enjoy the penultimate regular season college football weekend!

- JR and BDB

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/12/2017

Same sport.  Same conference.  Same state.  New Sportsman of the Week.  The Big 12 has been a wide open offensive football league since the days of Mike Leach and Art Briles but there seems to be no bounds to the video game stats put up.  And before you say it doesn't work against good defense, reminder that the conference went 4-2 in bowl games last year (losses to Georgia and Miami who turned out to be on the upswing).  But back to the gridiron, Oklahoma State's senior quarterback Mason Rudolph is rolling through the meat of Big 12 play.  This was the Cowboys' third ranked team in three weeks, 2 of 3 on the road.  This week's stats were 25/31 for 376 yards and 3 TD in a key 49-42 victory over Iowa State.  That's only 6 incompletions.  Two of the TD came in the last 3 minutes as Oklahoma State scored the last 15 points of the game for the win.  Even in the loss to Oklahoma last week, he threw for nearly 450 yards and 5 TD but  came up short against last week's Sportsman of the Week.  Rudolph would be right in the Heisman talk if not for the slinger from Norman.  But he is our Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Eleven

Texas no longer worthy of picking
We are in the home stretch of the college football season.  In two weekends, we'll be to the big Thanksgiving finale of rivalries, conference championship posturing, and yes, playoff talk.  There are some huge games this week that will help separate contenders to pretenders.  And we have you covered picking all the big games.  But enjoy this fans. Weather is getting cooler.  Teams are hitting their stride.  And it's going to be an entertaining final month.

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

1) It seems like this is the year of conference parity. Other than the SEC which has two clear an away great teams, the rest literally have 4 or 5 that could win the conference.
2) The Big 10 is deeper than I have been giving it credit.  If Michigan State and Iowa can beat Penn State and Ohio State, then legit, it's got more than just a handful of good teams.  I still have an eye on Wisconsin for weak schedule.  I think if they win the Big 10, they'll get trucked by whomever they face.
3) Alabama will actually face a good team on the road.  Vanderbilt and Texas A&M is all they've faced in enemy territory. Since they don't play non-conference true road games by policy, they really limit their exposure to losses well with only four on the year.  And reap the benefits of 7 home games plus a neutral.
4) Road games are always dangerous.  Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, Washington all facing big tests.  Expect a shake up.
5) The Miami vs. Notre Dame game brings back so many amazing memories from the 80s and 90s.  Jimmy Johnson, Lou Holtz, the Ibis with the fire extinguisher, the "Catholics vs. Convicts" T-Shirts.  Those were good times.

Don't doubt the Bulldogs.  The team, or me, the Babe.
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. Georgia faces its biggest test this year at Auburn while Texas faces Big 12 punching bag Kansas.  That game will not be picked.  So many good games to pick from, but we definitely spread the love around the country!

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). 

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

Season to date:
JR: 29-20 S/U, 27-20 ATS
BDB: 39-11 S/U, 36-13 ATS

Last week BDB missed like nothing.  She never misses nothing.  Like seriously?  Almost 75% against he spread?  How is this happening?  In two to three sentences she's telling us every week what's going to happen.  Heck, I'm happy at 7 games over .500.  But I'm so far behind.  Oh well, credit where credit is due.  No truth to the rumor I'm going to start a picks service with her as my expert!  Meanwhile JR only missed Oklahoma State.  Which could have gone either way.

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Washington (-6) at Stanford (10:30 EST)

JR Ewing:
Stanford is a very tough team at home.  All three losses on the road so far this year, and they have a history of spoiling championship runs in Palo Alto.  This week should be no different.  They are well coached and Washington isn't really tested.  I see a Stanford win straight up. 
Stanford 31, Washington 24

Bulldog Babe: 
I feel like this is gonna be an easy one to predict mainly because of the teams’ record on the season. Washington is a really strong team this year, and as Ohio State proved in 2014, you can still get in the CFB Playoff being ranked below the top six. I think Washington has a good resume this year and they will win this weekend.
Washington 27, Stanford 14

Game 2: Michigan State (+14.5) at Ohio State (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
Michigan State coming off a big win.  Ohio State coming off a big loss.  The Big 10 has had more surprises than I expected.  I think Ohio State exerts their will at home and wins but close. I think too many people are seeing the vintage Buckeyes and not the ones that can get frustrated offensively. 
Ohio State 31, Michigan State 24

Bulldog Babe:
This matchup will be interesting to see the outcome of, considering Ohio State is a 14.5 point favorite. I don’t think it’ll be that easy for them, I think Michigan State will give them a lot of competition. Will they win? Time will tell, but I optimistically think they will pull out the win. 28-17.
Ohio State 28, Michigan State 17

Game 3: Georgia (-2.5) at Auburn (3:30 EST)

JR Ewing:
Here we go for Georgia.  This is their biggest test.  Well, since they went to Notre Dame.  Auburn is tough, but really has just one good win against Mississippi State.  I've been on the Georgia train, only picking them to win close in large point spreads. They'll be ready to invade Jordan Hare Stadium and win a close game.
Georgia 24, Auburn 16

Bulldog Babe:
This game, in my opinion, will be the best of the SEC games this weekend. Georgia is crushing their opponents left and right and that week 2 win against Notre Dame is looking better and better as the weeks go by. Everybody thinks Auburn is gonna ruin their season, I don’t think so. Auburn won’t be able to keep up with Georgia’s run game and they will be intimidated. I think Georgia will win this one and continue their dream season.
Georgia 37, Auburn 14

Game 4: Texas Christian (+6.5) at Oklahoma (8:00 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
Oklahoma is the current and future king/champ of the Big 12 until someone stops them.  TCU is a good road team, but I think Oklahoma is getting better.  They have so many good wins at Ohio State and Oklahoma State.  They'll focus in this on and win comfortably.
Oklahoma 41, Texas Christian 30

Bulldog Babe:
This matchup will be one of the best of the weekend, in my opinion. It consists of the first two teams out of the College Football Playoff top four. I️ think Oklahoma has more than proved themselves, but I think TCU has the stronger team. So I’m taking TCU in this one.
Texas Christian 37, Oklahoma 27

Game 5: Notre Dame (-3) at Miami (8:00 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
To be honest, I don't see either of these teams as Top 5.  That being said, Miami being undefeated seems to be overlooked by experts.  Mark Richt has this team believing and Notre Dame will have a stiff road test.  I think the Hurricanes announce their arrival back on the national scene with a close victory.
Miami 31, Notre Dame 30

Bulldog Babe:
This will be one of the top two matchups of the weekend. Notre Dame still looming with the one loss to Georgia earlier in the season and with the second rankings out, it looks like they have the third seed in the CFB Playoff locked down (unless a major upset happens of course). Miami is a dream team this year, like I said last week. I’m so excited to see what Coach Richt is doing with that program. I don’t wanna pick against them, but it’s gonna have to happen this weekend. Notre Dame has a stronger team on both sides of the ball, give me the Irish in this one.
Notre Dame 37, Miami 24

Bulldog Babe and I want to give a huge shout out to our Veterans on this Veterans Day weekend.  It's the Home of the Free because of the Brave.  My grandfather was of the Greatest Generation in World War II and both of us have cousins who have dedicated their life to being in the service and have our respect.  Thank a veteran this weekend and fly the American Flag proudly.

- JR and BDB

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/5/2017

As the calendar turns from October to November, football takes center stage.  While it's always too premature to discuss playoff options prior to Thanksgiving, the Oklahoma Sooners are in a strong position to win the Big 12 and that conversation thanks to a surging Heisman favorite.  Baker Mayfield, a former walk on quarterback, is putting up video game numbers.  But not against bad competition, but rather the best in the conference.  This week in a huge rivalry game, on the road, against a ranked team, he lit up the scoreboard.  Oklahoma scored 62 points.  He finished the day just 2 yards under 600 (school record from a school with a ton of Heisman QB winners) with 5 TD passes.  On only 24 completions, that's about 25 yards per pass completion.  A quarter of the field.  Before you jump on Oklahoma State's defense, against two likely bowl teams the two previous weeks, they snatched 5 INTs and held both QBs combined under 550 yards.  Oklahoma is in good hands with Mayfield, and he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/1/2017

Special edition this week, we extended the Sportsman of the Week to include all the World Series.  And we have an obvious winner.  The Houston Astros secured their first World Series championship behind their lead off hitter.  But it wasn't walks or stolen bases that got his team going.  It was home runs.  After a disastrous World Series opener (0-4, 4K, it was against Clayton Kershaw), George Springer set the pace for the Astros.  Over the final six games, he hit 5 HR (record), 3 2B, and also walked 5 times.  He ended the series batting .379 (in what was a low hitting series, other than Springer, only Evan Gattis and Joc Pederson hit over .300 with 10 AB or mor,e and both teams hit .230 or lower).  Houston, you have a title.  And a Sportsman of the Week!

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Ten

I will never pick against Texas again
Is it really Week Ten? Like double digits? But it seems like the season just started!?  Nevertheless, as evidenced by the first College Football Playoff poll, we are entering the stretch.  It is November.  Rivalries are kicking up.  And conference races are about to be decided.

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

1) Ohio State with their backs against the wall once again take hold of the Big 10 East race.  With a two game lead over Michigan, tiebreaker on Penn State, and Michigan State at home, they're in the drivers seat.
2) Can we take Iowa State seriously yet?  Having defeated both Oklahoma and TCU, they're in the middle of the Big 12 race. The Big 12 so deep, though, they still have to play another Top 15 team, and then road trips to previously ranked West Virginia and Kansas State.  I do think the Big 12's depth is it's biggest barrier against a playoff appearance.
3) Alabama has no wins over a team currently ranked this year.
4) We had our first major program head coaching axe to fall at Florida. Now it becomes a land grab, with other schools (Tennessee, Texas A+M, or Nebraska) behind the coach hunt curve if they do indeed part ways.
5) Miami is back on top for teams in the state of Florida.  First test (really, they've played no one decent) this week vs. Virginia Tech, then Notre Dame next week.  I hope the "Catholics vs. Convicts" 30 for 30 plays all week next week.

I'm hot, baby, don't doubt!
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. Georgia faces a scrappy South Carolina team while Texas faces their 4th Top 12 opponent in seven games at TCU. It's that time of year when finding only five huge games is difficult.  LSU/Bama and Michigan State/Penn State didn't even make the cut!

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). 

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

Season to date:
JR: 25-19 S/U, 24-19 ATS
BDB: 34-11 S/U, 32-13 ATS

Last week BDB only missed a Georgia cover.  She had them by 13 against a 13.5 point spread.  That's it.  She has been amazing, almost 75% ATS, not missing any straight up either!  J.R. did miserable picking Baylor and West Virginia and Penn State (although Nittany covered)

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: South Carolina (+23.5) at Georgia (3:30 EDT)

JR Ewing:
Georgia just keeps rolling.  A couple of non-covers, but only the one tight game in South Bend.  They have been starting fast (sign of a good game plan and well prepared players) and this week will be no different.  South Carolina has six wins, but none are overwhelmingly impressive.  Georgia wins but under the number.
Georgia 34, South Carolina 14

Bulldog Babe: 
The Gamecocks are Georgia’s second to last SEC East matchup of the season, but it won’t be that easy for South Carolina. They’re headed into a tough fan environment to play a team that is undefeated and statistically one of the best teams in the nation. South Carolina players have already given some bulletin board material on this weekend’s game, I feel like that will once again give the Dawgs a lot of motivation. Georgia wins.
Georgia 34, South Carolina 17

Game 2: Clemson (-7) at North Carolina State (3:30 EDT)

JR Ewing:
Clemson gets some new life from the playoff committee overlooking their single loss.  They're on a mission now and it starts in Raleigh.  This was a tough matchup for them last year, that will be this year, also.  Clemson wins, but close. 
Clemson 26, North Carolina State 23

Bulldog Babe:
NC State almost upset Clemson last year, but they fell just short of that feat. I don’t think they’ll come close this time around. Clemson is so strong on both sides of the ball and they have completely exceeded my expectations, despite the one loss against Syracuse. Clemson wins it this weekend.
Clemson 30, North Carolina State 14

Game 3: Oklahoma (+3) at Oklahoma State (4:00 EDT)

JR Ewing:
It's Bedlam.  One of the best rivalries in the Big 12 and the teams have the talent to match.  Oklahoma has been sputtering a bit, Oklahoma State is in a tough stretch of their schedule.  I like the home team here.  Better offense.  They're hungry.
Oklahoma State 37, Oklahoma 31

Bulldog Babe:
The two teams of Oklahoma are completely dominating this year, despite both of them having one loss on the season. Oklahoma was put as the first team out in the CFB playoff rankings and I think if they continue their winning ways, they have a case to sneak in the top 4. Baker Mayfield has a case for the Heisman as well, he’s a great quarterback who I think has been doing so well this season and it will continue into this weekend. Oklahoma wins.
Oklahoma 27, Oklahoma State 17

Game 4: Texas (+7) at Texas Christian (7:15 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
Remember when I said I wouldn't pick against Texas again (see caption above)?  I lied.  After all, I am J.R. Ewing so that shouldn't be a surprise.  TCU has had Texas' number the past few years.  None of the games close.  And TCU is wounded.  The Frogs roll the Horns.
Texas Christian 35, Texas 7

Bulldog Babe:
TCU has exceeded my expectations at the halfway point in the season. They have one loss on the season and they have talent on both sides of the ball. Texas has been sloppy from start to finish. Currently at 4-4, they’re struggling just to become bowl eligible. I think TCU will come out and dominate this game against Texas.
Texas Christian 37, Texas 7

Game 5: Virginia Tech (-2.5) at Miami (8:00 p.m. EDT)

JR Ewing:
This is a sneaky greatest game of the day.  Both of these teams have ACC title aspirations and deservedly so.  Both are well coached (with new coaches).  Miami may be getting their 1980s swagger back.  At night in the Orange Bowl (or whatever their stadium is).  Miami wins and puts out notice they are a force to be reckoned with.
Miami 31, Virginia Tech 14

Bulldog Babe:
I am LOVING what Coach Richt is doing at Miami. Leaving Georgia has worked to his benefit and it’s so awesome seeing him do so well in his second year. Miami definitely deserves all of the hype they’re receiving. Virginia Tech in my opinion is one of my top 2 one loss teams. Even they have exceeded my expectations on this season. This is a tough matchup to predict the winner, to be honest. I gotta go with my gut feeling, I think Miami will win it but in another close game.
Miami 27, Virginia Tech 20

November is the best time of the college football calendar!  Have a fun Saturday!

- JR and BDB