Friday, September 30, 2016

Week 4 ATS Picks

3-2 Last week. 9-5 on the year.

Florida -10 at Vandy

This is the trappiest line I've ever seen. Hungover Florida on the road. Still, I saw Vandy lose to South Carolina, and I'm pretty sure they can't throw the ball more than 10 yards. They couldn't even muster 10 points against Kentucky, so hoping the same holds true versus a good UF defense.

GA State at App State Over 51.5

State has been getting lit up, and App is decent this year. I figure App to be in the high 30s, with GA State coming in the back door.

Texas A&M at S. Carolina Over 48

Texas A&M should look to keep a strong offense rolling. They put up 50 on Arkansas last week. The trouble comes with SC scoring against the Aggies, but they should be good for at least 10. Potential hangover for A&M here, but still liking the over.

The vaunted favorites and overs. Betting 101 no-no. May add a few more later.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ole Miss 45 Georgia 14 - Our Fears Came True

Heading into the game my opinion was as follows...

I expect us to lose the game. We were far inferior at a number of position units, and the game was on the road. Sure the 11:00 kick might help, but I was kidding myself if I really expected us to win.

That said the only uncertainty that might help was how did each team come into the game mentally. Does Georgia continue to build on knowing they can get it done in the Missouri win, does Nick Chubb re-emerge, do the units and coaching staffs continue to make cohesive progress?

In the end it came down to how would Ole Miss enter the game mentally. Would they marinate in blowing two huge leads and the body blows dealt to them by Alabama (coupled with an 11:00 kick)? Or would they be able to rally and execute. In the end Ole Miss came out and did what they needed to do.

There's really not a ton of merit in dissecting all the plays that led to this result. The game more so taught us a couple things we feared about our team.

One, we are going to continue to struggle running the ball up the middle. I'm not sure what the secret sauce was against UNC, but it has disappeared. Kirby mentioned preseason that he was worried about our depth on the lines, and this is coming to fruition.

We are incredibly thin at receiver, and this was a fear given the last few recruiting classes. We are having to use Isaiah as our primary weapon. He is supposed to be a specialist and addition piece. Not only are we lacking in talent and makeup, but the guys who are there aren't executing. The drops on that one sequence were just abysmal. Not the way to help a young QB. When you looked at Ole Miss' receivers making all the required catches, even on jump balls, it was pretty devastating. Shows the need to reload this position... and fast.

Speaking of Ole Miss receivers, they were wide open and simply abused our corners. Briscoe is having a tough time out there and seems to be a focal point of opposing offenses. This echoes from the Missouri game. There were a few plays where Swag was so confident in his guys that he literally threw it up for grabs. If they weren't open, they simply drew a PI call, and most of the time still made the catch. We are getting beat on routes and in executing even when we are there.

I'm about to draw positive from a missed FG. That's where we are with this kicking unit. I was glad to see Blankenship in there. Yes he missed a FG, but at least it was high, straight, and had proper trajectory. The Golden Tee lineup was just a little off. That kicked looked more pure than either of Ham's efforts last week. I'd keep him in. That's how bad we are... I just took solace in a missed FG.

Ole Miss was going to win the game. But it didn't have to be as bad as it was. If we simply executed on a few things it could have been much more of a ballgame (but still a loss). Missed FG, dropped passes, etc. Even Eason's pick six... he seems to always default (even sometimes too quickly) to throwing the ball away. This time he tried to force over the middle and paid the price. Ouch.

It's evident we are thin in talent. Kirby made no qualms about that going into the season. Hopefully these recruiting classes can help refill the cupboard. They'll get playing time early. This game reminded me of the SC loss in 2012 45-7, but unfortunately this team doesn't have the talent that one did so don't go drawing conclusions about our potential. It's a learning period for UGA. We're going to have to take our lumps. Sure it's sort of what we signed up for, but we're going to have to trust that process.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week 4 ATS Picks

0-3 last week. It was coming after the 6-0 start. 6-3 on the year.

Nebraska -8.5 at Northwestern

This game screams trap, which scares me. However Nebraska is really good this year and Northwester is really bad. If it was a 2 TD spread I'd be more worried, but this is one where the line is simply to small not to put some action on it. It's time for Nebraska to continue their push, and avoid the hangover after a big Oregon win. Can Northwestern rally from a loss to Illinois State, and small win over a mediocre Duke team.

Oklahoma State +8.5 at Baylor

This game is going to be a shootout. Baylor hasn't played anyone of note yet. They are really talented on offense, but have huge holes and depth issues on defense. They may win the game, but I see this as a back and forth affair that may even go to OT. Hopefully OK State can keep up and make a push in the second half.

Kentucky -2 vs. South Carolina

Both teams have awful seasons so far. Both teams have bad defenses, and one has a good offense. I'll take the one with a good offense at home to win. Night game in Lexington leans me towards the Cats.

Stanford at UCLA over 46

Stanford does have a great defense and grinds it out on offense. UCLA looks to push up tempo with their air attack. Being in UCLA gives the Bruins a little edge in scoring some points. Stanford should get theirs as well. With such a low total in the PAC-12 I'm erring towards the over.

Southern Miss -10.5 at UTEP

This is another one that screams trap, but  the line is so small that I'm likely to take it. One team is clearly better. UTEP has been reeling. Southern Miss will be able to score, and hopefully Vegas views this as a trap forcing them to keep the line down.

Two others I looked at but couldn't take, mainly because I'd feel like it was so obvious via game script if they didn't hit.

LSU / Auburn Ov 46 & Louisville / Marshall Und 74.5. Usually when there is a clear expectation on a result I go opposite, but until LSU can score and Louisville can't score less than 60 I'll hold off.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Georgia 28 Missouri 27 Recap - A Night We're Not Soon to Forget

c/o rantsports.com


My first thought when I woke up this morning after digesting all the emotion last night, was there are games where I truly miss Larry Munson. I know that somewhere he would have had he ability to put words to whatever calisthenics I was performing in front of the television on McKenzie's catch.

My second thought was that the feeling of coming through in that situation feels like it hasn't been there for a long, long time. Sure there have been a few... LSU in '13, Florida in '12, and a few others. But for those few memories I have so many more of Colorado, Mississippi State, UCF, Vandy, Tennessee last year, Florida OT loss, Bama SECCG, LSU with Cox, so on and so forth. Games that were ugly and we had a chance, but didn't convert. Regardless of how good or bad this team ends up being, it was certainly nice to have a different taste in my mouth this morning.

Let's go ahead and cover that it was an ugly game in many facets. Once again we really don't know much about how good or bad we may be. I will also note that Missouri's offensive efficiency and their D-Line play was probably underestimated. This was probably a better Missouri team than we believed. They still had some Missouriness to them with all the turnovers and second chances, and it was nice to come through in a game with all those hurdles. While last week was not a satisfactory "a win is a win", this week you can feel comfortable saying that.

We'll start with Jacob Eason (before getting into some of the dirty stuff). This game was put squarely on his shoulders. If we knew he'd have to throw the ball 55 times we probably wouldn't feel good about the potential outcome. He had some rough moments with overthrows, a bad pick, and some more drops. Still, even early in the game, I noticed he had great composure on some key third downs. That built towards what would be his ultimate moment. As a freshman on the road he looked surprisingly poised. He took checkdowns when they were offered to Payne, remained calm in the pocket, and even had a crucial throwaway on the last drive. Rather than being flustered by the situation he rose to the occasion at times along the way, and when it all mattered he delivered.

Isaiah McKenzie is this team's MVP. Without his presence we are 0-3 potentially. All the while (and I keep saying during games), in no way shape or form should he be our leading receiver. Kudos to the offensive staff in utilizing him as they've seen fit. More kudos to IMac for accepting and relishing in that role. He was busting open over the middle the whole course of the game, and just as Eason was prepping for the big moment, IMac answered the call in the same fashion when it all mattered.

The last good point from an overarching basis would be the play of Quincy Mauger. That guy was out for blood last night and got stronger as the game went on. His pick in the endzone was an absolute thing of beauty and required maximum effort. In a night when the secondary got diced up pretty good, he remained the solid constant.

The defense was gashed at times, but had an incredible second half. They were helped by turnovers, but didn't give up a point the last 25 minutes. Boy did the team need it too.

One other point of good was finally seeing some glimpses of our tight ends and check downs in space. Nauta had some crucial catches to keep drives going that may be overshadowed. Payne is probably MVP no. 2. It wasn't anything flashy, but his performance did what was required when asked. Both of these guys were the glue that kept some crucial opportunities going.

Noting that we'll take this win as a conference road victory when a ton didn't go our way, we'll move on to the not so nice.

For the second game in a row we had absolute inability to establish a power run game. It seems we keep trying to force it between the tackles. With the obvious underwhelming performance of the O-Line, this seems a futile endeavor at this time. As I noted last week we aren't getting our guys in space. Even Sony is trying to be forced up the gut. Whatever worked versus UNC isn't working anymore. Toss sweeps that have proven beneficial over time (and versus UNC) aren't the foundation of the playbook anymore in the running game. If we can't run up the middle versus Nicholls and Mizzou, Lord help us if we try it next week in Oxford.

This is the third game where we have to mention special teams. There were kicking miscues in the UNC and Nicholls games, and man did they rear their ugly head Saturday night. Not being able to make a 23 yard FG is just abysmal for an SEC team. The second kick was even worse and looked to have no chance. At this point, I have no qualms with Blankenship getting the chance. Ham doesn't seem to have it right now. What worries me is why or what has been evidenced that is keeping Ricardo on the sidelines. It's safe to say we have absolutely no confidence in a kicker right now. We got a win, but if not corrected, that negative is going to cost us in a more severe fashion.

Another game featuring a few key drops. Chigbu and Reggie caught a couple, but had drops as well. We may need to order 10,000 jugs machines to Athens going forward.

The secondary looks rough at times. Kudos to Missouri for forcing tempo and exploiting holes. Briscoe is going to need to grow up really fast if he wants to be the 2nd corner. He was picked on all night and at times was very much taken advantage of.

A scary note that I can't overlook even though the result was awesome, was the last turnover. Briscoe was beat on a play they'd seen all night. Sanders by a fundamental standard was not in position and likely to get beat on the route. Thank heavens whatever gamble he took knocked the ball out and Briscoe was there to recover. Had he not we'd very likely be talking about a different result right now.

As stated, we really don't know how good this team is. We've certainly seen glaring holes we need to work on. The next two weeks will be where the metal meets the road. It could be a surprise positive step forward, but I'm fully aware it could be the exact opposite. If corrections aren't made I have to lean in the camp of the latter. Still we came through which as I mentioned is a new feeling. It's time to clean up, continue to gel, and improve. OLine, Nick Chubb & Sony, the playcalling in general, and special teams have to improve or it's a lost cause. Let's keep in mind this is somewhat a young team, with tons of new pieces, a new QB, a new scheme, a new head coach, and a lack of experience in coming through. Hopefully this is a notch in the belt of developing some of that cohesiveness.

I will very much enjoy watching that 4th down pass for a long time. Every part of me had prepared for it not to be executed. That's what our fandom has led us to. What a welcome feeling and recreation of optimism its result has led to.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Week 3 ATS Picks

6-0 on the year. So the ice queen week is coming, but hey let's ride this baby out!

Tennessee -27 vs. Ohio

Ohio has been allowing a fafillion points versus some weaker tier foes. I'm confident in Tennessee getting there, and Ohio having trouble. Only worry is UT shutting it down early. After that App State close call though I feel like Butch is out for blood. Tennessee's D is good enough to hold the Bobcats down.

FSU at Louisville Under 68

FSU's goal will be to keep Lamar off the field. That means a steady dose of Dalvin Cook running the ball. Also FSU's D (even though LOU might win) will do a better job containing Louisville's O than other previous foes. Louisville's D isn't bad either. Add in a 12:00 start and an FSU frosh QB and we've got an under baby!

Kentucky vs. New Mexico State Under 66

UK's defense is ok, but decent enough to hold NM St. Their O however is woeful. Sure they'll look to explode, but this has all the makings of a 37-13 UK win (or maybe 37-13 NM State win). If you're looking at the previous score of the Southern Miss game, Souther Miss is much better than NM State.

Others I'm considering and may lock in...

Washington State -27 vs. Idaho. Wazzu looking to explode at 0-2.
Oregon Nebraska over 74.5. Literally neither team has stopped scoring since the season started.
Auburn vs. Tex A&M Ov 54. AU's O is underrated and finding groove, ATM's O is what it is.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Georgia 26 Nicholls 24 Recap

Well that was underwhelming. Below is an overarching view of my stream of consciousness throughout the game.

It's hot.
Oh nice an early touchdown.
It's taking us a while to get going.
We're starting to turn things around.
Oh look cloud cover, that's nice.
Slow first half, hopefully we'll open it up in the second half.
It's hot again.
There are some nice turnovers, maybe we'll open it up a little bit.
Should we put our name in for a table at Amici?
If there was a spread on this game, UGA would not come close to covering it.
It's been ugly, but at least the scoreboard wont show how bad it was.
Cancel the table at Amici.
We'll maybe the scoreboard is going to show how bad it was.
Yes it is.
Nicholls is literally playing in a fashion to lose this game.
UGA is playing in even more of a fashion to lose this game.
There is a chance we are going to lose this game.
That was a nice block by Chubb, and Chigbu finally caught one.
We can take a knee at this point right?
Let's go downtown.

There are a few strange games every now and then versus lesser opponents, where you simply walk out of the stadium wondering what just happened. The UCF 16-13 debacle, and the subsequent UAB debacle win come to mind. I think the only thing I'll take solace in is the way Kirby responded to it. He was clearly candid in stating that this in no way is a satisfactory result and didn't use the cheapened lines of "at least a win is a win, we're 2-0, time to get going towards the SEC, blah blah blah". That's a new tune from the past.

For everything we seemed to execute well on vs. UNC, we failed on versus Nicholls. As the game progressed our aggression / attitude became much more tempered versus gaining momentum versus the Heels.

The OLine seems to be a point of concern. They didn't control the line of scrimmage against a team that was clearly inferior from an athletic standpoint. Nick Chubb couldn't seem to find a hole to save his life, and more so was facing pressure in his own backfield versus down the field. In what should have been a get him in there for 110 and 2 TDs and get him out, I was watching Nick use every bit of his effort to try and seal a game with 2 minutes left. That was not my plan.

Someone is going to have to emerge at receiver. I really thought that would be Chigbu this year. The two costly drops are hopefully not something that gets in his head. We need him and he's going to have to recover quickly. Mackenzie seems to be the only one who is being properly utilized and making strides, and he's probably the least of a true receiver we have.

Where are the tight ends? We had one nice place to Woerner in a key spot, but as I noted after the UNC game our contingent of Blazevich / Nauta / Woerner seems to be not being looked at during the current period. I would think this would be a huge asset with a young developing QB.

Sony was great to see on the field, but looked rusty as all get out. We didn't utilize him like we had in the past, trying to get him in space. Instead most of his efforts seemed to be between the tackles which is not where his livelihood will be made. The times we did try to pop him outside the defensive pressure was so great already he had nowhere to operate. We need to quickly figure out a way to get that Chubb / Sony compliment going again which we've all waited so long to see fully functional.

Eason wasn't great, and also wasn't awful. He wasn't helped by the drops, and the INT wasn't all his fault. Still there were a few throws that were a little offline. Without Chubb and the OLine operating at normal competency, it made it hard to really allow him to open it up. Not a lot to dive into as far as who should be the QB here, but I still think Jacob provides our best option going forward. I'm hoping the playbook expands and his capabilities do as well.

As I stated, the playcalling was strange. Tentative at times, and too aggressive at time. 3rd & 2 near midfield and we're running short long developing pass plays. The lack of using Sony aligned with his strengths. The lack of a screen game for that matter.

The defense broke at a couple points, but once again was hampered by turnovers. Need more pressure in the backfield especially when overmatched against an opponent like that. A couple times they didn't execute like last week. Parrish made the play when isolated last week, and got beat this week. Mo Smith was everywhere he needed to be versus the Heels, and was a hair off this week. I think this unit should continue to gel in a better fashion. Secondary looks ok with Sanders and Mauger (maw-jey apparently now) hawking around. They forced a couple turnovers and even scored on one.

Our turnovers were so bad. Chubb never fumbles right? Mackenzie is usually a stalwart in the return game (especially deep in his own territory). That hampered what would have been a stellar two weeks for him.

Special teams woes continue. Missed FG, some doinky extra points, the fumble, etc. Need to clean this up as we head into the conference slate.

Look there's not a lot to take hope in from this game. It's not even a just take your W and move on type win... too much ugliness in there. All you can do is hope that this was needed to wake a team up after an emotional win, and provided an outlet for mistakes to occur than can't happen in the SEC. More so hopefully it provides Kirby an opportunity to show how he reacts a little differently than his predecessor. Another game and opportunity to get this one out of our mouth can't come soon enough.

Amici was really good after the game.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week 2 ATS Picks

Auburn -20.5 vs. Arkansas State

Trying to take advantage here of people raining down on Auburn. I assume Gus gets pretty offended when people knock his glorious offensive schemes, and in turn will put the pedal down. Night game in JHS, Arkansas State isn't what they once were, and Auburn's defense should keep Ark State at bay. Arkansas State lost to Toledo 31-10 last week.

Troy at Clemson Under 63

I'm counting on both defenses being able to somewhat handle each other. The thing that scares me is Clemson has another cupcake next week. Early game leads to lower scoring, and hopefully Clemson gets out early and puts on cruise control.

4-0 last week, let's keep the train rolling.

Others I'm considering:

OK State -19.5
TCU / Ark Ov 57.5 (watch rain here)
BYU / Utah Ov 45