Saturday, October 22, 2016

Week 8 ATS Picks

13-11 on the season after a tough 1-2 last week.

Central Michigan +10.5 vs Toledo

There are a bunch of unknowns with these teams, despite similar records. Vegas is putting the value on the home team with a big spread so here's to hoping the Chippewas keep it close.

Purdue +24 at Nebraska

Nebraska will win this game, and Purdue is bad, but Purdue has been pretty good at backdooring some points this year. Nebraska has been prone to start slow.

Louisville -19.5 vs. NC State

This seems like a Joe Public bet, but we're trying to take advantage of Vegas overreactions. It was only 3 weeks ago that you would take Lou -40 and Over 80 vs. whoever they played. After a few mundane weeks and a strong Wolfpack showing vs. Clemson we've got a manageable spread.

UTEP at UTSA Over 47

Both teams are bad, but both teams have proven the ability to put up points against a variety of opponents. Last time I took a UTSA over it covered in the 1H, so here's to hoping for more of that.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Vandy 17 Georgia 16 Recap - It Shouldn't Be That Hard

Georgia once again failed to put a whole game together. In a game where we got back on the wagon in a few facets, we fell flat on our face once again in others, and boy did it cost us.

The sour taste in our mouth is from the absolutely abysmal call on 4th and 1 where we decoy with our best play and toss it to a converted wide receiver who was struggling all day. To gain one yard against a team you should have a decisive talent advantage on at the line of scrimmage. At some point you have to realize, despite what struggles may have occurred rushing the game, you have put yourself in a position where you just have to trust your ability to play football. When you are a run first power SEC team, you shouldn't have to resort to trickeration to gain one yard. There comes a moment when you just have to say the game hasn't been pretty, but if we're going to win, we are going to give it to our best player and trust him to gain one yard. If the play worked we may not be talking about this, but the fact it didn't certainly allows us to ridicule it.

This play hurt, but it wasn't the one I was the most upset about. How about 4th and three down one at the opponents 42 yard line with less than 5 minutes to go. This is a another situation where you have to simply trust your ability to play football. At that point the advantage of gaining a net of at best 30 yards, getting the ball punted back to you in a game where you've looked the worst ever in the punt return game, makes absolutely no sense. Heck I would've rather tried a field goal. Instead we punted, and took the game even more out of our hands. That was the play where we looked sheepish, and the one that upset me most.

Special teams has been an awful struggle the past few years, and today was it's worst iteration we have seen. We couldn't stop anyone on returns, we couldn't kick accurately on punts / kickoffs, and we couldn't figure out when to catch it or let it go (and looked absolutely clueless in the process). IMac's decisions could have made this game even worse. Sometimes he simply tries to do too much. Sometimes you have to just cut your losses and do less. Instead we took the opportunity to make a normal one terrible. Simple execution in that facet could have helped make an ugly game palatable.

The run game disappeared again. Jacob Eason bounced back with a 300+ yd passing day and no major miscues, but once again we couldn't put a complete offense together. That makes 5/7 games where we've been unable to accomplish that.

Here are three players who shined on Saturday:

Isaac Nauta - he's going to be a force for the coming years. Finally we start using our unique weapons at tight end. His progression is a welcome sight.

Rodrigo Blankenship - I said after the Ole Miss game (even when he missed one) his kicks look so much better than Ham's. 3/3 on FGs was a welcome relief, and he's solidified himself as the man at the position.

Javon Wims - he didn't have a big day, but proved he can be an effective receiver.

Other than that the result overrides any bright spots. People need to stop making comparisons to Richt lost to so and so this year, Saban lost to so and so this year, etc. Kirby has a learning curve, but what was displayed Saturday was an abomination when it comes to coaching execution and discipline. The patterns of the past, or learning curves, don't mean squat when it comes to the future. The fact is we just lost to a bad Vandy team when we did a few things right. This result has been hinted at in games like Nichols and SC. Finally it reared it's head.

The rest of the season is a building process. Eason needs to continue to improve, and other weapons need to continue to step up. There's literally nothing to play for of merit other than beating Florida, Auburn, and GT, and I feel a lot less confident about our execution in those facets. I still believe a change at the head needed to be made, and this is the bed we've made. Time to deal with it from a point of executing and show improvement.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Week 7 ATS Picks

3-1 Last week. 12-9 on the season. I've been alternating good, bad, good, bad weeks so need to buck that trend this week.

Top Plays:

West Virginia at Texas Tech Under 85

Taking a Texas Tech under is a very dangerous thing. This is purely situational with an 80+ point total and 11:00 am local kick. West Virginia is likely to try and slow the pace down with a decent rushing attack. Texas Tech could very likely do their part, but with these big totals early in the day here's to hoping for just a few stops to prevent over 3 TDs per quarter.

Utah at Oregon State Over 40

While this is a Pac 12 game nearly in the 30s, Utah does have a solid defense. I expect the Beavers to be able to score a few at home, and with this low total a few turnovers could play a key role.

Houtson -21 (buy to 20.5) vs Tulsa

We're buying low on Houston here. Coming off the loss they maybe give us 10 points in our favor. It's at home, and Tulsa is really bad. They have had close calls with the likes of high school teams such as SMU recently, and I expect Greg Ward Jr. and the boys to come away reeling after the Navy loss.

Secondary Plays:

Kansas State at Oklahoma Over 58

The Sooners are in full fight our way back into respect mode. K State just needs to do their job.

Nebraska at Indiana Under 57

Indiana's defense is vastly improved and Nebraska will look to run the ball first. Hoping the away game gets them off to a decently slow start and prevents a shootout.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Georgia 28 South Carolina 14 - Not as Bad as We Think... I Think

If you are still trying to predict a gamescript prior to a Georgia game this year, now is probably a good time to stop. Last week I tried to emphasize the notion that for the first time in a long time, you don't have a great perspective of what our team is week by week. Face it, you have seen 6 very different Georgia teams this year. From surprising, underachieving, gutty, blown out, overachieving / unlucky, and now just a winner. Furthermore how each of those came about was very different in it's makeup.

Here's what I'm saying. No doubt, it wasn't beautiful. But if you expect beauty when we play an inferior South Carolina team you haven't ever seen a South Carolina Georgia game. As previously mentioned this isn't really a year where we come in and say we are just plain better than a team like South Carolina... it's a work in progress. Trust me I've seen games with a bigger talent gap lead to Georgia losses. Admit the win wasn't pretty, but at least enjoy it.

Was Jacob Eason great? Of course not. But here's the wonderful thing, he didn't have to be. This is where I'm talking about stop having expectations about how a game is supposed to go. This team has proved that is a futile effort. For the past few weeks people have been lamenting about our inability to run the ball. Just like last year people were lamenting about Lambert's inability to throw the ball. We'll last year Lambert faced SC and threw for a gazillion completions. This year our trio of backs just ran at will versus a stacked box for a gazillion yards. If I told you before the game that UGA was going to run for 300+ I'm pretty sure your next statement wouldn't be "But how did Eason do???". There's nothing to gloat about with his performance... let's be honest. Maybe it's a growing pain. But frankly this team is proving that you shouldn't take too much to heart on a game by game basis. Remember this struggling freshman is the same guy that led you to two** game winning drives in conference play. He'll be fine.

I seem to remember another UGA young gun who had a medicore appearance in Cola that people wanted to over-react to in an 18-0 victory.

About that run game... so that is what this machine, with a healthy Chubb & Sony is supposed to look like. Chubb breaking tackles in the war of attrition up the middle, and Sony being sprinkled in to gash the outsides. For a unit that was taking a lot of heat, they sure did show up Satur....Sunday. Let's hope that continues as we go forward, it would be fun to watch versus the likes of Florida, Auburn, and GT. Also it's obvious Herrien is a huge overachiever. What a blessing he's been this year. He's a very different runner than even the two guys I just mentioned, and gets up to speed north and south so quickly.

The defense did what defenses do versus South Carolina. We forced a couple turnovers, and of course South Carolina gave us a couple turnovers. The offense wasn't able to capitalize on all of them. There was also a decent amount of pressure in the backfield. Tyler Clark (52) certainly made a few people look up who he was, and he was a refreshing new face. It's obvious that Kirby is still very much trying to figure out which personnel buttons to push to get the job done. I know South Carolina hit us over the top a little bit, but watching the replay their three big catches were actually just really well executed plays. Our DBs were pretty much in position and failed to execute.

We didn't miss any FGs! Because we didn't try any. And special teams scored a touchdown for you folks... on the most bizarre onside kick we've seen in a while (which I'm sure also backdoored the spread for a couple Dawg fans).

Enjoy the victory in Columbia, it's been a while. Also expect us to look completely different this weekend, whether that's good or bad. Hopefully we continue to make progress and find the right pieces. At some point there's going to be a complete game put together.

Also that will probably be the only time I ever attend Church before a football game.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Week 6 ATS Picks

9-8 on the year. Had a couple 3-0s, and a couple 0-3s, let's hope this is the bounce back.

Southern Miss at UTSA Ov 55

My worry here is the 12:00 start and the UTSA ability to score. They have afforded a good many points to opponents, and Southern Miss has the ability to score a bunch. It's on the road for So Miss and also in a Dome. This leads me to believe in a couple home TDs for the Roadrunners. So Miss needs to do their job.

Texas Tech +9 at Kansas State

Texas Tech has been unstoppable on offense. Their is debate as to whether Mahomes plays. If he does obviously I feel a lot better about this one. However, in backup service last week their backup put up almost equal stats from a scoring standpoint. This lends me to trust in the Red Raiders scheme versus personnel. Kansas State has been an enigma and their schedule hasn't led to a good barometer. Hopefully the line has moved due to QB controversy and Texas Tech overperforms.

UCLA at Arizona State Over 58

This is a Pac 12 After Dark game and the total is less than 60. Arizona State involves themselves in huge total games. UCLA hasn't as much, but the total is so low. I definitely see this game getting to the 30s.

Vandy at Kentucky Under 51

The line has been moving to support this one as Vegas worried about it. Kentucky has had only one game that's been high scoring vs. New Mexico State. When playing a similar team like Vandy (SC) with bad O and good D, the game hit the under. Vandy absolutely can't score. It's a low total to go under, but Vandy has played in a way that it should be achievable.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tennessee 34 Georgia 31 - Of Course He Caught It...

Forgive me for the delay in writing this one. I honestly thought about writing the title, and then writing the words "There's nothing to say" and letting that be it. Just like I thought about taking a big box jump over the edge of my first row 300 level seat when I saw that refs arms go up. Of course I kid, but you really get the feeling of what did we do to deserve this and when will it ever end. I feel like the sports world is continually coming up with ways to say "wait to see what I have in store for you today...".

But amidst all the emotion of Saturday, I probably owe a little more than that. This is one of those games where breaking down the x's and o's doesn't really quench what's needed. It's also one where there are a million narratives flying around about how to perceive the direction of the program. It's also one where you come home to open the DVR and just say "no thanks". But it was 5 seconds away from being one where you rewatch it on repeat for a week straight.

Sure you can take solace in the fact that UGA with a million freshmen out on the field rallied to provide what could have been one of the most memorable plays in Sanford history. Sure you can take solace in the fact that in a game where Tennessee considers themselves to have their best team in 20 years you made them force a miracle play to beat you. Sure you can take solace in Jacob Eason's development and poise in coming through, learning lessons, building what could be a great future. Still you can't ignore the hurt. For all the good points people want to bring up about taking a moral victory in the way things occurred and feeling we should have won, it's still a loss. It was a loss where we had a 17-0 lead and blundered our way all through the second half to put ourselves in position to lose the game. There were many great points in the game and notions of coming through when we were outmanned, coming off a game in which we absolutely got blasted in Oxford. Trust me I'll admit I thought we were done when there were 30 seconds to go and half the field to conquer. I fully understand the vitality with which we fought, and for a fleeting moment, what we had accomplished.

I rallied behind Richt for a very long time. A few years ago this would have probably been a game where I would have dwelled in all those positive things. It's hard for me to reside in that positive place right now due to the emotional toll that completion took on me. The previous paragraph sounded very depressing, but don't think I don't take note of it. I was one of the last people to reach a point where I felt we needed something new to take this next step. What's strange is being at a point where a 9-3 season feels like a moral victory versus being a scenario where we feel we underachieved. We elected to take this step, therefore we have to be prepared for the consequences.

It's a strange year for UGA. Usually we know what we have in the cupboard and can evaluate accordingly going forward. This is a year where I feel like our team can actually change in how good they are on a game by game basis. We looked great when we rallied versus UNC and thought Chubb was going to be the monster we all dreamed of. Nichols brought us back to reality. Missouri proved an opportunity to show we had something down below to do what it takes, but still showed weakness. Ole Miss showed what can happen when everything goes wrong. And Tennessee showed what can happen when most everything goes right.

After UNC we felt like we may have a team that can challenge for the SEC East crown. After the last 3 games leading up to Tennessee that tone probably tempered a little bit. Now we probably have to sit back and realize that with a new coach, new coordinators, freshman quarterback, patchwork defense, patchwork O-Line, no true receivers, horrible special teams (hey we made a FG though!), and depleted personnel we just took the most likely East champ to the wire on a couple miracle plays. Part of that hurts, and part of that is a new feeling, but you have to ask yourself are we really that much worse off than we were a year ago at this point. I would say no.

People want to lament and compare this loss to Auburns miracle tip in 2013. That season was so much different. We were coming off a five yards away from a national championship season that saw our team get decimated by injuries and suspensions. We were playing a similar team of destiny, but the talent level we saw on Saturday was probably better than that Auburn team. That Aaron Murray led UGA squad probably put together the best comeback they could have had. On Saturday, for the first time in a while, we were outmanned in talent, but had a similar result of heartache. That Auburn loss was a good story because we rose to the occasion, but didn't provide much for the future going forward. Saturday was an example that leaves hope for the future. The problem is it may take a while. Still, while a program could have the chance to be reeling, we seem to be accepting the tough position we're in, and not losing any momentum. Recruiting is still strong, and for once, we seem to be getting MORE out of players than we should. Over-performing is a different feeling than underperforming, but one leads to hope. It doesn't discount the miscues that led us to not coming through, but it's important we accept where we are. Maybe stagnation is a short term problem. Maybe we're closer to getting back to where we think we should versus spiraling in a state of despair.

The rest of the season provides an opportunity to build on that hope. We're committed to Eason at this point, and there's no reason to sway from that. It provides a couple opportunities to do big things we feel we should... Florida, Auburn, GT, etc. It's important to frame our perspective accordingly. Deviating or questioning past decisions doesn't really help at this point. This is the course we've taken. Find a way to take solace in the small victories along the way. At least we don't have to debate whether we have the right coach like Auburn or LSU, we just need to accept our path. That loss won't go away soon... you'll have to see it on Sportscenter and the like for a long time. That pain won't subside. What will help it subside is turning those small victories turning into actual victories. They may not be pretty or what you're used to, but maybe they have to occur to turn the dial a little bit. Here's to hoping for that little bit in the future.

Dissect the game all you want, it won't help. It's obvious where we could have done better. What's not obvious is what this may lead to in the future.

I also wont forget the way I felt between :19 and :00 for a long time. The big guy owes us a few.

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.