Friday, September 19, 2014

Week 4 ATS Picks

6-3 ATS YTD. 3-0 Week One, 0-3 Week Two, and 3-0 Week Three. Sense the pattern. Be warned.

Texas A&M at SMU Over 59

Kenny Trill and Sumlin have shown no mercy or desire to stop scoring on people. SMU program has no  base right now, and A&M runs it up. Just need one score from the ponies. 3:30 start as well so hopefully no 12:00 lull.

Missouri -13 at home vs. Indiana

The oddsmakers think Mizzou has a falloff since people are talking about them. They still run a high octane offense and this one is at home. They have been easy money for a few games now. 4:00 kick.

Oklahoma at West Virginia Under 65.5

If this was in Norman it may be a different story. WV getting the home field slows OU down a little bit and we get to duke it out vs. a big number. A few stops or field goals and hopefully this one stays in the high 20's. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

South Carolina 38 Georgia 35 Recap and Quick Thoughts

There is no point in rehasing the minute details of this game. The result was awful. Coming into the game people were asking me about the matchup. Talent wise UGA had the edge, but I cautioned it wasn't a matter of being "better" than South Carolina it was a matter of being "better than the situation" of  hostile road foe. SC wasn't as bad as the A&M game, and we surely wouldn't roll like the second half of the Clemson game. In order to survive the situation I stated we'd have to win the turnover battle (which we did) and execute the small things such as penalties, converting special teams points, and getting pressure on Thompson (which we did not).

The worst part of all this is we now face the rest of the season with a depressing outlook. It's like we were invited to a big party in a huge mansion, with an open bar, beautiful women, and given VIP status during our first hour now only to be kicked to the curb and told to wait 8 weeks before we can re-enter. Even worse if we falter while outside we're banned permanently. I tend to be too Disney when it comes to our teams and the remaining outlook. It's certainly all still there to play for in a sense, it's just unfortunately another season where we are squarely behind the 8-ball way too early on.

The quick backlash of jumping to conclusions about coordinators, huge problems, etc. is always easy to jump on after a loss like that. We can second guess anything. The hurt comes from a game not where we got outschemed, but a game where there were a few key points that we look back on as the problem.

The 1st and goal call has been hashed through thoroughly. Any coach admits now (and has publicly admitted) that not giving the best running back in the country a crack to score was the wrong decision.

The field goal kicking was a bruise that won't soon go away. The 48 yarder is so so on the problem scale, but missing a 28 yarder in a huge situation coming away with no points will sting for a long long time.

The penalties (mainly the phantom hold and the Mason snafu) hurt due to their timing in the game. They allowed SC to get out big, and then the latter provided the chance for us to come away with no points and let SC shut the door.

People are going to harp on the secondary. Yes the field was wide open and it was bad. I would at the same time point to the D-Line's inability to get pressure on Thompson. Unlike the 2nd half against Clemson our pressure was absent all day. South Carolina's greatest strength was their O-Line and they clearly won the battle versus our unit. This inability to force Thompson into quick decisions led to the secondary looking like the young unit they are.

A couple young guys did have bright spots... Michel, Blazevich, etc. but the bad will outweigh the good in this one.

Time to circle the wagons with the Dome still attainable (if you can bring yourself to believe it) with much less if any margin for error.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Week 3 ATS Bets

Mississippi State -13 @ S. Alabama. Why the heck are they playing at South Alabama? Stranger they have moved the line from -15.5 to minus -13? I hate going against the Vegas line movement, but whatever I'll bet into the smart money.

OK, on a limb here.... Southern Miss +47/48 at @Bama. Bama has Florida next week so will rest up starting mid 3rd Q. Saban hasn't been one to run up the score on the little guys. 48-14.

OK State -13.5 at HOME vs. UTSA. People are all over UTSA's jock because they played Arizona tough at their own place in San Antonio? Remember when OK State played FSU close? Gundy runs up scores if he can. 


If you're bored:

UGA -6.5. You know you're taking it.

Georgia Southern +17 to +19 against Georgia Tech. Even better, bet the moneyline? Great pot odds for a small play early in the day.

Road Trip Throwback - South Carolina 2006

Reaching back into the memory bank during my sophomore year of college for this one to pull out a memorable S. Carolina game. This game holds special meaning because it was the first "road bus trip" of my college career and was our first real vision of the golden boy Matthew Stafford.

If you're unfamiliar with a "road bus trip" you basically pack about 55 idiots from one school who would like to venture another school for a single day. The reason for a bus will help you further understand these people. A bus means you don't have to drive there, or back which means you can drink at the game and not worry about driving home. Unfortunately drinking solely at the game is not the common occurrence. Columbia is about 3.5 hours via bus from Athens or 4 from Atlanta so your departure from Athens for a 5:45 p.m. game is about 10:00 a.m. At 9:30 in the departure parking lot you will find number beer cans already discarded, and mixed drinks being concocted to help "the time fly by". Kegs are being loaded onto the bus so that everyone has something to do for 3.5 hours. Keep in mind there's only one bathroom on this bus who's complete desecration by 10pm that night will have cleared out the back 10 rows of the bus completely. Ipod speaker systems are also an essential element to provide entertainment for the people who gladly stand up in the middle aisle during the 3.5 hour journey. Basically the bus prepares opposing fans for 3+ hours to unleash hell on a given town in the Southeast for a couple hours in support of their football team.

Our bus decided to get stuck in Columbia campus traffic. If you haven't been to Columbia I can decidedly say its the ugliest campus hands down in SEC. I haven't even been to Arkansas, but its got to be better than this. Picture an NFL stadium surrounded by infinite spans of parking lots, having no view of anything resembling the glory of college days for miles. No trees, no buildings, nothing. Now replace this vast expanse with a decrepit sort of another planet looking country fairground filled with congested parking for days. Couple this with a bunch of maroon and black which has to be the strangest combination of colors for any uniform. Traffic doesn't move. It pretty much feels like everything has been shifted into a sort of 1970's grainy film mode. It's the worst utilization of space I've ever seen. Also, its got to be 120 degrees with that humidity and dust enveloping everything.

After being stuck for over an hour a raging horde of liquored up college kids convinced the bus driver (who somehow never seems to know what's coming on these things) to open the doors in the middle of traffic and let 55+ kids armed with open containers, Chick-fil-A half eaten nugget trays, said Ipod system, and their ammunition for the day onto the side of a 70 degree sloped hill. Nuggets disappear in these situations in about 3 minutes. From here, basically everyone fans out on their separate quests.... tickets, bathroom, friendly tailgates, families, etc to reconvene in about 6 hours at a meeting place that was shouted out somehow and will soon be forgotten. Someone always gets left, then miraculously picked up at a gas station on the way out 3 miles outside of campus.

The game was pretty vanilla, because this was back before Carolina was anything. The Dawgs weren't great, but threw out a shutout 18-0. This was the second week in a row for a UGA convincing victory. The biggest memory was that Stafford actually got on the field, because Joe T was hobbled, and even though he really didn't do anything, he got on the field after a ton of hype. I've never seen so many men gawk over 20 yard overthrows because of the arm strength. This was less about the game, and more about an introduction to a mode of game transportation that would become a staple of away games for the rest of college. The night was capped off with a circa 3 AM walk up pizza order at the local Papa Johns. That's a long day.

Funny thing is this week, buses of young alumni will be travelling from Atlanta to South Carolina (estimated departure 9 am, estimated return over/under 2:30 am). There are companies springing up all over the place to cater to this type of endeavor. I won't be on them, but I respect them.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Week 2 Bye Week Prep

Georgia has the awkward early season bye week which is not only good news in prepping for Carolina, but also to allow ESPN to get on someone else's hype machine.

Let's get going against the spread first. (3-0 ATS YTD)

Kansas State -13 at Iowa State

Ole Miss Vandy over 49.5

UCLA -23 vs. Memphis

Some good talking points while you watch random conferences play football:

USC at Stanford

The storyline to this game is essentially can USC put a stamp on the pre-season notion that they are coming out of the rut? They are really good 1-22. As noted they aren't terribly deep due to the scholarship reductions. People are viewing this as their chance to re-announce themselves after an impressive first week showing. What people aren't talking enough about is that the game is at Stanford, and that Stanford hasn't regressed that much (despite how many people still don't believe in them). They've got key returners at key positions (QB, WR, defense, etc). Just try to be entertained by this game. High powered offense that will try to run 10,000 plays against the methodical machine out west. Because so many people are liking the trendy USC pick, I'm going Stanford.

Michigan State at Oregon

On paper, Oregon should once again be the best team in the Pac-12. They have the best player, scheme, so on and so forth. However we've become accustomed to seeing these guys falter at some point in their quest. Obviously contrasting styles as the Spartans try to slow down the Ducks.

The real storyline here is that the Big 10's season could hang in the balance. Wisconsin dropped a big game last week (in poor fashion), Braxton Miller's injury has people thinking Ohio State can't survive unscathed all year, and now Michigan State is really the conference's last hope. If they lost, you'd basically be living on a prayer that either OSU or MSU doesn't lose a game all season. I like what Sparty is all about, but not sure they can get it done on the road.

Michigan at Notre Dame

Two teams trying to emerge back into early season relevance. The game is in South Bend and Notre Dame is a different team with Golson at QB. I will take him in a head to head battle over Gardner in what could be the last time we see this rivalry in a while.

Ole Miss at Vandy

Is Ole Miss better than that first half versus Boise? Can Vandy be any worse than the turnover fiesta that saw them lose by 30 to Temple? If Ole Miss wanted to right the ship it seems this is the team to do it against, and if Vandy wants to show they haven't regressed 10 years they need to show some form of life. Vegas likes Ole Miss by 20+. I think if Vandy doesn't turn the ball 7 times they can make it closer than that gap, but can't see Ole Miss not escaping Nashville without a victory.

Enjoy the bye week. After last week's heroics it's a great time to sit back and watch a full Saturday of football. Let ESPN get slobbery over whoever wins USC/Stanford and Michigan State/Oregon. Hyping up those teams is absolutely fine by me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Georgia 45 Clemson 21 Recap

I'm late to the party on this one, but mainly because the party kept going on from Saturday night in Athens on through the Labor Day weekend. I'm not going to harp on an overall recap because obviously we all understand the importance of what happened on Saturday night. These are just a few takeaways (without re-watching the game yet) from my spot in 316.

Todd Gurley. Pretty simply the most talented player we've seen in Athens in a long long time. The performance and numbers speak for themselves but two quick notes:

1) We debated whether he'd be in Heisman contention given the balanced nature of UGA's offense and the number of touches he'd get. Little did we know that he only needs around 10-15 carries to provide the statline that puts him in the mix.

2) People talk about his combination of power and speed. That was clearly evident on four runs: 1) the early run where he shook off three tackles and kept delivering punches all the way to the sideline 2) the kickoff return where even the man who made a last ditch effort couldn't bring him down (even though he had finished running) 3) The 2nd half run where we broke to the left and delivering a stiffarm while walking him man to the sideline still not going down and 4) the obvious last TD where he couldn't be brought down in traffic and had a quick burst to the endzone. These are the evidences of a truly complete back. Stay healthy my man.

How are we going to manage all the talent in the backfield and get the most out of these big recruits. Answer - play em all. I love it. Power and speed (Gurley / Chubb) with a spice of electricity properly utilized in Marshall and Michel. Keep rotating those boys through and keep fresh legs coming at our opponents.

Seeing Nick Chubb's face when his helmet got torn off made me want to run through a brick wall. Looking forward to many more carries from this guy. It's a welcomed sight to see such a highly touted recruit come in more than ready to play versus a big time opponent.

It's obvious the defense was a bright spot under Pruitt, that was obvious by the second half takeover, but a few things I noted:

-There was indeed a true second half adjustment. After some young guns got their feet settled they really came into the mix as a sound unit. Let's do keep in mind they were facing inexperienced quarterbacks in a big spot and that Clemson had to change their offensive mindset. After the lead was established and Clemson showed no ability for a downfield threat the defense really was able to pin their ears back and cause pressure.

-I mentioned many times that it look like we were lost in the secondary last year. Under Pruitt it would be better to be on the "same page" than have anyone on the "wrong page". It was evident they were on the same page as a unit. Just look at the development of a guy like Quincy Mauger. A guy who looked lost as could be in coverage last year was many times the first man to deliver the blow on Saturday. I think seeing this kind of development in a single player leads to believe the unit has to be much improved overall.

-We knew about our linebackers. I was big on all 4 (Jenkins / Floyd as edge rushers and containers and Herrera / Wilson plugging holes in the middle). Wouldn't you know these 4 guys were the top 4 tacklers in the stat line. Having that middle layer of experience allows the other two thirds to play better.

-2nd Half Leonard Floyd, you just keep being you my brother.

Special Teams. I don't know who told the secret that it helps to have better players on special teams, but somehow the message was conveyed to the UGA coaching staff. Seeing names like Swann, Michel (who made a great play), Jenkins, JJ Green, etc. on coverage was a welcomed sight.

We also had perfect execution in the kicking game with Morgan and Barber showing continued consistency.

Big returns: obviously Gurley, but how fun could it be to see more of that little glimpse we saw from McKenzie as the year progresses.

If you really look at it it's a hard game to judge Hutson Mason on. There were times I said man I don't know how good of a QB he really is, but at the end of the day I think he did all we joked / hoped he would. Just manage the game and get the ball to talent. He really didn't have many opportunities to press the ball downfield so we'll have to see how that progresses. There were a couple dumps that were sort of worrisome, but at the end of the day I don't think there was one throw where I held my breath that it might be picked. He did what was asked. Mark it down, we'll have to throw to win a game this year, and hopefully offensive balance will lead to furthering his development before we get there.

Start bringing a roster sheet to games I guess. There are a ton of young guys getting looks that we'll have to become familiar with. However they delivered in a big way on Saturday night. Example: Aaron Davis.

Two other numbers we'll enjoy watching it appears: 47 & 48. Mixed looks at FB or whatever type of position we're utilizing this year, but Taylor Maxey and Quayvon did a great job breaking holes (that may be overshadowed by the glory of the TD runs).

Who told the Stadium people to blare rap at certain spots? Whoever did give them a raise. That was the most electric and involved I've seen Sanford in a long time. Also - it wasn't the answer to a call that Sanford is not a tough place to play, some sort of large coordinated effort, or whatever. The crowd just came out and delivered. The players loved it. It wasn't cheesy, didn't crap on tradition, etc. Keep pumping the tunes boys, we want more.

How strange has this feeling been this weekend. It's the first time in a long time we came out in our first big test in a while and delivered (and people are now talking about it). Think about it. 2013 - yeah we beat SC, but we dropped Clemson. 2012 - yeah we beat 5 teams who we were better than but fell on our face at SC. 2011 - Boise in the Dome debacle. 2010 - lost in first big test at SC. 2009 - dropped the ball in Stillwater vs. OK State. 2008 was the season we gutchecked a couple wins but then had the obvious meltdown vs. Bama. Bottom line, enjoy the bye week and getting the job done at SC could be a very very unique feeling. It won't be as easy as you think.

Minus what was essentially a steam room, Saturday was a beautiful masterpiece in Athens. Let's not watch ESPN for a while or else we'll start getting really unjustified big heads. Let's enjoy what happened and get ready for what will be a testing slate over the next month before we start getting crafty.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Week One ATS Picks

For the degenerates...

Navy / Ohio State Under 54.5

Arkansas / Auburn Over 57.5

Missouri -14.5 over South Dakota State

See you in Athens