Embrace J.J. Watt in a Time Where Others Are Embarrassing the NFL

Watt
Watt
J.J. Watt is having a season for the ages. We all need to be paying attention.

I wasn’t one bit surprised to hear some fans of the National Football League actually complaining about how much attention Houston Texans’ defensive lineman J.J. Watt has been getting. Fans by nature get tired of feel-good stories long before they tire of dramatic or controversy-filled ones.

I guess this is just how we are wired because it isn’t any different in the larger society is it? For every piece of good news there are the Ray Rice’s and Kim Kardashian’s of the world who demand our attention.

My message to those who are tired of hearing about and seeing J.J. Watt on all kinds of commercials is this; Shut up!

This guy scored his third touchdown in as many games Thursday night and just in case you forgot, he plays on defense! Watt has more touchdowns right now than Calvin Johnson does. He has more touchdowns than Roddy White does. He also has more TDs than DeSean Jackson or A.J. Green as well.

But you’re tired of hearing about him and seeing him on television all the time huh?

Peterson
We need to be less interested in Peterson and more interested in players doing the right things.

You obviously want more coverage of Ray Rice knocking his wife out cold in an elevator. Perhaps you need to hear more about Adrian Peterson telling a court official that he got high just before his first court appearance for abusing his child with a tree branch.

Right now, Watt could probably miss the remainder of the season and still win defensive player of the year honors. Furthermore, if he continues on his torrid pace, there’s a good chance that he could be deemed the most valuable player in the entire NFL.

Only two other defensive players have ever won the award and they would be Lawrence Taylor and Alan Page. There will certainly be calls for quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers to win the award and both are having good seasons, but what Watt is doing right now is as dominant as anything anyone in the NFL is doing.

The other reason you shouldn’t be tired of Watt is that he’s a quality individual. He’s active in the Houston community and rarely turns down an opportunity to do things with or for kids. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself either as he does in commercials for any number of advertisers recently.

This is a time where we as fans should be embracing a guy like Watt rather than “tiring of him.” We should be making more out of guys who take time out of their Tuesday off-days to spend time doing charitable works but we don’t. We’d rather hear salacious stories of what guys are doing wrong.

I’m not a Texans’ fan in any way, shape or form but I’m a J.J. Watt fan and you should be too.

Sparano Buries the Past

In case you missed it this past week, new Oakland Raiders’ Head Coach Tony Sparano’s first act as the new leader was to gather the team at the far end of the practice for a meeting. Upon their arrival, the team found a small hole dug and a shovel.

Sparano took the shovel and announced that he was burying the first four games of the season. He then invited each and every member of the team to drop some dirt in the hole.

I’ve seen and heard of this type of thing before and frankly if I were Sparano I’d be looking for some way to change the culture too. While burying a ball isn’t going to make players better it at least sends the message that things are changing if even a little.

I Have a Feeling We Are in for Another Wild Saturday

Strong
Strong
Can Charlie Strong and the 'Horns knock off Oklahoma?

Texas (14.5) vs Oklahoma (O/U 47) – I have to say, I’m glad the Red River Rivalry has continued to stay at the original Cotton Bowl. I realize how easy it is to shift to Jerry World but I’m glad some traditions have stayed alive.

I expect the Longhorns to play hard but I also expect a very ticked off Sooners’ team to show up as well.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in four of Texas’ last six games when playing the Sooners… OU is 3-5-1 against the spread in their last nine games when playing the Longhorns… Texas is 2-5 straight up in their last seven games.

The Pick: Take the Sooners to cover and the OVER

Northwestern (+4) at Minnesota (O/U 43) – I’m sure all of you had this match-up pegged for the lead in the Big Ten West in the second week of October right? Well that’s what we’ve got. Both Nebraska and Wisconsin have already suffered conference losses.

The Gophers are riding the wave of winning the Little Brown Jug two weeks ago while the Wildcats have scored impressive wins over Wisconsin and Penn State.

Trends: The Wildcats are 4-3 straight up in their last six games Minnesota… The Gophers are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games at home against Northwestern… The total has gone UNDER in four of the Wildcats’ last six games against Minnesota.

The Pick: The Badgers gashed the Wildcats’ run defense last week and I expect the same thing from the Gophers. Take them to cover and I like the UNDER.

Patterson
A win at Baylor puts Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs in front of the Big 12 race.

TCU (+8) at Baylor (O/U 66.5) – If the Horned Frogs can pull of another upset they’ll be well on their way to a Big 12 title since they’ve already beaten the other favorite in Oklahoma. If the Bears win, they still have a November date in Norman.

Trends: The Horned Frogs are 4-2 straight up in their last six games against Baylor… The Bears are 14-1 straight up in their last 15 home games… The total has gone UNDER in six of TCU’s last eight games on the road.

The Pick: Expect lots of scoring and take TCU while taking the OVER as well.

Auburn (-3) at Mississippi State (O/U 64) – The Tigers are accustomed to these marquee match-ups while the Bulldogs are still getting used to them. Both teams still have Bama and Ole Miss on their respective schedules.

That means a win is vital tomorrow.

Trends: The Bulldogs are 2-11 straight up in their last 13 games against Auburn… The total has gone UNDER in four of the Tigers last five trips to Mississippi State… Mississippi State is 4-8 against the spread in their last 12 games against Auburn.

The Pick: Take the Bulldogs getting the points at home and the UNDER as well.

Oregon (-3) at UCLA (O/U 72) – This is an elimination game. Both have one loss now and a second automatically knocks them out of contention for the college football playoff. If UCLA follows Arizona State’s lead and runs the ball then they have a good shot at the win.

Trends: Oregon is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games… The Bruins are 1-4 ATS in their last five games when playing Oregon at home… The total has gone UNDER in four of the Ducks’ last five games at UCLA.

The Pick: I like the Bruins getting the points at home and I like the UNDER.

Ole Miss (+2) at Texas A&M (O/U 64) – I said earlier this week that this is the type of game that programs who aren’t sued to big wins usually lose. The Rebels beat Alabama but will there be a letdown?

Trends: Texas A&M is 6-0 lifetime against Ole Miss and 2-0 since they joined the SEC… The total has gone UNDER in five of Ole Miss’ last five games on the road… The Aggies are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games at home.

The Pick: I expect the Aggies to cover and take the OVER as Ole Miss suffers their first defeat.

Random Thoughts on All the Latest Sports News

Kershaw
Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw had another brutal postseason as he and the Dodgers are heading for vacation.

There are times when I sit down with a complete gameplan. It’s littered with the right things to say and the right ways to say them. Everyone once in a while though my gameplan goes out the window for one of two reasons; either I have just one topic which has tons of content available or I have a myriad of things.

Today, much like the entire month of October, is littered with thoughts from around the sports’ world so rather than just pick a few items to cover I’m going to give you bits on just about everything I can possibly write in this space. Here goes….

I couldn’t have been more wrong about the MLB Playoffs. All four teams I had to this point have been eliminated. This is why they call it “gambling” and not “winning.”

After yet another fantastic regular season, Clayton Kershaw was torched in the playoffs. His postseason record now stands at 0-4 and so bad is that he is now being called “Clayton Manning.” Sorry, but it’s a fair comparison to the Denver QB.

Freeze
Call it a gut feeling but I think Hugh Freeze and the Rebels get beat this weekend.

I have a feeling Ole Miss will lose at Texas A&M. Teams that aren’t consistent winners often stumble after huge wins like the one they had over Bama Saturday.

So Northwestern loses to Cal and Northern Illinois and then beats Penn State in Happy Valley and beats Wisconsin in Evanston… The Big Ten is horrible.

Speaking of the Big Ten, everyone wants to go after Brady Hoke at Michigan and rightfully so but what about Tim Beckman at Illinois? He’s won just one conference game there and is 9-27 overall in his third year.

I hear Chris Bosh hasn’t heard from LeBron James since James left for Cleveland. Somehow I don’t think Bosh is losing sleep over this.

It’s a good thing hockey season starts this week in places like Pittsburgh and Detroit. Both cities are dealing with quick baseball playoff exits.

I have no idea why the media asks some of the questions they do. They have to be smarter than some of the stuff I’ve seen and heard recently. After the game four loss Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw was asked, “What was the feeling when you see that ball (Matt Adams 3-run home run) go over the fence?” Kershaw correctly asked the reporter, “What kind of question is that?” How in the hell do you think he felt?

The best game of the NFL schedule this weekend is in Seattle where the Seahawks host the Cowboys. Despite playing on Monday night, I expect the Seahawks to be prepared. This will be the first true test of how good Dallas actually is.

Another game to keep an eye on is Pittsburgh at Cleveland. In week one the Browns rallied from 27-3 down to tie the game before losing in the final seconds. Last week, they rallied from 25 down to win and beating Pittsburgh in Cleveland is always a welcome sight. It’s only happened once in the last nine years and Ben Roethlisberger has only lost once in Cleveland during his career.

So I guess that even though I didn’t pick any of the teams in the AL or NL Championship Series I still need to pick winners to advance to the World Series. Giants-Cardinals is tough because both teams seem to have mojo right now. The same could be said for Baltimore and Kansas City as well.

Therefore, using the latest wagering and scientific knowledge available, I’ll take the Orioles and Cardinals.

AFC South Battle Takes the Top Spot for Thursday Night

Luck

 

Luck
Andrew Luck and the Colts face the Texans in Houston tomorrow night.

Indianapolis (-3.5) at Houston (O/U 46) – These two AFC South rivals meet for the first time in 2014 and with both tied at 3-2 atop the division, the game takes on even greater significance. They won’t meet again until the Texans visit Indianapolis in mid-December.

Even though this is just week six, the game is significant because division foes Jacksonville and Tennessee are a combined 1-9 which means that both teams will stand really good chances of making the playoffs as division champs and a wild-card. The assumes they both hod serve against both the Jags and Titans.

Through the first five Thursday night games, the average margin of victory is over 20 points and only once was one of those winners a road team (Giants two weeks ago over Washington). This stat obviously bodes well for the Texans but I really think the string of blowout games on Thursday nights comes to an end tomorrow night.

Watt
J.J. Watt will do his best to slow down the Colts' offense.

The Texans will do their best to stop the run and force Andrew Luck into poor decisions with pressure up the middle from J.J. Watt and company. The Colts will follow a similar gameplan because I have to believe they don’t think Ryan Fitzpatrick can beat them without a solid running attack.

Indianapolis was pretty impressive in defeating Baltimore last weekend as the Colts defense held the Ravens to just 13 points. The Texans have to be kicking themselves for letting one slip away against in-state rival Dallas in overtime.

Trends: Indy is 2-6 against the spread in their last eight games when playing on the road against Houston… The total has gone OVER in seven of Houston’s last nine games when playing the Colts at home… Indianapolis is 20-4 straight up in their last 24 games against the Texans… Houston is 3-7 ATS in their last ten games at home.

Key Injuries: Colts DT Arthur Jones, OUT (ankle)… Texans Jadeveon Clowney LB OUT (knee)

The Pick: I like Indy to cover and the OVER but I expect a close game.

BYU at Central Florida (-3.5) – The Cougars will come to Orlando with the memories or what might have been in their minds. While they dropped a 35-20 game to Utah State, the bigger concern was the loss of do-everything quarterback Taysom Hill. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said this week that Hill’s broken leg, suffered late in the first half, is much worse then originally thought.

His surgery required a plate and eight screws and he had severe ligament damage as well. Back-up Christian Stewart will get the start after a less-then solid relief role against the Aggies. Stewart completed just 10 of 29 passes and had three interceptions.

The Knights aren’t exactly going to feel sorry for Hill and the Cougars. They are coming of a very nice conference win at Houston last week to get to 2-2 on the season. UCF’s two losses are to Penn State on a last-second field goal and to Missouri who beat them up pretty good.

Nothing tests a team and head coach like a injury to the quarterback especially one who is so well-thought of by his teammates. Can the Cougars rebound?

Trends: BYU is 2-7-1 against the spread in their last ten games… The total has gone UNDER in four of UCF’s last five games at home.

The Pick: UCF’s offense concerns me and that’s why I’m taking BYU getting the points and I like the UNDER.

Baseball Playoffs Plus Michigan Continues to Struggle

Perez
Perez
Salvador Perez and the Royals are on to the AL Championship Series.

For the 40 plus years I’ve been alive the playoffs in Major League Baseball have changed significantly but the one thing that has never changed is what wins games in the postseason. If you can get great pitching and timely hitting then you are more than likely going to win yourself a championship or two.

It’s very clear that I underestimated both the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles who used this exact formula to advance to the American League Championship Series. Kansas City dispatched the American League’s best team in the Angels of Anaheim in a three-game sweep that was never close.

The Orioles rode very solid pitching and took advantage of a horrible Detroit bullpen to sweep the AL Central Champions in three games. Baltimore defeated Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price to accomplish the feat. No easy task but they got hits at just the right time and stayed patient as Tigers’ Manager Brad Ausmus was forced to go to his bullpen.

As for the Royals, they just might be that team of destiny we hear so much about. After squeezing into the wild-card, they then needed 12 innings to knock off Oakland in the play-in game. From there, the Royals used their pitching to almost completely shut down the powerful Angels’ offense.

I had both of these teams losing in the divisional rounds. I figured Detroit would ride its’ offense and starting pitching to a 3-1 victory and I believed the same of the Angels but the old truths about the playoffs haunted me as they did them. Of course I also had Washington beating the Giants (SF leads 2-0) and the Dodgers beating the Cardinals (series tied at 1) so I’m pretty sure I know absolutely nothing about baseball in 2014.

Nova
Michigan had no answer for Rutgers' Gary Nova in yet another loss.

More Mayhem at Michigan

Lost in much of the craziness that was college football weekend week six was the fact that Michigan dropped yet another game. This time it was a loss to new Big Ten member Rutgers in New Jersey. While I’ll say that I thought the Wolverines got jobbed a bit on their final drive in which a catch on the sidelines was ruled ‘not a catch,’ Michigan did itself no favors.

The defense has been thought of as the savior of this team but they were exposed all evening by the Scarlet Knights’ quarterback Gary Nova who threw for three touchdowns and over 400 yards. The offense at times looked better under Devin Gardner who took over at quarterback after giving way to Shane Morris last week.

The loss drops Michigan to 2-4 overall and to 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since dirt was discovered. It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ Brady Hoke is fired as the head coach but rather a matter of ‘when.’ The man who hired him, athletic director Dave Brandon problem shouldn’t fare any better but he may survive if he handles the transition to a new coach properly.

Things are almost falling into line too perfectly for the marriage of former Wolverine QB Jim Harbaugh and the school. Several reports this weekend confirmed that this appears to be Harbaugh’s last year with the 49ers as players are apparently unhappy with him. It’s also no secret he doesn’t get along with the team’s general manager either.

While Harbaugh burned some bridges with many at Michigan in recent years, I believe he would be welcomed back. Usually when these stars align this well something comes along to ruin the pattern but time will tell for now.

 

The Redskins Host the Seahawks in Monday Night Football

Lynch
Lynch
Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks head to the nation's capitol to play the Redskins.

The defending Super Bowl Champions make the long trip across the country to play Washington in a game that is critical for both teams. The Redskins are 1-3 and all three NFC East foes are above .500. Philadelphia and Dallas are both 4-1 while the New York Giants are 3-2. A loss by Washington makes a playoff spot extremely difficult even this early in the season.

For Seattle, the Arizona Cardinals dropped their first game yesterday at Denver and are now 3-1 while the San Francisco 49ers defeated Kansas City to move to 3-2. A win lets the Seahawks keep pace with Arizona while a loss drops them to .500.

Look below this game for some early lines for next week’s NFL games.

Seattle (-7.5) at Washington (O/U 45) – Washington returns to the field ten days after quarterback Kirk Cousins threw four interceptions in a 45-14 beat-down at the hand of the New York Giants. That poor performance likely is making people re-think just how badly they want to see Cousins take over permanently even when Robert Griffin III comes back.

Cousins has thrown two touchdowns with no interceptions in wins while he’s thrown four touchdowns and five interceptions in losses. His QB rating is 109 vs 78 in wins versus losses. What can we expect from him as he takes on one of the best defenses in football?

Cousins
Kirk Cousins has to play better for the 'Skins to have a shot at beating Seattle.

Some think the secret is out on Seattle’s Richard Sherman because the Chargers went after him and had some success. In order for Cousins to find similar success against Sherman and the Seahawks’ secondary his line is going to have to give him adequate time to throw and I’m not sure if that can happen.

For Seattle offensively it will be pretty much status quo. Establish the running game with Marshawn Lynch and then work the play-action with Russell Wilson off of that. The earlier the success of the Seattle running game the tougher it will be for Washington defensively. My guess is that Redskins’ defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will force Seattle to throw as quickly as possible.

Trends: Seattle is 5-2 straight up in their last seven games on the road… The Redskins are 1-3-1 against the spread in its last five games playing Seattle… The total has gone OVER in four of the Seahawks last five games on the road against Washington… The Redskins are 2-4 ATS in their last six home games.

Key Injuries: SEA: TE Zach Miller, Out WAS: CB Tracy Porter, Out, QB RGIII Out

The Pick: I just can’t see a scenario where the Redskins win here. Take Seattle to cover and I like the OVER.

Intriguing Early Lines for Next Week

Denver (-6) at New York Jets – Not sure how this isn’t a lot larger of a spread after yesterday.

Pittsburgh (+2) at Cleveland -Steelers are not playing well and Browns are coming off an epic comeback.

Chicago (+3) at Atlanta – Both the Bears and Falcons suffered tough losses on the road yesterday. Matt Ryan comes back to the dome where he is much better than he is on the road.

New York Giants (+3) at Philadelphia – This is will be a major NFC East showdown with huge implications considering the Cowboys will have played at Seattle earlier in the day.

College Football by the Numbers After a Crazy Saturday

Golson
Golson
Everett Golson has the Irish in position to rise in the polls after beating Stanford.

It all started on Thursday night when unranked but unbeaten Arizona traveled to Eugene and knocked off Oregon. If we only knew that was just the beginning of one of the craziest days in recent college football memory.

Top-ranked Florida State had no problem with Wake Forest early in the day on Saturday making us think that maybe this wouldn’t be such an usual day but then the chips started to fall. #7 Texas A&M went to 12th-ranked Mississippi State and lost 48-31 while Ole Miss scored the biggest win of the day in knocking off third-ranked Alabama 23-17.

So take a breath here because the day of craziness was far from over. Soon after Bama went down #4 Oklahoma lost 37-33 to TCU in Fort Worth. So if you’re keeping score at home, teams ranked second, third and fourth in the most recent Coaches Poll had lost. But the day wasn’t over yet.

UCLA, who had been wining by the skin of their teeth before blowing out Arizona State last week, was beaten at home by Utah 30-28. Fellow Pac-12 teams USC (#16) and Stanford (#14) both went down as well.

Dantonio
Mark Dantonio and his Spartans should run the table making things interesting for the playoff race.

#10 Michigan State survived Nebraska’s visit to East Lansing winning 27-22 after leading 17-0 at halftime. Big Ten West Division favorite and #17 Wisconsin was beaten in Evanston by Northwestern who now stands at 2-0 in the division.

Also going down in the top 25 last night was #18 BYU who was throttled at home by Utah State.

To put this all in perspective, the following ranks all lost this week; 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 16 ,17, 18, 19.

Obviously someone came out smelling like a rose this weekend and there are a few contenders for that title. Number five Auburn destroyed LSU 41-7 and will likely slide into the #2 spot in the polls. #11 Ole Miss and #12 Mississippi State will both rise into the top ten. Also benefiting from the action Saturday is #7 Baylor who beat Texas 28-7 and #9 Notre Dame who needed a last-second touchdown to beat Stanford in South Bend.

When the format for the college football playoff came out, it was pretty much a given that the SEC would more than likely secure two of the four spots simply because of their strength of schedule and number of teams that would rise especially in the West Division. The problem is that the East Division is not good and unless Georgia can run the table the East won’t put up much of a battle in the SEC title game.

The other problem for the SEC West is that it’s highly unlikely anyone comes out unscathed. Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State were impressive yesterday but they both still have each other to play as well as other top teams in the West.

The SEC could benefit however from all of the losses in the Pac-12 and Oklahoma’s loss too. Now Baylor stands as the only unbeaten in the Big-12 and still has to play at Oklahoma.

The Big Ten’s only hope remains Michigan State. Their only loss is to Oregon but now that loss looks less impressive with the Ducks losing at home. Still, an impressive win over Ohio State along with going unbeaten the rest of the way could squeeze them in to the playoff.

The team that is the most interesting right now is Notre Dame who is unbeaten. The Irish shouldn’t have any trouble with North Carolina in South Bend next week but then has three straight road games at Florida State, Navy and Arizona State. I have a hard time seeing the Irish come out unscathed in that stretch. If they do, it’ll come to down to the finale with USC.

My College Football Playoff Predictions

Michigan State – I still think they’ll need some help but they should run the table.

Alabama – I think the Tide will beat Auburn for the West title and then will go on to win the SEC.

Florida State – I omitted them last week because I thought they might slip up at some point but now I just don’t see it happening.

Notre Dame – Even with one loss, their strength of schedule will be better then many other one-loss teams.

Some Great College Football Action Coming Up Today

GOlden
GOlden
Al Golden brings his Hurricanes to Georgia Tech for a key ACC showdown.

Miami (+1.5) at Georgia Tech (O/U 56) – The Canes scored a big win over defending division champ Duke last weekend at home. Now Miami hits the road to play a Georgia Tech team that has already beaten Virginia Tech and comes off a bye week. The Canes have played a slightly tougher schedule having lost at Louisville and Nebraska but Bobby Dodd Stadium isn’t a friendly place either.

Trends: Miami is 3-10 against the spread in their last 13 games… Georgia Tech is 2-4 ATS in their last six games at home against Miami…The total has gone UNDER in four of Miami’s last six games… The total has gone OVER in four of the Yellow Jackets’ last five home games.

The Pick: I like GT to cover and I like the OVER.

Hogan
Kevin Hogan has to play well if the Cardinal have a chance today in South Bend.

Stanford (-2) at Notre Dame (O/U 45) – The Cardinal enters with a rare early loss while the Irish have stayed unbeaten and have worked their way into the college football playoff debate. Notre Dames defense has been pretty darn good through 2014 and Stanford has struggled offensively at times especially in the red zone. Will the home-field advantage pay off for Brian Kelly’s team?

Trends: The Cardinal are 1-6 straight up in their last seven trips to Notre Dame… The Irish are 12-4 SU in their last 16 games against Stanford… The total has gone UNDER in six of Stanford’s last seven games at Notre Dame… The total has gone UNDER in seven of Notre Dame’s last eight games.

The Pick: I like the Irish getting the points and I love the UNDER.

LSU (+7.5) at Auburn (O/U 58) – The Bayou Bengals were the only team to beat Auburn prior to Auburn’s loss on the national title game. That made three straight wins over the Tigers. After the loss at home to Mississippi State, I’m just not sure if that says more about LSU or the Bulldogs. Auburn hits the field for the first time since surviving Kansas State who should have beaten them.

The LSU QB situation worries me and I think the defense isn’t what has been in the past.

Trends: LSU is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games on the road at Auburn… Auburn is 5-0 straight up in their last five games at home… The total has gone UNDER in six of Auburn’s last seven games at home against LSU… LSU is 6-1 straight up in their last seven games against Auburn.

The Pick: Auburn covers and take the OVER.

Oklahoma (-4.5) at TCU (O/U 57) – With Oregon going down Thursday night, Oklahoma moves tat uch closer to securing a final four spot in the college football playoffs. The Horned Frogs will not exactly roll over today though. They are unbeaten as well and play well at home. The difference is the level of competition to this point and that favors the Sooners.

Trends: Oklahoma is 5-0 straight up in their last five road games… TCU is 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 games at home… The total has gone OVER in four of Oklahoma’s last five games on the road… The total has gone OVER in six of the Frog’s last nine games at home.

The Pick: Take OU to cover and I like the OVER.

Michigan (+2) at Rutgers (O/U 47) – The Michigan defense was thought to be the strength but that went out the window last week. Brady Hoke is in trouble despite what AD Dave Brandon says. Rutgers will not feel bad for the Wolverines one bit and will take advantage of Devin Gardner’s propensity for turnovers.

Trends: Michigan is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games… Rutgers is 17-6 straight up in their last 23 home games… The total has gone UNDER in all of Michigan’s last five road games… The total has gone UNDER in four of Rutgers last six games at home.

The Pick: Take Rutgers to cover and I like the UNDER.

So What Celebration is Allowed in the NFL?

Abdullah
Abdullah
This is a penalty. Wait, no it isn't. Well, yes I guess it is... More NFL nonsense.

Sometimes you have to wonder if the National Football League do anything right. I mean, it seems fans still pour into stadiums and televisions are fixed to games when they are on so it can’t be all that bad can it? I’m starting to think that maybe it can be.

This past Monday night during the Kansas City Chiefs beat-down of the New England Patriots, Chiefs defensive back Husain Abdullah returned an interception for a touchdown. As he entered the end zone he went to his knees and slid on them all the way to the back of it. When he stopped, he leaned forward and prayed in the style of his Islamic faith.

This drew a penalty flag for an inappropriate celebration. My immediate thought was ‘wait a minute… If Tim Tebow can pray then why can’t this guy?’ The NFL would later say he shouldn’t have been flagged for the prayer then later today back-tracked once again and said the flag was appropriate because Abdullah went to his knees which draws a penalty flag whenever it’s used as part of a post-play celebration.

But this has become subjective and inconsistent. Wow, subjective and inconsistent in the NFL? I know, right?

Keisel
Brett Keisel was penalized for this but Tim Tebow wasn't when he prayed.

Tim Tebow used to go his knee and prayer following scores but was never flagged. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Brett Keisel, a defensive end, sacked Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers a few years back. He celebrated his accomplishment by going to a knee and pretending to shoot his bow and arrow towards the sky.

Keisel is an avid hunter in the offseason and when he protested the flag he was told it had nothing to do with the archery bit. Instead it was because he violated the celebration rule about going to one’s knee.

So let’s see here; Tebow was allowed to go to a knee and prayer but Keisel was not allowed to go to a knee and pretend to shoot Bambi. Now we have another player was originally flagged for his Muslim prayer, then was told he shouldn’t have been and then was told it was about his knees not his prayer.

If the league has a clear policy that says a player cannot go to the ground in a post-play celebration then why the subjective discipline? I have a very simple solution for this mess. Either players can pray and do so in any matter they so choose or no one can. Period. End of Report.

This all leads to a larger question though in my opinion. Why did the league feel it so necessary to ban nearly every touchdown celebration ever known to man? I don’t know of one person who was offended by the Ickey Shuffle or Washington’s Fun Bunch or Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson little dance. The reason the NFL banned these was because they were afraid they were getting out of hand.

Terrel Owens and Chad Johnson were overboard in my opinion. When yo go out of your way to do put a pen in your sock or run to midfield to enjoy your score on the opponent’s logo, that’s admittedly going too far. But still, I see no reason why a group of teammates can’t celebrate a score as long as it doesn’t taunt the other team.

That’s the other major issue by the way. All of this was happening the same time as the throat-slashing gestures so why not clean all of it up at the same time? This is what the league did and rather than just address the slashing issue they attacked everything.

So here we are today in the NFL unable to so much as pray or pretend to hunt. I can only imagine what’s next.

Oregon Ducks 23-Point Chalk at Home Against Arizona

Thursday night college football heads to the Pacific Northwest, when the Oregon Ducks host the Arizona Wildcats in a Pac-12 showdown.

Last season, the Wildcats upset the Ducks 42-16 and the Ducks will be looking to take their revenge.

The line has Oregon favored by 23 points on Bovada and topbet, while on betonline and sportsbook.com the point total is sitting on 79.

Arizona enters this matchup at 4-0 SU and 1-3 ATS. The Wildcats are 6-3 SU over the past 9 head-to-head games with Oregon.

Arizona is 1-4 against the number over its past 5 games as a road dog.

Oregon is also 1-4 against the spread in its past five home games as a favorite. The Ducks are also 2-7 ATS over their past 9 games overall.

In point totals, the OVER is 4-1 over the past five games Oregon has been the favorite at home.

Last season when the two met, the Ducks had been defeated by Stanford two weeks earlier and did not have an opportunity for a perfect season.

Marcus Mariota the talented Oregon quarterback will be looking to dissect the Arizona secondary and put up a number of points on the board.

The Arizona rushing offense is strong and with quarterback Anu Solomon coming off a five-touchdown effort on September 20 against Cal.

Two seasons ago, the Ducks defeated Arizona at home 49-0 as a favorite by 20 points.

Nick Wilson the talented freshman running back for Arizona helped the Wildcats to their Hail Mary win over Cal 49-45. He leads the Pac-12 in rushing.

However, Arizona on the road following a bye is 1-4 SU and ATS. The only ATS win in that stretch was against the Ducks in 2010 when the Wildcats lost 48-29 but covered an underdog spread of 20.5 points.

Oregon is coming off a September 20 win of 38-31 over Washington State, but they failed again to cover a 21.5 spread as the favorite.

At home, following a bye, the Ducks are 10-0 SU in their past 10 and 6-2 ATS over their past 8.

With both teams only covering a combined 2 of 8 games this season, the advantage of playing at home could be big for Oregon.

Some believe Arizona will score and kept it within the 23-point spread, but I think differently I am taking the Ducks in a lopsided 55-21 win.