So, I write this from a big yellow swath of rain thanks to Hurricane Matthew. But, that has not stopped me from my weekly picks column. Delayed me? Absolutely. Before we get into Bet the Board, we need to take a look at what’s going on with Florida and LSU–short answer: nothing, and my wager with LSU blogger Dan will be indefinitely postponed, sadly.
Let’s get to it.
Florida vs. LSU
I’ll start this off by saying that I like Clay Travis a good bit of the time, but this is reductive reasoning to the most absurd degree possible:
On one hand, I’m inclined to agree with him insofar as the Gators are helped significantly by not playing LSU, who subsequently throttled Missouri in the first week after Miles was fired. On one hand, the Gators lose a cross-divisional game which could do nothing but hurt them in a tiebreaker– Florida was going to lose this game. On the other, it’s ridiculous on its face to suggest that the sole reason Florida wasn’t motivated was out of designs for a successful football season. Do you know how crazy that sounds?! An average strong hurricane has more latent energy than the largest hydrogen bomb ever detonated three times over. Give me a break, Clay.
I think what actually happened is more along the lines of what happens when negotiations break down at a car dealership. Both parties had a solution in mind that neither was really willing to give ground on, and then when Florida considered the benefit of NOT playing LSU, it gave Foley the push he needed to walk away from the table. That said, Gainesville is effectively booked solid with evacuees getting inland from Matthew. Law enforcement are spread thin across the state to deal with the state of emergency. Securing a game in the city this week would be nearly impossible, but proper incentive could make it work.
All told, this decision won’t make much of a difference. Florida isn’t very good and LSU has already lost enough to be out of the driver’s seat. Still, it’s completely out of bounds for people like Clay Travis and other ivory tower sportswriters to flame social media with hot takes this cynical. It’s certainly an easier decision to quarterback from your arm chair.
Anyway, let’s move on to the morally debased portion of the article. Let’s bet the board.
Clemson -17 vs. Boston College (over 43)
I realize that this will probably get posted after this game has kicked but the pick was locked in before the game. I’m breaking with my under pick on BC because I do not believe anyone can stop Watson in the ACC. I think Clemson cruises, covers easily, and obliterates the over by themselves.
Oklahoma vs. Texas +10 (under 73)
Texas won the Red River Shootout last year and saved Charlie Strong’s job…for another season. Texas finds itself in the same position where the Oklahoma game could determine the head coach’s future. I am not really sure what to think about this game, but I know I want the points. I don’t necessarily think the Horns will win, but I don’t think Oklahoma can beat anybody by 10 points. Also, both teams have showcased bouts with offensive ineptitude this season. 73 points isn’t usually a lot for the Big XII, but it is for these two. Take the under, I don’t see this being a barn burner.
Auburn -3 vs Mississippi State
It’s hard to believe that both of these teams are in the bottom third of the SEC West. State lost to South Alabama and Auburn is okay, I guess. I think Auburn covers because the Bulldogs are hot garbage. Lay the points, and just don’t watch this one. You’ll be sad that these are two SEC teams.
Pittsburgh -6.5 vs. Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech is just not very good and Pittsburgh has been above average this season. They have a mature offense that is capable of scoring a fair amount of points. I think Pitt covers. Full disclosure: I’m driving the Fire Paul Johnson Express and this may be wishful thinking. But really, Tech’s defense is an embarrassment from scheme all the way down to personnel. Don’t take the points here, it’s the bigger risk for sure.
Texas A&M -7 vs. Tennessee
I originally was on the Tennessee side of this line until I found out that Hurd was out for the game and would not be playing. While Dobbs is the heart and soul of the offense, Hurd is an incredible asset. He’s built like a Tight End and will likely play that position on Sunday. But, in college, in space, he is always a mismatch for coverage. Losing that dimension hurts Tennessee and A&M is a better team. I’m siding with laying the points here, but it should be a pretty good game.
Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky (under 51)
Pfft. I mean, really? Take the under.
Miami -3 vs. Florida State
The Canes are on a heater through the ACC and the Noles are, well, doing quite the opposite. Florida State could not be catching Miami at a worse time. The Canes are a playoff dark horse team. I’ll take this cover all day. Kaaya has been lights out and FSU’s defense somehow became an embarrassment. Bet on Miami to win comfortably here.
This weekend should have a couple of decent games on the slate. So, for my Florida disaster area compatriots, take a break from the hurricane clean up and tune in.