Guess what didn't get brought up at the G:TB staff meeting this week? Or on the Friday G:TB conference call? Yep, thats right. The weekly College Football picks column. If it wasn't for me, this column would be more dead than the Cauc Hop. Fortunately for G:TB (and Dan's Saturdays), I'm going to keep on keeping on all the way through this season with well-informed, deeply researched College Football picks.
Now, we all know that this column is anything but well informed or deeply researched, unless of course you count a wheelbarrow full of alcohol from the night before as research (which I do), but its tough to argue with the results thus far. I'm 9-0 over the last three weeks based on little more than taking the points against Florida and Alabama and then picking one other game I feel relatively confident in. That's it, that's my grand plan. A plan that's working because neither the Gators or the Tide can help from tripping all over themselves offensively, especially in the red zone. Unfortunately, Alabama has a bye this week so I'm going to have to rely on my historically terrible instincts to lead me through this week's picks.
Michigan @ Illinois (+8.5): This week's betting strategy? Bet against Ron Zook. Especially if he's leading a sloppy, downtrodden team that hasn't beaten a Division 1 opponent yet this year and has already mailed it in for the season. For all you Redskins fans out there, if you're looking to feel just a bit better about your moribund franchise, I encourage you to watch some of the Illini's home game against Michigan today. Things could be worse, you could have Ron Zook as your coach...and your AD (or owner in the Skin's case) could have already come out publicly and stated that Zook's job was safe for not only this year but next year as well. One last note: My friend Vitas had Juice Williams as his starting QB in the G:TB College Football Fantasy League. He released Williams a week before Zook decided to bench him. Ron Zook: One full step behind casual Big Ten football fans!
USC @ Oregon (+4.5): So, all we hear all week is that Oregon might be the country's best team right now but then we turn around and see that the Ducks are 4.5 point dogs for a home night game to USC. Jesus, does the fellatio of the Trojans know no bounds? I probably shouldn't be picking this game as I haven't watched a ton of Oregon since they shit the sheets in Boise on opening night, so I don't know as much about this game as I normally do when making my picks. However, these are the things I do know: Oregon's best running back starts his name with a "La" (Seriously, what are the chances of a team's top two tailbacks both having names that start with Le or La?), Matt Barkley will get blown repeatedly by Brent Musberger tonight over a 4 hour period, Barkley's "poise" and "cool demeanor" will be referenced approximately 25 times tonight, Oregon students will be so high that they'll see an image of a schooner within the uniform's of their Ducks, and by the time we all go to bed tonight the momentum for the annual "USC is the best one loss team in the country" campaign will be ramping up to epidemic levels. USC wins, Barkley comes that much closer to taking over for Tim Tebow as the most hyped player in America (it's coming next year in a big way, believe me) and the students in Eugene still won't care because they'll be surrounded by great weed and young girls in slutty costumes. Anybody else miss college?
Florida vs. Georgia (+17): Get ready to hear an awful lot about how Georgia players feel "disrespected" by Urban Meyer's late timeouts during last year's blowouts. You're likely to hear some revisionist history by those same players as well. Many of them seem to think that Florida ran up the score on the Dogs last year. On the contrary, if Meyer had called a pass play or even a jet sweep after one of those late timeouts than I could see their point of view. He didn't, he ran it up the middle twice. Georgia flat out got their ass kicked last year. I don't blame them for not liking it. I didn't like it when Georgia kicked Florida's ass two years ago. Will Georgia be extremely motivated this year? You bet. Do I think they're good enough to beat Florida without some help from the Gators in the form of turnovers and continued problems with offensive efficiency (especially in the red zone)? No, not with that defense and definitely not with the Ginger Ninja quarterbacking the Dogs. However, I see no reason why Florida's offense is going to magically repair itself today so I'm going to continue to take the points when it comes to Florida. Florida wins...but its close (Fuck me, I am getting really tired of typing that in this space).
One last thing on Florida's offensive problems: I'm getting really sick and tired of listening to "experts" tell me that the Gator's offensive woes are a result of a lack of playmakers on the outside. It's just wrong. Florida certainly doesn't have the same depth or explosiveness it had last year at WR but the much bigger issue this year is the offensive line and pass protection (or lack thereof). This year's OLine is significantly less effective in pass pro than last year's team. The major reason for this is the way the line has been re-shuffled, specifically the move of Carl Johnson from LG to LT. Johnson's a monster and Florida's offense (and season) took off last year when he was inserted into the lineup at LG after the Ole Miss game. He, along with the Pouncey twins, solidified the middle of the line and raised the offense's overall play. Johnson excels at punishing defensive lineman and getting to the second level on run plays. He does not, however, have the quickest feet I've ever seen. Since moving full time to LT after the injury to Matt Patchan, Johnson has struggled against quick pass rushers. He gave up the sack that led to the initial hit on Tebow's concussion play and was repeatedly beat by Bequette from Arkansas on speed rushes up the field a couple weeks ago. He wasn't much better in Starkville last week either. If Florida's going to move the ball more efficiently with the pass, they have to protect Tebow better and Tebow has to have confidence in his pass protection so he's not as prone to tucking the ball and running as quickly as he's been doing of late. I'd watch out for a freshman named Xavier Nixon today to see some snaps at LT in an effort by the Gator coaching staff to solidify their OLine and, hopefully, jumpstart the Gator offense.
Matchup of the day: Georgia WR A.J. Green vs. Florida CB Joe Haden. Both are future 1st round NFL draft picks. Both are freak athletes with good size for their position who have been starting since the day one of their freshman year. Its sure to be a fun matchup to watch on the outside today. You know what else is fun? Regrettable tattoo decisions. Yep, that's Joe's little brother.