by Max - 11/08/2005
Penn State has been in the Big Ten Conference for more than a decade and for the most part of their tenure, they have finished near the bottom of the conference. Sure they did have the one-year with Kerry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter when they ran the table until surrendering the national title to Nebraska (pre-BCS days). But they are now back, after a big win against Wisconsin. All signs are looking good for this Lions team and they can guarantee themselves a spot in the BCS with a win in two weeks at East Lansing. That is the good news, but the bad news in they do not belong in the upper echelon of college football. They will likely enter that bowl game as a double-digit dog against Miami, Virginia Tech or LSU.
For the first time in over five years, I did not spend a fall Saturday indoors watching college football. I am accustomed to spending the day at a family owned bar watching four different games on satellite. I enjoy watching games at a bar because of the atmosphere it presents. Discussing the action with fellow sports fans and going through the highs and lows of each game gives me an adrenaline rush I cannot live with out.
Last weekend was different and part of the reason was for the slack I had been getting the last couple of weeks about my column. I would like to talk about the column and state that my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Doc. Remember, Doc makes the picks for football, not me. He has been in this business for 35 years and I have supreme confidence in his ability, as I have seen him produce winners year after year. That being said, nobody likes losing and when that does occur everyone has a right to be upset. Most of the complaints have come from first year sign-ups who believed that this is a get rich quick plan. Just as it is not possible to win every week in college football, you will have a rare year where you will finish even or a few units below. Those who have been with us for years know this does not happen too often, but about once every decade it does occur. A smart consumer would gladly accept the slight decline for the numerous years of profits. That being said, we do plan on following up the big weekend in football last week with another big week, topped off with an easy Big Ten Game of the Year.
As for my column, please do not e-mail me text complaining that is may differ for our selections. I write this column on Monday and things can change latter in the week. These are just my opinions and I do not have the final say on the selections. Doc's uses his vast resources and contacts to make the picks later in the week and nobody takes more pride in his selections than he does. If you would like to contact to talk college football and the reasons behind our selections, please send me an e-mail. I handicap hockey for Doc, so you are free to complain about those selections directly to me; however, I believe the record in the Med speaks for itself and I would encourage you to try us out for a week. We will be going with our, "Game of the Month" selection on Friday, as this will be the only five-unit play we will release in November.
Since I only watched the Wisconsin - Penn State game in the late afternoon, I will not read you the box scores from the other Big Ten games, instead I will tell you what I did Saturday afternoon. As in most states, Wisconsin is into the playoff stage of their high school football season. I had the opportunity to watch a quarterfinal game between two division five schools in Fennimore and Darlington. Those of you that are familiar with Southwestern Wisconsin football know what a powerhouse Darlington has been over the last three decades. This year was no different, as they entered this game at 9-2 and won the conference title. The game was played at Darlington, which nearly becomes a nightmare since the field did not have any lights and it was a dark and rainy afternoon.
Small town high school football has a different type of feel to a game compared to college. The whole town comes out to support their team and there is great interaction in the stands since everyone knows the players personally. Another factor when sitting in the stands is that nobody seems to know the rules. A penalty will be enforced and nobody can figure out when the yardage was marked from the spot of the foul and not the line of scrimmage. I have given up trying to explain the reasons to them and just sit there with a smile on my face. This is probably what you thought of our company in October, but we have read up on the rulebook and will attack November with winning weekends.
As for the game, it was a classic battle between a wing-T and a drop back passing offense. Darlington has made a living running the football but found no success on the ground. When you cannot run the ball in the wing-T offense, you are pretty much screwed, as your entire passing playbook comes off of the run. Fennimore hit a few long passes and dominated this game 17-0. David came up big in dethroning the giant.
Since it was raining, countered with thunder and lighting, I left the game after three quarters and did get a chance to see the Wisconsin - Penn State game at a local bar. Numerous sports services released this game as a GOY and the line jumped well over two touchdowns. I felt our hometown Badgers would put up a better show then what they did and the Penn State's offense really impressed me. I have to give QB Michael Robinson credit for a remarkable turnaround in his last year of college football. To bad, the only success he will find in the next level is as a wide receiver.
Wisconsin could not run the ball at all and QB Jon Stocco threw a key interception in the second quarter that put Wisconsin behind the eight ball for good. The Badgers did have a couple of opportunities to backdoor cover this game but fell just short and Deon Butler put the game away with a 47-yard reception for Robinson right down the hash marks.
This put Penn State in the driver's seat, as a win in two weeks in East Lansing will give them their first championship since 1994. This is the opening Joe Pa has been waiting for to retire, but I doubt he will since he would hate to see someone come in and win with his talent in the next few years.
This is the week we have all been waiting for, as we are set to release our, "Big Ten Game of the Year." We see no advantage of releasing this game as a ten-unit play as earlier advertised. A few people questioned if we were just trying to chase loses, so this play we be released as an eight unit play, just as the other 34 years have been. Everything has fallen into place just as we had hoped and this team will come ready to play.
The free pick went down as Eastern Michigan fell just short of covering against Western Michigan. Again, I received numerous complaints about the analysis of this game, but please remember that this play is made Monday morning and things may change later in the week with the analysis. Besides, I think this record speaks for itself. This week the first thing that jumps out is: Wyoming +4 ½ over BYU. YTD Record 13-6-2.
That is all for this week and do not forget about my NHL Game of the Month on Friday. Get the bankroll rolling before Saturday's Big Game with a five-unit win one day before. Good luck and lets have another great week!