Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
By Chris Pendley
South Alabama's dangerous enough to not forget about entirely, which surprises me. Then again, they beat Western Kentucky, which still amuses me greatly because watching Bobby Petrino hit every branch on the way down the coaching prestige tree never ceases to get old. (He's still above Derek Dooley.)
Standard Downs. 1st and 10, 2nd and less than 8, 3rd and less than 5. Know it, love it.
Dominate Inferior Line(s). Yeah, contain your shock. Tennessee should have an advantage on both sides of the ball, which should matter fairly well.
Actually Roll Over a Few Third Downs. I don't exactly expect conversions on 3rd and 7 given this passing game (i.e., the N/A passing game). I do, however, expect conversions on 3rd and 2, and those kind of things need to happen.
Held Up Late. Tennessee's defensive third down conversion percentage has bit it in the last three games - no team converted less than half of their third down opportunities. I understand that this is supposed to be a bend-don't-break type of defense, but ....y'know, 40%? The ol' 4-of-10? Is that too much to ask?
Freshman QB play. I don't necessarily want a freshman QB to start. I do, however, want them to get game experience. Run a scripted set of plays for a drive, maybe 2. Free-fire play in the second half would be nice, but not necessary.
No Injuries. This team is playing with a possibly negative margin of error already.
Chris - 3-3 last week, 12-10-2 overall
Kidb - 3-3 last week, 13-11 overall
I_S - 2-4 last week, 11-13 overall (aka the number of guys Dooley thinks you can field on defense)
Oklahoma @ Notre Dame OVER 48.5 - the low-scoring games we remember from both these teams were either weird (West Virginia) or a product of a solid D (Sparty). Neither of those other teams are in this game, and neither defense is particularly good.
LSU (+3) @ Georgia - in a game like this, it's not safe to take the points unless you think the road dog can win outright. I'm thinking LSU is either the second or third-best team in the country right now and Georgia isn't, so the outright win it is.
Stanford (-9) @ Wazzu - the only thing that scares me about this game is the backdoor cover.
Cal @ Oregon (-36) - yes, this line is over 5 TDs. 42-3 carries this line, though. So does 59-14.
Miami (-18.5) @ South Florida - I think Willie Taggart is a decent enough coach, but South Florida is an absolute dump truck on fire right now. No, really, they are. Anyone have a fire extinguisher?
MTSU @ BYU UNDER 59 - Ah, BYU under. Some things are tough to give up, much like the idea that the Braves can actually do anything in October.
Northern Illinois -3.5 over Purdue: Even as I type this out I'm questioning whether this is a decent pick. Yes, the Huskies beat Iowa. Yes, Iowa is better than Purdue, who is certifiably atrocious at football and arguably worse than James Blake's backhand. BUT...Northern Illinois has been fairly far from awesome in it's last two outings. I mean, when you play Idaho in football, you're supposed to win by 40, not 10. This concerns me, but I'm going in anyway because I do think Purdue is capital-T Terrible at football, and I have a hunch that perhaps the squad from the MAC will have a nice bounce-back game.
South Alabama+20 over Tennessee: Listen guys, I'm All Vol. And I'm not just All Vol, but I'm Vols to the Wall and Vols till I Fall when I'm getting my All Vol on. But we suck at football this year. There's no other way to put it. And teams that suck at football rarely cover spreads. And if I lose this pick, I'm cool with that, because it means we scored at least 20 points.
Duke-13 over Some Guy Named Troy: This guy Troy used to be better at football. He's pretty bad this year. He lost by like 50 to Mississippi State, which is akin to getting double-bageled by Sam Querrey.
Vanderbilt-20 over UAB: This might be my favorite line of the week. UAB is substantially abysmal at the game of football. They even lost to some guy named Troy, and that guy Troy sucks this year. Vanderbilt really should blow this one open. And if I'm wrong, and this game is tight, then maybe just maybe Vandy is just as bad as us, which would be lovely.
Florida-12 over Kentucky: I don't like picking teams that can't score, and I don't like picking teams with terrible coaches. So why then, you might be asking, am I taking Florida, a team that fits into both of the above categories? Because Kentucky. Kentucky, man.
Connecticut-1 over Buffalo: Don't think of this as me picking UConn. Think of it as me picking against Buffalo, who has given me no reason to believe that they're anything other than festering garbage. Stony Brook. Five overtimes. That's all I have to say about that.