Outback Bowl Pick: Gamecocks Just a Little Better

December 31, 2012

The 2013 Outback Bowl should be a great match-up between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Michigan Wolverines.  Both teams have a lot of similarities, but one is just a little better.

Michigan had a tough season at times.  The Wolverines did have to face both teams who are playing in the National Championship, plus an undefeated Ohio State team.

For the Wolverines, it was supposed to be a dual threat attack with the running ability of QB Denard Robinson and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint.

Toussaint suffered a gruesome ankle injury late in the year, while Robinson developed a nerve injury in his throwing arm, that has relegated him to an all-purpose player, lining up at both quarterback and running back at times.  Devin Gardner is the quarterback for Michigan.

Michigan also has a top-20 defense in terms of points against, ranking 16th in the country.

Meanwhile, for the Gamecocks, this was supposed to be the season that everything was put together, making a run for an SEC Championship.

After being on top of the world with a statement win against then 5th-ranked Georgia, South Carolina lost a tough one on the road against LSU, before having their fate sealed with an embarrassing loss against Florida.

However, for a team that does not have a long history of winning football, a 10-win season still is not too shabby.

The Gamecocks’ offense has had moments of greatness, followed by moments of inconsistent play.  A late season injury to RB Marcus Lattimore also hurt the offense.

This was supposed to be the year that the quarterback position would be stable for South Carolina.  Injuries to starter Connor Shaw opened the door for Dylan Thompson to see some action.  Thompson helped to lead the Gamecocks to two wins, including rival Clemson the last week of the season.

Shaw is the runner with passing ability.  Thompson is the passer, with running ability.

The key to the Gamecocks’ offense is going to be the running game.  South Carolina has to be able to run the ball against Michigan, to take the pressure off the quarterbacks, to give them an opportunity to win.  Senior RB Kenny Miles has a knack for coming up big in significant games.

Defensively, the Gamecocks must force the Wolverines to pass.  Michigan offers a lot of options running the ball, with the versatility of Robinson.  It will be important for the Gamecocks’ front-7, which includes All-American DE Jadeveon Clowney, not to over-pursue the run, and get pressure on the quarterback with the pass.

Despite some good plays, the Gamecocks’ defensive backs are not good enough one-on-one in coverage, without getting pressure on the quarterback to force bad throws.  South Carolina’s defense thrives on that pressure.

At the end of the day, while these two teams match-up well, the Gamecocks are just a little more battle tested, especially this year.

In 2012, the Big Ten Conference’s competition just did not seem up-to-par, as seen when a 7-5 Wisconsin team, only in the championship game because of penalties to Ohio State and Penn State, demolished the conference’s best team, Nebraska.

The SEC was as strong as ever in 2012, with two teams ranked in the top-3 to end the season.  While the strength of this conference is still in the Western Division, there are about 10-12 teams in this conference that could compete with anyone in the country.

Like last year’s Capital One Bowl, it is close for three quarters, but the power of the SEC pulls away late.

Gamecocks 34, Wolverines 24


2012-13 Bowl Game Picks

December 14, 2012

In past years, I have compared my picks to that of a coin flip.  This year, the coin won’t continue, but the picks will.

Overall, it was a great season picking games, and hopefully the bowl picks keep up the great work.

Last Week:  1-0  (1.000) [Navy beat Army]

Overall:  302-77 (.797)

Nevada vs. Arizona  (First bowl game of the year, should actually be a close one.)

Toledo vs. Utah State

BYU vs. San Diego State  (Essentially a home game for San Diego State.)

Central Florida vs. Ball State  (Essentially a home game for Central Florida.)

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. East Carolina  (Essentially a home game for Louisiana-Lafayette.)

Boise State vs. Washington

Southern Methodist vs. Fresno State  (June Jones gets a win in Hawaii, his old stomping grounds.)

Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

Bowling Green vs. San Jose State

Duke vs. Cincinnati  (An upset special.)

UCLA vs. Baylor  (Essentially a home game for UCLA.)

Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Virginia Tech vs. Rutgers  (Virginia Tech tries to salvage an otherwise disappointing season.)

Texas Tech vs. Minnesota  (Essentially a home game for Texas Tech.)

Air Force vs. Rice

Syracuse vs. West Virginia  (Geno Smith has a great game in his final game.)

Navy vs. Arizona State

Oregon State vs. Texas  (Essentially a home game for Texas.)

TCU vs. Michigan State

North Carolina State vs. Vanderbilt  (North Carolina State has been disappointing after the Florida State win.)

Georgia Tech vs. Southern California

Tulsa vs. Iowa State

Clemson vs. LSU  (Defense should win this game.)

Northwestern vs. Mississippi State  (Northwestern will lead for 3 1/2 quarters, only to lose late.)

Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

Michigan vs. South Carolina

Georgia vs. Nebraska

Wisconsin vs. Stanford  (Defense wins this game.)

Florida State vs. Northern Illinois  (Congratulations to Northern Illinois for making it to a BCS game, that will be about when the celebration ends.)

Florida vs. Louisville

Oregon vs. Kansas State  (The only other good BCS game match-up.)

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

Pittsburgh vs. Mississippi

Kent State vs. Arkansas State

Notre Dame vs. Alabama  (Game has the potential to be one of the greatest in college football history.  Alabama just has a little more offense than the Fighting Irish.)

Keep track of all of the bowl game results here.

Week 14 NFL Picks PLUS Navy vs. Army

December 5, 2012

Not too bad of a week for Week 13 in the NFL, losing a couple of heart-breakers, and thankfully missing out on two teams tying, again.

Hopefully Week 14 proves to be a winner as well, with only one week picking below-.500 this season.

Last Week:  11-5 (.688)

Overall:  128-63-1 (.667)

Broncos vs. Raiders  (It was tempting to take the upset, but Oakland isn’t very good, and the potential for a ‘trap’ game goes out the window.)

Rams vs. Bills

Cowboys vs. Bengals

Chiefs vs. Browns  (Win for the Browns would be three-in-a-row; let that sink in for a moment.)

Titans vs. Colts

Bears vs. Vikings

Chargers vs. Steelers (The Chargers are not a good football team.)

Eagles vs. Buccaneers

Ravens vs. Redskins  (How close this game is depends on which Joe Flacco shows up.)

Falcons vs. Panthers

Jets vs. Jaguars  (The most painful game possible to have to pick.  This should be a slam dunk, but this might end up being the most entertaining game of the weekend.)

Dolphins vs. 49ers

Saints vs. Giants  (If New Orleans could just stop an offense, they’d win another game or two.)

Cardinals vs. Seahawks

Lions vs. Packers

Texans vs. Patriots  (This is actually an upset pick; New England’s defense just not quite good enough to beat the Texans.)

And…instead of another whole post for one college football game, here is last week’s summary for college football, and the pick for one of America’s best rivalry games.

Last Week:  15-4 (.789)

Overall:  301-77 (.796)

Navy vs. Army  (Just not Army’s year.)

Week 14 College Football Picks

November 28, 2012

It is championship week for some conferences, while others are playing the final week of games.  This week’s picks will include all games in the FBS.

The big game to watch will be the MAC Championship.  If Kent State wins, they will more than likely go to a BCS game.  The second biggest game, the SEC Championship, since this is a national semifinal to face Notre Dame for the National Championship.

Last Week:  17-8 (.680)

Overall:  286-73 (.797)

Louisville vs. Rutgers

#21 Northern Illinois vs. #17 Kent State

#16 UCLA vs. #8 Stanford (Stanford’s defense does it two weeks in a row against UCLA.)

UCF vs. Tulsa

#23 Oklahoma State vs. Baylor (Just a warning:  Baylor has played the upset card real well this season.)

#11 Oklahoma vs. TCU (Just a warning:  TCU has played the upset card real well this season.)

Nicholls State vs. #15 Oregon State

Kansas vs. West Virginia

Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Florida Atlantic

Cincinnati vs. Connecticut

#20 Boise State vs. Nevada

#2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia (QB A.J. Murray just does not show up to play in the big games.)

New Mexico State vs. Texas State

Pittsburgh vs. South Florida

#13 Florida State vs. Georgia Tech (Florida State does not deserve to go to any bowl if they lose this game.)

#18 Texas vs. #6 Kansas State

#12 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (Nebraska does not deserve to go to any bowl if they lose this game.)

South Alabama vs. Hawaii (Slight home field advantage for Hawaii.)

Week 12 College Football Picks

November 14, 2012

It’s November for college football, meaning losses now hurt much worse than they did back in September.

However, with the recent BCS rankings, it shows if you’re in a good enough conference, it might not hurt as bad.

With that said, it was a solid week picking, still with single digit losses for the week, continuing the streak of not incorrectly picking more than nine games this season.  You can never complain with that.

Also, after checking out the picks, be sure to find where your favorite team might be playing after the regular season on our 2012-13 College Bowl Projections.

Last Week:  20-7 (.741)

Overall:  245-60 (.803)

#1 Kansas State vs. Baylor

#13 Stanford vs. #2 Oregon (If Oregon makes it to the National Championship game, you can not say that November was easy for them.)

Wake Forest vs. #3 Notre Dame

Western Carolina vs. #4 Alabama

Georgia Southern vs. #5 Georgia

Jacksonville State vs. #6 Florida (The Gators should be able to win this without Jeff Driskel, but then you do have to remember about last week.)

Ole Miss vs. #7 LSU

Sam Houston State vs. #8 Texas A&M (Normally you would say that the Aggies are set for a let-down, but that shouldn’t happen with Sam Houston State.)

Wofford vs. #9 South Carolina

#10 Florida State vs. Maryland

North Carolina State vs. #11 Clemson (If N.C. State were to win, they could at least claim they beat the two best teams in the ACC this year.)

#12 Oklahoma vs. West Virginia

Minnesota vs. #14 Nebraska

California vs. #16 Oregon State

#18 USC vs. #17 UCLA (Winner will likely go to Pac-12 Championship game.)

Utah State vs. #20 Louisiana Tech (Louisiana Tech has to win out to have a shot at going to a BCS bowl.)

Iowa vs. #21 Michigan

#22 Rutgers vs. Cincinnati

#23 Texas Tech vs. #24 Oklahoma State

#25 Washington vs. Colorado

North Carolina vs. Virginia

Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

South Florida vs. Miami (FL)

Duke vs. Georgia Tech (Closest to 100 wins, unless they go over.)

Arkansas vs. Mississippi State (The Bulldogs have to rebound; they were going strong but have really stunk it up the last few weeks.)

Alabama A&M vs. Auburn (The SEC should win this, right?)

Syracuse vs. Missouri (The SEC should win this, right?)

Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt

Samford vs. Kentucky (The SEC should win this, right?)

Week 11 College Football Picks

November 6, 2012

An overall good week in Week 11.  A couple of upsets didn’t quite end up happening, but that’s the risk.

Don’t forget after checking out this week’s picks, to check out the 2012-13 Bowl Predictions.

Last Week:  20-6 (.769)

Overall:  225-53 (.809)

Ball State vs. #25 Toledo (This game is the reason these picks are coming Tuesday, as opposed to Wednesday or Thursday.)

#10 Florida State vs. Virginia Tech (Any other year, you would consider calling the upset.)

#15 Texas A&M vs. #1 Alabama (If Alabama is going to get upset in the regular season, this will be the week.)

#2 Kansas State vs. TCU (If Kansas State is going to get upset in the regular season, this will be the week.)

#3 Oregon vs. California

#4 Notre Dame vs. Boston College

#5 Georgia vs. Auburn

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. #6 Florida

#21 Mississippi State vs. #7 LSU

Arkansas vs. #8 South Carolina (If this Arkansas team has QB Tyler Wilson playing well, a poor South Carolina secondary might make this a closer game.)

#9 Louisville vs. Syracuse

#11 Oregon State vs. #14 Stanford

Baylor vs. #12 Oklahoma

Maryland vs. #13 Clemson (It’s hard to think of an upset here when you are out of quarterbacks.)

Penn State vs. #16 Nebraska (Nebraska really needs this one to show they are legitimate, not just the class of the Big Ten because of Penn State and Ohio State having postseason bans.)

Iowa State vs. #17 Texas

#18 UCLA vs. Washington State

Arizona State vs. #19 USC

#20 Louisiana Tech vs. Texas State

Kansas vs. #22 Texas Tech

Army vs. #23 Rutgers

#24 Northwestern vs. Michigan

Miami (FL) vs. Virginia

Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina

Wake Forest vs. North Carolina State

Missouri vs. Tennessee

Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss

Week 10 College Football Picks

November 1, 2012

This is another huge week in college football, with a couple of games that could shake up the National Championship picture.

For a look at the entire bowl picture, CLICK HERE.

Here are the picks in this critical week 10.

Last Week:  16-9 (.640)

Overall:  205-47 (.813)

#1 Alabama vs. #5 LSU (Tiger Stadium at night just isn’t enough for LSU)

#24 Oklahoma State vs. #2 Kansas State

Pittsburgh vs. #3 Notre Dame

#4 Oregon vs. #17 USC (However, Oregon will get the last laugh in the Pac-12)

Ole Miss vs. #6 Georgia (Closer than people think)

Missouri vs. #7 Florida

Temple vs. #10 Louisville

Arizona State vs. #11 Oregon State

#12 Oklahoma vs. Iowa State

#13 Clemson vs. Duke

#14 Stanford vs. Colorado

#16 Texas A&M vs. #15 Mississippi State

#23 Texas vs. #18 Texas Tech

San Diego State vs. #19 Boise State

#20 Nebraska vs. Michigan State

TCU vs. #21 West Virginia

#22 Arizona vs. UCLA

UTSA vs. #25 Louisiana Tech

Virginia Tech vs. Miami (FL)

Georgia Tech vs. Maryland (Painful game to pick, but when you are out of quarterbacks, it makes it easier)

Virginia vs. North Carolina State

Boston College vs. Wake Forest

Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky

Troy vs. Tennessee

Tulsa vs. Arkansas (I want to believe that SEC supremacy rises up)

New Mexico State vs. Auburn (I want to believe that SEC supremacy rises up)