Tony's Tip Sheet

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 11/03/2011 9:35 PM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet
By Tony Gerdeman

I don't know why we're even looking at any other game than LSU at Alabama this week. The game of the millennium deserves a Tip Sheet all its own. If only the writer of said Tip Sheet wasn't so lazy.

While you are impatiently waiting for the SEC West Championship Game, don't forget to watch the games that come before it. (But don't watch Florida State at Boston College. You have been warned.)

Actually, you can be forgiven for skipping every other game—even the Ohio State game—because nothing is as important as the SEC.

I just feel bad for those whose houses catch on fire during the game because they will burn in their recliners because they can't move from their seats out of fear of missing even a sliver of the greatest game eyes have ever seen.

Hopefully their TVs will be consumed by fire before they are. At least then they'll have a valid excuse for fleeing.

Thursday November 3

Do. Not. Cheer.

Teams: Florida State (5-3) at Boston College (2-6)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Boston College

There's no real reason to cheer for or against either of these teams. Unless, of course, you have been wronged by one of them in the past. Really, even if they have wronged you, how long are you going to hold a grudge? Neither of these programs matter right now. Plotting vengeance against them now would be like greasing the tennis balls on the bottom of a walker to get back at an old gym teacher who is now in a rest home. Sometimes you have to be the bigger man, no matter how many times he allowed your classmates give you a swirly. Florida State 38 – Boston College 14

Friday November 4

Teams: USC (6-2) at Colorado (1-8)
Time (TV): 9:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Colorado

We're cheering for Colorado because if every team in the nation loses five or six games, Ohio State's strength of schedule will be strong enough to move them up to number one in the BCS standings. After all, if every team in the nation DID lose five or six games, wouldn't it be a shame if it was this game that ended up causing the Buckeyes to miss the BCS championship game? USC 41 – Colorado 23

Saturday November 5

Teams: Texas Tech (5-3) at #21 Texas (5-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FX)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Texas Tech

Two teams, no hearts. I hate the fact that I have to pick this game, but I do like Longhorns' freshman quarterback David Ash. I especially like him because he's not Garrett Gilbert or Case McCoy. Texas Tech is coming off of a ridiculous blowout loss to Iowa State, and Texas is coming off a blowout win over Kansas, which is America's worst team that is named after a state—and that includes California University of Pennsylvania. Texas Tech can absolutely win this game, but since I have no reason why they are 14-point underdogs, I have to go with Texas. Texas 30 – Texas Tech 23

Teams: #15 Michigan (7-1) at Iowa (5-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Iowa

Last week Iowa running back Marcus Coker ran for 252 yards against Minnesota, and somehow the Hawkeyes still lost 22-21 to the second-worst team named after a state. It's impossible to have enough faith in Iowa to pick them in this game. It is possible, however, to have such a lack of faith in Michigan that you find yourself picking the Hawkeyes. I think that's where I am in this game. Plus, Iowa is at home. Their defense is bad, but they should be able to pick off a couple of errant passes. I think Coker will be able to run the ball, but James Vandenberg will have to throw the ball downfield in order to back the Wolverines off of the line of scrimmage. A loss for Michigan would drop them into a tie with Iowa for third place in the Legends division and virtually eliminate their chances to play in the Big Ten Championship Game. Iowa 28 – Michigan 27

Teams: Minnesota (2-6) at #17 Michigan State (6-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Michigan State

We're cheering for Michigan State because it keeps Michigan one step farther away from playing in the Big Ten Championship Game. Some might call you petty for rooting against Michigan, but it's not petty if you've devoted your entire life to it. You didn't get “Screw the Blue” tattooed between your nipples because you needed a conversation starter. You did it because it's what you believe in. Also for when you go to the store, and you're refused service on account of not wearing a shirt, the store manager will know how you feel about the Wolverines! Michigan State 42 – Minnesota 14

Teams: Indiana (1-8) at Ohio State (5-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Ohio State

How bad is the Indiana defense? They're only averaging three tackles per game. I'm just kidding. Isn't it sad that I could produce such a ridiculous statistic and then have to point out that it's false simply because it almost sounds like it could be realistic? Indiana's defense is so bad that it's going to make Ohio State's offense look positively okay.

Teams: Louisville (4-4) at #24 West Virginia (6-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (Gameplan)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Louisville

This is not going to be a pretty game. West Virginia is leaving Louisville (and the Big East) for the Big XII. Don't be surprised if the Mountaineers show up to the game and find their clothes scattered on the stadium lawn. They'll be all like, “What the heck are you doing?!?” and Louisville will be like, “You wanna leave? Then leave! I gave the last seven years of my life to you, and this is how you repay me? You know, by law, since we've been together for seven years, this stadium is mine if I want it!” West Virginia will finally get to the locker room only to find that Louisville has cut the Mountaineers' heads off of all of the pictures of them together. Like six broken mixtapes that West Virginia made for Louisville will be strewn all over. It's going to be uncomfortable. West Virginia 31 – Louisville 19

Teams: Vanderbilt (4-4) at Florida (4-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (SECN)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Vanderbilt

We're cheering for Vanderbilt because they are playing Florida. What more reason do you need? The Gators have lost four-straight in conference play, which is hilarious. All four of those games were against ranked opponents, so it's not like their ineptitude isn't forced. Vanderbilt has also lost four conference games in a row, though the last two (Georgia, Arkansas) were both by five points or less. The Gators will have to stop Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacey, who does nothing against good defenses and owns bad defenses, so the Gators are concerned for their safety. In the end, however, I'll take Florida's offense for some reason. Florida 27 – Vanderbilt 24

Teams: North Carolina (6-3) at North Carolina State (4-4)
Time (TV): 12:30 pm (ESPN3)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: North Carolina State

One of America's great rivalries. The Tar Heels and the Wolfpack have played for Paul Bunyan's Completely Coincidentally Cancerous Voice Box since R.J. Reynolds first sponsored the rivalry back in 1924. These two teams have split their last ten meetings, but you already knew that on account of how great this rivalry is. I like North Carolina's offense in this one, but I don't enjoy picking them on the road against anybody. North Carolina is favored by 3.5 points, and the underdog is 7-1 against the spread in the last eight games of this series. Oh, and UNC is 0-4 against the spread the last four times these two teams have met. This all tells me that North Carolina State is going to win—or at the very least, lose a close one. I hope they win. North Carolina State 33 – North Carolina 27

Teams: #4 Stanford (8-0) at Oregon State (2-6)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Stanford

Stanford is going to pummel Oregon State. Think of it as nerd payback for nearly two decades worth of lunch money theft. When this game is over, expect the field at Oregon State to be littered with bloody protractors and sinew-caked copies of Harry Potter books. Stanford 63 – Oregon State 17

Teams: Texas A&M (5-3) at #6 Oklahoma (7-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Oklahoma

We're cheering for the Sooners because we'd love to hear people arguing about whether or not a one-loss Sooners team belongs in the national championship game in front of a one-loss SEC team. Oklahoma has likely lost starting running back Dominique Whaley for the rest of the season, but they only have about six high school All-Americans to turn to in his place. It won't matter this week. Last week Landry Jones threw for over 500 yards against Kansas State, and he could very well do it against this week. I think Texas A&M will be able to score some points, but not enough to keep it close. Oklahoma 45 – Texas A&M 28

Teams: Purdue (4-4) at #20 Wisconsin (6-2)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2/ABC)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Purdue

The best reason to watch this game will be to see the highlights of Wisconsin's game the last two weeks. People are expecting an angry Wisconsin to show up and destroy Purdue, but I tend to wonder why the Badgers weren't mad last week? Maybe Bret Bielema has stunted their emotions. They probably don't even get bacon tears anymore during Sunday brunch. What a monster. Wisconsin 35 – Purdue 14

Teams: Northwestern (3-5) at #10 Nebraska (7-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: Nebraska

Northwestern should be able to score some points against the Huskers, but they stand no shot of containing Nebraska's running game. Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead will combine for at least 350 yards rushing in this game. The good news is that a loss in this game will essentially eliminate Northwestern's bowl possibilities, which means that they won't have to go through the agony of losing yet another bowl game. Also, I want to give a shout out to the jerk commissioner of my fantasy football league. I picked up Northwestern backup quarterback Kain Colter to make him a wide receiver because he catches a lot of passes, but said commish wouldn't make Colter a receiver. Clearly he did this because I am in first place all by my lonesome, but you'd think they'd all be used to that by now. Nebraska 42 – Northwestern 24

Teams: Missouri (4-4) at Baylor (4-3)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (FSN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Baylor

We're cheering for Baylor because that's who I'm picking in this game. Never go against the family. Baylor 44 – Missouri 33

Teams: Cincinnati (6-1) at Pittsburgh (4-4)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Pittsburgh

We're cheering for Pittsburgh because nobody here wants to put up with more “Ohio's BCS Team” mumbo jumbo from the folks in Cincinnati. This will be Pitt's first full game without Ray Graham, so picking them here is probably foolish, but I'm nothing if not foolish, and I don't like the six interceptions that Zach Collaros has thrown over the last four games. Pittsburgh 31 – Cincinnati 30

Teams: #9 South Carolina (7-1) at #7 Arkansas (7-1)
Time (TV): 7:15 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Arkansas

When does an SEC game between two top ten teams NOT feel like an SEC game between two top ten teams? When it's this one. South Carolina has only scored 14 points in each of their last two games—both wins, but they'll need at least two or three touchdowns more than that to get this win. I don't think they can do it. Arkansas won't go crazy, but they'll score enough to win. Arkansas 24 – South Carolina 17

Teams: #1 LSU (8-0) at #2 Alabama (8-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (CBS)
Interest: Krajillion
Cheer For: America!

It doesn't really matter who you root for in this game because I can't imagine the outcome impacting Ohio State in any way whatsoever. The butterfly wings of this game would have to be infinitely massive to ever affect anything involving the Buckeyes and they would probably have to be flapped in the direction that an already existing hurricane is headed. There's a lot of science involved in this probability, so I won't go into it here. Especially not while discussing an SEC football game. Anyway, root for whomever you want, but as for me and my house, we will be rooting for LSU even though we're starting Alabama's defense this week. I think this game comes down to turnovers. The defenses won't be giving up many points, so the offenses will have to get some help from their defenses. Alabama is only allowing 44.9 yards rushing per game, which is just a ridiculous number. LSU, third in the nation, is giving up 76.6 yards on the ground per game. It is going to be impossible running for both tailbacks, but expect the winner of the rushing battle between LSU's Spencer Ware and Alabama's Trent Richardson to also win the game. Unless, of course, the quarterbacks squander any success the running backs are providing. I think the Tide have the better offense, the better defense, and they're playing at home. Sure, they don't have the tailored chaos of Les Miles on their side, but I just can't go against Alabama in this one. But I absolutely believe LSU is just crazy enough to pull this off. Alabama 20 – LSU 17

Teams: Notre Dame (5-3) at Wake Forest (5-3)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Wake Forest

Wake Forest is only beating terrible opponents, which means that Notre Dame should win in a squeaker this weekend. Nobody cares about this game, but I'm looking for a free win here. Notre Dame 35 – Wake Forest 21

Teams: #14 Kansas State (7-1) at #3 Oklahoma State (8-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Oklahoma State

The Pokes just have too much offense for Kansas State. In fact, they have too much offense for everybody. They don't need all of that offense! They are the 1%. Ohio State should occupy Stillwater. Oklahoma State 52 – Kansas State 27

Teams: #8 Oregon (7-1) at Washington (6-2)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (FSN)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Washington

We're cheering for Washington because the Buckeyes have a better chance of winning the Rose Bowl if they're not playing Oregon. Or Stanford. While everybody is focused on the SEC, this might end up being the most entertaining game of the day. There is a mini-quarterback controversy at Oregon right now, and the Ducks could be looking ahead to Stanford next week. The Huskies have plenty of offense, and running back Chris Polk has only been held under 100 yards rushing once this season. This could very well be a game well into the fourth quarter. Expect excessive points. Oregon 38 – Washington 36

Teams: #5 Boise State (7-0) at UNLV (2-5)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (CBSCS)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Boise State

It's going to be a great year. Boise State is going to go undefeated and because the loser of the Alabama – LSU game is going to championed as deserving a rematch, the bemoaning of Boise State's national championship fate will be almost non-existent. For this reason alone, we should all thank the SEC. Boise State 58 – UNLV 13

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