Tony's Tip Sheet

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Last updated: 11/01/2012 4:14 AM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet
By Tony Gerdeman

The top seven teams in the BCS standings all play this week, and somebody is guaranteed to lose. Of course, the BCS means nothing to us, so let's talk AP poll instead.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Alabama and LSU are both ahead of the Buckeyes, and if somehow LSU pulls this one out, Alabama will still be ranked ahead of the Buckeyes after the game as well. Either way, it's doubtful that there are enough losses for both of those teams to get Ohio State moved ahead of them both.

May as well not even continue on with the season.

Thursday November 1

Teams:  Virginia Tech (4-4) at Miami (FL) (4-4)
Time (TV):  7:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  Virginia Tech

This is actually a game where the Hurricanes should find themselves completely comfortable – it's meaningless and against an opponent who used to be something. It will be like looking into a mirror. Virginia Tech is 0-4 on the road this season, and even though Miami isn't an intimidating venue, it will be tough for the Hokies to overcome having their uniforms and football equipment stolen prior to the game. Playing the game in jeans and sweatpants will frankly be too much for Virginia Tech to bear. Miami 27 – Virginia Tech 21

Friday November 2

Teams:  Washington (4-4) at California (3-6)
Time (TV):  9:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  California

This might be a good Friday to go watch some high school playoff football. Or learn how to knit. Or master “Bike Race” on my phone. I've been playing it quite a bit. You can play people from all over. There's this kid named “Arvid P.” who routinely destroys me. If I ever run into him in real life, I will probably grab whatever is closest to me, swing it at him and yell, “BIKE RACE THIS, ARVID!” He won't even race me anymore because I wasn't any competition for him. Can you believe that? I'm not competition for him? Where does he get off?! That being said, he makes me want to be a better player. There's also another person that I play who is just terrible. I almost want to tank races just out of pity, but then I think to myself, “I didn't get into Bike Race to pity others. I got into Bike Race to race bikes!” Whatever you choose to do Friday night, do not watch the first half of this game. Let it play out a bit before investing in this mess. California 28 – Washington 24

Saturday November 3

Teams:  Michigan (5-3) at Minnesota (5-3)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Michigan

Denard Robinson should be good to go this week. He'll be looking to move above .500 in his career on the road in Big Ten games. He is currently 5-5. None of those wins have ever come against a team that finished .500 in Big Ten play. Gopher quarterback Philip Nelson threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-28 win over Purdue last week. It was just the second start of the freshman's career, and it was good enough to earn him the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week award. He is mobile, so he can escape a rush, but being a true freshman, you have to think Michigan will blitz him more than they normally would. It could leave the Wolverines open to a few big plays, but I just don't see the Gophers running the ball well enough to win this game. It will be up to Nelson to take his team to victory, but I can't side with a freshman quarterback over Greg Mattison. Keep in mind, however, that the Wolverines haven't scored a touchdown in their last two games. Michigan 24 – Minnesota 14

Teams:  Missouri (4-4) at #7 Florida (7-1)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Missouri

Missouri fans produced a t-shirt celebrating their win over Kentucky last week. If they get a win at Florida, they will probably produce an entire wardrobe, complete with gator cufflinks. But this being the SEC, the Mizzou fans would have to put their cufflinks on their shoulders since sleeves are not allowed on shirts in their new conference. The Gators will come into this game rather angry having lost to Georgia for the second year in a row and ruining the national championship hopes that would have eventually been ruined in the SEC Championship Game.  Florida should be able to run the ball just fine on the Tigers, and who knows, maybe they'll even be able to throw it. But don't get your hopes up. Florida 31 – Missouri 10

Teams:  #12 Oklahoma (5-2) at Iowa State (5-3)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (Gameplan)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  Iowa State

Oklahoma lost to Notre Dame at home last week, which can be pretty embarrassing. Like that time you peed your pants in the sixth grade. You tried to justify it by saying that you skipped a grade, so you really shouldn't be ridiculed for something that 95% of all fifth graders do. Then you got beat up for being a nerd. The fact that you peed yourself was quickly forgotten. It was a genius move on your part – which is probably why you were able to skip a grade. While Oklahoma was busy wetting themselves last week, Iowa State was running 98 plays in nearly 40 minutes of time of possession in a 35-21 win over Baylor. Unfortunately for the Cyclones, Baylor put up 541 yards in just 21 minutes. That equates to 700 Sooner yards and 56 points. Oklahoma 56 – Iowa State 31

Teams:  #16 Texas A&M (6-2) at #15 Mississippi State (7-1)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Texas A&M

Mississippi State finally played somebody last week (Alabama) and predictably they lost. If they want to prove that they are actually decent, a win over an okay A&M team would certainly help. I expect they will slow down Johnny Manziel and A&M somewhat, but they won't do it entirely. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they won't be able to keep up with what points they do allow. Texas A&M 34 – Mississippi State 28

Teams:  New Mexico State (1-7) at Auburn (1-7)
Time (TV):  12:30 pm (Gameplan)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Auburn

If you think Auburn is terrible, just wait until you see New Mexico State. Just kidding, nobody will actually see this game. Even Auburn fans won't bother watching the game at their favorite gameday spot – the Sears electronics department. The Tigers are starting freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace this week, so they should be totally fine. Totally fine. Auburn 34 – New Mexico State 0

Teams:  TCU (5-3) at #21 West Virginia (5-2)
Time (TV):  3:00 pm (FOX)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  TCU

When West Virginia takes the field this Saturday, it will have been 42 days since the Mountaineers last held an opponent under 45 points. They will also enter this game having lost two in a row, both blowouts by at least five touchdowns. They are giving up 53 points per game in conference play, which is probably good for third or so in the Big XII. I'm not sure that TCU can score as much as the Mountaineers would like them too, but they should still be able to put up five or six touchdowns. All in all, this should be one of West Virginia's best defensive outings. West Virginia 48 – TCU 41

Teams:  Iowa (4-4) at Indiana (3-5)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Indiana

Everybody is all in a tizzy because Indiana controls their own destiny. If they win out against Iowa, Wisconsin, at Penn State and at Purdue, then they will play in the Big Ten Championship Game. Please do not get swept up in that same tizzy. Indiana controls their destiny EVERY year, and we've seen how that goes. With “so much on the line” for the Hoosiers, getting beaten by Iowa at home would be pretty devastating. It would be almost as bad as getting beaten by Indiana at home. People are talking about Indiana's momentum, but as I look at their schedule, I can't help but notice that they've only won one of their last six games. Though to be fair, four of those losses have been by four points or less, which is almost better than a win for the Hoosiers because it doesn't bring any further expectations with it. Don't get me wrong, I like Indiana this week, but I don't like them by much. Indiana 31 – Iowa 24

Teams:  Kansas (1-7) at Baylor (3-4)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (FCS)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Baylor

Whoops, this game isn't supposed to be here. I must have stepped in it when I was walking the dogs this morning. Oh no, now I've tracked it all over the house. The wife is not going to be happy. Oh crap, she's yelling at me now. YES DEAR, I KNOW I'VE GOT KANSAS AT BAYLOR ALL OVER THE CARPET. IT'S NOT LIKE I MEANT TO DO IT! JEESH! There, I'm sure that solved it. Baylor 38 – Kansas 33

Teams:  #20 Nebraska (6-2) at Michigan State (5-4)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Nebraska

If you would like to attend this game – and you have five dollars on you – you can actually buy a ticket. Seriously. Five dollars. How about those Spartan fans? They win eleven games last year, struggle a bit this year, and then bail out. It's too bad, because I'm expecting the Michigan State defense to stand pretty tall against the Huskers and pull out the win. This isn't the Spartans' year, but Andrew Maxwell is getting better and Michigan State should be pretty darn good next year. Michigan State 20 – Nebraska 17

Teams:  Ole Miss (5-3) at #6 Georgia (7-1)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Ole Miss

I don't want to talk about this game, but since Georgia is right behind the Buckeyes in the AP poll, I'd feel bad if I didn't. Georgia 35 – Ole Miss 20

Teams:  Penn State (5-3) at Purdue (3-5)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ESPNU)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Penn State

Purdue has lost four in a row, and their best win this season was an overtime loss at Ohio State. Penn State will come into this game after a disappointing loss at home to Ohio State, but now they get to go on the road and band together. I expect them to perform well, especially since Danny Hope continues to  insist on starting Caleb TerBush at quarterback. Penn State 34 – Purdue 21

Teams:  Pittsburgh (4-4) at #3 Notre Dame (8-0)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (NBC)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh isn't going to win this, but wouldn't it just be the best thing ever if they did? Just think of the thousands of people in third world countries who could benefit from all of the “We're Back!” apparel that would have to be discarded if Notre Dame lost this game. And yet, the Irish will selfishly win this game because they don't care about anybody but themselves. Even Michigan cares enough to lose! Notre Dame 20 – Pittsburgh 3

Teams:  #23 Texas (6-2) at #18 Texas Tech (6-2)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ESPN2/ABC)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Texas Tech

Tech lost to Kansas State last week, so they'll come into this game angry. Actually, that's a lie. They're just kids playing a game, they'll be fine. Texas has struggled to get wins the last two weeks against Kansas and Baylor, who are a combined 0-9 in Big XII play. It won't take an angry Red Raiders team to beat these Longhorns. Heck, the Red Robins could beat Texas this year. That's right, give me 45 mascots from the Red Robin restaurants across the country and we'd beat Texas by ten points. Texas Tech 34 – Texas 17

Teams:  #4 Oregon (8-0) at #17 USC (6-2)
Time (TV):  7:00 pm (FOX)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  USC

Blowout city. Not even the power of Gus Johnson can keep this game close. I wish I could write more about this game, but it would be a waste of my time. The Ducks are going to run all over the place and they'll already be up by three touchdowns before USC even gets tired. And that's when it will get really bad. But I'm not gonna lie, I do kind of feel like an idiot for being so sure that USC has no chance. Oregon 56 – USC 35

Teams:  #1 Alabama (8-0) at #5 LSU (7-1)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (CBS)
Interest:  4.5
Cheer For:  LSU

The game of the century. Except it won't be. You can go ahead and fall asleep after the kickoff, then wake up sometime late in the third quarter and you won't have missed anything other than a couple of Alabama touchdowns. I wish I could give you more, but there's no reason to. Though it will be interesting to see how well Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron plays. He has thrown 18 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season. LSU comes into this game with 13 interceptions in eight games. If he performs well, which he should, expect Gary Danielson to hammer the Heisman talk in McCarron's favor. He may even break out a white board and a dry erase marker. And perhaps some Haikus. “What is perfection? How do you quantify it? McCarron, Heisman.” Alabama 24 – LSU 10

Teams:  #24 Oklahoma State (5-2) at #2 Kansas State (8-0)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Oklahoma State

Kansas State is in a fight for their BCS Championship lives right now. Notre Dame is gaining speed thanks to wins over teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Miami (FL) and Oklahoma. Obviously, Kansas State needs some quality wins because victories over Miami (FL), Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech just aren't that impressive. The Pokes looked good in last week's 36-14 win over TCU, but Kansas State is a different animal. For one, they're not amphibious. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is the Heisman leader right now which means he's due for a rough outing. However, since he plays in the Big XII, he doesn't really have to worry about that ever happening. Kansas State 42 – Oklahoma State 31

Teams:  #22 Arizona (5-3) at UCLA (6-2)
Time (TV):  10:30 pm (P12N)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  UCLA

Eight games into Rich Rodriguez's tenure at Michigan, the Wolverines were 2-6. That's really neither here nor there, but it's just fun to type. Arizona is coming off of a big win over USC last week, and now they head to UCLA for dessert. The Bruins might not be so accommodating, however. The Wildcats are 0-2 on the road this season, which are also the only two times they've been on the road. This should be a shootout as both teams are allowing over 25 points per game, and both teams have shown the ability to score. I have to assume that Bruin quarterback Brett Hundley will have a very good day against this defense. It should be an entertaining game, it's just too bad nobody is allowed to watch it. UCLA 44 – Arizona 42

Teams:  Arizona State (5-3) at #11 Oregon State (6-1)
Time (TV):  10:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Oregon State

Oregon State left the realm of the unbeatens last week with their 20-17 loss at Washington. Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion returned from a knee injury after missing two games, but threw four interceptions and was yanked. He has been benched this week in favor of Cody Vaz, who took over for Mannion during his injury. If you're looking for a stat to tilt you one way or the other, Arizona State hasn't won on the road against a ranked team since 2002. Also, if you are actually torn about which Pac Twelve team to gamble on, might I suggest jumping in an industrial washing machine and cranking that sucker up. Oregon State 28 – Arizona State 21

Teams:  San Diego State (6-3) at #19 Boise State (7-1)
Time (TV):  10:30 pm (CBSSN)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  San Diego State

Boise State fans are upset about their ranking. (This is the part where you are supposed to care.) So let's try this again: Boise State fans are upset about their ranking. (You know what, I don't care about it either. These precious Boise fans start getting full of themselves for one decent win per year, and then in a year where they don't get that win they get uppity because voters dare rank them 19th. Well here's a newsflash you loonbags, you shouldn't even be in the top 20. What have you done? A win over San Diego State would give you one of your best wins of the season. You should be thankful that voters have remembered your previous successful seasons, because that is the ONLY reason you are where you are. So maybe offer up a few thanks to those voters that you are upset with now.) As you might expect since they are on Boise State's schedule, San Diego State is not very good. They've got a nice record, but anybody can do that in the Mountain West. Boise State 34 – San Diego State 21

Teams:  Illinois (2-6) at Ohio State (9-0)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  5
Cheer For:  Ohio State

Danger: I am starting Braxton Miller this week. I have no choice. My other quarterback is facing an SEC DEFENSE. Still, I can't imagine Illinois putting up too much of a fight because they hate that stuff. Also, I would expect some short fields for the Buckeyes on account of the multitude of Illinois turnovers. That all being said, Ohio State hasn't dominated a game at home from start to finish yet this season. Even in their 56-10 win over Miami to start the season they trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. Maybe being a 3:30 kickoff will help things. I do know that if I benched Miller, the Buckeyes would probably score around 72 points. So what's it worth to you?

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