Tony's Tip Sheet

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Last updated: 10/11/2012 9:30 PM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet
By Tony Gerdeman

There aren't a lot of marquee games this week, but there are four possible losses for teams ahead of Ohio State. Granted, none of them may happen, but the possibilities certainly exist.

#3 South Carolina goes to #9 LSU, #5 West Virginia is at Texas Tech, #6 Kansas State is at Iowa State and #7 Notre Dame is hosting #17 Stanford.

If you are a Buckeye fan and you only focus on these four games, you will have guaranteed an Ohio State loss in Bloomington. I really hope your future self is happy with you right now. Idiot.

Thursday October 11

Teams:  Arizona State (4-1) at Colorado (1-4)
Time (TV):  9:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Colorado

I don't use hyperbole, so when I tell you that this is the best game that ESPN has ever aired on Thursday night, you might want to take me seriously. Colorado is actually just a 55-point loss against Fresno State away from being 2-3. And their 28-point loss to UCLA was really closer than the scoreboard, the stats, and the dejected faces on the Buffs' sideline indicated. Arizona State, meanwhile, comes into this game with just one loss, and that loss came on the road at Missouri (24-20), which is an SEC team, which means that they are amazing, and that Arizona State almost beat an SEC team! If there was a line to stand in for this game, I would be typing these true words while seated in that line ensconced in a sleeping bag. Arizona State 31 – Colorado 10

Friday October 12

Teams:  Navy (2-3) at Central Michigan (2-3)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Central Michigan

I'm glad this game gets its own night, that way I know to avoid it. Let me know when I've addressed this game enough in this preview to be able to move on to the next game. Another sentence? Two? Okay. I can do that. Navy 37 – Central Michigan 34

Saturday October 13

Teams:  #18 Louisville (5-0) at Pittsburgh (2-3)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Louisville

As a Buckeye fan, you are cheering for Louisville for recruiting purposes. I know we're supposed to worry about how Ohio State is going to make it to #1 in the AP Poll, so you're generally supposed to root against the undefeated teams, but Louisville isn't going to win the AP championship over Ohio State, so you don't have to worry about that. The reason you should root for Louisville continues to be in hopes that head coach Charlie Strong gets a better job in the offseason and five-star Kentucky high school receiver James Quick chooses the Buckeyes over the Cardinals. Right now, both teams are even per Quick. But Quick isn't the only recruit that could be impacted by this game, as five-star offensive tackle Dorian Johnson will likely choose between Pitt and Ohio State. Another loss for Pitt could help Ohio State here. Louisville's last three wins have been by a touchdown or less. I'd take Pittsburgh in this game if it was a Friday night, but first thing Saturday morning on a channel that nobody watches means they have nothing to play for. Louisville 28 – Pittsburgh 24

Teams:  #13 Oklahoma (3-1) vs #15 Texas (4-1) (Dallas, TX)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ABC)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Texas

Since both teams already have a loss, it doesn't matter who you root for. I almost always root for Oklahoma in this game for some reason. This time, however, I think Texas gets it done. Quarterback David Ash is third in the nation in passing efficiency (180.06) and the Longhorns have moved the ball very well this season. Oklahoma has been up and down already this year, and I think that continues against Texas' defense. This is all provided the Longhorn defense doesn't have Geno Smith flashbacks and go into a catatonic state. Texas 30 – Oklahoma 24

Teams:  #6 Kansas State (5-0) at Iowa State (4-1)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (FX)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Iowa State

Watch out for the upset here. Kansas State has won four in a row over the Cyclones, but none have been by more than eight points. I can't actually pick the upset because I don't think it will happen, but this is the type of game that Paul Rhoads pulls off. Unfortunately, I don't know how Iowa State ever wins, so I can't just pick them in some random upset. Kansas State 35 – Iowa State 24

Teams:  Iowa (3-2) at Michigan State (4-2)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Michigan State

We're cheering for the Spartans because the Buckeyes already own a victory over them and the higher they can reach in the rankings, the better. Iowa's offense has been led by running back Mark Weisman, who has rushed for 394 yards over the last two weeks. That includes 217 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Central Michigan. The fact that they can get that type of performance and blow it against an average MAC team doesn't bode well for them in this game. The Hawkeye offense is rather straight forward, which should make them easier to defend. The Spartans are favored in this one by ten points, which seems like about five points too many. I'll go with the home team in this one, but it's hard to forget the Spartans' poor first halves this year. Michigan State 20 – Iowa 17

Teams:  Northwestern (5-1) at Minnesota (4-1)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  Northwestern

If Minnesota wants to prove that they aren't the worst team in their division – and possibly the conference – then they need to beat Northwestern. I think this one will be fairly close, but I don't know that the Gophers will be able to score enough to beat a Wildcat offense that should have a good day with utility knife Kain Colter running around. MarQueis Gray might be back for Minnesota in this one, but only in “certain situations” according to Jerry Kill. I don't know what those situations are, but if a child falls into a well and Gray is the only person who is physically able to rescue that child, I would hope that would be one such situation. Another would be if he knew whether the red wire or black wire needed to be cut on some type of bomb. It would be selfish of him not to act in those two situations. Unless, of course, the Minnesota trainers and medical staff just didn't feel comfortable with it. Northwestern 34 – Minnesota 24

Teams:  Wisconsin (4-2) at Purdue (3-2)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Wisconsin

First off, I've made this a “4” on the interest scale, but even I know it's only a “3” at best. It's just that this game will go a long way in deciding who will be taking Ohio State or Penn State's spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. I know you won't cheer for Wisconsin, but the reason I'm telling you to do so is because a win in Madison for the Buckeyes will look much more impressive if the Badgers are actually ranked at the time. Especially if they're 8-2. Watching Purdue last week at Michigan I saw a team that has no idea how to put an entire game together, nor one that could make their existing game plan work. However, that's just a typical Purdue road game. At home, things could be different. Keep in mind that Wisconsin is just two three-point losses on the road at Oregon State and Nebraska away from being 6-0 and a top ten(ish) team. Wisconsin 27 – Purdue 23

Teams:  Auburn (1-4) at Ole Miss (3-3)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (SECN)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Ole Miss

Thinking about writing a buddy cop movie where the two cops (Hank and Gregory Alexander) also review movies on the internet. Their fellow cops think the internet movie reviews are idiotic, and they mercilessly make fun of the two partners. They're never invited out to the local cop bar, and their lockers are always defaced with gigantic paper thumbs pointed down. Life is miserable for them both. All they've ever wanted to do was serve, protect and review movies on Youtube. Then one day while they are at Gregory Alexander's apartment filming their review of 'Cloud Atlas', a maniacal movie director takes over their precinct and begins a prolonged hostage situation. Upon hearing of the situation, the two partners rush to the precinct to try and help out. The negotiator asks who the two are and they introduce themselves and tell him that they can help because they are also movie reviewers. He's like, “Oh, you  are the movie review guys? I don't want your kind around here. Get lost.” So then they go back home and finish their review of 'Cloud Atlas'. I'm still trying to work out the ending though. Ole Miss 31 – Auburn 14

Teams:  Syracuse (2-3) at #20 Rutgers (5-0)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (Big East Network)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Syracuse

I hope you're not expecting a lot of analysis in this game. I would actually like to limit this preview to about five sentences. Actually, I'd like to limit it to four. The end. Syracuse 24 – Rutgers 20

Teams:  Duke (5-1) at Virginia Tech (3-3)
Time (TV):  12:30 pm (ACCN)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Duke

If Duke wins this, they will start 3-0 in the ACC for the first time in their history. Actually, I don't know if that's true or not, but there's no way I'm going to go back and check. The Hokies are a nine-point favorite, but have lost three of their last four games. Their only win in that span was over Bowling Green. If Virginia Tech wants to prove they aren't terrible, they need to win this game by at least double figures. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree may not play this week, so the Hokies are the only pick here. Virginia Tech 28 – Duke 14

Teams:  North Carolina (4-2) at Miami (FL) (4-2)
Time (TV):  2:30 pm (ESPNU)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  North Carolina

Do we really have to play this game? Do you think the people who work for ESPNU hate their lives? Sure, they get to go to Miami, but then they have to watch Miami football. That's like going to a Chinese buffet, but only being allowed to pick from the American foods. Why even go? North Carolina 44 – Miami 27

Teams:  #17 Stanford (4-1) at #7 Notre Dame (5-0)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (NBC)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Stanford

We're cheering for Stanford because duh. I was driving in my car this past week, doing some reflecting (shining a mirror in the eyes of my fellow drivers), and it occurred to me that I have completely bought into Notre Dame's defense. Now I know they have issues in the secondary, but the front seven sure seems legit to me. I'm not a fan of Stanford's offensive consistency, and I think their consistency will be even worse this weekend against the Irish defense. Don't forget, Notre Dame has now gone three games without allowing a touchdown. Notre Dame 24 – Stanford 13

Teams:  #1 Alabama (5-0) at Missouri (3-3)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Missouri

Oh, Missouri. You poor, stupid bastard. The downside to joining the SEC isn't that you will lose a lot of games, it's that you will now have SEC fans on your campus and in your city. They are essentially the zebra mussels of sports fans. Your entire ecological system in Columbia is going to change. Dead fish are going to show up on your shores. Shirts with the sleeves cut off will float down your streets on the winds of stink and arrogance. Jorts will litter your sidewalks like playbills on Broadway. Never again will you be able to pick up a stray bottle of Mountain Dew off the street and just start drinking it. Pray for Columbia. They should come up with a houndstooth ribbon of support for this poor, soon-to-be-decaying city. Alabama 34 – Missouri 7

Teams:  #5 West Virginia (5-0) at Texas Tech (4-1)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Texas Tech

Upset Alert! And by “Upset Alert”, I mean that West Virginia may only score 45 points in a 13-point win. The Mountaineers are only favored by 3.5, which seems low to me. In fact, I just assume I'm reading something wrong. Still, I think people expect West Virginia's offense to give out before their defense steps up. I just don't see the Red Raiders as the team to force this offense to give out, however. West Virginia 44 – Texas Tech 34

Teams:  #10 Oregon State (4-0) at BYU (4-2)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ABC)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  BYU

Oregon State could be leaving the world of the unbeatens this weekend as quarterback Sean Mannion is out with a knee injury. It won't help that BYU is only allowing 8.8 points per game, which is third in the nation. The most unfortunate part about this whole situation is that I normally start Oregon State's two receivers in my fantasy league. Mannion's knee injury has really made me take a step back and seriously evaluate my life as well as the free agent receivers available in my league. It really makes you think about the mortality of your fantasy team. BYU 20 – Oregon State 10

Teams:  Illinois (2-4) at #25 Michigan (3-2)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ESPN/ABC)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Michigan

Illinois couldn't get out of their own way if they were broken in two and placed on opposite ends of the earth, both traveling east at the same exact speed and with a detailed itinerary of where eachother will be every minute of the day. Michigan 38 – Illinois 10

Teams:  Oklahoma State (2-2) at Kansas (1-4)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (FCS)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Oklahoma State

How stupid is Kansas for hiring Charlie Weis? As stupid as they were when they hired Turner Gill, or as stupid as they were when they fired Mark Mangino? The answer is yes. The only people who don't know that this is going to end in failure are the people who have just woken up from a coma that they've been in since the “Bush Push” game in 2005. Oklahoma State 62 – Kansas 28

Teams:  #11 USC (4-1) at Washington (3-2)
Time (TV):  7:00 pm (FOX)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Washington

This should have been one of the Pac 12's marquee games of the year, and as long as USC loses, it still could be. Steve Sarkisian is 2-1 against the Trojans, and that's as a double-digit underdog each time. Washington is 1-8 against their last nine ranked teams, however. I'm guessing that will move to 1-9, because the Huskies have no answer for Marqise Lee and USC's passing game. USC 38 – Washington 34

Teams:  #3 South Carolina (6-0) at #9 LSU (5-1)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  5
Cheer For:  LSU

You're rooting for LSU, but just keep in mind that voters may choose to jump the Tigers ahead of the Buckeyes if they win. And given their schedule, it wouldn't necessarily be unwarranted. South Carolina has yet to be tested this season, but that's not really their fault – they've just been blowing people out. LSU has a very pedestrian offense – and by “pedestrian” I mean the kind that doesn't pay attention to traffic when walking out into a street. It's pretty impossible for me to pick South Carolina in this one because I have no idea how the Gamecocks move the ball. But at least they are able to somehow do it, whereas LSU isn't. I'll go ahead and take South Carolina knowing that being wrong won't really bother anybody. South Carolina 20 – LSU 17

Teams:  Tennessee (3-2) at #19 Mississippi State (5-0)
Time (TV):  9:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Tennessee

I know, you're not rooting for “Tennecleats”. I get it. Go ahead and root for Mississippi State, they still have to travel to Alabama and LSU, so it's not like they're going undefeated. The Vols really need to focus, and if they win this game in a tough environment, it could seriously vulcanize (tr.v. vul·ca·nized, vul·ca·niz·ing, vul·ca·niz·es “To improve the strength, resiliency, and freedom from stickiness and odor”) them as Alabama comes to town next week. I'm not really buying the Bulldogs right now because they haven't played anybody and they really haven't put up very good numbers. What makes me most angry about Mississippi State, however, is that they have me thinking that Tyler Bray is the better call here. That's unforgivable. Tennessee 28 – Mississippi State 27

Teams:  #22 Texas A&M (4-1) vs #23 Louisiana Tech (5-0) (Shreveport, LA)
Time (TV):  9:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Louisiana Tech

We're cheering for Louisiana Tech because it's always fun to watch storied SEC teams lose. This was supposed to be the season opener for both teams, but weather dictated the move. This is a matchup between two of the highest scoring teams in the nation, as A&M is scoring 44.6 points per game and Tech is topping that with 53.2 points per game of their own. The sledding will be much harder going for the Gentleman Techsters, however, because the Aggie defense isn't giving up 35.8 points per game like Tech is. How confident am I that A&M is going to put up a bunch of points in this one? I am starting quarterback Johnny Manziel this week over Braxton Miller, who is playing Indiana. Manziel has thrown for 644 yards and rushed for 233 yards in the Aggies' last two games (against Arkansas and Ole Miss). Texas A&M 56 – Louisiana Tech 38

Teams:  #8 Ohio State (6-0) at Indiana (2-3)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (BTN)
Interest:  5
Cheer For:  Ohio State

People want to call this a letdown or trap game, and with Indiana's offensive system, they'd be right in doing so. The Hoosiers are going to get the Buckeyes out in space and make them defend the entire field. The problem for the Hoosiers, however, is that Ohio State is going to do the same thing to them. And they're also going to do something that Indiana can't do – pound the middle like they're digging a pond with a sledgehammer. The Hoosiers are giving up 50 more yards per game on the ground than the 11th-ranked defense in the Big Ten. Still, until we see two consecutive quality offensive outings in a row from the Buckeyes, we have to assume that Saturday could have some dud tendencies.

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