Tony's Tip Sheet

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Last updated: 10/25/2012 5:30 PM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet
By Tony Gerdeman

I think this might be the best week of the football season to this point. It's likely that at least two undefeated teams will lose this weekend, and possibly more, and if the Buckeyes can somehow remain undefeated following their trip to Happy Valley, then the week will be even better for OSU fans.

However, it has become apparent that even undefeated, the Buckeyes will have their work cut out for them this season if last week was any indication.

Ohio State dropped two places in the AP poll for beating Purdue last week by four more points than their number five team Notre Dame did earlier in the season. Are the voters just trying to encourage the Buckeyes to be easier for them to read? After all, the voters do like shiny and pretty things. Like they can show up to an open mic and if somebody starts picking at their guitar and then also starts blowing on a harmonica, they instantly swoon.

“What talent!” they think.

And the guy at the microphone begins singing about love and how love is so great and how he loves being in love.

“This song speaks to me!” they say.

And then the next song is about heartbreak and how getting your heart broken hurts and how difficult it is to go on with a broken heart.

“There's more fish in the sea!” they yell.

And then the next song is about how pollutants are actually killing all of the fish in the ocean and soon there won't be any more fish in the sea.

“What about the rivers and lakes?” they ask, rushing the stage. They grab the guy at the microphone, shake him by his shirt, “WHAT ABOUT THE RIVERS AND THE LAKES!!??”

And then somebody shows the voters a tennis ball, and pretends to throw it out the front door. The voters burst out into the street and the sounds of tires screeching are heard in the background, followed by a heavy thud.

And then the music picks right back up.

Thursday October 25

Teams:  #18 Clemson (6-1) at Wake Forest (4-3)
Time (TV):  7:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Wake Forest

We're all going to go into this game hoping that Wake Forest can somehow keep it close, but it's just not going to happen. Like planning a day at the museum and hoping the mummies won't be sleeping, but without fail, every time you show up, there they are, lying in there sarcophagal slumber like they're suddenly too good to entertain you. WE PAY YOUR SALARIES, YOU JERKS! Clemson 41 – Wake Forest 21

Friday October 26

Teams:  Cincinnati (5-1) at #16 Louisville (7-0)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Cincinnati

A 3.5 interest level for a Big East game has to be highest on the Tip Sheet since 2007. The Bearcats are coming off of a loss at Toledo, but we can't hold too much of a grudge because nobody wins when traveling to Toledo. Louisville is undefeated, but has had several close calls. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has remained calm in those games and has kept his team perfect on the season. I like him to do it yet again, but keep an eye on UC quarterback Munchie Legeaux, who is Cajun I think. Louisville 31 – Cincinnati 24

Saturday October 27

Teams:  Iowa (4-3) at Northwestern (6-2)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Northwestern

Iowa is undefeated (2-0) in division play, having already beaten Minnesota and Michigan State. They were destroyed by Penn State at home last week, however. Meanwhile, despite having two losses, Northwestern has had the lead in the fourth quarter of every game this season. It's hard to imagine that this week will be any different. The only question that remains is whether or not Iowa has anymore quit in them after last weeks loss. Don't be surprised if they reach deep down and find just a little more quit in them this week as well. Northwestern 30 – Iowa 20

Teams:  #23 Texas (5-2) at Kansas (1-6)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (FCSC)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Kansas

We're cheering for Kansas because those poor kids have suffered enough. It can't be pleasant having to deal with Charlie Weis and him telling them how great he is every single day when all of the evidence points to the opposite. He's the kind of guy who invites you to a cookout, burns everything, then proceeds to tell you that the charring is where the flavor is. Or the kind of guy who shows up at your house uninvited because he “knows” you'd want to spend some time with him, and then when you are polite and invite him in, he tells you that he's much too busy to visit and maybe you should call first next time before imposing. Or the kind of guy who thinks the answer to everything is a screen pass to the running back. Texas 38 – Kansas 14

Teams:  Indiana (2-5) at Illinois (2-5)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Indiana

If you can believe it, Illinois is a two-point favorite in this game. The Illini shouldn't even be a two-point favorite against a pair of old western saloon doors. "How do these dang things open!? Do they flip up?" Illinois is playing football how I used to play jacks. I'd play in the living room for a little while, then get bored and just go bounce the ball in the kitchen instead. Then I'd eventually come back in the living room and step on the very jacks that I had forgotten about. If I was at this game, I would storm the field and demand that Tim Beckman “Pick up this mess right now before somebody steps on it!” Then I would read him the riot act for leaving his Nathan Scheelhaase on the top of the stairs. Somebody could trip on that! On a less serious note, Illinois can absolutely not afford to lose this game. The Hoosiers, by my count, are 3-38 on the road in the Big Ten since 2002. If losing at home to Indiana isn't a fireable offense, then Beckman can show up after the game in a tiara and a sash and accuse people of eating his lipstick. Indiana 38 – Illinois 27

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

The Razorbacks have had their best week of practice all season, which would be the equivalent of raving about a child's birthday party because somebody finally made contact with the piñata. I have no idea about Ole Miss' week of practice, but I have to assume it was hot. Mississippi seems like America's Indonesia to me. It might be crazy to say it, but Arkansas could turn their miserable season around with a win in this game. Either they stand up to Ole Miss – who only beats bad teams – or they lay down and and quit. I've got a good feeling about Arkansas this week, which I probably need to get checked out. Arkansas 34 – Ole Miss 21

Teams:  North Carolina State (5-2) at North Carolina (5-3)
Time (TV):  12:30 pm (ACCN)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  North Carolina State

This past week a UNC wide receiver was accused of plagiarizing eleven-year olds in a blog post for his Communications class. Seriously. Sure, I may write the Tip Sheet on an 11-year olds level, but I would never use an actual 11-year old's words to do it. Unless they were good, of course. If 11-year old me was writing about this game, he would probably compare it to Megatron's relationship with Starscream – two unlikable entities that should just destroy eachother and get it over with. Of course, back then I compared everything to Transformers. Even my Star Wars guys. Ha ha, just kidding. My Star Wars guys were sacred. Did I feel bad for giving Obi Wan a toothpick lightsaber? Maybe a little. North Carolina State 31 – North Carolina 30

Teams:  UCLA (5-2) at Arizona State (5-2)
Time (TV):  3:00 pm (FX)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  UCLA

Pac Twelve football is like Baking Soda. You don't really know its purpose, but it's good to have in the freezer in case you need it for some reason. I have run into situations in my life when I thought, “Maybe this would be a good time to break out the baking soda.” Then I would do it and realize that, “Nope, this was not a good time to break out the baking soda.” That's Pac Twelve football. Good for something, but we just don't know what. UCLA 27 – Arizona State 24

Teams:  BYU (4-4) at Georgia Tech (3-4)
Time (TV):  3:00 pm (ACCN)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  BYU

Is Paul Johnson still a genius? I was never a fan of simply giving up on your program's ability to play normal football and going to the military academies' ways of competing. They run the option for a reason, Paul Johnson runs it because it's what he knows. Georgia Tech should be more than a program whose first move is to admit that they can't compete. That being said, it's still better than four years of being the Hurricanes. Georgia Tech 27 – BYU 21

Teams:  Colorado (1-6) at #4 Oregon (7-0)
Time (TV):  3:00 pm (P12N)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Colorado

Here's how this game is going to go: Oregon will score 29 points in the first quarter. They will score another 21 in the second quarter. They will try to score zero points in the third quarter, but will add two accidental touchdowns. The fourth quarter, Chip Kelly will allow fans from the stands to call plays. This will be the most lopsided conference game in American sports history. If we can really count hippie hotbeds Oregon and Colorado as part of "America”. Oregon 64 – Colorado 7

Teams:  #14 Texas Tech (6-1) at #3 Kansas State (7-0)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (FOX)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Texas Tech

What Kansas State did to West Virginia last week will be written down in books for years to come. Fortunately, keeping it in book form means that Mountaineer fans won't have to worry about ever reliving it. This week the Wildcats get a crack at the other team who brutalized the Mountaineers. There can be only one destroyer of hillfolk! Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is your Heisman leader at the moment, which means he's eventually due for a bad game. A win for Tech and quarterback Seth Doege could move him further into the Heisman contention. I'm interested to see how Kansas State's defense does this week. Their entire team is just a mass of toughness. Will Doege be able to knead them into something pliable? A Wildcat win here will make voters want to move them ahead of Florida or Alabama, but they won't do it for fear of backlash at their lavish yacht club parties. At least I assume they're all at yacht club parties when they're not calling me to come party with them. Whatever, I don't even like boats. Kansas State 26 – Texas Tech 23

Teams:  #2 Florida (7-0) vs #10 Georgia (6-1) (at Jacksonville, FL)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Georgia

Florida opened as a three-point favorite in this game, but now they're up to a seven-point favorite. Obviously, they expect the Gators to run on Georgia and stop the Bulldogs from doing the same. Eventually, Florida is going to have to throw the ball to win, but I don't know if that will happen this week against Georgia's 74th-ranked run defense. In the Bulldogs' only test this season, they failed as miserably as a Georgian can, which is saying an awful lot. South Carolina's 35-7 win over Georgia still stands as the Bulldogs' only meaningful game this year, and they Trainspotted that bed something fierce. They could make up for everything with this win on Saturday. But you know how I feel about putting faith in the Clemson of the SEC. Florida 21 – Georgia 17

Teams:  #9 USC (6-1) at Arizona (4-3)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Arizona

Arizona is due for a big win after two close losses against Oregon State and Stanford. They have the offense to give the Trojans trouble, but they will need to force some turnovers to get the win because they won't have much luck stopping Marqise Lee and Robert Woods straight up. Rodriguez hasn't beaten a Top Ten team since 2008 at Michigan when he beat the then-#9 Wisconsin Badgers. By the way, that Badger team finished the season unranked with a 7-6 record. Either they weren't any good, or they couldn't live with themselves after losing to that ridiculous 2008 Michigan team. USC 42 – Arizona 41 (2OT)

Teams:  Michigan State (4-4) at #25 Wisconsin (6-2)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ESPN2/ABC)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Wisconsin

These two teams played in two of the best college football games of the season last year. They have a lot to live up to this time around, but all Mark Dantonio is worried about now is staying above .500. After five losses combined in 2010 and 2011, five losses alone in 2012 would be a downer, though it wouldn't even touch last week's downer in Ann Arbor. Dantonio is going to have a hard time keeping certain members of his defense from quitting, especially a guy like William Gholston who gives about as much effort as a cashier listening to an iPod. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Montee Ball is fully back to his 2011 self, averaging 155.5 yards rushing in four Big Ten games this season. Michigan State has a solid defense, and they'll need to commit eight guys to stopping the run this week. They'll let the Badgers try to beat them on the play-action with Jared Abbrederis, and cornerback Johnny Adams (another guy who seems more focused on the NFL than the NCAA) needs to be up to the task. Wisconsin 27 – Michigan State 17

Teams:  Duke (6-2) at #12 Florida State (7-1)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ESPNU)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Duke

I put this game on the Tip Sheet just make sure you were aware that Duke is 6-2, and even that felt like too much analysis. Florida State will win by three touchdowns, but the Blue Devils will at least be given a ribbon for their good effort and stellar playbook memorization. Florida State 31 – Duke 10

Teams:  Kent State (6-1) at #15 Rutgers (7-0)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (Gameplan)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Kent State

A win for Kent State will guarantee that this is Darrell Hazell's last season in the MAC, so you know he really wants this one. Rutgers 24 – Kent State 14

Teams:  #20 Texas A&M (5-2) at Auburn (1-6)
Time (TV):  7:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Texas A&M

Auburn is 0-5 in the SEC, which is like being 4-1 in the Big Ten. The reason we are so interested in this game is because we are starting A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel this week. We need a win. This two-game losing streak bullcrap in my fantasy league needs to end. I'm starting to feel all Beckmany. WHERE'S MY LIPSTICK! Texas A&M 38 – Auburn 24

Teams:  #5 Notre Dame (7-0) at #8 Oklahoma (5-1)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest:  5
Cheer For:  Oklahoma

We're cheering for Oklahoma because duh. This is the week that Notre Dame's lack of an offense finally costs them a game, assuming Bob Stoops doesn't choke it away, of course. Interestingly, Oklahoma is just coming off of a 52-7 win over Charlie Weis' current team, Kansas. The Sooners are apparently on the Charlie Weis World Tour. It's a very short tour, and it shouldn't even be this long. Oklahoma 21 – Notre Dame 13

Teams:  #22 Michigan (5-2) at Nebraska (5-2)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  5
Cheer For:  Nebraska

It's not clear yet if Rex Burkhead is going to be able to go this week, and if he can't, Nebraska will certainly be at a disadvantage, but they will still have Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah, and both are capable of hitting a homerun. The Wolverine defense hasn't been challenged since the first two weeks of the season, and the Huskers could provide that challenge. Of course, they should have provided that challenge last year as well, but got blown out by Michigan 45-17. Martinez threw for 342 yards last week against Northwestern, but the game before that he threw three interceptions at Ohio State.  If he throws the ball well, the Huskers should win. Michigan, on the other hand, will try to win on the ground. They don't want Denard Robinson trying to win the game through the air, but their tailbacks haven't been productive this season, so if the Huskers can contain the ground game, Al Borges won't have any choice but to call more passes. Nebraska is 2-1 in Big Ten play this season, but could very well be 0-3 thanks to some slow starts. I can't allow myself to have any faith in the Huskers this season. Michigan 27 – Nebraska 26

Teams:  #11 Mississippi State (7-0) at #1 Alabama (7-0)
Time (TV):  8:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Mississippi State

Yes, the Bulldogs are 7-0, but they got there on an incredibly weak schedule. The overall record of the teams they have beaten is 19-32. By the end of the third quarter, Alabama may finally tire of making Mississippi State hit themselves. The fourth quarter will likely be Indian burn after Indiana burn. Alabama 30 – Mississippi State 7

Teams:  #7 Oregon State (6-0) at Washington (3-4)
Time (TV):  10:15 pm (P12N)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  Washington

Washington is only a 4.5-point underdog against a top ten team despite scoring just 15.5 points per game against FBS opponents this season. People have been hoping and wishing for Washington to be good, but it just hasn't happened. Of course, being the Pac Twelve this is the perfect time for Oregon State to get knocked off. Starting quarterback Sean Mannion is back after missing a couple of weeks with an injury. Will he pick up right where he left off, or will he struggle long enough to make Washington believe they have a shot? I'd like to take the upset here, but I took a bunch of upsets last week, and they all screwed me. Until they call me and apologize, they are dead to me. Oregon State 31 – Washington 17

Teams:  Ohio State (8-0) at Penn State (5-2)
Time (TV):  5:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  5
Cheer For:  Ohio State

I think this game comes down to winning the turnover battle and defending Penn State's tight ends. If the Buckeyes do that, they should win. However, Ohio State is currently -4 in turnovers on the road, and have yet to even force a turnover away from home. Penn State isn't turning the ball over as much as they used to, which is going to make things even tougher for the Buckeyes.  If Ohio State can move the ball, then they can overcome a few errors. The offense needs to be consistent from the outset, but I don't know if that's possible. Penn State is outscoring opponents 66-0 in the first quarter, which is also the only quarter in which Ohio State is being outscored (56-51). There will be a considerable emotional burst that the Buckeyes will need to withstand at the start of the game. An opening drive for a touchdown for the OSU offense will pay dividends for the entire game, but will the Nittany Lion defense allow it to happen?

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