Wk 10; Broncos at Raiders, SNF, PK

la-sp-nfl-khalil-mack-derek-carr-lead-raiders-over-broncos-20151213Updated:  we’re up with Sunday Night Football, pick-em game, Broncos at Raiders for the all-play.  The Toledo/Akron cheddar game line was set last night at Toledo -9 –> use that and not the current Tol -10,.

Acknowledgments/atta-boys are due.  The second eleven point week ever was turned in by Chris P last week.  And CLEVTA is the first to acquire his second ‘shading award’ with a Lobsterfest last week to go with his earlier Admiral’s Feast.

WORTH NOTING:  16-4 on the POTYs.  Well done.

Missing form entries:  Bup noticed last week that a couple weeks worth of his picks were missing from the form.  Be in the habit of checking to make sure your picks are being logged.  Link to this week’s entries here and from there you should be able to see the preceding weeks.

Placeholder post for those wanting to play tonite’s games.  Use these lines for tonite (Tuesday) and Wednesday’s Toledo/Akron game.

Make your pick known in the comments here and through the form.  Thanks.

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  • PJD19

    Essay Pick Bills over Seahawks

    **Mike, please note I’m switching sides on my essay here, i put Seahawks into the form, but won’t to roll with the Bills.**
    I’m sitting at 5-0 on the week, so this essay game is for a coveted Lobsterfest. Bills are due for a good performance after laying eggs the last two weeks. Clearly Seattle is a really tough place to play and Hawks are 3-0 this year at home, but i expect a close game. Bills defense is good enough to play a flawed offense close and although the Hawks have some good players their o-line is in rough shape. Shady will be back and the balance of the NFL leads me to think this is an on week for Buffalo.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    With the Browns well on their way to having the first pick in the Superbowl, (as long as San Francisco cooperates), it is time to start the festivities.
    -Pat Mahomes, 4th to 6th round, or Luke Falk 6th or 7th round. 2 of the top 3 qb’s easily fall to the late rounds
    -“With the first pic of the 2017 draft the Cleveland Browns select….Myles, (not Courtney or Clowney) Garrett.”
    6 months until the Browns Superbowl!

    • i *thought* falk wasnt eligible until 2018 but it’s been awhile since i checked.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        You are most assuredly correct MB. You also helped me out when I was all for the Browns drafting The Honey Badger a year early.
        He is still the most exciting player to watch.

  • HitTheHorns


  • Dave Borcas

    I’m making Cowboys -7 my play of the year

    • dammit. i need to get a ruling on this. but initially im thinking that poty declaration needs to be in place an hour beforehand. stay tuned.

      • wait, dave, you already hit on a bama essay.
        so no, this isn’t going to work.
        pics from your tailgate would be great tho!

        • Dave Borcas

          My bad sorry

  • Matt Lawrence

    Falcons -4 W
    Miami OH +4 W
    Rutgers +14 W
    Titans +5
    Raiders PK (All Play)
    Jaguars +9.5 (Essay)

    I’m going to go with the Jaguars +9.5 @ the Chiefs because, put simply, I hate winning. I haven’t hit an essay pick in about a month, so why not try to end that streak with arguably the worst team in the NFL. The Jaguars have been flat out atrocious and Blake Bortles has been awful. But, something tells me they will break out of that funk this week. I always like teams coming off a little adversity and it seems like any time a coach is fired, the team comes out with a little extra fire the next week, i.e. Bills firing offensive coordinator, LSU firing Les Miles, etc. And yes, while the Jags have been horrible, 9.5 points is too many with a back up quarterback and running back. Let’s hope the streak ends today!

    • Matt Lawrence

      Stupid Jags. This game should be in the bag, but it’s the Jags

  • Harbaugh Handshakes

    Saints essay
    Saints come into this game with one of the best offenses in the league and the niners have one of the worst defenses. The niners actually have a decent pass defense on paper, but I’m not so sure that isn’t assisted by the fact teams are running the ball to run the clock at the end of games. Drew Bree’s looks like he’s back to his old self assisted by rookie Michael Thomas. Probably not a great idea to give 3 points in the rd with the worst defense in the league, but my gut tells me this will be no problem for drew and the saints offense

  • clayII

    tOSU (-17) – W
    Vikings (-6.5)
    Titans (+5)
    Jets (+4)
    Broncos (pk)

    monday night essay

  • ChuckKoz

    UCLA +13.5 (Colorado) – W
    Ravens – 3 (Steelers)
    Vikings +6.5 (Lions)
    Eagles +2.5 (Giants)
    AP: Broncos PK (Raiders)
    Essay: Seahawks -6.5 (Bills) – Essay to follow on Monday

    • ChuckKoz

      UPDATE: Simple equation of the Bills heading the wrong direction with 2 losses in a row, versus the Seahawks finally coming after two tough road trips (0-1-1). Plus its a Monday night game with that Seahawk crowd, where they are unbeaten this year (3-0). Meanwhile, you have that loser Rex Ryan claiming to be a Cubs fan but leaving Game 7 early; he will follow up that magic by a week later voting for Donald Trump. That is not someone that is garners much confidence, if any is left after the Patriots reminded them of their status last week.
      Seahawks 28, Bills 9

  • ChuckKoz

    Essay: Seahawks -6.5 (Bills) – Essay to follow on Monday
    Essay: Seahawks -6.5 (Bills) – Essay to follow on Monday
    Essay: Seahawks -6.5 (Bills) – Essay to follow on Monday
    Essay: Seahawks -6.5 (Bills) – Essay to follow on Monday
    Essay: Seahawks -6.5 (Bills) – Essay to follow on Monday
    Essay: Seahawks -6.5 (Bills) – Essay to follow on Monday

  • Matt Borcas

    Cal, Wyoming

    • Matt Borcas

      Cowboys -7 over Browns

    • Matt Borcas

      Essay: Seahawks

      Coming off a loss to the resurgent Saints and a tie to the Cardinals, the Seahawks are desperate for a win. Of course, the 4-4 Bills are too, but the difference is that Seattle is actually a good team. Russell Wilson is (reportedly) the healthiest he’s been in over a month, while Shady McCoy should be limited again with a nagging hamstring injury. Moreover, the Seahawks always seem to play on another level at home in primetime. The Bills’ signing of Percy Harvin was befuddling, and I expect his mildly anticipated return to Seattle to resemble his lackluster, disappointing with the Seahawks. Seahawks win big and Rex is back on the hot seat tomorrow morning.

  • HitTheHorns

    3) Vikings -6.5
    4) Titans +5
    5) Saints -3
    6) Rams +3 (essay)
    Panthers got back on track last week with a big win, but their season is still cooked. Cam drove the conversation this week with talk about getting hit too much, so public seems to think he will get more calls this week (70% on Panthers as of 8pm Saturday). The NFL normally doubles down in the opposite direction when they get called out on bullshit, so I can guarantee no special treatment for Cam. Panthers D still sucks. I’ll hope the Panthers have a “LA Hangover” that the Warriors had last night and Keenum doesn’t have a terrible 1 or 2 turnovers. Also I like home dogs.

  • HitTheHorns

    1) Ohio State -17

  • Concierge

    Utah State

    Everything in the world points to Nebraska covering the 17 points… Yet the line has not moved one bit. I think Nebraska might be fraudulent. Tommy Armstrong is a turnover machine and the OSU defense will be like sharks with blood in the water when that football is in the air. Not to mention OSU is at home and at night. Big ten home games at night tend to go the way of the Buckeyes. Oh not to mention did you see those sick throwbacks?? YEP gimme the buckeyes minus the points. Hate laying the big number but this has OSU blowout written all over it.

  • oxr

    With apologies to everyone else who has picked Florida State -5 over NC State: Florida State -5 over NC State.

    • oxr

      That Bears-Vikings game was tough to watch; I have now essayed against the Bears in their only two wins of the season to go with getting the Lions exactly wrong in two other essays. It is comfy down here in this basement where I am hiding from the NFC North. If I can’t hit an essay this week I think it’ll finally be time for some sort of Costanza/only-the-largest-underdogs approach. Anyway:

      All-Play Broncos PK over Raiders
      Cowboys -7 over Browns
      Steelers +3 over Ravens
      Titans +5 over Chargers

      Essay Saints -3 over 49ers – I am sick of picking teams the week their offense decides to go on vacation. This should not happen today (originally typed “will”). It is not unreasonable to think that New Orleans should be scoring in the 30s: the 49ers just gave up 33, 45, and 34 to the Cardinals, Bills, and Goddamn Buccaneers For Crying Out Loud and – while the Saints defense isn’t exactly good – they haven’t scored more than 28 all season (that being the anomalous shutout week 1 against the Rams). The 49ers are coming off a bye week, I guess, so I should probably just roll over and pick them. Maybe next week.

  • pateslvrblk

    Washington -16.5
    USC -17
    Bama -7
    Cowboys -7
    Oakland Raiders
    Saints -3

    Games are won down in the trenches, and until the 49ers can prove they can do that on a consistent basis, I have to roll the other way. Let’s keep it real. The 49ers run defense is downright awful. Whether being out-of-sync on run fits, leveraging their blocks, or release off the stack, it’s becoming more apparent that personnel changes need to be made. Disgruntled fans this weekend critical of the job done by GM Trent Baalke will be flying a Banner over the stadium bearing “Fire GM Trent Baalke # Fire Trent”. Talks are already being made for the 2017 draft and the competition with the Browns for quarterbacks. Speaking of quarterbacks, how will Kapernicks appearance this week be perceived when the Niners celebrate Military appreciation week? The concerns are growing over half empty seats during home games due to the disastrous performance on the field. Not to mention Stubhub has had tickets available for $35 in each of the last two home games. The city of Santa Clara is losing money and threatening to take back management of the stadium as there is concerns over the franchise use of taxpayer dollars improperly at Levi’s Stadium. Enough said.

  • Lucy Lawrence

    1. Iowa St +21 W
    2. Falcons -4 W
    3. Miami Oh +4 W
    4. Notre Dame -7 (pending)
    5. Essay Alabama -7
    6. Back with all play tomorrow

    I can’t believe I’m going with a fav on the road in a rivalry game but I am. I’m totally in love with this Alabama team and that’s saying a lot coming from an OSU alum. I like to look at coaching matchups in these big games and I’ll take Sabah over Les’ replacement. I understand that LSU has been playing much better since firing Les but Alabama is so freaking good. There defense is so quick and I think they will stuff Fournette like in years past. The SEC is a monster conference and Bama’s freshman QB had shown he can get it done both on the road and at home. This reminds me of the OSU/Michigan rivalry in the past..it’s a rivalry but it’s totally one sided in recent years. LSU hasn’t won this matchup since 2011 and I don’t see that changing this year.

    • Lucy Lawrence

      6. All Play: Raiders pk

  • TS_Butler

    FSU -5
    Arkansas +5.5
    Wyoming -5
    Saints -3
    AP: Broncos
    Seahawks -6.5 (Essay Coming)

    • TS_Butler

      I feel like I say this every week, but the Bills are not a good team. They’ve been massively overrated since they won four straight against the likes of Jacoby, Palmer on the road, Rams, and Niners. A loss Monday and they’ll be 4-5, well on their way to another crap season, with the worst head coach in football. The Seahawks offense scares me. They can’t seem to run it or throw it. Russell Wilson has single-handedly sunk my fantasy team… I don’t care. Bills are much worse. Seattle 27 – Bills 13.

  • WYOMING -4
    OK STATE +3
    UVA +3
    FSU -5

  • thatsfine

    Ball St +17.5 L
    Ark St -3.5 W
    Miami U +4 W – I watched this one. Miami U held CMU to 30-something yards of total offense and one first down in the second half. They finish @Buffalo and vs. Ball State, and have a legitimate chance to go 6-6 after starting 0-6.
    UMass +21 – Troy makes mistakes, may get caught looking ahead to App State and Arkansas State over the next 2 weeks, and UMass has found a way to hang in against better talent this year.
    Nevada +14.5 essay

    Nevada coming off a much needed bye week, and moving on to a new QB since starter Tyler Stewart went down with a season ending injury three weeks ago. Sophomore Ty Gangi came in and put up 300 yards 1TD/1INT against a decent Wyoming defense, and coming off a bye to settle in. His first road start is either going to be a spark or a complete disaster. At least he has an experienced RB in James Butler, not the best in the conference but 895 yards/7 TDs on the year he is reliable. And he’s going up against a NMU defense that gives up 32 points/game. The Nevada defense is middling at best and terrible at stopping the run #125 in FBS. Against Wyoming they got absolutely gashed for 403(!!!), which doesn’t bode well against NMU, who does nothing but run the ball. But, New Mexico doesn’t have a singularly impressive guy like Wyoming’s Brian Hill. The Lobos run the triple option so of course they rack up a ton of rushing yards (so does Army and Georgia Southern) and now Nevada has had an extra week to prepare to play against the system. Plus, NMU returning home from a long trip to Hawaii. I think Nevada can keep pace and will keep it within 2 scores on the road.

    • thatsfine

      Raiders PK

  • bupalos

    One Miami came through for me, so let’s double down, load all 3 barrels full of cheddar gold, and go gunning for panther. This is as clear a one-facet mismatch as you get. Pitt’s d-line is the whole team. Miami’s o-line was nonexistent before it got injured. Any coach worth their salt would spend the entire week trying to figure out how to make sure that isn’t where the game is decided, and in this case, that shouldn’t be even as hard as it sounds. The Canes have maybe the best and least utilized big-play TE in college football and a stable of quality receivers, and the entire Pitt d backfield is trash. Kayaa may be overrated, but he’s definitely a quality QB, just somehow figure out how keep him upright on 50% of the snaps and we should see 4 or 5 long sprints to the endzone through confused zones. Miami -3 to keep the march to respectability rolling.

    Maybe Missy State can hang in with a cautious TAMU too, we’ll put one scheckel on that this afternoon too.

    • bupalos

      we’ll toss in Wisconsin -6.5 too.

      • bupalos

        Browns and Raiders tomorrow, so he full Bupalos reads:

        Miami O

  • UncleBuck


    Bama -7 over LSU

    I’ll start by saying that I have tried the last few years to fight the good fight, and pick every underdog imaginable against Bama and the Patriots. What I’ve found is that strategy is a recipe for disappointment and dollars lost. If you can get over hating Belichick and Saban, you’ll realize how consistent they are at getting their teams ready every week. the Pats and Bama don’t seem to have letdown games the way that everyone else does, which is why a gambler’s loyalty to them will pay off.

    With that said, I think the Tide will get it done tonight by preventing Lenny from running wild. I would love to see the upset, and I think LSU may give them an early scare, but eventually Bama’s dominance will take hold and win by multiple scores.

  • 1) Nebraska
    2) Bama
    3) Steelers
    4) Saints
    5) Broncos
    6) Cowboys

    Essay: Cowboys

    The Cowboys manage to get at least two playmakers on the offensive side of the ball this past draft while the jury is still out on the Browns top pick and mid round QB. I think the Browns have a better shot of winning this game if McCown was in, which probably says all it needs to about where Kesler is. The Browns have been unable to stop less explosive RBs than Zeke and having to focus so much on him isn’t going to help a secondary that is likely to give up a big play at any time. The only hope I see for the Browns is if the Cowboys simply sleepwalk in and overlook this game. I see a low probability of that happening though, as the young guys are going to want to keep rolling and Dak isn’t going to want to give the media or Jerry any room to push for Romo’s return.

  • notable: i just updated the all-picks sheet and as of week 9, we as a group have battled back to .500. well done.

  • CLEinMSP

    Indiana -14
    Arkansas +5.5
    Texas A & M -13.5
    Vandy +26
    Raiders PK (All Play)
    Steelers +3 (Essay)

    I hate both these teams, and I’m sure this will be an extremely boring game. Interesting matchup here. Both teams coming off a bye, and Pittsburgh has lost their last 2 games with Roethlisberger injured. He is back tomorrow, so I expect that to give Pitts the boost they need. I’m sure AB will have a couple big plays like he normally does with Ben. Overall, Pittsburgh is now fairly healthy, and I think they’ll pull away and win the AFC North over the next 6-7 weeks. I’m not impressed with Baltimore or Cincy. This just strikes me as the type of game that Pittsburgh will find a way to win, so I’ll take the points.

  • John

    Wisconsin -6.5 over “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” Northwestern

    • John

      Alabama -7 to LSU
      **essay** FSU -5 to NC State

      • John

        Essay- hmm weird. I hit submit on my essay- and I got an “Disque error” and got the superman page…

        I’m way too lazy (and tired from the completing the Chicago sports equinox (Cubs on Sunday, Bears on Monday, Hawks on Thursday, Bulls on Friday)- and I went 3-1 attending them live.

        so- FSU wins big tonight- like 45-17.
        I think FSU is still a top 10 (12) team in the country- but they haven’t had a complete game yet.
        Tonight- they put it together- and run around like the voted early.

        and honestly- if they played Clemson again- they’d win.
        so they take it out on the Wolfpack by shutting down that weak sauce running game.

        • John

          Cowboys -7 to the blog favorite Browns
          Saints -3 to the 9ers
          Raiders. over the Broncos,.

  • Brian

    Oklahoma State +3
    Texas A&M -13.5
    Auburn -26
    Louisiana Tech -20
    Raiders PK
    Cowboys -7 ******POTY******

    As unfortunate as this may be…I think the browns decision to start Cody Kessler over Josh McCown actually makes the offense worse. I think this is the point where the browns have decided to accept the number 1 pick. I think if jeremy hill can run through this defense then Zeke with the best O-Line in football can probably walk to the endzone. Zeke goes for 150 and 2 TD’s Dak throws for another 200 and 2TD’s and the cowboys defense although not great has been playing exceptionally well on the road this year. I just dont really give the browns a shot in this one. Looking at like a 28-10 or 31-14 type game. I dont like root against them but in this case I dont think 7 is enough. Should see an offensive clinic against this young, inexperienced, and just down right awful Cleveland Defense. Go Cowboys!

  • army.
    we all know army-navy. less publicized is a pretty strong navy-afa rivalry. army-airforce is, so i read, the weakest of the three games but still i suspect this is a major game in the minds of jeff monken, army’s ex-of-georgiasouthern head coach. afa is 17-3 over army in the last 20 years. one of army’s wins was in 1996 and i could’ve jockeyed that stat to read ’17-2 over the last 19 years’ but the point is still made and with rounder numbers. that’s how complete afa’s dominance has been and/or how hapless army has been. monken’s experience in maxing D2 talent which manifested in florida upset and three consec D2 playoff appearances will be handy at west point but then all of his resume was build for this opportunity. he started with paul johnson at hawaii and was on his staff at gaso, navy, and gatech before going back to gaso. not only was he with johnson learning johnson’s service academy favorite triple option, he was coaching it daily as RB coach. so lookit, monken is used to working with non-five-star recruits, effective run offense, and service academy experience. all the above reads well, but importantly army has shown a smidgeon of harbaugh-esque meanness/bad-assery with the 60+ run-ups on UTEP and lafayette. they hung with duke and beat our friend dave clawson at winston-salem last week. meanwhile afa seems down this year having lost three in a row (wyo, unm, uh) before rallying to not cover against a down-year fresno. i like army’s chances to flip the script at home today.

    • baylor

      • ffs. welp, weekly awards start next week. fyi, it’ll be $150/wk.
        chiefs, giants, bills, raiders.

  • trashycamaro

    **FSU -5 over NC State**

    Eagles +2.5 over Giants

    Alabama -7 over LSU

    Steelers +3 over Ravens

    Panthers -3 over Cardinals

    Broncos PK over Raiders

    Happy with my slate this week, but I don’t feel essay confident in any of them. Feel strongly that I will hit 4/6 but these games have a lot of randomness. Eagles are better than the Giants, but Eli and OBJ are difference makers who can randomly win the game (and lose it). LSU has been terrible, Bama great, and Fournette has been shut down by great D-Lines. But…he’s still Fournette and Bama has to rely more heavily on their passing game this year (on further review Bama is 3-3 in last 6 trips to LSU witha ll wins by TD or less). Ravens are garbage and Roethlisberger is back…but Ben may be rushing and Antonio Brown is hurt in some way. Panthers seem to have hit their groove and Palmer can’t hit deep balls to take advantage of the weakest part of the Panthers defense…but Johnson can break loose or maybe the Panthers are not out of their funk. FSU has been wildly inconsistent. I was playing the Broncos this week regardless of AP status, but Carr does scare me enough that I won’t put the extra points on it.

    Can’t believe it, but I am going with a college pick this week – FSU -5.5 over NCST. I usually keep my college plays to a minimum because I don’t pay attention that closely, but I have leaned heavily on FSU games where they are dramatically underrated (I used them as my winning POTY last year). FSU is a team that is vastly more talented than NCST. Their defense has not been playing well, and their offense has been choking out in the big games. But here we have a motivated FSU team coming off a big loss going against the Pack coming off a 3 game losing streak. Big bounce for the Seminoles here, especially with the line coming down for them.

    • TS_Butler

      Just a heads up, Panthers v Cardinals was last week. Game this week is Panthers -3 over the Rams in LA

      • trashycamaro

        ha thanks!

  • RCLA

    Saints -3, Cal +17, NYJ +4, FSU -5.5, DEN, ESSAY: Steelers + 3 (spiel to come)

  • Dave Borcas

    Florida State -5
    Baylor -8
    Cowboys -7
    Saints -3
    Raiders pick (all play)
    Alabama -7 (essay)
    I get very impressed every time I watch Alabama play. They juts always look bigger, strobe and faster than anybody they play. By pro potential, LSU has more draftable talent on their team. So the difference has to be preparation and coaching, as much as I don’t care for Nick Sabin. The game will come down to Leonard Fournette vs the stingy Baja defense. When teams move the ball on Baja its with the pass, and I do not foresee LSU lighting up in the passing game. This game should be a good ole fashion sloberknocker. The Baja D has a way of turning games with big plays. Get up by two scores on LSU and they will be forced to do some things on offense they just are not comfortable doing. Keep an eye on Jonathan Allen who I would love to see rushing the passer for the Browns next year. Tide rolls 27-16.

  • Nick

    Northwestern +6.5 vs Wiscy **Essay
    Lions +6.5 vs Vikings
    Titans +5 vs Chargers
    Illinois +7.5 vs MSU
    Purdue +17.5 vs Minny
    Raiders PK vs Broncos
    Good morning from Nashville where we are experiencing mild drought conditions, some areas South of here have not seen rain in 30 days. My expert analysis on college football indicates that Northwestern wins outright here, Wiscy has had a brutal schedule the last month, they are beat up on defense and don’t have a solid starting QB. Wiscy can’t score touchdowns, something like 16% of their possessions ends in TDs, which places them almost last in the NCAA, according to this debate on College Gameday. This game is an early start, and I don’t think Wiscy is ready for this game.

  • LittleBallofHate

    Not much to say — Notre Dame (-7), Cowboys (-7), Saints (-3), Dolphins (-4)
    All Play — Raiders (Pick ’em)
    Florida State (-5) at NC State
    The Seminoles hate going to Raleigh and facing the Wolfpack. Since FSU joined the ACC in 1992, NC State has defeated the Noles seven times (only Clemson has more). A big key to the wins and the Wolfpack being competitive was they have had good quarterbacks. That can’t be said this season. NC State’s offensive line is struggling, it is committing too many turnovers on offense and they lost at home to Boston College. Factor in that Florida State is pissed about a disappointing season and an upcoming bowl trip to Jacksonville, Nashville or even New York and all of that factors into what should allow them to cover.

  • squeekycleen

    Essay: North Carolina St:
    Last week, NC St loses as big favorite. Quite a lot of disappointment. Also last week, FSU loses as short home dog in biggest game of year, season effectively over. Which team does better off those results? I will go with NC St as their season expectations were much lower and likely many of their goals can still be reached. FSU on the other hand is in play out the string mode. Short dog for me as essay.


    All play: Raiders

  • zizzer13

    AP: Oakland over Denver
    Syracuse +26 over Clemson
    ESSAY: Indiana -14 over Rutgers
    Maryland +31 over Michigan
    West Virginia -34.5 over Kansas
    Cowboys -7 over Browns

    Last week’s move to mostly pro games damn near killed me, so it’s back to a heavy dose of college picks this week, and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time which of the double-digit spreads to select as this week’s essay. In the end, I went with the smallest spread, simply because it’s the game I feel most confident about, with “confident” being a relative term. Indiana’s a pretty decent, middle-of-the-road Big Ten team, with the three losses in conference being to Ohio State, Nebraska and Northwestern. And while that win against Michigan State looks a lot less impressive now, they’re playing against a team that would feel much more comfortable in the MAC East Division. Hoosiers by slightly more than two touchdowns.

  • AP: Raiders PK Broncos
    Boston +24.5 vs. Louisville
    Maryland +31 vs. Michigan
    Wisconsin -6.5 vs. Northwestern
    Wyoming -5 vs. Utah State
    **Illinois +7.5 vs. MSU**Essay**
    When in doubt, essay the team you’ve adopted by marriage. Because that makes a load of rational sense. Nick Harlow and I are effectively living in a museum-like condo as our place is on the market and we are closing on a house in the suburbs of Chicago. I’m ecstatic to get back to the midwest. To the Big 10. I’ve been in SEC country for too long. I like to imagine fall mornings in the future when we climb into the car before sunrise, breath visible, and since Nick is driving, I’m holding a travel mug with my evergreen combination of hot apple cider and bourbon. We arrive in Champaign in time to hit a greasy spoon diner before a laid back tailgate. We go to the game, cold enough for mittens, not cold enough for long johns, and the Illini keep the game close enough that we actually stay until the end. I think that could be a game like today.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      KP & NH, I pictured it much differently.
      Run out of Tennessee on a rail when the locals discover that you are not related, not even cousins. Hitchhiking to your private sanctuary in an alley somewhere between Englewood and West Englewood Illinois, you are lovingly passing back and forth a 1.5 liter plastic bottle of vodka, (cider and Bourbon my ass), breath visible because it is 200 proof and about .42 BAC, Nick is absent mindedly reciting verses from “The Kitchen Readings”, our lovely heroine cradling the black garbage bag carrying the remnants of their belongings not incinerated by the torches of the angry villagers, they pause briefly to steal another bottle and write their respective Cheddar Essays….

  • zarathustra

    Bowling Green (L)

    Georgia Tech
    I was on the other side of this game last year. Georgia Tech had like a four td lead in the first half and the heels came back on the road. The heels had a great year last year and Georgia Tech underachieved. I think Georgia Tech is maybe underrated and I have zero confidence in the UNC defense to contain the triple option.

    Kansas St
    I had the ‘neers last week at okie st and they lost by 17. They also turned the ball over in their own territory at least three times. Okie St had two touchdown drives of under 10 yards. I’m always happy to roll with Bill Snyder in these spots.

    Harbaugh/Flacco off a bye=good. Ben in first game back from injury =bad. Ravens getting healthier =good. Steelers recent history in Baltimore=bad.

    I came into the year thinking the broncos were an 8 win team at best, but their defense is good enough that I might favor them to win the division at this point. I also came into the year thinking the raiders were by far the most overrated team. I should revise that a bit as they are indeed better than I anticipated. They still are however overrated nonetheless. Five of the six wins were close games decided in the final couple minutes and the other one was the jaguars. Last week was the first week they actually out gained an opponent all year. Reminder: it was week 8. Also, they were in FL the last two weeks. If I were away for two weeks I can not imagine the chaos I would return to and it would be hard to focus.

    Seahawks ***
    The Indians loss was a bummer. On the bright side, maybe it will bring to an end the last four months of stupid 3-1 jokes. You would think someone who has lost in so many painful way would have the tact not to rub it in when things finally went their way, because experience has taught them that it can always happen to them again and as a general rule you can never really go wrong with even just a hint of empathy. Just because you make silly 3-1 jokes doesn’t by any means make you an asshole, but it does mean you kind of were acting like one. But now here we are. At least we have the opportunity to witness that the universe has a great sense of humor which is encouraging in my opinion.
    What in the world does this have to do with Monday night football? Easy. All those effing cubs fans that were there, making it almost like a home game for them. Incredibly frustrating. All the big city hot shots strolling into the provinces, shocked to find the peasants actually wear shoes and talk like them, to celebrate a championship like they own the place.*
    Rex Ryan is a cubs fan. Rex Ryan drove with about a dozen staffers on a bus to Cleveland for the game. So he was one of those people. But putting that aside, Rex Ryan’s team is going on the road to play a prime time game against a hard-nosed team coming off a loss at maybe the toughest venue in all of sports…and he’s taking a mid-week jaunt down to Cleveland to take in the cubbies game. Maybe they already put in all their work for the week and had some free time. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. I’m sure that Bill Belichick does things like that too.

    Last week I was against the Seahawks because the previous week they had a night time ot game and had to turn around for the second leg of a back-to-back. The defense did perform admirably, but they only forced the saints to punt twice the whole game.
    The offense is still not very good, but they are returning home against a Bills team that I think is still a bit overrated after their four game winning streak that consisted of the injured 3rd string rookie qb pats, the niners, and rams. Even the cardinals were in kind of a bad spot and they are an up and down team so far this year anyway.
    Also, Russell Wilson is 13-4 ats in prime time games.

    *I’m just having fun here. This is an admittedly uncharitable view. There’s of course nothing wrong with wanting to celebrate your team winning it all and traveling to see it when it really isn’t that far away.

  • It’s been a good run these last two weeks, not just getting back into contention here on the Bay but also with the Lock of the Millennium, knowing that the Indians would lose the World Series thanks to the Curse of Chief Wahoo (a curse isn’t really any good unless it lets fans get close enough to break their hearts from time to time). But looking at this week’s slate I get the sense that I’m being marched to the gallows.

    Starting with the fact that Agnes already had 9 points on the week by Friday morning and was only thwarted by Temple last night on the fifth stage of her quest for the Most Extreme Lobsterfest (Lobsterfest + VOTY). My time in the sun (above her in the standings) was short.

    And now Pete Franklin shows up out of the mist with a warning about the essay vote that I’d been planning to make for the last two weeks since I was in Baton Rouge for the Mississippi game. What he says makes sense to me, and yet I feel duty-bound to ride this one out.

    LSU +7 over Alabama will remain my vote of the week. It’s a funny spread. Alabama has been destroying everyone. LSU’s defense is really good, too. Fournette can do stuff? And maybe something crazy will happen?

    This, plus my LSU fandom, plus thinking of what might happen the playoff picture if LSU runs the table, plus the fact that I’ll get to watch this game is enough for me this week, Pete Franklin warnings to the wind.

    Other votes:

    TCU +7.5 over Baylor
    Nebraska +17 over Ohio State
    Browns +7 over Cowboys
    Packers -7 over Colts
    Raiders PK over Broncos

    Happy football voting weekend to all.

    • Trying to figure out whether it’s better or worse to lose an essay with the foreknowledge that it was going to lose.

      Anyway, after last night I have lost the stomach for the Cleveland Browns Experience so please cancel that vote and I will go dumpster diving with the Niners instead. Thanks.

      • Switch me to the Broncos on the All Play, too, please. I need to stop the bleeding this week and not let Agnes gain any more points on me.

        • pheasantpants


      • The Niners might not have covered, but it was still a win to switch off the Browns vote today. Woof.

  • Hawkaholic

    Louisville -24.5 @ Boston College
    Florida State -5 @ NC State
    Cal +16.5 vs. Washington
    Dallas -7 @ Browns
    AP: Broncos over the Raiders
    Essay: Wisconsin -6.5 @ Northwestern

    Chicago is still hungover after the Cubs victory and I am assuming that goes for Fitz and the Kitties from Evanston. Congratulations Cleveland on an excellent World Series, unbelievable run considering how many injuries they suffered, they will be back.

    Wisconsin is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 and Northwestern is 5-1 ATS in their last 6. In doing my research on this game I realized it has been a little closer in recent years than i would have guessed. Last year the Cats won by 6 in Madison, they year before that they won by 6, Wisconsin has actually not won in Evanston since 1999. Northwestern has had the hotter offense in the last couple of weeks while Wisconsin and its defense has been leading the way for a very good Wisconsin team. Both team’s B10 losses have come from the upper crust of the league, Wisky losing to Michigan and Ohio State with Northwestern losing to Nebraska (Wisky needed OT last week to win) and Ohio State. This won’t be an easy game for Wisconsin by any stretch, but i think they get it done. They are a more physical football team and they will grind out this slugfest. Wisconsin averages 315 pounds across their offensive line which will pave the way for Wisconsin to grind out a 14 point victory.

    As for the Hawks i would stay away, they are 7 points dogs traveling to Happy Valley. Penn State is the better team today, i look for them to win by 10 points as Iowa’s defense just isn’t that good this year. Go Hawks.

  • Capitalgg

    [All-play] Broncos pk @ Raiders: Raiders have been extremely lucky winning close games. Broncos just generally solid. No home field advantage for Raiders.
    1. Penn St. -7 v. Iowa: Happy Valley. Night game. PSU superior team.
    2. Packers -7 v. Colts: Packers home field grass v. dome team. Potential for backdoor cover here for Colts, but this should be all Packers.
    3. Washington -16.5 @ Cal: Take angry team needing style points. Add bye week. Beat Cal.
    4. Giants -2.5 v. Eagles: Expect a tough fought division game. Can Giants get some turnover luck to tilt their way for a change?

    Quietly the Seahawks defense has become dominating again after slumping a bit to start the year. 2 weeks ago in that abomination of a Sunday-nighter, the D played 80+ snaps and only allowed 6 points. Then on the short-ish week held the high-powered Saints to 25. They get the extra day of rest and the home crowd this week. If the offense comes along, the ‘Hawks could turn this into a laugher early. The Bills have beaten the bad teams on its schedule and holds an overrated win over the under-manned Pats. That why I’m riding with Seahawks -6.5 on Monday night against the Bills.

    Other Considerations:
    Louisville -24.5 @ Boston College
    Indiana -14 @ Rutgers
    Michigan -31 v. Maryland
    Virginia +3 @ Wake Forest
    Oklahoma St. -3 @ Kansas St.
    Kentucky -2 v. Georgia
    Florida -5.5 @ Arkansas
    Browns +7 v. Cowboys
    Rams +3 v. Panthers
    Steelers +3 @ Ravens
    Dolphins -4 v. Jets

  • Petefranklin

    Hi everyone. Just a quick note, be very wary of LSU plus the points. It seems like every handicapper in the world that i have heard or seen picks from (at least the mediocre ones like in our newspaper) is on LSU. When this happens it is usually a losing bet. I just dont have enough time this year to cheddar so GL
    JAX 7.5
    Browns over
    49ers over
    NYG First half under 21.5 small
    Tex AM over 61.5 medium

  • Jmacdaddio

    Rutgers +14
    FSU -5
    Texas Tech +3.5
    Penn St -7 (Essay)
    Panthers -3
    Raiders (PK)

    After week 6 I was dead and buried, and my last Cheddar rites were read. Thanks to the Cowboys last week, I’m knocking on the playoff door. I like to think the new OT rules helped – if your team is moving the ball well, might as well punch it in and go home rather than kick a FG and risk a loss on a TD. I think I’m liking this mid-season surge more than a mid-season nosedive. This week’s essay is Penn State. They’re at home, in a primetime game, against a team that didn’t exactly light it up against Rutgers earlier this season, when Rutgers was terrible rather than merely awful. They’re on a roll with 4 solid wins, and aren’t they bowl eligible again? All the signs I can see point to a convincing Penn St victory at home.

    • Jmacdaddio

      Looks like my RU pick never made it to the sheet – I sent in an entry for my #4 pick.

  • mmmmsnouts

    ALL PLAY: Broncos PK over Raiders

    Iowa State +21 vs. Oklahoma (W)
    Lions +6.5 vs. Vikings
    Memphis -3 vs. SMU (holy overreaction line!)
    California +16.5 vs. Washington

    ESSAY: Baylor -7.5 vs. TCU

    Look, no one wants to pick Baylor or write about Baylor or think about Baylor and neither do I, really. But how long is Vegas going to keep giving TCU credit for being good? They just aren’t. Their best win may be South Dakota State, and they don’t do anything that well. There is a case for picking Baylor to cover, and that’s their running game. TCU’s rush defense is only average (#63 S&P) and the Bears are averaging almost 300 yards per game on the ground. This should be a double-digit line, and also everyone still in a leadership position at that school is reprehensible and chock full of moral cowardice. They only care about not going back to sucking at football. Fire everyone.

  • jdoepke

    Broncos PK (AP)
    Miss St +13.5
    Mizzou +7
    Pittsburgh +3
    TCU +7.5

    LSU +7

    LSU at home. At night. Interim coach. Getting points. Biggest game of the year and the smallest point spread Bama has seen in a long time. 73% of the bets on Bama, 55% of the money on LSU. Going against Saban in a big game is a hard thing to do but big Ed has LSU playing as well as they have all year and Les Miles isn’t there to screw things up this time. LSU 21 Bama 20 in a barn burner

    • actovegin1armstrong

      When I got to “barn burner” I had to read it all over again, but in a Keith Jackson voice. Hope you do not mind but I threw in a “Katie bar the door” and a “Whoa Nellie”.


    1. Denver PK- just for Dan Whalen ha
    2. USC -17
    3, osu -17
    4. Titans +5
    5. Browns +7
    Essay Sunday

    • That was gift wrapped for you. I have to go Raiders, simply on principle. If they can stay below 21 penalties like last week, I think there’s a chance.

    • CLEVTA

      Replacing Titans with Miss St +13.5

      • CLEVTA

        Changed my mind on essay
        5. Vikes -6
        6. Osu -17 (essay): every single avg Joe I know loves Nebraska. Corn Huskers have not beaten anybody of note and Armstrong has been a mess at QB lately, completing 44% of his passes with 5 ints in his last 3 games vs the likes of Indiana and Purdue. It’s a night game at OSU so I expect a big osu W

  • FTCMikeD

    ECU +8.5 over TULSA

    CHIEFS -9.5 over Jags
    Eagles +2.5 over GIANTS
    CHARGERS -5 over Titans
    AP: Broncos PK over RAIDERS
    Looks like Ben R. is back for the Steelers this week. I’m going to grab the points. This Steelers team is probably the 2nd best in the AFC when they are healthy after the Pats. The Ravens have not been playing very well lately. This rivalry is intense and is usually close and I don’t think home field really matters. I expect the Steelers to end up on top of this one or the points will help to win this matchup ATS.

  • pheasantpants

    Raiders pick-em
    Nebraska +17 over OSU
    Illinois +7.5 over MSU
    Kentucky +2 over UGA
    Auburn -26 over Vandy

    • pheasantpants

      Okay, tough break with Kentucky, not so tough break with the Huskers.

      Essay for the week is Seattle -6.5. The main reason: I didn’t have time to pick any other game. Oh well. Seattle is more talented, and they’re unbeaten at home in front of the 12th man. However, I am getting mixed information as to who the public likes – Seattle goes from slight to heavy favorite depending on the source. This is probably partly an acknowledgement of a big line and partly an acknowledgment of Seattle’s offensive struggles. But the ‘Hawks lead the league in scoring defense. And on the other side of the ledger, while the Bills have been a high scoring attack, they do so with a very inefficient QB (and the worse passing offense in the league), which plays into Seattle’s strengths. With a dinged-up LeSean McCoy and a cross-country trip for the Bills, I look for the Seahawks to win on the order of 19-10 and reverse my fortunes after some huge misses on the college votes.

  • cwonder23

    Louisville -26 or whatever it is. On cloud nine after the CHICAGO CUBS won the World Series. Shout out to Cleveland too! I have a feeling we will see this matchup again soon.

    • cwonder23

      Louisville -24.5 @ BC
      FSU -5 @ NC State
      Cowboys -7 @ Browns
      Steelers +3 @ Ravens
      All Play: Broncos PK @ Raiders
      Essay/POTY: Wiscy -6.5 @ Northwestern
      ***PICK OF THE YEAR***
      Trying to test my luck here after the Cubs broke their 108 year streak. I’m taking this weeks essay as my Pick of the Year. Wisconsin showed it is going to get consideration in the CFP by beating Nebraska and taking OSU to OT. Also, Ryan Field is not a hard place to play and I’m sure all the students have semi-finals or something so they won’t be attending. That takes the home field advantage out of the picture. Wisconsin needs to win and win big if they plan on making some noise in January. I think it’s a long shot, but they gotta take care of business here to ensure they get consideration for, at a minimum, a Rose Bowl. I like Wiscy here big. 28-7.

  • GRRustlers

    Week 10 Picks

    We cross the halfway point and as I sit at the top of the table I think back to my first year in Cheddar Bay and am thankful we did not have relegation. The counterpoint to that is that I could have picked games in a lower division with Clay Travis every week but this is much more fun.

    Boise (-29) over SJST – One day I’m going to run some number on the 29 point line. It’s like a beacon that calls me.

    Notre Dame (-7) over Navy
    Saints (-3) over 49ers
    Packers (-7) over Colts

    AP – Broncos (PK) over Raiders – The man right behind me in the standings (CLEVTA) knows far more than I ever will and I enjoy the weekly Raiders commentary on Twitter. The Raiders really are a bewildering bunch.

    Essay Pick

    We don’t have enough time to go over all of the things that are wrong with the NFL and the product on the field. Take a moment and think about the amount of things you saw in Game 7 of the World Series that the NFL would have thrown a flag on. Emotion is a good thing and the NFL has spent so much time sucking the joy out of their players that the majority of the games play out like a shitty computer simulation.

    The one thing you can count on with the NFL now is that they will overreact to the smallest thing just so they can keep the illusion that they know what the hell they are doing.

    This brings me to Cam Newton. Brilliant. He might as well put a Brady jersey on Sunday because if Aaron Donald so much as breathes on that guy he is going to be drowned in yellow laundry. It’s easy for the NFL to screw over the Rams on one Sunday. You can take one for the team on Sunday and make us look like we actually give a shit about one of our premier talents in the league.

    Panthers (-3) over Rams

  • Harbaugh Handshakes

    Lsu +7
    North Carolina -10
    Lions +6.5
    Broncos pk
    Packers -7
    Essay saints -3

    Back Sunday with write up

  • bupalos

    Miami +4

  • Peter Markos

    I am stubborn. I still think the Packers will make some noise by the end of the season. The Vikings are taking in water and the Lions ready to be buried. This is the time for the Pack to take control if the division. I might be wrong.
    The Raiders are the what we all wish the Browns were. A young team on the rise. All of those empty seats are well deserved after drafting Brandon Wheadon and Johnny Football. I hope that makes Haslem boil. The Raiders will score enough to get by the Broncos.
    Michigan has been running up the score on the scrubs. MD will get it too.
    Syracuse will take a beating. Average teams cover against the Orange. This will be ugly.
    Notre Dame can score on this team. Navy has a terrible and slow defense. USf put 28 on them is a quarter.
    The Cowboys have it all except play off experience. The Browns will see on Sunday how far behind they are. I still believe in Hue. You have to hit rock 0-16 bottom before they can go up.

  • Chris P.

    I believe it was the great Greek/Syracusan mathematician/engineer Archimedes who said “Give me enough points and I can cover the world.” That is the kind of timeless advice that we rode to eleven points last week.

    For a 6-1 team, I’m not sure you could be less impressive than Baylor has been. Who knows who their coach is, and who knows how excited players are to put on the green and gold, and blah.

    TCU’s secondary is porous. TCU isn’t living up to expectations. TCU might not make a bowl. TCU is 1-7 against the spread.


    You know what else is true? Overcompensation. Baylor is 2-5 against the spread. They’re off a loss to Texas, and they’re just not going to beat TCU by two scores.

    TCU +7.5 Baylor

    The “Cheddar Bay All Stars” might not beat the Baylor Bears – but we’d be competitive at positions. We’d have better quarterback play. We’d have better writing about the game afterwards. We’d litigate the shit out of them if they disagreed. I like our chances.

    Virginia +3 Wake Forest
    MTSU -20.5 UTSA
    Florida State -5 NC State (really? they bet this line down to 5? thank you.)
    Georgia -2 Kentucky
    Raiders +0 Broncos

    BTW – thank God Agnes hit her pick. There was something mildly disconcerting about being sandwiched between Mother Theresa and the father of her baby in the standings.

  • Chris Schroeder

    + 3 Pittsburgh @ Baltimore
    -17 Washington State vs. Arizona
    -21.5 San Diego State vs. Hawaii
    -5 Wyoming vs. Utah State
    All Play: PK Denver @ Oakland

    Essay: -4 Old Dominion vs. Marshall
    Location: Norfolk, Virginia
    Stadium: Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium
    Time: 7:00 PM
    Broadcast: AMSN
    Nickname: Thundering Herd @ Monarch
    The Game: Boy boy. I have fallen so low on this Cheddar thing that I’m resorting to the Conference USA to help me out. Old Dominion’s passing game will create scoring for most of the evening. Mr. Washington had his best game of the season last week and hopefully continue the trend. The Herd is coming into the game with a two game losing streak which willcontinue. The only way this one stays close is if Marshall figures out how to keep the running game to a minimum.

  • Chris Schroeder

    + 3 Pitteburgh @ Baltimore
    -17 Washington State vs. Arizona
    -21.5 San Diego State vs. Hawaii
    -5 Wyoming vs. Utah State
    All Play: PK Denver @ Oakland

    Essay: -4 Old Dominion vs. Marshall
    Location: Norfolk, Virginia
    Stadium: Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium
    Time: 7:00 PM
    Broadcast: AMSN
    Nickname: Thundering Herd @ Monarch
    The Game: Boy boy. I have fallen so low on this Cheddar thing that I’m resorting to the Conference USA to help me out. Old Dominion’s passing game will create scoring for most of the evening. Mr. Washington had his best game of the season last week and hopefully continue the trend. The Herd is coming into the game with a two game losing streak which will continue. The only way this one stays close is if Marshall figures out how to keep the running game to a minimum.

  • p_forever

    syracuse +26 clemson****
    maryland +31.5 michigan
    lsu +7 alabama
    california +16.5 washington
    stanford -14.5 oregon state
    raiders pk broncos

    yay my new favorite basketball football team is back this week, and they are getting 26 points, and i can find exactly zero reasons not to go with the syracuse orange (admittedly i might not be looking that hard for those reasons, but it’s impossible to escape confirmation bias – i figure i’m doing my best by at least pointing it out). it doesn’t make any sense that clemson would suddenly turn this week into the one in which they start covering these giant spreads. not only have they not done that all year, but also now they are #2 in the playoff committee’s rankings. that means all they have to do is win out and they are in, no showboating necessary and/or recommended. as i’m writing this i’m actually thinking that i like this theory about once you’re in the playoff you can sort of coast so much that i’m going to pick lsu and maryland too. texas a&m is never in the college playoff and don’t know how teams that belong in the playoffs act, so i’m not as confident they will follow the pattern. washington is never in the college playoff either but at least thus far has comported itself as a team that belongs there, including not losing any games. i predict they will continue to do so, which means they will beat cal but not by the 16.5 points they are giving.

  • Galea Minor

    Raiders over Broncos (All-play)
    Navy +7 over Notre Dame
    Maryland +31 over Michigan
    Nebraska +17 over Ohio State
    Lions +6.5 over Vikings (essay)
    Cowboys -7 over Browns

    Tough loss for the Lions last week against the Texans. The offense sputtered, and Jim Caldwell looked like he wanted to get fired again. But if the Detroit wins this game, they can erase all that and put themselves right in the driver’s seat for the playoffs.

    Earlier in the year, this would have been an automatic loss, and not even the points would tempt me here. But boy have things gotten out of hand in Minneapolis. Now, the Bears have tagged both the Lions and Vikings at home by now, so I’m not judging, but that wasn’t a good performance last week. The Minny offensive line is getting beat constantly. There’s no running game. Sam Bradford is just not good enough to move the ball in spite of the issues.

    I’d still be inclined to predict a Vikes win, given the inconsistencies the Lions show on the road. But here came the sudden and inexplicable resignation of Norv Turner. Now I feel like Norv has been all name and no substance over the last few years, but it’s still extremely disruptive when your OC quits midweek. It makes you question just how the Vikings *could* fix any of their problems with that going on. Even when the Lions went to Jim Bob Cooter in the middle of last season, the offense was terrible in his first week. And that was a planned switch, during a bye week.

    Anyway, these are a lot of words to justify my continued desire to pick the Lions even though they burn handicappers constantly. My rookie season in the Cheddar Bay is not going well.

  • Matt Lawrence

    Falcons -4 @ Bucs

    • Matt Lawrence

      Miami OH +4

    • Matt Lawrence

      Rutgers +14

  • thatsfine

    Arkansas St -3.5

    • thatsfine

      Miami U +4

  • Lucy Lawrence

    1. Iowa St +21
    2. Falcons -4

    • Lucy Lawrence

      3. Miami Ohio +4

      • Lucy Lawrence

        4. Notre Dame -7

        • btw, i happened to see these picks and went ahead booked them given their significance in the standings. 😉 dont be alarmed and please use the form as normal, i’ll tend to any dupes.

  • FlyHighCharlieFrye

    Raiders pk
    U at Buffalo + 19.5

    rest later

    • FlyHighCharlieFrye

      Rams +3
      Browns +7

      Steelers +3

      I hate this pick, but the ones I’ve loved haven’t gone so well. Anyway, the line has obviously moved given strong hints about Ben playing, but it’s more about the Ravens not being able to beat anyone (non-Browns division) by more than 3. The Ravens aren’t great in any one area, and though they’re desperate here so are the Steelers. Give me Leveon and AB and The Drama King himself, and I’ll take plus points and take my chances in what should be a close, competitive game.

  • Troy Bunting

    Essay Pick
    *Steelers +3*
    Pretty confident in this pick as long as Big Ben plays. If not I think it’s a coin flip. Essay written ont he assumption he’s in. Steelers are better than the Ravens in each facet of the game. I expect the Pittsburgh front 7 to be all over Flacco due to the Raven’s lack of running threat. Big Ben will have a nice game back and is always good for a few TDs, and Leveon is always solid. The rivalry always adds some uncertainty and being at Baltimore doesn’t do Pittsburgh any favors, Ham Bone Tomlin and his crew will definitely beat the spread and likely win the game.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Ohio -19.5
    App St -31
    Northwestern +6.5
    Troy -21

  • mmmmsnouts

    Iowa State +21 for a point tonight. OU playing a frisky opponent on a short week in Ames without their top two RBs, and their awful defense against a team that can score. Too many points.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Good call, it looked like big game Bob was on his way to bad game Bob.

      • mmmmsnouts

        It would have been my essay except there’s a game tomorrow I like even more.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    ****AP and essay****
    The Raiders pk
    The game has slowed down to mere controlled chaos for Derek Carr, instead of the “Stop, Drop and Cover” that was the theme of his rookie year. He did not get beaten up as much as his much heralded brother, but he took at least as much heat as a 7 year old at their family reunion.
    I would be more confident if Rodney Hudson was playing, but his backup should be at least serviceable. If Denver does not get plenty of pressure on Derek Carr this one could be over early. Well…. As long as Amari Cooper only drops every other pass, not every pass. Jack Del Rio is also very familiar with the Bronco’s defense and their respective tendencies, this should help Carr get a little more time and perhaps get the ball out quicker as well.
    As for Denver, I am not sold on Trevor Primate, Oakland will put pressure on him and I expect him to get happy feet and make some ill advised throws, or spend too much time hearing footsteps and watching linemen instead of looking downfield.
    Denver’s defense relied on turnovers last week or the would have lost. They gave up about 400 yards and they did not look good against the pass, but of course they made that seem insignificant by looking mediocre against the run as well.

  • ChuckKoz

    UCLA +13.5

  • actovegin1armstrong

    1 vote, Ball State +17.5
    1 vote Akron +9
    1 vote, BGSU +17

    • ball st and bgsu were already played; only logging akron pick here.

  • thatsfine

    Ball State +17.5

  • zarathustra

    I will take Bowling Green for one point please.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Did I post those first two after the game?

  • agnesbojaxhiu

    Yay! I love early voting. I sent my absentee ballot in today too!
    WMU -17.5
    Toledo -9

    • agnesbojaxhiu

      Last year my POTY was Michigan on thanksgiving weekend because I had been really hankering to write an essay about fair catch kicks and Harbough was the only active coach who had ever told his team to attempt one. That did not work out so well. This year I am going for boring and methodical in my POTY vote. I’ve been looking forward to the beginning of midweek Maction and have been rewarded by my early votes. A Thursday late night POTY seems appropriate in my quest for a most extreme lobster fest and with the Toledo win last night I might just get my wish.
      POTY UCLA +13.5
      Why UCLA? Well, it is not so much a vote of confidence in UCLA as much as it is a prediction that Colorado will not cover 9 games in a row. At some point Vegas is going to tip the odds in their opponents favor to keep things on an even keel. Before you label me crazy, there is as much of a chance of this POTY covering as any other game in any other week. UCLA has lost a ton of games this year, but all but one have been by 7 or less including to 4th ranked TAMU. They have also beaten Colorado in their last 5 meetings. Both teams are coming off a bye week (incidentally the use of “bye” in non tournament play is fairly unique to gridiron football). The only problem with this vote is its 9:00 start and my children’s inflexible waking schedule combined with pregnancy fatigue. It seems like my old friend gamecast will keep an eye on it for me and I’ll have some middle of the night joy or sorrow revealed when I get up to tend to some motherly duty.

      Other votes for my Non Saturday football week
      Connecticut +10 Temple Friday
      Arkansas St -3.5 Georgia St Thursday
      All play vote to come (I haven’t even worked on my NFL spreadsheet this week-yikes! Too much college fun and actual real work)

      • “incidentally the use of ‘bye’ in non tournament play is fairly unique to gridiron football”

        She’s right. Makes u think.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          I hear people say bye rather frequently. Are you two kids certain about this one. My daughter always says “bye daddy” when I take her to school five days a week. Perhaps she is just an innovator. Frownie I am also convinced in light of your rather popular FB post that your “makes you think”, (Socrates and his “Fart Allegory”), is like when I quote H. L. Mencken’s “You are probably right.”

          • mmmmsnouts

            I remember reading the agate type in the sports page as a kid and they used the word “idle” for teams that didn’t have a game to play that weekend. By the time I figured out what that word meant, they had mostly switched to “bye.”

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I do like idle better. People oftentimes criticize my “idle mind”, but I usually do not hear because I am in my workshop.

          • Acto, you are probably right.

            I will be in my workshop sorting out new proofs for the Fart Allegory if anyone needs me.

      • agnesbojaxhiu

        Broncos all play to take the vote less picked

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