This Weekend's Best Bets: College Football Is Here
207 days. That's how long I've been waiting.
When the piece of cheese sitting at the end of the summer-long maze is redemption, the clock ticks slowly. The pages get ripped off the calendar at a glacial speed. August couldn't get here soon enough. Because here's the thing -- I sucked at giving you picks last year. Absolutely terrible.
44-70-4, to be exact.
That was my record. It was a brutal 2013 campaign. The only thing at all appropriate about my 2013 handicapping was that I am based out of Houston, where 2-14 on the field is the equivalent of 44-70-4 when handicapping.
So let's hope that 2014's theme is redemption. Redemption for me, and redemption for Toro! And a trickle of cash for all of us! (Except you, Toro.)
Let's hit some college games for the first weekend, shall we?
BAYLOR -33 over SMU
Every year, there's one sure fire ATM cash generation machine that the handicapping gods give us. Unfortunately, we don't often recognize it until it's too late. So how do we process Baylor? Is 2014 a continuation of the covering machine that they were on their home field last season (7-0 at home ATS, average spread of 22 points), or are we just jumping on the back end of a trend arc that's covering multiple calendars and we are about to get swept up in the tidal wave of regression to the mean. For now, I completely trust Art Briles, even if the "home" we are talking about technically isn't the same structure as last season.
Alabama -26 over West Virginia
When you're taking on the 800 pound gorilla of college football, you need your quarterback to play smart. Football IQ is key. You can't do anything to shrink your already microscopic margin for error. Well, incredibly, West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett has managed to make a mistake before the game even starts. Here's Trickett on Nick Saban's daughter:
"His daughter was my first kiss, back in the day," Trickett said, according to a play-by-play of the interview from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "So yeah ... I don't know if I should have said that."
Um, no maybe about it, Clint. You definitely shouldn't have said that. In the dark recesses of my mind, because we never know what happened at the dinner with Darth Vader in the Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back, I just assume that Han Solo bragged about making out with Princess Leia. How else do you explain the carbonate freeze on Solo?!? Seemed a little extreme, right?!?
Well, Trickett, the greater-than-26-point-beatdown will be your carbonite, young Padawan! Wait, what'd you say?
"For clarification, we were like six years old," he said. "Just so everyone knows that."
Sorry, too late. Saban finds your lack of discretion disturbing.
AUBURN -19 over Arkansas
I have a couple "when in doubt" theories on college football. They are as follows:
1. When in doubt, do a Google image search of the coach that you're betting on. Which one looks like someone you'd trust with your money? Take that one.
2. Which head coach has the crazier wife?
Well, Bielema's wife is best known for sub-tweeting the Wisconsin fan base last season after an early season heartbreaking loss to Arizona State. Kristi Malzahn is best known for this performance on a church show...
HUGE advantage Malzahn.
OREGON -49.5 over South Dakota
Oklahoma State +18 over Florida State
VIRGINIA +22.5 over UCLA
Your "scouting future Texans quarterbacks" Week 1 three pack. Mariota, Winston, Hundley. The road to true redemption for our hometown football team likely runs under center, and runs through the college game.