Fourth Down and Inches--10/25/06
By Doc of Doc's Sports Picks
Our "Big Ten Game of the Year" hit the win column as the Michigan Wolverines (-13), took down Iowa, 20-6. It seems nothing ever comes easy and this game was no different. I decided to pull the trigger later Tuesday after my No. 1 scout in Iowa felt QB Tate would not be close to being 100 percent. I felt this Michigan defense might be the best unit the Wolverines have had since their 1997 Championship team. That alone convinced me the Hawkeyes would have trouble; obviously, that proved to be the case.
I did expect the Michigan offense to have more success and for those of you that watched the game, the last few minutes were breathtaking. Personally, I think that I walked over a mile pacing back and forth during this time. For those of you that had confidence in our selection, we certainly thank you. The biggest thank you goes to Kirk Ferentz, who employed a conservative style of offense and settled for field goals to make sure he did not get shutout in the game.
Even more rewarding was our weekend results. We ended up going 6-1 in college football and 4-1 in the NFL. This amounted to a net gain of 34 units and it was the best weekend we have had all season. After enjoying the celebration, it is time to turn the page and concentrate on a similar result for next week's games.
This is the time of year one looks for teams that have simply packed it in, are finished, and you can certainly put a fork in them. The first team that comes to mind in the Northwestern Wildcats, who suffered a tragedy when the season started with the sudden passing of Coach Randy Walker. Since then, things just have never gotten on track for them and the loss to New Hampshire at Ryan Field on September 9 should have signaled a buy to fade this team. Losing QB Brett Basanez to graduation has hampered their offense significantly, although they did get out to a big 35-point lead last week against the Spartans. Unfortunately they could not hold this lead and QB Drew Stanton woke up and led a late drive for a game-winning field goal to cap the scoring at 41-38.
This must be demoralizing for the Cats who will now travel to Ann Arbor as a 33-point underdog. It is always hard to lay 33 points in a conference game. However, the second team for Michigan may be able to cover this number. Michigan certainly will not be looking ahead as they play Ball State next week. As for the Wildcats, things do not get any easier as they must face Iowa, Ohio State, and Illinois to finish the season. I see no straight-up wins and expect them to cover on just one of these four games.
Another team that some might think is fallen into the, "Pack it in" mold is Temple. I really would disagree with this assumption even though they've been beaten by over 50 points several times. Am I on the weed? Certainly not. I simply have a gut feeling this team will give it all this week against a Bowling Green club that has numerous problems of their own. These two teams met in 2005 and the Falcons won, 70-7. Temple will remember this game and be ready to pay them back for that beating. Both teams have played a common opponent in Buffalo. The Bulls beat Temple at UB-Stadium, 9-3. The following week, Buffalo went to Bowling Green and lost, 48-40. Few would give a hoot about this game, but as a 20-point underdog, it might be worth a look.
It should be a great game in the ACC this weekend when Miami heads to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. One of my scouts indicated to me that the Hurricanes will have all of their suspended players back and have had an excellent week of practice. This is a big game for the 'U' as a loss here and their BCS hopes may be over. The Canes have the defense in place, as they have not allowed an opponent to rush for over 100 yards against them. The problem in South Beach has been the offense and they will face a tough defense in Tech. Assuming no critical turnovers occur deep in their own territory the 'under' looks to be the best bet.
The Big Boys were also outstanding this week as we went 4-1, including going 4-0 on Sunday. Two of the games featured straight-up underdog wins and the Atlanta/Pittsburgh game was the most entertaining showcase of the week. Unfortunately, Dallas did not come through on Monday and clearly this team has problems. QB Drew Bledsoe continues to be given opportunities to perform and yet just cannot seem to get out of his own mess. I felt QB Tony Romo should have started the season for the Boys, as his mobility gives this team the best chance for success. Dallas now has three consecutive road games and I feel they have just dug themselves too big of hole to get out off.
With the baseball season winding down, and the college basketball season over a month away, I would encourage you to give our hockey service a try for the month of November. Our handicapper Max had an outstanding season in 2005-2006 and I expect him to start cranking out the profits once the tendencies of teams with new acquisitions becomes evident.
This is the time of the year I absolutely love being a resident of Wisconsin. The fall season is unbelievable time for fishing and hunting. Nothing is more relaxing then unwinding in the woods with pheasants or ducks. I cannot tell you how many times in the course of a year I have made a top game decision while sitting in a duck blind! Something's are just extra special to me and this is one of my guilty pleasures.
This week we will be going with our, "Big Three" and all the games will feature college selections. As of this writing, our top games will be in the Big Ten. If you need more information about this special package call our sports office direct at (800) 356-9182.
That's it for this week,Doc