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Picking This Week’s Games

Aussie readers who want to have a bet should check out Luxbet Betting, as they usually have the best odds on US sports.

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Want to know a way to make no money and get 50% of your bets correct? Follow us every Friday for our weekly picks against the spread! HP is 39-40-1 on the season after a 6-4 week last Saturday. I made up for my 6-4 outing two weeks ago by going 4-6 last week for a season total of 35-38.

My picks first:

Nevada at Air Force OVER 66.5

Texas -19 at Kansas

 Boise State -16 at Wyoming

USC -6 at Arizona

USC at Arizona OVER 65.5

Ohio State +1 at Penn State

USF -3.5 vs Syracuse

Notre Dame +11.5 at Oklahoma

Texas A&M -14.5 at Auburn

Baylor +3 at Iowa State

–I didn’t want to include it in my picks but if I were a betting man I’d put my mortgage on Oregon -30 1st half against Colorado.

HP’s picks:

Indiana (+1.5) at Illinois

Northwestern (-5.5) vs. Iowa

Mississippi State (+23 ) at Alabama

Baylor at Iowa State OVER 70 points

Texas A&M (-14.5) at Auburn

California (+1) at Utah

Wisconsin (-6.5) vs. Michigan State

UCLA (+7) at Arizona State

Penn State (+1) vs. Ohio State

Oklahoma (-11.5) vs. Notre Dame

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Heisman Weekend Preview: Who is Number Two?

Who is number two?

That is the question on the mind of every Heisman prognosticator. Collin Klein is the obvious favorite right now and there are at least four other names in the Heisman conversation: Braxton Miller, Manti Te’o, Geno Smith and AJ McCarron. Some places have Te’o as the current runner up while others think Smith has done enough to justify the second spot. Miller has been proving his case all season and if not for his injury against Purdue last weekend he might be the clear number two.

In Alabama McCarron is the clear number two, if not the frontrunner. Hard to argue with the Tide, McCarron has been surgical and efficient in victory, as close to flawless as an Alabama quarterback has ever been.

You can make a case for all four of the players below Klein to be second place but within the next two weeks we’ll know for sure.

This weekend Te’o takes on Oklahoma in Norman in Notre Dame’s toughest test of the season. Te’o's narrative focuses on Notre Dame’s surprising success this season led on the defensive side by Manti. A close, hard fought, loss or win against Oklahoma, with Te’o making a major difference defensively, could put Te’o in the clear second position with his Heisman campaign then resting on the USC game on the 24th of November.

The biggest obstacle for Miller lies off the field in the bowl ban that Ohio State accepted this season. Everything Miller does is overshadowed by the fact that it doesn’t count for anything. For Miller he can make it all matter if he can find a way to get invited to New York City. While last week was less than ideal for the sophomore play caller, he has the opportunity to make a big statement against Penn State this weekend and in his final two games against ranked opponents.

Geno Smith squandered away a good amount of his Heisman goodwill in two ugly losses in consecutive weeks, but as I wrote earlier in the week, his numbers have kept him in contention thus far. For Smith, every game matters now and he needs to perform immediately. West Virginia has this weekend off to regroup before hosting it’s third Texas team in the last four weeks, TCU. After doing some rough guesstimation I can see Smith throwing for 18 more touchdowns this season. 46 total pass touchdowns would be impressive but unless Smith can win out (aka beat Oklahoma) second place might be as high as he can rise.

Down in Alabama where the nation’s most efficient passer currently resides (no not Kiehl Frazier) nothing much needs to change. AJ McCarron has yet to gain much national attention but his team has won every game comfortably. If McCarron helps Alabama beat undefeated Mississippi State this weekend and LSU the following week it will be hard to ignore him any longer. We know that Heisman voters like players who are playing in the national title game which could be McCarron’s calling card come December.

I’ve begun to hear rumblings and rumors about left for dead candidates Matt Barkley and Montee Ball. These zombie candidates have a long way to go to get back into the national conversation but it is worth noting that they both have a very important two weeks ahead of them. For Barkley, Arizona is possibly the best tuneup he could get before Oregon comes to the Coliseum. Barkley should (I repeat SHOULD) slice and dice the atrocious Arizona defense to bolster his numbers going into USC’s game of the season against Oregon.

Ball has returned to 2011 form to the tune of 10 touchdowns in his last four games. With four regular season games and the conference championship game (which Wisconsin goes to almost by default) left, Ball will have to score a truck load of touchdowns in order to work his way back into the Heisman race. Anything less than a colossal 15 touchdowns and 1000 yards will find Ball on the outside looking in come Heisman time.

One last note. HP and I had lunch yesterday to talk about what happens if or when Collin Klein falters. If Klein stumbles the race breaks wide open, and I mean wide. A player like Barkley could easily work his way back in and Smith’s blemishes would look a lot more minor in retrospect. It would also open the door to Heisman history, a full time defensive player winning the award. One thing would be for certain, there would be much midnight oil burned in the HP and HP Jr. households.

 

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Heisman Weekend Wrap Up

Poor Braxton Miller. On a week where there was upheaval in the Heisman race, Miller got knocked out of a game where his team completed an overtime comeback against Purdue. Talk about diminishing value. Is Miller still the best player on the Ohio State football team? Sure, but remember the Buckeyes were losing to the Boilermakers when Miller left with an injury.

Saturday could have been moving day for Miller in the race for the most prestigious individual award in sports; instead Miller moved down. The question now remains, can Miller win the Heisman?

I talked to Elika Sadeghi of Elevenwarriors.com about Miller and she echoed a lot of my thoughts on Ohio State’s quest for an eighth Heisman. A seat at the ceremony for Miller this year would be great, but all BuckEYEs (sorry) are focused on 2013; when Miller will be the prohibitive Heisman favorite with a full year of the newly installed offense under his belt.

As far as that seat at the ceremony is concerned, a strong performance against a resurgent Penn State team could put Miller right back in the drivers seat because no one has a strong claim to the second spot in the race.

The media has been having a Kleingasm all weekend as Collin Klein claimed his spot at the top of the Heisman Watch, but remember where you heard it first, here and here. The reason we have liked Collin Klein for so long here at Heismanpundit is because he’s pure substance. There is very little flash in Klein’s game. It’s not like he is just going to go out and put up 300 yards and seven total touchdowns on national television against a ranked opponent who is led by the current Heisman frontrunner. That’s not his style… Ok, so maybe there is a little bit of flash to go along with all of that substance.

Klein, Bill Snyder and the rest of the Kansas State Wildcats will be favored to win every game for the remainder of the regular season. As best I can tell, the Wildcats have not lost a game they were favored since 2010. Klein’s best statistic going into the Heisman could be 12-0.

Then there is Geno Smith, the much maligned (as of late) quarterback from West Virginia. It’s been a tough couple weeks for Smith, losing badly to Texas Tech and Kansas State. I saw reaction this weekend saying that Smith shouldn’t be a top 10 candidate for the Heisman. That’s preposterous. He’s got the highest completion percentage in the country, thrown for the second most touchdowns, second most yards and has the fourth highest passer rating. The two losses he’s suffered have come against two current top 15 teams. Sure he’s not number one with a bullet anymore but he’s still firmly in the top 5.

To legitimately win the Heisman Smith needs to first beat Oklahoma, a tall task. After that he just needs to do what he’s done for most of the year, throw touchdowns against weaker competition. Playing Kansas the week before the Heisman ceremony certainly won’t hurt either.

Quick hits

–Seth Doege has thrown an FBS leading 28 touchdowns this season in seven games. This is all the more impressive because he has a single touchdown game and a zero touchdown game this season as well.

–In Arizona State’s 43-21 loss to Oregon, the Sun Devil’s only* allowed 48 passing yards. *They did however allow 406 rushing yards.

–Of the top 25 most penalized teams in the FBS, seven are from the Pac 12.

–Air Force has yet to allow a sack.

–Only four full time quarterbacks have yet to throw an interception. Two of the perfect signal callers took over for injured teammates leaving just AJ McCarron and Colby Cameron as the only unblemished full season starters.

–This 

–With Cincinnati’s loss on Saturday the state of Ohio now only has two undefeated FBS teams falling into a tie for first place with Oregon.

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Picking this Week’s Games

Away we go. Tough week for HP last Saturday, he went 3-6-1 to bring his season total to 33-36-1. I fared a little better going 6-4 and a season total of 31-32. To the picks:

First HP:

Penn State +3 at Iowa

Oklahoma -35 vs. Kansas

Florida -3.5 vs. South Carolina

Texas A&M +4 vs. LSU

Oregon State -10 vs. Utah

Texas Tech +2 at TCU

Ohio State -18.5 vs. Purdue

Stanford -3 at Cal

Notre Dame -13 vs. BYU

Georgia -26 at Kentucky

Here are mine:

Clemson -7.5 vs. Virginia Tech

Boise State -27.5 vs UNLV

Colorado +40.5 at USC

Georgia -26 at Kentucky

Air Force -11 vs New Mexico

Minnesota at Wisconsin OVER 45.5

Auburn +6.5 at Vanderbilt

Indiana +2.5 at Navy

South Carolina at Florida UNDER 41

Louisville -6 vs South Florida

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Heisman Weekend Preview

Geno Smith owned the first half of the college football season. From the first whistle against Marshall on September 1 through the final whistle against Texas Tech last weekend, Smith has been the statistical Heisman frontrunner. It’s hard to argue against his numbers, 2,271 yards passing with 25 touchdowns and no interceptions. Last year only 24 quarterbacks in the nation threw for more than 25 touchdowns in the entire season.

This week when Smith faces of against Kansas State the statistics may not matter. There will only be one number that matters at the end of the day on Saturday, the final score. Smith must win this game to stay the Heisman favorite.

Collin Klein knows this, he knows that winning ugly is his thing. He knows that if he can scrape out a win in Morgantown against the frontrunner in the race for the Heisman, he can take his spot. Klein knows that he doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards and three scores, he just needs to score one more point than West Virginia. Klein’s candidacy doesn’t rely on gaudy numbers and flash, it relies on his perceived leadership and his ability to win.

If (and when?) Kansas State wins this game Smith will take a considerable step back. Depending on how he plays he could realistically fall below Braxton Miller (who plays Purdue) for the time being.

Don’t go tearing up your Smith to win the Heisman at 7/1 betting slips just yet. Sure, he’ll fall to second temporarily but just as the Heisman isn’t won in September, it won’t be won on Ocotober 20, 2012.

Smith will have multiple opportunities to redeem himself in the five remaining games of the season, against Oklahoma most notably. We’ve said all season that Smith could lose a game or three if his numbers stayed phenomenal and we still believe that, but there will be a recourse for losing back to back games.

Games to watch

Kansas State at West Virginia: See above.

Stanford at California: The Big Game.

Games to watch SEC edition!

South Carolina at Florida: South Carolina, Florida and Georgia don’t get to play against Alabama this year in the regular season so they are all clamoring to play them in the post season. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. This game helps decide who gets to be rolled by the Tide (apologies).

LSU at Texas A&M: HP thinks that this game could be the launching point for a feverish run at the Heisman for Johnny Manziel. I think this game is going to be entertaining as hell.

Alabama at Tennessee: Derek Dooley needs to win eight games to have any kind of prayer of staying at Tennessee. Currently at 3-3 with seven games left he has to win five. That means the Volunteers have to either beat Alabama or South Carolina. You can get the Volunteers at +800 to win. I’d take those odds.

 

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Heisman Weekend Wrap Up

The college football season is at the halfway point. Like it or not, your favorite team has about seven more games this season and then the calendar page turns to 2013.

What have we learned from the first seven weeks of college football?

First, we now know who won’t win the Heisman. Matt Barkley, Montee Ball, Denard Robinson and Landry Jones all lost their bids early in the season due to lackluster performances or their teams inability to win big games. There were a few flashes in the pan, Jonathan Franklin and Le’Veon Bell namely, that came and went, lasting only as long as their teams could stay undefeated. For the likes of Aaron Murray, Knile Davis, Tajh Boyd and even EJ Manuel their somewhat slim to begin with chances never fully materialized.

With those 10 out of the way, the race narrows considerably. We know who cannot win, but we are still left with three (plus a few dark horse) viable candidates for the award.

The front runner still remains Geno Smith even after his disappointing loss to Texas Tech this past Saturday. Smith maintains his comfortable lead because he didn’t do anything to lose the game for the Mountaineers in their farthest trip west of the season. In my opinion he didn’t do much to help win the game either but that will be forgotten when the ballots are cast in December.

Smith can suffer another loss (possibly two) if his numbers return to form for the rest of the season. The West Virginia defense, which looks like sieve right now has become Smith’s scapegoat allowing Smith to play for stats and not necessarily wins.

Also note that the better Geno Smith plays, the better chance his team has to win. That means if Smith goes back to throwing more touchdowns than interceptions the wins won’t be far behind.

Trailing Smith is Collin Klein (or Optimus Klein as the Kansas State faithful call him) the gritty reboot of Tim Tebow. Klein has done everything right this year yet has been overshadowed by Smith who competes in the same conference. Klein’s numbers may not be the most impressive compared to Smith’s but he has a cinderella story brewing in Manhattan. This week he travels to Morgantown to take on the Heisman headliner in a match up of top 15 teams. A win by Klein would send Smith to his second straight loss and solidify the Klein fairytale.

Klein entered Kansas State as a wide receiver in 2009 (after red shirting in 2008). In 2010 he was converted to quarterback but used only sparingly. In the first start of his career he rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Texas. In 2011 Klein passed for 1,918 yards and 13 touchdowns while running for 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns tying the FBS record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback.

This season Klein has led his team to an upset win at Oklahoma and a top five BCS ranking. An undefeated season in Manhattan led by Optimus Klein could be just the storyline needed to edge out Smith at the end of the season.

Braxton Miller from Ohio State brings up the rear of the top three most likely candidates to go to New York City. Miller has had an impressive first half of the season leading his team to 7-0 and the no. 8 ranking in the AP. Miller has already matched his scoring output from a season ago and has found ways to pull wins out of thin air. We’ve said this before on Heismanpundit, the Buckeyes would not be undefeated without Miller behind center.

Miller is on pace to score 36 total touchdowns but the second half of his schedule is arguably easier then the first half. If Miller’s total touchdown count rises over 45 and his team can stay undefeated Miller will surely be a finalist for the trophy. His chances are slim but in the long term Miller will use the 2012 season as the stepping stone to the 2013 Heisman when he will be the undoubted pre-season favorite.

That leaves Manti T’eo from Notre Dame and De’Anthony Thomas of Oregon to round out the top five. Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M is having a freshman season to remember and might be rewarded with a trip to New York if he can knock off an SEC powerhouse or if he keeps resetting the SEC record for passing yards in a game.

Seven weeks to go in the race for the most prestigious individual award in sports. Who ya got?

Quick Hits

–This

–Alabama allowed its first field goal of the season against Missouri. Shockingly the Tide remain the consensus no. 1 team.

–Louisiana Tech scored more points (57) in its loss to to Texas A&M than it was averaging in its five previous wins (53.8).

–The state of Ohio has three of the 12 undefeated FBS teams in the country.

–Just for fun imagine Notre Dame, Kansas State, Oregon and Alabama all go undefeated. Who goes to the national championship game? Can you omit a 12-0 Irish team from the natty?

–Northwestern is still the most fun team to watch this season and its jerseys are the best new jersey of the year.

 

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Picking This Week’s Games

Better late than never. Just in time for the morning games. HP is 30-30 this season and I finally broke my 5-5 streak by going 4-6, season total 25-28.

HP first:

Texas (+3.5) vs. Oklahoma

Northwestern (-3.5) at Minnesota

Washington (+13) vs. USC

Stanford (+7) at Notre Dame

LSU (-3) vs. South Carolina

Baylor vs. TCU (68 OVER)

West Virginia (-4.5) at Texas Tech

Ohio State (-17.5) at Indiana

Texas A&M (-9) at Louisiana Tech

Oklahoma State (-27.5) at Kansas

Now my picks:

Texas +3 at Oklahoma

Wisconsin -1 at Purdue

Kansas State -5.5 at Iowa State

Northwestern at Minnesota OVER 54

Utah +9.5 at UCLA

Oregon State +6 at BYU

West Virginia -3.5 at Texas Tech

Boston College at Florida Stae OVER 52.5

Florida -9.5 at Vanderbilt

Kentucky +17 at Arkansas

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