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Les Miles and LSU do the Harlem Shake

Proving once again that the “kill switch” for the internet may be a good idea, here’s Les Miles and LSU doing the “Harlem Shake”:

Years from now, when pop culture historians look back to determine when the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon officially jumped the shark as an internet meme, they may very well point to this video. Back in my day (yeah, I sound like an old man), we had fads, too. But we didn’t see Bear Bryant doing disco. I have a feeling that if you asked the Bear to do this video, he’d kill you with a cold stare. I guess one of the appealing aspects of Miles is his lack of filter and maybe he thinks he’ll come across as approachable to the kids this way, but I personally wouldn’t respect a coach whose buffoon-meter was turned up to 11 more often than not.

And how much longer will this internet meme go on? Perhaps Unibet will give us some odds. 

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Manti Te’o's theme song: Imaginary Lover

Can’t add much more to what’s already been said about the very bizarre Manti Te’o situation.  So, I’ll just say that I consider this 1970s classic to be the theme song for the whole saga:

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An early top 10 teams list for 2013

We’re only a few hours removed from the end of the 2012 season, but it’s never too early to get started on 2013.

Next season should definitely be fun. Lots of great teams out there. It’ll be sort of like a crazy, back and forth tennis match.  Speaking of tennis, if you ever want to lay a bet down, be sure to check out these tennis betting tips.

Here’s a way-too-early top 10 for next season:

1. Alabama – You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think this is where the Crimson Tide will start out come fall. And why shouldn’t they? Bama returns most of its key contributors on offense, including quarterback AJ McCarron, running backs Eddie Lacyand TJ Yeldon (unless Lacy opts for the draft) and rising star receiver Amari Cooper. The defense will be loaded as usual and, of course, there is head coach Nick Saban for opposing teams to deal with. Alabama is the best team until proven otherwise.

2. Texas A&M – If not for a bad second half against Florida in the season opener, it might’ve been the Aggies holding aloft the Crystal Ball last night. Look for the Aggies to make a serious run at the national title in just their second year under coach Kevin Sumlin. They have the best player in the country in Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and Sumlin has done a great job surrounding him with big-time talent, including wide receiver Mike Evans. It remains to be seen whether A&M’s bookend offensive tackles return for another year, but this program has enough Manz-mentum to overcome their loss. An early test looms when the Aggies host defending champ Alabama in Week 3.

3. Oregon – Everyone just knew Chip Kelly was heading to the NFL. Except he didn’t. He’ll stick around Eugene to lead another potent Duck team that is loaded on both sides of the ball and coming off a No. 2 national ranking. Quarterback Marcus Mariota, hybrid running back De’Anthony Thomas and perhaps the best Oregon defense of the Kelly era return with their innovative head coach to terrorize the Pac-12 once more.

4. Stanford – The Cardinal really took off after switching from Josh Nunes to Kevin Hogan at quarterback, finishing with their third-consecutive 11-win season and a Rose Bowl victory. The strong-armed, mobile Hogan returns along with what should once again be one of the best offensive lines in the country, plus a legion of talented running backs. More importantly, most of Stanford’s elite defensive front seven is back. The Cardinal are going to be in the national title mix for the foreseeable future.

5. Georgia – The return of Aaron Murray for a fourth season as starter means this Bulldog offense will be absolutely loaded with 10 of 11 starters coming back. Sophomore tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall might be the best backfield tandem in the country and they’ll be running behind a veteran offensive line. If Georgia can rebuild its secondary and find a playmaker to replace the departing Jarvis Jones, it should once again represent the SEC East in the conference title game.

6. Ohio State – Urban Meyer led the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record in his first season as head coach and he has the players on hand to do it again. Junior quarterback Braxton Miller is the Heisman frontrunner and he should be unstoppable in his second year in Meyer’s offense. Ohio State has been recruiting well, which is good since it must replace its entire front four on defense. If the young talent steps up on that side of the ball, another title could be in the works for Meyer.

7. Clemson – This ranking is contingent upon quarterback Tajh Boyd returning for another season. If he does, the Tigers should once again field one of the country’s most potent offenses. Look for wide receiver Sammy Watkins to return to his freshman year form and team with DeAndre Hopkins to comprise the nation’s best receiving duo (if Hopkins doesn’t declare for the draft). Clemson must rebuild its secondary, but there aren’t too many teams on its schedule that it can’t out-score.

8. Notre Dame – Despite the brutal shellacking it suffered at the hands of Alabama, this is still a program on the rise. While Manti Te’o – the heart of the defense — departs at linebacker, the backbone of the unit is still in place as all-star candidates Stephon Tuittand Louis Nix return for at least one more year on the defensive line. Everett Golsonshould be better at quarterback and, if the Irish can find a running back from its highly-touted recruiting class to replace Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, the offense should be pretty good in Brian Kelly’s fourth season.

9. TCU – The Horned Frogs had a drama-filled season in their first go-around in the Big 12, but things should settle down a bit this fall. If former quarterback starter Casey Pachall returns from a drug suspension, he’ll give the offense another option in addition to Trevone Boykin, who replaced Pachall and did an admirable job at quarterback in 2012. Look for the defense to rebound from an off-year and become one of the best units in the country — it’s led by uber-talent Devante Fields at defensive end.

10. Louisville – Almost everyone is back from a team that went 11-2, including a romp over Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The headliner is junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who should be on the short list for the Heisman in the fall. If the defense can take a step up, this could be a dark horse title contender.


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Manti Te’o a non-factor in BCS blowout

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o closed out his career as the most decorated player in college football history.

The senior won the Lott Trophy, as well as the Maxwell Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Award, and the Walter Camp Award. He placed second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, tying Hugh Green for the highest-ever finish by a pure defender.

But in his team’s 42-14 loss to Alabama in the 2013 BCS title game, he wasn’t even the best linebacker on the field, much less the best player.

Where was Te’o?

That’s the question that reverberated around social media as the Crimson Tide ripped through the guts of the Irish defense time after time on Monday night. While Alabama running backs Eddie Lacy (140 rushing yards) and T.J. Yeldon (108 yards) had a field day getting to the second level, the normally dependable Te’o missed several tackles (he had only two missed tackles all year coming in) and found himself out of position on numerous occasions.

The play that set the tone for Te’o's performance came on Alabama’s opening drive. On a second-and-3 from the Notre Dame 20-yard line, Lacy took a deep handoff straight up the middle. The Irish front stalemated the Tide line as it fired off the ball, but a crease opened for Lacy between the center and left guard. Te’o was indecisive and late in covering the hole, attempting a diving tackle of Lacy even as right guard Anthony Steen hindered him a little from a prone position. But Te’o couldn’t stop Lacy, who rumbled for the Tide’s first touchdown of the night.

Even Te’o's pass defense, his strong suit, was rusty. He bit on a play fake that resulted in Alabama’s second touchdown, a 3-yard scoring pass from AJ McCarron to tight end Michael Williams.

He would go on to finish with 10 tackles, but only three of them were unassisted. He didn’t make any plays behind the line of scrimmage, didn’t deflect a pass and didn’t force a fumble. The linebacker known for making plays didn’t make one the entire game. Most of Te’o's tackles were of the “jump on the pile” variety. Meanwhile, Alabama ran the ball 45 times for 265 yards, an average of 5.9 yards.

Te’o wasn’t just a victim of Alabama’s harsh, down-hill style. He was also a victim of unrealistic expectations. Those who touted him during the season — and those who continue to tout him as the best linebacker prospect in however-many years — have tended to gloss over some of the deficiencies in his game. They focus on his overall tackle number (103) and remarkable interception total (7), but they miss the flaws — namely his lack of physicality and his difficulty in taking on and getting off blocks.

This is not to say that Te’o isn’t a great player; he is. But he’s not a perfect player by any stretch of the imagination. Alabama recognized that and exploited his weaknesses to great effect.

Te’o might have been the heart of the Irish defense this season, but that heart was ripped out by the Crimson Tide during this epic blowout.

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My BCS title game pick

I’m taking Notre Dame, folks. Bama people, feel free to come back here and rip on me afterward if I am wrong.

I think the Irish defensive line is more than good enough to slow the Bama running game. And since neither offense will take many chances, this will come down to turnovers, field position and opportunism. In these matters, Notre Dame has proven to be quite proficient this season.

The wildcard in this one is Everett Golson. If he can be mistake-free in the passing game and make some plays with his feet, I think he can be the difference.

Bama is used to this type of stage, but winning titles in these types of situations is in Notre Dame’s DNA.

Notre Dame 20, Alabama 17

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Picking this Week’s Games (Early!)

Two weeks remain in the regular season and the picks keep on coming. HP broke even last week at 5-5 so he moves to a season tally of 63-56-1 (.529). I went 6-4 last week to improve to 60-52-1 (.535). To the picks.

My picks first:

LSU (-11.5) at Arkansas

Washington (-13.5) at Washington State

Arizona (-2.5) vs Arizona State

Ohio State (-3) vs Michigan

Virginia (+10) at Virginia Tech

Northwestern (-19.5) vs Illinois

Baylor (-3.5) vs Texas Tech

Oregon (-9.5) at Oregon State

Wisconsin (+2.5) at Penn State

Auburn (+33.5) at Alabama

Now for HP’s picks:

Nebraska (-15) at Iowa

Kent State (-9.5) vs. Ohio

West Virginia (-1.5) at Iowa State

Washington (-14) at Washington State

Penn State (-3) vs. Wisconsin

Stanford (-2) at UCLA

Oregon (-10) at Oregon State

Florida State (-8) vs. Florida

USC (+5.5) vs. Notre Dame

Clemson (-4) vs. South Carolina

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Picking This Week’s Games

As the season goes on HP and I are beginning to get the hang of the spreads. Last week I went 7-2-1 to bring my season total six games over .500 at 54-48-1. HP had another huge week going 7-3 and 15-5 the last two weeks to bring his season tally to 58-51-1. To the picks.

Mine first:

Florida State (-31) at Maryland

Mississippi State (-6) vs Arkansas

Washington (-20.5) at Colorado

USC (-3) at UCLA

Miami (-6.5) vs USF

ASU (-22) vs Washington State

Notre Dame vs Wake Forest (under 42.5)

Texas Tech (+10) at Oklahoma State

Ohio State (+2.5) at Wisconsin

LSU (-18.5) at Ole Miss

Now HP:

FSU (-31) at Maryland

Northwestern (+7) at Michigan State

Penn State (-17) vs. Indiana

Oklahoma (-12) at West Virginia

USC vs. UCLA (OVER 65)

Kansas State (-13) at Baylor

Stanford (+21) at Oregon

California (+14.5) at Oregon State

Washington (-21) at Colorado

Wisconsin (-2) vs. Ohio State

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