Welcome to the Take the Points week 12 college football column. Does anyone read the intro to these things? Internet users are like Dana Holgorsen after eight Red Bulls, they can't even sit still, let alone focus on reading an entire paragraph. The Buzzfeeds and HuffPos of the world have diluted our thinking into a stream of bulleted top ten lists, and now even getting through a 200-word introductory paragraph is a challenge akin to climbing Mount Everest. I could say anything, and it wouldn't matter, because no one is paying attention anyways. I was abducted by aliens when I was thirteen. I think Sugar Ray is the greatest American rock band of all-time. Twitter is a device built by the Illuminati to distract people from their takeover of the world financial system. "Revolution" is the best show on TV. Pol Pot had some good ideas. You see? It doesn't matter, because the adderall-chugging Millenials who inhabit the web will skip to the bolded headlines anyway. So let's get to the picks. But first, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I just want to clarify, I was joking about "Revolution."
Here are this week's picks...
Ohio State -32 over Illinois
Well, it's official, Ohio State's final scores are now higher than their players' mean SAT score. OSU is trying to prove they belong in the title conversation by demolishing inferior opponents. It's a solid strategy. A better strategy would be scheduling one top 20 team, but hey, you can't do it all. Normally this line would be too high, but the Buckeyes are on a mission, and Illinois can't hang. I almost feel bad for OSU. They're a good team, but they're basically forgotten because of all the other more appealing undefeated teams out there. They're the Daniel Baldwin of college football teams. Yeah, maybe they're no Alec, but they're still a Baldwin, dammit!
Indiana +24 over Wisconsin
Indiana is sneaky this year. I like them at +24. I also like the under in this game (currently at 70). Wisconsin is a slow, run-heavy team that tries to control the time of possession because they can't compete in a shootout. Did I mention they're the second-best team in the conference? Big Ten fever, catch it!
Purdue +21.5 over Penn State
I'm a lifelong Penn State fan, but this year's team shouldn't be favored by 21.5 points over anyone. Unless you're an alum of one of the schools, I would advise not watching this one. This game will be like an episode of "Lost." Nothing will happen and it will suck.
And now it’s time for the CT.com obligatory UConn pick of the week...
SMU -14 over UConn
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default."
It's hard to believe that the same UConn team that came within minutes of defeating Michigan could now be staring down the barrel of an 0-12 season. So here's an idea: TRY SOMETHING. Stop attempting to have a balanced attack and control the time of possession. It's not working. Your attempts at a pro-style offense are inadequate thanks to your middle school-style talent. You are literally the worst team in the country; even New Mexico State is laughing at you. The quarterback change is a good start, but it's not enough. You should be going 5 wide every single play, doing hook-n-ladders, Statue of Liberties, all the stuff Boise State did back when they were cool. It's better to burn out than to fade away, so if you're going to lose, at least crash and burn like a glorious supernova. Be like Walter White, or Scarface, or the guy who flew the airplane into the spaceship in "Independence Day."* Go out like a champ. Or, just keep doing what you're doing. The Lady Huskies could always use a few more fans.
*Here's another spoiler alert: I think UConn actually wins a game this season. But we'll get to that when the time comes. For now, let's just reflect on the fact that I'm staking my reputation on the line by declaring that UConn will win 1 game.
Florida State -38 over Syracuse
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack while blackout drunk. A video was leaked to the press in which he threatened to kill a man. He was accused by his own city council of doing drugs with prostitutes, and he was kicked out of a Maple Leafs game for being drunk and disorderly.
I asked him if he would ever bet on Syracuse football, and he said, "What am I, crazy?"
Several weeks ago, this game was available with a line of -18 at certain Las Vegas sportsbooks. My friend Dan and I declared it the Lock of the Year on our weekly football podcast. Now that FSU is steamrolling everyone and the line has moved up twenty points, I'm no longer comfortable declaring it the easiest bet of the year. I'll still take it, though. Florida State is knocking teams out like Mike Tyson. Syracuse is playing like Glass Joe. I know only 3 people will get that reference, but whatever, Google it.
Duke +3.5 over Miami
Duke, baby! A few weeks ago I predicted Duke to upset Virginia Tech, and ever since the Blue Devils came through, I'm like Dick Vitale, I can't get enough of Duke. They're one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 season and David Cutcliffe should get serious consideration for coach of the year. Now we come to another big game, and yet again I will predict Duke to upset the Miami Hurry-canes, who are without RB Duke Johnson and their souls, both of which were lost during that Florida State blowout. Let's go Duke! It's about time those rich white kids finally caught a break.
Michigan State -6 over Nebraska
We here at Take the Points don't bet on Michigan State under any circumstances. They're a poorly coached team who always start a stiff white guy at quarterback, and as a result they can be wildly inconsistent. All I'm going to say is, when you compare the talent levels on these two squads, Michigan State is definitely 6 points better than Nebraska. The Spartans' defense is playing great, and Nebraska has struggled to compete with mediocre opponents. Whether MSU will play to their potential or take a week off, now that's the question. Again, I don't bet on Michigan State. But if you believe that Connor Cook has helped the team turn a corner, or if you’re into self-inflicted pain, then please, feel free to take the Spartans.
Georgia +3.5 vs. Auburn - STAY AWAY
Along with Michigan State, Georgia is the other team I trust least. They're never consistent from week to week. I think Auburn's having a great season, but I'd stay far away from this game. Everyone's already preparing for an Alabama vs. Auburn top ten showdown. You know what that means. Some shit's about to go down. Rest assured that anytime you think you know how a college football season will play out, the Gods will swoop in and kick you in the groin.
Oregon -27 over Utah
I checked this line earlier in the week and I swear to God it said Oregon -7. So either there was a misprint, or my reading has reverted to a kindergarten level, or the line has moved twenty points in four days. Whatever the case, it's totally screwed up my logic. All week I kept thinking, "Oregon's going to win by 7, easy. Lock of the week!" When I finally realized the truth, I was so mentally locked into Oregon that it was too late to change my pick. So now I'm going with the Ducks at -27, even though it's probably foolish. That's the problem with gambling. Sometimes you get set on a particular team, and even when things change drastically, you aren't able to pull away. The same thing happens with TV characters and women. Walter White was a drug-dealing murderer who poisoned a child, but I was rooting for him until the bitter end. And let’s not forget about my love for Chaz Bono. You hear that, Chaz? I don't care what the doctors say, you'll always be the woman for me!
Houston +15.5 over Louisville
Louisville is overrated. If they weren't in the AAAAAAAAC they're be 5-4 right now. Houston can play. Take the points.
Baylor -27 over Texas Tech
The Baylor Bears are hotter than this laptop I'm holding right now. Seriously, I think something's wrong with this thing, it's burning the shit out of my crotch. I have no real analysis of this game, so let me address everyone who writes articles called "How X Team Can Reach the National Championship Game." Here's how you get to the championship: Win all your games, and wait for other teams to lose. That's it. People always try to convince you there’s a secret or hidden trick to everything, but there’s not. Like the other day, this guy in a magician’s hat told me I could sleep with any woman I wanted if I just followed his proven code of seduction. But he was wrong. It didn’t help at all, and in the end I found out that a simple smile and hello work better than any trick you could ever imagine. Sidenote: Pepper spray stings like a motherfucker.
Alabama -23.5 over Mississippi State
This line -- and the fact that it's moved a point toward Mississippi State over the course of this week -- implies that people are ready for a letdown game. I'd agree if it was any other team, but Nick Saban doesn't allow Bama to have letdown games. Watch his recent appearance on “60 Minutes” and you’ll understand. Saban is an absolute mastermind who has literally no other interests outside of football. He loves dominating his opponents, he loves running up the score and he loves showing lesser teams who's boss. The only thing he can't love… is himself. That's "Saban," Saturdays on CBS!
Take the Points: @take_the_points
Tom Z: @thefaketomz
Take the Points Podcast
Search for "Take the Points" in iTunes or the iPhone/iPad Podcasts app
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun