Friday, November 19, 2004

Football Picks, NFL Week 11

Last week in the NFL was an ugly one, and it caused me to lose the week's competition to Brandi. She went 16-9 (10-4 NFL, 6-5 NCAA) to my 15-10 (8-6 NFL, 7-4 NCAA) and was rewarded with dinner at Max and Erma's on Monday night.

The most interesting story in the NFL for this coming weekend is, sadly enough, Eli Manning's first start for the New York Giants. I don't expect it to go well for him or his team. The Atlanta defense will sack him and pick him off early and often. Here are my picks for this week:

(4-5) Detroit @ Minnesota (5-4)
(6-3) Denver @ New Orleans (4-5)
(1-8) San Francisco @ Tampa Bay (3-6)
(4-5) Arizona @ Carolina (2-7)
(3-6) Tennessee @ Jacksonville (6-3)
(3-6) Dallas @ Baltimore (6-3)
(5-4) St. Louis @ Buffalo (3-6)
(6-3) Indianapolis @ Chicago (4-5)
(8-1) Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (4-5)
(6-3) NY Jets @ Cleveland (3-6)
(6-3) San Diego @ Oakland (3-6)
(1-8) Miami @ Seattle (5-4)
(7-2) Atlanta @ NY Giants (5-4)
(3-6) Washington @ Philadelphia (8-1)
(5-4) Green Bay @ Houston (4-5)
(8-1) New England @ Kansas City (3-6)

This is the last weekend with a full slate of college games, so we may have to do something creative in coming weeks. The bowl picture will be a lot clearer after this week. There are some good games, with this being Rivalry Week. Here are my picks for the Big Ten:

(3-7) Illinois @ Northwestern (5-5)
(5-5) Michigan State @ Penn State (3-7)
(3-7) Indiana @ Purdue (6-4)
(9-1) Michigan @ Ohio State (6-4)
(9-1) Wisconsin @ Iowa (8-2)

Speaking of rivalries, the most important one here in this part of the world is being played on Tuesday, when the Bowling Green Falcons travel to take on Toledo in the Glass Bowl. Home field advantage has been huge in this series lately, but I look for the Falcons to end that string and win going away. Here are this week's MAC games:

(2-8) Buffalo @ Connecticut (5-4)
(2-8) Ball State @ Central Michigan (3-7)
(7-3) Northern Illinois @ Eastern Michigan (4-6)
(1-9) Western Michigan @ Marshall (5-5)
(7-3) Miami @ Akron (6-4)
(4-6) Kent State @ Central Florida (0-10) - Tuesday night
(8-2) Bowling Green @ Toledo (7-3) - Tuesday night

Wow. I went pretty balls-out, picking eight upsets this week. How many of those do I have to get right in order to look like a genius?

The college football world will miss Lou Holtz when he retires after this season, but hopefully he'll go out with two more wins--one over Clemson this weekend, and then one in whatever bowl game the Gamecocks find themselves in. He's quite a character. Hopefully he'll do some TV analysis, as he did after leaving Notre Dame and before taking over at South Carolina. I'm pretty excited to see what Steve Spurrier will be able to do there. I've been a fan of the Gamecocks since Ryan Brewer went there to play, and I think that program is a sleeping giant. Holtz brought it up from the ashes, and maybe Spurrier will be the one to take it to the top. He's quite a character himself, and it'll be good to have him back in the college game.

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