Follow Baver on his trip to Happy Valley. Twitter: @baverbuckeyebag
I noticed in this week's Buckeye Bag that you don't like the Buckeyes to cover at Penn State. You haven't missed a Buckeye pick this year. What is your level of confidence in this one?
Not highly confident, but I think Penn State is the play here (against the spread). When you are rolling, at some point you usually get a reality check….and I just see this week being that reality check. The extra week of prep (after a bye week) for a James Franklin coached team is the big factor for me. Hope I’m wrong, as I obviously want the Bucks to keep rolling. I do think the Bucks come away with the win and ultimately head to East Lansing with a 7-1 record two weeks from now. And if the Bucks get the Nits down a few scores early, they may steam-roll them, like the last four opponents. After I said Raekwon McMillan was (basically) “playing like a freshman,” his play in the Rutgers game may be the turning point that really gets him going. Something tells me he plays a big roll Saturday night, but I am still worried about this game, and still say take Penn State and the points. The noise will be tough for first-year starter JT Barrett to deal with.
Give us an update on your picks to date and what games & lines jump out at you this week?
I’m 13-8 ATS, hitting 11 of the last 15, and 5-0-1 ATS in Buckeye games. There is little I like this week, and the spreads I have been looking at haven’t moved much. Vegas does a better job establishing the initial game week lines as the season goes on. But, to stick with how I’ve been doing this, I will pick three games. I am going to go against both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, both of whom have huge targets on their chests now, and both of whom have tough road games. I like Kentucky getting the 13 1/2 at home against Messy State and I like LSU, at home, at night, getting 3 ½ against the Rebels. With Kentucky and 2nd year head coach Mark Stoops (5-2 ATS this year), the future is bright; the Wildcats keep this one close. LSU has covered back to back games and is showing signs of life. Lastly, I think UCLA will start to pull things together here in the 2nd half of the year; Jim Mora will get UCLA back in the top 10. I like the Bruins laying 13 ½ at Colorado.
Notre Dame sure looked like the real deal last week. Is this good news for the perception of Midwest football or a threat to future OSU dominance of the region?
Notre Dame is indeed a good football team and I think they still have a shot at the playoff. But, their remaining schedule is brutal: with road trips to Navy, Arizona State and USC, and home stints against Northwestern and Louisville. It was the right (pass interference) call at the end of the Fla State – Notre Dame game, but give the Irish credit for coming that close to upsetting the ‘Noles in Tallahassee. Are the Irish a threat to Ohio State’s dominance in the Midwest? I’d say, “somewhat.”
It sure looks like MSU is going to kick the unholy hell out of Michigan this weekend. Is it just that simple?
Speaking of getting the unholy hell kicked out of you, what happened to Texas A & M last week and what team (s) are the best in the SEC?
Texas A&M is reeling big time. And that was a Bama team that had not been playing well that spanked them. I just think A&M is out of gas, mentally. I still think Bama is the class of the SEC, followed closely by Auburn, who is followed closely by Georgia, who is followed closely by Messy State and Ole Miss. The conference is very much up for grabs. Big Ten fans are probably going to disagree wholeheartedly, but I think you have to put the SEC West champ in the playoff, regardless of how many losses they have and regardless of whether or not they beat Georgia in the SEC title game.
Back to the Penn State game….did I hear you were headed to Happy Valley?
Yes indeed….will try to even my record out at 1-1 in trips there. The last time I was there? Uhh….the last time Ohio State lost there, in 2005. The students were a little hostile to us on that trip. That was the first “white out” that I remember…it’s quite imposing. The lion growl over the speakers (in person) is about as unbearable as it gets….probably how OSU haters view our OH-IO back and forth. Have a friend, who is a professor at PSU, hosting a tailgate with his normal crew as well as our obnoxious bunch from C-bus. Drinks will be flowing early Saturday. Looking like ideal weather….knock on wood. Will do my best to bring home a “W.”