Each week DPB’s Kyle Magin and Andrew J. Pridgen will pour on the prose with Pints and Picks™. Who to wager and what to drink while doing it. Here then, is their point-counterpoint for Nov. 15, 2014. Or, if you’re in the car, simply scroll down for the recap (they may be verbose, but it’s better than clicking through a slideshow).
AJ: Once Bernard Hopkins at 48 showed he could take down the competitive and serviceable, if not light puncher, Karo Murat, he became the grill-less George Foreman of his time. Old guys, or guys who are getting older—which is all guys—embrace that story line.
There’s something about seeing a man in the ring on the cusp of 50—never mind the Cialis bathtub, I’m still viable, I’m still here—that reaches just beyond inspiring and into that ether of “What, then, am I doing with my life?” Knowing Jake LaMotta was already performing stand-up and had served time on a chain gang by the time he turned 38, makes Hopkins’ storied career all the more valuable. (An aside, LaMotta is still alive and married his seventh wife at age 92 last January.)
In the lead up to his fight last Saturday with Sergey Kovalev, Hopkins was every bit the outspoken elder statesman. He blamed race, not boxing’s still-paddling-its-way-back-to-the-mainstream, as the locus for the fight’s lack of embrace by the sporting public at-large. “Because I’m black,” he said citing that he’d been an upstanding and law-abiding citizen for more than a quarter century in his sport’s limelight and yet has never gotten the run he’s deserved outside the welcoming confines of the insiders of the most insider of sports.
I think Hopkins does have a point; race is a factor in the way of his branding. But race is not the whole story. It’s that, by all counts, Hopkins is a cerebral fellow. A good guy in and out of the ring. A grinder. He’s not betting three million on the Superbowl, “hosting” $40k/week fantasy football leagues or Instagramming himself sleeping in piles of money. If anything, Hopkins’ mattress swells from what he’s stuffed underneath it. There’s a personality there, that’s for sure (a recent physical performed whilst he wore an alien mask—his nome de plume) is proof of that.
In the end, Kovalev proved too much for Hopkins, and—to be fair, established himself as a contender. As both Harold Lederman and Max Kellerman pointed out early and often announcing ringside, it was Hopkins’ fight to lose from the opening bell. Kovalev isn’t known as a late-rounder and Hopkins’ surgeon’s precision in the ring featuring some still spry footwork kept him in the bout for the distance without ever being in the fight.
Though the decision was unanimous and Hopkins took nary a round, it was a victory for the Alien. Not because “Old Guys Rule” or any such pap, but because he showed a very human side. Before, during and after—comparing the bout to labor in the post-fight presser. To me, that is humility only a true elder statesman can conjure.
Feeling a little bit weary in the afterglow of last week’s big bets and bigger losses. So I’m going to go ahead and pass the peace pipe for one round from you and then I’ll dive into an even dozen (count ’em) picks for this week. I’m taking the Kirkland/Costco approach hoping quantity gets me off the schneid.
KM, I know boxing’s your thing, so hopefully I didn’t steal too much thunder in the aftermath (notice I’m trying my best to avoid MSU/OSU).
Kyle: AJ-You summed up my feelings on Hopkins beautifully. He’s a marvel of consistency at 49 that we all wish we could be at 19, 29 or 39. He’s still putting together fight plans and obviously putting in work in camps when most fighters his age are having a hard time putting together a sentence. The approach is just as impressive as the finished product, and as you said, there’s no shame in losing to Kovalev. Just too much power there.
Anyway, I’m going to get right to the picks this week:
Florida State -2.5 @ Miami
I’ll be hoping against hope that the ‘Canes make me look foolish here. They do one thing really well—run the ball. Miami RB Duke Johnson looks like a Sunday player who averages nearly 8 yards per carry—in addition to 13 yards per catch. Alas, I’ve seen the Jameis & Jimbo shitshow pull too many rabbits out of the hat this season to expect anything else than a late FSU win in Coral Gables.
Eastern Michigan @ Western Michigan -27
With a Northern Illinois loss in some weekday #MACtion on Tuesday (which is actually sneaky entertaining. The MAC is still a conference where a pimply-faced freshman CB can match up against a league-ready WR and provide a few fireworks) the Broncos (6-3, 4-1) are in the MAC West title hunt. The Eagles (2-7, 1-4) have been terrible and beaten Western in their last three matchups. But, coach PJ Fleck called out Kalamazoo and Western’s student section for still idolizing the prettier girls (MSU, ND, UM) this week and I think the city & students respond to really tilt the homefield advantage.
Nebraska @ Wisconsin -6.5
Chalk! Bo Pelini can’t beat good teams on the road, and the crowd at Camp Randall will be freezing and therefore drunk & ready to jump around, chiefly for warming purposes. There’s a three-way tie atop the B1G West between ‘Sconny, Nebraska and Minnesota. The Badgers win the eliminator on their home turf and cover for good measure with the nation’s third-stingiest defense.
Ohio State @ Minnesota +14
Yes, AJ, the Buckeyes outclassed my Spartans last week, convincingly. Their running game is among the nation’s best. They’ll need it at TCF Bank Field on Saturday, where the highs are expected to hit about 25. That’s (new) Gopher football weather, exactly the kind of home game you hope for/hate to attend when you build an outdoor stadium in Santa’s backyard. Look for a low-scoring contest between the leaders of the East and West divisions with Minnesota keeping it close and maybe pulling a W out of their hats.
AJ: I like the no-nonsense approach this week. And, truth be told, I got nothing left after last week’s top-20 barrage. Away we go:
Ohio State @ Minnesota +14: Gophers keep this close till the final ticks. ‘Cept for the Hawkeyes, the Golden G’s haven’t lost by double digits all year. Hangover game for OSU, so take the under.
Temple +11.5 @ Penn State: The Temple will sneak up on you like Cosby in a hotel lobby. Penn State should falter at the Beav.
Clemson @ Georgia Tech +2.5: Clemson needs to get the fuck out of the top 25. It’s like when you’re losing at Battleship and you just start calling out numbers, that’s Clemson. Georgia Tech and the money line.
Virginia Tech +4.5 @ Duke: Duke hasn’t realized FCS isn’t lacrosse yet; the Hokies aren’t half bad. Take the moneyline and again on the under.
Nevada +2.5 @ Air Force: Nevada and the moneyline.
Rice +21.5 @ Marshall: Oh snap. Rice and the points and the under all day. Marshall will stumble.
TCU @ Kansas +27.5: This is a week-one point spread. The alma-mater of one Ladanian Tomlinson will put up some points but won’t rawk hawk the jayhawk this week. Teams are injured and slower and TCU gave all it could to best K. State last weekend.
Utah +7.5 @ Stanford: Stanford hasn’t met a spread it likes all season and Utah’s just too quick. The Utes were one historically bonehead play from going 14 up on the Ducks last weekend at Rice-Eccles and the Cardinal have been soft on D and weak up front all year. Utah and the moneyline.
The PnP Recap:
AJ: 21 for 36
Kyle: 18 for 28
• Ohio State at Minnesota +14 under
• Temple +11.5 @ Penn State under
• Clemson @ Georgia Tech +2.5 (moneyline)
• Virginia Tech +4.5 @ Duke (moneyline)
• Nevada +2.5 @ Air Force (moneyline)
• Rice +21.5 @ Marshall
• TCU @ Kansas +27.5
• Utah +7.5 @ Stanford (moneyline)
• Eastern Michigan @ Western Michigan -27
• Ohio State @ Minnesota +14
• Florida State -2.5 @ Miami
• Nebraska @ Wisconsin -6.5