Pints and Picks week 10: Nine picks and a Purple Rain reference

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Each week, during college football season DPB’s Kyle Magin and Andrew J. Pridgen pour on the prose with Pints and Picks™. Who to wager and…a whole lot of references that take three reads to get—if only it were worth reading three times (like total. Like three total reads.)

pridgenIKyle,

Well, we’re in it now.

This is the 2:20 a.m. at the casino of the college football season for me. Expectations have turned to reality. Money has come and money has gone. The buzz turned to a full-on drunk and now I’m reconciling with those dirty first glances ahead to the next day sun. This is where a choice must be made. The horse that just bucked me is standing right there, waiting, black-eyed and sniffing, daring me to get back on. To me it’s like, I’ve got to even though I know I shouldn’t. Or maybe I’m just telling myself I should and that’s making me feel more one way. Redemption, morality—the thought that some day there is no horse and there is no hot late night and there is no morning to come and dark is dark—that I’m kind of in this hollow and rare space of being able to assert myself by simply making the decision to continue in spite of fact and reason and conduct code. In spite of everything, that space is happening now and oh isn’t it just the fucking best even at its worst.

This frenetic lie we tell ourselves; that aces are waiting at the back of the shoe, that answers can be found underneath the ice—that the cab will come when called and she’ll come back because she said she would—is just that. It’s the promise that it’s not as bad (it never is) as it seems and at the same time that we’re guaranteed another dawn, another 100 from the machine another blind staredown with the dealer whose comeuppance has nothing to do with how I’m doing but everything to do with what they leave with in their pocket divided by what got them there in the first place. They’re just like us. Just metal sparks from a rock hitting the same spoke.

Yes, Kyle. We’re in it now.

And you know that means…That means, SIX FUCKING PICKS this week. Blowing it out like Smash Mouth through a subwoofer. Pour another and give me a backer for my free hand because nothing should stand in the way of a man and his own 2 a.m. reinvention. It’s what we get up for in the first place.

Now go go go go!

maginIAJ,

I’m ready to tackle a rhino after that pep talk, coach. Just point me in the right direction. After two weeks of a holding pattern we’re back into the fray. College football resumes its sprint like a 400 runner coming around that last turn. That’s the analogy I’d use for where we’re at.

We’re coming around the back stretch, when the focus on form and the patience of being as far as possible from your screaming teammates and fans starts to melt away. The back stretch of the 400 was always strange for me–like the most recent two weeks of the season–because you’re in the race but not really racing, you know. You’re just kind of making sure your strides are nice and long, and that nobody is pulling too much away from the pack while you sort out the final push.

My Michigan State Spartans were off on bye to rest up a depleted O-line. Oklahoma State polished the offense for TCU and Baylor in a three-week span. You pass the 200 start in turn three and start to steel yourself. Florida hammered on Georgia to establish themselves as THE force in the SEC East, for however much that’s worth. In that last turn, though, you hear the crowd and pass the 100 start and lose. your. shit. It’s life or death now. Alabama’s title hopes stop here if they don’t find a way to beat Les Miles in the Bayou. Your teammates scream to your left, the crowd on your right, and you’re focused like a laser on the kid in front of you and the footsteps behind. Notre Dame looks to a date with the best Pitt team in decades while Stanford digs deep for what absolutely has to be a flawless finish. Your mouth is wide open, you find that last kick and stretch…

That’s how I hope these next few weeks go. I hope everyone comes into the conference title games exhausted and still rolling at full-throttle. I hope this ends up like the last few weeks of regular season baseball in the NL Central and AL West–a full-on, it’s-him-or-me bloodbath. We both saw the rankings come out this week–some combination of Iowa and Michigan State or Ohio State will have to go through each other, ditto TCU and Baylor, Florida and ‘Bama or LSU, all while Clemson and Notre Dame try to do something they haven’t done much of in decades–finish.

AJ, I’m ready for the starter’s pistol. Who do you have coming strong out of the blocks this weekend?

pridgenIKyle,

Five of the six:

Oregon -7.5 vs. Cal

Some call it flip-flopping, some call it evolving. I don’t care if there’s a name for it but it goes something like this: Cal is starting to be Cal again and Oregon is starting to look like Oregon again. To me, this game at Autzen is going to be should-the-Ducks-go-to-the-Vegas-Bowl or should-the-Ducks-go-to-the-Holiday-Bowl moment of the season. I also think Oregon D coordinator Don Pellum’s job is riding on this game. Contain Jared Goff and limit Cal’s mighty gunslinger to 300 yards and three touchdowns (or fewer) and you get one more season to fill Nick Aliotti’s size-18 Nikes. Let the skidding Bears get their groove on at home and start asking if Monster is still around. The Ducks stole one in triple OT in Tempe but have had 10 days to get dialed and get healthy. The final should be sixty-something to forty-something, so take the over.

Washington +10 vs Utah

This is the week to take the dogs at home in the Pac-12. Like families at the end of a Disney Cruise, everyone’s had about enough of one another and have gotten sick off the chocolate fountain and is ready to go to their own, quiet zone in the division. Utah is showing signs of slowing while U-Dub is showing signs of gelling and finally buying into Chris Peterson’s brand of 19-year-old indentured servitude. A straight-up win in Seattle is what the Huskies are looking for this week. Utah QB Travis Wilson has been letting them sail of late and seems much more tired/less mobile than weeks one through three. In the meantime if Washington can bring the same (see: Peterson) offense that broke out for 49 last week against Arizona and get their secondary in gear up for college football’s most exciting Little Mac look-alike (Brit Covey) the 4-4 Huskies can steal one at home.

Pittsburgh +9.5 vs. Notre Dame

With the Irish trying to protect No. 5 CFP ranking and a playoff berth still in their crosshairs with only Stanford standing in the way Nov. 28, this Pitt matchup seems like the natural time for a letdown. I don’t place much credence in the past, but the fact that this game hasn’t been decided by more than a touchdown in a half-decade is telling. The schools are both 3-3 in their last half-dozen meetings and those games have been decided by (ready) a TOTAL of 27 points. Unranked Pitt ain’t half bad either. At 6-2 they’re one of the more overlooked top programs in the country and, oh yeah, Dan Marino (Isotoner season!) is Pitt’s honorary captain Saturday. Lock it up.

Minnesota +23 @ Ohio State

My one loss at the window last week was at the hands of Michigan refusing to show up against a very pumped-up Minnesota squad which seems to want to put a ring real bad on interim head coach Tracy Claeys. The Golden Gophers barely let Harbaugh and co. out of Minneapolis with a W after riding on the back of Prince’s bike and baptizing himself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka (sorry, but I so resisted a Purple Rain all last week). Something about Minnesota’s play last week felt a little bit like a rough draft and I am starting to read a lot between Urban Meyer’s quotes. Granted, Meyer is a master of misdirection so either he’s: 1) Starting to feel not confident in his team and is trying to seem overconfident or 2) the reverse. “Our kids know that. Everybody we face, you’ll hear it’s their biggest game,” he said. -And- “I know this time last year we were 16th and I think everybody’s kind of, at least everybody in our profession is ‘keep going man’. There’s a lot of football (left).” So, who’s he talking about? You tell me. The Gophers kept Michigan at bay most of the game but Claeys and co. haven’t shown they can finish the double-knot before they start running. Either way, this one’s going to be too close for comfort in Columbus.

Michigan State -4.5 @ Nebraska

Kyle, I’mma let you have the descriptions on this one, but MSU wins by 22. Take first half wagering on this especially as Sparty promises to jump out to a two-score lead by the time they’re handing out orange slices and Capri Sun in the locker room.

*Deep breath.*

Kyle, that’s five. A bonus game for the kicker/sixth leg of my parlay. (Hint: it’s of the professional roundball variety).

maginIAJ,

Diving right in:

Notre Dame @ Pitt +9.5

I like the 7-1 Irish to win this game because 6-2 Pitt hasn’t exactly looked convincing over the last two weeks in a squeaker of a W at Syracuse and a loss to North Carolina at home. I like Pitt to cover because even in their worst moments–against Iowa and NC–nobody has come close to covering nine on them, especially not against a hot ND team at Heinz Field where you can probably spot Pitt 4-5 points and work from there. Are the Irish -13 or -14 better than Pitt? Doubtful. You’re looking at strength-on-strength here when ND is on offense. Pitt Head Coach Pat Narduzzi has his Panthers giving up just 138 rush yards per game, 6.6 yards per pass and ball-hawking with the best of the best given their 13.1 yards per interception return on 8 INTs.

Nard-dog has playmakers on that side of the ball and isn’t afraid to use them. I think that’s the thing that keeps this contest close–probably not in Pitt’s favor, but close–for one of the sneaky-best matchups of the weekend.

FSU @ Clemson Under 55

Of 8-0 Clemson’s eight wins this season, exactly one of them is instructive: Their last-minute 24-22, hanging-by-one-pinky-off-the-cliff-nearly-Clemsoning victory over Notre Dame. The rest is just a bunch of ACC hooey including a dismantling of those profound posers the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets. What Clemson has is a prolific offense and defense that can get the job done. You can say similar things about the Seminoles but for one key difference: QB Everett Golson does not turn the ball over and the Tigers’ trigger man Deshaun Watson does. He’s thrown 7 picks against 20 touchdowns, while the much more conservatively-used Golson has just one pick against 11 touchdowns. Look for Clemson to employ Watson in much the same manner: RB Wayne Gallman will do most the work (even some on pass plays, where he’s seen his receiving duties increase in each of the last three weeks on short-yardage plays) and Watson will maybe get the reins in the red zone or on long-yardage situations. Ditto Dalvin Cook for FSU. Expect a tight matchup in Death Valley.

LSU +6 @ Alabama

Leonard Fournette.

(OK, Tigers QB Brandon Harris also opens up all sorts of options for Fournette with his increasingly-impressive passing: on just 11 completions last week he racked up 286 yards including a 67-yard bomb, topping his long plays of 52 and 62 in the two previous weeks, respectively. The kid needs an inch to take a mile.)

AJ, haul this fish into the boat.

pridgenIKyle,

Golden State Warriors -3 @ Sacramento

I know. I know. I know.

It’s the Golden State Warriors. The “My son, Luke Walton”-coached Golden State Warriors. The 6-0 defending NBA champs Golden State Warriors. It’s the first week of the NBA and nobody should give a shit…Golden State Warriors. Kyle, since you had to go throw down at a trade show in SF last weekend you saw the Bay Area’s fervor for a winner (sports bars tuned into October basketball instead of October baseball) and you know about Sacramento mayor (and former Phoenix Suns’ All-Star point guard) Kevin Johnson’s $3 billion (with a ‘b’) bet on downtown Sac with a new mini-Staples-style Golden 1 Center in the works, you may care a tad about this one. Maybe? What I care about is Warriors PG Steph Curry vs. Kings PG Seth Curry. That’s right. Double Curry = a lotta spicy (sorry). And even though the NBA (not to mention anything of the Kings’ marketing dept.) hasn’t quite figured out what to do with DaMarcus Cousins…who is to me the most-exciting player you’re not hearing about, mostly because SportsCenter doesn’t have his B-roll till everyone’s gone to bed in Bristol, the Kings have, in fact, earned this close spread. Draymond will D up DaMarcus and that alone is worth the tune in on your NBA.TV. Warriors still win by double digits in this NorCal matchup of record.

pridgenIAJ:

Last week: 1 for 2

Overall: 14 for 22 (one tie)

Oregon -7.5 vs Cal

Washington +10 vs Utah

Pittsburgh +9.5 vs. Notre Dame

Minnesota +23 @ Ohio State

Michigan State -4.5 @ Nebraska

Golden State Warriors -3 @ Sacramento

maginIKyle:

Last week: 2 for 3

Overall: 17 for 31

FSU @ Clemson Under 55

Notre Dame @ Pitt +9.5

LSU +6 @ Alabama