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 (sometimes) what to drink while doing it.

Hey Kyle,

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this wicked game of low-stakes, half-buzzed betting, it’s never completely trust your gut, unless you can really hone in and listen to your “real” (sorry, that’s an air quote) gut.

What I mean (and maybe skip this part if you’re a degenerate gambler) is there’s no way to bring down the house. Even if you click through all the research your thumbs can handle, short of being the on-campus fixer, there’s still a bounce here or a blown possession there to throw off what would be a sure thing. All we can do is make educated guesses based on what we know, recent history, long-term familiarity and a little bit of pixie dust in the form of ashes from the tip of a squeezed dry and snuffed out Camel. RIP Joe Camel.

The reality of this football season was encapsulated in my moneyline picks last week. I took all four underdogs to show and none came through. The horses weren’t broken, my process was. I was pressing. I should not have to chase at this point in the year; usually I’m a half-dozen games north of .500 and can pick lines and o/u matchups that are likely to tilt in my favor of these lesser West Coast teams based on the obscene number of downs I’ve watched late at night PST time. So here, at my cruise control portion of the season. I usually feel light—ergo the moneyline bets… but that’s the kind of false confidence gamblers give themselves when, in actuality, they’re chasing. There’s feeling it in your gut and there’s convincing your gut you’re feeling something. My week 10 performance was a symptom of the latter.

It’s like a spark with the opposite sex. 99-plus percent of the time either you or the beer are too busy convincing yourself there’s something there to ignore the “go away” signs. When it works, when it really works, there’s no game to be spat, no glances and looking away, no jokes told, it’s just you.

Last week, clearly, was an example of me not being me.

I know all this comes off as a gross rationalization after a four-loss week late in the year, something as inexcusable as a hangover sick day. So this is where I’ll cut it out with the mea culpas and get straight to the lessons learned. Ready?

  • Texas is the garbage underneath the top layer of garbage, the wet garbage.
  • Josh Rosen needs to leave UCLA now. Maybe don’t even finish out the season. Better things are ahead. He’s like when Jennifer Aniston was in Leprechaun. We all have to start somewhere even if it’s in white denim shortalls.
  • Oregon is a horrible football program. They’re in this weird place where they still think the backwash of their early ‘00s marketing splash is relevant—that the world still cares or wants to continue to engorge the Pacific Garbage Patch with weekly alt unis or even remembers who Joey Harrington is. Nobody GIVES A FUCK about how you look when you wear it like a loser. It’s still early in the Willie Taggart administration and I was one of the biggest apologists early on. I liked the splash hire of someone outside the ranks, I liked his presence behind the mic and frankly, in all ways it is racist/not racist having a white guy write this: I liked the hire of a black coach in Eugene. But it’s clear Taggart, whose roots are deep in Florida, play calls like a 2nd tier SEC coach. Run, run, run, run… try to get stingy on defense, and run. Throw one up once in awhile like Spurrier to keep the restless from revolting. Blah. It’s battered and fried three-and-a-side football Pac-12 style (see: the failed Sonny Dykes administration at Cal) and I don’t like it. There’s an opening in Gainesville next fall and I hope he takes it. Will swap FLA for Scott Frost back.
  • I now trust the Nevada Wolfpack like a cheating ex who texts after midnight.
  • Washington State is the real deal and I think they have a shot at beating UDub. Chris Peterson and Mike Leach may not be just the best two coaches in the bye and bye state, or the PAC-12 but in the whole country. No fanfare and no TV time and they still come up with compelling wins week after week.
  • RichRod got his groove back in Arizona. He took a nothing team of redshirt freshmen this year and turned them into the most watchable program in college football. His defensive looks are revelatory if not at times leaving too much to chance and his offense has been nearly unstoppable once Khalil Tate started taking snaps. Nineteen-year-old Tate is straight out of Inglewood and the best player in college football you’re not watching. There’s a trap of segregationist fiction about black quarterbacks that we have to all compare them to other black quarterbacks which those of us who write about them fall into every week. Tate is black and his footwork and reads of defenses are impressive, but he’s Manning-like in the pocket, and that’s what makes him a scary-wonderful athlete. I hope Arizona finishes strong and gets into a bowl game that’s played post-Christmas.

So now Kyle, you and our reading public know what I know. I will turn this menagerie into an eight-game, thirty-yard heave off the back foot as we wind down this version of the application and prep for college hoops and hot stove rumors on the other side.

AJ,

I’m feeling similarly after a 2-3 week. There’s smart betting, and then there’s picking in big conference matchups between teams I hardly ever watch. That’s why I’m going back to the Midwestern pond I usually fish (the teams along the I-94 corridor) this week.

I’d like to say that means I’m staying away from the big, sexy, bookie-attention-grabbing picks… but this week, that’s a lie. Catholics vs. Convicts has the whole nation rapt and me too. There’s something I can’t put down about a good Miami team. The ‘Canes, back during the Ken Dorsey-Willis McGahee years, were the most exciting team in college football. More importantly, they upended the solid southern hegemony of cracker-ass programs run by cracker-ass coaches. Nothing is more boring than watching Nick Saban/Dabo Swinney/Tom Herman drone on about “the process” in a press conference. Gimme Jimmy with a big ass ring stalking the sidelines in his perfect side part. Gimme Edgerrin James with dreads and a grill in grabbing 8 yards a run. Gimme Kellen Winslow Jr. in fatigues talking about trucking linebackers, then, you know, actually doing it. College football needs a good Hurricanes squad to shake things up and add a dash of color to what has become the sport’s most successful and most boring region. It needs a program that isn’t afraid to make its players the stars in an era of coaches in the limelight.

And, just like college football needs Miami, AJ, it kinda needs Notre Dame. If the sport is going to capitalize on the NFL being down, it’ll need to ride a big brand back into battle. And the biggest is still ND—a coast-to-coast fanbase, a network to itself, and rivals in every pocket of football fandom across the nation. I know it’s played to say a sport will do better if an old champ steps back into the ring, especially one that hasn’t won since ‘88. But I feel like we just saw something similiar… and it worked out for pretty well.

So, AJ, I’ve got the big boys on my mind, as well as matchups in the B1G and Mountain West on the turnaround.

Kyle,

I’ve said too much already. Here we go with this six pack to save my season:

Washington State -1 @ Utah

Utah plays like USC one week and UCLA the next. There’s not a lot of consistency on this Utes squad other than an the anemic offense that defines them. They’ve only managed to put up more than 30 points once and that was Week 1 vs. North Dakota. Like Stranger Things 2, Wazzu only gets better as the season progresses and the Cougs are a threat to score at will at Rice-Eccles Saturday to a team that gave up 40 to Oregon.

Auburn +3 vs Georgia

Like you Kyle, I don’t like going out of my lane for banner headline games, but this one is too rich. Georgia finds itself in the pole over Bama in the College Football Playoff Rankings; mostly to give Saban some bulletin board fodder. Auburn at 7-2 could be right there were it not for late-inning hiccups vs. Clemson and LSU. Georgia, for as good as their record shows, hasn’t played anyone since Notre Dame week 1. A patsy in-league schedule to follow (Vandy, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri) with only one show-stopping win, a 42-7 dismantling of Florida, means they’ve yet to be tested. Auburn will be that test. I expect signature SEC late-season football featuring a baseball score and a one-possession ballgame as the clock ticks down at Jordan–Hare Saturday.

Arizona State +1 @ UCLA

The Bruins are 4-5 overall and 2-4 in Pac-12 play. This game is nothing short of a must-win to save the already precarious Jim Mora era. Aforementioned QB wunderkind and the 49ers anointed savior Josh Rosen sat out last week’s Utah game due to concussion protocol and backup Devon Modster’s status is also uncertain with a non-displaced fracture in the thumb on his throwing hand. UCLA is always ride or die with their QB and their fortunes have faded due to inconsistent play under center due to injury/a line that doesn’t quite know how to pass protect. Arizona State is second in the PAC-12 south and, along with rival Arizona, is the conference’s biggest surprise. Their defensive looks under Phil Bennett (yes, SMU’s Phil Bennett) are some of the best in the land and sure to give the half-staffed Bruins fits.

Arizona +20 vs Oregon State

It’s not a question of whether Oregon State is going to lose, it’s by how much. Arizona is starting its two-week pillage of the Oregon schools at home. Normally, I don’t like 20-point spreads this late in the season but OSU hasn’t got a coach, much of an offensive or defensive line and their secondary will be acting as Matadors when Khaili Tate lets it go. Arizona is going to have to have a few statement games if they’re going to sneak into a second-tier bowl, that starts at home Saturday.

Fresno State -9 vs Hawaii

Fresno State is bowl eligible and has played a number of notable games thus far this season. They took it to both Bama and UDub for a half before succumbing to what amount to professional programs. They blanked New Mexico, held San Diego State to a field goal and for whatever reason, found a way to lose to UNLV. Nick Rolovich’s Warriors are fun to watch and he coaches like you used to play Tecmo, it’s four-down football all the time in the Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono state; unfortunately, Rolo’s personnel on the field is still a year away from turning his strategy into an effective tactic. Look for Fres-yes to put up 40+.

Kansas +31.5 @ Texas

Again, can’t help myself here but going all-in on the big spread. Texas will get complacent with a nine point lead in the third quarter and though things could get close to an upset at Darrell K Royal, it’s as safe a bet as asking your sister’s friend who she’s got dirt on to the homecoming dance that the horns will make it way too interesting.

K Kyle, take us to the window and deliver us from .500.

Alright AJ, here goes:

Michigan State +17 @ Ohio State

The Spartans are equipped with a choke-hold run defense, a 6-3 ATS record as opposed to the Buckeyes’ 4-5, and a decided time of possession advantage on OSU (33 minutes to 28 minutes). I think they have what it takes to keep the Buckeyes in spitting distance at the Horseshoe, where game-time temperatures are only supposed to barely break 40 degrees. Combine this with the fact that Mark Dantonio is only 1 point behind in the 5 meetings his teams have played against Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes (he’s 2-3 vs. the OSU headman) and I don’t think anyone is going to run away with this one.

Iowa @ Wisconsin -12

Iowa is a competent team, but they really bring a prayer into Camp Randall tomorrow. The Hawkeyes win by a modest margin (10 points vs. a gaudy 23 for the Badgers), struggle with offensive efficiency (37% on third down conversions vs. 52 for UW), and average just 3.9 yards per rushing attempt as opposed to 5.2 for Wisconsin. This is a good, solid team, with a good offense, but it’s going to be hard to keep up with a UW team that averages close to 15 yards per pass. The Badgers continue their run at the Big Ten West title AND cover at home.

Notre Dame -3.5 @ Miami

There’s a lot to like about the Hurricanes’ QB Malik Rosier. He’s got a big arm (8.9 yards per completion), he hits about 57 percent of his passes, and he made his legs work for him against Virginia Tech last week to the tune of 84 yards and a touchdown when he couldn’t find purchase through the air. The one thing to dislike is the thing I like about ND quarterback Brandon Wimbush: Rosier cannot take care of the football. He has a 19-7 TD-INT ratio, including 3 last week. Wimbush has a more modest 11-2 ratio, but has much better legs and avoids sacks slightly better. In a game where both run defenses could shut down the traditional 3-and-a-cloud-of-dust rushing game, I’m going with the more capable, elusive passer. ND covers.

Fresno State -9 @ Hawaii

AJ- How did this team ever lose to UNLV? Anyway, like you said, they take care of business in Honolulu.

Alright folks, good luck at the windows this weekend. Happy Veteran’s Day.

Last Week:

Kyle: 2 and 3

AJ: 0 for 4

Overall:

Kyle: 20 for 31

AJ: 16 for 32

This week:

AJ:

Washington State -1 @ Utah

Auburn +3 vs Georgia

Arizona State +1 @ UCLA

Arizona +20 vs Oregon State

Fresno State -9 vs Hawaii

Kansas +31.5 @ Texas

Kyle:

Michigan State +17 @ Ohio State

Iowa @ Wisconsin -12

Notre Dame -3.5 @ Miami

Fresno State -9 @ Hawaii

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