This season's been a big joy for me. I've spent a number of years discussing sports gambling with my friends, from Daily Fantasy Sports to point spreads and money lines. We spend weekends together, betting among ourselves, mostly for fun. It's not about the money for us; it's mostly about having some fun and developing rooting interests in sporting events we normally wouldn't care about.
Whether you love or hate gambling, that's the thing I like to get across. Whenever someone talks about gambling, they have this image of a guy down on his luck, with no money left, getting in deep with the sharks. They talk about gambling like a guy is losing his shirt, his house, and his fish tank.
For me, gambling is about competition. My friends and I like staying in friendly states of competition with one another. Nothing beats the feeling of a group of guys, all with money riding on a shot here or a play there, betting on a game they ordinarily wouldn't care about. The money winds up staying in the family, and the guy who wins usually ends up spending it on beer or food for everyone else.
We have one last week before bowl season, with Army-Navy taking place next week, followed by bowl games left and right. The college football season is officially over after this weekend. So as champions are crowned (and the Big XII finishes its schedule), let's have one more round of FUN before we have to wave goodbye to another college football season.
Last Week: 1-4 (WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?)
Georgia State at Georgia Southern (-21)
I've been sneaky riding Georgia Southern all season. A triple option team, they actually rank with Army, Navy, Georgia Tech, Air Force, and Boston College as teams who aren't throwing the ball. But they play a bunch of teams they can score a bunch of points on. When they run into a favorable matchup, they kill teams.
Two of Ga. Southern's losses came to West Virginia and Georgia, along with Appalachian State. They'll play a Georgia State team they should handle, although State needs this game to become bowl eligible. But Southern's made a habit of dropping 30-40 points on teams and holding them below 20. Take them to cover in this one.
Florida (+17.5) vs. Alabama
There's a prevailing theory that Florida is going to be absolutely destroyed by the Crimson Tide, that this game if a formality as Alabama tries to muscle their way into the College Football Playoff Championship they were shut out of last season.
I think Alabama is going to win because there's too much at stake for a team coached by Nick Saban. Florida has a couple of really glaring holes that will keep them from outright winning the SEC, which is bad news when they're going up against the 'Bama machine.
But I think Florida will keep it close and ultimately lose in the end. Alabama will fight through and win this game, but I don't think they're covering a three-score spread.
USC vs. Stanford (-4.5)
Brian Favat - this is just for you.
When these teams met earlier in the season, I said USC was going to blow through Stanford. I said I didn't buy or believe in the Cardinal. I've been convinced otherwise, and I think Stanford has a chance at the playoffs if North Carolina is able to beat out Clemson. With an outside chance, they have to win. Either way, I'm sold on the Cardinal.
Appalachian State (-18) at South Alabama
Hey here's a game nobody cares about. I'm picking it. HA!
LOCK OF THE WEEK:
Texas at Baylor (-20.5)
Sorry Texas. I picked against you against Oklahoma, and I was wrong. I won't be wrong this time. Big Tex is going down in flames, and it's taking Charlie Strong with it. One day you'll be at the top of the Big XII again, but that day is not today.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, they'll also have to spend bowl season on their couch while they watch the Sooners head into the College Football Playoff. Then again, they should be concerned with winning their state title, not their conference title, before they get too ahead of themselves.
Maybe start with bowl eligibility?
See you for the bowls everybody.