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Week 17 Picks: Coming down the homestretch of the Couldn’t Matter Less Derby

with 14 comments

Okay, I guess it matters. We all enjoy the picks. I’m hoping to have some time to do some actual insight into the picks in the coming days. But, since we dropped the ball on today’s pick, Jon and I just decided to post our picks for some of the remaining big games.

The way in which our picks don’t matter is season standings.  My picks constantly let me down the last week as Jon turned his lead into a Nebraska-vs-Arizona-esque rout. 

Last week’s results:

Jon:  8-6

Austin:  5-9

To bring our season standings to an insurmountable lead of:

Jon:  210-62

Austin:  204-68

That recapped, here are our picks for the remaining big games:


Austin Jon
#3 Cincinnati vs. #5 Florida Allstate Sugar Bowl Florida Florida
#4 TCU vs. #6 Boise State Tostitos Fiesta Bowl TCU TCU
#9 Georgia Tech vs. #10 Iowa FedEx Orange Bowl Iowa Georgia Tech
#1 Alabama vs. #2 Texas Citi BCS National Championship Texas Texas


Written by Austin Swafford

January 1, 2010 at 7:41 pm

14 Responses

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  1. I’m pretty nervous about that Iowa pick now. I didn’t think the Big 10 would win two BCS Bowls in one year after losing six straight in three years. With Ohio State winning quite easily today, I’m a little nervous about having Iowa over Georgia Tech.

    Austin Swafford

    January 2, 2010 at 12:51 am

  2. Well, I’m sure logic won’t settle your worries much, but rest assured that those nerves are based on some hefty logical fallacies. The rule of small numbers comes to mind.

    On the other hand, suggesting that the Big 10 is “due” for another BCS (which I understand you are not suggesting) would fall under the Gambler’s Fallacy, which leaves us with…

    The reason they play the game. But if you want real assurance, and if you’re going to buy into conference trends anyway, consider that in all but the Minnesota loss, the Big 10 has so far dominated their opponents statistically (I know you love those statistics). Northwestern obviously failed to take advantage of the disparity, and six turnovers and an injury to their place-kicker didn’t help the matter.

    But Wisconsin looked FASTER than the speedy Miami team, as did Penn St. compared to LSU and Ohio St. compared to Oregon (except for that Barner guy… damn he’s fast!). And were it not for those gifts Northwestern gave Auburn, the not highly-touted defense of the Wildcats could have held the Tigers well under their season scoring average.

    The Big 10 defenses seem legit. And contrary to popular opinion, the “slow Big 10” is trending towards myth. There is no good reason to presume that Iowa won’t be up to the task against a team that is possibly more questionable than the likes of LSU or Oregon.

    +1 Austin.

    My 5-upset picks today didn’t pan out like I’d hoped (no real surprise there)… but the Big 10 is 3-2 (as is the Big 12), the SEC and Big East are looking suspect, and the Pac 10 is clearly the big bowl-season loser. Meanwhile, the MWC is 4-0. I still am not in favor of a playoff, but this to me is pretty heavy ammunition to do away with strength-of-conference components in the BCS computer rankings. It’s not like they haven’t been tweaked before.


    January 2, 2010 at 1:43 am

    • I only find that mildly comforting, for a number of reasons. You make a good point about the Big 10 statistically dominating their opponents. But the teams that statistically dominate their opponents only to not win by a huge margin are the ones that worry me most.

      I was stunned that Wisconsin beat Miami, but Miami has been doing that all year. They’re inconsistent. Look at the games they lost that they really shouldn’t have. North Carolina particularly comes to mind. Defense or not, North Carolina’s offense is excruciatingly lame. And once more, Miami made Wisconsin’s mediocre offense look a lot better than it really is.

      I was never impressed by LSU this season. Given the chance to pick, I’d have taken Penn State over them. LSU is up there every year on reputation. They were never that good this season. And Northwestern-Auburn…I don’t even know what to say about that one. That was nuts.

      I will give you Ohio State versus Oregon, though. I expected Oregon to be able to do something against even that solid Ohio State defense. I was dead wrong. AND Oregon made an anemic Ohio State offense look REALLY good. It might seem funny, but the game that gives me a lot of doubt (just on concerns about win volume…I was mostly joking, that’s not logical at all), gives me the most hope. I thought people overrated the Pac 10 all year, but I thought that at least Oregon was legit. Ohio State whupped them and got a very legitimate win for the Big 10.

      I agree with you on the Pac 10 and Big East, for sure. In the Pac 10’s defense, I think they’re just having a down year. They’re allowed one after last year. The Big East, on the other hand, is making me want to resume the “why do they have an automatic bid again?” discussion that was going so strong before they had their one good season a few years ago. The SEC looked suspect, but they got a lot of credit back with the drubbing Florida put on Cincy last night, and can still get some cred back with just so much as a good showing by Alabama against Texas. They’ve got some games left to prove themselves.

      Austin Swafford

      January 2, 2010 at 11:55 am

      • Yeah, I was sort of making fun of myself with that bit about logic. I totally agree with you about the SEC, too… Florida really helped their cause, and Alabama has a chance to solidify their conference status even if the bottom tier couldn’t with a big win over Texas (actually, any win over Texas, but I don’t personally think it’s gonna happen). A 14-0 Alabama, and a 13-1 Florida with only a loss to Alabama would be pretty dang solid.

        And you are also right in my opinion about teams like Miami and LSU being a little overrated, but my point isn’t that their quality as a team was exposed by the Big 10, but rather, that the arguments people keep using against the Big 10 as a conference hasn’t held up in the bowl games. “The Big 10 is too slow.” Well, actually they aren’t. “The Big 10’s defense can’t hold up against the (other conferences) spread/option-read/hurry-up, etc., etc..” Well, actually they can. “Tressel can’t win the big games.” Kinda, he can. “The Big 10 can’t win in the heat.” LOL, I guess we don’t know about that one yet.

        If neither Michigan St. nor Iowa wins their bowls, I’ll give the SEC props even if Alabama goes down against Texas. But if the Big 10 gets one more win, Alabama needs that win for me to concede even the slightest chance that the SEC hasn’t been vastly overrated. And should the lose to Texas AND Michigan St. AND Iowa win, then I will be talking a lot of smack. There is no doubt in my mind that Alabama and Florida are great teams, but they are not the end-all be-all of the SEC.

        To make a terrible baseball analogy, I think the SEC is sort of like the AL, and the Big 10 is sort of like the NL… the AL has a bunch of heavy-hitters that bomb away for points and ace pitchers that completely shut down other offenses. Some teams are lucky enough to have both. While the NL relies on “small-ball” to manufacture points and a high-level of performance from the position players on defense to limit the damage another team can do to them. One is flashy, one isn’t, but they both get pretty good results when the best of them are on the field.


        January 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm

  3. I can’t speak for other people, but I don’t think the SEC’s defenses can’t stand up against other peoples’ offenses. Sometimes it’s true, but I don’t think it’s true about that conference any more than it is pretty much any conference. Any team can hit a matchup problem on any given day. My problem (usually…not quite as much this year) is that their offenses can’t match up. Playing solid defense is essential to winning big games, but you also have to have solid offense for the days your defense fails you. I think their offense fails more frequently than their defense does.

    Austin Swafford

    January 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm

  4. And another strike against the SEC. I just saw that UConn whooped South Carolina. I definitely wouldn’t have called that one. Wow. I can’t believe how bad the SEC is looking right now.

    Speaking of the SEC looking bad, the Ole Miss-OkState game is a great demonstration of why I’m not impressed by teams dominating statistically but not winning by a lot. Ole Miss has almost double OkState’s offensive production and almost 9 minutes more possession, but it’s not doing them much good because they have 5 turnovers and 8 penalties for over 60 yards. Hence the 7-7 tie. This is one of the sloppiest games I’ve ever watched and quite embarrassing for both conferences.

    Austin Swafford

    January 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    • Yeah, I almost think you have to take turnovers as an entirely separate statistical consideration. Look at Iowa State’s win over Nebraska, or Iowa’s win over Indiana, or Auburn’s win over Northwestern for good examples.

      And by the way… I picked UConn. Same reason I picked Florida State (sort of)… they are playing for something more important to the team than themselves. That kind of motivation is pretty powerful in bowl games.


      January 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      • I don’t even care that Arkansas won that game today. That was a close one. Even with the SEC winning two games, it was not a very good day. Arkansas and Ole Miss looked HORRIBLE in their wins. Aside from Florida, I remain quite unimpressed by what I’ve seen from the SEC this year.

        Austin Swafford

        January 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm

  5. Same here. Oklahoma gives up six turnovers in the fourth quarter alone? And ECU had two shots at field goals to win it in regulation, and miss a third in OT (when they arguably should have gone for it on fourth and short anyway)? What’s with all the giveaway bowls this year? Keenum’s six picks, Kafka’s five plus a gimmick play in OT? I can’t remember a year with so many unexpected disappointments.

    There have certainly been a lot of entertaining games so far, but I’d have to say the only one that has lived up to the hype has been Ohio State against Oregon… the game was supposed to be close, and it was. Oregon was dominated, but was never really out of it ’til they missed that field goal late in the game. Maybe Florida against Cincinnati should have been closer, but I think we all saw what we expected there. I’m left hoping that the TCU vs. Boise State game is more entertaining than it was last year, that Iowa routes Georgia Tech, and that Alabama fails to convert a fourth down late in the National Championship to leave Colt McCoy just enough time to scamper into the endzone on fourth and five from the nine yard line for the win. “The circle is now complete.”


    January 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    • I agree they should have gone for it on that fourth down. I was stunned they didn’t, and it turns out that we were right. Not much you can do about the kicker for ECU missing those FGs, but even with them, that was a very poorly managed game by ECU. No reason in the world they shouldn’t have won it. At least Texas Tech-Michigan State was a good one.

      Austin Swafford

      January 3, 2010 at 2:20 am

  6. IOWA?!! Austin!! YOU PICKED IOWA??

    wow… your NOT joking… OK… I guess your record speaks for itsself 😉


    T-Ray The Bad Mofo

    January 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    • Have you seen Georgia Tech play this year? Have you seen the entire ACC play this year? Overrated team from a lousy conference. I think they fall to a team with a really good defense. But, I also thought TCU would crush Boise State, so my opinion means absolutely nothing.

      Austin Swafford

      January 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      • I am currently doing the Hawkeye Polka. (I should YouTube this…) Iowa 24 – Georgia Tech 14. Oranges taste sweet!


        January 6, 2010 at 12:15 am

  7. I gotta admit, they looked awesome. The Big 10 has had a phenomenal bowl season. I’m about to write a little something about it now. 🙂

    Austin Swafford

    January 6, 2010 at 12:16 am

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