Take It To The Bank, Week 5 CFB

By Paul Schmidt

Welcome back to week five of my fearless prognostications!  Lots of good last week, and let’s face it, I was due.  Even though my Illini let me down (and by let me down, I mean gave me a swirly for roughly 3 and a half hours), I was able to come up with an over .500 week, and a win against my competitor, Peter Christian. 

Granted, I received a luck-of-the-Irish push from the Houston Cougars, but a little luck never hurt anyone. 

So coming off a solid 2-1-1 week, I’ve decided to bring in someone special for this week’s competition, someone who…well, if I don’t win this week, I think that I’ll just let her make the picks the rest of the season.  That’s right, her…this week’s guest is my Mom.

As for her gambling resume, she doesn’t really have one outside of NCAA bracket pools and participating in a weekly NFL confidence pool. In fact, I explained point spreads to her prior to her making her picks — though to her credit she pretty much knew what was going on there.

On to this week’s games!

Penn St.(-7) at Illinois
 (MOM) The pundits, with good reason, have all picked Penn St.  I will go out on a short skinny limb and say Illinois will win or at least fall within their 7 point spread on Sat.  I’m of the opinion Penn St. is overrated and Illinois and their coaching staff will come out of hibernation this weekend.  Plus, I NEVER bet against “My Team”!  ILL!  Pick: Illinois +7
(Paul Schmidt)
Sigh…I-N-I.  Is Penn St. overrated?  I don’t know…Iowa’s defense was just unbelievable last Saturday, so I don’t know that that is an accurate measure.  However, after last week’s debacle, there’s no way I’ll be able to pick them ever again.  Personally, I think an angry, angry Penn State team rolls this week. Pick: PSU -7

Northwestern at Purdue(-7)
(MOM)
I like Northwestern.  I’m not sure why except I think they have the better personnel.  They can win this game easily if they just stop with all the mistakes. That’s the real question, whether they can get it all together. Pick: Northwestern +7
(PS)
Northwestern is quickly moving into Illinois territory with the inconsistency they are playing.  How one of the nations’ best defenses returns almost everyone and then plays as badly as they have this season is mystifying to me.  Make no mistake, this is a must-win for the Wildcats, but Purdue isn’t as bad as people think.  They looked really good against Notre Dame last week, and while that might not be a glowing review, I think it will be enough to cover at home. Pick: Purdue -7

Central Michigan (-8) at Buffalo
(MOM)
DAH!  Central Michigan all the way. A great “D”  that wins games add a prolific quarterback and you’ve got the Central Michigan Chippewas. Pick: Central Michigan -8
(PS)
I love my Chippewas.  I love Dan LeFevour.  And one thing my mom didn’t add, Buffalo is awful.  Temple routed them last week.  ‘Nuff said.  Pick: Central Michigan -8

Toledo(-4.5) at Ball St.
(MOM)
 Ball State will be desperate to win their first game this weekend. But their inexperienced cornerbacks will not be able to contain Toledo’s quarterback. It looks like Toledo will come out on top of this contest as Ball State is no match….what a difference a year makes. Pick: Toledo -4.5
(PS)
That right there might have been the most in depth, and best, analysis of a MAC team ever posted on this website.  Ball St. is really, really bad this season.  And let’s not make Toledo sound like world-beaters, either.  But they’ve got a really good offense that can put up points, and in a worst-case scenario will simply outscore the Cardinals to cover the way-too-small spread here. My thought is they win by 20 at least. Also, with Ball State’s most famous alumnus in hot water this week, you know that’s not a good sign…Pick: Toledo -4.5

Last Week: 2-1-1
For the Season: 7-8-1

Take It To The Bank!! Week 4, College Football

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By Paul Schmidt

Welcome back to Take It To The Bank! First things first — let’s clean up after last week.  It was a respectable 2-2, with two things blindsiding me: 1) Florida, by Urban Meyer’s own admission, saying they didn’t need to run Tennessee out of the stadium because he knew they were only playing to not get blown out.  Awesome.  Next time, could someone tell ME??  Is that really too much to ask??  2) Texas and Texas Tech playing some defense. Defense in the Big 12?  Really?  Next thing you know, someone is going to tell me Tim Tebow isn’t Jesus!

This week we’re adding a new wrinkle to things, by bringing in a guest picker.  I select the games and send them out. That week’s guest makes their picks and then I make mine.  Since I also only pick 4 games, I have a tie-breaker pick for the week, something tailored to how skilled of a gambler I think the person is.  This week, we have The Bank’s other degenerate gambler, Peter Christian, taking the podium.  Though many of you may know Pete, I asked him to write a quick intro for those of you that don’t:

“My gambling resume: I learned the ropes from one of the worst gamblers on the planet, though he’ll never admit it. Watching him gamble was like watching Paris Hilton act. It was clear he was going to keep wasting time and someone elses money trying but there was no way he was ever going to get better.

He showed me the ropes however and put me on the path to learning the way to follow the way things worked. To this day I’m still a small timer but I’ve had more big wins than big losses (though my small losses probably outweigh the small wins) with the biggest coming on the opening day of the NCAA Tournament in 2005 when I parlayed the four afternoon games into a months salary (minimum wage in Wisconsin). I haven’t won a parlay since.”

Wonders never cease — Apparently I taught Pete how to gamble.  Who knew?

Anyway, here’s this week’s games.

TCU at Clemson (-2.5)


Peter Christian: Clemson has fans with heart. We recently saw some of that “heart” after a tough loss to Georgia Tech. That kind of passion can only be found in what we’ve come to call a group home but is more well known as an asylum. Crazy things happen to crazy people, the Tigers go crazy and cover the points. PICK: Clemson -2.5


Paul Schmidt: Tiger fans definitely go crazy, but the team does too — just not in a good way. Clemson is typically one of the more schizophrenic teams in all of football, and that won’t change again this week.  TCU has something to prove, and they saw last week what happens to “BCS Buster” teams that don’t come out for big games (Utah and BYU). This is the Horned Frogs’ chance to make a statement. PICK: TCU +2.5

Michigan State at Wisconsin (-3)


PC: Let me be clear, I hate betting on the Big Ten. Despise it. I dislike it more than thinking about the type of exam I have to get when I turn 40. That being said I hate this Wisconsin team even more. I’m not sure I like Michigan State either but I want the points and the Spartans. PICK: Michigan State +3

PS: Michigan State is terrible.  I’ve been operating on that premise for several weeks, and it certainly is beneficial for betting purposes. Good teams, quite simply, don’t lose to Central Michiagn at home (no matter how good I think they are).  If you’re good, that just doesn’t happen.  Now I’m supposed to expect them to hang with Wisconsin on the road?  I don’t think so.  Remember, home teams essentially get a 3-point bump — think these teams would be equals on a neutral site?  No way.  NO WAY.  Sconnies roll. PICK: Wisconsin -3

Illinois at Ohio St. (-14)

PC: Remember when I said I hate betting on the Big Ten? I lied. If I was in one of the states where it is legal to gamble, I would bet on this game so fast that Usain Bolt would do a double take. Buckeyes at home could cover 1,000,000 points against Illinois… Though I’m only gonna lay the 14 required.  PICK: Ohio State -14

PS: Call it a hunch.  However, was there really any doubt where I was going when I decided to pick this game?  As I’ve said, you never bet with your heart, you bet with your head.  And I’ve only ever wagered on the Illini once…of course, that was November 10th, 2007, against Ohio State…and we know how that turned out.  Funnily enough, that was considered by many to be a trap game…and I got 13.5 points that day too. Again…just a hunch. PICK: Illinois +14

Texas Tech at Houston (-1)

PC: This is definitely the hardest of the four games to pick. Not because the teams are evenly matched but because you can’t ever predict what is gonna happen with Tech. They could explode for 50 or they might puke on the coffee table and struggle to find the end zone. I’m taking Tech and the point and rolling the dice on a shootout. PICK: Texas Tech +1

PS: I watched Texas Tech and was really impressed last week. I was really surprised that they could handle McCoy and the Longhorns offense, with so many weapons. Just a great effort.  However, Houston’s got the best offense in the country, hands down. Case Keenum is a helluva QB, and I think he can exploit the Red Raider D.  Especiually after finding out that, yeah, Colt McCoy probably could have too, but he was sick with the flu and on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Pedialyte…PICK: Houston -1

TIEBREAKER: Select one over/under number and make your pick.

PC: Minnesota at Northwestern O/U 48.5

I LOVE betting the over/under line. Mostly because it let’s me watch a game I normally wouldn’t watch with a reason to get invested in both teams’ offense or defense without really causing my blood pressure to go through the roof. With this game I feel obligated to take the over. After last years’ shootout I expect more of the same and the points will add up on both sides of the scoreboard. PICK: Over 48.5 points

PS: Arkansas at Alabama O/U 58

I think I developed a little bit of a man-crush last week on Ryan Mallett. He was simply unreal against Georgia, and that game and the offense in it was ridiculous.  However, Alabama’s D is juuuuust a little better than Georgia’s.  So why would I bet the over here?  Because while Alabama’s D might hold Arkansas to 20 points or thereabouts, Alabama’s offense is DEFINITELY a threat to put up 50 points on their own against a Razorback D that was…well, let’s say they were performance-challenged against Georgia. And given Bobby Petrino’s history of not necessarily caring about that so much, one has to believe that isn’t something that’s going to change. PICK: Over 58 points

Last week: 2-2
For the Season: 5-7

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