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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Return of Prognostication Bukakke! (Again). NCAA Week 2

It's back, folks. The weekly feature where I and the reclusive co-founder of SKO, Iggins!, match wits and predict the winner of this week's football games. As usual, we pick the ten best college football games and then predict every NFL game. This year I've also decided to have Mrs. SKO join us for the whole year, as she joined for the last several weeks last year as part of an exercise in which I, already up 25 games on Iggins!, decided to demonstrate that even someone with absolutely minimal football acumen could destroy him. Which she did. I laughed hard, so now I'm bringing her on full time. Without further bullshit, here come the picks:

LSU @ Mississippi State (1-1)

Code Red: Mississippi State really shocked me with their incredibly shoddy defense against Auburn. I'd expect them to right the ship against the Tigers defensively, but LSU's defense is a holy terror. LSU wins.

Iggins!: It's near impossible to pick MSU in this game, which is unfortunate considering how high the expectations were just a week ago. LSU wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Geaux Tigers! LSU wins.

Tennessee (2-0) @ Florida (2-0)

Iggins!: This game is going to be extremely close, but I'll give the edge to Florida here. Florida wins.

Code Red: I don't know that it'll be that close. I think Charlie Weis will really make something out of Jonathan Brantley. Florida wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Florida, because Volunteers is a stupid name and bright orange uniforms are nauseating.

Michigan State (2-0) @ Notre Dame (0-2)

Code Red: Notre Dame has really been a tough luck loser so far, but that doesn't change the fact that they're staring at 0-3. MSU wins.

Iggins!: Damn, I was really hoping you'd take Notre Dame here. Michigan State wins by at least 10 points.

Mrs. Code Red: I actually watched Notre Dame last week. I don't think they can stop anything. MSU wins.

Oklahoma (1-0) @ Florida State (2-0)

Iggins!: I'll trust the ACC when I see it do... anything? Oklahoma wins.

Code Red: God dammit, too much agreement this week. Oklahoma wins.

Mrs. Code Red: I'll take Florida State because it's fun to be controversial.

Arizona State (2-0) @ Illinois (2-0)

Code Red: Illinois has looked quite dominant against two shitty teams. Their schedule is really stacked in their favor, as their only tough non-conference opponent has to travel all the way to Champaign. I'm definitely taking my beloved Illini here.

Iggins!: If this were in the desert I would take ASU by a TD, but without that ridiculous home-field advantage versus the midwest, this game plays out in reverse. Illini win by 20.

Mrs. Code Red: Illinois, because....home state loyalty?

Utah (1-1) @ BYU (1-1)

Iggins!: Wow. So this is a game between a Pac-12 school and an independent... not a Mountain West conference game? Neither of these teams is very good, but I'll take BYU to win by a hair.

Code Red: Well, BYU played Texas tough last week, but I want to believe that that's just because Texas sucks. Utah.

Mrs. Code Red: BYU, but they're both losers because I don't like the state of Utah.

Code Red: Seems like an odd state to hate, but if there's anything I approve of, it's unexplained rage.

Stanford (2-0) @ Arizona (1-1)

Code Red: After watching OK State demolish the Wildcats I can't imagine Andrew Luck not doing the same. Stanford wins.

Iggins!: Though I don't think Stanford has a more potent offense than OK State I do think this game will be a win for Stanford.

Mrs. Code Red: Stanford, because Andrew Luck is pretty dreamy.

Code Red: Yes, yes he is.

Syracuse (2-0) @ USC (2-0)

Iggins!: Who the hell scheduled this nightmare? Aren't these two schools about as far apart as possible? USC wins partially due to Syracuse being Syracuse and partially due to massive jetlag.

Code Red: I say Syracuse, because USC's been flirting with disaster and Syracuse is better than people think.

Mrs. Code Red: USC, because they're cheater, cheater, pumpkin eaters. And this is America, so cheaters win.

Code Red: She went third grade on yo ass, Lane Kiffin.

Ohio State (2-0) @ Miami (FL) (0-1)

Code Red: Apparently Miami is plotting to vacate their possible win here later on by starting Jacory Harris. I'm going to with Miami, here, since fucking Toledo's scrambling Qbs gave OSU fits last week.

Iggins!: Jesus you took all my upsets! Miami wins because God hates OSU even more, surprisingly.

Mrs. Code Red: I'll take The Ohio State University, because everyone knows it apparently makes you better than everyone else if you put a "The" in front of your name.

Louisville (1-1) @ Kentucky (2-0)

Iggins!: Kentucky wins. Anybody who watches this game loses.

Code Red: Well, you made this easy on me then. Louisville wins. My eyes can never unsee the ugliness of Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky. They show that game on loop in football hell.

Mrs. Code Red: Do I have to pick one? I know nothing about these teams. I'll take Kentucky since they have the better record? And because I like disagreeing with you.

Week 1 NFL Roundup

What an amazing opening weekend for football. 14 passers threw for over 300 yards this weekend, the most in a single week in NFL history. Our beloved Bears shocked the NFL by curb-stomping the Falcons, the Packers and the Saints had a shootout for the ages, and some idiots (Iggins!) managed to get knocked out of their suicide pools by picking the Browns over the Bengals. Now for the specifics:

Packers 42, Saints 34
Not to take anything away from Aaron Rodgers, who put on a fucking clinic, but you have to wonder what the hell has gone wrong with Gregg William's scheme to allow Matt Hasselbeck and Rodgers both to shred them in their last two games. Hopefully it keeps up for a week. I liked that the Saints couldn't get pressure with their front four. Martz loves to exploit the blitz.
As for Green Bay, Drew Brees or no, I don't ever remember seeing them look that bad on defense last year. Their special teams coverage remains an issue. Of course they're still the favorites, but there are chinks in the armor somewhere.

Eagles 31, Rams 13
The Eagles are another team with some concerns hidden by their win. They allowed the Rams to average 5.9 yards per rush, and they allowed 3 sacks. Vick completed a paltry 43.8% of his passes for just 5.8 ypa, and given his weak preseason, you have to wonder a bit if his late season issues last year were indicative that perhaps his "improved" passing was actually the byproduct of an incredibly hot streak rather than a complete transformation into a pocket passer. Like the Packers, I certainly wouldn't discount the hype, but you also can't expect them to coast. As for the Rams, well, injuries to Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson have to suck. That division is still garbage, though.

Bills 41, Chiefs 7
Well, nobody saw that coming. I was quite sure the Chiefs were headed down because Haley's an asshole, Matt Cassel is overrated, and they had a pathetically weak schedule last year, but I still didn't expect a massacre at the hands of the Bills. I guess we'll find out this week whether Buffalo's just that much better or Kansas City's that much worse.

Lions 27, Bucs 20
Matt Stafford and the Lions justified the hype for a week, but I still think they're more likely a 7 or 8 win team than a playoff contender. We'll see, though. You win this round, Detroit.

Jaguars 16, Titans 14
Both of these teams suck.

Bengals 27, Browns 17
Apparently, the Browns suck too. Whoda thunk? Oh, you did? Yeah, I guess I kinda did too. I still think the Bengals will end up with the worse record of the two by the end of the year.

Ravens 34, Steelers 7
Holy shit, that was an ass whoopin. It defies logic, but man, Pittsburgh really falls apart the year after they go to a Superbowl. As for the Ravens, if they can have that kind of balance, with Joe Flacco throwing for 288 yards and Ray Rice over 100 on the ground, against the Steelers it makes you wonder who besides maybe New England could stop them in the AFC.

Texans 34, Colts 7
I had my suspicions that the Colts were in trouble this year even with Manning, but man, they're destined for a top five draft pick without him. If the Texans can't win the South this year they should just disband the entire franchise.

Redskins 28, Giants 14
Good Rex made yet another appearance and the Redskins beat the badly ailing Giants. I don't know if they're contenders in the east, but they do appear much improved. I don't think Rex is ever going to be much of a star, but if he's managed to level out his highs and lows under Shanny's tutelage he could certainly have a nice mid-to-late career run as a quality starter, much like Jake Plummer managed to tame himself in Denver in order to put together a couple of playoff appearances. As for the Giants, well..things are looking bleak. Outside of their defensive line I don't see much to be excited about for a team that's already been hit hard by injury.

Chargers 24, Vikings 17
As I mentioned, 14 quarterbacks threw for 300 or more yards this weekend. One of them was Philip Rivers, who appears to be leading the AFC West's best team once more. Donovan McNabb, however, was not, as he managed THIRTY NINE yards for the Vikings. It's going to be a long, long year for Vikings fans.

Cardinals 28, Panthers 21
Oh come on. I wasn't the only one who thought Cam Newton would suck. It could still happen, of course, but damn, he looked dynamic yesterday. On the other hand, that Arizona defense is still a work in progress, even if Kolb looked like the real deal. They'll probably still be good enough to win the West, but they're still a one-sided team at best.

49ers 33, Seahawks 17
Ted Ginn's late game heroics hid the incredibly disgusting performance of offensive football that was most of this game. There was only one offensive play on either side that went for over 27 yards. The NFC West, folks. It still really, really sucks.

Jets 27, Cowboys 24
Tony Romo cost them the game, undoubtedly, but the Cowboys deserved to lose for the shame of allowing Mark Sanchez to throw for over 300 yards against their defense. The Cowboys will be better this year than last, but I don't see them as a much of a Superbowl contender.

Patriots 38, Dolphins 24
Well, at least New England's defense looked like shit? I'll just be glad for now that New England is nowhere to be found on the Bear's schedule this year. Kudos for Chad Henne, though. Most of them were garbage time yards, but he still had a career game. Won't mean anything at all in the long run, but hey, it's a dark time to be a Dolphins fan.

Raiders 23, Broncos 20
Oakland's defensive line was impressive, and Run DMC seems like he's going to stay on the elite tier where he put himself last year. That combination should be enough to keep Oakland in the race against San Diego for awhile. Denver, however, remains in serious trouble. I love Kyle, but the switch away from McDaniels appears to have really hurt him. Denver's taken him out of the spread and he won't have the easy throws that masked his deficiencies over the last two seasons. The fans chanting for Tebow will be sorely disappointed, however, whether they get their wish or not.