published Monday, January 2nd, 2012

5 at 10: Fab 4 (plus 1) picks for today's games

  • photo
    Houston defensive back Kent Brooks (24) reacts after recovering a fumble by SMU quarterback J.J. McDermott during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game of Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Happy New Year gang. Hope you celebrated safely and had a big time — although we all know BIspy probably erred on the side of a big time rather than safety. So it goes.

Since today is the recognized New Year's holiday, we'll go with an abbreviated 5-at-10 today and be back in full force Tuesday. Before we get started, it seemed strange to have New Year's Day festivities and no bowl games. The black-eyed peas and the grits and greens were in full display at the 5-at-10 compound, but without the bowl games it felt off. We officially do not approve of playing bowl games on Jan. 2 rather than Jan. 1. It's in the books.

That said, let's get to the Fab 4 (plus 1) picks for today's games. We went 4-2 in the second stanza of the Fab 4 (plus 1) bowl picks, which means we're 6-4-1 in the postseason and 47-25-2 overall against the spread this season.

We're going to pick every game from here on out, starting with the six games today. Let's get going:

— Penn State plus-7.5 over Houston: This screams Houston letdown, right? They were a win away from the BCS and their coach up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T. Granted Penn State is far from the bastion of stability, but the Nittany Lions have better athletes across the board than the Cougars, and Southern Miss exposed Houston's flaws.

— Michigan State plus-3.5 over Georgia: Hey, we're SEC fans as much as anyone, but answer the following two questions: Name a bona fide team that Georgia beat? Is Auburn the Bulldogs' best win, because if that's your answer, then you have no answer. Plus, you have to believe after the SEC-level beatdown Alabama handed Michigan State last year, the Spartans are motivated, right?

— South Carolina minus-2.5 over Nebraska: Nebraska is pretty one-dimensional, and one-dimensional does not sound too positive against a defensive line as talented as South Carolina's.

— Ohio State plus-2 over Florida: The Gators were offensively challenged (and that's as politely as we can put it) during the regular season and that was before offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left for the Lawrence, Kan., Shoney's breakfast bar. Plus, after the Urban Meyer flap — and who believes Meyer has not been sharing some inside personnel info on the Gators to his new team — the Buckeyes likely will have the edge of knowledge and motivation. That's enough for us.

— Wisconsin-Oregon over the 73: Wisconsin is two bad-luck Hail Marys away from from playing in the BCS title game. This feels like a tight game throughout — and it's our least favorite pick of the day. This is almost too close to call.

— Oklahoma State minus-3.5 over Stanford: Here's saying the Cowboys put 50-plus on the board and lament the fact they did not get a BCS shot. And that's a fair lamentation, but the antidote of course is they lost to Iowa State. Yes, Iowa State.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment away about your New Year's resolutions, bowl picks or whatever sporting thought you may have. Enjoy, and we're hoping to have the Winners/Losers Bowl-a-palooza standings up later around lunch.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

9
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chas9 said...

Top Tenn Rankings, week 8:

After a weak week for quality roundball in the state, the top four teams remain.

But your Tennessee Vols move up two places because #6 and #7 struggled. In fact, #7 Peay sheds its "Mr." honorific after losing to two mid-majors from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

And since UTC won two games by a total of 50 points, it replaces Tennessee Tech at #10.

How impressive are the new boffo Mocs? Well, they smothered Longwood by 35, which is seven points more than #1 Vandy beat them by a week ago.

Last week we observed that numbers four through nine are really stinkin' equals. But if comparative scores mean anything, maybe it's numbers one through ten!

And maybe there'll be a bar burner in Thompson-Boling Arena this evening. (In Indiana and Kentucky it's a barn burner, but in Knoxville they rowdy up in bars.)

1) Vandy

2) MTSU

3) Memphis

4) Belmont

5) The Vols

6) Tennessee State

7) Peay

8) ETSU

9) TN Tech

10) Lipscomb

January 2, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Congratulations on the Auburn win, 10 Ring. Wish the !@$%@# Raiders had similar success. The Silver and Black, playing for their first division title in a DECADE, folded up like Tennessee in Lexington.

It's black crepe in the windows of the Enterprises as soon the boating is done down here.

January 2, 2012 at 12:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From MemphisExile on the other posting:

The Wisconsin v. Oregon and Ok St. v. Stanford games should be great today, but I really would have rather watched them yesterday. I agree on the Mich. St. call, they are really good and have not gotten much hype this year. Their defense will be tough for UGA to deal with. Let's hope for more SEC dominance, but I do not have much hope for a Florida team that doesn't have an offensive coordinator, even a bad one.

January 2, 2012 at 1:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

The rankings look true, and we share your hope for a shoot-out in K-Town tonight. In truth, the Mocs may enough talent to scare the Orange of The Conz and the Vols.

You're spot-on about the teams in Tennessee being interchangable. If Memphis/Vandy do not get their acts together the state may not win an NCAA tournament game.

FE to the C —

Thanks. We expected the offense to play well in Gus Malzahn's farewell — although the "Welcome Back Trotter" experience was surprising. We were pulling for the Raiders, but they imploded. (Much to the agony of the fans in attendance. It did not take a lip-reader to see a lot of Raiders fans saying "Duck" or "Luck" to "Stuck" or some other words that we're not going to type.)

MExile —

Agreed. The nightcaps have a chance to be big-time fun tonight. And something screams to us that Florida is going to get trounced, and then all of THE Ohio State players are going to celebrate with new Urban Meyer tattoos.

PS — the last football coach in Knoxville needs to turn the lights out. Wow. Wilcox and Sirmon heading to Washington, and when coaches leave for similar jobs at a lesser program, that's never good. Ouch-standing.

— 5-at-10

January 2, 2012 at 1:18 p.m.
chas9 said...

Don't take New England in the playoffs. They've beaten ZERO teams with a winning record.

Those who watched KY-Louisville Saturday saw two of the best defensive teams in the country. Cats won handily, though shooting under 30%. And Kidd-Gilchrist put on a clinic. Davis would've topped 5/10's 17 over-under if he'd played his usual minutes.

But Kentucky will lose again this year, Jay. The point guard position isn't smooth yet.

January 2, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

UK-UL was a defensive clinic. Those two teams guard for 94 feet. Louisville is flawed offensively though.

Kidd-Gilchrist is our new favorite college hoops player. Has skills and plays 100 mph. That's a great combo — he's like a Rodrick Rhodes that cares, or a John Pelphrey who's athletic.

— 5-at-10

January 2, 2012 at 2:26 p.m.
chas9 said...

5er--"A Rodrick Rhodes that cares, or a John Pelphrey who's athletic" is good. You know your ball. Maybe a more versatile Chuck Hayes.

January 2, 2012 at 3:54 p.m.
fechancellor said...

In the 'Ville, it's U of L.

January 2, 2012 at 7:31 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Well, I did have a few beers. And a few glasses of wine. Then watched lots of iCarly on Nickelodeon with the 8 year old niece. She and the 11 year old were very happy Uncle BISpy decided to crash at their crib for the evening.

January 2, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.
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