Mike's Introduction: I was on my way to work a college game (Lance and I are basketball officials), and I had a lot of road time ahead of me. I stumbled upon a podcast (Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History). I listened to episode #60, The Celtic Holocaust. It’s a 6-hour show and delves into serious history. Dan mentioned something called The Wicker Man, ancient druids of the Celtic tradition would use these to please the gods. I started thinking that we need a wicker man for all of Lance’s bad sports takes. That’s my holiday wish.
We review NCAA football, because we don’t want NFL to completely dominate our show. Some headlines:
Lance brought up the Greg Schiano controversy during the Tennessee Volunteers coaching search. Lance stated that he didn’t know why the social media uproar existed. Mike clarified by reading the following:
“The putative reason for Schiano’s unpopularity was a 2015 deposition by Penn State whistleblower Mike McQueary, who testified under oath that he’d heard that Schiano had witnessed Jerry Sandusky “doing something with a boy” and done nothing.” From theringer.com, written by Michael Bauman.
Lance remained confused.
The Rubes review the Power Five conferences and picking the conference championship games:
Mike - #11 USC at #21 Stanford. I’m surprised Washington couldn’t make this game. Stanford is an average, 3-loss team. USC is favored by 3 and is by far offensively superior. USC wins this and covers. And will not qualify for the playoff at 11-2.
Lance – agrees with Mike.
Lance – easy victory for Oklahoma and will be in the playoffs.
Mike - #4 Oklahoma at #12 TCU: great game. TCU can play spoiler, but I don’t think they will. Oklahoma, with their crass quarterback Baker Mayfield, will roll the Horned Frogs. Oklahoma favored by 7.
Mike - #6 Auburn at #7 Georgia. It warms my heart that Alabama isn’t in this game, but will they be in the playoffs anyway? Georgia shouldn’t have a loss, and at 11-1 they won’t have another. Georgia takes it. Auburn favored by 2.5
Lance – Lance picks Auburn to beat Georgia. They are rolling coming off the Alabama win.
Lance – used to live in Florida and thinks he’s an expert because of it. Lance likes Clemson to win everything this year, so he picks them to beat Miami in this game. But, he doesn’t think they will cover the 9.5.
Mike - #2 Miami at #3 Clemson: Miami chunked one up to Pittsburgh last week, in a classic choke job. But, if they beat Clemson they have a great argument for the playoffs. I think Clemson is dangerous, but Miami has swag. I’ll take the Hurricanes even though Clemson is favored by 9.5.
Mike - #5 Wisconsin against #9 Ohio State: Wisconsin undefeated but disrespected, and 6-point underdogs. They shouldn’t be on the same field as the top-shelf Buckeyes, but they’ll beat them on Saturday. Wisconsin.
Lance – he is torn on this game because he doesn’t want to see Ohio State make the playoffs. Also, being from Minnesota he dislikes Wisconsin sports. He decides that he wants Wisconsin to win and wants the six points.
Mike - No Pac12 or ACC presence.
Lance – he discusses a dozen different scenarios but doesn’t make a prediction. Typical rube.
Lance thinks the playoffs should expand to 12 teams and Mike thinks it should be 8 teams. Mike pointed out the potential matchups in the first round of a 12 team playoff and discussed how bad some of them would be. A 12 team playoff would dilute too much.
Scott’s Terrible Takes:
This week’s terrible take is from Scott himself. Before the last game, the Minnesota Gophers extended PJ Fleck after they lost in a shut out game. Scott supports it, even though the team lost 4 more games this season and wasn’t the least bit competitive. Mike pointed out that the Purdue Boilermakers finished 6-6 with Jeff Brohm, 3-9 last season. Had success at Western Kentucky. They didn’t extend him yet, why did MN extend PJ Fleck after a miserable season? However, Scott loves it. So bad.
Mike – Oakland Raiders/Denver Broncos fight. Lance was upset because Michael Crabtree got tossed and Lance lost in fantasy football because of it. Mike pointed out that no reasonable fantasy football owner relies on Crabtree anyway.
Mike - Kansas City crumbling: I called it. Lost 5/6 games. Alex Smith with a 77-passer rating over the past 4 games. Do you still think KC wins the AFC West? Lance says yes, he thinks they will still win the AFC West. Mike thinks Oakland will come back and win the division.
Mike – Cordarrelle Patterson with the game winning catch. He is a true impact player for the Raiders.
Mike - Has the Atlanta Falcons offense finally figured it out and peaking at the right time? Lance doesn’t know, but he thinks everyone will find out this week when the Falcons play the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL’s game of the week.
Mike - Who is the odds-on favorite for the final AFC playoff spot?
Next was a bit that Mike likes to call LOL, as in some of Lance’s takes are just hilarious: Lance thought Marcus Mariota will be the top fantasy QB.
Mike thought Tom Brady, who was top 5.
LOL: Lance’s shot in the dark SF to beat Seattle.
Mike’s shot in the dark is Buffalo upends KC straight up. NAILED IT!
Playoff Implication matchups:
Philadelphia at Seattle:
Minnesota at Atlanta
Carolina at New Orleans:
Shot in the Dark:
Lance – red hot Philadelphia Eagles team is going to Seattle. Lance goes with Seattle to upset the Eagles on the west coast. Squeak it out on a last second field goal from Blair Walsh. Mike agrees because playing NFC West teams on the road are tough for every NFL team.
Mike - just when we think the Oakland Raiders might be figuring it out, in comes a scrappy New York Giants team. Raiders are favored by 7 at home, but the Giants win straight up.
Locks of the week:
The guys pick each other’s game to Lock.
Mike – Green Bay in a pick-em against Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mike hates Dirk Koetter as a coach so much, that on that principle alone he goes with Green Bay here.
Lance – Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets. Lance thinks the Chiefs have figured it out, and they get their stuff together. Take KC and give up the 3.5 points.
Mike – New Orleans Saints hosting the Carolina Panthers. Saints are favored by 4 points. Saints are coming off a tough loss. Mike thinks they’ve peaked already and are trending down. Carolina is on more of a curve upward. Take the Panthers and the points.
Lance - LA Rams at Arizona. Rams are favored by 6.5 points. Lance takes the Rams to cover.
Mike – Oakland home against the New York Giants. Oakland is favored by 7 points. Mike takes Oakland and gives up the seven points.
Lance - Minnesota at Atlanta. The Falcons are favored by three points at home. Xavier Rhodes will shut down Julio Jones. Take Minnesota and the points.
Mike points out that there were a lot of bad takes from Lance today, filling up the Wicker Man.