Robert Perea and JIm Vallet, The Fernley Reporter
I have no idea whether Eddie Van Halen liked football. But, in honor of the great guitarist’s death on Tuesday, I’m going to use some of his vast catalogue to help me with this week’s picks.
To say I got turned on to Van Halen’s music when I was in eighth grade would be a vast understatement. Because my family moved often, I attended 13 different elementary schools, and because I was shy by nature and overprotected by my parents, it wasn’t until I was 13 years old in eighth grade in 1980 that I had a friend who wasn’t either a cousin or a next door neighbor. It also wasn’t until then that I was introduced to rock music. But one day, I rode the school bus home to hang out with my friend, Manuel Barela, and he put in a cassette tape of Van Halen I. Ten seconds into Eruption, I realized there was a whole other world out there that I didn’t know anything about, and the 1 minute, 44 seconds of that song changed my whole perspective. Until I heard that song, the only interests I had were fishing, reading and watching sports, but that song opened up my curiosity, my hunger to see and learn new things, and a wonder about what else is there that I don’t know about.
Unfortunately, I’m still very much that shy boy, and there’s still many things I haven’t learned or experienced. But it still only takes 10 seconds of hearing that twisting, climbing guitar to realize all over again how much possibility there still is in the world.
Going 0-5 overall last week left me asking Where Have All the Good Times Gone? I should have known I was D.O.A. when I liked more NFL games than college. It was bad enough to lose both of my games Saturday with two teams that were never in the game, but my biggest error of the week was not continuing to make some Big Fat Money betting against Kansas. Oddsmakers don’t often give you the gift of a team you can win on or against several weeks in a row, but for three weeks running, Kansas has been completely noncompetitive, even though neither Baylor two weeks ago or Oklahoma St. last week looked like anything special against them. But then Sunday was an absolute House of Pain. If I have another week like that, Somebody Get Me a Doctor. I’m hoping for a good bounceback week. If not, I’m sure I’ll Hear About It Later.
On to the picks (lines as of Tuesday at William Hill):
Louisville (-4) at Georgia Tech. I got a push two weeks ago with Louisville against Pittsburgh, in a game they had a chance to win late. Georgia Tech’s win over Florida State a couple of weeks ago hid the fact that their rebuilding project still has a way to go. Louisville has faced tough defenses in Miami and Pittsburgh, and this week I think they’ll enjoy being Unchained.
Syracuse (+3) vs. Duke. This feels a little dangerous, like Runnin’ With the Devil, but Syracuse has improved in every game, and Duke lacks offensive playmakers. Syracuse will be 2-2 if they win, and that will have them Dancing in the Street.
Oklahoma/Texas over 72. This is a high total, but these are two good offenses and two bad defenses, which for an over bettor is the Best of Both Worlds. This total will probably require both teams to score in the 30s and one of them to probably score 40, but that’s the kind of game both of them have played the last two weeks. It would be poetic justice if the final score is 5150.
Kansas St. (+8 ½) at TCU. TCU got a big offensive boost when quarterback Max Duggan was cleared to play after he had a heart problem following a bout with Covid-19. But their defense definitely is not up to the level of past Gary Patterson teams. Because of that, Amon Carter Stadium hasn’t been Mean Street for visitors lately.
Carolina (+2 ½) at Atlanta. The Falcons’ defense has been so bad the last three weeks, Everybody Wants Some. I want some too. Teddy Bridgewater looks healthy and is enjoying a renaissance. Hopefully he can keep delivering like the Ice Cream Man.
Pittsburgh (-7) vs. Philadelphia. The Eagles won Sunday night despite getting outgained by 200 yards, thanks to 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens, who played like he spent the weekend doing the Cabo Wabo. They probably won’t get those breaks against Ben Roethlisberger, who should Light Up the Sky after having last week off because the Tennessee Titans had a Covid-19 outbreak.
Some readers may well wonder, with good reason, why I am picking football games for The Fernley Reporter. My record this year is not good, and I don’t have a football pedigree. There must be dozens, if not hundreds, of football experts waiting to take my exalted position.
In spite of my record, I say it could be WAY worse. Let me run down some of my predictions over the years that went awry, and give my rationale at the time for picking as I did:
- Because of the “Blue Wall”, I predicted that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election;
- Looking at the weather and the topography of the region, I advised Adolf Hitler not to worry about an Allied invasion on June 6, 1944 at Normandy;
- Because it was important to get to New York fast and the ship was unsinkable, I advised the captain of the Titanic to go full speed ahead despite iceberg warnings;
- Because it was cheaper and in great abundance, I counseled the city of Chicago in 1870 that wood would be the best building material for their city;
- Because he needed a drink, I advised Abraham Lincoln’s lone bodyguard (whose name was John Fredrick Parker) that it was ok to take a quick break. Besides, only the actors had access to the hallway leading to Lincoln;
- With the arrival of Davy Crockett, Fess Parker, and Buddy Ebsen, I thought for sure the Texans would absolutely wax the Mexicans at the Alamo;
- Because he was such a patriot, I recommended to General Washington that Benedict Arnold be appointed to Commander of West Point, New York;
- Because the ground looked pretty solid to me, I told the Tower Building Committee in Pisa, Italy that there was no need for footings in 1173;
- In 44 B.C., I told Julius Caesar that he had nothing to worry about if he met with a bunch of old Roman Senators on the Ides of March;
- In 1184 B.C., I urged Helen of Troy that, after we celebrate all night, to thank the Greeks for their magnificent gift of a huge wooden horse after the Greeks abandoned their 10-year siege;
- Finally, my first, and worst advice was when I advised the guy that invented the wheel that a patent would be useless.
So, before you heed my football picks, consider my history of predictions. As George Satayana, and later Winston Churchill said, “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it”, or, something like that.
Anyway, here are my picks for Week #5 against the spread. Lines are from espn.com/dailylines as of Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Chicago Bears (+4.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Two good defenses, little time to prepare, and the better offense has to travel. Does Foles have Brady’s number? (hint: it’s 12)
Washington Football Team (??!!) (+7.5) vs. LA Rams. A cross country trip, a 3-hour time change, and the 49ers next week will make it tough to cover a big spread against a pretty decent defense.
New York Giants (+9.5) at Dallas Cowboys. A long time ago, a wise man told me that NFL teams cover big spreads (like 9 ½ points!) with defense. If this is true, this looks like an easy one.
Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Seattle Seahawks. If Minnesota covers, this game will go over the toal (57) for sure. But, over/unders have burned me too many times…
NFL 2-3 (1 postponed)