With the NCAA football season quickly approaching, it’s time to kick off this year’s first edition of Matt’s Picks 2 Click. I will be looking at a few value plays and (not so) long shots to win the BCS title. This article and my picks are based on where I see value. So, while I agree that Alabama is the favorite to win the National Title, I don’t think there is any value in placing a bet on them to win it all at 3 to 1 odds. Let’s take a look at who I do like:
Value in the Top 5
Odds to Win National Title: 12 to 1
Okay, I know I tend to favor the Dawgs more than I should – sorry, can’t help it – but this is a team that was a tipped pass away from dethroning Alabama and taking their talents to South Beach to play the “Fighting” Irish. From a value standpoint, I think this is the best pick of the top 5 odds on favorites to win the National Championship.
There isn’t enough reward to justify the risk to place a bet on Alabama. At 3 to 1 I would be better off betting an underdog to win heads up in any given weekend – that happens all the time. Ohio State at 6 to 1 is interesting, but I think there are a few opponents that could give them a run for their money, especially if they made it to the title game. Oregon (8 to 1) is undergoing a coaching change, so I’ll bypass a future wager on them even though I believe they’ll be a fun team to get behind when the season starts. Rounding out the top 5 is A&M (also 12 to 1), and with everything that is going on there, most notably the Mothership’s witch hunt of a 20 year old, I just don’t like the Ags to win it all.
When looking at the Dawgs’ schedule, one sees that it is front-end loaded with Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU as three of the first four games. They will be replacing a lot on defense, so this game with Clemson should be a barn burner. In the end, I think that this game will come down to quarterback play. While Tajh Boyd may think he’s the best in the nation, I’m not as high on ole Tubby B. Aaron Murray is rewriting SEC record books and is drawing comparisons to a young Drew Brees. I’ll take that, coupled with the dynamic duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, any day.
After the first four games, the Dawgs should be able to handle the rest of their schedule with relative ease. Some people will point to Florida as a huge game, but I would like to direct their attention here. I’ll be putting a unit on the Dawgs to win it all. Hell, if they pull it off, I might break even on them over the past two years.
It’s Called ‘Hedging’
Odds to Win National Title: 22 to 1
There are three games that will define this season for Yabba-Dabo-do and Co.: Georgia, Florida State, and South Carolina. All three of these games could go the way of the Tigers, but I could also see them getting housed in one or more of the games. I’m not quite sold on their defense and Clemson has a penchant for breaking hearts mid-season, but maybe this will be the year they put it together… maybe.
Anyway, at 22 to 1, the reward is definitely worth the risk. This is a team that has top 5 talent and is hungry to prove that they belong, even though the ACC hardly has been relevant in recent years. I’ll take a flyer solely on potential.
Oh yeah, all of you that are saying, “You just picked Georgia, what are you doing picking Clemson when they play each other the first week of the season?!” My answer: read the heading of this section. If you don’t understand it, leave.
Like a Bridge over Troubled Waters
Odds to Win National Title: 25 to 1
Charlie Strong is a rising star in the coaching world. His quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, is regarded as the best pro-style QB prospect in this year’s draft. Michael Dyer, a former Auburn running back and National Championship Game MVP, has joined the Cardinals and looks to showcase his explosive ability against a relatively soft schedule.
The Cards should dominate the AAC (the combination of the Big East and C-USA) and run the table en route to a second straight BCS birth. If you think they can’t play with the big boys, let me jog your memory for a second. Take a look at the highlights from their Sugar Bowl victory over the mighty Florida Gators out of the indomitable SEC.
Um… yeah. Put me down for a unit on the Cards. The only way they miss the title game is if the voters deny them the right to be there.
Wild, Wild West
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Odds to Win National Title: 38 to 1
The Big 12 (10) is a wide open league that promises many shootouts from teams led by gunslinging QBs. The Pokes will showcase two signal callers in their opener against Mississippi State, but personally, I don’t think it matters who takes the reigns of this offense. They will score points on everyone, just like they have for years now, and it’s not like the defenses in their conference will try to stop them.
The books have Texas at 20 to 1 odds to win the National Title, while the Cowboys sit at 38 to 1. The same books have the ‘Horns and the ‘Pokes at the same odds to win the conference. I think that means the national perception of the Longhorns is high, and the Cowboys are undervalued by the public. This is a team that has the coaching and the talent, especially on offense, to run the table. However, this is also a team that could easily stumble to an 8-4 mark in the regular season. Either way, this is a gamble on potential and it is there. I’ll throw down a unit.
Down by the Seastrunk
Odds to Win National Title: 150 to 1
Question: What the hell is the bear doing to that ‘BU’ in the picture?
Answer: Exactly what Baylor’s offense will be doing to opposing defenses.
There is a lot of buzz about this season among the Baylor faithful, and believe me, there are plenty of those. Waco is about the only college town in America where you’ll find a tent revival on Friday night and a mass of sloppy drunken frat boys on Saturday. But, they should be excited.
Art Briles system continues to pump out high caliber QBs – remember that guy that goes by RG3? Yeah. Nick Florence wasn’t too shabby either, despite having a wet rag for an arm. This year Coach Briles and his new QB, Bryce Petty, have set legendary standards as benchmarks for their success.
Will they be able to accomplish such lofty goals? Who knows. One thing I do know – Baylor will start the season 7-0 this year. Mark it down. I don’t see an opponent that will be able slow down Lache Seastrunk, who set some lofty goals of his own, and the rest of this potent Baylor attack until they reach Week 11 against Oklahoma.
OU may be a little bit down this year, but that game marks the beginning of a brutal stretch to close the season: v. OU, in Jerry World v. Texas Tech, @ Okie State, @ TCU, and v. Texas. Each of those games should be a shoot out, and the Bears have plenty of bullets. If they carry forward their (hypothetical) hot start, I could see them pulling it off. Don’t get me wrong, though, this is quite a long shot. I mean, that’s why they’re at 150 to 1 in the books. Still, mark me down for a unit and send me to the nearest tent revival. It’s time to pray for the Bears to pull off a miracle.