College Football & NFL -- This Weekend's Best Bets
I'll get to the Best Bets of the weekend in a second, I promise, but first some venting.
Reggie Bush is rapidly moving up my most hated list.
Not because he chose to attend Southern Cal instead of Notre Dame. Not because the defining play of Notre Dame's decade of ineptitude bears his name ("Bush Push" 2005). Not because he dated Kim Kardashian, the quintessential "You're on one side or the other" when it comes to the "Is she hot?" argument (Which side am I on? Well, I...like...big..BUTTSandIcannotlie! So there.).
Not even because he committed violations that, frankly, if presented to them, a lot of 18-year-old kids would have committed.
To be clear, I'm not big on judging people on transgressions they commit, because we all make mistakes. I'm much bigger on judging how they react to the consequences. Ownership and accountability.
Reggie Bush is failing at both.
Reggie Bush would disagree, as yesterday news broke that he had chosen to forfeit his 2005 Heisman Trophy and the designation of such back to the Heisman Trust, who will, to the chagrin of Longhorn fans everywhere, leave the award vacant for that year and not bestow it upon Vince Young.
Although admittedly this does give rise to a new idea -- taping alternate endings to Heisman Trophy ceremonies in case they need to change winners in future years. Like with, say, Rocky Balboa (or as those who acknowledge the existence of Rocky V call it -- Rocky VI), supposedly there is an alternate ending recorded where Rocky wins the fight against Mason "The Line" Dixon (worst sports nickname ever). In the actual movie, Rocky loses by split decision.
If the Heisman Trust would just record each guy winning the Heisman, it protects them in future years from having vacated trophies. Just erase the perpetrator from existence and use the runner-up's alternate ending! It would even have the indignity of the actual winner hugging the new winner after he wins! This needs to happen. In fact, I wish it already had so that when it turns out Tim Tebow's charity work in the Philippines is really just a big ruse to cover up a drug-and-prostitution ring, and it turns out Darren McFadden had Houston Nutt's ATM card all season, then Colt Brennan will be awarded the 2007 Heisman.
Clearly, I've thought this through.
Anyway, where was I?....Oh yeah, Reggie Bush. Ownership and accountability. How has he failed at both? Well, here's how, and I quote...
"It's me showing respect to the Heisman Trophy itself and to the people who came before me and the people coming after," Bush said after New Orleans Saints practice. "I just felt like it was the best thing to do, the most respectful thing to do because obviously I do respect the Heisman. I do respect all the things it stands for."
Bush was clear that forfeiting the trophy is "not an admission of guilt" but instead merely the quickest way for everyone to get back to business. Because when you work your whole life for the most prestigious trophy in your craft and are accused of something you didn't do, the natural human reaction of a fiercely competitive athlete is to just give the trophy back so that "we can all just get back to work." Right on, Reggie. Turd.
If that's not enough, Bush goes on to tell everyone who is to blame for the rash of "sports agent gone bad" activity in college football. Naturally, it's not the athletes and it's not even the agents...
"Whatever the NCAA has, whatever programs they have, aren't working and it needs to be changed. If it's not changed, it's going to continue and it hasn't stopped yet," Bush said. "It's going to continue year after year after year and you're going to see kids be ineligible. You're going to see great athletes missing their junior and senior year and seasons because the system doesn't work."
Yep, it's the system. Always the system. Can't get this damn system to work. And the more I type the more I realize that this Bush thing needs its own post, maybe next week. Just know that someday when I win a Pulitzer for comparing the BCS bowls to Wrestlemania 17 and I'm wrongfully accused of plagiarizing from Ken Hoffman, I will not roll over and give the award back just so everyone can move on.
Let's get to steppin' on some picks for this weekend and get you people paid at a world class (okay, an above-average) .667 clip again. Here we go...
Houston -3 over UCLA
I was asked in the comments section of yesterday's post where I all but admitted I'm betting a kidney on this game, why is the line so low? My answer? Three things -- 1. West Coast money, 2. BCS vs non-BCS team perception, and 3. UCLA is at home. Peel the onion back, none of them are valid reasons for the line to be so low. The Coogs are better. Much better. and if you're not quick enough....dammit, line just went to 3.5. Get in NOW, people. This isn't a bet recommendation as much as it is a public service announcement. Honestly, call your "guy" now and get down, I'll wait before giving the other five plays.......
.....waiting.....waiting......back?....ok....let's keep going....
Nebraska -3 over WASHINGTON
Little-known fact, I'm part of the Football Writers Association of America. Even littler-known fact, the criteria for being part of that elite fraternity appears to boil down to (1) I work in a job that brushes up against college football and (2) I'm willing to pay $50 a year. Anyway, being on the FWAA mailing list means that I get inundated with propaganda from SID's at schools around the country. One school that is all over us this year is Washington, pimping Jake Locker for various awards. The accolades include a bunch of stuff about throwing for some decent -- DECENT, not great -- passing-yard totals and being a projected high NFL draft pick. Nothing about winning. As best I can tell, Locker's signature moment is a 2009 home win over a USC team that was number three in the nation at the time and didn't even end up number three in the Pac-10 at the end of the year. I'll take the Huskers here, mainly because Washington's Locker promos annoy me.
Air Force +16.5 over OKLAHOMA
Big controversy this week in Norman (and you can hear WWE Hall of Famer, Jim Ross, discuss it on podcast of my show) is the Sooner home crowd screaming "Home of the SOONERS" in lieu of "Home of the BRAVE" at the end of the national anthem. Doing it at all is bad. Doing it on 9/11 is deplorable. If they do it with Air Force as the opponent, it's so bad that I'll take the karma gods and Air Force and 16.5 points. There's alcohol involved, it's gonna happen. Take the points.
Redskins +3 over TEXANS
I picked the Colts in Week One in my preseason preview of the Texans, and we saw how that went. A beat I was happy to take. So this is strictly another karma play. Going oppo of the Texans and hoping they prove me wrong each week. (Oh yeah, and reasonable analysis? A HUGE letdown spot here for the Texans. HUGE. Smells way too much like the Titans home win in 2008, when the Texans promptly went out the next week and got lit up by a dogshit Oakland team.)
Patriots over JETS -3
Darrelle Revis calling out Randy Moss this week (if you missed it, he not only called Moss a "slouch" but stood by it when given the chance to clarify -- which I respect), means that Moss will actually be dialed in and ready to go. The main Jets stories this week have been about their locker room shenanigans with Ines Sainz, Revis calling out Moss, and Rex Ryan getting more involved in the offense. None of these point toward a cover against the Patriots.
PACKERS over Bills -13
Honestly, this one is just me not really liking any other plays on the board and soliciting the help of my dear friend Amy -- Texans season-ticket holder and diehard football watcher -- who I will vouch picked the under and exact margin of victory Monday night in the Kansas City game (home dog winning outright by seven!).
(Side bar -- Amy chased that KC selection by giving out another pick on Twitter on Thursday night, N.C. State -2, which covered easily. When it was discovered by the Twitter universe that she might have special gambling powers, her Twitter following jumped about 15 percent, which is impressive but still trails the 50 percent jump she saw when she changed her Twitter avatar to a picture of her chest in a tight Texans t-shirt. The moral of the story -- in the eternal struggle between boobs and money, boobs are still smashing the competition.)
Let's see how Amy does under the glare of the bright lights of the Hair Balls blog.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.