Before we get to the Best Bets, a couple of quick comments on the college football coaching carousel...
Florida found their guy in Colorado State's Jim McElwain, and by doing so kept alive the streak of 1,143 straight schools who have fired their head coach and then gone and found a new head coach with the complete opposite profile of the ousted coach. Fired Will Muschamp, a former defensive coordinator with no experience? Well, let's get McElwain, a former offensive coordinator with head coaching experience!
The amazing bit of fallout from these firings (and really just a general trend) is the big money being offered to coordinators. Will Muschamp is fired and immediately (reportedly) offered seven figures to coordinate defenses for Texas A&M and Auburn. A steady gig, big salary and a small fraction of the pressure as a head coach? Yeah, coordinator is where it's at.
Also...Nebraska...what the hell was that? Mike Riley? Really?
Okay, onto the bets....
Louisiana Tech +10.5 over MARSHALL Conference championship Saturday opens with a Conference USA title matchup that was one game away from involving the defending champion Rice Owls...until Louisiana Tech decided to hang 70 on them last weekend in Ruston. The question here is "How motivated will Marshall be?" after losing their first game of the season to Western Kentucky last weekend. A possible berth in a New Year's Day rotation bowl has now turned into a possible Liberty Bowl berth. Yippee. I'll take motivation and 10.5 points.
By the way, Louisiana Tech and Marshall are fighting for supremacy of a conference that lost a member this past week. UAB shut down its football program. If you haven't watched any footage from the team meeting with the school president, take a click-see....
"And you're telling me it's all about the numbers?!?!?" Um, unfortunately, yes dude. It's all about the numbers. It's a business.
TCU -34 over Iowa State In (sort of) this same spot three seasons ago, Iowa State spoiled the Big 12's hopes of getting a team to the BCS Title Game, when Iowa State upset Oklahoma State in Ames late in the season. It's fun to hear people throw around Iowa State like they do this on a regular basis, when in fact this season Iowa State is a steaming pile of poo. Also, the game is in Fort Worth. Also, TCU can clinch a playoff spot by hanging 70 on the Cyclones. No upset this time around. Not even close.
Georgia Tech +4 over Florida State Jameis Winston has escaped jail time over rape allegations, escaped any serious repercussions over shoplifting crab legs, escaped the long arm of his own stupidity getting him suspended for any more than just one game all season, so we just assume, "Well, he'll escape Georgia Tech, too..." Well, it seems enticing to think about scoring big here, until you consider Georgia Tech is 3-0-2 ATS in he last five meetings between the two schools, and Florida State is 3-9 ATS over its last 12 games following a win.
Rams -2.5 over REDSKINS You could very easily make a case that the Rams are the best "not that good" team in the league. Yes, they're 5-7, but holy shit, have you seen who they've played in the past two months? Before thumping the Raiders 52-0 last week (Tre Mason!), the Rams played at Philadelphia, home San Fran, home Seattle, at Kansas City, at San Fran, at Arizona, vs Denver, at San Diego. Holy smokes, that's a schedule. And half those games they played with Austin Davis at QB. The Redskins, meanwhile, start Colt McCoy at quarterback a week after he threw for 390 of the emptiest yards in the history of the league in a beatdown at the hands of the Colts. I believe in the Rams, I believe in Jeff Fisher, mullet and all.
SAINTS -9.5 over Panthers I would say, "I give up betting on the Saints," but clearly that's not the case. Most sane people would back away from a team after losing on ages involving them for five straight weeks. But not me. I just figure that, at some point, I'm due. Further proof that, indeed, I am an idiot. All right, Saints, you don't like me and I don't like you; let's just do this so I can shower and say I did it in the name of supporting my children.
Patriots -4 over CHARGERS Bill Belichick doesn't lose two straight. And they rarely lose in December on the road (24-5 SU since 2002). Let's go Belichick.
Last week: 2-4 Season total: 39-45
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.