On today’s show: Rob and Lang discuss the Ole Miss v. Arkansas thriller, Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M, and more before previewing Ole Miss v. Tennessee, UGA v. Kentucky and a handful of NFL games with Lance Taylor. The fellas also give their picks for this week’s action.
I am old enough to remember using the ATM back when I was a college student at the University of Georgia. I walk to a row of them right there outside the bookstore, and withdraw $20 at a time. These days you can hardly buy an order of french fries for ten bucks, but back then, twenty dollars was enough for a sumptuous fast food meal outside of the meal plan plus a movie and a couple of games of pool in the Tate Center. This was a big night out for a broke college student. (And then there was the night my friend Mike accidentally added a zero to his ATM order and withdrew $200 instead of $20, which very nearly bankrupted him.)
These days we live in a mostly cash-free society—I can go weeks or months without opening the cash slot in my wallet. Still, the ATM remains, an idea or concept as much as anything practical, a place where we go when we need a little cash to help us along. There’s a deal we make, of course, to get that money. It isn’t free—it’s our money, we just store it away and get it when we need it.
Unless, of course, the ATM is broken, and then it starts just spitting out free money, like something out of a cartoon. That’s the dream, right? Free money?
Well, there are a few college football teams that have essentially been broken ATM’s over the years for those of us who like to drop a few dollars on the games. These are teams that we believe in, that we know no matter how high the line gets, this team has the capability to cover that number.
Here are three of my favorite broken ATMs this season.
When you know, you know, right? It’s not always comfortable to admit it out loud, but most of the time, we know the truth, even if we don’t want to admit it. As a former UGA student, I try to watch their games with a distanced eye, to not allow my personal feelings interfere with the reality of how good UGA may or may not be.
But two weeks ago, I knew. UGA was playing Arkansas, a team that was undefeated at the time, with quality wins over Texas and Texas A&M on their ledger. Meanwhile, UGA was missing their injured starting QB, JT Daniels. I thought this was going to be a real test for the Dawgs, but they came out and ran up a 21-0 lead, and ended up winning 37-0.
My friends, UGA is for real. They are fine on offense, even if Daniels is still nursing a lat injury, but defensively this team is completely locked in. Consider this: They’ve played four SEC opponents, and have given up a total of two touchdowns to those teams. Meanwhile, teams like Ole Miss and Arkansas can’t give up scores fast enough.
More relevantly to this conversation, UGA has covered the spread in four of their last five games, and the one they didn’t cover was against South Carolina, where they missed the cover by just 2.5 points. They’ve had some big spreads, but haven’t had any issues covering — against Vanderbilt the spread was 35 points, and UGA won by friggin’ 62.
This Saturday, UGA hosts an undefeated Kentucky team, and Kentucky fans are, justifiably, riding high for their team. I mean, I got SportsCenter anchors who went to Kentucky talking trash to me on Twitter.
The thing is, Kentucky certainly is good this season. But they aren’t that good, and they’re going to lose to UGA. The line this week is over 20, but I still love the Dawgs to cover every week this season, no matter the number.
OK, I realize that I have now told you that it’s worthwhile to bet on the two teams ranked one and two in the country, and you are probably saying, “Thanks a lot, Norman Einstein!” But I tend to think these teams have risen to the top because of the way they’re playing, not that we are betting them because they’re 1 and 2,
ANYWAY, the Hawkeyes opened this season against an Indiana team that, at the time, was highly regarded. Iowa was favored by 3.5 points, and then they won by 28. A week later, Iowa played Iowa State, giving 4.5 points, and won by 10. Since then they’ve rolled, basically, even covering by half a point against a top five Penn State team.
Iowa isn’t a very fun team to watch — they grind it out offensively, and defensively they’ve been solid, but not flashy. But man do they keep covering, week after week. Iowa is 7-1 against the spread in their last 8 games, and this week they host a middling Purdue team and give 12 points. I don’t care — I’m sticking with these Hawkeyes.
By now if you don’t know about Liberty, I don’t know what to tell you. Hugh Freeze was a rising star coach in the SEC, got swept up in a scandal and turned up at Liberty, where he has built a spread-busting machine.
Consider: In their last 14 games, Liberty is 13-1 against the spread. It’s been a remarkable run, and as long as Hugh Freeze is content to stay up there in Virginia and beat up on these overmatched schools, I am content to continue putting money on them week after week, like this week when they are 32 point favorites on the road at Louisiana Monroe. (They’re 8-1 against the spread in their last 9 road games.) Give me Liberty or give me bust!
On today’s show: Rob Lang and Keith discuss the AL and NL Divisional Series taking place, the heartbreaking loss the Cardinals had against the Dodgers, the anxiety Will Smith gives Braves fans when he steps on the mound, the Astros postseason struggles, Tim Anderson’s post season brilliance so far, Brian Cashman’s job as GM for the Yankees and everything else from around the MLB.
On today’s show: Rob and Roser breakdown the hottest games this week, discuss Georgia’s and Alabama’s dominance, and more. Lance Taylor shares his thoughts on who he thinks the best team is in the B1G Ten and the SEC and shares his picks for the week. The fellas also give their picks and Roser shares his teasers.
On today’s show: Rob, Lang and Murph discuss the start of the MLB postseason, the fairness of a one game playoff for the Dodgers, Yankees v. Red Sox match up in an AL Wildcard game, the Braves coming alive late, the Mets collapse, the NL MVP race, what the Angels should do with Mike Trout and more.
Rob and Roser discuss Clemson’s loss to NC State, Ben Roethlisberger’s struggles, give their top 5 teams in the SEC and preview UGA v. Arkansas. Lance Taylor joins the show to give his picks and breakdown Ole Miss v. Alabama, Auburn v. LSU and more. The fellas also make pics of their own and Roser gives his ‘Roll w/ Roser NFL Teaser’.
We’ve reached the kinda-sorta one-third mark of the college football season, so let’s zoom out and look at the college football landscape as conference play starts in earnest.
Winner: Nick Saban
I know, I know. Nick Saban is about as exciting as watching grass grow. But the Alabama Crimson Tide, who came into this season having lost their starting QB, RB and WRs, as well as their play caller and a host of defensive starters, have not missed a beat. Their closest call was against a top-ten team in Florida, who they got up big against and hung on to beat by two. But otherwise, the Tide has not seemed troubled. They have a big game this weekend against an explosive Ole Miss offense, then play a reeling Texas A&M, and coast until the end of the season, when they close out against a really good Arkansas and a really weird Auburn.
All of this to say, don’t be shocked if Bama rolls right back to another title. The one weakness you could probably point to might be their offense, which “only” scored 31 against Florida, but assuming they get by Ole Miss, the Tide will have a few weeks to get rolling again.
As always, it’s Nick Saban’s world, we’re just living in it. You don’t need gimmicks or flash or slogans or other stuff. We talked about style vs substance a few weeks ago. What really matters? Just win, baby.
Loser: Spencer Rattler
A few weeks ago, I was fond of referring to Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler as “future Falcons QB Spencer Rattler.” I said that because as a Falcons fan, I knew we were going to be awful this season. And with Matt Ryan in the final year of his megadeal, it has seemed pretty clear as the Falcons were setting up to flip the roster next season, many scouts had Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler at or near the top of their mock drafts.
Then I started watching Rattler play, and… well, I’m still not sold. First of all, he’s small enough that I had to pick up the phone to google his height. According to Wikipedia, Rattler is 6-1. And if he’s 6-1, I’m 7-2. But size can be overlooked, as with Rattler’s predecessors at OU, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Yet unlike those two, Rattler doesn’t seem to have the ability (or desire, perhaps) to use his speed to really spread the field. Last week against West Virginia, for instance, Rattler had 9 rushes for 0 yards. Instead, Rattler seems content to stay in the pocket and throw contested darts—last week someone on Twitter referred to him as Rex Grossman, and I nearly spit out my drink.
I could care less that Oklahoma hasn’t looked like a top 10 team, because at the end of the year their defense still isn’t good enough to keep them in games once they play a genuinely tough opponent. But considering the way the QB position in the NFL is trending, having mobility and extending plays with your legs is paramount. I don’t know if Rattler is the right fit for an NFL team looking to reach that next level.
Perhaps I should start referring to “future Falcons quarterback (and Atlanta native!) Malik Willis”?
Winner: Cats and Hogs
If you had told me one year ago at this time that Arkansas and Kentucky would become two of the more compelling teams in the SEC, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are, one year later, with Arkansas sitting pretty at 4-0 (including decisive wins over Texas and Texas A&M), and Kentucky also at 4-0.
Kentucky has played an easier schedule, but they’re 2-0 in the SEC so far, with wins over Mizzou and South Carolina. Last season they spent most of the year running into the line, using a wide receiver at QB. This season they’ve got a vertical offense, and while their win over South Carolina didn’t seem great — turnovers killed them — they still got the win. Most SEC fans probably couldn’t pick Mark Stoops out of a lineup, but to me he’s got Kentucky solidly in that third spot in the SEC East, with room to grow their share. (Well, at least until Texas and Oklahoma arrive and Alabama or Auburn flips sides.)
And I genuinely can’t believe Arkansas is where they are. They were a mess last season, with Feleipe “Ballpark” Franks at QB and coach Sam Pittman running around unifying the fanbase. This season the Razorbacks have a dynamic QB in KJ Jefferson, using an innovative offense that chews up yards on the ground, takes big shots through the air, plus what I think is an underrated defense. I don’t believe they’ve got enough to hang with UGA for sixty minutes this week in Athens (especially with Jefferson injured late last week), but I won’t be surprised if they cover the 18.5 point spread.
What in the name of Gene Chizik is happening on The Plains?
Ever since quarterback Bo Nix won the starting gig a season ago, he has had a tenuous hold on the job. He finally got yanked down the stretch last week against Georgia State, a game Auburn bounced back to win late. In the wake of that near-win over Georgia State, the Tigers fired their wide receivers coach this week, a move which new head coach Bryan Harsin described as “not ideal.”
You know what else seems to be not ideal? Being the head coach at Auburn, where every move is under scrutiny from an overly involved fanbase. It’s still very early in the Harsin era, but remember how many coaches were in the mix for a search that was basically hilarious before Auburn eventually landed on Harsin. Auburn has no shame making a change on the sideline, and while Harsin still has the cover of basically using Gus Malzahn’s players while settling into the job, that clock at Auburn ticks as loud or louder than it does anywhere else.
Winner: Presbyterian College Football!
We can forgive you if you don’t know much about Blue Hose football. Heck, I have a relative who teaches there, and I still don’t know much about it, at least historically. But a lot of college football nerds took notice of Presbyterian during the last offseason, when the FCS school hired Kevin Kelley as their head coach. Bring in a high school coach from Arkansas? Yes, but one who is deeply idiosyncratic, in all the best ways. Mostly, Kelley is known as the coach who never punts — he always goes for it on fourth down, figuring the odds will work in his favor. Similarly, he prefers going for two instead of one after scores. Their kickoffs? Usually onside kicks. Sometimes they win big, sometimes they don’t.
In Arkansas, Kelley won a few state titles. Thus far in Clinton, SC, Kelley and Presbyterian have had a wild ride. They opened with an 84-43 win, in which their QB threw 10 TD passes. Since then they’ve levelled out, and currently they have a record of 2-2, which also includes a 72-0 loss.
I don’t know if Kevin Kelley will turn Presbyterian into an FCS powerhouse or use the gig as a springboard to a bigger location, but I’m all for schools who are willing to do things differently.
On today’s show: Rob, Lang and Murph discuss MLB’s instant replay policies, the rollercoaster ride that is Braves closer Will Smith’s pitching, the Wild Card races, the Cardinals win streak, and more.
Back by popular demand, Lang Whitaker’s Cooking With Lang returns for season 2 kicking off with a delicious Lamb Burger recipe!
Rob and Roser discuss Clemson’s offensive struggles, preview Memphis v. UTSA and more before getting Lance Taylor’s thoughts on Florida v. Tennessee and other notable games around college and professional football. The guys also give their picks for the weekend! (58:48)