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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tuffy Teaser: Week 9

Tuffy is ready for Week 9 action
After a fifth consecutive win, Tuffy decided to spend a little time resting on his laurels last week.  Being a cat, Tuffy is a bit lazy, but Tuffy also knows that it takes restraint to stay ahead of the sharps in Nevada.  Since the Tuffy Teaser is restricted to teams with cat mascots, there will be some weeks where the cat gut just tells you to stay away.  Week 8 was one of those weeks.

But National Cat Day was this week, so Tuffy perked up his ears, squinted his green eyes and got back into action.  Heading into this week, the teaser is now 5-1 and $35 to the good.  So, here are the Tuffy Teaser picks for Week 9.

Staturday, October 31, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Illinois Fighting Illini          +11
Penn State                          +2

Tuffy and I are big Penn State fans.  That means that it is not fun to put money on their games because there is already enough angst and stomach bile involved.  As a Penn State expert, I can tell you that no one should ever bet on Penn State when they are giving more than a field goal.  Their offense is just to anemic.  On the other hand, this Penn State team has beaten the teams they should have beaten this year.  Penn State will not lose to Illinois at home.

Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. EST

Clemson Tigers          -4
NC State Wolfpack     +16

Clemson is not just a good team.  They are a very good team.  Maybe even the best team in college football this year.  It is a mystery to me and to Tuffy as to why Vegas seems to think Clemson will be dragged into a competitive game every week.  NC State is not a good team.  The Wolfpack will not challenge Clemson.  The Clemson Tigers will win by more than a touchdown in Raleigh.

Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. EST

Vanderbilt Commodores     +18
Houston Cougars               -6

Of all the games this week, kitties or no, this is the game that feels the most like stealing money.  The seers in the dessert do not have agendas like the sports media does.  But, the SEC bias still affects the point spreads because the spreads are designed to balance the wagering.  In other words, if the public perceives the SEC to be a dominant conference then the point spread needs to take that into account.  This game is a prime example.  Houston will win this game at home by a wide margin.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Tuffy Teaser: Week 7

Tuffy bought a new wardrobe with his winnings
The Tuffy Teaser is on fire.  The teaser has hit four times in a row.  That brings the record to 4-1 and the total bankroll to $27 to the good.

For those of you who are new to the party, the Tuffy Teaser involves a 3-team, 6-point college football teaser.  The only teams eligible for the teaser are those with a cat mascot (for more details, see the first post of the season).

Here are the picks for Week 7.

Friday, October 16, 2015.  8:00 p.m. EST

Cincinnati Bearcats     +12
BYU Cougars             Pick 'Em

The Cincinnati Bearcats are coming off a solid win over Miami last week, but this game involves a long trip on a short week.  The BYU Cougars are tough to beat anywhere (except for maybe in Ann Arbor), but they are particularly tough in the high altitude of Provo, Utah.  This will be a close game, but with the tease, BYU only needs to win the game.  The Cougars will do that.

Saturday, October 17, 2015.  12:30 p.m. EST

Pittsburgh Panthers                 +9.5
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets     +2.5

The point spread on this game is baffling to me.  Georgia Tech has been on a tough four-game slide, so it is a mystery to me why they are favored to win this game.  Pitt getting 9.5 points in this teaser feels almost like stealing.  The Panthers are 4-1 on the year.  Their only loss was by three points at Iowa.  I expect Pitt to win this game outright.  I would be shocked if Pitt lost by more than a touchdown.

Saturday, October 17, 2015.  7:00 p.m. EST

Florida Gators     +13
LSU Tigers         -1

Florida is a program that is clearly headed in the right direction ... until last week, that is.  The Gators' starting quarterback is now suspended for using banned substances.  That is not the type of distraction that any team needs when they are headed into Death Valley to play LSU.  The Tigers are always strong at home, and they are especially strong in night games.  I fully expect LSU to win this game by a couple of scores.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

NFL Prediction Report Card

As always, before season started, Banshee Sports posted an official set of NFL predictions for each division.  As always, I hold myself accountable for those picks.  Every team in the NFL has now played at least four games.  That means it is first quarter report card time.

AFC East:  In my predictions column, I didn't waste much time on discussing the division winner.  Heading into the season, the Patriots were obviously the best team in the division, and after one quarter of the games, the Patriots are still the best with no signs of slowing down.  The bold prediction in this division was that the Bills would make the playoffs as a wildcard.  At 3-2, the Bills are right in the thick of the playoff hunt.  The Bills should continue to improve as Tyrod Taylor gets more experience and the players get more familiar with the new coaching philosophies.  Prediction Grade: A

Rough start for the Ravens
AFC North:  As solid as my AFC East predictions are, my AFC North predictions are the complete opposite.  I jumped off the Cincinnati Bengals bandwagon and put my faith in the Baltimore Ravens. I should have flipped those picks.  The Bengals are in first place at 5-0 with a dramatic victory over the Seahawks this week.  I'm not shocked that the Bengals are better than I thought they'd be, but I am stunned at how terrible the Ravens have been.  The Ravens are a dismal 1-4 after taking a home loss against the Browns this week.  The only thing keeping me from a failing grade is that the Steelers are still in the hunt for a wildcard, as I predicted.  Prediction Grade: D

AFC South:  I predicted that the Colts would win the AFC South again this year.  Once again, the Colts are a very flawed team, but once again they are far less flawed than the rest of this terrible division.  It feels a little like cheating to get such an easy question right, but it's not my fault that Professor Goodell didn't make the exam harder.  Prediction Grade: A

AFC West:  I got myself a little excited when I wrote the AFC West predictions.  Conventional wisdom said that the Broncos were the class of this division.  The reason why some wisdom is "conventional" is because it is reliable.  Instead of following the crowd, I picked the Chiefs to win the division and the Broncos to miss the playoffs altogether.  The Chiefs are a putrid 1-4 through five games, and Jamaal Charles has a torn ACL.  Peyton Manning is clearly showing his age this season, but the Broncos defense has been a force of nature to start the year.  The Broncos look to have the West just about locked up even at this early stage.  Prediction Grade: F

Cowboys are banged up
NFC East:  It is hard to grade my predictions in this division.  The Giants are currently in sole possession of first place, but at 3-2 they are every bit as mediocre as I said they'd be.  The Redskins are lousy and the Eagles are a mystery.  What is not a mystery is that injuries have put a serious damper on the start of the Cowboy's season.  And yet, Dallas is still in the thick of the race for the division crown.  Since no one can predict injuries and the outcome is still very much in doubt, I am going to be lenient with my grade in this division.  Prediction Grade: B

NFC North:  Picking the Packers to win this division seemed like an obvious decision, and after a quarter of the season, it still looks that way.  What is less clear is what the rest of the division is doing.  Because the struggles of so many other NFC teams, the Minnesota Vikings are still in the hunt for a playoff berth despite a mediocre record.  The Lions, on the other hand, do not look anything like the playoff team I predicted in the preseason.  But, anytime I predict the correct division winner, I feel that I am entitled a decent grade.  Prediction Grade: B

NFC South:  In the preseason, I had good feelings about the new coaching staff in Atlanta and predicted that the Falcons would win the NFC South.  The Falcons have rewarded my faith by getting off to a 5-0 start.  Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers have also gotten off to an undefeated 4-0 start.  I am proud of my Falcons prognostication, but I have to admit that I did not see this division as having two strong contenders.  Since I had overall unflattering things to say about the division, I can't give myself an "A" for having the right team on top early on.  Prediction Grade: B+

Hats off to the Arizona Cardinals
NFC West:  Before the season started, I predicted that Seattle would win the division and that they would be the only team to make the playoffs from this division.  The Seahawks have not gotten off to the start that I expected.  Instead, it is the Cardinals that have been the class of the division.  But, it's early yet, and I did say that the Cardinals would be a good team.  So, I'm gonna give myself a little grace on this grade.  Prediction Grade: C+

Overall Grade:  I did a little math, and it looks like my GPA would be a 2.6.  I'm gonna call that a B-.  I'm also going to apologize to anyone who used my column to place an futures wagers.  Overall Grade:  B-

Think I was too lenient?  Want to make some predictions of your own?  Then, by all means, leave a comment and let me know.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Tuffy Teaser: Week 6

Tuffy enjoyed a bit of the bubbly after Week 5
The Tuffy Teaser is on quite a roll with wins each of the last three weeks where picks were entered.  That brings the season record to 3-1.  Based on $5 wagers, the Tuffy Teaser bankroll is now $19 in the black for the year.  If anyone is still wondering what exactly is involved in the Tuffy Teaser, please refer to a previous post.

Without further delay, here are the Week 6 Tuffy Teaser picks.

Saturday, October 10, 2015.  12:00 p.m. EST

Indiana Hoosiers                    + 13
Penn State Nittany Lions     -1

The only loss on the Tuffy Teaser ledger came courtesy of the Nittany Lions when they lost outright to the Temple Owls on the first week of the season.  It's no secret that Wild Banshee is a die hard Penn State fan, but this really is a head pick, not a heart pick.  The Hoosiers started off undefeated through four games, and they held their own against Ohio State last weekend.  But, Indiana lost more than just the game last week.  The Hoosiers will be limping into Happy Valley with injuries to their quarterback and running back.  Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions should be getting freshman sensation Saquon Barkley back in the lineup for this homecoming matchup.  This game will likely be decided by a defensive touchdown by Penn State, but that will be enough to cover a one-point, teased spread.

Saturday, October 10, 2015.  12:00 p.m. EST

Virginia Cavaliers            + 16
Pittsburgh Panthers        - 4

As a Penn State fan, it feels weird to recommend putting money on Pitt.  The game will be played in Pennsylvania, but a half-empty Heinz Field is not much of an advantage.  All that being said, I live in Virginia, so I know that the Cavaliers are truly awful.  Under the leadership of Pat Narduzzi, Pitt is playing fearsome defense.  The Panthers will win this game by more than a touchdown and certainly more than four points.

Saturday, October 10, 2015.  3:30 p.m. EST

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets     + 13
Clemson Tigers                         - 1

Last week, the Clemson Tigers beat Notre Dame at home by two points.  Georgia Tech lost to Notre Dame by eight points in mid September.  The Yellow Jackets followed up that loss by losing at Duke and losing to North Carolina at home.  There is no reason to believe that Georgia Tech will perform better in Death Valley,  The Clemson Tigers will easily cover this teased spread.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Tuffy Teaser: Week 5

After taking a week off, the Tuffy Teaser is back for Week 5 of the college football season.  Heading into this week, the Tuffy Teaser is 2-1 with a positive balance of $11 on the bank ledger.

Tuffy is back in action for Week 5
This week there are a lot of high profile match ups on the college football schedule, but, as always, the Tuffy Teaser is restricted to picking teams with cat mascots.  The picks are a three-team, six-point teaser based on the lines posted at

Saturday, October 3, 2015.  12:00 p.m. EST

Houston Cougars              -  3.5
Tulsa Golden Hurricane     + 15.5

With weather forecasters fixated this week on Hurricane Joaquin, it seems like this would be a good week to pick Tulsa, but weather is not actually going to be a factor in this game.  The Houston Cougars come into this game at 3-0.  Two of those three wins were against weak opponents, but the Cougars did get a 3-point victory at Louisville.  Louisville is a better team than Tulsa, so I expect Houston to cover the teased spread.

Saturday, October 3, 2015.  4:00 p.m. EST

San Jose State Spartans     + 26
Auburn Tigers                     - 14

The Auburn Tigers are staggering into this game after dropping two straight games and barely squeaking by Jacksonville State.   However, San Jose State has lost both of its road games this year by at least two touchdowns.  This week the Spartans have to make a long trip across multiple time zones to play a Tiger team with its back against a wall.  Auburn will come to life today and win by more than two touchdowns.

Saturday, October 3, 2015.  8:00 p.m. EST

Notre Dame Fighting Irish       + 8.5
Clemson Tigers                      + 3.5

The southeastern part of the United States has been soaked in rain over the last week, and that rain is expected to continue tonight for this primetime showdown in Clemson, SC.  Typically, cats do not like water.  But tigers are actually good swimmers, and these Clemson Tigers are particularly good at playing in Memorial Stadium.  The Tigers have an 11-game winning streak at home in Death Valley.  The Fighting Irish have been inspirational in overcoming early season injuries, but their luck will run out this week.  Clemson will win this game outright at home.

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