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Friday, November 27, 2015

Tuffy Teaser: Week 13

Tuffy is depressed about his late season swoon.
After a red hot start to the season, Tuffy began to think that college football teaser bets were simply a matter of claiming free money.  Then came Week 10.  High stakes cousin Roger came up empty betting on the biggest games of the weekend.  In Week 11, Tuffy took back control of the column, but he couldn't right the ship.  Tuffy took off Week 12 to regroup from the losing streak.

Now it is Week 13 ... the final week of the college football regular season.  Tuffy studied long and hard during his hiatus and is ready to get back on the winning track.

Before we get to the picks, let's review the concept of the Tuffy Teaser.  All the picks in the Tuffy Teaser involve college teams with cat mascots.  The point spreads for this column come from  The bet is $5 and involves three teams with a six point tease.  Even after the recent struggles, the Tuffy Teaser is 6-3 on the season with a net gain of $33 for the year.

Now for the picks.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Clemson Tigers          - 12.5
South Carolina Gamecocks     + 24.5

Normally, the season finale between these in-state rivals is highly anticipated by both fanbases.  This year, Gamecocks fans are simply anticipating the end of a disappointing season.  South Carolina faces the anxiety of a search to replace Steve Spurrier, and they are coming off a loss to the Citadel.  Yes, the Citadel.  Meanwhile, the Clemson Tigers are the #1 team in every poll, and if the season ended today, they would be the #1 seed in the college football playoffs.  Since the Tigers know that stubbing their toe in the regular season finale would ruin a dream season, there is little chance that they will be looking ahead to the ACC Championship Game.  Clemson will absolutely blow the doors off the Gamecocks.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. EST

Northwestern Wildcats     + 2.5
Illinois Fighting Illini       + 9.5

Northwestern is a bit of an enigma.  The Wildcats beat Stanford early in the year, but then they lost to Michigan and Nebraska by a combined score of 78-10.  This week, Northwestern is not facing a top level foe.  They are facing Illinois.  Illinois has not beaten any top tier opponents the entire season.  There is no reason to believe that the Illini will buck that trend this week.  Northwestern may not win by a wide margin, but they will win and cover this teased spread.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. EST

BYU Cougars         + 3
Utah State Aggies     + 9

The idea of BYU getting points against the likes of the Utah State Aggies is just too tempting for Tuffy to avoid.  The only real blemish on BYU's record is a home loss to Missouri.  The Cougars losing to Utah State is almost inconceivable.  Vegas installed BYU as a favorite for a reason.  Taking BYU in a teaser getting points is a solid winner.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tuffy Teaser: Week 11

Tuffy will not let his law career interfere
with his obligations to this column.
Last week's experiment was a dismal failure.  It turns out that Roger's love of high stakes, high profile wagers did not translate into football gambling success.  The season record for the Tuffy Teaser now stands at 6-2 with a net profit of $38.  Tuffy is taking back the reigns for the column as we head for Week 11, and the focus is returning to accuracy rather than flash.

Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Pittsburgh Panthers     + 9
Duke Blue Devils           + 3

Pitt and Duke have both lost their games in back-to-back weeks.  Both teams need a win today to stay in the hunt for a shot at winning the ACC's Coastal division.  This game is being played in Durham, so Vegas has installed the Blue Devils as the favorite.  Even if Duke wins this game, the key to this teaser is Pitt's defense.  After Duke's home loss to Miami and total embarrassment against North Carolina, it is hard to see the Blue Devils stretching out a double-digit victory over the Panthers.  Pitt is a solid pick getting nine points.

Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 7:15 p.m. EST

Arkansas Razorbacks     + 13
LSU Tigers                    - 1

The Bayou Bengals got their noses bloodied last weekend at Alabama.  But lots of people get their noses bloodied at Alabama.  LSU is still an excellent team.  Arkansas is still the team that lost consecutive games to Toledo, Texas Tech and Texas A&M this season.  Leonard Fournette will run wild over the Razorbacks, and the Tigers will win this game easily.

Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 10:45 p.m. EST

Washington State Cougars     + 16
UCLA                                        - 4

Some folks on the east coast forget that football actually happens out west.  But, there are some interesting things happening out west.  One of the most interesting is what that mad scientist Mike Leach is doing with his Washington State Cougars.  WSU has lost its three games this season by a total of fifteen points.  That includes a narrow two-point loss to Stanford.  It seems unlikely that they will lose by sixteen to UCLA.  The Cougars are a good pick in this late-night matchup.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NFL Predictions Midterm Report Card

The NFL has completed nine weeks of action.  Every team has now played at least eight games.  That means it is time for teams to take a midseason inventory.  It also means it is time for Banshee Sports to issue a midterm report card on its predictions.  Before the season started, I offered my preseason  prognostications.  At the end of the first report card period, I had barely mustered a B-.  Things haven't gotten any better.

AFC East:  I knew the Patriots would be very good, but so did every other moron who considers themselves an expert just because they purchased a domain name.  I also predicted the Bills would make the playoffs as a wildcard.  At 4-4, the Bills are by no means a lock to make the playoffs, but they are right in the hunt.  I have no doubt that the Patriots will easily win this division.  The second half of the Bills' season will have a lot to do with my final grade in this, but for now, I continue to give myself a good mark.  First Quarter Grade: A     Midterm Grade: A

Sad times in Baltimore
AFC North:  In the preseason, I boldly declared that the Baltimore Ravens were going to be an excellent team.  At 2-6, it turns out the Ravens are truly terrible.  Instead, it is the Bengals who have are a juggernaut.  The Steelers, on the other hand, are currently clinging to the final wildcard spot in the AFC.  That keeps this from being a failing grade, and since we have made it to the halfway point in the season, I get a slight bump for that prediction.  The Bengals are great.  First Quarter Grade: D     Midterm Grade: D+

AFC South:  There is nothing pretty about this division.  The Colts are in the lead with a record of 4-5.  But, football is not a beauty contest and neither is the prediction business.  Despite the chatter from the media's talking heads, at the start of the season, I did not predict the Colts to be among the leagues elites.  I merely predicted them to be the winner of this dismal division.  So far so good.  First Quarter Grade: A     Midterm Grade: A

AFC West:  There is no other way to say it besides, "Banshee, you blew it."  Despite Manning showing clear signs of age, the Broncos are a wrecking machine.  Beating the Packers in Week 8 was no fluke.  This division is all wrapped up.  The Chiefs, the team I predicted to take the title is nothing short of terrible.  I failed.  First Quarter Grade: F     Midterm Grade: F

NFC East:  At the halfway point in the season, the standings in this division have been determined as much at the doctor's office as they have been on the field.  I was correct about everything I said about this division, but I could not predict the injuries that have decimated the Dallas Cowboys.  Just as I predicted, the Giants are totally mediocre, but with a record of 5-4 mediocre is good enough to put he Giants on top of the division.  I can't be too hard on myself, because I am a football fan and not a doctor, but I have to acknowledge that at the halfway point in the season, it is unlikely that the Cowboys will be able to recover quickly enough to get to the top of the standings.  First Quarter Grade: B     Midterm Grade: C

NFC North:  At the halfway point, the Packers and the Vikings are locked in a duel for the top spot in the division.  They both have a record of 6-2.  The Packers have looked a little worse than many expected.  The Vikings have looked a little better than many expected.  Either way, as I predicted, they are both in a solid position to make the playoffs.  Unfortunately, I also predicted that the Lions would make the playoffs, and they are still horrible.  But, two out of three ain't bad.  First Quarter Grade: B     Midterm Grade: B+

Cam Newton is playing like Super Man
NFC South:  Every single week, I keep expecting this to be the week that the Carolina Panthers come back to earth.  Now that we've reached the halfway point in the season, it is probably time for me to accept that the Panthers really are the class of this division.  I predicted that Atlanta would win this division.  The Falcons have played well, but at this point, it looks like they need to lower their expectations and set their sights on the wild card.  First Quarter Grade: B+     Midterm Grade C+

NFC West:  In the preseason, I declared that the Seahawks were the easiest pick to win any division.  Halfway through the season, the Seahawks have their work cut out for them.  The Cardinals are 6-2 and two games clear of the field.  The Seahawks are heading in the right direction, though, and they get to play the Cardinals at home in their next game.  Based, on the Seahawks' improved play, my grade improved, too, but there is still a lot of work to be done.  First Quarter Grade: C+     Midterm Grade: B-

Overall Grade:  Despite the fact that I've been studying harder, my grades have continued to slip.  After doing the math, my GPA is a 2.45.  I can't in good conscious round that up to any sort of a B.  First Quarter Grade: B-      Midterm Grade: C+

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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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tuffy Teaser: Week 10 ... The Roger Edition

Roger enjoys fine cigars
The Tuffy Teaser hit for a sixth consecutive week last week.  That brings the season record to 6-1 and the bank account to $43 in the black.  That is pretty impressive, but the stakes on the field are getting much higher heading into Week 10.  With so many high profile games on the schedule, Tuffy decided to bring in the help of his cousin Roger.

Roger is an experienced cat of the world.  Roger doesn't get involved in any small endeavors, and when he gambles, he expects intense action.  The Week 10 college football schedule presents that perfect Roger combination.  As usual, the picks are limited to teams with cat mascots.  Roger picked all the marquis match ups and turned the Tuffy Teaser into a Tiger Teaser this weekend.

Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. EST

Florida State Seminoles     + 16
Clemson Tigers                  - 4

The first standings of the year for the College Football Playoffs were unveiled this week.  The Clemson Tigers were installed as the #1 team in the country.  This weekend, Clemson hosts the Florida State Seminoles, their chief rival in the ACC.  The Tigers were pushed to the brink at home in Week 4 by Notre Dame, but since then their offense has exploded.  Florida State will be fired up for this game, but Roger believes Clemson will pull away late on their home turf.

Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. EST

Navy Midshipmen     + 13.5
Memphis Tigers         - 1.5

The Memphis Tigers are undefeated and have a convincing win over Ole Miss on their resume.  Despite that, the Tigers were only ranked #13 in the opening College Football Playoff rankings.  Five teams with a loss were ranked ahead of them.  That means the Tigers will come into this game with something to prove.  Navy is never a pushover.  After all, Navy's roster is made up of the future leaders of the Marine Corps.  But, this game is not going to involve any amphibious landings, so Roger is confident that the Memphis Tigers will cover the teased spread in their home stadium.

Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. EST

LSU Tigers                      + 13.5
Alabama Crimson Tide     - 1.5

This game features a matchup of two teams that are ranked in the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings.  Despite an early season loss to Ole Miss, Alabama is still considered by many to be the best team in the country.  The LSU Tigers are undefeated heading into tonight's showdown.  Roger doesn't necessarily think that the Tigers will pull off the upset in Tuscaloosa, but he does believe this will be a nip and tuck battle right to the end.  The winner of this game will win by at most a touchdown.

Roger at the WSOP
Bonus Pick:  Roger is a serious, high stakes gambler.  But he's also generous and would like to spread the wealth.  There is a big boxing card on HBO tonight.  On the undercard, Roger predicts Lomachenko by knockout.  In the main event, Roger predicts Bradley by decision in what could could make a run at fight of the year.

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