Nitt Picks Is Happy To See You Again

Odds are.  The Big Ten bowl season starts tomorrow:

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And lines have shaken out.  With a total of seven games, only two teams (Penn State and Minnesota) are favored, and both by under a field goal.   But only two of the five dogs are getting a touchdown or more as dogs.

It's hard to see the results work out to be anything except meah.  Penn State is probably the best-suited team of the whole lineup, and that's not encouraging.  No games are safe wins, and Northwestern and Michigan State are likely losers.  Most likely optimistic yet realistic scenario seems to be a 4-3 record, with 2-5 possible and 0-7 in the cards.

Although with last year's pathetic 1-6, all you can really hope for is improvement.

But there is this: bowl record isn't nearly as important as BCS performance.  And forgive me for not putting a lot of stock in an Iowa team that will be starting a quarterback who's been injured for two month and Ohio State going to the Rose Bowl with a guy who is so focused he didn't even pack the right cloths for the trip.

There isn't much more to be said.  There is a nice wrap up of the Meyer situation for those of you dead to the college football world over the past two days:

To recap: first it was reported that Meyer was retiring after the Sugar Bowl. Then it was speculated that he might return to coach college or professional football someday. On Sunday afternoon, it was reported that rather than resign, he would take an indefinite leave of absence. Now Meyer believes he will coach in fall 2010.

In short...if Meyer is to believed, he will only miss a couple of early-season games next season before returning to the team, and I doubt that he will remove himself entirely from recruiting or other off-season duties. There you have it.

Nothing could have possibly changed medically over the 24 hours between when bloggers were writing dramatic odes to the end of the Florida dynasty to when Meyer came out Sunday and said his "gut" told him the break would not even extend through the 2010 season.

Whatever the bug is that pulls Farve back into the ring again and again, Meyer seems to have caught the coaching equivalent even with major stress-related health concerns directly in his path.

Sandbaggers. We saw one of the ugly sides of a playoff yesterday:

With his 14-0 Colts holding a five-point lead over the visiting New York Jets late in the third quarter, the first-year coach pulled Peyton Manning(notes) in favor of rookie Curtis Painter(notes). It was the football equivalent of waving the white flag. New York would go on to score 19 unanswered points, thus handing Indianapolis its first loss of 2009.

And this is a kind of warning shot to large scale playoff proponents.  The NFL takes 12 teams to the playoffs, and you've got one of the top dogs in the league tanking games for the sake of health.

There is likely a balance, but those that think this kind of thing would be impossible even with an eight-team playoff are kidding themselves.

But let's get one thing clear.  This isn't in any way logical (from the link above):

If the Colts lose in the playoffs next month, some will look back on today's decision as the catalyst for said loss.

Losing a meaningless game with your backups in, all a ploy to stay healthy and actually benefit you down the road, cannot possibly be a catalyst for losing in the playoffs.

In scores of other games.  Weis may be headed to the Bills to coach...BHPG talking Daryll Clark in their usual fashion...The Drake stays focused...and PennLive's CapOne preview.

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