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Black Shoe Degenerates Week 4: Conference Play Gets Going

Only a few non-conference games remain, as each conference starts ramping up their intraleague competition.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After three weeks, we’re starting to see which teams are going to make some noise down the stretch, and which may have a stumble or two along the way. Michigan’s offense is in need of serious help. Oklahoma State will have something to say about Oklahoma’s path to the playoff, and the ACC is Clemson and its backup singers.

After a perfect week last week, we move on to the interesting games. But first, let’s check in on the standings.

Richness Factor

  1. mbailey71 (2997.53)
  2. Beezy44 (2400.38)
  3. Dom Flaim (2315.78)
  4. afields16 (2043.03)
  5. TheNate (1879.45)

You’re starting to see the separation between the top and the rest, as a few gambles (literally) have paid off in favor of the top contenders. Let’s see how the rest of the season goes.

Since we’ve done this for three weeks already, I assume most have gotten the hang of how things work. This will be the last post where I include the rules. So, if you need a refresher down the road, please bookmark this post:

My rules are:

  1. I have to bet on every game I cover.
  2. I have to bet at least $25 on each game.

Your rules are:

  1. Pick on any game I cover (or all, but it’s not required).
  2. Pick only from the games I cover.
  3. Pick at least once every week. Any player that fails to pick on any given week automatically loses $100.
  4. Still have to put at least $25 down on each game you pick.
  5. Pick with or against me. If you don’t agree with what I’m about to pick below, feel free to pick the opposite. Moneyline bets are welcome too.
  6. This one should be obvious, but you can’t pick a game that’s already in progress.

In the event that someone reaches a zero balance, they’ll go into the negative numbers. Here’s how the process will work. If you want to place a wager on one of the games, you can request a loan of up to 1000. That loan will be applied to your overall budget, and your balance will reflect a negative amount in the amount you borrowed. If your wagers win, you “pay off” your debt by first applying any winnings to what you borrowed, and anything left over is yours to keep.

One last thing: When picking the lines, I’ve been forgiving in what I’m taking, making the right assumptions based on the picks. For example, someone picked Penn State +37 last week, which I assume was intended to be Penn State -37. Things of the sort have been forgiven to this point, but moving forward, the line you pick will be the line I record, so if you pick Penn State +12 against Iowa, for example, I will assume you want to buy 24 points.

Again, keep this post handy, as I will not paste this section in subsequent posts moving forward (unless something changes). All that said, onto the picks!

The Picks

Pitt +8 at Georgia Tech - I may end up regretting this pick, but it’s too enticing to ignore. Two offenses that focus on the run, and will likely take a good portion of the clock on every possession, against two defenses that are OK at best, and capable of allowing big play after big play. After the past two demolitions against substantially better opponents, Pitt might be looking to right the ship in a game that is not actually as unwindable as one might think. Georgia Tech will probably win, but it may be by exactly one touchdown. $50

West Virginia -21.5 at Kansas - Two road team in a row is probably not the best strategy, but Kansas is bad. The Jayhawks just came off an embarrassing loss against Ohio, and the week prior they lost embarrassingly against Central Michigan. At home. West Virginia is much better than Central Michigan. $100

Maryland -3 vs UCF (-120) - I think Maryland will be a decent team this season, and they’ve scored 51 and 63 points, respectively, in their last two games. UCF is itself a much improved team under Scott Frost, and will have the Knights ready to play. However, I don’t think UCF has the defense to slow Maryland down. $150

Vanderbilt +18.5 vs Alabama - Yes, it’s Alabama, and yes, it’s Vanderbilt, but the Commodores have played exceptional defense under Derek Mason for the past three years. Now, in year four, they seem to have finally put the offense in position to complement the defense. I don’t think Alabama is in any danger of losing this game, but I don’t know that they’ll win by three touchdowns simply because they’re Alabama. Call me naive. $50


Last Week: 2-0
Season: 7-2
Richness Factor: $859.05