Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 11/22/15

  • November 22, 2015

The silence among those who fought tooth and nail against a college football playoff is now officially deafening. The primary argument was that it would make the regular season meaningless. This was, and still is, among the most ridiculously illogical talking points of all time. The fact is, the regular season is now better than ever.

Exhibit A for the offense keeps showing up every Saturday and this weekend’s college slate proved to nothing short of amazing. Unbeaten teams facing those with “nothing to play for” fell like flies, once-beaten playoff contenders had all kinds of trouble handling opponents they were supposed to crush, and there was one phenomenal finish after another.

Here’s a partial rundown of some of the wilder games played:

The SEC came very close to soiling itself as Georgia and Florida each needed OT to squeeze past Georgia Southern and Florida Atlantic.

Unbeaten Ohio State isn’t anymore. Neither is Oklahoma State and neither is Houston. Clemson and Iowa are now the only remaining teams with perfect records.

Oklahoma nearly played itself out of the playoff picture, barely surviving a two-point conversion attempt by undermanned TCU. Notre Dame had to hold off an inspired effort by Boston College at Fenway Park.

North Carolina completely screwed up a late two-TD lead and escaped with an OT win at Virginia Tech in Frank Beamer’s last home game. I thought Beamer should have tried to win at the end of regulation. Iowa State blew their game at Kansas State in unbelievable fashion, and my guess is that the head coach blew his job in the process.

I could go on with a handful of others, but you get the idea. The regular season is now more exciting than it has ever been, and I’m sure the upcoming Turkey Weekend bonanza will be every bit as thrilling.

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Huge Saturday here. 4-2 on the football side. San Jose, UCLA, Baylor and Indiana were good, Louisville and Duke weren’t. 5-0 hoops as my early season stuff is really rolling. I didn’t have any NHL and unfortunately backed off playing the Spurs with Aldridge out. But no beefs with a 9-2 result, and I’ll be on three NFL sides today. Unknown at this point if I’ll have anything in CBB, NHL or NBA.

Get all my games, sent out as I’m playing them myself and also snare a nice guarantee that appears to be unique with my monthly package. I’ll furnish all the details via email, so get in touch with me at cokin@cox.net.

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All three Saturday free plays got there, although it’s 2-0-1 for those who could not get Nevada in hoops before the line took off. Baylor and San Jose were the football winners. Here’s one for today in the NFL.

RAMS  at  RAVENS

Take: RAMS +2.5

It’s 4-5 vs. 2-7 here, so from an importance standpoint, there’s not much on the line as the Rams visit the Ravens. St. Louis still has a pulse in the NFC Wild Card chase, as they’re just two games out currently. As for the Ravens, they’d have to go 7-0 down the stretch to have a chance, so let’s just say it’s wait until next year time in Baltimore.

The 2015 Ravens have also been one of the unluckiest teams I’ve ever seen. Okay, I’ll buy that some of that ill fortune has been brought on by their own blunders. But it’s also true that almost every break they’ve caught has been a bad break. The worst of all was probably last week as bad officiating on what should have been the final play of a win against Jacksonville turned into another demoralizing loss.

At some point, frustration can derail any team mentally. The Ravens are saying all the right things and I don’t think there’s any way anyone named Harbaugh is ever going to throw in a towel, so forget about Baltimore just mailing it in today or any other day. But this has been a disastrous campaign, and it actually started in the pre-season, even though those games didn’t count.

I am not going to build up a great case for Case Keenum as the potential savior of the Rams season. But if there’s a right place for Keenum to get a start, it’s here. Keenum grew up in West Baltimore, he’ll have lots of family and friends to support him and beyond that, I don’t think he’s a downgrade from Nick Foles. Expect a heavy dose of Todd Gurley here, and if Keenum can simply manage the offense and avoid turnovers, the Rams should be able to put some points on the board.

The two most reliable power rating sets I utilize each have the Rams winning the game. Not by much, to be sure, as the line off those two columns is St. Louis -1. But I generally do pretty well when I can isolate an underdog that my numbers indicate should win the game, regardless of the margin. Add in what I would say is a reasonably favorable situation, and there’s enough here for me to make a play on the Rams.