Bracing for the Improbable

Like many events throughout history, everyone remembers where they were when Appalachian State knocked off Michigan in the Big House. It was a shocking development. Michigan was still at that time a solid program. They were ranked in the top 5 and had three seniors – Chad Henne, Chad Long and Mike Hart – return for one last shot at Big Ten and BCS glory. It all collapsed that day in what many have inaccurately called the greatest upset in college football history. We gamblers know Stanford’s win over USC later in 2007 truly was even more amazing.

Anyway, Appalachian State has been a dominant football program for the past decade. They won three straight national titles from 2005 to 2007. And since Division I-AA has a playoff, those titles are even more impressive. Saturday’s meeting in the Swamp with the not-so-mighty Gators matches the teams of the decade – five national titles combined in the last six seasons. But only one team is still a power.

The Gators are obviously a wounded dog right now. It is not difficult to imagine App State coming into the Swamp and handling Florida. I’m downright fearful of this game. Hopefully, Senior Day will be enough to rouse an inspired effort and a return to the fun we saw briefly at Vandy. But don’t be surprised if the Gators drop their fourth game this year in the Swamp (I just spit up in my mouth).

Onto the picks… 4-2 last week, 36-32-1 including the once-combined picks with Sonny Beam (whatever happened to that dude?)…

Appalachian State +22.5 – see above.

Arkansas -3 – Mississippi State has been a great story but they’ve run out of steam. Arkansas is looking to finish off a strong season.

Maryland +4 – I’d wait to see if it goes up a little since it opened at six and I might look to buy some points to get to a TD but you have to like any road dog against FSU. The ACC is a mess.

Oklahoma State -24 – Can see the Cowboys covering in the first half.

Louisville +3.5 – West Virginia deserves no respect. We miss you Charlie!

Northwestern +7.5 – Home underdogs of 7 or more points playing in a conference game and coming off a win are 9-2 ATS this year and 82-47 over the past seven years. Three teams fit that profile this week (UNLV did too and they covered on Thursday night). Ball State and Tulane are the other two. I’m not touching them but I’ll take the Cats against the Fighting Zooks in the “Loser’s Walk” game.

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