However, veterans of the gaming arena are more wise. They've seen this kind of start from LP before, and they understand all too well that the Lead Man is the type of player who gets stronger as the game goes on. "Why?", you might ask. It's simple, while the Leadquarters continues to pour over the numbers and collect data, Lead Man himself is gaining more and more knowledge each and every week by watching the games. This is the key component to LP's success. Stats tell us much, but keen observation tells us more. Which teams appear overrated/underrated? Which players are overrated/underrated? How is the conference strength shaping up? What team that might not have huge sack numbers is still applying pressure to the quarterback? There are things such as these that are not quantified in stats. Lead Man needs to see for himself.
And players, you should be doing the same thing. It amazes Lead how each and every year literally millions of dollars are wagered on teams people haven't even seen! Do you make any major purchases without seeing the product? Of course not. Don't throw your bankroll at the unseen either. Allow the Lead Man to guide you through the sports gambling jungle, but don't blindly hop on anyone's back.
On to the picks:
The Buckeyes of Ohio State welcome the Fighting Illini of Illinois into the Horseshoe Saturday in the Big 10 lid-lifter for both squads. The Bucks look to build on the momentum they gained in last weekend's thrashing of Toledo. The Illini are coming off a win against an in-state opponent as well, but they are also looking to shake a horrible stretch in big 10 openers, dropping 14 of their last 15.
The OSU offense should remain confident, working against an Illini D that is banged up, with starting linebacker Montez Wilson lost for the season. Meanwhile the Bucks defense looks to be for real and LP does not feel an overrated, one dimensional Juice Williams is going to be able to lead his team on many big drives.
Since Illinois knocked off the Bucks in the Shoe in 2007 they have dropped four in a row against ranked opponents. And by the way, Ron Zook is their coach.
Take Ohio State and collect the bucks.
The San Diego State Aztecs travel to Colorado for a Saturday afternoon meeting with the Air Force Academy. This is strictly a match up of a solid team at home vs. a simply awful team on the road. Besides having just 3 wins in their last 18 games, the Aztecs are also losers of its last 5 on the road, and 6 of the last 7 road games ATS. To top it off, they've won only 1 of their last 10 conference tilts.
Air Force meanwhile has been very tough defensively this season, and a team like San Diego State which can't run the ball is going to have some problems moving it. Look for Air Force to pound away on the ground and dominate the time of possession, opening it up big in the second half.
May the Force be with you at the window.
Air Force -16.5
Late collegiate addition:
Right before press time the Leadquarters has learned that the public has steamed the Rutgers edge on Maryland down to one, from an opening 2.5.
While Lead Man historically stays away from going against Maryland at home he feels a solid squad like Rutgers going against a putrid Maryland defense will be game enough to earn the road victory. Maryland this season has given up a combined 67 points to its last two foes, college football giants James Madison and Middle Tennessee State. They also gave up over half a hundred to Cal in the opener. Rutgers is no slouch on offense and they feature a balanced attack. They need only to slow Maryland down for a stretch in order to give them the separation needed to win the contest.
Lead Man dubs these Knights.
The train wreck that is the Cleveland Browns travels to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Baltimore is not routinely the place where struggling offenses go to get on track. This week isn't going to change that trend. Coming off a big win at San Diego Sunday, the Ravens have the look of a serious contender, and Joe Flacco appears to be the real deal. Look for Flacco to have an easy time of it against a defense which is absent of impact players. The Browns only hope is a let down game from the Ravens, but LP believes a certain knife wielding (allegedly) linebacker won't allow that to happen.
A total mismatch.
Quote any Raven: "We play who this week?"
Last year's flavor of the month, the Miami Dolphins travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers. The Dolphins are 0-2, coming off a short week after their loss to the Colts. The game featured perhaps the worst two-minute drill in history followed by a worse post game press conference in which Coach Sparano claimed he was happy with it.
In any event, the super-Chargers dropped a tough, physical game to the Ravens, but they have played the run well in their first two games, especially in the second half. If they stifle the Dolphins run game they should have an easy time keeping Fish points to a minimum. On offense look for the Chargers to feature Antonio Gates. The Dolphins have allowed tight end Tony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark to go wild on them in the first two games. If Gates goes off, it makes the job of Philip Rivers and company an easy one.
Place a few fins on the Chargers.
San Diego -5.5
Good luck players!!!