“Free TC” Album Review

Ty Dolla $ign is a unique talent.  One who can keep it street, artistic, commercial and honest – all at once.   He’s his own man, but in the same breath is this generations equivalent to what R.Kelly brought to the game years ago.  Ty’s singing style has likened him to be a “rapper” but he usually laughs off the claims and maintains that he is truly just a “singer.”

The album title “Free TC” is a direct tribute to his brother TC who is behind bars serving a life sentence for murder.  Ty Dolla $ign is adamant that his brother is indeed innocent and is fighting to bring his case back to trial.   The realness of their bond is solidified throughout the album as snippets of phone conversations between the two are sprinkled throughout the album.   On the track “Miracle” TC is actually featured on the song, singing through the phone line from prison.  The track has a church piano feel to it and is one of the more uplifting tracks on the album.

061014-shows-106-park-ty-dolla-sign-3

“On Straight Up” Ty talks about falling for a woman who has a man who she couldn’t possibly be feeling more than him: “Your man, he a ball boy. . .Girl, why you still messin’ with ol’ boy?/he can’t get you what you want. . .”   Ty’s laid back, never sweating the situation too hard, type of character he presents comes off genuine on this track as well as the track “Horses In the Stable.”  On this track, he comically refers to the number of women in his life as a horses in a stable – and on this one, he definitely shows an “R.Kelly-type” of demeanor.  Ty’s pimp-hand is strong on this one: “I told give me something good I might come back/I snap my fingers they be on me just like that/They know the way that I’m living ain’t right/You just another girl and this is just another night.”
Wiz Khalifa joins Ty on “Sitting Pretty” to continue talking about the female gender.   The chimes and finger snaps come together nicely with what sounds like a heavy bass string. Wiz counteracts Ty’s laid back flow with a rapid attack over the beat as they both admire the “assets” of a woman they are checking out.

Another high point on the album is “Know Ya” which features Trey Songz.  Ty makes it sound somewhat “sweet” how he runs through girls so quick that he never gets to really know the girls he’s been with.  The harmony between the two vocalists sounds perfect as Ty handles most of the mids and lows while Trey handles the higher octaves.  The two even flip it at the end, when a girl is tripping out about her moving on from them and they both kind of look at each other like “I didn’t even get to know her. . .”

With all the R.Kelly comparisons laid down in this review it’s only right to mention the track which features the Pied Piper.  “Actress”  has the guys speaking in such high adoration about a female that she is a star in her own right.  There is probably no one else better at these “ridiculously plotted-pantie-dropping sex songs” than R.Kelly, and Ty proves he can go toe to toe in verbal extremes with the legend.

oz52gatcudsl34vkvx2d

A general disappointment on the album was “Guard Down” which is produced by Hit Boy and features Kanye West and Sean Combs.  It ‘s an awkward track that actually sounds like the type of beat someone would make when they first purchased their studio equipment.  And the “feature” by Sean “Puff Daddy (or is he still Diddy) Combs, is really just him speaking at the end of the song. . .

Even with that, there is not enough to deter the listener from an enjoyable listen.  The album opens with Ty paying homage to his home “L.A.” Ty spits the real on “LA” with:  “In the city of the gang bang/yeah we still dying over red and blue stripes/Chuck my set up and it feel good/Cause don’t nobody love you more than your neighborhood.”   The chorus is blessed with a nice harmony between Brandy and James Faunterloy and the song is also blessed with a Kendrick Lamar verse that is far from a throw-a-way : “Let me hit the pawn shop, momma said we need a loan/God, let me dedicate this to the 80% that ain’t never coming home/God, let me know you exist in a city where a hundred hollow tips get thrown.”

Ty Dolla $ign has orchestrated a very well put together first album.  The sounds and the soul he packages together, with a sense of self and a sense of humor (when needed) is a refreshing take when looking at today’s R&B scene.  With features from E-40, Rae Srummerd and Fetty Wap, there is no way he stays off the airwaves anytime soon, and it’s much deserved.He might be a little too raw for some, but that’s what makes it all come together – he doesn’t bend for anybody and makes the music that best represents himself.  Like an artist should.

Rating 8 out of 10

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Eleven

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: We went 50/50 last week and so far with college this year we’re doing above 60%.  Not too shabby, but the next couple of weeks pose a challenge.  This week there are a lot of rivalry games and if they are not “true” rivalries, they are schools within the same conference or recruiting battle grounds.  It’s tough to call these games (as well as Conference Championship games and Bowl Games) because this is one of the few times that emotion in a game, can favor in the balance of one team over another. . .

Kansas State (-20) at Kansas

Bill+Snyder+Kansas+State+v+Baylor+ZYfm1EDyNyul

This is the last time we can all pick on and laugh at the Kansas Jayhawks this season.  Yeah, that sounds mean.  They are just kids. . . but still, they are so awful it’s laughable.  The Jayhawks (on average) put up 15 points a game and give up 46.  There is nothing good to say about anything they do.  Kansas State has had a disappointing season and they only way to salvage any kind of pride would be by kicking their nemesis when they’re down. . . on their home field, none-the-less.  Kansas is giving up nearly 6 yards a rush and are completely, mentally done with the game of football this year (who could blame them).  Back to the Kansas State Wildcats though – aside from that blowout loss to Oklahoma, they have hung with the big dogs of the Big 12, but ultimately came up short (loss to Oklahoma State 36-34, Baylor 31-24 and TCU 52-45.)  Sure, this isn’t coach Bill Snyder’s most talented team but he coaches fundamentals well and that’s all he should need.  The first half might be a safer take if it’s at 10, but for now you know what you should be doing. . .

The Pick: Kansas State -20

Notre Dame (+3.5) at Stanford

DeShone+Kizer+Wake+Forest+v+Notre+Dame+AnN8B-0pycNl

Stanford does not only have the best record in the North Division of the Pac-12, but has the best record in the entire Pac-12 at 9-2.  Anything can happen, but a win here and a win at the Pac-12 Championship, could be enough to get the Cardinal into the College Football Playoff.  Before any of that can happen though, let’s focus on the start on a key part of that sentence being: “a win here.”  Notre Dame gets to pretty much decide their fate with a win at Stanford, so it’s a pretty interesting conundrum.  The Cardinal are averaging 36.8 points per game (second in the Pac-12) and it’s an offense led by senior quarterback Kevin Hogan and Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey at running back.  McCaffrey is averaging 140 yards a game and has helped Hogan in managing the game better.  Things will be a little easier for this offense as Notre Dame’s best corner KeiVarae Russell broke his leg against Boston College and is obviously, out for the remainder of the season.  It’s a credit to coach Brian Kelly, to have kept the Fighting Irish in the top four with as many injuries as they have had to endure this season and it doesn’t get easier as it seems their leading rusher C.J. Prosise will not be suiting up for this game either.  DeShone Kizer has done okay since taking over at starting quarterback but has been too inconsistent for a team with National Title hopes.  The Irish’s luck defense that allows 4.6 yards a carry will probably have to try their luck one on one with the Stanford wide outs and stack the box.

The Pick: Stanford  -3.5 (to be safe, buy the half point, even the full point)

Texas A&M (+5.5) at LSU

Les+Miles+Leonard+Fournette+Florida+v+LSU+kCszGSxNC5Jl

It’s a crazy time in college football, when their are rumors circulating that coach Les Miles and LSU might be parting ways after this season.  Les has been coaching at LSU since 2005 with a record of 110-32, and also has had that championship year in 2007.  If LSU thinks they can do better, that’s on them, but Les Miles won’t be unemployed for long, that’s for sure. . . Now, aside from that drama this becomes one of those emotional charged games for LSU.  Players love playing for coaches that think outside of the box and fight for them off the field as hard as they fight for him on it.  Superstar running back Leornard Fournette got back on track after failing to rush for 100 yards in back to back games, as he achieved it against a tough Ole Miss rush defense, albeit for a loss.  LSU doens’t pass the ball much as they feel they don’t need to with Fournette and this Tigers offensive line.  This will be bad news for a Texas A&M defense that allows 200 rushing yards a game at 4.8 yards a clip.  A&M’s pass defense goes in direct contrast to that, but it doesn’t matter against LSU – they don’t pass the ball.  When LSU quarterback Brandon Harris does throw the ball at least his touchdown to interception ratio is at a respectable 3:1.

The Pick: LSU -5.5

If You Must:  Take Clemson -17 at South Carolina.  Why?  Clemson knows they have a tough game next week against UNC, they want to end this one early and rest their guys.  This inner-state rivalry lost it’s appeal once Steve Spurrier decided retiring was better than sticking around with this group.  The Gamecocks just lost to Citadel. . . if that doesn’t deflate a team, I don’t know what will.

Teaser of the Week: Four Gamer – Notre Dame/Stanford Under 67; Alabama -1.5; Kansas State -8;  Boston College/Syracuse Under 53

Good Luck, Wager Wisely and Enjoy Your Turkey Day Folks!

 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Ten

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: If it wasn’t for a second half collapse by N.C. State to Florida State – it would’ve been a perfect week here at “Beating Vegas.”  None-the-less, we took Vegas to the woodshed last week.   We’re having a pretty good year, so let’s keep it going!

Georgia Southern (+14) at Georgia

Sony+Michel+Kentucky+v+Georgia+cCjbNQc27-Jl

Let’s start off by saying: “If you’re tired of Georgia and coach Mark Richt’s routine of letting down and not showing up when it matters during the season – raise your hand.”  Just as I thought, we’re unanimous in that.  There’s a reason why folks keep expecting things from Georgia every year though – they’re talented.  Richt has been able to set the table, but he can never get to the main course it seems. . . The loss of running back Nick Chubb was obviously huge, but in his absence, Sony Michel has ran for five yards a carry and has had to do it against some pretty tough defenses.   Georgia Southern is a team that is feeling pretty proud of themselves.  Carrying a 7-2 record and whipping on the hapless as they’ve been plowing through their schedule.  The competition for Georgia Southern has been abysmal, but look at their two toughest games against Appalachian State and West Virginia.  Appalachian held Georgia Southern to meaningless book-end touchdowns and won 31-13, while the Mountaineers at Georgia Southern for lunch 44-0.   Georgia Southern is the tough guy who should never leave his neighborhood and this is the time of year when Georgia beats on teams when it doesn’t really matter.

The Pick: Georgia -14

Duke (+2.5) at Virginia

Mike+London+Richmond+v+Virginia+h4e4AoH6R2Zl

Betting on either of these teams is like playing  Russian Roulette with your bank account but here we go. . . Virginia isn’t doing much on either side of the ball that is impressive: allowing 32 points per game, and scrapping just enough to put up 24 points a game on offense. Hank Kurz of the Associated Press wrote the Virgina’s head coach Mike London (who is 10-38 verse ACC opponents) is trying to rally his team to finish strong after another disappointing season.  The Duke Blue Devils  have been one of the harder teams to get a good read on, and they’ve lost three straight games.  One of those games should’ve been a win (ahem, Miami. . .) but against UNC and especially against Pitt – they look lost in themselves.  That Miami, game really did a number on them (good going ACC).  Duke’s offense should get back on track this week, they have twenty touchdowns on the heels of a ground game averaging 4.7 yards a carry.  Virginia has given up over 1700 rushing yards in 10 games this season and have allowed teams to throw at a 64% completion rate against them. Even in their losses against teams with a winning record, they’ve been able to move the ball, so the field should open up nicely for the Blue Devils come Saturday.

The Pick: Duke +2.5

LSU (+4) at Ole Miss

Robert+Nkemdiche+Mississippi+v+Georgia+Tech+-vB20XzSzpIl

This one should seem pretty cut and dry.  Ole Miss is putting up forty points a game to LSU’s 33.6 and we all know how LSU gets their points – running the ball.  More specifically, running the ball with Leornard Fournette. Fournette may be the best player in college football and is a wrecking ball who’s accumulated 1485 rushing yards at 6.9 yards a clip, but his Heisman hopes may have gotten crushed in back to back losses where he could not run for over 100 yards.  Teams have had enough and are daring / inviting LSU to throw the ball by stacking as many defenders in the box as they can to stop Fournette.  It doesn’t get much easier for LSU this week either.  The Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels defense has only allowed five rushing touchdowns all year and are holding the opposition to 3.2 yards a carry.  This is a defense that is strong enough and athletic enough to cause headaches for this LSU offensive line.  Ole Miss is suspect against the pass, but not to worry when going against Brandon Harris who is netting about ten completed passes a game and very rarely ever has more than two wide outs in the huddle with him.  The only thing that would make one think twice about taking Ole Miss is that nobody likes four point spreads.  If you can take it down to three, then do so – if not – I’m sure you’ll be fine anyway.8

The Pick: Ole Miss -4

If You Must: Caution here:  Air Force getting eleven points just seems too hard to resist.  This game has a team that likes to throw it in Boise State and a team that does nothing but run in Air Force.  Boise’s red zone defense has been pretty dreadful their last few times out, and Air Force will move the ball.  The over might be ridiculous but fun to lay some wood down on as well – but in this high scoring affair, take Air Force +11.

Teaser of the Week: Four Gamer;  West Virginia -16, Michigan State +25, Navy PK and Ole Miss +8

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

“Storyteller” Album Review

It’s hard to believe but Carrie Underwood has only been around for ten years.  It was ten years ago that she won American Idol.  Ten years ago since she won the hearts of millions.  She’s been killing it for ten years.  “Storyteller” is Underwood’s fifth studio album and with it becomes the lofty expectation of being just as valuable to the discography as her previous four.

The beauty of every Carrie Underwood album is the emotional versatility she displays so effortlessly.  If it’s a story about love, pain, loss, revenge – it doesn’t matter – she puts in the same pure emotion into every word on every track.  This is why her music has so easily crossed over from country to mainstream – while still being true to her country roots.

Carrie+Underwood+Carrie+Underwood+Performs+Afi9cOotE9pl

On “Church Bells” Carrie is able to revive the same kind of feeling she dished out on her 2012 single “Two Black Cadillacs,” and here she tells a story of a woman who is abused by her wealthy husband.  Carrie is able to pull off “murder” and make it sound cold and at the same time beautiful:  “Jenny slipped something in his Tennessee whiskey/No law man was ever gonna find/And how he died is still a mystery/But he hit a woman for the very last time.”

“Renegade Runaway” is the kind of song that can boost the confidence of the most timid girl you know.  The song depicts a girl, who is a heart-breaker and bad news all around – but it doesn’t stop her from being desired and chased wherever she goes.  The drums roll at a fierce pace during the chorus and Carrie matches it’s intensity with a little bit of a growl in her voice.

Carrie+Underwood+Carrie+Underwood+Jimmy+Kimmel+lHLkqFH3s4il

Underwood plays the role of a girl in a relationship with someone who rather be with someone else in “Chaser.”  The bridge to the song is weak, but the chorus is strong enough that you’ll ignore those ten seconds so the song gets to it’s strong finish.  “Clock Don’t Stop” isn’t anything new musically or topically (a couple gets into an argument or something. . .) but the great thing about this song is something most people won’t recognize as pure vocal greatness.   In the first line of the chorus she says “The clock don’t sto – ah – ah, op ticking away,”  and it’s right there in the obvious stutter in the word “stop” where she effortlessly performs a pitch change that’s at a level of difficulty most singers could not handle.

“Choctaw County Affair” has a nice bass kick to it, but it’s a typical country stadium song that goes nowhere.  Another song that goes nowhere is “Heartbeat.”  It just isn’t interesting structurally and gets lost in itself.  Better production would’ve helped, because it is actually  beautifully written with lyrics like : “And tonight I wanna drive so far we’ll only find static on the radio/And we can’t see those city lights and I love the way you look in a firefly glow/Saying everything without making a sound, a cricket choir in the background, underneath a harvest moon/Standing on your shoes in my bare feet, dancing to the rhythm of your heartbeat.” 

It will be great to see if “Relapse” becomes released as a single because there is so much depth to this song.  From the back ground vocals, the drum rolls in the pre-chorus and the theatrical feel to Carrie’s voice makes this track one of the album’s stand outs.  Carrie compares an alcoholic’s issues with drinking to going back to a lover that is no good to her : “I don’t have to have you/I don’t need to need you/Just a high that I’m chasing/Don’t think I’m coming back/
It’s just a relapse.”

cce3660e14d21998daf07d138da0674c.600x600x1

Another track that stands out (easily) is the emotionally driven “The Girl You Think I Am.”  It’s a ballad focused on the father-daughter relationship.  This is perfect for weddings, when it’s time for the bride to dance with her father and everyone looks on holding their chest and holding back tears of joy.  It’s that real.  Carrie has a talent of holding notes for the perfect amount of time and has always worn her heart on her sleeve.  Her vulnerability sells her, just as much as her voice does: “You think I’m strong, you think I’m fearless/Even when I’m, I’m at my weakest/You always see the best in me when I can’t/I wanna be the girl you think I am.”

There is no doubt that Carrie Underwood’s voice is one of America’s greatest natural resources.  The songs that aren’t that exciting on this record would probably sound amazing for other artists, but Carrie’s bar is raised because of who she is.  Also, there is not one true power-ballad on “Storyteller” which is disappointing  and there are times when it seems as if she’s “holding back” when she can just let it rip.  Regardless, there is nothing she can’t sing and there isn’t an emotion she can’t make you feel. Consistency, has been her key for the last ten years.

Rating 7 out 10

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Entry Nine

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: We split it down the middle last week.  USC is joining the likes of Ole Miss in the sense they are either “feast or famine” when playing the lines. . . Temple and Iowa made us sweat it out, but a win is a win, so let’s keep on truckin’!

Oklahoma (+2.5) at Baylor

Baylor+v+Kansas+State+3wtIgMO6ICcl

The Big 12 Conference saw one of their “mighty” teams go down, as TCU fell to Oklahoma State last weekend (if you follow me on Twitter, you would’ve seen me give that pick out Saturday morning by-the-way. . .).   It’s up to Baylor to keep hope alive for the Conference that ignores things like “strength of schedule” and a “conference championship game.”  We’ve discussed coach Art Briles and his Baylor Bears before – it’s a relentless offense that sets out to make a point each week.  Freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham stepped in last week and threw for 419 yards with a little over half of that total being received by the stud wide-out Corey Coleman.   Coleman, along with KD Cannon provide possibly the best one-two receiver punch in football – and they are backed up by a “usually” strong running game from Shock Linwood.  The word “usually” crept into that sentence because against Kansas State, the running attack slowed down a bit.  Oklahoma provides a pretty good run defense itself, only allowing opponents 3.5 yards a carry.  Oklahoma has the athletes on defense to not only give Baylor’s running game fits but also it’s highly praised passing attack.  Oklahoma has only allowed 11 passing touchdowns and has nabbed 12 interceptions while holding the opposition to a 52% completion percentage.  Even if Seth Russell could quarterback for Baylor today, I’d still say Oklahoma.  Sooners take care of business, and it will be by double digits.

The Pick: Oklahoma +2.5

Ohio State (-16.5) at Illinois

J+T+Barrett+Ohio+State+v+Virginia+Tech+te_2CrHXEl7l

No matter how this season ends for Ohio State, ESPN better be working on the “30 for 30” documentary about this year’s Buckeyes team.   It’s been about and it’s all about the quarterback’s at Ohio State, and one week after being suspended a game, it looks like J.T. Barrett will be back under center, while the man who started the season, Cardale Jones is back to holding the clipboard.  Urban Meyer knows that the next two weeks will determine his fate (games against Michigan State and Michigan) but Meyer is one who doesn’t look ahead and will have his team ready for a Illinois team that is neither good, or bad.  The “middle of the pack” Illini have a mess behind the scenes with their athletic director this week, this after the resignation of the school chancellor and the August firing of their head coach.  To say they are in a “transition stage” is an understatement.  Nevertheless, this is an Illinois team that is 5-4 and shows fight week to week.  Where Illinois struggles the most on the football field though, is when they play an above average quarterback.  North Carolina’s Marquisse Williams threw for three touchdowns and at a 70% completion rate in a game where UNC won 48-14;  In their loss to Penn State, Christian Hackenberg threw at 72% completion rate and  two touchdown passes; and even in their nine point loss to Iowa, although they held C.J. Beathard to a completion percentage of under 50%, he too threw two touchdown passes.  If J.T. Barrett is on, which he very well should be – this should be an easy twenty point victory.  Keep in mind, we didn’t even mention how Illinois has no answer for Ohio State running back Ezikel Elliot, so. . .yeah.

The Pick: Ohio State -16.5

N.C. State (+9.5) at Florida State

Clemson+v+North+Carolina+State+IKlORdfNnBtl

In the post-Jameis Winston era, the Seminoles aren’t as dominant as they once were and it shows.  In their loss last week to Clemson, Florida State gave them all they could, but seemingly ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.  This week the Seminoles face an interesting opponent in N.C. State.  The Wolfpack have six wins this season and are still in search of that one “trademark win” to show that their program has stepped up.  N.C. State’s quarterback Jacoby Brissett  is throwing the ball at a 64% completion percentage and his two turnovers prove how efficient and poised he’s been all season long.  The Wolfpack as a whole are averaging close to 35 points a game and are physical for the most part.  That physical play will be key, because Florida State is still coming off of that physical loss to Clemson.  N.C. State has had better looking wins than Florida State against ACC bottom feeders like Wake Forest and Boston College – and nobody would be surprised to see the Seminoles come out flat -because that’s pretty much what they do.

The Pick: N.C. State +9.5

 

Arizona Cardinals (+3) at Seattle Seahawks

Arizona+Cardinals+v+Cleveland+Browns+bIeRNrTFB5fl

This one is kind of easy to sniff out.  The Seahawks are only the favorite here because of the public “mystique” surrounding the home field advantage in Seattle.  If this game was in Arizona, the Cardinals might be a 7.5 point favorite – real talk.  Russell Wilson has fallen short of (rather lofty-and premature) expectations, throwing only nine touchdowns and pairing that with six interceptions.  He’s holding the ball too long, and his offensive line has let him down in pass protection, as his league leading 32 sacks proves.  Luckily for Wilson, the Cardinals have only netted 13 sacks on the year but they are comfortable letting opposing quarterbacks test their secondary as they have a league leading 13 interceptions (three of them returned for a touchdowns).  The run defense of Arizona is holding teams to less than four yards a carry, which is what Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is hitting per attempt.   Carson Palmer has more than enough weapons on offense to handle a “Legion of Boom” that appears to look the weakest it’s looked in years.

The Pick: Arizona +3

If You Must:  Does anybody know why the Cincinnati Bearcats are a 17.5 point favorite over Tulsa?  This makes no sense which probably means – as Lee Corso of ESPN would say:  “Somebody, somewhere knows something. . .”   — Even then, I just can’t have faith in a Cincinnati team that has been pretty underwhelming this season – Tulsa is just as good as them – take Tulsa with the points, and just hope this isn’t a sucker bet. . .

Teaser of the Week: Cardinals +15, Michigan State -2.5, Stanford +2.5 and Mississippi State +19.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Eight

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: Amazing times for us all last week.  If it wasn’t for Wisconsin waking up against Rutgers, it would’ve been perfect.  There’s something Patriotic about rooting for Air Force and they came through glowingly in the late game, to help recoup any losses you may have taken.  This is how luck will continue to roll this        week. . .

Arizona (+17) at USC

USC+v+California+pMpHU9cG9acl

The USC Trojans are trending in the right direction after the head coach change and quarterback Cody Kessler has been trying his best to silence his critics.  Kessler is throwing at a 70% completion rate with over 2200 passing yards and 18 touchdowns to his 5 interceptions.  USC passing offense is third in the Pac-12 behind pass happy Washington State and the often inefficient Cal aerial attacks. Arizona on the other hand is all about running the ball, and they lead the Pac-12 conference with 2385 rushing yards coming at 6.1 yards a clip.  In last season’s match up, USC was in control for most of the game and then gave up two late scores in the fourth quarter – coming out of it with a two-point victory.  The Trojans are at home this time around and after seeing what an athletic defense can do to this Arizona offense (only putting up 17 in a loss to Stanford and 3 in a loss to Washington), the Trojans should be able to move the ball with ease against a questionable defense and solidify a 20 point victory when it’s all said and done.

The Pick: USC -17

 

Iowa (-6.5) at Indiana

Matt+VandeBerg+Western+Michigan+v+Iowa+zrvzBqKOiuyl

Vegas is banking on the brainless out there who still think Indiana is “somewhat legit.”  Listen:  when Indiana lit up their first four opponents, the competition was questionable and even then, the only won by double digits once during this win streak.   They were able to put up points in the high twenties, in losses to Michigan State and Ohio State – but let’s be real – the Spartans and Buckeyes have lacked a killer instinct or motivation early in games this season.  Indiana’s defense tells the story of who they truly are.  Remember they had that thrilling one point victory to start the season against Southern Illinois?  And remember Southern Illinois scored 47 points?  Yeah, I didn’t know that was a college either.  Indiana is giving up over 500 yards a game on defense to the tune of 37.3 points per game.  Iowa on the other hand, have flown under the radar in the Big 10.  While Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State get all the attention – it is Iowa who may very well play in the Big 10 Championship game.  Iowa is a physical team that is stronger in the trenches than Indiana is on it’s best day and has a defense that has nabbed 12 interception and holds opponents to 2.8 yards a carry.   No reason why anybody should be thinking Indiana has a chance against legit opponents.

The Pick: Iowa -6.5

Cincinnati (+9) at Houston

Gunner+Kiel+East+Carolina+v+Cincinnati+sN2NNcQg_4Ql

If you ignore the three point win at Louisville early this season, Houston has been pretty much on cruise control for most of the year.  Even then, the term “cruise control” doesn’t quite fit.  It’s more like Jason Voorhies going through drunk teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake with a machete.  They are leaving everyone a mess after they’re done with them.  Houston does it on both sides of the ball.  The offense is averaging 45.9 points per game while the defense is holding opponents to 17 points a game.  They are one of the nations more fundamentally sound teams, who make very little mistakes and force the opposition into situations that leave little to be desired.   The Bearcats of Cincinnati have been a disappointment this season.  Quarterback Gunner Kiel has looked good since his return, but his competition has been the lowly UConn and UCF.   This Bearcat team may get worn down late, or confused early by the Houston defense – either way, Houston will continue to look dominant leading into next week’s conference showdown against Memphis.

The Pick: Houston -9

If You Must:  Temple at -17 over SMU.   This is a weird one and I’m just going with my gut.  After their close loss to Notre Dame on national television last week, a lot of people who weren’t paying attention to Temple before, certainly are now.  That’s the scary part.  There is no doubt that 80-85% of folks will be leaning towards Temple in this one and usually the correct gamble is to go against the trend.  Ugh, but I just can’t – Temple -17.

Tease of the Week: (four-gamer) Patriots -2, Chargers/Bears Over at 37, Minnesota University +35, Duke +20

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio