Well, that wasn’t the best start in the world. When I started this gambling column, and named it Skinners Winner’s, going 0-5 during my opening week wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned.
But in hindsight, a good humbling was in order, as too many good things were going my way. I was due. But on the opening weekend? That stung a little (a lot).
I have decided to change my column’s name to “Skinner’s Losers” this week, due to picking everything wrong, and will do so if it happens again (if it happens again this weekend, it will be changed to that permanently).
Hopefully my second week goes better than the first, as I am banking on having just got my ugly losses out of the way. I am sticking to the spread this week, with four college games and an NFL game as my picks since it is the first week. As always, thank you for reading or scrolling through, it means the world to me.
Here is my week two:
Arizona @ Houston (-3.5) – 9 a.m. MST – ABC/ESPN2
Vegas, like many of the casual college football fans across the country, jumped off the Arizona bandwagon just three quarters (game quarters, not quarters of the season) into their season.
It might be rash, it might be the right call, and as a person who covers the team on a daily basis, I think we are somewhere right in the middle. Is this team capable of winning the rest of their games, finding themselves in the Pac-12 title hunt? Sure. Is it possible? Not really.
Everything has to go right for the Wildcats from here on out, and the showing that was displayed before the hyped-up crowd in Tucson was as disappointing and vanilla as your local McDonald's ice cream machine.
It never worked, and the people running it gave attitude when questioned why it wasn’t working, never giving you a straight or sensible answer. Now, Arizona must work out the kinks against the nation's best defensive lineman in Ed Oliver, who single-handedly dominated Arizona last year and looks to do so again with a national audience.
But I think the Wildcats will get back on track with a key road victory, which gets the momentum going that had been lost from the offseason. And even if Arizona doesn’t win, I don’t think it will be by more than 3 points. I’m begrudgingly taking the ‘Cats to cover in Houston.
Georgia (-10) @ South Carolina – 12:30 p.m. MST – CBS
What has become one of the South’s most heated rivalries over the last fifteen or so years rages on this weekend in Columbia. Sandstorm will be a blastin’, that god-awful maroon-and-black mixed with Under Armour will be everywhere you see, and the CBS crew will be painting the perfect picture for the customary early-season matchup between these two schools.
In the past, Columbia has been one of the few places Georgia teams have come and melted down or lost in tragic fashion on a consistent basis. Clowney and Co. absolutely dominated Aaron Murray with a 35-7 pounding in 2012, and the botched first-down measurement gave the Gamecocks a slim victory in 2015.
The difference in this game though? No Clowney, no Lattimore (makes me sad every time) and no Head Ball Coach. South Carolina is facing a Georgia squad that is as loaded as it has ever been, with Will Muschamp as their head coach.
Even though he did beat the 'Dawgs while he was in Florida, I will happily bet against Muschamp in any big rivalry game that he is in. I just don’t think he has the goods as a head coach, and I don’t think the squad he has can go toe-to-toe with Georgia for 60 minutes. I’m taking the Dawgies. Bark bark.
Clemson (-12) @ Texas A&M – 4:00 p.m. MST – ESPN
In probably the most intriguing matchup of the entire weekend, two of the best coaches in the nation at two very different stages in their developments of their programs meet.
With Dabo Sweeney establishing Clemson as a bona fide football factory, while Jimbo Fisher looks to implement his plan of building one himself in the oil fields of Texas. These two coaches also have a little history, as their matchups between Florida State and Clemson have usually decided the ACC champion this decade.
No big deal. They have just been each others' arch nemesis for years on and off the field, and now they face off in new surroundings. I cannot wait.
Nothing would help Jimbo Fisher’s efforts in turning A&M into a national power more than beating the Tigers. But I don’t think that is going to happen this weekend, and I don’t think he will even come close. I think the Tigers will waltz into Kyle Field and pummel A&M, giving Fisher a nice little reality check as to where the program he inherited really is. Clemson all day long.
USC @ Stanford (-6) – 5:30 p.m. MST – FOX
An early season matchup that has huge implications for the rest of the Pac-12 is one that has become a must-watch game over the last 10 years. It has given us the birth of the Harbaugh era at Stanford, epic Andrew Luck games and last minute field goals.
I expect more of the same from this yearly matchup between the two California schools with the most insufferable alumni. You are going to know who won this game because your friend who went to either of these schools for three semesters before dropping out and for a failed startup or pursuing acting is going to let you know about it.
I witnessed this USC team give up 308 rushing yards to a UNLV team that might make a bowl this year. I don’t even want to think about what David Shaw has up his sleeve with his vaunted running game that is headed up by Heisman trophy finalist Bryce Love and a stable of future NFL offensive linemen and tight ends.
It is going to be gory, it is going to be ugly, and I cannot wait to see what kind of rushing yards Stanford has by the end of the night. It could be absolutely astounding. No doubt in my mind, I’m taking the Cardinal.
L.A. Rams (-4.5) vs Oakland Raiders – 7:20 p.m. MST (Monday) - ESPN
Did Vegas take a week off? Am I looking at the correct line? Did they read ANY news outlet this week?
I have no idea how the Oakland Raiders, after trading the best player in their franchise, has had this entire millennium for two first rounders to the dismay of the entire locker room and after hiring a TV announcer for a totally normal $100 million (totally not normal), is somehow only a 4.5 point underdog to a team that added multiple pieces to a team that was already one of the most dangerous and explosive last year?
Sounds good to me. I will take the Rams all day long. Gurley and Goff on one side of the ball, with Suh, Donald, Peters and Talib? Yeah, the Rams are getting my money, nothing fancy about it.
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