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Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks Week 7

Every week, Mr. Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich, takes on his father, Michael J. Drakulich (MJD), in picking 10 games against the Vegas spread. Pitt, Penn State, and West Virginia, when they are playing, will always be on the slate among the five NCAA games chosen, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, covered by Mike Drakulich for, will be included alongside 4 other exciting NFL match-ups.

It was back to mostly Murphy’s Law for my picks last week, as I was blanked with an 0-5 record in NCAA games, but rebounded to go 3-1-1 in the NFL. My dad fared just one game better at 4-5-1, but once again picked up a game on me in the overall standings.

We have a few early games for you this week, as Pitt plays on Thursday night against Virginia Tech, an opponent that they’ve historically fared well against at home. Even though Pitt has dropped their past three games, I get the feeling a night game at home may bring out the team we all saw in the first three games this season. The early line had Va Tech favored early by -1, but it’s turned quickly the past few days. Pitt, behind the powerful running of James Connor (and perhaps on defense as well!), will find a way to record the victory as well as cover.

#4 Baylor brutalized West Virginia last year by a 73-42 tally, putting up an astonishing 872 total yards, and has been basically doing the same to every foe this year. Expect an insane amount of scoring by both teams yet again, but in the end, Baylor will cover. WVU’s defense is abhorrent and is in for a long day.

#15 Oklahoma State travels to TCU this week, and they are coming at a bad time as the #12 Horned Frogs will be out to make amends for blowing a 21 point 4th quarter lead against Baylor last week and losing 61-58. The Cowboys, despite their ranking, aren’t as good as advertised.

I went against Arkansas last week against ‘Bama, and will do so again this week, just out of spite. They are 3.5 point dogs at home to #10 Georgia, who despite not having Heisman favorite Todd Gurley last week, destroyed Missouri 34-0 last week. The Razorbacks won’t be so fortunate against me this week.

#2 Florida State dropped a notch in the polls despite being the defending National Champions and carrying a 22 game win streak. Jameis Winston keeps hearing his name called out for trouble more than he does for the Heisman ballot, but neither Winston nor the Seminoles really give a damn. They are going to be pumped up and looking to lay the wood to Notre Dame and toss up a middle finger at all of the doubters. It’s an exciting Top Five match-up for Prime Time viewers, but in the end, FSU is going to send the #5 Irish home with their tails between their legs, spread and all.

New England and Tom Brady have seemingly turned it around offensively. That’s not good news for the New York Jets who are a team in disarray. Rob Gronkowski is heating up as well. Stevan Ridley has been lost for the year, but expect Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden to pick up the slack. Like just about every Thursday Night Football game, expect a beating. About the only positive signs in New York is the play of wide out Eric Decker and tight end Jace Amaro. It won’t matter.

Cincinnati comes limping into Indianapolis fresh off a 37-37 tie to Carolina, as kicker Mike Nugent missed a 36-yarder as time expired. Wide Receiver A.J. Green is expected to miss his 2nd straight game. Mohamed Sanu has stepped up well as Andy Dalton’s go-to guy in Green’s absence. Still, Andrew Luck is looking stellar, and the Colts will win their fifth straight game and cover.

Cleveland crushed the Steelers last week 31-10, and now face a rather weak set of opponents in the next few weeks, starting with win-less Jacksonville. The Browns will hope to avoid a letdown, as they finally vanquished the team that has owned them since returning to the NFL in 1999. The Jaguars are so bad, even with a minor letdown by Cleveland, the Browns should have no problem covering.

San Diego and Phillip Rivers are looking great at 5-1 so far. Rookie Brandon Oliver has looked great at running back filling in for the always injured Ryan Matthews. Even when Matthews returns, he may find himself on the bench in favor of Oliver. Kansas City has been up and down all year, and heading out to the West Coast won’t be a panacea to their problems. Expect San Diego to put a charge into the Chiefs.

Finally… the Steelers face the Houston Texans at home on Monday Night Football. Pittsburgh is in turmoil both offensively and defensively. Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley refuses to step out of Ben Roethlisberger’s way, and it is costing the team badly. Both Bill Cowher and Hines Ward called out the Steelers on-air last week, calling them a “finesse team” and “soft”. Those are two terms that must feel like a knife in the gut by the two former greats. Arian Foster may have a field day against the Steeler’s defense if the problems plaguing the front seven aren’t resolved quickly. The Steelers have always been in top form at home in most night games, especially on MNF. Every ounce of my being wants to take the Texans in this game, but somehow, someway, I see Pittsburgh rebounding to win this game.

Lines as of 10/16/2014



(3-3) Pitt (-1.5) OVER Virginia Tech (4-2), 7:30 PM / MJD picks Pitt


(6-0) 4 Baylor (-7.5) OVER West Virginia (4-2), 12:00 PM / MJD picks Baylor

(4-1) 12 TCU (-7.5) OVER 15 Oklahoma State (5-1), 4:00 PM / MJD picks Oklahoma State

(5-1) 10 Georgia (-3.5) OVER Arkansas (3-3), 4:00 PM / MJD picks Georgia

(6-0) 2 Florida State (-12) OVER 5  Notre Dame (6-0), 8:00 PM / MJD picks Florida State




(4-2) New England (-9.5) OVER NY Jets (1-5), 8:25 PM / MJD picks New England


(4-2) Indianapolis (-3) OVER Cincinnati (3-1-1), 1:00 PM / MJD picks Cincinnati

(3-2) Cleveland (-5.5) OVER Jacksonville (0-6), 1:00 PM / MJD picks Jacksonville

(5-1) San Diego (-4) OVER Kansas City (2-3), 4:05 PM/ MJD picks San Diego


(3-3) Pittsburgh (-3.5) OVER Houston (3-0), 8:30 PM /MJD picks Pittsburgh

*Home Teams in BOLD


Pick Results:

MJD: Last Week: 4-5-1 / Overall: 33-24-3  —

PSN: Last Week: 3-6-1 / Overall: 27-30-3  -6

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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!

As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides the best opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania.

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