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Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks Week 11

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.

Seven weeks remain in the Against All Odds regular season, and seven weeks is what I have to start winning games again and finish above .500 as I always have since creating this weekly column a few years ago. I still trail my dad by six games as well. His lead will be shortening soon.

I have made a decision to BAN Penn State from this week’s article, and possibly for the year, as I just can’t take it anymore with them.

Since being correct the first week, no matter what way I choose PSU, they do completely the opposite of what I pick. So they can take the spread and their game against Temple and stick it where the sun don’t shine! Pitt and West Virginia are that close to joining them.

As you can read, I am a little perturbed here, so my focus is tight on this week’s games, in which I GUARANTEE I will not finish worse than 7-3. Those three losses, like they normally are, will most assuredly be Pitt, WVU, and the Steelers, so what a big surprise that will be.

If I lose more than three games, I will post a picture of myself in a Cleveland Browns jersey. Let’s roll…


Lines as of 11/14/2014



(4-5) North Carolina (-2.5)  OVER  Pitt (4-5), 12:30 PM / MJD picks North Carolina

Star receiver Tyler Boyd called out his teammates this week, and perhaps it will wake up a team that should be better than 4-5 on the year. But it’s Pitt, where disappointment is the norm for the past 30 years. Perhaps one day I will live long enough to see a successful Pitt team, but it won’t be this year, as a loss here will eliminate Pitt from Bowl contention. The Panthers undoubtedly have the talent to beat UNC, but somehow, someway, they will find a way to blow it. Expect a big day for Pitt’s James Conner on the ground, and an entertaining high scoring affair, but in the end, the Tar Heels will prevail.


(9-0) 1 Mississippi State (+10)  OVER  5 Alabama (8-1), 3:30 PM / MJD picks Mississippi State

All in all, Alabama will probably win this game, but it won’t be by 10 points. ‘Bama has historically been sluggish in games following battles against LSU, and last week’s brawl with the Tigers most certainly left it’s mark on the Crimson Tide. The top ranked Bulldogs are quick starters out of the gate. Add these factors up, and you should have one helluva game that is going to come down to the final minutes. Turnovers will be a huge factor in this one. Can Mississippi State do it again? Dak Prescott will have to be at the top of his game if they plan on it.


(9-0) 3 Florida State (-2.5)  OVER  Miami (6-3), 8:00 PM / MJD picks Florida State

Florida State, despite winning a bazillion games in a row, continues to get disrespected by being dropped in the polls. They’ll be very focused going up against their rivals from South Beach. The Seminoles may want to make an example out of Miami in this one and toss a middle finger in the direction of the people voting in the polls while doing it. Their run towards back-to-back championships will continue this week. Jameis Winston and the ‘Noles are going to rock Miami like a hurricane…


(7-3) 17 LSU (+2)  OVER  Arkansas (4-5), 8:00 PM / MJD picks LSU

For some reason, 17th ranked LSU is an underdog as they visit a sub .500 Arkansas team. This has sucker bet written all over it. Both teams usually battle to the bitter end in these games against each other, and it will more than likely happen again, as the Razorbacks have held tough all season, losing some heart-breakers in the process. Still, even though LSU is having somewhat of a down year, they should have no problem taking home the victory in this one.


(8-1) 6 Arizona State (-9)  OVER  Oregon State (4-5), 10:45 PM / MJD picks Arizona State

Todd “Dream Job” Graham, the snake oil salesman that he is, has his team in position to play for a National Title. However, these little flying, water dwelling creatures called “Ducks” still await them eventually. Heck, they may even fall to Arizona in the season finale, but I’m hoping they get their just dues against Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game. Scoring that late touchdown against Notre Dame, when they could’ve taken a victory formation, will come back to bite them sooner or later. It’s called Karma. They’ll secure victory in this game easily, as they are on a roll offensively.




(6-3) Cleveland (-3)  OVER  Houston (4-5), 1:00 PM / MJD picks Houston

Saying the “1st Place” Cleveland Browns is as rare as saying “Beauty Pageant Winner” Rex Ryan. The Browns should be able to hold on to the lead in the AFC North after this one, as they face a Texans team that will turn to Ryan Mallett as their starting QB. Bill Stull would probably be an upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick, so it’s no surprise Mallett will get a chance to prove himself. Arian Foster, if he plays, should have a big game on the ground, as the Browns are dreadful against the run. In the end, the Browns will have the Dawg Pound barking and wagging their tails in approval.


(3-6) Atlanta (-1)  OVER  Carolina (3-6), 1:00 PM / MJD picks Carolina

PBS will probably be a more entertaining watch than this dreadful match-up between two struggling teams. Cam Newton is playing hurt, and that isn’t good news for an already decimated line-up for Carolina. Atlanta, at this point, just has more firepower, and that will be the deciding factor in this game.


(7-2) Detroit (+2)  OVER  Arizona (8-1), 4:25 PM / MJD picks Detroit

Arizona, which sports a league best 8-1 record, was dealt a major blow last week as Carson Palmer was lost for the season. Now Drew Stanton takes the reigns, and will look to continue the Cardinals’ improbable run. Their luck ends this week, however, as a healthy Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions pay a visit to Glendale. Detroit has been living on the edge all year, and this game will be no different. Lions will win in a close one.


(6-3) Green Bay (-5.5)  OVER  Philadelphia (7-2), 4:25 PM /MJD picks Green Bay

In a game that should feature more scoring than Wilt Chamberlain in a sorority house, Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers should have the upper hand at Lambeau. Look for big games from Rodgers, Randall Cobb, and Jordy Nelson. Eddie Lacy should have some room to run as well. Mark Sanchez kept the Eagles’ engine running as smoothly as ever last week, going for 300+ yards passing and two scores. Shady McCoy has yet to have a big game expected of him. It could happen here as the Packers give up plenty on the ground. This will be a great game to watch.


Monday Night

(6-4) Pittsburgh (-5.5)  OVER  Tennessee (2-7), 8:30 PM/ MJD picks Pittsburgh

Last week, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers continued their troubling trend under his leadership, losing another game to a horrible team. In their past nine games against sub .200 teams on the road, Pittsburgh is an eye popping 1-8. That’s a joke. The Steelers have a chance to make amends under the National Spotlight as they face another scrub team in Tennessee on Monday Night. This is a must-win for the Steelers. They can ill afford anymore losses to teams like the Titans. Beating such teams with regularity is a major reason Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher’s teams always finished with double digit victories. Losing these games has been the defining factor in Pittsburgh’s absence from the playoffs the past two years. I have the utmost confidence that Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers offense will bounce back big time this week.


*Home Teams in BOLD


Pick Results:

MJD: Last Week: 4-6 / Overall: 51-46-3   –

PSN: Last Week: 4-6 / Overall: 45-52-3   -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.

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