Eric Willuweit & Luke Stanczyk discuss the Chicago Bears humbling defeat to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. They also talk about how the NFL and NCAAF are handling the Covid-19 Pandemic (hint – it’s not going well). And the boys talk a little Northwestern football. Thanks for tuning in!
As the college football season winds down in an unprecedented season teams are making their cases for the College Football Playoff. Alabama has all but cemented themselves as the best team in the country but that does not mean that head coach Nick Saban will not have his team ready for LSU.
BYU, like Cincinnati, is praying to the football gods that their unimpressive resume gets them into the top four. While the Big Ten still has hopes they will have a representative in the CFBP in Ohio State the conference overall has shown it has had a down year in competition with the likes of Penn State only having one win thus far.
Best Bets in NCAAF Week 14
Penn State (1-5) at Rutgers (2-4)
Spread: Penn State -11.5
Time: 12:00 EST
This game screams home underdog. Penn State is going through one of their worst seasons in program history and are favored by double digits on the road. Not only are the Nittany Lions 1-5 straight up, but they are also 1-5 ATS. Their only win was against Michigan who is in disarray themselves. Rutgers, on the other hand, is 2-4 in Gregg Schiano‘s first year back as head coach and has his players playing extremely tough and competitive.
Coming off of an impressive win on the road at Purdue, the Scarlett Knights are 4-2 ats and are looking to carry this momentum into next season. Penn State has been decimated with injuries this year and James Franklin hasn’t seemed to get the best out of his players as he’s done in the past. This is another game where the public will be all over Penn State due to name recognition. Don’t be surprised if Rutgers wins this game.
The Pick: Rutgers +11.5
13 BYU (9-0) at 18 Coastal Carolina (9-0)
Spread: BYU -10.5
Time: 5:30 PM EST
Coastal Carolina was slated to play Liberty at home but with COVID-19 issues in the Liberty program, the game was canceled. In comes 13th ranked BYU who is looking to strengthen their resume as they have played the 87th ranked strength of schedule and are sitting outside the top 12. A win will all but secure a New Years Six bowl game for them.
However, Coastal Carolina has been one of the best teams against the spread (ATS) this season (7-1-1) and was already planning to play a game this week. BYU has to fly across the country on short notice with a New Years Six bowl riding on the line. Coastal Carolina has nothing to lose and has been one of the more surprising college football stories of this season. The betting public will be backing the Cougars here whereas you should be on the home dog.
The Pick: Coastal Carolina +10.5
1 Alabama (8-0) at LSU (3-4)
Spread: Alabama -29
Time: 8:00 PM EST
The number one team in the country strolls into Death Valley with a perfect record of 8-0 to face the defending National Champions in LSU. Saban will be back on the sidelines for Alabama after testing positive for COVID-19 last week and boy did he have this game marked on the calendar since last year. In a game where LSU had over 550 yards of total offense and won the game 46-41 in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide are primed and ready to return the favor.
Mac Jones, who is in the Heisman race, is not ready to let off the gas pedal. Star running back Najee Harris will continue to do what Najee Harris does; dominate college football games. LSU is starting a freshman quarterback in TJ Finley who could only muster up seven points against Mississippi State. Don’t be afraid to lay the points here.
The Pick: Alabama -29
(Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
What a start to the turn of a new decade, 2020 has been relentless. First, the sports world gets shook with a tragic helicopter accident killing nine people including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter. Shortly thereafter the world is hit with a Coronavirus pandemic deemed Covid-19. An invisible menace that’s had us quarantined for the last three months and has claimed thousands of lives.
Then on Monday, May 25th, 2020 on Memorial Day, a day to celebrate our fallen servicemen and women, a police officer took the life of yet another unarmed black man named George Floyd. You can say my community’s collective breath was taken away in eight minutes and 46 seconds. Going into the sixth month of 2020, the second half of this year I’m sure we’re all wondering when will the director say cut!
Sports Can’t Breathe
This Is Supposed to Be About Sports
It took me a week to construct this piece because I was angry, upset, and didn’t want my emotions to completely take over my writing. You see, I’m a black man in my 40s, same as Mr. Floyd, and that could’ve easily been me. I’ve had my experiences with racial profiling from police and civilians.
To see a video of officers of the law who took an oath to protect and serve the community hold down a human being and kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes watching him die is one of the worse crimes to witness. The disturbing part is this was the third such incident in a month where a black individual was murdered. What those cops didn’t know is that George Floyd was good friends with former NBA player Stephen Jackson and he would be the catalyst in leading a global protest for justice.
I understand that this is supposed to be a sports column and I can assure it is. It will just be a little different approach on this one. Almost four years ago it was in a football stadium, 2016, that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick exercised his American right to protest. His peaceful protest was to sit during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality of black people.
Even after people saw this as disrespectful to our military, he consulted with a serviceman and changed to more appropriate kneeling. Players began following Kaepernick in this protest and the message was interrupted by President Trump making this issue about respecting the American flag. The president even went to the lengths of insulting the players and the mothers of these exceptional athletes by calling them sons of b*****s.
NFL Had a Chance to Take a Stand
The NFL and owners had the opportunity to support its diverse players but instead decided it valued its bottom line more than human life. In the process exiling Kaepernick from the league who never received another contract offer. One of the most outspoken owners, Jerry Jones, had plenty to say about that protest in 2016. Fast forward to today, crickets. Countless mothers and fathers being taken away leaving children without parents with no repercussions just doesn’t seem American.
Now the NFL wants to make statements of support for the black community when it’s convenient and is the right thing to do. It comes off as disingenuous because it took protesting and rioting on a global scale to finally be heard as a community. The league and its owners could’ve done like their NBA counterparts and given support when it was uncomfortable to the very people that make this a billion-dollar industry. We’ve all heard the saying “get out of your comfort zone”. This is supposed to represent growth within one’s self. Time to get out of your comfort zones.
How Can Sports Make an Impact
One thing we’ve learned since March 11th, 2020 is how important sports are to our way of life. We can see that from the most-watched documentary in history, “The Last Dance”. In this instance, though this issue shouldn’t just be blanketed by the restart of the NBA or any sporting event for that matter. Instead whenever the NBA starts all the players should refuse to play, same for when the NFL starts.
This stance may not happen but a more feasible impactful statement could. The NFL taking accountability for the lack of understanding of what Kaepernick’s kneeling protest was bringing attention to. Second, rectify this by teams offering Colin a contract giving him the opportunity, if he chooses, to exit the game his way. Lastly, at the start of any sporting event letting the clock run for eight minutes and 46 seconds with no movement and displaying the statement, “I can’t breathe”.
This would serve as a reminder that our country as a whole has a lot of work to do eradicating systemic racism and ensuring equality for all Americans.