The Grammy Awards have to be the most market-driven, watered-down major award show (besides the ESPYs) in the history of market-driven, watered-down major award shows.
The annual celebration of “music’s best” honors those artists who have been thrust down our throats the furthest over the past year.
I don’t want to channel my inner Kanye West, but the fact that Lady Gaga and Rihanna are up for “Best Album” is a slap in the face to any musician who has paid their dues in smoky bars and college campuses, just trying to get their voice heard.
Not that those two haven't had their moments - just that those moments rarely had anything to do with their musical talent.
It’s like Nick Saban winning Coach of the Year over Bill Snyder. Just because you’re popular doesn’t mean you’re the best.
Even the Academy Awards, which used to be criticized for being too snobby, has opened the flood gates by expanding the nominees for each category to nine, giving "Best Picture" nods to movies like The Blind Side
With award season on the way and Week 14 officially closing the book on the college football regular season, it’s time to hand out some hardware that really means something – at least to the gambling degenerates reading this column. We honor the best and worst bets from the 2011 NCAAF schedule. Best betAnd the nominees are…Houston Cougars (10-2 ATS):
Even when the Cougs lost their value, they still managed to cover inflated spreads.Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-2 ATS):
The Hilltoppers were once the worst team in college football and oddsmakers treated them as such. Thanks for the points.Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (10-2 ATS):
The Bulldogs made the most of Boise State’s absence in the WAC and covered like the Broncos too.Stanford Cardinal (10-2 ATS):
The smart kids were a smart bet, until they sputtered ATS down the stretch. And the winner is… Western KentuckyWorst betAnd the nominees are…Central Michigan Chippewas (1-11 ATS):
Local media is blaming a lack of school spirit. Bettors are blaming a lack of defense. Maryland Terrapins (2-10 ATS):
It started with those terrible jerseys and just got worse for the Terps.Texas A&M Aggies (3-9 ATS):
The Texas A&M brass must have been betting on the Aggies too. No wonder Mike Sherman got the boot. Have fun in the SEC.Mississippi Rebels (3-9 ATS):
Ole Miss quit on Houston Nutt after the Arkansas game, failing to cover in five straight to end the season.And the winner is… No one. They’re all losers.Best over/under bets
And the winners are… Arizona State Sun Devils (10-2 over/under):
A deadly combo of great offense and poor defense had ASU’s scores reaching as high as 6-foot-8 QB Brock Osweiler.Boston College Eagles (1-10-1 over/under):
Without star RB Montel Harris at full strength, Boston College scored fewer than 20 points in nine of its 12 games this season.Most frustrating betAnd the nominees are…Texas A&M Aggies (3-9 ATS):
Unless you were playing first-half lines, the Aggies killed you with their second-half collapses. They scored 64 percent of their total points in the first two quarters.Hawaii Warriors (6-6 ATS):
Those point-shaving allegations made perfect sense to anyone betting the Warriors this season.Baylor Bears (8-3 ATS):
Even though the Bears ended up in the black, they couldn’t find their way into the end zone. Baylor tied for sixth in scoring but was 104th in red-zone efficiency.Illinois Fighting Illini (5-7 ATS):
The Illini lived and died by the fumble: Tied for 13th in forced fumbles while fumbling the ball 28 times – eighth most in the land.And the winner is… Texas A&M Worst beatNotre Dame at Michigan (+3.5):
The Irish allowed 28 points in the fourth quarter and blew a 10-point lead and comfy cover in the first-ever night game in the Big House. As rough as this one was on bettors, it was fun as hell to watch as fans.Utah State Aggies at Hawaii Warriors (-3):
When a beat stirs up point-shaving ghosts, you know it's got to be bad. Hawaii led 28-7 after the first half, but was outscored 28-3 in the final two quarters. Adding to the pain of Warriors backers, is that this game started at 11:55 p.m. ET. Try sleeping after that train wreck.Utah at Southern Cal (-7.5):
It was every bookmakers’ nightmare. The Pac-12 changed the final score of the game hours after the whistle blew and USC bettors, who initially lost at 17-14, were pissed when the score was switched to 23-14 after the league ruled Torin Harris’ blocked-FG touchdown return good.Toledo at Syracuse (-2):
Kicker Ross Krautman shanked an extra point that, even with video replay, was deemed good. Toledo put together a late drive that ended in a field goal, which should have been the game winner. Instead, it forced overtime, where Syracuse won on a FG – just covering the spread.And the winner is… Toledo at Syracuse (It burned me)
If you’ve got your own special booby prize in store for me, after a 22-30 record with my College Four-Play
picks, keep it in your pocket.
I still have Week 14 and our annual Bowling For Dollars
column, in which I pick every game this bowl season, to put myself in the black – or at least save whatever face I have left.
On with the facial reconstruction…UL Monroe Warhawks at Florida Atlantic Owls (+7.5, 47.5)
The Owls became the last team in the country to pick up a victory with last week’s win over UAB. That sends Howard Schnellenberger off into the sunset one week prematurely, with UL Monroe still left on the schedule.
This series has been traditionally close, with the average margin of victory being a field goal. However, FAU is more than happy to escape a winless season, while the Warhawks are going down swinging.Pick:
UL Monroe -7.5New Mexico Lobos at Boise State Broncos (-48.5, 61.5)
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Boise State is trailing Houston for that Cinderella BCS bid and a simple victory over the worst team in college football will do little to impress the pollsters.
The Broncos are going to have to kick the living snot out of the Lobos and hope UCLA, Georgia, and Clemson don’t pull upsets in their conference championship. A Cougars’ loss to Southern Mississippi would be an early Xmas gift to the boys in blue.
But, first thing is first. Destroy New Mexico.Pick:
Boise State -48.5Michigan State Spartans at Wisconsin Badgers (-9.5, 54.5)
Wisconsin fans may have blocked out MSU’s Hail Mary back in Week 8, but I sure haven’t.
The Badgers are a team in flux. Russell Wilson, everyone’s Heisman dark horse back in October, hasn’t been at his best heading into the inaugural Big Ten title game, giving way to RB Montee Ball, everyone’s Heisman dark horse back in November.
The Spartans defense, ranked No. 3 in the country, is somehow underrated. And QB Kirk Cousins is peaking at the right time, passing for 746 yards, eight TDs and one INT in his last three games.Pick:
Michigan State +9.5LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs (+13.5, 46.5)
The Bulldogs can give the BCS committee a bad case of the hiccups with an upset over LSU in the SEC Championship game.
While I don’t see Georgia knocking off the Bayou Bengals, I do think this is another defensive grinder in the making.
The Bulldogs, ranked fifth in the country in yards allowed, have played under the total in three straight and seven of their last nine. Georgia will be playing it safe with the football, trying not to fall victim to the Honey Badger and that LSU defense – ewww, that’s nasty!Pick: