The ES puts his money where his mouth is; John L's debut a grape
(9/04/03)--The ES loves the criticism regarding his picks against the spread, and his self-promotion... "you think you're some kind of Jimmy the Greek or something."; "You make yourself out like a Vegas bookie"; "ES -- Who the hell do you think you are?" Well, last week, the ES was in Lake Tahoe and Chock told him: "put your money where your mouth is."
So, the ES took Chock up on his offer and laid down $20 on the Big Green Machine -- $10 to win vs. 13 1/2-point spread, and $10 in a 3-way parlay with Ohio State and Cal vs. the spread. Now, you say, "ES -- but you picked Western against the spread on your website?" But, alas, when the ES was confronted with the option of picking with his wallet or his heart, the ES couldn't NOT pick MSU. The ES' bleeds green in his wallet as well as his blood. So, the ES picked MSU and was a LOSER in Tahoe, even though he covered with Ohio State and Cal. As the ES left the casino, however, he put $1 in the slot machine and hit a $50 winner. The ES quit the big money, and ended up playing nickel slots all night long (again, coming out about $9 ahead), and made a nice $39 profit in his gambling debut.
FYI -- Every week since the ES has been up and running, he's picked major college games against the spread -- and at just above .500 over two full seasons (532-520, .506)... So far, 2003 looks to be the same, with an 18-16 record in Week 1.
GO TO THE TAPE - DEBUTS A GRAPE
So, the ES missed the season opener to stand up in a wedding (and handed Smig an ES "I HATE MICHIGAN" t-shirt, beautifully received by Smig's scUM loving family at breakfast on the morning of the wedding). But, alas the ES has reviewed the tape today and offers the following assessment of John L's debut: it was no cherry (A-grade), it wasn't crap (F), it wasn't an apple, either (B). The ES would say John L's debut was a grape, deserving of a C+. Here is the ES' take on the game
First off, good thing MSU wasn't playing Notre Dame or it would have gotten killed. But, WMU was a decent enough opponent to begin to work the kinks out.
Game-ball winners: 1. Clifford Dukes, Greg Taplin, and Matthias Askew kept the heat on the WMU backfield all day, recording five sacks and giving up under 10 yards rushing. Geez -- a wonder that John L. could do in one game what BW couldn't do in three years. 2. Paul Harker looked very good on the offensive line -- he showed his experience by being in the right place at the right time, and his quick feet showed in pulling to make critical blocks to open up decent holes for the MSU running game. Good pass blocking by Harker as well. 3. Jeff Smoker looked good; his two INTs were overshadowed by a solid overall performance and good field command throughout the contest. 4. Good blocking and running-after-the-catch by the receiving corps.
Improvement necessary: 1. Like last year, too many penalties. Seemed like BW reincarnated at times. 2. 3-for-12 on third down is BW-esque. It will be a long season if we can't convert on at least 35% of third downs consistently. 3. The receiving corps -- specifically Trannon -- needs to hold onto the ball and not drop passes. 4. The defensive backfield needs work in stopping the crossing slants and post patterns. Too much run-after-the-catch by WMU receivers. 5. The offensive line as a whole needs to improve its run-blocking techniques to add another dimension to the offense; there were too many times the running backs were caught behind the line of scrimmage to kill drives.
The greatest improvement is usually between the first and second games. Rutgers was also a winner last week, over lowly U-Buffalo. The ES expects the Big Green to ramp it up and unload the ugly stick on the Scarlet Knights on Saturday. The ES will be loaded hisself to witness the carnage.