Ohhhhh, Austin. What a time we had together. I consumed such a copious amount of ribs, brisket and beer that Henry VIII would think I went overboard. I actually ate more ribs than my body has. I didn't think it was possible to get fat in only four days and yet I did. By Sunday, after three more beers while watching #7 engineer his 15th fourth quarter or OT comeback (most in the league since 2004), I was starting to look like a cantaloupe with pipe cleaner limbs.
Then my body decided to fight back.
Apparently my fleshy vehicle is vain even without my brain being involved and prefers my normal rail thin status. I was about to become an involuntary bulimic. I woke up Monday with an achy stummy and within an hour had puked out my morning coffee and most of Sunday's detritus. A second attempt at coffee an hour later ended the same way.
It was the last day of our family trip and everybody wanted to tour the UT campus and I didn't want to drag the party down, so I tagged along. Plus, we had already checked out of the hotel. If you're going to spend the day puking, try doing it in the confines of your home, not on a day when you have an 11am checkout and a 7pm flight.
While the family was scouting for souvenirs, I was scouting for bathrooms I could use in an emergency. Two Pepto pills and some Sprite also got evicted from my GI tract and I had three pukes under my belt before high noon. One more in a gas station bathroom, another while driving the car back to the airport and two more in the cozy bathroom of an MD-80. It was quite a time.
Beyond my culinary and gastric adventures, Austin is quite a place. You're always sweating from the humidity, you're always grimy from the dirt parking lots and it's so flat that if you hang from a basketball hoop, you can see Dallas, 195 miles to the north. And it's still fun.
So that was Austin. But the NFL doesn't stop for one man's mini-vacation. If Houston and New Orleans had not lost last-second heartbreakers, not only would I have won confidence this week, I would've about put the thing to bed for the year. Instead, I came in second this week and saw my lead over Max dwindle to 2 points. Though I did gain ground on Ryan and Brian and lead them by 20 and 38 respectively, monster totals in confidence.
My two betting pool picks, Washington and Buffalo, split, leaving me in neutral. The gal in second place gained some ground, so my lead is now only 400. Although in confidence I can most likely tread water with 14 favorites a week and be fine, in the betting pool, I'm going to need to take decisive action and have another big week. A 4-1 week with my trailers losing ground on their bets would be simply lovely in this last week before the 600-point bets.
Oddly, I'm in love with mostly scrappy underdogs this week. I like Oakland +9 because I think they can run on New Orleans and shorten the game, I like the Bungles +6 if Dashing Carson plays as well as over 44.5 in that tilt, and I think Miami +3 at Houston is practically free money. I may even throw in Carolina +1 and Philadelphia -4.5 if I'm feeling especially frisky. Yes, five road teams, four of which are underdogs, are tempting me this week. And lest you think my stomach troubles have moved to my brain, road doggies are covering 48% of the time this season, a coin flip of a number. Road overdogs like Philly are hitting 68% of the time. Unlike last week, I like a lot of lines in Week 6, so I might swing for the fences and try to put this thing away.
In confidence, I'm still only picking about three upsets and putting low points on them, then trying to land backdoor upset by picking big favorites with low points on them. Sorry to bore you again, but when you're leading lap 172 of the Indy 500, you don't see how close you can come to the wall without touching it. I'm looking at...
Washington - 14
New York Giants - 13
Minnesota - 12
Philadelphia - 11
Dallas - 10
San Diego - 9
New Orleans - 8
New York Jets - 7
Indianapolis - 6
Carolina - 5
Miami - 4
Chicago - 3
Denver - 2
Green Bay - 1
These could change before Sunday. If Garcia is definitely in, Carolina may get more points. If Palmer is definitely out, the Jets will get more points and New Orleans will drop. With a -9 line, I'm looking at New Orleans losing for major backdoor potential. I'd write a joke for that last line, but I can't think of anything relevant.
So here we go, people! I'm either taking control, falling back to the pack or continuining to hang on to a slim lead! One of those three for sure!