Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
Before I get to the Saints game against the Texans, a quick word about SEC expansion and the apparent rejection of West Virginia as the 14th member.
How dare you SEC? You are going to go with Missouri instead? Really? West Virginia might be in the Big East and not really a geographic fit with the likes of LSU, Florida, Tennessee Alabama and Auburn but culture wise the Mountaineers are the SEC's long lost cousin. Morgantown, West Virginia is at least as cosmopolitan as Starkville. Everyone says Missouri is a better TV market but Missouri's actual teams are about as exciting as an oatmeal cookie.
West Virginia fans would fit right in with crazy LSU Cajun or tree murdering Alabama fan. In Alabama nothing's more important than Tide football. It's why they pay Nick Saban 90 billion dollars to win games 20-0 with a defense that sucks out the opposing team's will to live so painfully slow.
West Virginia serves beer at their games and their fans burn couches to celebrate wins or vent after a loss. They burn couches for pretty much anything; it's kind of their thing. So much so Morgantown made it a felony to use your couch and gasoline to generate warmth. That's tyranny! Tell me it doesn't fit right in with us SEC folk? WE WOULDN'T HAVE JUDGED YOU MOUNTAINEERS WE'RE JUST AS CRAZY. Their basketball coach Bob Huggins wears a tracksuit only Tony Soprano would approve of. If I cared about college basketball I'd think this was very exciting.
The West Virginia cheer is, 'Go Mountaineers, let's drink some beers!'
Les Miles knows serving beer at a college football game is the right thing to do. At least I think he does after saying the following but with Les Miles you never know.
'I certainly want to be politically correct and not be against serving beer in Tiger Stadium. Certainly the athletic director and the chancellor would have to make that decision. But I promise you, we would enjoy playing in front of a Tiger Stadium that occasionally had a beer.'
Uncle Les just blew my mind, confused me, and made my head hurt all at once.
LSU's trip this Saturday is being called the most exciting event in West Virginia football history. It could have been a regular thing but the SEC went and picked Missouri. BORING.
Ok on to this week's games
Last Week: 4-1
New Orleans (-4) vs. Houston: The Texans have fallen flat on their face every time Gary Kubiak has them in this spot. The Texans are really good they swear this time it's true! I could tell you I'm worried about Texans tight end Owen Daniels, or receiver Andre Johnson but I'm not. I'm more worried about what I will order off Pascal's Manale's menu Friday night. Combination remoulade followed by veal gambero. I've been reading the menu all week and taken my selections as serious as naming my yet conceived first child.
The Texans will give the rebuilt Saints defensive line its first real test against the run. Houston will either get steamrolled or they'll figure out a way to give the game to the Saints in a way you'll have Jim Haslett flashbacks except this time you won't be suicidal. You'll be smiling.
On Sunday you'll say at least one of the following:
Boy that was sure a stupid penalty on Houston. How could Houston have such bad clock management? Even Les Miles doesn't do that.
Why does Gary Kubiak look like somebody told him the Gatorade he just drank was anti freeze?
My sure to be wrong breakout Saints player will be Lance Moore.
Tampa Bay (-1.5) vs. Atlanta: If Michael Vick weren't knocked out of the game Atlanta would be 0-2. The Bucs run defense is awful and when it's 14-0 Falcons and Michael Turner has 80 yards in the first half I'll regret this pick. My hatred of Atlanta compels me to pick Tampa/
Oakland (+3.5) vs. New York Jets: Are we sure the Jets are any good? They can't run the ball and depending on Mark Sanchez is more questionable than my choice of drinks on a Sunday afternoon
Washington (+5.5) at Dallas: The Cowboys will be without Miles Austin, maybe Dez Bryant and Tony Romo is one good shot to the ribs from being on the bench. Rex Grossman on the road is no more dicey than Jon Kitna at home. The Dallas secondary is horrible.
Buffalo (+8.5) vs. New England: The Patriot defense is horrible so why won't Ryan Fitzpatrick light then up? Did you see the show on Bill Belichick on NFL Network? If the look on his face during the Saints 2009 beat down of New England were a steak I'd eat it every day until my heart gave out when my blood turned into fat.
BONUS LSU PICK
LSU (-4) at West Virginia: The atmosphere Saturday will be tremendous as Morgantown on a Saturday night is much like Baton Rouge in that fans spend all day tailgating aggressively. The Mountaineers have a genius offensive coach but they can't run the ball and have long stretches where they struggle to move the ball, against LSU that will prove deadly. I expect the LSU defense to blow the West Virginia passing game to shreds and the offense to put up very big numbers. When this game is over everyone will be saying, 'Who has looked better and played a harder schedule than LSU?' The correct answer is no one.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at email@example.com, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.