I am a young man whose emotions are easily swayed by the seasons.
No, I'm not talking about seasonal depression. Although if you really want to hear thoughts on that, I can share some philosophical musings on how I feel when the sun sets hours earlier in October than it does in July.
(Nobody wants to hear that, Andrew.)
Are you sure? My words can be quite moving, you know.
What I really mean is, many times throughout the year, I wax poetic about the numerous goings on in each of the major sports at a particular time on the sports calendar, and declare that month X is the greatest of them all.
This becomes problematic when I have to explain to girlfriends—who actually listen to what I say every now and then—that no, I didn't really mean it when I said I would stop watching so many games once January, March, April, May, June, October or December ended.
For some reason, my explanation never goes over so well. I can't imagine why.
Anyway, we've reached that time again, ladies and gentlemen. October is the best time of year in the world of sports!
NCAA and NFL Football are in full swing, the NBA starts next week, and we're only days away from the World Series in Baseball.
Needless to say, I'm giddy.
College Football specifically has turned out as unpredictable as many prognosticated, making it a taxing adventure each time more than school pride is riding on a particular game.
Each contest becomes a four-hour marathon of varying emotions, and even after a win I find myself exhausted with a headache that lasts the rest of the day.
Wins feel more like survivals, and losses more like inevitabilities.
With that said (I love how I now specifically avoid typing, "Having said that," simply because of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. Thank you very much, Curb Your Enthusiasm), let's give it the old college try again this week because by Thursday our wounds from last Saturday have been stitched and our caution has been thrown to the seasonally-appropriate wind.
Oh, and for the one or two of you still interested in my Elite Seven and Transcendent Five theory, let's just forget I ever wrote that. Deal?
As always, picks in bold, home team in CAPS. Good luck out there.
OREGON (-26) over UCLA.
The Ducks are home, coming off a bye, against a schizophrenic Bruins team that cannot decide whether it is halfway decent or atrocious. After a meager offensive showing against Washington State (they only put up 43), Oregon may drop 60 on UCLA.
Navy (+7) over Notre Dame. (Game being played at the New Meadowlands)
If I can choose a single thing I've tired of most about Notre Dame's fanbase, it would have to be the Irish faithful's collective nonchalance regarding playing Navy.
Multiple times this week fans have said, and I'm paraphrasing, that while they would typically be concerned about Rudolph, Riddick, Floyd and Allen all missing this game, it's Navy week so there's nothing to worry about.
For those following along, four of the five best players on Notre Dame's offense will potentially be inactive on Saturday, thereby putting more pressure on Dayne Crist to play a complete game with a group of green running backs and receivers. Oy.
Oh, and Navy has won this contest two out of the last three years. Don't be surprised if the Midshipmen make it three out of four and Irish fans call for Brian Kelly's head. Should be a fun week.
NORTHWESTERN (+5.5) over Michigan State.
Only last week I said I was riding Sparty until he threw me off. Bad word choice aside, doesn't this just feel like a game that will come down to the final minutes?
Northwestern is 5-1 and coming off a bye. The Wildcats got caught looking ahead two full weeks to this game, which is one of the reasons why they lost to Purdue.
Michigan State, on the other hand, travels to Iowa next week. They might get caught looking ahead too.
PITTSBURGH (-12.5) over Rutgers.
This is more a referendum on Rutgers than a praising of Pitt. I really don't have anything else to say about this game. I guess I could say the Big East is a joke, but we all know that already.
WEST VIRGINIA (-14) over Syracuse.
Would anyone like some guaranteed money? Take the Mountaineers—the only team worth watching in the conference—and thank me later.
IOWA (-6) over Wisconsin.
This game is similar to South Carolina vs. Kentucky a week ago in that Wisconsin is coming off a huge upset win and is ripe for an upset themselves.
The difference? Unlike Kentucky, Iowa is really good and would beat the Badgers at home no matter what happened a week ago.
LSU (+6) over AUBURN.
Did Auburn really put up 65 last week against Arkansas? And am I really picking against them this week?
Most importantly, am I really picking Les Miles? Ugh. LSU's defense will keep it close, and let's just hope whoever is playing quarterback for Les doesn't spot Auburn 14 points.
Alabama (+16.5) over TENNESSEE.
A Nick Saban team coming off a bye after a loss? Against one of the worst Tennessee teams in recent memory? Yes please.
MISSOURI (+3) over Oklahoma.
Sorry, Sooners. Your reign at No. 1 lasts only a week, partially because you have no business being first in the BCS to begin with.
I don't even think Missouri is that good, but until a top-ranked team shows up on the road against an inspired opponent, I'll continue to look the other way.
Air Force (+18.5) over TCU.
In response to a quote from a team doctor saying that he was accosted by Gary Patterson after diagnosing a TCU running back with a concussion, Patterson said that he was not given the opportunity to share his side of the story.
I guess Patterson is waiting for another chance to share his version of events. This is how I picture Patterson's interview transpiring:
Reporter: Coach Patterson, would you care to respond to the allegations from the team doctor?
Patterson: I was not given the opportunity to share my side of the story.
Reporter: Well would you like to take the opportunity now?
Patterson: No thank you.
Reporter: Okay...are you sure?
Patterson: Next question, please.
Washington (+6.5) over ARIZONA.
I feel badly for the Wildcats, as they were one of four teams that had a chance to win the conference until their quarterback, Foles, went down.
The Pac-10 might have been the best conference in the country this year, but we'll never know for sure after crippling injuries to both Oregon State and Arizona.
If the Huskies can escape from Tucson with a win, Washington will be 3-1 in conference with a ton of momentum going forward. Maybe Jake Locker's Heisman campaign isn't dead quite yet.
Last Week: 7-5-2
Season to Date: 21-16-3