College Morning Picks: Big Games in California

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer ISeptember 13, 2008

Boy, ESPN is really working Kirk Herbstreit this week. You can tell he's losing his voice and they haven't even put on the main show.

I won't lose my voice, because I'm not actually talking for this, unless you’re inside my head.

My head is a scary place for anyone to visit, but right now it’s a .500 mind looking to improve after two weeks.

I got a 3-2 week under my belt to bring my overall record to an even 6-6. Hopefully, like any good baseball team, I can get that record up well over the mark and pad my lead like the Los Angeles Angels.

I went pretty easy last week and still managed to lose two games, including one failed upset and one failed "I still believe in you" pick.

Boston College failed me late, and Nevada couldn't hang longer than a half. In fact, they couldn't do what I expected them to do, score touchdowns.

I'm sure Florida and Oklahoma were "gimmie" picks, but I went out on the limb with East Carolina once again and got rewarded.

So, I'll take the 3-2 week and move on to much more difficult tasks. Like picking a winner between two storied programs on a collision course to meet head on.

The only thing with that is that they are meeting head on like two trains and they will inevitably knock each other off the track.

I'm not talking about Ohio State and Southern Cal. I'm talking about Michigan and Notre Dame of course!

I'll pick that other game as well, not to worry.

Last Week: 3-2

Overall: 6-6


Neuheisel Two-Step: UCLA @ BYU

Can the Bruins do it again?

The fact of the matter is that this time, it isn't a Tennessee team prone to let-down that they are facing. It's a BYU team that narrowly won last week after they blocked an extra-point attempt against Washington.

We all know the story, but did you know BYU did the same thing to UCLA a year ago in one of their two meetings?

UCLA did win the regular-season game, but don't think they don't have that loss and what happened to their Pac-10 brethren in mind.

Game two will be much smoother for Kevin Craft, and UCLA probably has a little more talent than Washington does. Granted, they don't have a Jake Locker, but they have momentum.

Not to say last week was an injustice, but a UCLA win will remove all that animosity over BYU's win last week. Go with Neuheisel and the Bruins in a close one. Don't forget, Norm Chow against the program he wanted to be the head man at.


The Bulldog Letdown: Auburn @ Mississippi State

Last year, the Bulldogs went into Auburn and shocked the Tigers in their SEC opener.

This year, Auburn has LSU on-deck, and they have to travel to Starkville to take on Sly Croom and Mississippi State.

While Mississippi State has a lot of experience on the defensive side of the football, Auburn is in week two of their new offense with Chris Todd at the helm, and they could have been farther along, had Todd started from Week One.

Don't worry about the fact that the Bulldogs lost to Louisiana Tech in the opener, they are a decent team that will play Auburn tough.

But, I'll go with Auburn to narrowly escape a letdown. They survived Southern Mississippi last week; expect them to take Mississippi State more seriously this time around.


To Hell With...Eh: Michigan @ Notre Dame

My Maize and Blue blood is boiling after listening to Charlie Weis put down the Michigan program in real awkward fashion.

Someone tell Charlie the game hasn't been played yet, so we can't make excuses yet.

This is going to be uglier than last year's thrashing at the Big House. It won't be a blowout in either direction, but it will be ugly in the sense that there’s bad weather on the front, both offenses are in a state of transition, one being more ahead than the other, and the defenses are both further along.

Michigan has the superior defense, which will be the reason the Wolverines are sticking around in this one. They may need a defensive score to aid them, but I think they'll give Jimmy Clausen nightmares once again.

Speaking of nightmares, I get them after watching Lou Holtz shout, "We're Notre Dame and we’re special!" Objective much, Dr. Lou?

I may be going Dr. Lou on you though. While it didn't work out well in the first week, I've yet to take faith in Notre Dame turning the corner after they struggled to put up points against San Diego State. I may take Michigan with a narrow 2-0 victory via the safety.


The Other Big Game: Wisconsin @ Fresno State

You say there is a big game in California being played today?

Yeah, there are two, and this one I consider to have just as much impact as Southern Cal and Ohio State playing. There is just as much riding on Wisconsin and Fresno State playing.

Wisconsin could take advantage of an Ohio State loss and maybe rally their team into a National Title picture.

Then again, they have a pesky group of Bulldogs to deal with first.

Fresno State has BCS aspirations after dismantling Rutgers in the second half. Pat Hill isn't afraid of stiff competition, and the Badgers are just an example in that belief.

I'm feeling frisky, because the Bulldogs have been chomping at the bit, no pun intended, to welcome the Badgers into their home stadium. The game has been on their mind since the first week and they will not disappoint.

I'm going with Fresno State to pull the upset and the second big BCS buster victory of the year.


Ho Hum, Who's Playing?: Ohio State @ Southern Cal

I thought I already covered the big game in California?

Oh well, might as well bow down to the big matchup like everyone else has.

The injury to Chris "Beanie" Wells doesn't impact my opinion on this game. He would be the offensive player for both teams with the most experience and talent if were playing.

It will probably make it easier for the Trojans' defense, but don't overlook the fact that Ohio State has a ferocious group on that side of the ball as well.

I think, when it comes down to it, there won't be a lot of points thrown up on the board. There is too much talent on the defensive side of the ball for this to get out of hand either way.

USC's game plan must center on making Todd Boeckman beat them. Ohio State needs to control the tempo and keep USC's offense off the field. A classic defensive chess match and I'm expecting that from the get-go.

I like Southern Cal on a late defensive turnover to seal the deal and roll on as the No. 1 team in the nation.


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