After all the hubbub about the greatest comeback of all time and making my triumphant return to being above .500 in my picks, we've had what they call in the business "a setback."
Strangely, I went 4-6 last week and the ones I picked correctly were: Oregon State over USC, Mississippi State over LSU, Ole Miss over Florida (this is where I hate being right!), and Alabama over Georgia.
I didn't know Ole Miss would win outright, although I had a hunch and I had NO idea Alabama would manhandle Georgia the way they did. Crazy week.
No hyperbole this week about Jesse Palmer. No trash talk about great comebacks. Just picks and one piece of advice.
Memo to coaches of BCS conference schools: If you have ANY chance at a championship any season, DO NOT SCHEDULE THURSDAY GAMES. It's just not worth it at this point. On to the picks...
Boston College (-8.5) at NC State
NC State is fairly dreadful this year and very difficult to watch. Phillip Rivers and Mario Williams must be losing sleep in their enormous mansions trying to watch them.
Boston College may be the most consistent team I’ve ever seen. They’re never really THAT great (I know…I know…they were ranked No. 2 last year), but they’re never really all the way in the tank. 8.5 is a lot of points, but NC State is really bad.
No. 6 Penn State (-13) at Purdue
I’m breaking one of my unofficial picking rules with this one. Penn State plays at Wisconsin next week and can easily overlook this Purdue squad and come out flat. Purdue seems to have a skill of keeping games close and losing them late. They’re at home and they are just frisky enough to make a game of this.
In the end, I think the Nittany Lions pull away late on their way to a possible title game bid. (What? We don’t all want to see Oklahoma vs. Penn State in the BCS Championship game??)
Duke (+14) at Georgia Tech
David Cutcliffe continues on his quest to make each and every Tennessee Volunteer fan throw themselves over the top of Neyland Stadium. Great offensive coach. Pedestrian Tech team. They may win outright, but they’re not losing by two TDs. (Did I just write that about Duke?!?!)
#12 Florida at Arkansas (+24.5)
Two developing trends here. This is Arkansas’ third consecutive 20+ point spread as the underdog. This is the first time I’m picking the opponent to cover against the Gators two consecutive weeks.
Arkansas is pretty terrible this year, but for goodness' sakes…they're a Division I team! Lee Corso had it right on the button. Florida’s offense does not have an identity, and they won’t beat good teams on the road like that.
That being said, what the heck happened last week?!?!? Let me get this right…Florida spent four weeks focusing on the run and getting their new stable of running backs (Moody, Rainey, Demps) involved and used to the offense.
Then in a pinch, we get Percy Harvin 756 touches and start running the same exact offense we ran against Michigan last year in the Capital One Bowl. Receivers are going to start transferring…very soon.
South Carolina (+2.5) at Ole Miss
This just in. Ole Miss is very good. They had two close ones with ranked teams (Vandy and Wake Forest) before finally winning a close one, at the Swamp no less.
However, Spurrier will have his team ready this week. This is a textbook letdown week for Ole Miss, as they play No. 2 Alabama next week. Spurrier will avenge his alma mater’s loss and get by Ole Miss in Oxford.
Stanford at Notre Dame (-7.5)
The “Ty Willingham” Bowl! I don’t know what to make of this one. Stanford beat the team that beat USC (Oregon State). Notre Dame beat the team that beat Wisconsin (Michigan).
As much as I don’t want to admit it, the Irish may really be better: at least good enough to beat teams that they should beat, like Stanford. I give them the nod for being at home.
Florida State at Miami (-2.5)
Here’s the short list of who is NOT playing in this game: Charlie Ward, Warrick Dunn, Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Willis McGahee, Derrick Brooks, Deion Sanders, Clinton Portis, Kellen Winslow Jr., Marvis Jones, Jonathan Vilma, Bryant McKinnie, Peter Warrick, Laverneaus Coles, Santana Moss, Steve Walsh, Casey Weldon, Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde, Bernie Kosar, Lee Corso, Fred Bilitnekoff, and Burt Reynolds. All former Noles and ‘Canes players. Now we’ve got Robert Marve vs. Christian Ponder. Please refer back to this list in the middle of watching this game if it will help hold your interest.
ABC should just show clips and replays of this game from the past 20 years and intersperse them to cross over years. So in the first quarter you get Steve Walsh throwing to Michael Irvin and Charlie Ward running sprint draws.
By the third quarter, you’ll have Chris Weinke throwing deep to Snoop Minnis and Ken Dorsey hitting Kellen Winslow for a TD. Then televise the real fourth quarter. The tradition continues…Miami by 3 as FSU misses a field goal as time expires.
Kentucky at No. 2 Alabama (-16.5)
The ONLY reason this isn’t a 20-point spread is the fear that Bama will start reading their own press clippings now that they’re ranked #2 and maybe go through the motions a little bit.
I think Saban is too much of a stubborn SOB to let that happen and challenges his players to dominate this one. They win by three TDs or more.
No. 13 Auburn (-4) at No. 19 Vanderbilt
I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the ESPN board room as they were deciding where to have College GameDay this week. I wonder if somebody jumped up and down on the table imploring them to go to Columbus for OSU vs. Wisconsin.
It probably became a Big Ten vs. SEC debate until somebody said, “Everyone! This is absolutely, positively, the last time Vandy will ever be remotely relevant enough to host this show. We can go to Columbus anytime.”
S/he would be right! It’s a perfect time with Jay Cutler’s NFL success at center stage. Good for Vandy…the best intramural team in the country!
That being said…they’re not beating Auburn. The Tigers' offense is pretty bad, but it’s coming around. They should get enough to beat Vandy by a TD.
No. 14 Ohio State (-2) at No. 18 Wisconsin
I don’t know what to make of this one. How will Terrelle Pryor handle a night game on the road with what will be a heavily ginned-up crowd? Can Wisconsin bounce back from a game they had in hand against a brutal Michigan offense?
I think Ohio State gets a bad rap for getting pummeled on national TV by the Trojans. They are playing another Big Ten team, so they should be OK. Don’t adjust your TV if it looks like they’re running in slow motion…that’s just how they run.
That’s it for the picks.
Last week: 4-6
On a side note, I feel like I should mention former USC running back and Heisman Trophy winner OJ Simpson was found guilty of all charges against him in the armed robbery debacle. It was 13 years to the exact date that he was acquitted on a double-murder charge. He faces 15 years to life in prison…OJ is 61 years old.
I mention that because I clearly remember where I was 13 years ago when the verdict was announced, I remember people being gathered around TVs, I remember the air leaving the room when the verdict was announced, and I remember the feeling of division between races after it happened.
The OJ verdict was one of the most polarizing events of my lifetime (aside from the LA police officer trial/Rodney King thing) and now, 13 years later, it’s the fourth story on Sportscenter.
I’m guessing the public has said, “Fool me once, shame on you. I won’t be fooled twice.” The OJ Simpson story is just an unbelievable series of events, and now he is almost like the “anti-Forrest Gump” in what his life has become. But that’s for another article…
Thanks, America, for getting smarter in the past 13 years.