Each week this season, I will be posting a column previewing the upcoming weekend's Big East and Top-25 match-ups. All rankings are from the
ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Picks are against the spread
(that means I'm not picking winners, just the line), and are for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week: The WBBY2K bandwagon rolls on out of the station
(*lol* this is too much!) as Butch Davis finally
wins a big one. Congrats Canes, it was long time coming. Also, Tennessee falls out of the polls for the first time since …
geez, since I don't remember.
This Week: #2.5 is good enough for me. Either Kansas State or Nebraska will lose eventually. All we've got to do is
TKOB. Sorry for the shortness of this week's column, but heading down to the Burg for a Thursday night game really cuts down on my free time to do this.
Not In Action This Week: #6
Miami(FL), #11 TCU, #14 Mississippi St.
#2 VIRGINIA TECH (-20.5) vs. West Virginia
My one wish for this game, is that all three parts of the Hokies game perform well at once. I don't need to see records broken, but I'd be sooooooooooo much happier if we could get a good defensive performance, a good running attack, and at least an average passing game to go with our usual excellent special teams (Punting: no comment).
Pick: West Virginia
#1 Nebraska (-20) @ TEXAS TECH
Continuing their "Welcome to the big time" tour, Nebraska travels to Lubbock this week, to put the mighty Red Raiders of Texas Tech firmly in their place. Tech is 5-1, but don't be fooled. The one decent team they've played (Texas A&M) doubled up on them. The remaining hodgepodge of has-beens and
never-will-bes are a combined 7-22, topped off by MWC also-ran New Mexico at 3-4. The defense is not bad, but the offense is mediocre at best, and not up to the challenge presented by the Huskers.
Nebraska isn't unbeatable. They were up only 21-20 heading into the 4th quarter against Iowa State, and the defense is in serious need of some work I don't think Texas Tech is the one to do it, but road trips to Oklahoma (10/28) and Kansas State (11/11) loom large.
Texas Tech could keep it interesting for about a half, but that should be about it.
#3 KANSAS STATE (-9.5) vs. #8 Oklahoma
My, oh my, what have we got here? Most of the pundits figured the Sooner would be decent this year, but by taking the Longhorns to school last week, Oklahoma looks to be on an accelerated timetable. This weekend we find out which is more for real, a Kansas State defense ranked #1 overall and #5 in scoring against…or an Oklahoma aerial assault ranked #6 in the nation, and #2 in scoring. If nothing else, the scoreboard operators should get a workout in this one.
Oh, BTW, Go
Pick: Kansas State
#4 CLEMSON (-29) vs. Maryland
Hey, check that out. Looks like Clemson was in a bit of a dogfight against N.C. State. Nothing wrong with that, as the Pack is a pretty good team this year. Does tell me that perhaps this isn't the year for FSU to topple. Then again, who knows.
In the aftermath of their 59-7 thumping at the hands of the Seminoles, the Maryland athletic training staff now brings a post-hole digger with them on road trips.
#5 OHIO STATE (-10.5) vs. Minnesota
Forget Kansas State. The Buckeyes are whom we've really got to worry about. Playing in the Big Ten, they'll have the schedule to beat us out in the computer rankings. Fortunately, playing in the Big Ten will make it very difficult for them to go 11-0.
Minnesota's no pushover. 4-2 with a thrashing of Illinois in the mix. Of course there's also an unsightly loss to Ohio University, but let's not dwell on that.
OSU can win this one in impressive fashion, I'll be…well…impressed.
#7 FLORIDA STATE (-48) vs. Dook
Yeah? Well I bet them Dookies got higher SAT scores!
#9 FLORIDA (-9.5) vs. #19 Auburn
No shame in losing by 7 in Starkeville. Auburn's a pretty darn good team, and should give Florida all they can handle. It looks like Spurrier's settled on a quarterback, for now at least, so maybe they can play as well against Auburn as they did against LSU last week. Auburn needs this one to keep pace with
Mississippi State in the West, while Florida can win a tiebreaker with Georgia when they meet head to head.
#10 Washington (-6) @ ARIZONA STATE
OK, so the Pac-Ten is about done with their significant non-conference games. I never get to watch them much on TV, and with a top ranking of #10 they are not likely to make it back into the MNC hunt. I think Oregon's going to the Rose Bowl, and everything else is just filler.
#12 Oregon (-2) @ SOUTHERN CAL
And now they take things on the road. The quack attack goes Hollywood this weekend, and a listless
USC-West team basically has two options. (a) Rise up and actually play to their potential, or (b) Continue under-performing and losing to teams they shouldn't. Given Paul Hackett's less than stellar record at each previous head-coaching stop, I'm thinking (b) is more likely. Also, Oregon is not necessarily a team that they should beat.
#13 GEORGIA (-21) vs. Vanderbilt
You'd think that a school with a MNC under their belt would have a better idea how to celebrate a big win! Tsk tsk
tsk. Bad Bulldogs!
#15 UCLA (-11) @ CALIFORNIA
UCLA should take this one pretty easily. At 1-4, Cal is having a horrible year. The bruins had a week off to get over their loss, and should get back to winning some ball games here.
#16 Southern Mississippi (-14.5) @ TULANE
Anyone think Southern Miss wants a mulligan for the Tennessee game?
#17 MICHIGAN (-16.5) vs. Indiana
So now maybe the "Big Game" will be for a Rose Bowl berth? Well, not if Northwestern has anything to say about it, but that's a ways off yet. For now, the Michicken defense will have it's hands full with Indiana. Of course, since Indiana plays defense-optional football, I doubt this one will be very close.
#18 NORTHWESTERN (+4) vs. #21 Purdue
HOME underdogs, to a lower ranked team. That's insulting! When you look closely, however, Northwestern seems primed for a fall. They give up 200 yards per game on the ground, and 26 points per game. They've been rolling up the offense at the expense of some defensively poor teams, and that won't last forever.
After finally getting over the hump last week against
Michicken, Purdue has got to be feeling extremely confident. A confident Purdue squad is a deadly Purdue squad.
#20 OREGON STATE (-8.5) vs. Stanford
Go figure, they lose a game and move up three positions in the poll. I guess that's what happens when you pull a
"woulda, coulda, shoulda" on the road against a top-10 team. It's going to take more than a "woulda coulda
shoulds" effort against Stanford. They're not remotely the same team that won the Pac-Ten last year, and OSU should handle them easily at home. Simonton should run for about a mile, and OSU should cover easily.
Pick: Oregon State
#22 ARIZONA (-12.5) vs. Washington State
Wazzou, as in "Wazzou think about that one-year wonder up there in Washington?", or "Wazzou think about the Cougars' chances of going bowling this year?", or
"Wazzou think the Cats are gonna win by this week?"
#23 Texas (pick 'em) @ COLORADO
On the one hand, Gary Barnett successfully emasculated his team in to playing well by taking the Buffalo symbol off of their helmets. On the other hand, Mack Brown's team went the extra yard, proving that they have no problem embarrassing themselves in front of the whole nation. Is it just me, or does Texas seem to do this every year?
#24 SOUTH CAROLINA (-5) vs. Arkansas
Win here, and the Gamecocks are going bowling. Wow! I've never been a big Lou Holtz fan, but that was really more of a Notre Dame thing than a Lou Holtz thing. The man is simply doing a helluva job here. Early odds-on coach of the year in my book.
#25 Mississippi (+4) @ ALABAMA
Unlike Alabama, Ole Miss actually has more than Pride left to play for. They've got more weapons, and probably better coaching. Having said that, playing at Alabama is never easy.
Other Big East Games:
BOSTON COLLEGE (pick 'em) vs. Syracuse
WANTED: One kicker. No experience necessary. Must be able to kick in varying weather conditions, such as no wind, climate control, and flat dry field. Send resume to
Pick: Boston College
Temple (-7.5) @ RUTGERS
Normally this game is a crapshoot. Methinks this year I'm picking Temple in a walk.
Game of the Week to Watch: Kansas State vs. Oklahoma
Upset Special: Go Purple! Northwestern to take down Purdue!
Last Week: 11-9
Season to Date: 75-65
Upset Special: 2-5