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: Wow did I get crushed on my picks. Oy! I'm going to blame the short week, and say I didn't have enough time for proper research…anyone buying that?
This Week: A whole host of walkovers and also-rans playing in the Top-25. If your yard needs work, this could be the weekend to do it. Just be sure to finish up before dinner, cause at 7:00 we've got business to take care of.
Not In Action This Week: #4 Oklahoma, #7 Florida, #12 Ohio State, #15 Southern Miss, #25 N.C. State
#1 NEBRASKA (-48) vs. Baylor
Nebraska stepped up to the plate last weekend, and reminded the nation that the Blackshirt defense is not to be ignored. The travel to Oklahoma on 10/28, and that's when things could get interesting.
Baylor? Bah! They're about as hapless as hapless gets.
#2 Virginia Tech (-13.5) @ SYRACUSE
Any place other than the Jiffy-Pop Dome, and any team other than Syracuse, and I don't think twice about this game. We're significantly better in every facet of the game than the Orangemen, and on paper we should be able to pretty much toy with them. Too bad it isn't paper. It's a loud, non-air conditioned, flat astro-turf nightmare…and there's nothing good about it.
What we at home won't get to see, but is a pretty neat trick, is how the Syracuse marching band spells out "Fire Pasqualoni" at halftime. The Notorious B.O.G. dots the "i".
#3 Clemson (-18) @ NORTH CAROLINA
It's almost-Vick vs. never-was-Vick in another "classic" ACC matchup. Lucky us, that most of us live in ACC country and will be sure to be able to see it. Golly, I can't wait.
#5 Miami (FL) (-22) @ TEMPLE
I'm actually surprised that the line is as low as it is. I mean we all know Temple is better than usual, but that doesn't mean they're actually good, just better than Rutgers. With a week off after FSU, the Canes should have worked through their celebration, and still have plenty of time to focus on the Owls.
As much as I'd love to be able to throw "TEMPLE!" back in the Canes' faces, we absolutely, under no circumstances, want the upset here.
#6 FLORIDA STATE (-31) vs. Virginia
As old as he is, Mr. Wineke's going to develop an arthritic shoulder if he stays in there for too many more of those 500-yard passing games. Then again, with Wahoo State's woeful secondary, he may only have to throw 20 times to do it.
#8 KANSAS STATE (-32) vs. Texas Tech
I guess adjusting from a one game schedule to a two-game schedule, was simply too much for the Wildcats to pull off. It was good of them to play along though, and as a consolation they'll probably be vanquished to some also-ran bowl off in some godforsaken part of West Texas.
Speaking of godforsaken parts of Texas, if the Red Raiders play it right they could go down 56-3 for the second week in a row.
Pick: Kansas State
#9 WASHINGTON (-16) vs. California
Like the Big Ten and the SEC before them, the Pac Ten has begun to eat its own. Lowly Cal rose up to knock of UCLA in triple-overtime last week.
Similarly, UDub got a scare from Arizona State. Of course, ASU plays very tough at home, so that might not mean much. Nevertheless, Washington should take this one easily…but there seems to be no safe bet in the major conference match-ups this year.
#10 Texas Christian (-27) @ TULSA
Sitting at #10, TCU is making things interesting for the BcS folks. Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, Nebraska vs. Kansas State, Virginia Tech vs. Miami (FL), Clemson vs. Florida State, Florida State vs. Florida…not to mention the B-12 and SEC title games…with just the barest bit of luck, an 11-0 TCU team is in very good shape for a top-6 opinion poll spot. The computer polls? Iffy…
I've never seen a line move as much as this one. It was (-17) on Monday, and (-27) on Wednesday. That's pretty insulting to Tulsa :o)
#11 OREGON (-9) vs. #20 Arizona
Oregon is just plain good. No two ways about it, and I bet they'd crush Wisconsin if they got an opportunity at a rematch. Arizona isn't bad either, but methinks the Ducks add one more to that home winning streak here.
The winner of this game looks to be in the driver's seat for the Rose Bowl. Smells like a Left Coast night game, so stay up late and watch your FoxSportsNet affiliate.
#13 Georgia (off) @ KENTUCKY
We already know they don't have a defense, but if Kentucky's offense is failing them also, how are we supposed to tell them from Vanderbilt?
#14 Mississippi State (-5.5) @ LSU
LSU can be a pretty good team when firing on all cylinders. But that's the problem, they don't seem to be able to do that very often. Even playing in Death Valley isn't the guarantee it once was. (UAB?!?)
Mississippi State is a bit hit-or-miss on offense, but they've been getting better. Defensively they're phenomenal, and it's looking more and more like they're going to win the SEC-West.
I'll pick defense over potential every time
#16 MICHIGAN (-15.5) vs. Michigan State
At this rate, the Big Ten will be decided by default. No single team looks to be dominant, but I think I've got to give the edge to Michicken
Pick: Red Dawn
#17 Purdue (-2) @ WISCONSIN
Go figure, Purdue turned out to be the team capable of stopping the Northwestern rushing attack. Hey, good for them! While Northwestern has had some success running the ball this year, Wisconsin has a GROUND GAME. Should be interesting to see if Purdue can turn the trick two weeks in a row.
It's no secret why Wisconsin is only 3-3 right now. It's the defense stupid! What was a top-5 unit last year has been lousy this year, and they returned most of their starters! #64 against the rush, and #97 against the pass is no way to win ball games. Drew Brees vanquished the Michigan monkey earlier this year, and I'm saying he'll take down the Badgers as well.
#18 Oregon State (+3.5) @ #24 UCLA
UCLA still has a shot at the Rose Bowl, but it isn't a very good one. Oregon State is in pretty good shape, and the season-ender against the mighty Ducks could be for all kinds of marbles. I doubted them against USC-West, and my attempt at penance is to pick them as my upset for this week. Go Beavers!
#19 South Carolina (-6) @ VANDERBILT
Impending bowl-eligibility in Columbia. Egads! It must be Corso's music…
#21 TEXAS (-22) vs. Missouri
What to say, what to say, what to say…well a mere six games into the season Mack Brown's finally realized what the rest of us knew all along. Now I hear Chris Simms is considering transferring. Let's see now…true freshman gets handed the starting QB job over a returning starter who had a terrific season last year…he fails to produce in any of his starts, while said returning starter gets the job done every time. Now he gets benched and wants to transfer? Crybaby! This is the very definition of "million dollar arm, ten cent head".
#22 Notre Dame (-3.5) @ WEST VIRGINIA
I'm still not sold on Notre Dame, and I'm getting real tired of the talking heads spouting off about 9-2 and BcS games for a team with five games to go. I want to see the
Mountaineers knock them silly.
#23 Minnesota (-7) @ INDIANA
Ever wanted to give a Gopher a big, wet, sloppy kiss?
Pick: Minnesota, eh!
Other Big East Games:
PITTSBURGH (-3.5) vs. Boston College
Boston College beat Syracuse, who beat UPitt. If the Panthers win this one (they should), third place in the Big East is going to be a real mess. Might come down to who falls to Temple! We've already passed BC, so I'd like it if
UPitt could be 5-1 when they come to town…perhaps they'd even be in the top-25?
Rutgers (+8) @ NAVY
Navy is horrible this year. Rutgers, however, is merely Rutgers. Vegas is so used to making Rutgers the underdog, that I think it's hard-coded into their computers. They're right to do it.
Game of the Week to Watch: The cupboard's pretty bare this week. The only top-25 match-ups are on the West Coast (that means late
night to you and me), so I think I'm actually calling the Bama-Vol game.
Upset Special: Beavers over Bruins
Last Week: 8-13
Season to Date: 83-78
Upset Special: 2-6