Beerman's Picks
By Beerman, 9/6/00

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, and are for entertainment purposes only.

Last Week: Toledo, Temple, Rutgers win. Huh?

This Week: Will sanity return to the ranks of college football? Will Temple and Rutgers actually establish winning streaks? Who's still giving Penn State votes in the polls? Is Miami really "back"? One week into the season, and we've got more questions than we did going in. Me? I picked Temple and Rutgers last week and was proven right. I think I'm gonna ride this Big East train as far as it goes.

Not In Action This Week: #7 Kansas State, #11 Tennessee, #24 Southern Mississippi

Top-25 Games:

Thursday (9/7)

#9 Virginia Tech (-5.5) @ EAST CAROLINA

I called 49-22, the final was 52-23. This week I'm calling 30-21 (good guys!)

OK, the good news is that the offense hasn't missed a beat. The bad news is that the defense missed several. OK, so Akron isn't horrible, but even so, they should have shut them down better than that. The cliché is that a team improves the most from their first to their second game. We'd better hope that's the case here, cause Garrard and Co. are no Akron.

East Carolina is a solid team. Sure, walloping Dook is no great challenge…unless maybe you're a Wahoo…but they are a scary, scary team. They've got the guns to score a few on us, but I don't think that the Pirate defense is up for their end of the deal.

Pick: Hokies

Top-25 Games:

Saturday (9/9)

#1 Nebraska (-13.5) @ #25 NOTRE DAME

If there's any satisfaction to be gained from Notre Dame squeaking into the top-25, it's in the fact that they will be leaving with a quickness this weekend.

Pick: Notre Dame

#2 Florida State (-22) @ GEORGIA TECH

Last year, Georgia Tech had one of the top offenses in the nation, and this allowed them to hang tough with the Noles even in Tallahassee. Mr. Hamilton is gone now, and only the specter of a mediocre defense remains.

From afar, as Bobby Bowden approaches Atlanta with his squad in tow, it most closely resembles General William Tecumesh Sherman on his march to the sea.

Pick: Florida State

#3 MICHIGAN (-27) vs. Rice

Sure, so they won 42-7. That was just Bowling Green though. I mean, how are the Wolverines going to do it again this week when they've got to face a real team like …

oh wait… never mind.

Pick: Michigan

#4 Miami (FL) (-1.5) @ #15 WASHINGTON

The WBBY2K bandwagon heads out west this week, and the season gets going for real. UDub took a few hits in the off season, but still looks to be near the top of the Pac-Ten. This is a very real test for the Canes, and we should all watch how this plays out. Miami built their reputation on playing (and beating) anyone, anytime, anywhere. This is their chance to prove they can still do it. I say "Go Canes", cause the louder they're bragging on November 3rd, the louder I'll be laughing on the 4th.

Pick: Washington

#5 FLORIDA (-39) vs. Middle Tennessee State

Florida didn't look very impressive in their "Spring Game" last week against mighty Ball State. 2 blocked kicks, 9 points given up to the BSU defense. 33-19 starting the 4th quarter. I was right, it was ugly…but not in the way I'd imagined. In their second year of I-A competition, MTSU is sure to provide the challenge Florida needs in order to get ready for a brutal SEC schedule.

Pick: MTSU

#6 WISCONSIN (-8.5) vs. Oregon

I'm calling shenanigans! Dropping a bomb like 26 suspensions, a mere four hours before game time just isn't fair. Weeks, nay days, nay hours, veritable MINUTES of research go into these picks, and all for naught!

Oregon is many peoples' pick to win the Pac-10 this year. Oregon should be a pretty darn good team. No joke. If this game were out west I'd pick the Ducks in a heartbeat. Since it's in Madison, I'm not so sure…

Pick: Badgers

#8 TEXAS (-46) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

We here in the picks department of Beerman Inc. have received many questions about who/what/where these La-La and La-Mo teams are. It's simple really. Remember SW-Louisiana and NE-Louisiana? Them's them. "Which is which?" you ask, "Does it really matter?" I respond. All these schools are squabbling about which gets to be The University of Louisiana. Meanwhile you've got the big dog (LSU) saying "Not on our watch!" So this is the compromise. Woo-hoo. Don't we all feel just a little smarter now?

Pick: La-La

#10 Georgia (-9.5) @ SOUTH CAROLINA

29-7 may not look too impressive, but Georgia Southern was I-AA champ last year. Gawgia still probably won't beat Florida or Tennessee, but they'll likely finish 8-3 or 9-2 and go to a decent bowl…just like every year.

'Cocks win! 'Cocks win! And boy, do they! 31-0 is always fun, and it doesn't really matter who it was against. Don't read anything into it, however, USC-South is still going to rot this year. 3-8 or 4-7 is about all that they can hope for.

Pick: Dogs

#12 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (-7) vs. Colorado

Last week I was impressed by the thrashing USC laid upon Penn State, now I'm not so sure. The Trojans are likely for real this year, and Colorado should be a good test. The Buffs have settled nicely into second-tier status, and I expect that they'll be there for a little while yet.

Pick: USC

#13 PURDUE (-43) vs. Kent

Purdue's only real concern in this game is that Brees might throw so many passes his arm falls clean off (It's only a flesh wound!)

Pick: Kent

#14 ALABAMA (-21.5) vs. Vanderbilt

Boom! The first one goes down, and every coach who refuses to play tough non-conference opposition is vindicated. *sigh*

Pick: Bama

#16 Ohio State (-5.5) @ ARIZONA

43-10 is a nice way to start, but 28 of those were from defensive touchdowns. Not to minimize them, I mean we've had more than our share over the years, but that's only 15 points that the OSU offense put on the board. Arizona is not Fresno State, and the Buckeyes are going to have to step it up a notch here. I'm still not convinced that OSU is a top-20 team, but if they can take down Zona on the road, I'll be a little closer to believing

Pick: Zona

#17 UCLA (-14) vs. Fresno State

No kidding? UCLA? Well I'll be…Sure, I'll bite. I'll say that maybe the Pac-Ten has rebounded from last year's poor showing. Washington? Oregon? Who knows, after holding off Bama, looks like we've got to start paying attention to the Bruins as well.

Fresno's defense did pretty well last week against OSU, but that could just as easily have been OSU playing badly on offense. Tom-ay-to, Tom-ah-to. On the road again, against a sky-high UCLA team, this just isn't fair :o)

Pick: UCLA

#18 MISSISSIPPI (-3) vs. Auburn

Auburn's back baybee! Well, their running game is at least. I dunno why, but I've always kind of liked the War Eagle, so I'm glad to see them getting back to form.

Ole Miss … now these guys could be good this year. Wait, that's what I said last week. Well you know what? I'm standing by that. They rolled right over Tulane (no great shakes) and I expect them to take it right to Auburn this week.

Pick: Mississippi

#19 CLEMSON (-17) vs. Missouri

16 of 17 eh? That's pretty good. Even against a I-AA team. Clemson didn't win as big as I'd expected, but they did win big. Missouri is a step up from The Citadel, but not by a whole lot. A sea of orange in this one.

Pick: Clemson

#20 OKLAHOMA (-32) vs. Arkansas State

Oklahoma rolled over UTEP like they weren't even there. Texas is the odds-on favorite in the B-12 South, but they'd better watch out. The Okies might just have something to say about it before we're all finished.

Arkansas State came pretty darn close to upsetting NC State last week. Anyone else catch that? 2 OTs! Hmm…

Pick: AkSU

#21 Illinois (-6.5) @ SAN DIEGO STATE

Ooof. Anyone watch that Arizona/SDSU game last week? I think they set football back about 20 years. Some low scoring games are defensive battles, some are just snoozers of inept offense. Illinois most definitely does not have an inept offense. It should be interesting to see how the Aztec "D" holds up against Kurt Kittner and his traveling aerial show.

Pick: SDSU

#22 TCU (no line) vs. Nevada

The real bet here is not on the game. TCU should take it fairly easily. The real bet is the over/under on LaDanian Thomslinson's rushing yardage. I say about 250.

Pick: TCU

#23 MICHIGAN STATE (-8.5) vs. Marshall


Look what we've got here!

We all know about how Marshall just keeps on winning, seemingly no matter whom they play. Of course they've not really gone up against one of the "big boys". I'm not sure if I'd put MSU up in that class, but they do have a "name", and as such should be expected to win this one. Except this is the Spartans' opener, and Marshall's got one game under their belts already.


Marshall's been gunning for this kind of opportunity since they moved up to I-A. I think I've got to call "Herd" here. Not just to cover, but to win outright.

Pick: Marshall 

Other Big East Games:

Saturday (9/9)

Pittsburgh (-8) @ BOWLING GREEN

If UPitt is truly on an upswing, they shouldn't have too much trouble going on the road and beating a mediocre MAC squad. These are the games on which conference power ratings hinge.

Pick: Bowling Green

RUTGERS (-24) vs. Buffalo

No kidding, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw this line. On the other hand, Buffalo is really pretty bad. I called shutout last week and wasn't far off. I'm closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and picking …

Pick: Rutgers

Syracuse (-7.5) @ CINCINNATI

Don't be fooled. 63-7 over Buffalo doesn't solve Syracuse's quarterback problems. The Cuse seems to lose one or two each year that they shouldn't…but this won't be it.

Pick: Orange

Temple (+10) @ MARYLAND

Isn't that cute? Temple won an actual, honest to goodness, non-conference game. Now lets pat them on the head, and give them a cookie before sending them off to bed.

Seriously though, not only did Temple win, they held the Middies to less than 100 yards rushing. Now Navy may not win very often, but they always rush well. Interesting. Maryland will live and die this season based on how well LaMont Jordan runs. Interesting.

Dare I? Sometimes, you've just got to say "What the Hell!"

Pick: Owls

Boston College (-7) @ ARMY

They couldn't catch, but made up for it my throwing interceptions and fumbling handoffs. Two steps forward, one step back.

Pick: Boston College 

Game of the Week to Watch: Miami @ Washington

Upset Special: Marshall over Michigan State

Last Week: 14-9

Season to Date: 16-11

Upset Special: 1-1


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