Beerman's Picks
By Beerman, 9/21/00

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 (that means I'm not picking winners, just the line), and are for entertainment purposes only.

Last Week: Hail to Pitt! A banner week in the Big East: Temple actually walks all over someone, UPitt has bragging rights for the better part of a decade, and maybe that Cinci victory over Syracuse wasn't as bad as we all thought. Oh, three more pretenders fell off the pace…and Bama fell off the map.

This Week: Since I don't have a game to attend, I plan on actually watching a lot of these other games. Sports Center is a wonderful thing, but satellite television is even better!

Not In Action This Week: #4 Virginia Tech, #7 Washington

Top-25 Games:

Saturday (9/23)

#1 NEBRASKA (-41) vs. Iowa

Having now dropped three consecutive to rival Iowa State, things are looking pretty bad for the Hawkeyes. Facing Nebraska after they've had a week off just isn't fair.

Pick: Nebraska

#2 FLORIDA STATE (-34) vs. Louiseville

Woo-hoo! A good old-fashioned Cardinal thumping … gives me a nice warm fuzzy inside.

Pick: Seminoles

#3 FLORIDA (-22.5) vs. Kentucky

Spurrier knows it's better to be lucky than good. Kentucky's going to have to be really lucky to pull this one out. Hal Mumme does interesting things on offense, but he's yet to establish any kind of defensive presence. Even a struggling Florida offense should make mincemeat of Kentucky.

Pick: Gators

#5 KANSAS STATE (-51.5) vs. North Texas

Since 76-0 didn't seem to impress the voters, I'm fully expecting Coach Snyder to aim for the century mark here.

Pick: KSU

#6 WISCONSIN (-16.5) vs. Northwestern

OK OK, I've learned my lesson. Just don't pick Wisconsin to cover. They're going to win, but it will be close. I think this will be the last game for those suspensions, and that’s a good thing. Next up: at Michigan.

Pick: Northwestern

#8 UCLA (+3) @ OREGON

You want to talk about no respect? UCLA's only beaten two teams ranked #3 at the time, and here they are underdogs to an unranked team. Granted, Oregon is supposed to be pretty good, and UCLA is on the road, but still…

This line's gone up 3 days in a row. Someone out there must think pretty highly of them Ducks!

As bad as the Pac-Ten looked last year, they're looking twice as good this year.

Pick: UCLA

#9 SOUTHERN CAL (-23.5) vs. San Jose State

About the only blemish on the P-10's record this year is the San Jose State victory over Stanford. I'd say Stanford's no good, but some folks in Austin, TX might disagree.

USC-West wins, but not by 3 TDs

Pick: SJSU

#10 Michigan (-6.5) @ #17 ILLINOIS

Bowling Green…yawn, Rice…yawn, UCLA …. *WHAM* ! Welcome to the big time Mr. Navarre.

An early-season Rose Bowl elimination game. QB Kurt Kittner sprained a knee against Cal last week, and his ability to play will be the deciding factor in this game. Without him, Illinois is sunk. If he's healthy and effective, it could be interesting.

Pick:  Illinois

#11 Clemson (-9.5) @ WAHOO STATE

UVA = Rutgers-South?

UVA beat a mediocre I-AA team 34-6. Rutgers beat a top-10 I-AA team 34-21

UVA beat a lousy I-A team 26-10. Rutgers beat a lousy I-A team 59-0

UVA lost to a mediocre I-A team 35-38. Rutgers lost to a top-5 I-A team 0-49

If he's not careful, Woody Dantzler might walk out Scott Stadium with a Heisman!

Pick: Clemson

#12 OHIO STATE (-12) vs. Penn State

Two or three years ago, this would have been a huge game. This year, Penn State is struggling mightily, and I think OSU's riding a little higher than they're going to end up. It's the BIG TEN, however, so I'm sure anyone who wants can find on TV somewhere. 1-3 and sinking fast, PSU will get rolled again.

Pick: OSU

#13 TENNESSEE (-36.5) vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Was it really a catch? I don't think so. On the other hand, Five field goals means you can't close the deal.

After losing a tough decision like that, it's best to work out one's frustrations on the heavy bag. That's what La-Mo is … the heavy bag of I-A football.

Pick: Vols

#14 Miami (FL) (-6.5) @ WEST VIRGINIA

I think it's going to get ugly. If they had that much trouble with Maryland, I don't think WVU has the stuff to hang with Miami. They'd better get on Dorsey, and do it with a quickness. Miami's still peeved about the Washington game, and it's way too early in the season for the possibility of throwing in the towel to be an issue. It isn't like they lost 62-0 or anything…

Pick: Miami

#15 TEXAS (-24.5) vs. Houston

Mack Brown may be the good ole' boy that Texas alums want to be running the show, but by not making up his mind, he's squandering the talents of two very talented quarterbacks. Losing to Stanford is not how you win national titles.

Did you know Texas has lost 4 of their last 5 games, dating back to last season? Beating up on Houston should make some of the pain go away.

Pick: Texas

#16 OKLAHOMA (-32.5) vs. Rice

This week, Rice-a-Roni is the Norman, Oklahoma treat!

Pick: Sooners

#18 Notre Dame (+4) @ #20 MICHIGAN STATE

I will grudgingly admit that perhaps, maybe, there is a slim possibility that Notre Dame could be for real. There, I said it. Now I'm going to go wash my hands.

Pick: Notre Dame

#19 TEXAS CHRISTIAN (-27) vs. Arkansas State

TCU will win by 30, and unless he's benched early, Thomlinson could set all kinds of records in this "game".

Pick: TCU

#21 PURDUE (-13.5) vs. Minnesota

That's the difference between Purdue and Virginia Tech. Michael Vick has a good supporting cast. Brees isn't out of the Heisman race now, not by a long shot, but he was definitely dealt a harsh blow last week.

Minnesota is just not very good. They were decent last year, with a solid defense. Most of the quality talent graduated, however, and what's left isn't up to this challenge.

Pick: Purdue

#22 AUBURN (-26.5) vs. Northern Illinois

I think Southern Mississippi just gained one more vote for eventual SEC admission!

Pick: Auburn

#23 Southern Mississippi (-6.5) @ OKLAHOMA STATE

Well, about time! Perseverance paid off, and USM finally got the win they've been working at for years. All they've got to do now is avoid a let down. Okie State isn't much this season, so that shouldn't be a problem…but that lack of offense thing still worries me.

Pick: Cowboys

#24 GEORGIA (-28) vs. New Mexico State

New Mexico State this year, is what South Carolina was last year. Horrid, awful, just plain bad. Quincy Carter's got nothing to worry about.

Pick: Georgia

#25 Mississippi State (+1.5) @ SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina's not sneaking up on anyone any more, and MSU's defense won't roll over and play dead. The Bulldogs don't have a great offense tho, so this one looks to be a low scoring affair. Now if it rains also, the game would be just about perfect.

Pick: Mississippi St.

Other Big East Games:

Saturday (9/23)

PITTSBURGH (-22) vs. Rutgers

Go Pitt! 3-0 with a bullet, and I'd expect 4-0 after this week.

Rutgers? Well they just learned the difference between I-AA and I-A. They would be well advised to remember it.

Rutgers QB Mike McMahon is hurt and may not play, but it doesn't matter much. 2-1 for now, I'd be surprised if the Knights end up better than 4-7.

Pick: UPitt

TEMPLE (-14.5) vs. Eastern Michigan

See, Temple is getting better. They're going to end up 3-1 in non-conference games. That's awesome! Granted, the competition hasn't been the best, but it's a start. Two touchdown favorites? I dunno, I don't think that I can make that pick…

Pick: EMU

BOSTON COLLEGE (-20.5) vs. Navy

BC by that much? I don't know about that. That defense has yet to prove it can stop a thing. Of course if you want to talk about impotent offenses, look no further than Annapolis. The starting QB blew out his knee last spring, and the #2 guy went out and fractured his larynx against Georgia Tech (gawd…I can't even imagine how much that must hurt!).

You've all seen my "Game of the week to watch". Well, this is the game farthest from it.

Pick: Navy

Syracuse (+5) @ EAST CAROLINA

In case you all couldn't tell, I'm kinda liking this whole "Big East doing well" thing we've got going. Inasmuch as I don't care for the Orangemen, I'm going to have to pull for them here. Too bad that won't help with the fact that ECU is the better team.

Pick: Syracuse

Game of the Week to Watch: Nothing too exciting out there. Looks like I'm watching Miami/WVU and Clemson/UVa.

Upset Special: Slim pickings this week, and I'm not about to shill for Notre Dame. I guess that means I'm picking UCLA over favored Oregon.

Last Week: 13-7

Season to Date: 41-31

Upset Special: 2-2


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