Beerman's Picks
By Beerman, 9/28/00

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: "If he's not careful, Woody Dantzler might walk out of Scott Stadium with a Heisman!"  - I'm telling you, I'm some kind of savant!

This Week: More action out in the Pac-Ten. Temple goes for their fourth win. Another Big Ten Rose Bowl elimination game in Michigan. Oh, and something about a little game up in Boston.

Not In Action This Week: #10 Ohio State

Top-25 Games:

Thursday (9/28)

#2 Florida State (-28) @ MARYLAND

So LaMont Jordan, he of the Heisman hype, has not managed over 100 yards rushing in a single game this season. Guess he spent too much time studying, and forgot how to run! Either that, or Maryland's O-Line is playing up to their normal form.

Florida State has problems running the ball, and it looks like Michael Husted is kicking for both them and the Redskins…and yet, they should still win by 30.

Pick: F$U

Top-25 Games:

Saturday (9/23)

#1 NEBRASKA (-33.5) vs. Missouri

Nebraska had trouble with Iowa last week. No kidding. Iowa was able to throw on them, and the Huskers needed a couple of late touchdowns to pull away. This after Notre Dame exposed weaknesses in their special teams. Don't get me wrong, Missouri doesn't have much of a chance here. Kansas State, however, is particularly adept at both the passing game and returning kicks. Hmmm…

Pick: Husker Nation

#3 Florida (-7.5) @ MISSISSIPPI ST.

Talk about going from one extreme to the other! Last week the Gators played defense-optional Kentucky, this week they go up against the offensively "challenged" Mississippi State Bulldogs.

When asked if he would run up the score on his own mother, Steve Spurrier replied "Where do you think I learned it?"

Pick: Florida

#4 Virginia Tech (-14.5) @ BOSTON COLLEGE

Boston College's defense is not very good, and is beat up on top of that. Possibly starting half a dozen true or redshirt freshmen. Yum yum! But we don't have a history of great performances at Chestnut Hill. Well, not great offensive performances at least. Is this the year we finally break one open up North? It sure would be nice. KSU is nipping at our heels, and a whuppin on national network television would do wonders for solidifying our poll position.

Pick: Hokies!

#5 Kansas State (-6.5) @ COLORADO

0-3 and outscored by a total of only ten points. I guess that makes Colorado the best 0-3 team in the country? Even so, I don't understand this line. I mean come on, 6.5 points? Kansas State isn't going to roll up another 60-3 thumping, but they should win this one by 15 or so. Them Cats is tough!

Including 0-3 Colorado, KSU's opponents are a combined 1-18 to date, including a 1-2 mark vs. I-AA teams. That, my friends, is the definition of a weak out-of-conference schedule!

Pick: Kansas State

#6 Washington (+3.5) @ #25 OREGON

I guess that's what I get for not buying into the hype. OK I believe, I believe! The Ducks are downright nasty at home. Last week UCLA was ranked #6 and were 3-point 'dogs. Now it's UDub's turn. The preseason rags picked Washington or USC-West as the conference favorites, and TSN picked UCLA as their national dark horse. Seems someone forgot to tell Oregon!

Pick: Quack!

#7 Southern Cal (-5.5) @ OREGON STATE

As wrong as I was about UCLA/Oregon, I was dead on right about USC-West/SJSU. Matter o' fact, SJSU coulda woulda shoulda, but didn't pull off the upset. Oh well…

At #7, I think USC-West is primed for a fall. They're OK, but they're not top-10 caliber. They'll get caught sooner or later, but not this week. Oregon State won't do much damage here. They'll run real well, and they are undefeated (barely), but I don't think they take down Southern Cal.

Pick: Trojans

#8 Clemson (-36.5) @ DOOK

Dook scored 7 points against Vanderbilt, and actually raised their scoring average. Oy!

In a similar vein, Clemson scored 31 against Wahoo State and lowered theirs. Oh, and I'm going to have to see Dantzler do that against a team with a defense ("Oh dear Biff, He's got the ball. Perhaps we should flee before that charging brute spills our w(h)ine!"), before I anoint him a Heisman contender.

Pick: Tigs

#9 MICHIGAN (-7.5) vs. #14 Wisconsin

Oooooooo thanks for playing, Wisconsin!

The officiating in the fourth quarter of that Illinois/Michigan game was somewhere between embarrassing and reprehensible. Good thing I'm not an Illini fan or I'd be really steamed! What can I say, the Wolverines got away with one, and are very much still in the hunt for the Rose Bowl. And, evidently, Drew Henson is back and able to play. Oh, and Lloyd Carr needs to shut his yap. His team won due in very large part to the officiating, and he knows it.

Pick: Michigan

#11 Tennessee (-9) @ LOUISIANA STATE

Alabama Birmingham:13, LSU:10 … need I say more?

Pick: Vols

#12 Miami (FL) (-29) @ RUTGERS

2-0, 2-1, 2-2 … now Rutgers is aimed straight at 2-3.

Miami looked good Saturday, pretty much doing whatever they wanted to the Mountaineers. The second half, especially, was ugly. That's a little worrisome, because the weakness of the Canes in recent years has been their depth.

Pick: Miami

#13 TEXAS (-19.5) vs. Oklahoma State

Funny…one little loss to Stanford, and you just don't see as many Texas highlights anymore! The Big Twelve South is still basically a two horse race (Oklahoma), with Texas Tech or Texas A&M likely to make things interesting before the season's out.

Pick: Texas

#15 MICHIGAN STATE (-12) vs. Northwestern

It's called poetic justice (or is it? I dunno, I'm an Engineer, and my literacy has been questioned in the past…). Nick Saban leaves MSU in a lurch right before their bowl game, to go coach at LSU. Now just a few games into the next season the Spartans are riding high after taking down a resurgent Notre Dame squad, and LSU is mired in the aftermath of a loss to the "wrong" Alabama.

Northwestern is much improved. They're not likely to go bowling…I think…maybe…probably! But then again, they weren't supposed to be able to beat Wisconsin either.

Pick: Northwestern

#16 OKLAHOMA (-23.5) vs. Kansas

One of these days, I'll actually catch a Sooners game on the tube. I'd better, cause I'm running out of witty little things to say about them!

Can Kansas? Nope…

Pick: Kansas

#17 UCLA (-8) vs. Arizona State

"I think we proved that we're the No. 1 team in the nation. I don't know who else we can beat, what else we can do." - UCLA QB Ryan McCann

Ummm … Oregon perhaps?

Pick: Arizona State

#18 Texas Christian (-27.5) @ NAVY

I know the transitive property doesn't really apply to football, but two weeks ago TCU rolled right over Northwestern…the same Northwestern team that just toppled mighty Wisconsin. Mighty #17 Wisconsin, for some reason, is still ranked above TCU.

Balt-DC Area Hokies take note that they're playing in Annapolis. Got a free day? TCU is rarely on television, so this might be your only chance to check out the #1 running back in the nation.

Pick: TCU

#19 Purdue (-13.5) @ PENN STATE

If anything more could go wrong in (not so) Happy Valley, I'd like for someone to tell me what it could be.

Oh wait, I know! Drew Brees and friends can come in and start ripping up the Lions' secondary.

Pick: PSU

#20 AUBURN (-14) vs. Vanderbilt

Alabama's gone down the chute, LSU laid a big fat egg, Ole Miss is already out of the way, and Mississippi State just took a conference loss to USC-South. That puts Auburn and Arkansas in front in the SEC West. Anyone out there who tells me that they picked that is a liar.

Pick: Auburn

#21 SOUTHERN MISS (-16.5) vs. Memphis

Memphis…the "meat" of a CUSA schedule. Actually, Memphis has got themselves a pretty tough defense. This could end up as a 3-3 tie *yawn*!. On the plus side, if USM can coast their way on up to the ECU game (they can, BTW, any loss from this point on would be an upset), they might find themselves top-10 by the time they get there. If they're really lucky, they could sneak into the top-6 come bowl time. I don't really see that happening, but you never know.

Pick: Memphis

#22 Illinois (pick'em) @ MINNESOTA

They got jobbed! Now I'm not normally a big fan of B-10 football, I tend to find it boring, but I watched the Illinois/Michigan game. That was some good stuff! Except for that whole officiating thing. Whew! That was just putrid!

Assuming they don't suffer a letdown, the Illini shouldn't have too much trouble with the Gophers.

Pick: Illinois

#23 South Carolina (+7) @ ALABAMA

It only took 4 wins, but now the pollsters seem to realize that USC-South might be pretty okay this year. They're not going to challenge for the SEC title or anything, and I'd not be a bit surprised if Bama knocks them off. Then again, I'd not be a bit surprised if they don't. This is also USC-South's first road test.

Minus one tailback, and with a two-quarterback system that would make the Pittsburgh Steelers proud, Alabama simply can't score points. When a mighty offensive juggernaut like Southern Mississippi puts on a clinic on your own home field…you've got trouble.

Pick: Cocks

#24 Georgia (-4) @ ARKANSAS

Beating up on New Mexico State doesn't impress me. Georgia's still got problems, and I think they're in for a fight against Arkansas. Houston Nutt is doing good things in Fayetteville, and we all saw how Quincy Carter handled the last real defense he faced. 5 more interceptions? Doubtful, but this could be a make-or-break game for the Dogs if they have any aspirations of getting back into the SEC hunt.

Arkansas has problems of their own. Backup tailback Fred Talley is out with a broken hand. No big deal, except that starter Cedric Cobbs is questionable with a separated shoulder.

Pick: Arkansas

Other Big East Games:

Thursday (9/28)

West Virginia (-6) @ TEMPLE


I mean really, I don't know quite what to make of this one. The thought that Temple is playing in a meaningful game is rather mind-boggling. Though they beat Eastern Michigan by a seemingly close 49-40 margin last week, it was 49-19 midway through the 4th quarter. Chew on that for a second. That means Temple was on the other end of garbage-time touchdowns. That's the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.

Let's think this one through. WVU beat a non-defense Boston College team, squeaked by Maryland at home, and got flattened by the Canes. Temple, on the other hand, beat up three patsies and barely got beat by Maryland at Maryland.

In real terms it doesn't matter much which wins. They're both Big East teams, and if either one goes bowling it's likely going to be by the skin of their collective teeth. I'm going to go with history here, and pick the 'Eers…but if Temple pulls this one off, I'm hooting the rest of the way!

Pick: WVU

Other Big East Games:

Saturday (9/23)

SYRACUSE (-7.5) vs. Brigham Young

Nope, Syracuse is just not a very good team anymore. This is more than just a post-McNabb hangover. Their offense is horrible, and it isn't entirely the QB's fault. They can't run, they can't block, and they can't catch very well. The defense is all right, but that's not enough. I hope for Coach P.'s sake that there's some young talent in the pipeline…

It's kind of a shame that BYU's toughest schedule in recent memory coincides with one of their weaker teams…and with Coach Edwards' retirement to boot. They're probably going to need 8 wins to go bowling, and that could be a tall order.

Pick: BYU

Game of the Week to Watch: Oregon - Washington. The Rose Bowl could be seeded here.

Upset Special: South Carolina over Bama

Last Week: 12-12

Season to Date: 53-43

Upset Special: 2-3


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