Beerman's Picks
by Ben Shapiro, 8/22/02

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. I don't pick winners (that's too easy), I pick against the spread.  All picks are for entertainment purposes only.

Last Week: A awful lot of fine folks drove an awful long way just to lose.

This Week: The Big East is TV-rific.  It's an all day ESPN/ESPN2-BigEast love fest, interrupted briefly by the small matter of a Miami-Florida match-up over on CBS.  Ladies and gentlemen, start your clickers.

Not in Action: #2 Texas, #5 Florida State, #10 Virginia Tech, #11 Georgia, #16 Southern California, #18 Marshall, #25 Penn State

Thursday, September 5
7:00  pm EST

Fox Sports West

-9.5 Oregon State 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Temple 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
What's up with two Thursday night games in a row in Philly?
Pick: Oregon State
Friday, September 6
7:00  pm EST


  Hawaii 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-10.5 BYU 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
No Top-25 or Big East action here, but I would be sorely remiss if I didn't mention this game.  Last year these teams scored a combined 657 points, and tonight's match-up promises to have the same Arena Ball quality to it.  Because those wacky Latter Day Saints like playing ball on Friday, this one's running unopposed.  What a treat :O)
Pick: BYU
Saturday, September 7
5:00 pm EST


  Miami (#1) 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-2.5 Florida (#6) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go!  Miami's title defense really gets underway with this game, and we also find out just what sort of coach Ron Zook really is.  It's tough to win in the Swamp, I think we all know that, but Zook's gotta pay some dues before he takes down the champs.
Pick: Miami
3:30 pm EST


  Alabama 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-12 Oklahoma (#3) 1-0 (Home: 0-0)
It was close, but Oklahoma came up big with a 20 point 4th quarter rally.  When capped by a meaningless spread-beating touchdown with 1:46 remaining, there was much rejoicing in the home offices of Beerman Inc.
Pick: Okie
7:00 pm EST  
  Middle Tennessee State U. 0-1 (Away: 0-1)
-22 Tennessee (#4) 1-0 (Home: 0-0)
How bout them Blue Raiders!  Now, Tennessee is a considerable step up from Alabama these days, but the MTSU ground game should be able to run enough time off the clock to keep this one respectable.
Pick: MTSU
12:10 pm EST

ESPN+, Gameplan, DTV #771

  Western Michigan 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-22.5 Michigan (#7) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
AKA the "Classic Letdown" game.

WMU is one of the better MAC teams out there.  While probably not in Marshall's class, they have a fine defense and are expected to contend for the MAC-West half title.

Really though, Michigan shouldn't have too much trouble here.

Pick: WMU
8:00 pm EST  
  Utah State 0-1 (Away: 0-0)
-30.5 Nebraska (#8) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
What's this?  Is Nebraska having trouble running the football?


Pick: UNL
12:10 pm EST

ESPN+, Gameplan, DTV #772

  Kent State 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-28 Ohio State (#9) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
Pick: tOSU
5:00 pm EST


  Idaho 0-1 (Home: 0-0)
-27 Washington State (#12) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
The Sun Belt Conference is looking to get off the schnide, 0-8 is not a good way to start a season.  Then again, I'm still trying to figure out what part of Idaho is actually in the Sun Belt.  Sitting a whopping 12 miles away from Pullman, the Vandals use WSU's field to host games in alternating weeks with the Cougars.  If you were ever curious about what it really means to be "small time", that's it.

I'm still not sold on Washington State, but they will win this game by as much, or as little, as they want to.

Pick: WSU
3:30 pm EST

Fox Sports Net

  Fresno State 1-1 (Away: 0-1)
-16.5 Oregon (#13) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
Now THIS could be a pretty good game.

Oregon should win, and they should win handily.  Especially at home.  But FSU-West hung tough at Wisconsin, and has two games under their belts now.  Oregon whalloped Mississippi State last week, but the Dogs are drowning in the SEC this year, and that really doesn't impress me much.

Pick: FSU-West
3:30 pm EST


  San Jose State 1-0 (Away: 1-0)
-30.5 Washington (#14) 0-1 (Home: 0-0)
Skippy's problem in Colorado was that he was too much of a "nice guy" with his players, and lost control of his team.  Washington lost last week to Michigan as a direct result of a decidedly untimely penalty.  That, my friends, is a discipline problem.  That may fly in the Pac-10, but UDub will forever be an also ran on the national scene unless they tighten ship.
Pick: Washington
1:05 pm EST


  Rice 0-1 (Away: 0-0)
-27 Michigan State (#15) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
*double yawn*
Pick: MSU
7:00 pm EST

Fox Sports Net

  San Diego State 0-1 (Away: 0-1)
-22.5 Colorado (#17) 0-1 (Home: 0-0)
Hey, well sometimes first game jitters DO get you.  I'm not disparaging Colorado State ... because they played a great ball game ... but the Buffs are a much better offensive club than that.  San Diego State is about to find out just how much better.
Pick: U of C
7:45 PM EST


-4 South Carolina (#19) 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Wahoo State 0-2 (Home: 0-1)
Sacre Blue!

Two ex-Jets go toe to toe across the gridiron in what is sure to be a classic for the ages.  France is feeling fat and happy after rolling up two meaningless scores against 11 guys Bobby Bowden pulled out of the stands last Saturday, but on the other hand, they gave up nearly 400 yards of offense ... on the ground!  That's right.  A defense Chris Berman once called "The Charlottesville Web" has given up 584 rushing yards through just two games.  Frankly, I'll be surprised if Lou Holtz calls a pass all day.

Pick: USC
10:15 pm EST

Fox Sports Net

  Colorado State (#20) 2-0 (Away: 1-0)
-7 UCLA 0-0 (Home: 0-0)
For the third week in a row Colorado State shows up as their opponent's opening game.  I guess if you have to play three "tough" non-conference opponents to start your season, that's about the best way to line them up.

Go Rams.  Win #3

Pick: Colorado State
12:10 pm EST

ESPN+, Gameplan, DTV #773

  West Virginia 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-10.5 Wisconsin (#21) 2-0 (Home: 1-0)
So there's this flap going on at Wisconsin.  Seems the WVU mascot wasn't allowed to bring his musket to the game.  Something about a weapons ban on campus. Never mind that this particular musket is nothing more than a gun-shaped noisemaker.  Luckily for sane people everywhere, Wisconsin chancellor John Wiley made an exception to the rule on an appeal from their Athetic Director.  "Obviously there was a segment of the population that was unhappy about it," Wisconsin athletic department spokesman Justin Doherty said of the initial decision.

Nonetheless, the damage is done in the eyes of this sports fan.  Since this was even an issue in the first place, I have decided that the PCniks in Madison have earned my ridicule.  From here on out, the formerly Wisconsin Badgers will be known as the...


Pick: Port Chester Whooping Cranes
12:00 pm EST


-16.5 N.C. State (#22) 2-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Navy 1-0 (Home: 0-0)
Navy played well last week.  They dropped SMU like a bad habit, and SMU was supposed to be less awful than usual this year.  It's a new coach, and a new offense, and it just might work.  This could be trouble for the Pack's first road trip.
Pick: Middies!
8:00 pm EST  
  The Citadel (I-AA) 0-0 (Away: 0-0)
(no line) LSU (#23) 0-1 (Home: 0-0)
Think about it.  Say that you're an LSU player.  Every day this week you've read about how you were embarrassed last weekend.  Every day this week your coach has ripped you a new one.  Come Saturday night, you get to play a small Southern military college ... one that never grew into a large state university.  It's a small revenge for sure, but I think The Citadel might be the only school outside of Louisiana truly unhappy about our victory last week.
Pick: LSU
1:00 pm EST


  Purdue 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-6 Notre Dame (#24) 1-0 (Home: 0-0)
Hey look at me, I'm writing about Purdue!
Pick: Hey look at me, I'm picking Purdue!
12:00 pm EST


-3.5 Texas A&M 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Pittsburgh 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
It's Must See TV.  Straight up.

Big talk in Texas is that aTm could win 10 games this year and still end up in a rather mediocre bowl.  That's what happens when you're stuck in a division with the likes of Oklahoma and the U of Texas.  Like nearly everything else in the state, however, Texas talk is always big.  The Aggies struggled mightily on offense against Ricky Bustle's boys last week, and no one is confusing La-La with the '78-'79 Steelers.

U of Pitt we know a bit more about.  They'll go as far as their quarterback can take them.  For now that's Rod Rutherford, but hotshot underclassman Tyler Palko is waiting in the wings should he struggle.  Rowdy Roddie Panther did struggle last week against Ohio U (38% passing, 3 INTs), so for the Panthers' sake, they'd best hope that was just early season rust.  Texas A&M plays defense on an entirely different level than Ohio U...

Pick: aTm
3:30 pm EST


  Stanford 0-0 (Away: 0-0)
-8 Boston College 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
We all know the adage about how a team makes the most improvement between their 1st and 2nd games of the season.  When the word "surviving" can be used to describe the result of a game against UConn, there is plenty of room for improvement.

Stanford's hurting.  Jr. QB Chad Lewis is sitting out this game as punishment for an undisclosed NCAA rules violation.  The Cardinal is going with r-Fr. Kyle Matter under center, and another r-Fr. backs him up.  That means zero pass attempts by either of their top two QBs for this game.  Stanford's strength is supposed to be their offense, however, so if they're to win today they other starting 10 will have to carry the load.  To quote ESPN "The Cardinal will have a ton of offense, but their defense figures to be no more imposing than the French army."

And by my count, the French Army has given up 75 points in their first two games...

Pick: BC
7:00 pm EST Dear Lord I hope not...
  Buffalo 0-1 (Away: 0-0)
-6.5 Rutgers 0-1 (Home: 0-1)

For those of you who bet on this game enough to move the spread a point and a half (towards Buffalo no less), Gamblers Anonymous can be reached at: (213) 386-8789

Pick: Anything but this
8:00 pm EST


  North Carolina 0-1 (Away: 0-0)
-5.5 Syracuse 0-1 (Home: 0-0)
Like two once proud gladiators facing one another in their twilight years, the Tarheels and the BOGs clash swords in the unforgiving arena that is Upstate New York.  Gone are Mack Brown and enough defensive studs to stock several NFL teams.  Only a memory is Donovan McNabb and his ability to win a game by himself.  Sadly, today is only a pale shadow of what fans miscall their glory.  So light a candle, and think fondly of days that once were.  Remember last second comebacks, and big game blowouts ... top-10 rankings, and Heisman finalists.  Remember this all and ask yourself, as any true Heel or Orangeman would:

How long until tip-off?

Pick: Cuse

Last Week:
15-12-1 (YTD: 20-14-1)

TV Game of the Week: Miami @ Florida

Upset Special: Miami over Florida (2-1)


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