Beerman's Picks
by Ben Shapiro, 9/11/02

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: Miami would have beaten the Cowboys.  Badly.  WVU looked bad, aTm won a stare down with UPitt,  BC escaped with a win against Stanford, and the less said about Rutgers the better.

This Week: Talk about some quality games!  You ever wanted to rocket up the polls?  Now's the weekend to do it.  There are no fewer than five (that's all four fingers AND your thumb, Herd fans) top-25 face offs this week.

Not in Action: #4 Tennessee, #14 Washington, #23 Texas A&M

Thursday, September 12
7:45  pm EST ESPN
  Marshall (#17) 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-11.5 Virginia Tech (#9) 2-0 (Home: 2-0)
It's time to show the Thundering Herd what big time football is all about.  We are not Mid-tacular, nor are we MAC-tastic.  We are a top-echelon major college football program.  Marshall is a sideshow.  Come one come all, see the amazing Byron Leftwhich!  See him leap tall buildings in a single bound?  No.  See him get knocked in the teeth by Jim Davis.  See Athlons #1 WR corps do what they do best?  No.  See Whitaker, Hall, and Pile do what they do best.

No one comes into our house, talking the kind of smack that I've seen spewn forth from Huntington.

No one stands in front of our ESPN cameras and tries to take away our hype.

No one comes into our house and leaves with a Heisman Trophy.

Most importantly, no one comes into our house on a Thursday night and walks away with a win.

No sir.

Marshall will indeed find out what its like to be part of the big time.  It starts with the deafening cacophony of 65,000 lunatic fans.  It looks like the 300 pound lineman chasing you down faster than you can run away.  It feels like a crushing hit on an ill-advised crossing route.  It tastes like the underside of a muddy cleat.  It ends with the solemn quiet of the long ride home.

Saturday, September 14
12:00 pm EST ESPN+, GamePlan
  Miami (#1) 2-0 (Away: 1-0)
-37 Temple 1-1 (Home: 1-0)

I hope Florida is just that bad this year.  If not, everyone else in I-A may as well quit right now.

Temple is just that bad, so yes ... they may as well quit right now.

Pick: Miami
8:00 pm EST ABC, GamePlan
-13 Texas (#2) 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
  North Carolina 1-1 (Home: 0-1)
It's the Mack Brown Traveling Road Show and Football Review!

Personally, I think every school should write it into their coaching contracts, that in the event of departure the ex-coach must schedule a series with his new team within the next few years.  It makes great theatre.

Pick: Texas
7:00 pm EST FoxSportsNet PPV
  UTEP 0-1 (Away: 0-1)
-43 Oklahoma (#3) 2-0 (Home: 1-0)
Well, perhaps Oklahoma doesn't have the best defense in college football after all.  They were straight up beat and they know it.  Now UTEP's about to know it as well.  But I don't pick anyone to cover a 40 point spread...
Pick: UTEP
7:45 pm EST ESPN
-14 Florida State (#5) 2-0 (Away: 1-0)
  Maryland 1-1 (Home: 1-0)
Right now Florida State is averaging 60 more rushing yards per game than Nebraska.  Small sample size I realize, but how often is that ever the case?

Maryland couldn't hang for 60 against FSU last year, and that was probably their best chance.  It'd be nice if the Terps could pull this one off, but I just don't see it.

Pick: Noles
2:30 pm EST NBC
-3.5 Michigan (#6) 2-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Notre Dame (#21) 2-0 (Home: 1-0)
I don't promise much, but I'll promise you this.  If Notre Dame fails to score an offensive touchdown for the third game in a row, they will NOT be 3-0 at the end of the day.
Pick: Michigan
8:00 pm EST ABC, GamePlan
-5.5 Nebraska (#7) 3-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Penn State (#25) 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
Nebraska is still having trouble running the ball consistently.  Of course, Penn State is still having trouble winning football games in this not-so-new century.

I'm agog at the size of this line.  Seriously.  JoePa must have someone paid off, because if you wiped the school name off their jerseys, there's no way That PSU's roster of "talent" would be only 5.5 point dogs...

Pick: Nebraska
3:30 pm EST ABC, GamePlan
  Washington State (#11) 2-0 (Away: 0-0)
-8 Ohio State (#8) 2-0 (Home: 2-0)
One of these teams is a pretender.  The question is which?

The oddsmakers evidently think that Wazzou is coming up short today.  I think they're right.  I don't believe in their running game, and I'm not sold on their defense.  They're Marshall, Pacific Northwest style...

The Bucks have not been tested yet.  I thought Texas Tech would, but they didn't.  I may not think WSU is a contender, but they are bowl quality.  If OSU takes them down in grand fashion, the rest of the Big Ten should be a little worried.

Pick: WSU
3:30 pm EST CBS
-5 Georgia (#10) 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
  South Carolina 1-1 (Home: 1-0)
What kind of yahoo turns the ball over 7 times to the Wahoos?

That Lou Holtz, he sure is a crafty one!  He knows that his team is probably not MNC caliber, so those non-conference games really don't matter much.  By taking a dive against France last week, not only does he cause Georgia to become somewhat overconfident, he also can use it as a motivator for his own players.  Furthermore, every year that Algroh stays in his job, is one more year the balance of power is preserved in the East.  Aye...he's a sneak!

Pick: USC-East
3:30 pm EST  
  Idaho 0-2 (Away: 0-2)
-32 Oregon (#12) 2-0 (Home: 2-0)
Another walkover.  I'm not even going to pick the spread here.  I'm going to pick if I think this will be a bigger blowout than Miami-Temple.  It's not a matter of running it up, it's a matter of who's third string can't help but to score by running up the middle on every play in the second half.
Pick: Ducks
6:00 pm EST PPV-FL
  Ohio 0-2 (Away: 0-1)
-41.5 Florida (#13) 1-1 (Home: 1-1)
Last week Ohio U. was shut out at home by Northeastern.  Yeah, the I-AA team, not the lousy B-10 squad.  As bad as Rutgers is, it does look like they've got some competition for #117.

No matter how you look at it, Ohio is doomed.  Florida is looking to release some frustration from last week.  Also, they pretty much have to out-RUTS the Northeastern's 31-0 mark.  Come to think of it, this is probably the blowout of the week.

Pick: Florida
12:00 pm EST ESPN2
  California 2-0 (Away: 0-0)
-13.5 Michigan State (#15) 2-0 (Home: 2-0)
Cal at 2-0?  What is the world coming to?!?!

Well by about 3:30 this afternoon, Cal should be 2-1 and the world will resume its normal axial tilt...

Pick: MSU
3:30 pm EST ABC, GamePlan
  Southern California (#16) 1-0 (Away: 0-0)
-2 Colorado (#19) 1-1 (Home: 1-1)
And now Colorado's starting QB is going to miss a game or two with a knee injury.  Once again, the parallels between the Buffs and the Hokies are downright eerie.
Pick: Colorado
12:00 pm EST ESPN+, GamePlan
  Northern Illinois 1-1 (Away: 0-1)
-22 Port Chester U. (#18) 2-0 (Home: 0-0)
As a refresher for all my readers out there, Port Chester is my own personal colloquialism for the mighty Wisconsin Badgers.

And before I make fun of NIU, it is worth noting that they have beaten Wake Forest already this year.  That means they are currently ahead of France in the ACC standings :O)

Pick: Whooping Cranes
7:00 pm EST  
  Wake Forest 1-1 (Away: 0-1)
-13.5 N.C. State (#20) 3-0 (Home: 1-0)
Did I actually pick Navy to cover the spread against N.C. State last week?  What was I thinking?  How did my editor let that one through? (Note from Will: "Hey ... !!")


Normally beating East Carolina would be a positive step for a team like Wake Forest.  But after opening the season with back to back losses to the ACC basement, I have to think ECU has their sights set on fighting Rutgers for the National Chumpionship.

Pick: NCSU
8:00 pm EST GamePlan
  Miami (OH) 1-1 (Away: 1-0)
-12 LSU (#22) 1-1 (Home: 1-0)
I'm looking long and hard for an upset pick for this week.  Dare I pick a decent MAC team over the Tigs?

hmmm ....

Pick: LSU
4:00 pm EST SportsWest
-14 BYU (#24) 2-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Nevada 0-1 (Home: 0-0)
Did you know that BYU has their own satellite television channel available through the Dish Network?  If you're a card-carrying LDS and have a satellite, you can get Cougar games anywhere in the world.  Actually, I suppose we heathens can probably get it as well, but that's more Mormon programming than I think I really could handle.

Dammit, where's HokieTV ?!?  Who do I talk to about this?

Pick: Cougs
3:30 pm EST  
  Rhode Island (I-AA) 1-1 (Away: 0-1)
(no line) Syracuse 0-2 (Home: 0-1)
I find it peculiar that Syracuse has scheduled what should be their home opener as the third game of the year.  Does this make sense to anyone?  Do the Orangemen not realize that those first two games actually count?
Pick: Syracuse
7:00 pm EST  
-6.5 Pittsburgh 1-1 (Away: 0-0)
  UAB 1-1 (Away: 0-1)
OK, so UPitt's defense is something to be reckoned with.  This is a good thing on the whole.  And they did start figuring out aTm's defense there late in the game.  Too little to late I'm afraid, but hopefully they can carry some momentum into this game.  A nice pasting of the Blazers would set a good tone for the rest of the year.
Pick: UAB
7:00 pm EST  
  West Virginia 1-1 (Away: 0-1)
-4.5 Cincinnati 1-0 (Home: 1-0)
Well the good news is that losing at Wisconsin is not really something to be ashamed of.  The bad news is that the 'Eers couldn't even hang close.  More bad news is that the Bearcats are expected to be a CUSA contender this year, returning 16 starters from a team that went 7-5 a year ago.  In fact, the more I read about Cinci, the less I like West Virginia's chances.
Pick: Cincinnati
7:00 pm EST FoxSports NY
-4.5 Army 0-1 (Away: 0-0)
  Rutgers 0-2 (Home: 0-2)
Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Pick: Banging my head against a wall for three straight hours

Last Week:
9-13-1 (YTD: 29-27-2)

TV Game of the Week: Wow, there are lots.  But my set will be tuned to OSU-WSU.

Upset Special: South Carolina over Georgia (YTD: 3-1)


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