Beermanís Picks

By Ben Shapiro, 10/03/02

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: Another one bites the dust.  Another one bites the dust.  And another one gone, and another one gone.  Another one bites the dust.  Thank you Louiseville.  All is not forgiven, but your assistance is noted.

This Week: Down time.  There are some interesting dust-ups around the country, as conference play rolls into week two.  Thursday night should be a dandy, and the Pac-10 and Big-10 races should begin to sort themselves out.

Not in Action: #4 Virginia Tech, #13 Michigan, #14 N.C. State, #18 Iowa State, #24 Auburn


Thursday, October 3
7:30 pm EST ESPN
  Clemson 3-1 (Away: 0-1)
-14 Florida State (#11) 4-1 (Home: 2-0)
Bowden Bowl IV, and it's in priiiiiiiiime time baybee!

There's a new wrinkle here tho.  Clemson has a defense.  A real one with guys who can tackle and everything!  Wild stuff.  They only lost once, to #6 Georiga.  By three points.  In Athens.

That ain't bad.

And Florida State is wounded.  Or at least they look that way.  Now unless Lili takes a real sudden turn, the weather shouldn't be a factor tonight.  Maybe that means Greg Jones will be able to run.  Maybe that means Chris Rix won't have any passes slip out of his hands funny.

Call me crazy, but I have a hard time thinking about Florida State losing two in a row.

Pick: Clemson
Friday, October 4
8:00 pm EST ESPN
-6 Colorado State (#22) 4-1 (Away: 3-1)
  Fresno State 2-3 (Home: 1-0)
All this good football them Rams are playing, and only once so far at home.  If I were a fan. I'd feel cheated!  This is one reason home games are important.  It really sucks to have all your good games on the road.
Pick: CSU
Saturday, October 5
7:00 pm EST Gameplan
  Connecticut 2-3 (Away: 1-1)
-44 Miami (FL) (#1) 4-0 (Home: 2-0)
It's like my friend says, take the two-team parlay.  Tease Miami up to 50, and Oregon down to 2.  Take UConn and the Ducks and laugh all the way to the bank.
Pick: UConn
12:30 pm EST Fox Sports Net
  Oklahoma State 2-2 (Away: 0-1)
-24.5 Texas (#2) 4-0 (Home: 2-0)
In baseball, there are players known as "5 o'clock heros".  A 5 o'clock hero is the guy who shows up for batting practice (5:00 pm for a night game, get it?) looking like a monster.  Sweet swing, crushing the ball to all fields on every pitch.  Then when it comes time for the real game, against real pitchers throwing real pitches, and in front of real fans, our 5 o'clock hero turns into mush.

To this point in his career, Chris Simms is a 5 o'clock hero.

Lucky for him, Oklahoma State is just batting practice.  Seven o'clock doesn't come around until next week.

Pick: Texas
7:00 pm EST Fox Sports Net
-13.5 Oklahoma (#3) 4-0 (Away: 1-0)
  Missouri 3-1 (Home: 2-0)
Missouri is a sham.  3-1 against a weak schedule and thumped by Bowling Green to the tune of 51-28.  None of this nonsense about "knowing how to win" either.  If Oklahoma isn't able to beat these guys by at least 3 TDs, they're going to have big trouble next week against the 'Horns.
Pick: Oklahoma
7:00 pm EST ESPN2
-25 Ohio State (#5) 5-0 (Away: 1-0)
  Northwestern 2-3 (Home: 1-1)
Maurice Clarett comes back, and Ohio State rolls.


Pick: tOSU
3:30 pm EST CBS
  Georgia (#6) 4-0 (Away: 1-0)
-3.5 Alabama 4-1 (Home: 3-0)
This was going to be my upset pick.  Silly me, I expected the nation's #6 team to be a favorite against unranked opposition, even on the road.  Shows what I know!

Maybe it's just popular reaction to NCAA sanctions, but I find it somewhat absurd that Alabama is not ranked in the top 25.  They hung tough with Oklahoma, and have handed Southern Miss and Arkansas their only losses to date.  I figure Bama at around #15 or so in my book.

Georgia is an interesting case.  They've won a couple of tough games (Clemson and @ USC) but not in very impressive fashion.  Their defense is good, their offense is not.  And I'm not talking about merely unbalanced as VT's can be.  No, Georgia's offense is just plain bad.  Playing on the road against Alabama is as much of a test for Georgia as it is for the Tide.  Given their lofty ranking, it may be even more of one.

Now, since Bama's favored, I have to pick Georgia.

Pick: Georgia
10:00 pm EST Fox Sports Net
-8 Oregon (#7) 4-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Arizona 3-1 (Home: 3-0)
Oregon's first trek outside the cozy confines of Outzen Stadium.  And 'Zona's unbeaten at home.  Could this be trouble?

No, I don't think so.  Arizona got whupped by the only good team they've faced, and struggled in wins over Utah and North Texas.  And their starting tailback is out with an injury.  Unless they've been playing possum, Oregon should handle the 'Cats with ease.

Ducks in a waddleover.

Pick: Oregon
12:00 pm EST CBS
-13 Florida (#8) 4-1 (Away: 1-0)
  Mississippi 3-1 (Home: 3-0)
The thing about Florida is that they're still learning.  Ron Zook, primarily, is still learning what it takes to be a I-A head coach.  So they got smacked by Miami.  And their special teams almost cost them a game against Kentucky.  They've got a ton of talent, but they will likely drop one or two more this year while Zook learns how to coach, and while the players learn how to run his system.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Most of the nation would love to win 8 or 9 games in a transition year.

Number 5 comes today.  But it won't be easy.

Pick: Ole Miss
2:30 pm EST NBC
  Stanford 1-2 (Away: 0-2)
-7.5 Notre Dame (#9) 4-0 (Home: 2-0)
The South Bend Willinghams aim for their fifth straight victory, as they host the Palo Alto Willinghams, fresh off a 65-24 pasting at the hands of the Tempe Not-Willinghams.  Will it be Holliday or will it be Dillingham running the Irish offensive machine?  We'll see...
Pick: Cardinal
7:45 pm EST ESPN
  Arkansas 2-1 (Away: 0-0)
-11 Tennessee (#10) 3-1 (Home: 3-1)
Sure Tennessee had trouble against Rutgers.  But then again, nobody runs on Rutgers!
Pick: Vols
3:30 pm EST  
  California 3-2 (Away: 1-0)
-12 Washington (#12) 3-1 (Home: 3-0)
3-0 to 3-2, and now probably to 3-3.  Hey Cal, it was fun while it lasted eh?
Pick: UDub
3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
  Penn State (#21) 3-1 (Away: 0-0)
-2 Wisconsin (#15) 5-0 (Home: 4-0)
It's a wonder that Port Chester University even plays against Penn State anymore.  You'd think that picking on someone like JoePa would smack of ageism.  And that might offend some of them Whooping Cranes. On the other hand, maybe they plan on laying down and just letting him win.

Can't pick it.  Both teams have been up and down all year, though the Cranes have thus far been able to avoid actually losing.  So why not?  I'll pick the home team.

Pick: PCU
3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
-3.5 Kansas State (#16) 4-0 (Away: 0-0)
  Colorado 2-2 (Home: 1-2)
Now that they're safely out of the MNC hunt, it's time for Colorado to start getting serious about football.  They're working with a backup quarterback the rest of the way, but took down a fairly unimpressive UCLA team in their last contest.  That same UCLA team that slapped Colorado State around.  That same Colorado State that slapped the Buffs around.  Gotta love it :O)
Pick: KSU
7:00 pm EST TBS
-3.5 Southern California (#20) 3-1 (Away: 1-1)
  Washington State (#17) 4-1 (Home: 3-0)
Southern Cal has themselves a tight defense.  Finally.  I mean how many Carson "NFL prototype" Palmer INTs did it take before they figured out they needed one of those?  No matter, they've got one now.

Still, I don't like road favorites against higher-ranked teams.  Wazzou's QB looked reasonably healthy last week, and should be even better after 7 more days to rest.  This is not Ohio State.  WSU sees the Trojan defensive scheme every year, and should have some idea how to exploit it.  If the Cougars have aspirations for a serious bowl game, they're going to have to win this one.

Pick: WSU
8:00 pm EST ppv
  Louisiana-Lafayette 1-3 (Away: 0-2)
-28 LSU (#19) 3-1 (Home: 3-0)
Bustle's Boyz roulez on into LSU for anther body bag game.

Sorry Rickey, I'm grateful for some good years and all, but I gotta pull for the favorite here.  You understand right?  It's just business...

Pick: LSU
2:00 pm EST  
  Texas Tech 3-2 (Away: 2-1)
-6.5 Texas A&M (#23) 3-1 (Home: 2-1)
This game is actually somewhat dangerous for Texas A&M.  Texas Tech runs a nasty spread offense, and is capable of putting points on the board.  Their defense leaves something to be desired, but I'm not so sure aTm can really take advantage of that ... no matter who's calling the plays this week.  We'll find out a lot about just how good the Aggies "D" is here.  Texas Tech is probably a better offensive team than anyone they've faced to date.

Of course, my theory is that a solid defense will shut down a gimmick offense.  And in my book the Spread is a gimmick offense.

Pick: Ags
3:00 pm EST  
  Navy 1-3 (Away: 1-0)
-22.5 Air Force 4-0 (Home: 2-0)
Can someone give me a reasonable explanation for why Air Force is so consistently competitive, while Army and Navy are pretty much lousy 9 years out of 10?  I mean besides Fisher DeBerry?
Pick: AFA
12:00 pm EST ESPN2
  Maryland 3-2 (Away: 0-0)
-3 West Virginia 3-1 (Home: 2-0)
Well Avon Coburne pretty much blasted right through a whole bunch of rushing records last week against East Carolina.  And as a team, West Virginia beat our single game Big East rushing record.  I note this because it gives us a goal to aim for when we play them a month from now.  Strut your stuff today dastardly Mountaineers, and make soup of the turtle ... Your  judgment shall come, and that right soon.
Pick: WVU
12:00 pm EST ESPN+
  Pittsburgh 4-1 (Away: 1-0)
-1 Syracuse 1-3 (Home: 1-1)
That's the best darn 1-3 team in the nation right there in Syracuse!

Honestly though, I'm pulling for the Pitts.  The Big East needs more than two entries in the top-25, and it would be nice if the Panthers and/or Boston College could pull out an 8 or 9 win season.  Hell, maybe even West Virginia.  Having dropped 3 OOC, I'm forced to throw in the towel on the Cuse.  The last thing we need is them coming in 3rd in the conference at 7-5.

But then I read that UPitt has not beaten Syracuse ever since the Big East was formed.


Pick: Cuse

Last Week:
12-10 (YTD: 61-56-3)

TV Game of the Week: Georgia - Alabama

Upset Special: Washington State over Southern Cal (YTD: 4-3)


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