Beermanís Picks
By Ben Shapiro, 10/17/02

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.  Television information comes from here.  All picks are for entertainment purposes only.

Last Week: One more down.  Really only one to go, though I suppose Pittsburgh will want their say in the matter.

This Week: A rather lazy week on the college football scene.  A marked change from last week.  But it's Homecoming, so that's well and good.  There are two games of importance though.  So go buy yourself an Iowa State rooting hat, and break out that well worn "I hate Notre Dame" giant foam finger.

Not in Action: #1 Miami, #11 Washington State, #14 Florida State, #18 Tennessee


Saturday, October 19
3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
  Iowa State (#13) 6-1 (Away: 1-0)
-9 Oklahoma (#2) 6-0 (Home: 3-0)
Iowa State has got a decade's worth of huge games crammed into one season, and this is bigger than any of them.  No one in the B-12 North looks very dominant this year, and the Cyclones may very be the best of the bunch.  Oklahoma is a statement game in the biggest way.  Kansas State and Nebraska don't face the Sooners this year, so the winner of that game has a nice inside track to the conference title game.  I mean, unless Seneca Wallace & Co. can actually pull this one off.  Which they can't.  Can they?
Pick: ISU
1:00 pm EST  
  Rutgers 1-5 (Away: 0-2)
-42 Virginia Tech (#3) 6-0 (Home: 4-0)
It's a good thing, actually, that this game isn't on TV anywhere.  Whenever I see Rutgers "highlights", those red uniforms make me feel like my eyes are bleeding.

Oh, and "production costs" have nothing to do with why this game isn't on TV.  Nope, it's just that the money has been diverted directly to Rutgers.  A payoff to make up for the beating they're about to receive when Frank uses this game as a 60 minute passing drill.

The other upside, is that we should have plenty of opportunity to work on our kickoff coverage...

3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
-7 Ohio State (#4) 7-0 (Away: 2-0)
  Port Chester University 5-2 (Home: 4-1)
Wisconsin is now the proud owner of a losing streak to Indiana.  Barry Alvarez must be so happy...
Pick: PCU
12:30 pm EST Jefferson Pilot, Gameplan
  Vanderbilt 1-5 (Away: 0-3)
-26 Georgia (#5) 6-0 (Home: 4-0)
Them dawgs got some bite!

Having established themselves as the team to beat in the SEC, it's time for the Bulldogs to stretch their legs.  No more of these close defensive contests.  If Georgia expects to pass anyone in the standings they're going to have to show some offensive oomph.  It's time for an old fashioned woodshed beating.  Not that I have anything against Vandy, I just think it's about time UGA had themselves a laugher.

Pick: UGA
3:30 pm EST  
  Arizona State 5-2 (Away: 1-1)
-10.5 Oregon (#6) 6-0 (Home: 5-0)
It's Oregon at home, what more needs to be said?
Pick: Oregon
10:00 pm EST ESPN
  Notre Dame (#7) 6-0 (Away: 2-0)
-3 Air Force (#15) 6-0 (Home: 4-0)
boom baby, BOOM!

Air Force is quite the trendy pick here.  I mean Notre Dame is overrated right?  They've been winning with luck and mirrors?  Meanwhile watching the AFA play, you'd think the triple option was some crazy new offensive scheme that no one knew how to defend.

Well, we're all about to find out one way or the other.  This week and next (F$U) will make or break Notre Dame's BCS hopes.  Also, this is the BIG ONE for the cadets.  Colorado State is the only team remaining on Air Force's schedule with a winning record.

Stay up late to watch this one guys.  Should be worth it.

Pick: ND
7:00 pm EST Fox Sports Net
  Texas (#8) 5-1 (Away: 2-0)
-2 Kansas State (#19) 5-1 (Home: 5-0)
Frankly, I don't know which of these teams dogs it worse in big games.  I'll have to say Texas, but then again that's because they're involved in more of them.  You'd think that would work to their benefit, but I dunno...

There's a lot of football left to be played, and neither team is out of the running for anything.  A second conference loss probably will keep Texas out of the B-12 title game, but Kansas State might be able to survive it in the North.

I've got no inside juice here, so I'm going with the home team.

Pick: KSU
12:00 pm EST ESPN
-3.5 Michigan (#9) 5-1 (Away: 1-1)
  Purdue 3-4 (Home: 3-1)
Wow, Michigan's back in the Top 10?  Interesting.
Pick: Michigan
12:00 pm EST  
  Dook 2-5 (Away: 1-3)
-24.5 N.C. State (#10) 7-0 (Home: 4-0)
Playing what amounts to their third I-AA team of the season, the Wolfpack should barely break a sweat...
Pick: NCSU
7:45 pm EST ESPN2
  South Carolina 5-2 (Away: 2-1)
(off) LSU (#12) 5-1 (Home: 4-0)
The Bayou Bengals really seem to be hitting their stride, don't they?  It isn't like beating Florida is any great shakes these days, but it still looks good on television.  But they've lost QB Matt Mauck for a couple of weeks (thus no betting line), so things could get a bit tricky from here out...
Pick: LSU
12:00 pm EST ESPN+, Gameplan
-12.5 Iowa (#16) 6-1 (Away: 3-0)
  Indiana 3-3 (Home: 3-0)
Indiana is, evidently, quite a force at home this year.  That, or they just have Wisconsin's number.

It's a shame that Iowa and Ohio State don't face off this year.  Rotating schedules without a conference championship game is just an awful, awful setup.

Pick: IU (not to be confused with U of I)
3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
  Washington (#17) 4-2 (Away: 0-1)
-8 Southern California (#20) 4-2 (Home: 3-0)
Solid defense and home field advantage spell trouble for Skippy's Huskies.
Pick: Washington
12:00 pm EST ESPN2
  Northwestern 2-5 (Away: 1-3)
-26 Penn State (#21) 4-2 (Home: 3-1)
Seeking to avoid yet another round of criticism, the Big Ten has elected to play this game without any officiating crew at all.  The coaching staffs will decide close calls using the rock-paper-scissors method.
Pick: Northwestern
3:30 pm EST CBS
  Mississippi (#22) 5-1 (Away: 0-1)
-11 Alabama 4-2 (Home: 3-1)
Mississippi has a fine squad.  Lil' Eli and crew have done some good work, and are now favored in some circles to win the SEC West.  Things are about to get real tough, though.  And stay that way.  4 of their last 6 are on the road, including trips to Bama, Arkansas, Georgia and LSU.

Ouch.  Well, at least they got to see the Top 25 for a little while...

Pick: Ole Miss
6:00 pm EST  
  Western Michigan 2-4 (Away: 1-2)
-15.5 Bowling Green (#23) 5-0 (Home: 3-0)
We here at Beerman Inc. are a bit confused.  We thought that Marshall was supposed to be the MAC team looking to hang out in the Top 25 this year.  And if not the Herd, perhaps Toledo or even Western Michigan could do the trick.  But Bowling (2-9 in 2001) Green?

How do they do it?  Well it starts and ends with the offense.  Josh Harris is the field general, a junior quarterback who can do it all.  The Falcons field a truly balanced attack (254/gm rushing, 246/gm passing) that leads the nation in scoring at a gaudy 49.6 points per game.  Doing all that with a MAC schedule will win you a lot of games!

It's also worth noting that should Marshall knock off Troy State on Saturday, there's a distinct possibility of two MAC teams being ranked in the coaches poll.

Pick: WMU
6:45 pm EST ESPN
  Auburn 4-2 (Away: 1-1)
-7 Florida (#24) 4-3 (Home: 3-2)
Fun factoid: Of the four teams Auburn has beaten so far, only Mississippi State has defeated a I-A squad (11-8 over mighty Troy State last weekend).

That's the very definition of a fraud ladies and gentlemen, and even an emasculated Florida squad shouldn't have too much trouble here.

Pick: Florida
3:00 pm EST  
  Baylor 3-3 (Away: 0-2)
-28 Colorado (#25) 4-2 (Home: 2-2)
Baylor is less embarrassing than usual this year.  They've actually won a conference game, and even have an outside shot at bowl eligibility.  I'm only saying that so that perhaps you will think fondly of the Bears when Colorado drops the hammer on them.
Pick: Baylor
12:00 pm EST  
  Navy 1-5 (Away: 1-1)
-28.5 Boston College 3-2 (Home: 3-1)
Maybe it's just me, but somehow I doubt BC will have all that much trouble scoring from inside the 20 yard line this week.
Pick: Navy
12:00 pm EST ESPN+, Gameplan
  Syracuse 1-5 (Away: 0-3)
-7.5 West Virginia 4-2 (Home: 2-1)
Losing to Temple in a good year is a disappointing upset, but losing to Temple in a poor year is a bad career move.  So in case you are curious, yes, that small protuberance high on SU Coach Paul Pasqualoni's back is the beginning of a malignant flatware tumor. 

West Virginia continues to Jeckyl and Hyde their way through the season.  Sort of like Colorado, but without the same panache.  In their quest for bowl eligibility, this is a must win.

Pick: WVU
12:00 pm EST WFSB
-1 Temple 2-4 (Away: 0-1)
  Connecticut 2-4 (Home: 1-2)

Seriously though, this could be an interesting game to watch.  With the whole "who's in the Big East now" undercurrent thing, Temple will be playing angry.  Bah! That means nothing, I mean this is Temple for crying out loud!  They rolled up 500 yards of offense against Syracuse, and still had to pay off the Orange kicker in order to win the game.  The line is moving down, indicating heavy action being placed on UConn.  That in itself, makes me giggle :O)

Pick: UConn

Last Week:
13-8 (YTD: 81-77-3)

TV Game of the Week: Iowa State - Oklahoma, and then ND - AFA late nite.

Upset Special: Iowa State over Oklahoma (yeah right!) (YTD: 6-3)


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