Beermanís Picks
By Ben Shapiro, 10/31/02

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: Well I guess that pretty much settles the Notre Dame debate.  From here on out we have to hope that they are upset.  There's no one left on their schedule who can really be called better than the Irish.

This Week: Nightness in the Burg.  Spend all day sitting around the parking lot watching other undefeated teams get knocked off, and cap it with 3 hours of insanity in Lane Stadium.  It just doesn't get much better than that!

Not in Action: #11 Southern California, #15 LSU

Thursday, October 31
7:30 pm EST ESPN
-1 Colorado State (#24) 7-2 (Away: 4-2)
  Air Force 6-2 (Home: 4-1)
Wowzers.  Wyoming beating Air Force was a HUGE upset.  I guess that's what happens when you lose your one big game.

Meanwhile, I think this is Colorado State's 17th game on Thursday night this year.  It's ridiculous.

Pick: Air Force
Saturday, November 2
12:00 pm EST ESPN+, Gameplan
-38.5 Miami (FL) (#1) 7-0 (Away: 3-0)
  Rutgers 1-7 (Home: 1-3)
Seems most anyone can run on Miami these days.  Next up, the ferocious rushing assault of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Pick: RU
3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
  Colorado (#12) 6-2 (Away: 2-0)
-12.5 Oklahoma (#2) 7-0 (Home: 5-0)
And here's our shot...

Colorado will run the ball.  Oh yes.  They will indeed.  They've turned things around nicely since a lousy start.  The Buffs might be the last, best hope anyone has of knocking off Okie before the B-12 title game.  And as the only team in the B-12 North currently without a conference loss, Colorado might get chances to turn the trick there as well.

Pick: Colorado
7:30 pm EST ESPN2
  Pittsburgh 6-2 (Away: 2-1)
-13 Virginia Tech (#3) 8-0 (Home: 5-0)
I'll admit that I share in the general malaise that seems to be affecting our team these past few weeks.  Temple and Rutgers just don't do it for me.  Good jokes are wasted on them, and there's no point in doing any real analysis either.  I've not brought my "A game" and for that I will apologize.

But now we've got Pitt.  The team of Marino and Martin.  Majors and Dorsett.  Pittsburgh occupies a special place in the recent history of Hokie football.  It was a mid-September day in 1993 when a plucky Tech squad led by Maurice DeShazio marched north and laid a whuppin on the Panthers the likes of which no one expected.  63-7 was the final, but few of us realized just what it meant at the time.  Pittsburgh was supposed to be the up and comer.  Johnny Majors was back coaching again, and it was only a matter of time before they were once again a force on the national scene.  "Dark days in Blacksburg" is all Sports Illustrated bothered to say about Tech in their season preview issue.  A surprising seven more wins followed that year, culminating with a victory in the Independence Bowl.  The nation didn't notice for two more years, not until an 0-2 Hokie squad upset Miami, but the force that is Beamerball took hold on that day ... against Pittsburgh.

Fast forward nine years.  It took a while, but Pitt is the up and comer once again ... and not just on name recognition this time.  Walt Harris has them going in the right direction, and their whupping of us last year was a springboard to a bowl campaign of their own.  They've stepped it up this year, but are not at the top.  Not yet.  Not today.  No sir!


Do you suppose Marshall thought that they had it bad, visiting Tech on a Thursday night?  Rubbish.  They were pretenders and we all knew it.  It was loud, and it was unruly, but we were just playin.  Heck, I even left the game early and missed the last three scores.

How about LSU, the big intersectional contest on national television?  Our biggest non-conference foe in recent memory?  Maybe so, but Pitt stands between us and our BCS bowl.

Pittsburgh is in TROUBLE.  65,000 screaming fans, plenty warm after an all day tailgate.  Revenge.  Weather so cold they'll have no choice but to try to run on us.  "YOU WILL NOT RUN ON US!"  Tear the bottom out of that first stadium cup and shout that through your new megaphone after each 1 yard stuff.  It's gonna be loud, its gonna be cold, and its gonna be ugly.  Shake your Gobbler, rattle your keys.  Scream and holler like you're trying to actually knock the pass down with your voice.  I want to see Pittsburgh false start or go offside at least five times this game.  I want to see Pittsburgh players huddled around their space heaters as far away from the student section as they can get.

You know the drill ladies and gentlemen.  Now go to work.

We quit?  I think not.  But keep up the talk little kitty, and come get yours.

3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
  Minnesota (#19) 7-1 (Away: 2-1)
-12.5 Ohio State (#4) 9-0 (Home: 6-0)
How the heck did Minnesota jump 5 spots for being idle last week?  Oh wait, I get it.  They're entering the stretch run in the Big Ten.  tOSU, Michigan, then Iowa.  It's all about inflating the heavies' opposition ;o)

Hey, I like Minnesota.  They're a tough bunch and doing better than most thought.  But really, they're the UVA of the Big Ten, and they're about to go on a losing streak.

Pick: Minn
7:45 pm EST ESPN
  Florida (#22) 5-3 (Away: 1-1)
-2 Georgia (#5) 8-0 (Home: 5-0)
Let's change gears a bit, and actually root for the Gators for a change.  Georgia and Alabama are very plainly the class of the SEC this year, and Bama is on bowl probation.  So if the SEC wants a national title, it's Georgia or nothing.
Pick: UGA
2:30 pm EST NBC
  Boston College 4-3 (Away: 0-2)
-10 Notre Dame (#6) 8-0 (Home: 4-0)
Enough with the nonsense.  I don't like it one bit, but Notre Dame is good this year.  They've played a tough schedule and won every contest.  More so, they seem to be getting better as the year goes on.  At this point, it is not a matter of the Irish stealing someone else's bowl bid.  At this point, it's becoming a matter of do they have enough to play for a title.  It saddens me, but it's true.

BC thinks they're not just another 4-3 team.  Well, let's see them prove it.

Pick: Eagles
7:00 pm EST Fox Sports Net
-4 Texas (#7) 7-1 (Away: 3-0)
  Nebraska 6-3 (Home: 5-0)
For one more week at least, the cries of "Dead man walking" have fallen silent in Lincoln.  If Nebraska is to do one useful thing this year, let them beat the Longhorns.  It's time for the Big East to get an at large bid, and it'd be a shame for Texas to knock Miami down to the Gator Bowl.
Pick: UNL
3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
  Georgia Tech 5-3 (Away: 2-2)
-10 N.C. State (#8) 9-0 (Home: 5-0)
I'm still in shock that Georgia Tech defeated France last week.  I thought for sure that they were going to be 10-2 coming into our game.  I find myself suddenly directionless in life, and likely headed for a future of drug addiction and male prostitution...
Pick: NCSU
3:30 pm EST ABC, Gameplan
  Arizona State (#17) 7-2 (Away: 2-1)
-7.5 Washington State (#9) 7-1 (Home: 4-0)
How on Earth did Arizona State lose to the Tarheels?
Pick: ASU
12:00 pm EST ESPN
  Port Chester University 6-3 (Away: 2-1)
-9 Iowa (#10) 8-1 (Home: 4-1)
Wow.  Iowa is good this year.  I mean really good.  And yet I can't name a single player on their team.  Perchance I have not watched enough college football?  Is that possible?  Oh the humanity!
Pick: Iowa
12:00 pm EST ESPN2
  Michigan State 3-5 (Away: 0-1)
-16 Michigan (#13) 6-2 (Home: 4-1)
Charles Rogers is a baaaaaaaad man, but that's about the only thing the Spartans have going for them these days.  The wheels have fallen off, the axles are trashed, the transmission got dropped somewhere in Iowa, and I'm pretty sure the cops are searching under the back seat as we speak. Bad scene, man.  Bad scene...
Pick: Michigan State
2:00 pm EST  
-30.5 Kansas State (#14) 6-2 (Away: 1-1)
  Kansas 2-7 (Home: 1-3)
One thing that you must admire about Bill Snyder...he doesn't believe in sitting on a comfortable lead.
Pick: Kansas State
3:30 pm EST  
  Stanford 2-5 (Away: 0-4)
-13 Oregon (#16) 6-2 (Home: 4-2)
Neither one of these teams is familiar with the concept of team defense.  Should make for a fun game to watch, but *yeesh* the carnage could be incredible.
Pick: Ducks
2:00 pm EST  
-18 Bowling Green (#22) 7-0 (Away: 2-0)
  Kent State 3-5 (Home: 2-2)
As Bowling Green continues their inexorable march up the ranks of the top-25, the traditional Midwest college football power structure can only watch in fear.  You can not stop the Falcons, you can only hope to contain them!

Kent State is the worst 3-win team ever in the history of 3-win teams.  Two at home over I-AA opposition (including a 3 point squeaker against Cal-Poly) and one on the road over the mighty Buffalo Bulls.

And if that's not a guarantee of a close game, I don't know what is!

Pick: Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming...
4:00 pm EST ESPN2
-10.5 Florida State (#20) 5-3 (Away: 2-2)
  Wake Forest 5-4 (Home: 3-1)
Three losses already, and Florida to go.  I'd laugh out loud if FSU knocks off NC State to win the ACC ... and manages to not be BCS-eligible!
Pick: FSU
3:30 pm EST ESPN
  Illinois 3-5 (Away: 0-2)
-14 Penn State (#21) 5-3 (Home: 3-1)
So now the Big Ten is seriously considering adding instant replay for next season.  I've got to wonder, wouldn't it be cheaper just to shell out a little more money to hire better officials in the first place?  Sounds like politicians' logic to me.  And all this because JoePa refuses to go gently into that good night...
Pick: Illinois
2:00 pm EST  
  Missouri 4-4 (Away: 1-3)
-10 Iowa State (#23) 6-3 (Home: 4-1)
Iowa State is tired of losing.  You hear that?  Just plain sick and tired of it!

Good enough for this prognosticator.

Pick: ISU
3:30 pm EST Fox Sports Net, Gameplan
-19 Marshall (#25) 6-1 (Away: 2-1)
  Akron 1-7 (Home: 1-2)
Hey hey, Marshall's back!  Or should I say, Byron Leftwich is back.  Because that's what it is.  I know football is an eleven man game, but this is the most absurd example of a one man team that my barley and hops addled brain can come up with.
Pick: Marshall
12:00 pm EST  
-6.5 West Virginia 5-3 (Away: 2-1)
  Temple 3-5 (Home: 2-3)
Now that's just embarrassing.  Only Rutgers and Syracuse should be as little as one TD favorites over Temple.
Pick: WVU
7:00 pm EST ESPN+, Gameplan
  Syracuse 2-6 (Away: 0-4)
-5.5 Central Florida 3-4 (Home: 2-1)
The truly sad thing here is that UCF is most likely the better team in this contest.


Pick: UCF

Last Week:
12-7 (YTD: 99-96-4)

TV Game of the Week: Colorado vs. Oklahoma

Upset Special: Air Force over Colorado (YTD: 6-5)


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