The less said about last week the better. I went 1-6, with my only “win” a Pyrrhic victory at best (Philly beat Baltimore by 1 point, not covering the 2 point spread and making my choice of the Ravens technically correct). So, in classic mid-life crisis fashion I have decided to overcompensate. My record for the season thus far stands at 7-14, and even though I have absolutely nothing riding on these picks except my own pride I feel compelled to try to improve my winning percentage. Plus when I looked at this week’s slate of games that seemed interesting I just couldn’t narrow it down to 7. Therefore you get bonus picks today!! Don’t you feel blessed??
I had both of these teams ranked in my pre-season Top 25, the Cougars at #10 & the Broncos at #25. Thus far the results have been mixed. BYU stands at 2-1 while Boise St. is 1-1, and neither is ranked although a couple of victories could change that status quickly. This is a total vibe game for me. I feel like Boise is declining while BYU is on the rise. Both are usually underdogs when going up against highly regarded power conference competition like Notre Dame or Michigan St., but against one another they seem pretty evenly matched on paper. The Voices are screaming loudly on this one, and they are telling me to go with the underdog BYU, so that’s what I’ll do.
Kentucky at Florida (-24.5)
I have no doubt that the Gators will win this game. The question is will they cover the spread?? UK enters the contest an unimpressive 1-2, while the Gators are not only 3-0 but have actually played competitive opponents like Texas A&M and Tennessee. However, in their one “cupcake” game Florida, while victorious, only beat Bowling Green by 13 points. That seems significant, and gives me no reason to believe that they can whip a team…even the lowly Wildcats…by 3+ touchdowns. Therefore, even though I think they’ll lose the game, I’m picking Kentucky to cover the spread.
Missouri at South Carolina (-10)
The Tigers didn’t fare so well in their SEC debut a couple of weeks ago, getting hammered by the Georgia Bulldogs. Meanwhile, Steve Spurrier looks like he has the Gamecocks firing on all cylinders, though it must be pointed out that at 3-0 they haven’t really been tested by a strong opponent thus far. I think South Carolina easily passes this first test, while Missouri’s rough welcome tour continues.
California at USC (-16)
The talking heads and other pundits all had the Trojans at the top of their rankings as early as last spring. Yours truly didn’t buy the hype and placed them at #7 in my pre-season Top 25. I must admit that I didn’t think it’d be Stanford that crushed USC’s national title hopes, but that’s exactly what occurred last weekend. That’s probably bad news for the 1-2 Cal Golden Bears, because an angry home team isn’t someone you want to go up against. However, the question again is will the Trojans cover what is a pretty hefty spread?? Another factor that must be considered is the Bears’ state-of-mind after coming oh-so-close only to fall short against Ohio State last week. I think the timing is very bad for the underdogs and extremely good for the favorites, who I am picking to win & cover.
Michigan at Notre Dame (-6)
This will be one of the centerpiece games on Saturday night’s prime time slate. Both teams are ranked in the Top 20, with Notre Dame coming in a not all that shocking 3-0 for the first time in a decade, while the Wolverines are 2-1 but lost to the only legitimate opponent they have faced so far (#1 Alabama). The 2011 contest between these two was a classic, with three TDs being scored in the final minute & a half, the last one a game winning pass from Michigan QB Denard Robinson. We should all be so blessed to see such another exciting game this year, but that may be a bit too much to ask. I will probably regret this, but I’m going to pick Michigan here. As long as Robinson is still running the show the Wolverines can never be counted out.
Arizona at Oregon (-23.5)
Have the boys in Vegas not been paying attention?? Yes, the high powered Oregon offense has averaged 54 points per game in route to a 3-0 record. But they haven’t played anyone!! Meanwhile, as much as I hate to give Fraudriguez even one iota of credit, it must be said that the Wildcats have looked pretty good in averaging 46 points per game and going 3-0 themselves, including a big victory over Oklahoma State. So I am more than a bit surprised that the Ducks have been made 3+ touchdown favorites. I could understand 8…maybe 10…even 12…but 23 & a half?? That seems a bit shady to me. Either Oregon has built up a lot of respect in the course of their recent success, or strange things are afoot at the Circle K. Either way I’m not buying what they are trying to sell. I think this’ll be a really good, high scoring, eminently entertaining game. Oregon deserves to be the favorites and will likely win, but not by that much. I’ll take Arizona.
NY Giants (-1.5) at Carolina
The Giants have gotten a lot of media attention this week due to Coach Coughlin’s temper tantrum over Tampa’s odd end-of-game tactics last weekend, but that isn’t going to help them against Cam Newton. In my NFL prognostications I picked Carolina to go all the way to the NFC championship game, and this would be the perfect game to announce their presence to the world. Both teams are 1-1 (as is over 60% of the league), so this is the time to make a statement and get things headed in a positive direction. It’s still very early, but the difference between 1-2 and 2-1 should not be undervalued. New York will be without the services of RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and Carolina will have the home field in front a captive audience for an NFL Network Thursday night broadcast. Newton has already had his “coming out party” and is no secret at this point, but I think it would be accurate to say that the masses have bought into just him and not his team. This is a golden opportunity to change that and I think the Panthers will take advantage of it.
Houston (-2) at Denver
Is Peyton Manning back?? Well, at first we thought the answer was a resounding yes. But then last week was a huge “not so fast my friend” kind of thing. There are whispers that Manning cannot yet throw the ball deep. If that is the case then smart defensive coordinators will take advantage of it with a variety of blitzes daring him to launch downfield to receivers in single coverage. However, if the Broncos can construct the game plan in such a way that the long ball isn’t necessary then it may be a moot point. Houston is 2-0, but really how much can be gleaned from the fact that they’ve beaten up on the Miami Dolphins & Jacksonville Jaguars?? That’s the NFL equivalent to defeating two directional schools from 1-AA. I think the altitude in Denver combined with an angry & determined Peyton Manning spells doom for the Texans.
New England at Baltimore (-3)
This is a preview of my projected AFC championship game. The Ravens looked impressive crushing the Cincinnati Bengals in week one, but last week they got outyanked in the final two minutes by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots also started out well, easily beating the Tennessee Titans a couple of weeks ago,yet last week they needed 10 points in the final 7 minutes to make a loss to the Arizona Cardinals look close. As much as I would LOVE to see pretty boy Tom Brady go down in flames twice in a row I just don’t think that’s going to happen. If the Cardinals would have played along and lost last week like they were supposed to I might have been tempted to go with Baltimore here given the home field advantage, but since I am thoroughly convinced that Bill Belichick is some sort of evil robot from the future sent back in time to wreak havoc on the NFL I think the Patriots will be out to make a statement after last week’s shocking loss and will win going away.
- College Football Week 4 Predictions: BYU Cougars vs. Boise State Broncos (bleacherreport.com)
- NCAA Football: The Most Intriguing Top 25 Matchups and Predictions for Week 4 (bleacherreport.com)
- Notre Dame Football: Why the Irish Will Be 7-0 Heading into the Oklahoma Game (bleacherreport.com)
- Analysis: What’s next for Big East after latest hit? (herald-review.com)
- Heisman watch: Braxton Miller still paces Big Ten (btn.com)
- College Football Flash: Week 4 Top 25 Outcomes in 10 Minutes or Less (bleacherreport.com)
- Pac-12 football: Picks of the Week (USC wins, UCLA dominates and Utah upsets BYU) (blogs.mercurynews.com)
- College football week 3: Tailgater picks of the week (isportsweb.com)
- BYU Vs. Utah Final Score: Utes Upset No. 25 BYU In 24-21 Thriller (sbnation.com)
- Mike Valenti’s Wednesday Watchers: Does Florida State Count? (detroit.cbslocal.com)