I’m feeling a little frisky this week, and you know what that means…bonus picks!! Last week I was a respectable 4-3, with Florida, South Carolina, New England, & New Orleans all pulling through for me. Stanford won but didn’t cover the spread, while Air Force and the Buffalo Bills just plain stunk up the joint and made me look like a fool. Ah well…c’est la vie. My overall record for the season stands at 17-27, and I don’t expect to make up that deficit in one fell swoop, although one can hope.
Louisville (-3) at Pitt
What has happened to the Pitt Panthers?? While my WV Mountaineers have moved on to The Big 12 and are enjoying a fine season & a Top 5 ranking, Pitt is languishing in mediocrity with a record of 2-3. Meanwhile Louisville, who I ranked 20th in my pre-season Top 25, cruises into this game 5-0. It is telling that the oddsmakers are giving the edge to the Cardinals despite the fact that they are playing in Pittsburgh. Heinz Field may be a big advantage on Sundays for the Steelers, but on Saturdays the good citizens of The Burgh couldn’t seem to possibly care less about the Panthers and find other things to do rather than attend a football game. I’d be very surprised to see an upset, although I suppose anything is possible. Louisville has done nothing to dissuade my belief in them and I think they win easily.
Texas vs. Oklahoma (-3)
Ahhh…The Red River Shootout…one of the best rivalries in college football. The Longhorns are 4-1 but coming off of a disappointing loss to WVU. Oklahoma is 3-1, with the only blemish being a disappointing loss to Kansas St. This game takes place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX, meaning it’s not really a home game for either team. It really is a neutral site, with both campuses being about 200 miles away. Both teams probably expected and certainly atleast hoped to be undefeated coming into this contest, but since that isn’t the case I guess the question is who has the momentum. And to me the other question is whether or not Texas will lose two weeks in a row. I watched the Texas/WV game, and it was a dogfight. Just because the Longhorns lost doesn’t mean they aren’t a very good team. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the Sooners play this season, and I am sure they are extremely talented as well, but my vibes are saying that Texas will win an exciting & competitive game.
Kansas St. (-7) at Iowa St.
Kansas St. is one of the biggest surprises of the season thus far, as they are 5-0 and ranked in the Top 10. Meanwhile the Cyclones aren’t too shabby themselves, coming into this game 4-1. I don’t know enough about these teams to intelligently comment on the ins & outs or strengths & weaknesses of either. Like most of my fellow Mountaineer fans I am a novice when it comes to the intricacies of The Big 12 and just learning as I go along. I do recall that the Cyclones had a huge upset over Oklahoma State last year when the Cowboys were the #2 team in the nation. And I know that Wildcats’ head coach Bill Snyder has been around a long long…long time. I suppose it is possible that Kansas St. could be “looking ahead” to a Top 5 matchup next week in Morgantown against the Mountaineers, but that is precisely why I would love to see the Wildcats win this one. Iowa State’s 2011 defeat of Oklahoma St. actually works against them here because no one will take them lightly or overlook them. Therefore I must go with Kansas St. to win & cover here.
Stanford at Notre Dame (-8)
Stanford is 4-1 and coming off of a rather close call against Arizona. The Irish are sailing along at 5-0 and enjoying their best season in recent memory. Brian Kelly is an excellent coach and it seems like he finally has things figured out in South Bend, although the musical chairs being played between QBs Everett Golson & Tommy Rees is a cause for concern and I believe will eventually become an issue. The point spread gives me pause because I have a feeling this might be a pretty close game. However, I am going to bite the bullet and go with Notre Dame. I’ll probably regret it.
South Carolina at LSU (-2.5)
The Gamecocks opened up a can of whoopass on the Georgia Bulldogs last week en route to a 6-0 record and a Top 5 ranking. Conversely, the other shoe finally dropped for LSU when they lost to Florida, a loss quite a few people saw coming a mile away. These are simply two teams headed in opposite directions. However, circumstances might be conducive for an “upset” (even though LSU is favored). South Carolina could conceivably suffer the classic letdown after winning such a big game, and LSU might have finally gotten the wake-up call they needed. That’d be the conventional wisdom anyway. But you know what?? To heck with conventional wisdom. I picked South Carolina to win the SEC and I am sticking with that choice. I’ll go with Spurrier’s Gamecocks here. I hope I don’t regret this one too.
Indianapolis at NY Jets (-3)
All the talking heads can yap about this week is whether or not it is finally Tebow Time in New York. No one seems to care that rookie QB Andrew Luck led his team to a huge upset of the Green Bay Packers last week. Regardless of whether or not Rex Ryan pulls the plug on QB March Sanchez and gives Tebow a whirl, the fact is that the Jets are a mess. A big freakin’ 2-3 mess. Sure the Colts are only 2-2 themselves, but I suspect the mood in Indy is far more jovial than in The Big Apple. The Colts are of course dealing with the health issues of head coach Chuck Pagano that has necessitated offensive coordinator Bruce Arians becoming the interim coach, but such adversity tends to motivate & galvanize a team. A win here for Indianapolis would add to the early success of Luck, while a Jets loss might seal the fate of Sanchez. As much as I would love to see the former occur, I shudder at the consequences of the latter. I think Sanchez lives to fight another day, while the legend of Luck will take just a little longer to build. I hesitantly choose the Jets.
Detroit at Philadelphia (-5)
I honestly thought Detroit would atleast be in the playoff conversation this year. Instead they find themselves 1-3 and at the bottom of what has suddenly become quite a competitive division. The Eagles certainly haven’t been boring thus far, winning three games by a total of 4 points, and losing last week to my Steelers on a last second field goal. I haven’t watched a Lions game yet, but I know that their running game is a mess and someone else besides Calvin Johnson needs to become a pass receiving threat. I am not feeling an upset here and will pick Philly to win, this time by a comfortable enough margin to cover the spread.
Dallas at Baltimore (-3.5)
The Ravens are 4-1 and as good as advertised, although I’m not sure what in the world happened last week in Kansas City when they won a 9-6 snoozefest against the Chiefs. Dallas is a 2-2 hot mess, what with QB Tony Romo’s penchant for choking in big games & throwing passes to the other team’s players. Having said that, I must confess that if this game were being held at the palatial Jerry Jones shrine in Irving, TX I might have to ponder the possibilities. However, the game just so happens to be taking place in Baltimore, so that makes things considerably easier. I think Baltimore wins & covers without breaking a sweat.
Green Bay at Houston (-3.5)
This is the Sunday night game on NBC. I told you that they get all the cool games now…Monday Night Football is so yesterday (somewhere Hank Williams Jr. has a big ol’ grin on his face). This would be a lot more intriguing if the Packers had held up their end of the bargain and come into the game undefeated like their opponents. Unfortunately for cheeseheads everywhere their team has looked pretty ordinary so far in compiling a shockingly subpar 2-3 record. It’d even be more interesting if the game was being played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. However, the Texans are hosting this party and have looked pretty unstoppable thru 5 games. I think Green Bay will eventually get things figured out and still believe that they’ll win their division and go to the playoffs. However, I don’t think that breakthrough will come this week, and I am confident that Houston will win & cover.
- College Football Examination, Week 6: A new challenger emerges in South Carolina (examiner.com)
- Big 12 Football: Is the Big 12 Really as Good as the SEC? (bleacherreport.com)
- College Football Week 7 Predictions: Biggest Stories and Games to Watch (bleacherreport.com)
- LSU vs. South Carolina: Complete Game Preview (bleacherreport.com)
- Bowl projections: History not on Bama’s side? (thegazette.com)
- College Football Rankings, Week 4: Kansas State Climbs To No. 13 (kansascity.sbnation.com)
- Taylor’s Tuesday Top 25, College and Pro Picks (charlotte.cbslocal.com)
- LSU-South Carolina, Stanford-Notre Dame Among Battles Between Top 25 Teams This Week in College Football (nesn.com)
- Can LSU Right the Ship Against the Dominating South Carolina Defense? (bleacherreport.com)