Last week I went 2-4-1, with Louisville & the Detroit Lions really letting me down. I am perfectly aware when I roll the dice and have come to expect that more often than not I lose those gambles, but there are times when I am actually pretty confident that a pick is as close to a lock as one can hope for in football and when I lose those it really stings. Unfortunately I have lost a lot of those this season, which is why my overall record now stands at 28-47-1. If I were a coach or being paid by anyone to do this I would have already been shown the door. Luckily I am my own boss here so I can just move forward and hope to do better this week. The college schedule is inexplicably polluted with top teams playing cupcakes, which seems weird so late in the season, and the NFL schedule is beginning to feel repetitive & tedious at this juncture, but I have cobbled together 7 games that should be entertaining enough.
Florida State (-31) at Maryland
This is one of those games where the outcome is almost a foregone conclusion, but the interesting thing is the spread. The 9-1 Seminoles will almost certainly beat the 4-6 Terrapins, but will they win by over 4 TDs?? Such large victories are not foreign to Florida St., as they have won over half of their games by more than 40 points. Meanwhile, Maryland, who I crazily ranked 15th in my pre-season Top 25, has lost a lot but they weren’t being blown out until their last two games. I am going out on a limb and predicting that Florida St. has a slightly off week and only wins by 20-28 points.
Rutgers at Cincinnati (-6)
It was the Bearcats that I picked to win The Big East and finish in the top 15, but even though they have an impressive 7-2 record it is their opponent this week, the Scarlet Knights, who are currently ranked in the Top 25. That could flip flop here with a Cincinnati victory. I think these are two evenly matched teams and it should be an exciting game, so when all other things are equal the home field advantage comes into play. I think Cincinnati wins & covers, and maybe next week we’ll see them ranked.
USC (-3.5) at UCLA
I wonder when the last time these two teams played against one another in a meaningful game?? It seems like the Bruins have been below average for a number of years, all while the Trojans have been constantly in the thick of the national championship conversation. This game could possibly decide who represents The Pac 12 in The Rose Bowl, assuming Oregon makes it to the title game. Both teams are ranked in the top 20, but one gets the feeling that USC is struggling to hold on (they’ve lost 2 out of their last 3) while UCLA is riding a 4 game winning streak. Normally I would go with the home team in a game like this, but it is quite telling that the boys in Vegas consider Southern Cal the favorite. The vibes are strong with this one, as I sense that the Trojans will seize the opportunity to save their season.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (-10)
I have really been enjoying The Big 12 this season, except for the part where my WV Mountaineers completely suck and are struggling to become bowl eligible after all the pre-season hype of a possible national title run. Anyway, these are both solid teams in the lower echelon of the Top 25, but after they clash one will obviously fall by the wayside while one remains ranked. I assume it’ll be a high scoring game and fun to watch. I am a little surprised that it’s a double digit spread, which is kind of disrespectful to a very talented Red Raider team. However, Tech has lost 2 out of their past 4 games and went to overtime to win the other two, so I suppose the odds make sense. I just have a feeling it’ll be a little bit closer than that though, so Texas Tech is the pick.
Stanford at Oregon (-20.5)
I have learned my lesson. The Ducks win and they win big. But after Alabama was knocked off their perch last week it is Oregon that sits in the driver’s seat while Kansas St. & Notre Dame battle for the #2 spot, so might they take their foot off the gas just a little bit?? Stanford is much more on the level of USC, who Oregon defeated by only 11 points, and Arizona St., who the Ducks beat by a mere 22 points, rather than the likes of Arizona, Washington, or Cal that were all destroyed by the boys in green by 30+ points. This’ll probably be one of those games that the oddsmakers have somehow magically pegged perfectly, meaning that either way I go I’ll be sweating it out right down to the last possession. I have too much respect for Stanford to believe that they’ll get smoked by 3 TDs, so I’ll pick them to cover the spread. I am sure I’ll regret it. So yeah…I guess I didn’t learn my lesson.
Tampa Bay (-1.5) at Carolina
Wow, did I ever have the Panthers figured wrong. I thought they’d be a playoff team and QB Cam Newton would continue his rise to prominence. Instead Newton is a headcase that is looking more like a bad mix of the worst of Vince Young & Donovan McNabb, and his supporting cast isn’t nearly as good as I’d thought they’d be. Conversely, the Bucs are riding rookie RB Doug Martin straight into playoff contention. Plain & simple…it’s over for Carolina, while Tampa has to keep winning to stay in contention in the ultra-competitive NFC.
Chicago at San Francisco (-5)
Earlier this week I thought this’d be a game featuring two backup quarterbacks. Both Bears’ signal caller and 49ers starter Alex Smith were injured last weekend, but it looks like Smith is good to go. Chicago will rely on former Redskins & Raiders QB Jason Campbell, who isn’t a bad second option. This was always going to be a defensive struggle no matter who was behind center, so I don’t think it matters all that much anyway. It’s this week Monday night game and it should be a low scoring affair with lots of handoffs & punts. I am sure the folks at ESPN are thrilled. At any rate, conventional wisdom favors the home team and the spread isn’t outrageous, so I’ll go with Frisco to pull out a yawn inspiring victory.
- Four Downs: College Preview and Picks (sports-glutton.com)
- Pac-12 football: Picks of the Week (Oregon wins, but it’s close; UCLA topples USC) (blogs.mercurynews.com)
- Power Ranking the Top 5 Potential BCS Spoilers (bleacherreport.com)
- USC Football: USC-UCLA Rivalry Becomes Absurd as UCLA Bans Trojan Drum Major (bleacherreport.com)
- Kansas State, Oregon Face Key Matchups With National No. 1 on the Line (nesn.com)
- BCS Conference Races (ryandoak1.wordpress.com)
- Big games in Pac-12 this week – UCLA vs. USC, Oregon vs. Stanford (seattletimes.com)