October 15, 2008

Week 8: The Picks

College football never ceases to amaze me, and last week's Separation Saturday delivered some big time statement games. Week 8 of the college football season is sort of a breather before we kick it into high gear down the stretch. Texas-Missouri is probably the marquee game of the weekend, and I'm expecting a very competitive game up in East Lansing between the Spartans and the Buckeyes. As we have seen through the years, the quietest weeks sometimes produce some huge upsets. Stay tuned. You never really know who may go down at any time.

The Irish are off this week, so hopefully they are gearing up in the bye week to send out Ty Willingham with a bang.

Thursday October 16, 2008

Florida State -10.5 at NC State (ESPN 7:30pm)

Dan: NC State +10.5

I’m starting to think that you should just stay away from Thursday night games. They are simply too unpredictable. But here at WeisND, we have to make the picks, so I will take the home team and the points. NC State is not good, but I’m still not sold on Florida State’s offense, and that’s a pretty big spread on the road. Both teams are coming off a bye week, so neither team gets an advantage there. If anything, it might hurt a Florida State team that was starting to build an offensive identity. FSU should win, but it will be a low scoring game.

Florida State 13 NC State 6

Matt: NC State +10.5

I just can't shake that image of FSU rolling over like a dog at home against Wake a few weeks ago. Wake's D is good - they totally dominated Clemson last Thursday - but the total ineptitude of the Noles was stunning. I know they have improved in the last couple of weeks, but I still can't in good faith take them as a double digit road favorite. Meanwhile, after listening to the Bomani Jones show on 850 the BUZZ in North Carolina last weekend, it became clear that Tom O'Brien is getting a free pass for the forseeable future at NC State. Chuck Amato is the Ty Willingham of Raleigh. Supposedly he just left the program in shambles and takes no responsibility for it. Side note - if anyone is interested in a top notch entertaining preview of the college football weekend on a Saturday morning, google Bomani Jones 850 the Buzz for an internet stream. Doug and I spent an hour with the man and couldn't have enjoyed it more. The man knows his football.

FSU 24 NC State 14

Mike: Florida State -10.5

Both teams took last week off to prepare for this Thursday night game in Raleigh. To my surprise, the Noles have bounced back well this year after an ugly home loss to Wake and now they appear poised to make a run at the ACC title. NC State, outside of its lone win against an East Carolina team that has since been exposed as an early season mirage, has shown virtually nothing this year. Saint Bobby and the boys should roll in this spot.

FSU 31 NC State 14

Doug: NC State +10.5

NC State is terrible, but Thursday night games generally seem to favor the home teams. Having had a chance to attend a Thursday night game last week, the fans are usually pretty excited about these games. There's something about going to a college football game during the week that gives a little extra buzz to the game, especially if you are a mediocre program that doesn't get much energy in the stadium on Saturday afternoons.

No knock on Florida State by the way. They are quietly starting to play a little better. Perhaps Jimbo Fisher is quietly starting to show his influence on the program. Maybe we have another Penn State on our hands, and Bobby Bowden has officially given up any input on the program. It's probably a good move. There is no way you can tell me that an old man like Bowden can run a major college football program anymore.

FSU 27 NC State 17

BYU (pick) at TCU (Versus 8pm)

Dan: BYU

In the better of the two Thursday night games, two mountain west power houses face off. I haven’t had a chance to see either of these two teams play, and I really don’t have a feel for this game. That would normally lead me to take the home team and the points again, but I just have a feeling that the cougars have something special going this year. Other than the near debacle at Washington, they have been incredibly dominant.

BYU 31 TCU 24

Matt: BYU

What Gary Patterson has done year after year at TCU deserves some serious recognition. It's been 8 years since the Tomlinson Era and they are still chugging along as a Top 25 type team. Having said that, I cannot pick them to beat this Cougars team. I know pretty much nothing about BYU having not had a chance to watch them this year, but so far noone has slowed down their offense. I think the Hall to Collie combo explodes for a few big plays and the Cougars keep their (ridiculous) BCS hopes alive.

BYU 31 TCU 24

Mike: TCU (Pick)

TCU is the real deal this year. The Horned Frogs currently lead the NCAA in total defense and I expect them to continue their dominance this week. BYU is a nice little team, but a cursory inspection of their schedule reveals that they haven’t exactly played top competition thus far. I believe that BYU’s title dreams will come crashing down this week in Fort Worth and since I dislike the mid-major “Cinderella” stories, a TCU victory will warm my heart.

TCU 23 BYU 20

Doug: TCU

Dear TCU, please do America a favor and find a way to win this game. We're only about 2 weeks into the BCS discussions, and I'm already tired of hearing BYU as a candidate for the BCS title game. Just finish the job and put that debate to rest. Go Horned Frogs.

TCU 21 BYU 20

Saturday October 18, 2008

Georgia Tech (-2) at Clemson (ESPN 12pm)

Dan: Georgia Tech -2

Do you know how many D-1 teams Clemson has beat this year? One. ONE. It’s the middle of October. They were top ten pre-season, supposed to contend at least for the ACC title if not the national title. Of course, Georgia Tech almost lost to a D-1AA team last week. Yikes. However, I’m still riding the Paul Johnson band wagon. That was a simple lapse with the team likely looking forward to this week. This is going to be a tough one for the Jackets, but I think they can pull it out.

Georgia Tech 20 Clemson 17

Matt: Clemson +2

I'm thrilled that I get to tell my grandchildren that I was there for the last game of the Tommy Bowden era. What a milestone! Ok, maybe not so much, but after watching in person look so inept against a mediocre Clemson team, Tommy had to see the writing on the wall. The fact that Bama Bangs Harper publicly humiliated him after his firing by saying "He deserved it" tells you all you need to know about the control he apparently had in the locker room. I'll give GT a free pass for nearly losing at home to Gardner-Webb (the giant killers! All you UK fans know enough about them). I think Clemson circles the wagon in a manner that would make the Buffalo Bills jealous and pulls off the upset. Death Valley is still Death Valley and there is still a ton of talent in orange.

Clemson 24 GT 18

Mike: Georgia Tech -2

The Tommy Bowden has officially come to end in Clemson. Despite my statement last week that Clemson “may be perilously close to a complete implosion,” I never figured that Bowden would be deposed in mid-season. In addition, prior to his dismissal, Bowden announced that quarterback Cullen Harper will be benched this week in favor of hotshot sophomore Willy Korn. Although Harper makes a convenient scapegoat, the root causes of Clemson’s failure have been the offensive line and, more chiefly, the terrible work of offensive coordinator Rob Spence (who was also purged this week). It is hard to imagine that Korn, who has clearly been second rank to Harper all year, will suddenly revive this lifeless Tiger offense, particularly now that C.J. Spiller is out of the lineup. On the other sideline, Paul Johnson should be able to fine tune his option attack after a disappointing effort at home against Gardner-Webb last week and the terrific GT defensive line should dominate up front. These are two teams going in completely different directions right now and, as such, I like the Jackets to win big.

Doug: Clemson +2

When your starting quarterback is practically celebrating your demise, maybe it's a sign that change is a good thing for the Clemson football program. I have a feeling that this game could be a "circle the wagons" type game where Clemson rises up and gets a win. I know they are starting a backup QB, but it's a home game and the crowd should be excited to see the team in the post-Bowden era. It sounds like Tommy Bowden was a bad guy who the players didn't like, so maybe they will be inspired in this game.

Georgia Tech is a nice little team, but they are probably not quite as good as their record has been. They barely beat Gardner-Webb last week. I would LOVE to play Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl. It seems like a lot of major sports websites are projecting that matchup for us in the Gator Bowl. I respect the heck out of Paul Johnson, but give me that matchup all day long.

Bonus ACC pick: Virginia over UNC this week. Mark that one down.

Clemson 20 GT 17

Wisconsin +3.5 at Iowa (Big Ten Network 12pm)

Dan: Wisconsin +3.5

Wow. How the mighty have fallen. Clemson above, and here, Wisconsin was also a top ten team at one point during the season. Now they are getting points against Iowa. Iowa! I know Wisconsin is not very good. In fact, they may be bad. But they are still better than Iowa. This spread is just way too much of a reaction to Iowa blowing out IU and Wisconsin getting blown out by Penn State. I think the Badgers circle the wagons, waltz in to Iowa City, and continue to push Ferentz towards the hot seat (in a really ugly game).

Wisconsin 16 Iowa 13

Matt: Wisconsin +3.5

Wait a second. I know Wiscy has lost three straight, but it's not exactly like they were losing to chopped liver. Wasn't this just a top 10 team a few weeks ago (albeit an overrated one as I repeatedly mentioned.) I don't think that Ferentz has the talent on his sideline to win this one, even at home.

Wisconsin 17 Iowa 16

Mike: Iowa -3.5

These two squads are both physical, run-first teams that fit the stereotypical Big 10mold, so this should be a closely contested affair. Wisconsin is reeling right now, however, and it is tough to expect that Bret Bielema will be able to right the ship against his alma mater in a difficult environment at Kinnick Stadium.

Iowa 20 Wisconsin 16

Doug: Wisconsin +3.5

Wow, I had to double check the line here just to make sure that I was seeing it correcctly. Seems like a classic gambler's trap game. Iowa is coming off a blowout win and Wisky coming off a blowout loss, so the line gets jacked up in Iowa's favor. I just look at these two teams, and I think Wisky is the better team. They happened to run into a buzzsaw against Penn State, but I can't talk myself into the fact that they are a bad team. Ferentz could probably use a win here to keep the critics off his back, but I like Wisky to win this game. I'll take those 3.5 points all day long.

I've know I've said it before, but I still can't get over it. Do Iowa fans really think Ferentz is doing an awful job?? It's freaking Iowa!! I admittedly don't know the ins and outs of the Iowa program and maybe need to be educated on all the failings of Kirk Ferentz, but I don't see a program that should realistically expect to compete for Big 10 titles or even 9-10 win seasons on any sort of a regular basis. In terms of access to talent, tradition, money, and population, I'd put them at around 8th at best in the Big Ten. AT BEST.

Iowa fans, suck it up and take your Insight/Champs Sports bids like a man and celebrate like crazy when you get those occasional Outback bowl appearances.

Wisconsin 17 Iowa 14

Texas Tech -20.5 at Texas A&M (FSN 12pm)

Dan: Texas Tech -20.5

As a general rule, 20.5 points, on the road, is a completely ridiculous spread in a conference game. However, Texas Tech is averaging 46 points a game and Texas A&M is averaging 22 points a game. The Aggies have lost at home to Arkansas State, to Miami by 18, and to Kansas State by 14. The Aggies are a sad shadow of their former selves. It goes against my gut to take this big of a spread, but I cannot put any confidence in the Aggies at this point.

Texas Tech 52 Texas A&M 24

Matt: Texas Tech -20.5

Mike Leach is probably furious that the Raiders had to go to OT last week to beat a bad Nebraska team. I fully expect him to take out his anger on a pretty defenseless Aggies squad. By the way, Texas Tech might want to enjoy this one, because the next four are at KU, Texas, Oklahoma State and at OU. Yikes.

Texas Tech 47 A&M 21

Mike: Texas A&M +20.5

Texas Tech continues to rise through the rankings and, yet, I refuse to believe that they are anything other than a complete fraud. Fortunately for Red Raider fans, this week’s voyage to Kyle Field will be much easier than in years past, as Texas A&M has struggled badly this year under Mike Sherman. The Aggies have, however, shown incremental improvement in the past few weeks, especially in the running game, which should allow them to notch the cover this week against a suspect Red Raider defense.

Texas Tech 41 Texas A&M 24

Doug: Texas A&M +20.5

I really don't have an opinion on this game since I've been dead wrong on Texas Tech the past two weeks, so I'm going to discuss something I do have an opinion on. ROY WILLIAMS. Wow, the Cowboys gave up a lot. I had Roy Williams on my fantasy team in 2007, and I do not like how that guy plays. I think he's incredibly overrated. Very selfish, and takes a lot of plays off. I don't see it with him. I know he's talented and maybe a better fit as a #2 WR than as a #1, but that's a lot of picks to give up for the guy. Then again, the Cowboys always seem to have about 15 picks in every draft, so maybe they just felt like splurging on Roy Williams.

Wish they had offered that to the Bengals for Chad Johnson. A 1st, 3rd, 6th, and a 7th. I would have taken that. Hard to believe that we turned down a 1st and 3rd (that could have become a 1st) for Chad from the Skins. He's on pace for 50 catches and 3tds. Yikes.

Texas Tech 31 Texas A&M 14

Vanderbilt +15 at Georgia (Raycom 12:30pm)

Dan: Georgia -15

First, let me say welcome back to earth Vandy. Now, let me say that I am highly conflicted by this game. This spread should be way too big in the SEC, especially considering that the Commodores are still first in the East division. However, part of me thinks that this is the beginning of a quick decline for Vandy. Meanwhile, with UF trouncing LSU last week, this is a must win for Georgia. Expect the Bulldogs to come out fired up between the hedges in Athens. Stafford did not have that great of a game last week against the Vols only completing 13 of his 30 pass attempts. Expect a bounce back performance as he leads Georgia to a sound beating of Vandy.

Georgia 31 Vanderbilt 13

Matt: Georgia -15

That didn't take long for the Vandy bandwagon to empty, did it? I think Georgia is starting to realize that the season is about halfway over and they still haven't done anything to impress anyone. This one is a rout, or at least as big of a rout as possible in the SEC when the Florida and Alabama offenses aren't involved.

Georgia 31 Vandy 6

Mike: Georgia -15

The bloom is off the rose for Vanderbilt. I picked the Commodores against my better judgment last week, but I am officially jumping ship this week. In fact, I would not be surprised if Vandy fails to achieve bowl eligibility, despite needing just one more win (a homecoming game against Duke looks like the best shot). As for Georgia, is there any quarterback who is more overrated than Matt Stafford? He has the size and arm strength, but he makes plenty of horrible decisions. If Stafford starts chucking up picks again this week, this game could stay close into the fourth quarter. Hopefully he can just manage the game and let Knowshon Moreno take care of business.

Georgia 38 Vanderbilt 10

Doug: Georgia -15

I have a feeling that the Vanderbilt implosion is underway, so I'll take the Dawgs in a rout. Georgia has not found itself yet this year, so it's time to hurry up and spank a team like Vandy.

Georgia 30 Vandy 10

Ole Miss +13 at Alabama (CBS Sports 3:30pm)

Dan: Alabama -13

Normally, I would never take the favorite in a 13 point spread in the SEC. But Alabama had bye last week, got jumped in the polls by Texas, and had something to prove this week. I think they come out hungry to prove they are the best team in the country and really try to run it up on Ole Miss. The ferocious Bama Defense could make for a long day for Snead.

Alabama 31 Ole Miss 10

Matt: Alabama -13

It seems like every team in the SEC has one of those games every year when they lose or barely escape against a team that has no business playing with them. Is this that game for Bama? I don't think so. For one, it usually happens on the road, and the Tide is playing this one in the friendly confines. Also, I just don't see Saban having them coming out flat after a bye week. All he needed to do was pop in the tape from the Ole Miss-Florida game to get the attention of the locker room. Bama rolls.

Alabama 38 Ole Miss 17

Mike: Ole Miss +13

There is no doubt that Bama is a talented squad, particularly in the trenches, but Nick Saban’s squad has been unimpressive as a big home favorite this year. For the visiting Rebels, Houston Nutt has build a formidable outfit from Ed Orgeron’s impressive recruiting classes. Ole Miss has the players to battle Alabama in the trenches, but the second ranked Crimson Tide should emerge with a hard fought victory.

Alabama 24 Ole Miss 16

Doug: Ole Miss +13

I think Alabama is a real good team, but I have a wierd feeling that they are about to hit a"holy cow, we're #2 in the country!!" stretch and sort of go through a malaise. I think they will find a way to win this game, but we're in the conference season and Ole Miss has had a week off to gear up for this game. In five years, when Bama is trotting out only 4 and 5 star recruits under Saban, they'll be covering spreads like this one. For now, I'll take Ole Miss to hang around and cover the 13 points.

Alabama 20 Ole Miss 13

Ohio State -3 at Michigan State (ABC 3:30pm)

Dan: Michigan State +3

This is an intriguing match up. I think this has MSU teaser written all over it, but I am also going to take them to cover out right. Javon Ringer is having a Heisman candidate season, and I continue to be unimpressed with the OSU defense. Did you ever notice how Laurinaitis is flying all over the field to make great tackles 5 – 6 yards past the line of scrimmage? Great, so he made a good tackle, but the back still got 5 or 6 yards. Ringer will slowly wear the OSU defense down and keep the Spartans in it the whole game. However, I do think Pryor and Wells make just enough plays to pull off a victory on the road.

Ohio State 21 Michigan State 20

Matt: Michigan State +3

To me, it all comes down to Senator Tressel in this one. Will he finally take the reins off Pryor. I mean, I know the guy is a freshman, and I know he has looked really shaky at times, but sooner or later you have to just let him make plays. Unfortunately, I just don't think it's in the Vest's nature to let it all hang out, and I think he'll play the field position game and continue to boost AJ Trapasso's NFL stock. Luckily for the Buckeye fans, Brian Hoyer finds Malcolm Jenkins for a late pick and the Bucks survive.

Ohio State 21 MSU 20

Mike: Michigan State +3

Is this a new era at Michigan State or just same old Sparty? In the last meeting in which both of these teams were ranked, MSU had Ohio State on the ropes before the Buckeyes returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown at the end of the first half, thus triggering the hysterical John L. Smith sideline interview (one of my favorite moments from the Smith era). The most intriguing aspect of this matchup is the fact that Mark D’Antonio’s chosen template for his team is the Ohio State “running and defense” model championed by Jim Tressel. Although Tressel is the undisputed master of the ugly win, I believe that the Spartans will rise up this week at home against a Buckeye team that is still finding its way under true freshman Terrelle Pryor.

Michigan State 21 Ohio State 20

Doug: Ohio State -3

Very intriguing game up in East Lansing this weekend. Easily the Big 10 game of the week.

Are Buckeye fans having second thoughts on the decision to go to Terrelle Pryor?? Just throwing that out there. I didn't see the game, but it sounds like he really struggled last week. Jake Ballard was even calling for Todd Boeckman to get some snaps. When is Ohio State going to open it up and let Pryor try to make some plays through the air?? They move the ball a little and then stall out because there is no threat of a passing attack. Their offense is never going to take any strides if they can't throw the football.

I've heard all the criticism of the Buckeyes throughout the year (defense is overrated, youth at Qb, too many seniors who are burnt out, etc) and know that this game has upset written all over it, but I cannot pick against them in this game. I can't get myself on board with this Michigan State team. It's a nice team that is very well-coached, but they are still a very one-dimensional team. I can't see them scoring more than 17 or so points in this game. That might be enough to win it, but Ohio State has more upside offensively.

Mark Dantonio has been on some local radio shows this week. Classy guy. Michigan State must be thrilled to have him on board. He's a great fit for a program like Michigan State. Izzo and Dantonio. Not a bad combo.

Big game for Javon Ringer on Saturday. If he goes off for a bunch of yards and a key score or two, he is going to have a real shot at the Heisman this year. Seems like a great guy and an Ohio native. I'd love to see him win it.

Ohio State has been shaky at best all year long, but I think they will find a way to steal this game on Saturday. Just a hunch.

Ohio State 17 Michigan State 13

Kansas +20.5 at Oklahoma (ABC 3:30pm)

Dan: Kansas +20.5

Can Oklahoma rebound? I think so. Can they beat Kansas by 3 touchdowns? I’m not so sure. I probably would not bet on this game just because you can’t be sure exactly what you’re going to get from the Sooners. Will they be hungover after that close defeat? I think they come out rolling, but that Kansas has enough offensive fire power to pull off a back door cover late in the 4th quarter.

Oklahoma 48 Kansas 31

Matt: Oklahoma -20.5

Everyone is still aware that Sam Bradford threw 5 touchdowns last week, right? Even in a loss, in my opinion, that game did nothing to dispel the notion that OU isn't a top 5 team. In fact, my Top 7 right now would look like this:
1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Florida
5. Penn State
6. Oklahoma State
7. USC

On the other hand, I think Kansas is criminally overrated. You cannot tell me that if Notre Dame and KU met on a neutral field that the Irish wouldn't win that game. Oklahoma...Huge

OU 55 KU 24

Mike: Kansas +20.5

I still believe that Oklahoma is one of the most talented teams in the nation but this is a boatload of points for a Sooner team that is returning home after a very difficult loss to face an explosive Kansas attack. I'll take Reesing and the Jayhawks to pick up where Colt McCoy left off and score a huge win in Norman. Wait, did I say "huge win?" Sorry about that, I meant "huge late cover."

Oklahoma 38 Kansas 20

Doug: Oklahoma -20.5

Oklahoma at home in an angry mood??? Give me the Sooners and they can name the score. Stoops loves to run up the score, and they can easily put up 50+ on Kansas. I know 20.5 is a high number, but I don't see any reason why OU can't do it.

OU 52 Kansas 20

Pitt -3 at Navy (CBS College Sports Channel 3:30pm)

Dan: Navy +3

What a miserable game. I'll take the points.

Matt: Pitt -3

Anyone who tells you they have any clue what will happen in this game is lying. Anyone who bets on this game is just a straight degenerate. I just slapped myself for picking Wanny on the road.

Pitt 27 Navy 21

Mike: Navy +3

Now that Pitt is ranked again, it is just about time for the clueless Dave Wannstedt and the unimaginative Matt Cavanaugh to screw things up against an undermanned foe. Navy defeated Pitt at Heinz Field last year and the Midshipmen should repeat the feat this year at homecoming weekend in Annapolis.

Navy 41 Pitt 31

Doug: Navy +3

The next time I trust a Dave Wannstedt coached team will be the first time. They have been busy patting themselves on the back the last two weeks, and we all know what happens when Pitt becomes full of themselves. Pitt is still an incredibly streaky team. They will probably rise up and play out of their minds one or two more times this season (I'm just praying it isn't against ND on 11/1/08), but they are also going to have their lows and blow some random games. That's just Pitt football during the Wannstedt era.

In many ways, Wannstedt would be the perfect Bengals coach. They play inspired when you least expect it, but immediately start patting themselves on the back talking about how great they are and fold up like a tent when people start to get bullish about them.

I like the Middies to steal this game at home. They've had 2 weeks to prepare, so they will be ready to pull the upset. Go Navy.

Navy 27 Pitt 24

Michigan +23.5 at Penn State (ESPN 4:30pm)

Dan: Michigan +23.5

Yikes. A loss to a MAC team (still better than a loss to a 1-AA team, let’s not forget). Now 23.5 point underdogs to Penn State. FireRRod.com is up and running. Things are getting toasty in Ann Arbor. I do still think Rodriguez can be successful at Michigan, but it’s going to take time. The surprising factor this year is how disappointing their defense has been. Can they stop this new high powered offense of Penn State? I don’t think so. And I do think that while JoePa has almost nothing to do with the team anymore, he will relish the opportunity to run it up on the Wolverines. However, I just can’t bring myself to take the favorites with this large of a spread in a conference game. I’ll take the points and a prayer. (although I would love nothing more than for Penn State to beat them by 30).

Matt: Penn State -23.5

I am literally saying my prayers at night that Rich Rod somehow weasels his way into the Clemson job. That would just be classic for the Wolverines. I still don't know how anyone can doubt that he will get this thing turned around eventually. His track record is too good and too long. In the mean time, I can howl in delight at scores like Toledo 13 Michigan 10. And this one...

Penn State 41 Michigan 17

Mike: Penn State -23.5

Michigan has owned Penn State since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten, so you can safely assume that the Nittany Lion coaches (note: this doesn’t include Joe Paterno) are salivating over the opportunity to kick the Wolverines while they are down. Forget about a letdown here: this game will be over after the first quarter.

Penn State 42 Michigan 3

Doug: Michigan +23.5

Never thought I would see the day where Michigan was a 23.5 underdog to anyone, so I gotta take those points even though they just lost to a 1-4 MAC team, their coach is openly despised by half their fans, a website called firerrod.com has surfaced even though he hasn't finished his first season yet, recruits are bailing, and rumors are circulating everywhere that he could be interested in the Clemson job.

Firerrod.com is my new home page at this point. I love it! I am still kicking myself about not buying the rights to that site about 10 months ago. Probably should have been obvious. I am promising to you right now that I will be buying the rights to the http://www.fire___.com/ site for whoever Tennessee decides to hire in the offseason as their new coach. Easy money.

If Michigan does part ways with Rich Rodriguez (I highly doubt it will happen), why would they not hire Jim Harbaugh?? The guy is a darn good coach, and he has somehow made Stanford into a competitive team with a functioning system. If you put his pro style scheme back at Michigan with an emphasis on the ground and his personality for recruiting, he could do big things at Michigan. I personally thought they should have looked at him at the last coaching search, so they might have a shot at a mulligan if Rich Rod bails.

Penn State 31 Michigan 10

Missouri +6 at Texas (ABC 8pm)

Dan: Texas -6

So much for the Chase the Heisman campaign. Gundy really showed that the Missouri offense can be slowed and we all already knew that you can certainly score on Missouri. I would definitely be a little worried about a hangover for UT combined with a slight level of complacency now that they are #1. However, I think somehow Mack Brown has evolved and is able to keep his team hungry. They can win by at least a touchdown at home in this game as Colt makes another statement on his way to claiming the 2008 Heisman trophy.

Texas 41 Missouri 31

Matt: Texas -6

I don't know why, but I'm just not ready to accept Missouri as a top 5 type team. Don't get me wrong, what Gary Pinkel has done there is truly impressive. But have they really won a big game? They got smoked by OU last year and the year before and have conveniently missed out on Texas the last two years under Chase Daniel. Bring on the hate mail from Columbia.

Texas 41 Missouri 28

Mike: Missouri +6

Missouri’s shocking home loss to Oklahoma State has taken some of the luster off this matchup, but this should be an exciting game nonetheless. Texas has traditionally responded well after the Red River Rivalry and they will need to maintain last week’s intensity against a talented Tiger squad. Meanwhile, Chase Daniel must bounce back from a disappointing 3 interception performance last week if Missouri intends to win the game. In a big upset, Daniel will vault back into the Heisman race by carving up the Texas secondary en route to a big road win in Austin.

Missouri 37 Texas 34

Doug: Texas -6

I am very nervous about this pick because I know Missouri is going to be jacked up and looking to bounce back against a Texas team that is coming off a huge win. But I'm going to stick with the Longhorns this week. I think this line would have been pretty intriguing if it was up around 10 or something like that, but 6 points is not that much.

After watching Missouri last week, I'm just not sure about them against a quality opponent with great "material." Mizzou has a good system, but their lines got overwhelmed by a pretty talented Oklahoma State team.

I gotta go with my guys Will Muschamp and Major Applewhite to put together a great gameplan for the Horns, and I think Colt McCoy will keep them focused.

Hook em

Texas 34 Mizzou 27

LSU -3 at South Carolina (ESPN 8pm)

Dan: LSU -3

Not the biggest LSU fan in the world right now after the debacle last weekend cost me several bets. But South Carolina hasn’t beaten anyone. I know Steve always has his game or two a year that he pulls off, but I think Georgia might have been that game this year. LSU is going to come out with a chip on their shoulder to prove that last week was a fluke.

LSU 20 South Carolina 6

Matt: LSU -3

I have so much respect for Les that I don't see any way that he lets them lose two in a row. I don't know how to explain allowing Florida 51 points, but the Cocks offense is no Urban Meyer creation. The Visor keeps it close, but the Hat pulls it off in the 4th.

LSU 20 USC 14

Mike: South Carolina +3

Upon further review, perhaps LSU was not actually worthy of their lofty #3 ranking last week. Florida deserves credit for crushing the Tigers, but let’s analyze LSU’s body of work: barely beat a bad Auburn team (and actually allowed Auburn’s “offense” to move the ball), failed to impress against a punchless Mississippi State team at home and got waxed by Florida in the Swamp. By contrast, South Carolina’s offense has started to find its mojo under Stephen Garcia and the Gamecock defense should have its way with LSU’s inept passing game. It appears that reports of Steve Spurrier’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

South Carolina 20 LSU 17

Doug: LSU -3

Gotta go with The Hat in a bounce back win for the Tigers. I know South Carolina is playing better, but I still don't think they are a very good team. LSU is going to be fired up to get the bad taste of the Florida game out of their mouths. I'm not sure a bad NFL team could have beaten Florida last week the way they came out in the first half. LSU is better than they looked in that game.

LSU-Georgia next weekend live from Baton Rouge. WOW. Verne and Gary just pumped their fists.

LSU 20 South Carolina 14

Virginia Tech +2.5 at BC (ESPN2 8pm)


Beamer at BC getting points? This spread just seems a bit out of whack. I know BC is 4-1, but they haven’t beaten anyone. I’ll take the points and laugh all the way to the bank as Virginia Tech “upsets” BC with the legs of Tyrod Taylor.

Virginia Tech 20 BC 13

Matt: VT +2.5

I will defend Frank Beamer as one of the top 10 teams in the country like I was a born and bred Hokie myself. You just know he is going to put a solid team on the field year after year, and they are going to improve as the year goes on. Doesn't that ECU loss seem like a long time ago. They've gone on since then to win at UNC, at Nebraska and beat GT at home. Pretty impressive stuff. In fact, I bet Frank is kicking himself for not having Ty Taylor in the gameplan for that ECU game, or else they would legitimately be a Top 5 team right now.

VT 24 BC 20

Mike: Virginia Tech +2.5

There are few sure things in life. One immutable fact, however, that BC will always blow every opportunity to ascend beyond mediocrity. Seriously, has BC football ever accomplished anything worthwhile in its entire pathetic history? Unless your definition of “worthwhile” encompasses a Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl victory, the answer is no.

Virginia Tech 23 BC 14

Doug: Virginia Tech +2.5

Another game where I had to double check the line to make sure it was real. Va Tech is a dog to BC?? How is that possible?? I'm not saying anything bad about BC, but VT is the king of the ACC. If Virginia Tech hadn't redshirted Tyrod Taylor in that game against East Carolina, they'd be undefeated right now. BC is a nice team, but VT is one of the 15 or so best teams in the country. The only good team BC has played so far was Georgia Tech at home, and they lost. No respect for Frank Beamer.

By the way, I drove past a couple signs for Blacksburg, Virginia as I was driving down to Winston-Salem Thursday, and I'm curious about something. When there is a big game down there, what airport do the announcers fly to when they are coming there for a game?? You couldn't find a more remote area than the area surrounding Blacksburg. It was nothing but mountains with tiny trailer park communities tucked in there. I'm surprised they even have running water. Do people live in Blacksburg??

Virginia Tech 22 BC 19

Cal -2.5 at Arizona (FSN 10pm)

Dan: Cal -2.5

Arizona isn’t that great of a football team. They have PAC 10 wins against UCLA and Washington. Not exactly a great resume. Cal’s win against Michigan State looks better every week, and other than the hiccup on the east coast, they have looked pretty decent all year. They also are currently undefeated in the PAC 10, and if they can stay focused have a chance to play USC in November to lock up the conference title (no chance). I do think they have enough to get past Arizona relatively easily.

Cal 27 Arizona 17

Matt: Cal -2.5

Wait a second, this line is only 2.5? There wasn't a more sure bet than a Mike Stoops coached team losing on the road to Stanford last week. The fact that Vegas somehow instilled them 7 point favorites in that game was downright laughable. Lute Olson would have them more prepared for road games than Stoops.

Cal 38 Arizona 20

Mike: California -2.5

Once again, Mike Stoops’s team has proven that they are incapable of grasping success. Arizona has been favored in every game this year and they could easily be 6-0. Sure enough, however, the Wildcats fell flat on their faces as big road favorites against New Mexico and Stanford. Now the Cats will play host to a Cal team that still has plenty to prove as it enters the meat of the Pac-10 schedule. With an extra week of preparation and the possible return of Jahvid Best, look for the Bears to turn in a strong performance in Tucson.

California 31 Arizona 24

Doug: Arizona +2.5

I haven't bet on Arizona all year, so I just wanted to try something different. They've been reasonably good at home this year, and the game is at night.

Interesting move by the Tampa Rays to start Kazmir for game 5. I like the move. As someone who had James Shields this year on my fantasy team, I can attest to his difficulties on the road. He's borderline unhittable at home, but you never really know what he is going to give on the road. More often than not, he gets rocked. I like James Shields, but he's not a good road pitcher. You might as well save him for a potential game 6 home game. They probably aren't going to win game 5 with Daisuke on the mound anyway. Good managing by Joe Maddon. Play the percentages.

Arizona 27 Cal 24

Last week:

Dan: 8-6-0
Matt: 5-9-0
Mike: 7-7-0
Doug: 4-10-0


Dan: 41-31-3
Matt: 55-48-3
Mike: 54-49-3
Doug: 54-49-3

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