Another ugly week last week, but a new week's worth of games awaits...
Dan: Another great week for you! 2-8. People are raking it in fading your picks. Of course, I cannot really talk as I only went 4-6 last week. It seems to me the home dogs and short home favorites are just not barking this year. I really liked my plays on Minny, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Cal. But no dice. The NC State play was bad. My Hokies continue to roll along and that win vs. Miami just got a little better. However, our old nemesis Boston College who has beat us three times in a row during the regular season will be strolling in to town. We need and want revenge! Anyway on to the picks…
Dave: There is something really special going on here. It's a magical season for me. Sure, I'd hoped to dominate the picks and prove my intellectual superiority when it comes to college football. But in some ways, this is even better. My overall record of 16-34 stands as a beacon of hope for all those people who were smart enough to realize what an idiot I am. Do you realize that if you'd simply plopped down $100 on every game from this column so far this season, each time betting the opposite of what I predicted, you'd be up $1,640 already? And I'm including the juice you're paying your bookie. Hey, I'm as money as any Vegas handicapper -- I'm just going about it in a bit different way. Let's see if we can keep the magic going, shall we?
Boston College (+13) at Virginia Tech
Dan: So this week Virginia Tech faces Boston College at home during our homecoming. Unfortunately, I will not be heading back to the game to relive some of the finer moments of my life while downing a few RAILS. For those of you who do not know what a RAIL is, let me explain. A RAIL is every liquor along the rail at the bar. Nine shots in total with varying degrees of alcohol content. This dandy of treat is sold in a nice big 32-fluid-ounce cup mixed in with 5 different sodas. In college we thought it was a great idea to down one or two of these drinks each time we went to Top of the Stairs (local Blacksburg bar). Mind you this always happened AFTER we had already consumed six or seven beers. So usually by the end of the night we were a sight to be seen. Let me tell you, the ladies LOVED us by 1a.m. Yes, we are idiots. Next week I will try to recap my top 5 Top of the Stairs moments involving me or one of my friends.
Anyway, instead this weekend I will be headed to my niece’s first birthday party. I mean who wouldn’t choose screaming 1-year-olds and smelly diapers over tailgating and whooping up on Boston College and their 25-year-old starting QB?… Virginia Tech 31, Boston College 14.
Dave: I blame the handful of RAILs I've had in my life for the lack of brain cells to make quality college football picks now. I used to be so much smarter… Virginia Tech 35, Boston College 17.
Alabama (-6.5) at Ole Miss
Dan: I think Alabama might be the best team in the country. I learned that the hard way by taking the home dog and Kentucky last week getting 16. I will not make that mistake again. This is the type of game where the home dog has covered in past years. But this year, the home dog is just not getting the job done. Last week I took a slew of home dogs and got creamed. Well this week I will try to switch it up a bit… Alabama 31, Ole Miss 20.
Dave: How bad has Jevan Snead been this year? What happened to that guy? I'm guessing Steve Spurrier jinxed him with his preseason ballot that listed Snead ahead of Tim Tebow for All-SEC QB. I mean, look how well that worked out for Spurrier when the Rebels went to Columbia and got beat. I'm not sure the Ol' Ball Coach can draw up an offensive play anymore, but he's still a master of the mind games… Alabama 40, Ole Miss 14.
Kentucky (+10.5) at South Carolina
Dan: We have a good friend who went to South Carolina and the last two years we’ve made the following bet: Virginia Tech will finish 10 poll spots higher than South Carolina at the end of the year. Well Virginia Tech has finished 10 poll spots higher and I won myself $200 the past few years as each year Virginia Tech has come on strong down the stretch and South Carolina has faded. Unfortunately this year we did not make the bet. And you know what that means? That means that South Carolina is going to have a great year and finish within 10 poll spots of Virginia Tech. That is how these things work. Well, if you want to have a good year this is the type of game in which you need to roll your competition. And a big win means a shortage of Jack-and-Cokes in the Atlanta area where our buddy now resides come Saturday evening… South Carolina 31, Kentucky 13.
Dave: I spent a year living in Kentucky, and here is the complete list of things I miss about it: Pazzo's pizza, Keeneland, McCarthy's Irish Pub and the daily possibility that I might accidentally bump into Ashley Judd on the street somewhere. I've been to Columbia maybe eight or nine times in my life, and I've always had a blast. How is that possible? I feel like Lexington should be so much better. I'm flummoxed. I'm also a bit confused at why the Gamecocks should be giving 10.5 points to anyone. In their three games against BCS conference opponents, they've only outscored them by a total of six… South Carolina 24, Kentucky 20.
Houston (-1.5) at Mississippi State
Dan: I thought VT barely beating Duke by eight was bad. Well Houston, who had already won at Okie State and at home vs. Texas Tech waltzes into El Paso this past weekend and gets taken behind the woodshed by UTEP 58-41. Wow. This was the same UTEP team that could muster only seven points vs. Texas and less than 100 yards. So Houston’s BCS hopes go bye-bye and now they stumble into Starkville to face a hungry Mississippi State team. Although I like Mississippi State, I just don’t think they have the offense to compete with Houston… Houston 35, Mississippi State 31.
Dave: I'm just happy that you made a pick of either Houston or BYU without discussing Cougars. You're really growing as a person, Dan.
Speaking of Dans doing some growing, I've been pretty impressed by Dan Mullen at Mississippi State so far. Sure, the wins aren't there, but you can see a foundation being laid. If they anything resembling a quarterback, the Bulldogs might be pretty decent this year. That'll change eventually. Oh, and who would you say is the worst QB in the SEC -- Johnathan Crompton or Tyson Lee? I think Crompton's mustache has to give him a slight edge… Mississippi State 20, Houston 17.
Wisconsin (+16) at Ohio State
Dan: What does one make of Ohio State? They lost at home to USC and have rolled the bottom of the barrel teams in the Big 10 (Illinois and Indiana). On the flip side, you have Bucky the Badger and Wisconsin flying high at 5-0. I just do not believe in Ohio State.
Speaking of Ohio State and Columbus, I attended a wedding in Columbus once and let me tell you -- that town was sneaky fun! I could not believe it. Have you ever found yourself having so much fun the night before a wedding because you have not seen your friends in so long that you kind of ruin the next day because you are so hungover? Well that happened in this particular case. It seems to happen to me at all out-of-town weddings. I go out really hard the first night and then I am hungover the entire next day and struggle to get my drink on when the alcohol is free. Again, I am an idiot. As for this one, I think 16 is just too much… Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 17.
Dave: I'm pretty sure I've picked against Wisconsin every week. Consistency is the key to the type of fantastic season I'm having so far with my picks. I'm like Jon Fabris on kickoffs… do the same dumb thing long enough and eventually nothing will change. Very zen… Ohio State 40, Wisconsin 14.
Auburn (-2.5) at Arkansas
Dan: What to make of Auburn and Arkansas. Auburn handled what I consider to be a pretty bad Tennessee team last week while Arkansas destroyed a really bad Texas A&M team. So I think we need to throw those games out. Arkansas has already lost one game at home and they really cannot afford to suffer a second home loss if they expect to do anything with their season. So I like Arkansas in this game.
Speaking of Arkansas, we had a good friend who moved to the state of Arkansas a few years ago. Yes, our friend willingly moved to Arkansas. Bwahahahahahaha. Anyway he didn’t move to the civilized portion of Arkansas that Wal-Mart calls home. He moved to some backwards town called Texarkana. How bad must it have been to move to a town that takes the beginning few letters of the two nearby states and combines them to name the town? Lol. Anyway he is back. And he is enjoying the simple things of life now such as running water and electricity.
As for this game I think Auburn finally gets their first loss of the year… Arkansas 31, Auburn 27.
Dave: Not to get too political here, but I really think Gene Chizik is like Sarah Palin. Auburn announces they're hiring him as head coach and everybody is like, 'Whoa, what the heck qualifies this guy to get a job like this?' People start sifting through his background and wondering what the thought process could possibly be for bringing in Chizik rather than a bigger name. Then a little time goes by, Chizik lays low in the national media but gets his base of Auburn fans riled up, then bursts onto the scene with a bunch of early wins and all of a sudden people are like, "Holy cow… this guy's got a lot of energy. Maybe Auburn knew what they were doing after all."
Now the question remains… Does Chizik continue to impress, or does he come across a game that goes about as well as Palin's interview with Katie Couric? I think a Couric moment is coming soon, but I'm gonna ride this thing out for one more week at least… Auburn 27, Arkansas 21.
(And before anyone pounces on me for simply bringing up a politician's name, please re-read all of this and take note that I did nothing but detail a brief synopsis of things that ACTUALLY happened. No political spin there, just facts. So don't tell me how great or how awful Palin is. We can talk about that over beers sometime if you really want.)
Michigan State (-4.5) at Illinois
Dan: Man this game screams trap. I cannot logically think why this line is at 4. Illinois has lost to Division I-A competition this year by a combined score of 102-24. That is right. They’ve been outscored in three games by 78 points. Wow. Maybe I am giving Michigan State too much credit for their win over Michigan last week. But I don’t know how anyone could take Illinois here… Michigan State 27, Illinois 17.
Dave: Why are we even picking these games? Why not just bet on whether "According to Jim" or that show with Ray's brother from "Everybody Loves Raymond" will have higher ratings? They both stink! In fact, next week, I'm banning all Big Ten games. They'll get my respect back when Ohio State wins a big game… Michigan State 24, Illinois 10.
Georgia Tech (+2.5) at Florida State
Dan: Man the ACC is such a joke. Previously winless Virginia won at North Carolina. Mind you this was Virginia’s first win of the year after losing to powerhouse Bill and Mary among others; NC State lost at Wake Forest; Florida St. lost at Boston College, a team that is starting a 25-year-old QB. And the Fightin Dabo’s (Clemson) lost to Maryland.
Before I get into the Florida State game, I must say my favorite part of every college football season is watching Clemson and Cal self destruct and lose a game that they should not lose. Especially Clemson. They are usually good for two losses each year that should just not happen. So here Clemson strolls into Maryland, a game in which they are a 13-point favorite, against a team that needed overtime to beat James Madison and who had already lost at home to Middle Tennessee State. So what happens? They lose. Outright! Bwahahahahaha. Dabo! Of course this is a game they should lose because they are Clemson. And Clemson is an average program at best. The sooner people realize this, the better things will be in this world. Please help me spread the word.
As for this game I think FSU has to win. If not their season is officially over… Florida State 24, Georgia Tech 21.
Dave: Brilliant insight into this game, Dan. I had to go back and re-read which game we were picking because I was confused about whether Clemson was involved.
Anyway, it's been a fun week in Tallahassee. Bobby Bowden is out. Then he's in. Then he might be out. But he's probably still in. But then even if he's in, he's still out. And all of this swirls around while most right-thinking Florida State fans ask a simple question: Why is everyone so concerned about Bowden when he hasn't REALLY coached this team in a decade? Why are we not asking what the heck Jimbo Fisher is doing?
I covered an FSU game a few years ago and I swear, Bobby Bowden was off petting the horse the Seminole rides along the sideline during a key fourth-quarter drive.
Anyway, the bottom line here is that Florida State is in shambles. This has all the makings of one of those seasons like Auburn had last year where a bit of early controversy snowballed into a total disaster. And once again, Georgia Tech gets lucky because they play a team that can't put up much of a fight… Georgia Tech 31, Florida State 17.
Florida (-8) at LSU
Dan: Here we go again with me taking a home dog. Do you want to hear what is a joke? Florida’s schedule is a joke. Their non-conference schedule includes such powerhouses as Charleston Southern, Troy and Florida International. Florida State has not been relevant in years. And of course they avoid playing in conference No. 3 Alabama, No. 17 Auburn and No. 20 Ole Miss. By the end of the year the only ranked team they may end up playing is LSU and possibly Georgia. Yeah real “tough” schedule.
Now do not get me wrong. Florida is a very talented team. But if you do not play a challenging schedule, then you will always end up in the national title game. It is that simple. So even if Florida loses to LSU this week they still finish with one loss and in position to play for the national title. I loathe Florida. But they are not going to lose this game. They are going to win by 7… Florida 27, LSU 20.
Dave: Everything you need to know about the outcome of this game happened on Monday night.
For weeks -- months, even -- ESPN had been hyping Brett Favre's first game against his old team, the Green Bay Packers. By a ridiculous twist of fate, this game occurred on Monday Night Football. Now, if you follow the NFL, you know that the Minnesota Vikings have a running back by the name of Adrian Peterson who is, hands down, the best runner in football. But watching A-Pete rack up scores against Green Bay isn't nearly as good a story as seeing Favre take it to his old team. There's no ratings in 9-yard runs. It's all about the story, and Favre was the story. After he has essentially played it safe at QB all season, suddenly Minnesota is chucking the ball all over -- even a deep ball with 3 minutes to play when all they should have been doing was running out the clock! Why do you think that is?
The answer: Because ESPN controls the sports universe. The network is Vince McMahon, pre-scripting every bit of drama that occurs on a sports field, having the refs accidentally get distracted just as the network whacks the less dramatic storyline with a folding chair. There are no surprises, only great stories.
And who is the Brett Favre of college football? That's right, Mr. Tim Tebow. And who is going to be a game-time decision because of a freak concussion that sent him to the hospital and made a martyr out of an already superhuman deity? That's right… Mr. Tim Tebow. So raise your hand if you're not expecting some sort of Willis Reed moment where Tebow leads his team to a big win and ESPN and all the other talking heads spend the next week heaping platitudes upon him and reminding us all of the impassioned pregame speech he gave about how he realized how fragile life was while laying in that hospital bed and his team rallied behind him to touchdown after touchdown, crushing the hearts of LSU -- because people who go to LSU are unholy anyway -- and reminding the world that greatness can be seen each week on the arm of Mr. Tim Tebow. It's why I can't watch "SportsCenter" anymore.
Heck, the stories are already written. The reporters are just waiting to plug in some quotes and the final score… Florida 906, LSU -12.
Michigan (+8.5) at Iowa
Dan: Interesting spread. The book on Iowa seems to be that they stink against low-level Sun Belt teams and they then show up against higher level competition (Arizona and Penn State). Michigan went on the road for the first time all year last week and pretty much got exposed by Michigan State. They could not stop the run and they couldn’t move the ball against a weak Michigan State defense. So what is going to happen when they now face what I consider to be a formidable Iowa defense on the road once again? It won’t be pretty… Iowa 31, Michigan 20.
Dave: I like Iowa here, too, but screw it. I suck at these picks anyway… Michigan 24, Iowa 23.
Last week: Dan 4-6, Dave 2-8
Season: Dan 22-28, Dave 16-34.