I just got back from the Calvin Johnson show on the Flats. It was a solid win for the Jackets over the Wahoos, but it’s hard to overlook one glaring fact: Virginia is AWFUL. It’s hard to believe that they have gone from a legitimate ACC title contender a few years ago under Matt Schaub to what they are today. I’m actually stunned that they were able to put up 7 points. It did, of course, require a Tech turnover followed by a facemask on third and long, followed by a fourth and long touchdown pass. But hey, nothing worth having comes easy. So, after four straight home games, Tech finally goes on the road to face what will undoubtedly be the defining game of the season at Virginia Tech. Believe it or not, I’m actually glad the game is on the road, because it was evident last night that, after four straight weeks of home game, the Tech crowd is tired. Last night, the crowd was decent, but it lacked the electricity we’ve come to expect from the annual Thursday night game. Part of that certainly had to do with the quality of the opponent, but I can’t help but think that we are still a little weary from all the emotion expended in the Notre Dame game. Honestly, it’s hard to go from that kind of emotion to attempting to get jacked up for consecutive games against Samford, Troy, and a gawd awful Virginia team. At any rate, I think a road trip will be good to focus the troops, and will finally give us an idea of how good this team can be. Believe it or not, with a win in Blacksburg, I think the Jackets may just be the favorite to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC title game. Well, enough about the Jackets, let’s get to this week’s picks. And, as always, remember: if you take my wagering advice, you should probably have your head examined.
Iowa -20.5 @ Illinois - I don’t think Illinois has been within single digits of a I-A opponent in over a year. So, they are clearly awful, and Iowa is very good. Seems simple enough.
Georgia -27 vs. Colorado – I’d be willing to take side action on whether Colorado scores in this game. The Buffs are an absolute mess, so traveling across the country to face a dominating defense in a hostile environment seems like a good idea, doesn’t it?
Auburn -41 vs. Buffalo - why not?
Florida State -30 vs. Rice - Look for a lot of Weatherford in the shotgun and a lot of frustration to be worked out by the Seminoles. Sure, they aren’t what they used to be, but the ‘Noles are still 30 points better than Rice.
Texas -25 vs. Iowa State - Yes, I know this is my fifth consecutive huge favorite, but honestly, how can you not lay these points? The ‘Horns must spend the rest of the season trying to make up for their loss to the Buckeyes, so they will pour it on every chance they get. And, Saturday will be one of those chances.
Alabama +1.5 @ Arkansas - A true freshman quarterback is just never a good thing in the SEC. Expect the countdown to the end of the Houston Nutt Era to really pick up steam after this one.
Ole Miss -2 vs. Wake Forest - Ole Miss may be terrible, but Wake is playing in a hostile environment without their starting quarterback and their starting tailback, who happens to be their best player. If Ole Miss can’t win this one, they might not win again this season.
Troy @ Nebraska Over 46.5 – After refusing to throw the ball last week at USC, the Huskers will be itching to throw it around the field. Couple that with the fact that Troy is coming off two physical beatings in Tallahassee and Atlanta, and Nebraska might cover the over by themselves.
Nebraska -23.5 vs. Troy - See above.
B.C. -7 @ N.C. State - State lost to Akron, then they were blown out by So. Miss. No way I’m not picking against them. No way!
USC -22.5 @ Arizona - Really, what’s one more huge road favorite at this point? Anybody else get the sense that this is going to be a disastrous weekend for me?
Chicago -3 @ Minnesota - I’ve picked against the Vikings twice already this year, and I’ve lost twice. Now, they are a home dog, and I’m picking against them again. Hey, if nothing else, you have to admire my persistence.
Cincy +2 @ Pittsburgh - This is one of those, “somebody knows something I don’t games”. I mean, how else do you explain a team coming off a short week where they looked atrocious being favored against a team that has looked fantastic in the first two weeks? Well, I’m taking the bait anyway.
Green Bay +7 @ Detroit - I just can’t resist the temptation to take points against the Lions. I’m just not strong enough.
N.Y. Jets + 5.5 @ Buffalo - Is J.P. Losman really going to start the season 3-0 against the spread? Hell, is J.P. Losman really going to start the season 2-1? I like the Jets on the money line, but since there are points to take, I’ll go ahead and take them to be safe.
Tennessee +11 @ Miami - At this point, I’m not sure I would back Culpepper in anything other than an eating contest. Sure, the Titans aren’t good, but what have the Dolphins done in the first two weeks to make you think they are 11 points better than anybody?
Washington -4 @ Houston - The Skins have to turn around sometime, don’t they? If not, I reserve the right to revisit my Super Bowl prediction.
San Francisco +6 vs. Philly - I’m riding this Frank Gore train as long as I can. Plus, it’s always fun to bet against Andy Reid. He just seems like a real twit.
New England – 6.5 vs. Denver - The Pats are going to want some measure of revenge from last season’s playoff debacle. Plus, the Broncos have scored one touchdown in two games. Sounds like a winner to me.