For those of you that are new to this, which would be everyone except my friend Jeff and my Dad (LOL), I pick every matchup involving a Top 25 team. Being that I'm a Notre Dame fan and an Army Reservist and my Dad is a Michigan fan, I pick those games no matter what. If you have a team that you would like me to throw into my picks on a weekly basis, let me know.
First things first: Harvey Updyke, Jr., the Alabama fan who allegedly poisoned the two oak trees at Toomin's Corner at Auburn University, officially apologized to Auburn fans. On top of this, he did it on the very same radio program that he initially called into to brag about said deed and he did it against the advice of his attorneys. I don't condone what you did, but thank you for manning up. The next step is raising funds to help try to save those trees. Now, then, on to the picks ...
Northwestern (+8) @ #24 Illinois: Heisman hopeful QB Dan Persa returns to Northwestern's lineup after recovering from a season-ending ACL tear a year ago. Regardless, I don't see the Wildcats pulling this one out. Straight: Illinois Spread: Fighting Illini
#14 Texas A&M @ #18 Arkansas (+3): A future SEC conference game, with the Aggies joining the SEC in July. I still don't know that Arkansas can hang with the big boys this year. They routed their first two games against an FCS and cupcake FBS team, but let Troy hang around and then got hounded by 'Bama. The Aggies were impressive going up on Oklahoma St. 20-3 at the half last weekend before letting it slip away 30-29. Straight: Texas A&M Spread: Aggies
Minnesota (+20) @ #19 Michigan: After a season-opening near upset of USC, the Golden Gophers have failed to impress. Michigan's QB Denard Robinson's total touchdowns and per game averages of rushing and total yards rival that of the entire Gophers team. Robinson will be playing on Sundays in the future, just don't look for him to be an every-down quarterback. Think of him like a Brad Smith of the Jets. The spread is a tough call for me. I believe it'll be close to 20 points, I just don't know which side of the fence to take. Straight: Michigan Spread: Wolverines
Tulane (+7½) @ Army: Army's beaten Northwestern, albeit withoug Heisman hopeful Dan Persa, and held it close against a very good San Diego State team. Straight: Army Spread: Black Knights
Kentucky (+30) @ #1 LSU: The only reason I even looked into this game was because of the huge spread. You're kidding yourself if you think Kentucky even has a shot in this game. Kentucky is turnover-prone and is missing their top two running backs. LSU is a ball-hawking team and is fourth nationally against the ground. My question is, with the return of suspended QB Jordan Jefferson, do you sit the less-talented but playing-within-the-game Jarrett Lee? I say no. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I had questions about the offense going into the season, compounded by the aforemention suspension. However, LSU has topped forty points three times this season. Straight: LSU Spread: Tigers
Nevada (+27½) @ #4 Boise St.: Don't look for a repeat performance of last year's heart-breaking OT loss by Boise. I know that eleven men make the offense click, but Nevada's QB Colin Kaepernik has departed to the NFL. Nevada barely beat San Jose State in its only win of the year. Boise physically dominated a much bigger Georgia team and hasn't let off the gas pedal since ... Chris Peterson took over as coach. They haven't overtly destroyed teams on the scoreboard this year, but look for them to do so this week. Straight: Boise St. Spread: Broncos
#21 Georgia Tech @ North Carolina St. (+10): NC State's defense is riddle by injuries and is giving up almost 500 yards a game against FBS teams. Tech has the most prolific offense in the nation, even though they essentially run two plays: Triple Option Left and Triple Option Right. * tongue-in-cheek* I have absoluetly no idea why the spread is only ten points, but whatever ... Straight: Georgia Tech Spread: Yellow Jackets
Auburn (+10) @ #10 South Carolina: After coming back from his fifth career suspension, South Carolina's QB Stephen Garcia has been less than impressive: three touchdowns, seven interceptions. However, SC has managed to get it done on the field. They come off a win over an impressive, upstart Vanderbilt team that leads the nation in interceptions. Auburn is looking to step back into the Top 25. It's hard to hate on the loss to Clemson, but they could've been more impressive against Florida-Atlantic and that near-devasation in the week one comeback against Utah State has to still be looming. They might be a combined 7-1, but the ineptitude of this game is too close to call. Straight: South Carolina Spread: Auburn
SMU (+12½) @ #20 TCU: TCU's defense is steadily improving and the offense hasn't taken a step back, despite being without NFL-bound Andy Dalton. SMU has an impressive offense, but failed to put up much of anything against Texas A&M. Straight: TCU Spread: Horned Frogs
Bowling Green (+20) @ #22 West Virginia: Bowling Green's defense is no LSU, but they are playing quite well. West Virginia has a stout offense, and their D hasn't allowed many points, but they're failing to get sacks and turnovers. West Virginia played admirably against LSU, but failed to play up to their potential against Maryland, who just got destroyed by Temple last weekend. Straight: West Virginia Spread: Bowling Green
#15 Baylor @ Kansas St. (+3½): RG3 is still playing lights out this year. More touchdowns (13) than incompletions (12) ... SERIOUSLY? Additionally, his completion percentage is over 85% and he hasn't thrown an interception. Kansas St. has one of the best defenses in the country, highlighted by a goal-line stand against Miami to preserve a win last weekend, although said game was their only test. If the spread was approaching or greater than a touchdown, I'd have to seriously consider this. Straight: Baylor Spread: Bears
#13 Clemson (+7) @ #11 Virginia Tech: Clemson has never beaten three consecutive ranked opponents. Virginia Tech has failed to cover against three straight unranked opponents. Clemson's playing lights out with consecutive wins over Auburn and Florida State. Straight: Clemson Spread: Tigers
Ball St. (+37½) @ #2 Oklahoma: I had called before the season that an SEC team would eclipse Oklahoma as #1. That did come true, however, I thought it would be Alabama. I've come to hate these huge spreads. It's impossible to predict when the scrubs will be put in if Oklahoma is up by, say, 40. Ball St. is an other high-quality MAC team, but Oklahoma's defense is stout. This one could get really ugly, really quickly. Straight: Oklahoma Spread: Sooners
#17 Texas @ Iowa St. (+9½): Texas has surprised me this year. They've rebounded quite well from last season's 5-7 debacle. They're not quite up to the form of two years ago (Just look at the narrow escape against BYU, a team destroyed by Utah earlier this season and that had to hold off upstart Utah State. Speaking of that, how about the those Aggies? They came within two minutes combined of beating both Auburn and BYU this season.), but look at that win against UCLA last week. Straight: Texas Spread: Longhorns
#3 Alabama @ #12 Florida (+3½): These two teams have put up near-identical stats: from offensive ground game and individual running backs to the quarterbacks (Florida's Brantley: 86 attempts, 752 yards, 4 TD's, 2 INT's; Alabama's McCarron: 95 attempts, 779 yards, 4 TD's, 2 INT's) to even the rushing and scoring defense. That being said, I look at the schedule. Florida's only somewhat test was Tennessee. Alabama beat Penn State and absolutely DOMINATED Arkansas. Straight: Alabama Spread: Crimson Tide
#8 Nebraska (+9½) @ #7 Wisconsin: How many "Game of the Week"s can we have?! Is this perhaps a preview of the first ever Big Ten title game? Nebraska has failed to steamroll opponents this year, but word on the street is that their defense is finally back to 100%, with the return of Jared Crick. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has absolutely rolled anyone in their path by an average of 49-9. However, this is coming against UNLV, Oregon State, Northern Illinois (perhaps the only team in the MAC that CAN'T get it done against the big boys, LOL) and FCS-level South Dakota. This should be VERY interesting to see not only how both teams handle their first real test of the season, but to see Nebraska's first-ever game as a member of the B1G (logo for the Big Ten conference). Straight: Wisconsin Spread: Nebraska
Notre Dame @ Purdue (+12½): Purdue barely beat Middle Tennessee State, lost to Rice, and then housed an FCS opponent. I thought Notre Dame had finally turned the corner when they beat Michigan State 31-13, but then the turnovers returned and hounded the team against Pittsburgh. The announcers were talking the entire second half about how the Irish should take out QB Tommy Rees in favor of senior Dane Crist. Rees responded by going 8-for-8 with a TD on Notre Dame's final offensive drive, to include a pass for a 2-point conversion to go up 15-12. For having an team that leads the nation in turnovers and is up there in penalties, I feel that the defense has giving up an alarmingly scant amount of points. This is where I expect to receive some flak from followers that may be reading this, but I invite that. Again, I'm looking at this as a forum for debate, not just a place for me to voice my opinions. Straight: Notre Dame Spread: Fightin' Irish
Oregon St. (+18½) @ #25 Arizona St.: I see no reason for Arizona State to stumble in this game. Oregon State is stumbling through the season while ASU has beaten Missouri, barely lost to Illinois, and they followed that up by taking USC out behind the woodshed. Straight: Arizona State Spread: Sun Devils
UCLA (+20½) @ #6 Stanford: I still don't know that I'm sold on Stanford this season. Maybe it's just because they lost so much on their offensive line and they no longer have Jim Harbaugh. (By the way, I'm also a 49ers fan. Just wanted to throw that in. LOL) They have been routing teams like a #6 team should, I just wish they would play a team that could prove that ranking to me. Unfortunately, such a team is not on the schedule this year. Straight: Stanford Spread: Cardinal
I have two special picks that I highlight every week: an upset (a team that I feel will beat the favorite) and a "take the points" (a team that I feel will beat the spread) special. I may have more than one of these in any given week, but these are my specials, the ones I feel you can bank on.
Upset special: #13 Clemson def. #11 Virginia Tech
Take the points special: Bowling Green beats the spread v. #22 West Virginia.
Week 5 opening kickoff is just hours away!!!!!!