Definitely some backsliding this week, putting me with one great week and two terrible weeks. Of course, that has me back at square one. Guess it could be worse.
Washington State (+45.5) at USC
One of these teams is coming off a big victory and the other is coming off a disappointing loss. It’s not how you’d think it would go down though, as the Trojans are looking to kill someone after their annual Pacific Northwest nose dive. Wazzu, despite beating SMU in OT last week, will be victimized here.
California (-5.5) at Oregon
Last time these two teams played here, Oregon fumbled the ball out of the end zone late to lose a heartbreaker. Cal may be as hot as any team in the nation, but Autzen is never easy – especially now that the Ducks seem recovered from the Boise fiasco. The Bears will win, but it’ll be rough.
Arizona (+2.5) at Oregon State
Both teams suffered disappointing losses last week, with the Wildcats losing at Iowa and Cincy beating Oregon State in Corvallis. But this about the time when Oregon State starts to put it together. That should be enough against an Arizona team without star TE Rob Gronkowski.
Pick: Oregon State
Washington (+8.5) at Stanford
I wouldn’t touch this game with a 10-foot pole. But I’m picking it anyway. The Huskies seem ripe for a letdown after the USC victory, but getting 8.5 points to an average team like Stanford seems a bit much. I have to think that a Washington team that beat USC and hung with LSU can stay within that spread.
Arizona State (+12) at Georgia
Whatever you do, prepare for fireworks. Georgia has played some PlayStation-esque games since losing its opener, winning 41-36 over South Carolina and 49-38 over Arkansas. The Sun Devils are a nondescript 2-0, as they’ve pasted cupcakes. Georgia is no cupcake.
Miami (Fla.) (-3) at Virginia Tech
The Hurricanes, after beating Florida State and Georgia Tech, are the newest (or most retro) hip team in college football, as the ‘U’ has been declared to be back. If the Hurricanes are back, they have to win at Lane Stadium – one of the roughest environments in college football. Va. Tech will keep it ugly, but the ‘U’ will continue its surge.
TCU (+2.5) at Clemson
With Utah and BYU going down this past weekend, the Horned Frogs are now the sole “BCS Buster” in the Mountain West. A win at Clemson would do wonders for their prospects and its something that TCU, which won at Oklahoma in 2005, is capable of. I’ll pick them to pull it off.
Iowa (+9.5) at Penn State
If you want some hard-hitting, bloody-nose, old-school football, this is the game to watch. These two teams have wars that aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing (case in point, Iowa’s 6-2 win in 2004). The Hawkeyes ruined Penn State’s shot at the BCS title game with an upset last year. PSU will get revenge, though not enough to cover.
Arkansas (+17.5) at Alabama
The Razorbacks, with rocket-armed quarterback Ryan Mallett, can pass and score at will it seems. However, their defense is leakier than an 150-year-old ship, getting flossed for 49 points by Georgia last week. Alabama probably won’t put up 49, but won’t give up nearly as many points as Arkansas needs.
Texas Tech (+1) at Houston
This game should be fun, as the Red Raiders and Cougars score as much as most high school boys basketball teams. Can Houston pull off another win against the Big 12, or can Texas Tech shrug off an emotional loss to Texas and grab this one. I’ll pick Houston to represent at home.