Week 12 NFL picks

I really should stop publishing my record against the spread. It sucks. But I’m pretty much obligated at this point.

Houston (+3) at Cleveland
Well, Brady Quinn was rolling along, then he gets hurt against the Bills. Houston is scrappy, but I think Cleveland takes this and keeps its playoff hopes barely alive.
Cleveland 27, Houston 23

Buffalo (-3) at Kansas City
I took a shot for the Chiefs last week and fell short. Against a Buffalo team that’s lost four straight, I’m taking another one for KC.
Kansas City 24, Buffalo 17

N.Y. Jets (+5.5) at Tennessee
Huge win for the Jets last week in New England and at 7-3, they are red hot. But Tennessee still is unscathed and you know what they say – don’t mess with a streak.
Tennessee 20, N.Y. Jets 13

New England (even) at Miami
The winner here remains in good position for a wild-card spot or a divison title – the loser goes into scramble mode a bit. After being shellacked the last time, you know the Patriots have been studying up on the “Wildcat” formation quite a bit. Give Belichick 10 days and good things usually happen.
New England 21, Miami 17

San Francisco (+9.5) at Dallas
Uh, oh TO is starting to get a little anxious. Dallas’ offense wasn’t great against Washington, but it got the job done. The Cowboys will win this, but it won’t be a pretty win.
Dallas 24, San Francisco 16

Tampa Bay (-8) at Detroit
Lions had their shot at Carolina, but a muffed 2-point conversion and a bad interception sealed their fate. I think they’ll give Tampa a run, but there’s no way you can actually pick Detroit to win straight up.
Tampa Bay 28, Detroit 21

Philadelphia (+1.5) at Baltimore
Well, at least Donovan McNabb knows that NFL games can end in a tie. If there’s anything positive that comes out of the 2008 NFL season, its that. Eagles are struggling and I can’t see McNabb finding his rhythm against the Ravens.
Baltimore 21, Philadelphia 16

Chicago (-7.5) at St. Louis
The Rams, after a few good performances under Jim Haslett, have gone back to being the Rams of September. That’s exactly what the Bears need after a rough trip to Green Bay last week.
Chicago 31, St. Louis 14

Minnesota (+2.5) at Jacksonville
I finally got a Vikings game right last week. So of course they play the Jaguars in a virtual coin-flip scenario this week. I think Jacksonville is a bit more desperate and pulls out the win.
Jacksonville 23, Minnesota 20

Carolina (+1) at Atlanta
Finally I join the Falcons’ bandwagon. Finally, the Falcons lose. It’s funny how that happens. Well, I’m back off, which means the Falcons have a better shot of winning than they did before I wrote this.
Carolina 27, Atlanta 20

Oakland (+9) at Denver
The Raiders actually gave the Dolphins a tussle last week. However, Denver seems to be getting its mojo back on offense, which is a horrible sign for Oakland.
Denver 30, Oakland 14

Washington (-3.5) at Seattle
The Redskins sure could use a break after two straight home losses. So they go to Seattle and face the feckless Seahawks. I’m all about using the word feckless.
Washington 27, Seattle 17

N.Y. Giants (-3) at Arizona
Brandon Jacobs may be a bit gimpy and Arizona may be a pretty solid team, but its hard to go against the defending champs in this spot – especially in the stadium where they shocked the world and defeated the unbeaten Patriots.
N.Y. Giants 28, Arizona 20

Indianapolis (+3) at San Diego
Well, its officially desperation time for the Chargers. They are at home against a Colts team who they’ve had great success again, so San Diego will tease its fans one more time.
San Diego 31, Indianapolis 24

Green Bay (+2.5) at New Orleans
Neither of these teams have been able to put a real streak of above-average play together. They both won last week, but I think the Packers are slightly more solid.
Green Bay 28, New Orleans 26

Overall: 87-70-1. Record against spread: 68-88-2.

Week 12 college picks

More party on the bloggy, where we don’t ask for trouble and don’t bother nobody. It’s been a party in the college ranks lately, where a second straight winning week against the spread (6-4 this time) has me a few games over .500. Hip hop hooray.

USC (-24) at Stanford
I can see the Trojan fans getting the shakes already from the memory. 41-point favorites. John David Booty playing with a broken thumb and throw picks up for grabs. Stanford making a fourth-and-goal from the 10 to go ahead 23-21. Yeah, if I were a USC fan, I’d punch myself in the face for bringing those memories up. Just imagine how the players feel. You know USC will be balls to the wall in this one.
USC 41, Stanford 13

UCLA (-7) at Washington
If you have insomnia, this might be the game to watch this weekend, if it’s even on (haven’t checked the TV listings yet). In UCLA, you have a team that just hasn’t figured it out on offense – not having an offensive line will do that to ya – while Washington is the only team in Division I-A not to have a win. They can blame North Texas, which had the temerity to beat Western Kentucky two weeks ago. Anyway, I picked U-Dub against the spread last week and looked dumb. Not doing it again.
UCLA 21, Washington 10

California (+3) at Oregon State
Did you know the Beavers control their Rose Bowl destiny? I’m sure I mentioned it last week but it definitely deserves to be said again. How terrible would a Michigan State-Oregon State Rose Bowl be for the networks? It could happen. This was the game last year that sent Cal’s season into a downward spiral, as QB Kevin Riley had a brain fart and ran out time deep in Oregon State territory when a FG would have caused OT. It won’t be that dramatic this time.
Oregon State 28, California 20

Arizona (+6) at Oregon
While we are talking about seasons that were destroyed suddenly, this marks the one-year anniversary (give or take a couple days) of when Dennis Dixon’s knee exploded when the No. 2 Ducks were in Arizona. Oregon, likely on its way to a BCS title game, never recovered until the Sun Bowl, which is in El Paso. FYI, El Paso is not cool. Arizona is improved and will cover, though after two straight wins over the Ducks, won’t make it three in a row.
Oregon 31, Arizona 27

Washington State (+36.5) at Arizona State
It was a big week at Washington State. First of all, the men’s basketball team season is starting up. Second of all, the Cougars covered. Yeah, they still gave up over 50 points, but progress is progress. Arizona State broke a six-game losing streak and has offensive talent, so this is going to be ugly. Oh well.
Arizona State 54, Washington State 14

South Carolina (+22.5) at Florida
This is the only matchup of two ranked teams this week, which pretty much stinks, because there’s a good possibility this game won’t be very competitive. However, Steve Spurrier has done decent against his alma mater, beating them in 2005, almost beating them in 2006 and getting smacked last year. He’ll probably get somewhat smacked, as Florida is rolling, but the Gators could fall prey to Ole Miss disease.
Florida 38, South Carolina 17

Texas (-13.5) at Kansas
The Longhorns are actually sitting pretty, as they are No. 3 in the BCS right now despite losing two weeks ago. However, they should be somewhat annoyed with Kansas, who killed any sort of quality-win bump Texas could have gotten here by losing to Nebraska. I’m guessing the ‘Horns won’t show much sympathy towards the Jayhawks, whose defense has been absolutely shelled over the last month.
Texas 41, Kansas 23

North Carolina (-3) at Maryland
I would have picked Boston College-Florida State for the ACC game, but it was taken off the board because a bunch of Florida State players were suspended after taking part in a fight on campus. So you get this game, which isn’t a bad one. Maryland is tough at home (ask Cal) and will be a nice test for a Tar Heel team coming off a couple of big home wins. However, I think Butch Davis and Carolina prevail.
North Carolina 24, Maryland 19

Ohio State (-9.5) at Illinois
The Buckeyes still have Rose Bowl and at-large BCS hopes, but they face their nemesis this week. Illinois has always been a thorn in Ohio State’s side, as evidenced by its win at Columbus last year. The Fighting Illini have been extremely up-and-down this year, capable of putting up 50 points one week and losing to Western Michigan the next. I feel Illinois will be up and will pull the upset against a Buckeye team that’s inconsistent offensively.
Illinois 27, Ohio State 21

BYU (-4) at Air Force
The Mountain West should really get a BCS berth this year and it would be an absolute tragedy if it doesn’t, as the MWC is better than the Big Ten, Pac-10 and Big East this year and not that far behind the ACC. Air Force has emerged as a really good No. 4 team in this league, as Troy Calhoun might be the best coach you’ve never heard of. BYU has a huge rivalry game with Utah next week, so it’ll be caught looking ahead.
Air Force 26, BYU 23

Overall record: 79-31. Against the spread: 56-53-1

Week 10 NFL Picks

Internet in the Berka household is flighty tonight. So here are quickie picks.

Jacksonville (-6.5) at Detroit: Detroit 23, Jacksonville 20
Baltimore (-1) at Houston: Houston 21, Baltimore 17
Tennessee (-3) at Chicago: Tennessee 24, Chicago 14
Buffalo (+4) at New England: New England 21, Buffalo 13
New Orleans (+1.5) at Atlanta: New Orleans 24, Atlanta 21
St. Louis (+9) at N.Y. Jets: N.Y. Jets 28, St. Louis 20
Seattle (+7.5) at Miami: Miami 24, Seattle 17
Green Bay (+2.5) at Minnesota: Green Bay 23, Minnesota 21
Carolina (-9.5) at Oakland: Carolina 30, Oakland 10
Kansas City (+15) at San Diego: San Diego 38, Kansas City 20
Indianapolis (+4.5) at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 26, Indianapolis 20
N.Y. Giants (+3) at Philadelphia: Philadelphia 24, N.Y. Giants 20
San Francisco (+9.5) at Arizona: Arizona 31, San Francisco 14

Overall: 70-60. Record against spread: 57-71-2.