Before I get into this week's picks...a little review session shall we?
College: Ehhh...not so hot. Oklahoma is for real. Just want to give you a heads up on that in case you were not aware. Michigan got hammered at home, and Auburn lost as well. Don't worry, there's still time left for me to get better...or worse, you never know
Overall: SU: 5-2, ATS: 3-3-1, O/U: 1-0
Pro: Baltimore did everything in their collective powers to lose that game. I was watching it at work, and I was completely dumbfounded by how awful they played, and still, they were in the game until the very end. So, when Cincy did eventually win, I didn't really bat an eye, because I knew who the better team was in that game. Anytime a team turns the ball over six times, they're probably going to be on the hook for the loss. In any event, for the first week, it didn't go too, too bad.
Overall: SU: 12-4, ATS: 9-5-2
Ok, so you made a little bit of money there. A parlay here, a teaser there...you get the picture. Ok, so here's what I'm thinking: I have to predict more college games, because I think I can pad my record a little more. Hey, that's what the big schools do. Pick on lesser teams to help their record out, and being a big school guy myself, I should definitely follow suit. Unfortunately, the USC game is off the board this week, so I have to look other places to get those "sure" wins. This week, and for future weeks, I'll do the entire NFL card, as well as 10 college games. So now that I have a format in place, let's see if I can improve this week.
West Virginia vs. Maryland: Ok I have to start with this game, because it has "revenge factor" written all over it. Last year, the Terps were "embarrassed" by WVU 45-27 at Morgantown (embarrassed in quotes because it's tough to be embarrassed when you lose to a then top-5 team). Again, there's a very small sampling size to try and compare the two, so I have to go on last year as well. WVU obviously runs the ball extremely well with their three-headed monster (Pat White, Steve Slaton, and Noel Devine), and Maryland has had some success stopping the run this year. The thing about playing the Mountaineers is that, to beat them, you need to be able to make the big plays. Right now, I don't see the big play potential coming from Maryland. With that being said, I like West Virginia (W) to take the game, but Maryland (+17) to scrap enough to make it about a 10-14 point game.
Cincinnati vs. Miami (OH): This Cincinnati team...I don't know about these guys. I'm thinking that they may catch some people off guard down the road. After dismantling Oregon St. last week at home (34-3), I think that this team shouldn't have any problems going on the road and beating up on the Red Hawks. Don't look now, but there are seven Big East teams that are 2-0. There are a bunch of sleepers that I think could make some noise in this conference. I like the Bearcats (W, -8.5)
Florida International vs. Miami: So in the midst of a QB controversy in Miami, the rehatching of one of the ugliest incidents in college football history will commence. Florida International has actually been doing recruiting, so they do have talent, even though it hasn't shown in their 0-2 start. Still, this is a lot of points, and considering what happened last year, I don't expect FIU to not go down without a fight (no helmet stomping this time please). Can they App St. them (small school beating a big school in a defining moment of glory)? Well, that could be stretching it a little. Miami wins (W), but I like FIU to cover the massive spread (+33).
Army vs. Wake Forest: I know this one is kind of out of left field, but anytime Army has a road game where they're not 'dogged by more than 30, I'm all over it. Wake barely lost to Nebraska at home last week, and now they play the Black Knights of the Hudson...kind of a drop-off in talent. I like a demolition at Winston-Salem, with the Deacons (W, -19.5) to have a resurgence this week.
UCLA vs. Utah: This caught my eye because the spread jumped three points this week, meaning that the money is being dropped on the Bruins like it's nobody's business...and don't expect me to stop that trend. The Bruins have had defensive struggles this year, but they're up against a team that has no offense, so I like my chances. I'll take UCLA (W, -14).
Duke vs. Northwestern: A great mix of running (44th in the nation) and passing (43rd), couple with the fact that it's Duke, really makes me think I could be onto something here. With a manageable spread to boot, I'll try my luck with the Wildcats (W, -16.5).
And now, games you may actually care about:
Ohio St. vs. Washington: You know, I've been rattling a few games in my head. This one is a game where I can see Washington winning the game. This would be a massive victory for the Huskies if they pull it off. I've been back and forth a hundred times with this. Ohio St. is looking to rebound, and the Huskies are coming off their first victory against a ranked team since 2003. I love U-Dub's D to fluster freshman QB Todd Boeckman, who looked out of place last week. Now, going on the road in an extremely hostile environment, I like my chances with Washington, especially after only giving up 14 to Boise St. last week. Huskies (W, +4.5) to pull off the upset...good for Tyrone!
Boston College vs. Georgia Tech: This should be a thriller in Atlanta. ACC supremacy will be on the line when the Eagles play the Jackets. Both teams are in the top 25, and both do different things exceptionally well. The Eagles have impressed so far, beating Wake and NC State (although NC State is reeling after some key injuries) at home, and GA Tech shalacked Notre Dame at South Bend by 30 in the first week, and decimated Samford last week. GA Tech has done the job through their run game, which, surprise surprise, is exactly what BC does well against. The key to the game will be how well GA Tech can handle Matt Ryan and the rest of the Eagle offense. Andre Calendar has had a big year as well, which means this team is multi-dimensional on offense, something the Jackets do not have (no passing TDs this year). Another key will be turnovers. The team that can limit the amount of fumbles, INTs, etc., will have a decisive advantage (fairly common knowledge there, almost McCarver-like words of wisdom, but when you have two opportunistic defenses, it has to be stressed even more). The Eagles are 5-3 against ranked opponents on the road since '02. If possible, try and tease this game to go over 7 in favor of BC. I think it will be close, but you always want to give yourself some breathing room. In any event, I'll take the Eagles SU (W) and ATS (+7).
Arkansas vs. Alabama: Last year, this one went to OT, with Arkansas winning by a point. This year, a lot has changed. First, Mitch Mustain, the guy with the golden arm that just won games, is in Southern California, and also, Nick Saban is coaching the Tide. There hasn't been this kind of buzz about Alabama football in quite some time (maybe the Shaun Alexander days?). Arkansas is also coming off of a layoff after playing Troy in Week 1. I really think that could factor into the equation, not so much for their freshness, but for their lack of game experience. McFadden will have a decent game, but it won't be a 200-yard breakout performance going up against an stingy Tide D. I'll take 'Bama (W, -3) to turn it around from last year's devastating loss, which they never seemed to shake the rest of the year.
Southern Cal vs. Nebraska: First of all, I have to say I love the spread in this game. Southern Cal is also coming off a week layoff after playing the Vandals from Idaho (great nickname...great stuff). Nebraska has it going on from both sides of the ball. What's fascinating is that Nebraska has yet to record a sack in two games. Everyone talks about Booty winning the Heisman...I'm really not sold on that whole notion quite yet. For Nebraska to have a chance, they are going to have to clamp down on their running defense, which gave up 235 yards rushing to Wake last week. Here's another thing: It's possible for another failed NFL experiment to hit it big in college right? Pete Carroll is the shining example of this, and from the way things have been heading in Lincoln, Bill Callahan could be next in line. If Nebraska doesn't win, it won't be because of a lack of crowd support. Last year, the Huskers hung in with Texas in one of the best games of the year (22-20 Texas), and this year, Nebraska will have goal-post tearing fever. Plus, I just don't like Southern Cal in general, so it will be easy to root for the Huskers (W, +10.5) throwing a giant road block in the way of the Trojans' national title aspirations.
New York (Jets) vs. Baltimore: What the numbers cannot tell you is how well an unseasoned QB will fare against the Ravens D. To me, it seems like a lot of points the Jets are getting for this game, but you do have to consider that Kellen Clemens, who is the confirmed starter on Sunday, is being thrown into the lion's den right off the bat in his first NFL start. Also, after Joey Harrington, A.J. Feeley, and Akili Smith, I don't have too much faith in Oregon QBs. In games when Baltimore has been favored by ten or more, Baltimore is 2-0, and as a home favorite since '05, they are 9-3 ATS and 11-1 SU. While it is a lot of points, I'll take my chances with Baltimore (W, -10).
Kansas City vs. Chicago: Why do I feel like this is a trap game? Remember last year when the Dolphins and Bucs both beat the Bears at Soldier Field? Chicago is bad against the AFC (3-6 SU), but Kansas City is worse as a road 'dog (2-10 SU), and when it all comes down to it, it's still Damon Huard lining up behind center for the Chiefs. To say I have no faith in that guy is an understatement. Both teams will be looking to rebound from last week's double-digit losses. The Bears will win their home opener (W), but for some reason, I can't get it out of my head that the Chiefs will find a way to cover the spread (+13).
Oakland vs. Denver: Well, just when you think the Raiders' D is going to keep this team afloat, they get killed at home. Denver has won their last two meetings against Oakland at Mile High by double-digits. Straight up since '05, Oakland is 1-13 on the road as a 'dog. It also does not bode well for the Raiders that the Broncos will be looking to make a statement against a division opponent after barely sneaking by last week. I like Denver big time here (W, -9.5).
Washington vs. Philadelphia: Man I hate the NFC East. Not because of the teams, but just the fact that these teams are so up-and-down that I can never get a read on any of them. Anyway, here's my thinking: I just can't throw all of my backing into the Redskins right now. Yes, they had a nice victory last week. If they get a win at Philly, trust me, I'll change my tune real quick. Until that day comes, I like Philly taking it on both ends (W, -6.5).
Alright, fifteen more weeks of this...I like it. Hey, I'll write eight pages for you guys as long as I get the time and the juices are flowing like they are right now. Football season is in the air, and honestly, the crystal ball isn't nearly as hazy as it's always been. I think now, I'm really taking a step back, and trying to be as open-minded as possible...except the Pats, who will go 19-0 this year on this page. Have a great weekend everyone. Sox/Yankees, the last series between the two this year...or is it? We'll find out soon enough. Take care. Peace.