Wow. I haven't felt this low since the morning after I wrangled that buffalo at Shooters. Like my dad always says, though, "Reeking of sloppy fat girl pussy in the morning is still better than reeking of handsome man asshole in the morning," so I'm going to follow his lead and take the moldy old lemons of last week's picks and squeeze them into some make-you-rich lemonade.
Lock of the Week (Ohio State): 0-1
Locks of the Week (Ohio State, Auburn, Cincinnati, Nebraska, Toledo, USC, Penn State): 1-6
As always, I only pick games involving the AP Top 25 with a line, the home teams are in CAPS, the lines are Danny Sheridan's, and the picks are 100% correct. (Note: I've omitted the WHAM rankings, most likely for the rest of the year, because they need some major tweaking. Also, the predicted lines were made prior to me looking at the actual lines, and I must say, I'm getting much better at this.)
MISSISSIPPI STATE (+23) over #1 Florida
Predicted line: Florida by 28
The Gators have not been nearly as dominant as they were prior to Tebow's concussion, and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen--formerly of the Florida Gators' coaching staff--may know a few weaknesses to exploit, ala Josh McDaniels vs. Bill Belichick. The Gators will win, but I think the Bulldogs will keep it within 10 for most of the game.
#2 ALABAMA (-14.5) over Tennessee
Predicted line: Alabama by 17
This line boggles my mind. Alabama was giving 17 to South Carolina a week ago, so is Vegas saying Tennessee is better than the Gamecocks? Regardless of the spread, the Crimson Tide have covered 6 out of 7 weeks, and should have no problem making it 7 out of 8.
#3 Texas (-13) over MISSOURI
Predicted line: Texas by 13
Missouri's in a free fall, and their two defeats at the hands of Oklahoma State and Nebraska showed that they're not quite in the second tier of the Big 12, let alone ready to hang with the biggest, baddest dog of them all. Give me the Longhorns in a rout.
HAWAII (+25) over #4 Boise State
Predicted line: Boise State by 18
While I have no doubt Boise State will win this game easily, 25 points is a lot to give when you have to fly from Idaho to the middle of the Pacific and then have to deal with the distractions that come with being in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
#5 Cincinnati (-18) over LOUISVILLE
Predicted line: Cincinnati by 14
I almost set my line at 17, but then I remembered that Tony Pike wouldn't be playing. Apparently Vegas believes that doesn't matter too much, and, frankly, neither do I.
#6 Iowa (pick) over MICHIGAN STATE
Predicted line: Iowa by 3.5
I wish I knew more about Internet gambling, because I would love to see what this opened at. I just have the feeling that a lot of people are betting MSU, but I can't say I agree with them. The Hawkeyes proved they're for real in Madison last week, and while the Spartans beat Michigan in East Lansing and took Notre Dame to the limit on the road, they also lost to Central Michigan at home.
Oregon State (+21) over #7 USC
Predicted line: USC by 23
I have a feeling this opened higher, but moved down after people started betting Oregon State (based mostly on last year's upset). While I don't think Oregon State will be able to give the Trojans much of a game, USC still hasn't shown me enough on offense to give me any confidence that they can cover a 20+ point spread.
#16 BYU (+2) over #8 Texas Christian
Predicted line: BYU by 2
TCU have struggled somewhat on the road (14-10 winners over Clemson; 20-17 winners over Air Force), and with the Cougars' BCS hopes dashed following their blowout home loss to Florida State, this is BYU's New Year's Day bowl.
#9 LSU (-7) over Auburn
Predicted line: LSU by 8
No team has made me look more foolish than Auburn, who I triumphed throughout their easy early schedule as an SEC sleeper, only to watch them get destroyed by Arkansas and then beat by Kentucky. That said, LSU's inconsistency and the potential explosiveness of Auburn's offense makes this a potential upset candidate.
#10 MIAMI (-5) over Clemson
Predicted line: Miami by 11
This line has to be based solely on Clemson's 38-3 shellacking of Wake Forest last week, because I don't see how Miami isn't laying at least 8. The last time the Tigers were on the road, they lost to Maryland, and their first two wins of the season (Middle Tennessee and Boston College) were followed by a loss to Georgia Tech (that Clemson trailed at one point 24-0 before going on a manic comeback to make the score a respectable 30-27) and the aforementioned loss at Maryland.
#11 Oregon (-9.5) over WASHINGTON
Predicted line: Oregon by 6
Washington has been a tough out at home, but the Ducks have been a team possessed. Since the opening night debacle in Boise (and the shaky 38-36 home win over Purdue the following week), the Ducks have allowed only one opponent (Utah) to finish a game within 13 points of them.
#12 Georgia Tech (-5.5) over VIRGINIA
Predicted line: Georgia Tech by 13.5
I know Virginia has won 3 straight, but, c'mon. They've beaten a vastly overrated North Carolina team, Indiana at home, and then Maryland--who, despite their win over Clemson, are probably the worst BCS team in the country right now--on the road. The Yellow Jackets are going to run wild on the Cavs. LOCK OF THE WEEK.
MICHIGAN (+4.5) over #13 Penn State
Predicted line: Penn State by 1.5
Who has Penn State beaten on the road (or at all, for that matter) that is leading Vegas to believe that they are 8 points better than Michigan in the Big House? The only legitimate team the Nittany Lions have played--Iowa--embarrassed them at home, and I like Michigan to do the same on the road.
#15 Oklahoma State (-9.5) over BAYLOR
Predicted line: Oklahoma State by 20.5
I think OK State is an illusion, but I still think they're at least 17 points better than Baylor, who's signature win this season--Wake Forest--is looking less and less impressive by the week.
#17 HOUSTON (-16.5) over Southern Methodist
Predicted line: Houston by 22
I apparently have no idea how to value teams in the mid-teens. Washington State beat SMU; Houston should roll.
#18 UTAH (-9.5) over Air Force
Predicted line: Utah by 11
I'm not confident about this, because I'm not sure if Utah has covered all season.
Minnesota (+18) over #19 OHIO STATE
Predicted line: Ohio State by 10
I obviously have no idea how Vegas sets these lines. I know they're trying to encourage some action on Minnesota, but 18 points? That's ridiculous, especially after how lost the Bucks looked in Purdue last week. Quick aside: the last two Boilermaker QBs to beat OSU--Kyle Orton and Drew Brees--may be meeting each other in the Super Bowl (or at least the Pro Bowl), so keep an eye on where Joey Elliott ends up in this year's draft. It may just be your 2010 sleeper NFL team.
South Florida (+6.5) over #20 PITTSBURGH
Predicted line: Pittsburgh by 3
I just don't trust Dave Wannstedt as a favorite, or as the coach of a ranked team. The Panthers are due to slip up any week now, and this one seems as good as any.
UCLA (+7.5) over #22 ARIZONA
Predicted line: Arizona by 3
Arizona can't possibly be good at football, can they? After last week's upset of my PAC-10 darlings Stanford, the Wildcats are ripe for a letdown.
#23 WEST VIRGINIA (-7.5) over Connecticut
Predicted line: West Virginia by 8.5
The Huskies have had a tough week, and I think losing their best player, regardless of the circumstances, would be hard enough. Losing him in an on-campus murder is devastating (as well as frightening. How does a knife get into a school dance? And who even knew that colleges had dances? Who goes to them? Other than knifefighters, of course.)
#24 SOUTH CAROLINA (-12.5) over Vanderbilt
Predicted line: South Carolina by 12
South Carolina looks to be locked in a battle with Arkansas for the top of the second tier of the SEC, while Vanderbilt is busy undoing any good that may have come out of the Jay Cutler years.
Oklahoma (-7) over #25 KANSAS
Predicted line: Oklahoma by 6
I actually think the Jayhawks will make a game of this, but I just can't in good conscience pick a team that lost at home to Colorado.
Conference Champions and BCS Bowl Projections (changes in italics)
ACC: Georgia Tech
Big 12: Texas
Big East: Cincinnati
Big Ten: Iowa
Conference USA: Houston
MAC: Central Michigan
Mountain West: BYU
Sun Belt: Troy
Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Cincinnati
Sugar Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Oregon
Orange Bowl: Florida vs. Miami
Rose Bowl: USC vs. Iowa
National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Texas
National Champions: Alabama Crimson Tide