Thursday

ST Top 10 (7th ed.) & Week 11 Picks


Hello again everybody...

It's "Recount-o-rama" here in Minnesota. And here we thought that Tuesday was the end of the election! Ha! No, instead the Coleman/Franken US Senate race will proceed with a recount which may not be finished until early December. Joy.

Fortunately, we have a balloting process here at The Sports Take that's free of any controversy! That's right, today we present the 7th edition of The Sports Take's Top Ten College Football Poll where all the ballots are hand-counted! Then it's time for my Week 11 College Football Picks. Off we go!

"The best way to keep one's word is not to give it."
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French military and political leader


Management Manual, page 3? Perhaps page 5. I haven't seen the book lately.

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First off, it's time for the 7th edition of The Sports Take Top 10 College Football Poll. Lots of upheaval this week with #5 Texas Tech's upset of #1 Texas. How high will Tech rise in the Poll? How far will Texas fall? Will Joe Paterno's leg ever heal?!

Okay, that last one has nothing to do with the Poll, but the guy's an octogenarian for crying out loud! Enquiring minds want to know!

Let's get to the poll. All comments in italics are from a random sampling of Sports Take pollsters.

Rank - Team (First Place Votes) - Points - Last Week's Ranking

#1) Alabama (7) - 95 - 2
A road win in Death Valley this Saturday would validate their #1 ranking, lucky for them it's an afternoon game.

#2) Penn State - 82 - 3
The Nittany Lions must be kicking themselves for having a bye week. A big win could've vaulted them to #1.

#3) Texas Tech (2) - 81 - 5
I see them losing at least one more game, and very possibly it starts this week.

#4) Texas - 66 - 1
Only 14 teams are undefeated or have 1-loss. Can't punish them much for a last-second road loss.

#5) Oklahoma (1) - 61 - 4
I'm probably going to be the only one to rank them #1, but they've impressed me more than any other team except Texas, and the Longhorns just lost.

#6) Florida - 57 - 6
Oh, how it pains me to rank them so high, but they deserve it after thrashing the Dawgs.

#7) USC - 32 - 7
I don't feel sorry for them, but USC can't catch a break. They drill Washington 56-0 and I have them dropping a spot. Okay, I'm over it.

#8) Oklahoma State - 25 - 9
Where the hell did this team come from? I'm more surprised at their success than I am at Texas Tech's (who they visit on Saturday).

#9) Utah - 23 - 10
They have a good chance of playing in a BCS game with two Top 25 teams in their conference, and playing both of them in the next 3 weeks.

#10) Boise State - 22 - NR
A big win over New Mexico State keeps their "BCS Buster" status alive and well.

Others Receiving Votes: Georgia 3, Ball State 1, Missouri 1, Ohio State 1

There you have it. A pretty clear delineation between the Top 10 and the rest of the teams. I like it when we all agree, don't you? If you see anything that you think is out of whack, add a comment and let us know what and why!

Finally today it's time for my 2008 College Football Picks: Week 11. It keeps getting more and more difficult to find lines that I feel give the bettor an advantage. Let's face it, Vegas knows what they're doing. But I think I've found 4 games I'm reasonably confident in, so allow me to lay out my arguments for you.

As always, were recreational gaming legal and were I to have the wherewithal to make a worthwhile wager, these are the games I'd be wagering on:

Florida State -5.5 vs. Clemson (2:30pm): The Seminoles are 6-2 (3-2). The Tigers are 4-4 (2-3).

I'm going slightly against the grain here. Clemson upset Boston College last week 27-21, while Florida State was upset by Georgia Tech 31-28.

So why am I picking the Seminoles to win by close to a touchdown here? Simple. I don't think Clemson's as good as they showed last week, and I think Florida State's better than they showed last week.

Throw in the fact that the 'Noles are at home, and I'm picking Florida State. Bobby, if you don't bring this one home for me, I want some Free Shoes at least!

Next...

Alabama -3 @ LSU (2:30pm): The Crimson Tide are 9-0 (5-0). The Tigers are 6-2 (3-2).

This game will probably be 'Bama's toughest test prior to the SEC Championship game, where they'd likely play Florida.

LSU got back on track last week against Tulane after getting whipped by Georgia the week prior. But it's pretty clear that this isn't the same Tiger team that won last year's National Championship.

Alabama destroyed Arkansas State last week, failing to fall victim to the "look-ahead" trap. 'Bama's not putting up impressive totals against their better competition, but they just keep winning. And I don't think that changes here.

We'll give the 3 and keep picking the Tide!

Thirdly...

West Virginia -6.5 vs. Cincinnati (6pm): The Mountaineers are 6-2 (3-0). The Bearcats are 6-2 (2-1).

West Virginia might be the best BCS team that nobody's talking about. Winners of their last 5 in a row, they've rebounded nicely from a couple of tough losses to East Carolina and Colorado on the road.

Cincinnati isn't bad either. They've won 5 of their last 6.

So what do we say when two teams are fairly evenly matched? Take the home team!

I'm giving the touchdown-plus here and rooting for Bill Stewart who seems like a genuinely good guy.

Finally...

Texas Tech -3.5 vs. Oklahoma State (7pm): The Red Raiders are 9-0 (5-0). The Cowboys are 8-1 (4-1). *This is this week's Sports Take Flier Pick of the Week.

I've been wrong on Texas Tech all year. So perhaps you want to bet the house on Oklahoma St. +3.5. But I'm going with the Red Raiders here.

Don't get me wrong. I still contend that if last week's game was in Austin instead of Lubbock, the outcome very likely would've been different. And I'm with the voter who said that he thought that Tech would lose at least one game this year. But I think that loss comes next week at Oklahoma.

This week I think the Harrell-to-Crabtree connection gets it done again and they beat the Cowboys by a touchdown at least.

So we'll give the 3.5 and cheer for Tech for once!

There are my picks for this week. Agree? Disagree? Make yourself heard! Before Saturday's games preferably!

And I think that might wrap things up for the week actually. I've been wracking my brain trying to find something for tomorrow, and so far, nothing doing. So I'll bid you a fond farewell until Monday when I return to break down how the picks turned out. Until then, thanks for reading!

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