9-16-09: 2009 College Football Picks: Week 3

Hello again everybody...

I'll admit to feeling a bit discombobulated this week. I guess that's to be expected after having 5 days off from work. You wouldn't think it'd feel that much different to start a work-week on Tuesday instead of Monday, but it does to me.

But I've kept on track with the blog as much as possible, and it feels good to keep that rolling right along.

For those of you wondering if/when I'm going to do something with my Gettysburg material, never fear, I'm still working it out. It's going to be a pretty epic project whenever I get around to actually putting it together. So it'll be something I'll have to set aside time to sit down and focus on. And unfortunately, that won't be this weekend... I don't think. Perhaps the following weekend will lighten up some for me and I'll be able to pull it off.

But that's for another day. Today we've got some college football picks to knock out. 1-2 last week isn't something I want to repeat, so let's see if I can get things turned around, shall we?

Away we go!

"Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680), noted French author of maxims and memoirs

There's a poker-related corollary to this. Nobody wants to hear your bad-beat story. It doesn't matter how spectacularly bad it is. No one wants to hear it. We've all had 1- or 2-outers hit on us. Do us all a favor: write it down, tear it up, throw it away and get over it. But spare us a retelling of something we've already heard a thousand times. Thank you.

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It's Week 3 of the college football season already. The first two weeks have held a plethora of exciting games, so hopefully this week won't disappoint.

It's also time for me to get back on the winning side of the ledger after a disappointing 1-2 week last week.

So without further ado, here are my...

2009 College Football Picks: Week 3

Before we get to the games I'm picking, here are a couple I looked at, but passed on:

Notre Dame -10 vs. Michigan State - This one tempted me greatly. And the stars seem to line up. The Irish have scored a bunch of points in their first two games. The Spartans lost to Central Michigan at home last week. And Notre Dame's at home! So why not take the Irish here? It feels like a trap to me. Michigan State's going to be pissed after last week, and Notre Dame's defense hasn't shown me enough to justify giving up 10. I'm staying away.

Texas -17.5 vs. Texas Tech - I'm staying away here for many of the same reasons. I love Texas to win this game at home. There's the revenge factor from last year. Plus, Tech graduated their quarterback and number one wide receiver. But that being said, Tech's scored 38 & 55 points in their first two games. Sure those were against North Dakota and Rice, but to take Texas here, I'm guessing they'll have to score at least 47 points, maybe more. And that's a lot to ask. No bet here.

So which games am I taking? I'm glad you asked!

As always, were I to have the wherewithal to make a worthwhile wager, these are the games I'd be betting on this week...

California -13.5 @ Minnesota (11am, ESPN2): The Golden Bears are 2-0 (0-0). The Golden Gophers are 2-0 (0-0).

Lots of "gold" in this game, eh? (I promise, Lon in Forest Lake just thought of 10 puns in about 30 seconds. Please Lon, don't post them.)

There are Minnesota fans out there wondering why I didn't learn my lesson about picking against the Gophers from last week.

That was Air Force folks, this is California. This is a Pac 10 contender. This is a team with Heisman hopeful RB Jahvid Best. This is a team that hasn't been held under 50 points yet this year.

So even if I conservatively estimate that Cal scores 35 points, that means they'd need to hold Minnesota to 21 to cover. I like my chances there.

No flier pick this time Gopher-fans, I'm picking straight-up against you! I'll give you the 13.5 and thoroughly enjoy Bear alum Michele Tafoya winning her friendly wager with Dave Lee!


Penn State -29.5 vs. Temple (11am, BTN): The Nittany Lions are 2-0 (0-0). The Owls are 0-1 (0-0).

The Owls have had two weeks to prepare for this game. They could have two years to prepare and they'd still get smoked.

The Lions have put up 31 on Akron and 28 on Syracuse, so if they stay consistent there, the D would have to pitch a shut-out for me to cover. But I don't think they'll stay consistent there.

Look back to last year: Penn State 45, Temple 3. Penn State has most of their offensive starters back, and trust me, Temple didn't get that much better.

29.5 is a lot to give, but if we're going to do it, this is the team to do it against. We'll give the Owls the 29.5 and hope that JoePa is making sure that his boys aren't looking past Temple to the Big Ten opener.


Washington +20 vs. USC (2:30pm, ABC): The Huskies are 1-1, (0-0). The Trojans are 2-0 (0-0).
*This game is this week's Sports Take Flier Pick of the Week.

I told you a game like this was coming. Washington was going to be undervalued against somebody at home, and we needed to be ready to pounce. And here we are.

USC is good. We know that. But they snuck by Ohio State on the road last week. And even though the Buckeyes are better than the Huskies, 20 points is simply way to much to give Washington in this game.

Remember, Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian was the Offensive Coordinator at USC just last year. He knows how the Trojans operate, knows their players and knows their tendencies.

If you remember back to Week 1, Washington gave LSU all they could handle and only lost by 8. Then last week the Huskies put 42 on Idaho. Yes, that's Idaho, not USC. But if the Huskies get even just two TD's against the Trojans, that means USC would have to score 35 for me not to cover. That's a lot to ask of a Freshman quarterback on the road.

I could be way off. USC could roll. But my "undervalued Washington" theory turned out to be true in Week 1 and I think it's going to hold up again this week.

We'll take the 20 on a Flier and see what happens!

And finally...

Florida -29.5 vs. Tennessee (2:30pm, CBS): The Gators are 2-0 (0-0). The Volunteers are 1-1 (0-0).

First off, let me just say this: I'm sorry Jon.

Secondly, there isn't any reasonable number they could've put on this game where I wouldn't take Florida here. They could've put up 35 and I'd still have taken the Gators.

One of the fun parts about college football is that coaches will run off at the mouth a little more often than they do in the pros. When they can back it up, they're lauded. When they can't? Well, just watch on Saturday and see what happens.

A friend of mine pointed out this line to me today. My response was, if Florida coach Urban Meyer could score 100 on Tennessee, he would. The only think stopping him is the clock.

That's how badly I think he wants to put it on Tennessee this year after all the woofing Volunteer coach Lane Kiffin did during the off-season. Look, I know Kiffin was trying to energize the Volunteer fan-base, and I don't blame him for feeling it necessary to do that. But maybe he should've talked trash on Georgia, or even LSU.

Students of recent college football history will recall Georgia dissing the Gators in 2007. The 2008 score? 49-10, Florida.

The lesson? Don't piss off the Gators when you know they're more talented than you. It's tough enough to beat this team when they don't have bulletin board material to motivate them. When you give them that, you become 29.5-point underdogs and end up with people still betting against you.

For Jon's sake, I hope I'm wrong here, but another 49-10 won't surprise me a bit. So we'll give the 29.5 and try to find a good movie for Jon to watch on Saturday!

So there are your four picks for this week. If you've got any thoughts or predictions of your own, please feel free to attach a comment below!

That's all for today. I'll be back on Friday with your weekly dose of DFTU.

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. But...the puns are golden, too!

  2. Hey Dan,

    I love the Florida pick and I like the Cal pick, but I'm not crazy about the Penn State pick. Even if John Chaney was the QB at Temple, I just don't see a Big Ten team winning by that much. Which is why I like Toledo this week getting 21 at home versus Ohio State.

    P.S. How 'bout my Jags giving three versus the defending NFC champs. Vegas really hates those west coast teams coming east.

  3. Scott, good to hear from you!

    My Penn State pick is based mostly on last year's result. But I understand what you're saying.

    I think you might be onto something with the Toledo game. Or you might be on something. I'm not sure. Ohio State might come out pissed and looking to stomp somebody after their first two weeks. We'll see!

    As for your Jags? I think they're already trying to sell Tim Tebow jerseys!