Wednesday

10-20-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 8

Hello again everybody...

I know the apologies are getting old, but I have an honest to goodness explanation as to why this column is getting up late.

When I wrote on Monday that I'd have this column up as usual on Wednesday, I failed to take into account my plans to attend the Wild/Canucks game on Tuesday night at the same time I'd usually be writing for Wednesday.

So instead of cranking out today's column, I was putting together this game story and these cuts from the post-game coach's press conference. Feel free to check them out.

So that's that. Sorry for the lateness, but trust me, it was for a good cause. I promise!

My picks may have been delayed, but they'll never be denied! Let's get to them, then...

Right after the quote.

“It takes too much energy to be against something unless it's really important.”
- Madeleine L'Engle (1918 - 2007), American writer


What could be more important than college football? Um... well... I'll get back to you on that!


2010 College Football Picks: Week 8



As per usual, we begin each week by reviewing last week's picks. First up the games I looked at, but decided to take a pass on...

Arizona -23.5 at Washington State: Final Score - Arizona 24, WASU 7

I said I wouldn't be surprised if this one covers, so count me as pleasantly surprised that it didn't, and glad I took a pass. I really don't know what to make of Arizona at this point. They've looked really good at times, and really average at other times. If they really wanted to be taken seriously on the national stage, then this was a game that should've been a blowout. A lot of people contend that the Pac 10 is the best conference in college football this year. Outside of Oregon, I'm not sure if it's anything more than a bunch of mediocre teams and one terrible one.

Nebraska -9.5 vs. Texas: Final Score - Texas 20, Nebraska 13

Whew!!!

I described to you on Monday what happened in this game, so I won't rehash it too much here. Suffice to say, I'm more than a little glad that I took a pass here. If I'd gotten this one wrong... I shudder to think how long I'd have had to hear about it!

So both my passes failed to cover. That means I must have had a decent week on the games I did pick, right?

Let's find out!

First...

California +2.5 at USC: Final Score - USC 48, California 14

Thanks a freaking lot, Tafoya!

I pimp your “sturdy” Golden Bears and talk about how this was their best shot by far to knock off the Trojans and instead of coming through for me, they appear to be about as sturdy as that fort I built out of scrap wood when I was 12.

I still have some splinters in an unfortunate location if you know what I mean!

I'm officially writing off Cal for the rest of the 2010 season.

Can't trust 'em. Can't pick 'em. Can't do it! (copyright Mike Singletary).

0-1 and hoping for a comeback!

Next...

Iowa -3.5 at Michigan: Final Score - Iowa 38, Michigan 28

That's more like it!

Actually, I can't take a ton of credit for this one. 3.5 was way too small a number here.

Michigan is still slightly over-rated based on the hot start they (read: Denard Robinson) had to begin the season. Now teams with quality defenses have figured out that if you surround Robinson and force him to try and throw over the top of you, Michigan's offense stalls out in a hurry.

If Iowa hadn't blown their opportunity against what turns out to be only a slightly-above-average Arizona team, they'd be a top-3 BCS team right now. They have the potential to be exactly that good.

Needless to say, despite beating #1 last week, I'm terrified that Wisconsin has to travel to face the Hawkeyes this weekend!

1-1 and back on the winning track!

Idaho -1.5 at Louisiana Tech: Final Score - Louisiana Tech 48, Idaho 35
*- This game was this week's WftC Flier Pick of the Week

So much for the Flier Pick winning streak. So much for my theory on following a flip-flopping line.

Obviously I didn't see a second of this one. And since Flier Picks don't count unless I win, I'm not going to spend a whole lot more time talking about it!

Still 1-1 and just hoping to get out of here with a +.500 record.

Finally...

Ohio State -4 at Wisconsin: Final Score - Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 18

Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!

But Dan, you blew this pick, why are you celebrating?

I don't care! I've never been happier to be wrong! We beat #1! Down goes Brutus, down goes Brutus, down goes Brutus!!!

The one bit of wiggle room I left myself last week was noting that goofy things happen at Camp Randall during night games.

I had no clue that would start on the opening kickoff when David Gilreath housed it for a Badger touchdown, but I was obviously quite pleased.

I ripped Brett Bielema for his classless two-point conversion call against Minnesota, and I stand by that. But if I'm willing to rip him, then to be fair, I have to be willing to praise him, and there's no question he had his team as well prepared for the Ohio State game as a team could be.

Wisconsin flat-out dominated the first half, and when OSU came out blazing in the third quarter, the Badgers didn't panic, didn't fall apart, didn't go to pieces. They hung with their game plan, executed and pulled away in the later stages of the game.

(Memo to Gopher fans: these are the things a quality football coach inspires in his club. You might want to take that into account in your current coaching search. I'm just sayin...)

So I finished the seventh week of the season 1-2 (.333). Dammit.

That makes me 13-13 (.500) for the season. Not great, but not lousy. I still can't seem to get on a multi-week winning streak, but that's not going to stop me from trying to get over the .550 hump!

That quest continues in...

Week 8

We begin, as usual, with the games I looked at, but ultimately decided to pass on...

Saturday, 10/23 - Iowa -5.5 vs. Wisconsin (2:30pm, ABC):

I said earlier that I'm completely terrified for Wisconsin in this game. They just played their most effective, disciplined game of the year and beat the then #1 team in the nation. I don't want that awesomeness to end after just one week! So I'm going to take a pass on this one and pray to the college football gods that my gut-feeling about the Badgers' chances is wrong for the second week in a row!

Saturday, 10/23 - Nebraska -5.5 at Oklahoma State (2:30pm, ABC/ESPN):

After Cornhusker Nation was kindly enough to host me last weekend, I'm going to do them the favor of passing on this game. Honestly, I have no clue how this one's going to go. If the Nebraska team that dominated in the first five weeks shows up, they cover. If the team I watched this past Saturday takes the field? I shudder to think what the consequences could be. I'll pass thank you...

So if those two games didn't make the cut, which ones did? I'm so 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:

First...

Saturday, 10/23 - Notre Dame -7 at Navy (11am, CBS): The Fighting Irish are 4-3. The Midshipmen are 4-2.

Two years in a row, I've picked the Midshipmen to cover the spread against Notre Dame and two years in a row I've been rewarded.

So why vary from that formula? Simple. Despite the mediocre record, I think the Irish finally have a quality head coach who's more than capable of scheming against Navy's triple-option offense.

As long as Notre Dame comes out ready to play and doesn't get spooked by the unique atmosphere in Annapolis, I think the Irish cover here.

Next...

Saturday, 10/23 - Minnesota +9.5 vs. Penn State (11am, ESPNU): The Gophers are 1-6 (0-3 in the Big Ten). The Nitanny Lions are 3-3 (0-2 in the Big Ten).

Yeah, that's right, I'm passing on the Badger game and picking the Gophers to cover. Tell me I'm not unbiased in my picks, I dare you!

Minnesota fired head coach Tim Brewster after their terrible start and have handed the reins to offensive coordinator Jeff Horton for the rest of the season. Horton has previous head coaching experience at Nevada and UNLV, but didn't exactly light the world on fire at either place.

So why am I picking the Gophers to cover here?

Minnesota has a nasty habit of covering spreads and has done so for years. Penn State has looked exceedingly average in getting out to an 0-2 start in the conference.

Add those two things together and 9.5 becomes way too large of a spread.

When you make that determination, you take the points and keep your fingers crossed.

My brother's attending this game on Saturday, so this one's on you Mark! Big brother needs to get back on the winning track!

Thirdly...

Saturday, 10/23 - LSU +6 at Auburn (2:30pm, CBS): The Tigers are 7-0 (4-0 in the SEC). The Tigers are 7-0 (4-0 in the SEC).
*- This game is this week's WftC Flier Pick of the Week

Tigers vs. Tigers?! Oh my!

Okay, every single one of you saw that joke coming, and I still went there. Yeah. Deal with it.

This has to be one of the biggest games of the week, and while the last thing I want to see is a Les Miles coached team win, I don't think this is going to be a blowout for either club.

Games like this in the SEC tend to be two things: shoot-outs and closely contested.

My guess? Whoever has the ball last wins. That means a final score within three points of each other. That means we take the points and hope Miles doesn't get too “creative”.

Are you listening, Les? Are you?!

Finally...

Saturday, 10/23 - Oklahoma -3 at Missouri (7pm, ABC): The Sooners are 6-0 (2-0 in the Big 12). The Tigers are 6-0 (2-0 in the Big 12).

This would be the other mega-showdown game in college football this week as two more undefeated teams square off in a high-stakes match-up.

So why go with the Sooners? Look at the two clubs' best wins:

Oklahoma - Florida State, Texas, at Cincinnati

Missouri - Illinois, Colorado, Texas A&M

Advantage? Sooners. And I only have to give up 3 points? I'll take that wager!

Let's just hope that #1 doesn't choke two weeks in a row, shall we?!

So there you have them folks. Four college football picks for you to peruse, ponder, pontificate on and perhaps even be perplexed by.

(Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition... Thank you grammar police!)

Think I'm right on? Think I'm way off? Think I'm on a controlled substance of some sort? Tack on a comment and let me know who you'd have picked!

That'll put a wrap on today's column. The plan is to return with a DFTU for you on Friday.

But as you've all learned, the best laid plans are subject to change!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

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