Take it to the Bank

This is the week the point spread was created for. On the heels of Week 2, which featured matchups like Texas/Ohio State, Notre Dame/ Michigan, LSU/ASU, and even Iowa/Iowa State, this week suffers by comparison. Under normal circumstances, OU at UCLA would be a pretty good football game. This year, it would be better on the basketball court. And watching Baylor v. Army-that has to be bad for your mental health if you don't have a little something on the game to make it interesting. # My picks vs. the point spread for Week 3, including their IQ (Interest Quotient)(*=Get a Life; *****=cancel your wedding if you have to, but don't miss this game):

1. La. Tech +14 @ KU (**)

KU's stiffest test to date. La Tech traditionally plays BCS conference teams well, although Florida laid a 41-3 whippin' on them last week. But KU ain't Florida. Still, with a semblance of a challenge staring them in the face and an off week upcoming, the Hawks should be a little more focused than in the first two weeks, and should be ready to play passable football in a tune up for their conference opener in Lubbock two weeks hence.


2. SMU +28 @ Texas A&M (**)

SMU beat the team that beat OU. That and about 3 bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbuck's. A&M takes out its Clemson frustration on the Mustangs in SMU's first game away from the friendly confines of Gerald J. Ford Stadium.


3. Baylor -5.5 @ Army (*)

Hey, Baylor can win on the road. They took out SMU in Week 1. By 5. Surely SMU is a point better than Army.


4. Oklahoma +6.5 @ UCLA (***)

If you had given me OU -6.5 in this game two weeks ago, I would have thought you were crazy. Now, my only question is: Where are OU's points coming from. UCLA jams the line and keeps Adrian Peterson from running wild, OU's QB's throw a couple of INT's, fumble a couple of snaps, and they are looking at a 14+ point loss. OU might become a good team before the year is over, but what are the chances it will suddenly happen this week on the road against a decent opponent?


5. Pitt +10.5 @ Nebraska (***)

Winless Pitt, loser most recently to Ohio (not Ohio St), vs. undefeated Nebraska, winner over heavyweights Maine and Wake Forest. Pitt, however, can score on occasion. They just might win this one outright. Unless they fumble a lot, they will at least hang tough and cover this spread.


6. Troy State +20.5 @ Mizzou (*1/2)

Why the additional ½ star in a game that figures to be a real snoozer? Two reasons: First, Mizzou has the revenge factor in their attempt to redeem themselves for losing to Bucknell-errrrr, Troy-last year. Second, it will be interesting to see if Pinkel can screw his team up so badly that they don't get their revenge, even at home. 20.5 points is a lot for Mizzou to give, considering New Mexico scored 45 against them Saturday. If Mizzou somehow loses this game, where will be the glory in stomping them for the third straight year? (Yes, it will still be fun, but what price lost glory?) If they don't cover the spread in this game, they are neither men nor Tigers.


7. Arkansas St +24.5 @ Okie St (*)

The team Mizzou beat by 27 in Arrowhead visits Stillwater. They will wish they were still playing Mizzou in Arrowhead.


8. Michigan St +6.5 @ N.D. (****)

The Born Again Fighting Irish get their first game of the season in front of Touchdown Jesus. I'm a believer.


9. Alabama -2.5 @ South Carolina (***)

Steve Spurrier has his new team playing hardnosed, not cute, trick-play football. Maybe he learned something in D.C. At home, I will take:


10. Illinois +22 @ California (***)

Cal is picking up where they left off last year: on a roll-well, except for the Southern Miss game and the Holiday Bowl. At least it's a game between two teams from major conferences


11. Kentucky +2.5 @ Indiana (**)

What a fine basketball matchup this would be. Or would have been in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when IU was actually good at something. Not even the fact that it involves two teams from major conferences can squeeze too much lemonade from this lemon.


12. Miami (FL) -7 @ Clemson (***1/2)

The Hurricanes visit Death Valley. Hurricanes don't normally survive long in the desert. These Hurricanes will survive, but barely. By less than 7.


13. Tennessee +6 @ Florida (****1/2)

Ah, for days of Spurrier and Manning. Still, another nice SEC game. Two top ten teams tangling in the Swamp. Both might be a tad bit overrated, but who, other than Notre Dame, isn't so far this season? 6 is a lot of points to pass up, Swamp notwithstanding.


14. Purdue -7.5 @ Arizona (***1/2)

Another decent interconference matchup. The young Mr. Stoops has his team on the right track. They might not win, but they are learning to put themselves in position-which should allow them to cover 7+ points.


15. Florida Atlantic +31 @ Minnesota (*1/2)

Actually, this would be a 0 star game except that, for KU fans, it matches the Hawks' opening day opponent and their former coach. And the former coach might have the best team in the Big 10-which isn't saying much. At least until he finds himself in range of accomplishing something noteworthy, when it will all suddenly fall apart. But that won't be this Saturday.


--Mark ____________________________________________________________________ # Please keep in mind the following:

1. These picks are for entertainment purposes only.

2. You get what you pay for.

3. There are no refunds.