Take it to the Bank: New York City?

What is a college football weekend without either the Jayhawks or a Headliner Game? It's this Saturday is what it is. This weekend is so bleak. . .

"How bleak is it?"

It's so bleak that Purdue vs. Minnesota is arguably the best game on the table.

Purdue vs. Minnesota arguably the best game of the week? Isn't that like arguing about the best picante sauce from New York City?

Maybe so. But there are still point spreads to be busted. And a number of spreads this week are intriguing.

My record against the spread last week was 9-6.

This week's picks#, with each game's IQ (Interest Quotient) (*=Go Bowling; *****=hire a professional to videotape your child's birth, but watch this game live):

1. Colorado +14 @ Miami (FL) ****

An argument could be made for this sauce-if you can overlook the 14 point spread. It does have two traditionally strong programs, but Miami is rebuilding, and the Buffs' image is damaged by its association with the much maligned the Big 12 North. It is that disrespect, however, not on-field performance that has driven this spread. No, CU can't win, but it can hang within two TD's.

No argument that it is the best Big 12 game this weekend.


2. North Texas +24 @ k-state*

Tulsa 54, UNT 2. In Denton. No, UNT is not that bad. How could they be and still be breathing? They will bounce back strong this weekend in Manhattan against a k-state team that appears to be sailing on the Good Ship Mediocrity. Unfortunately for the Mean Green, bouncing back on the road to a mediocre team still equals a 4 TD loss.


3. Purdue +3.5 @ Minnesota****

Put this game in late November, and it could be for a trip to the Rose Bowl. Except that both teams have a tendency to fall apart as Thanksgiving nears. In late September, it is a battle of undefeated teams who both still have big time aspirations. Minnesota is an offensive juggernaut at home. It should be the proverbial track meet.


4. Iowa +7 @ Ohio St***1/2

Ohio St is not an offensive juggernaut. Of course, Iowa scored only 3 against a Big 12 North team. When points are hard to come by, don't give more than a TD either way.


5. Mich St -10.5 @ Illinois***

This game's allure stems almost entirely from Michigan St, the team that ripped Notre Dame's heart out last Saturday in OT. Their QB is a Bill Whittemore clone. Ah, if KU only had a Bill Whittemore clone. But I digress. Illinois showed some spunk last week at Cal-albeit while losing by 15. Some home cookin' and their spunk keeps them within 10 as Mich St has a let down week.


6. UNC +10 @ NC St**

Two things make this game worth watching: The rivalry factor and Chuck Amato's sunglasses. But where are the Crickets? The Tar on those Heels is tough to shake off.


7. BC +3 @ Clemson***1/2

Had BC just held on against Florida St and Clemson not lost in 3 OT's to Miami, this would be the game of the week. As it is, it will be a good game between two of college football's best non-glamour teams. This game might be in Death Valley, but look for BC to win outright.


8. Ga Tech +10.5 @ Va Tech****

Not a bad little sauce-for New York City. Even carries just a hint of heat. Two more undefeateds getting together-Georgia Tech, which handed Auburn its first loss in two years, and a Virginia Tech offense that is on fire with Michael Vick's little brother at the helm. The Hokies have back to back 45-0 wins over Ohio and Duke. Georgia Tech is not Ohio or Duke.


9. Arkansas +15.5 @ Alabama***

Attractive game primarily because of the names involved. An elite and semi-elite tradition square off. Alabama is not all the way back, but Arkansas. . .

Yes, it was to USC, the best team in all the land. But 17-70? And that on the heels of a loss to Vanderbilt? If Arkansas has any pride, they will play Bama tough. Still, the Crimson Tide rolls on..


10. ND -13.5 @ Washington****

Ty Willingham. Notre Dame. Opposite sidelines. These are the types of games Willingham excelled in at Stanford. Looks like a Notre Dame win, but not without a monumental effort by the Huskies.


11. Florida -23.5 @ Kentucky**1/2

Kentucky puts up a spirited fight at home. They don't win, but they stay within 17.


12. Mich -3 @ Wisconsin***1/2

Basically a tossup. The last four games in this series have been decided by 7 points or less. I would take the Badgers even up at home, so, of course, I will take them as a home dog.


13. USC -19.5 @ Oregon**

Can anyone come within 19.5 of USC anywhere? Not if they are interested. First conference game of the season: They will be interested.


14. Tennessee +6.5 @ LSU****

LSU plays at home for the first time since Katrina. College Game Day. Their normally frenzied crowd redefines the concept. Tennessee is a formidable opponent-but this is not their lucky day.


15. Arizona St -5 @ Oregon State**1/2

Oregon St returns home, seeking redemption from its 63-27 thrashing at the hands of Louisville. They will play 60 minute of tough football and cover the spread. Maybe even win outright.


--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.