Mark was having trouble posting, so he asked me to post in his stead. Without further ado, carry on valiant reader! This Saturday marks the midway point in the college football season. The point of no return. From this Saturday on, there are no excuses for failure-by your team or in your picks. There are no secrets. The teams are a known commodity. The games are almost exclusively between conference foes.
Here, then, are this week's picks, with each game's IQ (Interest Quotient: *=Isn't the Renaissance festival this weekend? *****=Being a couch potato gets a bad rap)
1. OU -6 @ KU (in KC) (**1/2)
I expect KU to win this one outright, with the coaches and the offense having been rightfully blistered for a week for last Saturday's fiasco in which they gave a game away to a lesser team. They will come out revitalized, committed to executing the game plan and kicking Sooner butt. OU has not seen a D this good-and, yes, I realize they just played Texas.
Put my money where my mouth is? Errrr. . .uh, well. . .Until the Hawks demonstrate they can play the end game, I will have to take the program that has done so a time or two within recent memory.
2. k-state +14 @ Texas Tech (***1/2)
I was not impressed with Tech two Saturdays ago. I was even less impressed with k-state Saturday. Tech defeated KU by 13. Covering 14 against k-state in Lubbock should be a piece of west Texas cake. Or should I say cow patty. Although the home field advantage might be compromised by the fact that k-state will feel right at home with the west Texas wind and smells.
3. Colorado +17.5 @ Texas (****)
The two best teams in the conference. Unfortunately, there is a gap the size of the Royal Gorge between Nos. 1 and 2 this season. If this game were in Boulder, I would give the Buffs a fighting chance. Texas, despite the possibility of a letdown the week after its "game" with OU, realizes that it must win and win big to attempt to negate Virginia Tech's sizable strength of schedule advantage in the BCS rankings if the Hokies remain undefeated.
4. ISU +5.5 @Mizzou (**)
ISU lost at home to Baylor. Nuf said.
5. Okie St +18 @ A&M(**)
Okie St is probably the Big 12's worst team. They could not accomplish at home what New Mexico accomplished on the road-i.e., beat Mizzou. Still, A&M is putrid. The Aggies will likely snap out of it some weekend. Until they do, you have to go with the flow.
6. Nebraska -2.5 @ Baylor (***)
Baylor might actually be better than Nebraska. Let that thought sink in for a moment. Baylor might actually be better than Nebraska. And they have the home field.
7. NW +7.5 @ Purdue (**)
Purdue is one of the biggest disappointments this season in the Big 11 and nationally. Maybe they will come out of their funk this weekend. Until they do, however, I will take the opposition:
8. Mich St +6.5 @ Ohio St (*****)
This game will have the atmosphere of an elimination game, as one of these fine teams disappears from the BCS bowl picture. Ohio St will be hopping mad after dropping last Saturday's game at Penn St. Because they are at home, the Buckeyes will probably win-but not by much against a slightly better team.
9. Penn St +3.5 @ Michigan (*****)
The atmosphere in State College was as wild as that at a monster game at Allen Fieldhouse-such as the 2003 game vs. Arizona or last New Year's Day game vs. Georgia Tech-but with 110,000 fans rather than 16,000. If Penn St wins this game, they should leapfrog everyone in their path not named USC. However, the 110,000 fans will be going the other way this week, and here's a guess that Michigan was looking ahead when they allowed Glen Mason to sneak up on them last Saturday in Ann Arbor.
10. Alabama -12.5 @ Ole Miss (***)
No, Alabama is not as good as it looked in dismantling Florida last week. But then, how could they be? Still. . .
11. Georgia -15.5 @ Vandy (**1/2)
No, Georgia as good as it looked in taking Tennessee to the cleaners in Knoxville. How could they be? They are still good enough to cover this spread, although Vandy will hang tough most of the game.
12. Florida +6 @ LSU (****)
No, Florida is not as bad as it looked at Alabama. Still, Baton Rouge is not the place to go to get well.
13. Auburn -7.5 @ Arkansas (**1/2)
The Hogs are tough in the Ozarks.
14. Southern Cal -11.5 @ Notre Dame (*****)
Clearly, the game of the week. Probably the game of the year to this point. If Notre Dame jumps on USC the way Oregon and Arizona St have in recent weeks, it could be a good day for fans of Texas, Virginia Tech, Penn State, and other teams with visions of the Rose Bowl dancing in their heads. The Trojans get out alive, but not before a struggle comparable to that in the Iliad.
15. UCLA -5.5 @ Wash St (***1/2)
UCLA just might be the most entertaining team in college football this year. Their final two games against ASU and USC will be like watching the scoring mechanism of a pinball machine. WSU is a worthy opponent in Pullman, but the Bruins have too much firepower.
Lower the Boom on the Sooners!