Halloween weekend, and the college football schedule is so bad it's scary. There is Georgia vs. Florida in the World's Largest Cocktail Party, to be sure, which is equivalent to a full size Snickers bar in your Halloween bag. There is also an occasional bite size Milky Way or Tootsie Roll Pop in the guise of OU at Nebraska or Ohio St at Minnesota, but, for the most part, it's a package after package of candy corn followed by popcorn balls.
Thank goodness for the point spread-one of the four greatest inventions of all time, along with the wheel, the internet, and High Def TV.
Week 9's games, with IQ (i.e., Interest Quotient: *=any worse and you might as well watch baseball or hockey; *****=better than anything you'll find on the tube this week):
1. Mizzou -6 @ Kansas***
Time for Mizzou's annual butt-kicking. Something in the neighborhood of 35-20. A little physical play, and the Tigers go away.
2. Oklahoma +11/2 @ Nebraska***
At one time the glamour game of the year-year after year. Now, roughly equivalent to George Foreman vs. Rocky Balboa-with the operative word being "now." NU has the home field. OU seems to be progressing down the road back to respectability a little faster.
3. Colorado -8 @ k-state***
k-state closed strong last week to stay within the 3.5 spread vs. Texas A&M. The Buffs are a wee bit better than A&M.
4. Iowa St +10 @ A&M**1/2
How low can ISU go?
5. Tech -10.5 @ Baylor***
As noted last week, there is only one good team in the Big 12 and in the State of Texas. Tech isn't it. There are, however, a number of competitive teams-including, surprisingly, Baylor.
6. Texas -36.5 @ Okie St*
I usually don't pick 30+ point games, because they are more a function of the better team's willingness to run up the score than of the comparative skill level of the two teams. But it's either this or Air Force @ BYU. And, really-how is Okie St going to score at all? And how are they going to hold Texas to fewer than 37 points. Nor does Texas have any incentive to keep the score down. 56-3 sounds about right.
7. Purdue +15 @ Penn St***
You could get rich this year picking against Purdue. And Penn St? They are enjoying being back in the limelight too much to let this game stay close.
8. Ohio St -4.5 @ Minnesota****
Perhaps the second best game on this week's schedule. Which is, as they say, damnation by faint praise. Glenn Mason gets his team ready to play the school that snubbed him in favor of Jim Tressel.
9. Michigan -3 @ Northwestern****
Another candidate for No. 2 game of the week. Two teams with no delusions of grandeur, but Northwestern is red hot, and Michigan is like those arcade gophers that keep popping up in the Whackem game. They won't stay down or go away. I'll go with hot over resourceful. Especially at home with the points.
10. Georgia +4 vs. Florida (Jacksonville)****1/2
It's not often that you get a legitimate undefeated team and national championship contender and points. Especially against a team that has been struggling offensively. Not that Georgia has been rolling people either. But it has been winning-every week. If they lose, it will be by a field goal or less.
11. Ole Miss +19.5 @ Auburn**
The Ole game of how many points do we have to give to make somebody take Ole Miss. 14? You're kidding me-right? 36.5? Nah-that's Texas/Okie St territory. 19.5? That'll do. . .
It might if Ole Miss were at home.
12. South Carolina +14.5 @ Tennessee**1/2
Tennessee has to feel like it has been running with weights on its ankles. Florida, Georgia, LSU, Alabama. . . It will feel good to run wild and free over Steve Spurrier's D.
13. UNC +19.5 @ Miami**1/2
UNC held Virginia without a touchdown in Chapel Hill last Saturday. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, this game is on the road vs. a team bent on revenge for last year's surprising loss.
14. Arizona +8 @ Oregon St**
Arizona is the KU of the PAC 10. They play tough defense and hang around, but don't score enough points to pull out many victories. With one difference; They have actually played conference games at home. Two of them. They lost both. Now, a la Willie, they are On the Road Again.
15. UCLA -7.5 @ Stanford***1/2
Stanford is on a three game winning streak, including victories over both Arizona schools. UCLA, however, is hot, hot, hot. . .