Remember to leave work early to catch the game. The Games of Week 3: 1. KU +4.5 @ Toledo Last week was easy. KU -21.5 vs. some school from Monroe, Louisiana. A team on the rise in the Big 12 should be able to name the score against such derelicts, right? Wrong, in retrospect. But the pick was easy, regardless of the outcome. This week is hard. How good are the Jayhawks? Or how bad? They have been anything but impressive their first two games. Is that due to lack of talent, lack of experience, lack of interest. . . The team has no identity to this point. Is it a running team, a passing team, a defensive team that just needs all its pieces, a team waiting for a challenge to display the determination and resiliency worthy of being called The Fighting Manginos? Or are they a collection of individuals the Big M can't reach? And what of Toledo? Are they a good team, as suggested by taking Iowa St to double OT? Or are they a bad team, as suggested by losing in double OT to an Iowa St team that arguably lost on the field to UNLV at home this past weekend? Or, more to the point, as suggested by being manhandled by Western Michigan to the tune of 21 points last Saturday. Both teams should be sky high for the opportunity to show the nation--at least that infinitesimal slice of it watching this game of no national consequence--that they are ready for prime time players. What tips the scales is that: (1) Toledo is the home team; (2) KU has been miserable on the road under the Big M; and (3) although I expect that trend to come to a screeching halt sometime in the near future, the Hawks' offense will be led Friday night by a freshman in his first college road game. He will grow up. The question is, can he grow up fast enough to make plays against the Holy Rollers in an extremely hostile environment? Maybe. But not probably. Toledo 2. Marshall +10 @ k-state In these teams' last two meetings, The Thundering Herd has first defeated k-state in Manhattan, then let one get away at home as a result of one of the most imbecilic play calls in college football history. They will not be intimidated by this week's trip to the little potato. They should at least be able to hang around and cover a double digit spread.
Marshall 3. Baylor +13 @ Washington St As KU knows, winning on the road is the last and most difficult piece of the puzzle in the rebuilding process. Intersectional road games, especially, are a bitch.
Washington St 4. Oklahoma +4 @ Oregon By the time OU stops laughing at Oregon's uniforms, the Ducks will have the points necessary to cover the spread in Eugene.
Oregon 5. Texas Tech -2 @ TCU
Maybe Tech was looking ahead to this game Saturday night in El Paso.
Nah. They are just mediocre defensively and still have some bugs to iron out with their newest interchangeable QB.
TCU 6. Arizona St -10 @ Colorado Let's see: CU lost to a team that lost to something that crawled out of Division II called Chadron State College-which, as best I can tell, is a correspondence school that holds its football practices over the internet. Until CU covers a spread, there is no reason to predict that they will.
Arizona St 7. Nebraska +18.5 @ Southern Cal SAT review time: USC is to Nebraska as Nebraska is to in-state rival Chadron State.
Southern Cal 8. Mizzou -14 @ New Mexico Even Don Fambrough had to admit to being impressed with Mizzou at halftime of the KU-La Monroe game. He echoed my thoughts: they look improved at QB, with an actual field general behind center, as opposed to the loose cannon (albeit a talented one) who occupied that spot the last four years. In a serious revenge game, I reluctantly have to give the nod to:
9. Army +27.5 vs. Texas A&M (San Antonio) A&M has outscored its first two opponents 86-10. Army is 23-28 vs. Arkansas St and Kent St. And A&M is trying to rinse away the foul taste of years of mediocrity as quickly as possible. They are not about to let up once their foot is on the Black Knights' throats.
A&M 10. Florida Atlantic +28 @ Oklahoma St Okie St is 87-17 its first two games. FAU lost by 45 to k-state. Hummmmm. . .
Okie St 11. Michigan +7 @ Notre Dame Touchdown Jesus does not look kindly on this year's enemies of all that is good and holy (i.e., Brady Quinn).
12. UL-Monroe +24.5 @ Alabama Alabama would be a good bet week after week on the money line. But when will they actually score enough points to cover a spread?
UL-Monroe 13. Florida -3.5 @ Tennessee If Michigan at Notre Dame isn't the game of the week, this one is. The Gators had to leave the swamp sometime.
Tennessee 14. Miami (FL) +4.5 @ Louisville Louisville had Miami beat last year before letting the Hurricanes off the hook. They won't make the same mistake on their home turf.
Louisville 15. LSU +3 @ Auburn If Florida at Tennessee isn't the game of the week, this one is.
Two words: Les Miles.
Les is not More.
Rock the Rockets!