Take it to the Bank: A Season on the Brink

Why, Lord, why? Why must I be tormented so?

Why is the sporting landscape a vast desert from the Final Four in early April to Labor Day Weekend, followed by such a brief stopover at the Pigskin Oasis?

It is the second week in October, and we are already halfway through the football season.

I guess it's true: Time flies when you're having fun.

And they say kids grow up fast.

My picks last week went 8-7. For the season, they are 51-37.

The Games of Week 7***:

1. Okie St +3.5 @ KU

The last two weeks have been potential turning point games for the KU football program. A win in either or both, and the program moves up a level--or two--in the Big 12 and national pecking order. A loss this week, and they are back to the days of being an afterthought--if a thought at all. Or, even worse, the laughingstock they became during the Terry Allen era.

Yes, it's that big. The Hawks cannot afford to go into Waco next week on a three game losing streak. If they do, Baylor will pass them by. That's right: Baylor.

Mangino might suck at time management and game strategy-actually, that should read "does suck"--but he is a master at having his team show up to play week after week after week. . .


2. Mizzou -2.5 @ A&M

Don't Look Now, but Mizzou is a player. With their win in Lubbock, they moved up a full level on the conference and national hierarchies. A win in Aggie Station, for back to back road wins in Texas, and they move up another: They will be the clear favorite in the North, a Top 3 team in the conference, and a worthy member of the Top 15 nationally.

Mizzou showed their competitive mettle at Tech, blowing all but 3 points of a 24 point lead as the Red Raiders sliced through the Tigers' D like a knife through Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now. At that point, Mizzou demonstrated that they would not simply go away.

Still, that was Tech. Mizzou has yet to play a strong, physical team, and Chase Daniel, as good as he has looked, has not had to deal with making quick decisions under pressure. If Mizzou can keep A&M off Daniel's back, they can start making holiday plans for Dallas or San Diego. They might be able to do it, but, first, they are going to have to Show Me.


3. Nebraska -10.5 @ k-state

For the third straight week, Vegas has given NU a lot of respect with its betting line. If Okie St can lead k-state by 10 in the closing minutes, NU can do better-and close the game out.


4. Iowa St +19.5 @ Oklahoma

OU has a bad taste to clean out of its mouth. Cy Clone Mouthwash is just what the doctor ordered.


5. Texas Tech -7@ Colorado

This is not your father's Colorado. The Buffs keep coming close, but keep failing to clear the proverbial hump. This is not your father's Texas Tech either, but they still have enough firepower to cover this spread.


6. Purdue -7 @ Northwestern

Having a Northwestern game to pick is like having U.S. Savings Bonds about to mature. I suppose there is a number Vegas could throw out that would force me to take Northwestern to cover, but 7 this week isn't it.


7. Michigan -6.5 @ Penn St

Penn St keeps competing. If they can hang with Ohio St for virtually the entire game in Columbus, surely they can come home and stay within a TD of the team that cost them a berth in the national championship game last year opposite USC-right? Nah. Michigan is on a roll. They might be the No. 1 team in all the land, in fact.


8. South Florida -2.5 @ UNC

USF continues its quest to beat one of the six elite basketball programs in football. That long elusive goal is realized.


9. Ole Miss +14.5 @ Alabama

Ole Miss has been playing tough D recently-adding to Mizzou's appearance of legitimacy. They won't beat Bama on the road, but are competitive enough to stay within 2 TD's.


10. Florida +1 @ Auburn

Chris Leak is the most important player in the country. Except for, maybe, Troy Smith, Chad Henne, and Tim Tebow. The Gators just win, baby.


11. Cal -7.5 @ Washington St

Having a Cal game to pick is like having U.S. Savings Bonds about to mature. I suppose there is a number Vegas could throw out that would force me to take Cal's opponent to cover, but 7.5 this week isn't it.


12. Oregon St +9.5 @ Washington

Another second of game time, or the rescission of the incredibly asinine new clock rules, and Southern Cal might be just another one loss team. I have but one word for the rapidly improving Huskies: Mush!


13. UCLA +10 @ Oregon

I have but one word for the Bruins: AFLAC!


14. Arizona -3.5 @ Stanford

"Stanford": Californian for Northwestern.


15. Arizona St +19 @ Southern Cal

Having a game to pick in which USC is favored in the neighborhood of 20 points is like having U.S. Savings Bonds about to mature. I could justify 10-12 points against a surprisingly mediocre ASU team-but the Trojans are more RESOURCEful than POWERful this year.


Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys. Don't let ‘em wear orange at Eskimo Joe's Let ‘em be Jayhawks from heads to their toes. Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys. They'll lose when they're home, and they'll lose when they roam, If that's the life they have chose.

--Mark ____________________________________________________________ ***As always, these picks are for entertainment purposes only. You get what you pay for. There are no refunds.