It is December. And that can mean only one thing: Final Exam time. The ridiculously difficult Games of Week 14:
1. Nebraska +4 vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 Championship Game)
Should be the best crowd in Big 12 Championship Game history. I will take the team with the better D and better coach.
2. Arkansas +2.5 vs. Florida (SEC Championship Game)
By the time this game is played, Florida's chances of playing opposite Ohio St on January 8 for the imaginary national championship might already be history; i.e., if USC is stomping UCLA 2 1/2 hours into that game. Could be Letdown Town. . .
Or maybe UCLA is doing the stomping, and an impressive FU showing could move them past Michigan. Could be Choke City. . .
Either way, this game belongs to:
3. Wake Forest +2.5 vs. Ga. Tech (ACC Championship Game)
Can you use the words "Wake Forest" and "Orange Bowl" in the same sentence? I didn't think so. I'd wager that George Bernard Shaw, himself, would find that a daunting task.
4. Southern Cal -13 vs. UCLA
Pete Carroll will find a way to keep the Trojans loose. This game will be over with the spread covered by halftime.
5. Rutgers +9.5 at West Virginia
The Mountaineers were not loose last week against a South Florida team that fell in Lawrence. They have no reason to be tight this week. Just mad.
6. Army +20 at Navy
"Uncle! Uncle," I say, Vegas. I didn't think there was a line you could throw out that would cause me to take Army. But 20 points? In the ultimate rivalry game? On a neutral field? To Navy?
7. Air Force +17 at TCU
Another service academy as a big underdog. It's tempting. But TCU is better than Navy and is at home.
8. Connecticut +27 at Louisville
Louisville tunes up for its appearance in a BCS Bowl.
9. Colorado St -3 at San Diego St
CSU has lost 6 in a row. SDSU only 2. But the Aztecs have lost 9 of their 11 games on the season. Isn't there some way two teams this bad can both get points? If not, I have to go with the home dog. Bad Dog!
10. La-Monroe +3 at La-Lafayette
ULM, to its credit, has been competitive vs. what, in basketball, would be referred to as mid-majors. And KU. La-Lafayette is bowl eligible at 6-5, including a W over Conference USA finalist Houston, is riding a two game winning streak, and is at home.
11. Troy -11.5 at Florida International
FIU just hasn't been the same since their infamous fight with Miami.
Check that. They have been the same. They were winless then. They are winless now.
12. La-Tech +10 at New Mexico St
No, this is not the WAC Championship Game. Both teams are 1-6 in conference and have 3 wins overall. But Aggie memorial Stadium will be rocking. Or am I thinking of nearby El Paso and the Rolling Stones recent concert in the Sun Bowl?
13. Fresno St +4.5 at San Jose St
Fresno St will play anyone, anywhere. Which is why they are 4-7. However, 3 of their 4 W's have come in their last three games. Call them leftover turkey, because they are on a roll.
14. Stanford +28.5 at Cal
This is a lot of points in a rivalry game. Even for a one win team. But Cal has to let out its frustration on someone--and it can't wait until after Christmas to exorcise its demons.
15. Oregon St +7.5 at Hawaii
Hawaii's annual late season assault on the mainland.
--Mark _______________________________________________________________Remember, as always: 1. These picks are for entertainment purposes only. 2. You get what you pay for. 3. There are no refunds.