After a fine effort by both the Jayhawks and your humble Take It to the Bank purveyor in Week 1 (at 9-6 vs. the spread), we take divergent paths in Week 2. KU has the easy task playing Southeastern La. St., which in no way, shape or form resembles Appalachian St. (Plus, the Hawks appear to be better than the team Appalachian St beat last week.) Not to mention that the Juggerhawks have the correct mindset-i.e., expect them to continue rolling over outmanned opponents without mercy. Between the Hawk running game, a nice group of receivers, and the execution of two capable QB's, neither of whom intends to give any ground to the other, KU will again score at will against a team that lost its season opener to New Mexico St by a 35-14 count. The REAL question is whether KU will eclipse the 62-0 thrashing Texas Tech laid on the Lions during last year's lost season, in which Southeastern recorded but two victories in eleven tries. The only line I have seen on this game is 40 points. The outcome vs. that spread will rely solely on how soon the Big M imitates his basketball counterpart and sends in the walk-ons. Let's pass on this one. (For the record, if I were to pick this game, I would take the Hawks to cover.)
Besides, there are a number of interesting, challenging games into which our teeth can sink this week:
1. Nebraska -8 at Wake Forest
Nebraska is over-rated. They are probably better than Wake, but the Demon Deacons have played everyone tough for more than a year. They won't go down easy. They wilted late to a strong Boston College team on the Road last weekend, but this game is at Home. To me, that makes it a toss-up. Win or lose, Wake should at least cover this charitable spread.
2. Miami (FL) +10.5 at Oklahoma
Despite its meltdown last season, the Hurricanes have high quality athletes galore. Their D will be sticky. And they are on a mission for redemption. OU is a legitimate BCS contender, but this is a lot of points to give to a team with this much talent.
3. TCU +9.5 at Texas
UT will likely be more interested in this game than they were in Arkansas St. They are vulnerable, but they are at Home. Until TCU proves it can go into a big time atmosphere and hold its own, I will take the points and fill out my deposit slip for my Monday Morning trip to the bank.
4. San Jose St +17.5 at k-state
There are a number of questions in this game. Can k-state maintain the intensity it took to Auburn? Can Freeman avoid giving two or three cheap scores to SJSU? My guess is that k-state will have a bit of a letdown, and San Jose will knows the way to stay within two TD's and a FG.
SAN JOSE ST
5. Rice +6.5 at Baylor
6. Mizzou -6 at Ole Miss
I heard someone state that Mizzou was the most UN-impressive team in the Big 12 North last week. I wouldn't go that far-not with Iowa St's loss to Kent St. But they do have serious question marks on D-and it is tough to live on the Road by offense alone.
7. Fresno St +17.5 at A&M
Fresno St claims it will play anyone, anytime, anywhere. They are used to games like this. A&M is solid, but not quite an Aggernaut. Were I in charge of the Vegas line, the spread on this game would be 10.5.
8. Colorado +14.5 at Arizona St
The Buffs showed last week that they are improved offensively. But they have a long way to go-especially with a new QB-to compete on the Road in the Phoenix heat against a good PAC-10 squad.
9. Fla Atlantic +23.5 at Okie St
Just what the Cowboys needed to rid themselves of the sour taste of Georgia peaches.
10. Toledo + 3 at Central Michigan
The difference between KU's athletes and Central Michigan's was more noticeable Saturday night than the difference with Toledo's last September. The question is whether this is because (a) KU's athleticism is greatly improved, (b) CMU's athletes this year are inferior to Toledo's last year, or (c) a combination of the two. I hope the answer is (a), because CMU looked awfully slow and small Saturday night. If they actually have decent speed and size, and just look mediocre by comparison to KU's athletes, the Hawks will be tough, indeed, in conference play. My suspicion is that CMU is a team with average MAC speed and strength. But until I know for sure about the Hawks-and that is still a few weeks away-I will go with (c).
11. Oregon +8 at Michigan
A psychiatrist's afternoon delight. Will Michigan respond to the biggest embarrassment in college athletics this side of Oral Roberts by asserting themselves and playing a physical, flawless game. Or will they fall apart if Oregon hits them in the mouth early and refuses to cooperate in the "Victors'" quest for therapy. This is what makes college football the greatest game in the world (if you overlook the fact that it never has had and will not this year have a national champion). But Michigan has done a good imitation of Baylor since letting its shot at a pretend national championship slip away in the Horseshoe last November. No reason to think Lloyd Carr will turn that around this week.
12. Boise St -3 at Washington
Washington a Home Dog to a WAC team? What next? Appalachian St beating Michigan?
13. South Florida +7 at Auburn
South Florida. KU's once and future (though not this year) opponent. Getting more respect than k-state. And with good reason. They are a legit contender for the Big East's automatic BCS slot.
14. Va. Tech +12.5 at LSU
Va Tech tries to become the feel-good story of 2007-notwithstanding being Michael Vick's alma mater. Unfortunately, LSU has the big dogs, and they will be turned loose in Baton Rouge Saturday Night.
15. Notre Dame +17 at Penn St
Is Notre Dame REALly that bad? Getting stomped at Home bad? Forget what I said about Michigan. The Irish last Saturday was the true Baylor comparison. One thing they have in common with Michigan is Redemption Fever. The question is: are they good enough to redeem themselves? Or are the condemned to football purgatory (or worse) for the entire season? Is even there 230 game winning streak vs. Navy in play? They can't be as bad as they looked last week. But there are better places than Happy Valley for Redemption. Like, maybe, Waco, for instance.
But 2 TD's, and a FG? They CAN'T be THAT bad. Notre Dame IS college football. I'm still a sucker for the myth:
Remember: These picks are for entertainment purposes only-and I hope they are. There are no refunds.