Let me start off by giving some props to BC for last night's comeback win in Blacksburg. All it took was a miracle 2 touchdowns in the final two minutes of the game! After an onside recovery, Matt Ryan chucked up a 25 yd duck across his body that went nearly the whole length of the field, somehow eluding the outstretched arms of two defenders, for a TD to seal the BC victory. If I hear one more commentator describe him or that play as "Flutie-esque", I might lose my mind! So again, congrats to BC on 58 minutes of mediocre football followed by 2 minutes of dumb luck. Bitter, table of one please.
Moving on to the task at hand, this week boasts plenty of quality matchups between ranked opponents, and if recent history dictates, more than a few surprises along the way. Two matchups in the Big East promise to clear up the log jam near the top of the conference and two Pac 10 showdowns will prove who's a pretender and who's legit out west. So let's dive in....
Pitt @Louisville (noon)-- I thought I should point out that Louisville had high expectations coming into the season, and they have fallen flat on their face. Louisville's problem is Defense or the lack thereof, giving up 35 points or more to Syracuse, Utah and MIDDLE TENN. ST. this season. Brian Brohm is having his best year yet throwing for 25 TD's and only 6 picks, but he's also been forced to throw early and often to keep his team in every game. For Pitt, a freshman QB, injuries and a semi-retarded head coach sunk that ship. Still, if they could eek out a win tomorrow, they're season to date would be considered a relative success. However, against quality opponents Pitt hasn't put up more than 17 points all season and I can't imagine Brohm's offense scoring less than 4 TD's....and as always, the smart money bets against Wanny!
Pick: Louisville -9.5
#7 West Virginia @Rutgers (Noon) -- With home losses this year to Maryland and Cincy, Rutgers Stadium doesn't exactly have opposing players shaking in their cleats. The Scarlet Knights did, however, get their season back on track with a big home victory last Thursday against South Florida (it's worth noting that S. Fla. is West Virginia's only loss of the year, although I don't believe in the transative property in sports). Both these teams boast all-american running backs and both have smart innovative coaches, so no edge there. Mike Teel has been much improved this season, but Pat White he is not. WVU to win, but bettors beware.
Pick: Rutgers +6
#12USC @#5Oregon (3:00) -- Is it just me or is Dennis Dixon built like a flamingo? This kid has the scrawniest legs since Steve Urkel, yet he's a Heisman front runner rarely mentioned among the elite QB's in the nation. Meanwhile the USC quarterback situation remains fluid. Mark Snachez smoked the Fighting Irish last week (fighting back tears) but Booty seems healthy enough to go. Either way, the inconsistent Trojans (one word: Satnford) march into Autzen Stadium Saturday in an unfamiliar position, as underdogs. The Ducks have been flying under the radar all year, so a big win in a nationally televised game will go along way to earning national respect and key BCS votes.
Pick: Oregon -3
#10 S. Fla @#23U. Conn (3:30) -- If I asked 10 college football fans who currently sits atop the Big East, I'm not sure anyone would say Connecticut. U Conn beat Louisville last week to remain perfect in conference (of course it took a group effort, and by that I mean the officiating crew). S.Fla. is "the troof" this year....or at least they can tackle the ball carrier every once in a while, which is better than Louisville's swiss cheese defense, U Conn's last opponent. I love S. Fla. to bounce back after a tough loss to Rutgers.
Pick: South Florida -4.5
#11Florida @#18Georgia (3:30) -- For one day every year I long to be in Jacksonville, the annual site of the "World's largest outdoor cocktail party". This year is no different. Not much analysis on this one. Florida has two offensive weapons: Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. That's it. That's all. That's enough.
Pick: Florida -7.5
#1Ohio State @#25Penn State (8:00) -- The #1 team in the land gets prime time exposure this week as the Buckeyes roll inito Happy Valley to contend with the Nittany Lions and 107,000 of their most rabid fans. OSU is clearly the better squad, but I think this game will be a dog fight. Penn State enjoys one of the biggest homefield advantages in the country, and the game will be contested at night (amid the PSU "white out")and in the rain which should neutralize OSU's athleticism and passing ability. Plus, PSU has a couple big home wins against Ohio St. in recent years. Expect the mud and slop to yield a low scoring game. In the end, OSU eeks out a win.
Pick: If you must, OSU +3, 40 UNDER
#21Cal @#4Arizona St. (10:15) -- The end of this game won't be seen by most people outside the left coast, and you can include me. I realize both of these teams are ranked, but I also question whether either should be! ASU hasn't faced one ranked opponent all year. In fact their 4 Pac 10 wins all came against the worst 4 teams in conference! It's a real who's who of west coast college football that ASU has beaten. On the other sideline we have former media darling Cal, who just came off back-to-back embarrassing losses--first at home to Orgeon St and then at UCLA. I think both of these teams will finish the year out of the top 20. If the Cal that beat Oregon shows up, come Sunday, ASU's cinderella run will be a distant memory, and the talking heads won't utter a word about them the rest of the year. That's the only rooting interest I have in this one.
Pick: Cal +3.5