Friday Football Picks, Week #2

Did anybody else notice that I started the season 7-3 against the line? Not too shabby to start the year…only missed badly on the Kentucky/Louisville game, too.

And, what did we learn from week #1 of the college football season? We learned that U.S.C. can rewrite the rules (remember when they started number 1 in 2004 and the logic for Auburn not moving up despite beating better teams was, “Well, U.S.C. was #1 and they didn’t lose.” Well, Georgia was #1 and didn’t lose.) for the polls–but this year they just might be the best team. We learned that the ACC might not be what people thought they were. And, we learned that the Southeastern Conference is just as big and bad as ever, if not bigger and badder than ever. Well, okay, maybe we already knew all those things. But they were certainly reiterated last weekend.

Anyway, on to the picks for week #2:

Southern Mississippi (+17.5) at Auburn: The concern is that Auburn hasn’t settled on a quarterback for their new spread offense (they only passed for 85 yards, but ran for 320)…and without a defensive touchdown and a punt return TD last week the Tigers could’ve been in real trouble. The Golden Eagles, on the other hand, had over 500 yard total offense against an inferior opponent. Plus, Southern Miss is known for giving SEC teams fits. Still, giving SEC teams fits is different than having better players than SEC teams. I think Auburn sputters again on offense, but eventually, depth wins out. Diner Prediction: Auburn 28, Southern Miss 13.

Tulane (+29) at Alabama: Nick Saban has been preaching consistency all week…I mean, how many Sports Illustrated covers have told us that “Bama is Back!” only to have the Tide lose to Louisiana Monroe the next week? And, Bama throttled Clemson last weekend (I thought the Tide would win, but not destroy the Tigers). The only issue is whether or not the players listened to Saban when he says he needs his team to be more consistent. Combine that with Tulane’s players being relocated during Gustav and I think the Tide rolls, and rolls big. Diner Prediction: Alabama 41, Tulane 10.

Miami (+21.5) at Florida: I never thought I’d see the day when the Gators would be favored by three TD’s over either of their in-state rivals. I think the Gators looked great last weekend and are wanting to whip any and all comers in the Swamp as they really only look forward to the Georgia game later in the season. There’ll be a lot of offense, but I don’t think the Hurricanes can keep Tebow and Harvin in check. Diner Prediction: Florida 45, Miami 20.

Cincinnati (+21.5) at Oklahoma: I think the Sooners are walking around with a chip on their shoulder in Big 12 country as the Red Raiders in Lubbock have become the media darlings in the area. They hung half a hundred on the scoreboard by halftime last week and then called off the dogs. Sure, the Bearcats are a better opponent, but I think Stoops knows he needs to make a statement to get some poll momentum going and will do everything he can to do that very thing. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma 41, Cincinnati 17.

West Virginia at East Carolina (+7.5): Yes. We all saw the Pirates beat VaTech last week. But there was an awful lot of special teams play and freak bounces of the ball that made that happen. Even then they only won by 5. My guess is that the Mountaineers and Pat White will go on the road and make short work of ECU…even if Hurricane Hannah brings rain. Diner Prediction: West Virginia 27, East Carolina 13.

California at Washington State (+13.5): Washington State looked confused and disorganized last week against Oklahoma State, losing by nearly 4 TD’s. Cal is better than Oklahoma State. Cal beat Michigan State by a TD…and Michigan State is better than Wazzu. Even on the road, I think Cal can cover even if the Cougs make marked improvement between weeks 1 & 2. Diner Prediction: California 35, Washington State 21

Georgia Tech (+7) at Boston College: Last week, BC was less than impressive against Kent State, while Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets took care of business against transfer Ryan Perrilloux’s Jax State team. The question is how will the old-fashioned triple-option work against better teams. My guess is that BC held back on the game plan after getting up by two quick scores and then rested folks, which GaTech went after the Gamecocks. Of course, what’s to hide with the triple-option? This looks like a pick ’em game to me, so I’ll take the points, even on the road. Diner Prediction: Boston College 24, Georgia Tech 20.

Oregon State (+16.5) at Penn State: The Nittany Lions rolled Costal Carolina last week as they should’ve, while the Beavers had trouble with Stanford. And, while I think that the upper echelon of the Pac-10 (read Cal & USC) is pretty stout, I have little regard for the rest of that cream puff conference. At least the Big 10 will smash mouths against anybody they play that doesn’t have a stadium below the Mason-Dixon line. Penn State at home is always tough, anyway. Diner Prediction: Penn State 35, Oregon State 17.

Texas A&M at New Mexico (+2.5): First of all, is anyone else asking the question as to why any athletic director at A&M would EVER agree to a road game with a team like New Mexico? Aren’t those the folks who take money games AT YOUR Big 12 85,000 seat stadium? Since when does a Mountain West team dictate where big boys play? Whatever. And, yes, we’ve all heard about how dark it was as the Aggies lost AT HOME to Sun Belt’s Arkansas State. Folks here are calling it the most embarrassing loss ever (who seem to have forgotten the 77-0 pasting by Oklahoma). But, I think A&M rights the ship and maybe going on the road is the best thing for them right now. Diner Prediction: Texas A&M 27, Ne Mexico 20.

Stanford (+14) at Arizona State: Stanford certainly wasn’t dominant in beating Oregon State last week, and the Sun Devils took care of business without showing much against Northern Arizona. Stanford can run and keep the clock moving but struggle throwing. My guess is that Arizona State can stop enough run and get enough offense against a Cardinal defense that gave up nearly 500 yards last week to win big. I think this line might actually be a mistake. Arizona State 37, Stanford 14.

So, what do you think, sports fans?

P.S. As to why I don’t pick the high school games anymore is that I just don’t know enough about them. Pure and simple. But I do think Marcus, Flower Mound & Lewisville will all win again this week…

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