Friday Football Picks, Week 4

Part of me was pretty bummed that I wouldn’t be publishing my football picks during my two-week hiatus because, man, I was 21-8-1 and on a roll. Then I saw how the upsets started happening because teams were getting into conference play consistently and I can say for sure that my record would’ve taken a significant hit because I know that Gators, Trojans, Tigers and Bulldogs would’ve been on my list of line-beaters. So, maybe the break came at a good time. So, on to this week’s games:

Kentucky (+16.5) at Alabama: Bama has been saying they’re back for three years. They start 5-0 and then finish 6-6. Something tells me that it’s going to be a little different this year–provided John Parker Wilson stays healthy. The Tide throttled Georgia on national TV and is due for a let-down. Kentucky plays tough at home. But like I said, I think this Alabama team has more than the last few years and even if they struggle early, they’ll pull away and cover. Diner Prediction: Alabama 34, Kentucky 17.

Auburn at Vanderbilt (+4): I think something is definitely wrong at Auburn and I think it’s the reality that Tommy Tuberville hired a guy that he now regrets. While going to the spread has helped recruiting, offensive coordinator finds something each week that he publicly apologizes for. What he doesn’t see (and every AU fans seems to notice) is that the spread looks different when Kodi Burns, the backup, runs it. Chris Todd isn’t a running threat, and because of that other defenses take away the run. All that said, Auburn defense is absolutely vicious and one of the best in the nation. It’ll be enough to beat Vandy, and I think Auburn will cover, even on the road. Diner Prediction: Auburn 16, Vanderbilt 10.

Missouri at Nebraska (+10.5): Watching Nebraska play Virginia Tech close last weekend gives the Huskers hope. And being at home helps them, too. But at the end of the day, Chase Daniel is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Missouri is focused on not only a Big 12 championship but they want to be in the hunt for all the marbles. I think there’s some reality that Mizzou doesn’t have many big games on their schedule and they’ll focus on these that matter. Diner Prediction: Missouri 31, Nebraska 20.

Oregon (+16.5) at U.S.C.: Do you really want to play a mad U.S.C. team at their place after being embarrassed on national television? The Ducks are walking into a hornet’s nest. I think they’d have a better chance if U.S.C. had won big at Oregon State. Diner Prediction: U.S.C. 33, Oregon 14.

Ohio State at Wisconsin (+1.5): Wisconsin struggled against a bad Michigan team. The reality is that I don’t think Ohio State is all that great, but they’re among the class of the Big 10. This one might be the best game on the docket, and it might even go to overtime. Usually, the best team wins games like this, and I think Ohio State is the better team, even on the road. Diner Prediction: Ohio State 23, Wisconsin 20.

Arizona State (+9.5) at California: All of a sudden, that tough loss the Sun Devils had against Georgia doesn’t look that great. California is better than advertised, and they’re at home. Besides, they finally resolved the tree-sitting thing out there and will be able to build their weight room. That has to count for something, right? Diner Prediction: California 27, Arizona State 17.

Florida State (+2.5) at Miami: Remember when this one was a big game? The ‘Canes lost to North Carolina last week…in FOOTBALL. And last week the ‘Noles found their running game. Running game, defense, special teams all lean to F.S.U. And the home field in the new Orange Bowl ain’t like it was in the old Orange Bowl. Diner Prediction: Florida State 19, Miami 14.

Texas Tech at Kansas State (+7.5): The Red Raiders are untested, but have been very impressive. Just impressive enough to get Leach irritated and ornery. That’s how you know they’re better than you might think because Leach will gripe and moan about how the system isn’t working and the defense is spotty and all that. I like Kansas State’s scrappy nature though, and they’ll try to play tough defense against that Tech machine. I don’t think it’ll be enough, though. And I’m a little leery of not taking a home underdog, but I think Tech wants to make a top-10 statement. Diner Prediction: Texas Tech 28, Kansas State 17.

Texas at Colorado (+13.5): Colt McCoy has figured it out. Whatever it was that caused his sophomore slump has been eliminated. Unfortunately, he’s also their leading rusher. And, as the Sooners saw last year, going to Boulder has become a tougher thing to do than it used to be. I think Texas wins, but it’ll be closer than many think. Texas 24, Colorado 20.

Illinois (+2.5) at Michigan: I firmly believe that Michigan pulled off that win last week with smoke and mirrors. Michigan, like Auburn, is struggling running the spread offense with power running game athletes. It’ll take time for Rodriquez to get his system working right and I think Ron Zook has the Fighting Illini’s system fully in place. I think the better team wins a close one on the road. Diner Prediction: Illinois 20, Michigan 17.

Well, we’ll see. I’m just glad I had a strong early season!