Friday Football Picks, Week 6

Well, it was simply a matter of time, wasn’t it? A horrible showing by the Diner in last week’s picks, with 2 wins against 8 losses. No matter how strong a season you’re having there’s a reason folks in Vegas make money hand-over-fist…and all those half-point losses are still losses. That makes the season record 29-20-1 against the point spread. But, 2-8? Ouch. Well, you gotta take your lumps & suck it up & get back on the horse. So, on to this week’s games:

Ole Miss (+13) at Alabama: Much is being made about Houston Nutt’s ability to get his undermanned teams up for ranked opponents. He’s 5-7 when unranked against ranked teams. Not bad. Not bad at all. And much is being made about the Rebels winning at Florida. Here’s the difference: Florida isn’t a physical running team. Bama is…and your defense is last in the SEC against the run. Nobody seems to mention that this Ole Miss lost to Wake Forest & Vanderbilt when they’re bringing up that Florida win. This is a different Bama team than the last 5 or so years. Diner Prediction: Alabama 31, Ole Miss 13.

Missouri (+5.5) at Texas: Okay. I admit that I got all underdog happy about Mizzou. I love the underdog and I thought the Tigers were going to be the Cinderella this year in the Big 12. Turns out it’s Oklahoma State. And Texas showed a lot of fight in the rivalry game last week against OU, coming from behind on three occasions. I think it’s good for the Horns to have a big game after such a big game. Colt McCoy is now being mentioned for Heisman. They give up less than a touchdown at home and their biggest worry is playing with the #1 target on their back. Mizzou’s coming in fragile & won’t be able to knock them off in what should be a good game. Diner Prediction: Texas 34, Missouri 24.

Texas Tech at Texas A&M (+20.5): Going to Kyle Field isn’t what it used to be, and this game usually has a nasty side to it. Unfortunately, the Aggies just don’t have the juice this year. They are not a good team on offense and not a good team on defense. They struggle in special teams, too. And the Red Raiders got more than they bargained for against Nebraska last week. But they still score points in bunches and I don’t think the Aggies can keep up the pace. Diner Prediction: Texas Tech 45, Texas A&M 21.

Virginia Tech at Boston College (+3): Two years ago this would’ve been a marquee game. You know how far the ACC has fallen in the last two years? Embarrassing. And there’s a real tendency to think about these teams in terms of two years ago. But they aren’t. In close games on the road, you go with special teams. Traditionally, the Hokies have had excellent special teams. I think they’ll be the difference on the road. Diner Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Boston College 21.

Vanderbilt (+15) at Georgia: Nobody in the SEC is making fun of Vandy anymore. They play tough and they hang around in games. Georgia is banged up, too. The Dawgs are at home and still trying to erase memories of their hide-tanning by Bama while looking ahead to the game against Florida. It’s a tough week for the Dawgs, but they’ll wear Vandy out late. Diner Prediction: Georgia 27, Vanderbilt 17.

L.S.U. at South Carolina (+3): Well, we learned that the defending national champs can lose by 4-TD’s last week, didn’t we? The Tigers stacked up wins that, now that the season has gone on, aren’t as impressive as they looked at the time. South Carolina has struggled all season, but are quietly getting better. They still won’t have enough at home against a team that might not be in the nation’s elite this year, but is still loaded. Diner Prediction: L.S.U. 30, South Carolina 21.

Stanford at U.C.L.A. (pick): Did anyone else notice that in the ESPN ranking of their weekly “Bottom 10” teams in college football that the Pac-10 had 4? What an awful football conference, but for some reason I felt obligated to keep this thing on a national perspective. So this game will represent the West Coast in a league where the rivalry Apple Cup game might feature 1-10 Washington against 0-11 Wazzu. Who cares? But The Diner keeps it fair if nothing else.Diner Prediction: Stanford 28, U.C.L.A. 24.

Kansas (+20) at Oklahoma: Really? You wanna face OU after they got torched for 45? You wanna see them at home after they lost the one game that could give them a free ride to the Big 12 championship game? No. No you don’t, even if your coach could eat their coach. Stoops will go all out this week and OU’s too good not to bounce back in a big way. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma 48, Kansas 27.

Michigan (+23.5) at Penn State: Who would’ve ever thought this game would have this big of a point spread? Paterno has something special happening up in Happy Valley. And Michigan just isn’t a good football team…as us Auburn fans are learning, running the spread offense without spread offense athletes is a painful process. Really. It’s painful. And the only thing that would raise an eyebrow about this one is that Michigan beat Wisconsin. The thing that lowers that eyebrow is that Penn State manhandled Wisconsin. Penn State has tougher games ahead, but they’ll take care of business tomorrow. Diner Prediction: Penn State 41, Michigan 17.

Ohio State (+3) at Michigan State: Michigan State has been very quietly (at least on a national scale) putting together a good season. They play hard-nosed, disciplined football. Ohio State has struggled to find an identity. The reality is that the Buckeyes have better talent. While every thought I have tells me that disciplined teams can override a better team’s talent level I can’t seem to really believe in the Spartans. I’ve been back and forth on this one, but I think Ohio State will find a way to win and while the game will be close, they’ll win by more than 3. Diner Prediction: Ohio State 21, Michigan State 17.

Well, sports fans, here’s hoping for better than 2-8. Sheesh.