Special Thursday Edition of Friday Football Picks, Week #7

With my beloved Auburn Tigers playing the weekly Thursday Night ESPN game, we’ll be going a day early so as to get all the football done in one entry…seeing as how, interestingly, this feature is actually the most polarizing of Diner regular entries. This year’s total against the point spread is 33-26-1. Not too shabby unless you remember that I’m 6-14 in the last two weeks. So, here’s hoping to break the two-week losing streak!

Auburn (+3) at West Virginia: There’s really no reason to think Auburn can win. Other than Tommy Tuberville being at his best when his back’s against the wall. And, brother is it ever. He’s on the hot seat in East Alabama…but he’s simplified the playbook. The players are talking confidently about execution. They’re on the road against the world. And their defensive coordinator shut down WVA when they were much better last year. WVA’s disappointing season is on the line, too. But something tells me the AU chip on their shoulder will be enough. Diner Prediction: Auburn 16, West Virginia 13.

Texas Tech at Kansas (+2.5): Kansas actually started out as a favorite at home and the Vegas line went 3 entire points the other way. Tech’s Graham Harrell is more valuable to his team than any other player in the country. Sure, Crabtree & company are nicked up with ankles and hamstrings and all that, but when there isn’t a defense in the Big 12 that is in the top 30 nationally to slow ’em down, well, I think the better team will score enough to win on the road. And I don’t think the Red Raiders are looking ahead, either. Diner Prediction: Texas Tech 44, Kansas 38.

Oklahoma State (+12.5) at Texas: Oklahoma State played Missouri tough at home. Texas demolished Missouri at home. I think that Texas is focused and actually using this murderer’s row portion of their schedule to keep adrenaline going. They won’t have as easy a time as they did against Missouri, but I think they’ve got enough on defense to wear out OSU. My biggest problem is that I keep thinking the Cowboys’ bubble is going to burst every week and it doesn’t. Well, I think it’ll be this week, with the Longhorns pulling away late. Diner Prediction: Texas 38, Oklahoma State 24.

Georgia (+2.5) at L.S.U.: Georgia hasn’t been what folks thought they were at the beginning of the season. L.S.U. has done well except for one awful night in Gainesville. In games like this, defense, special teams and home-field advantage usually win the day. And I think the Fighting Tigers are a hair better in the first two, and the home-field would be better if they played it at night (as all games in Baton Rouge should be, especially if you give those Cajuns an extra six hours to drink), it’ll be enough even with a 2:30PM kick off. Diner Prediction: L.S.U. 21, Georgia 17.

Alabama at Tennessee (+6.5): There’s no question that Bama is a front-running team. They get out front and take you out of your game plan and then seem to relax. Bama has passed every test thus far: Clemson on the road. Georgia on the road. Fulmer’s on the hot seat and Saban definitely has his number, man. It’s interesting that the line is less than a touchdown, because while Tennessee is much improved since Auburn, I don’t see how they can stop Bama’s running game. Home field isn’t enough here, even if strange things happen in this series, I don’t see Bama stumbling this week. Diner Prediction: Alabama 27, Tennessee 13.

Penn State at Ohio State (+2.5): This one likely decides the Big 10 title. Ohio State seems to have rebounded nicely since they got throttled by U.S.C., while Penn State has been whipping folks with their version of the spread. I think that Ohio State’s season is on the line and they’re at home. Paterno’s team faced adversity last week with Michigan and came out like gangbusters in the 2nd half. I think the Nittany Lions smell blood and will be able to win, even on the road. Diner Prediction: Penn State 23, Ohio State 16.

Virginia Tech (+4.5) at Florida State: They’re winning again at Tallahassee with a strong running game. Va Tech is coming off a loss to Boston College. After a loss to Wake Forest where they turned the ball over 6 times, Florida State is scoring more than 30 points a game. Of course, it hasn’t been against the cream of the ACC crop. Virginia Tech has played a tougher schedule thus far and blew them out last year…which is why I think F.S.U. has a little extra motivation. This one has the makings of a great game, but I think the Seminoles pull it out late. Diner Prediction: Florida State 27, Virginia Tech 20.

Oklahoma at Kansas State (+19): Please. What we’re learning about the Big 12 this season is just how large the gap is between the haves and the have-nots. Oklahoma is a have. Kansas State is a have-not. Oklahoma has competed with the haves and done well. K-State couldn’t score many points against Tech’s defense–which isn’t exactly noted as intimidating. Oklahoma should score early and often. The band certainly won’t need their sheet music for Boomer Sooner after this weekend. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma 48, Kansas State 20.

Kentucky (+24.5) at Florida: It’s been 21 years since Kentucky has beaten Florida. If this game weren’t the early SEC game and the Gators weren’t looking ahead to Georgia and the big rivalry game, it’d be a no brainer. Even with the line where it is. But I think the Gators will start slow and Kentucky will stay close for a half, but even as they pull away, I think they will give up a few points and fail to cover. Diner Prediction: Florida 41, Kentucky 17.

Baylor (+11) at Nebraska: I’m rapidly becoming a fan of Robert Griffin, Baylor’s freshman quarterback. He’s given them the ability to beat weaker sisters with conviction (something Baylor never really has done since entering the Big 12) and now he gives them a chance against the weaker teams in their conference. Nebraska is improving every week and they certainly are better than Baylor. With them being at home and the freshman QB having to face that particular road crowd–which he hasn’t had to face yet–I don’t think he’ll do well this time around. Diner Prediction: Nebraska 30, Baylor 17 .

Well, there you have it. Maybe I can stop this two-week losing streak, man. What do you think?

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