Friday Football Picks, Week #3
I feel like I owe the patronage some sort of apology. 3-7 the first week against the point spread. 3-6-1 last week. I’m not that strong in math, but 6-13-1 in two weeks ain’t too impressive. I mean, the only possible excuse could be that since The Diner started making football picks I haven’t had the added sports distraction of the Rangers playing September baseball that matters…and, with this week’s stumble, we won’t be worrying about that anymore. Alas, we persevere. We press on, undeterred, to this week’s slate of games…
West Virginia (+7) at Auburn: There’s a feel-good story developing at Auburn. Two backs, two games, two 100-yard rushing performances, which has never been done before…not by Bo/Lionel, Bo/Brent, Brent/Stephen, Cribbs/Brooks, Brooks/Andrews, Danley/Joseph…Never. And now Tate & McCalebb? Over 1,100 yards of offense in two games for the first time since 1970. And West Virginia hasn’t exactly played lights-out against Liberty and East Carolina, either. Something tells me they’ve been holding back, and this one should be a track meet. Unfortunately for Auburn, special teams are awful, and that’s what usually decides games like this. Auburn at home might be enough, but this one will be closer than 7 points. Diner Prediction: Auburn 35, West Virginia 31.
Texas Tech (+17.5) at Texas: The marquee game of the week with 100,000 strong in Austin, where they’ve gotten awfully tired of watching Harrell-Crabtree game-winning touchdown highlights. Tech, as always, has another good quarterback to plug into their system (who threw for 7 TD’s last week), but Texas is way too strong for them this time around and has a LOT to prove. And people forget that the Longhorns scored 35 last year in a losing effort. My guess is that Texas will score a little more than that this year and the Red Raiders will struggle, but that half-point means something to me. Diner Prediction: Texas 38, Texas Tech 21.
Boston College (+6.5) at Clemson: At first glance, it looks like Clemson is the better team here, taking Georgia Tech to the wire on the road. BC has throttled a couple of stiffs and looked impressive, but they haven’t played all that well and their backs still didn’t average 100 yards. Clemson’s been off for 9 days, they’re at home, but after Miami handled Tech last night, all of a sudden that tough battle doesn’t look so impressive. Still, there’s something about Clemson playing in Death Valley that leads me to believe that they can take care of business at home. And, yes, they are the better team, largely because I don’t think BC’s qb Tuggle scares any defense. Diner Prediction: Clemson 28, Boston College 20.
Michigan State (+10.5) at Notre Dame: Notre Dame played tough on the road and could’ve easily have beaten Michigan (who, frankly, surprised me with their win under a lot of heat in Ann Arbor) in the Big House. Michigan State lost to Central Michigan. Yep. To the Chippewas. Gave up 29 to a team a Pac-10 defense held to 6. So, I think Notre Dame’s a lot stronger than 10 points better than the Spartans…especially at home. Diner Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Michigan State 17..
Florida at Tennessee (+29.5): Lane Kiffin actually said he couldn’t wait to sing “Rocky Top” in Gainesville after beating the Gators. He accused Urban Meyer of illegal recruiting publicly before he contacted him personally (a long standing breach of SEC etiquette that dates back to Bob Neyland and Bear Bryant). Oh. My. Gosh. The Gators don’t need a chip on the shoulder and this one will be ugly. Somebody must’ve forgotten to tell Lane Kiffin that his team only put 15 points up against UCLA…at home. Sheesh. Diner Prediction: Florida 45, Tennessee 13.
Georgia (+1) at Arkansas: This is a very important game for both teams. Georgia NEEDS this one after losing to Oklahoma State and barely escaping against South Carolina. Arkansas has Bobby Petrino with a year under his belt and Ryan Mallet to lead the offense. A lot of people think the Razorbacks are a sleeper team this year and will surprise a lot of people. I’m one of them. And if Georgia can’t stop South Carolina, who doesn’t have as many weapons as Arkansas, no matter how much heart they’ve got, winning in Fayetteville is tough to do. Diner Prediction: Arkansas 27, Georgia 21.
Florida State (+7.5) at Brigham Young: On the opening week I heard how the Seminoles’ defensive coordinator said his defense was the very best he’d ever coached–in 44 years, and I saw them up close and personal in the 80’s when their defenses were scary good. Then, the Hurricanes hang 5 TD’s on ’em and last week Jacksonville State had the ‘Noles on the ropes for a half. And did somebody mention that Brigham Young beat Oklahoma…and they were doing just fin BEFORE Bradford got hurt. If this game was in Tallahassee, I’d like the points, but on the road I’m not sure they’ll be enough. Diner Prediction: Brigham Young 24, Florida State 13.
Nebraska (+4.5) at Virginia Tech: This is where the Big 12 north has a chance to boost the stock of the Big 12 conference. If the Huskers win, they’ll raise eyebrows all over the nation that the Big Red is finally back. And, let’s be honest, college football is better when Nebraska is on the map. Virginia Tech is trying to rebound after a hard-fought loss to Alabama and playing at home, where they haven’t lost a non-conference game in 31 tries. Nebraska’s racked up nearly 1,000 yards of offense in two games but against VERY weak competition. Something tells me Nebraska is a year away from winning games like this one. Diner Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Nebraska 20.
Navy (+7.5) at Pittsburgh: I don’t know whether Navy is really good in taking Ohio State to the wire, or if Ohio State isn’t as good as we were led to believe. Pittsburgh has been impressive against Youngstown State and Buffalo, but what does that prove? Navy, on the other hand, scored 27 on the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe and beat La Tech last week, scoring 32. I’m not too sure they won’t win this one outright with their option attack, especially since they’ve learned to throw the ball…well, throw it by Navy standards, anyway. Diner Prediction: Navy 30, Pittsburgh 24.
U.S.C. at Washington (+19.5): I have no idea what to think about USC. They showed a lot by driving the ball the length of the field in the waning minutes to beat the Buckeyes. With a freshman at quarterback, nonetheless. But the old USC offensive coordinator is coaching at U-Dub now and they’ve got a new attitude. They held #9 LSU in check at home, and when you combine that with the reality that USC always manages to blow a game they should win it makes you wonder if this is the week they’ll do it. If anybody’ll have the ability to dissect the Trojans offensive scheme and rattle the freshman, it’s Sarkisian. I just don’t think he’s got the talent level to do it consistently, and I’m hedging that this won’t be the week USC falters. Diner Prediction: USC 31, Washington 13.
Here’s hoping to winning more than 3 games this week!