Diner Football Picks, Week #5

There’s a lot to be said for consistency.

In this case, the “lot” to be said is bad.


12-26-2 against the point spread. Yeah. I need a couple of big weeks to get back in this thing…or at least get more than 3 games in the win column. So, with damaged pride and shaky confidence, on to this week’s slate of games.

Auburn (+2.5) at Tennessee: Auburn still has a lot of question marks, despite averaging 45 points a game. Florida was putting a lot of yards on the board until they faced the UT defense. It’s the UT offense that has little imagination and sputters. The Vols have played a tougher schedule than Auburn and they’re at home, and road wins in the SEC are awfully hard to come by. I think this might be too tough a test for the young Tigers despite having won the last 4 in a row against Tennessee. Diner Prediction: Tennessee 27, Auburn 24.

Oklahoma at Miami (+7): Bradford is out again this week, but the Oklahoma offense has had little problem against subpar teams waiting on him to get better. And we saw the ‘Canes get exposed big time last week after a lot of success that started to raise eyebrows. If they gave up 31 to VaTech, well, I think the Sooners still have too many weapons for Miami, even on the road. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Miami 20.

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (+1) at Dallas: This young A&M team starts 14 freshmen and sophomores and they gave up 30 points to Utah State. Not Utah. Utah State. Arkansas has had some tougher competition, and Arkansas grad Jerry Jones gets to call in the Hogs at the brand new Death Star. I think they have too much offensive power with Mallet and the young recievers. My guess is that this one won’t be as close as people think. Diner Prediction: Arkansas 34, Texas A&M 24 .

U.S.C. at California (+5): California had to go on the road and ran into an Oregon buzz saw. But they’ve won 9 straight in Berkeley, and I’m not convinced that U.S.C. has the mojo they once had. They even had a freak weight room injury this week to one of their running backs. I do think this will come down to the wire, and I think the Cal Bears will fall just a little short. Diner Prediction: U.S.C. 24, California 20.

Washington (+13) at Notre Dame: Which Washington team shows up? The one that beat a struggling U.S.C. team or the one that got manhandled by Stanford last week. While I like the new vibe the Huskies have, vibe won’t get it done against a Notre Dame offense that has had little trouble moving the ball (455 yards per game) and scoring points. It’s tough to get more physical in a week on the road. Diner Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Washington 17.

L.S.U. (+3) at Georgia: L.S.U. fans seem shaky about their football team. They don’t like the offense. They don’t like the defense. Meanwhile, Georgia has been lighting up defenses and scoring like crazy, but they can’t really stop anybody. I think when folks worry that they only scored 30 against a Mississippi State team, you’re better than you think, and Georgia is a far cry from last year’s offense that put 52 on LSU at home. The biggest deal to me is that the oddsmakers think L.S.U. is 3 points better on the road. I think LSU wins on the road. Diner Prediction: L.S.U. 27, Georgia 21.

Florida State at Boston College (+4): Florida State has proven to be a wash. Newswriters are even calling for Bobby Bowden to step down after last week’s debacle against South Florida with a first-time starter at quarterback. Boston College has scored more, given up less and they’re at home. I like the Eagles, and I don’t think I’ll need the points. Diner Prediction: Boston College 28, Florida State 24.

Michigan at Michigan State (+2): Michigan is unbeaten but they make their first road trip of the season, and they have to go to East Lansing. The Wolverines had to come from behind to beat Indiana last week, while Michigan State has been hard-luck losers and are 1-3. The question is how will Forcier play on the road, and since the only common opponent they played, well, both teams could’ve lost or won either game. The teams are equal, State’s at home, but I have a hunch Forcier grows up in East Lansing Saturday. Diner Prediction: Michigan 35, Michigan State 31.

U.C.L.A. (+4.5) at Stanford: Imagine a ground war in the Pac-10. Stanford is 11th in the nation in rushing, and Gehrhart averages 5 yards a carry. UCLA has played a tougher schedule, and they only give up 10 points a game. But they’re pretty unimaginative on offense, ranking 109th in total yards. They’re 78th in scoring. You gotta score points, and Stanford beat a good team soundly last week. Diner Prediction: Stanford 24, U.C.L.A. 16.

Alabama at Kentucky (+16): Alabama is playing as good as anyone in the country right now. Granted, they’re doing it against weaker teams, but what they did to Arkansas was nothing short of excellent in every phase of the game. While the typical Alabama media is starting to talk about McElroy for Heisman (while the rest of the nation hasn’t said a word about him), let’s just say that Florida scored 31 against Kentucky in one quarter and had no trouble against the Cats. Alabama won’t either. Diner Prediction: Alabama 34, Kentucky 10.

Well, let’s see if I can win more than 3 games this week, shall we?