Diner Football Picks, Week 9

Manalive, do I feel like I should give the patrons an apology. It’s never been this bad for a whole season…sheesh. Last week I went 3-7, making it two straight losing weeks and 7 of 9 losing weeks. The overall record is 26-42-2, which means that if you’d bet the OPPOSITE of what I picked and bet $100 a game, you’d have $1,320 in your pocket (naturally, I took out the “vig” you pay to play your losing/tying bet).

Sure, I’ve got a little loss of confidence.

Sure, the mojo seems to be going against me.

But now I’ve gotta play for pride, patrons. Gotta find some way to redeem myself, and it starts this week. On to the games!

Ole Miss at Auburn (+3.5): I have no idea what Vegas sees here. Auburn stinks in 11am games. All the early season good vibes are long gone and they’re about to implode. The offense can’t stay on the field against SEC opponents which leaves the thin defense exhausted and out of sorts. On the other hand, Snead and McCluster racked up 500 yards of offense last week and are starting to look like the team everybody thought they’d be at the beginning of the season. The oddsmakers must think Auburn will rally the troops and save the season. That’s iffy at best. I haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe this team has the heart and fight to do that. Diner Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Auburn 14.

Texas at Oklahoma State (+9): With Kid1 recently being accepted to UT we’ve become Longhorn intensive around here. Watching Texas, it’s easy to see that they play tough, aggressive defense. Colt McCoy completes short passes that receivers turn into big gains. The running game struggles, but they’re solid on special teams. Meanwhile, up in Stillwater, the Cowboys have been getting better since the fluke loss to Houston. Add to that OSU has blown big leads to Texas the last couple of times they played them and Gundy is 0-5 against Mack Brown. Texas finds ways to win. It’s really that simple. And while I think the Cowboys will put up a fight, their losing streak will continue. Diner Prediction: Texas 24, Oklahoma State 20.

South Carolina (+5.5) at Tennessee: If Lane Kiffin’s special teams could’ve made just one of their three makable field goals on the road against Alabama, he’d have gotten his first “signature” win. The Vols have been getting better each week and demolished Georgia at Neyland two weeks ago. But even the older, more mellow Steve Spurrier ratchets up when some young gunslinger comes in a thumbs his nose at him. He’s quietly circled this one after Kiffin’s media digs at him. Both teams play good defense and have struggled on offense. It’ll come down to who has the better game: Crompton/Hardesty or Garcia/Miles. I think the Vols have better talent and win at home in a close one. Diner Prediction: Tennessee 20, South Carolina 17.

Florida vs. Georgia (+15.5) at Jacksonville: Something about the Gators just doesn’t look right to me. They win, but it seems like they’re struggling offensively…even with Tim Tebow. Last week, Tebow gave up two interceptions for TD’s. The defense is stout, though. Richt is now on the hot seat all of a sudden, and while you can say this is a serious rivalry game and all that, well, the Gators have won 16 of the last 19. Last year, they won by 39 points. I can’t shake that reality that the Gators aren’t pounding teams like they have in year’s past. So, I think they’ll win but I’m not sure they’ll cover. Diner Prediction: Florida 27, Georgia 16.

California at Arizona State (+6.5): Arizona State got pushed around by Stanford last week. The Cal Bears haven’t lived up to the pre-season hype. However, their quarterback Kevin Riley seems to do very well against teams that aren’t national powers. Meanwhile, Dennis Erickson’s Wildcats always have the ability to beat anybody on any given day. Being at home helps them out, but I think Tedford’s Bears are hungry and looking to get back into the top 25. I think they’ll win on the road. Diner Prediction: California 27, Arizona State 17.

U.S.C. at Oregon (+3): I really think the Ducks have a HUGE home field advantage, and they especially want to knock USC out of the Pac-10 race. Halloween night in Eugene, Oregon. U.S.C. with loads of talent but a young quarterback who hasn’t played well on the road. They’ll try to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage, but Oregon has Masoli. And that team has turned the corner after losing to Boise early on. I think the Trojan reign of Pac-1 + 9 ends Saturday night. Diner Prediction: Oregon 31, U.S.C. 28.

Kansas (+6.5) at Texas Tech: I love Leach. This week, he said that his players listened to their “fat girlfriends” tell them how great they were and how badly they’d beat Texas A&M. When reporters asked him if he wanted to apologize or retract his statement he said absolutely not. That said, the rumor mill has it that he’ll be starting his redshirt freshman quarterback Seth Doege who came in last week when Potts struggled. Kansas has been playing well and Reesing is a very good quarterback. I think Leach is mad and wants to make a point and will do his best to score as early and often as possible in Lubbock. I think it’ll be enough to win and cover. Diner Prediction: Texas Tech 34, Kansas 24.

Iowa State (+7) at Texas A&M: The Aggies upset the Red Raiders last week in Lubbock. Iowa State upset Nebraska last week in Lincoln. The Aggies have really been struggling to get the program turned around and are hoping that was the first step toward climbing back to respectability. Iowa State hired Paul Rhoads, who has now won as many games in one season as Auburn’s Gene Chizik won there in two. They’re already talking about bowl games for the Cyclones. My guess is that the next lesson they’ll learn is how to handle success. That win last week might be their downfall this week. Diner Prediction: Texas A&M 23, Iowa State 14.

North Carolina State (+9) at Florida State: The bottom line here is that Florida State’s Christian Ponder leads the ACC in passing. The Wolfpack defense gives up the most yards passing. Florida State is at home. The problem is that FSU’s defense has been finding ways to give up plays in the 4th quarter and letting other teams stick around longer than necessary or win outright. I think the Seminoles have more talent, and they grew up last week holding on late against the Tar Heels. FSU will score, and I think they’re better equipped to make a few stops in the stretch. Diner Prediction: Florida State 44, North Carolina State 31.

Missouri at Colorado (+3.5): It’s like Nostradamus made Missouri’s schedule. Rain, heat, cold and now snow in Boulder. The Tigers will try to redeem themselves after not even lasting one good quarter against the Longhorns on national television. Unfortunately, it’ll have to happen on the road in less than optimum conditions. The Buffaloes, however, will need all the weather they can get because their defense isn’t good. It should be close, no matter the conditions…but I think Missouri will have more motivation and have enough talent to pull it off on the road. Diner Prediction: Missouri 20, Colorado 13.

Well, there you have it, patrons! Your thoughts on the games or the proposal to eliminate the divisions of the Big 12 and just make it one conference because of the huge imbalance between north and south?