Diner Football Picks, Week 10

4-6 last week against the point spread.
30-48-2 for the season against the point spread.

At this point in the season, my record is what it is. There’s nothing I can do but go forward from here and play for pride…and try to make up for it during the bowl season (after last year’s pretty darn impressive season AND bowl season, well, I expected more of myself. Let’s be honest, here, too. YOU expected more of me, didn’t you?).

But it’s a new week, and we’ll give it our best shot…even with most of the SEC either getting their weeks off or their homecoming games played.:

L.S.U. (+7.5) at Alabama: How do you win intense rivalry games? Strong running game. A quarterback who minimizes mistakes. Better-than-average special teams play. Most importantly, a fierce defense. Alabama has all these things. L.S.U. looks like they could have all these things, but too many questions about their running game, and their quarterback keep me from thinking they can win on the road. The line started at 9, so the money was chasing the Tigers…and it’ll be close all the way. I just like Bama at home in this one. They find ways to win this season. Diner Prediction: Alabama 20, L.S.U. 16.

Oklahoma at Nebraska (+5.5): Remember when this was a huge game? This season it’s one of those rivalry games that will have to suffice by showing highlights of Switzer and Osbourne and tear-away jerseys, though. I like the way Nebraska has played defense as of late, but Landry Jones keeps throwing touchdowns and OU is stacked with talent. What worries me is that they haven’t seemed to gel with all the injuries, but I believe with Nebraska’s main running back dinged up it might be a long day in Lincoln for the Huskers. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma 28, Nebraska 14.

Ohio State (+3.5) at Penn State: I think this is another one of those rivalry games that’ll play out like Alabama and L.S.U. There’s a lot at stake…and two very good defenses that have their work cut out for them going against Clark and Pryor. It should be low scoring and tight, and that’s where the home field makes a big difference, as does the ability of the quarterback to make wise decisions with the football. Clark is better than Pryor at that. Diner Prediction: Penn State 20, Ohio State 14.

Oregon State (+7) at California: For some reason, I always overrate Cal. And, I’m tempted to think that they’ll win this one going away, with simply having more talent than the Beavers. However, the Beavers always seem like the beat somebody they shouldn’t, get on a roll, and wind their way into some minor bowl game. This doesn’t look any different to me…so I think Cal wins, but it’s closer than the oddsmakers think even with Cal at home. Diner Prediction: California 28, Oregon State 23.

South Carolina (+7) at Arkansas: Arkansas has won only 1 SEC game. South Carolina was looking GREAT until they got manhandled by a Tennessee team wearing the ugliest black jerseys with their traditional orange that hasn’t manhandled anybody no matter what color jerseys they wear. The problem for the Gamecocks has been turnovers, and the problem for Arkansas has been inconsistency. If Mallet’s on, they’re tough to beat. So, the question is whether or not the Gamecocks can hang on to the ball. In my mind, the odds are better that their defense stifles Mallet than Arkansas counting on turnovers. Diner Prediction: South Carolina 31, Arkansas 28.

Florida State (+8.5) at Clemson: This is another case of which team shows up: The Seminole team that plays strong defense against North Carolina or the one that gives up a gazillion points against Georgia Tech? Same for Clemson…they’ve been a question mark all season, too. Christian Ponder is dinged up with bad ribs. Clemson’s coming off a big win against Miami and they’re at home. I’m hoping that’ll be enough to cover the spread. Diner Prediction: Clemson 38, Florida State 28.

Oregon at Stanford (+6.5): Oregon is a different team at home than they are on the road. They’re better than Stanford, but they’re coming off a game where so much went right at home on national television and they have all the feel-good vibes of gaining control of the Pac-10. The problem is that these are the kinds of games that Stanford thrives on. I think the Ducks have a little bit of a hangover and the Cardinal makes it tough, but a late score covers on the road. Diner Prediction: Oregon 35, Stanford 24.

U.S.C. at Arizona State (+10.5): In this one, you don’t need to know anything other than U.S.C. is coming off a loss on national television that will keep them from winning their first Pac-10 title in 6 years. No Roses? No hope for the Sun Devils. This will get ugly in Tempe. Diner Prediction: U.S.C. 42, Arizona State 21.

Kansas at Kansas State (+3): Reesling got benched? Wow. And Kansas dug themselves a nice little hole by going down 21-0 to Oklahoma last week. The difference in this game is the direction of the two teams. Kansas was seen as talented but now their stock has dropped (see Ole Miss) and Kansas State can grab control of the Big 12 North (I know, that’s like wining Texas District 6-5A, but still) by winning at home. Bill Snyder knows how to get that done, and I think his Wildcats will.Diner Prediction: Kansas State 28, Kansas 20.

Texas A&M at Colorado (+3): Which Aggie team shows up? The one that dismantled Texas Tech or the one that couldn’t stop Kansas State? While The Buffs are pretty good in Boulder when the weather turns cold, I think they have very bad matchup problems with this team. The Buffs can’t stop the run, and now that Jerrod Johnson is starting to figure it out (they did VERY well against a decent Iowa State defense) and the Ags can let the run set up the pass, they’ll have a lot more success against Colorado than most people think. Diner Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Colorado 21.

There you have it, patrons. What do you think?

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