Diner Football Picks, Week 11
2-8 last week.
This season: 32-56-2.
On with this week’s picks. There’s nothing more to say.
Auburn (+4.5) at Georgia: Auburn’s putting 450 yards up each week (230 passing, 220 rushing) and scoring about 35 a game. Georgia has been struggling on defense and their offense has been hit and miss…but the matchup favors Georgia because their receivers are athletic and Auburn’s defense has been giving up a lot of points and had key injuries, requiring guys playing out of position and young guys getting their first game experience. There should be a lot of big plays and lots of scoring. The last team to have the ball will have a chance to win it or lose it on that drive. In a game like that, favor the home team to win. Diner Prediction: Georgia 35, Auburn 31.
Alabama at Mississippi State (+12.5): A lot has been made about Alabama lack of red zone punch. A lot has been made about how the Bulldogs gave Florida a fight in Starkville. People are calling this a “trap” game because Alabama locked up an SEC Western championship the first week of November. But the Gators don’t have a Mark Ingram, who will wear on you in the 4th quarter. My guess is that it’ll be close at the half. But the Alabama running game will take control of the game when depth becomes a factor. Diner Prediction: Alabama 24, Mississippi State 10.
Florida at South Carolina (+17.5): The Gamecocks are beginning their annual November fade. The Gators throttled Georgia and then just went sleepwalking last week against Vanderbilt. That’s probably the very best thing that could’ve happened to Florida…giving Urban Meyer reason to talk about focus and getting back on track. My guess is that Tebow and company will be anxious to get after Spurrier, even if nobody is really talking about that. I don’t think South Carolina is ready for the marquee game on CBS. If it were at night, I’d take the points. But it isn’t at night. Diner Prediction: Florida 38, South Carolina 20.
Texas A&M (+20) at Oklahoma: The Aggies going to Norman? Yeah. They haven’t won there in like the last 10 trips. And, yes, Oklahoma looked dreadful offensively against Nebraska last weekend. But Jerrod Johnson needs a little more experience before he becomes a big-time player in this conference. A&M’s defense isn’t nearly what Nebraska’s is under Pellini and OU at home should be able to take care of business and coast. I think a late, meaningless TD keeps them from covering the spread, though. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Texas A&M 24.
Texas Tech (+4) at Oklahoma State: I’ve always said the Texas Tech can plug and play their quarterbacks. That happens for sure between seasons–they always find somebody else to run the system. It’s even happened well between games when one quarterback gets hurt and they have a week to practice in the system. This week, Leach says he has “co-#1” quarterbacks. I’m not convinced this can work in the game because so much depends on rhythm. And Oklahoma State can run, too. They’re in second place in the Big 12 South for a reason. This should be a very close game, though. Take the home team looking for revenge to win, but I like Tech to cover. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma State 33, Texas Tech 30
Notre Dame (+7) at Pittsburgh: Pitt is off to an 8-1 record, the likes of which hasn’t been seen there since a guy named Dan Marino was running the show. Notre Dame fell out of the top 25 last week losing to Navy. Notre Dame has played tough teams close all season, but I think they’re demoralized now that they don’t have a shot at a BCS bowl. Not to mention that those close games against teams in the top 10 have been losses the last 8 times. I think Pitt is better (even if overrated) than Notre Dame by a lot more than one touchdown, but Notre Dame will hang tough…making it closer than it should be. Diner Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Notre Dame 16.
Stanford (+10.5) at U.S.C.: Whenever I think about this game I think about the big upset two years ago–Pete Carroll’s only home loss in 5 years. And Stanford has been playing very good football, while U.S.C. stunk it up last week in a win over Arizona State. U.S.C. is 28-0 in November under Pete Carroll, too. There’s no question in my mind U.S.C. will win, the question is by how much. I think they want to redeem themselves after last week. Diner Prediction: U.S.C. 28, Stanford 17.
Iowa (+17) at Ohio State: Stanzi’s out, and Iowa is going to have to go with Vandenburg. The Horseshoe is a tough place to get your start. And that’s too bad for Iowa, because their undefeated/national championship hopes went by the wayside last week against a very average Northwestern team. I don’t think the Hawkeyes can score enough to win, and if they aren’t scoring, they’re giving Pryor too many chances to get points. If he can avoid throwing interceptions, they’ll romp. They’ll win, anyway. Diner Prediction: Ohio State 28, Iowa 10.
Florida State (+5) at Wake Forest: FSU’s Christian Ponder is out for the season and untested E.J. Manuel is running the show. My guess is that is a tough place to take over the reigns of a team that is struggling to get bowl eligible. Fischer has had to scale back to playbook and you don’t have to know a whole lot about Wake Forest. You just have to know that winning on the road requires good quarterback play. It’s a coin flip to see whether or not the Seminoles will get it against a defense that took a good Georgia Tech team to overtime last week. Diner Prediction: Wake Forest 31, Florida State 23
Utah (+20) at T.C.U.: The town of Fort Worth has gone absolutely nuts over this one–all the buildings downtown are going to lit with purple lighting. ESPN GameDay is going to be at a MOUNTAIN WEST game, for crying out loud. But Gary Patterson has been quietly going about the business of assembling a strong football team, so much so that the Horned Frogs and their new/ugly uniforms for this occasion are a 3-TD favorite against a team that has plenty of good athletes. Revenge is a factor, and Patterson can say all he wants about just trying to get out of there with a win, but I think he wants style points just in case somebody falters at the top of the BCS. Diner Prediction: T.C.U. 35, Utah 17.
Well, there you have it, patrons. Thanks for waiting a day!