Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Step away from the ledge, Mr. Collier."

Wow. That really sucked. To be honest, I am not all that surprised that Tech lost. I am surprised by the margin, however. I really thought our boys would give a better accounting of themselves. But hey, anything worth doing is worth doing all the way: if you are going to drop a stink bomb like that, you might as well do it before a nationwide audience on Saturday night. Yep, that was great.

Why was I not all that surprised? Because I am a pessimist by nature. This tendency doesn't serve me well most of the time, but, when things go bad, I am usually less taken aback than the people who always walk around on happy feet. But I must admit, this one hit me hard. I had really started to buy into the hype, feeling like Tech had a legitimate shot at the Big XII title, and who knows, maybe more. I know a Big XII title shot is still theoretically possible, but c’mon: who really believes Okie State will beat the unofficial NFL franchise of Oklahoma?

Because of my pessimistic nature, I prepared for this loss by deciding to avoid watching the game in the company of others, and instead, opted to go it alone. I could tell, by the end of the first quarter, that it was not going to go well. By the middle of the second quarter, I became so distraught, I turned the TV off and retreated outside, where I cracked open a bottle of wine. I dispensed with the fancy glass and, in a scene reminiscent of a 1950’s western, where the bad guys trade whiskey with the Indians, began chugging it straight out of the bottle. But this was a pretty good cabernet, not rotgut. “Hmmm… An amusing little firewater. Presumptuous, yet eminently palatable.” I drank myself into a stupor and quickly fell asleep.

I awoke the next morning with a sense of dread and a terrible hangover. People around me acted as if somebody had died. All the sharp objects had been removed from their usual places of storage. My firearms were hidden away. People kept their distance. I avoided watching any sports-related reporting on television. I didn’t look at the newspaper. I went to the office and logged into the computer, and in a blurb on the MSN web browser, I saw the score. Holy shit.

My mind sort of went haywire. This couldn’t be. How could they blow it that badly? I ran into some doofus later, one of those “zippiddy do dah” sunshine pumpers; he is the type who, even under normal circumstances, makes me want to kick the stuffing out of him. He wanted to talk with me about the game. He tried to convince me that it wasn’t all that bad. He is now buried beneath the floor in my onion cellar.

However, time does heal all wounds. Well, at least it helps abate the hangover from drinking a full bottle of Franciscan. Discussions with people much better adjusted than I am (that covers pretty much everybody), including my fellow scribes on this blog, have helped me see that it’s not the end of the world. I’ve managed to cobble together a few seemingly healthy rationalizations why:

1. I can quit sweating it. I’ve been fretting this all season; this game I mean. At the beginning, I said if we could go 10-2, I’d be pretty happy. I always figured the game in Norman would be one of those losses, with another thrown in just to satisfy my pessimistic side. Now, I can quit worrying about it.
2. We’re 10-1, with a decent shot at going 11-1. If you’d told me that at the beginning of the season, I’d have been thrilled.
3. Just a bad day? I’m still convinced that Tech is not as bad as they looked on Saturday. This was, as I see it, one of those “perfect storm” things. There were a lot of things lining up that made this outcome occur. It was in Norman, always a tough place to play. Stoops may be a turd, but he can coach and he can damned sure motivate his players. He knew he’d need to turn Tech into a greasy spot to make a statement for the pollsters. His players were still pissed from last year. Plus, our guys just did not seem to have the intensity they had against UT or OSU. I’m not sure any level of play by Tech could have overcome the OU steamroller last Saturday, but I suspect the lopsided score wouldn’t have been quite so, well, lopsided, had Tech not been flat.
4. Hey, blowouts can happen to anybody. Tech did it to Kansas this year. To OSU too. UT got blown out by OU by 52 points just 5 years ago, and by 49 points a few years before that. The folks who dealt Tech this butt kicking got beat pretty bad by USC in the Orange Bowl a few years back. It happens. It sucks when it does, but, it happens.
5. Maybe we get to keep Cap’n Mike. One of my other things to sweat was, and is, Coach Leach leaving us for another, bigger school. Face it, before this loss, most of the talk was about him hauling ass. The humble folks from Tennessee kept posting on their Scout board that Leach was already as good as there, that they “could have him if they want him” and that nobody would choose Lubbock over Knoxville. I never really thought Leach would be a good fit there, if, for no other reason, that I don’t think he’d want to be at a school with a double negative in its fight song. Still, the talk caused such trepidation that people started websites to collect funds to bribe him to stay. I hear somebody started trying to erect a faux mountain near his home to try to combat the “flat Lubbock" vs. “we got mountains” swill the Tennessee people kept spouting. To this end, somebody managed to pile up 30 feet of cottonseed hulls in his backyard by the time of Saturday’s whuppin. Now, it’s not that I think Coach Leach isn’t going to be sought after anymore, because I know better. He’s the most innovative coach in the country, and he will surely still be wooed. However, he may not seem quite so bootylicious now. Let’s face it: all the Simonize, buffing and elbow grease in the world can’t put a shine on the turd Mike’s team laid in Norman last Saturday. Maybe he’s less of a hot commodity now. More importantly, however, maybe this will make him want to stay and prove this blowout was a fluke.
6. At least the Tech game had implications. Not all that long ago, we’d have been at 5 & 5 and coming down to the wire needing a win just to get into some crappy bowl. The fact that Tech was in a game of this magnitude means that the program is progressing. You’ve got to go through stuff like this to get to the promised land. As I’ve heard a lot of people who should know say, it takes a lot of talent and more than a little luck to get to a national championship. Any good team can have setbacks (see above). Tech now has to show it has the character to put this loss behind them and keep moving on. I think they can, and I think there is nobody better situated to do this than Coach Leach.
7. This loss can be liberating. A guy I sort of know suggested this, and he’s smarter than me (that’s damning him with faint praise, but he really does know something). He’s right: I can have my life back. I gotta be honest…I was getting a little obsessed there. As each win was amassed, I’d get more and more wound up. I kept bargaining, making all sorts of crazy deals. Heck, I even promised to get my tax returns done “early” if we could just win the Nebraska game. Tech won, and a deal is a deal-I got them in on October 14, a full day early. It was unprecedented. The cost of these bargains kept going up. At one point, I almost said “If we can just beat Texas, I’ll…I’ll, well…I’ll stop drinking!” Note that I wrote “almost.” Come, on, who are we kidding here? I love Tech and all, but let’s be reasonable. I offered up a garage cleaning instead. As the season progressed, things started getting downright scary. I even said I’d be willing to give up some somewhat unnecessary bodily appendage if Tech could just beat OU in Norman. I settled on my pinkie toe. I guess it’s a good thing we lost. I need that pinkie toe for balance on my follow through. Now that we’ve lost, life can settle down a bit. I can quit playing The Matador Song on my ipod, my dog can take off the little TT t-shirt I’ve been making him wear, and I get to keep my body parts. It’s all good.
8. There’s still some ball left to play. Tech can still make a good showing against Baylor, I hope, and maybe go to a decent bowl game and do well. It’s looking like the Cotton Bowl, which is a bit of a disappointment given our earlier ambitions. But hey, at least it’s a New Year’s Day Bowl, and moreover, I’ll save on travel costs. Sure would have liked to see Miami or Phoenix, though. However, in the back of my mind, I’m still hoping for a minor miracle in Stillwater (See? I’m not a complete pessimist.)

So, you see, it’s not the end of the world. Things could be worse. Life has its setbacks. We all have them, and this is how it goes. If these reasons aren’t good enough for you, there is always one more thing you can consider. The one thing that I always find consoling, and I bet it works for you, too: At least we’re not Aggy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

5th and inches - Week 13

A 6-5 week ATS last week, 11-1 straight up winners/losers. For the year now, 83-56-1 ATS and 122-33 straight up. It's a huge week in the Big 12, here's hoping we can all make it the last 48 hours to kickoff.


#23 Miami (ESPN HD) @ Georgia Tech (3') -
Miami takes to the Thursday night air for the 2nd straight week in pursuit of the conference that no one really seems to want. Carolina's had the inside track in their division, but can't close the deal. Virginia Tech's faltered when they had a chance to grab control. And now there's Miami, with a loss to Carolina, but a win last week over Va. Tech, and now they hit the road to Ga. Tech, which may throw the ball 10 times a game. I think it's another low-scoring game with lots of defense, which makes covering more than a field goal tough to do. Somewhere in there, someone has to wrap up their spot in the ACC, and I think Miami can take a big step to that tonight. Miami...18-14.


#2 Texas Tech (ABC HD) @ #5 Oklahoma (7) -
I heard somewhere that this game is important. Frankly, I needed the off week last week as much as either team did. Both offenses are flying, both defenses a little bit suspect, in so much as neither fan base thinks the opposing defense will stop their afore-mentioned flying offense. What Sooner fans don't want you to know is that they haven't really been able to beat Tech the way they want to. After Taurean Henderson scored to beat OU on the final play of the game in '05, SoonerFan promised that Tech would be beaten so badly in Norman the next year that they might actually be killed. Instead, OU found themselves down at the half and had to survive with a late TD to win 34-24. Hell, even the goofy Sonny Cumbie team lost 28-13 in Norman. Hardly the zillion-to-3 score that's predicted North of the Red River.

Look, bottom line is this. Both teams will move the ball, and both teams will score. Can Tech win in Norman? Sure. Could they lose by 3 TDs? Sure. That's just kinda how this football game is. But I don't see the latter happening. And if it's going to be close, as I said for the Texas game, may as well take Tech to win it outright. Tech...41-38.

Iowa State @ Kansas State (10) - Ron Prince is on his way out. Iowa State is playing better. I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Clones can find a way to win here. KState...38-30.

Syracuse (NBC HD) @ Notre Dame (20) - Greg Robinson is out at Syracuse, and Charlie Weis is on various hot seats, while others claim that's not true. Regardless, it'd better be a big seat. Notre Dame...34-10.

NC State (Raycom HD) @ #22 N. Carolina (11) - It's Rivalry Week, at least that's what ESPN keeps telling me. This is usually a good candidate for a real brawl of a game, but State's been hard to figure out this year. Carolina, home after a tough loss @ Maryland, can keep themselves in the ACC mix with a win, which I think they will. Carolina...27-17.

Michigan (ABC HD) @ #10 Ohio State (20') - Never thought I'd see this game with a 3TD line on it. Never thought I'd take it, either. Ohio State...35-14.

#15 Michigan State (ABC/ESPN2) @ #8 Penn State (14') - The Sparties are hard to figure, beating a bad Michigan team in the closing minutes, bombed by Ohio State at home, trounced Northwestern at NW. Here, they get Penn State to close Penn State's season. Penn State...31-13.

#14 BYU (The Mountain HD) @ #7 Utah (6') - Utah tries to keep their BCS hopes alive. Should be a pretty entertaining game, if you can see it. BYU...34-31.

#20 Pitt (ESPN2 HD) @ #19 Cincinnati (5') - Another Top 25 matchup here. I think it's close and decided late. Cincinnati...31-24.

Florida State (ESPN HD) @ #25 Maryland (1') - Florida State is a bit dinged on defense after losing a player after Darius McClure hurt himself while celebrating an interception. I like the speed of FSU here, even if they're not in warm Florida. FSU...23-20.

Boston College (ABC/ESPN2) @ Wake Forest (2) - The BC "D" is the difference here. Boston College...19-17.

Army (ESPN Plus) @ Rutgers (17') - Tough to like anyone by more than 3 scores against Army. Rutgers...27-20.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the hype is killing me


ESPN, please stop it already. My stomach already churns all day. And the work is piling up on my desk because every time I turn around I get an e-mail from a Tech buddy that has a link to a story or a video that I've already read or seen about 4 times.

Did you know Leach was the subject of an article in The New York Times Magazine by Michael Lewis? And then the NYTM did a follow-up interview with Lewis and Lewis still thinks we're David and UT and OU are Goliath? And that OU is favored by 6.5 to 7 and that Bob Stoops never loses in Norman, unless you count all the times he's lost to UT in Dallas?

I'm terribly grateful for all of the great pub TTU is getting, though - for years we've strolled along in relative anonymity - and so it's cool to see Tom Rinaldi reporting from AT&T Jones Stadium like he's doing pregame for the next Indy @ New England showdown. I'm like a kid in a candy store here.

To be able to have conversations with fellow college football fans and have them congratulate me on a great season, like I did anything to contribute to it....well....there was that time I puked in the bushes outside the auditorium after the Nebraska game, but I'm betting that doesn't count.

So for all of you struggling to make time go by a little quicker, a prayer...

God grant me the serenity
to reject the fact that ESPN is attempting to control my mind and wallet;
the courage to tell that OU alumnus that he's a dickweed;
and the wisdom to go to Baylor.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time until kickoff, so I can start binge drinking again;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to onesinglesolitarybig12titleisthattoofreakingmuchtoask;
Taking as He did, this world full of Colorado fans
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to Erin Andrews;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with a BCS title
Forever and ever,


All apologies to Jesus and such...

but can we get to kickoff already?


(Lubbock, TX) Sources close to the Texas Tech Athletic Department said Wednesday that Mike Leach has been named as the replacement for Mike Leach when he inevitably leaves the program.

This news comes before the biggest game in the history of this year as the 10-0 Red Raiders get ready for a showdown with 9-1 Oklahoma in Norman Saturday.

"Well, we just want to make sure no stone is left unturned," Gerald Myers, Texas Tech Athletic Director said. "We all know Mike, and Mike is going to do what Mike is going to do. So we thought it best that he replaces himself at some point."

Speculation across the nation is that some top programs like Tennesssee, Washington, and Syracuse are all interested in the Texas Tech coach to come lead their program and not be too weird, an unnamed source said.

"Well, I'm just focused on us getting better each week and getting ready for OU," Leach said. "It's an honor to be named the head coach designate here, and I just saw in the news that a baby hippopotamus was born at a zoo in Switzerland. I was at a zoo in Switzerland this summer. You know the interesting deal about hippopotami and whales evolved from the same prehistoric animal. It's, uh, kind of a neat deal though that they just like to spend their days wallowing around in the mud, which doesn't make them much different than some other animal characters you'll find. Like a pig."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

5th and inches - Week 12

A so-so 8-7 week against the line last week...11-4 straight up. Season totals now stand at 77-51-1 ATS and 111-32 SU. Tech gets a BYE this week and frankly, as alums and fans, we need it. Should be a great weekend for the footballs next weekend, but in the meantime, we've got your Thursday/Saturday slate ready to go.


Virginia Tech (ESPN HD) @ Miami (5) - Some Thursday night football as the wacky ACC season winds down. As of this morning, I think 2 teams are out of contention. Everyone else is still alive. Low scoring affair in Miami tonight, I'd think, and could likely swing on a big special teams play from someone. Miami...24-20.


#3 Texas (13) @ Kansas (FSN HD) - Texas has a recent history of struggling in late-season roadies...and this one is supposed to be fairly cold...at least if you listen to Austin radio this week. Muddying the picture somewhat is that Texas lost their backup center to an ill-advised Facebook posting, then lost their starting center to an ill-advised knee injury in practice. So it's a freshman at center and I think lots of shotgun snappage. Still, Kansas can't stop anyone and that doesn't bode well for them, Senior Day or not. Texas...38-20.

Texas A&M @ Baylor (8) - This one would be fun to watch, but we don't get to see it. Baylor, a TD+ favorite deep in the Big 12 season. You'd have to go back to the late 90s for some of that action. Baylor may win, but I think it's a 4th-quarter game, to go cliche on you. Baylor...34-31.

#12 Mizzou (27') @ Iowa State (FSN HD) - Mizzou roared out quick last week, then kinda went cruise control on us and shut it down and didn't cover. 4 TDs is a big number, but 'Zou has a chance to really sew up the North here. I don't think they let up this week. Mizzou...44-20.

#13 OK State (17) @ Colorado (ABC HD) - We'll see how quickly OSU can turn around after a drubbing, especially in the 2nd of 2 straight on the road. I have a sneaking suspicion this one is closer than the number. OK State...30-21.

Nebraska (7) @ Kansas State (FSN PPV) - I like the Children of the Corn here. KSU has fired their coach, recruits are switching commits, it's a full-on party in Manhattan right now. Nebraska...34-17.

Northwestern (ESPN2 HD) @ Michigan (4) - Hard to believe saying something "Man, what a big road win @ Minnesota for Michigan," but that's what it was. Michigan...23-14.

Notre Dame (3') @ NAVY (CBS HD) - Navy snapped like a forever-long losing streak to the Irish last year. I think they'll start a new one this week. Notre Dame...27-20.

SMU @ UTEP (9') - In this week's Coin Flip Pick o' the Week, I'll take Potpourri for $600. UTEP...38-34.

Mississippi State (ESPN HD) @ #1 Alabama (20) - Intriguing game here, with 'Bama coming home off the OT road win @ LSU. Miss State has won 2 straight over the Tide, and I think hasn't allowed an offensive TD in either game. Or something like that. State still can't score, and the Tide doesn't exactly score 5 TDS a game. So laying 20 is kinda tough to do. Alabama...27-10.

#25 South Carolina (CBS HD) @ #4 Florida (21) - Another great one here, with Spurrier heading back to Florida. The media wants Florida in the BCS title game so badly they can taste it. Florida wins...but closer than the experts think, as Corso would say, whatever that means, being that he's supposedly an expert or something. So does that mean if he thinks it's close, and then it's supposed to be closer than close, could it actually wind up in negatives? Florida...29-14.

#16 North Carolina (2') @ Maryland (ABC) - Interesting Maryland team, coming home of a road loss and getting a ranked Carolina team in search of a possible BCS date down the road. The line is close and the game should be close as well. Maryland...21-20.

Smack Attack

These are the salad days my friends. Actually, they’re more like the strip steak at Ruth’s Chris days. After years of hitting the buffet at Sizzler, we finally have a shot at the big time (the theme song from The Jeffersons just popped into my head). This is uncharted territory for many of us old timers, who suffered through years of 6&6 or 7&5 seasons, just hoping for an invitation to the Odoreaters Bowl in Paducah, Ky. on Dec. 10th. ( “Hey, are you going to the bowl game?” “Naw, I gotta clean the gutters.” "Going to watch it on tv? It's going to be on channel 87 at 2:00 a.m." "Nope. Gutters." ).

These unusual times have resulted in some unusual behavior for me. I find myself lingering around the doors of my fellow office workers who are UT grads talking college football. I no longer have to endure listening to them drone on and on about their wealth of talent and the all but assured shot they will have at the National Championship, with their occasional condescending acknowledgement of Tech’s good performance on Saturday against Northbynorthwest Polytech and Tech’s “spunky little running back who we looked at but passed up for Ricky Williams/Earl Campbell/Vince Young/Superman.” Even those arrogant clowns are having to acknowledge Tech as a legitimate contender. Scoreboard, baby. I find myself buying more and more stuff with a double T on it (I even bought my schnauzer a TT t shirt-don’t worry, he smells better than most t shirt fans).

One thing that is unusual for me is the fact I am spending more time on college football message boards. It's not that I haven't spent any time on them, because I have. But I am spending much more time reading them, when I should be doing meaningful stuff like billing hours, representing my client's interests and important crap like that (“Sorry Mr. Nusbaum, that $2,200,000.00 lawsuit will have to wait.”). I can’t help myself. Since I have been reading them so much throughout this season, I have detected certain patterns in the posts from our opponents that is growing rather tiresome. As a public service and a courtesy to our opponents, I thought I might summarize and categorize the aforementioned tiresome smack, and hopefully, save the folks at OU and Baylor the trouble.

1. “Tech Sucks”: We know, we know, you hate us, don’t respect us, etc. Fine by us…we’ll live. This category of smack ranges from the incredibly astute observation that Lubbock is flat (it is), to the claim that all of our coeds have sexually transmitted diseases (they don’t, at least not before I met them). Probably the most tiresome smack of this genre involves the fiction that people only go to Tech because they couldn’t gain admission to UT or A&M. This is a waste of time, fellow opponents, because it is not the truth. In fact, most of us never even applied to UT or A&M. In fact, we didn’t even “apply” to Tech. Most of us were actually given a choice by the tribunal of the relevant jurisdiction between going to prison, joining the Merchant Marine, or enrolling at Tech. I really thought about the Merchant Marine because I wanted to “see the World,” but Tech had better weed. Seriously, though, these claims don’t bother me. Hinging your self-worth on the approval of an Aggie or Longhorn is a risky proposition, and is akin to a wino seeking the approval of a crack whore.
2. “Tech Fans Are Thugs”: I never realized I was such a badass. Sure, I’ll knock a grandmother out of her wheelchair to steal her Social Security check. Hey, let’s not get judgmental here; have you seen the price of bourbon lately? Our opponents have us doing all types of deviltry to them when they visit the Jones, what with our hurling all manner of objects at them: batteries, foodstuffs, goalposts, pit bulls, nuclear waste, etc. You name it, we throw it. I really didn’t think these claims were true, because I haven’t witnessed this kind of stuff. But that’s probably because I’m busy outside the stadium selling government secrets to terrorists or ramming my heavy toed jackboot into the ribs of a third grader. So, I looked it up, and you know what? They’re right! I found that our not-so-esteemed alumni include Al Capone, Adolph Eichmann (he was low grade Tech scum, but Hitler was able to get into UT because he was real smart and all), Jeffrey Dahmer, Pol Pot (M.Ed.), John Hinkley, Rosie Ruiz, and the guy who invented “Clackers.” Worst of all, John Denver went there too. Given this, we’ll save you OU and Baylor folks the trouble and admit that we’re trash. Just plain old trash. Plain old 10-0 trash. Go tell somebody who gives a damn.

Note the color he's wearing. He looked better in scarlet. WRECK EM'!

3. “Tech’s ‘Gimmicky’ Offense”: Ok by me. It’s different, that’s for sure. The main difference? We’re winning. Tech finally has some semblance of a running game to help balance things out. Plus, they're playing some defense, so they're not losing the games they typically would in the pure “shoot out” days. Call it gimmicky if you like, but it’s fun to watch. You know, a few weeks ago, I tried to watch Penn State play Ohio State. I thought to myself “Let me see some real football. Some of that smash mouth, 3 plays - 9 yards and a cloud of dust stuff from the leather helmet days.” I switched the TV to some shopping channel after 30 minutes. I kept getting distracted by the lint in my belly button. By the way, I got a great deal on a blackjack and a pair of brass knuckles on QVC.
4. “Tech has no National Championships.” Our opponents like to remind us of this. A lot. Well, the UT folks like to, because they have several. I figure the OU folks might be laying this one on us soon, because they have a stinkload of them. Acknowledged. But don’t waste your time. This is a little like telling me your triple great grandmother came over on the Mayflower. What good is that going to do you now? I will admit, however, the Aggie smack in this regard is amusing, because they like to tell us about their National Championship. Note the singular, not plural, word at the end of the preceding sentence. It happened a long time ago. A very long time ago. Given the lack of temporal relevancy, this reminds me of my grandfather telling me about how, in his day, for just a nickel, you could get a hamburger, a “malted milk,” and a big house in Highland Park.
So, there you have it. Look what I’ve done for you! I’ve saved you time and innumerable keystrokes. We’ve heard it all, so don’t bother. Is there a way I can bill for this? I thought not.

Friday, November 7, 2008

5th and inches - Week 11

Muy mucho apologies for missing the picks the last couple of weeks. I sent them out in the weekly e-mail last week, but forgot to put them here. I went 7-7, did have the Tech win at 42-40...yearly totals are 69-44-1 ATS and 100-28 on straight up winners and losers. Again, sorry, but we're back this week, so blog me.


#9 OK State (ABC HD) @ #2 Texas Tech (3) - Another night in The Jones as the Cowboys come calling. Most of the national pundits this week feel like there's no way Tech can get back up after last week's performance. OK State, meanwhile, definitely a good football team. But supposedly they've gotten 1,000 times better than the other OK State teams that have repeatedly been torched by Tech's offense, and run the ball better than anyone Tech has played, which is something they've already done successfully against Tech for years. So basically, there's nothing in this year's matchup that's new to the matchup...minus the Top 10 rankings for both. At home, probably reminded a zillion times this week of last year's game in Stillwater, I'll take Tech...41-30.

Baylor (FSN HD) @ #4 Texas (26) - Baylor continues to get better and better behind Robert Griffin at QB. He'll have his hands full in Austin, however, as the 'Horns come home after a tough loss in Lubbock last week. Texas has some key people banged up, but I don't suspect that will make much difference. It's close early, I think, and 26 is a lot to lay for a team coming off an emotional loss. But I think Texas grinds it out to the number. Texas...44-14.

#6 Oklahoma (25') @ Texas A&M (ABC) - A&M hasn't stopped much of anyone this year, even in their wins. Speaking of wins, they've got 2 in a row now. But here comes Oklahoma, which scored last week at the rate of an earlier-in-the-2000s Paris Hilton. I like Jarrod Johnson at QB for A&M, but I don't think they have enough weapons to keep this one close. OU...45-21.

Kansas State (FSN HD) @ #14 Mizzou (26') - Wow. If there was ever a recipe for a team to get piledriven into oblivion, this is it. KState can't stop anyone on defense, Mizzou can get it rolling on offense, and now KState has a lame duck coach for the rest of the year. Mizzou...49-20.

Kansas (1') @ Nebraska (FSN PPV) - The biggest thing to say about this game, honestly, is pay back. Both teams put up a ton of points last year in Lawrence, when Kansas won like 69-42 or something like that. NU is coming home off the blowout loss in Norman, KU off the big win over intra-state rival Kansas State. Nebraska...30-28.

Iowa State (Versus) @ Colorado (9') - I'm not sure how either one of these teams gives the other 9 1/2 points, at this point. Colorado...30-17.

#20 Georgia Tech (Raycom HD) @ #19 North Carolina (4') - The only reason I like Carolina here is because they're at home. This ought to be a pretty good football game. Carolina...24-17.

Memphis (2') @ SMU - Heck, at 2 and a hook, live a little and run Purina. Or is it Peruna? SMU...33-30.

Michigan (ESPN HD) @ Minnesota (8) - I'm guessing that Minnesota won't be throwing it up late this week if it's tied and they're at their 20. Minnesota...23-20.

Notre Dame (ESPN HD) @ Boston College (3) - No feel for this game at all. Which typically means the Irish win when the opposing team's kicker is distracted by a guy in a Chewbacca costume in the end zone as he's lining for the gamer and doinks it into the band. ND...24-22.

Army @ Rice (9) - Army's really been salty of late...but I think Rice can put up the points. Rice...38-27.

#3 Penn State (7') @ Iowa (ABC) - Iowa was cruising toward an upset pick here 'til last weekend. Not sure what to make of them now. Penn State trying to stay in the BCS race, Iowa trying to bounce back from a road loss.........Penn State...17-13.

#1 Alabama (4) @ #16 LSU (CBS HD) - Lots of defense on display here Saturday night, but I think 'Bama has the better one. Do not be surprised if something wacky happens late in this one to give the Tigers the win, with all the subplots around Nick Saban's return and all of that...but I think 'Bama is the better team and is proven already in hostile territory. Alabama...23-17.

#21 Cal (ABC HD) @ #7 USC (18') - Huge number in this one. Cal got a big win over a ranked Oregon team last week, now has to go on the road to top 10 USC. Cal's played the spoiler here before, so I don't think USC will get caught unawares. But still, I think it should be closer than the number. USC...34-21.

#11 Ohio State (11) @ #24 Northwestern (ESPN2 HD) - Northwestern home off the big pick 6 in the waning moments to win on the road. I don't think that helps them here. OSU...31-14.

Sunday, November 2, 2008