The other day my heart stopped for a brief second when I was asked a nightmarish question most men hope they never have to hear.
“Honey, when are you going to start foreplay again?” said the college football editor’s wife.
“You know, your football column. When do you start it again?”
Right. Four-play. My football column.
The blessed answer is now. Right now. The college season is finally upon us and that means it’s time to get back to my weekly picks column that will annoy, torture and hopefully entertain readers for the fourth straight season. For those of you who are new to my world of madness, here is how it works.
I make four against-the-spread picks on four of the bigger games in college football every week and give you my analysis for each one that may or may not make sense – I can’t promise anything. Some weeks I make more than four picks if I haven’t taken my medication and get a little too excited. Rivalry week is almost certain to be one of those occasions.
Just a heads up, I am coming off my worst season yet with a 26-32-1 record. So follow at your own peril. On the slightly brighter side, I am now 86-87-2 over the past three seasons and am determined to get my career record above .500 with a big season.
What preparations did I make over the summer to achieve my goal?
I gallivanted across Europe in search of life experiences, attended weddings, covered the Tim Donaghy scandal, studied a little college here and there, and all the while tried to keep up with corporate demands. But I am not afraid. Last year I spent so much time poring over college football preview magazines I was reciting offensive schemes in my sleep and look where it got me. After a little self-refresher course, it’s all coming back to me and I’m ready for a new season.
I welcome your comments each week and I think I’ve just decided I’ll post the best comment I get each week in my next column. My email is listed below, so don’t be shy and drop me a line.
Good luck to you and me.
Florida State vs. Clemson (+3 ½, 45 ½)
The Bowden Bowl just isn’t the same Bowden Bowl without Jeff Bowden.
Ha ha ha! Just kidding. It’s still the Bowden Bowl only now the ‘Noles have the possibility of generating some offense. Last year they managed just 204 yards against Clemmy, which pretty much highlights the story of their offense for the past few years. Jeff's replacement, new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, won’t get a honeymoon period with this game carrying so many implications on and off the field. Even the Bowdens aren’t making any family-related jokes this year.
Both teams need a win here and I’m going to go against my better judgment of taking the home dog.
Pick: Florida State
Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame (-2, 45)
Holy Touchdown Jesus. I was surprised to see this line when it came out.
No Brady. No Samardzija. No Darius Walker. The Golden Domers have their work cut out for them and I’m not sure they should be favored here.
Then again the Bumble Bees are breaking in a new QB themselves and have said goodbye to the best receiver in college football last year, Calvin Johnson.
What it all adds up to is this game is likely going to make us puke again. Last year this matchup was one of the sloppiest, most boring games of the season in which the Irish were lucky to scrape out a 14-10 victory as 7-point favorites.
Pick: Georgia Tech
Tennessee vs. California (-6, 54 ½)
One of the weirder stories of the preseason comes out of Berkeley where a group of "Tree People" have occupied a tree near Memorial Stadium since December in protest of a planned performance athletic center that will go there.
Perhaps even weirder is that Cal is favored by six points in this matchup. They are jacked to avenge last season’s embarrassing opening loss in Knoxville, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to waltz to victory.
Tennessee may have lost a few on defense but the Vols will still be nasty. And as long as Erik Ainge’s banged up pinky doesn’t affect him too much, they should be able to put up some points. A more experienced and potentially explosive Cal team won’t get rolled over like last year, but a victory by a touchdown is asking a lot.
Colorado State vs. Colorado (-2 ½, 45 ½)
I’ve been peeing my pants waiting for this one since February. Know why?
“It’s Division 1 football! It’s the Big 12!”
And if you don’t like it, you can go watch intramurals, brother … go watch intramurals.
Greatest press conference ever, Dan Hawkins. For that reason alone I’m taking your Buffs this weekend.
Jon Campbell is the senior editor for Covers.com and he watches and wagers on enough college football to make any degenerate proud. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.