You know it’s Week 2 of the college football season when Rice-Memphis turns out to be the most exciting game on the board.
I happened across it when I was in that in-between-games zone on Saturday where the game you were just watching is over and you’re not really into the next game you’re going to watch yet.
(This is also known as the time when you allow your wife and children to talk to you briefly on college Saturdays.)
I flipped over to this one just in time to see Rice’s Chase Clement take his dirty 1980s mustache, along with the Owls’ offense, 94 yards downfield on an impressive touchdown drive to bring Rice within two points with just over a minute left.
He then completed the two-point conversion pass on a zinger of a pass to James Casey and things were getting saucy in Memphis.
Next thing you know, Rice snags a pick-six for a score with 11 seconds left and jumps out to a 2-0 straight up and against the spread start that only the Messiah saw coming. The best part of that play though, was the reaction from the cop on the sidelines who is assumingly supposed to be working security for the game.
The devastation on his pastry-swelled face is priceless.
But I must give Rice its due. Two seasons ago I called the Owls the worst team in college football and suddenly they look like a C-USA contender, not to mention a moneymaker.
This week, we don’t have to rely on a Rice-Memphis matchup to get us fired up. Week 3 usually means we’re getting into some heavyweight bouts in the college football world and this week doesn’t disappoint.
Ohio State travels to USC, CBS kicks off its SEC coverage, and there are a couple of other doozies on the board like Wisconsin-Fresno State.
Before I get into this week’s picks though, I want to take a moment to fuel the conspiracy theorist fires.
I went 3-0-1 with my picks last week (thank you), though I would have been a spotless 4-0 if Urban Meyer hadn’t blatantly made an attempt to cover the spread.
With just over a minute left against Miami, up 20 points, the Gators continued to drive for the touchdown instead of taking a couple of knees and letting the clock run out. They had to settle for the field goal, meaning my ATS win turned into a push with Miami at +23.
I’m not sure if this was an attempt to cover the spread or just to piss off an in-state rival, but the latter certainly worked. Canes coach Randy Shannon barely touched hands with Meyer before running to the locker room in disgust.
Hopefully you don’t get the same feeling after reading this week’s picks.
Rice vs. Vanderbilt (-8, 58)
After praising the Owls, now I have to fade them.
The Owls are much improved with plenty of talent on offense, but they won’t be able to hang with Vanderbilt unless the ‘Dores have a serious letdown.
Vandy is fast on both sides of the ball, it hits hard and has a dynamic quarterback in Chris Nickson, who looks like a better passer this year. He can throw on the run, beat you with his legs and has a great running back in Jared Hawkins, who did some damage against South Carolina last week.
Oklahoma vs. Washington (-20 ½, 62)
What’s this? Players having fun? Players getting excited when you come back to score what should be the tying points against a ranked opponent at home in the final seconds of a game?
The Pac-10 should outlaw high-fiving, smiling and cheering during games while they’re at it. In case you didn’t see it last week, Huskies QB Jake Locker was flagged for celebrating a TD that would have tied the game against BYU, pending the extra point.
There was no taunting. No delay of game. Not even a spiked ball. He just tossed the ball behind his head as his teammates came barreling after him to hug him to death. BYU ended up blocking the extra point that was moved back 15 yards.
What a joke.
Well, Washington doesn’t have to worry about having fun this week. Oklahoma is looking incredible and coach Bob Stoops has been gearing them up all week for a big road performance.
The Sooners went just 3-2 and 1-4 against the spread on the road last year and Stoops isn’t happy about it.
Wisconsin vs. Fresno State (+2, 48 ½)
Should be a tough, smash-mouth game here. Wisky should leave everything on the field with a bye week coming up next.
Ohio State vs. USC (-11 ½, 44 ½)
I think Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel is playing some mind games here. There’s the whole Beanie Wells is playing-he isn’t playing ordeal. And there’s that performance last weekend.
I mean, Ohio State got bullied by Ohio. I’ve seen the Buckeyes play some crap games in Tressel’s time, but I’ve never seen them get absolutely bullied on both sides of the ball by a MAC opponent before.
Tressel was also screwing around with freshman Tyrelle Pryor at QB, which makes me think he has some tricks up his sleeve for this week. Maybe he’s learned something from the dual-QB systems he got whooped with each of the past two years in the national championship games.
At any rate, I know USC is good, but are they two-touchdowns better? I think Ohio State’s front seven will keep it closer than that.
If you like the underdog though, wait until game time before taking it. This line is on a one-way track
Pick: Ohio State