As I watched Darius McClure’s college football career tumble to the turf in a heap of celebratory gloom on Saturday, I couldn’t help but thinking:
“I feel ya, dawg.”
Not the blown up knee part. Not the Grammatica-esque humiliation McClure suffered from mangling his leg on a botched chest-bump following his first career interception.
OK, maybe a touch of that.
But I’m talking more about the symbolic agony I’m feeling after going 1-3 for the third straight week. I’m now 23-19-2 for the year and running out of real estate on this college season.
You know we’re getting close to the end of things when Michigan-Ohio State week rolls around. And for the first time in Four-play history, I won’t be making a play on this game. It doesn’t deserve it. Not with a 20.5-point spread.
The closest I’ll get to this game is wearing a sweater vest to work today, a la Jim Tressel, for which I have suffered multiple verbal thrashings from co-workers. I honestly don’t know how Tressel goes through life like this.
Let’s get on with the picks and start things off with the real best Big Ten game on the board this week.
Michigan State vs. Penn State (-15.5, 48)
This line seems high for what’s essentially a Big Ten title game.
The problem for Sparty is Penn happens to be pretty good at stopping the run, which means Brian Hoyer is going to have to generate some offense with his arm at some point. He is capable, but he also has a gruesome 49.5 completion percentage.
State’s defense has been tough the last three games though, so that should help him out and be enough to at least cover this number.
Pick: Michigan State
West Virginia vs. Louisville (+7, 46)
I’ve been waiting for Louisville to get good this year, but it just isn’t happening. Oddsmakers just aren’t adjusting enough, either.
West Virginia still has a decent shot at the Big East title with Cincy facing Pitt this week, so I can see a big win here.
Pick: West Virginia
BYU vs. Utah (+7.5, 54)
OMG! It’s the Holy War. The day we find out which school Jesus loves more.
If we’re sticking to biblical reasoning here, I’m going with BYU. Utes supporters have a little too much pride for my liking, the most deadly of the seven sins.
The Salt Lake City council issued a challenge this week to the Provo council that the loser of this game has to sing its opponent’s fight song in front of the winning side’s council.
"The BCS is written all over this thing for Utah," Salt Lake City councilman Eric Jergensen pronounced earlier this week.
According to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune, Provo responded with this:
"The Provo City Council accepts your challenge. Please wear blue."
Mormans and their gambling.
Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma (-7, 75)
This is kind of a big game, you might have heard. Something about BCS national championship implications.
It's so tempting to take Oklahoma. It can’t be humanly possible to beat Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma all in a row, can it?
But if you look at the Sooners’ defensive numbers lately, it’s hard to come up with reasons why they’ll be able to keep Tech below 100 points on Saturday. Oklahoma has allowed at least 28 points in its last five games against some average competition and only held one of those (shoddy A&M) to fewer than 400 yards.
Sacks are what the Sooners do best on defense, where they rank second in the nation, but that’s a wash because TT is No. 2 in sacks allowed.
Tech’s defense, on the other hand, isn’t getting the credit it deserves. The Raiders have allowed a respectable 24.7 points per game and 352.4 yards over their last three against some of the best offenses in the nation.
Points will be scored in this one, but defense will ultimately decide things.
Pick: Texas Tech