The team that started the year 3-0 with wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia that everybody said could be the next team to blow up the BCS system? Remember Skip Holtz was going to be the undisputed coach of the year, who would surely bolt for a big time school as soon as ECU was finished mopping up the C-USA?
That seems like three seasons ago now.
The last thing anybody is doing is talking about East Carolina this week. Not with Bama-Florida on the slate and a whole mess of BCS implications waiting to be sorted out. That’s where our friend Mr. Value walks in. Everybody likes that guy.
He’s always welcome at my place on Saturdays and this week he’s got my eyes fixed on Tulsa, where the Golden Hurricane are laying a pile of points against the Pirates.
Tulsa has home-field - an advantage enjoyed by no other team in a championship game Saturday. The Hurricane also have a shiny offense that ranks No. 1 in the country in total yards and can rack up points like a pinball machine.
But the Pirates have the top defense in the conference and a senior quarterback in Patrick Pinkney, who goes up against a defense that allows almost 30 points per game. The Hurricane also let Houston treat them like the mantle at Christmas time, letting everything get hung on them in a 70-30 loss.
Take the Pirates in an easy cover here, if for no other reason than to give you a reason to care for the hour you’ll watch this game before the ACC championship comes on.
Note: I finally snapped the horrible streak of 1-3 weeks with a beautifully mediocre 2-2 effort last week. I’m now 26-24-2 on the season.
USC vs. UCLA (+32, 47)
Pete Carroll picks up the phone and dials the NCAA office to discuss jersey colors with president Myles Brand.
PC: Hello, Myles? Pete here. Say, listen - we’re playing UCLA this weekend and we want to get the old tradition going again where we wear Crimson and they wear their Baby Blues. Whatcha think?
MB: I dunno Pete. Sounds pretty risky. We have strict policies for this stuff.
PC: So what will happen if we wear our Crimsons?
MB: You’ll lose one timeout for the game.
PC: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! You kill me, Myles. Seriously, what will happen?
Pick: USC -32
Boston College vs. Virginia Tech (0, 38)
Last year, when BC started the season 8-0, ESPN walked the streets of Boston to ask people if they knew how the Eagles were doing this year and if they could name the coach. When they got nothing but blank stares, they’d then ask how the Red Sox were doing and they couldn’t seem to find anyone who didn’t know the batting order.
This year, things have changed. One guy has heard of Jeff Jagodzinski and several thousand others now know who their quarterback was last year because of his NFL success this year.
Still, I’m taking BC on Saturday. Va. Tech played all its best football at home this season and this is essentially a road game in Tampa.
Pick: Boston College
Alabama vs. Florida (-10, 51.5)
Normally, I’d be all over Florida. But Percy Harvin has a high ankle sprain.
If you were asking for sprains on your Christmas list, this one is at the bottom and you’d make an extra note to Santa that you only want it if every single other one was sold out.
The Gators just aren’t as good without Harvin. They’ll still win, but the job for the Tide defense just got a whole lot easier.