Quick Picks  

Posted by Walter

Wisconsin over @ Iowa

Aside from the near hiccup against Illinois, Wisconsin has been very impressive in every game they were supposed to win this year (Michigan being the exception). Wisconsin blends a nice mixture of youth and experience with senior QB John Stocco and freshman RB PJ Hill leading the way. On the flip side Iowa has been one of the most disappointing teams in America this season. They have beaten up on some lesser opponents (Montana, Purdue, Northern Illinois) but as their 2-4 conference record indicates, they have not faired well against top competition. In fact, the Hawkeyes have even dropped 2 games at home this year. The Ohio State loss is somewhat acceptable but losing to Northwestern at home is downright embarrassing. This game is a gimme as these two teams are heading in opposite directions. Give me Wisconsin winning fairly handily, 23-14.

South Carolina +11 over @ Florida

I still just don't get these huge spreads for the Gators. Even against mediocre competition they aren't blowing anybody out. The past two weeks, against lesser SEC teams (Georgia and Vanderbilt) they have only won the games by a combined 13 points. South Carolina, on the other hand, has been the exact opposite. They aren't winning game but they are keeping them close. This is a huge game for reasons that trascend the game the itself. The moment Steve Spurrier steps back onto the Gainesville field all bets are off. Urban Meyer will no doubt feel the pressure to win this one (especially given the Gators loss to Spurrier last season) and it is yet to be determined whether this will help or hurt Florida. The bottom line is that Spurrier wants this game as much as Meyer does, and Steve is the better coach. South Carolina will keep this one close and here's to rooting that they pull it out in the end. I am an unabashed Spurrier lover so take this prediction with a grain of salt. Gamecocks stun the Gators 24-23.

@ Texas A & M -1.5 over Nebraska

Ugh, I hate picking Big 12 games. I always get them wrong. Nebraska stinks. They just do. Although this is the type of second tier program that they feast on (as opposed to when the fold up when playing top competition like Texas and USC). A & M, on the other hand, once again has an opportunity for a major statement game. We all know that these are not Franchione's forte. So how to choose the lesser of two evils. Well, I am picking the team that has the best player: A & M quarterback Steve McGee. This kid is just awesome and a ton of fun to watch. He reminds me a lot of Kenny Stabler, who, by the way, is one of my alltime favorite players. McGee makes plays when his team needs him to and I bet he makes them this Saturday. Well, that or Bill Callahan will totally mismanage the clock. Either way, A & M wins behind a huge boost from its home crowd 27-17.

Notre Dame -10.5 over @ Air Force

Air Force is always a physical, smart, well coached team, exactly the type that could cause trouble for a major program traveling across the entire country for the game. That said, this matchup simply favors the Irish. The biggest Irish weakness is their defensive secondary. While their front 7 are not the best run stoppers, they have shown that they can tighten up when they have to (see 2nd half against Navy). Air Force will run the ball nearly every down, somewhat mitigating the weakness in the secondary, and allowing safety Tom Zbikowski to creep up to the line of scrimmage. On the other side, Mr. Quinn has just been lights out recently and that should not change against a vastly inferior (talent wise) Falcons secondary. If Quinn wants to make a last push for the Heisman he needs a huge game here. He gets it, the Irish roll 40-27.

Arkansas -4 over Tennessee

If Erik Ainge were healthy I would still pick Arkansas. The fact that he isn't and won't play, just makes the pick that much easier. What is really strange is that Arkansas still isn't getting any respect from the oddsmakers in Vegas. If Auburn was playing the Vols this week (with Ainge out) you can be sure they'd be favored by more than 4 points. The fact is that Arkansas is legit, and they ain't going away. While it will be somewhat interesting to see who gets most of the plays under center for the Razorbacks (Mustain or Dick), it won't matter. Tennessee has endured so many injuries in their front 7 this year that I expect both Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to shred the Volunteers for over 100 yards each. Bottom line, Tennessee is just not physical enough to compete with Arkansas. The 'Backs roll 26-17.

Wake Forest +5 over @ Florida State

This spread is so outrageous that I won't even dignify it with analysis......plus I am a huge BC fan so I will be rooting for Wake to lose.

@ USC -7 over Oregon

The only team happier than Rutgers this morning is USC. With Louisville losing, the stage is set for the Trojans to run the table and make it to the BCS championship game. Believe you me, Pete Caroll has his team believing this, and why not. With Michigan or Ohio State guaranteed at least one loss, wins over Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame would not doubt vault the Trojans into the BCS Title game. It starts this week with Oregon. The Ducks are frauds. They were exposed by California and Washington State and they are going to be absolutely run off the field in LA this Saturday. The biggest mismatch in this game, and perhaps the whole weekend, is going to be Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith and the rest of the USC receivers against the Oregon secondary. Look for John David Booty to have a huge game as the Trojans work double time for a few extra style points. The USC defense has been the best in the Pac-10 this year and there is no reason to expect anything other than a stellar performance on Saturday. Oregon stinks, the Trojans absolutely annihilate them 45-17.


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