Friday, September 12, 2008

Rev' Picks 'Em: Week Three

The Rev’ went 8-2 last week, bringing HHR’s season record to 15-5. Keep in mind, however, that two of those losses came by picking against the feisty East Carolina Pirates. ECU has a decent program and a nice football tradition – I remember going to the ECU-Navy game at Annapolis several years back, and I remember how shocked I was at how well their fans traveled to see their team, who at that time was merely a C-USA also-ran. Well, also-ran no more. After blasting Va. Tech and West Virginia in consecutive weeks, they are clearly players on the national stage in the same sense that other non-BCS schools like Hawaii, Boise State and Utah have crashed the party in recent years.

By the way, did anyone catch the early season ACC-Big East loser bowl last night? North Carolina absolutely crushed Rutgers in Piscataway. Not a great start for the Big East this year. Maybe they ought to think about extending an invitation to ECU...

This week’s list of picks features a lot of top-flight teams playing on the road. And I’m taking a lot of those teams on the road. This could be a make-or-break week for HHR pick ‘em: Here we go:

10 points: #5 Ohio State (2-0) at #1 USC (1-0): Let’s just go ahead and get it out of the way. This is by far the biggest game of the young 2008 college football season and I hope it lives up to its billing. I’m giving the edge to USC for two obvious reasons – one, the Trojans will play tough in front of the home crowd, and two, the Buckeyes will be without the services of injured tailback Beanie Wells. Both teams feature defensive units that are among the very best in college football, but I just don’t think that’s going to be enough to keep Ohio State hanging around. Trojans in a walk.

9 points: Iowa State (2-0) at IOWA (2-0): Iowa State is 2-0 after posting wins vs. South Dakota State and Kent State. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes have walloped Maine and Florida International to remain unbeaten. Anyway you cut it, I’m not real impressed by either. The Hawkeyes are playing at home and laying 12.5 points to the rival Cyclones. I like Iowa to win the game but think Iowa State to cover the spread. How’s that for taking a stand!

8 points: UCLA (1-0) at #15 BYU (2-0): Looking back at UCLA’s opening week win against Tennessee, I can’t help but think that the Bruins were luckier than hell to escape that game with a W. I think there’s a reason West Coast teams keep scheduling the Vols and making them travel cross-country, because the boys from Rocky Top usually lay an egg when forced to travel three time zones away. I think the Bruins used up a half-season’s worth of luck in their week one win. The Cougars should roll in this one.

7 points: MICHIGAN (1-1) at Notre Dame (1-0): I hated Charlie Weis’ excuse about his “to hell with Michigan” comment that he was somehow honoring late Michigan coach Bo Schembechler. Please. Just grow a pair and admit the obvious.

6 points: #14 OREGON (2-0) at Purdue (1-0): The Ducks are a touchdown favorite on the road this week. Plus, did you know Purdue hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent in 14 straight tries? Take the Ducks on the road.

5 points: #2 GEORGIA (1-0) at South Carolina (1-1): The Ol’ Ball Coach built a career beating the Bulldogs – in fact, he sprung the upset in this game last year. Not this time around – Georgia’s going to lose a few games in the SEC, but not this week.

4 points: GEORGIA TECH (2-0) at Virginia Tech (1-1): Georgia Tech is impressing early, especially with their win last week at Boston College. Plus, no one can convince me that all is well in Blacksburg. Until the Hokies prove me wrong, I’m going to pick against them.

3 points: #9 AUBURN (1-0) at Mississippi State (1-1): Quietly, Auburn clocks in as one of the best remaining teams in the college football top 10. Of course, the last time they quietly plowed through a season as the best team in the top 10 you’ve never heard of, the Tigers got hosed out of a shot at the national championship. MSU is better and will continue to improve, but I think Auburn’s got a bit too much firepower this week.

2 points: #3 OKLAHOMA (2-0) at Washington (0-2): Tyrone Willingham must have done something egregiously wrong to the football gods while he was at Notre Dame, because nothing has gone right for the man since he was dismissed as head of the Irish. Case in point: last week’s crushing loss to BYU when QB Jake Locker was flagged for excessive celebration after scrambling for a late touchdown to pull the game within one. It was a horrible call – he wasn’t taunting anybody, it was just a case of a part-time college referee taking his Saturday day job waaaay too seriously. Anyway, no rest for the weary: Oklahoma is real good and they’re going to send the Huskies to 0-3. Ouch.

1 point: #10 Wisonsin (2-0) at #21 FRESNO STATE (1-0): Here’s the upset special of the week, although I think the two teams are a lot closer than their respective rankings indicate (Vegas has the line at -1.5 for Wisconsin). Fresno State has a reputation as a giant killer, especially when they are playing at home. Just a hunch, but I’m taking the Bulldogs over the Badgers.


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