Too bad Texas Tech and Oklahoma aren't playing this weekend, because there is NOTHING of consequence being contested this weekend. Sure, we could all keep an eye out for the huge upset: Alabama plays Mississippi State on Saturday, and the Bulldogs have beaten the Tide two straight; also South Carolina plays at Florida, and you know coach Spurrier will pull out all the stops to try and beat the Gators. Otherwise, I'm going to be left doing my best to put a good face on what looks to be a very ugly slate of games.
Looking first at the Big Ten: Since Penn State lost last week, count me among those who are thrilled to (finally) write the conference off this year. Let's all send Iowa a big "thank you" for exposing Penn State before an SEC or Big XII team could do so in the national championship game.
That said, the Big Ten intramural season continues on this weekend, so I'll throw out a couple lines just in case you're craving a taste.
NORTHWESTERN (+3 1/2) vs Michigan
MINNESOTA (+ 13 1/2) vs Wisconsin
#10 Ohio State vs. ILLINOIS (+9 1/2)
In case you’re looking for winless teams playing at home this weekend, you’re in luck because we’ve got two on the slate this week. It’s doesn’t say much that both Washington and Syracuse are getting bunches of points at home and I couldn’t come close to considering them.
UCLA (-7) at Washington
UCONN (-10) vs. Syracuse
Now on to some not so terrible games (but I still can’t convince you that I’ll be watching this weekend):
NOTRE DAME (-4) vs. Navy: After last year’s upset of Notre Dame in South Bend, the Midshipmen are looking to make it two straight against the Irish. Charlie Weis will be back on the headset calling plays for the Irish this weekend, and I don’t understand why he ever stopped in the first place – he’s a better coordinator than he is a head coach to begin with. This game is on the road and the Irish are terrible away from South Bend, so the Middies definitely have a chance. I don’t see the Irish completely folding up, but I guess anything’s possible.
California vs. # 23 OREGON STATE: After Oregon State shocked USC early this season, the Trojans got slammed for losing to a supposedly god-awful team and were punished by dropping 9,000,000 spots in the polls. That loss doesn’t look so bad now, with OSU sitting at 6-3 and ranked in the top 25. Let’s remember that when USC gets snubbed out of the national championship game.
#17 NORTH CAROLINA (-3) vs. Maryland: Forget about going to Tennessee – UNC coach Butch Davis has got a very good thing going in just year two of his coaching tenure at North Carolina. UNC needs a win to keep pace with Miami atop the ACC Coastal division, and I think they get the win on the road against the Terps this weekend.
BOSTON COLLEGE (+6 1/2) vs. Florida State: Can you call a team “plucky” and not make it sound like an insult? I like BC, even if they are down a bit vs. the standard they set last year. Outside of a bad loss at North Carolina, BC has been close in the other two games they lost – 19-16 to Georgia Tech, and 27-21 to Clemson. I don’t think they’ll beat the ‘Noles in Tallahassee, but the 6 ½ points they’re getting on the road is enticing enough for me to pick them this week.
Vanderbilt vs. KENTUCKY (-3 1/2): Both Vandy and UK got off to fast starts this season, but predictably both stumbled a bit once SEC conference play began. Kentucky is bowl eligible for the third year in a row at 6-4, and a win here would go a long way to preventing a return trip to the Music City Bowl in Nashville. Vandy is close behind at 5-4 and looking for that elusive sixth win – since 1984, however, a five-win Vandy team has played the Cats four times and come up empty each time out. UK looked impressive in last week’s last second 42-38 loss to Georgia, and I’m looking for some of that same offensive success to carry over here.
Last Week: 6-4