Friday, November 21, 2008

Rev Picks 'Em: Week 13

WEST VIRGINIA (-7) at Louisville: Since joining the Big East just a few short years ago, this game has turned into one of the premier rivalries in the conference. Ok, I know it’s Big East football and you could probably care less. But seriously, even though both teams carry less than lackluster records into this matchup, you can bet that this will be a very hard-hitting game. If anything, the post-game shenanigans should be interesting:

By the way, Louisville needs a win against the ‘Eers to reach 6 on the season, and most likely will need a win against Rutgers next week to receive any bowl consideration. My guess? They’ll lose both to finish 5-7. He may be Satan incarnate, but things seemed a whole lot better just two short years ago when Bobby Petrino was at the helm for the ‘Cards …

Tennessee at VANDERBILT(-3): Consider this: It is entirely likely that Tennessee could close out the 2008 season with back-to-back losses to Vandy and Kentucky. In case you’re keeping score at home, that would leave the Vols at 3-9 for the year. Which, speaking of …

Michigan at OHIO STATE (-20 ½): Michigan is DEFINITELY going 3-9. Even Vegas has given the proverbial bitch-slap to Michigan - the Buckeyes are laying 20 ½ points to the Wolverines. By some accounts, that’s the largest spread ever in this rivalry. But hey, if you’re a Michigan fan, don’t dare complain about it: coach Rich Rodriguez thinks you should “get a life”.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE (+11) at North Carolina: Upset alert: I’m calling this game for the Wolfpack. Led by Russell Wilson, one of the best passers in the ACC, NCSU has gotten on a bit of a hot streak of late. Plus, the Wolfpack sport a stellar 3-0 record against in-state opponents, having beaten East Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest. A win vs. the rival Tarheels would do wonders for the folks in Raleigh, and leave them just one win short on the season from bowl eligibility.

Stanford at CALIFORNIA (-9): Stanford hung tough for a half last week vs. USC, but that may be because they are apparently kryptonite to the Trojans. Otherwise, Stanford is just another pedestrian team in the PAC-10. Cal really isn’t that much better, but I’m taking them here since the game’s in Berkeley. Really, this pick ‘em thing isn’t that scientific.

#17 Michigan State (+15 ½) at #7 Penn State: How dreadful can this game shake out for Penn State? Several weeks ago, they were looking at this matchup as their ticket to the national championship game – now they need a win just to keep their spot in the Rose Bowl. I think two touchdowns is too much to spot the Spartans, so I’m going to take the points here, but I still like the Lions to win the game. And for their sake, I hope they do – they’ve had a great season, even though the rest of the Big Ten is atrocious this year.

FLORIDA STATE at #22 Maryland (+1 ½) (as described with by Rusty): Trying to pick the winner of this game is like trying to pick the winner of a butt kicking fight between Rambo and Rocky. Maryland's been a solid football team in College Park this year, having amassed a 6-0 record, but the Terp's face quite the superior opponent this coming Saturday. Florida State has the best offense and defense in the ACC, statistically. Although, they've struggled at times with a two QB system behind a weak offensive line, they are a solid football team and improving. Maryland on the other hand has got one of the best running backs in the leauge with Da'rel Scott (that's not a typo). The Seminoles might look better on paper, but Maryland's on top of the ACC and a win tomorrow followed by a road win against BC next week would send the Terps to Tampa and help cool the embers under the big boy's seat. This all means, this game will come down to heart. Who wants it more. This may give Florida State a slight edge with it's off-the-field story this week. Safety Myron Rolle is being interviewed for a Rhodes scholarship Saturday afternoon before flying to join his team for the 2nd half of the game. The fact that FSU has a positive academic story could do wonders for the team's motivation, or the world could implode because the team known for 5 finger discounts at Dillard's has recruited smart kids. Regardless of the outcome, it'll be a hard fought game in the chilly DC suburbs, but look for a close Seminoles victory.

#16 Brigham Young at #8 UTAH (-7): Utah, the original BCS crashers, would be right back in the major bowl picture with a win against rival BYU. Interestingly, I like that these kinds of rivalry games have kitschy nicknames: For instance, this game is dubbed “the Holy War.” That would probably raise hackles for some reason or another in more politically correct corners of the country, but this is Utah. No one really knows – or for that matter, wants to know - what goes on in Utah, so I guess we can all collectively shrug it off.

#21 Oregon State (+2 ½) at ARIZONA: People are still dogging USC for losing to Oregon State, but consider this: OSU’s tied with the Trojans atop the PAC-10 standings. And if the Beavers win this week and next week against rival Oregon, Oregon State would be the team to get the conference’s spot in the BCS. Of course, you could just as easily consider that last sentence the kiss of death for Oregon State and watch them drop their last two to finish 7-5.

#20 Pittsburgh at #19 CINCINNATI (-6): Needless to say, this is the biggest game in the history of UC Bearcat football. Of course, they don’t have much of a history aside from a crumbling relic of a stadium, but that’s beside the point. A win against Pitt would clinch the Big East conference championship for the Bearcats, not to mention a spot in the school’s first ever BCS bowl game. Cincy’s really no joke – they have 6 starters on D that likely will get drafted, and it doesn’t really matter who they put in at QB (they’ve played 5 QBs on the season), they always get the job done.

Interestingly enough, if you were ever wondering what a “bearcat” is, try this on for size:
"A Bearcat resembles somewhat to a bear in physical appearance, though on closer observation it looks like a small bushy dog. Its average length is about 60-96 cm and weighs around 9-14 kg. It has small round ears and black round eyes. The body of the animal is covered with thick black fur. Its most attractive feature is its long bushy tail, ranging as long as 55-90 cm."
One of life’s great mysteries solved. I’m glad I looked that up.

#2 Texas Tech (+7) at #5 OKLAHOMA: (courtesy of Big XII expert Greg in St. Louis) This week’s Big 12 “Game of the Year” will directly affect the outcome of the Big 12 South, The Heisman Race, and who claims the Big 12’s slot in the National Championship game. Tech has put the points on the board this year, they have a solid O-line, major skill at QB and WR, and their “bend, not break” defense has done the job when called upon. The Sooners are trying to buck their trend of bad play in big games over the past few years and even in the Red River Shootout this year. However, since that loss to Texas they have destroyed their opponents to the tune of 63.3 points per game. One more stat in the Sooners favor, 60-2 at home under Bob Stoops – simply put, you don’t go into Norman and come out victorious. In the case of two hot teams that are evenly matched, go with the home team for sure. Boomer Sooner!

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