Time for another edition of the college football picks of the week, where this week, there's a big game in the SEC (huge shocker), and other early-season Top-25 battles commence, plus, TCU plays it's first Big 12 game.
On with the show...
Last week: 5-5
California @ Ohio State (-18.5), September 15:
Right off the bat, the first thing that occurs to you when you look at this game is that there's no way that the Pac-12 will be near as successful as they were in spots like this a week ago.
I also wouldn't want to be Jeff Tedford right now, since he and his Golden Bears have seen better days than this.
All of that should prove to make this one a fairly easy one for the Buckeyes, who look the part of contenders early on, especially quarterback Braxton Miller, even though they haven't left Columbus yet. I'll take Ohio State to cover.
TCU (-21) @ Kansas, September 15:
For the third time in ten years, the Horned Frogs make their debut in a new conference when they face the Jayhawks in their Big 12 opener in Lawrence.
The schedule-makers dealt TCU a pretty good hand here, too, not just with this game, but in general, as it won't be until November that they really face the meat of the Big 12 on their schedule.
And I can't really think of many ways to ease into the Big 12 right now then with Kansas. Give me TCU to cover, and let's get some better games in here soon.
Texas A&M (-12.5) @ SMU, September 15:
Old SWC rivals renew acquaintances again in Dallas when the Aggies, fresh off losing their first SEC game in typical Aggie fashion, visit the Mustangs.
If SMU's game against Baylor taught us anything two weeks ago, it's that SMU's biggest weakness is Garrett Gilbert. I'd rather not waste this space taking more shots at him, but let's just say that he's the reason I expect a big Aggie win here, as they get healthy before finding the SEC part of their schedule again soon. Give me A&M to cover.
Virginia @ Georgia Tech (-10.5), September 15:
In Atlanta, the Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets do battle in an early-season ACC matchup. Virginia may have won it's first two contests, but they have done so far less than impressively, and while Georgia Tech dropped it's ACC opener to Virginia Tech, they have looked like the stronger team.
And since they dropped that Virginia Tech game, they also need this one to avoid an 0-2 start in the conference. Add it all up, and I see a win for the Jackets. Give me Georgia Tech to cover.
Alabama (-20.5) @ Arkansas, September 15:
One week ago, this clash between the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks was not just the most anticipated game of this week, but one of the most anticipated of the year.
But as the saying goes, "A funny thing happened to Arkansas on the way to the fair." That funny thing was a loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and more importantly than even that, was the injury to quarterback Tyler Wilson.
The loss to ULM notwithstanding, if Wilson stood a good chance of playing, I might still give the home-standing Hogs a shot. Since it appears he won't, you've got to go heavily in 'Bama's favor here, as they look like the best team in the country through two weeks. Give me the Tide to cover.
Florida @ Tennessee (-3), September 15:
Now we finally get into the games that Vegas, and the college football world at-large, expect to carry the day. And, to no one's surprise, the first of those marquee matchups is in the SEC, and more specifically in Knoxville, where the Gators and Volunteers renew their rivalry.
It says a lot about where these two programs are right now that Tennessee, which had become (much like everyone else recently), Florida's doormat, is actually favored here. And I think that will be proven to be correct in the end. There's way too much uncertainty for Florida at the quarterback position to expect them to go on the road and win a big conference game these days. Give me Tennessee to cover at home.
Arizona State @ Missouri (-6.5), September 15:
In Columbia, the Tigers host the Sun Devils in their second straight marquee game. What Missouri should've learned from last week is to never use the term "old man football" again, but also that any week that you don't play an SEC team when your in the SEC is a game that you should in theory win.
The Devils might have had an easy time with Illinois last week, but going from the Big Ten to the SEC in consecutive weeks is almost like going from high school straight to the pros. I'll take Missouri to cover here,
USC (-9) @ Stanford, September 15:
Down on the Farm in Palo Alto, the Trojans, who won less-than-impressively against Syracuse a week ago and as a result lost their No. 1 ranking to Alabama, travel to face the Cardinal and kick off Pac-12 play.
This Stanford team, obviously, is much weaker at quarterback, but it's the losses elsewhere on the team that are likely to effect them against the high-powered Trojans, who should continue to put up points on offense, and will look for defensive improvement over last week. I'll take USC to cover on the road here.
Notre Dame @ Michigan State (-6), September 15:
I'm gonna start out by saying that for a team so many people claim to have high hopes this year (the Irish), there sure has been a lot of money going in on the Spartans this week, as the line started with Michigan State as only a two-and-a-half point favorite, and has ballooned to six over the week.
To quote Lee Corso, "somebody out there knows something about this game, and I'm gonna go with the somebodies." I might have gone with the Irish earlier, but that line movement does say SOMETHING. Give me the Spartans to cover at home.
BYU (-4) @ Utah, September 15:
There's been a lot of movement here, too, as Utah has gone from one-point favorite to four-point underdog, but that can be more easily explained, due to the Utes losing QB Jordan Wynn for the year in their upset loss to Utah State last week.
In a close, tightly-contested game such as this "Beehive Boot" rivalry, that's enough for me, especially since BYU is out of the gate fast this year in their first independent voyage in some time. I'll take BYU to cover here.
One more week, 10 more games. Join us next week for another installment of the college football picks of the week, and as always, make sure you check out the college & NFL awards for the most unique wrap-up of the weekend's football on the Web, guaranteed. Sort of. I'm out.
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