BON Pick 'Em players, don't forget to submit your picks on the ESPN Fantasy Home Page. New members - Group Name is "Burnt Orange Nation" with password 'Longhorns' Weekly winner receives a t-shirt.
Let's get right to the picks:
Michigan +7 at Ohio State
PB: Okay, I'll start this party. To begin with, I'll have you know that I love getting seven points in this game. Just love it. However, while throwing money on Michigan on the spread may be an easy task in my mind, taking it to the next step and picking the Wolverines to win on the road is significantly more difficult. But the more I think about this game, the more I think it comes down to Troy Smith and his ability to make things happen. Is he a Vince Young winner? Or just a really good college quarterback? We'll find out Saturday, but I think he's "just" very good. And I'm not sure that's enough against this Wolverine defense. I'll leave the Lloyd Carr haters with one last note: Ohio State has not won the Big 10 title outright since 1984; Lloyd Carr has achieved that twice since he arrived in 1997. Lloyd gets his third: 27-26.
AW: I love the points but can't convince myself the Wolverines will be able to pull this one out. Hart will be able to gain yards but without Manningham in top form the deep threat won't be there. We all know too well that OSU doesn't have to win by pounding out yards on the ground. Troy Smith has a big game and officially locks up the Heisman. Buckeyes 20-14.
AR: Ohio State proved enough against us that they can win games without running the ball. Michigan can stop the run, but we don't know too too much about their pass defense. Michigan will have to get some big plays out of Manningham; their almost automatic 17 points, gained by running Hart over and over, will not be enough to beat Ohio State. Ohio State 35 - Michigan 24
West Virginia -10.5 at Pittsburgh (Thursday)
PB: Thursday night fun continues! Okay, this line is already up to 13 points, and rightfully so. Pitt's giving up over 4 yards per rush on defense on the season. You do the math: that's trouble when West Virginia comes to town. This could get ugly. West Virginia 45-20.
AW: This one may turn into the Backyard Blowout. UConn ran for 340 yards last weekend. Slayton and White could approach 200 each on Thursday night. Pitt has lost three straight. This one plus Louisville next week will complete the slide for the Panthers. WVU 35-10.
AR: I've written several times that all a team must do to stop West Virginia is stack up on the run, but it seems that West Virginia lucked into a pseudo-conference where no team outside of Piscataway can play defense to save their lives. West Virginia pounds the snot out of the supposed #4 in the Big East West Virginia 45 - Pittsburgh 25
Rutgers - 7 at Cincinnati
PB: I don't like betting road favorites like this, but I'm not sure Cincinnati's got much of a chance to score points in this one. The Rutgers defense is legitimate, and legitimately motivated. I'll take the under, but I'm laying the points. Rutgers keeps the BCS race interesting, 17-3.
AW: Why are we picking this one? Don't worry readers we passed on the Boise State game. Rutgers doesn't know how to handle success and must score late to escape Cincy. Rutgers 27-24
AR: Cincinnati has played a lot of good teams tough, and Rutgers is coming off a pretty big win over Louisville last Thursday. Add in the fact that this is in Cincinnati and the ingredients are there, but I'll take Rutgers to pull it out, because their defense can stop Dustin Grutza, unlike the rest of the Big East. Rutgers 27 - Cincy 24
Oklahoma State +6 at Texas Tech
PB: This could be quite a prop bet game if you wanted it to be. Only a Texas Tech-Hawaii matchup might provide more fireworks. Personally, I'm through with the favorites in the Big 12. Too many young quarterbacks. Pokes win it outright, 41-35.
AW: This is must see football, if you have six hours. Reid and Harrell go nuts against poor defenses. First one to 60 wins. I like the Red Raiders at home. Tx Tech 61-53.
AR: Oo, a good one, Texas Tech is getting better and better as the season goes on, while Oklahoma State just gave reeling Baylor a beating they won't soon forget. I say OSU's young defense gets overwhelmed by Graham Harrell and the Tech offense, but they'll certainly put up a fight. Raiders 46 - Cowboys 42
California +5.5 at USC
PB: This isn't quite the game that it should have been, thanks to California's inexplicable loss at Arizona. Frankly, Tedford blew that game, never giving the running game enough tries and putting too much pressure on Nate Longshore to account for all the offense. Just dumb. Anyway, Cal's got the talent to win this on the road, but it'll take a monster game from Lynch. I don't see it. Trojans win another Pac 10 title, 30-20.
AW: I have been waiting to pick Cal all year and now can't pull the trigger. Pete Carroll has this team back on the right track. Meanwhile, Cal will be trying to rebound from a penalty and turnover filled road loss. The Trojan D won't allow it. USC 28-17.
AR: Wait, Cal's the one that lost last weekend right? And the game is in Los Angeles right, the place where USC's won a million in a row? I'm sold. I'll take the Bears. Cal 31 - USC 20
Auburn -3 at Alabama
PB: Whatever it lacks in Michigan-Ohio State significance, it more than makes up for in mutual hatred. I've been yelping about Auburn's middling offense for a long time, and they finally crapped the bed. Frankly, I think they're in for more trouble this week. Bama 16-13.
AW: My pre-season national champion pick is now officially dead. This will be the least watched midday CBS game of the year. Like our rivalry with A&M, this one has been really one sided recently. Kenny Irons finishes the regular season in style as the Tigers bounce back to take their fifth straight from the Tide. Auburn 17-13.
AR: There's no way Brandon Cox throws as many interceptions this weekend as he did last weekend, and that's what he'd have to do for Alabama to have a chance in this game. Kenny Irons has a field day against rival `Bama. Auburn 27 - Bama 10