The picks continue this week after a solid week for the BON resident ?experts? during Separation Saturday. Last week, Iowa State blogger Alex Ernst joined us for the weekly selections.Week One Pick Six Results
|Handicapper||Straight Up||Against Spread|
As we do every week from here through the end of the season, the winner of the BON ESPN Pick ?Em Challenge for the previous week will get to join us for the front page Pick Six against the spread. Weekly winners also receive a t-shirt. Season winner gets a yet to be determined prize. It?ll be something fun.
If you?ve not yet registered, it?s not too late to join the Burnt Orange Nation league:
1. Go to the ESPN Fantasy Page
2. Join the public group Burnt Orange Nation
3. Enter the password: Longhorns (Make sure you capitalize the 'L')
4. Submit your picks
Last week?s ESPN Pick ?Em winner is the author of the excellent Georgia Bulldogs blog, I?m A Realist. Trey, thanks for joining us. And good luck.
Wisconsin +14 at Michigan
PB: Some might see a ?trap game? for the Wolverines in this one. Wisconsin is 3-0 and Michigan had a pretty emotional win last week. I?m inclined to believe that?s not a realistic possibility. Despite a very healthy 4.7 yards per rush, the Badgers simply aren?t throwing the ball well at all. And while their pass defense has been excellent, they can be run on. I?ll take Michigan to win and cover, 27-10.
AW: The Wolverines are coming off their biggest win in years while Wisconsin is also 3-0 but hasn?t really been tested. I?m afraid this could be a low scoring Big Ten slugfest. The Badgers will attempt to control the clock with ball control offense. Michigan is still basking in the glory of last Saturday. The Wolverines win but don?t cover. Michigan 17-14.
Realist: The Wolverines are my sleeper pick to wind up in Glendale in mid-January. There is the potential for a typical Michigan let down after last week?s big win, but this is Wisconsin?s first real test, and it is in Ann Arbor. The Badgers? freshman phenom, PJ Hill, Jr., won?t find easy running lanes against the improved Michigan front four, and the Badger offense will likely stall for most of the game. I like the Wolverines to cover the fourteen at home. Michigan 34-17.
Penn State +17 at Ohio State
PB: The Buckeyes have already avenged one of their two ?05 losses. The second one will be a real blowout. Motivated and at home, Ohio State cruises, 38-10.
AW: OSU was sluggish in the first half last weekend but still managed to cover. Penn State is not that bad but was beaten up by Notre Dame two weeks ago. Ohio State will execute much better on offense this week. Troy Smith and Ted Ginn continue their Heisman campaigns scoring early and often. Ohio State rolls 32-13.
Realist: Ohio State is clearly the better team here. Penn State has some rebuilding to do on defense, and the offense leaves much to be desired. I expect Penn State to play the same conservative zone coverage they played against ND, and I expect very similar results. Ohio State wins 41-17.
Arizona State +7.5 at California
PB: This one?s tough to call simply because Arizona State hasn?t beaten a quality opponent. Sorry, Colorado. I can?t find any reason to believe the Sun Devil defense has improved enough to win this game. Or even cover the spread. I feel good about a Cal win and cover ? 37-23.
AW: The Bears have found their footing after getting embarrassed in the opening weekend at Tennessee. Marshawn Lynch is averaging over seven yards a carry, and the defense is slowing down opponents. Arizona State probably has the offense to keep up but not to win. I?ll hedge Cal wins 30-27 but Arizona State covers.
Realist: These two teams are mirror images of one another as far as I?m concerned. Not much in terms of defense for either team, but enough offense to at least compete in every contest. In cases such as these, I?ll take the seven and a half, even against my better judgment. Cal wins close 38-35.
Notre Dame -3.5 at Michigan State
PB: Easily the toughest game of the weekend to call. The teams actually mirror one another pretty closely, when you look at it. The only difference is that Michigan State?s defense has been slightly better against significantly worse competition. So? Gosh, this is a tough one. I do expect the Irish to play better. I?ll hedge here: Notre Dame doesn?t cover, but wins a tight one, 28-27.
AW: This could be a fun game to watch. The prediction here is neither defense shows up. Brady Quinn and Darius Walker will definitely perform better than last week. Irish practices couldn?t have been much fun this week. Drew Stanton will be able to score on the ND secondary but ND bounces back behind Quinn?s arm and Walker?s feet. ND 35-30.
Realist: This is a must-win for Weis & Co. A loss here may cause the ND faithful to question the existence of Weis Almighty. Plus, the Spartans are just schizophrenic enough to win this game. It all comes down to pressure on Quinn. If MSU can force him into mistakes, they?ll win. If not, Quinn will put up a lot of points. The deciding factor is that I?m not betting on a John L. Smith coached team to execute for sixty minutes. Notre Dame wins 42-34.
Colorado +27 at Georgia
PB: Dan Hawkins came back to Athens for another ass whoopin? Ballsy. Stupid, but ballsy. The Bulldogs won?t let Colorado move the ball. Can they score enough to cover? I?ll say yes, barely. Georgia 31-3.
AW: Talk about a mismatch. Georgia and young Matthew Stafford are untested this season and that won?t change after this game. Colorado is 0-3 and will continue to embarrass the Big 12 this Saturday. The Bulldog defense has been outstanding and another shutout is a definite possibility but the Georgia offense has yet to hit on all cylinders. I doubt they put up enough points to cover. Georgia 27-7.
Realist: Georgia is notorious for not covering in games like these. They never seem to get it in gear against perceived ?lesser? competition. Eventually, Richt will take the training wheels off Stafford to see if he can make some things happen. With that will come a turnover or two and a short-field for the Buffs. I think the shutout streak will end, but Georgia will win in ho-hum fashion, not looking terribly impressive, but not looking particularly bad either. Georgia 34-10.
Tulsa +4.5 at Navy
PB: Paul Smith?s not a bad quarterback and Tulsa can win this game. But not on the road, and not after what I saw BYU do to their run defense. The Midshepmen stay undefeated with a solid win based on 250+ yards rushing. Navy wins 24-14.
AW: I admit I know nothing about either team. Navy whooped Stanford on the road last week. The Midshipmen are one of the best running teams in the country. Tulsa is 2-1 but gave up 49 points at BYU. Maybe they will defend the run better than the pass. I won?t matter. Navy?s rushing attack will be the difference. I?ll stick with Navy to cover at home. Navy 27-20.
Realist: Tulsa gave up 227 yards and 4 TD?s to BYU a couple of weeks ago. Navy is averaging 346 yards and 3.67 TD?s per game on the ground. Tulsa will get some points over the top of the Navy defense, but their defense will get pushed around by the Navy ground game. I?ll take the Midshipmen to win 27-24.