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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Picks Trying Not to Suck: Week Two

An eventful opening week left Homerism with a two-game lead on little bro, The Skinny. Homerism has been dreaming of chocotinis all week. On to the picks:


WEEK TWO--The Skinny 
(Last Week: 3-3)

Thanks, Tennessee! You managed to “volunteer” up every opportunity to beat UCLA by 3 touchdowns. I felt like I was a little harsh on Phil Fulmer last week. I was wrong. I was way too lenient. The Tennessee debacle brought me back to something I am all too familiar with: mediocrity. It’s back to the drawing board for The Skin this week. To the disappointment of my many female fans, Skinny didn’t spend Labor Day partying it up at the beach. No, I spent the holiday breaking down film to deliver you week two winners.

Advice: Prepare to be disappointed by the new season of HBO hit comedy Entourage, premiering this weekend. The irony is that the show’s downfall will come from writers and producers trying too hard to pander to what made it popular in the first place. A solid main cast was made great by outstanding supporting roles, i.e., the Seinfeld model. Look for Ari and Billy Walsh to take on focal roles and hurt the show’s dynamic. The gratuitous T&A wont change though, and that should keep us all tuned in.

Bonus (Advice of the football variety): Skinny hates picking all big favorites, but don’t look for many heavy road dogs to cover this week.

Houston at Oklahoma St. (-16.5)  

After OSU’s performance last week, how are the Pokes not favored by more at home this weekend? Yes, Wazzu is bad. But Mike Gundy’s offense lived up to the preseason hype. The Pokes will struggle when they run into an opponent they can’t simply outscore, but that’s not Houston. The Skinny offers his best wishes to former OU assistant Kevin Sumlin, who takes over the reins at Houston this season. Sumlin and his Cougars are simply outmatched in this one. Wave the wheat in The House That Boone Built.

Skinny Says: OSU by 28.

Utah State at Oregon(-35.5)

The Skin has to admit he knows nothing about Utah State, other than they are one of the worst teams in the lowly WAC. I do know that Oregon has a great offense under coordinator Chip Kelly. Last week, Oregon’s quarterbacks proved that they are a more than adequate replacement for Dennis Dixon, and the RB combo of Jeremiah Johnson and LaGarrette Blount are the best RB combo you’ve never heard of. Thirty-five is a ton of points, but the Ducks are capable of putting up 100 in this one.

Skin Says: Oregon by 45.

Ole Miss at Wake Forest(-8)

The Skinny is going to continue to ride the Demon Deacons. We have heard all weak about the invincible SEC and the pathetic ACC, and I think this is keeping the line artificially low. It’s dangerous to put too much stock into a team’s week one performance, but Wake lived up to it’s preseason expectations last week. (Granted, it was against lowly Baylor). Ole Miss looks to rejuvenate its program this year under new coach Houston Nutt and Texas transfer Jevan Snead at quarterback. You have to feel for an underrated fan base at Ole Miss. They’re counting on the Nutt Job to be their savior. Bottom line: I will take Skinner, the Wake D and Grobe against most teams in the country.

Skin Says: Wake by 17.

Miami(FL) at Florida(-21.5)  

Randy Shannon will return “The U” to prominence, but not this year. Shannon has proven he can recruit the fertile grounds of South Florida. Unlike master recruiter and former Oklahoma coach John Blake, he can actually coach and discipline his players. It doesn’t hurt that “Aw Shucks” Bowden continues to hang on at FSU. But the Canes are no match for Florida this year. Urban Meyer has a top five team, and the Gators return their two most explosive players this week in Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes. Plus, this one is in the Swamp.

Skin Says: Florida by 28.

West Virginia at East Carolina (+8) 

OK, yes, The Skin knows this is a trendy pick after ECU upset Va. Tech last weekend. And, yes, WVU is probably not laying as many points as a result. I watched a good potion of ECU’s game last weekend, though, and the Pirates have talent across the board. After watching Lou Holtz on ESPN, does anyone else wonder how he or anyone he created could be a successful coach? It certainly was not his pregame “pep” talks. The Skin questions new head coach Bill Stewart’s offensive philosophy with this team. Stewart wants Pat White to throw the ball more and use less of his considerable talents running the football. In addition, ultra-talented running back Noel Devine only carried the ball nine times last week. It does not seem that Stewart is making the best use of his considerable assets. WVU wins this one, but its close.

Skin Says: West Virginia by 1.

Lee Greenwood Special: Navy at Ball State (-7.5)

Skin likes the Ball passing game as the difference in this one. Nate Davis is one of the most underrated QBs in the country, and he has two NFL-caliber targets in Dante Love and Darius Hill. Navy simply doesn’t have the horses on D to contain them. The Midshipmen have a nice offense, and in today’s game, few teams see the wishbone with any regularity. However, Ball’s defense, while not great, is a step up from Towson State. Navy won’t be able to control the ball enough to keep Ball’s offense of the field. 
Skin Says: Ball wins this by 14.

WEEK TWO--Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 5-1)

Five for six. Also known as 83 percent. It doesn't get much better than that. Trust me, in fact--It won't. I almost wish I had stunk up the joint last week. I can't deal with these expectations. I'd rather be the hunter than the hunted. I can feel an oh-for coming on. (Of course, Homerism could just be trying to fake out his masses of dedicated readers to keep the lines in his favor.)
Texas Tech @ Nevada (+10)
OK, seriously, does this line seem weird to anyone else? You know, like it's just begging for you to take it? Texas Tech is a top 10 team, and Nevada's supposed to be a middle-of-the-pack WAC team, right? Apparently I'm not alone, as bettors are all over Tech in this one. That's one of many warning signs here, though. For all the strides the Red Raiders have made during coach Mike Leach’s nine-year tenure, most of those gains have come inside the Texas state borders. In 2007, for instance, the Red Raiders played 10 of 12 games within the Lone Star State. In fact, since 2003, Tech has played just three out-of-conference games outside of Texas, the last being a 2004 loss at New Mexico. Given Tech’s less-than-stellar 20-24 road record under Leach, the athletic department probably has good reason to keep the team close to home. In terms of match-ups, it would seem that the oddsmakers aren't buying the rumors of improvement by the Tech defense. Last week, the Red Raiders gave up 340 passing yards to Eastern Washington. That's with Tech's starters playing late into the game. The Wolf Pack return eight offensive starters, including triggerman Colin Kaepernick to run coach Chris Ault's "Pistol" system. I'm tempted to take Nevada straight up here, but I'm thinking Tech gets a scare and that's it.
Homerism Says: Nevada covers.

Miami at Florida (-22.5)

Wow, who would’ve ever thought we’d see a line this high in this Sunshine State rivalry? Some tough talk out of the Gators might have ignited a debate about who’s the real “U,” but there’s no doubt that Urban Meyer’s program is the big dog. A redshirt freshman making his first start at quarterback in The Swamp isn’t the kind of spot where the baby ‘Canes are going to announce their intent to recapture the state. Randy Shannon’s talented, young crew is at least a year away from competing with a team like the Gators. Miami’s youthful indiscretion will probably give Florida a few opportunities to rack up some cheap points on turnovers or busted assignments.

Homerism Says: Florida, 41-14.
Ohio (+34.5) @ Ohio State

Not much to be said here. Ohio St. has nothing to play for in this one. With USC coming up and Beanie Wells’ status dominating the college football headlines, where are the Buckeyes’ heads right now? Nowhere near a game with Ohio, Homerism suspects. Making it out of this game without any injuries is probably first on Jim Tressel's agenda.

Homerism Says: OSU, something like 31-0.

LGS: Air Force @ Wyoming (-3)

The Cowboys eked out a win in last week’s home opener against Ohio in a game many handicappers thought had blowout potential. Let’s chalk it up to opening week jitters. We don’t know much about Air Force coming off a 41-7 win over Southern Utah. However, one thing we do know about the Falcons is that they’re pretty unproven, with just three starters returning on offense. I’ll take a known commodity at home.

Homerism Says: Wyoming by 6.
Houston (+16.5) @ Oklahoma State

What are the odds that a team would play the Cougars in back-to-back weeks? Last week’s road trip to Seattle is the kind of opening game the Pokes always set their sights on in the offseason, usually with little success. Mission accomplished this time around, however. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer place in the summer than the Pacific Northwest, but it’s not exactly a refreshing road trip for a team from the Central time zone. On offense, Houston boasted a dynamic passing attack under Art Briles. After serving as passing game coordinator at Oklahoma for the last two years, new coach Kevin Sumlin seems like a great fit to keep that up. Sumlin's experience on the Sooner staff means he's pretty familiar with what the Pokes do, at least in terms of defensive match-ups. Expect Cougars 2.0 to come out slinging to test an OSU pass defense that has been historically weak.

Homerism Says: Houston through the back door.

UConn (-7) @ Temple

P$, a member of Homerism's trusted cadre of advisors, put the bug in the Homerism's ear on this one: "A number of things working here. Temple's coming off a team that fields the weakest offensive and defensive lines, playing a team that actually is rated above average on both lines this year. Army brought nobody back this year, and now Temple has to face someone that brought a ton of people back. Don't let the final score fool you in the Army game either, as Temple had two returns for scores and were outgained. Perhaps the most effective angle--UConn clearly did not take Temple seriously last year and barely escaped with a 22-17 win as a 31-point favorite! Don't think the Huskies take this one lightly, even with the revenge game against Virginia on deck."

Homerism Says: In a lousy slate this week, that works for me. UConn is the pick.