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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Picks Trying Not to Suck: Week Six

Couple big games on the horizon next weekend. Of course, that means we could be in for another shakeup this week.

WEEK SIX--The Skinny
(Last Week: 1-5; Overall: 17-13)

It was a bad, bad week for The Skin. I guess this proves I am human. Did Michael Jordan make every shot? Does Tiger Woods make every putt? Does Homerism aficiondo Kenzo score with every female? Even the best have their off days. At times like these I am reminded of my brother's credo: You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take! In that spirit I am going to keep shooting. So here goes!

Advice of the Week: If you haven't already, you need to check out the show "Californication" on Showtime.

Penn State (-13) at Purdue
Ok, so The Skin has done his fair share of JoePa bashing this season, but it's time to admit his Penn State squad is pretty damn good this year. The Nittany Lions' offense has been on fire this season, and their defense has been pretty solid as well. Penn State has been good against the spread as well, going 4-1 so far. But all those impressive stats have been racked up in the friendly confines of Happy Valley. (No, a trip to Syracuse is not a true road game.) 

The Skin is not a big fan of Purdue this year. The Boilermakers have struggled against the only decent teams they have played this year, Oregon and Notre Dame. Skinny was forced to watch the entire ND-Purdue clash last weekend, and the Boilermakers are slow and lacking any true playmakers. Curtis Painter is 0-3 lifetime against PSU with zero touchdown passes. Thanks for the nugget, ESPN.
The Skinny Says: I like JoePa and the Nittany Lions big in this one, 31-10.
Lee Greenwood Special: Navy at Air Force (-6)
No bitching from Skin this week about how he hates picking a service academy game. I have decided to make things easy this week. If the Navy and the Air Force were to battle in real life, Air Force would obviously win. Air Force jets would just bomb Navy battleships, and the fight would be over. You might be thinking, "What if the Navy shot down the Air Force jets?" According to Skinny's good friend and armchair four-star general Boogs, this would never happen: "Our jets are entirely too stealth these days. This isn't WWII." That's all I needed to hear.

The Skin Says: Take Air Force laying the points.

Texas A&M at OSU (-24.5)
As an Oklahoma fan, it pains me to admit that our nerdy little brother is actually pretty good. Led by QB Zac Robinson and a stable of nice skill players, OSU has one of the better offenses in the Mountain West… ah, excuse me the Big XII. Is it just The Skin, or does it feel like the conference is watered down when even the worst teams put up video game-type scores? The Cowboys have a terrific offense, but their defense will prevent them from competiting with college football’s big dogs. 
A&M is bad. In fact they are the worst team in the Big 12 this year. 
Skinny Says: The Pokes can name their score in this one. OSU by 28.

Rice at Tulsa (-16.5)

If you haven’t already hopped on the Tulsa train, get on board. The Golden Hurricane is the best non-BCS team in the country. Tulsa has all the elements you need for an outstanding offensive system, and David Johnson is incredibly efficient in it. Tulsa’s wide receivers and running back are underrated. The defense is more than serviceable. The only things separating Tulsa from the big dogs are the offensive and defensive lines. (And the cheerleaders… Don’t expect to see the TU cheer squad featured in the "Girls of C-USA" anytime soon). TU is really small on both lines, and as OU proved against Tulsa last year, you just can’t compete when your that outmatched up front. 
Rice runs an identical spread offense to Tulsa, ironically designed by Todd Graham when he was the OC at Rice. The only problem is that Tulsa runs it much better. 
The Skinny Says: Four touchdowns better, in fact.

Stanford at Notre Dame (-6.5) 

The only thing riskier than betting on Notre Dame is stealing Charlie Weis’ lunch money. (Sorry, the Skin couldn’t resist.) Notre Dame is such a polarizing team it does weird things to the line, so I generally advise against playing an Irish game. This line is just too tempting, though. 
Jim Harbuagh has done a nice job returning Stanford to respectability. Stanford will be a middle of the road team in the worst BCS conference--I think 4 losses to the Mountain West in one weekend earns that distinction. 
Notre Dame is the most improved team in college football. Unfortunately, one can’t help but catch all their games, and the Irish finally have some athletes at the skill positions to go with a pretty stout defense. Don’t get me wrong, the Irish are still far from good. But they do have some nice pieces. 
Skinny Says: The Irish win one for the “gimper.”

Washington St at UCLA (-17.5)

After two bad weeks, it's time to go back to old faithful, Wazzu. The Cougars get Skin’s vote for the worst team in college football. UCLA is no juggernaut itself--just ask BYU. This breakdown is pretty simple. Wazzu’s defense couldn't stop me split out wide. UCLA has a little bit better talent and a good coaching staff. UCLA is at home. 
The Skin Says: Bruins by 27.
WEEK SIX--Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 6-0; Overall: 22-8)
I hate every single one of these picks.
Cincinnati @ Marshall (+3.5)

Cincinnati looked like a solid team when it rolled into Norman earlier this year, despite the beatdown administered by the Sooners. Starting with that game, though, injuries have plagued Bearcat signal callers. After Dustin Grutza sustained a broken leg in the OU game, backup Tony Pike broke his arm late in last week’s tight win at Akron. Now, Brian Kelly’s squad is down to third-string quarterback Zach Collaros (fourth-string if you’re counting Ben “Uncle Rico” Mauk). A Friday night game on the road is a tough spot for a redshirt freshman making his first start under center.

Homerism Says: Thundering Herd straight up.

Kansas at Iowa State (+11.5)
The Cyclones have burned me before this year, but I think Iowa St. has made some strides under Gene Chizik. Improved or not, the important red flags are up here. This is an early kickoff, which definitely works in ISU's favor. KU bombed ISU by 38 last year, so there’s some revenge at play here. Both teams were off last week, but who do you think spent more time prepping for this matchup in the off week? I think the Cyclones get up for this one and keep it close.

Homerism Says: Iowa St. covers and puts a scare in the Jayhawks.

LGS: Navy at Air Force (-6)
Homerism has listened to The Skin’s complaints about the weekly Lee Greenwood Special, and I’m unmoved. I think it’s fair to question Skinny’s patriotism at this point.

Without the LGS, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to capitalize on great opportunities like last week’s Navy-Wake Forest game. Or this game. The Midshipmen have improved week by week this season, culminating in last week’s upset of a good Wake team.

The same can be said for Air Force, though. Even the loss to Utah two weeks showed promise for the Falcons. Now, the Falcons have had two weeks to stew over last season’s loss in Annapolis, while Navy is riding high off last week’s win.

Homerism Says: Air Force covers the six.

Auburn (-4)  at Vanderbilt
Homerism is buying the Vanderbilt hype. Apparently ESPN is as well, as the GameDay crew will be camped out in Nashville this weekend. One member of the GameDay bunch is likely to be disappointed with the eye candy at Vandy compared with his other favorite SEC outposts.

Every time I watch Auburn, I get a little less enthusiastic about Tommy Tuberville’s team. Offensive guru Tony Franklin’s spread scheme just isn’t taking to the Tigers’ personnel. Auburn’s D looks tough as always, but the offense can’t put points on the board.

The Commodores, on the other hand, quietly have put together a nice little resume. The win at Ole Miss two weeks ago now looks even better after the Rebels’ upset of Florida last week. Sure, South Carolina hasn’t quite lived up to billing, but it’s still a solid W. GameDay’s presence lends somewhat of a big game atmosphere to this tilt, so Vandy Nation should be fired—and liquored—up for the nighttime kick.

Talented Commodore coach Bobby Johnson has had an extra week to prepare, while Auburn has slogged through fistfights with LSU and Tennessee. This just seems like it’s tailor-made for the home team.

Homerism Says: Vandy pulls out a close one.

Illinois (+2.5) at Michigan
Completely unrelated question: Why would Terrelle Pryor shun Michigan for Ohio State? The freshman stud looks like a great match for RichRod’s spread scheme.

The Wolverines’ upset win last week over Wisconsin epitomized “undeserved.” Where to start? Michigan was outgained by 120 yards. Big Blue turned it over five times. The Wolverines scored on a pick-six. Steven Threet’s passing line: 12 completions in 31 attempts, 96 yards, one touchdown, 2 INTs. I guess turnabout is fair play, because Michigan dropped a similar game to Notre Dame two weeks before. Anyway, Michigan still isn’t that good, and this looks like a letdown for the Wolverines.

Ron Zook’s Illinois team likely has taken a step back this year after sustaining major losses on the defensive side. But the Illini can put points on the board against a mediocre Michigan team.

Homerism Says: Illinois straight up.

Kentucky (+16.5) at Alabama
The 2007 UK team rode quarterback Andre Woodson and a high-powered offense to a hot start, catching the media’s eye early in the season. This year’s edition of the Wildcats, on the other hand, has snuck under the radar to a 4-0 record, fueled by a fearsome defense. Of course, when you’re playing the likes of Norfolk State and Western Kentucky, it’s not so surprising that you’re only giving up an average of 5.5 points per game. Still, watching the Wildcats stomp Louisville on opening weekend was enough to convince Homerism this team is for real.

The Tide certainly is rolling right now. Much like when ‘Bama’s lacklauster win over Tulane in week two, look for a letdown performance in this one.

Homerism Says: Tide by 10, as UK sneaks in the backdoor.