Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Picks Trying Not to Suck: Week 14

A very happy Thanksgiving to from Blatant Homerism and The Skinny, No Lee Greenwood Special this week, but our armed forces shouldn't take that as a slight. The only service academy game took place before this week's deadline.

WEEK 13--The Skinny
(Last Week: 2-4; Overall: 43-34)

It was another “sucky” week for The Skin. I used my flight home from Oklahoma as time to meditate on my picks after another disappointing card. In a moment of pure zen, it came to me. What do elite basketball players do in a prolonged slump? They force it. I have been forcing it the past few weeks. This week Skin is going to play within the flow of the game and take the picks that are given to him.

Skinny has been to quite a few big-time college football games. The Oklahoma-Texas Tech game was the best atmosphere I have ever witnessed. Big-time matchup, juiced crowed, national implications, primetime game of the week... It was awesome. The fact that Oklahoma totally dismantled Tech didn’t hurt.  
I have heard experts and pundits display utter shock at the fact that OU is ranked ahead of Texas this week. Yes, Texas beat OU in a close contest on a neutral field, so you wont hear Skin complain if Texas leapfrogs OU next week. But could someone (other than Bob Stoops) please mention the fact that Tech beat Texas. If head-to-head matchups are your criteria, shouldn’t Tech be ranked ahead of Texas?
Advice of the Week: Consider holding off on celebrating Christmas until January. The sales should be unbelievable.

Auburn at Alabama (-14.5)  

Skin generally recommends avoiding big rivalry games, but this one seems too good to be true. As with most good young teams, Alabama seems to play best when they have a reason to “get up” for a game. You can bet the 12th man in the “fake T-Town” will be up for this game. 
It has been a terrible year for Auburn. A preseason top 10 team, Auburn is 5-6 plus a fired offensive coordinator. That move hasn’t seemed to help the Tigers' spread attack much. The Tigers have scored 180 points on the season, one of the lowest totals in the country. Don’t over-think this game. Alabama is a far superior team playing at home. 
The Skinny Says: Lock up the Tide now!

Kansas at Missouri (-15.5)

*Kansas City 
Ok, so again I am going to go away from my general rule against picking rivalry games. As with Alabama, Missouri is clearly the better team in this game. Mizzou is not the top 5 team many projected early in the season, but the Tigers are still really good, especially on offense. Jeremy Maclin and Co.--notice I didn’t say Chase Daniel--will light up KU’s defense. The Jayhawks have given up 35 points or more in four out of their last five games. Granted, that stretch includes Texas, Tech, and OU. The I-70 rivalry is underrated nationally.
Skin Says: These two schools don’t like each other, and Missouri wont pull off the accelerator in the second half.

Notre Dame at USC (-31.5)

This game doesn’t fall under the rivalry game category. If a series has not been competitive in a decade, it ceases to be a rivalry, at least temporarily. The game analysis is easy. USC is really good, while ND is reeling. Plus, USC is at home and needs the style points for an outside shot at the BCS title game.
The report of students throwing snowballs at ND players and coaches really bothers Skin. Sure, I understand you are disappointed your program is down. But to throw things at your fellow students crosses the line. To the guilty party: I am sure your greatest contribution to the university will be hours of drinking games and all the jokes you played on the rector. The term "douchebag" comes to mind.
Skinny Says: USC.

Miss State at Ole Miss (-18)

Houston Nutt has made a believer out of Skin. It is hard to deny a 7-4 record with wins at Florida and LSU. Credit Ole Miss’ turnaround to Nutt and transfer Jevan Snead. The Rebels offense averages 30 points per game and six yards per play. Not bad for a team that struggled mightily on offense last year. Snead's stats wont amaze you, but his play has been consistent, and he has a managed to come up with big plays at critical times. 
Unfortunately, Sly Croom’s tenure at Mississippi State has not been as successful. The Bulldogs are absolutely brutal on offense, averaging a meager 16 points per contest. The Bulldogs have zero weapons on offense, and they are even worse on the road. This game has all the makings of a blowout. 
The Skinny Says: Take the Rebels giving the points.

Kent at Buffalo (-9.5)

I know you have had this one on your radar for months now. In all seriousness, there are some interesting MAC games on the board this weekend. The MAC has treated Skin well this season; unfortunately, I didn’t play them enough. Buffalo is one of the better squads in the MAC, having won five straight. The Bulls also have played well against BCS opponents this year. Drew Willy is an outstanding QB, completing 64 percent of his passes with only 5 picks on the season. Kent State is 3-8 on the year, and the Golden Flashes are particularly vulnerable against the pass. 
Skin Says: “Free” Willy and Bulls are too much for Kent.

Kentucky (+3.5) at Tennessee

I hate to say I told you so about Phil Fulmer, but well… I told you so. Don’t expect the Vols to be up for a “win one for Coach” performance, as Tennessee just wants this nightmare season to end. The Vols defense has been respectable this year, but their offense is atrocious, averaging just 16 points per game. Kentucky’s results this year are pretty impressive outside of a lopsided lost to Florida. Kentucky has narrow loses to Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. Kentucky will probably represent the SEC in the Music City Bowl, but a few lucky bounces, and they would have been looking at a New Year’s Day bowl. Kentucky has an underrated team, and the Vols will be out of this contest mentally. 
The Skin Says: I love Kentucky getting points.

WEEK 13--Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 4-2; Overall: 49-28)

Even when you win with me, sometimes you lose. I ended up 4-2 last week, and you scored big if you went ahead and played Syracuse on the money line as suggested. However, I also told you to dial things back, so you would have missed out if you took that advice.

Anyway, do with these what you will.

Baylor (+22) at Texas Tech
Tech has to be reeling after suffering such a beatdown against OU. Now, the Red Raiders have to play the waiting game and hope that Oklahoma State can upset the Sooners. Otherwise, Tech is headed to the Cotton Bowl at best. The last thing on the Raiders' minds will be putting it to Baylor this weekend.

While Tech was busy getting whipped, the Bears had a week off to prepare. Baylor will be looking to cap off its best year in a while with a good performance.

Homerism Says: Tech will be distracted this weekend, not angry. Baylor covers.

Nevada at Louisiana Tech (+4.5)
The Bulldogs have quietly put together a nice little season. Louisiana Tech has won four straight games and is 5-0 this year at home. The Bulldogs haven't really beat anyone of consequence, but let's ignore that, even though I can't give you a good reason why you should.

Nevada dropped a tough one in Reno last week, as its upset bid against Boise State fell just short. With Nevada traveling to Ruston and coming off a tough loss, this looks like a good spot to take a home underdog.

Homerism Says: La. Tech straight up.

Florida at Florida State (+16.5)
These lines are just too tight. I have no real reason to like FSU in this game. I tend to favor home underdogs in rivalries. That's the best I can do.

Homerism Says: Seminoles.

West Virginia at Pittsburgh (+3)
Obviously, no one knows what to make of Pitt this year. Wanny's squad shouldn't be too upset about losing to Cincinnati last week, though, as the Bearcats are the class of the Big East. The Mountaineers likely have revenge on their minds, but who cares? In the junior league chess match between Bill Stewart and the 'Stache, I'm betting Wanny figures out a way to keep Pat White in check.

Homerism Says: Pitt straight up.

Syracuse at Cincinnati (-22.5)
I really hate laying the wood like this so late in the season, but this one is getting the best of me. Cincy just has to win here to snag a BCS berth, which would be a huge achievement for the Bearcats. Meanwhile, after a season-making upset of Notre Dame in South Bend last week, the 'Cuse is simpy playing out the string here. I'd be surprised if the Orange even practiced this week. This looks like a huge letdown game, in other words.

Homerism Says: Take Cincy, then hate yourself in the morning.

North Carolina at Duke (+7.5)
What started with such promise for the Dukies has morphed into disappointment, having lost four straight. That means the Blue Devils won't be going bowling for 47th year in a row or something.  At mid-season, Homerism was touting head coach David Cutcliffe for coach of the year honors. I take that back, but that shouldn't detract from the fact his team made major strides this year.
Homerism suspects the Blue Devil seniors will want to go out on a high note in their home finale, a welcome homecoming after back-to-back roadies. Playing without hope for a conference title and linebacker Mike Paschal, expect a flat performance out of UNC. The extra motivation on the Duke sideline should be enough to cover, if not flat-out win.
Homerism Says: Duke.