In a week when Oklahoma is off, trying not to suck at handicapping makes for a nice diversion. Of course, thinking too much might not be the best idea given where our two contestants currently stand.
Side note: These games really suck.
On to this week's picks:
Blatant Homerism--Week 9
(Last week: 3-2; Overall: 26-14)
South Carolina at Auburn (-19.5)
The Tigers, who remain in the thick of the SEC and playoff chase, have had two weeks to ruminate on their sloppy performance versus Mississippi State. Kicking Steve Spurrier's ass is a nice way to get back on track and recapture some of the national attention. (Just ask Texas A&M.)
The Gamecocks stink, and their defense looks ill-equipped to handle Auburn's prolific run game.
The pick: I liked it more a couple points ago, but I still expect War Eagle all night long here.
Vanderbilt (+23) at Missouri
OK, Vanderbilt is bad. Even so, anyone backing Mizzou here must not have seen the Tigers play last week against Florida. Gary Pinkel's team scored the most deceptive 29-point blowout in history, ringing up just 7 first downs and a putrid 119 yards of total offense.
The Commodores had a week off to regroup, so look for a sharp (for them) effort Saturday afternoon.
The pick: Mizzou by just 10.
UCLA at Colorado (+14)
The Bruins head to Boulder lookin' a mess after losses to Utah and Oregon and a nail-biter over California in the last three weeks. This is UCLA's second consecutive road trip, and the boys from Westwood will be playing at altitude.
The pick: Bruins by seven, if at all.
Arizona at Washington State (+2.5)
Don't need to look farther than the number here. Keep in mind that the Wildcats surrendered nearly 600 yards of total offense to the last Air Raid team they faced, Cal.
The pick: Wazzu, 72-64.
Mississippi State at Kentucky (+14)
Whereas I normally look to back teams coming off a bye, I actually hate that the Bulldogs were off last week. MSU had a scorching start to the year, so my concern here is that Dakota Prescott and Co. might have lost a little of their edge.
Also, note that UK played the Bulldogs pretty tight in Starkville a year ago.
The pick: MSU holds on by not enough.
The Skinny--Week 9
(Last week: 2-3; Overall: 23-16-1)
Kansas State at Texas (+10)
Miami at Virginia Tech (+3)
Oregon State (+13) at Stanford
West Virginia at Oklahoma State (-1)
Minnesota (-5.5) at Illinois