BH started moving back towards respectability last week. The Skinny went 2-3, which almost feels like progress, in so far as his record didn't get worse.
Let's get back to draining our wallets. (And by that I mean doing this for recreational purposes only.)
BLATANT HOMERISM--Week 3
(Last Week: 3-2; Overall: 4-6)
Kentucky (+6.5) at South Carolina
South Carolina's 2-0 start is more misleading than an ESPN PR statement. To wit:
- The Gamecocks have scored two touchdowns on kickoff returns by Deebo Samuel;
- Of their eight scoring drives this year, five have covered 50 yards of fewer;
- They're plus-four in turnover margin so far; and
- Missouri collected all of three points last week on three trips inside the red zone.
The Wildcats haven't exactly impressed me this season, but I'm betting against the Gamecocks here more than showing any sort of faith in UK.
The pick: Gamecocks by not enough – if at all.
Purdue at Missouri (-7.5)
Speaking of Mizzou, I'm hanging tough with the Tigers this week. Despite last week's disappointing loss, they aren't that far off yet. A little more efficiency in the red zone would help. I do like the idea of Barry Odom taking a more active role in the defense.
Purdue is less depressing than usual this year. This line hints at an overreaction to that.
The pick: Home team, 41-31.
Wisconsin at BYU (+16.5)
I've seen the Cougars' offense this year, so I don't love this pick. The D is playing with its customary saltiness, though, and the Badgers haven't blown me away yet this year.
The masochist in your family will enjoy this one.
The pick: Wisky, 16-5.
Baylor (+14.5) at Duke
Baylor has played some appalling football in the first two weeks of the year. No one is disputing that. Thing is, the Bears still have some decent talent left over from the previous regime, and even though you wouldn't know it by how they've looked so far, they have a great coach.
Factor in that Zach Smith is getting the start at quarterback for BU, and I think we see some improvement out of Matt Rhule's team this week. Not enough to win, but enough to keep the final margin within two TDs.
The pick: Take the points.
Texas (+15.5) at USC
After the Longhorns got whipped in week one by Maryland, the marketing of this glamour game shifted from "two prestigious teams from good programs" to "the 2006 Rose Bowl was awesome." There might be some senior citizens in the stands of the Coliseum on Saturday night who still yearn to see USC get revenge against the Team That Vince Young Built. But that game seems like it was a long time ago now, doesn't it?
Given what USC players are familiar with when it comes to UT, I wonder if they really view this as a big game. I mean, many of the participants in this game were six or seven back when VY worked his magic on the Trojans. They also enjoyed a gratifying last week over nemesis Stanford.
Lastly, Tom Herman has a history as a coach of having his teams better prepared for marquee matchups at the expense of the games that won't help build his rep. It's entirely possible the Texas coaching staff gave USC far more attention since the start of preseason camp than the 'Horns spent Maryland and San Jose State.
The odds that USC isn't taking this game half as seriously as Texas are good enough that I'll ride out with the underdog.
The pick: USC by 13.
THE SKINNY--Week 2
(Last Week: 2-3; Overall: 4-6)
Illinois (+17) at South Florida
SMU (+19.5) at TCU
Purdue (+7.5) at Missouri
Kansas (+7.5) at Ohio
Texas (+15.5) at USC