A note about Blatant Homerism's coverage this weekend: Familial responsibilities will have Homerism pretty jammed up this weekend. I will try to check in every so often and put pen to page, but I'm not making any promises. With that in mind, let's jump right into this week's pick-off.
WEEK NINE--The Skinny
(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 23-25)
*Where did all the good teams go? Honestly, name a team that you think is good this season. I don't mean a team that was lucky to beat Miss. St or Oregon St. I mean Oklahoma '75, Miami '87, Nebraska '95, USC '04. That kind of dominance!
Maybe there is a reason for the lackluster field of teams this season? There are no good players. This is the weakest Heisman field I can remember. Just five years ago Jason White, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson all shared the Heisman stage together? Do they have to give out a Heisman this year?
*What is with America's recent obsession with Vampires? I don't get it! I have actually had numerous women tell me that Vampires are a huge turn on! Huh?
*After Tim Tebow's miserable performance against Miss. State, in which he nearly cost his team the game with a couple costly interceptions, he refused to face the media. For the past three years, we have been barraged by the endless hype regarding Tebow. How many times have you heard "Tim Tebow is a great player and an even better person," or "Tebow is such a great leader!," "Tebow is so selfless!"?
It seems Tebow is the only thing hotter than Vampires these days. Personally, I think it is pretty weak he dodged the media. The first sign of adversity and Tebow acts like a coward.
*Erin Andrews = overrated, Wendi Nix = underrated.
*Charlie Weis is fat. (Editor's note: You're just now figuring this out?) I think he is the only coach in college football who can't run to the locker room at halftime. Even Mark Mangino can manage a trot.
*Given my record this season, why are you reading this?
Advice of the Week: If you bet on a Big 12 game this season, you must enjoy losing money.
Texas at Oklahoma State (+9)
Yes, I know I just said one is a fool for betting on the Big 12 this season. I make an exception for Texas, OU, and, to a lesser extent, OSU. These three seem to have separated themselves from the pack, and for the most part, you know what you are getting.
Last week, Texas and Colt McCoy finally looked like the team we expected to see all season. But the Longhorns have struggled against OSU in recent years, including last year's 28-24 win in Austin. This will without a doubt be the best offense Texas has seen this season despite the loss of Dez "Primetime" Bryant. The Cowboys' defense is pretty weak, but it's slightly better than last year. The Pokes are giving up 350 yards per game this season.
The Cowboys are without a doubt a top 25 team this season, but I think this game is all about Texas. If the Longhorns win this game, their road to the Big 12 and national championship games gets much easier, and everyone knows it, including Mr. Clutch, Mack Brown, and his team. Bob Stoops may have long ago lost the moniker "Big Game Bob," but at least he did something to earn it in the first place. Historically, Texas hasn't done well under pressure with Mack Brown at the helm.
All the pressure is on Texas this week, and I think that really hurts the Horns. My guess is if Texas makes it out of this game alive, they will have won by 30. If it is a close game, I like the Cowboy's chances.
Skinny says: I will take the home team with the points and pray for a close game!
Michigan (-7) at Illinois
Does Vegas not know that Illinois is terrible? Then again, a seven-point spread in the Big 10 is like 28 points for the rest of the country. You might be down on Michigan after last week's blowout loss to Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions. This is a young team that has been living on the edge a lot this season. The Wolverines were due for a bad week.
Illinois, on the other hand, has had a bad year, and it seems the wheels are coming off the bus. It is never a good thing when your AD has to come out and give you a vote of confidence. Don't worry about Zook; he will land on his feet. My guess: the Washington Redskins.
Skin says: Michigan blows out the reeling Illini, 17-7.
Southern Miss (+6.5) at Houston
Houston has received all the hype this season, but Southern Miss might be the best team in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are second in the league offensively–Houston is first–and they lead the conference in defense.
The Eagles (5-3) have had a tumultuous season. Earlier this month, freshman punter Peter Wilkes committed suicide. Injuries don't come close to matching the tragedy of losing a teammate, but the Golden Eagles have been extremely unlucky this season with injuries. Most notably, star RB Damion Fletcher and WR DeAndre Brown have both missed time this season with nagging injures. Even with the injuries Southern Miss managed to beat UCF and Virginia and almost won in Lawrence.
If you get a chance, you need to watch Brown live. The kid is a freak: 6-4, 235 lbs. with "track" speed. He will be a star on the next level. The kind of player the 'Skins would never draft.
Houston has proven they are a good team, but I love the now healthy Southern Miss Golden Eagles in this game. It is obvious from the spread that Vegas likes them too.
Skinny says: This is a definitely trap game for the uniformed gambler. Good thing you have Skin here to enlighten you.
THE COIN GAME: Michigan State at Minnesota (+3.5)
I am starting think all the statistics classes I took in school were bullshit. The coin has been pretty miserable this season. However, if statistical principals do hold true, the coin is due for a W. I can't say I am really digging its pick this week. The Spartans are hard to read, and they haven't played well on the road this season.
The Gophers seem to be trending downward, and star Eric Decker. At least the Gophers finally have a true home field advantage with the opening of TCF Stadium. In case you didn't know, TCF is a bank here in the Midwest. Thank God most stadiums in college football were built before the era of corporate naming rights. It's probably only matter of time until we have Trojan Coliseum, the Magnum Big House, Levi Garrett's Swamp, Ryan Field at Saks Fifth Avenue Stadium.
The Skinny says: The coin is going to take Minnesota in hopes the Spartans continue to struggle on the road.
Temple at Navy (-7)
It looks like Navy might be without its starting QB and best RB this Saturday against Temple. The two together combine for 70 percent of Navy's offense. I got to be honest with you–I don't know much about Navy's backup and don't know much about the starter, Ricky Dobbs, either. But I am assuming Dobbs is the better QB, because he is the starter.
I know Navy has been hot lately, winning five straight, but Temple is also on a five-game winning streak. Seems like the spread should be tighter given Navy's injury problems. Do the folks in Vegas know something we don't? They may, but that doesn't mean they are right. Last time I checked, Tim Donaghy hasn't started reffing college football. As Oklahoma fans can tell you, injuries can really change a team's fate, especially at quarterback.
The Skin says: I think two teams are pretty even on paper, but I will take six points going against Navy's backup QB!
South Carolina (+6) at Tennessee
I watched South Carolina play several times this season and have been fairly impressed. I am kind of surprised that South Carolina hasn't been more competitive in the SEC landscape, having been led by two hall of fame coaches for the past decade. From the outside, it seems South Carolina has all the makings you need to develop a powerhouse program. South Carolina is in a big-time conference and they have the facilities, fan base and recruiting territory to at least compete for the SEC title every now and then. This is definitely Spurrier's best team at USC. Ironically, it has been the Gamecocks' defense that has carried USC this season.
Tennessee also has a pretty good defense under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Getting Monte along with Lane Kiffin was a pretty good deal for the Volunteers. It's not everyday you can get an NFL coaching legend to agree to take a coordinator position in college. I admit I am not in the Lane Kiffin fan club, but I think he will have Tennessee competitive again soon.
South Carolina has been playing well as of late. The Gamecocks went toe to toe with Alabama in Tuscaloosa two weeks ago.
The Skinny says: If that team shows up this weekend, and I think it will, South Carolina might win this game outright. Might be a nice money line play.
WEEK NINE--Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 4-2; Overall: 25-23)
Central Michigan (+5) at Boston College
In a weird scheduling quirk, BC has two back-to-back non-conference games in the middle of the season. Unfortunately for the Eagles, both games are against solid squads, too. Last week's near upset of Notre Dame had to have taken a lot out of them.
The Chippewas enter this game the winners of seven straight. They've covered six out of seven times, including both games against major conference teams (Arizona and Michigan State).
CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour is one of the best in the country, and the gritty senior leads a dynamic spread offense averaging 33.1 points per game. That actually makes this a really tough matchup for BC. Even with all the teams running some version of it in college football these days, the Eagles have yet to really face a "true" spread offense this season.
Where will the Eagles' heads be after such a tough loss at ND? Hopefully in the game for their sake, because I'm putting the Eagles on upset alert.
Homerism says: CMU straight up.
Cincinnati at Syracuse (+15)
'Cuse is one of those teams that no one ever wants to put their hard-earned money down on. After all, when you're backing a dog with fleas, you're gonna get bit more often than not. I get that.
Give the Orangemen a chance this weekend, though. No, they won't beat Cincy. However, with Bearcat gunslinger Tony Pike likely to sit this one out, second-stringer Zach Collaros will make his first true road start on Saturday. Collaros did play in the blowout win at South Florida two weeks ago, but he entered the game after Cincy had rolled out a comfortable lead. He'll have to earn this one on his own.
Next week, the Bearcats have a big revenge game when UConn comes to town. Combine that with the early kickoff in this game, and I'm anticipating a sluggish start for Brian Kelly's team.
Homerism says: Syracuse keeps it within two touchdowns.
Nebraska (-13) at Baylor
Last week, putrid Iowa State turned eight turnovers into nine points, which turned out to be enough to pull off a stunning win at Nebraska. The week before that, Texas Tech shellacked the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, 31-10. Bo Pelini's team needs a vacation.
How about lovely Waco? Ever since Baylor lost star quarterback Robert Griffin to a knee injury, the Bears have looked like a shell of their former high-flying selves. Baylor has lost three straight and averaged a meager eight points per game in doing so.
The trends don't bode well for the 'Huskers here: double-digit road favorite, early kickoff, big game next week at home against Oklahoma. Still, this looks like a tremendous opportunity for NU to get things moving in the right direction.
Homerism says: Nebraska big or Pelini's head explodes.
LGS: Temple (+7) at Navy
The LGS frequently puts you in the unappealing position of being forced to handicap a game that is the least of three evils. I give you Temple getting seven at Navy.
I feel like I'm missing something here. Since sustaining a season-opening loss to Div. I-AA Villanova, Temple has played some solid football. Meanwhile, Navy is all banged up. Should this line really be seven points?
Homerism says: This smells like it's too obvious, but I'm going with Temple.
New Mexico State (+44) at Ohio State
I know zip about NMSU, outside of I think its coach broke another coach's jaw in preseason practice in Napa, all with the approval of Al Davis. Whatever.
This is a pick against OSU more than anything else. Off the top of my head, I don't even remember the last time the Buckeyes scored 44 points. They have no motivation in this case and are likely to be looking ahead to next week's game at Penn State.
Homerism says: OSU, 38-0.
Miami at Wake Forest (+7)
What a tough loss last week for The U. Those are the kinds of defeats that young teams struggle to put behind them once their dreams of BCS bowls are dashed. Meanwhile, the wily Jim Grobe will have his team ready to play this weekend following two straight ugly road losses.
Homerism says: Take the Deacs getting points.