Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Picks Trying Not to Suck: Week Three

If you love mediocre handicapping, you've come to the right place. Homerism and The Skinny are treading water after two weeks, and, contrary to the wisdom of High School Harry sitting next to you at the blackjack table, pushing ain't really winning.


WEEK THREE--The Skinny
(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 5-7)

I said last week I didn't think Oklahoma was as bad as perceived after Utah State. Of course, by the same token, I don't think OU is as good as we might think after Florida State.

I must admit it was nice to see OU play so well. I think this team is talented and can compete with any team in country. But, can the Sooners pull out a W in the one or two tough games every championship team seems to encounter – that game in College Station or Stillwater that hinges on a play or two in the 4th quarter?

Advice of the Week: Say what you want about the Worldwide Leader, but ESPN produces some hilarious commercials. They have really outdone themselves this year with the Monday Night Football commercials. I don't know what it is, but the necktie in the blender bit gets me every time.

It's Billy Baldwin (or one of the Baldwin brothers) in the "mom jeans" that puts this one over the top. It's funny because it's true, but I'll take mom jeans any day over "designer" denim couture. Nothing reaks of douche worse than a guy with fancy designs on his ass.

Lee Greenwood Special: Navy (-4) at Louisiana Tech

We're going to change things up this week and start off with the LGS.

I love the Midshipmen this year. Seriously, Navy has the most exciting offense I have seen this season. Sure, the Middies lost to Maryland – four fumbles in the red zone will do that to you – but watching BH's boy Ricky Dobbs orchestrate the triple option is amazing.

The interesting thing about Navy's version of the triple option is how well the ball gets spread around. It really keeps the defense off balance.

Skin says: OK, I think you get the point. I love Navy and really love Navy this weekend.

BYU at Florida State (-10)

Both team are coming off disappointing losses on the road last week. Outside of FSU's opening drive in Norman, the Sooners absolutely crushed the ‘Noles. The Sooners exposed a very weak Seminole defense and a bunch of very average skill players on offense.

I have come to expect FSU and Miami to disappoint these days, and neither team proved me wrong last week. Contrary to popular opinion, though, FSU is closer to being "back" than The U. Jimbo Fisher has recruited well in his time at FSU, and I'm much more confident in Fisher as coach than I am in Randy Shannon.

On the other side, BYU was manhandled last weekend by a pesky Air Force team. It seemed like the perfect storm for BYU last week, a letdown game sandwiched between UW and FSU on the road against a triple option offense.

In Fisher's debute two weeks ago, Doak Walker Stadium was literally at half capacity. (I know it was Samford, but still.) Don't expect BYU to have any trouble with the crowd noise.

The Skinny says: This is payback game for a BYU team with a renewed focus. I like BYU.

Clemson at Auburn (-7.5)

At first glance Auburn's 17-14 victory at Mississippi State last weekend doesn't look like much, but Skinny came away impressed. State is a better team than most think, and the Tigers faced a pretty hostile crowd in Starkville.

This week Auburn will be in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium with extra time off to prepare for Clemson. We saw flashes of Cam Newton's potential last week, and I expect Newton and Gus Malzhan will light up the scoreboard against a Clemson defense that gave up nearly 500 yards to North Texas.

Running backs must grow on trees in Clemson. Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper aren't quite James Davis and C.J. Spiller, but they are arguably the best RB combo outside of Alabama. Kyle Parker is nice QB to complement the running game, but I think Auburn's defense will be more than up to the task.

Skinny says: This one seems simple. Auburn is better on both sides of the ball. Auburn wins in easy fashion.

Texas at Texas Tech (+4)

I generally avoid betting on Texas games. It's pretty hard for me to be objective when it comes to the Longhorns. Add in Tech breaking in a new coach and Texas breaking in a ton of new players, and this seems like a risky play. But, I live on the edge and, as they say, no risk, no reward.

Tech remains an unknown quantity. The Red Raiders always reliable offensive system left Lubbock in a storm of controversy, courtesy of Mike Leach and Craig James. Leach is a great coach, but did anyone doubt the Mike Leach era at Tech would end any other way?

Leach said this week he felt this could have been his best team at Tech. Now, though, that squad is in the capable hands of Tommy Tuberville. Tubs brings one the better defensive minds to an offensive-minded program. Tuberville was inconsistent during his time in the SEC, but he has always been a great big game coach.

Much like Florida, OU, USC and FSU, Texas is caught up in the youth movement in college football. The Longhorns' lineup is littered with underclassmen, albeit extremely talented underclassmen. Combine UT's inexperience with a new offensive system, and it's no surprise the Longhorns have struggled against weak opponents this season. Texas will be a strong team by the end of the season but right now the Longhorns aren't great.

The Skin says: A good friend of mine with inside knowledge of all things West Texas, including Red Raider football, once told me never to bet against Tech in home night games. Tech not only covers, but wins this game outright.

Northwestern (-6.5) at Rice

The mighty Northwestern Wildcats roll into Houston this week to take on the lowly Rice Owls. Sure, Rice held it's own against Texas, but I think that was more Texas' struggles than anything the Owls did.

Northwestern has always been good to me in the past, and Pat Fitzgerald is a promising young coach who seems to get the most out of his players.

Skin says: I like Northwestern laying the points. Expect a spring break-type atmosphere at the Sigma Chi house postgame.

Louisville at Oregon State (-20)

I really wanted to take Minnesota over USC in this spot. Unfortunately, the bookies dissuaded me by moving the line down to +11.5 for the Gophers. The fear of a late 'SC score looms too large at 11.5.

Instead, I am going with one of the more unusual matchups of the weekend, with Louisville going into Beaver Country. I love Mike Reilly and the Rodgers brothers, especially at home. Yet, I think this is a trap game with a trip to Boise coming up next week.

The Skinny says: I think OSU wins, but 20 is far too many points.

WEEK THREE--Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 6-6)

Homerism's jaunt to Sin City last weekend reminded me yet again of the joys of Vegas during football season.

Sitting by the pool surveying the lines. People talking about how the Miami players wanted revenge against Ohio State for a game that took place seven years ago. Standing in line to place bets and listening to chump homers sporting the burnt orange talking about how "Texas is a lock." Drunk Cowboys fans crying about how refs "shouldn't be deciding the game" by calling the most blatant of blatant holding penalties.

Of course, there are also those moments like when you realize the fat fingers of the guy working the counter has left you rooting for Vandy +11 against LSU, as the object of your handicapping affection, Cal, carpet bombs Colorado.

The moral of the story: All sales are final.

LGS: North Texas at Army (-5.5)

The Black Knights have let me down two weeks in a row. I guess they've got more on their minds up at West Point than not making me look like a fool.

I'm scratching your back, Army, and sticking with you. Will you scratch mine?

The Mean Green actually might help me out here. Derek Thompson is making his first start at quarterback in place of Nathan "Catchy" Tune, who's gone for the year with a dislocated hip.

Homerism says: Army by eight.

Arkansas at Georgia (+2)

This game comes down to which defense can make more plays. Can Arkansas' supercharged offense against a solid Bulldog D make up for the Razobacks' defensive ineptitude against a decent Georgia offensive attack.

South Carolina put a beating on the Bulldogs a week ago, but this is an entirely different matchup. Unless Arky got a whole lot more physical since last season, I think the Bulldogs will have their way in the trenches.

By the way, Ryan Mallett has never won a true road game as a starter.

Homerism says: Georgia gets back on track.

Fresno State at Utah State (+3.5)

In case you haven't picked up on it, Utah State really impressed Homerism with its effort in the opening week against Oklahoma. Even if the Sooners were sandbagging in the opener, the Aggies probably gained a ton of confidence last week watching OU lay waste to Florida State.

Meanwhile, Fresno's win over Cincinnati in its opening game suddenly doesn't look so impressive after the Bearcats got worked over by North Carolina State Thursday night.

Pat Hill's team is coming off a bye, which does give me pause about this game. However, Utah State had Idaho State last week, which is the equivalent of a scrimmage.

Homerism says: I liked this game better when USU was getting five. I still like it now, though.

Iowa at Arizona (+1.5)

A Midwestern power travels west for an evening in the Sonoran desert. Along with Nebraska-Washington, this is the most intriguing matchup of the weekend.

Don't look now, folks, but perpetually underrated Iowa actually could be getting a little too much respect at the moment. Love the Hawkeye's front four, but not that enamored with the rest of the squad.

The d-line represents Iowa's greatest strength going up against the Arizona Air Raid. Wildcats QB Nick Foles has grown into one of the country's best quarterbacks, and he has a multitude of weapons to pick from on offense. Defensively, I expect Mike Stoops has something up his sleeve to combat Adam Robinson and Iowa's physical running game.

Homerism says: If Iowa can win here, it has a great shot at getting to the national championship game. I suspect that dream ends tonight.

East Carolina at Virginia Tech (-20)

Per, the tickets are being written almost four to one for East Carolina in this one. Yet, the spread has climbed 2.5 points towards Tech since it opened. That's a sharp move.

This game is all about overreaction. Having just lost to a I-AA team, Virginia Tech must really suck. Meanwhile, East Carolina is 2-0 and new coach Ruffin McNeil has breathed new life into the Pirates.

Slow your roll there, homie. Va Tech had a complete letdown game last week. As for the Pirates, they've beaten Tulsa on a hail mary and an awful Memphis team.

Next needs a blowout to right the ship, and this is ECU's first road game ever under Ruffcakes.

Homerism says: Hokies 35, Bucs 10.

Notre Dame at Michigan State (-3.5)

Last week's Notre Dame-Michigan game looked an awful lot like the one they played last year. I suspect everyone is getting way too excited about both teams.

The ND defense still isn't up to snuff, and I like to go against teams playing their first road games with quarterbacks who have eye injuries.

Homerism says: Sparty by double digits.