Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Picks Trying Not to Suck: Week 8

It's neck and neck as we enter the second half, with The Skinny holding a razor-thin half-game lead on his brother.

WEEK EIGHT--The Skinny
(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 23-17-2)

I'll keep it short and sweet this week as I am off to South Bend this weekend for what might be the only college football game I will attend this season (unless the Sooners should have the good fortune of playing in a bowl game in Louisana not named the Independence Bowl). I have to say I don't think I am missing much.

The first half of the college football season has been awful. I can't think of one game this season that I would label a great game. Beyond the lack of competitive games, it seems the quality of play overall has been poor this season. If I wanted to watch a bunch of mediocre teams in meaningless games, I would become an NFL fan.

*The Big 12 might be the best conference in the country. At worst, I would argue the Big 12 is tied with the SEC. Sorry, SEC fans, outside of Bama and LSU, your conference is very average this year.


*Dr. Pepper, I love your 21 flavors, but I beg you: Pull your current commercials. I don't know if I can handle another weekend of Pitbull doing "let's have a real good time..." playing on a loop in my head.

*Ohio St. completed one pass last weekend AND still managed to beat Illinois 17-7! That says it all about Big 10 football.

Wisconsin (-7.5) at Michigan St.

Wisconsin is one of the few legitimate championship contenders, but the Badgers stock is a little high thanks to a very favorable schedule. I was hoping all the Wisky love would push this spread closer to double digits, because I think Sparty will competitive in this game. But at 7.5, I think the Badgers are a good value.

The Skin says: Wisky.

Penn St. (-4.5) at Northwestern

I absolutely love Northwestern here. Nobody goes into Ryan Field and pushes the Cats around on homecoming!

Skinny says: Pop the bubbly, Cats!

Washington at Stanford (-20.5)

I was fortunate to get the W with Stanford last week. The Cardinal covered thanks to 20 fourth quarter points against Wazzu. I may be rolling the dice one too many times with the Cardinal this week against an improved UW team. I actually think the Huskies hot play of late could work in Stanford's favor. Stanford will be up for the game this weekend.

The Skinny says: Cardinal.

Lee Greenwood Special: Boise St. (-29.5) at Air Force

This is an interesting spot for Boise. Air Force will no doubt attempt to shorten the game with its rushing attack, which could make 30 a tough line to cover. Unfortunately, Air Force doesn't have the defense to compliment the run game.

The Skin says: I'll take Boise to cover, but I would not advise you to do the same.

Utah at California (-1.5)

What has happened to Jeff Tedford at Cal? Cal's slide to mediocrity is especially puzzling considering USC can only give out 15 scholarships and UCLA has been irrelevant for a decade. Cal is finally back at home for the first time in over a month. In a week in which I am struggling to find real conviction plays, I think Cal -1.5 represents pretty decent value.

Skin: Grin and Bear it.

Maryland at FSU (-18)

I still believe FSU is a better team than the record indicates. The Terrapins are coming off a devastating loss in which they outplayed Clemson for most of the game. If FSU jumps on Maryland early, this one could get ugly.

Skinny says: FSU wins big.

WEEK EIGHT--Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 23-18-1)

This is a huge week in college football and, by extension, gambling on college football. There are a couple contenders out there that have yet to be tested, but we'll have a much better idea of who these teams really are after Saturday.

Rutgers (+2) at Louisville

I realize you're reading this after this game has kicked off, but I did put this out on Twitter earlier. Honestly, I just don't see how Louisville should be favored over Rutgers at this point.

BH says: Scarlet Knights all the way.

Washington (+20.5) at Stanford

At some point, the Cardinal have to come back to earth. Don't they?

I went against Stanford last week and got burned. This team has covered every game this season by a healthy margin. It just feels incredibly dumb to pick against the Cardinal now.

No one ever accused me of being smart.

Washington is more than just the best team Stanford has played this season. (That wouldn't be much of a compliment.) The Huskies have a great offense and can put up some points.

No opponents have challenged Stanford's defense the way Washington will. With that kind of offense, UW should at least be in position for a back door cover.

BH says: Dogs barking.

Wake Forest at Duke (+3.5)

Here's an annual ACC classic for you: the game that decides the nerdiest school in North Carolina. If this was the Big Ten, they'd call it the Battle for the Golden Pocket Protector.

Wake raised some eyebrows a couple weeks back by beating Florida State in Winston-Salem. A week later, Virginia Tech sent the Demon Deacons hurtling back to earth in a 21-point rout. Those are two physical opponents in marquee games back to back, a telltale sign that a letdown may be in the offing.

Duke, well... Duke is still Duke. At 3-3, the Blue Devils do have a small chance at a bowl bid still, but a loss in this game would all but extinguish whatever hope may be there. I think that works in their favor in close match-ups such as this.

And make no mistake, Duke may be one of college football's laughingstock brands, but these teams are actually pretty close. Thus, I advise rolling with the home 'dog.

BH says: The Fightin' Vitales straight up.

LGS: East Carolina at Navy (-11.5)

The Midshipmen treated me well a week ago, so why not keep riding them?

A year ago, Navy housed the Pirates in their own house, rolling up a staggering 76 points for the game. Sounds as though ECU would be motivated for some revenge, huh? Disagree.

Well, OK, I agree that the Bucs would want some revenge. I just don't think it matters too much here. The Ruffin McNeill Way has yet tobe fully implemented in Greenville, i.e. ECU leaks like a sieve on defense. Of course, I don't know how much that will actually change when the Ruffin McNeill Way is fully implemented, but that's a story for another time.

At the end of the day, I expect the Bucs will stop Navy fewer times than Navy will stop the Bucs.

BH says: Navy and give the over a look while you're at it.

Kansas State at Kansas (+11.5)

Our buddy over at Beyond The Bets makes a pretty compelling argument in favor of KSU here. It rests on the idea that Bill Snyder always points to the in-state rivalry game as the biggest of the year for the Wildcats.

BTB makes a good point, but I think all the ink Kansas State has received may have actually swung the line too far towards the Wildcats. Keep in mind that KSU is now getting 75 percent of the bets on this game, according to Wagerline, as a double-digit fav.

Also, note that while KU's defensive stats do suck, the Jayhawks have played Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in their last four games. Just about any teams' numbers will take a beating against those offenses.

BH says: I don't see Snyder letting his team lose this game, but I think Kansas keeps it within 10.

USC at Notre Dame (-9.5)

I generally shy away from betting on ND games, but I love the Irish here.

From a motivation standpoint, even though ND ended all those years of frustration against the Trojans last year, this is the first time I can remember in a while that I'd say the Irish are the clearly superior team. USC has a few big names at key spots – Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, etc. ND has better depth and talent from top to bottom on its roster. ND is the better-coached team as well.

This being the first night game in South Bend in 20 years, I also think the crowd will be a big factor. Also, the temperature in South Bend will be in the 40s. Think Southern California kids are ready for that this time of year?

With ND still eyeing a BCS bid, the Irish will make a statement.

BH says: ND 35, USC 18.