Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday football picks (and other stuff)

Last week: I went 6-6. Gotta do better:

AUBURN 7 over West Virginia. PICK: TIGERS. They've looked good so far, and are at home.

BAYLOR 10 over UConn. PICK: BEARS. They have an exciting young QB in Robert Griffin, and are much improved from 2 years ago. And they're at home.

BYU 7.5 over Florida State. PICK: COUGARS. I don't think FSU has recovered from the loss to Miami yet. And this BYU team is good.

Cincinnati 1 over OREGON STATE. PICK: BEARCATS. People forget--Cincinnati went to a BCS bowl last year, and so far have shown an explosive offense.

IOWA 5.5 over Arizona. PICK: HAWKEYES. Iowa appeared to improve a lot last week over their shaky first week showing. And they're at home.

MICHIGAN 24 over Eastern Michigan. PICK: WOLVERINES. That's a lot of points. But the Wolverines will have a lot of confidence after last week's big upset of the Irish, and Tate Forcier is good.

NOTRE DAME 10 over Michigan State. PICK: IRISH. They're at home; they're going to have a lot of motivation to avenge past losses to the Spartans...and if MSU thought they had trouble with the very capable Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan, wait 'til they see Jimmy Clausen and those Irish receivers.

OREGON 4.5 over Utah. PICK: DUCKS. They have an explosive offense, and it's getting in gear.

UCLA 12.5 over Kansas State. PICK: BRUINS. They're a much-improved team, coming off a big win on the road over Tennessee.

ARKANSAS 1 over Georgia. PICK: BULLDOGS. They've played two tough games already, against Oklahoma State and South Carolina, and have played capably in both.

California 14 over MINNESOTA. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS (upset special). Cal will very likely win this game, but look for the Gopher defense and the home crowd in Minnesota's brand-new stadium to keep it close.

FLORIDA 29.5 over Tennessee. PICK: VOLUNTEERS (upset special). Not to win; but I do think 29 + points is too much to give; look for Tennessee to keep this one closer than that.

Northwestern 3 over SYRACUSE. PICK: ORANGEMEN. Northwestern looked shaky last week, just edging a MAC team. Syracuse is primed to finally get one at home; remember, they almost beat Minnesota in week 1.

TEXAS 17.5 over Texas Tech. PICK: RED RAIDERS. Again, I look for Texas to win this game; but this Tech offense so far this season hasn't seemed to miss a beat under new QB Taylor Potts. I think Tech will score enough points to keep this one under a 17 pt margin.

Southern Cal 18.5 over WASHINGTON. PICK: HUSKIES. Again, not to win; but Washington played LSU tough in week 1, and then looked good last week. Remember that USC is starting a freshman QB; yes, he grew up a lot last week. But that USC offense still has jelling to do. Washington can keep this one closer than 18.

VIRGINIA TECH 5 over Nebraska. PICK: HOKIES. They play well at home, and seem to have recovered from that close first loss to a powerful Alabama squad.

I was 8-7-1 last week. Not bad--let's see if I can do better:

ATLANTA 6.5 over Carolina. PICK: FALCONS. Jake Delhomme's confidence appears to be shot, what with all the INTs he's thrown in his last two games, including last year's playoff loss. Meanwhile, the Falcons' success last year appears to be no fluke.

BUFFALO 5 over Tampa Bay. PICK: BILLS. They should have beaten the Pats on Monday night; their defense looks solid. If they maintain their mental focus, they should beat the declining Bucs.

DALLAS 3 over NY Giants. PICK: GIANTS. I like the Giants' defense and running game; I think it will take the crowd out of this first regular-season game in Jerry Jones' new palace, and the Giants will edge out a win here. Note that the Cowboys' D gave up 450 yards last week to the less-than-an-offensive-powerhouse Bucs.

DENVER 3 over Cleveland. PICK: BRONCOS. Neither team looked awesome last week. But I think the Broncos, at home, should be able with their receivers to make more plays than the Browns.

GREEN BAY 9 over Cincinnati. PICK: BENGALS. Not to win; but that Cincy defense, which is pretty good, will keep this game close.

JACKSONVILLE 3 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. I know, the Cardinals lost at home last week and made a ton of mistakes; plus, they traditionally have struggled on the east coast. But their defense is still capable, they still have a ton of playmakers on offense, and I'm betting they'll improve from week 1 to week 2.

KANSAS CITY 3 over Oakland. PICK: CHIEFS. Because they're at home, they gave the Ravens a good run last week, Matt Cassel should play, and I'm betting the Raiders won't put up two good performances in a row.

Minnesota 10 over DETROIT. PICK: VIKINGS. The Lions will improve eventually, but it's still early, and how will that porous defense slow down Adrian Peterson?

New England 3.5 over NY JETS. PICK: PATRIOTS. They're bound to improve over their slow start in week 1; they have a history of winning at the Meadowlands; and the Jets still have a rookie coach and rookie QB.

PHILADELPHIA pick'em vs New Orleand. PICK: SAINTS. I know; Philly is at home and has a good defense, and the Saints have never been a great road team. But Donovan McNabb is banged up, and I think it's doubtful he'll last the entire game (if he plays at all). And I think the Saints offense is playing at a high level, and it appears to me that their defense is improved, too.

Pittsburgh 3 over CHICAGO. PICK: STEELERS. No Brian Urlacher for the Bears, and Jay Cutler makes too many turnovers.

SAN DIEGO 3 over Baltimore. PICK: CHARGERS. They play well at home. They have injuries; but they also have Philip Rivers.

SAN FRANCISCO 1 over Seattle. PICK: 49ERS. I like that San Fran defense.

TENNESSEE 6.5 over Houston. PICK: TITANS. They're too strong both on the D-line and on the O-line. Look for them to push the Texans around.

WASHINGTON 10 over St. Louis. PICK: REDSKINS. Because St. Louis still has a long, long way to go.

Indianapolis 3 over MIAMI. PICK: COLTS. It'll be a tough, close game; but Indy's defense is better this year, and the Dolphins offense hasn't shown much. Indy will have enough to win by a TD or so.