Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday football picks

Last week: 6-8. I'm 23-18-1 for the season.

Pitt 7 over LOUISVILLE. PICK: PANTHERS. They'll bounce back after their tough loss last week, and score a lot of points. Louisville's defense is suspect.

Alabama 15.5 over KENTUCKY. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE. See for example Kentucky's poor effort last week at home vs Florida.

Florida State 4 over BOSTON COLLEGE. PICK: EAGLES. Florida State is very inconsistent; BC is coming off a good win last week.

GEORGIA 3 over LSU. PICK: BULLDOGS. LSU has barely been escaping in recent weeks against mediocre competition; now they play Georgia, which is battle-tested and improving, on the road.

Georgia Tech 6 over MISSISSIPPI STATE. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Because Mississippi State is coming off that tough loss to LSU, and there's the danger of letdown. And that Georgia Tech offense is tough to prepare for.

MICHIGAN STATE 3 over Michigan. PICK: WOLVERINES. Yes, we all know about Michigan's defensive problems. But how about those of the Spartans? The last 3 weeks they've given up 29 points to Central Michigan, 33 to Notre Dame, and 38 to Wisconsin. Michigan can and will outscore 'em.

MINNESOTA 2.5 over Wisconsin. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS. I like their defense. And they're at home.

NAVY 3 over Air Force. PICK: MIDSHIPMEN. They have good athletes at Navy. And they're at home.

NOTRE DAME 12.5 over Washington. PICK: FIGHTING IRISH. The Irish are still mopping their brow after that close shave against Purdue. But they survived, and both Jimmy Clausen and Armando Allen are in improved health. And they're at home.

Ohio State 18 over INDIANA. PICK: HOOSIERS (upset special). Against Michigan, IU showed they've got some athletes and can run that offense pretty well. And I don't see OSU's offense clicking that well yet. 18 points is too much.

Oklahoma 7 over MIAMI. PICK: HURRICANES. No, Miami's not a world-beater; they showed that last week. But they're at home, and there will be no driving rainstorm a la last week. They still have good athletes. And the Sooners still will be without Sam Bradford.

Penn State 7 over ILLINOIS. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. They'll bounce back. The Illini continue to struggle.

Southern Cal 5 over CALIFORNIA. PICK: TROJANS. I think Cal was exposed last week; and USC knows it must win to retain BCS hopes.

STANFORD 5 over UCLA. PICK: CARDINAL. Toby Gearhart is one tough runner. Stanford plays well at home.

TENNESSEE 2 over Auburn. PICK: TIGERS. Auburn's done nothing but win and pile up points so far this year. I'm amazed they're the underdog in this game, given Tennessee's struggles.

I was 9-7 last week; I'm 27-20-1 so far this season.

Buffalo 2 over MIAMI. PICK: BILLS. Because despite their struggles, Buffalo is set at QB with Trent Edwards; meanwhile Miami has lost Chad Pennington, probably for the year.

CHICAGO 10 over Detroit. PICK: LIONS. Not to win; but to keep it close. The Bears' offense continues to struggle a bit; meanwhile the Lions' O-line is improving.

Cincinnat 5.5 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BENGALS. This one makes me a bit nervous, given that it's a road game for Cincy. But the Browns' offense has been putrid, and the Bengals won at Green Bay, remember. The victory over the Steelers should give the Bengals big momentum.

Dallas 3 over DENVER. PICK: BRONCOS. They're at home; the Broncos' running game is improving. And I'm not sure Dallas' offens is there yet; despite the win Monday night, Tony Romo and co. only put up 13 points against Carolina.

HOUSTON 9 over Oakland. PICK: TEXANS. The Raiders and JaMarcus Russell have struggled so much...while Matt Schaub and the Texans have shown they can score (while the Raiders can't).

INDIANAPOLIS 10.5 over Seattle. PICK: COLTS. They appear to be rolling, while the Seahawks have a lot of injury issues.

NEW ENGLAND 2 over Baltimore. PICK: RAVENS. The Ravens and Joe Flacco seem to have their offense really rolling, and of course their defense remains more than capable. The Patriots and Tom Brady meanwhile are improving, but...the timing etc just isn't quite there yet. Go with the hot team.

NEW ORLEANS 7 over NY Jets. PICK: SAINTS. The Saints have covered every week. Meanwhile Rex Ryan's defense hasn't seen an offense like this one yet. Look for Mark Sanchez to finally make a few mistakes.

NY Giants 8.5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: GIANTS. The Chiefs and Matt Cassel are still a ways off; meanwhile the Giants showed last week that they play well in games they should win.

PITTSBURGH 6.5 over San Diego. PICK: CHARGERS. LaDainian Tomlinson should be back; and while it's very possible that the Steelers will win this game, look for it to be very tight, probably just a field goal difference. Ben Roethlisberger keeps the Steelers in every game. But the Steeler D isn't forcing turnovers--and that allows their opponents to stay in games.

SAN FRANCISCO 9.5 over St. Louis. PICK: 49ERS. That defense should shut the Rams down.

Tennessee 3 over JACKSONVILLE. PICK: TITANS. I just can't see Tennessee starting 0-4.

WASHINGTON 7 over Tampa Bay. PICK: REDSKINS. Because Tampa Bay appears to be in sad shape, and are now rushing in a very young, untested QB.

MINNESOTA 3 over Green Bay. PICK: VIKINGS. A battle between two good teams, with lots of hype and emotion. But, at home, I don't think the hype will get to Brett Favre or Adrian Peterson; they're used to it.