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The Big E College Football Picks: Week Nine

It was just a bad weekend, there’s just no other way to put it.

Things were looking pretty grim early Saturday afternoon as Notre Dame was roughed up by Navy and I started the weekend off on a 0-4 streak.

Luckily, I did recover and even though I ended up with nine losses I was able to scrape back to only one game under .500 for the week.

Let’s take a look back at week eight.


*Cincinnati piled up 590 yards and quarterback Zach Collaros had a huge night, but the Bearcats came up short against a USF team that suddenly came alive on Friday night.

Of course B.J. Daniels had a very efficient game once I questioned his performance so far this year.

Also, you have to think Brian Kelly doesn’t feel too good that his new Irish team and old Cincinnati team have combined for eight losses already this year.

*We’ll say nothing more about Notre Dame’s loss.

*Syracuse achieved a mildly stunning upset of West Virginia on the road early last Saturday. Have the Orange finally climbed out of the basement this year?

It looks like the Mountaineer team that showed up against Marshall early in the season reared its ugly head in this one.

I didn’t catch most of this game, but it had to be one of the most boring games so far in 2010. 530 combined yards, zero points in the second half, and Syracuse’s quarterback completed five passes all day.

*Rutgers was playing Pittsburgh tight in the first half, but the Panthers came out and crushed the Scarlet Knights in the second half, out scoring them 27-7 and taking this game easily.

It will be interesting to see how that Notre Dame victory over Pittsburgh looks at the end of this season.

*Texas lost to Iowa State for the first time ever in what has to be as soul crushing of a loss as any the Longhorns have experienced in years.

How much should Texas fans be worrying right now? Does that No. 1 ranked recruiting class sooth their doubts at all?

*Clemson beat Georgia Tech pretty comfortably in a game I didn’t watch or see highlights of. Was there anything worth mentioning from this game?

I’ll admit I was kind of excited to watch some of the ACC teams this year, but there is no denying that this conference is dreadful right now.

*Auburn defeated LSU in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score suggested.

I guess it’s time for me to hop off the LSU bandwagon now and admit that Auburn is a really good football team.

Terrelle Pryor wishes he was Cam Newton.

*Miami jumped all over North Carolina in another ACC game that I know nothing about.

I’ve seen Miami play really well this year, but they have major problems playing consistently. It looks like the good team showed up last weekend.

*Missouri delivered a shocker and beat Oklahoma for the first time since 1998.

The Tigers look to be a real player this year, although they have another stiff test this weekend. Can you imagine Mizzou winning the Big 12 this year?


*Ohio State delivered some severe payback to Purdue, drubbing the Boilermakers 49-0.

Without Robert Marve the Purdue offense is truly awful as they managed only 118 yards against the Buckeyes.

Terrelle Pryor continued his "no really I’m a pocket passer guys!!" tour, refusing to run the ball at all and throwing for 270 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Yay.

*Things were looking bad for Michigan State there for a while before they mounted a big comeback and ultimately covered the spread against Northwestern.

Is this Spartan club a team of destiny? Will they continue this magical run and stay undefeated until the end of the season? What are the odds that an undefeated Michigan State gets left out of the national title game?

*The outcome was never in doubt as Arkansas beat Ole Miss with a surprisingly strong running game that kept the Rebels off balance.

Ryan Mallett only threw for 196 yards with one touchdown and a pick, so it’s safe to say his Heisman campaign is about over.

*Wisconsin sneaked by Iowa in a very entertaining game to remain in the national picture. That is two very big wins a row for the Badgers.

Wisconsin should be favored in each of their remaining four games this year and they have a very good shot at playing in a BCS bowl.

*In a wild shootout, Nebraska never let Oklahoma State back into the game and ultimately ended the night with a ten point victory.

That’s a quality win for the Corn after their deflating loss to Texas. You have to think that in year’s past this was a game Nebraska gave up.

In other news, Oklahoma State played their first good team of the year and lost.

*Alabama shook off some cobwebs early Saturday and finally realized they were playing Tennessee and left Knoxville with a cool 31 point win.

Three out of Alabama’s remaining four opponents are currently ranked so we’re going to see just how good this Tide team really is. What happens if Alabama runs the table and takes the SEC championship with three or four other undefeated teams out there as well?

Would you put Alabama in the title game?

*TCU continues to look really good throttling Air Force 38-7.

I’m super excited to see the Frogs play Utah in a couple weeks.

*Finally, Arizona remains in the upper echelon of the Pac-10 with a 30 point drubbing Washington.

The Wildcats have a tough road ahead in conference play, so they’ll have more than enough opportunities to make some statements.

Washington falls to a game under .500 and will most likely be starting at a 3-6 record by early November with games against Stanford and Oregon coming up.

On to this week’s picks as I remain under .500 for the year, but I’m going to get over the hump eventually. Michael Collins went 8-8 on the weekend and retains a small edge, due to a lack of picking the Friday night game.

Week Eight: 8-9

Overall: 43-46

Clemson (-7) at Boston College

Pick: Clemson

Despite their strong showing two weeks ago against Florida State, the Eagles have been a pretty horrid team this year, with one of the worst offenses in the BCS conference mix.

As usual, Clemson has all sorts of athleticism and if they get some competent quarterback play out of Kyle Parker, they should be able to take it easy in the fourth quarter of this game.

Tennessee (+17.5) at South Carolina

Pick: South Carolina

Typically an SEC matchup like this shouldn’t have such a large spread, but the Volunteers are really hurting right now and South Carolina finally has the offensive explosiveness and balance in order to cover this game.

Tennessee has some easier games later in the season, but this one should be another ugly loss.

Tulsa (+8.5) at Notre Dame

Pick: Tulsa

I’m imagining myself in the stadium right now and I am picturing a close game and I don’t see Notre Dame covering this spread.

Hopefully, the likely return of Michael Floyd opens things up for Crist and the offense, but Tulsa has had too much success moving the ball and scoring this year that I’m willing go with the Irish.

Notre Dame pulls it out late with a couple field goals.

Michigan State (+6.5) at Iowa

Pick: Michigan State

It’s very tempting go with Iowa here as almost the entire country is ready for Michigan State to collapse for one game. This could be it for the Spartans, because if they win here it could likely mean an undefeated season with a bunch of mediocre and bad Big Ten teams left on the slate.

Just too many points left to not take Michigan State here, and I think they’ll be ready for this tilt.

Missouri (+7.5) at Nebraska

Pick: Missouri

Like the Michigan State game, I think Missouri has proven that they are a good enough team to not be getting this many points.

After last week I’m not so sure Nebraska’s defense is really that great and Missouri is going to give them fits on both sides of the ball.

In keeping with parity this year Nebraska will probably will, but I like the Tigers in a mini-upset.

Arizona (-9) at UCLA

Pick: Arizona

UCLA has had its moments this year, but they struggled mightily against the Oregon spread offense and I think it will be more of the same with Arizona’s offensive attack.

Let’s go with Arizona by 15.

Georgia (-3) at Florida

Pick: Florida

I know things are messed up right now at Florida, but I can’t see the Gators losing to this Georgia team after a bye week.

Four straight losses would be crazy and if that happens Florida might have to make some wholesale changes.

Georgia is a different and better team with A.J. Green back in the lineup, but I sense the Gator defense is going to be tuned in this weekend.

Auburn (-7) at Mississippi

Pick: Auburn

The Tigers put on a show against a tough LSU team, remain undefeated, have the game’s best player right now and this is the spread for a game against a mediocre Ole Miss team?

Lock this in as a sure win this weekend, as Auburn will win by at least 3 scores.

Baylor (+7) at Texas

Pick: Texas

The Texas defense has been a little up and down this year given that they were supposed to be dominant in 2010, and I expect them to show up and put the hapless offense in a great position this week.

Baylor’s Griffin will make some plays, but Texas should be able to handle this spread a week after being embarrassed by Iowa State in Austin.

Stanford (-7) at Washington

Pick: Stanford

One of the quieter struggles so far this year was Stanford’s game against Washington State last week…what happened there Cardinal?

It’s becoming apparent that Washington doesn’t have the horses to keep up with the better offenses in this league (except of course if they’re playing USC) and Stanford should move the ball all day long against the Huskies.

Andrew Luck should have another big day and bring Stanford back into the BCS discussion.

Utah (-7) at Air Force

Pick: Utah

Is there any chance that Utah is better than TCU and Boise State?

Probably not, but the Utes are still a great team with tremendous balance on offense. They have done a good job shutting down the run this year and they should keep the Falcons in check and pick up a big road victory in the Mountain West.

Michigan (-3) at Penn State

Pick: Michigan

The Wolverines are a little more healthy now (or should I say Denard Robinson is) after a bye week and I don’t think Penn State has the offense capable of running and gunning with Michigan all day long.

This is a big game for Rich Rodriguez and one in which he must absolutely win if he wants to instill more confidence in his fan base.

I think Michigan wins comfortably.

Oregon (-6.5) at USC

Pick: USC

Whoa Nellie! I think we’re going to see some points in this game.

If there is a team out there that can go punch for punch offensively with Oregon it is USC. The way the Trojans defense has played this year it doesn’t look like they will even limit the Duck attack, but something is telling me this game will be very close.

I don’t think USC will win (c’mon their coach is Lane Kiffin), but Oregon won’t cover and there will be a lot more questions about who is really the No. 1 team in the country.