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The Big E College Football Picks: Week Ten

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Last week was the most depressing week of college football in a long time. Thank God I was on campus this week or else it would have been twice as bad.

I’m not too excited to go over last week’s mess, but I consider it my duty.

Missed

*Somehow Boston College straight up beat Clemson. I didn’t get the opportunity to see many highlights this weekend, so I’m not sure how the heck this happened.

I guess it makes Notre Dame’s victory over the Eagles a little better but I thought Boston College looked absolutely awful when the Irish visited Chestnut Hill a month ago. That’s college football for you.

*Tennessee gave South Carolina a fight for three quarters before the Gamecocks ultimately prevailed. Too bad for me the Volunteers didn’t let them cover the spread.

*Iowa fire bombed Michigan State’s national title dreams (and likely BCS dreams) with a ridiculous shellacking on Saturday.

There were so many cheers inside Notre Dame Stadium when the score from this game was announced a couple times. I don’t get that…maybe it’s because I don’t hate the Spartans or something.

I could see if it was Michigan that was undefeated, but Notre Dame could hang their hat on playing Michigan State tough and now that they’ve been blown out it doesn’t mean as much.

That’s cause for celebration?

*Nebraska reasserted itself as the top dog in the Big 12, got off to a fast start against Missouri, and ultimately cruised to a rather easy victory.

Did I jinx Missouri? Let’s hope the boys over at Atomic Teeth don’t think so.

*Arizona beat UCLA but failed to cover the spread by one point. That one hurt.

*Continuing their season from hell, the Texas Longhorns lost at home to Baylor.

Texas is 4-4 with one of the best defenses in the country. Notre Dame is 4-5 and I don’t think I have to tell you we don’t have one of the best defenses in the country. Just a little change of perspective for you right there.

*Utah beat Air Force but failed to cover the spread by two points. Just another punch to the gut on a terrible weekend of betting.

*Michigan has now lost three straight and is giving up 30 points and 440 yards a game. The latter total defense stat is fourth worst among BCS teams. Yikes!

Michigan’s defense is so bad and this is a huge long-term advantage for Notre Dame. The Wolverines currently have only 6 commitments on the defensive side of the ball, with two four-star guys and only one nationally ranked defender. Good luck with that.

*USC was in a back and forth battle against Oregon before the Ducks finally decided to slay the Trojans by 21 points in the Coliseum.

It’s getting harder and harder to think that Oregon won’t waltz into the national title game this year.

Correct

*Notre Dame didn’t cover the spread, because they lost to Tulsa. We’re moving on now.

*Florida "upset" a Georgia team that came into the Cocktail Party with four losses. That sentence wouldn’t have made sense a couple years ago.

*Auburn had some problems early with Mississippi, but pulled away late and won by a comfortable margin. Vegas has been undervaluing the Tigers all season long, and it didn’t seem fair that this spread was only 7 points.

*Stanford continues its strong season with a pummeling of a reeling Washington team. Remember when Jake Locker was the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the upcoming draft? Ah, the good ole days.

Now onto this week’s picks.

Last Week: 4-9

Overall: 48-55

Air Force (-6.5) at Army

Pick: Air Force

Why do I want to take Army in this game? The Black Knights have been enjoying a great season, but they’ve been playing a JV schedule compared to what Air Force has been competing against.

That has to mean that Air Force is a much better team, but this game should be very close being at West Point and all. I’m sticking with the Falcons though.

Maryland (+7.5) at Miami

Pick: Maryland

Could it be possible that Miami is actually better without Jacory Harris? I wouldn’t go that far, since the Hurricanes did just lose to Virginia for crying out loud.

Miami can’t be trusted to win this game by more than a touchdown in front of a half-full stadium and against a feisty Maryland team that is a lot better than most people realize.

NC State (+3.5) at Clemson

Pick: Clemson

I’m a little surprised that Clemson is favored here, especially after the Tigers just lost to Boston College and NC State is coming off a big win over Florida State.

My brain is telling me to pick NC State, but this is the classic ACC type of game where Clemson will somehow earn a big victory and muddle up the standings in that conference even more.

It doesn’t make sense, I should be taking what I think is a stronger NC State team that is technically an underdog, but I can’t do it.

Illinois (+3) at Michigan

Pick: Illinois

This could be another game where Denard Robinson goes off and racks up 450 yards of offense, but the Illinois offense should give the Michigan defense fits all day long too.

That means there’s a good chance points will be going up faster than the scoreboard can count, and even though Michigan has a very dangerous offense I don’t trust their defense enough to pick them against another decent Big Ten team.

TCU (-5) at Utah

Pick: TCU

The law of recent Notre Dame football declares that Utah will not be undefeated coming into South Bend next weekend. That way, if the Irish somehow upset the Utes it won’t be a huge win against a top 5 team, and if they lose it will be to what people will describe as a "decent" Utah team. That’s the way things have been going lately.

I’m going to pick TCU because their defense has been outstanding all season long and Utah definitely has some holes back there with their defense.

North Carolina (+10.5) at Florida State

Pick: North Carolina

Florida State has been way too erratic for me to pick them with this large of a spread. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that the Tar Heel defense could give Christian Ponder trouble.

Plus, this is ACC remember? There won’t be one team that pulls away from the pack in convincing fashion. The Seminoles should win but this will remain a close game till the final whistle.

Washington (+35) at Oregon

Pick: Oregon

There’s a very good chance that the Ducks drop 50 on Washington, so the question now becomes, can the Huskies score a couple touchdowns without their hero Jake Locker at quarterback?

It’s pretty crazy, but Oregon could have this spread covered at halftime and win this game by 50. Is this team really that good? Will they ever have a fall from grace this year?

Alabama (-6.5) at LSU

Pick: LSU

I was on the LSU bandwagon there for a while and I’m still not completely jumping off. I like the Tigers defense against Alabama, but is LSU’s offense going to lay another egg and give the team zero support again?

In the end, I’ll take the points with LSU because the game is in Death Valley, although the conspiracy theorist in me says that the SEC will demand that Alabama wins this game to set up a momentous Iron Bowl in a couple weeks.

Watch out for some suspect calls from the referees.

Oklahoma (-3) at Texas A&M

Pick: Oklahoma

The Sooners are one of those teams where once they lose one game no one thinks they’re any good anymore. Thus, the small spread in this game that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Texas A&M really isn’t that good and I’m not about to pick the Aggies when they’ve been outscored in this series 183-52 over the past three years.

Oklahoma won 65-10 last year and the Sooners were definitely worse last year. Do you think A&M has taken that many strides forward or that Oklahoma is worse than last year?

Arkansas (+4.5) at South Carolina

Pick: Arkansas

I never fully got into South Carolina being a legitimate SEC contender this year and now it looks like they have devolved into their old self a little bit as the year wears on.

I like the explosive offense that Arkansas brings to the table and I still don’t trust that South Carolina is that dominant on either side of the ball.

I’ll take the Hogs and the points.

Missouri (-4.5) at Texas Tech

Pick: Missouri

The only thing the Red Raiders have going for them in this one is that it is a home game. Tech had a nice little run there for a while, but I don’t think this program is really on par with the better teams in the Big 12.

Missouri is coming off a deflating loss at Nebraska and will surely want to pound Tech into the ground this weekend. I expect a sizable victory for the Tigers.

Texas (-3.5) at Kansas State

Pick: Texas

I keep picking Texas every week and I’m doing it again this weekend. They have been historically bad on offense this year, but they are about due for a big game and a solid victory.

Besides their strong rushing attack, Kansas State is not very intimidating and this will be one of the remaining victories that ensure Texas, in last year’s national championship, does in fact make a bowl game this year.

Arizona (+9.5) at Stanford

Pick: Arizona

Nick Foles is injured but should play, but I don’t know how comfortable I am with Stanford being this much of a favorite in this matchup.

Plus, Arizona runs the type of offense that usually gives Stanford a lot of problems so I can see the Wildcats staying in this game even if their starting quarterback isn’t 100%.

I think Stanford wins, but I wouldn’t be that surprised by an upset by Arizona here.

Arizona State (+5.5) at USC

Pick: USC

USC has found themselves a little bit after two close losses, a blowout win over Cal, and a courageous effort against mighty Oregon.

Offensively, the Trojans are still loaded like few teams in the country. If their defense can play just average football, this should be an easy win for USC.

Enjoy the weekend!