Well, it's that time of the week for me to embarrass myself, so let's get to the official Bulldogs Blog college football picks. With us as always is Dan, the quasi-knowledgeable counter to my witty yet completely un-insightful prognostication...
Dan: 5-5 last week, which one would call average except for the fact that Dave went 3-7! So I am much better than Dave. But we already knew that. I can pick games better than Dave, I have won many more fantasy football titles than Dave, I am better at sports than Dave, and I have angered more girls with my drunken antics in the past than Dave… oh wait. That last one isn’t a good thing. Scratch that last one. Note to readers: If you want to make good money this year bet against Dave. It is money in the bank! But you owe me 10 percent!
Dave: OK, so I'm doing really poorly at this. But it's like the old question in the NFL -- which is tougher, losing every game or winning every game? I mean, there has to be a real talent to picking so poorly, right? Imagine if people had just faded my picks all season so far. They'd be rolling in cash right now. That's a gift, my friend. So let's see if we can keep it going.
Wisconsin (+2.5) at Minnesota
Dan: Wisconsin was my favorite pick last week as I felt that they were facing a Michigan State team that was getting way too much respect for almost beating an average-at-best Notre Dame team. Well Wisconsin did not disappoint. But look at Wisconsin now. They have beaten a 1-3 Michigan State team, a 1-3 Fresno State team, a 2-2 Northern Illinois team and Wofford. Now they take to the road for their first game away from home. Not buying it.
Speaking of Minnesota, we have a friend who is by far the biggest and scariest drinker you will ever meet. I am not one to brag, but back in the day I could hold my own with pretty much anyone. I could keep going and going and going. Yes, it would result in me hosing down someone’s bed mistakenly thinking it was a toilet, but I could hold my own. Well, this guy made me look like quite the amateur every time I met up with him. He is like the Yankees of drinking. Well, our buddy will be celebrating come Saturday as Minnesota wins a close one… Minnesota 24, Wisconsin 20.
Dave: I'm actually in complete agreement with you on this game, so instead of offering any insight, allow me to recollect five of my favorite stories about our pal from Minnesota. 1.) The time he got way too intoxicated, then came home and lost a bunch of money playing roulette on the Internet and didn't remember it in the morning. 2.) The time he was convinced that doing shots would help the Vikings score, so he got completely bombed at a family restaurant in Syracuse and had to be cut off at 2:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday. 3.) The time he was behaving obnoxiously at a water park and another guest tried to have him thrown out, so he told the security guard that the guy had made a pass at him in the men's room first. 4.) The time one of our mutual friends insulted Kirby Puckett and he didn't speak to him again for six months. 5.) The time he thought it would be funny to fart on his girlfriend, and… well, let's just say he got more than he bargained for… Minnesota 27, Wisconsin 17.
*Note: For his own sake, I left our buddy's name out, but anyone who knows him will immediately know who I'm talking about and have about 50 other great stories.
Alabama (-16) at Kentucky
Dan: Let us try this one again. Kentucky was destroyed last week. Crushed. My double-digit home dog sensors went off and I blindly took them. I think I turned the TV on and the score was 31-0 Florida after the first quarter. So what to do this weekend? Well lets go back to the well one more time. This is Alabama’s first true road game this year, and I think that it will take them a few quarters to get going. I like Kentucky… Alabama 35, Kentucky 21.
Dave: I thought Alabama was a better team last year, and at home they only managed to nip the Wildcats by 3. I do think the Tide cruises here, but 16 seems like an awful lot to give. And seriously, what does it say that a team that has won three straight bowl games is a double-digit dog at home in consecutive weeks? Well, I guess it says they have a seriously tough schedule. On another note, I've got to hand it to Corch Meyers and the Florida folks. As a general rule, I think Meyers is an objectionable person, but it was pretty classy the way he thanked all the folks in Kentucky for how they handled the Tim Tebow concussion. So, never let it be said that I don't give credit where credit is due… Alabama 31, Kentucky 20.
North Carolina State (+2.5) at Wake Forest
Dan: NC State is my pick to win the ACC Atlantic division. I think they have the best QB in the ACC in Russell Wilson. He didn’t disappoint last week as NC State rallied to top Pittsburgh at home. Speaking of NC State, are they not the ugly chick of the Carolina schools? UNC and Duke dominate in hoops and academics. Wake has put together a solid football team the last few years. And what has NC State done? Nothing. Zippo. Just like how the ugly chick of the group hangs out with the cool girls and watches them dominate the scene and goes home and cries in her ice cream every night, NC State year after year has nothing to show for their efforts. Well, I think that changes this year and it starts this week. See dreams can come true for everyone… NC State 31, Wake Forest 14.
Dave: I have yet to pick a Wake Forest game correctly all season, which begs the question: Why the heck do we keep picking Wake Forest games? I mean, does anyone care?... Wake Forest 24, NC State 21.
Penn State (-7) at Illinois
Dan: As a Penn State hater, it does not get any better than last Saturday night's game. Watching them self destruct in the fourth quarter, I found myself grinning from ear to ear. Each turnover caused me to unleash a cackle that I wish all Penn State fans could hear. Iowa did not win that game. Penn State lost it. As I have mentioned in past blogs, there is a mutual hate between Virginia Tech and Penn State that dates back to the 1999 season between my VT friends and my Penn State friends. Moving to Philly after college and only hearing about Penn State caused this hate to grow even stronger. Waking up to pictures of Otto the Orange on my fantasy football site after a VT loss caused anger you would not believe. Well, last weekend I felt a small sense of satisfaction. And the rivalry lives on. As for this game, Illinois is one of the worst programs in the nation. I think the love fest with Ron Zook is over… Penn State 23, Illinois 10.
Dave: I just Googled it, and yes, FireRonZook.com is still up and running. I'm thrilled about this, but it leaves me with some questions. Are these still the same folks that ran the site when Zook was at Florida, simply working hard to keep the tradition alive? Did some enterprising Illinois fans purchase the domain name after Zook left the Gators? Is Zook the only coach ever to have a Web site attempt to get him fired from two schools? When he turns up at Southwest Missouri State in like five years, will they resurrect the site there, too, or will they be happy to have a relatively big name coach at a small school? Can Urban Meyer coach Illinois just for fun next year to prove he can once again win with Zook's players? It's all just too much to process. Anyway, I'm so excited by it all that I'm actually going to take the Zooker here… Penn State 28, Illinois 24.
Oklahoma (-8) at Miami
Dan: Another one of my favorite moments of this past weekend: Watching the destruction of the 'Canes at home by my Hokies. Unfortunately it was pouring down rain so there were built in excuses for all 'Canes fans and all Virginia Tech haters. But a win is a win. Well now we get a good number again because of last weekend's performance by Miami. Oklahoma has not been on the road yet his year and now they travel into hostile territory to face a hungry 'Canes team. Speaking of Miami we have a friend who’s name is Tom. He is a huge Canes fan. He also has some other ugly obsessions that we will not dare touch in this column. It was great texting him over and over on Saturday as the points piled up for Tech. I can be a very poor sport… Miami 28, Oklahoma 27.
Dave: There's no way Oklahoma should be giving eight points on the road to a decent Miami team with Sam Bradford still out. I can't see a single reason for it, which is why I think they cover. These are the types of picks that have allowed me to so gracefully go 3-7 each of the past three weeks… Oklahoma 30, Miami 17.
Ole Miss (-9) at Vanderbilt
Dan: Why has Vandy not been kicked out of the SEC? Seriously? What value do they provide to that conference other than allowing teams to rack up easy wins year after year? I guess every conference needs a Vandy when it comes to football. The ACC has Duke. The Big Ten has Indiana. The Big 12 has Baylor. Perhaps all of these teams should leave their respective conference and form a new conference called the loser conference. At least then one of them would finally win. It does not get any easier this week as Vandy faces an angry Ole Miss team… Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 20.
Dave: Thank you for not including Syracuse in the "Loser Conference." Although, remember when Temple was in the Big East. Now that was a team that belonged in a Loser Conference. Of course, in 2004 all Syracuse needed to do to earn the Big East title and a trip to the Orange Bowl (despite the fact that they were absolutely awful) was beat Temple on the road. Instead, the Owls notched a 34-24 win in their final season in the conference, Paul Pasqualoni was fired, and the downward spiral into embarrassment began. What does all this have to do with Ole Miss and Vandy though? Absolutely nothing, but I'd kept those feelings bottled up for a while and I needed to get it off my chest… Ole Miss 35, Vanderbilt 14.
Georgia Tech (-6) at Mississippi State Dan:
Dan: Poor Mississippi State. How could you not punch it in from the 2-yard line last weekend to beat LSU? You had four opportunities to win. And you blew it. Wow is all I have to say. I just feel bad for that school and the whole state. I think if we had to rank the states I’d least like to live in, Mississippi would be all the way at the bottom narrowly ahead of West Virginia and Idaho. Well get ready for another close loss this weekend but staying within the spread… Georgia Tech 20, Mississippi State 17.
Dave: Really, Idaho? I don't think Idaho would be that bad. At least you'd get access to large quantities of potatoes and a blue field at Boise State. Oh, and by the way, did you notice Georgia added the THIRD best team in Idaho to its schedule for next season? That'll be a hot ticket. Anyway, back to the larger issue here. You can look at last week one of two ways: You either give Mississippi State the Lane Kiffin treatment and call it a moral victory or you think it absolutely crushed their spirits to get so close and not be able to get the job done. For the sake of differing from your pick, I'll take the latter. Oh, and by the way, the state I'd least like to live in is probably North Dakota. It's cold, there's nothing there, and you're 1,000 miles from anywhere even reasonably cool… Georgia Tech 31, Mississippi State 13.
Auburn (+2) at Tennessee
Dan: The Lane train has another big game this weekend as an undefeated Auburn team rolls into the station. Auburn is a team I can’t quite figure out yet. Are they as good as their numbers suggest this year? Well I think this weekend's game is the first real test for them. If you can call Tennessee a test, that is. This game has all the makings of an Auburn team that has pounded everyone all year and the entire public jumping on their bandwagon only to have Tennessee get the win and cover. I can smell it… Tennessee 23, Auburn 20.
Dave: I agree on Auburn. Is there a team in the country we really know less about? Looking back to last season, they were supposed to be pretty good, but couldn't get the offense moving. They canned their head coach, hired a guy everyone thought would be a bum, found their quarterback, beat up on some overmatched opponents and roll into Tennessee undefeated, yet still under the radar. Meanwhile, the Vols have looked bad for three straight weeks, losing to UCLA and Florida (yay moral victories!) and narrowly edging Frank Solich's Ohio Bobcats. But Tennessee does have two things going for it: Monte Kiffin and Eric Berry. If Chris Todd can look good against them, I'll officially become a believer. Until then though, I'm going to stick with my belief that Gene Chizik doesn't belong in the SEC… Tennessee 24, Auburn 17.
Southern Cal (-5.5) at California
Dan: The college football season hasn’t quite started until California has been exposed as a fraud. And boy were they exposed this past weekend as Oregon annihilated then, 42-3. What a complete embarrassment. But we are used to these things from Cal. And what is the best part about this? We now get a good number on them at home this weekend against a team like USC, another huge fraud. It is nice to see that USC finally is getting bad quarterback play. They have had All-Americans at the position dating back to Carson Palmer. FINALLY! Speaking of bad QB play, is it not funny that Mommy Mustain and Mitchy boy are third on the depth chart? I call that karma… Cal 24, USC 19.
Dave: OK, so for the past four weeks, I've made a point of picking opposite of you for the sake of showing both sides in this column. It's sort of like how Skip Bayless asks himself every day, "What is a reasonable point of view to have on things?" then spouts the exact opposite on TV because he likes stirring the pot. Where has that gotten us? Well, Bayless is now the most obnoxious and useless sports writer in the business, and I've gone 3-7 each of the past three weeks with my picks. So I'm done with it. I'm going with my gut feeling, and that is that USC doesn't have the offense this season to keep pace with Cal… Cal 35, USC 24.
Virginia Tech (-16.5) at Duke
Dan:So last week I picked against my Hokies and they were so angry about this that they went out and crushed the 'Canes. It was not even close. Well now I find my Hokies laying a big number on the road this time and sadly I am going against them again. Even if it is Duke. You have 80 percent of the betting public on them. You have a team coming off a huge win. I just do not see how the Hokies can get up for this game. I think they win, but Virginia Tech is one of those teams you do not quite know what to expect… Virginia Tech 31, Duke 17.
Dave: Yes, my picks were awful last week. But while you bought into the Miami hype and picked against your own team, I had the courage and intellectual fortitude to take the Hokies. That's a man's pick, my friend. You should try it some time. And now, a week later, you're taking the points against VT? Just a sham. What kind of fan are you anyway? It's Duke we're talking about here!
I had a buddy who went to Maryland, and the hoops team there obviously despised Duke. I went down to visit him in College Park for the Maryland-Duke Final Four game in 2001. The liquor store on Route 1 (Town Hall, for those of you who have been there) had the following on their sign out front: "Terps are Good, Duke is Bad, Kegs on Sale." Have truer words ever been uttered? So this week, Tech is Good, Duke is Bad, and, God willing, Kegs will be on Sale… Virginia Tech 40, Duke 10.
Last week: Dan 5-5, Dave 3-7.
Overall: Dan 18-22, Dave 14-26.