VETTEL'S PICKS: Larry Likes FSU, Southern Cal

By Larry Vettel I'm starting to get an idea of why gamblers keep trying to get even to the point of financial ruin. It's really interesting to have something on the record about your picks and then see a game go down to the wire. I don't mind it when it's just a matter of who is going to win, but when you have a point spread drama, the game isn't being played at the same intensity as you feel watching it. That really blows.

So after another mediocre week, I find myself looking back at seven losses by less than two points. Seven games where one play, or even decent effort by a team with a big lead would turn me from a slightly-above average hack to a superstar nailing two-thirds against the spread. Then again, most of my adult life has been spent a lot closer to slightly above average than it has stardom. But such is life.

South Florida (plus 2-½) over Pittsburgh: Dave Wannstedt has been disappointing Floridians for several years. Finally he makes people in the Sunshine State happy. Bulls 24-20

Central Florida (plus 9-½) over Southern Miss: The ineptitude is over and UCF is beginning to get some reward for the riches bestowed on George O'Leary. Of course it costs a lot to hire a man who has coached six Heisman winners. Southern Miss 21-17

Michigan State (plus 6-½) over Ohio State: Buckeyes are desperate and that makes them dangerous. A loss and they go from BCS dreams to Music City Bowl nightmares. Ohio State 24-14

Louisville (minus 7-½) over West Virginia: This is a very big game in the not-so-Big East. Louisville seems to have rebounded well from the USF debacle. Louisville 42-20

Alabama (minus 12-½) over Ole Miss: Crimson Tide enjoyed week off, has to guard against peeking ahead to Tennessee. Fortunately for them, Ole Miss can't punish the peeking Tide. Alabama 27-10

Texas (minus 17-½) over Colorado: Longhorns could have a letdown, but I'm guessing the home fans won't let them. And they are simply a much better football team. Texas 38-14

Michigan (minus 3-½) over Penn State: This is a season-saver for the Wolverines and possibly a job saver for Lloyd. State has to be vulnerable after their biggest win in years and hitting the road. Michigan 19-7

Vanderbilt (plus 15-½) over Georgia: Had a great chance to upset LSU if Jay Cutler had played well. Gotta think he will be better this week. Not better enough to win, but to cover. Georgia 31-17

Auburn (minus 7-½) over Arkansas: Hogs already have three losses and bowl eligibility is in doubt. Auburn still unbeaten in the league is trying to defend its title. Auburn 27-14

Florida State (minus 7-½) over Virginia: Tempting to pick the other way with Weatherford facing his second significant road test. But Cavaliers have not played as well as expected. FSU 21-9

Notre Dame (plus 11-½) over Southern Cal: Touchdown Jesus, The Grotto, the Four Horsemen and the "mystique." Add in Charley Weis, an extra week to prepare and a lot of wishful thinking and you have an upset of epic proportions…. Almost. Southern Cal 38-35

LSU (minus 6-½) over Florida: Speed kills and LSU has too much at receiver for the Gators to eliminate the big plays. Monster game from Chris Leak is a must for a Florida win. LSU 27-20

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Last Week: 6 Vettels, 6 Wannstedts (.500)

Year To Date: 41 Ecksteins, 31 A-Rods (.569)

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