First, about FSU. Many 'experts' saw the Noles as regaining their swagger this year after their disappointing season in 2001, why I don't know, for I didn't share such optimism myself. While St. Bobby has presided over one of the most spectacular rises to prominence in Collegiate Football history, he has in recent years become a victim of his own success. The key to maintaining such a long run of great accomplishments begins with the Coaching Staff and support personnel being together for great numbers of years, something that is increasingly difficult to do this day and time. FSU has lost key elements of its Coaching Staff and support personnel over the last few years and the disruptions in continuity born of a decade or more of solidity have come home to roost. Give John L. Smith of Louisville and his Staff a lot of credit for adjusting better and securing a monumental victory.
This week's new crystal ball, as last week's got broken....
Got sacked on my picks last week so I'm calling in Miss Lily to help me out this week. And no, she isn't one of Miss Cleo's hacks, Miss Lily is my little pound puppy, I figure since she's a Dawg it sure couldn't hurt none!
Thus far: Straight Up: 34-16 ATS: 26-24
Noon on ESPN
Iowa @ Penn State (-8): JoePa's Nittany Lions are undefeated and playing well while the Hawkeyes come a calling with a loss to rival ISU. Conference matchup time and Iowa has a two game winning streak over PSU, but this trip to Happy Valley will be a rough one. PSU to win but the Hawkeyes to cover.
12:30 on Jefferson-Pilot, GP
Mississippi State @ LSU (-13): The Bullies are reeling this year again, Jackie's Staff adjustments haven't made up for his lack of players yet. LSU has had a week off and looks to secure their first SEC win in the friendly confines of Death Valley. Not sold on the Tiger's ability to score, but against the MSU D, they could get well. Tigers roar.
New Mexico State @ Georgia (-28.5): Last tuneup for the Dawgs as the Aggies visit for the third time, fresh off a big win over their rival New Mexico. Can the Dawgs handle the option and can the Aggies defend the pass? Yes & no. Dawgs crush another and cover.
3pm on ESPN & GP
Air Force @ Utah (-9): The Falcons are soaring in undefeated air as they journey for a key MWC showdown with the Utes. Two tough losses in a row have the Utes on the warpath. I like Utah at home, but the Fly boyz cover.
3:30pm on ABC & GP
Georgia Tech (-2.5) @ North Carolina: A Conference matchup between a Jacket team that lost its star TB and a Tar Heel team trying to find itself. A very compelling matchup that will eliminate one or the other from a shot at the title. Tar Heels win.
3:30pm on ABC & GP
Michigan (-7.5) @ Illinois: A reeling bunch of Illini make it home only to have the Wolverines visit. With Michigan's offense not clicking and their defense not as strong, are they vulnerable? I don't think so, but the spread is in jeopardy.
3:30 on ABC & GP
Nebraska @ Iowa State (E): One of the key games of the day and one that is simply HUGE in the Big 12 North race. Long a traditional power and general ruffian, the Huskers aren't in the kinda shape to just show up and stomp folks like they've done for so long. The Cyclones, led by QB Seneca Wallace are a dangerous team this year and have an opportunity to shake things up. With but one win a decade ago over NU, their ONLY win in a quarter of a century, and near annual slaughtering by the Huskers, ya think the 'Clones are thinking about some PAYBACK?
I do, and the Big Red Nation further implodes.
3:30pm on CBS
Kentucky @ Florida (-19.5): Undefeated Kentucky. Sounds strange doesn't it? The Gators, fresh off an improbable win in Knoxville. An SECE game with a lot riding on it. I like the Gators but too many points for me.
3:30pm on ABC & GP
Stanford (-1.5) @ Arizona State: The Trees visit the desert in a Conference game with the 3-1 Sun Devils, the Cardinal having dropped a visit to BC and the Devils one to Nebraska. While winning a tough one against SDSU, the Devils pass defense was torched and the Trees bring a higher echelon attack with them. Cardinal cover.
6:30pm on Fox
Oregon State @ So. Cal (-3): Another Pac10 showdown as the process of sorting out the contenders from the pretenders this one will be. The Beavers have slaughtered all in their path thusfar and the Trojans were stung last week at KSU, but this is a big one for both teams. Defense wins championships and the Beavers D is better.
7:30pm on ESPN
Alabama @ Arkansas (-5): The key matchup in the SECW this week finds the Tide a bit wounded and the Hogs well rested. The Tide have played two tough teams while the Hogs have beat up on the weak. Slobberknocker is written all over this one, but I like the Hogs at home.
9pm on ESPN2
Syracuse @ Auburn (-14): Last tune-up for the Tigers and a chance to pay back the Orangemen for last year's defeat. 'Cuse has struggled thusfar during their rebuilding process and have had a week to sort things out. Auburn is gaining momentum and they will need it to sustain them for the bataan march of SEC foes. Carnell runs wild, Tigers.
Only 17 remain unbeaten now, with FSU falling last night, and Arkansas, Penn State, Kentucky, and Air Force have stiff opposition tomorrow. The briar patch is indeed thick this Fall and the deeper into it we progress, the longer grow the thorns.