Bet the Farm & The Sweep: Two Minute Drill

We're abandoning our traditional game plan and going no-huddle: compressing The Sweep and Bet the Farm into one final hurrah. ("Sweep the Farm"? "Sweep the Bet"?) Here's our two-minute drill:

They say football is a metaphor for life, and sometimes in both, you find yourself unable to do what you want for the first 58 minutes. This past week, real-world concerns (not to mention chasing down recruiting news and publishing stories galore, as always) found this author sadly unable to throw together The Sweep or Bet the Farm with the tender loving care he usually provides. Luckily, however, the 12 p.m. Saturday buzzer hasn't yet sounded, and there's time yet for one last hurrah. So we're abandoning our traditional game plan and going no-huddle: compressing The Sweep and Bet the Farm into one final hurrah. ("Sweep the Farm"? "Sweep the Bet"?) Here's our two-minute drill:

Survivor Pool:

Last week, Arizona State took care of business against Washington State. This week, we have an out-of-conference matchup we have to utilize. We're not playing for a top-ten finish; we're playing to win, and as such, we need to save the Pac-10 teams for that ugly last week of November and first week of December. So it's USC over Notre Dame, crossing my fingers.

Cherry Picking:

Last week: 8-6. Michigan State (-4), West Virginia (-10), Houston (-2.5) and Oregon (-3.5) covered big. Duke (+16) covered bigger yet -- winning outright. Baylor (+28), Colorado (+33.5) and Georgia Tech (+3) won narrow. Our losses came with Indiana (+7), Auburn (-2) and Arizona (-3.5) face plants, Arizona State (-20.5) and Oklahoma State (-5.5) not winning by quite enough (the Cowboys won by five, ouch), and Houston and Mississippi State combining for 1,043 yards and 57 first downs, but only 55 total points, which is really hard to do. The teams combined for four interceptions and two fumbles – didn't anticipate that. Still, the buckshot strategy worked – we picked enough games to go +2 even with the missteps. We'll try to keep that this week.

This week: Boston College -2.5 vs. North Carolina State, Iowa +2 at Wisconsin, Georgia -7 at Vanderbilt, Auburn -13.5 vs. Kentucky, South Carolina +18 at Alabama (‘Bama only scored 19 last week folks), Arkansas +24.5 at Florida (Arkansas' quietly the best team you haven't heard of), Missouri +7 at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M -5.5 at Kansas State, Miami -14 at Central Florida, Washington +7 at Arizona State, Central Michigan -6.5 at Western Michigan, Cal -3.5 at UCLA

Interestingly, all but two of my 12 picks are for road teams. Let's hope fans across the country stay home.

Season: 20-16, +0.5 units on the money line

Big Games:

Last week: 3-0. Alabama, Florida and Virginia Tech won big. This is the strategy that went about .700 last year – pick top-five teams to cover. This year has been a messy season with fewer clear-cut top teams than the last few years (consider Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss tanking), but last week was a refreshing return to normalcy.

This week:

USC – 10 at Notre Dame. I'd take this at 21. USC has carte blanche from me – I'm riding them for as long as they keep posting 10-plus win seasons.

Texas -3 vs. Oklahoma: I take the team I think is going to win outright with such a small spread. Texas might be worse than Oklahoma, but they could also be the best team in the country – which the Sooners most definitely are not.

Virginia Tech -3 at Georgia Tech: The Hokies are clicking on both sides of the ball right now, with their gangbusters offense making a team known for its D and special teams complete. Georgia Tech plays well against the crappy teams, but against the big boys often gets blown out.

Season: 10-8

Zhihao's Picks

ASU -6.5 over Washington

Georgia Tech + 3 over Virginia Tech

Purdue +14 over Ohio State

Top 25

As always, these are our best guess as to where all the teams will end up ranked, not power rankings that attempt to actually rank said teams on strength, as there are plenty of preexisting sources for that.

2009 Week 6 Top 25
1. Texas
2. Florida
3. Alabama
4. USC
5. Boise State
6. TCU
7. Ohio State
8. Virginia Tech
9. LSU
10. Miami
11. Penn State
12. Cincinnati
13. Iowa
14. Oklahoma
15. Utah
16. Oregon
17. South Florida
18. BYU
19. Oklahoma State
20. Auburn
21. Wisconsin
22. Georgia Tech
23. Mizzouri
24. Arkansas
25. Notre Dame

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