The road to mediocrity is paved with second guessing yourself over your strictly for entertainment purposes picks against the spread. Did I not ask the right questions about the games at hand? Did I not watch enough of these teams' games to accurately make a sound judgement? HOW ON EARTH WAS I SO GOOD AT THIS LAST YEAR? We may never know. Case in point: here. The 4-4 week moves the grand season ledger to 35-36-1, still but a 5-3 week from equilibrium, 6-2 from getting kinda cocky.
Ohio State's bye week should provide every bit the opportunity to ask the right questions, soak up some of the ancillary sides I haven't had a chance to give my due diligence and catch up on what's going on nationwide, right? Naturally I'm... Instead going to a totally awesome indie music festival. None the less, I'll be but a mere two blocks from Texas blueblood fans' second half stadium escape destination, Scholz' Bier Garten, and you can rest assured TCU/Utah and a few other of the bigguns will get their just deserves.
Week 10's got some doozies, most notably the last matchup of unbeatens we're assured of seeing unless an improbable Oregon/Auburn v Mid Major/Each other showdown goes down in the greater Phoenix metro area some Monday night in January. Regardless, let's see how dignified a failure I can muster up this week. READY *BREAK*
#21 Baylor at #17 Oklahoma State (-7.5), 12:30 - FSN (HD)
Did you ever think you’d live to see a day where Oklahoma State-Baylor would kick one of these bad boys off? None the less both teams (RANKED NO LESS!) have taken to making this one a game of quasi-national interest and both enter the showdown bringing high octane, explosive offenses. Both teams are also well regarded for their… Less than that defense as well, so don’t be surprised if a wild (south)west shootout breaks out. Baylor may very well be running on fumes after edging out long time Big XII South (and Central Texas geographic) rival Texas a week prior. With bowl eligibility a sure thing for the Bears, error on the side of the more talented side with the offenses offsetting one another: Okie State 48 – Baylor 35.
#5 Alabama at #12 LSU (+6.5), 3:30 - CBS (HD)
Alabama. LSU. The Mad Hatter. Nick Saban, back in Baton Rouge again. This game – less interesting in every way than TCU-Utah. LSU and their high school offense ™ get arguably the one loss side playing the best football this side of the Waffle House-IHOP Dixon line. The ‘Bama defense, while as talented as ever, is still a bit on the green side (think Ohio State 2K7). LSU and coordinator John Chavis aren’t slouches either and should provide the once (more) heralded duo of Ingram-Richardson their greatest challenge since the South Carolina game. If this game was a night game, I think you’d see the spread something more akin to 3.5. While I like Alabama to win outright, it’s hard for me to see LSU not keeping this one tense. Take Bama but go LSU with the 6.5, 21-25.
#4 TCU at #6 Utah (+5), 3:30 - CBS College Sports (HD)
“Death to the BCS” devotees will be sad to lose one of their dogs in the fight [via ‘process of elimination’], but fans of ‘great college football’ will get the last matchup between unbeatens of the regular season. What adds to the intrigue of this one is both teams’ powder keg QB situations; Andy Dalton and Jordan Wynn are both talented guys but just as capable of blowing up their own team than beating the opppostion. DID WE MENTION THAT PIRATE CAP'N MIKE LEACH IS DOING COLOR ON THIS GAME?!? Get your keg cooled and invite anyone and everyone you know who likes them some football (particularly cynical BCS devotees) and watch your old man squirm; TCU stays on course for BCS’dom, 27-21.
#14 Arizona at #10 Stanford (-9.5), 8:00 - ABC (HD) (Regional)
Do you enjoy watching slow waltzes in burning sky rises? Arizona and Stanford should just up your alley then. A clash of two old school punch mouth defenses takes us to Palo Alto where Mike “All I do is only sort of not lose football games” Stoops brings his Wildcats side to take on John Harbaugh’s Cardinal. You know all you need to know about Andrew Luck, but ‘Zona brings in their own prize pony in the guise of Austin, TX product Nick Foles (late of Michigan State). Stanford as 9.5 point favorites jumps out as me as a sucker line though. Don’t’ get me wrong; Stanford takes this one, but by almost 10? Against that D? Bet Arizona, enjoy Harbaugh’s brand of 1970’s Big Ten ball, Cardinal 28 – Arizona 20.
Big Ten Games
Minnesota at #15 Michigan State (-24), 12:00 - Big Ten Network (HD) (Regional)
Or: Jeff Horton hears who’s going to take his lunch money this week. Coach D’s embarrassed nationally Spartans side look to bounce back against a miserable Minnesota group coming off their own (quasi-)nationally televised d-pants’ing. Horton indicated to media earlier this week that he’d be sticking with the most startingest Big Ten QB evar, Adam Weber, though you have to wonder when(if?) MarQueis Gray will get playing time for the benefit of the next coach’s sake. Michigan State should have plenty to say as they look to keep their (admittedly now bleaker) BCS aspirations a reality. With Sparty a 24 point favorite, you can’t help but wonder what kind of favorites a Chip Kelly coached Ducks side would be against this side. Take Sparty and the points, 48-14.
#16 Iowa at Indiana (+17), 12:00 - Big Ten Network (HD) (Regional)
Kirk Ferentz looks to keep the post-Spartan ****wave vibes alive and well with Bloomington the next site of Operation Stanzi & Awe. Jewel Hampton’s absence hasn’t slowed Iowa’s offense at all (again) and Indiana’s lack of out of conference Ben Chappell, well, pretty much has stopped them. IU managed to looked respectable against (just)Northwestern a week back, but Iowa will be a different animal altogether. The best hope for Indiana may honestly be for the celebratory hangover to catch Iowa off guard and/or they simply overlook the Hoosiers. 17 does seem like a tall order but this Iowa team’s been more explosive than they’ve gotten credit for all year. Live dangerously: Iowa 41 – Indiana 17.
Illinois at Michigan (-3), 12:00 - ESPN (HD)
A week after taking it on the chin from a baby Penn State team run by a former walk on one letter from having the last name ‘McGroin’, Rich Rod’s side plays host to a vastly improved Illinois side and actually enter this one as 3 point favorites. One point for each year of probation? (/zing). Ordinarily something to the effect of “you know Denard will get his” would be in order, but against one of the Big Ten’s better defenses, what ‘his’ looks like Saturday afternoon could determine the outcome. Nathan Scheelhaase, having all but wrapped up the conference’s freshman of the year honors, will have to be on his best for the Illini to be the latest to push Rich Rodriguez closer a return to Clemson as offensive coordinator. As much as I want Michigan to get back on track before The Game, I have a hard time going against the idea that Illinois is just better. Illinois 21 – Michigan 17.
Northwestern at Penn State (-6), 3:30 - ABC/ESPN2 (HD) (Regional)
Speaking of jNWU, the ‘Cats take their own personal brand of ‘just’ice (I know, I know) to Happy valley to take on a suddenly reborn looking Nittany Lion side. Seems like just a week ago folks were debating if Joe Pa was tarnishing his legacy for a minimum third time in as many decades. Dan Persa, whom the Nittany Lions actually missed out on on the recruiting side of things, looks to keep his name amongst the top passers nationally but should have his work cut out for him against this PSU D. The Lions continue to look to me like the sort of team that’s one week capable of tripping up the likes of Michigan but falling flat on their faces against JNWU a week later. With uncertainty under center across the aisle, go purple people eaters: 28-17.