Don't Call It A Bromance

Three amigos, one blog.

DCIAPC 2.8: #wiretowire

Hey, all. No column this week because I’m on my way to Austin, Texas for fall break. I’ll definitely have a Don’t Call It A College Visit post next week on my time at UT. I hope to acclimate to the community there by getting kicked off the football team by Charlie Strong, like 83% of Texas’s student body. Hook ‘em!

In games we picked last week:

  • Illinois (+25.5) put up a decent showing against—as Matt aptly labeled the Badgers—a sneaky bad Wisconsin team.
  • Minnesota (-4) TRAP TRAP TRAP TRAP TRAP’d Northwestern.
  • Miami (-14.5) rolled over an overmatched Cincinnati team.
  • Mississippi State (+2.5) crushed the defending SEC champs and picked up the #1 spot in the poll.
  • TCU (+8) lost a shootout to Baylor but covered the spread.

Here are the standings. After winning last week, #wiretowire is still in play for me.

Season Last Week
Harry 19-16 3-2
Matt 17-18 2-3
Bob 12-23 2-3

And the splits. If I were you, I would pick with me when I go against Matt and Bob together.

We All Agree  8-11
Matt Alone  2-1
Bob Alone  1-5
Harry Alone  5-2

Peanut gallery! Starting next week I’m cutting anyone with fewer than 20 picks and then ranking by winning percentage in fairness to those who missed a few weeks but read and pick loyally.

Season Last Week
Creed Tucker 18-17 3-2
Andrew Kelley 13-7 3-2
Bobby 12-23 1-4
Drew 11-19 2-3
Andrew Hunt 10-10 2-3
Mike 9-11 1-4
Ben Greene 5-5
Arnim Whisler 5-15

Here are the five games this week. Miami and Illinois are off this week, so we’ll be doing four (!!) national games. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern.

#14 Kansas State at #11 Oklahoma (-8), Noon, ESPN

Oklahoma is reeling—coming off a loss to TCU and a very poor performance and lucky win against a depleted Texas team, the Sooners will look to bounce back against some staunch opposition.

#21 Texas A&M at #7 Alabama (-11.5), 3:30, CBS

Anyone else just getting tired of these teams? I’m completely on the bandwagon with the Mississippi excitement, but talking about ‘Bama and A&M is getting pretty old.

#15 Oklahoma State at #12 TCU (-9), 4, FS1

POINTS POINTS POINTS

#19 Nebraska (-7) at Northwestern, 7:30, BTN

Nebraska’s players are looking forward to their home game in Evanston, Illinois this weekend.

#5 Notre Dame at #2 Florida State (-11.5), 8, ABC

A serious note: Jameis Winston will play Saturday and that’s pretty disgusting. Regardless of whether he committed rape or not, a player currently under investigation by the school for an act as heinous as rape should not be playing during that investigation. Period. I almost never say this, but let’s fucking go Notre Dame. Time for the picks.

Kansas State-Oklahoma

Harry: For a huge chunk of the season to this point, Oklahoma looked like a juggernaut that would have no trouble waltzing to the playoff. After the last two weeks, that illusion is shattered. That said, this is still a very good team even if the last two performances have made me rethink my expectations for the Sooners. I like the Sooners to bounce back and win this game by 10 points in front of its home crowd. Oklahoma -8

Bob: I’ve always been on #TeamOklahomaIsOverrated, but it looks like the Sooners’ ranking and this game’s spread seem to be joining me. Oklahoma has yet to have a convincing performance on its conference slate, and Katy Perry’s favorite quarterback has been pretty average. Kansas State’s stout defense gave it a real shot to upset a strong Auburn team a few weeks ago, and I think they have a great chance at pulling off the win in Norman this weekend. I’m ignoring my advanced statistics for this one and taking the points. Kansas State +8

Matt: I’m siding completely with Bob on #TeamOklahomaIsOverrated. Kansas State will have a great shot of keeping this within a touchdown. Sorry if my analysis is really short this week– it’s a busy time for me. Kansas State +8 (Oklahoma 27, Kansas State 21)

 Texas A&M-Alabama:

Harry: As I mentioned above, I’m pretty tired of these teams but we had four open national slots and four games between ranked opponents so it was logical to select it. I’m going to spend the majority of this pick griping about having to pick it instead of just doing it. Here’s my analysis: Texas A&M isn’t as good as we thought. Alabama isn’t as good as we thought. This leads me to select… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Texas A&M +11.5 

Bob: After consecutive losses to annoying teams from Mississippi, Texas A&M has fallen to 36th in F/+, just one spot ahead of the fearsome Colorado State Rams. Their defense is pretty mediocre, and Kenny Hill is talented yet mistake-prone. I don’t really agree with the belief that “Alabama isn’t as good as we thought.” They were a play away from beating Ole Miss on the road, and yes, the performance last week was a stinker, but that happens to just about everyone. Also, Arkansas has proven to be a tough opponent this season. This massive spread makes things complicated, but I foresee Hill getting eaten by Kirby’s defense like a character in Super Smash Brothers, and the Alabama offense should do much better against the Aggie defense than it did last week. Alabama -11.5

Matt: The spreads are huge this week. Texas A&M +11.5 (Alabama 34, Texas A&M 27)

Oklahoma State-TCU:

Harry: As the excellent Matt Hinton lays out in this piece (which was also a clear overture to join DCIAB based on the title as I noted on Twitter), TCU was quite fortunate to even have a chance to win against Baylor last week despite the fact that they lead by 21 in the second half. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have been quite solid this year and I’ll happily take them while getting more than a touchdown. Oklahoma State +9

Bob: After reports showed that star TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin would be out 4-6 weeks with a wrist injury, sources are now saying he is practicing and totally fine to play on Saturday and Gary Patterson has said there is “no truth” to those reports. Weird. Anyway, Oklahoma State has not played anyone since its respectable opening week performance against Florida State. Obviously, you can only beat whom you play, but the Cowboys have not really had a single impressive showing since the FSU game. Everyone loves to uncreatively point out that TCU blew a 21-point lead against Baylor, but, in the end, the Horned Frogs lost by just three in Waco. They are still a top team (its #5 F/+ ranking supports that), while Oklahoma State has yet to prove much (as indicated by its #30 F/+ ranking). TCU -9

Matt: I really, REALLY like TCU this year. If they’d played Baylor at home, that’s probably a win. That said, Oklahoma State has been solid this year which makes this spread absurdly high. TCU’s offense is really solid, but they shouldn’t be able to beat OKST by ten or more. Oklahoma State +9 (TCU 37, Oklahoma State 31)

Nebraska-Northwestern:

Harry: You’re telling me that I get a pro-Nebraska crowd, a complete personnel mismatch and I only have to lay a touchdown with the Huskers? Thank you and please drive through. Nebraska -7

Bob: My tradition of always getting the Northwestern game wrong continued last week, and I hope I’m wrong again this week. I still think Northwestern is a solid team and can definitely beat Nebraska, but this line is surprisingly low. Nebraska -7

Matt: Yeah, I agree with these other two doofuses. Nebraska -7

Notre Dame-Florida State:

Harry: As much as I hate Florida State and everything their toxic program stands for, I have to separate that emotion from my pick. Objectively, I like the ‘Noles behind a raucous crowd and a Notre Dame defense that was exposed by UNC last week. Excuse me while I go projectile vomit.  Florida State -11.5 

Bob: On Tuesday, Keith Olbermann released yet another incompetent, attention-seeking hot take that claimed Florida State created the Jameis Winston autograph story because the university wants a reason to remove Winston from the program (as if it didn’t have reason already) because his controversy outweighs his talent. So, a football-is-everything school that has repeatedly overlooked a sexual assault controversy wants its Heisman-winning, defending champion, household name quarterback off the team in the middle of an undefeated season and run at a second consecutive championship? What a joke. [ED Harry: I normally think Olbermann is really good; his NFL stuff was great. This is obviously really dumb though.] Anyway, both of these teams remain undefeated but have looked far from untouchable. Every Football Outsiders statistic ranks these two teams as approximately even, though neither has performed at a top-ten level. I don’t like the idea of taking a still-untrustworthy Everett Golson at night in Tallahassee, but the Seminoles have yet to really show us this year why we should give up this many points against an undefeated team. It’s very possible Notre Dame is good-but-not-great like it was when it inexplicably made the championship two seasons ago, but the Stanford win proves they can beat tough teams. I’m upset I’ll be missing this one, though I can’t complain about going to Northwestern’s big game this Saturday for free. Notre Dame +11.5

Matt: This line is re-fucking-diculous. Notre Dame +11.5 (Notre Dame 34, Florida State 31)

DCIAPC 2.7: Go Read Bob’s Column Now

First, an apology. As you know, we release these on Thursday and it was completely my fault that it didn’t happen this week. My apologies. Now, instead of me writing a column this week, I am going to direct all of you to Bob’s awesome piece on why college students should attend football games for the Daily Northwestern because it is better than anything I could write now or ever. SERIOUSLY CLICK HERE AND READ IT IF YOU DIDN’T CLICK THE LINK ABOVE. (We can see the stats on how many people view this post and how many people click that link. If the numbers aren’t even, you are doing yourself a disservice.)

Due to copyright laws we’re not allowed to just copy/paste the piece and stick it in here, but here’s a taste:

The tailgates and parties exist because of the games, yet our rare fall Saturdays are too much about the drinking and not enough about something which, even for non-football fans, offers a distinct sense of community, school pride and passion that another few hours of drinking can never touch. Those whom I am not-so-discreetly calling out will remember Saturday as another link in an endless chain of moderately enjoyable alcoholic experiences. I feel lucky to say that I will be a part of the small group that will remember Saturday with much more profundity and lasting value.

Seriously, read it.

READ IT.

[Ed Matt: Read it.]

In games we picked last week:

  • Purdue (+10.5) humanely euthanized Tim Beckman’s run at Illinois. It had to be done.
  • Ole Miss (+6) made me look very stupid after I declared Alabama covering to be “FREE MONEY”.
  • Northwestern (+9.5) took down Bucky and sits in first place in the Big Ten West (!!!!!).
  • Georgia Tech (+2) stuck another nail in Al Golden’s coffin as Miami’s head coach.
  • Nebraska (+8.5) rallied out of an enormous hole to almost take down Michigan State.

Here are the standings. Matt won last week and pulled within a game of me at the top, very much threatening my potential wire-to-wire victory this year. Bob is in a tough spot but only needs to make up six games with the majority of the season left.

Season Last Week
Harry 16-14 2-3
Matt 15-15 3-2
Bob 10-20 1-4

Creed started tracking our record when the three of us all agree last week and I found it interesting so I’ll keep an official count here, as well as some other splits:

We All Agree  7-10
Matt Alone  2-1
Bob Alone  1-5
Harry Alone  3-1

If you don’t care about the above table and would prefer I leave it out next week, you can kindly go eat a handful of poisonous frogs. What have we learned from the above chart? Bob has gone against the grain the most often (although as you’re about to read, I will pass him this week) and has lost a disproportionate amount of those games. Shockingly, it appears a good portion of bad luck has factored in to his record. That said, SCOREBOARD BOB IS DUMB. Here’s the peanut gallery:

Season Last Week
Creed Tucker 15-15 3-2
Bobby 11-19 2-3
Andrew Kelley 10-5 3-2
Drew 9-16 1-4
Andrew Hunt 8-7 1-4
Mike 8-7 3-2
Ben Greene 5-5
Arnim Whisler 5-15 1-4

Here are the five games this week. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern.

Illinois vs. Wisconsin (-25.5), Noon, ESPN2

Avert your eyes and #PrayForMatt.

Northwestern vs. Minnesota (-4), Noon, BTN

IT’S A TRAP! Northwestern is coming off two great wins and has a primetime showdown at home against Nebraska next week that could very well decide who wins the Big Ten West and get to lose to Michigan State or Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. TRAP TRAP TRAP.

Cincinnati vs. Miami (-14.5), Noon, ESPN3

Can’t wait until the empty stadium pictures circulate on Twitter for this one. Seriously, if you think those Illinois pictures are bad, flip this one on your television Saturday. Wait, it’s not even on TV? #goACC

#2 Auburn (-2.5) vs. #3 Mississippi State, 3:30, CBS

The 3:30 time slot this week is unfreakingbelievable. Two undefeated games with major playoff implications are coming. Here’s hoping you have access to two televisions. We’ll start with the showdown in Starkville, where College GameDay will post up and subsequently announce that it’s not leaving the state of Mississippi ever again and Katy Perry is replacing David Pollack as a regular.

#9 TCU vs. #5 Baylor (-8), 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

As an unabashed Baylor lover, at least I have something to root for the rest of this season aside from Al Golden getting fired and replaced by Greg Schiano. Let’s get to the picks.

Illinois-Wisconsin

Harry: I know Wisconsin’s not that good, but this is an unbelievably good rushing offense against Illinois’s defense and there’s no Wes Lunt for the Illini. You can’t make this line high enough for me. Wisconsin -25.5

Bob: Wisconsin should run the ball on just about every play. When they took the ball down by 6 at their own 20 with 30 seconds left and no timeouts against Northwestern last week, they probably had a better chance scoring if they had run the ball than thrown it. It’ll be hard to take them seriously until they can throw the ball at all. Wisconsin could very well have a “fuck you” game at home and just destroy Illinois, but that’s also a ton of points to be giving up. The statistics that point me to my decision here are pretty appalling: Illinois allowed 349 rushing yards and 551 total yards to Purdue at home last week. I think that equates to 983 yards for Melvin Gordon on Saturday. Wisconsin -25.5

Matt: The only way Illinois covers in this game is if Wisconsin beats themselves with throwing the ball too much and turning the ball over. Illinois would have to pull a Northwestern and win the turnover battle four-to-zero or better to have a shot in this one. I think Wisconsin keeps it on the ground and dominates this one. Wisconsin -25.5 (Wisconsin 52, Illinois 14)

Northwestern-Minnesota:

Harry: IT’S A TRAP. Minnesota -4

Bob: I picked Northwestern almost every game last year and the first two weeks this year. I’m not sure if I was ever rewarded. The last two weeks, I picked against Northwestern, and not only did they cover, they beat Penn State and Wisconsin. I think the Wildcats are a legitimately solid team, but I’m still so scared that this is a trap game, as Harry keeps saying. Interesting thing I noticed in my weekly scrutiny of advanced statistics: Minnesota is 28th in S&P+ but just 57th in FEI, while Northwestern ranks 56th in S&P+ and 29th in FEI. Weird. If you look at every game result, Minnesota has failed to impress so far, so I’m going to say the Wildcats return to Evanston with a win over an inferior team, but I’d be lying if I were to say I’m not scared. Northwestern +4

Matt: I think these teams are just going to beat each other into submission with run after run after run after run after run. In our betting segment over at the Champaign Room, I said that this would be the most boring game of the weekend. That’s probably true. Both teams have solid defenses and dysfunctional offenses at best. I don’t know why exactly, but I hate Jerry Kill with a passion and hope the ‘Cats demolish the Gophers. Realistically, I think this one comes down to the wire. Northwestern +4 (Northwestern 20, Minnesota 17)

Cincinnati-Miami:

Harry: Okay, so Miami’s clearly not ready from primetime like Bob and I at least tentatively asserted last week, but this Cincinnati team is really, really bad (They lost 41-14 AT HOME TO MEMPHIS! MEMPHIS!) and will likely be without stud QB Gunner Kiel. I’ll confidently go with the ‘Canes. Miami -14.5

Bob: What Harry said. Cincinnati has been horrendous this year, and Miami should have no problem. Miami -14.5

Matt: If Gunner Kiel were playing, I’d probably take Cincy in this one. I don’t know too much about the Bearcats this year, but I do know that Illinois was able to blow them out of the water last year. Read that again— Illinois blew them out of the water last year. The ‘Canes takes this one with a margin of victory just over the spread. Miami -14.5 (Miami 34, Cincinnati 17) 

Auburn-Mississippi State:

Harry: Auburn is a great team, but you simply cannot justify picking against the Bulldogs as home underdogs. (Matt and/or Bob will probably try to anyway.) It’s insane that I get points picking MSU, but I’ll happily take them. Mississippi State +2.5

Bob: Getting 2.5 points is almost completely meaningless. I thought only Bill Simmons fell victim to seeing “favorites” and “underdogs” as pure binaries. This line is essentially even. Dak Prescott and friends have been awesome so far, but it’s hard to me to pick against Auburn after all they have done over the last year and a half. It’ll be interesting to see the two no-longer-so-improbable Heisman candidates Prescott and Nick Marshall face off. Auburn -2.5

Matt: I am going to use the always accurate transitive property to pick this one. Auburn made LSU look like a high school team and Mississippi State barely scraped out a win against the Tigers, almost blowing a big lead. Mississippi State’s offense pulled off an amazing performance to beat Texas A&M last week, but I don’t think they can continue it against Auburn. I’ll take Guz Malzahn on the road in a tight one. Auburn -2.5 (Auburn 38, Mississippi State 34)

TCU-Baylor:

Harry: Baylor did not look outstanding against a putrid Texas team last week while TCU was busy knocking off Oklahoma, so I think this line is a few points too low due to recency bias. I’ll happily take Baylor while laying fewer than 10 points. Baylor -8

Bob: Baylor has not proven to be trustworthy in big games + a terrible TCU team only lost by 3 to Baylor last year + TCU has been outstanding every single game this year + 8 points is a lot + there’s no clear reason to take either side here = TCU +8

Matt: This is a lot of puntos for two teams that seem fairly even given our expectations for them and their performances thus far this year. #analysis TCU +8 (Baylor 30, TCU 28)

DCIAPC 2.6: Here’s a College Football Column Where We Don’t Talk About the Michigan Situation. You’re Welcome.

Shameless self-promotional note: This weekend I (Harry) will be going up to Atlanta to broadcast the Miami-Georgia Tech game for WVUM, Miami’s student radio station. The game is at 7:30 pm eastern and you can listen live here. If I have time, I’ll definitely put together a Don’t Call It A College Visit like the one I did for Florida State last year. On with what you came for.

Like I mentioned in the title, there will be no discussion of the large university in Ann Arbor and that situation with the injured quarterback and our desired job status for the head football coach and athletic director. While all three of us certainly have thoughts on that whole thing (cough*fireHokeandBrandon*cough, also oh look here’s an editorial on the topic from Bob!), that story has been beaten to smithereens with a tire iron at this point, so you won’t have to read about it here. You’re welcome.

Anyway, last week I promised a column after I posted a YouTube video of babies eating lemons instead of writing because I was “busy”. (While I certainly had plenty to do last week, I’ll admit that laziness had a large part in that debacle as well.) I am a man of my word sometimes—mostly when it’s convenient for me to be—and this happens to be one of those times. Just kidding, I was too lazy again! Instead, I called up my inside source at ESPN and got the advance script from this week’s edition of the reprehensibly bad “Final Verdict” segment on “College Football Final”, where the outstanding Rece Davis somehow manages to get through a few minutes of listening to Mark May and Lou Holtz both idiotically argue about some inane topic. Here is is!

Final Verdict Script, October 4

Rece Davis: Gentlemen, welcome to “The Final Verdict”. Tonight ESPN executives have brought the case to me that there is simply too much stupidity on the set and one of you must be shot with this tranquilizer gun and deposited in a facility for treatment. [Producer's note: I was going to go with an actual gun and euthanasia situation, but that seemed a bit too morbid even for these two.] Now, each of you will have the chance to make your case to the court about why you think you deserve to stay. Lou, let’s start with you.

Read more of this post

DCIAPC 2.5: Here Are Some Cute Babies Eating Lemons

Hey all. Busy week for me, so you’re not getting a column this time around. Sorry. In fact, I feel so much remorse that I will refund you all of the money that you paid to read this. Feel better? In lieu of a column, here is a video of babies eating a lemon for the first time. You’re welcome.

So adorable! Column will be back and snarky as ever next week.

In games we picked last week:

  • Virginia (+14) picked up a backdoor cover in a loss at BYU.
  • Alabama (-14.5) destroyed Florida but turnovers kept the final margin to 21.
  • Texas State (+14) made us all pay for stupidly laying 14 points with Illinois (NEVER AGAIN).
  • Clemson (+20.5) pretty much beat Florida State on the road and despite the game, FSU still sits at #1 and Clemson dropped out of the rankings. Okay, pollsters. Okay.
  • Nebraska (-7) ran all over Miami’s awful run defense to spoil a nice day by the Hurricanes offense.

Pretty good week for three of us last week after a couple bad ones. Here are the standings:

Season Last Week
Harry 12-8 4-1
Matt 11-9 4-1
Bob 7-13 3-2

And the peanut gallery:

Season Last Week
Creed Tucker 10-10 3-2
Bobby 9-11 2-3
Andrew Hunt 7-3 4-1
Drew 7-8 3-2
Ben Greene 5-5
Andrew Kelley 4-1 4-1
Arnim Whisler 4-11
Mike 3-2 3-2

[Editor's note: I struggle with basic math and counting, so I originally had Creed down for 4-1 last week. Since he is a spirited adherer to all that is moral and classy, he pointed out that I had awarded him an extra win. It's been corrected. What a stand-up guy.]

For the first time since Week 2, all three of our teams have games against FBS opposition! Other than that, it’s a light week in terms of big games. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern.

Northwestern at Penn State (-10.5); Noon, BTN

I’m pretty interested to see how this one goes. Northwestern has unquestionably been the worst team in the Big Ten to this point, but Penn State has looked bad for long stretches too.

Arkansas at #6 Texas A&M (-9.5); 3:30, CBS

I don’t know what the hell “trill” means, but that Kenneth guy can sling it.

Duke at Miami (-7); 7:30, ESPN

Interesting line movement on this game. Miami opened as a three and people are climbing over themselves to take the ‘Canes. Never a good sign when the public is heavily on your side.

Illinois at #21 Nebraska (-20); 9, BTN

Nebraska really loves itself some home night games.

Oregon State at #18 USC (-9.5); 10:30, ESPN

Hi Arnim. As a (belated) birthday present to you, we threw USC in this week. Happy birthday! Onto the picks.

Northwestern-Penn State:

Harry: Like the column, I’m going to be quick with my picks this week. Northwestern is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season, but Penn State isn’t any good either and I don’t trust them enough to lay more than 10. Northwestern +10.5

Bob: Weird fact: Northwestern’s offense is 119th in S&P+ (that’s horrendous) with its defense ranked 20th (that’s great). Both of those numbers will surely regress as the year goes on and as the rankings calibrate to more appropriate opposition, but the offense is a mess right now while the defense inspires little confidence. Trevor Siemian has not been the star we had hoped, while the lone bright spots have been flashes of talent from former five-star wideout Kyle Prater and true freshman running back Justin Jackson. I hope I’m wrong and this is the week the Wildcats put it all together, but I can’t possibly take Northwestern after all they have done to me over the last year. Penn State -10.5

Matt: I honestly have no idea how Northwestern is going to score in this game. Penn State’s defense is far, far better than any the ‘Cats have faced thus far, and they weren’t even able to put up points against those awful teams. If Northwestern can somehow move the ball against one of the better run defenses in the nation, then they could keep it close. I still think Penn State is ridiculously overrated this year (I will be picking Illinois against them, no matter the spread), but this could be a tough outing for the Wildcats. Penn State -10.5 (Penn State 27, Northwestern 9)

Arkansas-Texas A&M:

Harry: This is probably my highest confidence pick this week. Texas A&M has wrecked fools so far this year, Arkansas is coached by Bret Beilema and you’re telling me I’m laying fewer than 10 points? Thank you and please drive through. Texas A&M -9.5

Bob: Arkansas is much improved from last year, but this line still looks too low, especially with the game being played in College Station. The Aggies are 5th in S&P+ while the Razorbacks are a respectable but unimpressive 31st. Texas A&M -9.5

Matt: As much as I want to trust in the magic that is a Bret Bielema squad, I just cannot quite bring myself to do it today. Arkansas is much better than last year, and that’s nice, but I’m going to treat A&M a little bit like Oregon when they’re at home. They may not cover this spread while the game’s competitive, but I bet they manage to do it in garbage time, at the least. Texas A&M -9.5 (Texas A&M 52, Arkansas 38)

Duke-Miami:

Harry: I really want to take Miami, especially because it’s a home night game, but Duke’s rushing offense has been outstanding this year and this is an artist’s interpretation of Miami’s rushing defense:

A tire of the fire variety.

Miami wins the game, but I don’t feel comfortable laying a touchdown. Duke +7

Bob: I haven’t watched Duke play this year, but I was surprised to see them getting a touchdown after their outstanding 2013 season followed by a 4-0 start without a close game. A night game in Miami for a Hurricanes team that looked strong last week against Nebraska points towards a Miami pick, but I don’t see a reason why Miami is definitely the better team. Duke +7

Matt: I’m good for one lazy analysis each week, and that comes now. Too many puntos for Matty. Duke +7 (Duke 27, Miami 31)

Illinois-Nebraska:

Harry: If y’all thought Nebraska’s offense looked good last week, you just wait. Nebraska -20

Bob: That’s a lot of points. Nebraska scores a lot of points (45.5 per game, 10th in the country). Nebraska won this game last year, also in Lincoln, by twenty points. Both teams appear slightly improved. This could really go either way, but I expect Nebraska to have a couple big plays (like Washington did against Illinois two weeks ago) as well as some sustained offense with which the Illini cannot keep up. I don’t see Illinois keeping this close, but then again no one thought McNeese State (a game that looks like a fluke right now) would. Low confidence on this one, but I like the Huskers. Nebraska -20

Matt: This is a really, really tough one for me. As much as I want to have confidence in Illinois, and I honestly do, it’s not worth the risk of picking them. The other two picked Nebraska, and I can’t really justify putting this much faith in Illinois when I have yet to see their offense move the ball against a solid D. Nebraska -20 (Nebraska 41, Illinois 17)

Oregon State-USC:

Harry: I went back and forth on this one a few times, but ultimately my pick comes down to this: the Trojans gave up 506 yards against BOSTON COLLEGE, including 452 ON THE GROUND ALONE. The same BC team that got trounced at home by Pitt. And Oregon State actually has an offense. USC probably bounces back and wins this game, but laying almost 10 points with the Trojans in this game is a felony in 37 states. Oregon State +9.5

Bob: Oregon State lurks just three spots behind the 36th-ranked (in S&P+) Trojans. However, the Beavers haven’t played anyone, and I think the Boston College performance was a misstep from which Sarkisian’s team can learn. USC comes off a bye and plays in a primetime home game. It’s a lot of points to give up, but I’ll take the Trojans. This is more a gut feeling than anything. USC -9.5

Matt: BEAVERS (Okay I lied, I mailed it in twice this week. I’m busy, okay?) Oregon State +9.5 (Oregon State 23, USC 30)

DCIAPC 2.4: Is the Big Ten Really As Bad As People Think?

Yes. Yes it is. [Ed Matt: Nah.] Not a ton of time for the column this week, so why don’t I run down a (relatively) unbiased power rankings of the Big Ten that Matt and Bob will probably have some major qualms with? Most of our readers are Big Ten fans anyway. Don’t forget to put the brown paper bags you use to hide your identity for fear of shame back over your head after you finish reading! Just so you have a heads up, this week is probably going to be an all-time record for me making people really mad, although our Southern friends escape mostly unscathed.

Actually Competent Football Teams

1. Michigan State

Defense! A competent quarterback! If the Spartans don’t run away laughing from their divisional competition I will be quite surprised.

2. Wisconsin

This team could be so good if only it had a quarterback. The Badgers looked great for most of the game against LSU and if they didn’t have a safety under center, they would’ve won that game easily.

3. Ohio State

Instead of analysis, I’m going to embed the following video for your viewing pleasure. Glorious. You’re welcome. Keep in mind this VT team lost to East Carolina the next week. BIG TENNNNNN!

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