I positively stunk last week with my ... Cough, cough, 4-8 overall mark at 3-3 in college, 1-5 pros (it’s a conspiracy, I tell you!!!). Blame it on the moon being in the seventh house of Jupiter and Sting applying the Scorpion Death Lock to Saturn ... er, bad picking.
I now stand a humbled 38-34: 18-18, 20-16.
Dave Boninsegna was positively tropical at 7-5 (2-4, 5-1) for an overall record of 44-28 (24-12, 20-16).
The Guest Picker (26-21 - 14-9, 12-12) returns in none other than Bub Lindeman, head football coach of the Jefferson Wildcats.
Here are the games.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State; Texas at Texas Tech; Oregon at USC; Alabama at LSU; Oklahoma State at Kansas State; Arizona at UCLA.
Pittsburgh at New York Giants; Philadelphia at New Orleans (Monday); Chicago at Tennessee; Baltimore at Cleveland; Miami at Indianapolis; Denver at Cincinnati.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: State got thoroughly chastened in Tuscaloosa last week. I figure the hangover will be short-lived because Bama makes a lot of good teams look bad these days. Aggies’ defense is not the Wrecking Crew of yesteryear and home team gets back on winning track.
TEXAS TECH: Longhorns still have plenty of ways to go. Techsters coming off big loss but they return to Lubbock. Offense gets back on track versus suspect Texas defense (remember, they gave up 60-plus to Oklahoma).
OREGON: Which USC team will show up? The underachieving Trojans who everyone picked to be a national-title contender or the penalty-plagued unit? If anyone’s athletes can keep up with the Ducks’, it’s USC’s. However, my guess is that the penalties — “We’re watching each others’ backs!” excuse — keep on coming.
ALABAMA: LSU has a great defense but the offense is lackluster, especially against good defenses. Running the ball just doesn’t seem to be a good strategy against the Tide’s stellar ‘D’. Death Valley will be loud but not enough for Bayeaux Bengals to knock off No. 1 Crimson Tide.
KANSAS STATE: Oklahoma State lost a lot of great players but they seem to be doing a good job of replacing them. Still, you gotta love K-State in Manhattan, especially off “W” over Texas Tech.
UCLA: I realize Wildcats come off upset over USC last week — but that was in Tuscon. This one is in LA and methinks surprise Bruins come up with the shocker.
NEW YORK GIANTS: Steelers took advantage of rookie QB last week in RGIII. Eli Manning is no rookie and he has a full arsenal of weapons and an underrated offensive line. The G-Men defensive line is good enough to at least get to Big Ben enough and slow down the run. Emotions will be high in New York and that’s another reason to favor home team.
NEW ORLEANS: Saints got humbled last week in Denver (another of my “genius” picks!) but something tells me being back in Big Easy will get them going again. Plus, Eagles are in disarray surrounding Michael Vick situation and not being ready to play off a bye week. Not good.
CHICAGO: Da Bears may not QUITE be the Monsters of the Midway of yore but they are very good on defense. The supposedly new-look offense has struggled but Tuxedos’ defense has struggled, too. I like the Bears in Nashville.
CLEVELAND: Ravens’ defense is feeling its age and injuries taking a toll. Unfortunately, the offense hasn’t taken the expected steps. The Browns seem to be heading in the right direction, especially defensively, and get another big triumph in Browns Stadium.
INDIANAPOLIS: Andrew Luck has been lights-out for this better-than-expected Colts’ team. The defense gets back Robert Mathis to bolster matters. Dolphins were impressive at home versus listless Jets but Colts have been excellent in Lucas Oil Stadium.
DENVER: Broncos seem to have turned the corner. Peyton really taking command of this offense and that is not good news for Bengals.
Both teams are neck and neck in the SEC West. Mississippi State hopes to bounce back from its first loss Saturday when it hosts the No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies, who bring one of the nation’s top offenses to Starkville. A&M is coming off a drubbing of the Auburn Tigers, while State was pounded by Alabama. I am going to go with momentum in this one with the Aggies taking the edge in the SEC West.
Texas: Texas Tech hasn’t experienced much success against Texas over the years but the Red Raiders could make things difficult on the Longhorns this time around. Texas has won four in a row and 11 of the last 13 over their in-state rival. The teams come in with identical records at 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12. Texas squeaked by Kansas last week but learned a lot. I think the Longhorns keep their dominance over the Raiders.
Oregon: Oregon keeps scoring points at an impressive pace; the Ducks are averaging 53 points a game and haven’t scored less than 40 in a game this season - last week they put up 70 against Colorado. USC coach Lane Kiffin thinks the Ducks are the best team in the country; hope he doesn’t tell his team that. The Trojans lost a 3-pointer to Arizona last week. The Ducks should dominate this game; if they put up their average against USC, they deserve to move up in the rankings.
Alabama: It’s the rematch of the national title game, with the same result. Right now, Bama is so far ahead of everyone else in the pack, they win big in the bayou.
Kansas State;: The Wildcats can put themselves in great position to take the Big 12 with a win over Oklahoma State. All that Kansas State can do now is try to achieve perfection. Kansas State has already beaten two ranked teams on the road in Oklahoma and West Virginia and it blitzed Texas Tech 55-24 last Saturday to remain undefeated. They keep on that run this week as they put it to the Cowboys.
Arizona: The Bruins will look to snap a 5-game skid against a Arizona team that’s coming into Saturday night’s matchup at the Rose Bowl off its biggest win of the season against USC. UCLA had a 2-point win over Arizona State last week. It will be interesting to see if the Wildcats can knock off the other LA-area team. With a win, the Wildcats can move to 3-3 in the PAC 12. I think they pull off another upset and beat the Bruins.
New York Giants: The Steelers had to come from behind last week to get a victory; this week they get to meet up with the G-Men in New York. The Giants held off the Cowboys last week after getting off to a big lead. New York was decimated by the hurricane this past week; they will be emotional. I think the Giants come out and beat the Steelers.
New Orleans: The Philadelphia Eagles have a quarterback and a coach both likely playing for their jobs. The New Orleans Saints are off to their worst start in the Drew Brees era following the best regular season in franchise history. It’s going to come down to who wants it more, in pressure situations, I like Brees more than Vick. The Eagles have lost three in a row; make it four after Monday night.
Chicago: Chicago leads the NFC North and have a chance to win six in a row for the first time in six seasons. The Bears look to accomplish that feat Sunday when they visit a Tennessee Titans team trying to rebound from a frustrating overtime defeat. The Bears won a close one over the Panthers last week; this week it shouldn’t be as close as the Bears win going away.
Baltimore: The Browns won ugly last week; on Sunday, it’s going to be ugly by the lake as the Ravens come in and get the win.
Indianapolis: Two teams with rookie quarterbacks with surprising records: Miami and the Colts both are 4-3. But which rookie is better: Andrew Luck with the Colts or Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins? Indy has the home-field advantage and are 3-1 at home this season; that being written, let’s go with the Colts to move to 5-3.
Denver: Sadly, it’s back to being the Bungles; Cincinnati actually looked like they may give their fans a glimmer of hope this season but losses to Miami and Cleveland along with their loss last week have them on a 4-game skid just in time to meet up with Peyton Manning and the Broncos just as Denver is finding its stride. Denver sends the Bengals to number four in a row (Editor’s Note: As a Dallas fan, I commiserate with ya, buddy!).
Mississippi State; So, Mississippi State finally lost its first game of the year last week and got blown out by Alabama but the Tide will do that to a lot of teams....Now they play Texas A&M in Starkville, who is led by ESPN’s favorite player “Johnny Football”.......Johnny Football has won 2 SEC road games.... home team wins this one 27-21.
Texas Tech; The Red Raiders have too much fire power; 35-32.
Oregon at USC; Ducks’ speed will cause huge matchup problems for Trojans’ defense. Barkley and the Trojans will pick up yardage and points in bits and pieces but not nearly enough. Ducks 52-31.
Alabama; LSU has won 22 straight at home, which is the nation’s longest winning streak. Since Les Miles arrived at LSU, the team is 36-1 on Saturday night at home. Bama gets a scare due to their offense finally being matched with a strong defense: Alabama 20-17.
Kansas State; Bill Synder and the Wildcat defense; enough said. 42-24
Arizona: Richie Rod and the Wildcats are flying high and continue the winning streak 35-28.
Pittsburgh; Two of the league’s top teams square off and Pittsburgh receivers will run circles around a Giants secondary that was decimated by Romo and the Cowboys. Steelers 27-17.
Philadelphia; Vick is the starter in Philly for now and New Orleans has the league’s worst defense. Interim Coach Vitt returns from his suspension. This is a must-win for the Saints to stay in a wild-card hunt. The Eagles and Vick get the victory in The Big Easy. Eagles 34-27.
Chicago; Chris Johnson of the Titans has been productive in recent weeks but that will all come crashing to an end against the latest incarnation of the Monsters of the Midway. As for the Bears, they must keep winning to maintain their division lead over the Packers. Da Bears 24-14
Baltimore; It’s the Cleveland Browns vs. the team formerly known as the Cleveland Browns. The Baltimore Ravens have issues, as they are still trying to function as a defense without Ray Lewis and having trouble stopping the run. Facing rookie star-in-the-making Trent Richardson should put them to the test but won’t be enough. Ravens win 20-7.
Miami; Somehow, the Indianapolis Colts have soldiered on without their coach to secure a 4-3 record. The Miami Dolphins, who are winning in all three phases of the game, have enjoyed similarly surprising success. The Dolphins run defense has been stellar and will force Luck to make plays. This week, “luck” will not be with the Colts. Miami puts the heat on the Colts and wins 27-17.
Denver; Fresh off a demolition of the Saints, the Broncos are in prime position to take control of their division. The opportunity is there against a Bengals team that has lost three straight. Manning and the Broncos are too much. 24-17.