It's back! Your favorite weekly advice column on how to [further] corrupt amateur athletics by wagering your not-so-hard-earned cash has returned to proffer more terrible advice and half-baked insight. We're COMING TO YOU LIVE from 35,000 above the American west en route to San Diego*. We may also be slightly tipsy, because COMPLIMENTARY ADULT BEVERAGES IN FIRST CLASS AND THAT'S JUST HOW WE ROLL HERE IN THE GBH HOLLA AT CHA PAGEVIEW$$$! So... the picks and reasoning, or lack thereof, may be a special kind of crappy today.
Week one had all the makings of genius. Three comfortable covers (ND, UT, and Bama) left one feeling all warm and fuzzy. But Michigan State had to go and shave points, and Chip Kelly decided for the first time in his life to not be a dick, leaving the back door wide open the entire second half (Some of us foresaw this impending Hindenburg). While Garrett Gilbert, come to find out, is still Garrett Gilbert. Auburn, you just lost outright. To an ACC team. Coached by someone named 'Dabo'. Mike Slive has now put you on SEC probation. But it's all good plainsbros, your DC still has the chillest of pornstaches. (Were I a budding disco queen in 1977, I'd be all over that. And so would you. Don't be shy.)
On the whole, the weekend's slate is lacking in intrigue and excitement, but a good addict never lets such trivial hurdles get in the way of lighting large bills on fire.
THE GAME: PITTSBURGH +5 at CINCINNATI
Do you want to watch President Hopey McChange flaunt his mad teleprompter skills, or do you want to watch a Big East football game of highly dubious quality? That's right, apolitical degenerate, flip on over to ESPN and enjoy the trainwreck. Cincy is starting its season and breaking in a bevy of new starters, while [checks press release to make sure it hasn't changed] Head Coach Paul Chryst and Pitt are licking their wounds after getting worked over by the Youngstown State Penguins. When in doubt, or completely disinterested but looking to get some action anyway, go with the home team on Thursday nights.
THE PICK: CINCINNATI -5
THE GAME: AUBURN +3 at MISSISSIPPI STATE
As mentioned, the Tigers blew it against... the Tigers last week. No, seriously, they largely beat themselves with horrid 3rd down defense and red zone production on offense. And as we all know, Dan Mullen is real good about beating That Team From Up North (Is that how you say it, Bulldog fans? Yes?) but wins against everyone else? Not so much. The Auburn fans crying in their Chiz-Rags last week will be waving 'em like a coked up Trooper Taylor.
THE PICK: AUBURN +3
THE GAME: VANDERBILT -3.5 at NORTHWESTERN
Northwestern is coming off a huge snatch-victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat-after-almost-letting-defeat-get-snatched-from-the-jaws-of-victory game against Syracuse (Check the box score. It will all make sense. Trust me.) Vandy lost a tough one to the 'Cocks on college football's opening night. But now instead of Certified Ess-Eee-See Opposition they get to face off against slower B1G foes who will write prosaic game recaps of their own valiant efforts.
THE PICK: VANDERBILT -3.5
THE GAME: DUKE +15 at STANFORD
Saturday offers a doubleheader of nerd-on-nerd violence, with Duke at Stanford serving as the nightcap. May the best wine and cheee plate and insider stock tip win. ALSO HAVE YOU SEEN OUR OLYMPIC SPORTS AND/OR LACROSSE TEAMS WE'RE QUITE GOOD AT THOSE THINGS! Andrew Luck is gone, and San Jose State showed as much, as Stanford once again looked like a bunch of slow white guys. On the other sideline, David Cutcliffe's Duke Blue Devils earned Coach K's swear-word-filled endorsement after they waxed FIU last week. They're fiesty and know how to score some points. It'll be enough to stay inside the number.
THE PICK: DUKE +15
THE GAME: OKLAHOMA STATE -10 AT ARIZONA
Did you know Vegas gives out free money every now and then? They're so charitable! That's why everyone you know is all over the Cowboys in this one like a Republican on a Tax Cut (Hot seasonal political commentary!), while the line meanders in favor of the Wildcats. Curious, no? TIME FOR A CONTRARIAN PLAY! Okie Lite's evisceration of barely-legal Savannah State means nothing, while the 600+ yards and 7+ yards-per-play Dick Rod's group put up on Toledo mean more than the 17 regulation points would suggest.
THE PICK: ARIZONA +10
THE GAME: FLORIDA +1.5 at TEXAS A&M
Hate Barn? Hate Barn. It'll be loud. It'll be rowdy. It'll be college football pageantry and SEC action at its finest. It'll also be a redshirt freshman quarterback taking his first live snaps against a top 10 defense returning ten starters and loaded with future NFL talent. A heavy dose of Mike Gillislee and a shock collar on Jeff Driskel get it done for Coach I-Cant-Believe-A-Youtube-Clip-Has-Made-Me-So-Much-Money.
THE PICK: FLORIDA +1.5
THE GAME: GEORGIA -2.5 at MISSOURI
Mizzou defensive tackle sheldon Richardson says the Dawgs play 'old man football'. Mark Richt's virgin ears are offended by such harsh language. Also, most of his suspended defensive starters are back after the Dawgs looked largely disinterested in dispatching Buffalo last week. Missouri's spent the whole offseason all tough-guy-pissed about the "Are you ready for the SEC?" thing, and Saturday night they learn why everyone was asking.
THE PICK: GEORGIA -2.5
[Reviews picks, sees five road teams selected. Begins quietly sobbing in fear.]
Keep battling the book, everyone. The wagerin' war isn't won in September. And it damn sure isn't lost, not even when you're donating plasma to cover your losses. (By the way, anyone know the name of a good phlebotomist? Asking... uh... for a friend... Please leave contact info in the comments. Kthxbai.)
As always, please don't follow my picks.
LAST WEEK: 3 - 4
SEASON RECORD: 3 - 4
* For the fourth time since the state of the 1995 season, I'm missing an A&M home game. Saturday morning I'll be spreading my grandpa's ashes in the Pacific. Sometimes the truly important things get in the way like that. Grandpa was a bourbon drinkin', war winnin', All American badass, and I'm pretty much completely unworthy of carrying his name. If you happen to know or be related to a member of the now-dwindling Greatest Generation, take some time to really get to know them and hear their stories. They're full of invaluable insight, wisdom, and strength, and you'll be better off for listening.