season is slowly taking shape, and that makes it simpler
to do predictions -- far, far from an exact science,
of course, but easier nonetheless.
This is the time of year when the cream tends to begin
its rise... and there are some exemplary matchups this
week which further separate the have's from the wanna-be's.
A quick note regarding reader feedback -- I welcome
all e-mails, both complimentary and critical, but thanks
to the extensive growth of The Huddle I'm receiving
so many that I can no longer answer each and every one
as I have always strived to do in the past. Thanks for
your understanding, and for making our site the finest
on the web.
2003 PREDICTION RECORDS:
Straight-Up -- 15-8 (65%)
Against-The-Spread -- 12-11 (52%)
LAST WEEK: 5-2 Straight-Up, 5-2 Against-The-Spread
Week 4 Schedule (the top games of the week)
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Virginia Tech 27, Texas A&M (+14 1/2) 16 --
This Hokies team is arguably slightly less talented than
of the recent past, but at home before a Thursday national
TV audience, it is still clearly the one to beat. A&M
may be down a little this year, but the Aggies are
unbeaten and tend to play tough as underdogs.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
Miami 29, at Boston College
(+13) 21 -- The Golden Eagles
are a solid bunch, and they have an amazing record
of 14 straight home conference games in which they've
covered the spread. In the last five meetings between
these two in Boston, the 'Canes have won 'em all but
only covered once.
Florida (-2 1/2) 31, Tennessee 23 -- The Gators have
surpassed 60 points twice in their first three games,
against inferior foes, and played Miami tough in between.
Tennessee is unbeaten but mostly unimpressive. The road
team has covered three straight in this series, but the
friendly spread says that streak ends.
Florida State 31, Colorado (+19) 17 -- The Buffs are
susceptible on defense, yielding points and yardage in
big bunches in last week's loss to Washington State,
but the Seminoles nearly were upset by Georgia Tech and
Colorado is 22-6 ATS in its last 28 games as road underdogs.
Oklahoma (-17) 30, UCLA 7 -- This is a mismatch in favor
of OU's defense, when you consider UCLA could only muster
two field goals last week against a very mediocre Illinois
Michigan 27, at Oregon (+7 1/2) 24 -- The Wolverines
have been fabulous, outscoring their first three opponents
a combined 133-10 and blanking Notre Dame last week.
But this game has all the makings of an ambush -- the
unbeaten Ducks are balanced and confident, if not quite
as talented. This game could be labeled the Ugly Uniform
Bowl, but the game itself should be a thing of beauty
LSU (-2) 26, Georgia 20 -- Both teams are 3-0 and have
feasted primarily on weak opposition, so something has
to give. Nothing complicated here, I just like the Tigers
at home in a big matchup.
Arizona State (+7) 33, at Iowa 28 -- My upset special,
and it admittedly goes against the grain because the
Hawkeyes have played exceptionally well while ASU has
been good enough to win, but not much more. Last week
Iowa won its rivalry game with Iowa State convincingly,
and I'm predicting a letdown -- Iowa is 2-8 ATS in its
last 10 immediately following the game with ISU.