one more week to go before I release my first top 10
of 2003 (I know you can barely contain your anticipation).
Maybe by then, I'll get a better handle on picking games
against the spread. The unexpected (in my view) continues
to plague my predictions... why can't everyone just do
what they're supposed to do?
Anyway, enjoy the games...
2003 PREDICTION RECORDS:
Straight-Up -- 20-11 (65%)
Against-The-Spread -- 15-16 (48%)
LAST WEEK: 5-3 Straight-Up, 3-5 Against-The-Spread
Week 5 Schedule (the top games of the week)
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
Nebraska (-8) 24, at Southern Mississippi 10 -- The
Eagles are usually a tough home underdog, and with the
nationally televised it wouldn't be a surprise for
them to rise up again. But the Huskers have a newfound
confidence... and a defense that's reminiscent of
their national title teams of a few years back. NU wears
'em down in the second half.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Penn State (+3) 26, Minnesota 17 -- The Golden Gophers
are 4-0, all romps against a cupcake schedule. Penn
State is only 2-2, but has played poorly only in
the home loss to Boston College. Minnesota won't find the
step up in competition to their liking.
LSU 31, Mississippi State (+13 1/2) 20 -- I like this
game because SEC home underdogs are usually a good play,
and because LSU is due for a letdown after an emotional
home win over Georgia last week, and because MSU's Jackie
Sherrill is an experienced veteran coach who's been in
these situations before, and because they may be 0-3
but the 'Dogs played Oregon tough in the opener and because,
well, this game won't be played in a dome -- where MSU
has lost in each of the last two weeks.
Notre Dame (+10) 23, at Purdue 20 -- My Upset of the
Week. The Irish's season would be all but lost if it
doesn't win here, and I'm just not that impressed with
the Boilermakers as of yet, last week's 59-7 rout of
Arizona notwithstanding. Simply put, I have confidence
Irish coach Ty Willingham will find a way to get it done.
Arkansas 30, at Alabama 22 -- The last time I made a
prediction on a game involving the Hogs, they took the
insult personally (remember Texas 41, Arkansas 14? Oops).
Alabama lost at home last week to... gulp... Northern
Illinois? And what's with Bama playing all of its first
five games at home? What kind of scheduling is that?
Without having to lay any points, the Hogs are a steal.
Oregon (-4) 37, Washington State 27 -- The Ducks will
have to be wary of a letdown after the big win over Michigan,
but they're dynamite at home -- the Cougars don't appear
to have enough on defense to slow 'em down. Of course,
the same might be true of the Ducks defense.
Texas A&M (+1) 20, Pittsburgh 17 -- A very even
matchup, as the line would indicate, but I like the host
Aggies to rebound from their loss at Virginia Tech. Deep
in the heart of Texas is a long way to go for a road
game for the Panthers.