Next season, this will be Week 15. The season starts Aug. 31 (Aug. 29 for the Thursday night crowd) and ends Dec. 7. So 15 weeks of college football before the bowls instead of 14. Which is what the NFL ought to do. Use two bye weeks for every team. That would give television more inventory without lengthening the regular season. Oh well, these are the college picks. I’ll have to fix the NFL later.
OU at TCU: Sooners 27-24. Finally, OU gets a break from the high-tech passing offenses that have zinged the Sooners the past three weeks (often by using the run). But OU was unbeaten in the stretch. Can the Sooners now beat a team that might be that rarest of Big 12 teams? Better on defense.
OSU at Baylor: Bears 37-34. Bad spot for State. A game the week after an emotionally-draining Bedlam loss. If the Cowboys win this game, it’s an excellent season: 8-4, probably outright third place in the Big 12. Lose, and the Cowboys are in the great unwashed with a gaggle of Big 12 teams.
Texas at Kansas State: Wildcats 30-21. KSU dominates this series (6-2 in the Big 12 era). But Texas can beat the ‘Cats. I’ve seen the ‘Horns do it. I was at the 2003 game in Austin, when Texas won 24-20 despite KSU having a fourth-quarter lead and a team that went on to win the Big 12 title. The ‘Horns need revenge for KSU knocking UT out of the 2006 Big 12 title race. But I don’t think they’re going to get it.
Kansas at West Virginia: Mountaineers 58-7. WVU takes out a season’s worth of frustration the hapless Jayhawks.
Central Florida at Tulsa in the Conference USA Championship Game: Golden Hurricane 28-21. TU can’t catch a break. This title game kicks off at the same time as televised OU and OSU games. Then TU’s athletic director is implicated in a gambling scandal. Nobody is talking about the football game.
Alabama vs. Georgia at Atlanta in the SEC Championship Game: Crimson Tide 21-19. These teams combined don’t have as many impressive victories as does Florida.
Florida State vs. Georgia Tech at Charlotte, N.C., in the ACC Championship Game: Tickets are selling for as low as $4. ACC football has a major problem, and I suppose it’s up to Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt and five Notre Dame games to fix it.
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin at Indianapolis in the Big Ten Championship Game: Cornhuskers 23-17. Nebraska quietly having a nice season, even if it is in the Big Ten.
Louisville at Rutgers: Scarlet Knights 23-20. Winner gets either the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. Loser gets the Russell Athletic Bowl, which I’m pretty sure is in Orlando. Either way, both are winners. They’re getting the heck out of the Big East.
Cincinnati at Connecticut: Bearcats 20-19. You’ve heard of the Iron Bowl? This is the Irony Bowl. The two biggest losers in conference realignment. The two teams left holding the empty bag that is the Big East. UConn was talked about for the ACC. Cincy was mentioned for the Big 12. Now they’re in a league with Tulane and San Diego State.
Pittsburgh at South Florida: Panthers 24-22. A fabulous psychological experiment. Both teams have much to play for. Pitt needs the win to get to 6-6 and be bowl eligible. USF is seeking revenge; Pitt’s exodus to the ACC helped fracture the Big East.
Kent State vs. Northern Illinois at Detroit in the MAC Championship Game: Golden Flashes 28-27. Bob Stoops was on the Kent State staff in 1988. I asked Stoops earlier this week if he was torn about Kent State. Did he want the Kents to do well and win the MAC, or did he want the Kents to lose, because a Kent victory could keep OU out of the Sugar Bowl. Stoops didn’t know what I was talking about. Didn’t know Kent State was having a great year. Didn’t know the ramifications of Kent State finishing in the top 16 of the BCS.
UCLA at Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game: Cardinal 35-17. These teams play six days after Stanford won 35-17 in the Rose Bowl. Is that the quickest turnaround ever? Some NFL rematches occur in the first round of the playoffs, but there’s usually seven days there.
Nicholls State at Oregon State: Beavers 48-7. Delayed from a hurricane in September. Good thing Oregon State didn’t win the Pac-12 North. It would have had to send the JV team to play Nicholls State.
Boise State at Nevada: Broncos 26-21. You know, I’m about ready for another OU-Boise State game.
New Mexico State at Texas State: Bobcats 31-24. I guess if I’m going to nicknames on games like this, I ought to point out that the Bobcats are Texas State. Coached by Dennis Franchione, if you’re scoring at home.
Middle Tennessee State at Arkansas State: Red Wolves 35-31. The Red Wolves are Arkansas State, coached by Gus Malzahn, Cam Newton’s coordinator at Auburn. Malzahn got out of Auburn just in time. Any chance he’s headed back? By the way. This game is for the Sun Belt Conference title.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida Atlantic: Ragin’ Cajuns 26-20. Now there’s the definition of a good nickname. I didn’t have to tell anyone who the Cajuns are.
South Alabama at Hawaii: Warriors 41-30. Hawaii dropped the “Rainbow” prefix from its nickname a decade ago. I don’t know why. Sounded cool. OSU plays South Alabama in a few years. Even goes to Mobile for a game. Going to Hawaii would be better.
Last week: 17-13. Season: 277-127.