Don't Bet On It: National Games of Interest

Remember how, when I gave you my S.E.C. picks, I told you Don't Bet On It!? Well, I wasn't kidding: I went 0-4 in last week's national picks, dropping my non-S.E.C. record for 2007 prognostications to 45-39, so, seriously, Don't Bet On It!

Here are this week's horribly misguided predictions, each of which concerns a game that will be played on Saturday, November 24, unless otherwise noted:

Virginia Tech at Virginia: From Richmond down to Newport News, tension mounts and trouble brews as all Virginians now must choose from two teams straight from Dr. Seuss, the Hokies and the rival Hoos. For the first time in recent memory, both A.C.C. schools in the Old Dominion are good at the same time and more than just the Commonwealth Cup is on the line, as the winner captures a berth in the conference championship game. Even with the contest being played in Charlottesville, I trust a more fundamentally sound V.P.I. squad to close the deal against a Cavalier team that, like last year's Atlantic Coast Conference champion Wake Forest unit, appears to be more lucky than good.

Texas at Texas A&M (Friday, November 23): If you're an Aggie fan, you have to be nervous about this one. After all, there is the possibility, however slight, that, if Dennis Franchione beats the Longhorns in back-to-back series meetings, the embattled coach may manage to hang onto his job. To avoid such a prospect, even a Texas A&M fan might find himself rooting for the Burnt Orange. Fortunately for the College Station faithful, the Frantastic era of Aggie football is about to come to an end after Texas exacts its revenge for last year's loss.

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma: The big question going into the Bedlam Battle is whether the Sooners will have a healthy starting quarterback upon whom to rely. Although Oklahoma did not appear quite as dependent upon its first-string signal-caller as, say, Oregon did, the Sooners clearly are a wounded team heading into their home date with the Cowboys. With a national championship game berth now outside the realm of possibility, will a chance to defend their Big 12 title be enough for Bob Stoops's troops? Inasmuch as the game is being played in Norman, I'm expecting Mike Gundy to declare, "I'm a man! My defense gave up 40!" following a win by the Sooners.

Connecticut at West Virginia: Is it just me, or is there liable to be a bit of culture shock for the folks from New England when they leave a landscape straight out of the opening credits of "Newhart" and find themselves in the couch-burning haven of Almost Heaven? The Huskies have cobbled together a respectable record, but it remains to be seen whether UConn can survive the atmosphere of Morgantown when the Mountaineers are playing with a shot at a national title on the line. I don't expect the visitors to fare too well in that environment, so I'm going with West Virginia to keep it rolling at home.

Boise State at Hawaii (Friday, November 23): When you think of home field advantage in college football, you tend to think of Autzen Stadium and the Coliseum and Death Valley and the Swamp and such places as that, but there may be no conference in all the land where playing on your own turf matters more than in the W.A.C. The Broncos are all but unbeatable on the blue field in Boise and, when the Warriors have struggled, they have done so on the mainland. With the contest being played in Honolulu, Hawaii ought to have every advantage . . . but, at the end of the day, B.S.U. is the better team and I believe talent will tell as the visitors carry the day.

Southern California at Arizona State (Thursday, November 22): Trojans and Devils in the desert! Oh, my! This is the game that could cement A.S.U.'s resurgence under Dennis Erickson and confirm U.S.C.'s Miami-like decline, but, while neither team truly has made a believer out of me, I know Pete Carroll's teams perform best on the national stage. Playing on television on Thanksgiving night, the Men of Troy will find a way to finish the job.

Kansas v. Missouri: I have great faith in the Jayhawks . . . no, wait; I don't, do I? (By the way, the new BlogPoll is out and my persistence in ranking K.U. lower than other voters once again earned me the title "Mr. Bold.") I believe the Tigers are the better team and, playing at home, they ought to prevail . . . but I just know these dadgum Jayhawks are going to find a way to win this game and force me to raise them in the rankings, just to spite me.

Those, as they appear from my vantage point, are the probable outcomes of the upcoming slate of college football games around the country. (I apologize for the lack of pictures to break up the text, but I was blogging from the road today on account of the holiday, so my computer access was somewhat limited; mea culpa.)

After I totally tanked on last week's prognostications, I probably shouldn't have to tell you this, but I will anyway: whatever you do, Don't Bet On It! While you're busy eating turkey and not placing wagers based upon my erroneous predictions, though, stay tuned for this week's national game of disinterest. . . .

Go 'Dawgs!

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