Together, we have traveled around the SEC, where, quite frankly, I have been on a roll lately, prognostication-wise. Nationwide, though, I stink on ice; viz., my middling 3-2 record in last week’s picks actually improved my ledger in national picks to a dismal 12-17. Surely it goes without saying that I’m not kidding when I warn you . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Here are this week’s national picks, for whatever they might be worth. Each of these games will be played on Saturday unless otherwise indicated:
Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio St. Buckeyes: Since I don’t want to disappoint tankertoad, I’ll go ahead and say it . . . if this is October, then a couple of Big Ten teams must be playing for custody of some moldy bucket they found at the bottom of a dry well or some rusty hatchet they unearthed in a dilapidated farmhouse on the outskirts of a ghost town or some misshapen and incongruous hand-carved replica of an animal that was discovered by aimless waifs playing in an abandoned mine shaft. Say, here’s a thought, boys . . . how ‘bout if, instead of playing to see who has to stuff some hundred-year-old cardboard box of useless crap in the attic of the athletic department building for the next year, y’all play because you don’t like each other and you want to beat one another. That’s been working pretty well for us down here. Just a thought. I’m going with the Buckeyes because I have even less faith in the Badgers.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Missouri Tigers (Oct. 8): There’s an old saying among football coaches that, if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind. That expression is in no sense true in the Big 12 North, where the Big Red Machine is standing still while every other team in the division slides slowly back down the slippery slope into suckitude. Nebraska will prove that you don’t have to get better if everyone around you is getting worse.
Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes: Believe it or not, there is no meaningless trinket on the line in this matchup. No one dredged up a mildewed steamer trunk out of the hulk of a sunken vessel raised from the bottom of some riverbed or poured brackish water into a leaky mason jar with a warped lid and called it "John Henry’s Canteen" or tried to pass off a grimy oil lamp with some of the pieces missing and others clumsily glued back on in the wrong places that the Big Ten commissioner bought at a yard sale in Kenosha before being beset by buyer’s remorse as an historic relic invoking the cherished heritage of the land-grant university for this tilt; there is no Cy-Hawk Trophy, Heartland Trophy, Little Brown Jug, Floyd of Rosedale, Paul Bunyan Trophy, or Ridiculous Attempt to Manufacture Ersatz Tradition Between a Couple of Teams Kicking Off at Noon on ESPN2 Medallion at stake here. It’s just a football game that Iowa is going to win by virtue of being the better team.
Boston College Eagles at Virginia Tech Hokies: As usual, this game will go a long way toward deciding the Big East championship. Wait . . . what? Oh, that’s right . . . this is an ACC game now. Well, then, it could settle the Coastal Division . . . or the Atlantic Division . . . or be a preview of the conference title game. Anyway, whatever league or division this contest does or does not affect, VPI is going to win this battle of the birds between our national symbol and a fictitious turkey-type creature of unknown (though quite probably drunken) origin.
That’s how it seems to me, in any case . . . but, then again, I freely admit that I have no idea what in the Sam Hill I’m talking about where college football forecasting is concerned, so put stock in my predictions at your own peril. Simply stated, Don’t Bet On It!
Coming Soon: National Game of Disinterest.