Here's what we learned last weekend: Playing a tough, physical game leaves you vulnerable. See Notre Dame and Michigan. Offenses may be getting better all the time, but you still have to play a little defense. See Nebraska's loss to UCLA. Cornered rats are dangerous. See USC thumping BC.
We probably should have known that Kiffin would find a way to ruin an otherwise entertaining bye week, but so it goes. We're now at 1-3 in our national picks for the season, and things aren't going to get any easier. I'm tempted to double-down on betting against USC, but Utah State's visit to the Coliseum is not this week's National Game of Interest. That honor goes to Arizona State at Stanford (-7.5).
The pick: Stanford -7.5
Why you should care: It's the only game between ranked teams being played this week, and it's your best bet in primetime Saturday night. (I will be watching at least part of LSU-Auburn but only because I derive an unhealthy amount of pleasure out of watching Auburn suffer.)
Rationale: Stanford is a really good football team playing at home, and ASU needed help from the refs to beat Wisconsin at home last weekend. That's really all I've got. Well, that and the fact that Oregon is the only team to beat the Cardinal in Stanford since 2009. Also, Todd Graham looks like Coach Buzzcut from Beavis and Butthead. Are you really going to pick that guy over David Shaw? I'm not.
Odds and Ends: I'm tempted to take K State (+6) over Texas, but Mack Brown is coaching for his job right now. I'm also kind of curious to see what happens in WVU at Maryland (-4.5) because I haven't actually watched either of them play this year and people keep talking about the Terps upsetting Clemson in October.
Bonus Pick: Speaking of Clemson, I'll take the Tigers (-14.5) on the road at NC State. Clemson has a history of looking sloppy in Thursday night games, but they're easily the better team and certainly aren't looking ahead to Wake Forest next week. Am I crazy here?