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Don't Bet On It: National Games of Interest

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I have already predicted this week's S.E.C. contests, so it is time to offer my national picks after a week in which I went 9-1 in my non-S.E.C. forecasts.

Not since the Doctor installed a randomizer on the T.A.R.D.I.S. to escape from the Black Guardian after dispersing the pieces of the Key to Time has dumb luck played so significant a role in anything as it has in my recent success at predicting college football games. (Photograph from B.B.C.)

Of course, most of the games I projected to be blowouts last weekend wound up being nailbiters, and vice versa, so, really, you shouldn't give the slightest degree of credence to my 56-16 record in national games of interest this autumn, nor to my overall season-long ledger of 104-24 in all games. Instead, you should heed the advice I take care to emphasize each week: Don't Bet On It!

Here are this week's national games of interest, each of which is to be played on Saturday, October 28, unless otherwise indicated:

U.T.E.P. at Tulsa (Friday, October 27)---Since C.B.S. projects Georgia to face the Golden Hurricane in the Liberty Bowl, I might as well take the time to pick a game played by a Tulsa team I considered ranking in the top 25 this week. The geologically named Steve Kragthorpe's squad has put together a five-game winning streak since falling to a pretty good B.Y.U. team on the road and the Golden Hurricane boasts a quality win over Navy in Annapolis to accompany its first-place position in the C.-U.S.A. West. U.T.E.P., meanwhile, languishes at 4-3. Since turning in solid efforts in a season-opening win at San Diego State and a close loss to Texas Tech the following week, the squad from El Paso has suffered setbacks at New Mexico and Houston while doing so little to distinguish itself in wins over New Mexico State, S.M.U., and Tulane that Mike Price should be charged with contributing to the dullness of the Miners. The Golden Hurricane will win at home.

Uh, Tulsa, you want to try explaining the connection between the Golden Hurricane's hometown and the "B" side of the single everyone associates with the city? (Photograph from Music Stack.)

Texas at Texas Tech---No, seriously, I'm picking this game. No, seriously, I'm picking this game! Dang it, stop laughing! I'm not kidding around here! Really, they're playing this game and---no fooling---I'm picking it! This is a real football game! This could matter! I promise you, this game . . . oh, who am I kidding? The Longhorns are going to smack these punk parvenus up one side of Lubbock and down the other.

Connecticut at Rutgers---The Scarlet Knights have proven that they are for real. Can the State University of New Jersey handle success? Has Rutgers been reading its own press clippings after last week's win at Pitt? Will Greg Schiano's squad be caught looking ahead to its November 9 showdown with Louisville? Is there any chance I will be able to convince my wife that I am including a Scarlet Knights game in my weekly prognostications as anything other than a transparent excuse to post a picture of Kristin Davis? I like Rutgers to win this one.

What, like I was going to go with a picture of Tony Soprano or something? (Photograph from Star Pulse.)

Clemson at Virginia Tech (Thursday, October 26)---By ranking Clemson fourth on my most recent BlogPoll ballot, I raised some eyebrows at MGoBlog and Every Day Should Be Saturday, so I have something resembling an emotional investment in this outcome, in spite of the fact that it involves a longstanding Georgia rival. Fortunately, the Hokies' initial impressiveness against weak competition (Northeastern, North Carolina, Duke, and Cincinnati) proved to be a chimera as V.P.I. ran up against the likes of Georgia Tech and Boston College. Virginia Tech's home field advantage in Blacksburg ain't what it used to be and the Tigers are good, so I'm completely confident in picking Clemson, despite the fact that I'm all kinds of worried about this prediction.

Oklahoma at Missouri---It's time to separate the pretenders from the even bigger pretenders in the Big 12. On this week's BlogPoll ballot, I ranked the Sooners 20th and the Tigers 25th. In theory, that should mean I believe O.U. is better than Mizzou, but a lot of theories didn't work out, which may be why I have arrived at the cognitively dissonant decision to pick Missouri.

Navy v. Notre Dame---I recently wondered whether I had given the Fighting Irish their due and I am led to conclude that I have . . . because, despite my personal preference for the Midshipmen and the fact that I picked the Golden Domers to lose thrice and the Naval Academy to win 10 games, I am taking Notre Dame to win in Baltimore this weekend.

You wanted a redhead . . . you got a redhead. (Photograph from Hair Comes the Bride.)

Those are the games of interest around the country this weekend. I hope you have enjoyed my predictions, but you should put no stock in them whatsoever, because, honestly, this is purely for entertainment purposes and, for crying out loud, whatever you do, please, for everyone's sake . . . Don't Bet On It!

Go 'Dawgs!