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Don't Bet On It: National Games of Interest

A game of considerable consequence is slated to be played this evening and I have already gone around the S.E.C., so it is high time I got down to the serious business of picking this week's national games of interest.

Just give me, like, five minutes to paste the names of the teams up there, hand the darts to the monkey, and get out of the way.

I was an abysmal 5-4 in last week's nationwide picks, dropping my record to 65-22 in non-S.E.C. contests and 123-32 in all of this season's prognostications. Surely that dismal ledger should be all the warning you would ever need, but, just in case it isn't, let me hasten to add: Don't Bet On It!

All of the following games are scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 11, unless indicated otherwise:

Louisville at Rutgers (Thursday, November 9)---You may have heard this, but Louisville is a real team with a real schedule and a real pedigree that I picked to win the Big East. The Cardinals also are coming off of the biggest win in school history one week ago, while the overlooked and underrated Scarlet Knights are undefeated, well-rested (after an 11-day layoff), and ready to prove themselves at home. It's hard to believe U. of L. will be able to avoid a letdown against the State University of New Jersey, a team the Cards beat by a 56-5 final margin in the Bluegrass State last season. I like Rutgers to pull off the upset.

Rutgers alumna Kristin Davis has her game face on for tonight's showdown with Louisville.

Texas Tech at Oklahoma---What are we to make of the Sooners? They lost their quarterback, they lost their running back, but still they appear to be just plain back, so much so that Texas fans are nominating Bob Stoops for Big 12 Coach of the Year. Playing at home in Norman with revenge in mind, a resurgent Oklahoma club seems to have all of the advantages over a visiting squad led by a gimmicky head coach whose mind is on pirate school. One team has to win, so I'm going with Sooner rather than Raider.

Nebraska at Texas A&M---Last weekend, the 'Huskers halted a two-game skid with a two-touchdown win over Missouri to run the Big Red Machine's record to 7-3 and the Aggies fell to 8-2 after dropping a one-point decision to Oklahoma when Bob Stoops showed guts and gamesmanship at the Home of the Illegal Substitution Penalty. The fans have been getting their money's worth in College Station, as six of Texas A&M's last eight games have been decided by six or fewer points. On the whole, the Aggies are much improved and, while I wouldn't go so far as to hang the famous "Wrecking Crew" label on them just yet, it says something about A&M's ability to stop the opposition when the university's president is chosen to serve as the U.S. secretary of defense. Nevertheless, I'm just not buying the home team in this one, so I'm taking Nebraska to win a tight one almost in spite of itself.

Not only should this clash between the Cornhuskers and the Aggies be good, it should be super-Callahan-galistic-expi-Franchione!

Wake Forest at Florida State---The last time the Demon Deacons started the season with a record this good, F.S.U. was an all-girl school. At the moment, the Seminoles don't appear to be much better at football than they would be if the school's enrollment remained entirely female. All right, that may be a bit harsh, but you'd have to think that replacing Jeff Bowden with Jenn Sterger would improve the Florida State offense just a bit. Wake Forest is flying high and the 'Noles are in dire straits. Is it just me, or do the Garnet and Gold have the Deacs right where they want 'em? The visitors will arrive in Tallahassee feeling like throwing a party and they'll leave the Sunshine State ready to drown their sorrows at a Wake after Florida State beats the Deacs . . . again.

Oregon at Southern California---Back when I still had Georgia ranked in the top 15, I declared the Ducks to be the nation's second-best squad. I don't like it when a team makes me look bad . . . particularly when that team makes me look as bad as Oregon's road uniforms. For that reason, strictly out of spite, I am going with the Trojans. Well, spite, and the fact that U.S.C. is the better team. There's that, too.


There's a right way and a wrong way to go about developing your own distinctive "look."

That, at any rate, is what I think will happen in this weekend's games, but, then again, what in the world do I know about this sort of thing? I'm the guy who's wrong so often that, every time I offer a set of forecasts, I feel compelled to add a forthright disclaimer: Don't Bet On It!

Go 'Dawgs!