Buck The Idiot rolls on...
No brag, just fact: I picked a mere five winners out of 15 games last week, actually boosting my overall record to 9-21. In other words, if you'd been bucking the idiot since we started this little exercise, you'd have bagged 70 percent winners against the spread.
On to Week 3, in which, as always, I choose the ten college and five pro football teams I honestly think have the best chance of beating the odds this weekend. Your profitable assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to find a bookie and bet against my choices. That's why we call this Buck the Idiot.
COLORADO plus 17 over Texas. The Longhorns are clearly one of the nation's top five teams, but giving up 17 to a pretty fair squad like Colorado after an emotional win over Oklahoma seems exorbitant to me.
OHIO STATE minus 6 and a half over Michigan State. We'll see if the steadfast hype on the Buckeyes linebackers is legit or not, because Michigan State has a potent offense. But Ohio State is at home, coming off a tough loss to Penn State. They should clear by at least a touchdown.
DUKE plus 20 and a half over Georgia Tech. I know Duke sucks. But Georgia Tech getting more than 20 on the road? Only against Army would this make sense.
TCU minus 23 over Army. Speaking of Bobby Ross's sad sad squad...I've called only nine out of 30 games right the past two weeks, and two of those wins have been going with Army's opponents.
IOWA minus 14 and a half over Indiana. Kirk Ferentz has a knack for keeping his Hawkeyes on the upswing throughout the season. Playing at home, Iowa destroys Indiana's rare ability to harbor delusions of grandeur.
GEORGIA minus 16 over Vanderbilt. Should either USC or Texas slip, Georgia, and not Virginia Tech, should be playing for the national championship. Vandy started strong, is having a nice season, and is at home, but they're simply overmatched here.
NORTHWESTERN plus 7 and a half over Purdue. Purdue is better than it's shown the past three weeks, especially on defense. But Northwestern nearly beat Penn State, knocked off Wisconsin last week, and is getting more than a touchdown.
VIRGINIA plus 7 over Florida State. Virginia needs this game and is playing at home. FSU has been, depending on how closely you've paid attention, either unimpressive or overrated.
FLORIDA plus 6 over LSU. Long after other headlines dominate the news, the hurricane-related distractions will continue to wear on LSU (and the NFL's Saints), beyond the tenacity of their feel-good-story emotions. And the Tigers' new coach isn't as good as Gators' new coach.
My college "lock' this week...
NEBRASKA minus 2 over Baylor. Huh? The 'Huskers lost in the last few seconds to Texas Tech in a battle of unbeatens last week. Meanwhile, Baylor was finally ending a multiyear conference losing streak. And that enables the Bears to creep within a field goal of Nebraska? Even in Waco, ain't gonna happen.
As for the pros...
JACKSONVILLE plus 3 over Pittsburgh. After surviving a rugged Monday nighter against San Diego, the Steelers face an even more rugged Jacksonvile D with a gimpy QB who wasn't that mobile to begin with.
CAROLINA plus 1 over Detroit. The third week in a row I pick against Joey Harrington and the Lions. Let's hope it's the charm.
DENVER minus 3 over New England. As everyone knows, the Pats are dinged up and at the tail end of an absolutely brutal stretch of games. They've got the heart of a champion, but the Broncos once again are staunch along the O-line, and playing at home.
CINCINNATI minus 3 over Tennessee. This is the game Marvin Lewis has to win--against a mediocre team on the road--if the Bengals are truly going to take a step forward this season.
And finally, my pro "lock"--
MINNESOTA plus 3 over Chicago. We've all seen it a thousand times before. Bedraggled team shits the bed with a sensational scandal of some sort that forces them into an "us against the world" mentality and makes the football field the most carefree chunk of real estate in the world that week. I expect a Vikings blowout, followed by much ridiculous chest-thumping.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.