NFL Picks: College football takes the spotlight

Published 1:23 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I’ve made it no secret as to how I feel about college football’s formula of crowning a champion on this blog in the past and now comes some more complaining.

Sorry, I can’t help it.

This weekend, with two months until the Bowl season, NCAA Division I football will hold its only true playoff game and probably its national title game.

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When the top two teams in the nation – LSU and Alabama – square off Saturday night, it’ll be a heck of a game. Both teams have won every game by double digits and neither squad has been remotely tested this season.

LSU destroyed one opponent so badly, they didn’t even flinch when they’re punter picked up a 15-yard penalty while scoring a touchdown earlier this fall. The penalty took away the score and LSU settled for a field goal, but the Tigers are so good that yelling at the punter for his showmanship would’ve been nitpicking.

By all accounts, LSU and Alabama are the best two teams in the nation. They dominate on defense until their opponents gives up or gets desperate and they move the ball on offense until their opponents tire out or start planning for next week.

In a perfect world, these squads would play for it all at the end of the year. But not in college football.

The loser of this game will drop about five or six spots in the BCS rankings, to the point where they’d need about five teams to lose at least one, if not two games, if they want a chance for a rematch in the title game.

I’m predicting the winner of this game wins it all. There’s no need to watch the next two months off college football, because it’ll be over.

At the very least, the winner of this game has a guaranteed trip to the national title game, while the other unbeaten will have to argue over who played the toughest schedule, who won with more blowouts and who comes from a bigger ‘power conference.’

In the end, it won’t matter, because it’s clear that only two teams deserve to be in the title game this year and only one of them will get a chance to play for the prize.

If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it on this blog, but I doubt I’ll be wrong.

The one thing going for college football this year, is at least it can say the two best teams decided it on the field and that isn’t always the case.

The game is in Alabama so they have an edge, but I think LSU is a much better team.


Here are the picks:

N.Y. Jets at Buffalo

This is a huge game for both teams. The Jets have to win to keep up with the Bills and Pats and Buffalo has to win to stay in first place and prove it’s a legitimate contender that can do some damage this season.

Both teams have solid defenses, but I trust Ryan Fitzpatrick more than Mark Sanchez.


Seattle at Dallas

The Cowboys couldn’t have looked worse against the Eagles. They couldn’t stop the run and they couldn’t move the ball on offense.

Sometimes in the NFL, the most dangerous team is a team that had a week to think about how bad it played the week before and the Seahawks aren’t exactly the team that is going to go into Jerry Jones’ house and win.


Atlanta at Indianapolis

I still can’t believe Peyton Manning meant that much to the Colts, who went from being a perennial contender to one of the worst teams in the league after his injury.


Miami at Kansas City

The Dolphins showed up big time at the New York and they had the Giants on the ropes. The problem is Matt Moore is just not good enough to make clutch throws on a consistent basis.

The Chiefs are coming off a gift win when Phillip Rivers literally dropped away what would’ve been a game winning field goal attempt. A fluke win like that is a sign of a team that is living right.


Tampa Bay at New Orleans

The Saints will not have a repeat of last week’s failure in St. Louis.


San Francisco at Washington

The 49ers have been playing beyond their abilities all season, and the Redskins are sliding away. By all means, I should pick the 49ers, but they’re a West Coast team headed East and that cold weather could put a damper on their spirits and morale.

Plus they’re long overdue for a stinker.


Cleveland at Houston

The Browns are just good enough to stay in this game, but not good enough to win it.


Cincinnati at Tennessee

Did you realize both of these teams have winning records? And we’re almost half way through the season.

Rookie QB Andy Dalton has taken the helm without flinching for the Bengals and Matt Hasselbeck has managed to stay healthy.


Denver at Oakland

The Tim Tebow bandwagon took a face-plant last week, but Carson Palmer had a worse game two weeks ago, throwing three interceptions in relief duty.

I’m willing to give Palmer a longer look as he was playing after being signed that week. Now he’s had a full two weeks to learn the Raiders’ playbook, and like I said before, he mostly has to hand the ball off and make four or five big plays per game.

Tebow, a mediocre player on a terrible team, may eventually cause ESPN’s main office to explode with all of the screaming they do over him.


N.Y. Giants at New England

If the Giants’ front four can apply pressure to Tom Brady without much of a blitz, they should give the Pats problems. If they can’t, Brady will pick apart a questionable Giants secondary.


St. Louis at Arizona

The Rams beat the Saints last week and the Cardinals almost won in Baltimore, which shows you how unpredictable the NFL can be. This game is equally unpredictable, so I’ll go with the team that has Steven Jackson, who looks to be healthy again.


Green Bay at San Diego

The Packers are coming off a bye week when they were on hot streak (bad), they’re on the cover of Sports Illustrated (double bad) and people are starting to question whether Phillip Rivers can get it done (triple bad when playing in San Diego).

While it always stings to lose, it’s probably better for the Packers’ Super Bowl chances if they don’t go undefeated. Just ask the 2007 Patriots.


Baltimore at Pittsburgh

The Steelers are starting to look like the team that made it to the Super Bowl last year. The Ravens almost lost to the Cardinals last week and did lose to the Jaguars two weeks ago.


Chicago at Philadelphia

The Eagles looked unstoppable as they crushed the Cowboys on Sunday night. The Bears still have offensive line issues, but it’ll be interesting to see if the bye week helped them fix those issues.


Last week: 8-4; Overall: 74-40