I have UCF tickets tonight. Probably won't go. They have nothing to play for. UTEP, the opponent, is 5-6 and can make a bowl game with a win. The Knights have played without heart, especially the defense, just about all season. Besides, what's to stop the Conference USA folks to whisper to the UCF folks, "Take a knee tonight. You make money if UTEP makes a bowl game." I know I'm going to be accused of being "less than a true fan" for my attitude, but why waste my time and energy on this disappointment of a season, especially with all that Big East talk? Besides, it's basketball season now ...
Speaking of "taking a knee", Tulsa needs to do that this afternoon. If they "let" Houston win, and then Southern Miss does the same next week, Houston should find itself in a BCS bowl game in January, making about $14 million for the conference rather than the $1 million or so C-USA would get for sending its champ to the Liberty Bowl. Nevada cost the Mountain West Conference many millions for beating Boise State in the conference finale last year. Game just went to halftime and, on cue, Tulsa's putting up a fight but trailing 13-10.
And speaking of the Big East, just heard that BYU has said, "Thanks, but no thanks," about joining in football. Them joining wasn't as silly as the talk that San Diego State, a West Coast team, wants to join the Big East. I'd give Boise State a hall pass because they've earned a BCS conference spot (I still hate that term, either change it or say that everyone not in one of those privileged conferences is a FCS, formerly I-AA, member). But if the conference does completely lose its mind (and soul) and brings SDSU in, a name change is in order. When the East Coast Hockey League took in western teams in a merger, they changed the name to the ECHL, or "The E" for short. How about "The Big E" for this football collection? Do you realize that if this all comes true, Uconn-San Diego would be a conference game?
Before I get to some weekend football picks, I want to address another sports blog called Phoulballz that covers the Phillies and other Philly sports. I didn't steal the name from them, in fact I named this thing without realizing that other site existed. When I wrote for the UCF student paper back in the day, I had a column called Foul Balls. I liked the name because I started it during spring of '95, when the baseball strike was still on. Later on I used a different name for that column, but I'm not sharing that name because I might use to for another venture I'm working on that I hope surfaces in the next couple weeks.
Anyway, here's some picks ...
FSU (-2.5) at Florida: Remember when this was the 'It' game in the state? They've combined for NINE losses this year. Are you kidding? Sadly I'm talking about that and not the game. Noles by 7.
Clemson at South Carolina (-2): An SEC mauling. Spurriercocks by 14.
Georgia (-5.5) at Ga. Tech: I don't wanna pick UGA. But I don't have enough faith in Tech's triple option offense against an SEC defense. Richtdogs by 1.
Alabama (-19.5) at Auburn: Only thing standing between the Tide and a title shot in Arkansas can help a little bit. Roll Tide by just 3, because ruining Bama's shot would make the War Eagle's season.
Notre Dame at Stanford (-7.5): Part of me thinks that because he'll finally have a ton of eyes on him, Andrew Luck will try to win this on his own and attempt to do too much. Nah. Cardinal by 6.
The paid professionals ...
Houston (-3) at Jacksonville: The Jags are so bad that they can't beat a team with a backup QB, even at home. Who's Houston's QB today? I don't care. Doesn't matter. Texans by 9.
Tampa Bay at Tennessee (-3): Just when you think the Bucs are a grease fire's endtrails, they make you scratch your head. Pewter by 3.
Chicago (-1) at Oakland: Rookie QB on the road. Quick, name him! Too late, da Raydahs are already up 3-0 on a Janokowski 83-yard FG. Raiders by 6.
New England (-4.5) at Philly: Hey Vince Young, that was cute pulling a rabbit out of your hat last week. We'll ask, but two in a row is too much for an Eagles fan to expect. Pats by 7.
Denver at San Diego (-6.5): Tebow can't do it again. Can he? Hope I don't go to Hell for this, but, Bolts by 2 as I grab my cross.