As I basked in the glow of an easy Alabama victory last Saturday night, it occurred to me that, maybe the grass is greener on the other side.
I wrote last week about the notion that sometimes it's better to simply take the better team and ignore all the intangibles and last week, specifically in the Alabama vs. Florida game, it paid off.
Now, don't get me wrong, it doesn't always play out like that, but I can tell you from my experience last Saturday, it sure is nice knowing that you sided with the better team.
Even after Florida scored just 20 seconds into the game, there was no fear. I knew the gameplan, I knew that Alabama would not panic, I knew that I had the better team. Sure, it took a little while to gain some separation, but once the Tide took control, there was no going back.
The lesson here is the same as last week. When in doubt, take the better team. Sure, it may be frustrating, especially early on when the other team is hyped, but more often than not, the better team comes through in the end. Unlike the NFL, it's just the way college football works.
A nice rebound in Week 5, with all three sections at or above the .500 mark. Among the highlights were outright wins from underdogs Clemson and Toledo and an easy cover on the Arkansas over. The lowlights included an embarrassing loss for Nebraska and complete misfire on the South Florida vs. Pittsburgh game.
A thin slate this week as few games look appealing.
Cream of the Crop (Week: 3-3-0/Season: 15-17-0)
California at Oregon: Don't look too deeply into this one. It's Oregon, at home, in front of a national television audience. The Ducks are going to put the pedal to the metal until the final whistle. Sure, 24 points is a big chunk, but did I mention it's Oregon, at home, in front of a national television audience?
Side: Oregon -24
Boise State at Fresno State: I've seen this before. Fresno State looks like a team that can pull an upset on big, bad Boise. And to their credit, the Bulldogs hang in there for a half, but it always ends up the same - the Broncos pull away in the end. Expect the same story to play out once again this week. The fact that Boise failed to cover last week only strengthens my opinion on this game. Boise is in no position to coast and in front of a national television. audience, the Broncos will put on a show.
Side: Boise State -20.5
Georgia at Tennessee: The recipe is simple: put a decent offense up against Tennessee and let the fireworks begin. The Vols offense is humming, and they've already been involved in several shootouts. Georgia's resurgence has been led by the defense, but the Bulldogs are more than capable of keeping pace with Tennessee this week, and going over this very reasonable number should not be a problem.
Total: Over 57.5
Michigan at Northwestern: Let's not get too excited about Michigan's performance last week. Let's remember who the Wolverines played. Now, with that said, I have been impressed with Michigan this season, but this is a very tough spot. Northwestern is back at full strength and nearly pulled out an impressive road win at Illinois last week. The Wildcats have the firepower to keep up with Michigan, and as long as the number stays above one score, they are the play.
Side: Northwestern +7.5
East Carolina at Houston: What in the world is going on at East Carolina? The Pirates have surrendered 23 points per game over their last three contests. It would appear as though they've figured something out on the defensive side of the ball, but I won't believe it until they get past this game. This one looks like a good old C-USA shootout, and triple-digits isn't out of the question.
Total: Over 72.5
Best of the Rest: (Week: 4-3-0/Season: 21-16-0)
Auburn at Arkansas: The Auburn Tigers offense was slowed by South Carolina last week, even though they won, but don't expect another sluggish performance on that side of the ball this week. Arkansas has proven quite capable on the offensive side of the ball as well, and the Hogs should have little problem moving the ball against a suspect Tiger defense.
Total: Over 62.5
Maryland at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets seemed to have figured it out early in the season. And if they continue to play like they have, this one should be an easy victory. Maryland has fallen on hard times since its early-season victory over Miami. The Terps' inability to stop the run will make for a long day this Saturday.
Side: Georgia Tech -14
Air Force at Notre Dame: This looks like a tricky spot for Notre Dame. The Irish have righted the ship after a slow start, but this is going to be a pesky game. Air Force is not as high-powered as it was a few years back, but the Falcons are more than capable of moving the ball. The Falcons will find a way to stay within this number.
Side: Air Force +15
Kansas at Oklahoma State: The Kansas Jayhawks surrender more than 44 points per game, and this week they face their toughest test to date. If you are a Kansas fan, you might want to turn away from the television because this one is bound to get ugly. OSU is coming off a huge win at Texas A&M two weeks back. That extra week off will come in handy as the Cowboys have had plenty of time to get past that win and focus on the task at hand.
Side: OSU -31
Total: Over 73
Iowa State at Baylor: Baylor might end up having a hard time moving the ball against the top-tier teams of the Big 12, but against teams like ISU, it can almost name its score. That's not a knock on ISU; several teams have tried and failed to spot RG III this year, with little or no success. The problem for Baylor has been its defense, though. ISU has shown some flashes on offense this season, and this looks like a good spot for a breakout performance from that group.
Total: Over 63.5
PASSing thoughts: (Week: 4-2-0/Season: 17-11-2)
Oklahoma vs. Texas: It was a few years back when a similar scenario was developing prior to this game. Oklahoma was in the national title hunt and was clearly the better team in the match-up, only someone forgot to tell Texas. That day everything went according to plan early on, but something happened in the second half as Texas found some momentum and never let up. I'm not saying that Texas is the better team here, but funny things happen in this rivarly, and it's completely reasonable to think that Texas can stay within the number this week.
Side: Texas +10
Colorado at Stanford: Stanford covered the number last week against UCLA, but I wasn't all that impressed with the Cardinal. I suppose you know where this is going, right? Wrong. I expect Stanford to play better this week and cover the number with ease. Andrew Luck is a given, but the rest of the team will need to pitch in as well to cover this number. Considering last week was anything but a perfect performance, expect to see improvement on both sides of the ball.
Side: Stanford -29.5
Florida State at Wake Forest: After a rough couple weeks, FSU is ready to flex its muscle again, and Wake Forest will be on the wrong end of a blowout Saturday.
Side: FSU -13
Florida at LSU: Without the services of their starting quarterback this week, the Gators will have a hard time scoring. Seriously, they might not score this week. It may take a fluke turnover or something to that affect.
Side: LSU -14
Ohio State at Nebraska: This line opened suspiciously high and has gone up. Nebraska looked horrible last week at Wisconsin, but that was on the road against the best team in the Big Ten. Back at home, against a team that can't move the ball, the Cornhuskers should look and play much better.
Side: Nebraska -11