With his smug appearance and his cock-sure attitude, Steve Spurrier has made plenty of enemies in his time on the sidelines at Florida and South Carolina, but what he decided to do Saturday with his team ahead by four points earned him a whole new legion of enemies.
For those who don't know, South Carolina led Mississippi State by four points with four seconds left on the clock. The spread on this game was somewhere in the range of South Carolina -3 to -3.5. Instead of rolling his quarterback out and killing the final four seconds with a heave down field, Spurrier decided to have his quarterback run through the back of the end zone. The result was a two-point margin instead of four. Not a big deal to South Carolina fans, just to anyone who wagered on the Gamecocks.
The intentional safety is nothing new to football. Some say it was invented by Bill Belichick on a snowy Monday night in the city of Denver about 10 years ago. Others say it was invented by Lucifer sometime in the early 20th century. Whatever the case, the maneuver has been executed successfully for years now, but that doesn't make the pain go away when it happens to you, especially when the intentional safety is not necessary.
The moral of the story is this, no matter which side you are on, you can be sure that your team's coach doesn't give a hoot about your situation, and he shouldn't. That doesn't mean, however, that we can't build up an irrational hatred for a coach who blatantly disregards our situation, right?
Another frustrating week as it should have been much better. You've already heard about South Carolina, but there was also the Texas over, which was stuck on 64 for nearly the entire fourth quarter. I'm not going to mention the back-to-back kickoff returns for TDs early in the third, that wouldn't help my case at all. Special thanks to California for gift wrapping a win for USC on Thursday night. There's nothing quite like having no chance to win 10 minutes into the first quarter. Thanks again!
Cream of the Crop: (Week: 2-2-0/Season: 19-22-0)
Memphis at Tulane: I made the mistake of siding with Memphis last week with the thought that its opponent wasn't good enough to cover a double-digit spread. After the Tigers opened a 10-point lead early on, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then, the Tigers remembered who they were and the game became a disaster. A very similar situation this week as the Tigers face another awful team, but this time they are on the road. Tulane has not played well this season, but they were able to blow out another CUSA bottom feeder about a month ago.
Side: Tulane -12.5
Oklahoma State at Missouri: OSU played a great game last week at Texas. The offense was humming and the defense played well enough to capture a comfortable win. Another stiff test lies ahead, though, and considering OSU isn't used to maneuvering through tough stretches like the one it is in now, there might be a bit of a letdown this week. Missouri hasn't shown the form that made the Tigers a top-10 team in years past, but it looks like the Tigers are starting to put it all together. Expect continued success from the OSU offense this week, but I am not sure about the defense. Missouri will put some points up as well, more than Texas did last week.
Total: Over 68.5
Air Force at Boise State: The Broncos are finally hitting their stride, and there's no reason to think Air Force can slow then down this week. The Falcons were man-handled by the Fighting Irish a couple weeks ago, and Boise State is better in all phases than Notre Dame. Add in the incentive for Boise State to crush the competition the rest of the way and you get another blowout victory for the Broncos.
Side: Boise State -31
Kansas State at Kansas: Kansas put up a heck of a fight last week and managed to stay within the number against Oklahoma, so it should be able to hang with in-state rival KSU, right? I don't think so. KSU is on a roll, and, the unlike the Sooners, the Wildcats are in no position to overlook the Jayhawks. In addition, the Oklahoma game likely took a lot out of a weak Kansas squad.
Side: KSU -11
Penn State at Northwestern: Northwestern had its chances last week at Iowa, but for some reason the Wildcats couldn't get everything to click. Back at home this week, things should go much better as they face a very similar team to Iowa in Penn State. This is a big game for the Cats as they need to avoid losing a third consecutive conference game if they have any bowl aspirations this season. Penn State, on the other hand, still has an eye on the Big Ten championship, but it hasn't looked the part at all this season.
Side: Northwestern +4
Best of the Rest: (Week: 2-3-1/Season: 26-22-1)
Indiana at Iowa: Indiana is horrible, the Hoosiers proved that last week at Wisconsin, but can Iowa really handle a 23.5-point spread? The Hawkeyes might have found their groove last week against Northwestern and might just continue to roll this week, but I think a more likely scenario is they come into this game overconfident and win by a couple scores, not a few.
Side: Indiana +23.5
Georgia Tech at Miami:The Yellow Jackets have been a money-making machine the last month – for anyone that's bet against them. Not only did they fail to cover last week, they failed to win, certainly a troubling sign for team with high expectations this year. That said, this is exactly the spot where they jump back into the fold as an ACC contender and surprise everyone. I know, it doesn't make much sense, but Georgia Tech is the type of team that plays its best when no one expects it, like this week.
Side: Georgia Tech +2.5
Arkansas at Mississippi: Wonder what the scoring output is of teams the week after playing Alabama. It has to be good, right? Alabama had no problem stopping the Rebels offense last week, but Mississippi catches a break this week as Arkansas doesn't present anywhere near the challenge the Crimson Tide did last week. Still, Ole Miss has little to no chance of slowing the Arkansas offense, which means this game should turn into a bit of a shootout with Arkansas pulling away late.
Total: Over 56
Texas A&M at Iowa State: Since entering Big-12 play, ISU has lost its games by 23, 23 and 35 points. It seems as though the jig is up. The odds-makers have caught on, though, and installed A&M as a three-touchdown favorite this week. I am a little hesitant to back a team that has struggled late in games, but A&M isn't facing Arkansas or Oklahoma State this week, it's Iowa State - the Iowa State that we all recognize.
Side: Texas A&M -20.5
New Mexico at TCU: TCU has not handled prosperity well this season, but the fact remains that the Horned Frogs are still undefeated within the conference and aren't about to slip up here. The number is hefty this week, but New Mexico is unquestionably the worst team in the country and 40-point losses are the norm.
Side: TCU -41
Oregon State at Washington State: A winnable conference game for WSU - who would have thought? WSU is actually playing above expectations this season while OSU is underperforming. This is a big spot for WSU and they Cougs play like it on Saturday night.
Side: WSU -3
East Carolina at Navy: I'm sure the Pirates are feeling pretty good about their win last week at Memphis. That's great, but they've got a real team in front of them this week, and the results will not be pretty. You never want to back a bad team off a win.
Side: Navy -10
PASSing thoughts: (Week: 2-2-0/Season: 21-16-2)
UCLA at Arizona: I'm going to label this one the "disappointment bowl" because it's probably the only bowl either of these two teams will see this year. Opposing forces at play here, though, as you've got one bad team laying points, which is never a good idea, but that team is at home, with a new coach on national television. What to do? In the real world, I would pass, in this world, I'll take the points.
Side: UCLA +4
West Virginia at Syracuse: Not exactly the slate of games I hoped to see prior to Saturday. This one doesn't look much better than the Thursday night game simply because WVU has been tough to peg all year. In this case however, I feel a little better taking the points because Syracuse is not used to nationally televised games and the crowd could be hyped. That, and the Orange are getting 14 points, which is a nice safety net.
Side: Syracuse +14
Nebraska at Minnesota: Minnesota has an awful team this season, but Nebraska hasn't shown the ability to separate from anyone this year. The Gophers are coming off a bye week and maybe that will be enough to get ready for the Husker invasion.
Side: Minnesota +25
Texas Tech at Oklahoma: Oklahoma almost got caught sleepwalking through its game last week at Kansas, but in the end, the Sooners pulled away. They won't make that mistake again this week in front of their home crowd. Expect a solid effort from beginning to end.
Side: Oklahoma -29
Tennessee at Alabama: To my surprise, Tennessee was able to score last week against LSU. That was at home, however, this week, on the road at Alabama, a goose-egg is more likely.
Side: Alabama -29
Wisconsin at Michigan State: Call it a hunch - after all, this is where hunches usually end up - but I think MSU gives the Badgers all they want and more this week.
Side: MSU +8.5