RotoWire Partners

College Capper: Picking Games Week 9

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

As is the case every year when the initial BCS standings are first released, the mock indignation was bountiful Sunday night as Oregon and Ohio State fans looked on in horror. As for the media, well it seems as though in the final year of the BCS, these guys are finally starting to get it.

What exactly does that mean? Well, it means that the talking heads aren't really freaking out about anything because after all this time, they finally understand that these initial standings rarely have an impact in the end.

What these standings do provide is some interesting fodder for what could happen about a month from now.

If we are to go down that road, the clear winner last week was Florida State. The Seminoles dismantling of Clemson not only gave them the leg up on the ACC, but it also temporarily placed them ahead of Oregon. The Ducks, however, didn't really take much of a hit last week as their strength of schedule the rest of the way is likely to give them an edge come December - if all goes to plan, which is rarely does, of course.

The biggest loser? Clearly it was Ohio State. Even prior to FSU's win last week, the consensus was that Ohio State was behind Oregon and Alabama in the minds of the voters, but if either of those teams was to slip then OSU had a decent chance of slipping into the national championship game. What we discovered after Sunday is that OSU has virtually no chance to supplant Bama, Oregon or FSU - unless one loses.

If history tells us anything, it's that the current form of the standings aren't likely to come into play as we are sure to see multiple upsets before the end of the season, but once again this year, if everything plays out as it should, there could be mess at the end of the season and instead of moaning about how we need to change the system, we can complain that the change came too late.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter at @gregvara where I'll often have updated insight to matchups on the weekend. Last Friday I tweeted that I was having second thoughts about Louisville. Turns out my first impression, the one in the Capper article was incorrect. That happens from time to time, if I have another thought on a game, I won't hesitate to put it out there, even if it's contrary to my original post.


Cream of the Crop
(Week: 2-1/Season: 15-8)


Baylor at Kansas:
I underestimated Baylor's resolve last week when I picked Iowa State to cover, but I won't do that again - at least in the near future. The only problem this week is that the last time the Bears went on the road, they surrendered 25 points to Kansas State. While KSU is a better team than Kansas, I expect the Jayhawks to find the end zone a few times. Baylor will continue to roll on offense and reaching the over should be fairly easy.

Total: Over 65.5

Penn State at Ohio State:
The Big Ten is no longer the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust league that is used to be. Heck, just look at the Michigan-Indiana game last week or the Michigan-Penn St. game the week prior. Shootouts are becoming the norm with certain Big Ten teams, and with OSU's recent struggles on defense, this could be one of those back-and-forth games.

Total: Over 55.5

Fresno State at San Diego State:
I miss on the over call in the Fresno State game last week, but that was due to Fresno State's opposition and its inability to move the ball. Fresno State may have turned its defense around a bit, we can be certain until the Bulldogs face some real opposition. While SDSU is not exactly Oregon, it should provide at least some difficulties for the Bulldog defense. As for the Bulldogs offense, well it should keep rolling along.

Total: Over 62

Best of the Rest
(Week: 2-3/Season: 21-15)


Boise State at BYU:
Boise State was already in the midst of a down season, but now with the loss of its QB it could turn disastrous. This is not the time to be heading to BYU as the Cougars are actually fielding a pretty good squad this year. Last week aside, BYU has played well in all facets and this should be the Cougars best effort this year.

Side: BYU -7


Duke at Virginia Tech:
With the exception of Alabama, Virginia Tech might have the best defense in the country right now. Not only is the defense strong, but the Hokies are taking pride in low-scoring games and this week should be no exception. Duke has won three in a row, and it's no coincidence that the wins are coming as the defense improves. Expect another low-scoring game this week as the Hokies once again shut down the opposition.

Total: Under 47.5

Wake Forest at Miami:
Did Miami collectively have a bad game last Thursday night or were the Hurricanes exposed? It's hard not to think it's the latter as the Canes didn't resemble an undefeated team at any point during that game. They also suffered a couple losses to some key players and this could be the start of a rough patch for the Canes.

Side: Wake +23.5

PASSing Thoughts
(Week: 2-2/Season: 17-18-2)


Kentucky at Mississippi State:
I hate these types of games, and if this one weren't Thursday night, I would stay well clear. As it is, it's the only game in town Thursday, so I'll throw in my two cents. The Bulldogs have blown out lesser competition in two of their three wins this year, and as luck would have it, the one close game came last week should serve as a bit of a wake-up call. UK has played fairly well this season, though the record would not indicate that. The problem is, the Wildcats are usually overlooked, but that won't be the case this week as this is the Thursday night ESPN game. Expect a great effort from MSU and a hopefully a cover.

Side: MSU -10.5


UCLA at Oregon:
Oregon has looked a little vulnerable the last few weeks, and it's usually this time of the season that the Ducks slip up, but I don't think that will be the case this year. They haven't had a really close call yet, but they've been sloppy enough at times that they should realize that a potential upset is right around the corner if they don't clean up their act.

Side: Oregon -23

Utah at USC:
Reality began to set back in last week as the Trojans suffered their first post-Kiffin-era loss. This is probably how they'll look the rest of the season as there isn't a boatload of talent there. Utah also fell back to Earth last week as the Utes could not back up their huge win over Stanford the week prior. Utah is a pretty solid team, though, and now two weeks removed from the big win, their focus should return.

Side: Utah +6.5