Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 10
Where one man takes on both his girlfriend and his Playstation in a battle to beat the spread.
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It's here where Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
Last week was the Machine's chance. Both Woman and I had losing weeks -- Woman's first losing week of the season -- in Week 9, going 4-6. Which meant that Machine could finally make up some of the ground that separated the living from the programmed.
Instead the Machine went 4-6 as well. So I've chosen to give him crap about it rather than pointing out that I failed on a chance to gain ground on Woman when she had her first losing week of the season.
Life is filled with regret, folks.
Virginia Tech Hokies (-2 1/2) at Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes -- Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man - Mixing the ACC and Thursday night can lead to some crazy things, which makes picking this game extremely difficult. What my decision comes down to is this: Virginia Tech is 2-6 against the spread this season while Miami is 3-1 at home and 5-0 against the ACC. Pick: Miami
Woman - Could there be two more disappointing teams this season? Virginia Tech has yet to prevail on the road, and Miami hasn't won at Sun Life in over a month. Normally, I'd just flip a coin, but this week I refuse to pick any team named the Hurricanes. Pick: Virginia Tech
Machine - The Machine sees some Thursday night fireworks as Virginia Tech wins a 41-38 shootout against the Hurricanes. Pick: Virginia Tech
Washington Huskies at California Golden Bears (-4) -- Friday, 9 p.m.
Man - A team that's been terrible against the spread on the road versus a team that's been terrible against the spread at home. Joy! Washington is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team this season, and hopefully this week it'll be more of Jekyll. Pick: Washington
Woman - Every time the "away"-challenged Huskies venture beyond the Seattle city line, they stop lifting their hind legs. My advice to Steve Sarkisian: Remind your players they're 4-1 in their last five outings against the Bears and if that fails, just lie to them -- position a perky Starbucks barista at every 10-yard marker and play this in their helmets before each series. Pick: Washington
Machine - It's a clean sweep as Machine sees Washington winning this one with relative ease. Final score is 31-17 Huskies. Pick: Washington
Texas A&M Aggies (-6 1/2) at Mississippi State Bulldogs -- Saturday, noon
Man - Mississippi State is actually my pick in this week's Upset Bait, which means I not only expect it to cover this spread, but win the game outright. The line originally opened at 2 1/2, but I think people are overreacting to State's loss against Alabama, and overestimating an Aggies team that has struggled on the road against worse opponents this year. Pick: Mississippi State
Woman - Yeah, the Aggies have prevailed in hostile environments but they've failed against the powerful defenses of LSU and Florida. The Bulldogs aren't quite at that level, but if they can shake off last week's butt-whooping by 'Bama, they'll put pressure on young Johnny Manziel and keep it close. Pick: Mississippi State
Machine - Well, one of us believes in the Aggies this week. Machine sees Texas A&M and Johnny Football picking up a 24-17 win in Starkville. Pick: Texas A&M
TCU Horned Frogs at West Virginia Mountaineers (-7) -- Saturday, 3 p.m.
Man - West Virginia had the last week off to lick its wounds and get its act back together. I think that time off will work out for the Mountaineers against a TCU defense that's been showing quite a few cracks in recent weeks. Pick: West Virginia
Woman - Both teams have lost their way, but West Virginia's meltdown has been epic, culminating in the Kansas State Wildcats debacle two weeks ago. When you notice the same team ( Texas Tech Red Raiders ) that needed a double OT to beat TCU thrashed the Mountaineers by 35, it feels almost silly not to take the points. Pick: TCU
Machine - West Virginia wins, but it does not cover. Machine foresees a 38-35 Mountaineers victory. Pick: TCU
Texas Longhorns at Texas Tech Red Raiders (-7) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man - I know Texas Tech just got beat up by Kansas State last week but Texas needed a touchdown in the final seconds to beat Kansas last week. The Kansas Jayhawks. How am I supposed to have any faith in this Longhorns team right now given what they've shown in recent weeks? Pick: Texas Tech
Woman - Hard to believe they've already recorded it but I got my hands on this Saturday's Texas Gameday Final with Mack Brown for the Longhorn Network. Pick: Texas Tech
Machine - The Machine believes in you, Mack Brown. In fact, it'd like to sit down and record eight hours of television programming with you this week to talk about how much it believes in you. Texas wins 27-21. Pick: Texas
Nebraska Cornhuskers (-1) at Michigan State Spartans -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man - Did you know Michigan State has never beaten Nebraska? It's true, and I don't think that'll change this week. Nebraska isn't the same outside of Lincoln, but I think the Huskers have enough on offense to outscore a Michigan State team that got a gift win from Wisconsin last week. Pick: Nebraska
Woman - This one's a toss-up, so I was looking for a tiebreaker and found it: Michigan State lost to Michigan 12-10. Nebraska beat Michigan 23-9. Pick: Nebraska
Machine - For the first time this week, Machine takes a home team. Michigan State wins a thriller 14-10. Pick: Michigan State
Oregon Ducks (-7 1/2) at Southern California Trojans -- Saturday, 7 p.m.
Man - I know Oregon hasn't played a lot of real tough competition this season, but is there really any doubt that the gap between Oregon and the rest of the Pac-12 is quite large right now? If the Trojans couldn't stop the Arizona offense last week, what are they going to do with the Ducks? I think Oregon wins and wins big. Pick: Oregon
Woman - I had the worst crush on this guy in high school, and there wasn't a girl who didn't feel the same way. He was a swimmer with heart-stopping good looks who never uttered a word -- he'd just smile this dazzling killer smile. I would daydream about him during classes, write his name in my notebook, like, a hundred times a day, and get wobbly every time he'd pass me in the hall. One day, he actually asked me out. Of course, I accepted. He picked me up and we walked maybe a block, when he stopped, looked at me with those big blue eyes and finally spoke: "Wanna make out?" Before I could respond, he proceeded to lick ... my ... teeth. I threw every single page of notes with his name on it into the nearest trash can. USC is that guy. Pick: Oregon
Machine - This could be one of the best games of the weekend, and maybe the season if you ask the Machine. Oregon wins 49-45, but it's not enough to cover. Pick: USC
Alabama Crimson Tide (-9 1/2) at LSU Tigers -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man - When I first saw this spread I thought it made total sense. Alabama has just looked that good this season. At the same time, though, this is a night game in Baton Rouge between two very good defenses. I mean, let's not forget that LSU is ranked fifth in the BCS, and its only loss was against a very good Florida team. So in a low-scoring struggle between two very good defenses, I can't not take the home team if it's getting points. Especially when it's getting this many. Pick: LSU
Woman - There is no such thing as a successful ground game against the Tide, and the mere thought of Mettenberger putting a ball in the air makes me laugh and cry at the same time. But when you've got the Mad Hatter, sturdy defense, and a somewhat enthusiastic home crowd you have to believe the Tigers will at least cover. Pick: LSU
Machine - Alabama tightens its grip on the BCS, beating LSU 17-6. Though LSU does cross the 50-yard line in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead. Pick: Alabama
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Kansas State Wildcats (-9) -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man - Did you know that with Collin Klein as its starting quarterback, Kansas State is 11-2-1 against the spread in Big 12 games? I did. Pick: Kansas State
Woman - Yes, Oklahoma State has the sixth-rated offense in the country, but look what happened to Geno Smith and West Virginia when they faced the Wildcats. I can't bet against a team with an 8-0 record and homefield advantage, especially when I believe I'll be watching them play in Miami come January. Pick: Kansas State
Machine - Everybody loves Bill Snyder, even machines. The Wildcats win 42-30. Pick: Kansas State
Arizona Wildcats at UCLA Bruins (-3) -- Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
Man - This truly is a game that could go either way, but I am a little worried about how Matt Scott performs after suffering a concussion last week. Because of that I'm going to go with UCLA, who will take control of the Pac-12 South after USC's loss earlier Saturday night. Pick: UCLA
Woman - Both teams have offenses that can score at will and defenses that will let them. I think the last team that gets the ball wins, so I'll take the points. Pick: Arizona
Machine - Stay up late for this one, friends. Well, if you have the Pac-12 Network, anyway. Arizona wins 55-49. Pick: Arizona
Standings (Last week)
1. Woman 53-37 (4-6)
2. Man 50-40 (4-6)
3. Machine 39-51 (4-6)
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