Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 14
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 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.
It's the final week of the regular season and it couldn't have been scripted any better. Well, OK, it could have been scripted a little better. Machine could actually still have a chance to win this competition, but Machine has been out of it since mid-October. Still, it's the final week and both Man and Woman head into the final 10 games of the contest with identical records.
This one week will decide the entire season. It's championship week on the field, and it's championship week here at Man vs. Woman vs. Machine. May the best gender win.*
*as long as that gender is Man
Louisville Cardinals at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-3) -- Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man -- I know that Teddy Bridgewater will be playing hurt and that this game is in New Jersey, but it's hard for me to ignore that this Rutgers team lost to Pitt a week ago. Plus I just feel like Louisville is the better team. So give me the points. Pick: Louisville
Woman -- Toughest pick comes first. Three weeks ago, I would have picked Louisville without hesitation, but their last two games have been a hot mess and the lynchpin of their team, Teddy Bridgewater, is playing hurt -- you know Rutgers will be targeting his broken wrist and sprained ankle. So I'll wager the Knights recover from last week's Pitt of a game, earning themselves the right to get to and lose their first BCS bowl. Coin toss on the spread, so I'll take my chance on the home team. Pick: Rutgers
Machine -- The Machine wants to know if the Orange Bowl would rather have it than either of these teams. It also wants you to know that Louisville wins, 24-17. Pick: Louisville
Northern Illinois Huskies (-5) vs. Kent State Golden Flashes -- Friday, 7 p.m. in Detroit
Man -- I'm am so excited for this game. Truly. I feel like these are two teams where everybody only sees that they're from the MAC and who they lost to in September and completely dismisses them. They then completely ignore how well each team has played since. As far as which team will win this game, I'm going with the team with the most dynamic player on the field in Jordan Lynch. Pick: Northern Illinois
Woman -- Another tough call but I think the Huskies' MAC title game experience will prevail. And besides, they have the best cheerleaders. Pick: Northern Illinois
Machine -- The Machine does not understand this MACtion, but has Northern Illinois winning, 38-30. Pick: Northern Illinois
UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal (-9) -- Friday, 8 p.m.
Man -- I went with UCLA last week, and though I don't think the Bruins used the entire playbook in that matchup since they had nothing to gain with a win, I don't recall UCLA doing much to stop Stepfan Taylor and the Stanford offense either. Pick: Stanford
Woman -- Next stop for the Cardinal: Rose Bowl. I'll even give the points. Pick: Stanford
Machine -- Stanford will be going to the Rose Bowl but UCLA gets the consolation prize of knowing that it at least covered the spread. Stanford wins, 35-27. Pick: UCLA
Oklahoma Sooners (-6½) at TCU Horned Frogs -- Saturday, Noon
Man -- The Oklahoma defense has allowed 43.67 points per game in its last three contests. It has won those three games by an average of four points. So now I'm supposed to give up a touchdown with the Sooners on the road? No thanks. Pick: TCU
Woman -- Last week's emotional overtime win by Oklahoma against Oklahoma State leads some to believe it will suffer a letdown. I think it means the Sooners have momentum and with their dominant offense, they win handily. Pick: Oklahoma
Machine -- Bob Stoops has a shot at another Big 12 title and he will let nothing stand in his way of getting it. Oklahoma crushes TCU, 48-21. Pick: Oklahoma
Oklahoma State Cowboys (-4½) at Baylor Bears -- Saturday, Noon
Man -- Can I just bet the over? No? Well then I'll go with the home team that's getting points in this game that will be high on touchdowns and very low on punts. Pick: Baylor
Woman -- Baylor's defense has been bipolar lately, so it all boils down to whether we get the Kansas State/Dr. Jekyll or West Virginia/Mister Hyde. I'm betting on the former, especially given it's a home game, and will take the points. Pick: Baylor
Machine -- The Machine sees the Oklahoma State defense forcing five turnovers in this game as the Cowboys take care of business winning, 38-17. Pick: Oklahoma State
Cincinnati Bearcats (-5) at Connecticut Huskies -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man -- I don't care if it beat Louisville last week, you can call me "ACC" because I'm not picking UConn. Pick: Cincinnati
Woman -- The Huskies might be underrated, but they're up against a superior team in the Bearcats. (Besides, home-field advantage hasn't exactly helped UConn this season.) Pick: Cincinnati
Machine -- UConn covers but Cincinnati wins in a thrilling 13-10 contest. Pick: UConn
Alabama Crimson Tide (-7½) vs. Georgia Bulldogs -- Saturday, 4 p.m. in Atlanta
Man -- I don't think Georgia is the third-best team in the country. I'm not sure Alabama is the second-best team, either. All I know is that Georgia has an offense that's been just about as prolific as Texas A&M's this season, and we all saw Alabama struggle against the Aggies. We also saw Alabama's defense struggle against LSU. Destroying Western Carolina and Auburn didn't convince me that this defense is brilliant again. I think Aaron Murray finally has a breakout performance against one of the SEC's best and the Bulldogs pull off the shocker. Pick: Georgia
Woman -- These two teams have so many similarities -- ground and pound running games combined with effective aerial assaults, great D, questionable schedules. In the end, the Tide comes in but all are bloodied. Pick: Georgia
Machine -- Machines recognize machines. Alabama, 37-20. Pick: Alabama
Texas Longhorns at Kansas State Wildcats (-12½) -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man -- This spread seemed a bit too large for me when I first saw it, but then I thought about how terrible Texas looked against TCU on Thanksgiving night. I don't know if the Longhorns just missed Texas A&M or what, but that performance combined with an extra week of preperation for Kansas State has me going with the Wildcats. Pick: Kansas State
Woman -- The Longhorn Network on Sunday. Pick: Kansas State
Machine -- It's a clean sweep, though the Machine sees this one being close until midway through the fourth quarter when Kansas State gets a defensive touchdown and breaks it open. Wildcats win, 41-24. Pick: Kansas State
Florida State Seminoles (-14) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -- Saturday 8 p.m. in Charlotte
Man -- Can you imagine the ratings for an Orange Bowl game featuring Rutgers and Georgia Tech? Yeah, the Orange Bowl can too, and it'll be rooting like hell for Florida State. Though they won't be rooting too long, because this one is over early. Pick: Florida State
Woman -- Unless the Yellow Jackets play the best defense of their young life -- hell, maybe even if they do -- Florida State will be long gone by the end of the third quarter. Pick: Florida State
Machine -- Not. Even. Close. Florida State wins, 35-3. Pick: Florida State
Nebraska Cornhuskers (-2½) vs. Wisconsin Badgers -- Saturday 8:17 p.m. in Indianapolis
Man -- Nebraska's already beaten Wisconsin once this season, but that game was in Lincoln and the Badgers have improved since then. The problem is Nebraska's gotten better as well. Pick: Nebraska
Woman -- The Huskers take out the third-best team in the Big Ten's Leaders Division and Bo will celebrate with his eponymous drink, the Pelini, equal parts Prosecco sparkling wine and bile. Pick: Nebraska
Machine -- The Big Ten will be sending a team that's 8-5 and didn't even win its own division to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin wins, 31-27. Pick: Wisconsin
Season Records (Last Week)
1. Man 73-57 (4-6)
1. Woman 73-57 (5-5)
3. Machine 59-71 (5-5)
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