Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 5
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 wasn't a good week for anybody here in MWM. All three of us were essentially the Big Ten, as nobody was able to put together a winning week, and only Woman even managed to break even.
Of course she also managed to expand her lead on the season while doing so. Hopefully, the more manageable spread this week will help all three of us get back on track. And by all three of us, I mean Man.
Woman and Machine can both go 0-for-10. In fact, I hope they do.
Stanford Cardinal (-7) at Washington Huskies -- Thursday, 9 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man - I'd be a lot more worried about a possible letdown game here if Stanford hadn't had a week off since beating Southern California Trojans . But with the extra week of prep and Stanford's track record on the road the last few seasons, I see the Cardinal covering that touchdown. Pick: Stanford
Woman - Do I go with my right brain (the chance that the Cardinal will suffer a post-USC-upset letdown) or my left brain (Stanford is 12-3-1 against the spread in its last 16 road games and the Huskies are 0-5 against the number in their last five against a team with a winning record)? Left brain, it is. Pick: Stanford
Machine - Washington has lost four consecutive games against Stanford by an average of 28 points a game, but Machine doesn't care. Keith Price has a huge night as the Huskies win 41-27. Pick: Washington
Baylor Bears at West Virginia Mountaineers (-12.5) -- Saturday, noon
Man - There are going to be a lot of points scored in this one, so much so that a spread of nearly two touchdowns scares me a bit. At the end of the day, however, I just can't see Baylor getting through an entire 60 minutes without having to punt or without turning over the ball. Once that happens, it's over because this Baylor defense has nothing for Geno Smith . Pick: West Virginia
Woman - Looking forward to this one. Predict it will be an offensive slugfest, with the last quarter looking something like this. Also predict Mountaineers win but not by the spread. Pick: Baylor
Machine - Geno Smith's Heisman campaign might have slowed down last week, but the Machine sees it picking up again this week as Smith throws for 462 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-27 win. Pick: West Virginia
NC State Wolfpack at Miami (-3) -- Saturday, noon
Man - I'm sure this pick will upset the 25 Miami fans still out there -- what's up, Nevin Shapiro! -- but even after beating Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets last week, I'm still not all that impressed with the 'Canes. I'm not saying this isn't a game that Miami can't or won't win, I'm just saying that until I see something convincing, I'm not giving up points with this team. Though if you want a crazy stat instead, how about the fact that N.C. State is 23-6 against the spread in even-numbered years under Tom O'Brien. Pick: N.C. State
Woman - With two squads pretty evenly matched, I'd usually pick the home team. But in keeping with Miami sports tradition, Sun Life provides no advantage; as proof, the Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes ' abysmal 3-9 record against the spread in their last 12 home games. Maybe fans should spice up their fight song. Pick: N.C. State
Machine - It's a clean sweep, although The Machine at least sees Miami winning 28-27, but that's not enough to cover. Pick: N.C. State
Tennessee Volunteers at Georgia (-14) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man - Not only do I think Georgia is the much better team -- which is reason enough to take it -- but check out this stat from Spread Options this week: since the beginning of last season, Tennessee is 5-11 against the spread, including an 0-4 mark on the road and a 1-8 record against SEC opponents. So, yeah. Pick: Georgia
Woman - Yeah, Tennessee sports the strongest offense the Dawgs have seen this season. But Georgia has been a juggernaut, and rumor has it Georgia will finally be playing full strength on D this week. My money is on Sanford Stadium and the adorable Uga IX, but not by the spread. Pick: Tennessee
Machine - Tyler Bray becomes a legend Saturday as he leads Tennessee to its first win in Athens since 2006 with four touchdown passes. The Vols make the SEC East a lot more complicated with a 37-31 win. Pick: Tennessee
Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans (-3) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man - It's hard to know what's going to happen in the Big Ten these days, especially now that Big Ten teams are facing each other for the first time. All that being said, there is nothing about this Michigan State offense -- nothing -- that makes me want to give up points with it. Pick: Ohio State
Woman - With no postseason possibilites for the beleaguered Buckeyes, every contest becomes a title game. They need to make a point and will, against Sparty on Saturday. Pick: Ohio State
Machine - You know how I know The Machine is a machine and not a sentient being? Because it seems to think Michigan State is capable of scoring 40 points against a non-MAC opponent. Michigan State wins easily, 45-17. Pick: Michigan State
Virginia Tech Hokies (-6.5) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m. in Landover, MD
Man - Since the start of last season, Virginia Tech is 5-12-1 against the spread. I'm not a fan of picking against the favorite when I think the favorite is going to win the game, but that number is just too hard for me to ignore. Pick: Cincinnati
Woman - Virginia Tech lost to Pitt 35-17, but Cincinnati beat Pitt 34-10. So, if the Hokies beat Cincy, it's like they actually beat Pitt by proxy, right? Right? Pick: Cincinnati
Machine - We are all in agreement here, as The Machine sees Virginia Tech winning a defensive struggle 20-17. Pick: Cincinnati
Arizona State at California Golden Bears (-2.5) -- Saturday, 4 p.m.
Man - Arizona State has played very well against the spread so far this season, going 3-0-1. Meanwhile, outside of a couple of Brendon Bigelow runs against Ohio State, Cal has looked thoroughly unimpressive. So I'm going with Todd Graham as he looks to pad his resume. You never know where family might pop up next! Pick: Arizona State
Woman - I like to think of this game as Big Bang Theory meets The Bachelor. The Golden Bears desperately need this home win for any shot at a bowl, so, sorry, girls. Pick: Cal
Machine - If Jeff Tedford wasn't already in some hot water, I'm pretty sure he will be if things go the way The Machine sees them going. Arizona State goes to Berkeley and beats up on the Bears, 49-13. Pick: Arizona State
Texas Longhorns (-2.5) at Oklahoma State Cowboys -- Saturday, 7:50 p.m.
Man - I've started to believe in Texas once again, and a win in this game will only further solidify that belief. Not only can Texas play good defense and run the ball with authority, but David Ash is starting to look like the best quarterback in Austin since Colt McCoy. The Horns will hook 'em. Pick: Texas
Woman - The Cowboys are 1-5 against the spread in their last six home games against Texas. Here's a dramatic rendition of home game number seven. Oklahoma State is played by Tree. Pick: Texas
Machine - Clean sweep: The Machine has Texas winning this game 31-21. Pick: Texas
Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-13.5) -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man - I want to be afraid of this spread on principle, but I'm not. Wisconsin is 0-4 against the spread this season, looked terrible in its only road game against Oregon State Beavers , and now has a redshirt freshman making his first road start at quarterback in Joel Stave . Oh, and the Badgers went and gave the Huskers some bulletin board material for motivation this week. Pick: Nebraska
Woman - Fun fact: The last time the Badgers visited the Cornhuskers, this was happening in the White House. Another fun fact: the last time Wisconsin beat Nebraska at Nebraska was never. That won't change this weekend, but they'll cover. Pick: Wisconsin
Machine - The Machine predicts Montee Ball will not only play in this game, but he'll have his best day of the season while doing so, rushing for 195 yards and three touchdowns as Wisconsin wins 31-20. Pick: Wisconsin
Man - Oregon State has only played two games this season, and it has knocked off a ranked team in each of those games. Can Arizona become the third? No, Arizona bounces back after getting trounced by Oregon Ducks last week and Mike Riley's boys come closer to Earth. Pick: Arizona
Woman - Two injured Beavers QBs and a Wildcats squad seeing the word "Oregon" and thinking "Close enough. Kill!" Pick: Arizona
Machine - Start printing up the "2012 National Champion Oregon State" T-shirts. Beavers win 28-24. Pick: Oregon State
Season Records (Last week)
1. Woman 23-17 (5-5)
2. Man 21-19 (4-6)
3. Machine 17-23 (3-7)
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