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.
Last week Woman and I disagreed on only one game, which made the battle between Wake Forest and Boston College more important than it ever should be. Thankfully when the dust settled on that epic contest it was I who emerged victorious. Which means Woman and I are now tied for the lead.
Then there was Machine, who disagreed with both Woman and I on a lot of games last week and paid the price for it.
Let's see how things shape up for this week.
Man: Listen, I know Texas Tech has played well in its first two games, but let's not look past the fact that Tech's two wins have come against Stephen F. Austin and an SMU team that barely escaped Montana State at home last week. Pick: TCU
Woman: Despite having a name that belongs in a 1970s sitcom, I'm developing a little coach crush on coach Kliff Kingsbury. He's brought his magic touch to alma mater Texas Tech, teasing over 100 points out of his young offense in just two games. Granted, TCU's defense is a horned frog of a different color but a home game and points? Pick: Texas Tech
Machine: If he could Kliff Kingsbury would give The Machine a smack on the rear after seeing it predict that Texas Tech would win 34-24. Pick: Texas Tech
Man: There are a couple factors at play in my decision here. One is that this is a big rivalry in the state of Kentucky right now, and the home team is getting nearly two touchdowns. The second factor is that Louisville was 1-3 against the spread last season as a road favorite. Pick: Kentucky
Woman: I had Louisville as my dark horse last year and rode it almost to the end until the Cardinals stumbled on the turn (twice) in November. But I still believe. The Wildcats won't be able to slow down stellar quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or his vast network of receivers and they're going to struggle against a Cardinal defense that's allowed just one touchdown per game this season. Get the cheering out of your system early, Kentucky fans. Pick: Louisville
Machine: There is no upset predicted here, though The Machine expects an exiciting game. Louisville wins 37-34 in double overtime. Pick: Kentucky
Man: It's hard to know what kind of impact the death of Nick Pasquale will have on the Bruins this week, but it isn't as hard to figure out what kind of impact playing this game at 9 a.m. Pacific will have on the Bruins. I smell a slow start for UCLA, and in a game that will likely be a shootout -- 66 points and 1,092 yards of offense in last year's meeting -- that alone could be enough. Pick: Nebraska
Woman: After last year's debacle, why should I trust you again against the Bruins, Bo Pelini, why? Okay, this isn't a terrible reason. But it's not enough to offset a newbie Cornhusker front seven who have given up 47 points in the last two weeks - how do you think they'll fare against Bruins run-pass threat Brett Hundley? The X-factor is how the Bruins handle the tragic death of one their teammates this week. Pick: UCLA
Machine: The Machine thinks that Nebraska has learned valuable lessons from last year's game, as the Huskers don't only win, but do so convincingly, 41-17. Pick: Nebraska
Man: I really don't expect Virginia Tech to lose this game -- though nothing would surprise me -- but I have serious reservations about the Hokies offense. And while I think the Tech defense can slow down the Pirates attack, slowing it down could still mean allowing 20 points. So I have to take the free touchdown here. Pick: East Carolina
Woman: This should be all Hokies, right? Not so fast. East Carolina has a mature team returning behind quarterback Shane Carden, who's completed 80% of his passes this season. Combine that with a bad Hokie habit of making it close on the road and Dowdy-Ficklen stadium shaking from the screams of fans who view this game as their Super Bowl, and I'm playing it safe. Pick: East Carolina
Machine: Only The Machine believes in the Hokies, as Virginia Tech puts together an easy 35-17 win. Pick: Virginia Tech
Boston College at Southern California (-14) -- Saturday, 3 p.m.
Man: I know that things are bad at USC right now, but surely they're not so bad that the Trojans can't take care of Boston College at home, right? Right? Oh god I'm going to regret this aren't I? Pick: USC
Woman: I have so little respect for Lane Kiffin's offense, you could put the South Boston Pop Warner team up against the Trojans and I'd take the points. If you need convincing, here's some super secret footage I've obtained from a recent USC practice. Pick: Boston College
Machine: Everybody is piling on Lane Kiffin. Even electronics as The Machine sees USC losing to Boston College 21-17. If this happens Lane Kiffin isn't even off the field before he's fired. Let's be clear. Pick: Boston College
Alabama (-7 ½) at Texas A&M -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man: In its last two national title seasons Alabama is 7-2 against the spread as a road favorite. Also, Nick Saban has had this date circled on his calendar since the Aggies knocked off the Tide in Tuscaloosa last season and a Heisman winner was truly born. Do you think he's going to let it happen again? I don't. Pick: Alabama
Woman: All eyes will be on Johnny Manziel, especially the CBS eye. The network is - no lie - adding an extra TV camera devoted solely to capturing every single moment of Johnny Football though the entire game. If AJ McCarron and his offensive juggernaut have their way, that camera will be pointing at the Aggie bench for a big chuck of this 60 minute contest. By the way, thanks to CBS, I can offer you an exclusive sneak peak at the "Johnny Cam" and how it will work. Pick: Alabama
Machine: We're all rolling with the Tide, though The Machine is a bit more confident than I. Alabama wins 45-24. Pick: Alabama
Man: Of all the games we're picking this week I had the toughest time trying to figure this one out. At the end, when I coudn't come to a definitive answer I figured I should probably just take the two touchdowns. Pick: Vanderbilt
Woman: Sorry, Vandy, after last week's embarrassing loss to Georgia, the Gamecocks are about to make you collateral damage. Pick: South Carolina
Machine: The Machine does not predict an upset, but it does see a low-scoring defensive slugfest. South Carolina wins 17-10. Pick: Vanderbilt
Man: I have a pretty simple rule that I follow. That rule is never take Mississippi State against any team with a pulse. And right now Auburn has one. Pick: Auburn
Woman: I keep wavering on this one but in the end I have to go with the crowds at Jordan-Hare and a high octane fourth quarter burst from Gus Malzahn's Tigers. Pick: Auburn
Machine: I don't know that I'd consider it a huge upset, but The Machine sees one coming. Mississippi State wins 31-27. Pick: Mississippi State
Ole Miss at Texas (-4 ½) -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man: I understand that everybody is freaking out about Texas' defensive performance against BYU last week, but they're also forgetting something much more important when it comes to this game. Last year Texas had one of its worst defenses in school history and it still went to Oxford and won by 35 while racking up 676 yards of total offense. And now they're only favored by 4 ½? All right. Pick: Texas
Woman: After last week's debacle against BYU, Mack Brown abruptly replaced his defensive coordinator with a video analyst who hasn't coached in three years. Even the Longhorn players are saying this guy isn't up to speed yet. Oh, and did I mention quarterback David Ash is questionable with head and shoulder injuries? Um, yeah... Pick: Ole Miss
Machine: First Lane Kiffin, now Mack Brown. The Machine is getting everybody fired. Ole Miss wins 35-30. Pick: Ole Miss
Man: Because of their opposition in the first two weeks we really don't know anything about either of these two teams. So I have to roll with the home team here. Pick: Arizona State
Woman: Nice start to the season, Badgers but hey look, now you're playing a real team! Wisconsin's inexperienced secondary will be overwhelmed by 100+ degree temperatures in Sun Devil Stadium and the mad skills of Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly. Arizona State is 8-0 at home against Big Ten opponents. They'll be 9-0 on Sunday morning. Pick: Arizona State
Machine: Wow, this one will be played late but over early. Arizona State 49-17. Pick: Arizona State
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|TCU (-3) at Texas Tech|
|Louisville (-12.5) at Kentucky|
|UCLA at Nebraska (-4.5)|
|Virginia Tech (-7.5) at East Carolina|
|Boston College at USC (-14)|
|Alabama (-7.5) at Texas A&M|
|Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-13.5)|
|Mississippi State at Auburn (-6)|
|Ole Miss at Texas (-4.5)|
|Wisconsin at Arizona State (-5.5)|