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.
We've reached the last college football weekend of September which means that, for the most part, we've gotten past the glorified scrimmages that take up so much of non-conference play. By and large we're looking at conference play from here on out, and that means games will actually become that much tougher to choose.
At least, I hope it does for Woman. Through four weeks she still has the lead on me, as we only disagreed on one game last week, and she just so happened to get it right. So, you know, thanks for not winning by enough points Fresno State. Sure, you earned yourself a giant can of milk, but you just cast me aside like nothing.
I shan't forget it, Fresno State. And I will use the hurt you caused me as fuel to chase down Woman and take the lead. Then I will force her to watch as I drink the delicious milk of victory out of the can of justice.
You'll see, Fresno State. They'll all see.
Man: It's not just that Virginia Tech has looked incredibly lackluster this season that has me leaning toward Georgia Tech here, it's also the fact that since the 2011 season the Hokies are 5-12 against the spread in conference games. Meanwhile, last year Georgia Tech went 7-2 against the spread in ACC play and is already 2-0 in that category this year. Now, the Thursday night short week scares me a bit, because that's when things get strange, but I can't ignore those trends. Pick: Georgia Tech
Woman: Look, with the final episode of Breaking Bad looming on the horizon, I've been a little distracted. So, Fornelli, this may be your lucky week. As for the readers, they should probably take these picks with a pretty big grain of Heisenberg blue....I mean, salt. As for this game, Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been at it again, coming up with the new and improved battle plan to kill off the Yellowjackets. Unfortunately, there's still the Hokies' offense. Ramblin' Wrecks prevail but it stays within the spread. Pick: Virginia Tech
Machine: The Machine sees a Thursday night upset coming out way, as the Hokies take out Georgia Tech 35-17 behind four touchdowns from Logan Thomas. Pick: Virginia Tech
Man: I'm actually a fan of UFC and particularly quarterback Blake Bortles, and I think this team is fully capable of knocking off Louisville and winning the American this year. However, just because I think this Knights are good doesn't mean I think they're quite on the same level as the Gamecocks. Pick: South Carolina
Woman: Everyone's yelling "upset alert" which is why I'm thinking the Gamecocks will finally get some fire in their belly and take this one down. Never underestimate a rested Jadeveon Clowney and a really ticked off Steve Spurrier (especially after a bye week to prepare). Pick: South Carolina
Machine: While The Machine isn't quite ready to say the Knights are going to shock the world, he does seem them scoring a touchdown in the final seconds to get that backdoor cover. South Carolina wins 24-20. Pick: UCF
Man: Over the last few years the Tar Heels have been pretty average against the spread, but there's been a clear trend throughout. The Heels cover the spread when at home and don't while on the road. Also the Heels are 4-1 when coming off a loss under Larry Fedora. Pick: North Carolina
Woman: Don't know too much about these two teams but do know that head-to-head the Tar Heels are 6-0 against the spread when playing ECU and that its average margin of victory is 18 points. I also know that North Carolina needs to take last week's debacle against Georgia Tech out on somebody and, let's face it, Talk Like a Pirate Day was over last week. Excuse me, East Carolina fans, you have a problem with my pick? Pick: North Carolina
Machine: It's a clean sweep, and according to The Machine, it's a romp as well. Tar Heels reel off an easy 45-13 win. Pick: North Carolina
LSU at Georgia (-3) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man: If you look at the CBSSports Expert Picks I'm the only one of our six experts picking Georgia to cover this spread. Which, in a strange way, makes me more confident in the pick than I probably should be. To be honest, I don't know which way this game is going to go and with a spread this small I'll just take the home team and hope for the best. Pick: Georgia
Woman: Everybody's worried that Zach Mettenberger might cave to the pressure on his return to Georgia this weekend. But as Zach enters a hostile Sanford Stadium, he'll know Cam Cameron and the Tiger D have his back, so take your best shots, Bulldogs. Pick: LSU
Machine: Well I guess it's not just the other five CBSSports experts I'm picking against. It's Woman and Machine too, as LSU wins 27-24. Pick: LSU
Man: When I look at these two teams I feel like the best unit on the field will be Oklahoma's defense. I just don't think the Irish defense is anywhere near as formidable as it was last season, and the offense is inconsistent as well. While I don't know how seriously we can take Blake Bell's performance against Tulsa, I just feel like the Sooners are the more complete team right now. Pick: Oklahoma
Woman: Forget his girlfriend, remember Manti T'eo? So does Brian Kelly. He's going to wish he had him against Sooners QB Blake "Belldozer" Bell. Poor Irish, it was fun while it lasted. Pick: Oklahoma
Machine: Somebody isn't quite ready to put those echoes back to bed just yet. The Machine sees the Irish winning 31-17. Pick: Notre Dame
Man: I do worry about Alabama's secondary against Ole Miss' receivers, but at the same time we're yet to see a complete game from the Tide this season. With two subpar -- by Alabama standards -- performances in a row, I just have this feeling that Nick Saban's team is going to make a statement this week. Pick: Alabama
Woman: Nick Saban dreams about saying this to Nick Freeze as they shake hands after the game. Yeah, well, he probably will say it (but not because he covered the spread). Pick: Ole Miss
Machine: I'm too lazy to look back through every MWM, but I'm not sure Machine has ever picked against Alabama. Tide rolls 44-23. Pick: Alabama
Texas A&M (-3) at Arkansas Saturday, 7 p.m.
Man: I'm not going to lie, this spread terrifies me. It seems so blatantly obvious which way to go here, but I feel like every time something is this obvious there's a reason for it. I'm convinced Vegas is trying to pull one over on all of us. Like some Ocean's Eleven stuff. That or everyone in Vegas is drunk, which, well, you've been there. Pick: Texas A&M
Woman: This wasn't as easy a call as I hoped it would be. The Razorbacks ranks 23rd offensive rushing (with 246 average yards per game this season) and A&M ranks 105th in rush defense. But the Aggies have a plan and that plan has a name. I've obtained this (NSFW) video of Johnny Football practicing his new line calls for this Saturday. Pick: Texas A&M
Machine: Did you expect the Aggies to start off SEC play with an 0-2 record? Because The Machine does. Razorbacks win 34-30. Pick: Arkansas
Man: Bad news, Huskies. I'm totally bought in. I don't know if you're capable of knocking off Oregon and Stanford, but you might just be the third-best team in the Pac-12. Pick: Washington
Woman: The Huskies have revenge on their mind for the 52-17 thrashing they received from RichRod and Arizona last season. In their own house, and with a weakened Wildcats defense, they'll get it. Pick: Washington
Machine: I guess we're all believers in the Huskies. Washington wins 38-10. Pick: Washington
Man: I don't know if Wisconsin is good enough to go into Columbus and knock off the Buckeyes, but I do know that the Badgers have the ground attack and defense to keep this one close. I also know that even if Braxton Miller is healthy he hasn't played in three weeks. So he could be a bit rusty. Pick: Wisconsin
Woman: A huge game for both teams. The Buckeyes watched from the sidelines last year as Wisconsin took took the B1G championship, so they have a statement to make this Saturday. But the Badgers aren't going to lie down and die, even in the hostile confines of Ohio Stadium. I'd be really surprised if the Badgers win this one, but even more surprised if it's not close. Speaking of Badgers... Pick: Wisconsin
Machine: You might think this game will be close. The Machine does not. Ohio State takes Wisconsin behind the woodshed and wins 56-20. Pick: Ohio State
Stanford (-10.5) vs Washington State Saturday, 10 p.m. (in Seattle)
Man: I know Stanford took its foot off the gas in the fourth quarter against Arizona State last week, but instead of focusing on that you should probably focus on what the Cardinal did in the first three quarters. I expect to see more of that on Saturday night. Pick: Stanford
Woman: The Cardinal are a powerhouse but between the natural letdown after a big game, playing away and losing a couple key members of their team, the door is open for a win-hungry Mike Leach to at least make this a game. Stanford will prevail but it will be closer than the spread. Fun fact: did you know Saul Goodman went to Stanford? All right, he didn't but he should have. Pick: Washington State
Machine: No upset here, but The Machine sees the Cougars hanging tough in this game. Stanford scores late to extend its lead, but not enough to cover. Stanford 30-20. Pick: Washington State
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (-7.5)|
|South Carolina (-7) at UCF|
|East Carolina at North Carolina (-11)|
|LSU at Georgia (-3)|
|Oklahoma (-3.5) at Notre Dame|
|Ole Miss at Alabama (-16.5)|
|Texas A&M (-3) at Arkansas|
|Arizona at Washington (-7.5)|
|Wisconsin at Ohio State (-7.5)|
|Washington State vs Stanford (-10.5)|