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.
I want to tell you a story about a young man named Joey Bosa. You may not know who Joey is, but he's a very important person. If Man goes on to win this competition this season, Joey Bosa may end up being the reason why.
You see, it was Joey Bosa who jumped on a loose ball in the end zone on the final play of Saturday night's game between Ohio State and Northwestern. I'm sure you heard a lot about this being a devastating backdoor cover. It was a simple fumble recovery that caused a $100 million swing in Las Vegas.
But $100 million is nothing compared to what Joey Bosa's fumble recovery meant here in Man vs. Woman vs. Machine. That Bosa recovery and Ohio State backdoor cover vaulted Man into the lead of our competition.
So this week I dedicate all my picks to you, Joey Bosa. You are a hero. I hope I don't let you down.
Man: I know USC had the bye last week to help deal with it, but this is still a team that just had its coach fired and is basically playing for a lame duck interim coach. That and the fact I worry about USC's lack of depth against Arizona's up-tempo attack means I have to lean toward the Wildcats. Pick: Arizona
Woman: After the dramatic firing of Lane Kiffin, some folks are asking whether the Trojans will survive the turmoil. C'mon, they've been playing without a coach for years - this should be a piece of cake. Pick: USC
Machine: The Machine is feeling good about itself because last week was the first time this season it beat both Man and Woman. It's celebrating by picking USC to win 45-34, which is an odd way to celebrate, we know, but it's a Machine. I can't tell you what it's thinking. Pick: USC
Man: So. Many. Injuries. Aaron Murray has been taking all his classes from home this week while encased in bubble wrap as a precautionary measure. Yet, even in spite of the fact that every Bulldog in history is hurt this week, I still feel like I'm going to regret this pick. Pick: Missouri
Woman: The Bulldogs pulled out a win last week but there were so many casualties, Aaron Murray might have to pass to himself on Saturday. Add to that the fiery 5-0 Tigers, the only other SEC team with a perfect record, and I think this could be the most generous spread Vegas has posted in awhile. Pick: Missouri
Machine: Full disclosure: I couldn't edit out all the Georgia injuries before the simulation just because there are so many of them and the game has roster limits. So that could be why Georgia won 41-13. Pick: Georgia
Man: I know Oklahoma's offense is a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season, but Texas is without David Ash but still has its defense. So I'm thinking this will be a week in which Oklahoma's offense is just fine. Not expecting a blowout, but I do think the Sooners will cover with relative ease. Pick: Oklahoma
Woman: After the dramatic firing of Mack Brown - wait, that's next week. Pick: Oklahoma
Machine: If things go the way The Machine sees them going Mack Brown will be fired at halftime. Oklahoma wins 38-10. Pick: Oklahoma
Man: With so many crazy SEC shootouts this year I just get the feeling we're overdue for an old fashioned SEC defensive slugfest. And I think this is the matchup in which we're going to see it. I'm expecting low-scoring and close, and when that's the case, give me the points. Pick: Florida
Woman: Love me some Zach Mettenberger but the Gators' pass defense, which has allowed a league-low 150 passing yards per game, could put a crimp in his style. (Not to mention Tyler Murphy and the Florida ground game, who might keep the Tigers quarterback on the bench for a fair amount of the game.) Close and low-scoring, won or lost with some last-second lunacy from Les Miles. Pick: Florida
Machine: The Machine fears not the Florida defense. LSU wins 30-17. Pick: LSU
Northwestern at Wisconsin (-10.5) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man: With Wisconsin coming off a bye there's a part of me that's terrified that the Badgers will run right over a Northwestern team that had trouble stopping Carlos Hyde last week. But on the other hand, there's got to be some kind of gambling karma for last week's cover, right? Oh, and I think Northwestern is pretty good. Pick: Northwestern
Woman: I know why you put this one in, Fornelli. You figured one look at "Wildcats" and I'd remember last week and spiral downward into PTCD - Post Traumatic Cover Disorder. Well, I'm stronger than that, I won't be broken by your silly ploy, I can be rational and.... for the love of God, help me, Venric Mark. Pick: Northwestern
Machine: The Machine sees my worst fears being realized, as the Badgers are led by James White's 200 yards and four touchdowns, winning 35-21. Pick: Wisconsin
Man: I mentioned this in Line Study on Monday, but Oregon is 9-0 against the spread the last nine times it has been a road favorite. Want more fun trends? Since Chip Kelly took over the program in 2009 the Ducks are 26-11-2 against the spread in Pac-12 games. Am I a bit scared giving the Huskies two touchdowns in their own stadium? Sure. Can I ignore those trends? Nope. Pick: Oregon
Machine: The Machine is just rolling with favorites this week, as we're six games in and this is the sixth favorite it's chosen. Oregon wins 48-31. Pick: Oregon
Man: This game seems way too obvious. Penn State has lost to UCF and Indiana in recent weeks, and now it gets a Michigan team that may have finally figured things out against Minnesota last week. I'm taking the Wolverines, but I'm doing so with much trepidation. Pick: Michigan
Woman: Oddsmakers keep pointing out that Penn State has won three straight over Michigan but I prefer to look at more recent history. Like, the last three weeks. Yeah, the Lions are playing for pride but this season that won't be enough. Pick: Michigan
Machine: Finally, an underdog! The Machine isn't giving up on Penn State because of a couple losses, as the Nittany Lions knock off Michigan 24-20. Pick: Penn State
Stanford (-9) at Utah -- Saturday, 6 p.m.
Man: It's hard to pick against Utah covering at home, but I just don't feel like this is a very good matchup for the Utes. Pick: Stanford
Woman: Man, Rice-Eccles faithful are a tough lot. Still, while the Utes have covered the spread in eight of its 11 games as a home underdog, one look at the formidable Cardinal front seven and some of their new trick plays and I don't think Utah can hold on for four quarters. Pick: Stanford
Machine: Well, you can put an end to Stanford's national title hopes. The Machine sees Utah pulling off the 31-30 upset. No word as to whether or not the MUSS is on the field when Utah's James Poole finds the end zone in the final minute for the win. Pick: Utah
Texas A&M (-6) at Ole Miss -- Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
Man: Ole Miss just hasn't looked nearly as impressive the last couple of weeks, and while the Rebels are no doubt happy to be home for once, I think the Aggies just have a bit too much firepower for them. Pick: Texas A&M
Woman: Hey, Rebels, I present to you this week's school play. Attendance is mandatory. Pick: Texas A&M
Machine: Oh my. I hope Ole Miss fans enjoy their day on The Grove before this one, because once the game starts the fun will stop. Texas A&M wins 66-24. Pick: Texas A&M
Man: I know Oregon State started the season off with a loss to Eastern Washington, but since then the Beavers have looked pretty damn good. And while Washington State is an improved team this year, I just think Oregon State is better. So with a spread this small, I'll go with what I believe to be the better team. Pick: Oregon State
Woman: Between air raids and turnover potential, who knows? Going to crack open my last remaining Widmer Drifter, get a bowl of popcorn and just enjoy the ride. Pick: Oregon State
Machine: We're all in agreement as the Machine sees Oregon State winning 21-17. Pick: Oregon State
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|Arizona at USC (-6)|
|Missouri at Georgia (-8)|
|Oklahoma (-14) vs. Texas (in Dallas)|
|Florida at LSU (-7)|
|Northwestern at Wisconsin (-10.5)|
|Oregon (-14) at Washington|
|Michigan (-2.5) at Penn State|
|Stanford (-9) at Utah|
|Texas A&M (-6) at Ole Miss|
|Oregon State at Washington State (-1)|