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 got a brand new game here, folks.
Last week I finally overtook Woman for the lead this season after she had a down week. Well, as has been the case for most of the year, I didn't even mention Machine last week when it came to the race for first place. And it was for good reason, as Machine fell behind early and was basically an afterthought.
Well, it's an afterthought no more. Week seven was the Rise of the Machine. Both Woman and I struggled mightily, with each of us going 3-7 on the week. Now, that may mean that I held on to my one-game lead in first place, but Machine's 7-3 mark meant that it had caught up to Woman and is now tied for second place.
And that means I may be in first place right now, but a couple wrong picks this week and I'll find myself in last.
The stakes have never been higher.
Miami (-8) at North Carolina -- Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man: I follow a pretty simple formula when it comes to Thursday night games. I take the underdog, because more often than not, the underdog covers. And when the underdog is also the home team? I have no other choice. Pick: North Carolina
Woman: I'm not going to lie. After my disastrous showing this last two weeks, I'm in a bit of a funk. A MIAMI funk, that is! After the first quarter, it'll be Zero Tar Thursday. Pick: Miami
Machine: The Machine sees an interesting game for us on Thursday night...for three quarters anyway. Then Miami puts up three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes to pull away 38-17. Pick: Miami
Man: This isn't an overreaction to Louisville's game against Rutgers. I'm making this pick simply because I'm not convinced the Cardinals are actually that much better than UCF this season, and Louisville has failed to cover its last two games. Meanwhile the Knights are 4-1 against the spread this year. Pick: UCF
Woman: These will be the Knights who say... Pick: Louisville
Machine: Good news, Louisville fans. You aren't going to have to hear about your schedule keeping you out of the national title picture come December. No, the 35-27 loss to UCF on Friday night will end that discussion. Pick: UCF
Man: I'm not very comfortable with this pick given how well Tennessee played at home against Georgia a few weeks ago, but I'm hoping the South Carolina team we saw show up against Arkansas makes the trip to Knoxville on Saturday. Pick: South Carolina
Woman: Hey, Vols, here's a friendly piece of advice: Sing "Rocky Top" early. Pick: South Carolina
Machine: It's a clean sweep as Machine has South Carolina beating Tennessee 27-17. Pick: South Carolina
Man: I was really surprised to see that every CBSSports.com writer chose Oklahoma State in the Expert Picks this week. It's almost enough to make me want to change my pick. But only almost. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman: If the Frogs were playing at home, I'd have to do some hard thinking about their secondary - not to mention a tenacity that reveals itself in their second half gameplay. But with their dismal away performances and the Cowboys 7-1 against the spread in their last 8 home games, I'm going with the Boone Pickens crowd. Pick: Oklahoma State
Machine: Nobody believes in TCU. Oklahoma State wins 38-21. Pick: Oklahoma State
Auburn at Texas A&M (-13.5) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man: Let's do some math here. An Auburn run game averaging 6.26 yards per carry plus a Texas A&M defense allowing 5.75 yards per carry divided by a 13.5-point spread equals take the points. Because there's only one thing we can count on the Aggies defense to do, and that's to keep the opponent in the game long enough to allow Johnny Manziel to dazzle in the fourth quarter. Pick: Auburn
Woman: Given the Aggies questionable defense, we know Auburn will be able to put points on the board. But enough to slow down Johnny Juggernaut? Well, enough to cover the spread. Pick: Auburn
Machine: I guess the Machine remembers what happened when these teams met last year. It's not quite as ugly, but it still isn't pretty. Texas A&M wins 49-20. Pick: Texas A&M
Man: UCLA is one of four teams in the country that remains undefeated against the spread (Houston, Missouri and Oregon are the other three) this season, while Stanford is 2-7 against the spread as a home favorite the last two seasons. Pick: UCLA
Woman: Look at what UCLA did on the road against the Utes. Now look at what Stanford did on the road against the Utes. Yeah, I'll take the points. Pick: UCLA
Machine: Another clean sweep. No wonder we're all so close in the standings as none of us can think for ourselves. Stanford wins 31-28. Pick: UCLA
Man: I'm extremely worried about Washington suffering a natural letdown following consecutive games against Stanford and Oregon. However, there's just a part of me that can't help but envision Bishop Sankey having a field day against an Arizona State defense that doesn't do well against the run. Pick: Washington
Woman: This is so close. I'll go with Bishop Sankey, the Huskies' burning desire not to lose three games in a row and their new more comfortable away-game accommodations. Pick: Washington
Machine: It's happened again. We all agree. Not only does Washington cover, but it wins outright 35-28. Pick: Washington
Man: I just don't have a lot of faith in this Ole Miss team against the upper echelon of the SEC. Plus that defense is already banged up and I don't see it having a lot of success slowing down the Tigers. Pick: LSU
Woman: There will be blood. But this time, not Zach's. Pick: LSU
Machine: The Machine does have a tendency to go with home dogs. It's not picking Ole Miss to win outright, but that 24-21 final will be a lot less comfortable than LSU fans are hoping for. Pick: Ole Miss
Man: Notre Dame hasn't won two straight games against USC since the 2000 and 2001 seasons, and I think that will still be the case come Sunday morning. I just feel like this USC team is actually enjoying football again, and that can be dangerous for its opponents. Pick: USC
Woman: The Weather Channel forecast for the fifty square feet around Brian Kelly, Saturday evening, October 19: Rain likely. Pick: USC
Machine: I know Clemson and Florida State will be playing at the same time, but if the Machine is correct, this may be the game you want to watch instead. Notre Dame win in double overtime, 45-38. Pick: Notre Dame
Florida State (-3) at Clemson -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man: These are two teams that are ranked in the top five for a reason. They're both very good. They're both also incredibly similar, which means I can't help but lean toward the home underdog. Plus, while I love Jameis Winston, he's played on the road before, but never in an environment quite like this one. I feel a freshman mistake coming at an inopportune time. Pick: Clemson
Woman: It doesn't get bigger than this, for the Noles, the Tigers or the ACC. Death Valley is the 12th man here, so I have to take the points. Pick: Clemson
Machine: Tajh Boyd gets the Heisman buzz going again, throwing for 387 yards and four touchdowns as Clemson knocks off Florida State 37-28. Pick: Clemson
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|Miami (-8) at North Carolina|
|UCF at Louisville (-10.5)|
|South Carolina (-7.5) at Tennessee|
|TCU at Oklahoma State (-7)|
|Auburn at Texas A&M (-13.5)|
|UCLA at Stanford (-4.5)|
|Washington at Arizona State (-3)|
|LSU (-7.5) at Ole Miss|
|USC at Notre Dame (-3)|
|Florida State (-3) at Clemson|