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.
Okay, I need to be careful here, as I'm in a bit of a precarious position.
You see, I'm still in first place, and that's awesome. Though I do realize that I've walked backwards into first, as I've gone 12-18 the last three weeks. That's not exactly a record to be proud of, but while I've been going 12-18, Woman has been worse. In the last three weeks she's 7-23.
And Woman is well aware of the fact she's gone 7-23 the last three weeks, and she isn't happy about it. So while I'd like to spend more time here talking trash about how I'm now in first place and Woman has slipped into third, I do live with Woman, and I'd like to live to see tomorrow morning and many mornings after that.
Surely you can understand.
Man: It's nice that we get an SEC game on a Thursday night this week, but then you look at the two teams we're given and it's not nearly as exciting anymore. My normal strategy here would be to take the underdog on a Thursday night, but both of these teams are coming off a bye and Kentucky usually doesn't fare well against the spread on the road. Pick: Mississippi State
Woman: After the schedule they faced the last four weeks - Louisville, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama in a row - the battered Wildcats might need mental health counseling instead of coaching. Hey, after the last few weeks I've had here with MWM, I can relate. Let's go down in flames together, Wildcats. Pick: Kentucky
Machine: It's not an upset, but the Machine sees Kentucky hanging around all night as Mississippi State wins 27-20. Pick: Kentucky
Man: Grant Hedrick played well last week, but going on the road against a good BYU team and defense will not be easy. Also, the Cougars have been strong at home against the spread this season, going 3-1 so far this season. Pick: BYU
Woman: The loss last week of Broncos QB Joe Southwick seemed dire until you saw how capably his replacement Grant Hedrick performed for the rest of the game. Add to that a Cougar team stuck with a short week after a grueling 4+ hour game last Saturday and the grudge Boise's been nursing for a year and it comes down to the last throw. Pick: Boise State
Machine: Man is standing alone yet again as Machine sees Boise State pulling off the upset, 24-21. Pick: Boise State
Man: Listen, I know Minnesota knocked off Northwestern last week, but the Gophers didn't exactly play well while doing so. Meanwhile Nebraska is coming off a bye and is just a better team. This one almost feels too easy. Pick: Nebraska
Woman: Sorry, Huskers, I'm picking you with confidence. That means you're pretty much doomed. Pick: Nebraska
Machine: The Machine is on the underdogs so far this week, as it has Minnesota blowing a lead in the fourth quarter, but still covering in a 34-28 loss. Pick: Minnesota
Northwestern at Iowa (-4) -- Saturday, Noon
Man: This was one of the tougher games for me to pick this week, because Kain Colter being available changes things up for the Northwestern offense. It's just that over the last few weeks this Northwestern team has reminded me of Sandra Bullock in Gravity when she's just given up before George Clooney magically appears to be charming and drink vodka. Pick: Iowa
Woman: With the nosedive the Wildcats have taken in the last three weeks, why on earth would I pick them to cover? Well, Kain Colter's return is sure to make a difference. On the other hand, Vendric Mark is out again. On the other hand, the Cats have won four out of the last five against the Hawkeyes. Yeah, this is going to end well. Pick: Northwestern
Machine: Seriously, the Machine has an underdog fetish going this week. Northwestern wins 38-21. Pick: Northwestern
Man: I know Clemson got destroyed last week but I am more confident in this game than any other this week. Clemson's going to win in a blowout. Pick: Clemson
Woman: Was it just three weeks ago that Maryland had the hot hand in the ACC? With so many injuries to critical players, little doubt the Terps will go down - but don't forget, it's a home game! Pick: Clemson
Machine: Even the Machine knows it, picking its first favorite of the week as Clemson wins 45-20. Pick: Clemson
Man: As I wrote about in Line Study on Monday, I would just stay as far away from this game as possible. Which explains why I included it here, because I'm an idiot. In the end I'm going with Texas Tech just because it's 5-2 against the spread this season. Pick: Texas Tech
Woman: This game is to prove that Kliff Kingsbury's not just another prospective USC head coach pretty face. The Red Raiders number two-ranked passing game will scorch the normally stout Sooner defense and set the Big 12 on fire. Pick: Texas Tech
Machine: Boomer Sooner! Oklahoma bounces back in a big way, ending Texas Tech's undefeated season with a resounding 42-3 win. Pick: Oklahoma
South Carolina at Missouri (-3) -- Saturday, 7 p.m.
Man: I really just don't trust this South Carolina offense all that much right now, and Connor Shaw being out of the game doesn't help matters, either. Which means that I'm picking Missouri even though it's using its backup quarterback as well because it's 2013 and that's just how things are going this season. Pick: Missouri
Woman: Tennessee, Gamecocks? TENNESSEE? Pick: Missouri
Machine: Sorry, Missouri, but the Machine isn't buying it. South Carolina wins 28-10. Pick: South Carolina
Texas at TCU (-1.5) -- Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Man: I know that TCU is at home in this game, and I know that Texas has had problems this season, but there's no way the Horned Frogs should be favored here. It just doesn't make sense considering how bad the Frogs have looked on offense. Pick: Texas
Woman: It's been a rough year, Frogs, and not likely to get better on Saturday. With Case McCoy finally finding traction and TCU's painfully pitiful offense, pretty sure we're in for some Texas BBQ. Pick: Texas
Machine: Trevone Boykin loves the Texas defense, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns as the Horned Frogs knock off the Longhorns 27-20. Pick: TCU
Man: I really hate having to trust an Ohio State team that's just not blowing teams out, but that's the position I find myself in. I don't necesarily think the Buckeyes roll past the Nittany Lions here, but this just feels like yet another game in which Ohio State pulls away in the fourth quarter. Pick: Ohio State
Woman: Can Nittany wunderkind Christian Hackenberg play the game of his life because that's what he'll need to win this. He'll keep it closer than the spread in a Horseshoe thriller (MWM translation: "Congratulations on your blowout win, Ohio State!"). Pick: Penn State
Machine: Ohio State wins, but it's a close, 31-24. Pick: Penn State
Man: I've been lauding Oregon State's play the last few weeks, but I just don't like this matchup for the Beavers. Stanford's defense can slow down the Beavers attack, while Ty Gaffney and the running game can keep it off the field. Just feels like a statement game for Stanford on Saturday night. Pick: Stanford
Woman: Sorry, Cardinal, you're going to hear these words spoken one too many times at Reser Stadium Saturday night: "Mannion to Cooks... touchdown!" Pick: Oregon State
Machine: Well the Machine thinks this game will be quite entertaining, as Stanford wins 45-38 in double overtime. Pick: Stanford
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|Kentucky at Mississippi State (-10)|
|Boise State at BYU (-7)|
|Nebraska (-10.5) at Minnesota|
|Northwestern at Iowa (-4.5)|
|Clemson (-14) at Maryland|
|Texas Tech at Oklahoma (-6.5)|
|South Carolina at Missouri (-3)|
|Texas at TCU (-1.5)|
|Penn State at Ohio State (-14.5)|
|Stanford (-5) at Oregon State|