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 can't lie, I'm getting a bit nervous here. We're rapidly approaching the end of the season -- which, to top the anxiety, it also depressing -- and I have a lead in this competition. Which, through two seasons, is not something I'm used to.
The first year I never really had a chance, as I came in third place behind both Woman and Machine.
Last year I was able to salvage a tie with Woman for first with a strong finish to the season.
But this year, this year I can not only see the finish line, but there's nobody in front of me as I approach it. So now the challenge becomes making sure I don't overthink things and keep on doing what I've been doing to amass this thoroughly mediocre record that's placed me in first place to begin with.
I think I can do it.
I hope I can do it.
If not...well, I'd rather not think about it.
Man: How is this game not the ABC primetime game of the week with Brent and Herbie? This is the biggest Big Ten game of the season simply because one of these teams has to win. I'm thinking Illinois follows Kansas' lead from last week and ends it's own conference losing streak. Pick: Illinois
Woman: Seriously, Fornelli? I'm starting to catch up and you put this game in the mix? Fine, I'm picking the Illini because if they can't beat the Boilermakers by at least 10 points, they should cancel the rest of the season - not to mention the rest of Tim Beckman. Pick: Illinois
Machine: Yeah, so I'm just going to go ahead and say that if this happens that Tim Beckman won't have a job on Sunday. The Machine sees Purdue winning 38-10. Pick: Purdue
Man: I really want to pick the under here, but that's not an option. I know that this game feels like an easy Michigan State win, but I don't know. I just have an odd feeling about this one, and it's making me want to take the home dog. Pick: Northwestern
Woman: Wildcats fight the good fight for 45 then disappear in the fourth quarter (much like the crazed fans at Ryan Field) and Sparty pulls away. Pick: Michigan State
Machine: Well, at least Man is not alone, as Machine sees Northwestern hanging around in a 24-20 loss. Pick: Northwestern
Man: I was originally leaning toward Oklahoma here with absolutely no confidence and then all the injuries and the suspensions came, so I have to go with Kansas State. Which, judging by my track record with the Sooners this season, means Oklahoma will win by 70 points. Pick: Kansas State
Woman: Sorry, Coach Stoops, between suspensions, concussions and Cats in heat, that all-time Sooners coaching win record will have to wait another week. Pick: Kansas State
Machine: It's a clean sweep as Machine sees Kansas State knocking off the Sooners 21-17. Pick: Kansas State
Man: I honestly don't know, as I can see this game playing out in all different kinds of directions. So I'm just going to go with the home team in this Independent Conference Championship. Pick: Notre Dame
Woman: Wait, are those seagulls I see circling Touchdown Jesus? Pick: BYU
Machine: Yeah, the Machine didn't have a very hard time figuring this one out. Notre Dame wins 24-3. Pick: Notre Dame
Texas A&M at LSU (-4) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man: I don't have a solid read on this game other than I think it's going to be another SEC shootout that we've seen so much this season. The kind where whichever team has the ball last is going to win. So when that's the case I'll take the team with Johnny Manziel and the points. Pick: Texas A&M
Woman: Les, you know I love you, but Johnny Football's been chewing on the same grass. This turf war is going to come down to the last play. Pick: Texas A&M
Machine: The Machine sees this game being very close for the first half, with the score tied 17-17 at halftime, and then things get weird. LSU wins 45-17. Pick: LSU
Man: Arizona State just hasn't been as good on the road under Todd Graham, particularly against the spread, and especially as a road favorite. Meanwhile UCLA is 4-1 at home against the spread this season, so it's somewhat hard to ignore all that when you're giving the Bruins points at home. Pick: UCLA
Woman: Everything here - the quarterbacks, coaches, defenses, and intense rivalry - screams Game of the Week. I could make a viable case for either outcome, so I'll take the Rose Bowl and points. One thing's certain: Cheerleader practice for both teams has been brutal. Pick: UCLA
Machine: Arizona State wraps up a Pac-12 South title when it knocks off UCLA 45-38 on Saturday. Pick: Arizona State
Man: I don't have a good feeling about this game, but Tennessee has just been a much better team at home this season than on the road. Plus, the Vols are still a bit sore from their trip to Nashville last season and their backs are against the wall if they want to go bowling. Pick: Tennessee
Woman: Yeah, it's been a long, sad Vols season but one look at their brutal schedule and they can be forgiven, especially if they pay back the Commodores for last year's embarrassing defeat. Pick: Tennessee
Machine: The three of us are in agreement here as Machine sees Tennessee winning 27-14. Pick: Tennessee
Man: I'm sorry, Mizzou, but I just think the dream dies this weekend in Oxford. I'm not just picking the Rebels to cover, but I have them winning this one outright as well. Pick: Ole Miss
Woman: The Rebels ain't skurred of no stinkin' Tigers. Pick: Ole Miss
Machine: Yeah, if it's up to us South Carolina can start packing for the trip to Atlanta. Rebels win 42-28. Pick: Ole Miss
Man: Picking against Baylor just seems stupid at this point, but as I pointed out in Line Study earlier this week, the Bears have gone 25-9 against the spread the last three seasons. Which, wow. It's just that four of those nine losses against the spread came when Baylor was a road favorite, and overall on the road Baylor is 4-7 ATS in that same time period. I don't know if Baylor is going to lose, but that trend is somewhat difficult to ignore. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman: After losing eight straight at Oklahoma State, this is the year the Bears break THE DREADED CURSE. But just in case it's not by the spread... Pick: Oklahoma State
Machine: All of a sudden the three of us agree on everything, the Machine goes far enough to say Oklahoma State wins outright, 45-35. Pick: Oklahoma State
Man: A battle of two teams that have looked really good against lesser teams and not so good against the better teams. However, in this matchup, I've been more impressed with what I've seen from Washington against teams like Stanford and Oregon than I was the Beavers. So even on the road I'm rolling with the Huskies. Pick: Washington
Woman: After this game, we will finally have a winner of the coveted Somebody's Gonna Get This It Might As Well Be Us Pac-12 North Award. Taking the points. Pick: Washington
Machine: The Machine is anti-nature and it appreciates the effort of beavers everywhere in their ongoing war against trees. Oregon State wins 28-21. Pick: Oregon State
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|Illinois (-7) at Purdue|
|Michigan State (-7.5) at Northwestern|
|Oklahoma at Kansas State (-3.5)|
|BYU (-1) at Notre Dame|
|Texas A&M at LSU (-4)|
|Arizona State (-2.5) at UCLA|
|Vanderbilt at Tennessee (-3)|
|Missouri (-3) at Ole Miss|
|Baylor (-9.5) at Oklahoma State|
|Washington at Oregon State (-3.5)|