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.
It's championship week around the country, as conference races will finally come to an end before we head on to bowl season. And it's championship week here as well. While Man vs. Woman vs. Machine will continue into bowl season for the first time in its three-year history, somebody can take a firm grasp on the lead this week.
And it looks like it might be Machine.
While Machine can't experience human emotion, it can apparently read the writing on the wall. Machine knows that with no NCAA Football game being produced next season, this is its last stand, and it is going down with a fight. Machine put up an 8-2 record last week and now it finds itself in first place.
That's right, my lead is gone, and I don't know that I'll be able to get it back. But I'm going to try. And I'm not just doing it for Man anymore. I'm doing it for mankind. Woman and I must set aside our petty differences, and save us all from complete and utter annihilation.
Also, if Machine wants to just forfeit considering the trouble I have to go through to simulate these conference championship games, that'd be cool too.
Man: I'm going against the usual safe bet of taking the underdog on Thursday night simply because I feel like Cincinnati's 9-win season has been built on a pretty shaky foundation. Not that Louisville has been blowing people out left and right, but at least it has Teddy Bridgewater. Pick: Louisville
Woman: Not gonna lie, being behind both Man and Machine is just a teensy bit upsetting but for the sake of womankind, I must shoulder on.... Teddy Bridgewater waves goodbye to the minor leagues college with a big game. One thing's for sure, next year he'll be getting a helluva lot more than a Keg of Nails for his troubles. Pick: Louisville
Machine: So there will either be a tie for first place or Machine will have extended its lead come Friday, as it has Cincinnati winning 24-21. Pick: Cincinnati
Man: At this point I don't care how any MAC defense has performed against other MAC teams that don't have Jordan Lynch at quarterback. I'm done thinking anybody else in this conference has a legit shot of knocking off the Huskies. Pick: Northern Illinois
Woman: "What do you mean, we're going to Detroit?" This is a tight one but decided by Jordan Lynch, who will demonstrate why he should be among the elite going to the Heisman dinner in New York this month. Pick: Northern Illinois
Machine: It's a clean sweep as Machine sees this game ending early on Friday night. Northern Illinois wins 38-10. Pick: Northern Illinois
Man: Do I want to take an underdog with this many points in a rivalry game? I really, really do, but I just can't. I've been burned by Oklahoma too many times this season, and while I fully expect the Sooners to burn me again this weekend, at least this time they won't be hurting me for believing in them. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman: Between the Boone Pickens crowd, more Bedlam player experience and the promise of a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, I'm confident the Cowboys win - but by the spread? Last week's rivalry games offered a lesson which I should apply here: When it's personal, lesser teams often play up to their rivals. Pick: Oklahoma
Machine: There won't be much Bedlam in this game, as Oklahoma battles back a bit at the end, but it won't be enough. Oklahoma State wins 45-31. Pick: Oklahoma State
Man: This is a very hard game to pick for me. UCF has had an annoying tendency of playing down to its opponents in recent weeks, but it's also playing for the American Athletic Conference title and a BCS bowl this weekend. However, on the flip side, SMU is playing for a bowl game of its own. In the end, though, I'll go with the team that has twice as many wins as the other. Pick: UCF
Woman: I can't even pretend I know one thing this about this game. I don't care. I won't care. So there. I'm going with the 10-1 team. C'mon, more than seven and a half! Pick: UCF
Machine: The Machine doesn't seem to have any doubts about this one. UCF wins 35-7. Pick: UCF
Man: There's been a trend with Baylor ever since it lost Tevin Reese at wide receiver. The offense has had a lot more problems stretching the field vertically, and on the other side of the ball, the defense hasn't been nearly as stout. So while I'm not going to sit here and say I think Texas is going to win this game -- though I don't think it's out of the question -- I just don't feel good about relying on Baylor to blow teams out right now. Pick: Texas
Woman: The Longhorns start to this season was so outrageously bad, it affected all my subsequent picks. That was a mistake, given they've played mostly successful football since then. Meanwhile in the last three weeks, Baylor's defense has imploded, giving up more than 40 points per game. I still think Baylor will take it down but not by that spread. Pick: Texas
Machine: We're all in agreement again. I'm starting to think Machine is just playing it safe for fear of blowing its lead. Baylor wins 41-35. Pick: Texas
Man: Listen, Auburn comes into this game after winning its last two games in unbelievable fashion, and I'm not doing to discount it because of that. However, I can't shake the feeling that the emotional letdown of beating Alabama in such a fashion will be hard for Auburn to overcome this week. Combine that with the fact that Missouri's been sitting around all week hearing people debate whether or not Auburn deserves to be ranked ahead of Ohio State before it's even won this game, and I think Missouri is winning an SEC title on Saturday. Pick: Missouri
Woman: Man, those Auburn last-second wins this season! It's miraculous, it's destiny, it's... Pick: Missouri
Machine: It won't happen in insane fashion, but it will be another close victory for Auburn. Tigers beat the Tigers 27-24. Pick: Auburn
Man: It's strange that I feel so confident in Arizona State in this game considering that Stanford dominated the Sun Devils for three quarters earlier this season, but here we are. I just feel like Arizona State has been playing better than Stanford of late, and the Sun Devils have been so much better at home this season. Pick: Arizona State
Woman: Enjoy the win, Sun Devils! Remember it twenty years from now when a Cardinal 2014 alum places your home in foreclosure. Pick: Arizona State
Machine: Machine doesn't care where this game is being played, or how well Arizona State plays at home. Stanford crushes the Sun Devils 48-20. Pick: Stanford
Man: Listen, Duke, you're a wonderful story. You've been one of my favorite things about this 2013 season, but this just isn't happening. Florida State has basically crushed every team in its path, and I don't see that changing this week with a trip to Pasadena on the line. Pick: Florida State
Woman: In this game, a win is losing by less than the spread. Go, Blue Devils! Pick: Duke
Machine: Yeah, the Machine doesn't care about good stories, nor does it understand the concept of Duke being good at football. Florida State wins 42-10. Pick: Florida State
Ohio State (-6.5) vs. Michigan State (Indianapolis) -- Saturday, 8:17 p.m.
Man: I'm not even going to lie to you. I could give you some stats here to support my pick, but the truth is I'm only picking Ohio State to win because I want both Florida State and Ohio State to finish undefeated. Not because I like either team, but because I don't want to spend the next month debating with people about why their one-loss team was better than whatever one-loss team would be chosen ahead of Ohio State. So, please, Ohio State, spare us all a lot of pointless yammering. Pick: Ohio State
Woman: "Hey, Saban, remember last year when we couldn't play you because of a couple damned tattoos and jerseys? Well, sit back and watch me today, Nick ole buddy, cuz this one's for you." Pick: Ohio State
Machine: While I can't speak for the motives of Woman or Machine, I can tell you we're all in agreement here. Ohio State wins 28-14. Pick: Ohio State
Man: I have absolutely no confidence in this pick either way. It's hard to feel good about any game involving Fresno State's defense, because anything is possible. But Fresno's at home so whatever. Pick: Fresno State
Woman: Man, Bulldogs, it must hurt to know that you were this close to a BCS bid only to have your dreams crushed last week. Look at the bright side: It's still the prestigious Mountain West Championship, right? Pick: Fresno State
Machine: Fresno State suddenly develops a defense! The Bulldogs take care of the Aggies 31-13.
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|Louisville (-3.5) at Cincinnati|
|Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois (-3.5)|
|Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (-10.5)|
|UCF (-7.5) at SMU|
|Texas at Baylor (-13.5)|
|Missouri vs. Auburn (-1.5)|
|Stanford at Arizona State (-3.5)|
|Duke vs. Florida State (-28.5)|
|Ohio State (-6.5) vs. Michigan State|
|Utah State at Fresno State (-3.5)|