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.
This edition of Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is bittersweet because it's not only the last time we'll be doing it this season, but because it's the last time we'll ever be doing Man vs. Woman vs. Machine. With EA Sports ceasing production of the NCAA Football video game franchise, we simply won't have a Machine to work with next season. So while this column will be back in some form, it's officially Machine's last hoorah.
And Machine is looking to go out a champion.
Yes, after basically being a third wheel all season long, Machine has come on strong in the last weeks of the season while Woman and I limped to the finish line, repeatedly falling on our faces. Neither Woman or I have ever finished this competition with a losing record, and it looks as though both of us will this season.
The question is whether or not we can pass up Machine along the way.
Duke vs. Texas A&M (-12.5) -- Tuesday, 8 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man: I know that Duke has had a fantastic season, and it's been a great story, but this is probably Johnny Manziel's last game. I just don't see Manziel going out in any other way. Sure, there's a chance A&M's defense will make this one exciting, but I think Aggies pull away late. Pick: Texas A&M
Woman: After a craptastic season of picking - my first losing year - it's going to be nearly impossible to pull out an Auburn-style miracle and beat both man AND machine. Wait... did Man just kick that field goal way short? Here goes nothing: This game is the unofficial Combine for "Johnny Dollar." He'll put on a show but Duke will keep it just within the spread. Pick: Duke
Machine: The Machine has Texas A&M winning, but Duke is going to make a game out of it. Aggies win 41-30. Pick: Texas A&M
Man: This game is very hard to pick simply because I'm not sure anybody actually wants to be a part of this game. Both teams are finishing disappointing seasons, both teams are dealing with injuries at key spots, and both of these teams just played each other on New Year's last season. So, more than anything, I'm just rolling with the "SEC > B1G" formula here. Pick: Georgia
Woman: Bo, you have to admit, part of my miserable season is thanks to you and your spread-shredding Huskers. But I'm above all that pettiness, so I'll give you one last chance to redeem yourself - which means you losing by less than nine points. Pick: Nebraska
Machine: The Machine smells a Big Ten upset as the Cornhuskers knock off Georgia 27-20. Pick: Nebraska
Man: I have no doubt in my mind that LSU is the more talented team in this matchup. However, Iowa has had this tendency to play well against better teams, and the Tigers are without Zach Mettenberger. I'm not sure Iowa can win this game, but I do have a feeling the Hawkeyes will keep this one closer than generally expected. Pick: Iowa
Woman: You red-blooded American boys know what you got to do. C'est tout. Pick: LSU
Machine: Three games in and three underdogs for Machine, as Iowa covers in its 17-10 loss to the Tigers. Pick: Iowa
Man: This is one of the games I'm really looking forward to this bowl season, and with a spread so tiny it basically comes down to who you think is going to win and, well, I think Wisconsin is going to win. Pick: Wisconsin
Woman: Because in his last game before turning pro, Jadeveon Clowney will remind us what happens when he actually comes to play. Pick: South Carolina
Machine: The Machine doesn't expect a lot of defense in this game as Wisconsin gives the Big Ten its second victory over the SEC on the day, winning 38-35. Pick: Wisconsin
Man: The Granddaddy of them All has an excellent chance to be The Quickest Game of them All this season given the playing style of both of these teams. I'm also really looking forward to this one, and I think it'll be a lower-scoring, defensive battle. So when that's the case I'm going to take any points I can get. Pick: Michigan State
Woman: Sparty versus Smarty. Pick: Michigan State
Machine: The Rose Bowl is over by halftime, as Machine sees Stanford rolling to a 41-17 victory. Pick: Stanford
Man: I just can't help but feel like Baylor is going to come into this game wanting to send a message to everybody in the country who has dismissed them without actually watching them play this season. Oh, and the Bears are healthy again, getting both Tevin Reese and Lache Seastrunk back. Pick: Baylor
Woman: If only Central Florida had a couple more of these plays up their sleeves... Pick: Baylor
Machine: Well somebody is going for the upset in the Fiesta Bowl as UCF knocks off Baylor 31-27. Pick: UCF
Man: The only way Oklahoma stays in this game is if Alabama just doesn't care about this game. And we've seen Alabama do that in the Sugar Bowl before (hey there, Utah). However, I don't see that happening this year because AJ McCarron and he other seniors on this team aren't going to go out like that. Pick: Alabama
Woman: "Dear Bob, Never thought I'd see you in January but hey, we make plans and God laughs, right? Anyway, remember it's just a game so, good luck! Sincerely, Nick Saban." Pick: Alabama
Machine: The Machine doesn't see Oklahoma winning this game, but it doesn't see the Sooners getting embarrassed, either. Alabama wins 24-14. Pick: Oklahoma
Man: Another incredibly tiny spread in which you're basically just picking the winner. Both of these teams are coming off losses, and both of these teams are very good. I have no idea how this one is going to go, I just know that I picked Oklahoma State. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman: Sorry, Cowboys, but somebody's gotta pay for Auburn. Pick: Missouri
Machine: The Cotton Bowl should be a classic, as Missouri knocks off Oklahoma State 38-34. Pick: Missouri
Man: I originally picked Ohio State in this game when we filed our Expert Picks after the regular season ended. However, since then Ohio State has lost quite a few players on defense to injury, and considering how Ohio State's defense was playing when it was healthy, I have a hard time putting faith in it right now. Especially against this Clemson offense. Pick: Clemson
Woman: Who should I pick who should I pick who should I pick? Thinking Sammy Watkins over a freshman substitute cornerback. Pick: Clemson
Machine: The Machine still believes in Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, as Ohio State picks up a 31-20 win over the Tigers. Pick: Ohio State
Auburn vs. Florida State (-8.5) -- Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Man: I have a feeling we're in for a classic national title game. Maybe not quite on par with Texas and USC in 2005, but a good one none the less. And after what's been a stinker of a bowl season thus far, we certainly deserve it. Anyway, since I'm expecting a classic, it's somewhat hard to pass up on those points. Pick: Auburn
Woman: Can't touch this. F-L-O-R-I-D-A-S-T-A-T-E. Pick: Florida State
Machine: Florida State finishes what it started, doing what Georgia, Alabama and Missouri just couldn't do. It stops Auburn, winning 42-14. Pick: Florida State
BCS Championship Game total points scored
|Man vs. Woman vs. Machine|
|Duke vs. Texas A&M (-12.5)|
|Nebraska vs. Georgia (-9)|
|Iowa vs. LSU (-7.5)|
|South Carolina vs. Wisconsin (-1.5)|
|Michigan State vs. Stanford (-6)|
|UCF vs. Baylor (-16.5)|
|Oklahoma vs. Alabama (-15.5)|
|Oklahoma State vs. Missouri (-1)|
|Clemson vs. Ohio State (-3)|
|Auburn vs. Florida State (-8.5)|