Week 4 picks: After a big week, Big 12 owes me invite

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider
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After a rough past few weeks -- even Dan Beebe was mocking me -- I'm back above water for the season with my weekly selections.

Last week's 13-7 record against the spread, including a 2-0 mark in best bets, put me back in the black.

No time to gloat -- did I mention I was 13-7 last week? -- it's on to this week.

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If you're just joining us: I have been staked an imaginary bankroll totaling 5,000 Brett Bucks (similar to dollars, but for entertainment purposes only). Each pick is for 50 Brett Bucks, except for the best bets, worth 100 Brett Bucks. Point spreads from Wednesday's USA Today.

N.C. State at Cincinnati, Thursday: Cincinnati has been dominating at Nippert Stadium, having won 20 consecutive games against non-conference opponents. So unless Cincinnati leaves the Big East for the ACC before kickoff -- what's that? John Swofford's on the phone? -- the Bearcats make it 21 straight. Cincinnati -7½

Central Florida at BYU, Friday: UCF fans are outraged that South Florida is pushing to keep UCF out of the Big East. Knights fans will be even more furious when they find out the Big East had a secret arrangement to extend an invitation to last week's FIU-UCF winner. BYU -2½

Arkansas at Alabama: Alabama senior wide receiver Darius Hanks was asked recently how he used Twitter. "I mean, it's like a business, really," Hanks told Al.com. "It's not for any personal things." Saturday, the Crimson Tide take care of business -- and the Razorbacks. Alabama -11½ Alabama-Arkansas preview

Colorado State at Utah State: Colorado State vs. Utah State. It's almost like Colorado vs. Utah, except for ... OK, you're right. No it's not. Colorado State +9½

Florida Atlantic at Auburn: Before the season, Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger announced he was retiring after the season. Apparently the team retired before the season. The Owls have been outscored 85-3. Auburn -33½

Florida State at Clemson: With news that the ACC is adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse, Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune reports the league has even bigger targets. "The ACC, not satisfied with another successful raid on the Big East, has announced plans to expand to 32 teams with its long anticipated invasion of the European mainland. New conference slogan: There's Two Atlantic Coasts, You Know!" Clemson -2 Florida State-Clemson preview

Fresno State at Idaho: Fresno State defensive lineman Tristan Okpalaugo was suspended by the WAC for the first half of this week's game against Idaho after kicking a North Dakota player last week. The attorney for LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson said his client was appalled to hear of such a thing. Idaho +3

Kansas State at Miami: It has been a rough few days for Kansas State and the Big 12. Thursday, league sources said Pinocchio would replace Dan Beebe as the Big 12's new commissioner. This time around, the Big 12 wanted an actual puppet to run the league. Kansas State +12

Louisiana-Monroe at Iowa: It's the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks against the Hawkeyes of Iowa. I'll put the over/under on radio play-by-play references on defensive backs and "ball hawks" at 12. Louisiana-Monroe +17

Middle Tennessee at Troy: Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, in a 1992 interview, ate some Eastern North Carolina barbecue and remarked "I've had road kill that tasted better than that." Speaking of road kill: Middle Tennessee has lost its past two trips to Troy 76-14. Troy 12½

Missouri at Oklahoma:In last year's loss at Missouri, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops decided to punt late in the game instead of going for it on fourth down for fear the Tigers would score again and hurt OU's BCS chances. Stoops won't have that problem Saturday. Oklahoma -21 Missouri-Oklahoma preview

Nevada at Texas Tech: Fortunately Texas Tech's Big 12 survived conference realignment, because in a recent poll of 1,500 college graduates within the Big 12 states, 76 percent said they would be disappointed by the creation of super conferences. The other 24 percent said to refer all questions to Larry Scott. Nevada +20

Notre Dame at Pittsburgh: Notre Dame's 108 players are from 25 different states. Pittsburgh's players will play in two conferences. Notre Dame -7 Notre Dame-Pitt preview

Oregon at Arizona: The last time these teams met in Tucson, Arizona students spilled onto the field in the final minute in preparation of rushing the field to celebrate Arizona's upset of Oregon. But the Ducks scored late and eventually won. Arizona's students found out what most folks find out later in life: the dangers of premature "celebration." Oregon -15

San Diego State at Michigan: Michigan will pay San Diego State $1.016 million -- or approximately one dollar for every yard Denard Robinson had against Notre Dame earlier this year. Michigan -10

Toledo at Syracuse: Syracuse is thrilled to be moving from the Big East to the ACC, but the Orange stress they're not looking ahead. "We're taking it one conference at a time," a Syracuse official said. Toledo +2

UAB at East Carolina: East Carolina chancellor Steve Ballard and athletic director Terry Holland released a statement that the schools has "formalized our interest in Big East Conference membership as a viable option." I don't want to say ECU is a long shot, but the Big East immediately had police issue a restraining order keeping the Pirates at least 100 miles from league headquarters. East Carolina -13 is my best bet

Vanderbilt at South Carolina: James Franklin is the first coach to begin his career 3-0 at Vanderbilt since World War II. Really? Vanderbilt has won three games in a season before? South Carolina -16 Vanderbilt-South Carolina preview

Western Michigan at Illinois: Illinois (3-0) is ranked for the first time this season, but defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said the Illini are not overconfident. "Don't worry, they didn't get patted on the back much in practice," Koenning said. After practice, though, Ron Zook was seen giving massages and pedicures. Western Michigan +11½

Trifecta of Terror: Each week "Cover Me" will also provide his top three picks of the week. This week, "Cover Me" likes SMU -21½ at Memphis, Washington -1 vs. California and Ohio State -15 vs. Colorado is his best bet.

Lock of the Week: Caisson Lock.

Last week:
McMurphy's picks: 11-6
"Cover Me's" picks: 2-1

Season totals:
Bankroll: Up 50 for season; 5,050 balance
McMurphy: 22-22; +50; (2-1 best bets)
"Cover Me": 5-4; +0 (1-2 best bets)

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