Finally: Nov. 5 is almost here. Just a few more hours and the most anticipated football game since, oh, the beginning of time is upon us.
This is going to be a good one. The visiting team must make the trek into Alabama, looking to stay undefeated and keep alive its hopes of playing for the BCS title. The home team wants to make a national statement and also seeks revenge after losing their last meeting.
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There have been numerous games of the century. LSU-Alabama is the biggest since the first Game of the Century more than 20,000 years ago when the University of Cavemen visited Neanderthal State. This one is for all the wooly mammoths.
Before I make my pick, here are a couple of prerequisite jokes about each school. Use at your own risk.
How many Alabama fans does it take to eat a possum? Three. One to eat it, two to watch out for the cars.
Hear about the LSU coyote? He gnawed off three of his legs and still couldn't get out of the trap.
Why do they no longer serve ice at Alabama football games? The senior who knew the recipe graduated.
How many LSU freshmen does it take to change a light bulb? None. That's a sophomore course at LSU.
Yeah, I realize those are pretty brutal -- almost as painful as having to watch last week's Illinois-Penn State game.
As far as LSU and Alabama goes, my CBSSports.com colleague Bruce Feldman, who is also an accomplished author, musician, scientist and ambassador of goodwill when he's not secretly on suspension, is picking Alabama. That's the easy pick, Bruce. Just take the home team.
What about LSU? The Tigers are known for their defense, but they have scored at least 40 points in five games. Last time that happened, they won the 2007 BCS title. Also, they have outgained Alabama in four of their past five meetings and the grass-eating, high-hat-wearing Les Miles is 4-2 against the Crimson Tide.
I was torn on my pick, but fortunately I visited the SEC's Digital Network website, and it had already posted Saturday's game story -- with quotes -- next to the breaking news story announcing Missouri to the SEC. My pick is LSU 27-24. LSU +5. Pregame: LSU-Alabama
If you're interested, here's where you can find all my Top 25 picks not listed below.
For this column, I was staked an imaginary bankroll before the season 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.
Arizona State at UCLA: While the Bruins continue to make a late season rally for Rick Neuheisel, across town in Los Angeles, Lindsay Lohan is in trouble again. Upset that she was sentenced to jail, she fired her legal counsel and hired West Virginia's lawyers when they promised Lohan they can get her out of jail and into the Big 12 by next season. UCLA +9.
Boise State at UNLV: On Tuesday, five UNLV players, including starting linebacker Tani Maka, were suspended for this week's game for violating team rules. Violating rules in Las Vegas? Now that is impressive. Boise State -40½. Pregame: Boise State-UNLV
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: It's good to see Cincinnati back in the national rankings. The Bearcats haven't been nationally ranked in November since Brian Kelly coached there. It was so long ago that Kelly was complaining about the players he inherited at Cincinnati from Mark Dantonio. Pitt -3.
Houston at UAB: UAB's last home game in Legion Field had an announced crowd of 8,872. Coincidentally, that's pretty close to how many yards Houston's Case Keenum will throw for against the Blazers. UAB +28.
Indiana at Ohio State: Since Indiana coach Kevin Wilson was hired in December, the Hoosiers have had 10 scholarship players leave the program. Indiana has had so many defections, even Big East commissioner John Marinatto feels bad for them. Ohio State -27½ is my best bet.
Kansas at Iowa State: Despite the Jayhawks' 2-6 record, these are exciting times in Lawrence, Kan. On the school's official website, a clock counts down the amount of time until Kansas' basketball opener. As of Thursday morning, there were 5 days and 10 hours remaining. Wait, I could have read that wrong. Maybe that's a countdown clock on Turner Gill's KU career. Kansas +14.
Middle Tennessee at Tennessee: Saturday marks the 73-year anniversary since Tennessee began a remarkable streak of winning 17 consecutive regular season games by shutout. That's just amazing. These days, it's a successful Saturday at Tennessee if the Vols can go 17 consecutive plays without committing a penalty or a turnover. Tennessee -20½.
Texas A&M at Oklahoma: Last week was another tough loss in the final minutes for Texas A&M as the Aggies fell to Missouri. So I guess that means Texas A&M still can't beat an SEC team. Oklahoma -13½. Pregame: Texas A&M-Oklahoma
Texas Tech at Texas: Texas was nearly unstoppable in last week's victory against Kansas. How impressive were the Longhorns? Texas had more total yards (590) than current subscribers to the Longhorn Network. Texas -14.
Utah at Arizona: A couple of weeks ago, a truck carrying 25 million bees overturned on Interstate 15 in Utah. Apparently he couldn't manage the much more difficult turn onto the "Pac-12" exit. Arizona -3½.
Utah State at Hawaii: The final game on Saturday's card, the Aggies and Warriors won't begin until midnight ET. This game is starting so late that by the time it's over, the Big East will have lost two more members. Hawaii -4.
More bonus free picks: Navy -6½ vs. Troy; Northwestern +17½ at Nebraska; and UConn -2 vs. Syracuse.
"Cover Me": This week "Cover Me" likes Iowa +3½ vs. Michigan; Arkansas -5 vs. South Carolina and Oregon State +20 vs. Stanford is his best bet.
Lock of the Week: 18-096 Window Sash Lock
McMurphy's picks: 10-12
"Cover Me": 2-1
Bankroll: Up 600 for season; 5,600 balance
McMurphy: 92-82; +550; (5-4 best bets)
"Cover Me":15-12; +50 (4-5 best bets)