Week 13 picks: Giving thanks to myself for some great picking

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider
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This year has been like no other in college football. But today, we're going to ignore all the NCAA violations, student-athletes arrested for armed robbery, coaches driving while under the influence, sex abuse allegations, point shaving scandals and Lee Corso F-bombs.

Nope, this week it's about giving thanks.

Giving thanks for postgame victory locker room speeches from Iowa State's Paul Rhoades and Tennessee's Derek Dooley (and then Vanderbilt's James Franklin's reaction two days later).

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And giving thanks for legendary radio announcer Larry Munson, who died Sunday night. Munson, Georgia's play-by-play giant, and Michigan's Bob Ufer rank among my favorites.

It's also time to be thankful that LSU coach Les Miles continues to be, well, Les Miles. Only Miles would be brilliant -- and compassionate? -- enough to have his third-string quarterback take a knee with five minutes remaining in a game.

And finally, there's no need to thank me for last week's picks (16-6, 72.7 percent) against the spread or for the past three weeks (43-24, 64.2 percent). Seriously, no thanks are needed (but checks or unmarked bills are appreciated).

Onto this week: If you're interested, here are my Top 25 picks.

And taking a look at the (growing) tote board: Before the season I was staked an imaginary bankroll totaling 5,000 Brett Bucks (similar to dollars, but for entertainment purposes only). That balance has ballooned to 6,550 Brett Bucks. Each pick is for 50 Brett Bucks, except for the best bets, worth 100 Brett Bucks. Point spreads this week are from Tuesday's USA Today.

Texas at Texas A&M (Thursday): This could be the final game played between the Longhorns and Aggies for quite a while. It's really sad because these long-time rivals have a lot in common. Besides being located in Texas, this year neither school could beat Oklahoma State. Or Oklahoma. Or Kansas State. Or Missouri. Or ... you get the idea. Texas +8½ Pregame: Texas A&M-Texas

Colorado at Utah (Friday): Last year this game would have been a meaningless nonconference game. But thanks to conference realignment, this year it's a meaningless Pacific 12 game. Colorado +20½

Iowa at Nebraska (Friday): This rivalry has been called the "Heroes Game." In the SEC, they have what they call the "Superheroes Game" -- at least games that involve LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. Iowa +9½

Cincinnati at Syracuse: Who said the Big East is down this year? The league could have all eight teams be bowl eligible. OK, so they all might end up being 6-6. Cincinnati -3

Iowa State at Oklahoma: Six men spent 520 days in a spaceship in a storage shed in Moscow, simulating the length of time it would take to complete a mission to Mars. The men had been isolated so long they still thought Bob Stoops was known as "Big Game Bob." Oklahoma -28 is my best bet

Missouri vs. Kansas at Kansas City, Mo.: Good news for Missouri: Coach Gary Pinkel returns to the sideline after serving a one-game suspension. Not-so-good news for Kansas: Turner Gill will still be on the sidelines. Kansas +20

Mississippi at Mississippi State: If you're like me, you were sickened by those UC Davis students getting pepper sprayed for holding a silent protest. I haven't seen anyone that defenseless since Ole Miss' last game with LSU. Ole Miss +18

Purdue at Indiana: This year's game features 5-6 Purdue and 1-10 Indiana. The rivalry for the Old Oaken Bucket has been called "the most intense in the state of Indiana." Next most intense: Carmel High School vs. Penn High School. Purdue -7½

Tennessee at Kentucky: Following Tennessee coach Derek Dooley's passionate locker-room speech after last week's win against Vanderbilt, Dooley inked a deal with CBS to star in a new television pilot: Sh*t My Coach Says. Tennessee -8

UCLA at Southern California: When asked about the USC game, UCLA coach Rick Neiheusel said: "We have a chance to win the championship this weekend. That's closing the gap. ... We'll see where the gap is after the ballgame. The gap is closed." Lane Kiffin said that he isn't concerned the gap is closed. He shops strictly at Abercrombie & Fitch anyway. UCLA +14½ Pregame:USC-UCLA

Wyoming at Boise State: Much has been made that Boise State couldn't survive competing in a tougher league like the SEC. I disagree. Boise State can miss field goals in big games just as well as Alabama. Wyoming +32

BCS national semifinal picks (also known as This Week in the SEC West): Arkansas +13 at LSU (Friday) and Alabama -21 at Auburn. Pregame: Arkansas-LSU | Pregame: Alabama-Auburn

Holiday leftovers: Eastern Michigan +20 at Northern Illinois (Friday); Western Michigan -28 vs. Akron (Friday); Colorado State +16½ vs. Air Force; Illinois -10½ at Minnesota and Northwestern +6½ vs. Michigan State.

"Cover Me": This week "Cover Me" likes Arizona State -5½ vs. California; Texas Tech +12 vs. Baylor in Arlington and North Carolina State -12½ vs. Maryland is his best bet.

Lock of the Week: Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal

Last week:

McMurphy's picks: 13-6

"Cover Me": 3-0

Season totals:

Bankroll: Up 1,550 for season; 6,550 balance

McMurphy: 127-105; +1100; (6-6 best bets)

"Cover Me":23-13; +450 (6-6 best bets)

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