Week 14 picks: Oklahoma State to give BCS something to think about

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider
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Each week, the BCS continually flaunts the "Every Game Counts" mantra, yet none of this weekend's games -- the SEC title game or Bedlam between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma -- will have any effect on who plays in the BCS title game.

LSU and Alabama appear to have "clinched" spots in the BCS title game.

Is this college football or the American League East?

Even Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray doesn't understand this nonsense. Earlier this week Murray tweeted: "The BCS makes no sense! If you're not the best team in your conference [don't win conference championship] then how can you be considered the best?"

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Well Aaron, don't fret, I'm happy to say here at my weekly picks column, every game still counts. And if you're counting: There have been a lot more wins than losses, thank you very much. We've increased the mythical bankroll by more than 25 percent since the start of the season. Just be sure to spend your Brett Bucks wisely.

Onto this week: if you're interested, all of my Top 25 picks can be found here.

And a reminder about this column: 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 6,500. Each pick is for 50 Brett Bucks, except for the best bets, worth 100 Brett Bucks. Point spreads from Wednesday's USA Today.

West Virginia at South Florida (Thursday): When Rich Rodriguez was at West Virginia, the Mountaineers arrived at Raymond James Stadium with all their players wearing New York Yankees hats. Things are much different under Dana Holgorsen. There were no Yankees hats this year. Instead, the Mountaineers will be wearing blackjack casino dealer visors. West Virginia -1

Northern Illinois vs. Ohio in Detroit (Friday): The MAC title game is held in Detroit, recently ranked the nation's second-most depressing city in the United States in a Men's Health poll. City officials, though, are confident they can return to No. 1 by next year. Ohio +3½

Iowa State at Kansas State: This week Kansas State president Kirk Schultz was in New York City at the same hotel where the Wildcats stayed for last year's Pinstripe Bowl. KSU lost 36-34 in part because of a penalty on a late two-point conversion because WR Adrian Hillburn's salute after his touchdown. Schultz tweeted when he got to NYC this week: "I saluted as soon as I arrived." Dozens of New Yorkers immediately shot him back with a one-finger salute of their own. Kansas State -10½

LSU vs. Georgia in Atlanta: There were reports Wednesday that LSU QB Jarrett Lee and others could be declared academically ineligible for the BCS title game Jan. 9. LSU AD Joe Alleva said "no student-athletes have been declared ineligible" and "the current semester is not complete and finals are ahead." In other news: LSU has extended the winter semester through Jan. 10. Georgia +13½

Middle Tennessee at North Texas: How bad is Middle Tennessee this year? The Blue Raiders even lost to Tennessee. North Texas -5½

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State: It's been a while since Mike Gundy's "I'm a man, I'm 40 rant," hit YouTube. Well four years later, Gundy no longer YouTube's most crazed college football personality. Kristi Malzahn, wife of Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, has taken over the reign. Oklahoma State -3½

Southern Mississippi at Houston: Before kickoff, Houston coach Kevin Sumlin and Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora will wish each other good luck and then exchange their new forwarding addresses at Arizona State and Ole Miss. Houston -13 is my best bet

Syracuse at Pittsburgh: Just think in a few years instead of this being a meaningless Big East game played in a half-empty stadium, it will be a meaningless ACC game played in a half-empty stadium. Pitt -11

Connecticut at Cincinnati: Unless UConn upsets Cincinnati, the Huskies will not go to a bowl game for the first time in four years. Not a great season, but it could be worse: The Huskies could be faring as poorly as Maryland this year under former UConn coach Randy Edsall. Cincinnati -9

UL Monroe at Florida Atlantic: This is the final game for retiring coach Howard Schnellenberger, being appropriately played in FAU's new stadium called "The House That Howard Built." Florida Atlantic +7½

UNLV at TCU: TCU kicker senior Ross Evans returned to the team earlier this week for the first time since his Nov. 21 arrest for criminal trespassing after he kicked in an apartment door trying to retrieve a cell phone for a friend of a friend. In Ross' defense, he said he was just trying to get in some extra kicking after practice. TCU -39

Utah State at New Mexico State: Back in 2009 in a basketball game between the teams, Utah State's mascot, "Big Blue" the bull, ripped off the fake mustache of New Mexico State's "Pistol Pete." The cowboy then chased the bull to halfcourt, jumped on his back, tried to pull him to the floor and tried to choke the bull. The bull mascot was offered $100 by a fan to pull off Pistol Pete's mustache. Violence and payoffs: college athletics at its finest. New Mexico State +13

Virginia Tech vs. Clemson in Charlotte, N.C.: After South Carolina beat Clemson last week, USC coach Steve Spurrier remarked: "We aren't LSU and we aren't Alabama. But we sure ain't Clemson." Actually that's the problem for Clemson: Since starting 8-0, Clemson returned to being Clemson and has lost three of its past four. Virginia Tech -7

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State in Indianapolis: Now that the report of "seat-fillers" being hired to guarantee a sellout for the Big Ten Championship Game has been proven a hoax, maybe the league will admit that Legends and Leaders division names was a hoax as well? We can only hope. Michigan State +9

"Cover Me": This week "Cover Me" likes Texas +2½ at Baylor, Nevada -20 vs. Idaho and Brigham Young -7 at Hawaii is his best bet.

Lock of the Week: American Lock Solid Steel Padlock A5200GLN

Last week:
McMurphy's picks: 9-9
"Cover Me": 1-2

Season totals:
Bankroll: Up 1,500 for season; 6,500 balance
McMurphy: 136-114; +1050; (6-7 best bets)
"Cover Me":24-15; +450 (7-6 best bets)

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