Posted on: October 23, 2011 6:57 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: The fans at Spartan Stadium
The scene in East Lansing Saturday night was Big Ten football at its best: a packed house under the lights, a national audience, and two highly-ranked programs duking it out for all 60 minutes. The end of the Wisconsin-Michigan State game was phenomenal beyond comparison, of course, but even without the miracle touchdown from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol to finish the game off it was still probably the best of the year in the Big Ten. This time, there was no collapse, no widespread ineptitude, nothing but a mighty good football game.
So being that the fans at Spartan stadium were nice and loud (and probably, ahem, well-lubricated by the time of the late kickoff) and they got to see such a stellar effort by both sides, the myriad big plays by MSU -- including the blocked punt for a touchdown being celebrated above -- and the astonishing game-winning play, yes, they are all the winners here. I've personally been part of a home crowd who saw a game anywhere close to that once: Purdue at Iowa, 2002. That was an incredible, euphoric experience, and Saturday's MSU win hit those notes of amazement even better than the 2002 game did. Sparty fans, you don't need to be told this, but you just witnessed a game for the ages. Treasure it.
LOSER: Russell Wilson's Heisman campaign
For the first half of the season, Russell Wilson looked like a great quarterback making fools of bad defenses (Nebraska included). His yards per throw not only led the NCAA, it was a full yard ahead of the pace to set a new FBS record, at 12.16. Wilson was a legitimate Heisman contender, and hey, with what Wisconsin was doing to everybody on its schedule, why not?
Unfortunately, on Saturday, Wilson looked like a quarterback who hadn't played a good defense all year, playing a good defense. The end result was several ill-advised throws, two picks, an intentional grounding call for a safety, and easily the worst start of his brief Badger career: 14-21, 223 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs (Yes, that is his worst start. Like we said, bad defenses). Now, Wilson did engineer four touchdown drives, so it's not as if he was beaten into submission all night, but the offense completely fell apart when Montee Bell was on the sidelines, leading one to wonder if the key to keeping the Badger offense rolling has never actually been Wilson to begin with.
WINNER: Keith Nichol
Keith Nichol, seen at right with a very good reason to smile, hasn't had very many opportunities to be a hero in his college career, though it seemed at the start that he'd have chances at every turn; he was originally recruited by Bob Stoops to be a quarterback for Oklahoma, and he only went to MSU because of the emergence of one Sam Bradford down there. Once Nichol transferred to Michigan State, he split time in a QB platoon with Kirk Cousins at the beginning of 2009 before Cousins was named the full-time starter.
Now, there are plenty of quarterbacks who would have simply transferred to an FCS school in search of immediate playing time at that point, and nobody would have begrudged Nichol if that was the path he had chosen. Instead, a spate of WR suspensions going into the 2009 Alamo Bowl against Texas Tech prompted Nichol to switch to wideout, and while he hasn't set the world on fire there, he has at least remained a productive 4th option for Cousins -- and a loyal teammate to the rest of the program. It takes a lot of maturity to catch passes from the guy who beat you out for a starting role at QB, and if that doesn't sound true, try beign forced into a different job at work and taking orders from the person who took the job you wanted. Right. Not fun.
So, seeing Nichol go through the first 59 minutes and 59 seconds of the game without a catch, only to become the hero on the last play like that? That's not only a joy, it's a testament to program stability. Does a hypothetical freshman backup wideout in Nichol's stead know to be in that position to look for a deflection? Does that hypothetical WR also have the will to push the ball across the plane against multiple tacklers? Neither is a given, but we do know the answer is yes for Nichol. The phrase "couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy" is trite to the point that it's usually used sarcastically, but it absolutely applies here.
LOSER: Ron Zook, again
Forget the 21-14 final score of the Illinois-Purdue game, please, because it paints a very inaccurate picture of how close the contest really was. The Boilermakers ran out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, and Illinois never touched the ball again after bringing the game to 21-14. Despite the large lead Purdue rang up in the win, we'll refrain from saying the game "didn't feel like an upset," because it absolutely did; Illinois had scoring chances but blew them, while Caleb TerBush and the rest of the Purdue offense just flailed ineffectually in the second half and got a win to show for it anyway.
Illinois should not have been so mentally flat coming into the game, though, especially coming right off a loss to Ohio State (who, like Michigan, was off this week) where the Illini handed the anemic OSU offense scoring chances in the second half time and time again. The mental errors need to be corrected coming off a game like that, not magnified. That is on Ron Zook and his coaching staff, 100%. And so even with Illinois at 6-2, it's that "2" that looms larger at this point in the season, and that threatens to balloon in a hurry if Zook doesn't get the team back on track. Otherwise, there's really no telling how much more patience the Illinois brass will have for him.
WINNER: Marvin McNutt
Coming into this week's action against Indiana, Iowa WR Marvin McNutt just needed one TD to break the all-time Hawkeye receiving touchdown record of 21 that he shared with Tim Dwight and Danan Hughes. McNutt got that touchdown on Saturday. Then he got two more. In the first half. In related news, the Hawkeyes-Hoosiers game was not very close.
McNutt now has 41 catches for 757 yards and eight TDs in seven games thus far, all of which lead the team by substantial margins. If he keeps that pace up for the rest of the year, he would shatter Iowa single-season receiving records in both yardage and scoring -- and he would also set Iowa career marks in receptions and receiving yardage to go with his touchdown mark. So keep your eyes on No. 7, Iowa fans; he's probably the best wide receiver in school history.
It would be inappropriate to lay the struggles of Northwestern at the feet of Dan Persa, since he's hardly the worst performer on the Wildcats; for one, Persa isn't responsible for the defense, which currently gives up about 250 yards of passing per game and can't crack the top 100 in FBS in pass efficiency defense.
That said, though, Persa is at least the most visible of the Wildcats, and is so by the direct actions of an athletic department that hyped him as "PersaStrong," even as he (understandably) struggled to recover from a severe Achilles injury. And the fact is, Persa's just not at the level he played at last season. His mobility is hampered to the point that he doesn't run designed rushes, and he doesn't have the same timing down with his receivers that he did last year. He also doesn't seem entirely recovered from that injury, though he's at least at the point in the process where it's going to take play on the field to get back to the "100%" of 2010 and not more time with team doctors.
All in all, though, Persa's barely even beating out Kain Colter for the starting QB role, and while we expect Persa to at least continue that mastery of the starting lineup, the fact that Colter's still getting snaps there every week demonstrates that even the Northwestern coaches don't fully trust Dan Persa's leg yet. And given that, it seems more than a little silly that he was the focus of a Heisman campaign coming into the season, doesn't it?
Tags: Adam Jacobi, Big Ten, Bob Stoops, Caleb TerBush, Dan Persa, Danan Hughes, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kain Colter, Keith Nichol, Kirk Cousins, Marvin McNutt, Michigan State, Montee Ball, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue, Ron Zook, Russell Wilson, Sam Bradford, Texas Tech, Tim Dwight, Week 8, What I Learned, Winners and Losers, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:52 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the insane final play of Michigan State's 37-31 last-second victory over Wisconsin on Saturday, a 44-yard touchdown off a deflected Hail Mary from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol:
It's clear that Nichol swings his arm over the goal line and that it would be physically impossible for the ball not to have crossed the plane. But since we can't see the ball, some folks might have a problem with calling that "indisputable" evidence.
So here's a screencap that shows, indisputably, that the ball crossed the plane and Keith Nichol did indeed score a touchdown:
The officials got this call right. That is not opinion; that is fact.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:29 am
WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: In a game with such a razor-thin edge of success and failure, any number of factors can be the "why" here -- the punt and field goal that MSU blocked, the Russell Wilson safety, everything else -- but this game was still likely to go into overtime if Wisconsin hadn't gotten greedy. At the beginning of the final drive, Michigan State faced a 2nd and 21 after Kirk Cousins fumbled during a sack. Wisconsin called a time out both after that fumble and on the next snap, which would have been nice strategy except MSU converted for a first down. With the extra time on the clock, Michigan State was able to drive down the fied and into position for that last-second miracle.
WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: When replay officials saw Keith Nichol twist and break the plane of the goal line. Nichol's catch was originally ruled down at 1-yard line, where he made the catch and where he was eventually tackled. Replay showed the ball momentarily but definitively crossing the plane, and that was that. The catch came with no time on the clock, so with the ruling, MSU got the win.
WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: Michigan State had a brutal three-game stretch to start the Big Ten season: at Ohio State, vs. Michigan, and vs. Wisconsin. Sparty just went 3-0. So it's MSU, not Wisconsin, who's the most likely division winner in the entire Big Ten. And what once looked like a disappointing season in the waiting after Notre Dame embarrassed MSU is now potentially special.
WHAT WISCONSIN LOST: Gone is the undefeated season, the Russell Wilson Heisman campaign, and the title talk. Wisconsin's now "just" 6-1, and while the Badgers are probably going to take the Leaders Division title, it's now Penn State who's alone atop the Leaders standings. So that Wisconsin-PSU game that finishes the regular season is likely to be a de facto division title game.
THAT WAS CRAZY: What's crazy is that there are some folks who question whether the Nichol touchdown was "indisputable" enough to be overturned. It's okay to have a high standard of the word "indisputable." It's not okay to hide behind that word and refuse to overturn a bad call. You want indisputable evidence? Here it is, via the handiwork of @andyglockner. That's a touchdown. Period.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:58 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
I joined Adam Aizer on the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on Friday afternoon and we talked about all sorts of things going on across the country today. We took a look at the Big 12 at the midseason point, talked about UCLA and Rick Neuheisel, and also went over suspensions at Michigan State and LSU. We even talked some Conference USA action while discussing how embarrassing UCF's loss to UAB on Thursday night was.
So give it a listen below.
Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.
You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:26 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
We hope you've starved yourself this week because you're going to need plenty of room in your stomach to get through this week's menu, and although we can't promise you anything featuring streaking referees and fighting, we're sure you'll find these meals as fulfilling just the same.
Missouri vs. #4 Oklahoma State - FX, 12pm ET
On paper this one may not seem all that interesting, but Missouri is yet to lose at home this season, and let's not forget that the Tigers knocked off Oklahoma in Columbia last season. It's possible that the Tigers could end another school from Oklahoma's title hopes again this Saturday. Of course, it won't be easy considering the offensive firepower that the Cowboys will be bringing with them. - Tom Fornelli
#7 Clemson vs. North Carolina - ESPN, 12pm ET
Clemson survived their first trap game on the road, marching back from 18 down against Maryland to prove - for the moment - this Tigers team is for real. Now they have a chance to return to the comfy confines of Death Valley for one last warm-up before traveling to Atlanta for arguably the toughest challenge left on the conference schedule in Georgia Tech. North Carolina doesn't run the option, but they do have a terrific ground game led by redshirt freshman Gio Bernard. Bernard has been sensational for the Tar Heels, and ranks third in the ACC with 109.57 yards per game. The Tigers, on the other hand, are one of the league's worst defenses against the run. North Carolina's defense has been beaten on the perimeter this season, and their weakness in the secondary will likely be their downfall with no answer for Sammy Watkins and DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins. - Chip Patterson
Purdue vs. #23 Illinois - ESPN2, 12pm ET
This game will be worth your attention. Bold statement, but it's true. Here's the deal: if Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins get their game back up, you'll want to watch, because that's the best QB-WR combination in the Big Ten. And if Scheelhaase and Jenkins get bottled up like last week, look out, because we might have an early upset on our hands, and those are a fun way to start a Saturday. See? Win-win scenario all the way. - Adam Jacobi
#1 LSU vs. #20 Auburn - CBS, 3:30pm ET
So Auburn has a defense with some success against LSU-style offenses, the host Tigers won't have Tyrann Mathieu or Spencer Ware, and the game's being played in bright, Death Valley-neutralizing sunlight. It's too bad Auburn is sending Clint Moseley out for his first career start at quarterback, or Gene Chizik's bunch could have made a real game of this. (if Moseley is a revelation? They still might. - Jerry Hinnen
#5 Boise State vs. Air Force - Versus, 3:30pm ET
Is there anybody left on Boise State's schedule that can knock the Broncos off? Maybe, but odds are that it won't happen this week as Air Force makes the trip up north to play on the blue turf. Still, even if Boise is likely to win this game, tuning in to see the Broncos playing a home game is seldom a choice to regret. - TF
Miami vs. #22 Georgia Tech - ESPN, 3:30pm ET
Miami turned the corner against Virginia Tech, and has been playing some of their best football of the season in the last three quarters. But they welcome a Georgia Tech team that got beat around by Virginia last week, and will be looking for a bounce back victory. This game is a must-win for the Yellow Jackets if they plan on competing for a Coastal Division title, and a must-win for the Hurricanes to establish some kind of momentum in a frustratingly inconsistent season. If Miami wants to pull the upset, they need to get Lamar Miller going on offense. A good rushing attack will keep Paul Johnson's pounding offense off the field, and after Miller was held to 29 yards against UNC last week he's due for a big game. - CP
#2 Alabama vs. Tennessee - ESPN2, 7:15pm ET
The drama and intrigue in this edition of the "Third" Saturday in October positively abounds: can the Vols score a touchdown? Can Trent Richardson break the 200-yard mark? Will Nick Saban decline to score a final humiliating touchdown out of respect for his old assistant, Derek Dooley? Has Smokey finally been fitted for the retina-protecting dog goggles (or "doggles") required by repeated visual exposure to Dooley's pants? (The actual and inevitable outcome, that we're not so intrigued by.) - JH
Notre Dame vs. USC - NBC, 7:30pm ET
One of college football's greatest rivalries gets a bit of a twist this season. For the first time in history, Notre Dame will be playing a night game in South Bend. Can Touchdown Jesus see in the dark? Also, emerging victorious could help catapult the winner back into the rankings, and for Notre Dame a win keeps its slim BCS hopes alive. - TF
#3 Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech - ABC, 8pm ET
This game features two offenses that both come into the game averaging more than 43 points a game, so if you're looking for a shootout to spend your evening with, this will likely be your game. The question will be if Seth Doege and the Texas Tech offense can still have as much success against an Oklahoma defense that's better than any other it has faced this season. - TF
#8 Stanford vs. #25 Washington - ABC, 8pm ET
Andrew Luck and Stanford haven't played a ranked team all year but that will change with Washington rolling into Palo Alto. The Huskies, with quarterback Keith Price and running back Chris Polk, will present a test for the stiff Cardinal defense that is missing a few key defenders. Of course, Luck has to be licking his chops to face the Pac-12's worst pass defense. - Bryan Fischer
#16 Michigan State vs. #6 Wisconsin - ESPN, 8pm ET
This could be the Big Ten's last, best hope to see Wisconsin get knocked off before the championship game -- and MSU just lost its top DE Will Gholston to a Big Ten-mandated suspension for punching Taylor Lewan last Saturday. Whoops! The rest of the Spartan defensive front is fierce, though, and perhaps we'll finally be able to see what happens when an opponent challenges Wisconsin for all four quarters this year. Perhaps. - AJ
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Washington State vs. Oregon State - Fox Sports, 10:30pm ET
Oregon State is off to their worst start in years and Mike Riley and company are looking to turn things around while seeking revenge against a Washington State team that upset them last year and cost them a trip to a bowl game. The Cougars have been competitive in the first half of their last two games but the question is if they can finish against OSU. - BF
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, ACC, Adam Jacobi, Air Force, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Auburn, Big 12, Big Ten, Boise State, Bryan Fischer, Chip Patterson, Chris Polk, Clemson, Clint Moseley, DeAndre Hopkins, Derek Dooley, Gene Chizik, Georgia Tech, Gio Bernard, Illinois, Jerry Hinnen, Keith Price, Lamar Miller, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Mike Riley, Missouri, Mountain West, Nathan Scheelhaase, Nick Saban, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Pac-12, Paul Johnson, Purdue, Sammy Watkins, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, Seth Doege, Spencer Ware, Stanford, Taylor Lewan, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Trent Richardson, Tyrann Mathieu, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington State, Will Gholston, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:58 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:47 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If you're a college football expert who's picked not one but two undefeated, top-10 teams to go down in shocking upsets in one topsy-turvy Saturday -- as CBSSports.com senior writer Brett McMurphy has -- then you've set yourself up to look like either a genius or a fool.
In this edition of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast, McMurphy explains why he expects Missouri (over Oklahoma State) and Michigan State (over Wisconsin) to make him look like the genius this week. McMurphy and Adam Aizer also talk over Craig Thompson's new 16-team playoff proposal, the LSU suspensions, Russell Wilson's Heisman chances, what team in the BCS standings is overrated, and more.
To listen, click below, download the mp3, or click here to open up our popout player in a different window.
Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store. Enjoy:
Posted on: October 20, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 3:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
In the third quarter of Michigan State's 28-14 victory over Michigan last Saturday, MSU star defensive end Will Gholston was seen throwing a punch at Michigan lineman Taylor Lewan, connecting somewhere around Lewan's neck or lower face mask. The incident drew a 15-yard penalty against Gholston, but he wasn't ejected, and Mark Dantonio left him in the game for the rest of the afternoon. Similarly, Dantonio left Gholston atop the Spartan depth chart this week heading into a critical battle with Wisconsin.
The Big Ten wasn't exactly impressed with Dantonio's approach to discipline, it seems, because the conference announced today that Gholston would be suspended for one game after the incident:
After the Michigan-MSU game, we groused that Mark Dantonio's reputation as a disciplinarian didn't match his record, and that his stated policy of "zero tolerance" has now become more of a running gag than an actual aspect of Dantonio's approach to running his team. This latest move by Dantonio -- to figuratively punt on suspending a player who punched an opponent on the field of play, and make the Big Ten take care of it -- sounds much more like a coach concerned with winning the next game than one willing to take discipline seriously.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 5:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that 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 could be the week that makes or breaks all of us. After spending a month trying to catch The Woman in this race, she's pulled away the last few weeks and taken a two-game lead once again. I'd be concerned about this in any other week, but this week things are different.
The spreads this week are insane.
When they were first released there were 20+ point spreads everywhere I looked. I trimmed them down to the ten games that were the most, shall we say, sane, but still, there's not a lot of confidence between Woman and I in our picks this week. When the spreads are like this, you may as well be flipping a coin, but I'm not introducing that aspect until next season.
Syracuse vs. West Virginia (-13 1/2) - Friday, 8pm (All times Eastern)Man - The thing that drives me insane about the Big East is that every week the team that is supposed to be the best team in the conference loses to somebody they have no business losing to. Thankfully, I'm confident that West Virginia is a team that knows what it should be doing and will do it. Pick: West Virginia
Woman - "No way Syracuse is going to surprise West Virginia two years in a row. Not even a raised eyebrow." Pick: West Virginia
Machine - The Machine must be a big fan of Dana Holgorsen's skullet and Geno Smith, as the Mountaineers blow up the Carrier Dome 51-17. Pick: West Virginia
Missouri vs. Oklahoma State (-7 1/2) - Saturday, 12pmMan - I know that Oklahoma State's defense isn't exactly wonderful, but the Missouri offense has been so inconsistent this season that I just don't see any way that it can keep up with the Cowboys. Even if Missouri's defense can slow the Cowboys down a bit, I just don't think it'll be enough. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman - "Yes, the Cowboys are playing stellar ball and you'd think this would be another step in their march toward BCS glory. But Mizzou is 3-0 at Faurot Field and its three losses have been close ones against good teams. Make assumptions about Missouri folk at your own peril." Pick: Missouri
Machine - The Machine sees a pretty close game for three quarters before Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon have a party in the fourth quarter and pull away late. Cowboys win 40-24. Pick: Oklahoma State
Clemson (-10 1/2) vs. North Carolina - Saturday, 12pmMan - Considering the way that Clemson has a habit of making things really close for three quarters before finally pulling away, this point spread does scare me a bit. That being said, North Carolina doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence in me, and since Clemson is at home I'll put my faith in the Tigers. Pick: Clemson
Woman - "To be honest, I know virtually nothing about Tar Heel football. I expect that will still be true on Sunday." Pick: Clemson
Machine - The Machine sees the annual rite of Clemson blowing up taking place this week as North Carolina wins 24-17. Pick: North Carolina
Kansas vs. Kansas State (-12 1/2) - Saturday, 12pmMan - Somewhat odd that Kansas State goes from being an underdog every week against teams it's better than to nearly a two-touchdown favorite, but Kansas has just been that bad. Also, let's not forget that Kansas State beat Kansas 59-7 last season and I don't think last season's Kansas State team is as good as this version. Pick: Kansas State
Woman - "I have created (and by created, I mean, found) a very special Sunflower Showdown Emo tribute for the Jayhawks to be played directly following the game. Enjoy." Pick: Kansas State
Machine - Game recognize game, and The Machine recognizes Bill Snyder's likely stoppable killing machine, but it won't be stopped in Lawrence. Kansas State wins 31-13. Pick: Kansas State
Purdue vs. Illinois (-5 1/2) - Saturday, 12pmMan - This spread seems a bit too easy to me. In my opinion, gamblers are overreacting to what Illinois did against Ohio State last week and what Purdue did against Penn State. Penn State's offense is terrible enough to keep Purdue in a game, and the Boilermakers have been beaten pretty bad this year by teams that spread it out. In Zook I trust! Pick: Illinois
Woman - "It's hard to shake the memory of the Illini's cringe-worthy outing last week but bottom line, they're a better team than the Boilermakers. Purdue will play the best game of its season and keep it close, but not that close." Pick: Illinois
Machine - The Machine seems to think that Ron Zook is going to have a lot of questions to answer this week as Purdue knocks off the Illini 21-3. Pick: Purdue
LSU (-22 1/2) vs. Auburn - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - I don't want to pick against Les Miles. I really, really, really don't. Still, without the Honey Badger and Spencer Ware, I'm just not as confident in LSU's ability to cover that spread. Will the LSU defense smother a quarterback making his first career start for the third straight week? Of course it will, but will the LSU offense cover more than three scores? Probably, because I'm picking against Les and must be punished for it. Pick: Auburn
Woman - "Yeah, LSU will win but given the news that three of its top players have been suspended, I think that line may be a bit stout." Pick: Auburn
Machine - The Machine is not a fan of three touchdown spreads for LSU offenses without its leading rush, as LSU wins 17-10. Pick: Auburn
Miami (-3 1/2) vs. Georgia Tech - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - I had been pretty high on Georgia Tech before last week, but man did the Ramblin' Wreck get exposed by Virginia last weekend. That plus the fact that Jacory Harris is actually playing pretty well for Miami makes me lean toward the home side here. Pick: Miami
Woman - "When I think of the NCAA and scholar athletes, these two schools leap immediately to mind, especially Hurricanes' DL Micanor Regis and his groundbreaking work on the physics of balls - please skip to minute five for Micanor's powerful research. Unfortunately, Micanor got so deep into his studies last weekend, he'll have to miss this game, which gives the 6-1 Wrecks a leg up." Pick: Georgia Tech
Machine - The Machine sees Miami getting up early, and a Georgia Tech playing from behind is not a very good Georgia Tech to bet on. Hurricanes win 28-17. Pick: Miami
Northwestern vs. Penn State (-4 1/2) - Saturday, 7pmMan - As I mentioned in the Illinois/Purdue pick, Penn State's offense is terrible. It's defense has been great, but it's also faced mediocre offenses all season save for Alabama, and we all remember how that went. So with Penn State going on the road I have to go with the team that's getting the points. Pick: Northwestern
Woman - "Northwestern stems the bleeding from three straight losses and Dan Persa gets to show his newly bald head around campus again." Pick: Northwestern
Machine - It's a clean sweep as The Machine sees Pat Fitzgerald's team getting its act together this week and beating Penn State 30-17. Pick: Northwestern
Michigan State vs. Wisconsin (-8 1/2) - Saturday, 8pmMan - We're nearly in November and Wisconsin is leaving Madison to play a football game for the first time all season. Wisconsin will also be facing an offense that I feel can move the ball on a defense that hasn't really faced much of a test this season. I don't know that Michigan State is going to win this game, but I do know that they're going to keep it closer than anybody else has against the Badgers this season. Pick: Michigan State
Woman - "Everyone's talking about how 'emotional' this game will be. After the third quarter, quietly emotional." Pick: Wisconsin
Machine - Well, we're going to have one less unbeaten to contend with after this weekend. Michigan State wins 24-20. Pick: Michigan State
Stanford (-20 1/2) vs. Washington - Saturday, 8pmMan - Every week I toy with the idea of picking against Stanford because the spread seems so large, and then every week I end up picking Stanford anyway and the Cardinal cover. So why change up a formula that's working? Pick: Stanford
Woman - "I get all excited about the Huskies impressive 2011 season and then I remember last year's game against the Cardinal. 41-0. 41-0. 41-0. Did I mention 41-0?" Pick: Stanford
Machine - Andrew Luck for President. Stanford destroys Washington 48-10. Pick: Stanford
StandingsSeason Record (Last week)
1. Woman 47-28 (6-4)
2. Man 45-30 (5-5)
3. Machine 38-37 (4-6)
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Auburn, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bill Snyder, Brandon Weeden, Clemson, Dan Persa, Dana Holgorsen, Geno Smith, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Jacory Harris, Justin Blackmon, Kansas, Kansas State, Les Miles, LSU, Man vs Woman vs Machine, Miami, Micanor Regis, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Pac-12, Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State, Purdue, Ron Zook, SEC, Spencer Ware, Stanford, Syracuse, Tom Fornelli, Tyrann Mathieu, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin