Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 11
Where one man takes on both his girlfriend and his Playstation in a battle to beat the spread.
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It's here where 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.
We are hitting the home stretch here in Man vs. Woman vs. Machine. Including this week there are only three "full" weeks of college football games left on the docket. And that means that if I'm going to make my move and surpass Woman in this contest, I've got to do it soon.
Last week was a good start. I had a 7-3 record, but unfortunately I was only able to pick up a game on Woman as she bounced back from her first losing week with a 6-4 mark in Week 10.
However, that one game I picked up cuts Woman's lead to two games. It might be a two-horse race at this point, but it's one that is going to require a photo finish.
Florida State Seminoles (-14 ½) at Virginia Tech Hokies -- Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man -- While I do think Florida State is the superior team in this matchup, I don't think Virginia Tech is as bad as its record. And then there's the fact that this is a Thursday night game in Blacksburg and this is also Florida State on the road against an unranked ACC team. I don't know that the Hokies pull off an upset, but I do believe they're going to make it interesting. Pick: Virginia Tech
Woman -- The poor Hokies have had such a dismal season, but not at Lane Stadium where they're 4-1. I see no hope of them winning but pride will keep it within the spread. Pick: Virginia Tech
Machine -- The Machine is not worried about Thursday nights, Lane Stadium or Florida State's history. The Seminoles roll, 38-21. Pick: Florida State
Pittsburgh Panthers (-3 ½) at Connecticut Huskies -- Friday, 8 p.m.
Man -- Honestly, how are you supposed to make a sensible pick in this game? I don't believe in either of these teams. What it comes down to is that Pitt is actually pretty good against the spread this season at 6-3 overall and 3-1 on the road. UConn is 2-5-2. So I'll take the Panthers. Pick: Pitt
Woman -- These two teams are like Carrie and Brody in Homeland. At any given moment, they can be calmly dismantling all threats, then seconds later, in the fetal position swallowing a whole bottle of Flintstones Chewables. The Panthers appear to have been staying on their meds lately, culminating in a noble loss to the Irish last week, which, of course, means they're due for a breakdown. On the other hand, they are playing the Huskies. My prediction is both teams walk off the field at half time, go to a karaoke bar, order a round of Woo Woos and call it a season. Did I say prediction? I meant recommendation. Pick: Pitt
Machine -- It looks like all three of us are going with a road favorite that is currently 4-5. Aren't we just the smartest bunch? Pick: Pitt
Louisville Cardinals (-2 ½) at Syracuse Orange -- Saturday, Noon
Man -- This game scares me. I would not be shocked if Louisville went north for an early game in the Carrier Dome and lost. I really wouldn't. That being said, I'm not quite ready to put my virtual money where my mouth is. Pick: Louisville
Woman -- Not jumping ship now, riding the hot hand of Teddy Bridgewater to 10-0. Pick: Louisville
Machine -- Well, Louisville, I hope you enjoyed your time as the undefeated team getting absolutely no respect. Syracuse wins, 24-20. Pick: Syracuse
Wisconsin Badgers (-7) at Indiana Hoosiers -- Saturday, Noon
Man -- I love that this game is so important in the Big Ten. I love it. It's ridiculous. However, as much fun as it would be to see Indiana win this game and go to the Big Ten Championship, I'm not ready to anoint the Hoosiers just yet. Yes, they've won two conference games in a row. It's just they did it against Illinois and Iowa, who have two of the worst offenses in the conference. I still don't believe Indiana can stop the run, and that's about the only thing Wisconsin will try to do this weekend. Pick: Wisconsin
Woman -- Let's see: Wisconsin's QB is a "coulda been a contender" fifth-year senior with three ACL surgeries and virtually no playing time in four years. Meanwhile, Indiana's rush defense is as stout as an Olsen twin in a hurricane. Montee Ball wins it for the Badgers but it stays within the spread. (And by the way, these two teams competing to top the Leaders Division is the Big 10 equivalent of "Mission Accomplished.") Pick: Indiana
Machine -- Indiana doesn't pull off the upset, but it's 27-21 loss is good enough to cover the spread at least. Pick: Indiana
Missouri Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers (-3 ½) -- Saturday, 12:21 p.m.
Man -- Missouri actually moved the ball down the field quite well on the road against Florida last week, but James Franklin kept missing open receivers and finding defenders with his throws. I don't think he'll have that same kind of problem against a terrible Tennessee defense. Pick: Missouri
Woman -- Derek Dooley: "Please, I insist, just throw it straight down the middle. Have a touchdown. Heck, have four." Gary Pinkel: "No, no, you're too kind, another three and out would be lovely, thank you." Ugh. Pick: Tennessee
Machine -- The Machine sees a blowout coming, as the Vols pound Missouri, 41-17. Pick: Tennessee
Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Cardinal (-4 ½) -- Saturday, 3 p.m.
Man -- Two good defenses going against two young quarterbacks in a game where the loser is eliminated from Pac-12 title consideration. I feel like this is going to be a close game and because of that I'm going to go with the team whose inexperience quarterback has the most experience. Pick: Oregon State
Woman -- Oregon State has been a wonderful surprise but oh my, that monster front seven they're facing this Saturday gives pause. Still, the Beavers are no slouches on defense either, and between a rookie Cardinal quarterback and Beaver momentum, I'm picking them to pull off an upset win. Using my College Football Gameday Time Machine, I present to you footage from early in the second half. Pick: Oregon State
Machine -- Somebody still believes in you Stanford, and it believes in you quite a bit. The Cardinal roll, 35-20. Pick: Stanford
Arizona State Sun Devils at Southern California Trojans (-9) -- Saturday, 3 p.m.
Man -- Listen, the Trojans lost but they still managed to put up 51 points and 615 yards against Oregon last week. They're not a terrible team by any means, and Arizona State has not been successful against any Pac-12 opponent with a pulse. Give me the Trojans. Pick: USC
Woman -- Zero analysis here, I just want Kiffin's shrunken balls handed to him. Pick: Arizona State
Machine -- Machine doesn't have much faith in Arizona State, either. USC wins, 45-21. Pick: USC
Texas A&M Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide (-14) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man -- I love Johnny Manziel just like you do. I'm also surprised at how well Texas A&M is playing in its first season under Kevin Sumlin and in the SEC. All that said, Manziel and the Aggies have struggled against LSU and Florida this season. The two best defenses they've faced. Well, this Alabama defense is even better, and I think it'll show on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Pick: Alabama
Woman -- Maybe this is wishful thinking but, great as Alabama is, they haven't exactly had the roughest schedule and if there was ever a time to let down your guard, it's after last weekend's LSU energy drainer. Meanwhile, the Aggies are strong -- their two losses, close ones to LSU and Florida. Just the kind of team to sneak up on you and take it down to the wire. Pick: Texas A&M
Machine -- Texas A&M gets a late touchdown to nearly pull off the backdoor push, but the Aggies just take the extra point and lose, 38-23. Pick: Alabama
Penn State Nittany Lions at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-7) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man -- Penn State has a much better record than I think most people would have predicted, but the Nittany Lions haven't really had a signature win. The comeback at home against Northwestern was nice, but aside from that, Penn State's Big Ten wins are against Illinois, Iowa and Purdue - three teams with a combined record of 9-18. A road game in Lincoln just feels like too tall a mountain for these lions to climb. Pick: Nebraska
Woman -- The Huskers need this win to stay on the road to Indianapolis but for Penn State, this is Indianpolis. So, while the Nittany Lions won't be able to bull rush their way to a win, they will keep it entertainingly close. Pick: Penn State
Machine -- Taylor Martinez goes off for six total touchdowns as Nebraska rolls, 45-17. Pick: Nebraska
Vanderbilt Commodores at Ole Miss Rebels (-3) -- Saturday, 7 p.m.
Man -- Ole Miss is not only improved on the field this season, but it's been great against the spread. On the season the Rebels are 7-2 overall, 3-0 as a home favorite and 4-1 against the SEC. All that combined with the fact I think they're a better team than Vandy means there's only one way I can go here. Pick: Ole Miss
Woman -- Look here, it's the historic "One of You Will Actually Be Bowl Eligible After This Snooze Fest Is Over Unless, Of Course, You Both Tie and Before Overtime Starts You Get Sucked Into A Wormhole And No One Notices" Rivalry! Vandy's won two straight in Oxford -- I cast my vote for three. (Surprised Ole Miss has time for a football game, given all its other fun-filled extracurricular activities.) Pick: Vanderbilt
Machine -- The Machine sees Ole Miss pulling off the victory in this game, but it does so with a late touchdown to win, 21-20. Pick: Vanderbilt
Standings (Last week)
1. Woman 59-41 (6-4)
2. Man 57-43 (7-3)
3. Machine 44-56 (5-5)
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