Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 12
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.
I have done it, ladies and gentlemen. After trailing Woman from the very start of this year's competition, I have caught up to her. After 11 weeks of intense competition and more than a few curse words thrown in both directions, Man and Woman sit tied atop the leaderboard.
Which means these final few weeks of the season are of greater importance than you thought. The BCS? Who the hell cares about a national championship? We're settling the gender debate here, people. This is real. This matters.
Every gender counts. But only one will count more than the other.
North Carolina Tar Heels (-3½) at Virginia Cavaliers -- Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man -- There are so many trends going to battle in this game. There's North Carolina, 0-4 against the spread outside Chapel Hill. Then there's Virginia, 0-4-2 against the spread in Charlottesville. What to do? Well, it's a Thursday night game, and Thursday night games mean go with the underdog. Particularly when the underdog is getting points and is facing a team that just gave up 68 points. Pick: Virginia
Woman -- Despite last week's crushing loss to Georgia Tech - or maybe because of it - I believe the Tar Heels will prevail, due in large part to Heisman-worthy RB Geovani Bernard. His 1000+ yards this season helped me get to the playoffs in fantasy football and a 100+ more will get his team the win on Saturday. But it will be by a nose. Pick: Virginia
Machine -- Poor Machine. It has no chance of winning this competition, but it's forced to finish out the string. I guess it's good that it can't feel shame. North Carolina wins 27-20. Pick: North Carolina
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Cincinnati Bearcats (-6½) -- Saturday, 12 p.m.
Man -- Rutgers has struggled a bit the last few weeks, losing to Kent State and getting out of the gates slowly against Army. But I don't really understand this line. Yes, the game is at Cincinnati. But the Bearcats are starting a new quarterback this week. I'll take those points. Pick: Rutgers
Woman -- Look at you, Scarlet Knights, perched atop the Big East Conference. But you have to get past Cincinnati, Pitt and Louisville before even thinking about that trip to Miami. Toss-up on who wins, but it will be close. (By the way: Nippert Stadium calls itself the "Wrigley Field of College Football," so I presume that means it's packed with half-tanked fans and smells like day-old urine.) Pick: Rutgers
Machine -- I think the Machine is just throwing out longshots knowing that it doesn't matter. Why else would it think Cincinnati is going to win this game 55-13. Pick: Cincinnati
Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan State Spartans (-6½) -- Saturday, 12 p.m.
|Northwestern's Kain Colter (US Presswire)|
Man -- This is my pick in Upset Bait this week. I've got Northwestern winning this one outright. It's not a great team by any means, but it's better than Michigan State. Pick: Northwestern
Woman -- Thanks to droves of Michigan State loyals who follow their team anywhere and spend wads of Spartan green, the Gator Bowl committee is sniffing around East Lansing. Only one hitch: The 5-5 Spartans have to win this game just to be bowl-eligible. I think the Spartans stay true to their stinker of a season and come up short. Pick: Northwestern
Machine -- Seriously, the Machine is just going Skip Bayless this week. Tim Tebow -- or Andrew Maxwell -- leads Michigan State to a 37-20 win. Pick: Michigan State
Southern California Trojans (-4) at UCLA Bruins -- Saturday, 3:05 p.m.
Man -- Considering how this series has played out in recent years, you'd be half an idiot to go with anything other than USC. Well, I'm not half an idiot, baby. I'm all idiot. I'm taking UCLA. The Bruins are playing very well this season, and USC hasn't covered a spread outside the Coliseum yet this season. Pick: UCLA
Woman -- While USC spent the month swapping out jersey numbers and deflating footballs, UCLA won four in a row, averaging 44 points per game. Yeah, the Trojans are coming off that big victory over Arizona State, but consider that, this season, USC has the same number of takeaways as UCLA has interceptions (13). Both should get to 14 (maybe 15) this Saturday. Pick: UCLA
Machine -- Wow. It's a clean sweep, though the Machine sees USC winning 31-28. Pick: UCLA
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-11) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man -- I don't think Texas Tech is as bad as it has looked the last few weeks, nor do I think Oklahoma State is a good enough team to justify an 11-point spread in this contest. Even in Stillwater. I'm expecting a shootout, so I'll take whatever extra points I can get. Pick: Texas Tech
Woman -- Break out the rattlesnake shots, and slap me silly, y'all. This one should be good. Look for an offensive shootout. To hell with that spread; Stillwater might give Oklahoma State the edge, but the Red Raiders will keep it close to the end. Pick: Texas Tech
Machine -- Oklahoma State slaps Tommy Tuberville, winning by a final score of 41-24. Pick: Oklahoma State
Duke Blue Devils at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-13) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
|Tech looks to take control of the Coastal.(US Presswire)|
Man -- Seriously, what the hell is anybody supposed to think about this game? When you realize that the winner is in the lead for the Coastal Division title, your head just explodes. In the end, I have to go with Georgia Tech because it just scored 68 points last week and it's 5-2 against the spread in conference play this season. Hopefully, that doesn't change. Pick: Georgia Tech
Woman -- "Ramblin' Wreck" pretty much describes the seasons for both the Yellow Jackets and the Blue Devils (5-5 and 6-4, respectively). Yet both teams remain in contention for the Coastal Division title and a shot at the Orange Bowl. GOLD STARS FOR EVERYONE! Tech should be able to win this -- Duke hasn't defeated the Yellow Jackets since 2003 -- but the last two meetings have been decided by 10 points or less, so I'm taking the points. Pick: Duke
Machine -- Yeah, this one isn't even close if you ask the Machine. Which is what I did because it's kind of what this column is all about. Georgia Tech wins 35-13. Pick: Georgia Tech
Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers (-2½) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man -- Not a whole lot of thinking for me to do here. Ohio State had an extra week to prepare for this game and will be facing a Wisconsin team quarterbacked by Curt Phillips, who is going to have to do a lot more this week than turn around and hand off. Buckeyes are improving to 11-0. Pick: Ohio State
Woman -- Look at this, a new Big Ten rivalry! Camp Randall be damned; Ohio State has a point to make about its bowl-less perfect season. Once the refs stop calling penalties and the game proceeds in earnest, the Buckeyes will shut down Montee Ball and end the day 11-0. Pick: Ohio State
Machine -- It's a clean sweep as the Machine sees Ohio State winning 28-20. Pick: Ohio State
Oklahoma Sooners (-10½) at West Virginia Mountaineers -- Saturday, 7 p.m.
Man -- I know West Virginia has been terrible and couldn't stop a toddler if that toddler had a football in its arms right now. That being said, this game is in Morgantown. And it's not like the Oklahoma defense has been amazing lately, either. It gave up 30 points to Notre Dame, for Switzer's sake! I think the Mountaineers make a game of this one. Pick: West Virginia
Woman -- Remember when West Virginia mattered? After the month from hell, the Mountaineers have to best a cocky Sooners team just to be bowl-worthy. I don't think they beat Oklahoma, but, c'mon... Mountaineer Field, national television, Geno Smith's arm, and a desperate man? Pick: West Virginia
Machine -- The Machine is not ready to say that there's going to be an upset, but it does see West Virginia at least hanging around in a 45-38 loss. Pick: West Virginia
Tennessee Volunteers at Vanderbilt Commodores (-4) -- Saturday, 7 p.m.
|Is this Derek Dooley's last game against Vandy?(US Presswire)|
Man -- You want a reason why Derek Dooley is going to be fired? Tennessee is an underdog against Vanderbilt for the second straight season. You don't need any other reason than that. That being said, I think the Vols pull this one off. It won't be enough to save Dooley, but it will at least give Tennessee fans something to be happy about this year. Pick: Tennessee
Woman -- Eric Berry must be turning over in his Barcalounger watching his once-vaunted Vol defense give up an average of 44 points in SEC games this season. Meanwhile, the Commodores have been like a brick house, winning three straight on the road against SEC opponents. The home crowd at Vanderbilt Stadium will get a chance to watch history made on Saturday: Vandy's first winning SEC season (just not by the spread). Pick: Tennessee
Machine -- We are all drunk on the Dool-Aid! Tennessee wins 31-21. Pick: Tennessee
Stanford Cardinal at Oregon Ducks (-21½) -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man -- Oregon has scored an average of 47.4 points per game against Stanford in its last five meetings against Stanford. In its last four wins, Oregon has beaten Stanford by an average of 18.75 points per game. Most of those games featured Andrew Luck at quarterback. This game features Kevin Hogan making his second start. On the road. At Autzen Stadium. Quack, quack. Pick: Oregon
Woman -- Forecast for Eugene, Saturday, Nov. 17: Wear galoshes. Pick: Oregon
Machine -- So many Ducks! Oregon wins 55-30. Pick: Oregon
Standings (Last Week)
1. Woman 63-47 (4-6)
1. Man 63-47 (6-4)
3. Machine 48-62 (4-6)
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