The picks: Midterms for the top three...hope they studied

We talk a lot at this time of year about what happens if the handfulish of teams that are still undefeated finish that way.  We have to talk about it now because history tells us that it's very likely we won't get a chance to talk about it later.

In the BCS era, only once have we finished with more than two major undefeated teams at the end of the season.  That was, of course, 2004, when USC and Oklahoma went wire-to-wire atop the polls and Auburn finished third.  Eight times in the 14-year history of the BCS, we have had either zero or one major undefeated team.  So, a better question is how do we get to that scenario?  Maybe this week's games will help answer that.

Three of the four major unbeatens will get tested this week.  Notre Dame is the exception.  The Irish are taking the next three weeks off.

So far this season, I am 47-24 overall, 38-32-1 against the spread.

Alabama (-9) at LSU --The Tigers have played better at home all year, and they seem especially dangerous at night.  I think if they are going to pull the upset though, they'll need a defensive score.  Their offense can't do it alone.

Oregon (-9) at USC -- All year, I thought USC would be the team to take the Ducks down.  They may still, but it's hard to take them seriously when they don't show up every week.  There seems to be a chemistry problem with the Trojans.  Oregon is playing like they're on a mission.

Oklahoma State at Kansas State (-9.5, cover) -- This may be the last chance for someone to beat the Wildcats.  I don't think the Cowboys have enough defense to make it happen.

Texas A&M (-7) at Mississippi State -- The Bulldogs are coming off a reality-check loss to Alabama and now have to deal with the high-powered offense of the Aggies.  MSU will be more competitive this time, but still fall.

Texas at Texas Tech (-7, cover) -- Texas' season is at stake.  They stunk it up at Kansas, but managed a win anyway last week.  David Ash was replaced at QB and the Longhorns can't defend.  Texas Tech got smoked at Kansas State, but who doesn't?  Tech has been a pleasant surprise this year and will get rolling again this week.

TCU at West Virginia (-5, cover)  -- West Virginia is coming off a much needed bye after two straight blowout losses.  TCU isn't as good as we're used to seeing defensively and still working in a backup QB.  The Mountaineers will take out some frustrations this week.

Temple at Louisville (-17, cover)  -- Louisville is undefeated, but just barely in the top 10.  Unfortunately for the Cards, the Big East just isn't good enough to carry them to the top of the rankings, and they didn't play a good enough non-conference schedule to make up for it.  The Cards are still a very good, young team and can play in a BCS game if they stay on their roll.

Nebraska at Michigan State (-1.5, cover) -- Nebraska's defense is shaky, especially away from home.  MSU finally got a big win at Wisconsin last week, and will build on that momentum.

Iowa (+2) at Indiana -- Here's all you need to know about the Big Ten...Indiana, which needs three more wins just to be bowl-eligible, controls its own destiny in the Legendary Leaders division.  Until this week.

Upset of the Week: Tulsa (+9) at Arkansas -- The Hogs have managed to beat the dregs of the SEC, but not much else.  Tulsa may win C-USA, for what that's worth.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories