Time to make some picks
I had an OK week last week; I went 10-9-1 against the line, putting me at 11-over for the season versus the number. The good was picking Tennessee to handle South Carolina. The bad was picking Virginia Tech to pound UNC. And the ugly was picking WVU to pound USF. Here are this week's guesses:
Tech is hoping to avoid its first three-game losing skid since 2003. The Hokies haven't lost consecutive games in which they were a double-digit favorite since 2002. (They were a big favorite over UNC and are almost a two-TD favorite here.) My hunch is that the Hokies' D, which has been so shaky this season -- giving up 31 plays of 20 yards or more -- will stiffen against the country's No. 80 offense. The pick is Virginia Tech 27, East Carolina 24.
La. Tech has played its toughest opponents so far on the road, but back at home, there seems to be an even bigger difference with this team than with most: Tech is 0-5 on the road and 3-0 at home. The Bulldogs are a pretty capable running team with tackle-busting tailback Daniel Porter. I think Tech will keep this interesting for a little while before Boise State's offense overwhelms the country's 74th-rated D. The pick is Boise State 47, La. Tech 31.
In 2007, George O'Leary's team gave UT fits, but that Longhorns defense wasn't playing as well as this bunch is right now, and UCF doesn't have a Kevin Smith to spark its offense. UCF does have a strong pass rush (eighth in the country in sacks), but its secondary is pretty ripe (90th in pass D) for Colt McCoy. The Longhorns QB has started to heat up in the past two games, completing 81 percent of his passes. The pick is Texas 52, UCF 7.
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