Beermanís Picks
by Ben Shapiro, 11/29/01

Each week this season, I will be posting a column previewing the upcoming weekend's Big East and Top-25 match-ups. All rankings are from the Bowl Championship Series Poll. I don't pick winners (that's too easy), I pick against the spread.  All picks are for entertainment purposes only.  If you actually bet based on what I think...well...don't say you weren't warned!.  For the most current TV information, click on over to TV Guide

Last Week: Nope, darts didn't work.  Maybe I'll just pick the opposite of everything I'd normally pick.  No, that probably won't work either.

This Week: The evil green and orange scourge sweeps north seeking to continue their reign of terror over the hapless masses of college football.

Not in Action: Lotsa folks.  I'm not even going to list them.

Friday 11/30
MAC Championship Game
#23 Marshall (10-1) @ TOLEDO (8-2)
Line: Marshall (-3)

7:30 pm EST

What can I say?  Marshall is the class of the MAC year in and year out.
Pick: Marshall
Saturday 12/1
#1 Miami (FL) (10-0) @ #20 VIRGINIA TECH
Line: Miami (-13.5)

1:00 pm EST

You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That's part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life's a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late, or too early, and you don't quite make it. One half-second too slow or too fast, you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone around us for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know that when we add up all those inches, we know that's gonna make the #$%#^@& difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!

I'll tell you this -- in any fight, it's the guy who's willing to die who's gonna win that inch ... Now I can't make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to ya, look into his eyes, and I think you're gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you.

You're gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you're gonna do the same for him. That's a team, gentleman. And either we heal, now, as a team ... or we will die as individuals. That's football, guys. That's all it is.

Now, what are you gonna do?

Pick: Miami
#2 FLORIDA (9-1) vs. #6 Tennessee (9-1)
Line: UF (-18)

4:30 pm EST

So Florida lost to #21 Auburn, and Tennessee lost to #15 Georgia.  Also, Tennessee has a higher schedule strength than does Florida.  Yet Florida is ranked #2 and Tennessee #6.

Should the Vols win here, and win the SEC Championship game next week, anyone think they're going to vault past Oregon, Nebraska, and Texas into the Rose Bowl?

Not me.

Why?  Because Tennessee started the season ranked lower in the opinion polls.  The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Bring on the playoff!

Pick: Tennessee
Big 12 Championship Game @ Irving, TX
#3 TEXAS (10-1) vs. #7 Colorado (9-2)
Line: Texas (-8.5) 8:00 pm EST

That's how badly Texas rolled over Colorado when they met in Austin back in October.  Colorado was killed by penalties and turnovers, and couldn't mount much offense all game.

The Buffs played the perfect game against Nebraska last week tho, as I'm sure we all saw.  I don't know if they can get "up" two weeks in a row, but boy what a wrench they'd throw into the works if they can.

Pick: U of C
#5 OREGON (9-1) vs. Oregon State (5-5)
Line: Oregon (-11)

4:30 pm EST

Oregon still has an outside shot at Pasadena.  Way outside.  We're talking Charlie Sheen pitching in Major League before wearing glasses outside.  I guess what I'm trying to say, is that the Fiesta Bowl folks are already placing orders for green and yellow bunting.
Pick: Ducks
#12 Brigham Young (11-0) @ MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-7)
Line: BYU (-4)

8:00 pm EST

This is how lightly regarded BYU is.  They are a mere four point favorite over a Mississippi squad regarded as ... disappointing ... only in the most polite of circles.  And the line's been going down since Monday.


Pick: BYU
#19 FRESNO STATE (10-2) vs. Utah State (4-6)
Line: Fresno (-22.5)

3:00 pm EST

Fresno State is a good team in a bad conference (but not good enough, evidently).  Utah State is a bad team without even a bad conference to call home.  Ouch.
Pick: Fresno
#10 Stanford (-23.5) @ SAN JOSE STATE (3-8)
Line: Stanford (-20)

5:00 pm EST

All signs point to a Stanford walkover.  SJSU has had the Cardinals number in recent years, and if last week has taught us anything at all, it's that overmatched rivals are often not quite so overmatched as we may think.
Pick: SJSU
#15 GEORGIA (7-3) vs. Houston (0-10)
Line: Georgia (-31.5) 12:00 pm EST
Yet another side effect of September 11th, is that quite a few of these sorts of match-ups litter the collegiate landscape.  What was supposed to be an early season tune up for the Bulldogs is now just another oh-by-the-way game tacked on at the end.  If Houston wasn't such a sorry excuse for a football team this year, I'd say they might could catch Georgia napping.
Pick: Georgia
#21 Auburn (7-3) @ #22 LSU (7-3)
Line: LSU (-7) 7:45 pm EST
Frankly, I can't figure either team out.  So I'm going to hedge my bets and call the home team to win, but Auburn to cover the spread.
Pick: Auburn
#24 FLORIDA STATE (6-4) vs. Georgia Tech (6-4)
Line: FSU (-11) 3:30 pm EST
Hey, wasn't this supposed to be the ACC championship game?
Pick: Georgia Tech
VIRGINIA (4-7) vs. Penn State (6-4)
Line: PSU (-5) 12:00 pm EST
The "most watched game of the weekend" indeed!

PSU's going to roll Wahoo State like a cheap cigar.  Both teams have been playing younger and younger players as the season has dragged on, but only one of them is actually showing significant improvement.

Pick: Penn State
ARMY (2-8) vs. Navy (0-9) @ Philadelphia, PA
Line: Army (-1.5) 11:45 pm EST
Quite simply one of the games that defines college football.

While Army's season has been disappointing, Navy comes into this contest hoping to win at least a share of the National Chumpionship.  They blew it last year, but with a new secret weapon this go around (sportswriters call him an "interim coach") I think Navy just might have what it takes to lose them all.

Pick: Army
PITTSBURGH (5-5) vs. Alabama-Birmingham (6-4)
Line: Pitt (-6.5) 1:30 pm EST
They're no South Florida, but if a suddenly competent UPitt squad can knock of the Blazers of UAB, then the Big East can actually fill all of our bowl slots.  Happy Day!

Don't laugh at the spread or my pick.  UAB has some talent on their roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  They're going bowling already, and they expect to win on Saturday.

Pick: UAB
Game of the Week to Watch: UF-UT

Last Week: 8-9

Season To Date: 127-131-1

Upset Special: Dare I?  Yes I dare.  VT over Miami (7-6)


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