Beerman's Picks: Week One

by Ben Shapiro, 8/28/03

Each week this season, I will be posting a column previewing interesting upcoming matchups in the Big East, the ACC, and college football in general. All rankings are from the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. I don't pick winners (that's too easy), I pick against the spread.  Television information comes from here.  All picks are for entertainment purposes only.


7:30 pm EST ESPN
  #3 Miami 0-0 (0-0 Big East)
+28 Louisiana Tech 0-0 (0-0 WAC)
The fact that we're going with them notwithstanding, in my heart of hearts, Miami will always be known as the "Defecting School Defendant".
Pick: LaTech
7:30 pm EST Fox Sports Net
  #14 Maryland 0-0 (0-0 ACC)
+8.5 Northern Illinois 0-0 (0-0 MAC)
Miami schmiami.  THIS is the game to watch on Thursday night.

The man's name is Michael Turner, and he's going to give the Terrapins headaches all day.  He's one of the top running backs in the nation, and he plays for lowly NIU.  But NIU is expected to compete for the MAC crown this year, and that means Friedgen better not be looking too far ahead...

Pick: UMuD
7:00 pm EST ABC
  North Texas 0-0 (0-0 Sun Belt)
-32.5 #1 Oklahoma 0-0 (0-0 Big XII)
North Texas has a better defense than half the teams in the Big XII.  They should win the Sun Belt with relative ease.  Not that this makes them a threat to Oklahoma or anything, but the Sooners will have some issues on the offensive side of the ball this year.  I'd be a little surprised to see OU even hang 30 on the Mean Green, let alone beat them by that much.
Pick: UNT
8:00 pm EST ABC
  #19 Washington 0-0 (0-0 Pac 10)
-9 #2 Ohio State 0-0 (0-0 Big 10)
So Clarett's out for six, and rumors about Gamble abound.  Life's tough when you've got that trophy to defend...

I have no idea if Kevin Gilberston is a good coach or not, but losing Neuheisel has to have been a distraction.  You'll hear "Pickett to Williams for six!" called at least a dozen times this year, but playing at the shoe is a tough debut for any coach.  Too much, too soon.

Pick: UDub
6:00 pm EST CBS
  #8 USC - West 0-0 (0-0 Pac 10)
-3.5 #6 Auburn 0-0 (0-0 SEC)
The Sporting News has Auburn picked as their #1.  No small praise indeed!  All the talk is of their tailbacks.  They've got a lot of them, but only one can tote the rock at a time.  And while Tuberville is a fine coach, he gets a little too fancy sometimes, and it comes back to bite him.

Carson Palmer may be gone, but he's not the reason the Trojans won 11 games last year.  Nope, that was their defense.  USC didn't allow a single 100-yard rusher last year.  Wow.

Strength vs. strength.  As it should be.  Strap it on ladies, it's clobberin' time!

Pick: USC
12:00 pm EST ABC
  #9 Georgia 0-0 (0-0 SEC)
+2.5 Clemson 0-0 (0-0 ACC)
Georgia is another SEC favorite this year, but a lot hinges on an offensive line that has been rebuilt virtually from scratch.

Clemson needs this win.  OK, Clemson doesn't, but Bowden the Younger probably does.  Mediocrity isn't what the boosters paid for, and it may take 9 or 10 wins to keep the job for 2004.  But the cold hard truth is that the only thing "need" gets you is government cheese, and it sure as heck doesn't win ball games.  I think Tommy's sunk...

Late update: The line is moving ... in Clemson's favor!  Oy, Gawgia isn't getting a lot of respect for a top-10 team!

Pick: UGA
3:00 pm EST ESPN2
  Fresno State 0-0 (0-0 WAC)
-20.5 #16 Tennessee 0-0 (0-0 SEC)
Fresno State continues their recent tradition of taking on the best that they can find outside of the WAC.  This year, in addition to Tennessee, they face Oregon State and Oklahoma.  That's an unsafe course at any speed.

Tennessee's been sliding a bit.  I mean they're still great, but a smackdown at the hands of Maryland in last year's bowl game has affixed the label "Also Ran" firmly to Casey Clausen's forehead.

Pick: UT
7:00 pm EST  
  Dook 0-0 (0-0 ACC)
-16 #17 Wahoo State 0-0 (0-0 ACC)
Dook's actually being picked to win a few ball games this year.  They're returning 20 starters, but really all that means is that they've got 20 of the same yahoos that made Blue Devil fans long for nothing more than Midnight Madness.

Virginia?  Yeah, we all know abut them.  Oh the hype!  For a head coach, AlGroh makes a great recruiting coordinator.  I'll certainly give him that.  But somebody wake me up when they start winning more of the big games, ok?

Pick: UVA
12:00 pm EST ESPN
  #20 Wisconsin 0-0 (0-0 Big 10)
+3 West Virginia 0-0 (0-0 Big East)
Wisconsin seems to run in cycles, and this should be an "up" year for them.  A somewhat favorable B-10 schedule (read: no Michigan) could have them challenging for a Rose Bowl berth if they can get the defense in order.

WVU surprised a lot of people last year, and there's no reason to expect them to drop off too much in 2003.  Quincy Wilson's the man now, and he's going to run through a lot of defensive lines this year.

Pick: Whisky
3:30 pm EST ABC
  #24 Oklahoma State 0-0 (0-0 Big XII)
-7.5 Nebraska 0-0 (0-0 Big XII)
The four horsemen ride anew.  The sun shines bright and scorches the Earth with fire.  Earthquakes, plagues, and Oklahoma State coming in to Lincoln as the higher ranked team.

Truly, we live in remarkable times.

Pick: Nebraska
3:30 pm EST ESPN +
  Temple 0-0 (0-0 Big East)
-24 Penn State 0-0 (0-0 Big 10)
See, what we've got here is the battle for runner-up in Pennsylvania :)
Pick: PSU
7:00 pm EST  
  Buffalo 0-0 (0-0 MAC)
-12 RUTSgers 0-0 (0-0 Big East)
No longer will we have to befoul our rooting guides with talk of Rutgers trying to avoid humiliation at the hands of yet another non-conference patsy.  No sir.  Now that we've got Dook to push around!
Pick: RU
#4 Texas (-29) vs. New Mexico State
#5 Kansas State (-37) vs. Troy State
#7 Michigan (-33.5) vs. Central Michigan
#11 Florida State (-16.5) @ North Carolina
#13 N.C. State (nl) vs. I-AA Western Carolina
#15 LSU (-35) vs. Louisiana-Monroe
#21 Florida (-24.5) vs. San Jose State
#25 Iowa (-11) vs. Miami (OH)
Fredo (-12.5) vs. Weak Forest
3:00 pm EST ESPN
  Central Florida 0-0 (0-0 MAC)
-20 #10 Virginia Tech 0-0 (0-0 Big East)
Largest moving line I've seen this week.  Started as low as 16.5, and it's moved about half a point per day.  Lotsa gambling Hokies out there, and I love yah for it!

Look, there's nothing I can tell you about this game that you don't already know.  The VT Hokie News links give you all the down and all the dirty that you need.

So what am I here for?  The tailgate!  I like the 3:00 game.  I do.  I think it may actually be the best time slot.  I don't like the nooner.  I just don't.  It's too early.  I hate having to make the choice between staying out the night before and waking up early to pregame.  And I never know what to do with myself immediately after the game is over.

Now the night game is good.  The night game is special ... maybe TOO good.  The eight hour tailgate that ensues brings about a level of craziness that should be reserved for only the biggest of big games.  I like it, but no more than once or twice a season.

The 3:00 game tho, it's niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.  Plenty of time to get groovy in the Burg the night before, and still make it out in the AM in time for 4-5 hours of top drawer tailgate entertainment.  AND, there's the added bonus that the game will end at the perfect time.  Go hit Mike's for some burgers, and roll on down Main Street for the postgame festivities

Yes siree, I like the 3:00 game :)

Oh the game itself?  45-17 ... book it!

Pick: VT


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