Ahearn didn't exactly leave me much to choose from today. I could have thrown a bunch of Big 10 games at him, but that would just be uncivilized. I could have picked a bunch of blowouts, but that's only fun once in awhile. I could have said screw it and begged off this week, but I love you all too much for that. So, I soldiered through. Honor my sacrifice. Whatever you do, don't use these picks to bet real American money on football games, because this is For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Duke (-5.5) over WAKE FOREST, 11 a.m., ESPN2
BB&T Field, Winston-Salem NC
JM: Okay, let me get this straight. Duke destroys Virginia, gets past Virginia Tech, crushes North Carolina State, punches Miami right square in the mouth, and they're not even a touchdown favorite over the third-worst team in the conference? Give me a freakin' break. Mark my words: by 1:30pm Saturday, Duke's starters will be on the bench and they'll be deciding how they want to celebrate winning (at least a share of) the Coastal Division title.
AA: I nearly chose this game yesterday, because as you said, Duke will be celebrating a division title with a win. That sentence felt weird to type. In fact, it's still tempting to pick the Blue Devils to lose this one just because it doesn't feel right for them to be there. But then I remember they're 3-0 on the road this season (against admittedly weak competition) and Wake Forest is just plain awful. Duke's going to win this game by at least a touchdown, probably a lot more.
Vanderbilt (+3) over TENNESSEE, 6:00 p.m. ESPN2
Neyland Stadium, Knoxville TN
JM: "Joking, of course. Sign of fetid diseased mind. Idea that Vols win absurd. No matter. Gambling is rot of society. Veidt probably involved." -- Rorschach
AA: It's November, and as has been the norm since I arrived in Tennessee in Fall 2011, all hope seems to be gone from the UT fanbase. It seems like there are some decent reasons to believe Butch Jones will eventually get things turned around, and he's unquestionably better than Derek Dooley. But that's setting an awfully low bar, and they just don't really have a great team this year. Meanwhile, Vandy seems to be on a roll, so I'm going to go ahead and take them to cover here.
Boise State (-7) over SAN DIEGO STATE, 9:30 p.m. CBSSN
Whatever they're calling Jack Murphy Stadium this week, San Diego CA
JM: San Diego State required overtime to beat Hawai'i last weekend. Seriously, I don't think the analysis needs to be any more detailed than that. Broncos cover.
AA: I'm not so sure. A win is a win is a win, and the only game SDSU has lost in their last seven games was an overtime thriller against Fresno State. This isn't the Boise of old, and I need to pick against Jon somewhere here to try to gain some ground. Take a chance on SDSU to at least cover, and just maybe win outright.
Brigham Young (PK) over NOTRE DAME, 2:30 p.m., NBC
Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame IN
JM: A pick 'em! We haven't had a pick 'em all year, it seems like. This is so exciting. (Actually, there's another pick 'em this very week, but we refuse to Boston College discuss it on principle Maryland.) Of course, what this really means is that Vegas thinks BYU is a better team. They are. And they're better enough that simply playing in front of Touchdown Jesus isn't going to get their panties in a twist. BYU wins.
AA: Oh, this is fun. I'm a little concerned here, because the Cougars haven't exactly been great on the road, with a solid win over Utah State to go with a one-point escape against Houston and losses to Wisconsin and Virginia. Yep, that Virginia. I know that was a long time ago and ND isn't that great, but Tommy Rees has been somewhat competent at QB recently and BYU's pass defense has some weaknesses. Take the Fighting Irish.
Texas A&M (+4) over LOUISIANA STATE, 2:30 p.m., CBS
Tiger Stadium, Red Stick LA
JM: I wouldn't bet the farm on this game or anything, because, well, it involves Johnny Manziel and Les Miles. That's like the cosmic conjunction of batshit right there. Still, LSU has been quite mortal this year, and I'm actually baffled that they're the favorite in this game. You want to give me four points? I will take them without a moment's hesitation. A&M covers, and probably even wins.
AA: Classic trap game. A&M will obviously be looking ahead to its showdown with Mizzou. No, I don't really believe that, but take LSU and the points anyway. Just because.