We all know preseason polls are stupid, and if college football fans weren't so voraciously hungry and crazy for something to talk about before actual games are played, we'd be finally ranking teams for the first time right about now. As it is, though, every September we find out Tennessee and some other teams aren't really that great, despite what appeared to be very talented teams on paper. On the flip side, we learn Kansas State and others are better than we gave them credit for, or at least lucky enough to fool people into thinking they are.
But it's a long season and if you're just lucky or catch a few bad breaks in the first few weeks, things will often turn around for you. The trick is figuring out which teams really are that good or bad, and which ones are just overachieving or underachieving. Luckily, you've got Jon and I here to help you out with our picks, For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Last week, I went against my gut twice (Sorry, South Florida and TCU) and it cost me both times. That was the difference as Jon went 6-4 while I went 4-6, but the overall lead still belongs to me at 25-24-1 to 24-25-1.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Neyland Stadium, Knoxville TN|
LT: Tennessee has made a habit of losing in the most painful fashion possible, torturing its delusional fans who still believe the Vols are some sort of national power. Arkansas even chipped in last week with some remarkable ineptitude of its own to help keep UT within striking distance. But now this beaten down shell of a football team is actually playing a quality opponent in Georgia, and the Bulldogs are going to be angry. Nick Chubb runs all over the checkerboard in the endzone and UGA covers easily.
JM: Honestly, I think I can count on one hand the number of teams that could beat Georgia. Kansas State, oddly enough, might be one of them, and Alabama quite obviously is another, both for very much the same reason. K-State gives up 2.3 yards per carry. Alabama? 2.7. Tennessee? 4.4, and welp, that's not going to do it against Georgia's running attack. Dawgs cover.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor MI|
LT: As a B1G hater, I find it quite hilarious that these two top 20 teams will be facing off on the Big Ten Network at the same time 3-2 Wisconsin takes on 2-3 Nebraska in a dud of a game between two unranked opponents on ABC/ESPN2. Needless to say, neither the Wildcats nor the Wolverines were supposed to be this good. We kind of figured it would only be a matter of time for Jim Harbaugh, and even though he's ahead of schedule, it's more convincing than Northwestern's 5-0 start that includes a narrow escape against Ball State and some very pedestrian offensive numbers. These are the B1G's top two defenses, and Michigan's improving offense will do enough in the Big House. Wolverines cover.
JM: I'll happily take the hit on this one if I'm wrong, because if Northwestern wins we all win. But I just don't trust Northwestern that much, and Michigan's done more against more worthy opposition. Blue covers.
|Saturday, 6:00 p.m. Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown WV|
LT: Last week, we learned maybe West Virginia wasn't quite as good as their dominant noncon against cupcakes would indicate. But I still believe the Mountaineers are a pretty good football team and better than we thought in August. Meanwhile, I've never been impressed with Oklahoma State's roster. Two narrow wins with some questionable officiating in their favor didn't change my mind and made them (through no fault of their own, it's important to note) one of the Big 12's most unlikable teams at the moment. Mountaineers cover in a big win.
JM: Rewind to about noon last Saturday, when I thought I was going to have to eat crow for sticking up for West Virginia, who at the time was being ganked by the Sooners. I was objecting to another writer ranking Kentucky while claiming West Virginia had something to prove, and I was comparing the Mountaineers to another team which happened to be sitting just a couple of places away from them in the SOS rankings. That team was Georgia.
Well, West Virginia actually made a game of it against Oklahoma, while Georgia just laid down and took a beating from the Tide. The Eers are a top-25 caliber team, and they're probably going to move back into the poll next week, because they're winning this one and covering.
|Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Faurot Field, Columbia MO|
LT: Locktober got off to a solid start at South Carolina, and I really believe he's going to be a great quarterback. However, this week he's a true freshman making his first home start with no quality receivers against what appears to be a very good Florida defense. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Maybe if this were in November and Mizzou needed it to win the SEC East, I'd have the heart to pick the Tigers, but not this time. Gators cover.
JM: Do I have to comment on this? I don't want to say mean things, because I know you had your hopes up. Florida will cover.
|Saturday, 9:00 p.m. Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City UT|
LT: Utah is the No. 5 team in the nation. Wow. The Utes had maybe the best September of anyone in college football and have absolutely blown out their opponents on the road in the last two weeks. Now they come back home and play California, who has shown few signs this season of really wanting to play defense. At some point Saturday night, perhaps after we all go to bed, that's going to be a problem. Utes cover.
JM: Seven points? Is someone insane? Cal's strength is their ability to score, and they're up against a team which doesn't let teams do that. Utes cover, and I think this may be the first time Luke and I have ever agreed on all five picks in one FEPO post.
It's a surprise, as we're running late this week and Jon hasn't decided which five games to torture Luke with.