Why shouldn't a flock of faceless computers have a hand in picking college football's national champion?
Let me count the ways ...
- Look in the "computer average" column of the first set of BCS rankings and you'll find Rutgers ranked No. 9. Now, the Scarlet Knights are a solid bunch, but no way anyone should rank them five spots above West Virginia or six ahead of Texas. Put Rutgers on the field against either of those two and I know who I'm picking.
- Ohio State, which has clearly stamped itself as the No. 1 team -- at least in the eyes of real human beings, be they pollsters or not -- doesn't do better than No. 3 with those infernal machines. As in, behind USC and Michigan.
- The computers say Florida is No. 4, one spot ahead of Auburn -- the same Tigers team that just beat the Gators last Saturday.
None of this is to suggest that there aren't discrepancies in the people polls (those folks are underrating California big time). But let's just say it's plenty more fuel for those who say none of this will make perfect sense until the teams decide it on the field.
- Something tells me it's been a lot of years (if ever) since a No. 1 team had to face No. 2 twice in the same regular season. Ohio State, which whipped Texas in a 1 vs. 2 showdown last month, has another one brewing with Michigan's justified elevation to No. 2 in the AP poll.
Speaking of which ...
- Circle Nov. 18 on your calendar. By the time the Ohio State-Michigan and Cal-USC games are done that day, you should have a pretty good read on who'll be playing for it all Jan. 8.
Week 8 picks (odds supplied by Sportsbook.com):
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 5 Texas (-6 1/2) at No. 17 Nebraska (Saturday, noon, ABC) -- The ultimate statement game for a Cornhusker program looking to prove it's back as a national power. But Bill Callahan's bunch hasn't seen a defence like the one the Longhorns will bring to Lincoln, and Texas can score plenty, too. PICK: TEXAS.
NEXT BEST THINGS
No. 13 Clemson (-71/2) at No. 12 Georgia Tech (Saturday, 7:45 p.m., Rogers NCAA) -- Looking for your champion in the ACC? Look no further than these two, who just might meet again in December in Jacksonville. The Tigers are the conference favourites, but Georgia Tech has the defence and WR Calvin Johnson to make it interesting. PICK: GEORGIA TECH.
Alabama (+11) at No. 7 Tennessee (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS) -- The last two games in this bitter southern rivalry have been decided by a total of seven points. Crimson Tide needs another big game from RB Ken Darby to keep hot Vols QB Erik Ainge off the field. Call it Tennessee but call it (what else?) close. PICK: ALABAMA.
(STRAIGHT-UP SELECTIONS IN BOLD)
No. 4 West Virginia (-22) over Connecticut
Indiana (+31) over No. 1 Ohio State
No. 2 Michigan (-13) over Iowa
Syracuse (+17) over No. 6 Louisville
No. 8 Auburn (-311/2) over Tulane
No. 10 Notre Dame (-131/2) over UCLA
No. 11 California (-221/2) over Washington
Fresno State (+321/2) over No. 14 LSU
Mississippi (+17) over No. 15 Arkansas
No. 16 Oregon (-31/2) over Washington State
Idaho over No. 18 Boise State (-201/2)
No. 19 Rutgers (+61/2) over Pittsburgh
Colorado (+131/2) over No. 20 Oklahoma
No. 21 Wisconsin (-61/2) over Purdue
Florida State (NL) over No. 22 Boston College
No. 23 Texas A&M (+21/2) over Oklahoma State
No. 24 Missouri (-16) over Kansas State
Last week -- 18-3 straight up; 9-10-1 ATS.
Season record -- 126-15 straight up; 69-65-3 ATS.
Best bet -- Rutgers (5-2).