ATHENS - We went around the Georgia football team this week, looking for a few players to admit they're watching the national picture, rooting for Kansas State and Notre Dame to stumble. Few players bit, claiming they don't worry about what they can't control, they don't know who Oregon is playing, etc.
That's why you can count on Christian Robinson, the senior linebacker who has this sickness that in football circles is referred to as "honesty."
“I’ve been cheering for weeks,” Robinson said on Tuesday. “We got out of the locker room after the Ole Miss game, and no one left, because we were in there watching the Notre Dame game. Everyone in the nation knows we’re cheering for teams, because at this point that’s the only way we’d ever have a chance to get in. We just have to continue playing, but we’re watching. I’m sorry, but we want you all to lose.”
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Conveniently for Robinson and his many teammates who are just kidding about not caring about the national picture, Saturday will be a good day for TV watching.
Georgia plays Georgia Southern at 1:30 p.m. It will probably be a hard-fought game, a slog, but Georgia should take care of business and be safetly in position to do some rooting at night: Kansas State (No. 1 in the BCS) is at Baylor at 8 p.m., and Oregon (No. 2 in the BCS) is hosting Stanford. The Wildcats and Ducks both figure to win ... but you never know. (Yes, No. 3 Notre Dame hosts Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m., but that falls even below "you never know." Charlie Weis isn't the coach anymore, is he?)
By the way, here's a list of games we will not be picking today:
- Georgia Southern at Georgia
- Western Carolina at Alabama
- Jacksonville State at Florida
- Wofford at South Caroolina
- Alabama A&M at Auburn
- Sam Houston State at Texas A&M
- Samford at Kentucky
Yes, this is SEC vs. FCS weekend, and such games don't have betting lines. Well, if you were really desperate you could go to some off-shore sites, but I'd feel kind of dirty. So we'll pass, and have a more national approach this week.
KANSAS STATE (-13) at BAYLOR: The matchup of the team with last year's Heisman winner and this year's Heisman favorite. Of course, I wrote that a couple months ago when Baylor played West Virginia. This time, though, I really mean it. (I tried to work in a joke here about Collin Klein not kissing his wife until they got married, but it made me too depressed about my own high school loneliness.) Pick: Baylor covers, Kansas State wins.
STANFORD at OREGON (-20.5): As much as the SEC needs Stanford to pull off the upset, the main competition in this game figures to be among Oregon players competing to be third in the Heisman race: De'Anthony Thomas? Kenjon Barner? Marcus Mariota? Good rule of thumb: An offense with players who split Heisman votes from each other is usually pretty good. Pick: Oregon covers.
WAKE FOREST at NOTRE DAME (-24): The Fighting Irish are trending downward and due for that loss. It just won't happen against a team that somehow lost to Maryland. (I'm an alum. I can say that. But don't say anything about our jousting team, or it's on.) Pick: Notre Dame covers.
TENNESSEE at VANDERBILT (-3.5): Jon Gruden, for the love of God take an NFL job so we can stop having to hear your name associated with every potential SEC opening. Pick: Vanderbilt covers.
ARKANSAS at MISSISSIPPI STATE (-6): Mississippi State's first seven games were wins over teams that are now 26-43, by an average of 18.2 points. Its next three games were losses to teams now 25-5 by an average of 25.3 points. In other words, MSU is giving us absolutely nothing to go on here. Pick: Mississippi State covers.
OLE MISS at LSU (-19): The Ole Miss resurgence was a great story, but it looks to be nearing its end point for this season. Pick: LSU covers.
SYRACUSE at MISSOURI (-5): Everyone complimenting Missouri for being the one SEC team to schedule an actual BCS conference team this weekend is overlooking that the team is Syracuse. Pick: Missouri covers.
DUKE at GEORGIA TECH (-13.5): Duke can still win the ACC Coastal Division, and it can also finish last. The Blue Devils could also end up being involved in the David Petraeus love triangle. Pick: Duke covers, Georgia Tech wins.
OHIO STATE at WISCONSIN (-2.5): The Buckeyes have been riding a fairly easy schedule, and a bit of luck, to an unbeaten season that in the end doesn't really matter anyway. I've still been ranking them ahead of Georgia in my AP poll, however. A few of you haven't liked that. Well, it may not be an issue after this game. Pick: Wisconsin covers.
Clemson (-17) covers N.C. State
Maryland covers, Florida State (-31) wins
USC (-3.5) covers UCLA
Miami (-6.5) covers South Florida
West Virginia covers, Oklahoma (-11) wins
Michigan (-17) covers Iowa
Oklahoma State (-10) covers Texas Tech
Last week: 5-9-1 vs. spread, 10-5 overall.
Season: 69-80 vs. spread, 110-40 overall.