Bulldogs Beat

The return of the picks column

Welcome to the 2012 college football season, or as it may ultimately come to be known: The last year without a legitimate playoff.

I know, I know, the four-team playoff isn’t supposed to start until the 2014 season. But here’s the thing: There’s nothing stopping college football from moving it up a year.

Oh yes, a few pesky TV contracts. Well, those can be dealt with, especially if ESPN, the current BCS rights-holder, comes to the BCS administrators and says, “Hey, look …”

A humble prediction: At the end of this season, when Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Southern California and West Virginia all have one loss, people will look at the current system and say: “Um, why are we waiting till 2014?”

We know the playoff is coming. The details just have to be worked out. And because this process apparently is more important than balancing the federal budget, they’re taking their time.

Well, hurry up. The playoff genie is out of the bottle. No need to waste our time with more ridiculous two-team controversies. And while you’re at it, no need to bother with waiting for the eight-team playoff either. We know that’s coming too.

In the meantime, let’s do some picks, shall we?

A primer: These picks are made not for gambling purposes, just entertainment. (Often, merely my own.) I use the line provided by Vegasinsider.com. Some of the comments are analytical, some are attempts at wit, and some are just so I can get something off my chest. I hope you enjoy:

BUFFALO at GEORGIA (-38): The line on this game was 37 before Buffalo’s top defensive player was suspended. So it moved all the way up to 38. Now that Malcolm Mitchell is out, the line … Look, you get the point. The only drama in this game will be whether Aaron Murray pronounces his team’s performance “tremendous” or merely “great.” We also wouldn’t rule out “outstanding.” Pick: Georgia covers.

SOUTH CAROLINA (-6) at VANDERBILT: Last night I went on record, via this strange new thing called Twitter, that I felt the Gamecocks would win and cover the spread. I also tweeted, when South Carolina took a 7-0 lead, that this game was over. Conclusion: I need to tweet less. Pick: Wrong on spread, correct overall.

TENNESSEE (-3) vs. N.C. STATE: No real analysis of this game. I just wanted to point out how great it was that Da’Rick Rogers was dismissed by Tennessee and then held a press conference at Tennessee Tech the same week. So good to see Rogers learn his lesson and do a lot of valuable introspection and move on with his life ALL IN TWO DAYS. Pick:  N.C. State wins.

CLEMSON (-3) vs. AUBURN: Do you dare pick an ACC team over an SEC team? In this case, yes. Pick: Clemson covers.

MICHIGAN vs. ALABAMA (-14): In a theme that will be recurring this season, the Wolverines get some deference because I now share a household with a Michigan graduate. But when you’re playing the defending champion, coached by the most successful man in the sport, and reloading with half of the Rivals top 100, the deference only goes so far. Pick: Michigan covers, Alabama win.

BOWLING GREEN at FLORIDA (-28.5): The Gators will rotate quarterbacks until someone wins the job. That always works. Maybe we should try it in the White House rather than go through this time-wasting election thing. Pick: Florida covers.

BOISE STATE vs. MICHIGAN STATE (-7): Interesting that the two teams that bookended Georgia’s season match up for the opener. Blair Walsh is expected to fly down from Minnesota and miss a field goal just for the heck of it. (Yikes! I swear, another beat writer made me write that.) Pick: Boise State covers, Michigan State wins.

GEORGIA TECH at VIRGINIA TECH (-7): Pretty sure the Yellow Jackets won’t start 6-0 this year. Pick: Virginia Tech covers.

NOTRE DAME (-14.5) vs. NAVY: They’re playing in Ireland, the one place where the name and logo for the Fighting Irish isn’t offensive. (Typical reaction of Irish man: “Yeah, looks about right. But his form is wrong.”) Pick: Navy covers, Notre Dame wins.

KENTUCKY at LOUISVILLE (-13): And the Joker Phillips watch begins. Pick: Louisville covers.

MURRAY STATE at FLORIDA STATE (-15.5): Chris Hatcher, the former Valdosta State and Georgia Southern coach, takes his team into Tallahassee. I like Chris, but I can’t see this game staying under three touchdowns. Pick: Florida State covers.

NORTH TEXAS at LSU (-44): This is the second time a major hurricane has hit Louisiana with LSU opening the season against North Texas. This fact was pointed out to Les Miles on this week’s SEC teleconference, as if it was something to laugh about. Um … maybe use that filter a bit, Reporter I Will Not Name. Pick: North Texas covers, LSU wins.

MIAMI (OHIO) at OHIO STATE (24.5): Urban Meyer, inspired by that one restful year with his family that would make Da’Rick Rogers proud, returns to coaching. Pick: Miami covers, Ohio State wins.

OHIO at PENN STATE (-6.5): The Paterno family plans to attend because, it says, it wants to show support for the new coaching administration. Am I cynical and soul-less for thinking it’s not actually for that reason? Perhaps so, but there it is. Pick: Penn State covers.

MIAMI (-2.5) at BOSTON COLLEGE: Because I don’t know for the life of me why this line is less than a field goal, and am very confident Miami will cover, I’m pretty sure Boston College will win by 40. Still … Pick: Miami covers.