It's good to be back this year picking games. Last spring when Kevan went through his brief depression period after the TCU game and finally losing a blog bet, I was thinking I was going to have to start picking games in my Facebook status or start putting real money behind these picks. I'm glad it didn't come to that.
With the return of my picks, we've invited you guys to join me. We even found a sponsor in Baja Fresh to give you actual prizes that will impress your wife/husband/significant other/video game console and show that all the time you've spent here will feed your family. I doubt the bragging rights over beating me would have the same effect.
Join me below to see who I'm going with as well as some musings about the Boise State - Oregon game this weekend.
I'm flying in from Nashville today and will be at the game on Thursday night. I'll be with Kevan and Drew, crashing your tailgates. Let us know where you'll be, and we'll do our best to stop by and impress your guests. We're like the party favor that just keeps on giving. Well, until we move onto the next tailgate, but at least you'll have your grainy cell phone pictures.
Keep an eye on our twitter, @OBNUG, as we'll be feverishly posting updates and Twitpics pre-game and post-game if we're still coherent.
I should probably mention that the last two Boise State games I have been to were at Washington in 2007 and at Georgia in 2005. But, the last home game I've been to? That would be against Fresno State in 2004 and we were sitting in the north end zone, the same place I'll be Thursday night. I'm feeling good about this.
#13 Georgia at (-5.5) #9 Oklahoma State
Georgia loses their quarterback and running back in the draft and is still ranked in the top 15? When was the last time Georgia lived up to expectations? I fully expect Mike Gundy to set an example and show up with a group of men to humble Georgia.
Pick: Oklahoma State
(-6.5) #5 Alabama at #7 Virginia Tech
Not sure if we can count Virginia Tech as home underdog since the game is technically being played in Atlanta. If the game was actually being played in Blacksburg. Alabama set the tone for their season last year with a thrashing of Clemson on national television. Can they do the same this year? I like their chances. Plus, it seems like Virginia Tech perpetually disappoints ever since they made their deal with the devils known as the Vicks.
#20 BYU at (-21.5) #3 Oklahoma
Twenty-two points is a lot to cover. It scares me. But I'm pretty convinced Bob Stoops has no soul. He will run up the score. He doesn't want another TCU on his hands like back in 2005. I think Bradford will throw for 5 TDs and be sitting on the bench for the second half while BYU realizes they are the third best team in the MWC.
Utah State at (-20.5) #19 Utah
You know your in-state rivalry has no significance when it's played the first week of the year. Idaho realized this with Boise State back in 2004 and the score reflected it. Gary Anderson will be trying to prove something in his first game as Utah State's head coach, especially against the program he left in Utah. It's one thing to have some inside knowledge about a program, it's another to have the athletes to exploit it. I don't think that's going to happen.
San Jose State at (-34) #4 USC
I have been going back and forth on this one, but I think the spread is too big for USC and their freshman quarterback. I think the wily Dick Tomey will be able to motivate his guys and keep them close.
Pick: San Jose State
Nevada at (-14.5) #23 Notre Dame
Two teams I love to hate. Who knows what to expect from Nevada? They're an enigma. I'm leaning towards Colin Kaepernick's speed being able to stretch the defense and create holes for himself and Vai Taua. If Notre Dame forces him to throw, well God help us all. I might even be excited to see Nevada beat Notre Dame and ruin Lou Holtz's terrible preseason prediction. I'll just settle for a scare though.
Louisiana Tech at (-13) Auburn
Louisiana Tech sort of raised some eyebrows last year with their opening week win over Mississippi State. This was before we realized how terrible Mississippi State was or that Taylor Bennett's stat of 15-40 in the game was not a typo. Derek Dooley realized the latter during the Idaho game when he substituted Ross Jenkins in for Bennett permanently and rode him to a 6-2 record to close out the season. Auburn will be debuting Gene Chizik as their new head coach. I'm sure Auburn fans are stoked.
Pick: Louisiana Tech
Idaho at (-3) New Mexico State
Well, the WAC schedule starts out with a bang this year. This must be Karl Benson's plan to help strengthen the bottom of the WAC by getting one of these teams a win right off the bat. Theoretically the home team gets 3 points for playing at home so if these two teams were playing this at a neutral site, it would be a pick 'em. I think Vegas has no clue how bad these teams are. I'm going to go with the team with a new coach and therefore some hope, New Mexico State.
Pick: New Mexico State
#16 Oregon at (-4) #14 Boise State
The game we've all been obsessing over. I think this will be close. As of the time I'm writing this, only two entries in our pick 'em contest have picked Oregon and one of them was an Oregon fan. So I tip my hat to you, Finloopio, for having the cojones to pick the Ducks. I'm feeling the same thing. I see a Brotzman field goal as the difference. Boise State will win outright but won't cover the spread.
Last year my blind faith in Boise State probably cost me three to four picks when I thought they wouldn't have any trouble with a huge spread. I hope I'm wrong. It would be a whole lot easier on my stomach during the course of the game. We shall see.