Week Thanksgiving Picks Recap: Where the ACC Ruins Me Again
It was another bad weekend for me as Jon expanded his lead by one pick. Two games involving ACC teams did me in. This is how we fared this week:
To bring us to these records on the season:
How did it happen? Well, it certainly wasn’t with the top 6 teams, which all remained undefeated despite a few close calls. Florida didn’t have one against rival Florida State, whom they easily defeated 37-10, as demi-god Tim Tebow improved his chances of a Heisman with a 311 total yards and five TDs. Florida State is going to have to do something and fast to keep calling this a rivalry. Florida has won six straight by an average of almost 22 points per game.
Alabama and Texas struggled more with their in-state rivals. The Crimson Tide needed all four quarters and a 14-point rally to top unranked Auburn, 26-21, as Mark Ingram‘s Heisman hopes took a hit with a 30 yard performance on 16 carries. And although Texas never trailed Texas A&M after the first quarter, the Aggies hung around and gave the Longhorns fits all game before Texas pulled off the shootout victory behind Colt McCoy‘s 479 yards and five TDs. Individual performances aside, the close wins for No. 2 and No. 3 gave Florida more points in the polls as they pulled first place votes from Texas and Alabama. Though I would argue it’s not that impressive to pummel a team from the ACC, which looked woeful from top to bottom all weekend. More on that tomorrow.
Numbers four through six didn’t scuffle quite as much with their opponents as TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State each won by double digits. TCU creamed New Mexico State to virtually assure an automatic BCS invite. Pike threw six touchdowns for Cincinnati as they cruised over Illinois. The final 49-36 belies the blowout this really was, as the Bearcats had possessed a 22-point lead in the third quarter. Boise State survived somewhat of a comeback attempt by Nevada, but I watched the game and trust me, the Broncos were in control the whole time.
The fun really started for the ACC with No. 7 Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets, which are poised to win the ACC and get an invite to a BCS bowl, fell to a 6-5 unranked SEC team in Georgia. A team that looked completely incapable of playing adequate defense held Ga Tech to 100 yards below their season rushing average, besting the Yellow Jackets at their own game by rumbling for 339 yards en route to a 30-24 upset.
Things looked good for me early with West Virginia topping No. 9 Pitt Friday night. Pitt mounted a 10-point fourth quarter comeback, only to fall to a last-second field goal by unranked West Virginia. It was a very disappointing loss for the Panthers, who will play Cincy for the Big East win and a BCS bowl next weekend.
While Pitt’s BCS hopes are still alive, Oklahoma State’s are most decidedly not. Oklahoma shut out the Cowboys, holding them to 109 yards of total offense, including just four….yes, FOUR…in the second half. Oklahoma State was looking for an at-large bid to the Fiesta Bowl, but that now appears out of reach and Boise State looks like it will nab that invite. Those were the two picks I got right that Jon did not this weekend, but that was it for me. I got the remaining three differing picks wrong.
Okay. This is where it fell apart for me. South Florida humiliated me yet again as they were annihilated by No. 16 Miami, 31-10. Every time they looked like they might have something going they found a way to kill it. Pretty ugly game. No. 18 Clemson (hey, aren’t they from the ACC?) fell to a 6-5, unranked SEC team, just like Georgia Tech did. And, again, South Carolina won quite handily. They went into the fourth quarter with a 24-7 lead and came away with a 34-17 victory. And No. 21 Utah put up a heck of a show against No. 19 BYU. They rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter, only to fall in overtime, and seal my horrible week of predictions.
We can fly through the rest. No. 20 USC crushed UCLA and, predictably, threw for a TD in the final minute to run up the score. Years of this behavior is why I had no problem with Stanford doing what they did against the Trojans. No. 21 Houston crushed Rice, 73-14. And Jon and I both got the last two games wrong. North Carolina State stunned No. 24 North Carolina, 28-27, as the Tarheels remain simply incapable of staying in the top 25. Finally, in the game where Jon and I both agreed we should have gone with our guts on Mississippi State, which pretty well whipped No. 25 Ole Miss, 41-27.