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The Pigskin Picker (1st and 10...)

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  • By Mack Dill
  • The Pigskin Picker
For those of you keeping score at home, that would be 10 wins and one loss on last week's picks. Which game kept me from sweeping? It was the Patriots, of course. I knew that Buffalo team was good, but New England didn't read the Thunderbolt and heed my warning. Patriots fans, please send the link to Bill Belichick to help him prep for future games.

So for this week's game of the week, I gotta go with Air Force at Navy. Sure, there might be some games out there that may be more "meaningful" in terms of BCS titles, but nothing is ever more meaningful than watching two of our service academies slog it out on the gridiron. And let me tell you this: it will be all about slogging. Both teams love the run. The Falcons lead the nation - yes LEAD the nation - in rushing, averaging 412 yards per game. The Midshipmen aren't too shaky in that department either and put up just over 358 yards per game, which puts them 4th in the nation. I love what the Air Force is doing with their offense, and I would love nothing more than a big win for them, BUT it won't be happening this week. Navy had last week off so they are well-rested, they are stingier with points allowed and they are playing in Annapolis. All that coupled with the fact that they just went to South Carolina and scared the spit out of Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks makes me think that they'll win over the Air Force.

As far as some other games:

Alabama at Florida - While Alabama has been getting their typical flash and trash publicity, Florida has been quietly working under the radar as they learn their new pro-style offense and sneak up the rankings ladder. Bama fans will be the first to tell you - and they do every day - that their defense is ranked #2 in the country. Well, did you know that Florida is #4? In fact, both teams measure up pretty well in most categories, so don't think this is going to be a one-sided contest. This is a classic coaching match-up. I seriously doubt that Will Muschamp and Nick Saban are Facebook friends, but they do have a history together and know each other very well. There doesn't seem to be a great love-loss between the two, so you'll see some clenched-jaws on both sidelines. Look for Saban to get his defense to put more pressure on QB John Brantley. Charlie Weis, the offensive coordinator for the Gators, will be planning on it, so he'll have Brantley getting rid of the ball very quickly to gain some rushing yards. If Bama stops the run, they'll win in the Swamp. I think they'll be able to do it by a field goal.

Clemson at Virginia Tech - I gotta say it. I'm so sick of seeing Dabo Swinney carry on like a drunk Barney Fife after Clemson victories that I'm going to pick Virginia Tech to win just on principle alone. Watching Freshman Sammy Watkins carry the load for the Tigers has been fun, but completely overshadowed by that goofy coach. Clemson hasn't been tested on the road and their defense gives up too many points per game to win this one. Virginia Tech wins at home and Dabo can take Thelma Lou to Mount Pilate to see a picture show after the game. (For you young folks, look up Barney Fife on YouTube and you'll get it.)

Mississippi State at Georgia - Both teams match-up pretty well in all categories - including mascots - but Georgia has been able to put more points on the board. Plus they are playing Between the Hedges in Georgia, so this will be a tough road game for Mississippi State. Look for Uga to win over Bully.

Nebraska at Wisconsin - Nebraska will be seeing red during the game. The Badgers high-powered offense averages over 48 points per game but has allowed less than 9. I realize that Cornhuskers are not known for their math skills but this adds up to a win for Wisconsin.

Baylor at Kansas State - Both teams are undefeated. This will be a great match up of a high-octane offense battling a high-powered defense. While Baylor puts up an average of 51 points per game, Kansas State only allows an average of 10. Hey, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm jumping on the RG3 bandwagon. My money is on Mr. Excitement (a.k.a. Robert Griffin III) and the Baylor Bears.

Okay, so now that we've gotten you through Saturday, let's set up a great day of NFL contests. As a bonus, we'll even cover the Monday Night action this week...

Detroit at Dallas - Am I the only one who thinks Tony Romo is faking his injury? Don't get me wrong Dallas fans. I understand that Mr. Romo is a walking-talking-miracle-of-modern-medicine, but will those ribs stand the test of Ndamukong Suh and possibly Nick Fairley? Tony better be buying nice gifts for his offensive line just to make sure they watch out for him. Then there is Matthew Stafford who is staying healthy and finding Calvin Johnson. Detroit is looking great, and seem to be getting better each week. I'm looking for the Lions to take it from the Cowboys.

Pittsburgh at Houston - What in the heck is going on with Pittsburgh? I'm not saying they're old, but do you think that AARP really stands for Aging Athletes Remain in Pittsburgh? Just wondering. Actually, regardless of the age, Pittsburgh is a team you can't look past. Houston's a good match and will be looking to put up some rushing numbers against the Steelers. I wish Ben Tate was on my fantasy team. This is where a home field advantage will count the most. Houston wins.

NY Giants at Arizona - I really liked the imagination New York showed in their game against the Eagles. Utilizing some different plays and passing routes really breathed life into their offense. If they can continue with that game plan, they'll win in a close one in Arizona.

NY Jets at Baltimore - Personally, I think Joe Namath should take Rex Ryan up on his offer to suit up and come play for the Jets. The Ravens showed off a new weapon in their passing game with Torrey Smith last week, and have a solid rushing game. Sorry Jets. I'm not a believer. I'm picking the Ravens at home.

And last but certainly not least, let's talk about the Monday Night Game - Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay. Well, I told you last week that our Bucs would beat Atlanta, and they didn't disappoint. We may not have gotten the lead in for SportsCenter, but it was a great game and a solid performance. Look for some nerves with the young Tampa Bay team as they get the high profile game, but they'll settle down and be in full control of the floundering Colts. I'm looking for a big win for the Bucs on Monday night and short lines at the gates as you come onto base on Tuesday morning.