By Tony Gerdeman
It was an historic week for the Worldwide Leaderboard because for the first time this year almost everybody is over .500! Another week like this and Kirk Herbstreit could actually be looking directly into the beautiful blue eyes of being half-right all the time.
For like the fifth week in a row, the easiest games to pick have been the primetime games. They sound like interesting matchups, but there's never any drama in who is actually going to win.
Unfortunately for America, it was a good week for Mark May, who went 5-1 and moved above .500 for the first time this season. Flags are currently at half-mast.
I am pretty shocked by the occupants of the top two spots for far, as I don't really consider Lou Holtz or Chris Martin experts on much of anything. It is really clouding any credibility that I had planned for this piece. It's like setting out to prove that Martians don't exist only to find out that they actually live down the block from you and you've been over to their house several times for cookouts.
The two big games of the week were Nebraska at Wisconsin and Alabama at Clemson. Only one picker got either of these wrong—and that was Lee Corso who took the Huskers for some reason.
Normally this is reserved for the pick that was split the most evenly, but this week it goes to the Auburn at South Carolina game which the Tigers won. Eight pickers selected this game, and all eight took the Gamecocks. Clearly these two teams should be avoided for the rest of the season because they refuse to cooperate.
This honor goes to the five (out of fourteen) pickers who took Clemson over Virginia Tech. They were brave enough to pick the Tigers to play up to their potential and not collapse when it seemed most logical to do so. It should also be mentioned that three of the five who got this pick right are ESPNers.
This week that dishonor is shared between Desmond Howard and Dennis Dodd. They were the only two pickers to take Iowa State over Texas. Iowa State isn't a team that should ever be picked to win anything, even if you think they're actually going to win—which you don't. The only time Iowa State is picked is because somebody wants to try and look smart. Trust me, Iowa State never makes ANYBODY look smart.
David Pollack went 5-0 this week from what I saw, and two of those picks (Clemson over Virginia Tech and Arkansas over Texas A&M) went against the grain. It was a good week for Pollack, who is 11-1 over the last two weeks.
Sadly, for the first time ever, the Worst Week doesn't go to an ESPNer. This week it goes to the Sporting News' Matt Hayes and Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, both of whom went 4-5. But Mandel certainly deserves props for taking Northwestern over Illinois. He almost nailed Zook's buffoonery perfectly.
“I think the key for Wisconsin is can their defense step up. We really don't know how good this defense is yet. They've got to keep Taylor Martinez behind the chains. If he gets to the point where he has to throw it to win it, it could be tough.” – Chris Martin. Martinez ended up throwing three interceptions in the Huskers' 48-17 loss at Wisconsin
“I loathe Charlie Weis.” – Teddy Greenstein. Weird. He must've never seen Charlie's Super Bowl rings. I've heard they are really impressive.
“They've got talent on this team, they're at home, and you know how they get the calls in the Shoe.” – Mark May. Yes, the Buckeyes get all kinds of calls in the Shoe. Except for when Steve Pamon is involved.
“I love the Hawgs. I really wanted to pick 'em, but that's why I'm 17-4.” – Lou Holtz. Don't hate the picker, hate the game.
“Obviously Tino Martinez is a great runner, but I'm not convinced he's a polished passer yet.” – Desmond Howard. I only agree with half of this statement. I completely agree that Tino Martinez is not a polished passer, but I don't ever remember him being much of a baserunning threat.
“Stephen Garcia is going to win it for South Carolina. Watch him, he's going to have a great game.” – Lee Corso. Garcia went 9-23 for 160 yards and two interceptions in the Gamecocks' 16-13 loss at home to Auburn.
“Ohio State's gonna have to win this game with defense, special teams and field position. A low scoring game, but I think eventually you'll see Ohio State win because they'll create some turnovers and give Braxton Miller and Jordan Hall that short field to work with.” – Kirk Herbstreit. He was absolutely right, but he put too much faith in the Buckeye offense not being completely moxieless.
“Kansas State hasn't beaten anybody, and that is including their 28-24 win at Miami last week. And they won't beat anybody this week. Baylor is going to drill them. The Wildcats just don't have the offense to keep up with Baylor.” – Tony Gerdeman. Nice pick, idiot.
ESPN went 32-16 (67%), which is pretty good. Of course, this is what they should be expected to do every week considering that they are the Worldwide Leader and everybody else is just a 'regional follower'.
Kirk Herbstreit remains the lone picker under .500.
I have removed Pat Forde from the Leaderboard because I'm tired of searching for picks through Twitter and chat wraps. If he wants to be included back in, he will need to submit a written request seeking reinstatement. That request will take 8-12 weeks to be processed, provided we don't have any more questions or concerns that pop up.