By Tony Gerdeman
It was an emotional week trying to pick college football games last week. The Penn State scandal blew up and took over the entirety of the sport. Everything was clouded, and it produced perhaps the most difficult game to project of the year—Nebraska at Penn State. It was a guess for everybody, even for those who got it right.
The rest of the games weren't much easier. How crazy of a week was it, you ask? Kirk Herbstreit was SIX picks over .500. He was picking at a Doddian level. A Doddian level!!
Speaking personally, it's fair to say that I'm scoreboard watching. I don't really care how I do, just so long as I'm one game better than Dodd. If I keep it up to finish the season—through the bowl games—then I should be able to overtake him. Of course, while I'm focused on Dodd, I assume David Pollack will zip on past without a care in the world.
As an aside, because of the Penn State scandal, none of my programmed recordings of the Big Ten Network's “Big Ten and Beyond” recorded the actual show it was programmed to record. I don't even know if they aired it. I don't have Teddy Greenstein's picks or Chris Martin's picks, and I only have Gerry DiNardo's Big Ten picks. So help me if this ends up winning it for DiNardo.
There was nothing easier than the pick of Georgia over Auburn. All eleven pickers who selected this game took the Bulldogs. And here we thought the SEC was supposed to be competitive. Is it too early to pick Georgia over LSU in the SEC Championship Game. I'm calling it now—Chris Martin will take Georgia in that game. (I wonder if predicting predictions will ever catch on.)
Without a doubt the toughest pick was Nebraska at Penn State. Six pickers took the Nittany Lions and four took Nebraska. If you're the type that never buys into emotion, then this game was likely an easy pick for you, but there was just no way to predict how Penn State was going to come out and play in this one. Which makes those of us who actually picked them look a little foolish.
There were some high-quality picks last week, so we are splitting this vote. Stewart Mandel was the only one of seven pickers to take Missouri over Texas. Though to be fair, I was going to as well, but I talked myself out of it during my actual pick. The other pick of the week goes to Mark May. Of the eight people to pick the TCU – Boise State game, he was the only one to take the Horned Frogs. Props to Mark May...now don't ever make me type those words again.
The week of unprecedented moments continued, and did so in the form of Kirk Herbstreit—yes, THAT Kirk Herbstreit—having the best week of all the pickers, going 9-3. The only picks he got wrong were Texas, Iowa and Penn State, which a majority of the pickers also got wrong.
Ohio's favorite native son Desmond Howard had the worst week, going 3-3 on his picks. That's actually not too bad, but did drop his overall picking percentage from 72% to 70%. That's not very clutch.
“Florida State! Noles by four.” – Lee Corso. Florida State won 23-19.
“Florida is 5-0 against unranked teams and 0-4 against ranked teams.” – Lou Holtz. Make that 0-5 against ranked teams now.
“I'm going with the decided offensive schematic advantage, and that's Charlie Weis and the Florida Gators.” – Mark May. When did May appoint Weis as the Gators' head coach?
“The last time I picked against Boise State they played Nevada. I'm picking TCU because of Gary Patterson. He knows how to stop this offense. They get it done on the blue turf.” – Mark May. The blind squirrel ate well last week.
“This will be a great game. I think Luck will be the difference.” – Lou Holtz. Yes, Andrew Luck absolutely was the difference. He turned the ball over three times.
“I want to see Clemson in the BCS just so they'll shut up about never getting to go. That's the same reason I took my wife out to dinner that one time.” – Tony Gerdeman. I am a good husband.
ESPN went 30-19 (61%) last week and is 322-174 (65%) on the season. CBS went 18-10 (64%) last week and is 144-60 (71%) on the season.
Herbstreit is still comfortably in last place despite his best week ever. He will need a few more best weeks ever to catch the folks above him. Of more immediate consequence to the likes of Stewart Mandel and Matt Hayes, however, is the fact that Mark May might be about to pass them by for good. It's not a position that anybody wants to be in. Prayers, fellas.