Last Saturday night was all right for winning.
After a 3-5 start to the day, led by Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech coming a safety away from the over, I won four straight at night to roll on to a winning day.
Sadly, that first week of doom still looms over my overall record, but I am starting to hit my stride.
We’re still stuck with a lot of blowout games this week with huge spreads, but by next week most teams should be playing teams within their own weight class, which makes the handicapping a lot more fun.
Here we go with another dozen to chew on for this week, including two Friday night specials.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
Middle Tennessee (plus-3 ½) at Old Dominion, 8 p.m., Fox Sports 1
The Monarchs are that one team that I have married myself to for the year. In 2012 it was Fresno State, and last year it was North Texas. Think of me as Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham. I pick my one fling for the year and I force them to wear weird underwear. While Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke probably wouldn’t comply with this request, I love the Monarchs and I am sticking with them until they disappoint me, maybe longer.
Osborne’s pick: Old Dominion rolls on Friday night TV.
Fresno State (minus-5 ½) at New Mexico, 8 p.m., ESPN
There’s no reason I can’t at least still flirt with Fresno. The Bulldogs aren’t what they used to be, but New Mexico is out-and-out awful.
Osborne’s pick: Bulldogs too much for Los Lobos.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Baylor (minus-21) at Iowa State, 8:20 p.m., FOX
Iowa State is playing in a primetime game on a major network, proving there are too many games on TV. Still, they make for a perfect Peter McNeeley to Baylor’s Mike Tyson. Last year this game was 71-7. Cocoon of horror, indeed.
Osborne’s pick: Baylor 63, Iowa State 3.
Temple (minus-5 ½) at Connecticut, 4 p.m., ESPNews
Why do I keep picking on UConn? I’ll tell you why, because Rebecca Lobo is not walking through that door. Neither is Tate George, who only walks through doors with bars these days. There will be no help from Ray Allen or Rip Hamilton. (While we’re on the topic this would have been a heck of a basketball team in most of the last 25 or 30 years.)
Osborne’s pick: Mark Macon’s hot streak from beyond the arc lifts Temple.
Northwestern (plus-10) at Penn State, noon, Big Ten Network
I bet my Pops $5 that Penn State would go undefeated in the regular season and he gave me 10-1 odds after the first three games. I still like my chances of getting that $50.
Osborne’s pick: Lions keep roaring at least until Ohio State game.
Missouri (plus-5 ½) at South Carolina, 7 p.m., ESPN
I am staking all that I believe in Steve Spurrier in this game. If SOS can’t get his team to win by one touchdown at home over a team that just lost to Indiana (COME ON IT’S INDIANA), then the golf course beckons. This line is low because South Carolina gives up 6.8 yards per play, worst in the nation if you can believe that. Still … SPURRIER.
Osborne’s pick: Gamecocks regain their swagger somehow.
North Carolina (plus-14) at Clemson, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Clemson played tough against Florida State last week, while North Carolina was giving up 70 points against East Carolina. No matter what happens, these teams are going to score points.
Osborne’s pick: Over 67.
Stanford (minus-7 ½) over Washington, 4:15 p.m., FOX
Speaking of over-unders, how many Pac-12 games stay under 47 ½ points? Don’t worry, I’ll wait while you look it up. It’s actually about 10-to-1 over to under across the conference. Stanford is the most likely team to make the exception, but Washington will guide the pace.
Osborne’s pick: Over 47 ½
Texas (minus-13 ½) over Kansas, 4 p.m., Fox Sports 1
Come on Charlie Strong. I know you’re having growing pains there, but it’s Kansas. KANSAS. Please help donate to Charlie Weis’ retirement fund.
Osborne’s pick: Longhorns finally look like themselves.
Texas-San Antonio (minus-5) at Florida Atlantic, 5 p.m.
If I don’t have at least one non-televised game per week, I don’t know what to do with myself. Also, I ended up with a lot of road teams this week. FAU actually covered for me last week, but I like the Roadrunners’ team and think they have a little more in the tank.
Osborne’s pick: Texas San Antonio by a touchdown.
Duke (plus-7) at Miami, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
What am I missing here? Duke seems to me like the better team, let alone a 7-point dog. Someone page Admiral Ackbar … IT’S A TRAP. Falling for it, though.
Osborne’s pick: Blue Devils win outright.
Tennessee (plus-17) at Georgia, noon, ESPN
This is the largest spread in the history of this game. Why? There have been worse Tennessee teams than this one. In fact, it seems like the Vols are just now putting it together. Gerogia’s defense is a sieve, so the Bulldogs will need to keep scoring to win this one.
Osborne’s pick: Close than the experts think and Vols cover.
Last week: 7-5