I have commented for a long time about how Michigan coach Brady Hoke bears an odd resemblance to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And now, Hoke may be put out of his misery in Christie’s backyard.
This is the coach who let his concussed quarterback go back in the game. It’s also the guy who got his butt kicked by Minnesota and Utah at home, to say nothing about getting embarrassed and shut out by Notre Dame.
Plus, I am pretty sure Coach Hoke was the one who clogged up that traffic under the George Washington Bridge.
(Not really. My point is he is toast.)
Meanwhile, back in the world of handicapping, Baylor’s apathy with a big lead cost me a .500 record last week, along with South Carolina’s failure to deliver at home on 4th and 1 against Missouri.
But I haven’t had an off-the-rails kind of week since the first one, so let’s see if I can get things going the other way.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4
Miami (pick em) at Georgia Tech, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.
I seem to take the over with Georgia Tech every week, so why stop now? They have a strong offense and can’t stop anybody. Plus I never trust the Jackets on the line either way. They are right up there with Syracuse and Maryland as untrustworthy teams.
Osborne’s pick: Over 56 ½
Marshall (minus-17 ½) at Old Dominion, noon
Speaking of stuff I do every week … Old Dominion everybody! Anyone who frequents this column is likely tired of the Monarchs, especially since they never get their games shot so I don’t have fresh pictures of them. Fair enough. If they fail me this week, I PROMISE not to pick them again next week.
Osborne’s pick: Yep, Monarchs with the points.
Pittsburgh (plus-6) at Virginia, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Pitt lost to Akron. I checked that score at several sources to confirm that was not a misprint. The Cavs are at home and are probably the better team. It almost seems too easy.
Osborne’s pick: Wahoowah! Cavs hold on at home.
South Carolina (minus-5) at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Last week, I said that Steve Spurrier needed to reassess whether he should bother continuing his coaching career if he lost to Missouri at home. Now that it happened, and the Ol Ball Coach is still around, I can say the same thing this week. If you lose to Kentucky and it’s your third loss in conference by Oct. 4, please, Coach Spurrier, go home to preserve your dignity.
Osborne’s pick: If there’s any soul left in SOS, the Cocks will win by double digits.
Stanford (minus-2) at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC
The Irish have a legitimate shot at being undefeated when they play Florida State in what could be a quasi-quarterfinal game for the national title. Stanford has a plodding offense and they will end being outscored in front of a raucous crowd in South Bend.
Osborne’s pick: Irish play like a champion, or at least an upper-middle tier squad.
Arizona State (plus-12) at Southern Cal, 7:30 p.m., FOX
I originally liked the over here, but I had a couple folks talk me into the Trojans. ASU’s quarterback Taylor Kelly is out for a while, and the Trojans have played well save for one bad (inexplicable) half against Boston College.
Osborne’s pick: Men of Troy too much for the Devils.
LSU (plus-8) at Auburn, 7 p.m., ESPN
This is one of those indisputable postulates of college football in the 2000s. “If LSU is getting more than a touchdown, take them.” Done, and done. I like Auburn, but this game should be closer than the experts think.
Osborne’s pick: Geaux Tigers.
Alabama (minus-6) at Ole Miss, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Let’s do another postulate. “If you get Alabama giving less than a touchdown against anyone in the country, take them.” If I got Alabama giving less than 7 points to the Oakland Raiders, I would take it.
Osborne’s pick: Roll Tide.
Oklahoma (minus-5) at Texas Christian, 3:30 p.m., FOX
Again, I thought this was a misprint. If Oklahoma is as good as the commentators have led us to believe, there is no way they don’t handle this game. TCU was dismal last year and really hasn’t been tested this year. Sooners laying just 5? IT’S A TRAP. Taking it anyway.
Osborne’s pick: Boomer Sooner.
Texas A&M (plus-2) at Mississippi State, noon, ESPN
I asked my SEC consultant Dr. Tom Johnson about this one, and he said “Playing in Starkville is weird. You don’t even feel like you’re in America.” Not sure what that means, but I love it. Then Dr. Tom started to backtrack and tout the road warrior attitude of the Aggies, but he had me at “NOT AMERICA.”
Osborne’s pick: More cowbell. Bulldogs’ dream season lasts another week.
Utah (plus-13) at UCLA, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
This sort of goes along with the Oklahoma thing. If UCLA is all they are cracked up to be, this should be no problem.
Osborne’s pick: Wizards of Westwood.
California (plus-3) at Washington State, 10:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Mike Leach is starting to put things together in Pullman, and the Cougs are tough at home. Plus they have a flag at every College Gameday no matter what, so that must be worth something.
Osborne’s pick: Wazzu puts them in the shed.
Nebraska (plus-7 ½) at Michigan State, 8 p.m., ABC
Honestly, if the game was in Lincoln and you told me the Spartans were getting the 7 ½ points, I would go the other way. I just think this game is too close to call and touchdown-plus points are too much.
Osborne’s pick: Sparty wins close, but Huskers cover.
Michigan (plus-3) at Rutgers, 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
As we discussed earlier, you could have 99 reasons to fire Hoke, and Reason No. 45 is this: HE’S AN UNDERDOG TO RUTGERS. Come on, seriously? Chris Christie would at least have beaten Minnesota at home.
Osborne’s pick: I can’t believe I’m doing this, but Rutgers.
Florida (plus-2 ½) at Tennessee, noon, SEC Network
Here’s a riddle. There’s a $100 bill in the middle of four roads, and at the end of each road, there are 94-year-old Lou Holtz, Will Muschamp, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Which one is going to get the money? Holtz, of course, because I don’t believe in the other three. Also, Tennessee has only beaten Florida five times since I was in eighth grade and not at all since my oldest son was eating strained peaches in a highchair. Aren’t the Vols due?
Osborne’s pick: Reluctantly, painfully, scornfully and vengefully – Tennessee.
Last week: 5-6-1