Welcome back, pigskin faithful, to our college picks column. Missed us? I know you did. We were forced to take a one-week hiatus because of last week?s tragic events and the postponement of all Division I-A games, but here we go again.
While the tragedy is still on our minds, let me take the time out to convey my sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of that heinous crime. I?m not saying anything that hasn?t been said millions of times, but I wouldn?t feel good writing this column without adding my small bit.
Before I get into the picks, let?s stop and cheer for all the pickers who e-mailed in with their picks two weeks ago. Seems like you all really took our directive to heart after our pick-less first run. I counted more than 20 e-mails for Week 2, with even more this week, I?m sure (hint, hint ?).
Our winner for Week 2 was engineering student Andrew Harshman, who squeaked out a tiebreak win against second-place Holly Swavely. Both Andrew and Holly picked all six games correctly, but Andrew?s point total for the USF-Pittsburgh game was closer to the actual total. Congrats also to John Johnson who, along with Andrew and Holly, was the only picker to take USF over Pittsburgh. Good job.
This week?s special guest is Ryan Meehan, indomitable Oracle News Editor and occasional comedian. This will probably be the least controversial piece Ryan ever does, so savor it.
By the way, I have a perfect excuse this week if I lose ? I let my roommate Richard make my picks for me. So if I mess up, remember it?s not me, it?s Richard.
Onwards with the picks. USF returns to action Saturday, taking on Memphis on the road. After dismantling Pittsburgh 35-26, the Bulls won?t have many doubters from this point on. Memphis had the No. 1 run defense in the country last year, but the Bulls? attack is based on the pass anyway. Even with wide receiver DeAndrew Rubin hurting, expect USF to make a game of it.
Florida State takes on North Carolina at Chapel Hill in a battle of Atlantic Coast Conference foes. If this were basketball, the hometown Tar Heels would be an easy pick, but football is a different story. Florida State is ranked No. 5 in the nation and will use this game as a stepping stone to a higher ranking. Even with UNC defensive standout Julius Peppers on the field, FSU has too much firepower for the Tar Heels.
Florida at Kentucky is a more intriguing matchup on paper. Kentucky beat USF handily, 27-9, last year, led by Bunyanesque quarterback Jared Lorenzen. Florida won?t be so easy to handle. Florida, ranked second in the nation, leaves Lexington a winner.
Our I-4 neighbors, Central Florida (0-2), travel to Tulane (0-3) to take on the Green Wave. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season and my prediction (well, not really my prediction; see above) is that UCF will claim win No. 1 first.
Louisville at Illinois is a showdown of two undefeateds. Louisville really shouldn?t be able to beat the Illini on their home field, but in my upset of the week, I?m going with the Cardinals.
Finally, our head-scratcher of the week pits the Razorbacks of Arkansas against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The smart money is on Alabama playing at home, but you never know.
So there you have it, pickers. E-mail us by noon Saturday with your picks, and remember we need a score for the Arkansas-Alabama game. And you?re not just limited to picks; you can e-mail in opinions, complaints, whatever. We appreciate any feedback ? well, almost any feedback.