This week’s picks column is dedicated to the Big Ten Conference for the misguided welcoming of two football juggernauts destined to add muscle to the league’s national image.
In Maryland, you have a program desperately trying to be the Oregon of the east with its colorful helmet-uniform combinations. The only things missing are victories, respect, championships, quality play and wall-to-wall exposure. Rutgers gave us former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Gary Brackett.
Great job, Jim Delaney. Are Wyoming and East Carolina the next blips on the old expansion radar?
This is the week of conference championship games in college football, so I’ve had to change things up a bit from what is normal procedure without 10 of the 12 Big Ten programs in action. And I’m still miffed at selecting USC last week before it was announced Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley wouldn’t be playing.
An asterisk on the old won-loss record, maybe? Yes? No? It was worth a try.
Here are this week’s picks:
NEBRASKA 30, WISCONSIN 24 — Supposedly there are 30,000 ‘Huskers fans about to migrate east to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Big Ten Championship Game. They’ll leave happy, get home, rest for a month and then drive the other direction to Pasadena.
LOUISVILLE 27, RUTGERS 20 — The Cardinals have been in a tailspin of late but finally break through to secure an Orange Bowl bid.
ALABAMA 37, GEORGIA 21 — The Crimson Tide want nothing more than another shot at Notre Dame after losing to the Irish by a single point in . . . 1973. Hey, it’s as good of incentive as any.
STANFORD 35, UCLA 27 — The Cardinal beat the Bruins on the road. There’s nothing making me believe they won’t do it in Palo Alto.
KANSAS STATE 34, TEXAS 23 — The Wildcats have had two weeks to do a slow boil over waving goodbye to their national title hopes. The Longhorns, meanwhile, find themselves in the wrong place at the worst possible time.
DETROIT 27, INDIANAPOLIS 20 — The Lions are far too talented to be as mediocre as they’ve been most of this season. Indy keeps it tight, but can’t get over the hump on the road.
CHICAGO 20, SEATTLE 17 — Seahawks looking to go 3-1 against the NFC North this season, but can’t get it done in the Windy City.
Last week’s record: 7-1.
Season record: 97-26.