We’re down to cases in both the NCAA and NFL seasons, thank goodness. If you want hype, watch ESPN or listen to talk radio. I’d rather cut to the chase.
Penn St -10 vs FSU (47): Penn State is back among the nation’s elite and Joe Paterno again is Coach of the Year — an incredible achievement for the "over 70" crowd. Bobby Bowden must be giddy, finally being "the kid" in this clash of the nation’s all-time winning coaches. As for the game, I’ll take the Seminoles any day of the week getting 10 points in the state of Florida. Plain and simple. FSU.
USC -7Â½ vs Texas (70): The Longhorns should be insulted seeing this USC team compared with the greatest ever in college football "before" this game is even played. I’ve said for the past two years that the difference between the Trojans and everyone else is that they have Reggie Bush. No. 5 reminds me of another former Heisman winner a generation ago (1972 to be exact), Nebraska WR/kick returner Johnny Rodgers. Huskers fans in Vegas, and there are many, know how good JR was.
There is more to USC than Reggie, just as Texas is not all Vince Young. The Longhorns finally cleared the Oklahoma hurdle and offer the best defense USC will have seen this year. But the Horns must play 48 minutes of football, meaning no lapses as occurred in the Oklahoma State scare. I’m not sure Ohio State isn’t the second best team in the land, even though Texas won at Columbus. Until proven wrong, I have to say USC is 10 better than the rest. USC.
Redskins +2Â½ at Bucs (36Â½): The Redskins have won their last two road games, especially critical come playoff time when they must travel in the Wild Card role. Plus they have Joe Gibbs, who has won three Super Bowls. The Bucs will be tough at home, but the Skins are finding ways to win. Brunell has the guile to pull off the upset. REDSKINS.
Jaguars +8 at Pats (37Â½):A lot of folks are saying the Jaguars are an overrated 12-4. Hogwash. These cats can play, whether it’s a defensive slobberk-knocker or a shootout. They have two good QBs, two good RBs solid defense and a coach that would run through a wall. The Patriots are playing their best ball, but everyone jumping onto the Brady bandwagon has me skeptical. Too many points. JAGUARS.
Panthers +2Â½ at Giants (43): This should be a beauty. It could come right down to the foot in overtime and I’m a bit touchy about Jay Feely. Carolina has the big edge with veteran lefty John Kasay. Two Bayou slingers — Jake and Eli — and some of the finest pass rushers in the league. The Giants are 6-2 ATS at home this year, which just might be the difference. It’s Tiki time. GIANTS.
Steelers -3 at Bengals (46Â½):The Bengals won the division and are favored, but have to prove something again to Pittsburgh. Cowher’s Steel Curtain is playing its best ball of the season, winning the way all good Pittsburgh teams do — being physical. That means running the ball, eating up clock and riding the Bus heading home. Pittsburgh knows how to close out games. The Bengals are young, cocky and good. This could well be a push, but we’ll gamble and hope for at least a four-point win. STEELERS.
Last week: 3-2