After a 13-7 haul last weekend, the ‘Lady’ finally was able to get above that elusive .500 (79-76) mark. So, with that goal met, and only a few games left to go before championship football and bowl season begin, this site now shifts to picking ATS winners for the next few weeks—every game, every match-up.
The slate this weekend will be a small one, but the biggest one, for those of us who live in the southern part of the country, is likely to be tonight’s game between Auburn and South Carolina. South Carolina nearly pulled the upset over the Tigers in their first meeting, but the Cam Newton show took over late in the game—with a little help from a mistake-laden Stephen Garcia—and sealed the win for the Tigers.
So, the natural question this weekend has to be, can Auburn do it again?
At stake for them is a trip to the BCS National Championship game, while South Carolina is hoping to win its first ever SEC Championship. If either feat takes place, both coaches will be lauded as pure genius as it only took one player to make their teams come to life.
For Steve Spurrier, his capture of South Carolina’s biggest in-state running back prospect since George Rogers—Marcus Lattimore—has been the catalyst behind the Gamecock’s resurgence. Popular opinion has always been if Spurrier could ever find a good back, he might be able to make a little more noise in the SEC East. Lattimore not only exceeded expectations but, in week two, he made his glorious presence felt against a Georgia Bulldog team that often got the better of their match-up.
However, it was his 212-yard, three touchdown performance against Florida that really made heads turned. The Gamecocks had finally arrived and Steve Spurrier has found his man for, presumably, the next three years.
As for Gene Chizik, Cam Newton has been the difference. The SEC’s best player has been a menace to all opposing defenses, scurrying and passing his way into record books on his way to leading Auburn to an undefeated season.
If he can make it happen one more time, the Tiger faithful are likely to see their season end with a championship—a national one.
That said, let’s jump into the picks for this week:
1. Miami (OH) at Northern Illinois: Northern Illinois (-14.5)
The Huskies enter this game on a nine game winning streak and, during that time, they have been absolutely dominant at home. By contrast, the Redhawks have played many of their games close to the vest and often only manage to win in the final minutes. That said, the Redhawks are prepared for a battle, if need be, even against the No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the conference. This should be a tight one.
The Lady’s Pick: Miami (OH) to cover.
2. Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: Cincinnati (-1.5)
Pittsburgh was embarrassed by West Virginia last week, while the Bearcats were summarily dispatched by Connecticut. Both teams were thought to be Big East factors at the start of the season—neither has impressed. So, this game is about who has enough motivation to come on the field and salvage a disappointing season.
The Lady’s Pick: Pittsburgh to cover.
3. Rutgers at West Virginia: West Virginia (-21)
West Virginia is on a roll and Rutgers has been terrible—against just about everybody. It’s time for the Scarlet Knights to go back to the drawing board. By contrast, the Mountaineers will just be approaching this game with a win on their mind.
The Lady’s Pick: West Virginia to cover.
4. UConn at South Florida: South Florida (-2.5)
The Huskies have been hard to peg this season. They are either lights out or awful. However, South Florida has been equally enigmatic—particularly B.J. Daniels. If the big quarterback, with the talented arm, and fluid mobility can find his groove, he can be the most dangerous man on the football field for the Bulls. That said, if he gets rattled or fails to hit his marks, he can be every bit the disaster.
The Lady’s Pick: South Florida to cover.
5. Utah State at Boise State: Boise State (-43)
Clearly, the better team on the field will be the Broncos. However, 43 points just seems ridiculous given the fact that the Broncos are no longer playing for much. Will they have enough energy or motivation to shellac another bad football team?
The Lady’s Pick: Utah State
6. Nevada at Louisiana Tech: Nevada (-7.5)
The Wolfpack are coming off a huge win against Boise State and this game may be just an after-thought to them at this point—usually a dangerous mindset to have. However, Colin Kaepernick is not likely to let the Bulldogs break his team’s stride.
The Lady’s Pick: Nevada to cover.
7. Southern Cal at UCLA: USC (-6.5)
Lane Kiffin will be on the hot seat before too long as it will take a miracle for him to explain how this Trojan team isn’t at nine wins—considering the perceived ease of their schedule to start the year. Either way, the Bruins are either as bad as they’ve looked all or just playing possum. No clue if it’s the former or the latter but, in this game, it’s probably just safe to go with USC.
The Lady’s Pick: USC to cover.
8. Oregon at Oregon State: Oregon (-16.5)
The Beavers play very well at home and they won’t be looking to lay down against these Ducks—no matter how good everyone says they are.
The Lady’s Pick: Oregon State to cover.
9. Florida State at Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech (-3.5)
The Hokies are a better football team, overall, than the Seminoles. Their experience and the leadership of Tyrod Taylor will be the difference here.
The Lady’s Pick: Virginia Tech to cover.
10. Auburn at South Carolina: Auburn (-5)
The Auburn Tigers are nowhere near the same team that the Gamecocks nearly defeated back in week four. Nick Fairley has become a dominant force on the Tiger’s defensive line and, despite the ineptitude of Auburn’s secondary, the front seven of Auburn can wear down an offensive line like nobody’s business.
If that happens, Garcia will be in trouble as his best games seem to happen when Marcus Lattimore is finding space and being effective—Auburn shut Lattimore down the first time. Can they do that again?
The game will come down to line play and Auburn simply has the best of that match-up on both sides of the ball.
The Lady’s Pick: Auburn to cover.
The Lady’s Luck Picks:
11. Washington over Washington State (NL)
12. Idaho (-13) over San Jose State
13. UNLV (+34.5) at Hawaii
14. Florida Atlantic (-4.5) vs. Troy
15. Middle Tennessee (+5) at Florida International
16. Central Florida (-9) vs. Southern Methodist
17. Oklahoma (-4.5) vs. Nebraska