After South Florida’s pathetic showing on Thursday night, I needed Washington State to play well on Friday and get me back on track. I really enjoyed visiting UNLV, mainly because I was able to sit in some of the best seats in the stadium for $20. Most Texas high school games have more crowd intensity, but the stadium and tight sidelines allow for terrific viewing for fans. My Cougars played well early and held a two touchdown lead for most of the second half as I cheered them on approvingly. Sadly, in an event that would foreshadow how my Saturday would end up, UNLV drove the length of the field to score a touchdown with under two minutes remaining. The Cougars prevent defense left me with a tie, which felt far more like a loss given how the game played out. I was hopeful Saturday would bring better fortune.
Saturday started as well as I could’ve imagined. After Louisville and Northwestern held on in the fourth quarter, my record sat at 4-1 for the day. With six picks remaining, the opportunity to have a statement week was upon me. Given my location in Vegas, I had the ability to watch all six games live at the same time. In stunning fashion, my day imploded faster than the Romney campaign, as I tied one game and lost the other five. The performances of USC, Michigan State, and Tennessee left me bitter for days. Only Lane Kiffin, John L. Smith’s creditors, and the NFL replacement refs had worse weekends than I did. My weekend record was 4-7-2, dropping my overall season record to 20-21-2. My bandwagon was stopped in its tracks before it really was able to get started. Thankfully there are still many weeks and opportunities in the season to come, and I plan on playing to the final whistle like Greg Schiano has taught me.
Mark Twain’s thoughts on friendship resonated with me this week. “The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right.” As I looked for motivation this week to help me bounce back from the struggles of Saturday, I was comforted by the return of an old and loyal friend. MAC Wednesdays are back baby. While this is the only Wednesday game this month, it couldn’t come at a more perfect time for me. Kent State battles Buffalo on ESPNU in a matchup that is sure to garner national intrigue and attention. A solid home win by Buffalo can jump start my Week 4 and keep my winning percentage away from that dreaded 47% number.
Kent State at Buffalo -3 Wednesday – 7pm – ESPNU
Buffalo really impressed me earlier in the season against Georgia. The Bulls hung around on the road throughout the first half and made things difficult for one of the SEC’s elite teams. Buffalo’s offense is led by RB Branden Oliver. I expect a big game from him against a Kent State defense that struggled against Kentucky. Buffalo’s QB Alex Zordich is a solid player that has avoided mistakes thus far in 2012. Kent State’s 47-14 blowout loss at Kentucky looks worse now that we’ve seen Western Kentucky come out of Lexington with a road victory. The Golden Flashes have significant injury issues and may be without several key players for this MAC opener. The Buffalo Bulls play well at home and win by ten.
BYU at Boise State -7 Thursday - 9pm – ESPN
Bottom line – Boise State at home on blue turf. Don’t even think about anything else. I tried to pick against Boise earlier this year at Michigan State, but Chris Petersen’s squad hung around and kept it close. BYU is still reeling from a heartbreaking loss late Saturday night against Utah. The rivalry game went down to the wire and featured several dramatic plays in the final minutes. Games that intense and emotional take a lot of energy out of teams and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cougars start the game flat. The short turnaround makes it even tougher for BYU to be ready for a diverse Boise State offensive attack. Boise State QB Joe Southwick played much better at home against Miami Ohio and RB D.J. Harper is a star for the Broncos. BYU QB Riley Nelson looked lost at times against Utah and his confidence seemed clearly shaken. Boise does what it’s supposed to do and wins by two touchdowns with the blue-turf advantage.