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Fourth Down and Inches--10/18/06

By Doc of Doc's Sports Picks

Last week our Underdog Game of the Year (Wyoming +3 over Utah) looked polished and ready as the Cowboys completely dominated in an easy 31-15 win. This Cowboy outfit is getting better each week and it looks like I will be coming right back with them against Colorado State. This will be the 98th game between these two clubs in the Border War. After winning our Revenge Game of the Year this previous week, it is certainly gratifying to win this underdog selection as well.

Well, this is the week many of you have been waiting for. Our Big Ten Game of the Year is a go for this Saturday, Oct. 21. As of Monday night I was not sure if the game would go. However, Tuesday morning I received a call from one of my Big Ten scouts. I feel strong about this choice and after hearing his comments I feel we are ready to pull the trigger. Obviously, any game can win or lose but I feel very confident here and I am sure you will not be disappointed with the selection.

How about those Wisconsin Badgers?! No question this team believes in itself and is hitting on all cylinders. The coaches and players should share credit for this success as both have done a tremendous job.

One of the main reasons I think this team has performed well is the job of offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. Paul is a native of Madison but has experience from all around the country. This guy will make a great head coach and I look for him to get a chance soon. He certainly deserves an opportunity and he will have his hands full this weekend at Purdue. The Boilers can score but lack defense and the Badgers can get it done on both sides of the ball. Assuming the weather is good, I look for a high scoring affair.

As we come down the stretch, I believe the top four teams in college football are Ohio State, USC, Michigan and West Virginia. Obviously Michigan and Ohio State will do battle on Nov. 18 to knock one of them from the ranks of unbeaten. As I look further into my crystal ball, I don't feel West Virginia or USC can remain perfect as well.

The team that I feel is most overrated in West Virginia. The Mountaineers have had an easy schedule thus far with two bye weeks, but will receive stiffer tests in the upcoming midweek games. They have two road games in Louisville and Pittsburgh and I do not feel they will be able to win these solely with the running game. I still have questions with their passing game and I expect Pittsburgh to get them. WVU travels to Connecticut, who is coming off an impressive win against Army. A closer look into that game and one will see that two big plays did Connecticut in against the Cadets. I look for the Mountaineers to roll in this game.

As for USC, the schedule is favorable with all of their tough competition coming at home. The next two games are on the road against Stanford and Oregon State, then they return to the Coliseum for three stern tests against Oregon, California and Notre Dame. Cal has been playing well since their disastrous start to the season at Knoxville and I believe they have the best chance to knock USC off. That may be the spot for our PAC-10 Game of the Year. So as it all plays out I expect Michigan and Ohio State to be playing for the No. 1 seed on Nov. 18.

Two games coming up this weekend feature four college clubs that have seen their season collapse. These games are North Carolina at Virginia and Michigan State at Northwestern. One has to believe Coach Al Groh is safe with the Cavaliers but the same cannot be said for John Bunting with the Tar Heels. He will likely be replaced regardless of how he finishes up the season. The other game features two of the most disappointing teams in the Big Ten. The Cats have not been able to get on track with the sad passing of Coach Randy Walker just before the season began. Can coach John L. Smith corral the troops to play to their potential in this one? I think he can, but doubt he will be calling the shots next year for the Spartans. They other game between Virginia and North Carolina, I would not touch.

This is the time of year to take a good look at totals for selections. The defense and the offense have now formed certain patterns and one can grasp how the flow of the game will likely go. Looking at my local teams, I will predict Wisconsin will go over the 55 points and Green Bay will go under the 41.

I did survive the first round of Leroy's Money Talks Contest. I went up against Wayne Peters, a professional gambler from Las Vegas. I had never met Wayne before, but he was a real gentleman. I won my top two picks and Wayne lost his. My next round takes place Nov. 18 against Krackman. Looking ahead to that date, I see many favorable match-ups including a couple in the NFL.

Don't forget, Big Ten Game of the Year goes this Saturday. This is the game that won 19 straight years and would consistently move the posted line.

That's it for this week, Doc

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