McMurphy's Picks: He's Certifiably Insane
I know what you're thinking: what does a movie about the happenings inside a mental institution have to do with my (currently very pathetic) season-long quest to accurately pick college football games?
Well, two things, actually.
Jack Nicholson's character, Randle P. McMurphy, and I share the same last name and we both have gone cuckoo. Like Randle P. McMurphy, I had to be a certified nut job last week after making some of those picks. Most of them seemed like I made them post-lobotomy.
Despite these new scars on my head, I feel much more at peace this week. I owe it all to my new personal physician, Nurse Ratched, who reminded me: "If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way."
Uh, no thanks, nurse, I'll remain standing.
But before I take my medicine, my friends here in the white coats told me to remind you that this column is supposedly some type of sick entertainment. Before the season, my imaginary friends loaned me an imaginary $5,000 bankroll. Each pick is for $50, except for the (0-for-the-season) $100 best bet. Point spreads from Wednesday's USA Today.
Enough of all this crazy talk, time to swallow hard and make my picks:
Alabama at Arkansas. Some sad news this week out of Jacksonville where Leonard Skinner, the stern, hard-as-nails coach and gym teacher whose name was adapted for the rock group "Lynyrd Skynyrd," died at the age of 77. In the late 1960s at Jacksonville's Lee High School, Skinner noticed Gary Rossington's long hair violated the school's dress code policy. So Skinner sent Rossington, a guitarist in a high school rock 'n roll band, to the principal's office, resulting in the student's suspension. As a mocking tribute to their no-nonsense gym teacher, Rossington's band changed their name to "Lynyrd Skynyrd" and the rest is history. Skynyrd's biggest hit, "Sweet Home Alabama," is a rallying cry for the Crimson Tide. However, Arkansas is home on Saturday, not Alabama. Call me crazy: Arkansas +7.
San Jose State at Utah. Another bit of sad news. Marriott hotels will no longer honor the athletic VIP cards from members of the Football Writers Association of America and United States Basketball Writers Association. Sports writers will now be required to pay full price for their rooms. What's next? No more free food in the press box? Anyway, Utah's library, named after Marriott's founder, is called the J. Willard Marriott Library. Like its room rates, this a hefty number for Utah, but I'll still take the Utes -31.
Akron at Indiana. Since 2005, Indiana has won 25 games, including this year's 2-0 start. Of those 25 victories, a remarkable 16 have come in the month of September. The calendar says it's still September. Hoosiers -22
Virginia Tech at Boston College. Last year, Virginia Tech did the Hokie Pokey all over Boston College. Final score: Virginia Tech 48, BC 14. It was the most points the Eagles had allowed since they surrendered 48 in 2000 to Virginia Tech. Boston College +4.
Oklahoma at Cincinnati. The only bright spot for Cincinnati fans about UC's disappointing 1-2 start is that former coach Brian Kelly also is 1-2 at Notre Dame. Last year, when Kelly left for Notre Dame, Bearcats fans egged Kelly's house. Luckily those fans didn't have to rely on the blocking of this year's Bearcats' offensive line. If so, they would have been sacked before they had a chance to throw anything. Oklahoma -14.
Air Force at Wyoming. Based on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) rankings, reported Wednesday by FanHouse, Air Force's Troy Calhoun had the nation's highest APR among the 120 FBS coaches. Meanwhile, Wyoming's Dave Christensen had the nation's fifth worst. I'll take brains – and the better offense – over brawn. Air Force -13½.
New Mexico at UNLV. So far this season, players on New Mexico's three opposing teams – Oregon, Texas Tech and Utah – have captured a combined five conference player of the week honors. The Rebels already have picked out where they'll hang next week's Mountain West Player of the Week award certificates. UNLV -10½.
Miami, Ohio at Missouri. So how's that plan to join the Big Ten coming along, Missouri? Hopefully, better than last week's performance, when the Tigers needed a late rally to knock off San Diego State. This week, the Redhawks come to Columbia looking to snap a nine-game road losing streak. Go ahead, Missouri, show me. Mizzou -17½.
West Virginia at LSU. Both teams are undefeated. Both teams are nationally ranked. Both teams go to bowl games every year. Yet, both fan bases grumble whenever you bring up their head coach. Les Miles' horseshoe has to run out of luck one of these days, right? West Virginia +8½.
Oregon at Arizona State. Oregon's Duck mascot does one pushup for each point after each Oregon score. Through three games, the Duck has done 1,120 pushups. This Duck is seriously buffed. I wish Ohio's Bobcat mascot tried to tackle this mighty Duck, he'd get pummeled. So will Arizona State. Oregon -11½.
Idaho at Colorado State. The Vandals are 2-1 and visit winless Colorado State. The wretched Rams are 0-3 this year and have lost 12 consecutive games. I'll plead insanity and take Colorado State +7½.
Buffalo at UConn. Warning: hide your eyes – it's my best bet. This is a rematch of the epic 2008 International Bowl between the Bulls and Huskies. Never heard of the International Bowl? Located in Toronto, it went belly up last year. Only a lunatic would think a January bowl game in Toronto would be successful. UConn -20.
"Cover Me's" Trifecta of Terror plus one: "Cover Me" also is hoping to get well this week. He goes with: NC State +8½ at Georgia Tech; USF -26½ vs. Western Kentucky; UTEP -11½ vs. Memphis and USC -22 at Washington State;
Lock of the week: Take the Bulldogs when Georgia visits Mississippi State on Saturday.
McMurphy's picks: 2-5
"Cover Me's" picks: 1-2
Bankroll: Down 555 for season; 4,445 left
McMurphy: 9-12; -375 (0-3 best bets)
"Cover Me": 3-6; -18
Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Contact him at email@example.com or please follow at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY