Watching football on television has been missing a little this season and I would point to the loss of 2 people being the biggest reasons for this case. The best analyst in all sports, Cris Collinsworth is taking the year off, after signing a new deal with NBC for 2006. I would rate Cris as the brightest, brashest broadcaster in all of sports, but for this season to catch Collinsworth you have to watch Inside the NFL on HBO.
Someone who now has no television presence is former college studio analyst, Trev Alberts. I know a lot of people find him abrasive, but I feel Alberts is the most intelligent, most opinionated analyst I've heard discuss college football. What a huge drop-off it is now having Daffy Duck (Lou Holtz) plugged in for Alberts, as the great chemistry between Rece Davis, Mark May, and Alberts is gone. The first team of college gameday, with Fowler, Herbstreit, and Corso is still good, but what was formerly Team 1-A and Team 1-B is now truly an A-team and a B-team. CBS would be wise to pick up Alberts for next year, as his talents are missed.
As has been mentioned, my college picks have been really poor, so far this year. I'm hoping that this is a 2005 Cleveland Indians beginning to the season, with a similar finish.
3-star Arkansas (+15) vs. Alabama
3-star North Texas (+24.5) vs. Kansas St.
3-star Michigan St. (10.5) vs. Illinois
3-star Northwestern (+7.5) vs. Penn St.
2-star UTEP (-2.5) vs. New Mexico
Classify me as still a non-believer in Shula as coach, as I forsee Nutt keeping the game close. The Mean Green was demolished by Tulsa last week, which gives good value in Manhattan. I realize that the Spartans are coming off an emotional win last week, but they will still cover the points. Northwestern is a good home team, while Paterno's offense is still a question mark. I chose UTEP as my Top 25 sleeper at the beginning of the year and this might be their biggest test left for an undefeated season.
4-star San Diego (-5.5) over NY Giants
4-star Arizona (+6.5) over Seattle
3-star Cincinnati (-3) over Chicago
3-star Oakland (+8) over Philly
These might be the 4 best games to handicap I have seen in the NFL all year. Perfect setup for the must-win Chargers, as the Giants have had a scheduling quirk giving them an added bonus win. Arizona is in a similar situation as San Diego and while I'm not sure they're going to win the game outright, the Cardinals keep it close. Wake-up, the Bengals offense might just be the equal of the Colts and while the defense of the Bears is excellent, not enough to keep the game within 3. Oakland has had a brutal schedule to begin the season, but they will be the best 0-3 team in football, losing the game, as they fall just short of the Eagles. Moss wins the "hey look at me" battle, though, versus TO.