A Farewell to Sam Bradford, Plus Your Week Nine Picks
[inline:soooners]With news this week that Sam Bradford has undergone season-ending shoulder surgery, it’s really hard to feel overly sorry for him. He seems like a class act kid, great teammate, and a good person. He already has a Heisman trophy, played for a national title, and will be a first-round NFL pick in April. Ninety-seven percent, if not more, of the population will never experience a lifetime of opportunity that Bradford has in three short years at Oklahoma. Yes, it sucks right now that his college football career is over, but he will be all right.
A majority of college quarterbacks never get a shot at the NFL or they end up career practice squad players. Something tells me that Bradford will be an NFL star. It’s a shame that he didn’t go pro a year ago when he would have been taken before the likes of Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez. He returned because he had the chance to be one of the best college quarterbacks of the last 25 years. While we’ll never know what might have been, we do know that the world will continue to spin and that college football will go on. I’m glad it wasn’t Tim Tebow suffering the same fate, as the Internet, televisions, and AM radio stations everywhere might have imploded. Happy trails, Sam. Thanks for the memories.
Anyways, here are your Week 9 picks. Last week I went a steady 10-5. (Home team in caps).
West Virginia (-3) over SOUTH FLORIDA
The Bulls’ suspect run defense will be put to test against Noel Devine and the Mountaineers’ conference-best run game. Expect Devine to put up big numbers in a nationally televised contest on Friday.
Cincinnati (-14.5) over SYRACUSE
At this point, it doesn’t matter who starts under center for the Bearcats; their offense continues to fire on all cylinders. Tony Pike is expected to return after missing last week game’s because of an arm injury after his replacement, Tony Collaros, tallied 253 and three scores.
Mississippi (-4) over AUBURN
The Rebels may not be as good as their No. 4 ranking early in the campaign and Jevan Snead hasn’t been able to follow up on the success of last season, yet the quarterback and his team will find little resistance against a Tigers defense that ranks 159th in the nation.
IOWA (-17.5) over Indiana
The Hawkeyes are no fluke and will be going for their 13th straight win on Saturday. With road wins at Penn State and Wisconsin under its belt, Iowa promises to make quick work at home of the overmatched Hoosiers.
HOUSTON (-6.5) over Southern Miss
Until the Cougars offense shows that it can’t score in bunches, I’m picking them to cover the spread every time. Their suspect defense, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired.
[inline:kerr]WAKE FOREST (+7) over Miami
The Hurricanes had a small slip-up a week ago, falling in overtime to Clemson. Looking up, they have beaten Wake Forest five straight times. But that could change.
Temple (+7) over NAVY
The Owls have strung together five consecutive victories in part because of their improved play on defense. If they contain the Navy ground game, a sixth win isn’t out of the question.
FLORIDA (-15.5) over Georgia
The Gators have struggled to cover the spread the past couple weeks, and these two teams have some history, specifically two years ago when the entire Georgia squad ran onto the field to celebrate a touchdown. So, expect the Gators to roll.
Northwestern (+15) over Penn State
The Wildcats can score points when needed, evident when they overcame a 25-point deficit to beat Indiana a week ago. This seems like a trap game for Penn State, which has had three of the past four wins in Evansville come by less than five points.
OKLAHOMA (-28) over Kansas St.
While they will miss Sam Bradford, the Sooners are more than capable of playing like a top-10 squad. Their conference-best defense will be too tough for the Wildcats to break through.
NOTRE DAME (-28) over Washington St.
I was tempted to go with the Cougars, given the hefty spread, but realized that they simply are not a good football team. The Irish’s tandem of Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate should have a field day in this one.
Georgia Tech (-12) over VANDERBILT
The Yellow Jackets very well could be the most underrated team in the land. They have suffered one defeat and run an offense that opposing coordinators have yet to figure out how to slow down. There’s no evidence to suggest that Georgia Tech won’t keep cruising.
TENNESSEE (-5.5) over South Carolina
The Vols’ confidence will be high after their near upset of No. 1 Alabama. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks have just one victory in 14 tries on the road in this series. The Vols are the clear pick.
OKLAHOMA ST. (+9) over Texas
This would have been an intriguing matchup had Dez Bryant not been suspended by the NCAA. Still, the Cowboys haven’t stalled without the services of their star receiver. But they also haven’t faced a more well-rounded team than Texas. Should be interesting.
Southern Cal (-3) over OREGON
The game of the week, and one that many fans had circled on the calendar for months, should not disappoint. Are the Ducks for real? Are the Trojans the best one-loss team in the nation? These questions will be answered, as the winner becomes the odds-on-favorite for the conference championship.