By Todd Helmick
NationalChamps.net Owner & Operator

* NOTE: NationalChamps.net is not a gambling site. We do not encourage the use of any such practice by any organization or individual(s) as set forth by NCAA rules. "Picks of The Week" are strictly for recreational purposes in an effort to test our knowledge.



September 20, 2003

UCF +4 over Syracuse
Georgia Tech -4 over Clemson
Tennessee +3.5 over Florida
Texas Tech +6.5 over North Carolina State
New Mexico +16.5 over Washington State
Louisiana State -1 over Georgia



We recovered last week, going 4-1 after that disastrous Week 2. A six-pack of picks is lined up for this coming Saturday, September 20...the most we have utilized thus far. Word to the wise: some of these would be better left alone, but for the purposes of having fun...line 'em up.

The SEC competition this week is tight. It doesn't get any better than the LSU/Georgia and Florida/Tennessee tussles. These are "Statement Games" for both squads. We are very interested in seeing just how good this LSU team is with Head Coach Nick Saban reeling in monstrous recruiting classes the last few years. These recruits are now hitting the depth charts and Georgia is still riddled with injuries.

If Florida can beat Tennessee by more than a field goal, the media (including NationalChamps.net) will have to send their preseason apologies out to Gainesville and Ron Zook. Most prognosticators honestly felt the Gators were in for a long season while Tennessee and Casey Clausen were getting set for a Top 10 run.

Georgia Tech showed us all last week versus Florida State; the 17-3 Auburn win was far from being a fluke. Freshman QB Reggie Ball looks tremendous for such a youngster and has superb mobility to go with a strong passing touch. Clemson is still struggling and will continue to struggle as Head Coach Tommy Bowden finishes up his last season with the Tigers as predicted by NationalChamps.net back in the summer. The game is in Atlanta by the way.

Texas Tech visiting Raleigh and NC State is very interesting. We are not too sure this is a good pick, but for interesting purposes the Red Raiders are sort of marching into Carter-Finley Stadium on a 2-0 offensive roll and will face a Wolfpack defense that has been a huge Achilles Heel so far through three games. Recall this game went to overtime early last fall in Lubbock. The Philip Rivers Show will likely take over the prime time slot as the Kliff Kingsbury...or excuse us...the B.J. Symons Show takes a back seat. Rivers continues his Heisman roll with a sub .500 team...but by less then a touch down due to a lacking defense. Can anyone foresee 47-44? I'll keep an eye on this one to see if the spread can get back up to seven again...just in case of overtime.

New Mexico was set for a Dark Horse season after making an appearance in last season's Las Vegas Bowl and then returning 18 starters for 2003. MWC Freshman of the Year RB Dontrell Moore has been hobbling around on a sore ankle but looks to take the field versus the Cougars. Washington State should win this one, but 16.5 points were too much to pass up for a very descent Lobo squad (just read our 2003 Preview). This is almost a "must-win" non-conference game for New Mexico if they desire to go bowling in the post-season again.

UCF in the Carrier Dome is another one that scares us. Why? Did I mention it was in the Carrier Dome? UCF pulled this one out last year in one of our "Picks Of The Week" down in Orlando. The passing of Ryan Schneider could be dangerous for a weakened Orangemen secondary that has given up over 300 yards average per game thus far. Syracuse and Coach Paul Pasqualoni needs this home win bad.