PICKS OF THE WEEK - November 1
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.



November 6, 2003

Virginia Tech -5 over Pittsburgh
Kansas State -18 over Iowa State
Army +26.5 over Air Force
Missouri/Colorado over 59.5 points
Florida State/Clemson over 48 points



November 6, 2003

Colorado State -1.5 over New Mexico (Fri.)
Virginia Tech -5 over Pittsburgh
Northern Illinois -23 over Buffalo
Arizona State -2.5 over Stanford



Last week was my first venture onto the lines of 2003 college football. My 2-3 beginning was only seven-and-a-half points from being 4-1. Kansas, missing by one against A&M's Aggies, was the one I really thought would make me, oh well. This week brings another set of insights that are clear to me, but maybe not for the 18-22 year olds who carry out my predictions.

Colorado State (-1.5) at New Mexico
Sonny Lubick's away record in the conference is ridiculous. And with only one scoring differential making it so CSU wins but doesn't cover, look for the Rams to do both against the 5-4 Lobos. The 11th-ranked offense of the Rams will be too balanced and too much for the respectable 39th-ranked defense of New Mexico.

Virginia Tech (-5) at Pittsburgh
Not sure why anyone would want to bet on VT in November, but here I go. Pitt's defense has shown up against Syracuse and BC the past two weeks, but taking on the 60th- and 50th-ranked offenses (respectively) won't convince anyone of anything. And this pick isn't based on the Hokie's big win against Miami - Tech should control this one from the second half kickoff until the end. The Panthers will show up at home, but Tech's 20th-ranked defense (27th versus the pass) should ground Pitt enough to make the Panther's damaged running game (93rd ranking) this game's deciding dimension.

Northern Illinois (-23) at Buffalo
The Bulls ended their 2003 losing skid against Ohio, a team Northern Illinois barely beat in OT. This is the only good news Buffalo can hang onto as they take their 1-9 record home against their upstart MAC-ster opponent. Northern Illinois has beaten most they should by large margins, while Buffalo has not been within 10 at the end of any losses except two (Marshall and UCF games). 23 points seem like either way too little or way too much, whatever that might mean (escape clause for when it all goes wrong for this call). Like Kansas-A&M last week, probably just enough points to somehow make me look bad through accurate assessments.

Arizona State (-2.5) at Stanford
The Sun Devils started out ranked 21st (NC.net), but have disappointed as their 4-5 campaign has faltered in hot-and-cold streaks. Currently, they have lost two of their last four, and five of their last seven. With Stanford's big upset against UCLA ending their four-game skid, the Cardinals mimic ASU with streaky play. But all things being equal this way, Arizona State has the wares to easily take down Stanford. Look for ASU to bounce back as Stanford realizes its talent levels and plays to them. But smarties like those at this "West Coast's Ivy Leaguer" Stanford make overcoming these odds a winnable mental battle. This is the pick I use to prove this is all just for fun - no farms should be bet, a hunch at best.