5 at 10: Football lines, the Fab 4 and big stage national showdowns

5 at 10: Football lines, the Fab 4 and big stage national showdowns

September 15th, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports

From the "Drunken Moose Studios," here we go...

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, left, and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden pose with the national championship trophy during a press conference in Miami Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2001. The two teams will play in the Orange Bowl for the national championship. (AP Photo/J.Pat Carter)

College football forecast

Where's Keith Jackson when you need him. No, not that Keith Jackson, the former Oklahoma All-American and NFL All-Pro tight end who was our speaker at the Best of Preps banquet in 2003 and introduced the 5-at-10 to the joy that is the pizza at Mom's downtown.

No, the other Keith Jackson, the college football announcing icon, who made big college football Saturdays seem even more majestic with his "Whoa, Nelly," and "fummm-BBBLE" and "Hold the phone." That's the only thing that could make the 5-at-10 more giddy about this weekend of college football.

You'd have to believe that Keith would be on the call at Doak Campbell Stadium for the FSU-Oklahoma game Saturday night. This game is huge - two teams with legit national title hopes in prime time in the House that Prime Time built.

These are the type of games - big-time non-conference games like this one and Auburn at Clemson and Washington at Nebraska and Alabama at Penn State and LSU vs. Oregon - that make the college football regular season the best in all of sports. It's also the type of games that very likely would be a casualty of a playoff system. Think those coaches and ADs are going to schedule anyone other than directional schools outside of league play with playoff spots on the line.

Just a caveat to think about as you enjoy a full plate of delicious college football. Enjoy.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore (21) runs for a touchdown, followed by Georgia cornerback Jordan Love (10), linebacker Cornelius Washington (83), and defensive tackle Jonathan Jenkins (6) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, in Athens, Ga. South Carolina won 45-42.

Photo by (AP Photo by John Amis)

The Fab 4 Picks

The 5-at-10's Fab 4 picks are 6-1-1 this season - and we would be better had we followed Dr. B's advice (he's a doctor after all) about buying the half-point in the USC-Georgia game last week. Alas.

Last week's 3-0-1 showing should not surprise most gamblers. The adage that football teams improve more from Week 1 to Week 2 is 100-percent true, and those trends can be gauged and calculated. What another truth, odd's makers improve more from Week 2 to Week 3, so the lines this week are very good. And that makes picking against the spread that much more challenging.

There are several highlight games this week so we're going to give you our Fab 4 - the games we like best - and may add a couple of extra views on the big-time games.

Georgia Tech minus 14 over Kansas - Call this a hunch, but Tech is scoring 56 points per game and the Jayhawks are allowing 33 and had to rally to beat Northern Illinois 45-42 last week. The total of 59 is intriguing, too.

Indiana minus-15 over South Carolina State - The Hoosiers should have beaten a pretty good Virginia team last week; SC State lost to Central Michigan and beat Bethune Cookman. This is a numbers bet, plain and simple.

Oklahoma minus-3 over Florida State and over the 55 - This is nightcap of a great Saturday, and yes, the Seminoles are at home and yes, OU coach Bob Stoops has been less than stellar on big stages in recent years. (Seems like a long time ago that Stoops was known as "Big-Game Bob" right?) That said, the Sooners are super talented, especially offensively, and the Seminoles can score, too.

Bonus pick (a Fab 5, this week?): Miami minus-2.5 over Ohio State - In the NCAA Doghouse Classic - and we've heard it called the Ineligi-Bowl - Miami welcomes back a host of suspended players including QB Jacory Harris, DT Marcus Forston and LB Sean Spence. Granted, Jacory Harris is on the short list of quarterbacks with Stephen Garcia and Jordan Jefferson that can beat either team - his or the opponents - on any give Saturday, but something feels strange here. This one could get one-sided. Quickly.

Some of the big-time games picks

Alabama under the 53.5 against North Texas

Auburn plus-3.5 over Clemson

Tennessee plus-10 over Florida

Georgia minus-32 over Coastal Carolina and over the 56

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) works out during preseason NCAA college football drills on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Jason Harless)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Lingering SEC football questions

- What will Alabama do at quarterback in the projected thumping of North Texas? Here's our best guess. AJ McCarron has started to separate himself in the QB race with Phillip Sims. McCarron will get every chance to firmly establish himself as the man. That way, Nick Saban and Co. have given each player a chance through the first three weeks, and then can turn the keys over to McCarron as Alabama enters conference play with Arkansas on deck for next week.

- Can Mississippi State end a couple of troubling trends? The Bulldogs have enjoyed an improved national perception since Dan Mullen took over. They finished No. 15 nationally last year and smoked Michigan in a New Year's Day bowl game. That said, the Bulldogs finished fifth in the SEC West last year and Mullen is now 2-9 against in the division after last week's loss to Auburn. Even worse, those only two SEC West wins came against the Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears, who have smelled like feet for the last two seasons. With LSU coming to town tonight, can Mullen find a way for MSU to beat the Tigers for the first time since 1999. Doubtful.

- How many is too many for Georgia? Mark Richt said this week that the Bulldogs want to "get in the win column and play a game they can feel good about" against Coastal Carolina. Uhh, "what are you doing in here little Kitty Cat." We need more dogs. WE NEED MORE DOGS.

- Can Auburn make it 18 in a row? Who are we to say no? They've pulled out wins with onside kicks. They've rallied from being down 24-0 at Alabama. They handled the pressure of being tied in the national title game with less than three minutes on the clock. The 5-at-10 will not pick against them until they lose or go to LSU, whichever comes first.

- As for the UT game, well, needless to say, we have a few mailbag questions on this one, so you'll have to wait until Friday for our take on UT's trip to the Swamp.

William "The Refrigerator" Perry. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

This and That

- The social media world was set on its ear when the stories broke that in the 1980s Sarah Palin and Glen Rice, uh, "snuggled." (Hey, remember this is a family-oriented, web-based, sports column.) The claims were made in a new book called "The Rogue," by Joe McGinniss, and the author says Rice confirmed the one-night stand. Just wait until news starts to circulate about a Janet Reno and William "Refrigerator" Perry "snuggling. (Yes, we made that last one up but Sweet 5-star Defensive Lineman that "Love Connection" would make college recruiters drool - Big, Mean, Tough, Fast, and then whatever Fridge brings to the table.)

- Every win is meaningful for the Braves, who used a three-run homer by the currently red-hot Alex Gonzalez to beat Florida 4-1 Wednesday afternoon. The Braves remained 4½ games ahead of St. Louis, which won 3-2 at Pittsburgh, but now there are just 12 games left for Atlanta.

- The Pittsburgh Pirates have clinched their 19th consecutive losing season. (Is clinched the right word there? Help us out BIspy.) Let's take a moment of silence for Pirates fans everywhere. Gang, your loyalty to your team is what makes sports great. Keep fightin' the good fight, and here's hoping that a Pops Stargell, Dave Parker, Bill Madlock or Barry Bonds is in the minors ready to lift the franchise.

- OK, please accept our apologies on the front end for passing this story along. Fair warning - if the thought of an eel swimming up a man's penis and having to be surgically removed from the guy's bladder gives you the heebie-jeebies, well you may not want to click. The lesson here is do NOT swim with eels to cleanse your skin, we don;t care if even Les Miles says it's OK. You've been warned.

Eli Gold. (AP Photo/The Nashville Network, Jim Hagans)

Today's question

We know Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstriet will be on the call for the Oklahoma-FSU. They're pretty good together (Musberger can be tiring, but Herbstriet knows his stuff).

We know the Auburn-Clemson game is on the SEC network, and that the charm and nostalgia of the old Jefferson-Pilot days are no longer campy. They are gone from those noon kickoffs like the Bloody Mary breakfasts of our college days.

So on to today's question: Who is best TV sports commentator working? Who is your favorite? And in return, who would cause you to turn the sound down and watch in silence?

Discuss, and remember that Dick Vitale is the easy choice for the mute button.