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College GameDay Bowl Picks II: Oklahoma Will Rout UConn In Fiesta

Executive Sports Editor Brad Carroll takes a look at the top bowl games
Last Week: 3-4 (spread); 2-5 (overall); 0-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Week: 4-3 (spread)
This Season: 62-43-3 (spread); 82-26 (overall); 8-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Season: 53-52-3 (spread)

Oklahoma vs. UConn | Fiesta Bowl, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: I’ve heard from just about everyone in the state that UConn has a great chance to shock the world and pull off the upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1. But here’s a dose of reality to everyone out there — UConn has no chance to win the game. No chance. The one and only shot the Huskies have to even keep the game close is if the Sooners decide to play down to the competition. But that won’t happen and Oklahoma will roll to a blowout victory in this BCS game. The Pick: Oklahoma (-17) wins it 52-10.

TCU vs. Wisconsin | Rose Bowl, 5 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: Very few times will I actually give credit to evil brother Craig, but this is one of those rare moments. At the start of the year, when everyone was saying Boise State was ready to compete for a national title, it was Craig who said TCU was better than Boise and should get a national championship shot. While the Horned Frogs came up short in the latter, here they are in the Rose Bowl undefeated and favored against the Big 10 representative. Craig called it and I’m calling this one in favor of the Frogs. The Pick: TCU (-3) wins it 27-23.

Ohio State vs. Arkansas | Sugar Bowl, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: All five suspended Ohio State players, including QB Terrell Pryor, will play in this game after each pledged to coach Jim Tressel they would accept punishment and not enter the NFL Draft. That’s all well and good for the Buckeyes, but what isn’t is the history the team has with an SEC opponent. Ohio State is 0-9 against the SEC in bowl games and 0-3 under Tressel. That adds up to an upset for the Hogs. The Pick: Arkansas (+3.5) wins it 34-31.

Virginia Tech vs. Stanford | Orange Bowl, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: This game could go either way, as both teams are playing great football heading into bowl season. Virginia Tech has won 11 games in a row after opening with a pair of losses, while Stanford’s only blemish this season was a loss to Oregon. This matchup could come down to the quarterbacks, with Andrew Luck leading the Cardinal and Tyrod Taylor sparking the Hokies. I’m going with an upset. The Pick: Virginia Tech (+3.5) wins it 30-28.

Alabama vs. Michigan State| Capital One Bowl 1 p.m. ESPN
The Skinny: Despite three losses and uneven play all season long, Alabama is still a big-time favorite against one-loss Michigan State on New Year’s Day. So, is that all about hype, or are the Crimson Tide really 10 points better than the Spartans? Go with the latter, as Alabama is in a different class than Michigan State, even though this has been a dream season for the Spartans. Alabama rolls to an easy victory. The Pick: Alabama (-10) wins it 31-14.

Penn State vs. Florida | Outback Bowl, 1 p.m., ABC
The Skinny: Who would have thought a matchup featuring Penn State and Florida would have a coach retiring at game’s end that wasn't Joe Paterno? But that’s exactly the case in this New Year’s Day game as Gators coach Urban Meyer is stepping down after the contest. In cases like this, teams typically put together a great performance to send their coach out on a high note. I don’t see any reason for this not to follow that script. The Pick: Florida (-7) wins it 28-17.

Michigan vs. Mississippi State | Gator Bowl, 1:30 p.m., ESPN2
The Skinny: Make it three upset picks this week as I'm going with the Wolverines to play big for coach Rich Rodriguez in what could be his final game on the Michigan sideline. The Pick: Michigan (+4.5) wins it 33-30.
Here are Craig Carroll’s picks for the week: Oklahoma, TCU, Arkansas, Stanford, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State.
(AP photo)

College GameDay Bowl Picks I: Catholics Vs. Convicts Highlights Early Bowl Matchups

Executive Sports Editor Brad Carroll takes a look at the top bowl games
Last Week: 2-0 (spread); 2-0 (overall); 0-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Week: 2-0 (spread)
This Season: 59-39-3 (spread); 82-21 (overall); 8-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Season: 49-49-3 (spread)

Notre Dame vs. Miami, Sun Bowl, Dec. 31
The Skinny: Of all the early bowl games, prior to New Year’s, this is the one I’m most looking forward to. If you watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on this rivalry, you probably feel the same way. Back in the 80’s this was the greatest series of them all and had the name to go along with it – the Catholics vs. the Convicts. You can guess which was which. Even though the two teams are unranked and there is little to play for, this should still be a great matchup. The Hurricanes are just a little bit better and should get the big victory. The Pick: Miami (-3) wins it 34-23.

South Carolina vs. Florida State, Chik-Fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31
The Skinny: During the 90’s Florida and Florida State was one of the most heated rivalries in college football. Steve Spurrier, the one who called FSU “Free Shoes U” after a scandal against the school in 1994, gets to relive that magic when his Gamecocks take on the Seminoles in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. Both teams couldn’t win their conference championship games, so both come in to this matchup limping. Still, South Carolina has the better team and should have enough for the win. The Pick: South Carolina (-3) wins it 27-20.

Nebraska vs. Washington, Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30
The Skinny: Nebraska beat Washington by 35 points back in September, so there is no real reason to believe the Huskies can do much better against the Huskers. But, as I said on Brad Carroll’s GameDay college football web show, I just have a feeling that Washington can and will keep this game close enough. Nebraska wins, but Washington makes it interesting. The Pick: Nebraska (-13.5) wins it 31-20.

Kansas State vs. Syracuse, Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 30
The Skinny: Of course, the star of this game is Yankee Stadium, as it hosts its first postseason game in 48 years and the first at the new stadium. Syracuse is as close to a home team as it gets as the Orange are a New York team and coach Doug Marrone is a Bronx native and Yankees fan. That should be enough motivation to pull Syracuse to victory over Kansas State. The Pick: Syracuse (0) wins it 20-17.

Oklahoma State vs. Arizona, Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29
The Skinny: Oklahoma State is coming off a disappointing loss to Oklahoma that cost it a shot at the Big 12 championship game, but the Cowboys should be motivated to prove how good a team they really are on national television against Arizona. That motivation, along with a tremendous offense, will combine for an easy win for Oklahoma State. The Pick: Oklahoma State (-5) wins it 38-21.

Iowa vs. Missouri, Insight Bowl, Dec. 28
The Skinny: This is a tough game to pick, as I believe Iowa is the better team. But in these lower-tier bowls, the advantage goes to the team playing with motivation. With Missouri looking to solidify its place as a legitimate national title contender, I believe it has the motivation to win the game and make a statement against a very good Big 10 program. The Pick: Missouri (-2.5) wins it 31-24.

West Virginia vs. NC State, Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 28
The Skinny: West Virginia is better than NC State and should be able to get a big victory for the Big East. The Pick: West Virginia (-2.5) wins it 24-20.
Here are Craig Carroll’s picks for the week: North Carolina State, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Florida State, Miami.
(AP photo)

Breaking Down The Ultimate Road Trip To Pittsburgh For Jets Football

Alright, my brother Glenn said my last blog post about the Jets playing in Pittsburgh was terrible, so hopefully I'll be able to bounce back with this entry breaking down the road trip to Pennsylvania. Now, I did say the post from Pittsburgh in the wee hours Monday morning was just the appetizer to this main course, so consider this the one that counts.

As most know by now, GameDay and family took a road trip down to Pittsburgh to watch the Jets try and win in the Steel City for the first time ever. And at the end of the night Sunday, the Jets not only snapped that streak, but saved their season and gave hope to every fan the team could make a run deep into the playoffs this year. If the Jets can win in a place like that, in the snow, there is no place they can't.

With that said, here's the ultimate breakdown of a road trip from New York to Pittsburgh and back.


The Win
(Same Old Jets?
Well, yeah, maybe)
I can't say enough about the game put forth by the Jets in a hostile environment in Pittsburgh. The game couldn't have started better, with Brad Smith's kick return for a touchdown right into our laps in the corner end zone. From there it was all about defense. But the offense was the group that changed the complexion of the game. After the Steelers took a 17-10 lead early in the third quarter, things didn't look good for the Jets. Not only would the Jets have to score a touchdown to tie the game, they would have to score at least twice to win the game. That doesn't sound like much, but consider the Jets had gone more than two and a half games without scoring an offensive TD.

But the Jets drove right downfield after the Steelers grabbed the momentum and capped it off with a fourth-down bootleg for a touchdown by Mark Sanchez. The play was perfect and the Jets didn't blink when they could have folded. A field goal and a safety later and the Jets had a 22-17 lead. That's when the defense took over and held the Steelers out of the end zone on two plays from the 10-yard-line.

Jets 22, Steelers 17.

I joked about it all week, but it came to fruition Sunday night. This is the type game the Jets always seem to win. In typical Same Old Jets fashion, the team would lose games in the most incredible ways possible, only to come back and win a game nobody thought they would. That is why I preached we need the Same Old Jets to show up Sunday, and then go back into hiding forever.

I was right with one half of that statement, hopefully the second half is true as well.

Schottenheimer's A Genius
(What did I tell you? ... Didn't I Tell You?)
Here's what I wrote about Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer after the team was embarrassed in a loss to the Miami Dolphins. "Schottenheimer is and has been a terrible coordinator, but he always comes out unscathed because the Jets offense always seems to turn a corner at the right time to make him look good."

Guess what? That right time was Sunday in Pittsburgh. Schottenheimer had his best game calling plays all year and suddenly everyone wants to take the heat off and say, "see, he really is a good coordinator." Well, not so fast.

Schottenheimer is terrible and the only thing that should be able to save his job is if the Jets win the Super Bowl. Even if that happens, I wouldn't mind if he was sent packing. Schottenheimer is not a good coordinator and this one game doesn't give him a pass to next season. Hopefully the Jets' brass sees it the same way.


The Drive Up (And Back Down)
(Yep, that's a Jets truck)
Forget about the Broncos' game-winning score against the Browns in the playoffs, this trip will forever be known as The Drive. Let's just point out I won't be doing that drive for a long, long time. If I have to go back to Pittsburgh, I'm going by air. It doesn't seem like a long time on the road, some 7 hours, but it sure felt like it on the way up and more on the way home.

In what was thought to be a good omen early on, we passed the Jets equipment truck on the highway somewhere in New Jersey. As in turned out, that was a very good sign as the Jets pulled out one of the great victories in the past several years.

The ride home was probably even worse, as it snowed pretty hard for the first quarter of the trip. Pennsylvania is freaking huge and that can be seen as we drove from wind and snow to sunshine. One photo you can see the snow and ice formed on the side of the road. A couple hours more and we were driving in the sunshine. Again, I'm not doing that drive again.

My freaking knee is still killing me here on Tuesday night. I'm too old for road trips.


Gholston
(The dog, not the player)
Gholston Carroll, the Boston-Terrorizer, made the trip as well and left his mark in state No. 4 for the young pup. He's marked up New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. We'll see if we can get the greatest Carroll athlete to mark up so more territory in the near future.

The Night Before
(Why play "Empire State of Mind" in Pittsburgh?)
After settling in the city for a few minutes, it was off to Fat Heads on the strip for dinner. That's where the first J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets chants rang loud in the bar. Steelers fans in the place tried their "Here we go Steelers, here we go"chant in response, but to no avail. Jets fans had officially arrived and of course, taken over in loud fashion.

Things got louder at the next bar, where Jets fans again had a strong presence and the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets chants were in full force for several hours. The best part was the bar playing "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys and some Billy Joel songs. Why play New York songs at a Pittsburgh bar the night before the Steelers play the Jets? I have no answer.

Going out in Pittsburgh you will see one thing and one thing only - black and gold. Well over 90 percent guys in the city were wearing Steelers gear. Even a lot of the women were wearing the black and gold as well. I think it was Glenn who said a guy could clean up with the women in the city by just wearing nice clothes. Think about it, a bar full of idiots wearing Steelers jerseys, or some guy wearing a polo shirt. Forget about it.

The Pittsburgh Fan
(They're not who you thought they were)
Obviously, we knew we were in enemy territory, so we acted as we would expect visitors to Jets Stadium to act. We would conform, as much as possible, to the ways of the crowd, in terms of standing and sitting and not drawing attention to ourselves.

Of course, that lasted all of a few seconds, as the three of us were jumping up and down as Brad Smith took the opening kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown. Three big guys wearing Jets jerseys is pretty obvious, so if anyone didn't know we were in the house, they knew then. And let me throw out that we were on the Steelers' sideline, not with the few other Jets fans in the place on the other side. We were our own backup in a sea of black and gold.

For the record, we took minor harassment in stride, only responding to taunts a few times. I still don't understand fans who target other fans as opposed to their team. One guy I actually yelled at to, "root for your team," late in the game. Most fans did focus on the game, and we actually had conversations with several of them, argued about calls and the like, but I'll never get those idiots who rather talk crap to other fans as opposed to concentrating on the game. We accepted the heat, however, as part of the experience.

Craig made a comment that Darrelle Revis shouldn't be covering Hines Ward in the game, because Ward is garbage. It's obviously true as I wouldn't want Ward on my fantasy team, let alone my go-to wide receiver. But Steelers fans love the guy for some reason and several minutes later, when Ward caught a pass, one of only two catches on the day, one of the guys in front of us said something to the effect of "so that's what garbage looks like." We just looked at each other in almost disbelief that the guy actually a) heard the comment and b) held that comment in his mind to make a comment later. Ward, unfortunately for the Steelers, is garbage. But you already knew that.

One quick example of the Pittsburgh fan and then one a little bit longer. With the Steelers on offense and facing a big third down, the Pittsburgh crowd, out of nowhere, started going crazy, screaming their heads off. After a brief moment of confusion for us Jets fans, we started encouraging the mistimed noise, cheering the Jets defense along with the Steelers fans. It took Ben Roethlisberger and the stadium video board to beg the crowd to shut up. Hilarious.

The longer one is also pretty hilarious. On every pass play the Steelers did not complete, the crowd went crazy, demanding flags for pass interference. The crowd had two separate chants in the game, the first being "refs suck" and the next being "referees suck." The first chant was simply annoying, as we couldn't believe these so-called great Pittsburgh sports fans were acting like a bunch of crybabies. The second chant, we actually enjoyed the hilarity and joined in chanting, "referees suck ... referees suck."

I think it was Craig who said it, but I'll repeat it. Steelers fans have nothing to complain about - they've won six freaking Super Bowls and were 10-3 on the season. That fan-base blasting the officials from down one is a whole bunch of lame.

Another surprising moment was when the Jets went up 22-17 after a safety by Jason Taylor. Pittsburgh fans started leaving the stadium in droves, as if there was no chance the Steelers could make a comeback. With 2:38 to go, however, there was plenty of time to come back and win the game - and the Steelers almost did just that. The early exit just didn't make much sense.

After the Jets won in thrilling fashion, I'm sure we were all wondering what kind of reception we would get on the way out of the stadium, and worse if some idiot fan actually tried something. But that didn't happen. A few fans said we'll see you in the playoffs and that was about it.

When we made the walk out of the stadium and over the bridge to the city, a couple of Pittsburgh fans said stuff that we didn't really even acknowledge. We were on a pretty big high from the victory. One funny exchange happened right outside the stadium, when some dude said the "Jets suck", to which we all pretty much replied, "well, not tonight." The fan then answered that by saying "go home," to which I responded, "we are going home." No response to that.

Overall, a little disappointed in the Pittsburgh Steelers fans.


Heinz Field
(Stick with me,
there's a whole lot of bad here)
As you might be able to tell on television, the stadium is almost completely open on one side, which in theory doesn't work when it comes to keeping noise inside the stadium. But the stadium did get loud at certain points. The biggest explosion came not for a play on the field, but for a highlight video on the big screen that was backed by the song Renegade by Styx. The song and video accomplished its mission - getting the crowd and players revved up for a big Jets offensive possession.

For me, however, the whole thing didn't really fit. The beginning of the song was pretty cool, but quickly it became something I just wouldn't put together with football. It was a little weak on the tough-guy football atmosphere, especially for a city supposedly built on toughness. The song was great for Jets fans, as the visitors drove right downfield for a game-tying touchdown immediately after the highlight video played.

Another "get-pumped" video had a bunch of school children racing out of a classroom, a lot of them, and then one kid stops and says "get loud Steelers fans." How cute. The only problem is THIS IS FOOTBALL. Are you kidding me?

One video I actually thought was going to send the crowd into a frenzy was a clip of former Steelers great Mean Joe Greene from his Hall of Fame speech, chanting "de-fense ... de-fense." But nothing.

There were two things that were embarrassing for the stadium itself, and had another Steelers fan in the stands saying, "there talking crap about Heinz Field, man," when we were discussing it. One, the big screen in the stadium is terrible. You would think a team with the money the Steelers have, could at least spring for an HD screen. It was terrible quality.

Two, the person in charge of updating down and distance on the scoreboard and the public address announcer were both horrible. I don't even know how these fans deal with it on a weekly basis. It took about 30 seconds for the scoreboard to update down and distance. That's an unbelievable amount of time. On a 1st and 10 play that would gain about five yards, the scoreboard would read 2nd and 10. Then, with the team breaking the huddle, the board would finally update with 2nd and 5. Just imagine looking to the field, up at the scoreboard, back to the field, back to the scoreboard and getting, basically, the wrong information for most of that time.

You never know how much you need a piece of information until someone holds it that is beyond incompetent. Instead of defending Heinz Field, if I was a Pittsburgh fan, I would be up in arms over something like that. I guess certain groups of fans don't know how good things are in other places. That is something I've never seen in all my years attending games.

Here's a positive, and I wrote about it from Pittsburgh, but it deserves repeating. Before the game started, a security guard came up to us and told us if anyone gave us any crap, to go get him at the top of the stairs and he would kick them out. I can't say enough good things about that. Officials and security at the New Meadowlands are a bunch of morons and could care less about anything like that, so that was a great moment for Heinz Field.

Jets fans
(I guess they never left the bars)
We were basically on our own in the stands, but we made a bunch of noise for the visitors. I could have sworn there were a lot more Jets fans at the bars and on the streets of Pittsburgh Saturday night then were in Heinz Field on Sunday.

We did run into a group of Jets fans under the big screen in the walking area in the end zone and did the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets chant with them. They were all wearing No. 24 jerseys and when we talked to them for a few minutes, they mentioned they were from down the street in Aliquippa. Of course, that all added up to being Revis' family and friends. That was a pretty cool moment. They were very nice and wished us a safe trip back home to New York. We did the same as well.

Well, there you have it. A long road trip gets its fitting long story. We'll see if Glenn rips this entry as well.

GameDay Checks In From Pittsburgh

Thought I would give some quick thoughts from the hotel here in Pittsburgh following the Jets impressive victory over the Steelers Sunday night. I'll give a full report most likely Tuesday with all the happenings of the weekend here in the Steel City.

Had great seats to the game as you can see from the photo above, and as promised, a shout-out to brother Glenn for setting those up. Obviously, we were surrounded by Steelers fans, so we were all (me, Glenn, evil Craig, sister Jackie and sister-in-law Laura) in new territory being the minority. Usually we're the ones messing with opposing fans who dared set foot in Jets Stadium (jokingly of course), so it was weird being on the receiving end at a Jets game.

But overall, it was a great stadium experience. Have to mention that before the game, a Steelers security guard came up to us (we all had our Jets jerseys and gear in full view) for what I thought would be a "don't cause any problems" kind of speech. But it was the exact opposite, as he told us if he have any problems, just get him and he'll take care of everything. Thankfully, that wasn't needed, but it was cool and professional of him to do that.

When leaving the stadium we actually talked for a few moments with friends and family of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. We did the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets chant in the big area in the end zone under the big-screen. A very nice group of people.

Like I wrote above, I'll have more very soon. For now, good night Pittsburgh.

College GameDay Rewind Week 15: Voters Who Omitted Cam Newton From Heisman Should Be Banned

As we kick off the final regular season installment of College GameDay Rewind, there is one group that should be kicked to the curb involving college football right now. Any person who used their vote for the Heisman Trophy to make a statement and omit Auburn quarterback Cam Newton from their ballot should not only be embarrassed, but should be stripped of the right to vote immediately.


That means every single person who left Newton off their ballots - all 105 of them - should be banned from voting. The biggest reason why is also the most simple. These so-called college football experts took the vote and made it a personal statement. How egotistical can you be to make up your own rules on such a historic award? This process is about naming college football's best player, not about a group of idiots changing the rules for their own gratification.

If this clueless group wanted to omit Newton from their ballots, they should have simply sent back a blank sheet. You want to make a statement? Send back a blank ballot. But to try and skew the results because you feel the NCAA didn't punish someone for something he may or may not have done is inexcusable.

I can only hope the Heisman Trust takes a close look at the qualifications of those who omitted Newton. That group of 105 obviously has no clue about college football and shouldn't have the power to do what they did.

Luckily, that group didn't affect the final tally and Newton easily won the Heisman Trophy. Newton's 729 first-place votes were the fifth most in history, trailing only O.J. Simpson, Troy Smith, Reggie Bush and Charlie Ward.

Sticking with college football, two of the biggest jobs were filled quickly as Florida hired Texas assistant Will Muschamp and Miami hired Temple coach Al Golden. Both moves make a whole lot of sense and should get those teams back on track after rough seasons.

Muschamp was the heir apparent to Mack Brown at Texas, but grabbed the Florida job as soon as it became available with the sudden "retirement" of Urban Meyer. The Golden hire at Miami is under a lot more scrutiny, however, especially from Craig Carroll, the Miami fan.

But I love the move. Golden turned around a pathetic Temple program, culminating with a bowl appearance last year for the first time in three decades. For those that don't know, that was a nearly impossible task. Temple was kicked out of the Big East conference for being downright terrible. You know the program had to be bad considering the Big East didn't even have use for them. Golden is also known as a great recruiter, which is where college football championships are won and lost. Only time will tell what Golden brings to Miami, but I believe the Canes are on their way.

Look for more web episodes of Brad Carroll's GameDay over the next few weeks as we'll break down those hirings and give our picks of the best bowl games. In the meantime, check out the latest episode at the top of the website, which details our best and worst teams and players of the college football season.

Switching to baseball, Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies was a shocking development in the race for the ace pitcher. But as I've made clear in the past, I didn't want Lee on the Yankees next season, let alone for the next seven years. It appears the Yankees actually felt the same way, as reports indicate the Bombers not only were resigned to the fact Lee wouldn't sign, but one official said the team should rescind the contract offer to Lee altogether.

Now, that doesn't mean the Yankees should go into the season without making a move, because the Red Sox have gotten tremendously better after acquiring Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. The Yankees have answered by signing catcher Russell Martin. While that move might not get anyone excited, it could end up paving the way for a blockbuster trade. The Yankees are extremely deep at the catching position, so a move could be made in the coming days involving catcher Jesus Montero, one of the best prospects in baseball, as the centerpiece.

With that written, there are probably just two pitchers I would include Montero in a trade for, and that would be Seattle's Felix Hernandez or St. Louis' Chris Carpenter. And even Montero for Carpenter would be a questionable move, but things change with the Yankees need for a starting pitcher. If I was Brian Cashman I would already be on the phone with the Mariners trying to pry King Felix away, a target that actually Craig set his sights on quickly after the Lee signing happened. Montero and some other prospects could be enough to get that done.

If that happens, the Yankees would easily become the favorite to win the American League pennant, even with the offensive moves by the Red Sox. And I would matchup the Yankees rotation against the Phillies any day in what would be a super World Series. CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett vs. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton. I'm taking the Yankees in that battle.

Of course, it would take a minor miracle for the Yankees to actually get Felix Hernandez. But nothing is impossible.

Now, on to the breakdown:

My Weekend: 2-0 (spread); 2-0 (overall); 0-0 (upset picks)
My Season: 59-39-3 (spread); 82-21 (overall); 8-0 (upset picks)
My Money: UP $1,610 (season)
Craig Carroll's Weekend: 2-0 (spread)
Craig Carroll's Season: 49-49-3 (spread)
Craig Carroll's Money: DOWN $490 (season)
Anthony Della Calce’s Weekend: 1-1 (spread)
Anthony Della Calce’s Season: 46-51-3 (spread)
Anthony Della Calce’s Money: DOWN $1,010 (season)


Navy -7.5 vs. Army
My Pick: Navy 27, Army 16
Actual Score: Navy 31, Army 17
What looked to be an easy victory for those picking Navy became a fight for survival in the final moments. Down 14 with three minutes to go, Army had the ball at its own 39 with a chance to hand us a half-point loss if the Black Knights could drive the field and score a touchdown. Army drove downfield in a hurry and set up a first and goal from the Navy 8 with plenty of time to play. Even after an incompletion and sack pushed Army back to the 15, Army still had two shots at a very possible touchdown. After another incompletion, Army quarterback scrambled on fourth down, a play where anything could happen, but made the bad choice of running for the goal line. He was stuffed at the 10 yard line and Navy celebrated the victory, and those picking the Midshipmen did as well. Craig and I both take the victory, while Anthony, of course, takes the loss. The only other selection of the week is the Heisman Trophy race.

Heisman Trophy Ceremony
My Pick: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn (-600)
Winner: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Not much to say, as Auburn quarterback Cam Newton basically gave Craig, Anthony and I an easy victory to add to our records. Newton was the best player in college football and voters gave him the game's biggest award despite rumors and speculation about his involvement in any wrong-doing in a pay-for-play scandal. All we know is that Newton was eligible, which makes him the easy winner. All three of us picked Newton to win, so we all get a win to end the night.

New Britain's Reed Ends Trying Week With Franchise-Record Kick Return

David Reed, a New Britain native, capped what had to be a scary week with a game he won't soon forget for the Baltimore Ravens Monday night. Police raided Reed's home last Tuesday night to, as authorities said, "investigate potential narcotics activities," but failed to file any charges. Just a few days later and Reed was setting a franchise record for the Ravens in Houston.

Reed took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and made what could go down as one of the best plays of the football season. He hit a wall of Texans, broke through several tackles, stayed on his feet when it looked like he might completely lose his balance, and raced downfield for a franchise-record 103-yard touchdown.

"David Reed’s kickoff return to start the half was huge," coach John Harbaugh said. "It gave us a little bit of a cushion which we ended up needing every single bit of it."

"I found myself open, because it was well-blocked," Reed said of his score. "I just found a little lane, saw some daylight and hit it. I had to break a couple of tackles, but that was all she wrote."

The rookie somersaulted into the end zone to give the Ravens a seemingly comfortable 28-7 lead over the Texans.


"It was a bounce play," Reed said. "The whole game, they were pinching to their left, so it was a bounce play to the right. I think I’ve got good balance, so I had to use that. Then just kept going as fast as possible."

Houston did pull off a tremendous comeback to tie the game and force overtime, but the Ravens won on an interception by Josh Wilson for a 34-28 victory. Reed's kick return was even a bigger score for the Ravens considering the Texans defense shut the Baltimore offense down in the second half. Reed ended with 233 yards on six kick returns, a 38.8 average. He also made two solo tackles on special teams.

"I used to break them all the time in high school, but this hasn’t happened since then," Reed said. "I definitely thought it was just going to be a matter of time before I broke one. At this level, it’s all about the schemes, and we had a great scheme in this game. In college, you can just run. Everything worked out tonight."
(AP photo)

Yankees Lose Out On Free Agent Pitcher Cliff Lee, Who Goes To Phillies

Former Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies tonight. Of course this makes the Phillies the automatic favorite in the National League and the team can probably start printing playoff tickets right now.

The starting rotation will be Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton. That's pretty darn good.

The Yankees got shut out, but if I'm Brian Cashman, I don't care. I get on the phone and make a deal to bring in the Royals ace Zack Greinke. He's the pitcher I want; not Lee. We'll see how the Yankees respond, because it has to be big. Things could get interesting in the new few days and weeks.

Jets Are Falling Apart Before Our Eyes; Here's Who To Blame

After the Jets were humiliated by the Patriots last week, and after a cooling off period, I was able to look at what the game really meant. Sure, the loss was an embarrassing disaster and the AFC East was, for the most part, lost on that Monday night. But the fact remained it was a road game in which the Jets were the underdog. While the team and the fans would have hoped for at least a more competitive game, in the end, it was just a one-week setback.

Sunday's devastating loss to the Dolphins, however, has now made that Patriots game matter on top of the Miami debacle. The Jets are in trouble. Desperate trouble. The type of trouble that could have this magical season end without a playoff berth. After a 9-2 start, that would be a shocking development.

The team is falling apart, make no mistake about it. And there's a lot of culprits, which of course, I'll call-out right here.


*Rex Ryan: Might as well start at the top. Ryan is a cult hero with Jets fans, but that blind loyalty is quickly evaporating. I hate to even entertain the thought, but this has the early makings of the Herman Edwards and Eric Mangini eras. Both of those terrible coaches had such strong beginnings that they were thought to be the long-term answer to the Jets' history of losing. Granted, Ryan has them both beat with the way he's changed the culture of the team. But this season could end like all the rest - high hopes turned into disaster. It happened when the Jets were 10-1 way back when and lost five in a row. It happened in Brett Favre's one season in New York, where Super expectations turned into a organizational revamp. Ryan was out of answers on Sunday night, not knowing how to explain a season on the brink. The Jets' reputation around the league is getting ridiculous as well, and that will only be reinforced by the tripping incident involving Sal Alosi (who I actually went to school with at Hofstra). The Jets are a team in turmoil and the schedule does them no favors as road games in Pittsburgh and Chicago await. How the team responds from here will determine what kind of coach Ryan is and will be. Who would have ever thought it would come to this?


*Brian Schottenheimer: Let me see if I can turn my thoughts into words with the Jets offensive coordinator. FIRE HIM RIGHT NOW. There, that wasn't so hard. Schottenheimer is and has been a terrible coordinator, but he always comes out unscathed because the Jets offense always seems to turn a corner at the right time to make him look good. Schottenheimer has no idea how to call a game. The team hasn't scored a touchdown in the first quarter in forever, and that is when Schottenheimer is running scripted plays. The last time the Jets reached the end zone in the first quarter was against the Bills - in Week 4. That is almost impossible to duplicate. Schottenheimer has continued to give the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson instead of Shonn Greene, even though Tomlinson has completely lost the ability to hit holes and break free. He continues to put Mark Sanchez in bad situations. He can't get the ball to Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes. Dustin Keller, an early season hero, has disappeared. Schottenheimer has no idea in late-game situations either, instructing Sanchez to spike the ball on first down with over a minute to play against the Dolphins Sunday. The only thing that accomplished was a wasted down. He's not all to blame, and Sanchez has regressed on his own, but this should be the end of Schottenheimer running the offense, whether or not the team makes the playoffs.


*Mark Sanchez: The second-year quarterback has played like a scared rookie the last two weeks. He was so bad against the Dolphins that Rex Ryan thought about pulling him in the third quarter. But, of course, he couldn't because nobody wants to see Mark Brunnell play. I can't even figure out what's gone wrong with Sanchez, who had such a great start he had to be in the discussion for MVP. With all the late-game magic Sanchez has provided, there should have been reason to be optimistic in the final moments against the Dolphins. But that wasn't the case. He has no confidence in his play, and everyone watching the game knew it. He's regressed so much it borders on unbelievable. I still firmly believe he is the quarterback of the now and future. But he has a lot to prove over the next three weeks or the team might actually have to think about bringing in another quarterback. That could set the franchise back years. Sanchez needs to grow up and he needs to do it now.


*Same Old Jets: Let's hope this isn't the case, but it has all the makings of another Same Old Jets season. That easy touchdown drop by Santonio Holmes? That easy drop by Jerricho Cotchery on the final drive that would have went for a big play? An opposing quarterback passing for 55 yards and winning? The defense playing out of this world for naught? It can be explained by any number of means, but for those in the know, it's the Same Old Jets. The next two weeks will go a long way in determining what kind of season this is going to be. The Jets can beat the Steelers and they absolutely can beat the Bears. Rex Ryan is going to have to get this thing turned around in a hurry; Mark Sanchez is going to have to grow up in a hurry; Brian Schottenheimer is going to have to have a miraculous turnaround in a hurry; and the entire team needs to bury the Same Old Jets stuff once and for all and play up to their abilities. The Jets have talent everywhere, it's time to put it all together. Beat the Steelers and the Jets are back on there way. GameDay is going to be in the house next Sunday in Pittsburgh ... I better not be going for nothing.
(AP photos)

Police Raid Home Of Ravens WR And New Britain Native David Reed

From the Associated Press:
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A police spokesman says authorities raided the home of Baltimore Ravens rookie kick returner David Reed earlier this week to investigate potential drug activity.

Reed is a native of New Britain.

Lt. Robert McCullough of the Baltimore County police says no charges have been filed, but police did take evidence from his residence.

McCullough says police entered Reed's home around 10:30 on Tuesday night to "investigate potential narcotics activities."

He says the evidence that was confiscated is being analyzed, and that Reed "currently is not being charged with anything."

Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne says the team is "aware of the situation" and has talked to Reed. Byrne says Reed will "have his due process and his opportunity to talk about the circumstances."

College GameDay Picks Column: Cam Newton Will Easily Win Heisman

Executive Sports Editor Brad Carroll breaks down a college football Saturday
Last Week: 5-2 (spread); 6-1 (overall); 1-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Week: 2-5 (spread)
This Season: 57-39-3 (spread); 80-21 (overall); 8-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Season: 47-49-3 (spread)

The Heisman Trophy Voting
1. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
The Résumé: Cam Newton will win the Heisman Trophytonight. It’s as simple as that. Newton had one of the best college seasons in recent memory. He became just the second player in history to throw for at least 20 touchdowns and run for another 20. He won the Davey O’Brien award as the nation’s best quarterback. Since Newton was cleared by the NCAA of any wrong-doing in the recent scandalinvolving his father, he should easily win the trophy tonight.
Where He Finishes: Again, easy, Newton wins the Heisman.

2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
The Résumé: If not for Cam Newton’s tremendous season at Auburn, Oregon running back LaMichael James would have won the Heisman this year. James was the driving force behind the nation’s most explosive offense, rushing for 1,682 yards and 21 touchdowns. He rushed for 260 yards and four touchdowns as Oregon clinched its spot in the national title game with wins over Arizona and Oregon State. But with Newton also on the ballot, James comes up short.
Where He Finishes: James will be the runner-up.

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
The Résumé: I wrote about it in College GameDayRewind right here on the blog but it should be repeated here. Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore’s54-yard pass completion in the final seconds against Nevada that set up what should have been the game-winning field goal was his Heisman moment. It’s just too bad all anyone remembers is the two missed field goals by Kyle Brotzman. Moore passed for 3,506 yards and 33 touchdowns this year.
Where He Finishes: Moore is a close third in the voting.

4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Résumé: Andrew Luck not only had a great season at Stanford, but became the top-rated quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft. That obviously could be bigger than winning the Heisman Trophy. Luck threw for 3,051 yards and 28 touchdowns this year in leading the Cardinal to the Orange Bowl and a No. 4 ranking in the country. As you gear up for the award ceremony, remember to check out a brand new episode of Brad Carroll’s GameDay at the top of the website right now.
Where He Finishes: Luck will round out the Top 4.

Navy vs. Army at Philadelphia, 2:30 p.m., CBS
The Skinny: This is probably the only game all year that people actually care about even though it features two unranked teams with nothing on the line except for pride. This rivalry is almost can’t-miss and it rightfully gets the college football stage to itself today. Navy and Army both feature the running game, but the Midshipmen do it better than the Black Knights, so they are the pick. The Pick: Navy (-7.5) wins it 27-16.
Craig Carroll goes with Cam Newton to win the Heisman and Navy to cover.
(AP photo)

Urban Meyer Steps Down As Florida Coach After Disappointing Season

Urban Meyer is stepping down as Florida head coach, again.

"At this time in my life, however, I fully grasp the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has demanded of me, and I know it is time to put my focus on my family and life away from the field. The decision to step down was a difficult one," Meyer said in a statement. "But, after spending more than two decades motivating and celebrating the young men I've been so proud to coach, I relish the opportunity to cheer for my three terrific kids as they compete in their own respective sports."

Meyer will coach the team against Penn State in the Outback Bowl on January 1. Meyer quit the Gators last year as well, but returned after one day. The team was disappointing this season, going 7-5.

Jets Humiliated By Patriots, But There's A Whole Lot Of Season Left

The 42-point embarrassing loss by the Jets Monday night feels exactly like being eliminated from the playoffs. It has that sinking, depressing feeling that typically comes only when a season comes to a close earlier than expected. Mark Sanchez was terrible, playing like a scared rookie. The defense was pathetic, allowing Tom Brady to pick them apart with ease. Kicker Nick Folk missed an early field goal; he should be cut tomorrow. The coaching was abysmal. Rex Ryan was terrible in every phase of the game. He misused challenges, chose to kick a long field goal instead of going for it on fourth down early in the game, and watched the Patriots treat his team like a bunch of practice squad players without any response. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was his usual horrible self, miscalling yet another game.

But, with all that written, there is still a lot of football to be played this season. The Jets are 9-3 and trail the Patriots by a game for the AFC East and the top seed in the conference. It would take a monumental effort for the Jets to overtake the Pats now, but it could happen. The Jets also have solid control of a wild card spot, with four games still to be played. That's obviously a position the Jets have rarely been in.

So, with the depression and embarrassment and anger, there is also hope for the Jets and their fans. Yes, the Jets were humiliated in the "Game of the Year," but the season isn't over by a longshot. I already tossed out the phrase Same Old Jets during and immediately following the game, and part of me is still thinking exactly that. But I'm not going to let that take control of this season after having settled down for a couple hours following the game.

What the Jets do next week against the Dolphins at home will go a long way in determining how this season finishes. There's been great Jets' starts in the past that fizzled quickly. Rex Ryan and the Jets say this year is different. We'll see how the team responds next week. Win and all is forgiven. Heck, since the Patriots play at the Bears next week, the Jets could be tied again atop the division. Lose, however, and get ready for one heck of an SOJ rant.
(AP photo)

Broncos Fire Coach Josh McDaniels

In what has to come as shocking news, the Denver Broncos have fired head coach Josh McDaniels. McDaniels basically gutted the team's roster since taking over as head coach about two years ago, getting rid of Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Peyton Hillis, among others. He also made questionable decisions in adding players, the biggest of which was taking quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round of the NFL Draft when many thought he was a third-round pick.

The team was also found guilty of illegally taping a San Francisco 49ers' walk-through earlier this season, similar to that of the infamous Spygate controversy that had the Patriots punished for illegally taping the Jets. That could have been the final straw for owner Pat Bowlen. After starting his first season as head coach 6-0, the Broncos have gone 5-17 since. Denver is 3-9 this season. McDaniels will still be paid $7 million over the next two years.
(AP photo)

College GameDay Rewind Week 14: UConn To Shock The World In Fiesta Against Oklahoma? Nobody Cares

The UConn Huskies have finally arrived on the national college football scene and will be the team everyone falls in love with as perennial power Oklahoma waits in the Fiesta Bowl come New Year’s Day. Yeah, right.

I know people in Connecticut have already started the “let’s shock the world” talk. But the fact is the world doesn’t care, so shocking them will be pretty darn impossible. This is not Boise State. This is not TCU. This is not Utah. UConn is not a Cinderella team that is fighting for respect from the traditional powers. No, UConn is simply a team that does not deserve to play in one of college football’s marquee games.

UConn is playing in a BCS game when it doesn’t even appear in its Top 25 rankings. That’s right, out of the 25 teams ranked in the BCS, four-loss UConn is nowhere to be found. But No. 9 Michigan State (11-1), No. 10 LSU (10-2), No. 11 Boise State (11-1), No. 12 Missouri (10-2), No. 14 Oklahoma State (10-2), No. 15 Nevada (12-1), No. 16 Alabama (9-3), No. 17 Texas A&M (9-3), No. 18 Nebraska (10-3) and No. 19 Utah (10-2) are all ranked and won’t get anywhere near a BCS game.


But this isn’t all about UConn. This is more an indictment on what the Big East football conference has become – a joke. No one from the conference deserved to go to a BCS game. Notice that none of the above mentioned teams are from the Big East. I would have started the campaign to strip the conference’s automatic BCS bid right here, but I don’t want TCU to suffer. The Horned Frogs are headed to the Big East – how desperate is the Big East that they would add a team from Texas? – and I don’t want to punish them. TCU will represent the Big East in the BCS for the next decade or so, and actually give it some legitimacy.

TCU is playing Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. And guess what? The nation will be behind them because people love a great story. UConn isn’t a great story. UConn is a sub-par team that got lucky to be part of such a disaster of a conference. Did I mention the Huskies barely defeated a terrible South Florida squad when they had everything to play for? If UConn can’t win that game convincingly, how is it going to even compete with Oklahoma? The worst part for UConn is that if it does beat Oklahoma on New Year’s Day, no one will care because it will probably be the lowest rated Fiesta Bowl of all time.

Enjoy the experience, Huskies, because it will be the one and only time you play in a game of this magnitude. My early, sneak-peek prediction for the Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma 70, UConn 0. Is that too little?

Speaking of the postseason, my title defense in my fantasy football league is over. I didn’t qualify for the playoffs, so the repeat dream is over. In my brother’s league, I’m fighting for my life and it will come down to Monday Night Football. I’ve already lost my game, so I need one of two teams to lose for me to qualify. I need my brother to lose, but he leads by 13 and is facing just the Patriots defense. That’s not likely to happen. The more realistic option is one team with a 13-point lead and Shonn Greene needing to best Wes Welker. That is a definite possibility. If you’re in a fantasy football league and fighting for a playoff spot, you know what I’ll be going through. Good luck to you and go Shonn Greene.

We all know how big that Jets-Patriots game Monday night game is but I’m not going to write about it here and now. No jinxing on my watch.


The free agency watch in baseball heated up in recent days, the best of which was the Red Sox interest in Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time. For the first time since probably the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, the Yankees and Red Sox seriously went after the same player. My only question with the Red Sox’s thinking with Rivera is why make an offer so low? If you really want Rivera, offer him two years and $40 million. A two-year, $30 million deal is not worth leaving the Yankees for. Rivera signed the same deal the Red Sox offered with the Yankees. By the way, how do you think Jonathan Papelbon is feeling right about now? That empty feeling couldn't happen to a better guy.

The Red Sox did make a big move by trading for Adrian Gonzalez, who should give the Boston offense a big boost. But the biggest offensive game-changer still available is Carl Crawford. If the either the Yankees or Red Sox sign the Tampa Bay outfielder, that team will be the favorite to win the AL East.

Switching back to the NFL, the struggles this season by Peyton Manning and the Colts is another thing to enjoy. Colts fans have seen the same thing every year since Jim Mora left as coach. The team starts the season 12-0, clinches the division by December, and the only decision to be made with the team is whether or not to play their starters or rest them for the playoffs. Well, things have changed in Indianapolis.


Manning has been terrible in recent weeks and threw four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, in a home loss to the Cowboys Sunday. That has the Colts at 6-6 and trailing the Jaguars by one game in the AFC South. For anyone who has followed a team that has struggled just to make the playoffs, this Colts season is for you. Indianapolis fans finally get a taste of what it’s like to actually play meaningful regular season games late in the season, as opposed to just debating whether or not Manning should play two or three quarters and then watching the team choke in the playoffs. Welcome to reality, Colts fans.

Before we jump into the breakdown, Craig, Anthony and I will be doing one more regular season episode of Brad Carroll’s GameDay before heading to the bowl season. So, coming this week we’ll break down the Navy-Army rivalry game and give our picks for the Heisman Trophy. Be on the lookout for that episode, and check out our take on UConn football in the current episode at the top of the website.

Now, on to the breakdown:

My Weekend: 5-2 (spread); 6-1 (overall); 1-0 (upset picks)
My Season: 57-39-3 (spread); 80-21 (overall); 8-0 (upset picks)
My Money: UP $1,410 (season)
Craig Carroll's Weekend: 2-5 (spread)
Craig Carroll's Season: 47-49-3 (spread)
Craig Carroll's Money: DOWN $690 (season)
Anthony Della Calce’s Weekend: 4-3 (spread)
Anthony Della Calce’s Season: 45-50-3 (spread)
Anthony Della Calce’s Money: DOWN $1,000 (season)


Pittsburgh +2 at Cincinnati
My Pick: Pittsburgh 27,
Cincinnati 23
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 28, Cincinnati 10
This was an easy way to improve my upset picks this season to a perfect 8-0. Pittsburgh had no problem with the Bearcats, but the same can’t be said for the Bearcat mascot, who got tackled to the ground and arrested by police. The dude in the costume apparently didn’t listen to cops who told him to stop throwing snowballs, and when confronted, shoved a cop to the ground. From there, of course, it was chaos and quite funny as at least five cops had the mascot pinned to the ground. (There’s video on YouTube). That was just about the only interesting thing that happened in this game. All three of us get wins to open the day 1-0.

Rutgers +20.5 at No. 23 West Virginia
My Pick: West Virginia 41, Rutgers 14
Actual Score: West Virginia 35, Rutgers 14
West Virginia slowly made the statement I thought it would from the start, finally putting two touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter to cover the big spread. Those two scores allowed Rutgers to score a meaningless touchdown late without worry. Unfortunately, no mascots were arrested in this one, so it simply goes down as another easy win for the three of us. We’re each 2-0 heading to the title games.


No. 1 Oregon -16.5 at Oregon State
My Pick: Oregon 45, Oregon State 24
Actual Score: Oregon 37, Oregon State 20
Oregon had this game in the bag until Oregon State scored a touchdown with about a minute to play to pull within 18. Of course, at that point, the Beavers could have decided to go for the 2-point conversion, which would have made a meaningless touchdown very meaningful. If Oregon State kicks the extra point, those picking the Ducks win, as the margin would be 17. If the Beavers go for two and get it, the margin would be 16, a loss for the Ducks and a win for OSU. And while it made sense to go for two, to make it a two possession game, the Beavers simply kicked the point after and I got to celebrate my third straight victory to open the day. Craig, of course, was texting that Oregon State should go for two, but his prayers went unanswered and he and Anthony suffer their first losses.


No. 2 Auburn -6 vs. No. 18 South Carolina
My Pick: Auburn 27, South Carolina 20
Actual Score: Auburn 56, South Carolina 17
Many might look at the final score and think this was a blowout from start to finish. But the game actually was competitive with South Carolina scoring a touchdown to trail by seven in the final seconds of the first half. The Gamecocks were getting the ball back first in the second half, so this was anyone’s game. But in those final seconds before the second quarter ended, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton completed one pass and then chucked up a Hail Mary with no time left that was answered for a momentum-changing touchdown that all but ended the game right there. From down seven with the ball, to down 14 and being emotionally drained in just seconds was the fate suffered by South Carolina. And the Gamecocks simply couldn’t recover. Auburn rolled in the second half to win the SEC title and will play Oregon for the national championship. I picked Oregon several weeks ago to beat Auburn for the championship, and we’ll see if I stick with that pick in the coming weeks. For now, I improve to 4-0 on the day. Craig and Anthony both take losses to clock equal 2-2 records.


No. 20 Florida State +4 vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech
My Pick: Virginia Tech 31, Florida State 21
Actual Score: Virginia Tech 44, Florida State 33
This was the game that had Craig burning up my phone lines Saturday night. Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder didn’t play, and rightfully so, Craig was angry he had to stick with the Seminoles even though he clearly would have switched picks with that new information. But that’s football, even though he didn’t want to hear it. I, on the other hand, said with or without Ponder, the Hokies would win rather easily, and they did. Another thing Craig commented on was that the games to this point have all been pretty bad, and they were, but I’ll still take a boring 5-0 start any day rather than an exciting 0-5. That 5-0 record is exactly what I am after the Virginia Tech victory, and the possibility remains for a 7-0 mark as South Florida and Oklahoma both have a shot to cover. Anthony also gets the win with his Hokies, moving to 3-2. Craig can’t catch a break and falls to 2-3.

Connecticut +1.5 at South Florida
My Pick: South Florida 28, UConn 24
Actual Score: UConn 19, South Florida 16
If you listen to everyone here in Connecticut, you would think the Huskies playing in a BCS game is something that puts a stamp on the program. The rest of the country is simply laughing. Nobody cares about the Huskies. Nobody cares about the Big East. And nobody will care what UConn does in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. Remember, you can’t shock the world if the world doesn't care. And the world doesn't cares about UConn. That game will be the lowest rated in years and possibly in history. I take the loss to drop to 5-1. Craig also drops the game to move to 2-4. Anthony gets the homer win to improve to 4-2.


No. 13 Nebraska +6
vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
My Pick: Oklahoma 24,
Nebraska 17
Actual Score: Oklahoma 23,
Nebraska 20
Oklahoma kicked just two field goals in the second half to finish off Nebraska and a pretty ordinary Championship Saturday. Even though the final margin in this game was just three points, it really wasn't the barn-burning finish everyone was hoping for or the score would indicate. Overall, it was a not-so-good slate of college football games, and this cover by Nebraska capped it off as all three of us end with losses. I finish the week with a 5-2 record against the spread, which I can’t complain about. Still, after starting 5-0 I had big expectations. Craig continues his downward slide, finishing with a 2-5 record. I lead the battle for Carroll supremacy by 10 games heading into the final few weeks of the season. Anthony ends the week with a winning 4-3 record. We’ll be back with a special video episode of Brad Carroll’s GameDay later this week as we will break down the Navy-Army rivalry game and pick our Heisman trophy winners. So, make sure you check that out in the coming days and throughout the bowl season.
(AP photos)

Week 14 College Football Picks Column: Auburn, Oregon Will Play For BCS National Championship

Executive Sports Editor Brad Carroll takes a look at the top games of the day
Last Week: 2-4-1 (spread); 5-2 (overall); 1-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Week: 1-5-1 (spread)
This Season: 52-37-3 (spread); 74-20 (overall); 7-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Season: 45-43-2 (spread)

No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 18 South Carolina, 4 p.m., CBS
The Skinny: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has been cleared by the NCAA of wrong-doing, for now anyway, and will lead the Tigers in the SEC Championship game today against South Carolina. The Tigers, of course, would play for a BCS title if they can beat the Gamecocks, and after their amazing win over Alabama last week, there is no reason to believe they won’t. South Carolina has the ability to pull off the upset, but I just don’t think Auburn will suffer a letdown at this point. The Pick: Auburn (-6) wins it 27-20.

No. 1 Oregon at Oregon State, 3:30 p.m., ABC
The Skinny: The scenario is simple for Oregon, beat Oregon State in the Civil War and the Ducks will play for a BCS title. On paper, this game is a mismatch, with Oregon State not coming close to the talent level of Oregon. But the game’s not called the Civil War for nothing, and a rivalry brings out the best in both teams. Still, Oregon’s offense is so explosive that even the huge point-spread won’t deter me from picking them. And, remember, the Ducks were my pick to the win NCAA title way back when. The Pick: Oregon (-16.5) wins it 45-24.

No. 13 Nebraska vs. No. 10 Oklahoma, 8 p.m., ABC
The Skinny: This Big 12 Championship game has so much more on the line than a simple BCS bowl. Oklahoma will not only be playing for itself but the entire conference, as this is the final game Nebraska will play before it leave for the Big 10. I think you know who everyone in the Big 12 will be pulling for. Oklahoma should be up for the task, however, and won’t succumb to that pressure and will win the game. The Pick: Oklahoma (-6) wins it 24-17.

No. 20 Florida State vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech, 7:45 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: Virginia Tech has risen from the dead to win 10 straight games and find itself one more win away from the Orange Bowl. After starting the year with losses to Boise State and James Madison, that is pretty amazing. The Hokies opponent in the ACC Championship will be a team that has had their number in recent years — Florida State. But the Hokies are clearly the best team in the ACC, and will play like it tonight. The Pick: Virginia Tech (-4) wins it 31-21.

UConn at South Florida, 8 p.m., ESPN2
The Skinny: We break down this matchup and the entire state of the Big East on this week’s episode of Brad Carroll’s GameDay, which can be seen on my blog and at bristolpress.com and newbritainherald.com. In short, UConn can clinch the Big East title and a spot in the BCS with a win over South Florida. That is embarrassing to both the school and the conference, and the Big East has to be praying for a USF win tonight. The Pick: South Florida (-1.5) wins it 28-24.

Rutgers at No. 23 West Virginia, 12 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: West Virginia is the team the Big East hopes is its representative in the BCS picture, and that can happen with a win over Rutgers and a UConn loss to South Florida later on. West Virginia should have no trouble getting past a bad Rutgers team, which has lost five straight games. The Mountaineers need to make a statement and they will get to do just that this afternoon at home. The Pick: West Virginia (-20.5) wins it 41-14.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 12 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: Pitt needs the win to guarantee a bowl game, while Cincinnati is simply trying to end the season on a high note. So, go with the team motivated by a possible bowl game. The Pick: Pittsburgh (+2) wins it 27-23.
Here are Craig Carroll’s picks for the week: South Carolina, Oregon State, Oklahoma, Florida State, South Florida, West Virginia, Pittsburgh.
(AP photo)