The Gould Standard Picks: Week 14

You always want more. A 5-3 mark last week was good. It halted a scary November slide. But it coulda, shoulda, woulda been better.

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Ohio State, an 11-1/2-point favorite, winning by 11? Where’s the justice in that? The Buckeyes should have been given an extra point for making their comeback without starter J.T. Barrett, viciously attacked by a cameraman who is still at-large.

And shame on me for not listening to my gut and picking Wisconsin, scared off by a massive 17-point line in a rivalry game with row-the-sinking-boat Gophers. Gut also said it was Auburn’s turn in the Iron Bowl, but was washed away by omnipresent Saban/Bama Kool-Aid.

So we’re going with the gut—and the ESPN Pick Center—this week. I not only have located the Pick Center on the ESPN website. I’m reasonably sure I understand how to read it.

What does it matter now?

But wait! There's more! Word is leaking out from the TMG home office in Chino Hills that we may be conducting a Bowl Picks contest. With (modest) prizes! Stay tuned.

Good luck in sports. . .

THE GAMES

USC minus-4 vs. Stanford

UCF minus-7 vs. Memphis

Auburn minus-2-1/2 vs. Georgia

Clemson minus-9-1/2 vs. Miami

Ohio State minus-6-1/2 vs. Wisconsin

Oklahoma minus-7 vs. TCU

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THE PICKS

USC minus-4 vs. Stanford

USC had a week off while Stanford pounded out a tough win vs. Notre Dame. Stanford’s stud runner, Bryce Love, has been nursing a high ankle sprain forever. It’s a short week for the Cardinal. And USC won their first meeting, when we were still young. So why do I want to pick Stanford? Because it’s college football. Why am I not gonna do it? Because my gut says, ``Don’t yield to temptation.’’ And because the ESPN Pick Center says, USC, 64 percent ``spread consensus pick.’’ I think that means, ``Pick USC.’’

The Pick: USC

The Score: 35-28

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UCF minus-7 vs. Memphis

The ESPN Pick Center says Memphis is a 61 percent ``spread consensus pick.’’ After watching the entertaining and impressive way Central Florida outlasted a very solid South Florida in the Directional Florida Bowl, though, my gut says, ``UCF. Keep the change.’’

The Pick: UCF

The Score: UCF, 42-31

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Auburn minus-2-1/2 vs. Georgia

Really don't want to overthink here. Auburn has drilled the Dawgs, the Crimson Tide and Louisiana-Monroe in its last three games. Plus, Gus Malzahn wears glasses. The ESPN Pick Center says, ``Auburn, 62 percent ``spread consensus pick.’’ . . . And yet, what does the Pick Center know about Kerryon Johnson's shoulder? How will the Tigers fare away from the Plains, and in a setting where there will be lots of Dawgs barking? Advantage(s), Georgia.

The Pick: Georgia

The Score: Georgia, 30-23

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Clemson minus-9-1/2 vs. Miami

Kudos to Mark Richt for reviving himself and his alma mater. But Dabo Swinney is the new Nick Saban. And you never know whether the Hurricanes will be a direct hit. I would like the Tigers better if the line was, say, 6-1/2, but what’s a field goal among ACC friends? Plus, ESPN Pick Center likes Clemson too: 65 percent!

The Pick: Clemson

The Score: Clemson, 38-24

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Ohio State minus-6-1/2 vs. Wisconsin

This is the ultimate No-Respect Game. Badgers are unbeaten and unloved, and widely expected to crumble in the speedy Buckeye nutcracker. I’m not buying it—and not because there’s a cameraman from a small Wisconsin market (I’m not telling you which one) bent on doing pre-game evil. The Badgers will run well, and their defense will hold up. And the ESPN Pick Center calls them a whopping 72 percent spread consensus pick. Roll, Bucky! Or at least cover.

The Pick: Wisconsin

The Score: Wisconsin, 31-21

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Oklahoma minus-7 vs. TCU

In a way, it would be fun if the Horned Frogs pulled off a shocker. Because it’s the best bet to throw the College Football Playoff into a tizzy. It’s also the best bet to save the world from crotch-grabbing. Alas, can’t go against the Sooners scoring machine. Or the ESPN Pick Center—Oklahoma, 73 percent.

The Pick: Oklahoma

The Score: Oklahoma, 31-21

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LAST WEEK: 5-3

SEASON: 40-41

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Note: I went 4-1-1 on the above championship-week picks. So my final season total reads like this. . . 

LAST WEEK: 4-1-1

SEASON: 44-42-1

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