This weekend's headlines: Mike Vick will lose in his Atlanta homecoming... Florida State takes a BCS pole position with a win over Oklahoma... The Rays catch the Red Sox...
Saturday: Oklahoma at Florida State is one of the Top 3 games of the season, in large part because it has national-title implications. Forget what other people are saying -- the loser of this game is out of BCS title-game contention (unless every other team takes a loss, which isn't happening).
I shouldn't be buying FSU, but I am: Home-field advantage is huge, the motivation of last year's beat-down is significant and I'm convinced that Oklahoma is, as usual, overrated. It will be a breakthrough win for "FSU 2.0" and the Jimbo Fisher Era.
That's a big enough pick that it doesn't bother me that I'm not seeing any other upsets in the Top 25 this week. (I'm intrigued by Toledo at home tonight against Boise State, but Boise plays great in challenge games like this. Tennessee will keep things tight at Florida, but it'll be a UF win. Ohio State will roll Miami. And I think Maryland has a shot at upending West Virginia.)
(Last night: Unsurprising that LSU beat Mississippi State in Starkville, but it's a huge win -- how many other national contenders can claim that big of a win on the road, not to mention LSU's season-opening win over Oregon. There's a temptation to install the OU-FSU winnner at No. 1, but no one can match the ranking resume of LSU right now.)
Sunday: Vick's ATL homecoming is the biggest story of the weekend (although if you strip away the off-field storyline, Pats-Chargers seems like an amazing game), but there are plenty of others: Can the Bills and Lions zip out to 2-0? Was the Colts' Week 1 an anomaly or the new standard? Donovan McNabb can't play worse, can he? Must-win for the Steelers? Anyone not on the Rex Grossman bandwagon? And, of course, how will Cam Newton do?
Picks: NO d. CHI, BUF d. OAK, DET d. KC, BAL d. @TEN, IND d. CLE, TB d. @MIN, NYJ d. JAX, PIT d. SEA, WSH d. ARI, GB d. @CAR, DAL d. @SF, DEN d. CIN, MIA d. HOU, NE d. SD, ATL d. PHI, NYG d. STL. (LW: 10-6, YTD: 10-6).
MLB: The Rays won at Fenway last night and they are 3 games behind the Red Sox with 3 still to play in Boston. There isn't much room for error for Tampa, although winning 2 of the next 3 rather than sweeping still leaves them in shouting distance. I'm struck by the idea that there's a compelling argument for the Yankees to tank their remaining games against the Rays in order to ensure the Red Sox miss the playoffs.
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