So here we are, in the last regular-season edition of 90% Mental's picks. It's been a good season so far, and I'll hope to keep it going as we head into the bowl season.
There's only one SEC game this weekend, as LSU will take on Tennessee for the league title and a guaranteed berth in a BCS game, but there are quite a few big games going on around the country. Odds from USA Today.
LSU -7.5 against Tennessee
What a calamitous decline it's been for LSU - in the space of one week, they've gone from near-sure locks for the national championship game to needing to beat the Volunteers to qualify for a BCS bowl. Does anyone really think that the BCS committees would take a three-loss team that's lost two straight games to supposedly inferior opponents? Me neither. But Les Miles and the Tigers should be able to pull this one out.
Virginia Tech -4.5 against Boston College
The last time these two teams played, the Hokies had the game in their grasp. They had dominated the game through three quarters; Boston College had been able to get absolutely nothing going on offense; and then VT went into a prevent defense, with predictable results: Matt Ryan & co. torched them in the last few minutes to come back and win 14-10. The Hokies won't make a similar mistake this time.
Oklahoma -3 against Missouri
The Sooners aren't having their greatest year - they've lost two games, to Colorado and Texas Tech; their quarterback, while he's put up good numbers, is still only a freshman; their running backs are relative unknowns. Missouri, meanwhile, are the team of the moment - they've just come off a big win over undefeated Kansas, their quarterback has been near-flawless, their coach is being hailed as a genius - all the signs point to Missouri continuing to roll smoothly along.
Except - Oklahoma beat Missouri once already this season, flummoxing Chase Daniels and putting up 41 points on the Tigers' 39th-ranked scoring defense. The Sooners did it once; the Sooners will do it again here.
Oregon straight up against Oregon State
Since Dennis Dixon went out two games ago, the Ducks have looked terrible; they haven't won, and last week, against UCLA, they didn't even manage to score. This week, against the Beavers, they'll be starting a redshirt freshman quarterback, Cody Kempt, who went 6-23 in relief of Brady Leaf last week. But Jonathan Stewart is almost healthy again, and Oregon State tailback Yvenson Bernard is probably out for the game, putting pressure on Beavers quarterback Sean Canfield, who has 14 interceptions to only 8 touchdowns this season. Couple that with a full Autzen Stadium, and the Ducks' running game and defense should be enough to make up for their weak passing game.
Last week: 4-3