The parity bug has bitten college football. This is the fewest number of weeks it has ever taken for every preseason top-10 team to lose at least one game.
All these upsets have made for compelling television, but it has also made it hard to make picks. Now picking national games is more dangerous than standing between Kansas coach Mark Mangino and a batch of cookies.
For better or worse, these three weeks have had everybody scratching their heads, and this week will be no different.
No. 2 South Florida at Rutgers, tonight, 7:30 p.m. – ESPN/ESPN 360
The story of South Florida’s rise from nonexistence to powerhouse may make you all warm and fuzzy, but it’s gotten old. Did you know when South Florida coach Jim Leavitt started there, he had to work out of trailers? Yes, ESPN, I did know that because I’m reminded of it every day! Luckily all the campy fluff stops tonight because the Bulls will not go unscathed. They play Rutgers on the road, a former feel-good story until the Scarlet Knights blew it against Maryland and then again against Cincinnati. Now with no National Title hopes, Rutgers looks forward to a wide-open conference title (gee, that sounds familiar). Nothing boosts a home team more than the bright lights and the TV cameras. The No. 2 team has lost each of the last two weeks. Tonight makes three.
Rutgers 28, No. 2 South Florida 13
No. 15 Florida at No. 7 Kentucky, 3:30 p.m. – CBS
Man, the Gators must really be kicking themselves. In a season where one loss doesn’t mean a team is out of the race, they’ve already lost twice (both to SEC East teams, no less). But just like Rutgers, a win this weekend puts Florida back into the conference title hunt. Unfortunately, they have to travel to Lexington, Ky., where Kentucky has been unconscious this season. Erase the slip-up in South Carolina and the Wildcats would very likely be No. 1 in the nation right now. Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson went from a relative unknown to a household name, and there’s no better game for him to make a case for the Heisman Trophy. It’s foolish to pick another top-10 upset, but I find it difficult to believe Urban Meyer will let his squad lose three conference games this season.
No. 15 Florida 24, No. 7 Kentucky 21