Allow me to duck behind my couch, purchased in SEC territory, as I make the following statement:
The ACC isn't that bad.
No, you did not accidentally walk into a basketball column. Or even a lacrosse one. My fellow football fans, there might be evidence the much-maligned ACC will have some good football teams.
Florida State beat BYU, which had upset Oklahoma and seemed headed to a BCS bowl. The Seminoles also lost to Miami, which beat Georgia Tech, which beat Clemson. And while Virginia Tech lost to Alabama, it played the Tide fairly close.
Yeah, I know, you can play this game and end up with Newberry as the national champion. Here's the point: The teams at the top of the ACC seem to be closely matched and capable of playing with good teams in other leagues - unlike the previous few years.
The bottom of the ACC - Duke, Maryland and Virginia - appears to be taking the year off. But that smell at the bottom should help top-tier ACC teams: A lack of trap games should keep a lot of them safely in the top 25.
Now, I wonder if there's a game this week that could make the ACC look really bad.
Texas Christian at Clemson (-2 1/2): Yeah, TCU is ranked No. 15. But Clemson is favored, and Phil Steele is picking the Tigers. And if Steele told me eating three burgers a day would cause me to lose weight, I'd be a regular at Whataburger. Pick: Clemson covers.
Arkansas at Alabama (-17): Razorback defensive end Damario Ambrose and cornerback Ramon Broadway each have been arrested this year for failing to appear for a court date. Judging by the Georgia game, that's not the only thing Arkansas defenders fail to appear for. Pick: Alabama covers.
Arizona State at Georgia (-13): Georgia coach Mark Richt was tolerant of this season's schedule-making until the team picnic, when he found out athletics director Damon Evans had set up a softball game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Pick: Georgia covers.
Miami at Virginia Tech (-2): Help me out here. Who is Jacory Harris and when did he become Jim Kelly? Pick: Virginia Tech covers.
LSU (-13 1/2) at Mississippi State: Interestingly, LSU has lost five consecutive day games. HBO's vampire show "True Blood" is set in Louisiana. Coincidence? You tell me. Pick: MSU covers, but LSU wins.
Florida (-21 1/2) at Kentucky: In talking about Kentucky's defense, Florida coach Urban Meyer said: "They're not a 'Star Wars' type defense, just very solid, well-coached." ... Wait, "Star Wars"? Did he mean missile defense, Yoda, the Death Star or what? No wonder they couldn't blow out Tennessee. Pick: Kentucky covers, but Florida wins.
The rest: Boston College (-1) covers against Wake Forest. Georgia Tech (-2 1/2) covers against North Carolina. Pittsburgh beats N.C. State (-1 1/2). Florida State (-14 1/2) covers against South Florida. Rutgers (-2 1/2) covers against Maryland. Ohio covers, but Tennessee (-21 1/2) wins. Vanderbilt (-8) covers against Rice. Auburn (-32) covers against Ball State. Texas Tech (even) beats Houston.
Last week: 8-7 vs. spread, 12-3 overall.
Season: 24-21 vs. spread, 38-7 overall.