Put-up or shut-up time for Texas-Nebraska, Big 12 and Pac-10

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After months of build-up, Texas finally heads to Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the No. 5 Cornhuskers in what can only be described as the end all, be all cage battle of 2010.

Bad blood? You bet. Judging by this video and the comments on this post, you’d think that one of these two programs had donated money to Al Qaeda. As a pure third-party spectator, the war of words between respective fan bases has reached a level of awkwardness that can only be compared to a dysfunctional family attempting to have dinner together. The mom’s drunk (again), the sister’s free-loading boyfriend is there and, next thing you know, everyone’s arguing over something that happened five years ago and you just want some more potatoes.

As far as picks go, my luck with picking the spread has been awful. To adjust, I’ve come up with a formula that requires me to drink beer for an hour and throw darts at a dartboard full of numbers. So, here we go …

Texas at No. 5 Nebraska (3:30 ET)

THE LINE: Nebraska -10

THE PLOT: Are you serious? Where to begin?

Nebraska hates Texas because (circle one)

 a) one-second

 b) they’re arrogant

 c) the lopsided series in favor of the Longhorns

 d) shut up, Ben

Texas hates Nebraska because (circle one)

 a) get over it, ‘Husker fans

 b) Tom Osborne

 c) the corn blockade in the state of Texas

 d) shut up, Ben

What’s been said over the past few months means nothing when kickoff begins at 3:30 ET. Barring a bowl appearance, it’s doubtful that these two teams will face off against each other any time soon. So, for Texas and Nebraska, leaving it all on the field is taken to a whole new level.

THE PICK:  Nebraska’s favored and, let’s be real, the Huskers have played better football through the first half of the season. They’re angry about last season and they’re looking for retribution before they depart for the Big Ten. We get it. However, I’ve found that sometimes when everything seems to be set in stone, the opposite happens. Texas wins. There are no stats. No mismatches. No nothing. Just a gut feeling. 

THE SCORE: Texas 20, Nebraska 17

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No. 21 Missouri at Texas A&M (noon ET)

THE LINE: Texas A&M -3.5

THE PLOT: The line indicates that these two teams are dead even, given a few points for the Aggie home field advantage. This game takes a backseat to that match-up in Lincoln, but there’s still a lot to prove here. A&M desperately needs a quality win here. All the preseason talk about Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson and the “new” defense hasn’t produced anything. If A&M is going to get over the hurdle and be an actual contender, they need to win against a ranked team on television.

THE PICK: I’m a firm believer in “show me”. Show me you’re worth a damn. Until you prove people wrong, you can’t get upset at people who doubt you. Until A&M proves me wrong, I’m picking against them every time they play someone who’s at least equally as talented, which Missouri is.

THE SCORE: Missouri 28, Texas A&M 24

——————–

No. 20 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (3:30 ET)

THE LINE: Texas Tech -3

THE PLOT: This is another one of those “show me” games between two teams somewhere in the middle of the Big 12 South. Oklahoma State is undefeated, but Texas Tech is no cakewalk at home. Against Baylor, the Red Raiders’ offense looked like it did under Mike Leach, while the defense looked like it did, well, under Mike Leach. Both teams can score points, so this game may come down to whoever can make one more stop over the other.

THE PICK: Tech’s offense looked awfully impressive against Baylor, but I’m not sure the Red Raiders can stop Oklahoma State, either.

THE SCORE: Oklahoma State 100, Texas Tech 95

——————–

California at USC (3:30 ET)

THE LINE: USC -2.5

THE PLOT: It’s interesting to see neither USC, nor Cal, with a Top-25 ranking next to them. Like A&M in the Big 12, USC absolutely cannot afford to fall behind in the Pac-10. The Trojans have certainly been playing well, but some late-game mental errors have kept Lane Kiffin‘s team from scoring wins against Washington and Stanford. USC may be down, but they’re due for a win.

THE PICK: USC plays like a caged animal and knocks over Cal to get back on track … for now.

THE SCORE:  USC 27, Cal 20

LAST WEEK:

Straight up: 2-2

Vs. Spread: 1-3

OVERALL:

Straight up: 10-9

Vs. Spread: still bad.