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Dr. Saturday

The week’s five best picks: Beware the dreaded backdoor cover

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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(Associated Press)

The only thing worse than going 1-4 on your picks for a week is doing it publicly for the Dr. Saturday audience here at Yahoo! And making that even worse is getting crushed by a backdoor cover on a game you should win.

Look, last week was bad. Real bad. Twenty percent win rate bad. But it could have easily been a little better. Cal and Michigan failed to cover by 1.5 points each. And then there was Clemson-Florida State.

The only people who were still watching at the end of that game were Florida State minus-14 backers like me, and people who had the points, like Brent Musburger.

So, here's what happened for those who had moved on to better things on a Saturday night: Florida State, which racked up 667 yards, led 49-31 late. Clemson, still trying hard, had a fourth-and-goal with less than 3 minutes left. Tajh Boyd's throwback pass went through a Florida State defender's hands, to Brandon Ford for the Clemson touchdown. For the uninitiated, that's known as a backdoor cover, also termed "a kick in the shorts." I'm sure I wasn't the only one among us who felt this pain.

Now, it wasn't soul crushing like the Seattle Screwjob or Chris Duhon's meaningless 3, but those moments aren't fun. Unless you were on Clemson.

Let's try to do better on the picks this week:

Boston College (+7) over Clemson: I promise this has nothing to do with me being on tilt over the aforementioned Tigers cover. Maybe a little. Either way, it'll be very hard for Clemson to get motivated again after that loss to Florida State. It'll be the Tigers' second road game in a row, and third time traveling this month. And there will be no Sammy Watkins, either. The line has already moved significantly from the opening number of Clemson minus-10, so I'm not the only one leaning this way.

Louisiana Tech (-3.5) over Virginia: Graham was right -- Louisiana Tech is good. The Bulldogs rolled Illinois 52-24 last week, and while Illinois isn't that good, neither is Virginia. The Cavaliers were lucky to beat Penn State at home earlier this month, and then were overmatched against TCU. The only disturbing thing is this line seems too good to be true (especially if you can get it at 3). And road favorites are the best way to go broke. But other than that ...

Cal (+1) over Arizona State: I promise, I have nothing against Arizona State. Nor am I a closet Cal fan. Cal didn't do anything to impress last week, and Arizona State looked good dismantling Utah. No matter, I'm giving the Golden Bears one last chance.

Arizona (-3) over Oregon State: I don't think the Beavers are going undefeated or anything. They're off to a great start, and what they did to UCLA last week was legitimate, but it's always best to never overreact to one (or two, I suppose) games. This is a good spot for Arizona, back at home and playing someone not named Oregon.

Texas (-2.5) over Oklahoma State: There's not a lot on Oklahoma State's resume to get excited about (wins over Savannah State and Louisiana-Lafayette, and a loss at Arizona) and Texas has the look of a strong team. Going on the road and beating Ole Miss 66-31 is pretty solid. Add in quarterback issues for Oklahoma State and Texas giving less than the key number of 3, and I'm going with the Longhorns, even though road favorites are evil. And I went with two of them this week.

Last week: 1-4

Season: 3-6-1

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