The week’s best picks: North Carolina’s botched extra point-turned-conversion was just cruel

Dr. Saturday

We didn't have any rooting interest in NC State as a 7.5-point underdog last week, but we feel bad for anybody who did.

These are the kinds of games that leave people wandering the streets mumbling to themselves.

NC State led North Carolina 35-25 after the third quarter, and 35-32 with just under two minutes left. Plenty of cushion as a 7.5-point underdog. North Carolina kicked a field goal to tie the game with 1:24 left. Still no problem.Then NC State couldn't get a first down and made the crazy decision to punt to Giovani Bernard, and he returned it for a touchdown. Still, no problem for bettors getting 7.5 points. A UNC extra point and NC State would still be a half-point clear of the spread with 13 seconds left.

Except that didn't happen.

Go to 1:50 on the above video if you want to see one of the worst gambling losses imaginable. North Carolina botched the extra point, but the holder rolled out. Right before he got hit, he flipped the ball to the end zone for a two-point conversion, and one of the most miraculous covers or worst bad beats of the year, depending what side you were on.

We'd offer personal condolences to any NC State backers after that, but it's possible they're never reading/watching/thinking about college football ever again so they'd never see it anyway. On to this week's picks:

BONUS - LSU (+9) over Alabama: Wouldn't touch this game since the sportsbooks decided that, oh yeah, Alabama is really good and inflated the spread. But it's the big game of the week, so we'll offer an opinion. This number seems really high for a defensive game like this. If we were to lean one way or another it would be on LSU and that great defense getting those points, but there's also a chance that LSU won't be able to move the ball on the Crimson Tide's great defense.

USC (+8) over Oregon: We will make a pick on the other big game of the day, because this line is too much of an overreaction to last week. USC lost at Arizona in a look-ahead spot, but what if the Trojans had gotten away with a win? The line seems like it would be at least three or four points lower. USC is still a talented team, much better at home, and Oregon hasn't played anyone this good. Oregon might win but it'll be close.

Pitt (+17) over Notre Dame: Now this really seems like an overreaction. Notre Dame had a fantastic win last week, but let's not forget the Irish's typical formula. In five of their wins this year, they've scored 20 or fewer points. Coming off an incredible emotional high, Notre Dame might not be quite as sharp this week. Again, the Irish are more than likely going to win, but Pitt won't need to score many points to cover.

Georgia Tech (-8) over Maryland: The Yellow Jackets have been awful this year. They've failed to cover the spread in four of their last five games. The problem has been defense, but Maryland is starting a freshman linebacker at quarterback this week because its top four quarterbacks are out. If you didn't catch that, the Terps are starting A FRESHMAN LINEBACKER AT QUARTERBACK. We've never heard of this before. Sure, Maryland linebacker Shawn Petty was a pretty good high school quarterback, but until we see a team without its top four quarterbacks using a linebacker in that spot move the ball effectively, we won't believe it. And if Georgia Tech can't slow down Maryland's offense with a FRESHMAN LINEBACKER AT QUARTERBACK, it's time for the Yellow Jackets to clean house and start over.

Baylor (-17) over Kansas: Here is Kansas' point total in Big 12 games: 6, 16, 14, 7 and 17. Baylor scores 44.1 points per game, seventh in the nation. Baylor's defense isn't very good, but neither is Texas' defense and Kansas got just 17 points against UT last week. If you think the Jayhawks' near-miss against the Longhorns last week was a sign Charlie Weis' bunch is turning the corner, go ahead. It seems more likely that's the kind of loss that deflates an already downtrodden team.

Clemson (-12.5) over Duke: Last week seemed like a classic letdown spot for Duke, after it became bowl eligible with a last-minute win against rival North Carolina. Still, a 48-7 loss to Florida State was a little startling. Duke also lost by 37 to Stanford and 21 to Virginia Tech (which is not a good football team right now), and the closer you look at Duke's schedule, the more you see a lot of wins against mediocre or bad teams. Clemson is a very good team, it has won six of its last seven games by at least 14 points (a loss at Florida State is the only blemish in that stretch) and it doesn't seem that 12.5 points is too many to give Duke.

This week: 3-2
Season: 18-15-2

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