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Saturday, September 14, 2013 12:53 AM

Did we start our Pigskin Picks last week?

I guess it was a mirage — all 5 of us stunk it up.

Last week was a mulligan — we’re REALLY starting this week.

The best any of us did was Guest Picker Charlie Warnimont, who totaled 6-5 (2-3 in the college, 4-2 in the pros).

Regular Bob Weber went 6-6 (3-3 and 3-3), whilst I didst a 5-7 skunker (2-4, 3-3), as did the second GP (I decided just now to have three regulars and two guests) Brian Bassett. Regular Dave Boninsegna was 3-9 (1-5, 2-4).

The same crew will be the panel this week.

We will have two versions: the shorter version for the newspaper and the longer for the web site.

Again, I will also open it up to you, my 11,342.1 faithful readers (up 1,000 from last week). If you want to be a part of this, e-mail your name to me at — This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

One took me up on it and he will be a GP next week.

Here are the games:


UCLA at Nebraska; Alabama at Texas A & M; Ohio State at California; Wisconsin at Arizona State; Washington at Illinois; Ole Miss at Texas.


Dallas at Kansas City; Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (Monday); San Francisco at Seattle; New Orleans at Tampa Bay; Washington at Green Bay; Denver at New York Giants.





NEBRASKA: UCLA is a rising program — with the football athletes on the West Coast (maybe not quite what Florida has but awfully close), it’s only a matter of time. The rebuilding job is just not quite there yet, especially coming east to Lincoln.

ALABAMA: Bama players have kept their mouths shut and Saban has had two weeks to prepare. Revenge is sweet in College Station. Most also don’t remember that the Aggies caught the Tide after they had won an emotional, intense, highly-charged tussle at Tiger Stadium the week before; won’t be a problem this year.

OHIO STATE: Cal is as up-tempo as it gets but a freshman QB will make mistakes, especially under pressure. The heat might be a factor but I think the Buckeyes are pretty deep except maybe at linebacker. Guiton or Miller will have success against Golden Bears’ ‘D’ — they might be more effective because Cal has had to split its preparation time.

WISCONSIN: Talk about reversal: the Badgers’ are likely to have the speed advantage, while the Sun Devils probably have the power edge. I like speed, especially when having to much weight in the desert might not be something to aspire to.

WASHINGTON: Another important Big 10/Pac 12 matchup. Illini farther along than I thought but UW’s spread will be tough to handle. Their defense also made life miserable for the Trojans last week.

TEXAS: Longhorns stabbed me in the back last week. They’d BETTER win, if you know what I mean! That is, if they want to keep Mack Brown around. He cannot afford another hiccup because while the Big 12 isn’t necessarily loaded, if they are giving up oodles of points to some of their non-conference foes and can’t run them over on offense, well ... it looks bad.


DALLAS: Romo beat up already and ’Boys needed six turnovers to beat G-Men. That scares me about this time because they keep saying what talent they have. I wonder ... However, Chiefs not quite ready for prime time, though they are headed in the right direction under Andy Reid.

CINCINNATI: Bengals had chances last week vs. Bears, while beat-up Steelers struggled. I won’t say this is a must-win for either team, though Marvin Lewis might already be on the hot seat should the supposedly-favored Bengals go 0-2 and start a game down in what appears to be a weakened division. Expect a 13-10 Cincy win.

SAN FRANCISCO: Seattle QB Wilson struggled big-time last week against Carolina Panthers; Kaepernick didn’t. This game could easily be a 10-7 slugfest — perhaps the two best defenses in the NFL — but if Kaepernick can throw like he did last week, 49ers get huge win in Pacific Northwest.

NEW ORLEANS: Buccaneers are in peck of trouble already with Coach Greg Schiano and QB Josh Freeman not on same page by any stretch and coming off a gave-it-away game. Not good, even in the (not-nearly-as)New Sombrero against a Saints team that might actually be able to stop people this year under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan (another boneheaded move by Jerry Jones, letting this guy go).

GREEN BAY: Packers had chances to win in Candlestick last week by not letting Kaepernick beat them with his legs, while RGIII stunk in first half versus Eagles. Though he was better in the second half, Lambeau is a magical place for the Pack and Aaron Rodgers will torch Redskins.

DENVER: Manning Bowl III. First two went to Peyton and the Indianapolis Colts. The Broncos are quickly building an even better offense for him and if the defense can at least slow down Eli Manning (my guess is he will have a terrific game but won’t overcome a suddenly-suspect defense), so will the third.


UCLA: The result of the visit to Lincoln might feel secondary to UCLA. The Bruins’ bye week after a 58-20 season-opening win over Nevada was interrupted by tragedy as walk-on wide receiver Nick Pasquale was hit by a car and killed while walking in his hometown of San Clemente on Sunday; the Bruins will be playing with heavy hearts that could be a distraction. Nebraska gave up nearly 700 yards to the Bruins last year in a loss. They may not give up that many on Saturday but the result will be the same.

Alabama: We will see if Johnny Football will chill out on his actions when his Aggies actually play a worthy opponent. I think Bama sticks it to them and the talk will die down.

Ohio State: For the Buckeyes’ sake, I hope Braxton Miller is healthy. If not, this could be a tough one, but still a win.

Wisconsin: The Badgers have outscored their first two opponents 93-0 but let’s face it; they weren’t the caliber of Ariz. St. This won’t be that lopsided but still a Wisconsin win.

Washington: Washington came up with a big win over Boise St. last week, while the Illini defeated Cincinnati. The Huskies put up over 500 yards on the Broncos and should have another winning game on Saturday.

Texas: Texas is coming off a disastrous loss to BYU and will try to bounce back over a 2-0 Ole Miss team. Texas is banged up but still gets a win at home.


Dallas: The Chiefs won one impressively last week, as did the Cowboys. However, the Chiefs beat Jacksonville. That being said, Cowboys win.

Cincinnati: Well, the entire division lost last week — the Bengals choked and the Steelers got handled. Pittsburgh may not get thumped this week but still lose in the Jungle.

San Francisco: Two of the better teams in the NFC battle it out; Kaepernick and Wilson both with impressive games. However, 49ers are stronger and get the win.

New Orleans: The Saints got a true victory in an impressive win, while Tampa Bay handed the Jets a ‘W’ on a ill-advised personal foul that led to a field goal. The Saints are the better team and come away with the win.

Green Bay: The Eagles beat the Redskins last week and the Packers have a definite edge on both sides of the ball. Redskins had a horrible start last week but Green Bay at home usually means a win. I’m going with the Packers.

Denver: Manning Bowl (kind of like the Bowl) on a much MUCH bigger scale. I don’t look for Peyton to have another 7-touchdown game but I do think the Broncos win this one.


Nebraska - The Cornhuskers are still hurting from the loss at Pasadena last year, plus want to prove the close calls to sub-par teams in the first two weeks are a fluke. This is one of those games that Bo Pelini needs to win to stay off the hot seat. And I think Bo will have his team ready to play a huge home non-conference game.

Texas A&M - Alabama is probably the popular pick this week, seeing as how they are the reigning national champion and are seeking to avenge a loss from last year. I don’t care; I’m going with my guy Johnny Manziel here. Manziel is proving that he doesn’t let the outside world affect his play and I expect him to have a huge game. The A&M defense has been pretty bad but so has the Bama offensive line. Throw in the 12th man and I like A&M.

Ohio State - Ohio State is easily the better team here, even flying cross country and possibly starting their backup QB. Cal has put up a ton of yards on offense, even against a good Northwestern team. But at the end of the day, they start a true freshman quarterback who has never seen defensive backs as athletic as Ohio State’s. Considering a Northwestern linebacker had two pick-six’s against the Golden Bears, I expect Ohio State to force more than a few turnovers and win the game.

Wisconsin - Wisconsin, and more specific the new coaching regime, needs this win. It would be huge for the Badgers to go cross-country and beat a decent team to prove they won’t be set back with Bielema leaving. I think the Wisconsin grind-it-out style of play will eat away at the Sun Devil defense and Wisconsin wins a close one.

Washington - Washington is one of the sneaky-good teams in the country, led by one of the most sneaky-good players in quarterback Keith Price. I expect Price to go off on the Illini defense which was gashed by Cincinnati quarterback runs last week. Despite a big win for Illinois a week ago, I think they will just be outmatched in this contest.

Ole Miss - If there is one thing we all learned last weekend, it’s that Texas is a mess. They don’t really have a quality quarterback and their defense was a disaster against BYU. It’s time to panic for Mack Brown and the Longhorns and this is probably a must-win game for Brown and his future at Texas. I just don’t think this team has the continuity, especially at QB, to pull it off against an up-and-coming Ole Miss team that is only going to get better.


Kansas City - The Cowboys are a lot like Notre Dame: I don’t like them and am probably very biased against them in my picking. I think that both of these teams are better than they were last year but one of them still has Tony Romo on the team, and that is the one I will always pick against. Expect Romo to fake an injury in this game so he can ‘come back’ and save the day. But he won’t. (Editor’s Note: I think Brian needs to write what he TRULY feels about Romo!!!) The ever-dependable Alex Smith will shine in this one and give my fantasy team, and the Chiefs, a big win.

Cincinnati - This one seems pretty simple to me: The Steelers looked awful last week against a mediocre Titans team and lost two starters for the season in the process. Despite the fact that the Bengals gave the game to the Bears a week ago, they are still easily the second-best team in the division behind my Browns and will show it Monday night.

San Francisco - I’ve been saying all off-season that Seattle is not as good as advertised and this is a chance for the 49ers to prove it. The Niners have heard the same things that I have all spring/summer and want to show how much better of a team that they really are.

New Orleans - I think the Saints are going to win the NFC South this year. They are only a few years removed from a Super Bowl and still have a decent amount of players from that roster on the team. With Sean Payton back and Rob Ryan at DC, I expect big things from a Saints team which I think a lot of people forgot about. They should easily beat the Bucs but it will probably be closer than it should.

Green Bay - I think it’s obvious that Robert Griffin III is tentative on his knee after watching week one and I think he will ease back into things. The Green Bay pass rush, which is better than it has been, will cause some problems for RG3 and I think the Redskins could be in trouble for a while. The Redskins defense will keep it close but I don’t think the Redskins can score with them, especially if Mike Shanahan keeps the ball out of Alfred Morris’ hands again to spite me and my fantasy team.

Denver - Seems pretty cut-and-dry after watching the two teams play last week. Plus Peyton has always played better than Eli when the two match up. It’s a big brother thing. And when the big brother has significantly better weapons around him, it’s a no-brainer. The Giants did pick up Brandon Jacobs this week but that should have next to no impact on the game, unfortunately.


UCLA - Going with the upset! UCLA’s QB Brett Hundley will have a big game. The Bruins will also have extra incentive to play well for the sudden death of Bruin teammate WR Nick Pasquale who died in a car accident.

Alabama - How long has Nick Saban had to prepare for this game? Johnny “Party Boy” Manziel will be running for his life Saturday. The Tide will take advantage of the Aggies’ key losses of Left Tackle Luke Joeckle and Center Patrick Lewis. Look for the Tide to roll and stamp their AUTOGRAPH on the Aggies and Johnny Boy’s Heisman hopes!

Ohio State - The Golden Bears gave the Buckeyes a scare a year ago but both teams look dramatically different now. Cal has a new coaching staff and an uptempo offense; Ohio State is still trying to put together four good quarters of football. Braxton Miller’s knee sprain leaves his status somewhat unclear but whether he’s 100% or backup Kenny Guiton is in charge, the Buckeyes should prevail, but this game really scares me.

Wisconsin - The Badgers have outscored their first two opponents this year 93-0; however, those teams weren’t Arizona State. The Badgers have not allowed a touchdown in 11 straight quarters, dating back to the 2013 Rose Bowl. If the Badgers can survive the trip to the west, time change, temperatures in the 100s ,I look for them to run all over the Sun Devil’s defense led by Will Sutton.

Washington - Huskies are coming off a bye week following their season-opening rout of Boise State. Illinois really impressed me with their crushing defeat of the Bearcats last week but I see the Huskies outscoring the Illini in this one. Washington also gets back one of the best tight ends in the country in Austin Seferian-Jenkins after serving a suspension for his off-season DUI.

Ole Miss - I’m not sure I’ve ever picked Ole Miss in any game. The Longhorns are a mess having changed coordinators after the second game of the season. Ole Miss is a program on the rise and has really become a factor in the recruiting wars. The Rebels will look to revenge the beating they received last year at Oxford 66-31.


Kansas City - I like Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid and Kansas City is by far one of the hardest and loudest environments to play a game at. The Cowboys defense was very impressive against the Giants but as much as I think the Cowboys are the better team, I’m going with the Chiefs in this one.

Cincinnati - OMG!!! How bad were the Steelers last week? Who are the running backs and wide receivers in Steelerland? Steelers defense is always solid but simply stated, they can’t make up for the ineptness of the offense. On the other hand, the Bengals were my choice to win the division and go on a long playoff run but things definitely need to improve from last week. This game could get very ugly early and I’ll probably be sleeping on the couch (EN: guess who his wife-mate-spouse roots for?)!!

Seattle - I won’t miss a play of this game Sunday night. By the way, I really miss Faith Hill not doing the opening song any more!! A primetime matchup between two of the NFL’s top young quarterbacks only adds to the hype of the game. Jim Harbaugh vs. Pete Carroll. I think the game could come down to who has the ball last. Tough, tough game to pick, but going with the Seahawks.

New Orleans - Drew Brees vs. Josh Freeman - my money is on Brees. The Saints have such a great offense led by Brees. Tampa Bay upgraded their secondary this year with Revis but the Saints will go marching in and come out with the win.

Green Bay - Green Bay has won 20 of its 21 regular-season games at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers will have another stellar day, Look forward to seeing if Robert Griffin III can bounce back this week after a sub-par performance last week.

Denver - Manning vs. Manning - the third installment of the “Manning Bowl” will involve a new team as Peyton looks to improve to 3-0 against his brother Sunday. Memo to Giants - please don’t start David Wilson - his performance and drops cost me my first fantasy win over the weekend (EN: Have these folks no shame??? I personally know coaches who have been idiots when it comes to FF!!!).


Nebraska - UCLA scored 58 points in their only game this season, while Cornhusker defense giving up 23.5 points a game. Something has to give and I always like to go with defense.

Alabama - The Tide have had two weeks to prepare for A&M Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as the Tide did not play last week. While A&M has Manziel, the Tide return national championship A.J. McCarron and his experience will be a plus for Alabama in hostile territory. Plus Alabama looking to avenge their only loss of last season on their way to a second straight championship.

Ohio State - The Buckeyes first big test of the season and it may be without Braxton Miller. Kenny Guiton played well in a backup role last week and should outduel Cal’s freshman quarterback Jared Goff this week. The key to this game will be how the OSU defense handles Cal running back Brendan Bigelow, who rushed for 160 yards against the Buckeyes last season. If they shut Bigelow down, Goff will need another big day to keep this game interesting.

Wisconsin - Could be a shootout as Badgers averaging 46.5 points a game and Arizona State 55.0 ppg. Badgers ground game will be difference as they eat up the clock and keep the ASU passing attack on the sidelines..

Illinois - Illinois had a big win over Cincinnati last week and Washington is playing just their second game of the season. The trip to the Midwest could be a rough for Washington.

Ole Miss - BYU exposed the Texas offense last week for nearly 700 yards of offense. Ole Miss is averaging over 500 yards of offense through their two games this season.


Dallas - Dallas nearly let one get away last week against the Giants. Although Kansas City is improved with Alex Smith at quarterback, the Cowboys are a tough assignment. The outcome of the game may depend on how healthy the ribs of Dallas QB Tony Romo are but when you haven’t experienced a lot of success recently, this will be a learning experience for the Chiefs,

Cincinnati - Bengals showed they could move the ball in season-opening loss to Chicago, Pittsburgh didn’t as their offense ranked 31st in the league after the opening week of the season. The Steelers defense did play well but if Cincinnati quarter Andy Dalton has another solid day that will get the Bengals a win.

San Francisco - San Francisco look good against Green Bay Sunday at home. The game features two of the leagues young stars at quarterback in San Fran’s Colin Kaepernick and Seattle’s Russell Wilson. The two quarterbacks reportedly have a friendly wager on the outcome of the game and it will be Wilson who has to pay up.

New Orleans - Saints opened the season with big win over Atlanta, while Tampa Bay was shocked by the Jets late on a field goal. The Saints take advantage of an up and coming Buc team to get the win.

Green Bay - Neither team can afford to start season 0-2 and get a good playoff seeding. Going with the Packers as Washington quarterback Russell Griffin III is still working out the rust from not having played any pre-season games.

Denver - It’s only the third time the Manning brothers have squared off against each other. While the game is in New York, going to go with the older Manning (Peyton) brother in this matchup. I don’t feel Peyton will throw another seven touchdowns in this win, though.

Last Updated on Sunday, September 15, 2013 5:39 PM

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