Welcome to Drop and Give Me Winners, which I guarantee will be the most interactive feature on any mainstream national sports Web site. The concept is simple. I predict the results of games. Chances are, I get them wrong. If you see me around the stadium at a game I'm covering, you exact your revenge by reminding me of a game I got wrong the previous week. As punishment, I must match the winning team's point output with push-ups.
I do this for two reasons. First, we pundit-types are never held accountable for our egregiously inaccurate picks. Second, while tending to the whims of a newborn has exhausted me, it isn't exactly an NCAA-maximum-hours-exceeding workout. I'm doughier than ever, and I need all the help I can get.
So if you see me this week at Georgia-Oklahoma State or Miami-Florida State, feel free to remind me of my foolishness. And for your planning purposes, my plan for next week is to hit Colorado-Toledo on Friday and Notre Dame-Michigan on Saturday.
On to the picks…
Minnesota at Syracuse (Saturday, 12:20 p.m., ESPN2)
No game the Syracuse football team plays will match the hype or pressure surrounding the games Greg Paulus played as Duke's point guard. So Paulus shouldn't worry about nerves as he makes his debut as the Orange quarterback. Unfortunately, Minnesota is much farther along in its rebuilding process than Syracuse.
Minnesota 23, Syracuse 17
Georgia at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC)
The Cowboys are treating this game like the Super Bowl instead of what it is: the first in a series of tough matchups the Cowboys must win if they want to reach their goal of playing for the national title. The Bulldogs, who embark on one of the most brutal schedules in recent memory, are treating it like business-as-usual. That's why they'll take care of business.
Georgia 28, Oklahoma State 24
Nevada at Notre Dame (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., NBC)
Tricky, tricky opener for the Fighting Irish, who should mow the grass with a helicopter. Let's see how Nevada's Pistol fires from U.S. Open rough.
Notre Dame 31, Nevada 21
Missouri vs. Illinois in St. Louis (Saturday, 3:40 p.m., ESPN)
The Blaine Gabbert era begins for the Tigers. Unfortunately for Missouri's defense, the Juice Williams era continues for the Illini.
Illinois 38, Missouri 35
BYU vs. Oklahoma in Dallas (Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN)
Oklahoma's revamped offensive line debuts, and Sam Bradford won't have top target Jermaine Gresham. That should slow down the Sooners, but not enough.
Oklahoma 42, BYU 30
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech in Atlanta (Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC)
Like Oklahoma, the Crimson Tide will debut a reconstructed offensive line. That line will protect new starting quarterback Greg McElroy, who has the potential to be very, very good. The Hokies will try to find a replacement for tailback Darren Evans, who is lost for the season with a knee injury. The defenses will stuff everybody, and the team with the least turnovers will win.
Virginia Tech 14, Alabama 10