Missed football? Missed the Picker?

We’re back with three questions to start the 2019 season:

Alabama and Clemson have split the past four national championships. Thoughts?

Nobody roots for Goliath, but it’s interesting that Bama seems to be universally disliked (outside of Alabama, of course) and Clemson remains a darling. Credit, maybe, the Clemson coach’s “gee whiz” demeanor. He seems like the kind of guy who would put peanuts in a bottle of grape soda, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Do you have anything to say about the former Ohio State coach joining a national pregame college football TV show?

Thank goodness he can now remember things on camera well enough to launch a media career since he was having such difficulty remembering details when answering questions in front of cameras one year ago.

The world is in a weird place right now. What can you tell us to help make sense of it all?

Since forever, folks have gathered at barber shops and gotten chuckles by saying all news is biased, all weather people get it wrong, all doctors are quacks and all lawyers are shysters. That stuff plays great at barber shops, and, in the social media age, people are certainly free to share barber shop beliefs with the masses. But reality is a different critter. Out here in the real world, the Picker brings you the straight truth, weather people provided vital information when we were marinating in May, doctors are increasing life spans, and lawyers, well, there are 2½ of them that the Picker trusts. Play ball.

The Picks

Thursday

UCLA at Cincinnati (-2½): Why is a name brand school playing in Cincy’s stadium? Better question: Is UCLA, which won three games last season, worthy of playing in Cincy’s stadium? Even better question: Is the Bruins coach (fizzled in the NFL) still eligible to sit at the lunch table with the gifted kids? UCLA by 1.

Utah (-6) at BYU: The combination of Utah being in a major conference and in-state bro BYU being minus a prom date continues to be a head-scratcher. Possible explanation: The Cougars are the college sports version of the high-maintenance pretty person. Worth the drama? Utes by 2.

Friday

TU at Michigan State (-23): Heard of moral victories? TU secured a feral victory in preseason by securing a future home game against the Razorbacks. Blame Ark, but it took three quarters of a century to arrange four quarters of Arkansas in Tulsa. Government moves faster, barely. Can’t pick the local lads to hang with Michigan State until seeing evidence that playmaking on offense has been upgraded. Spartans by 29.

Oklahoma State (-14½) at Oregon State: Oregon State played Big 12-caliber defense last season. That’s not a compliment. Only one opponent scored fewer than 34. Cowboys by 24.

Saturday

Portland State at Arkansas: P-State was beaten by 101 points in its first two games last season. It’s like Arkansas, 2-10 last year, scoured the transfer portal and found the perfect opponent. Hogs by 33.

Boise State vs. Florida State (-4½): Broncos versus college football’s old gray mare. A loss here makes the Seminoles coach’s seat hotter than the marijuana billboard business. Noles by 5.

South Carolina (-10) vs. North Carolina: Welcome back, Mack Brown, who gains IQ points with each ensuing Texas season. Say what you want, but Mack was a Colt McCoy title-game injury away from winning two rings in Austin. Will his new school, North Carolina, be “back” before Texas? Will the telegraph be back before Texas? Tar Heels by 7.

Auburn (-3½) vs. Oregon: Among alleged power leagues, which is closest to intramurals, albeit with fantastic uniform sponsors? Hint: It’s the one that has missed the playoff three of the past four years. Auburn by 4.

Virginia (-2½) at Pitt: This is for an early leg up in ACC’s Coastal Division chase. Which coast is Pittsburgh on? If you bring a beach towel, you’re a rookie. Cavs by 7.

Northwestern at Stanford (-6½): Evidence that smart kids go to Stanford: Famous alum Andrew Luck retired before being dealt a handicapped sticker. Indy fans who booed him haven’t figured out ball games are just entertainment, like a movie. Go boo Oscar-winning flicks that only critics love. Stanford by 8.

Ole Miss at Memphis (-5½): Is the SEC the best football league? Yes. Is the SEC as good as its hype? Not even close. SEC squads went 6-6 in bowls last season. You can’t get more average than that. Tigers by 3.

Sunday

Houston at OU (-23½): Why would Coach Dana leave a job at a Power 5 school for Houston? No matter where you coach, there’s something to be said for getting out of town before your act runs thinner than your mane. Plus, like Willie Nelson and vehicular gridlock, Coach Dana fits better in Texas. The Houston QB is an ace, so if OU fans are hoping to finally see a defensive performance that will result in no broken furnishings, maybe move the lamps far away from the television. Sooners by 22.