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Quick Picks from Portland

It’s 3:42 AM in Portland, Oregon and I’m more confused than Dayne Crist in a two-minute drill.  Since I’ll only be here for 24 more hours, it makes sense to just keep myself in the Eastern Time zone, right?  I’m told this is an effective means of combating the issues the human body has with these things.  Thankfully, there’s enough caffeine in this town to kill a horse.  We’ll see you this afternoon, Coffee People.

Anyway, enough of the small talk.  If I’m going to be up early the next two days, we’ll make a few picks.  Here are three quickies:

Oregon (-8) at Arizona State (Thursday Night)

The first leg of my trip to Portland was a five-hour, Philly-to-Phoenix-in-the-middle-seat marathon flight.  It wasn’t until our final descent that I discovered the gentleman to my right was an Oregon grad flying to Arizona for Oregon’s monthly road game.   Duck fans remain some of the most dedicated and loyal in all of college football.

Ironically, when I finally made it to Portland, I spotted a Todd Graham lookalike.

The trendy logic behind this game seems to be that Oregon hasn’t been tested and that Graham has Arizona State playing well on both sides of the ball.  This is true, but it warrants mentioning that Oregon has taken its foot off the gas, by halftime, in nearly every game it has played this season and Arizona State hasn’t played a solid defense all year.  Sure, this will be a tougher road test for young Marcus Mariota, but I’m not buying the Sun Devil resurgence quite yet.

PREDICTION: Oregon 48, Arizona State 31

South Carolina at Florida (-3)

There’s no doubt that the Gamecocks are still alive for both the SEC East and the BCS Championship, but only if they win this one.  What a grueling stretch it’s been for Steve Spurrier; first Georgia, then at LSU, and now at Florida.  With a schedule like that, it should come as no surprise that studs like Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney are dealing with nagging injuries, and Ace Sanders (and others) are fighting the flu.

This is a bad situation for South Carolina.  This team is worn down mentally and physically from the last two weeks and now is a good time to jump on the Gators at home.

PREDICTION: Florida 21, South Carolina 17

Texas Tech (-1) at TCU

Before last week, you could’ve made the case that TCU hadn’t done anything impressive all season.  But then… forcing six turnovers and beating Baylor by 27 on the road in Casey Pachall’s absence?  That felt like it come out of left field, as did Texas Tech holding West Virginia to only 14 points.

I like the fact that TCU has forced the most turnovers of any defense in FBS, and I’m quietly a big fan of Trevone Boykin, but it’s tough to go against a Tech team that is battle-tested with a better offense and perhaps just as good a defense.

PREDICTION: Texas Tech 41, TCU 24

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