90 percent of the battle is half-mental, or something.
Oftentimes, when you see a team change their whole routine, their whole way of doing things, all for the sake of one opponent, it means the mental battle is lost. Or won, depending on your perspective.
The Oregon State Beavers play at Boise State this weekend. Boise, as you probably know, is famous for having blue turf on its home field. It's not thought to be a really big deal, more of an anomaly that people deal with and generally think is pretty cute.
Oregon State doesn't think it's cute. They think it's an advantage. So much so that they painted their practice field blue in advance of this week's game.
While this is definitely funny, it's not a good sign for the Beavers. Not that anyone really thought they stood much of a chance in Boise, but the change in their normal ways shows they are behind in the all-important mental battle.
Instead of just having a normal week of practice and maybe doing some crowd-noise prep, Oregon State altered their normal environment and did it in the name of trying to get ready for the Boise environment.
The environment is important, but the devotion to that preparation could have been better spent trying to get the defense ready to face Kellen Moore and a prolific passing attack, or maybe to get the offense ready for what is going to be a physical battle along the front.
Then again, if Oregon State wins this game, WAC teams will go bankrupt trying to buy blue paint for their practice fields.
That's the other part of the football world. It's a copycat society.
In this case, there will be no need. Boise wins going away.
The pick: Boise State
Alabama at Arkansas
Listen, I'd love to sit here and say that Arkansas has a shot at taking down the defending champs.
Then came the fourth quarter Saturday against Georgia.
Arkansas had that team BEAT. Georgia was done for, and the Razorbacks somehow let UGA back in the game. That happened because the Arkansas defense is vulnerable, and the Hogs can't run the ball.
That's a bad sign going into a game with Alabama, who will likely win the trench battle on both sides of the ball.
Yes, the Tide can be beaten, but they can't be beaten by a team with a one-dimensional offense -- even one with a quarterback as good as Ryan Mallett.
The pick: Alabama
Other games (home team in CAPS)
MICHIGAN over Bowling Green
MICHIGAN STATE over Northern Colorado
PURDUE over Toledo
IOWA over Ball State
NORTHWESTERN over Central Michigan
WISCONSIN over Austin Peay
OHIO STATE over Eastern Michigan
(Note: How the hell is this game on ABC? Thank goodness I won't be home for the carnage.)
PENN STATE over Temple
Stanford over NOTRE DAME
FLORIDA over Kentucky
Nevada over BYU
INDIANA over Akron
AUBURN over South Carolina
MINNESOTA over Northern Illinois
LSU over West Virginia
(Note: This might be the best game played under the lights anywhere Saturday.)
ARIZONA over California
Last week: 17-3