Make a football wager with 'The Blind Side's' John Lee Hancock
If anyone knows football, it's John Lee Hancock, writer-director of "The Blind Side," a wonderfully uplifting new film (based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name) that stars Sandra Bullock as a feisty Memphis belle who finds a home -- right in her own home -- for a hulking homeless teenager who ends up going to college where he emerges as such a terrific offensive tackle that he became a first-round NFL draft pick. The film hits theaters Nov. 20 and is even getting early Oscar buzz for Bullock, who gives a knock-your-socks-off performance.
There's plenty of great football in the film, which features a host of cameos by such top college coaches as former South Carolina and Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, Alabama's Nick Saban and Ole Miss' Houston Nutt. A native Texan, where football is like a religion, Hancock has college football in his blood. His brother Joe played at Vanderbilt, his brother Kevin played at Baylor and his dad, John, who coached high school football for years, played at Baylor before enjoying a brief career in the early NFL with the Chicago Cardinals.
So I asked Hancock to put on his prognosticator's cap and make some picks for this week's big college football games. Here's the betting line, along with Hancock's picks and commentary (the team in parenthesis is the favorite, followed by how many points they're giving):
LSU at Alabama (Alabama -- 7.5): My "new best friend" Nick Saban (he's in "The Blind Side") has Alabama's defense playing lights out. But their offense is sputtering. Take LSU and the 7.5 points (though I still think Bama wins).
Ohio State at Penn State (Penn State -- 3.5): I'm just not that impressed with Ohio State. I say take Joe Pa's boys and give the points
Oklahoma at Nebraska (Oklahoma -- 6): The wheels seem to be coming off a bit for the Huskers, take the Sooners giving 6.
Baylor at Missouri (Missouri -- 16): Hard to bet against my alma mater but since it's not a straight-up pick I can take Baylor and the 16 points. They have to have one great game in them, right?
USC at Arizona State (USC -- 11.5): USC was ripped apart at Autzen last week. I look for them to rebound big. Take the Trojans and give up the 11.5.
Kansas at Kansas State (Kansas -- 2.5): Kansas State has improved greatly this year and Kansas seems lethargic. Take Kansas State and the points.
Vanderbilt at Florida (Florida -- 32.5): Spikes is out but Florida still rolls. Vandy played pretty well last week so perhaps they can score a couple of touchdowns. Take Vandy and the points.
Purdue at Michigan (Michigan -- 6): I'll say take Purdue and the points as, of late, Purdue's been more impressive and the Big House isn't quite as daunting as it once was.
Texas A&M at Colorado (Texas A&M -- 3): On principle, I never, ever root for A&M, therefore I hope I'm wrong about this pick. Take the Farmers and give the points.
(We'll check in on Monday and see how John Lee's predictions held up.)