Game Time: College Football -- Celebrating 90210 and the Big 12

I hate making tough decisions. Today was one of those days. I mean, you have the start of the college football season, which in my house and on my show is like Christmas morning wrapped up in a 21st birthday party.

And yet, it is also September 2, 2010 -- the only day this century where the date will be 9-02-10...as in 90210...as in Beverly Hills, 90210.

I'm going to be honest, there's been many a Saturday when I've spent equal time dialed into 90210 reruns as I have digesting college football, and along those lines I feel it's only appropriate that I try and pay homage to both. At the same time.

The Big Lead has a fantastic Beverly Hills, 90210 tribute today, so I'll leave the top moments and corresponding embedded video to them. Instead, I will give a 2010 state of the union on the Big 12 in the most appropriate way possible -- by comparing them to 90210 characters.

Cue the 90210 music! DADADADA...dadadada....CH CH....brrrrarrrow.....DADADADA dadadada....

BRANDON WALSH: Straw that stirs the drink, glue that holds the gang together. At some point along the way, Brandon seemingly bailed out every member of the 90210 posse -- Dylan from various drug woes, Kelly's own set of drug problems, Val's suicide attempt, Steve's jackassery du jour, the list goes on and on. BIG 12 BRANDON is.....TEXAS. The realignment scare of 2010 is the equivalent of everyone's drug problems on 90210.

DYLAN MCKAY: Brandon's reluctant de facto brother, who secretly probably felt very threatened by Brandon, especially when nut-cuttin' time rolled around and he saw how strong his feelings were for Kelly. A bit of a wild card who was a tad too comfortable, at times, on the other side of the law. BIG 12 DYLAN is....TEXAS A&M. And Dylan's dad is Jackie Sherrill.

KELLY TAYLOR: Along with Brandon, the other character closest to a "main character" that the show had. Inextricably linked to Brandon (Texas) and, at times, Dylan (Texas A&M). Made several questionable personnel decisions through the years before seemingly settling down the last few years. BIG 12 KELLY is...OKLAHOMA. And yes, the time Kelly joined the wheelchair dude's cult is the Howard Schnellenberger Era of 90210.

STEVE SANDERS: Boneheaded rich kid, drove a Corvette, and was involved in numerous schemes, scams, and deceptions during his time on the show, including running a night club out of the dorm rooms at school. Eventually, his old man silver-spooned him his own newspaper. Basically, without money, Steve would have been the merriest McDonald's worker of all-time. BIG 12 STEVE is....OKLAHOMA STATE. And Steve's dad is T. Boone Pickens.

DONNA MARTIN: Shy, unobtrusive, and eager to please everyone in any way...well, almost any way. She might still be a virgin. The last one out of the whole gang whose birthday party you'd want to attend. BIG 12 DONNA is....BAYLOR. And Aaron Spelling is Drayton McLane.

VALERIE MALONE: A bit of an outlier who makes more turns from "part of the group" to "not part of the group" than any character on the show. Not afraid to just amp up the drama, LOTS of baggage here. BIG 12 VALERIE is....TEXAS TECH. And Valerie's suicidal father is Mike Leach.

BRENDA WALSH: In terms of relevnace, maybe second to Brandon. Worst case, third to Kelly and tied with Dylan. Rogue troublemaker for most of her years on the show, eventually said "Fuck this, I'm outta here." BIG 12 BRENDA is....NEBRASKA. And London is the Big Ten.

DAVID SILVER: When the show first started, he was a quirky, dorky fringe character, but eventually became one of the central characters on the show. His problem most often was that he couldn't keep his Little David in his pants, his wandering member being the source of much strife. But eventually he came back, tail between legs presumably, to his old standby. BIG 12 DAVID is....MISSOURI. And the Big Ten is Ariel, the chick Donna caught him in the limo with.

THE WALSHES: Barely relevant, and when they are involved in the show, a bit annoying. BIG 12 WALSHES are...KANSAS and KANSAS STATE.

ANDREA ZUCKERMAN: The queen of questionable decision-making and non-existent self-esteem (passing up Yale to stay at home and go to CU, a school that accepted Steve Sanders), Andrea eventually wound up in a loveless marriage because she got knocked up. BIG 12 ANDREA is....COLORADO. And yes the Pac-10 is Jesse, the father of Andrea's daughter.

NAT BUSSICHIO: Weird, creepy owner of the Peach Pit, about whom we often find ourselves asking "Soooo....why are you here again?" BIG 12 NAT is....IOWA STATE. Biggest no-brainer on the board.

So there you have it, my homage to two of the greatest American institutions ever -- 90210 and college football. How about we keep the party going? In tribute to Brandon Walsh's gambling problem when he was in high school (from which he was bailed out by Nat, solidifying the Peach Pit patriarch's Hall of Fame-level creepiness), I give you some 2010 college football season wagers to keep you plugged into the season in a safe, responsible fashion (as opposed to the week-in, week-out betting that almost had Brandon promising Nat a hand job in the alley behind the Peach Pit).

Here you go, four football win-total bets to enrich you (for some NFL wagers, see my Texans 2010 preview from this week's print edition of the Houston Press):

NOTE: Items that I prioritize in evaluating college football season win total plays are simple --

1. Strength of schedule -- how many "gimme" wins are on there, how "home heavy" is the schedule, who are the tough road games
2. Returning starters -- in particular pay attention to the offensive line, defensive line, and quarterback
3. Head coach -- One simple thing...does he sound like this....

So with all of that in mind, here you go:

AUBURN -- OVER 8.5 (even): Returning a boatload of starters on the offensive line, the depth chart is as stacked as it's been in a long time. Cam Newton is a new starter at quarterback, but a talented one, having backed up The Tebow at Florida at one point. It's a fairly easy schedule on which to find 9 wins, with only four road games (@ Mississippi State, @ Kentucky, @ Ole MIss, @ Alabama).

NOTRE DAME -- OVER 7.5 (-150): I will be accused of "homerism" with this pick, but whatever. Like Worm said in Rounders, "If you see a mark you gotta take 'em down." Brian Kelly is a fast starter everywhere he goes, and this is by far the most talent he's had at any of his stops. The schedule is extremely friendly with a "trending down" USC and Pitt the only preseason Top 25 teams on it. The Irish have more talent than all but the Trojans on their schedule. Brian Kelly's strength has always been maximizing talent. For purposes of this wager, "maximization" need only be defined as 8-4. Sign me up.

TEXAS -- OVER 9.5 (-180): Inexperience but talented at quarterback, however the Longhorns will have one of the best defenses in the country, and typically you can pencil Mack Brown in for double-digit wins. Looking at the schedule, they would have to go 1-3 against Texas Tech (road), Oklahoma, Nebraska (road), and A&M for you to lose your bet. Not bloody likely.

LSU -- UNDER 7.5 (+140): Well, like I said....

....coaching is key....

....that's very sincere....

...and....um....err....the ocean!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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