Now things are getting serious. Big, huge, monumental matches this weekend. But first to the important stuff.
Tulsa hosts Oklahoma State Saturday night. The Golden Hurricane has little hope against the fiery Cowboys, but at least the game will be in snug little H.A. Chapman stadium, where the gang from Stillwater can’t fit all that many fans. It’s always like a foreign occupation when the big state schools play Tulsa in Tulsa: the Big State band takes up half of one side of the stadium, and you can’t park any closer than the McDonalds way the heck down 11th Street between Harvard and Yale. Whatever points OSU is giving, take ‘em.
Oklahoma puts its #1 on the line in Tallahassee. Big game of the week. Fanfare. Confetti. Both teams looked overwhelming in their first outings. The Oklahoma D was faster and funnier than at any time in the last several years against Tulsa; it will lack Travis Lewis tomorrow, but it’s got the speed. #5 FSU’s offense has some excellent skill and promise but hasn’t faced a real test yet this season (e.g., QB E.J. Manuel). Meanwhile, if Landry Jones gets the protection he got from his front four in the Tulsa game, he’ll be productive. He’s becoming a smarter ball-tosser with each game. OU giving 3 is about right.
Navy visits #10 South Carolina (motto: “The other USC”) for the Mids’ toughest game yet. Sadly, we don’t see Navy taking the honors in this one. Army hosts Northwestern, which for some reason is favored only by 6.
Virginia Tech, hanging in there at #13 after trying to commit suicide last week, hosts weird no-name opponent Arkansas State (1-1, Sunbelt) in what ought to be an easy win for the Hokies. We can hope the Hokie Fairy will shake some anti-penalty dust on the field at Blacksburg. Tech gives 24, but we’d be wary of the Red Wolves covering.
Nevada is favored by only 6 over the San Jose State Spartans, who suck this year, so the crushing loss to Oregon is having its lingering effects. We think the Wolf Pack will show better than that tomorrow.
In other action, we simply must report that the Golden Bears of California are hosting one of our all-time favorite teams, the Presbyterian Blue Hose. The FCS/Div IAA Blue Hose play in the Big South, and beat the Div II Crusaders of North Greenville U (Tigerville, SC) last week. Much as we’d love to root for the Blue Hose, we do try to cheer on Cal when we can. There’s no evidence of betting odds on this one.
#3 LSU has already knocked off surging Mississippi State in the Thursday night game, 19-6. #2 Alabama hosts one of the losingest, toughest-hanging teams around, the Mean Green of North Texas, on Saturday, and unless the Tide doesn’t show up for some reason, they’ll win. #4 Boise State will probably wipe the turf with Toledo Friday night, but the Rockets did give Ohio State a scare last week, so there may be a hurdle or two in the cakewalk.
Speaking of Ohio State, the #17 Buckeyes are favored over Miami in the much-anticipated Ineligibowl on Saturday night. We’re in a place in the Grand Cycle of NCAA Football where that rates a WHAT. EVER.
Also rating same in terms of cosmic significance to the BCS is the annual September rivalry match between Florida and Tennessee, also known as Black Saturday for all the travel stops up and down I-75. Yeah, the Gators are #16. Have fun, dudes.
#6 Stanford travels to meet a mushy Arizona and Oregon hosts Missouri State, a Div IAA opponent. The overdogs should win with no problem, but struggling #23 Texas may encounter another Bruin trap as it takes on UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Might be a photo finish in that one.
In Division II, SWOSU’s 1-1 Bulldogs take on conference foe Henderson State in Arkadelphia (Arkansas, silly). The Henderson State team is the Reddies, whatever that means. The Reddies are also 1-1. Meanwhile, after a 41-0 drubbing by the steak-filled coaching staff at Colorado State-Pueblo, the well-traveled Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers will bump into the University of South Dakota Coyotes in Vermillion, SD. USD is a Div IAA team, and all things being equal, should outmatch the Rangers for a second week.
In Division III, Christopher Newport hosts the (we are not making this up) Sea Gulls of Salisbury U (MD), in the Captains’ first ever lighted night game on Saturday. Salisbury plays in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and has won its first two games, but we feel sure the Captains can beat a team that sports a cartoon sea gull as its mascot. After a week off, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology heads for Kalamazoo to take on the Kalamazoo College Hornets. The Hornets, a non-conference opponent, come in 1-1, with a reasonable scoring history, so the Fightin’ Engineers have their work cut out for them.