We Big 12 fans may be living la vie en rose for the foreseeable future, and traditionalist Sooner fans may finally have something to thank Texas for, if the TV network deal holds the conference together. Mizzou is still having second and third thoughts and flirting with the SEC. Chuck Neinas is being recycled from the Big 8 as interim Big 12 commissioner. And beyond that, we don’t know from nothin’, but we do find this all very irritating. We want football! We want football!
The real reason for the vie en rose is, of course, the Sooners’ win over the Seminoles last week. This week ponies up some fine matches, starting with Tulsa manning up to another drubbing, this one on the Blue Field of Death at #4 Boise State. The Golden Hurricane faces Saturday without QB G.J. Kinne, who was injured in the Midnight Bowl against OK-State, and sparkplug Damaris Johnson, still suspended over embezzlement charges. TU basically has no chance, so take whatever points you can find on offer. After a ridiculous September playing #1, #4, and #7 Tulsa will settle down next week for a nice little outing against North Texas. Have we mentioned that TU beat Notre Dame last year?
The Sooners host Missouri Saturday evening, in what has been a grudge match for the last few years. The Tigers aren’t bringing what they had during the Chase Daniel heyday, but they’ve got some stuff, and will play the Sooners tough, as always. Of course the sportsbabblers are harping on the Mizzou-knocking-off-#1-Sooners theme from last year, but while the 19 points OU is giving in the betting line may be excessive, it’s probably not by much.
OSU will be at College Station to take on the turncoat Aggies, who are giving 4 points although they’re ranked #8 to the Cowboys’ #7. The Pokes did give up a LOT of rushing yards to Tulsa in the Midnight Bowl. But on offense, the Weeden-Blackmon duo is healthy and hitting on all 12 cylinders, and the Cowboys have three other productive backs to mix things up with. A&M brings heat of their own with RB Cyrus Gray.
Navy has a bye this week and will meet Air Force on 1 October in Annapolis. Army is slightly favored over Ball State, whose 2-1 Cardinals don’t entirely suck.
Virginia Tech, hanging in at #13, gives 20 in a bout with Marshall in the Thundering Herd’s house. The Hokies will be missing receiver Jarrett Boykin, out with an injury, but since they aren’t all obsessive about offense anyway, who cares, right? Actually, they’ve still got reasonable depth in the ball-catching corps, and Logan Thomas can give the other receivers a workout. They should have little difficulty with Marshall.
A rebuilding Nevada heads to Lubbock to give Texas Tech its first real test of the season. The Red Raiders are substantially favored – understandably, after the Wolf Pack’s underwhelming performance at San Jose State. But Texas Tech hasn’t had a real challenge yet, having so far thumped only FCS Independent Texas State and New Mexico, routinely the cellar-dweller of the Mountain West.
Tonight sees C-USA’s Central Florida at Brigham Young in what could be a pretty good match. Cincinnati downed North Carolina State (motto: “They have a football team”?) on Thursday night, 44-14, while most folks were watching the GOP debate.
In big-name match-ups, of course, #14 Arkansas at #3 Alabama gets high billing. Florida State, now #11, meets #21 Clemson, and the Pawprints can give the ‘Noles some grief if they play like they did against Auburn last week. #16 West Virginia, on the climb after knocking off the Terps, hosts #2 LSU. We’d keep an eye on Clemson, but the overdogs should win in these bouts. Cal meets Washington, with the Huskies slightly favored, and has a good chance of bagging another win. Arizona State is favored ever so slightly over USC. (Hee.)
In Div II, Southwestern Oklahoma State hits the road to take on the 0-3 Bronchos of the University of Central Oklahoma, whose suckage is pretty well established this season. The Bronchos have shown some style and spirit but just can’t seem to close the deal. We note that the Bulldogs run out at the start of each game from under the sharp teeth of a giant inflatable bulldog. Just one of the color-commentary services offered here at TOC.
The Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers will be in Tyler, Texas for a meet with the Steers of Texas College, a Central States Football League rival. The Steers have been put through the industrial crusher in their first three outings, turning in their best performance in a 49-6 loss to Texas Southern last week. So even the 0-3 Rangers look to have a shot at posting a win.
In Div III, Christopher Newport is off this week, but will take on the Methodist University Monarchs in Fayetteville, NC next Saturday. Rose-Hulman, hosting the 1-2 Panthers of conference rival Hanover College, will be looking for the first win of the season.