Finally! Tulsa gets to relax a little and neither play nor be preparing for a Top 10 opponent. After a manful performance that, in retrospect, could have been worse, against Boise State, the Golden Hurricane will host the 1-3 Mean Green of North Texas on Saturday. The game even starts at the reasonable hour of 6:00 PM CDT. QB Kinne is still favoring his injured knee according to the Tulsa sportsbabblers, but the Tulsa O’s strong and improving running game gives him something of a break, and should be effective against North Texas. The Mean Green got their one win against Indiana, which in many years wouldn’t be too shabby. But the Hoosiers are pretty bad this year.
Oklahoma, now #1 or #2 depending on which poll you favor, hosts Ball State Saturday at 6:00. The Sooners are giving away stacks of points at the gate, and you might as well take ‘em. The Cardinals will be a minor speed bump on the way to the Red River Shootout with Texas on the 8th. The #17 Longhorns, for their part, have their work cut out for them up in Ames, where they will meet a 3-0 Cyclone squad coming off a bye week preceded by a narrow win over UConn. Texas gives 9, but Iowa State has a good shot at covering.
#5 OK-State has a bye this weekend and will prepare to meet a floundering Kansas on 8 October. Meanwhile, Navy hosts Air Force to kick off the Commander-in-Chief trophy series for this season. The Falcon D, decimated by injuries, will have a challenge keeping up with Navy’s polished triple option, and big losses on the Air Force defensive line may give Kriss Proctor that extra second he needs to work himself up to the occasional throw. Navy gives 3, which is probably about right. Look for the gamebabblers to talk incessantly about whether Navy is going to move to the Big East. Saturday; noon; Annapolis. Army gives only 7 in a home game against Tulane, but will probably cover and more.
#11 VA Tech is favored by 7 over #13 Clemson in Blacksburg, and it ought to be a good game. The Tigers have been playing quality opponents tough; Tech has been spotty but good enough, and with flashes of brilliance. The Clemson match-up kicks off the Hokies’ ACC schedule.
Nevada hits the Smurf Turf in Boise as the Broncos’ next victim, after losing the heartbreaker to Texas Tech last week. We’re not sure the Wolf Pack won’t cover the 27-point give by Boise State, but we are sure this year’s Pack won’t repeat last year’s wild OT victory. Too many of the seasoned players from 2010 termed out.
In other action, Houston had a surprising amount of trouble with UTEP in a C-USA bout on Thursday, finally downing the Miners 49-42. Pitt stomped soon-to-no-longer-be-#16 South Florida 44-17, which we think is too bad. (TOC was stationed in Tampa and follows the Bulls with a benign interest.)
BYU hosts Utah State Friday night in one of those games Utahans think are important. On Saturday, #1/#2 LSU should have no trouble at home with Kentucky. The big SEC game will see #12 Florida hosting #3 Alabama. We like the Tide for this one and are not convinced the Gators will remain at #12 after it, but of course anything can happen.
The Big 10 affords a marquee match-up this weekend with #8 Nebraska traveling to #7 Wisconsin. This will be the Huskers’ first Big 10 game as a conference member. Bo Pelini’s squad are runnin’ fools, putting up a mean triple option, but the Badgers on the other side aren’t doing three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust these days. Half of their high-scoring offense comes from QB Russell Wilson’s arm, which is starting to generate Heisman buzz. The oddsquad favors Wisconsin by 10; the sportsbabblers are excited about a real, meaningful game with absolutely no teams from the SEC, PAC-12, or Big 12 in it.
The #6 Stanford Candy Pink is favored by (at least) 21 over the hapless (and getting haplesser) Bruins. Cal’s off this week, preparing to lose to the #9 Ducks in Eugene on Thursday, 6 October.
In the first-time meet-ups column, the Cavaliers of Virginia host Idaho’s unfortunate Vandals. Yahoos give 16 in their fourth game ever against a WAC opponent. In a separate sub-column, Ole Miss will play its first game ever in the state of California when the Rebels meet Fresno State on Saturday night.
In Div II, Southwestern Oklahoma State travels to Durant to meet Southeastern Oklahoma State on Saturday evening. The Savage Storm is 2-1 to the Bulldogs’ 3-1. We note for FOOTSIE’s benefit that Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a SWOSU alum, and recently donated the use of his personal suite at the Jets-Patriots game for auction at an athletics fund-raising event in Weatherford.
The NWOSU Rangers host their homecoming game Saturday against Missouri University of Science and Technology. Those who frequent I-44 have at least heard of Rolla, MO, even if they aren’t familiar with the Miners or the Great Lakes Football Conference. Missouri S&T comes in 2-2 and will give the 1-3 Rangers a challenge.
In Div III, Christopher Newport heads to Fayetteville, NC for the first USA South conference game of the season against Methodist University. The Captains and Monarchs both hit the turf 1-2 on Saturday at 1:00 PM.
Rose-Hulman travels for a conference match with Manchester, in North Manchester, IN. The 2-1 Spartans, coming off a bye week, aren’t half bad. We wish the Fightin’ Engineers luck in their bid for a second victory.