We hear there’s some baseball going on out there, but since it doesn’t involve the Reds or the Dodgers, we really don’t care. (Oh, OK, OK. The Arizona-Milwaukee game is on the tube, and we think the Phillies are going to go all the way again, and we’re OK with that. But that’s as much as we care to say on a relatively unimportant topic.)
The big news this weekend is, of course, the Red River shootout in Dallas. Oh, Cal lost to #9 Oregon as expected last night, 43-15 (hey, the Ducks had home field advantage, all right?), and #5 Boise State invades Fresno State here in a few hours, looking for more scalps. But the game that matters, the Game of Games, the Game to End All Games will take place in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday at 11:00 AM CDT.
#1/#3 OU is favored by 11 over #11 Texas, but we think that’s optimistic and we urge the Sooners not to get cocky. Both teams will be loaded for bear, and Texas has been improving rapidly in the last few weeks while Oklahoma has been treading water and fiddling around. Landry Jones will need to minimize the interceptions; the Longhorn secondary hasn’t been spectacular this season, but with 6 interceptions so far, it’s getting the job done. Jones can’t throw stupid against it. The Sooners have plenty of running talent to tie down the defense with, and if the Sooner D will play the way it did against the Seminoles, Oklahoma should win the day.
#6 OK-State should have no trouble with Kansas. The Jayhawks walloped McNeese State and Northern Illinois, but lost ignominiously to Georgia Tech and Texas Tech, neither of which is All That this year. The Cowboys have lost a half-step in the secondary with Devin Hedgepeth out for the season, but they’re generally healthy otherwise. (For the four people who haven’t seen it, a brief video clip of the Mike Gundy postgame dance after the win over Texas A&M is here.)
Tulsa has a bye this week and will meet conference foe U Alabama-Birmingham on the 15th. Navy hosts Southern Mississippi and is favored by 1. That may sell the Golden Eagles short; they’ve already beat Louisiana Tech (motto: “What the heck are we doing in the WAC?”) and Virginia this year, which aren’t the toughest teams in the FBS but aren’t creampuffs either. We wish Navy numerous trips to the checkerboard, however. Army gives 2 at Miami (Ohio), but we’re expecting better than that for Army, since the 0-4 Redhawks are terrible. In a lesser-of-two-evils bout, Air Force visits Notre Dame. Pick yours.
In spite of their graceless swan dive last week against Clemson, the #21 Hokies are giving 7 in the home stand against Miami (Da U) on Saturday. We feel sure Coach Beamer has got them in a better frame of mind, even if “offense” is still against his religion. The Hurricanes are coming off a big win over Bethune-Cookman’s intrepid Wildcats, but they’re basically not very good this year, and VA Tech should, frankly, kick their tails.
Nevada hosts an annual rivalry this weekend with the UNLV Rebels. The Rebels stink, and the Wolf Pack is handing out points in the parking lot (21 at last count). When I say stink, I mean the Rebels really smell: as far as I can tell, Nevada hasn’t settled yet on a starting QB for the Saturday night game, and still the Pack is giving 21. We say take ‘em.
In Other News: #1/#2 LSU hosts #17 Florida in what is unlikely to be a tight game. #2/#3 Alabama is scheduled to slaughter Vanderbilt. There should be some speed and flair on display as #15 Auburn heads for #10 Arkansas, but it would take cataclysmic events for the SEC to come down to anyone but LSU and Alabama at this point. The #4/#7 Stanford Sparkly Garnet plays host to Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”), and is being downright stingy with the points, giving only 29. #14 Nebraska takes on its next Big 10 opponent, the rapidly receding Buckeyes. (Wisconsin has a bye.)
In Div II, the SWOSU Bulldogs head to Weatherford to take on East Central University’s Tigers in a Great American Conference match. The Tigers don’t seem to be very good, having lost to Central Oklahoma last week, and Ouachita Baptist earlier in the season. SWOSU edged past Southeastern Oklahoma State last week, 23-20.
NWOSU’s Rangers knocked off Missouri S&T last week 22-17, and host the Crimson Storm of Southern Nazarene University in a Central States Football League bout on Saturday. We have no idea if the Crimson Storm is any good or not, but TOC can vouch for the antique shopping across 39th Street from the SNU campus in Bethany.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman upended Manchester 26-20 last week. Saturday will see the season’s toughest opponent arrive in Terre Haute, as the Franklin College Grizzlies, perched atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and ranked #25 in the D3 poll, take the field against the Engineers.
Christopher Newport is coming off a win at Methodist University, 26-14, and will host a game under the lights again in Newport News on Saturday night. The visiting team is the Hornets of Shenandoah U, a USA South Conference rival coming in with a 2-2 record to match the Captains’.
Minnesota’s Yovani Gallardo has been striking Diamondbacks out right and left in an otherwise sluggish 1-1 match. We leave them in the bottom of the 6th.