Ever notice how much Nick Saban and Rick Perry resemble each other?
Just getting your attention. It’s Overdogs’ Choice this week, for sure. Even Tulsa, which defeated Notre Dame in their first-ever meeting last year, is a heavily-favored overdog, hosting winless conference rival U Alabama-Birmingham. UAB gained a brief and weird notoriety in August, when alert US researchers reported that a Chinese TV news spot had featured an IP address associated with the school as the target of a notional cyber-attack. Just one of the many examples of cosmopolitan engagement by the Conference-USA fraternity.
#1/#3 Oklahoma should have no trouble with hapless Kansas, which has allowed its last three opponents to score 181 points. Even McNeese State scored 24 points on the Jayhawks. Basically, if you suit up an offense and send it out there, it’s going to score on Kansas. Oklahoma needs to keep fluffing its feathers and strutting for the BCS computer, so a 4-quarter pile-on is to be expected in Lawrence on Saturday. The Sooners might even try running the ball.
#6/#7 OK-State visits #22 Texas, and is a lesser but still solid overdog. Navy will be at Rutgers, and breaks the overdog streak for the TOC slate with the Scarlet Knights giving 3. Navy has a good shot at this one, and we always like to see the Midshipmen kick Commie Red tail. But the Knights got it done against Pitt last week and won’t be a pushover. The line looks about right on this one. Army is off this week. (Chair Force lost to San Diego State Thursday night.)
The Hokies give 6 in their bout with Wake Forest, which may or may not be on target. The Demon Deacons knocked off Florida State last week, but the, er, growing suspicion is that the ‘Noles were way overhyped at the beginning of the season. Frankly, VT, which has slipped to #19 in the AP, brings more than Wake Forest does, even in Wake’s house. The question will be whether the Hokies can avoid shooting themselves in the foot with turnovers and penalties.
After pounding the flea-bitten Rebels of UNLV last week, Nevada is a solid 29-point overdog hosting New Mexico in a Battle of the Wolves. Lantrip got the win as relief QB last week, but we hear the youngster Fajardo will start again on Saturday. The Wolf Pack can afford to play quarterback shuttle and give Fajardo field time against weak opponents, and can probably even afford another five turnovers. But we urge them to forego the latter.
There are a few overdogs who might get a good workout from their opponents. A resurgent #11 Michigan at #23 Michigan State, in their annual classic, may be the best bet in that regard. But #18 Arizona State at #9 Oregon is one to watch: we think the Ducks will take the day, but the Sun Devils have shown awful feisty so far. The key for the Ducks will, as always, be starting to actually play football before midway through the 2Q. As a random comment, we consider Clemson overranked at #8, although the Turtle, which has had real gettin’-started problems this year, is not the opponent to prove that.
#1/#2 LSU should roll over Tennessee without breaking much of a sweat. #2/#3 Alabama, if true to form, will start slow on offense at Ole Miss, but steamroll the Rebels with the Tide’s relentless D. #4 Wisconsin, hosting Indiana, and #5 Boise State, visiting Colorado State, have little to worry about. #5/#7 Stanford’s Candy Pink will blast easily through Washington State.
We are sorry to report that Cal lost badly to the Trojans, 30-9, on Thursday night. Boy, was that game ever not worth watching.
In Div II, SWOSU’s Bulldogs lost to East Central last week, 29-12. They have a chance to redeem themselves in their homecoming bout with Ouachita Baptist on Saturday. The 3-2 OBU Tigers beat East Central in their first game of the season, but have lost the last two matches to schools no one has ever heard of. We feel sure the Bulldogs – who will be able to take the field through the fang-toothed mouth of their inflatable bulldog – have a fine shot at this one.
The NWOSU Rangers defeated Southern Nazarene nicely last week, and head to Muskogee Saturday for a match with conference rival Bacone College. The 2-5 Warriors are coming off of an impressive win over Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, in which they scored 41 points in the final 20 minutes of play to upend the SAGU Lions 44-38. It will be a bit warm in Muskogee, 85F at game time, but the fall foliage of Eastern Oklahoma should be coming into its own.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman lost, as expected, to a ranked Franklin last week, 55-24. Tomorrow’s bout is the annual match with the Engineers’ archrival Mount St Joseph, which comes in 3-2 (to RHIT’s 2-3), and having held Franklin to 35 points in a respectable loss on the 1st. The Fightin’ Engineers host the Cincinnati-based Lions in Terre Haute, where it’s supposed to be sunny and 68 at game time. (Sigh.)
Christopher Newport, 3-2 after a 27-20 OT victory over Shenandoah, heads though the ridiculous autumn scenery to Danville, VA on Saturday, to take on conference rival Averett U. The Cougars come in at 2-3.