Hard to believe we’ve reached Week 8, but the Thursday night entertainment certainly brought it home to the few lucky viewers who were tuned to the UCLA-Arizona game rather than the Series.
I mean, if you’re going to pretend you’re a referee, blow a whistle, and run onto the field behind the offensive line, it doesn’t make sense unless you also head for the end zone at a trot, removing your outer garments.
The truly interesting thing, however, is the melee that ensued, for no apparent reason, between the Bruin and Wildcat players. Well, watch both videos. The fans were going wild for Faux Ref Guy in the second one.
Just to get another pre-Saturday game out of the way up front, #11 West Virginia should have no trouble with Syracuse tonight.
Speaking of rankings, we’re basically OK with the first BCS product, although we think Clemson is ranked way too high. Stanford is definitely better than Clemson. OK-State is possibly (probably?) ranked a titch high. Boise State and Wisconsin are possibly/probably both better. Let the disputing commence.
Now, on to Tulsa, Notre Dame-slayer, which heads to Houston tomorrow to take on C-USA West Division rival Rice. The Golden Hurricane is giving about 10, which sounds right. With a healthy G.J. Kinne, they’ll probably cover and more. TU, at 3-3, will need to defeat both Houston and SMU to pull out a division title this season; we say don’t count the Golden H out. They beat Notre Dame last year, after all. But beating Rice comes first.
#3 OU hosts Texas Tech, a sometime Big 12/BCS-buster and Sooner nemesis, on Saturday evening. The Sooners should roll over the Red Raiders pretty handily, especially playing in Norman. But Sooner fans shouldn’t neglect to provide rhetorical support during the game. Tech has pulled a fast one before. Isolated thunderstorms, with lightning and wind, will infest game day.
#6 OK-State heads to Missouri for a game the Cowboys had better be up for. The Tigers aren’t as good as the Cowboys, but they can put some offense together and stun OSU fast out of the gate. Watch your six, Pokes. Justify that 7 point give.
Navy hosts a struggling East Carolina, and even after some tough losses is giving 11 to the Purple Pirates. Army is at Vanderbilt, with the Commodores giving another 11. We think Army will cover (perhaps due to an extra spurt of energy from mistaking the Commodores for a seagoing opponent). Chair Force will suffer in its appointed turn on the Blue Field of Death, where #5 Boise State is giving 30. Which sounds low to us.
#16 VA Tech is heaving 21 at Boston College, which comes to Blacksburg at 1-5 in a worsening down year. As long as the Hokies minimize the self-foot-shooting, penalty- and turnover-wise, they should cover. Ridiculously glorious football weather is scheduled for Saturday, 62 and sunny at kickoff.
The Nevada Wolf Pack should have equally excellent game weather hosting Fresno State, with a dome of high pressure perched over the West and 76F at game time. Nevada gives 11, and for good reason. The Bulldogs are pretty sad this year.
Startlingly, the Golden Bears of Cal are giving points – if no more than 2 – in their Saturday match with the Youths of Utah. We’re not so sure about that. The Youths knocked off Pitt last week, after all. And Cal sucks.
Meanwhile, we just want to say up front that we think #19 Auburn has a shot against #1 LSU. Auburn comes in with its own issues, such as Latent Quarterback Identification Deficiency, but LSU will be without Mathieu and Simon on D, and yard-maker Spencer Ware on O. Of course, LSU will be on guard in the replay of the Tiger-off that went Auburn’s way in 2010. LSU gives 21, and we predict Auburn will cover.
#2 Alabama should crush Tennessee, however. In other games of note, the pathetic Golden Gophers host #13 Nebraska’s next Big 10 test, and are sure to drop another one. Michigan State, coming off a win over Michigan, hosts #4 Wisconsin. We don’t expect the Badgers to have much trouble in that one. Penn State gives 4 in the Nittally Lions’ annual classic with Northwestern. #7 Stanford hosts the Washington Huskies, which have weirdly and unjustifiably climbed to #22 in the BCS after beating five middling-to-rotten teams and losing to Nebraska. The Rose Petal, giving 20, should send the Huskies back south of 25 where they belong.
In Div II, the SWOSU Bulldogs travel to Searcy, Arkansas to meet the Harding University Bison, who come in 2-5 to the Bulldogs’ 4-3. The Bison aren’t much on the gridiron, but their alumni include NFL linebacker “Tank” Daniels and former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr.
NWOSU hosts perennial powerhouse Langston U (Langston, OK) in Alva on Saturday. The 5-2 Lions will give the Rangers a tough conference match.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman heads for Mennonite Bluffton University (Bluffton, OH) on Saturday, and should have a good shot with the 3-3 Beavers, who have lost to both Franklin and Mt St. Joe.
Christopher Newport hosts North Carolina Wesleyan for homecoming in Newport News Saturday evening. The North Carolina Wesleyan squad rejoices in the name Battling Bishops, and at 2-4 has already lost to one of our all-time favorite schools, Ferrum College of Ferrum, Virginia, southwest of Rocky Mount (where we note that the Dyer family, to which there is every possibility we are related, dedicated a new residence hall just this past month). Ferrum is not a useful place to look for a public restroom when you’re on the road, but it has many other charms. Go Captains!