We note up front that NCAA football week 11 falls in the week of 11/11/11, which to us seems pretty handy.
Welcome to this Veterans Day edition, from your complete source for opinions on Penn State and its unseemly administration. We’re going to rely on our energetic reader-correspondents to provide most of that, pausing to note that the whole incident is sad and bizarre, up to and including the long-missing, now-declared-dead DA who did not prosecute Jerry Sandusky in 1998. Penn State officials appear to have been terribly wrong, and for a long time, in their handling of this situation. No set of laws or policies is a magic pill that prevents something like this; the best society can do, acting in its institutional capacity, is to warn and punish those in positions of responsibility who don’t take it seriously. To the extent that there is a remedy, it lies elsewhere. Penn State could not be a father to these boys; they needed fathers of their own.
A bunch of teams from the old Midwest have already played this week, and the #10 Hokies and Yellowjackets duked it out Thursday night in the ACC Coastal Division signature bout. After a weird third quarter featuring the usual nonsense with penalties and turnovers, the Hokies surged back into the lead to take the Yellowjackets, who couldn’t seem to tackle to save their lives, 37-26. VA Tech, 9-1, has North Carolina and the Yahoos of Virginia in the final two weeks, and should certainly be favored over both. (For more insightful commentary on the game, see the comments section of the “8 November IAEA report” post.)
Tulsa hosts Marshall’s Thundering Herd in broad daylight on Saturday (11:00 AM Central), and is expected to do what a hurricane usually does to a herd of livestock. Tulsa is 6-3 to Houston’s 11-0 in C-USA West, but Houston hasn’t played Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or Boise State this year (nor did Houston beat Notre Dame last year). Oh, heck, point by point Houston probably is the better team (mowed down Tulane 73-13 last night), but Tulsa’s got some impressive offensive talent if they can tilt the defense a little more toward the stop-em-cold end of the spectrum, and away from the excuse-laden bend-but-don’t-break end. The Golden Hurricane will have homefield advantage for the epic bout with Keenum & Pals on the 25th.
#6 Oklahoma has a bye this week, gearing up for the confrontation with Baylor on the 19th. #2 Oklahoma State will be at Texas Tech, which specializes in knocking off Big 12 leaders in Lubbock. The Cowboys, like Tulsa, could stand to tilt their spectrum, defensive-M.O-wise. OSU gives the Red Raiders 19 in the line, but they’d better watch their six. Since I’m sure the citizens of Oklahoma can’t get away from the refrain about Les Miles having been at OSU Back in the Day, I won’t go into it here.
Navy, buoyed by the win over Troy, travels to an SMU smarting from its Tulsa loss and still gunning for that outside chance against Houston. (The two meet on the 19th.) The oddsdudes have SMU giving Navy 8, which is probably about right. But we say Go Navy!! A Navy win is always a positive thing, and every loss for SMU helps Tulsa – except in the Houston game. On the 19th, it’ll be all Go Mustangs! around here.
Army hosts Rutgers, with the Scarlet Foofy Boys giving 8. Air Force hosts Wyoming and should rack up another win.
Nevada hosts the Wolf Pack’s annual bout with Hawaii, and gives 16, which may be a tad conservative. The 5-4 Warriors have, after all, managed to lose to UNLV this year. Even playing in the WAC, they have to travel a long way for their away games – and, especially in the WAC, they’re often playing at unfamiliar elevations (Reno: Approximately 4500 feet). Wolf Pack QB Cody Fajardo is reportedly slated to start, after swelling the herd of injured players stampeding off the field in the New Mexico State game a couple of weeks ago.
In the best of the rest, the clear leading contender for Game of the Week is #7 Oregon at #4 Stanford. (LSU and Alabama are playing creampuffs this week: Western Kentucky and Mississippi State, respectively.) The Ducks and Candy Pink are playing for the PAC-12 North and most probably the Rose Bowl. (The parlous state of the PAC-12 South is evident from the 7-2 record of non-conference-leader USC, which AP but not the BCS has in the top 25.) Look for lots of offensive derring-do, once the Ducks get their hearts started midway through the 2Q. Ducks v. Luck: be there, 5:00 PM Pacific. (Note to Ducks: don’t wear the nasty neon-gray outfits, huh?)
#5 Boise State hosts TCU in the deciding bout for the Mountain West, and of course the speculation about a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl rematch with OU has been rampant for a while now. We figure Mountain West is the Broncos’ to lose.
On-field drama may actually erupt with Nebraska at Penn State. The 8-1 Nittally Lions are perched atop the Big 10 Leaders Division, but in theory can still be caught by Ohio State or Wisconsin. The Buckeyes host the annual face-off next week, and PSU has to travel to Wisconsin for the final regular-season game on the 26th. It ain’t over in the Big 10, that’s for sure: all of Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Michigan are still in it, over in the Legends Division. So Nebraska will be gunning hard tomorrow.
Cal actually gives 9 hosting the O-State Beavers.
In Div II, SWOSU beat the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys 23-20 last week, which seems a little tight for beating a passel of Wonder Boys. But the Bulldogs are up to 5-5 (3-4 conference), and face Arkansas-Monticello in Monticello for their final game tomorrow. (70 and cloudy.) UAM may be 4-6, but its Weevils have a thoroughly excellent team name. SWOSU is not in contention in the Great American Conference – Ouachita Baptist, 6-0 conference, has run away with it – so Saturday’s game will close out the season.
We regret to report that the NWOSU Rangers lost their final season game to Panhandle State last week. Langston U took the Central States Football League, as expected. The Div II championship game will be held in Florence, AL on 17 December, but bracket info for the playoffs will await the results of this weekend’s games. Ouachita Baptist is currently ranked #7 in Super Region 4.
In Div III, Christopher Newport is in command of USA South, having defeated Ferrum last week. The 7-2 Captains host the Scots of Maryville College (Tennessee), who come to Newport News at 4-5. TMF is our man in southeast Virginia keeping up on what all this means for CNU’s immediate football future, and the consequences for the CNU band. The Captains are ranked #10 in the Div III South Region after last week. 63 and sunny in POMOCO Stadium.
Rose-Hulman topped Anderson in a shoot-out last week, 53-50. The Fightin Engineers have a pretty good shot at finishing 5-5, as they travel to take on the 0-9 Earlham College Quakers tomorrow in Richmond, IN (58 and cloudy). We note that HCAC’s top-gunning Franklin Grizzlies (who blanked the Quakers 59-0 last week) are ranked #4 in the Div III North Region. Div III will play its championship game on 16 December in Salem, VA.