We are excited to announce that the TOC Football Commentary Service resumes this week, after a hiatus due to (TOC’s) indisposition through the first half of the season. Better late than never, we always say.
All right, so who would have expected Notre Dame to be up there in the nosebleed section of the BCS at this point? Can LSU knock off Alabama? Does Oklahoma State have a chance against Kansas State? Will Oregon meet its Nemesis in the Coliseum on Saturday night?
These and other questions will entertain the sportsbabblers for the next 36 hours. But here at TOC, we take things in order of importance. The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane will be at Arkansas Saturday for possibly its toughest game of the season. The Razorbacks have been pathetic this year, but between the SEC and C-USA, you pretty much have to go with the SEC team. Still, Tulsa did beat Notre Dame 28-27 in the two teams’ only meeting ever on 30 October 2010. They should be able to ride that to any number of unexpected victories. Arkansas is giving only 5 or so.
TU is 7-1, 5-0 conference, with the best record in C-USA, and perched atop the West Division. They could use a bigger, more impenetrable defensive front line. Just had to mention that. But their offensive line has tightened up noticeably over the last 8 weeks. The ranking won’t change even if they lose tomorrow, but still: Go Tulsa!!!
The Oklahoma Sooners are slinking up to Iowa State with their tails between their legs after a drubbing by Notre Dame last Saturday. They’re favored by 13 over the Cyclones, about which we say: Big woop. It won’t matter if they beat the Cyclones; with two losses, they’ve sealed their fate in the Big 12 this year.
Oklahoma State will be in Manhattan, Kansas to take on the hot-running K-State Wildcats, who clock in at #2 in the BCS. The ‘Cats are only giving 7, although that’s probably a function of determination on the part of the OSU bettors. (Don’t get in the way of Oklahoma fans and their football.) We’ll be pulling hard for the Cowboys. It would mean quite a BCS tumble for Kansas State to lose tomorrow.
We are saddened to report that Virginia Tech lost to Miami on Thursday night, and badly. Just about the same score as the Sooners’ loss to Notre Dame. Two of Miami’s TDs came after special-teams flubs by the Hokies, which in most years are pretty darn uncharacteristic. Is Beamer losing his mojo? The Hokies racked up more yards and plays than the Hurricanes, but lost 30-12 on sheer bad execution. Although the ACC Coastal Division remains pretty open, VT has already played all three teams ranked above it. Miami and North Carolina are the ones to watch in Coastal; Florida State is the bet for the conference title.
Navy hosts Florida Atlantic, which at 2-6 is pretty sucky this year. Navy gives 16. Army hosts Air Force for their annual bout, and if anyone thinks 1-7 Army’s going to win, he’s not letting on.
Nevada has the week off after a painful 48-31 loss to Air Force last week, which produced a big drop in the Wolf Pack’s standing in the tight-tight-tight Mountain West. Nevada will host Fresno State on the 10th.
Meanwhile, the game of the week has to be #1 Alabama at #5 LSU. Their rivalry doesn’t have a cutesy name, and as far as I know they don’t play for any bric-a-brac or garage trash to tote home with them. But the real issue is that LSU just might have a hope of rearranging the BCS with a win. Les Miles and Nick Saban, one more time.
Speaking of goofy trophies, Michigan and Minnesota will be playing for the Little Brown Jug on Saturday. Western Michigan and Central Michigan, on the other hand, will be playing for the Golden Cannon, which is our kind of football-rivalry trophy. Fresno State and Hawaii, we are happy to report, are playing for the Golden Screwdriver on Saturday night.
But a game of near-equal bigness will be Oklahoma State at #2 Kansas State. Good sense says the Wildcats are too much for this year’s Pokes, with the latter’s offensive weaknesses and perennial defensive strategy of bending an awful lot. But there’s always the chance – especially with the Cowboys. #3 Notre Dame will host Pittsburgh, and most likely win.
Oregon, #4, heads for a showdown with USC, which slipped to #17 after the loss to Arizona last week. On paper, the Ducks should have no trouble with this one. But no PAC-12 game is ever a lock. Ducks give 6.
Georgia, #6, shouldn’t have much trouble with Ole Miss. For some reason, they don’t seem to be playing for a bucket, jug, or kitchen utensil of any kind. Florida, #7, should be able to nurse its wounds hosting Missouri, whose first year in the SEC has been inauspicious. The #8 Gamecocks (motto: The Other USC) have the week off, as do the #9 Seminoles, who will head to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech on Thursday the 8th. Rounding out the BCS top 10, Louisville hosts Temple, making the second Owl squad that should lose tomorrow.
In other games of note, Texas will be at Texas Tech; don’t drive through Texas unless you absolutely have to. New Mexico State will be at Auburn, and we wonder if they’ve ever played before. Anyone? TCU heads to West Virginia for another This-new-Big-12-is-so-weird game. Stanford will be at Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”), and #11 Oregon State hosts Arizona State.
In the other ranks of college ball, TOC Div III favorite Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology – coming off a big win over long-time rival Mount St. Joseph last week – hosts the Ravens of Anderson College on Saturday at 1:30 Central. The Fightin’ Engineers are 3-5, 3-3 conference. Weather in Terre Haute, football perfect: 47F with showers at game time.
Also in Div III, the Captains of Christopher Newport University (Newport, VA) will host USA South conference rival Greensboro (The Pride) on Saturday night in POMOCO Stadium. It’s homecoming for the 5-3 Captains, and they’ve got a good shot against 4-4 Greensboro. 50F and partly cloudy at game time.
Dipping into high school ball, we note that the Deer Creek Antlers of Edmond, OK will be playing their final game of the regular season at Bishop McGuinness, Friday night at 7:00 PM Central. Bishop McGuinness, 10-0 and leading the district in 5A, beat Guthrie last week, the only team Deer Creek has lost to this season, so tonight’s game may not go so well. But the 8-1-1 Antlers, ranked 6th statewide in 5A, could lock in a good playoff berth with a win. Go Blue!