Yes, yes, I know. General Petraeus has resigned, supposedly due to an extramarital affair. He didn’t notify me of his reasons or what’s going on, so, having no special insight here, I’m going to press ahead and talk some pigskin.
It’s shaping up to be a kind of ordinary weekend, with none of the big cheeses playing anyone who has a serious hope of knocking them off. We start with the center of the football universe, the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame in the only game the two teams have ever played, 28-27, on 20 October 2010.
TU will be at Houston in a big C-USA West match, possibly the second-biggest of the season. (The showdown with SMU, currently ranked second to Tulsa in C-USA West, could be the biggest. Or the 4-5 SMU could remain on course for oblivion, and it won’t matter: Tulsa, 7-2 and 5-0 conference, could lose to the Mustangs and still take the division.) Anyway, Houston, also at 4-5, ain’t all that this year, but the Cougars always play Tulsa tough, and they’ll be in their own house on Saturday at 4:00 PM CST. Tulsa is favored by about 2, after the lackluster performance against Rice a couple of weeks ago.
Oklahoma hosts Baylor and gives about 20. After Landry Jones has thrown his obligatory 3 interceptions – hopefully all in the first half – the Sooners should settle down and make some Bear stew.
Oklahoma State will host West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, at 2:30 PM in Stillwater. This should mean neither team will have to play a quarter squinting into the sunset in the east-west- oriented T. Boone Pickens Stadium. But you never know with OK-State; they’ve had more than their share of extended game delays in the last two seasons. Saturday is looking windy and mild, however, with no rain in store. The oddsquad likes OSU for this one by 8. Go Pokes!
Navy will be at Troy Saturday afternoon, and Troy won’t be a pushover. Navy gives 1 at the moment, and it probably won’t bubble up any more than that. Army will be at Rutgers, getting stomped after a miraculous triumph over Air Force. Air Force had better be done licking its wounds; its host, San Diego State, is 7-3, ranked with Fresno State atop the Mountain West, and beat powerhouse Boise State in a 21-19 squeaker last week.
We regret to have to report that once again, Virginia Tech has come up short. The Hokies hung in there gallantly with BCS #10 Florida State, but as expected, the Seminoles prevailed last night 28-22. Having seen little of the game, we can’t comment usefully on the Hokies’ play, but the offense didn’t look completely out to lunch. It seemed to be a better performance than the sorry spectacle versus Miami last week.
Nevada has a chance to make up some Mountain West ground hosting Fresno State on Saturday night. It appears that we’ll actually get the game here, which is a rare occurrence. Nevada’s defense has been getting beat like a rug, and Fresno State is a passing machine, racking up by far the most passing yards in the Mountain West, with 3,172 as of last week, almost all produced by hot-arm QB Derek Carr. So the Wolf Pack has its work cut out for it.
But we wish them well. Around the top tier, #1 Alabama hosts #15 Texas A&M, which is holding its own pretty well in its SEC debut. The Aggies won’t get past the Tide, however. Kansas State, #2, will be at TCU facing another win. #3 Oregon isn’t likely to lose in the rankings by traveling to Cal. Notre Dame, #4, travels to Boston College for the newfangled Holy War (the old-fangled one being between Boston College and Holy Cross). The Eagles, 2-7, are pretty darn bad this year. Look for the Arsh to prevail.
#5 Georgia will be at Auburn for a likely win in their long-running rivalry. #6 Florida hosts an unlucky but plucky Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt), and we’re always pleased when we can mention the Ragin’ Cajuns, even when they’re heading off to the slaughter.
LSU is futzing around at #7-ish, but beating #21 Mississippi State at home on Saturday won’t burnish them up much, BCS-wise. #8 South Carolina (motto: “The Other USC”) will host, and probably beat, Arkansas. #9 Louisville heads to Syracuse for a Big East showdown in the Loud House, while #10 Florida State has already piled up its Week 11 win with the jump on VA Tech on Thursday.
Sadly, no one is playing for a Golden Cannon this week (Western Michigan toted off the one last week) – at least not in the FBS. No telling what they’re playing for down the NCAA food chain.
Speaking of the NCAA food chain, we are deeply saddened to report that Rose-Hulman’s final game of the 2012 season was cancelled for this weekend. The opponent, Earlham College of Richmond, Indiana, suffered a tragic loss in the early hours of 9 November when three of its students were struck by a train. One of them was killed in the accident. Rose-Hulman ends the season at 4-5 (4-3 conference).
In the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, which Rose-Hulman graces, Franklin College (Franklin, IN), the conference champion, is ranked #24 in the Division III Coaches’ Poll. The Grizzlies will go to post-season play, and the TOC Football Commentary Service will follow them through to the bitter end.
The Christopher Newport University Captains, having prevailed 22-16 over Greensboro last week, play their final regular-season game on Saturday night at home, hosting the Monarchs of Methodist University (Fayetteville, NC). The Monarchs come in 4-5 to the Captains’ 6-3. A win will put the Captains at 6-1 conference, potentially tied with conference-leading Ferrum College (7-2 overall), which the Captains defeated 38-31 on 6 October. Tomorrow night is a must-win, but the Captains are in the USA South championship hunt. 7:00 PM kickoff weather in Newport News: 60 and dry.
In high school ball, the Deer Creek Antlers, after their big upset win at Bishop McGuinness last week, host the Ardmore Tigers tonight (9 November) in the first round of the 5A playoffs. Ardmore, 5-5, shouldn’t be the biggest challenge the Antlers will face in the playoffs. KTOK AM 1000 will broadcast the game (which should be starting in the next half hour or so). Clear and low 70s at kickoff. Go Blue!