Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | August 30, 2013

Football Follies 2013 – Week 1

Yikes, and so like OMG – the first edition of this year’s Football Follies, and we’re already behind.

For the old alma mater, that turns out to be a literal statement.  Admin note: for our new readers, we do NCAA football here during the season (with some NFL, and the occasional high school mention, thrown in for free).  TOC’s alma mater, the University of Tulsa, smallest-enrollment school in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, has pride of place.

We have a motley collection of TOC favorites, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Nevada, Navy, and Army, as well as our beloved Div III teams, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (in Indiana) and Christopher Newport U. in Newport News, VA.  To this gaggle, we add this year Texas Christian University, where a young cousin has just matriculated in the School of Music.  He may not care about football, but his mom and her cousin are mad for it.

On to the weekly Football Commentary Service.  Tulsa, we are extremely disgusted to report, lost ignominiously, 34-7, in a Thursday night opener to Bowling Green, which has regularly served as a bowl-season punching bag for the Golden Hurricane in the last several years.  There was no coverage of the game in the TOC viewing area, so we have only the post-game reporting to go by.  It sounds like a miscue and fumble-fest for Tulsa, but the BGSU defense must be given its due.

Second-year starting QB Cody Green, who came to TU from Nebraska in 2011, racked up the yards and points last year, but was knocked off his pace by the Falcon D yesterday.  He went 17 for 34 and a measly 172 passing yards.  Overall, TU piled up only 273 yards, the lowest total since a shutout by Oklahoma in 2009.  Two missed field goals, a blocked punt, and a flubbed fake-punt play contributed to the general Tulsa football squalor.  Tighten it up, guys.  Some tough games ahead for you in Conference USA this season.  (Not to mention Oklahoma itself on 14 September, in Norman.)

You wouldn’t know Tulsa was the C-USA champ in 2012, and downed Iowa State 31-17 in the 2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

(Also on Thursday, #6 South Carolina – motto: “The Other USC” – knocked off North Carolina 27-10, in a fairly workmanlike match.  Note: we’ll be arbitrarily using the AP poll for Top 25 ranks.  #24 USC let Hawaii score in a 30-13 dusting.  Trojan offense needs some work.)

Speaking of Oklahoma, though.  The #16 Sooners’ opener is on Saturday, in Norman, versus Louisiana-Monroe (ULM), which may be Sun Belt but ain’t necessarily bean bag.  The Sooners launch the season with a redshirt freshman at the helm: Trevor Knight, who has been picked over the more experienced Blake Bell (the “Belldozer”) for the starting position.  The difference between them is pretty simple: Knight’s lighter, faster agility in the pocket and throwing arm.  Bell is just more of a three-yards-and-a-clod-of-red-dirt Clydesdale.  By all accounts, the QB contest (which was a three-way until a few days ago, when Kendall Thompson dropped out due to an injury) was a very tough one for Bob Stoops and his offensive staff.  Promisingly, Knight hails from Reagan HS in San Antonio, TX.

ULM’s athletic director has lately announced that his school “can be the Gonzaga of football,” presumably a reference to the looming NCAA FBS shift to a playoff structure, and Gonzaga University’s record in men’s basketball of making the regional finals every year since 1999.  Aim high, dudes.  The Warhawks, who bumped off Arkansas last year and performed credibly against Auburn and Baylor, bring back a lot of their 2012 roster, and won’t be a pushover for the Sooners, who always spend some time rolling around in shaving cream in the early season.  OU seems to be giving about 24 in the line.  TOC bet: it will be closer.

Oklahoma State, #13, opens on Saturday hosting Mississippi State in Reliant Stadium in Houston (instead of at T. Boone Pickens in Stillwater).  The Cowboys give 13 in this match-up, bringing back their trademark high-tempo offense and bend-but-don’t-break defense, with a lot of last year’s starters.  QB isn’t one of those positions, however, and the Pokes will be playing two during the game: senior Clint Chelf and sophomore J.W. Walsh.  Not a walk for them under these conditions.  Just stay away from those hideous neon-gray uniforms, huh?

Moving on:  the Hokies of Virginia Tech won the lottery and get to host #1 Alabama for their season-opener, aka the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, to be held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.  Tide are giving about 22 in this one, and it’s probably best to keep the story short, as everyone knows it anyway.  Tide: Death Star D.  Hokies: expected to be mid-pack ACC this year, with Logan Thomas – strong arm, 16 INT 2012 – at the helm.  Pretty good D, but can it shut down T.J. Yeldon?  Left-field Beamer vs. down-the-line Saban: gotta go with the bag-em-tag-em Saban style.

Navy’s season kicks off next week, on Saturday at Indiana, but Army will host Morgan State (FCS, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) tonight in West Point.  Knights give 33, not overly generous considering the Bears finished 2012 at 3-8.

Also notable this evening, Miami (Da U) opens at home versus Florida Atlantic, which, sure, is chopped liver, but plays in C-USA now.  Texas Tech will be at SMU this evening as well.  The overdog should win handily in both games, but at least C-USA is steppin’ out.  Western Michigan will get its drubbing by Michigan State out of the way this evening (Spartans give 28); C-USA’s Houston walks away with the point-spread honors giving 40 versus Southern tonight.

Back on track for Saturday, Nevada is landing at Normandy on Day 1 of the season, facing a recharged #21 UCLA in the Rose Bowl.  We’ll get to see if returning Wolf Pack QB Cody Fajardo has settled down any, and how much Richy Turner and Brandon Wimberly can do for him.  Bruin fans are over the moon at the idea of an even better season than last year, after nearly a decade of pure suckage.  As we understand it in these parts (SoCal), the fathers of both head coaches – Brian Polian of Nevada and Jim Mora of UCLA – coached for the Indianapolis Colts at one point.  So that’s really exciting.  Bruins give 21.

#20 TCU launches the season with a bang by hosting #12 LSU at 8 PM Central on Saturday.  The line has the Tigers giving only 4; Horned Frogs have their work cut out for them, however, with LSU’s usual array of firepower now under the experienced hand of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.  The Tigers have been offensively uninteresting under Les Miles, but Cameron has the tools to change that.  Should be a good game.

It can be hard to pick other games of note in the early season, when the creampuff parade wends its way through FBS stadiums, but we do note that Rice is manning up to #7 Texas A&M (Aggies give 27), New Mexico State will fling itself at #15 Texas, and, of course, #5 Georgia will visit #8 Clemson in a marquee match-up on Saturday evening.  Elsewhere in the top 10, #2 Ohio State hosts Buffalo, #3 Oregon hosts Eastern Washington, #4 Stanford will play next week, #9 Louisville hosts Ohio on Sunday, and #10 Florida gives 24 hosting Toledo.

For the Punching Furthest Above Its Weight Prize this week, we select Elon (FCS, Southern Conference), meeting Georgia Tech on Saturday across a 46-point Yellow Jacket give.  Good luck to the Phoenix.

Over in Div III, our RHIT Fightin’ Engineers are busy preparing for their first game on 7 September in Kalamazoo.  Rose-Hulman plays in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, and achieves a .500 season pretty darn often.

The Christopher Newport University Captains, who finished as USA South Conference champs last year, will meet their first foe in Salisbury U., in Maryland, on the 7th.  We think there is still a TOC Nation band-geek connection in this regard, but will await updates from the gallery on that.

See you on the gridiron.


  1. LSU has some fresh faces on defense which could prove to be as good as or better than years. Returning starters seem to hint at that. Cam Cameron will have new wrinkles on offense but likely still a power running game since the horses still remain for the backfield with Alfred Blue, Jeremy Hill & Kenny Hillard all returning (Blue after an early season ending injury from a year ago.)

    We shall see if this is true on Saturday Night. LSU by 10 would be a safe bet.

    • I agree, ckla — the LSU give is optimistic for TCU. I think the Tigers will do better.

  2. Ahem… former band geek (CNU Marching Captains)… He hung up the Tuber…. but is now suffering through Child Psych to fulfill his first major requirement for his Virginia Teaching Certification/Masters in Education program.

    The Captains usually have a good football team to put on the field. September 21 will be the Family Day field trip, and I will report from the sideline perspective.

    Something tells me that the Captains are going to make the playoffs again this year… My Hokies on the other and… might be lucky to emerge from the meatgrinder of Saturday to come up with something resembling last season.


    • Much luck to the Captains. Times does move on for Next Gen, and their priorities change.

      Football endures…

  3. Whoopee!!!!!
    Okay, down to the real stuff. Linebackers and Safeties are are a glaring problem for OU.
    Lot of pressure on inexpierianced QB. Look for Thompson to play a bit after he heals up.
    Don’t listen to the homers. 9-3 maybe.
    I love football!!!!!
    Good luck to everyone (unless you are a shorthorn fan).
    Sorry about TU. I watched the first half. It was brutal.

    • I guess inexperienced would work better.
      K State losing to NDS is as bad as OU losing to the Tater Tots a few years ago.
      OU could struggle against LM.

  4. Yeah, K-State ended up whiffing. I tuned out in the 3Q. Although the Wildcats had been struggling a bit all game, I figured FBS depth would prevail in the end. Get up this morning to find out NDSU edged it out, 24-21.

    Gotta hand it to NDSU, they’re good. (Of course, as FCS toppers.) It’s not like they beat sucky old Kansas or anything. K-State will take a while to live this one down.

    Spartans weren’t dominating. South Florida won’t be cake on the 7th.

  5. Stopwatches set for Johnny Football’s 30 minutes of suspension.

  6. Incidentally, we have our analogy for the punitive strike being contemplated against Assad.

    If it happens, it will be a “Johnny Football suspension.”

  7. Usual worthless 9 AM line-up in the TOC cable viewing area. We’ll check in and see how Big 12 shipmate West Virginia is looking this fall. Granted, Wm & Mary may not be the most effective test.

    Forgot to mention Army downing Morgan State 28-12 last night. They seemed to think it would have been unsporting to score more, and kept pooping out after moving into MSU territory.

  8. OK, so I stand corrected: Wm & Mary turns out to be a perfectly good test for the perennially porous Mountaineer D.

    Memo to Mountaineers: it helps to put your secondary on the field, instead of suiting up random members of the swim team.

    Did W&M just go up 14-7 on WVU?

  9. Switching to A&M-Rice as Mountaineers flee the field at the half… Yep, Owls are up 14-7 on the Manziel-less Aggies. Good thing he’ll be in from the cold here in a few minutes.

  10. I see the OSU bend, but break D is back on MS first drive. Corners have no clue.
    MS receiver helps OSU get a stop!

  11. Yeah, Walt R. But I will say with some pride that at least the Cowboy corners aren’t as invisible and non-existent as the Mountaineer corners. I think those were Girl Scouts on the field for WVU. (Not that I mean any slap on Girl Scouts.)

    • LOL !!!!!!!!

      • Really good cookies!!

        • Oh, yeah. Talk about your yummy glutens…

        • I smell loser status for MS.

          • Yep — foolish to beat yourself when the OSU D isn’t handling that job for you.

  12. Choot — intx by Miss St. Dumb throw into a big crowd.

    • Incidentally, that meant “Miss St intx BY OSU.” Typing too fast…

      • Use your index fingers like I do.

    • NDS could beat either team.

  13. I do like having an Advocare Texas Kickoff involving absolutely no Texas teams.

    • LOL …… Again!

      • Waiting for the 3rd and 4th string QBs to take a shot for OSU.

  14. Stephens out with ACL injury — won’t help the secondary..

  15. Big stop for OSU D coming up here — reasonably good coverage of the receivers.

    But hey, MSU is killing itself with penalties. Why interfere?

  16. So, to sum up: dumb game between OSU and MSU so far.

    • Seen better football at Hefner Middle. Very possible OU may slop around also.
      Well, it could be worse. We could be Wyoming fans like my wife.

  17. WVU over W&M 24-17. Whew.

    Ohio St over Buffalo 40-20.

    A&M over Rice 58-31. Apparently Manziel did something annoying. Didn’t see it.

    Cincinnati over Purdue 42-7.

    Wisconsin over U Mass 45-0.

    Georgia Tech over Elon 70-0.

  18. So, what did Gundy say to ’em at halftime, anyway?

    • QB keeper to the strong side guys. The MS DC is really slow witted. Go team.

      • Alabama RB Yeldon runs like AD.

      • …and LOL!!

      • Okay, QB keeper to the boundary.
        OSU has exactly one play that works and MS can’t stop it.

        • Knight looks un-comfortable. Out of his depth. Like a Freshman.

          • TD pass Knight. Ran the ball down their throats. 13 plays.

            • Game on PPV not available here, so I’ll have to let other eyes keep me advised of Knight’s performance. It looks positive, if not spectacular, for OU.

              • A Freshman QB is like a new puppy in the house. Everyone is nervous (including the puppy).
                The ground game and the surprising, suffocating defense helped to give time to the new puppy.
                D line was impressive. Please note at least 2 linebackers played every down. Sometimes 3.
                Ah, the good ole days.
                Alabama Model anyone?
                OU could crush West Virginia. I am sure the Mountaineers are all black and blue from their encounter with William and Mary. LOL !!

  19. Clemson and Georgia having at each other. Pretty good game so far. Predictable, I guess.

    TCU just answered LSU with a TD, but I’m predicting time is on the Tigers’ side. They still have more overall. LSU always frustrates me to death with its all-arabesque, no-jete offense. (OK, you really have to understand ballet to get that analogy.)

    Frankly thought Nebraska would be more dominating over Wyoming.

    • Daphne was rocking the house during the 4th qtr turnovers by Nebraska!!!!! Wyoming put 602 yards on the rebuilt Husker D.

  20. UCLA draws first blood against Nevada.

    Oh, and ‘Bama-VT went as expected. But you knew that. Hokies had a not-discreditable showing, I thought.

    • Actually the Defense was manful… The score minus the boneheaded special teams mistakes was 14-10… and the Tech D held Alabama to 96 total yards in the 1st half… Bud Foster’s crew is still a championship quality D.

      The Offense… well the line was good, and Trey Edmunds looks like the running back for the starting job… the rest was forgettable Logan Thomas didn’t lead, can’t throw crossing and out routes accurately, didn’t run (2 yds) and certainly didn’t complete much of anything because there were no receivers actually catching the ball… LT might as well have been throwing to target boards.

      Going to be an interesting last season for Frank Beamer. Time for him to hang them up… Give the team to Bud Foster before Nick Saban offers him the Defensive coordinator job at Bama…


    • The Wolf Pack hung in there for a while, but the Bruins started throwing their weight around. Might have been a decent game minus the egregious mistakes.

  21. In closing: The Washington beat down of the Tator Tots was sweet. Hashed or smashed?

  22. Yeah, who saw that Washington beat-down coming? Must confess I didn’t.

    Thanks for the commentary on OU, Walt R. I’m trying to decide if I’m unnerved that a couple of linebackers had to play every down. Time was, when that was no big deal. These days, with offensive lines weighing in, combined, at the Brahma bull level, and RBs as ripped as linebackers used to be, it’s probably more problematic. May the OU D’s depth increase mightily with the season.

    Nevada did hang in there for quite a while. Two years ago, that offense could have prevailed over the Neuheisel Bruins. Mora has turned them around pretty impressively.

    Note on Georgia and Clemson: they were a good match for each other, both relying pretty heavily on spectacular plays to expand the score. They showed some weaknesses that won’t fly later in the season though.

    • Boys Estate seems to have lost a bit of its value this year. We’ll see how they do in the Mountain West. Note the Fresno State victory over Rutgers this week.

  23. Oh, and congrats to Daphne for the unanticipated fun. Narrow, narrow loss: ‘Huskers lost their fingernails in that one.

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