So… who saw that seven-TD night coming for Peyton Manning? I certainly didn’t see the Bronco romp coming. Wowsers. The NFL season launches with a bang instead of a thud.
Tulsa hosts Colorado State on Saturday evening, which raises the indelicate question of FBS football in the state of Colorado. Man, those guys have some challenges. We’re guessing they held their intra-state rivalry classic, the Rocky Mountain Showdown, as a season opener last week in the hope that no one would notice. Colorado State lost the Centennial Cup to Colorado; even coming off an ignominious loss to Bowling Green, Tulsa gives 10 as we count down to the 6 PM (CDT) kickoff in Chapman Stadium.
Don’t get cocky, Hurricane. You could fall overboard in this one too. Happily, this game will be on CBS Sports Network in the TOC viewing area, so we at your Football Commentary Service can form an eyes-on impression of where the squad needs work.
Oklahoma, #16, hosts West Virginia on Saturday, and no giggling from the gallery, please. Someone industrious confirmed my impression from the WVU game last week that the Mountaineers made no more than two tackles for loss in the entire game. The Wm & Mary QB mostly had his leisure in the pocket, boding well for the youthful Trevor Knight. Should get to see the Norman game here.
Oklahoma State, #13, will be down in Texas again, this time visiting a spanking new C-USA accession from the FCS ranks: UT-San Antonio (UTSA). The Cowboys should get some good drill out of it, at least. We wish, just for this weekend, that the OK-State nickname were the Coyotes, since of course UTSA fields the Roadrunners. Pokes give 26.
Navy kicks off the Midshipmen’s season at Indiana on Saturday evening, with the Hoosiers giving about 12. Interesting, considering the 73-35 drubbing the Hoosiers administered to Indiana State on the 29th. Navy QB Keenan Reynolds, second-year starter, is iffy for game completion, coming off a shoulder injury, and corner Kwazel Bertrand’s knee injury is a tough loss for the D, so Coach Niumatalolo (Indian name: “Needs a Nickname”) has his work cut out for him. Army is at Ball State, facing a Cardinal squad that beat Illinois State 51-28 last week, and yet only gives 7 this week. The Indiana bettors don’t seem to be a very lively lot.
The Hokies breathe a sigh of relief as they take the home field at Blacksburg against one of our all-time favorite teams, the Western Carolina Catamounts (FCS, Southern Conference). The Catamounts lost badly to Middle Tennessee last week; VT give is 42, and that’s probably about right. Just don’t get sloppy, Hokies.
Nevada learned a lot playing UCLA, and should fare well hosting UC-Davis (FCS, Big Sky) on Saturday evening. The UC-Davis Aggies managed to lose to South Dakota in Week 1, which takes some doing. Wolf Pack gives 17, and we say take all the points you can get.
#24 TCU will host Southeastern Louisiana (FCS, Southland), giving a miserly 42. Sure, the Lions downed Southeast Missouri State 45-7 last week, but, well, that was Southeast Missouri State. (The redoubtable SEMSU Redhawks, FCS/Ohio Valley, take on Ole Miss this week, incidentally, so you’ve got to hand it to them: they show up for punishment.) Horned Frogs should hop through this one smartly.
In the Top 10, the #1 Tide has the week off to recover from the opener with the Hokies, and prepare for Texas A&M next week. AP has Oregon at #2, although we prefer Ohio State; in any case, O-Ducks will hit the field against the Yahoos of Virginia for the first time ever on Saturday afternoon, in Charlottesville. Duck give is 23. They should live up to it, but watch for the trademark late start by the perennially first-quarter-challenged AFLACs.
Buckeyes give 28 hosting San Diego State; Aztecs may surprise on the point spread, but no more than that. #4 Clemson gives an insane 59 hosting South Carolina State (FCS, Mid-East Athletic); if it were truly “insane” I wouldn’t italicize it, of course. Stanford launches the Candy Pink season at #5, hosting San Jose State and giving 25. #11 Georgia vies again for game of the week, hosting #6 South Carolina (motto: “The Other USC”) with a 3-point give for the ‘Dogs. Not that surprising, considering the Gamecocks’ lackluster start last week, but you go, Bulldog Nation.
#7 Texas A&M meets the Sam Houston State Bearkats (FCS, Southland), giving a measly 38 due to Sam Houston State’s wild 74-0 rumpus over Houston Baptist last week. #8 Louisville hosts Eastern Kentucky, giving 41; #9 LSU hosts C-USA’s U-Alabama Birmingham (give: 34); #10 Florida State has a week off, but will meet Nevada on the 14th.
Other games of note: In the Used-to-Be-a-Classic category, #14 Notre Dame heads to Michigan, which gives a tepid 4 (and that may not be justified). #12 Florida will be at Miami (Da U) for their annual rivalry game, with another moderate give (Gators, 3) in the mix. #15 Texas will be up at BYU giving 7, and we understand #25 USC is playing someone, but we don’t care. (#18 UCLA has the week off, but will be at #22 Nebraska next week for what could be a good game.)
If you’ve got control of the remote tonight, you can catch Wake Forest at Boston College, and a C-USA match-up between Florida International and Central Florida.
In Div III, the Rose-Hulman Fightin’ Engineers take the field at Kalamazoo at 1 PM Saturday, to kick off the 2013 season with one of their two non-conference games. Kalamazoo’s Hornets play in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and, like Rose-Hulman, went 5-5 in 2012. Should be a relatively evenly matched contest. Weather: 86 and partly cloudy at game time.
Christopher Newport will open the season out of conference as well, visiting Salisbury University in Salisbury, MD. Salisbury’s Sea Gulls aren’t half bad; playing in the Capital Athletic Conference, they downed CNU 40-16 in their first game last year, and were 9-3 (6-1 conference) in all of 2012, taking the conference and making it to the second round of the Div III regionals. Mid-70s and clear at kickoff. Good luck to the Captains.
In other action, Deer Creek High’s Antlers (Edmond, OK) visit Piedmont for their first regular-season game tonight. Deer Creek clocks in as the 2012 District SA2 Champs. Putnam City The Original’s Pirates, TOC alma mater in northwest Oklahoma City, open the season against Putnam City North, alma mater of siblings. Go everybody (except Piedmont)!