Yeah, yeah, we’ll get to JohnnyTide. First things first.
A preemptive note on TCU, which won’t be #24 much longer after dropping one 20-10 to Texas Tech (not to mention losing the Saddle Trophy) in a rather unimpressive, penalty-ridden showing Thursday night. (Granted, we here at your Football Commentary Service were mostly watching the Burn Notice marathon rather than the game. But we think you’ll agree the Horned Frogs were lifeless and annoying in this outing. Taking nothing away from Texas Tech, of course.)
Also preemptively, pathetic Tulane, which is always wandering around in the C-USA basement, defeated new conference foe Louisiana Tech (motto: “Finally in a conference that makes sense!”), which has perennially been a substantially better team.
Tulsa, meanwhile, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, heads for #14 Oklahoma on Saturday, kicking off at 11:00 AM CDT (or a smart 9:00 AM Pacific). The game, featuring my two most absolute favorite teams, is on the ESPN2 schedule in the local viewing area. Trust, but verify, of course. There may be an explosive outburst tomorrow if ESPN decides to substitute some worthless Div II game in Pennsylvania or Montana, which, believe me, has happened.
But assuming it doesn’t, Tulsa is in for one thrilling butt-kicking in Norman, and TOC for one fun Saturday morning. Can’t wait. (Actually, if the Golden Hurricane has studied Trevor Knight and his line even a little bit, the D should be able to get in there and rattle him – even with OU’s deep RB roster to keep them busy. Right now, the relatively young Tulsa D tends to scramble around like little kids’ soccer, but at least the emphasis is on “scramble.” They’re pretty fast, and they’ve been tackling well.)
For some reason, #12 Oklahoma State is playing Lamar (FCS, Southland, and a Texas State University system school) on Saturday evening. Lamar did prevail over Oklahoma’s Panhandle State (Div II, Independent) 75-0 in the season opener, so they’ve got that going for them. OSU gives 46 in the line.
We hear there’s some kind of unsavory NCAA violation business going on in Stillwater at the moment, but unless it’s about USC (or can be analogized to geopolitics, of course), we don’t pay attention to that sort of thing around here.
It might be hard, in the august ranks of FBS ball, to take seriously a team that calls itself the Fightin’ Blue Hens. But Delaware (FCS, Colonial Athletic Association) has actually won its share of games over Navy in recent years. The Mids host on Saturday, giving 16 after their very satisfying win over Indiana. Delaware has two decisive FCS wins and leads the CAA, so any sneezing in the Blue Hens’ direction should be suspended until after Navy has this one in the bag.
Army is a 30-point dog hosting the #5 Stanford Jazzberry Jam in a rare meet Saturday morning. (The two teams have played 10 times since 1928, the last time in ’79. They’re 5-5 in the series.) Stanford bettors are obviously wimps. Air Force will be on the Smurf Turf in Boise tonight, with the Broncos giving 23.
VA Tech pounds out of the gate at C-USA’s East Carolina on Saturday at noon, competing directly with the Tulsa-OU game. Hokies give 8; ECU, which is usually in the running for the C-USA East title, has had the Hokies’ number before, and is never a squish for the odd ACC opponent. That said, VT will be the 2-0 Purple Pirates’ first real test this season, after two creampuffs in Old Dominion (FCS, Independent) and Florida Atlantic.
Nevada, always a glutton for punishment, heads cross-country to take on #10 Florida State for, as we understand it, the first time evah. Wolf Pack QB Cody Fajardo reportedly is still limping from his knee injury in the UC-Davis game, which does not bode well for Nevada (and fully explains the 34-point give by the Seminoles).
We note another first-time match-up from among our TOC Nation faves: the Fighting Illini hosting the Washington Huskies on Saturday. Could be quite the game: Illinois crunched Cincinnati 45-17 last week, but the Huskies thumped Boise State 38-6 in their season opener on the 31st. Huskies give 10, but the Illini are at home and loaded for bear, so we suggest, at the very least, taking no points.
Wyoming hosts Northern Colorado (FCS, Big Sky), with the two teams reportedly meeting for the first time since 1949. We assume NCU, in Greeley, is far enough north to be unaffected by the flooding in the Boulder area, and that the Bears will get to Laramie without mishap.
OK, all right, keep your shirts on. JohnnyTide. As everyone on Dwarf Planet Pluto knows, #1 Alabama heads for Manzielville to collide with #6 Texas A&M, the only team that beat the Tide last year – and in the Aggies’ maiden year in the SEC, to boot. Should be the game of the week. Tide bettors are backing the ‘Bama give of a comfy 7, which isn’t necessarily a bad call, but could be a tad optimistic. If we see a weakness area for the Tide, it’s McCarron’s comparatively lackluster 10-23 for 110 versus VT two weeks ago. That said, A&M has let a couple of lesser teams rack up some serious running yardage, and Alabama has a lot of talent – however green – backstopping Yeldon in the backfield. The Tide can keep the Aggies anxious at the line.
Be there: 2:30 PM CDT in College Station.
Around the Top 10: #2 Oregon hosts Tennessee in a rare match-up, giving 28. Overranked #3 Clemson doesn’t play until next Thursday, when the Tigers meet NC State (motto: “They have a football team?”) in the we’re-not-making-this-up “Textile Bowl.”
#4 Ohio State heads to Cal, strewing a conservative 15 points along the way. #7 Louisville gives only 14 at Kentucky for the Governor’s Cup rivalry, but you can take all the points you want from #8 LSU (currently giving 36) hosting Kent State. #9 Georgia has the week off, meeting North Texas on the 21st.
In other games of note, Texas will try to redeem itself hosting #25 Ole Miss, and by golly, if the Texas fans aren’t backing a 3-point give for the ‘Horns. Note to Big 10 and Pac 12: now, that’s betting some football.
#16 UCLA will be in Lincoln on Saturday, hoping to give #23 Nebraska another ugly loss.
In another early rivalry bout, Iowa will be at Iowa State to duke it out for the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Pretty much a pick ‘em this year. Notre Dame at Purdue for the Shillelagh Trophy sees the Fighting Irish giving 20.
New Mexico’s hapless Lobos are on the road, meeting Pittsburgh for the first time.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman hosts Centre College on Saturday evening. The Praying Colonels, coming from Danville, KY, play in the Southern Athletic Association and bagged a 33-28 win over Bethany last week. Mid 60s and clear at game time in Terre Haute.
Christopher Newport hosts the first home game of the season in Pomoco Stadium Saturday night, squaring off against Hampden-Sydney. Both teams come off a win; Hampden-Sydney’s Tigers play bitty-tiny schools in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and the Captains would be the better team, all things being equal. We understand some TOC Nation stalwarts will be there for the game, and wish we could join them. 70-ish and partly cloudy at kick-off; moon waxing gibbous.
Deer Creek High heads to Shawnee to take on the Wolves tonight. (Wolves beat Bishop McGuinness last week 14-7.) Putnam City (The Original) plays West in Pirate Stadium tonight, looking to polish off both of its PC rivals for the season (having downed North decisively last Friday). PC West rolled over Western Heights 41-8 last week.