This Thursday night football is just making us nervous, here at your TOC Football Commentary Service. It always seems to put us behind the 8-ball.
So Tulsa, which defeated Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, has already lost for the week. We even forgot to tune in until halftime, so we missed the good part, when Tulsa scored 14 points and was tied with Iowa State. The second half was pretty much little-kids’-soccer for the Golden Hurricane. The defense is eager, but remains young and on the learning curve. Cyclone D had Cody Green’s number in the second half. Final: Iowa State, 38-21 over Tulsa.
Virginia Tech topped Georgia Tech last night, in their annual ACC rivalry match. The Hokies were just better enough, 17-10, although frankly, neither team was having an inspiring night.
Better football is on tap Saturday for drought-starved Sooner-State fans of FBS ball, even if it is all being played out of state. #14 Oklahoma will be in South Bend to take on #22 Notre Dame. The line seems to show a moderate Sooner give of 3 or so, which looks realistic, other than if you factor in the Sooners’ propensity to get stupid, at random, in the first half of the season.
Blake Bell has been permanently awarded the starting QB job, as we understand it, after his strong performance last week against a much weaker team. We’re not as optimistic about his or his line’s performance against Notre Dame. But we’ll see. It’s week to week for the Sooners this year. And it probably says something profound about FBS ball that they’re ranked #14 in spite of that.
Speaking of profound and FBS ball, #11 Oklahoma State will be at West Virginia for what promises to be a wild, high-scoring game. Poke give is 19, but we suspect the Mountaineers will find a way to edge up on that against the kind-n-gentle OSU defense.
Navy will be in Bowling Green to face off with the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky, and the Mids are likely to do better than their 3-point give. Yes, WKU rolled over Morgan State (MD; FCS, Mid-Eastern Athletic) last week, 58-17, but they lost to South Alabama the week before, and badly to Tennessee the week before that. The Hilltoppers have one of the worst defenses in FBS versus the run; with quality wins over Indiana and Delaware, and high rushing totals, Navy has the edge for Saturday.
Army visits Louisiana Tech (new motto: “Finally in a conference that makes sense!”) on Saturday, and it’s a testament to their mutual suckage that the Knights give exactly 1.
Nevada will be hosting Air Force, with the Wolf Pack giving 10. We don’t see where a definite call has been made yet on whether Fajardo will play, but freshman Tyler Stewart did quite a creditable job against Hawaii last week – and Air Force is down to its last viable option with a third-stringer, QB-wise. So the 10 points sound like a pretty safe bet to us.
TCU is back in action hosting neighboring SMU, in the battle royal for the Iron Skillet! It’s not quite the incentive that a Milk Can is, we admit, but when you think about it, who doesn’t hanker after an Iron Skillet!? The Horned Frogs give 19; we think the Mustangs will play tougher than that, but probably not by much.
Wyoming will be at Texas State giving about 7 in the line. Yes, the Cowboys have played the Bobcats once before, bagging a 45-10 win in 2011. Texas State knocked off C-USA’s Southern Miss to open the season, however; rolled over Prairie View A&M; and looked relatively respectable in a 33-7 loss to Texas Tech last weekend.
No pieces of old junk will change hands when the Fighting Illini host Miami (OH) on Saturday morning. Considering the Redhawks’ way-losing record, however, the Illini give of 25 looks pretty solid.
Speaking of bric-a-brac, this is Floyd of Rosedale’s weekend of glory. Iowa will be in Goldie’s House for the annual Fight for the Bronze Pig (which the Hawkeyes will be bringing with them, on the off chance that Minnesota might win it away from them). We are gratified to observe, at any rate, that trading the bronze pig is more sanitary than what Iowa and Minnesota used to do, back before the mid-1930s. In its earliest era, their rivalry centered on the exchange of a live pig. Sadly, the last living Floyd of Rosedale died of cholera, after which the schools made one of those risk-averse modern-era policy decisions, and switched to the bronze effigy.
Hawkeyes give 2. Moving on to the Top 10, this weekend sees #1 Alabama hosting #21 Ole Miss for their ancient rivalry game, and giving only 14. #2 Oregon, hosting Cal, gives a reasonable 37. Overranked #3 Clemson hosts Wake Forest (give, 29). #4 Ohio State hosts #23 Wisconsin, and we’re interested to see the Buckeyes being backed for only a 7-point give. Seems a little low from here. The #5 Stanford Bright Begonia will be at Washington State giving another unaccountably parsimonious 9. Seriously, it’s not that intimidating to visit in Pullman.
#6 LSU at #9 Georgia has strong potential to be game of the week, if the Bulldogs will hold up their end. Georgia fans are backing them for a 3-point give, which any lifelong Sooner fan appreciates, although we do give the Tigers the edge in this one. #7 Louisville has the weekend off. #8 Florida State, at Boston College to knock off another ACC rival, gives 23. Texas A&M, hanging in at #10, heads to Fayetteville to give 15 to the Razorbacks in their rivalry game.
Among other notables, central Florida teams will be taking a licking at home on Saturday: South Florida hosting #15 Miami (Da U), Hurricane giving 17; and Central Florida hosting #12 South Carolina (motto: “The Other USC”), Gamecocks giving 7 (take the points).
If Temple and Idaho have ever played before, we can’t find a record of it. Owls will be at Vandals giving 7.
If you like your Friday night football, BYU will host Middle Tennessee tonight – first-time match for these teams – and San Jose State hosts Utah State.
In Div III action, a 1-2 Rose-Hulman will be at Manchester (IN) on Saturday to take on the Spartans. Conference rival Manchester U., 0-3, has been pretty bad this year (although everyone in Heartland Collegiate loses, as Manchester did last weekend, to the Franklin Grizzlies, currently ranked #14 in Div III). Sunny and low 80s for the 1:30 PM kick-off.
Speaking of ranked teams, our very own Christopher Newport bows into the Top 25 with a ranking of #23, after the Captains’ win over Shenandoah last week. Congrats, guys, and don’t get cocky. CNU has this weekend off, and will visit USA South rival Methodist U. on 5 October.
On the prep gridiron, Deer Creek tees it up at 5A rival Carl Albert High in Midwest City this evening at 7:00 PM CDT. The 2-1 Titans lost to Southmoore (6A) in their season opener, but come off decisive wins over Coweta and Duncan. The Antlers will be trying to shake off last week’s loss to Edmond Memorial.
Putnam City (The Original) has already dropped another one, falling 17-7 Thursday night to a tough 4-0 Sapulpa squad. Pirates are now 2-2. PC North, 0-3, will be at 6A foe Edmond North this evening.