So, FWIW, I thought the officials’ call on the possible “fumble” play was the correct one, Texas-at-Iowa-State-wise. And (as a lifelong Sooner fan) I’m hardly inclined to favor Texas on those matters. Got nothing against the Cyclones either; in their grudge match with Iowa, I always root for them, just because they’re Big 12.
In any case, it’s only Friday morning, and already we have a Controversial Call for the week. Life in the FBS. Texas, in the final minute, 31-30 over Iowa State.
Tulsa, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, will host C-USA West rival Rice on Saturday afternoon, and the way both teams are playing (each lost a lot of seniors last year), it ought to be pretty much a pick ‘em. This will be Tulsa’s C-USA debut for 2013, remarkably enough. All the pain up to now has been out of conference. Time to buckle down and see if the Golden Hurricane can salvage some season. Mild 60s and perhaps a little damp from morning showers, on Skelly Field in Chapman Stadium.
Oklahoma, which has surged to #11 after beating Notre Dame, will have the chance to off a Big 12 rival on Saturday evening when the Horned Frogs come to town. Sooners are giving about 9 in the line, which is realistic. That said, TCU’s got some offensive tools, and the Sooner D can be spotty on the execution. Oklahoma does look a little hungrier this year than I’ve seen them for a while, which is a positive sign.
Oklahoma State has de-surged to #21 (counter-surged, if you will) after the inglorious loss to West Virginia, but at least will be at home and hosting Kansas State, which hasn’t exactly been a king-slayer this year. We note with mild interest that two of the three invading teams in Oklahoma FBS ball this weekend come trailing purple. Rice, of course, is blue and white, and just a titch fey-looking with that stylized R. In any case, all things being equal, the Cowboys should roll over the Wildcats. But things do have a way of getting out of equilibrium, especially with the bipolar OSU D, so we’d watch that 13-point spread with some wariness.
Navy and Air Force kick off the Saturday FBS action at 11:30 EDT in Annapolis, with Navy favored in the line, somewhat unaccountably, by 11. Air Force was pretty darn respectable against Nevada last week, even with the third string QB behind center, and Navy was shut down effectively by Western Kentucky. So we wouldn’t take the points on this one. Coach Niumatalolo (Indian name: “Needs a nickname”) has his work cut out for him.
Army will be at Boston College, and we note that the slum-dwelling Eagles are only giving 11 or so.
Virginia Tech will be hosting ACC foe North Carolina in Blacksburg on Saturday, kicking off noon-thirty-ish. In any other year of the last decade, given the Tar Heels’ really unimpressive play to date, we’d expect to see a bigger advantage for the Hokies in the line. But it’s 2013, so the Hokies give of 7 looks round and safe.
Finally we get to the Friday night action, in which TOC fave Nevada will be at San Diego State to face off with the Aztecs in a Mountain West clash. Cody Fajardo, with knee brace, will be taking the snaps for the Wolf Pack. Pack gives 6 in the line; unless the mediocre Aztecs can take Fajardo out early, we think the points are a good bet. Clear, dry as a bone, 60s, with incipient Santa Ana winds at game time (which will be late – 6 PM PDT/9 PM EDT – for East coast FBS fans).
Illinois has a big date in Lincoln on Saturday, squaring off with the Cornhuskers in a Big 10 cross-division bout. Both teams come in 3-1, improving, capable of surprise, and alive in their respective divisions. Huskers are giving 8 or so.
Around the Top 10, #1 Alabama hosts Georgia State (Sun Belt), which comes in 0-4 and promises to give Saban & Co a useful scrimmage opportunity. Tide gives 54. Oregon, #2, heads to Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”), spraying points like confetti. 39 at latest tally. Overranked #3 Clemson will be visiting in the Loud House, giving 14 to the Syracuse Orange, which, having lost to Penn State (narrowly) and Northwestern (badly), while beating Wagner and Tulane, is not exactly a tower of power so far. #4 Ohio State will be at #16 Northwestern giving 6. #5 Stanford hosts a slowly climbing Washington, now #15, with a give of 7-ish. Both Top 10 teams could make some hay of a big win tomorrow.
#6 Georgia won’t have a lot of latitude to prove its mettle over garbage-sucking Tennessee. For some reason, the ‘Dogs are only giving 10. #7 Louisville gives 31 at Temple. #8 Florida State hosts ACC rival #25 Maryland, and we suspect the 4-0 Terps will beat the 16-point Seminole give. They’ve been playing some pretty reasonable ball to date. #9 JohnnyAgs have the week off. #10 LSU (now underranked, we feel) heads to Mississippi State to give 9 and buy time with a win.
Other notables: let’s just get this one out of the way: de-ranked Notre Dame will be playing re-ranked (#22, this week) Arizona State in the Jerry Dome in Arlington, just because they’re Notre Dame. Golly, might the Arsh beat the Sun Devils and get back in the Top 25? Ooohh. Aahhhh.
#12 UCLA, which we kind of follow because they’re not the Trojans, beat the Youths already, 34-27. They could have been more impressive, for a team ranked #12. Frankly, we think half the SEC and a good quarter of the Big 12 or ACC would wipe the floor with the Bruins.
In garage-sale junk action, darned if Minnesota won’t be at #19 Michigan to play for the Little Brown Jug on Saturday. Wolverines give 19, and we admire their fans’ optimism. (We do fear Goldie will go trophy-less this season, garage-sale-junk-wise.) BYU, meanwhile, will be at Utah State tonight to see who hauls off the Old Wagon Wheel. And New Mexico hosts NM State for the Maloof Trophy, awarded to the winner of the long-running (1894) Rio Grande Rivalry.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman hosts HCAC rival Hanover in Terre Haute on Saturday afternoon. The Fightin’ Engineers have battled to 2-2 and are currently sitting pretty in the standings, just behind powerhouse Franklin and HCAC-leading Mt. St. Joseph. (Franklin, which beat Earlham last week 80-7, is expected to switch conference ranking with Mt. St. Joe after the two teams meet on the 12th.) Hanover comes in 0-3. Warm – 80s – and cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms in Cook Stadium.
Christopher Newport gets a chance to test-drive that Div III #22 ranking in Fayetteville (NC) on Saturday, colliding with the Methodist U. Monarchs at 1 PM EDT. Methodist comes in 2-2, having defeated Southern Virginia and Guilford, but lost to Emory & Henry (badly) and Maryville. Captains have the edge in this one, but it’s going to be hot (low 90s) and muggy, conditions the Monarchs, who play more often in the afternoon, are probably more accustomed to. Good luck to the Captains!
Deer Creek hosts 5A foe El Reno in tonight’s high school action. It’s Homecoming for the Antlers, and a good chance to win a game as well, with El Reno posting a 1-3 record to date.
Putnam City will be at Tulsa Edison this evening, facing a tough opponent. Edison’s a perennial 6A powerhouse and comes in 3-1 (the one loss to Sapulpa) to PC’s 2-2.
PC North finally bagged a win last night, topping Moore (now 1-4, 6A) 31-23 at home.