There was Thursday night football, and even a nice cliffhanger between Marshall and Middle Tennessee State (the latter pulled it out 51-49). But the real action starts tonight and seriously peps up on Saturday.
Tulsa, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, gives 3 to the Green Wave of Tulane in their meet in the Superdome on Saturday. That may be a tad optimistic for Tulsa; we view this one as a pick ‘em. Both teams have reasonable health on their side. Tulane’s program has been by far the weaker of the two during their C-USA years, but the Wave has been quite respectable this season, and Tulsa is still, er, rebuilding. Still, the motto here is Roar, Hurricane roar! If you happen to have local Cox access, you can view the Hoos trying to be heard as they cheer noiselessly in the cavernous space. You’ll see a few fans decked in green on one side, a few in blue on the other, and a whole lotta empty seats.
For rankings, we switch this week to the BCS, not because it’s better but because it’s what matters down the road. #15 Oklahoma hosts #10 Texas Tech for a 2:30 PM CDT kickoff, and of course gives 6-ish, Sooner fans being what they are. Are the Red Raiders really #10? Saturday will tell. The OU D is well capable of shutting down the high-octane Tech passing game, if they’ll show up and do it. The question, as always, is which Sooners will show up. If we get Doofus Dudes tomorrow, it’ll be lights out by the middle of the second quarter. The Bellpasser continues to struggle (but we like him. We really like him).
#19 Oklahoma State will be at Iowa State for the early kickoff (11 AM CDT). Cowboys give 12 to the cellar-dwelling Cyclones, and are well able to cover.
Navy hosts Pitt on Saturday at 1 PM EDT, with the Panthers giving a measly 4. 4-2 Pitt’s not completely horrible this year; Navy, at 3-3, sits atop the standings for the Independents. Army has the week off. Air Force will host Notre Dame for their ritual face-off at 3:00 PM Mountain. The Arsh give 20, and with Air Force’s offensive woes, we wouldn’t argue.
Virginia Tech, we are proud to say, is at #14 in the BCS ranking, with a good prospect of holding on in the bout with Duke in Blacksburg on Saturday. 3:30 EDT kickoff for this one; Hokies give 13. Duke is one to watch out for, of course. The Blue Devils have been a cluck-spoiler before. ACC Coastal has the potential to be reasonably competitive this year; VT can’t afford a loss, with Miami (Da U) on their heels. Could be a good game.
There will be some other Game of the Week for general pigskin aficionados, but here at TOC, we always get down for the annual grudge match between Nevada and the scabies-ridden Rebels of UNLV. The Wolf Pack will host this year, kicking off in Mackay Stadium at 3:05 PDT. Rebels are a well-deserved 6-point flea-bitten dog, and there’s a rumor about rabies too. (We are duty bound to note that UNLV comes in 4-3 to Nevada’s 3-4. Nevada’s had the tougher schedule, however, with losses to UCLA, Florida State, and Boise State.) The winner makes off with the Fremont Cannon, which, let us just say, is a really excellent game trophy. (Nevada is the current owner.)
Big match down Texas way, as the TCU Horned Frogs host Texas on Saturday afternoon. (They’re nailing things down in Fort Worth as I type.) This one’s pretty much a pick ‘em, with TCU favored slightly – by 2 – in the betting. Texas had the week off after drubbing Oklahoma; tomorrow will tell whether they’re for real or not.
Illinois hosts Michigan State in Champaign, with a 2:30 PM CDT kickoff and a Spartan give of 9.
Wyoming (4-3) will be at San Jose State (3-3) for a tough Mountain West bout. The teams are pretty evenly matched, all things considered, but the Pokes come off a painful loss to Colorado State. Spartans give 8 in this one.
#7 Miami (Da U) shouldn’t have much trouble with Wake Forest in a 12 PM game in Sun Life Stadium. Hurricane gives 24.
We regret to report that LSU came in at #13 in the BCS, after the highly regrettable showing last Saturday against Ole Miss. The Tigers won’t bring heat to the rankings with their game tomorrow, hosting the Furman Paladins (3-4, FCS, Southern). The Paladins come off a big win over Appalachian State, and beat Presbyterian in week 3 and the Citadel in week 4 (although who doesn’t?). Perhaps that’s why LSU gives only 47 in tomorrow’s game.
Around the Top 10, #1 Alabama hosts Tennessee, giving 28. We figure Tide will roll, but just may not cover. The Vols have been surprising this year. #2 Florida State gives 31 hosting North Carolina State (motto: “They have a football team?”). #3 Oregon hosts the #12 Bruins and gives 23, which is probably pretty safe. Eugene is not the place to try to beat the Ducks.
#4 Ohio State hosts Penn State for this year’s iteration of their Storied Rivalry. Do the Nittaly Lions have a prayer? Naahh. Buckeyes give 14. Sudden #5 Missouri looks to prove its mettle, squaring off with #21 South Carolina (motto: “The Other USC”) at Faurot Field. Home-field advantage should give the Tigers a boost; the bettors are iffy, though, making the Gamecocks only a 2-point dog in the line.
#6 Stanford heads to #25 Oregon State, giving a parsimonious 4, presumably because of the Beavers’ rep as upset-meisters in Corvallis. Baylor, having surged to #8, won’t get a comeuppance from Kansas, even in Lawrence. Bears give 35. Clemson, probably still overranked at #9, hits the field in College Park to take on Maryland, giving 16.
In other games of note, Boys Estate will be at BYU for a quality Friday night game, with the Cougars giving 7. Idaho will meet Ole Miss for the first time ever, heading to Oxford a Saturday evening game. Rebel give is 41.
Not much going on in the Garage Sale Junk business this weekend, sadly. Meanwhile, in FCS action – a returning feature this week – McNeese State will be at Nicholls State on Saturday for a Southland Conference bout. The McNeese State Cowboys, at 6-1, are perched atop the conference standings, and coming off a gratifying 31-23 win over conference rival Sam Houston State. McNeese State, picturesquely situated in Lake Charles, LA, is our kind of place, not only having been a one-time rival of Tulsa (seriously back in the day), but also having a couple of really, no-kiddingly butt-kicking rodeo teams.
Not that there are any flies on Thibodaux, LA or Nicholls State, for that matter. The Colonels come in a respectable 4-3, tied with three other teams in conference. They may not have a rodeo team, but the captain of their men’s basketball team has his own clothing line. Not kidding. According to the Nichollsworth:
Jeremy Smith… New Orleans native, was tired of wearing other people’s clothes, so he decided to create a clothing line.
He calls it CXVIII. Interested customers can check it out at the website, 118clothing.com.
Sunny and mid-70s at game time (3 PM CDT) in Thibodaux.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman will meet its fate hosting Franklin on Saturday at 1:30 CDT. Franklin (IN) College’s 4-2 Grizzlies are ranked #18 in Div III; their early losses were to #1 Mount Union and frequent Top 25 lurker Butler. They’ve slaughtered their Heartland Collegiate opponents in the last four games, and are likely to roll grimly over the Engineers. Still, you can’t beat the awesome football weather for kickoff in Cook Stadium: partly cloudy and 60-ish.
Christopher Newport will be at Greensboro (NC) College on Saturday night for a USA South collision. The Captains have slumped to 4-2 and 6th in the conference after last week’s loss. But they whomped NC Wesleyan 20-8 on the 12th, whereas 2-5 Greensboro beat NC Wesleyan for the first time ever last week (they’re pretty excited about it), and had to pull it out 44-42. May give a crude feel for their relative levels of play. Greensboro hosts at the Grimsley High School stadium, where the cold front will rule tomorrow evening: 40s and clear for the 7 PM kickoff, moon waning gibbous.
MIT, which we are now following as our contribution to the Egghead Football Hunt (hey, they’re Engineers), will be at Western New England University on Saturday. MIT plays football in the New England Football Conference (NEFC); laying out its other conference affiliations would be exhausting and confusing, as befits Engineers. Much of the NEFC has split off in 2013 to play football in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, which is just another way that Div III football is a lot like the Baptist churches of yore. The rump NEFC has 8 members, including MIT and its opponent this week, Western New England.
MIT comes in 3-2, having defeated Pomona-Pitzer, Becker, and Nichols (the latter a most satisfying, 48-0 conference win). Western New England will host in Springfield, MA, and comes in 2-4, with the wins over Maine Maritime and Union (NY). The WNE team is the Golden Bears, and they seem to play about as well in their conference as their big brothers in Berkeley do in the PAC-12. Fabulous weather for the 1 PM EDT kickoff: mid-50s and cloudy, with rain expected for the evening.
Deer Creek kicks off at home with 5A District 2 rival Guthrie at 7 PM CDT, and they can use the home-field advantage. The Bluejays come in 7-0 and seated atop District 2. Antlers are 5-2 and need this win to stay alive for an automatic playoff berth. The key for the Antlers will be stopping unstoppable Guthrie RB Kai Callins, a 4-star recruiting target who has racked up over 100 yards in six of the last seven games.
Putnam City (The Original), 2-5, will be at Bixby this evening, with little likelihood of pulling out a win over the 5-2 Spartans. PC North heads south to take on Norman North, and we’re mildly conflicted on this one, since a niece is a Norman North senior this year. Timberwolves are 5-2 to the PCN Panthers’ 3-4, and in general are a better team, so they’re likely to take the honors tonight. Generally 50-ish and clouding up for Oklahoma football this autumn evening. (Sigh.)