The season may not be progressing as planned, at least for some of us. But we proceed undaunted. Who knows, it may still be possible for our beloved teams to get some Booger Bowl bids.
Not Tulsa, of course. Tulsa’s been out of bowl contention this year for a couple of weeks. The Golden Hurricane slid to 2-8 last night, losing a home-stand bruiser to Marshall 45-34. Tulsa’s 28-27 victory over Notre Dame on 30 October 2010 may not have been the very last time the Golden Hurricane outscored an opponent, but in 2013, it sure feels like it.
#18 Oklahoma is 7-2 now, with Iowa State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State left to play. We’d like to think Iowa State on Saturday, in Norman, is a gimme – the oddsquad thinks so, favoring the Sooners by 24 – but it’s never wise to rest on Sooner laurels, especially in years when they’re in short supply. Sooners are 4th in the Big 12 and certainly out of the conference title hunt, although they’ll be a nice prize for some deserving Booger Bowl out there.
After their rocky start, the #24 Longhorns, with a 6-0 Big 12 record, are finally ranked again, and occupy the conference pole position this week, with #5 Baylor hot on their heels. But Texas hosts #12 Oklahoma State on Saturday, which sits in 3rd behind Baylor. This will be a big game for the Big 12: the Cowboys are 8-1, 5-1 conference, and would actually vault Baylor into the top slot (and themselves into second) with a win. That’s assuming Baylor beats Texas Tech, of course. More on that momentarily. Meanwhile, the oddsquad has the Okie Pokes giving 3. We’re calling this one a pick ‘em.
Navy hosts South Alabama on Saturday, and at 5-4, and heavily favored, has a good chance to become bowl eligible with a win. The Jaguars (Sun Belt) are at 3-5 and coming off a narrow loss to Arkansas State.
Army is 3-7, out of the bowl business this year, and just about out of the football business for that matter. Their next outing is at Hawaii on the 30th, and then of course they meet Navy on 14 December. Air Force is also out of bowl contention at 2-8. They will play UNLV on Thursday, 21 November, and finish off the season on the 30th at Colorado State.
Virginia Tech, looking to be on a tear after the rebirth win over Miami (Da U) last week, gets to play Maryland at home tomorrow. Hokies give 16, and we’re hoping that won’t be a jinx. It’s not like the Terps are “due” or anything. After a competent-looking start to the season, they’ve slumped unimpressively. The 7-3 Hokies look to tote off ACC Coastal honors once again, with only suck-worm Virginia (gagspit) left after Maryland. The likelihood of VT spoiling FSU’s run isn’t high, of course. But bowl possibilities are looking good for the moment. Tomorrow in Blacksburg: partly cloudy, 60, with a haunting void lingering in the air, one that can only be requited by another freshman supplied from TOC Nation.
Nevada has also chewed itself out of bowl contention already, coming into Saturday’s match with San Jose State at 3-7. They’re playing for Pack Pride at this point. The Spartans give 7, according to the oddsdudes. Should be pretty crisp and clear in a 40-ish Mackay Stadium tomorrow night, at any rate.
TCU heads to Manhattan for a Purple-off with Kansas State. The Horned Frogs are 4-6 and need to beat both the Wildcats and Baylor to become bowl eligible. That’s probably not going to happen. KSU gives 10 in the line for tomorrow.
Illinois will at least be hosting #3 Ohio State for something that matters tomorrow: Illibuck, the wooden turtle. We are pleased to approve of this particular item of garage-sale junk. As with all the commemorative-critter trophies, this one was actually a live turtle, back in a cruder era. Sadly, we’re unable to determine the fate of the last living Illibuck. The Buckeyes have had custody of Illibuck since 2008, and are favored by 33 to keep it.
We note with annoyance that LSU has plummeted to #21 in the BCS, which, we’re sorry, is just stupid. Like, what, Northern Illinois, Fresno State, and Arizona State are actually better than LSU? Stupid, stupid BCS. Anyway, the Tigers have the week off but will meet #11 Texas A&M for a big SEC West face-off on the 23rd.
Wyoming heads to Boise on Saturday, where a thoroughly unranked Boise State lurks, giving 23. The 4-5 Laramie Pokes still have a shot at bowl eligibility, and might maybe get past their other two remaining opponents: Hawaii and Utah State.
Around the Top 10, #1 Alabama gives 23 in the rivalry match at Mississippi State (no bric-a-brac). #2 Florida State heaves 37 at the Syracuse Orange in Tallahassee. Big, huge, annoying PAC-12 match in the Coliseum as #4 Stanford tootles into town to take on USC. The oddsbubbas give the Candy Pink the nod by only 4, and advisedly so: the Trojans will play them tough. Could, we admit, be a good game.
Back to that #5 Baylor match with Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have been fading fast, with three losses in a row to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State. They’re at Baylor and under a 27-point cloud. So, OK, this one’s probably got a fork poised over it, ready to stick. We still figure the game will be worth watching, if only to count the number of times the announcers utter some version of the obligatory “he’s not only handsome, but a powerful man” riff on Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. We’re not saying Kliff Kingsbury sounds anything like Lane Kiffin, in terms of syllables or alliteration or the coach-youthfulness index. We’re not.
#6 Oregon, abashed and quacking querulously, will host the Youths of Utah on Saturday afternoon. The 4-5 Youths knocked off Stanford a few weeks ago, but have lost to UCLA and Arizona State (the latter very narrowly, of course). Ducks give 26 and swear Mariota’s knee won’t be a factor. We’ll see if they can manage to get their hearts started before the 4Q this time.
Game of the week tomorrow may be spanking-new #7 Auburn hosting #25 Georgia, with the Tigers giving 3. The oddsquad’s judgment is probably better on this one than the silly BCS ranking: Auburn isn’t that much better than Georgia, which in turn isn’t that much worse than Auburn. On any given Saturday, either team could win. We like a lot that we’re seeing from Auburn right now. But Georgia brings a lot of talent and three narrow losses, including that 38-35 season-opener to the rankings gurus’ beloved Clemson. You decide amongst yourselves where the two teams actually belong in the overall FBS ranking.
#8 Clemson rolled over Georgia Tech 55-31 last night. #9 Missouri has the week off and will meet Ole Miss next Saturday. #10 South Carolina (motto: The Other USC) hosts Florida Saturday evening, giving 12.
It’s a poor weekend, rivalry-wise, but not to worry: rivalry traffic picks up next weekend, as it always does in the countdown to Thanksgiving.
In FCS, McNeese State will be hosting the Demons of Northwestern State U. (Louisiana) on Saturday evening. The Cowboys, of course, are 8-2 and second in the Southland Conference. They’ve been bumped up a couple of notches in the FCS ranking, to #9. The Demons come in 5-5 and mid-pack, Southland. Cloudy and 70-ish at game time. If you grok ESPN3, you can catch it live.
Div III-wise, Rose-Hulman will be at Earlham College (Richmond, IN) to take on the cellar-dwelling, 1-win Quakers in HCAC action on Saturday afternoon. The Fightin’ Engineers could bring home the best finish they’ve had in years, with a 7-3 season (if they win) and second place to Franklin College in Heartland. Franklin has subsided to #23 in the Div III rankings, but will head to the first round of the playoffs on the 23rd.
Christopher Newport will be in Ferrum, VA to play one of our all-time favorite teams, the Ferrum College Panthers, on Saturday afternoon. We remember Ferrum fondly as a place in the wilds of rural western Virginia that had a clean bathroom. The Panthers bring a 2-7 record to the Captains’ 7-2; CNU is in third place in USA South behind Maryville (TN) and Methodist. Mild and 60-ish for the 1:00 PM EST kickoff.
MIT polishes off a winning season at Coast Guard Academy at 1:00 PM on Saturday. Like you don’t know, the Coastie Boat School is in New London, CT, and plays football on Cadet Field overlooking the Thames River. Coast Guard comes in 3-6 overall to the Engineers’ 5-3. Neither can catch Endicott, the New England Football Conference leader and presumptive champion. But it should be a fun game, under clouds and mid-50s on a fall afternoon. We can highly recommend the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum, if you have time to get over to Groton while you’re there.
In prep ball, Deer Creek embarks on the first round of the 5A playoffs tonight at Lawton MacArthur. MacArthur is 8-2 and ranked fourth in state 5A; Deer Creek finished 6-4 and barely hanging on to a playoff berth. But we’re hollering “Go Blue!” from out here in the cheap seats. Rain’s coming, but shouldn’t start before the game ends. Low 60s for kickoff.
Our Putnam City teams have fought their last for the season.