I fear it won’t be possible to resist the siren call of #15 Coastal Carolina (-20) at Arkansas State this evening. The Chanticleers are rapidly becoming an obsession right up there with the Minutemen, only they win a whole lot more. (In the interim since Thursday afternoon, Coastal Carolina stomped Arkansas State 52-20.)
Not terribly convinced on the #22 Arizona State thing, but they and Stanford will have Friday night to themselves in Tempe, so it will be a nice opportunity to take a quality gander and form a sober opinion. The Sun Devils are giving 13.
In the spirit of the “White House” soundstage now constructed in the Executive Office Building next to the White House, I’m thinking it’s about time to have football staged in front of a green screen and script the outcomes.
At least on the reality shows, they use actual, live venues instead of stages. Reality shows are way real-er than the Biden presidency.
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, had a little boo-boo with Houston last week, and it’s just a tad bit discouraging. Give Dana Holgorsen his due: he had the Cougars perfectly prepped to exploit Tulsa’s weaknesses on both sides of the ball. The Cougars did much better against TU than either OK State or Ohio State. We’ll see if Memphis can come up with it Saturday night, when Tulsa hosts them for the next American match. Golden Hurricane gives 3.
#6 Oklahoma and #21 Texas have their big Red River Shootout outing on Saturday morning in the Cotton Bowl. Well, doggies. Sooner fans will be dancing the Totem Shake between now and then; OU needs all the voodoo it can get, after basically surviving the first five weeks rather than looking top 10-ish. Can’t Lincoln Riley go inside a mountain and come back with an army of tormented ghosts to act like a real offensive line? Something. Please. At least get some moderately well-coached high school kids who won’t keep killing 30-yard gains with holding penalties.
Sigh. It’s Shootout weekend; time to exorcise I-35, get that B-roll of Big Tex, and – as always – vittle up. (Gainesville, Texas is a good place to do that, BTW, if you’re coming down from Alta Texas. Used to be a backwater, but now Gainesville’s got everything chain, and still has way less traffic than Denton.) It looks like the game will dodge the “severe storms” situation expected to develop in the 24 hours after it. So, again, exorcise I-35 as a precaution for the Sooner fans who may delay the trip home until Sunday.
We also think this one is the game of the week, as it has the most potential for an effect on the top 10. The competition, we’ll see below.
Sooners give 3. Would feel much better if that were reversed.
New #12 Oklahoma State has the week off, and heads to Texas next week. Something gives us a sense of foreboding about all this (the Pokes jump 7 in the rankings after beating Baylor by a lackluster 24-14? It really was lackluster. Huh. We’re starting to wonder if, down the road, the CFPB+ algorithm will spit out somebody’s idea of the right playoff match-up, as long as Oklahoma State jumped from 19 to 12 after week 5 or something. Green screens).
Navy’s back in action, with a win over UCF last week dragging the Mids to 1-3, a tremendous relief after all the coaching staff drama. Navy hosts #24 SMU between the checkerboards on Saturday, and although the Mustang give of 13.5 is reasonable, we don’t expect the massacre we might have two weeks ago.
Army losing to Ball State was unexpected last week, but the Black Knights have a week off for recovery and fruitful reflection. Next week: Wisconsin. We fully expect Badger Nation to brag on Army’s locker-room cleaning excellence in the aftermath.
Air Force and Wyoming have their Mountain West meet coming up Saturday in Colorado Springs, and we’re thinking it ought to be a treat for our Inner Circle. This will be Wyoming’s first MWC outing, but they’re 4-0 out of conference. Air Force is 4-1, 1-1 conference, and both teams bring some experienced talent that didn’t get to do much in 2020. The Falcons are favored by 6.
Virginia Tech comes from an off-week to host #14 Notre Dame (talk about green screens) in a match that needs more exposure than an ACCN broadcast. It’s going to compete with LSU and Wyoming-Air Force in the evening time slot, and dude, is it a toss-up, odds-wise. That’s it, really; it’s a toss-up. That would probably be different if it weren’t Thursday, with the Arsh reportedly not having settled on the starting QB for the game. Hey, don’t look at us. We wouldn’t want to have to make that choice either.
Nevada and New Mexico State cap Saturday night with a showdown in Reno, and the Wolf Pack comes in on the frisk after a 41-31 win over Boise State on the road. Very gratifying. Nevada’s giving about 30, NMSU at 1-3 (one FCS win) being considered pretty much beanbag.
LSU is 3-2 after the loss to Auburn, and heads to #16 Kentucky facing a Wildcat advantage of 3 in the line. UK’s win over Florida last week was unexpected, of course; the other SEC wins were Mizzou and South Carolina (motto: The Other USC), so we’re still settling into where Kentucky belongs. LSU has its own issues in what’s becoming a bit of a rebuilding year. We wouldn’t call the O-line as weak as Oklahoma’s, but less spry than it needs to be seems to fit.
TCU is 2-2 after rivalry losses to SMU and Texas, and has yet another Storied Rivalry match coming up on Saturday at Texas Tech. This is the clash for the Saddle Trophy, which we like because the Saddle has its own nifty carrying case and rolls out from it in style. (We’re always intrigued by the front grille on the saddle support, when its grand rollout occurs every year.) There’s no Plexiglas in sight, a sign of class for any sporting trophy.
TTU is kind of bipolar at this point, though the narrow win over West Virginia on 2 October, after a drubbing by Texas, is a sign of life. The Frogs give 2.5. Meh. Looks like a toss-up to us.
Toledo hosts Northern Illinois for what in recent years has been a big MAC faceoff. Both teams have seen stronger rosters and performance records, but are still very much in contention for the MAC-West behind 4-1 Western Michigan. The oddsquad has the Rockets giving 12.5; we foresee the Huskies as likely to cover, though we’re trying not to make too much of that week 1 win over Georgia Tech.
#1 Alabama heads to College Station to take on recently de-ranked Texas A&M, Tide giving 17.5. This is not a candidate for game of the week (unless you’re an Alabama fan).
#2 Georgia (-15) will be at #18 Auburn for the Deep South’s Oldest (Storied) Rivalry. This is also not a candidate for game of the week.
New #3 Iowa hosts #4 Penn State, with a Hawkeye give of 2. Now here’s competition for the game of the week. If we’re lucky it will be a heck of a game; we’re not sure it will have the longer-term consequences of the Shootout in Dallas. (That’s largely because neither team in this game is likely to implode on Saturday.)
#5 Cincinnati (-30) hosts Temple on Friday night.
New #7 Ohio State imports Maryland for a workout on Saturday. In spite of the Buckeyes’ 21-point give, there’s a game-of-the-week rimshot here, if the Terps should happen to pull off a miracle. Ohio State is vulnerable enough – like Oklahoma – that a loss would affect the top 10 closer to the CFBP+ percolations.
New #8 Oregon has the week off to plot an even more hideous uniform combination.
New #9 Michigan is giving 3 at Nebraska in the Saturday evening marquee slot. No, not game of the week. #9 should be giving more at Nebraska. Green screens.
New #10 BYU (-5.5) hosts Boise State.
Best of the rest
The rest are assuredly important to their legions of fans. The pickings are maybe just a bit thin this week, for viewing that holds the prior promise of zest.
We wouldn’t short #13 Arkansas at #17 Ole Miss, of course. Besides being a Storied Rivalry, it’s expected to bring Lane Kiffin sightings. Rebels give 3.
West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, will be at Baylor, a game featuring two teams that have been chomping at the bit and trying to break out this season. The Bears are favored by 2.5; in the offense-heavy Big 12 style, this one should be competitive.
Oregon State (-3) at Washington State is of some clinical interest, as an indicator of how much less the Beavers really suck this year. They’re 4-1 and have bagged some nice PAC-12 wins so far. Washington State (2-3) has been worse, for that matter.
We know fans will watch Utah at USC (-3) whether we advise it or not, so God bless.
One match we can unreservedly recommend, if you have some way to view it, is UConn (0-6) at UMass (0-5). You may just have to go to McGuirk to see it. Somebody’s got to win, right? Ordinarily we’d urge taking the 3 UConn points, and any others you see wandering around in packs. But the Huskies will be without interim head coach Lou Spanos, who just tested positive for COVID-19, so it’s anybody’s game in Amherst. Nothing against our American running mate UConn, but we’d love to see the Minutemen log a W.
In FCS, our McNeese State Cowboys are 1-4 after the 38-35 heartbreaker versus Southeastern Louisiana. They’re off this weekend and will be back in action at Northwestern State (LA) on 16 October.
In Div II, Slippery Rock surges to 5-0 with an epic 75-0 slaughter of Clarion. We hope Clarion’s townspeople had a tremendous Allegheny Toyota Annual Autumn Leaf Festival as a consolation prize. The Rock is at #6 in the Coaches Poll; the only higher ranking we might dispute is Colorado School of Mines at #5, but in any case, SRU is looking def and slammin’ heading to Edinboro, PA to take on PSAC foe Edinboro. The Fighting Scots are 1-3. Rain is expected for the 2 PM kickoff, with temps in the mid-50s.
Central Oklahoma is back on a road to schedule parity, attaining 3-3 after two victories in five days. The Bronchos kicked the stuffing out of Lincoln (MO), 69-28, last Saturday, and followed that up with a 49-9 President’s Cup win over Northeastern State (OK) in Tahlequah on Thursday night. Nicely done. The next match will be a tough one at Fort Hays State (KS) on the 16th.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman slew Defiance last week to bump up to 2-2. The Fightin’ Engineers will host Hanover College (Hanover, IN) on Saturday in Terre Haute. Hanover, 2-2, is the Heartland Conference leader at the moment, with Mt. St. Joseph also in the mix at 2-2. So this will be a season-shaping meet for the HCAC. (Perennial Div III breakout squad Franklin is 2-2, but 0-1 conference and not having its best year.) It’s looking spectacular for the 2 PM game start: 80F and sunny skies.
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, we are happy to report, edged out Worcester Poly 31-28 last week and now sports a festive 4-0 record. Up on Saturday is a NEWMAC match with Norwich U. in Northfield, VT. The Norwich Cadets are 2-3, their last victory coming in their Storied Rivalry series with Coast Guard on 2 October. (Norwich being a military school, its rivalry with Coast Guard is dubbed the “Little Army-Little Navy” game, and fittingly features a trophy called the “Mug,” because of course. The Mug is, in fact, a metal mug mounted on a base. We hope it’s pewter – in New England it would be a shame if it weren’t – and indeed we don’t want to be disillusioned so we’re not going to check. Readers are welcome to interpret the mug in the 18th-century spirit, as a mug of ale, or in the more modern military sense as a giant vat of coffee. Your call.)
The game starts at 1 PM in Northfield, with lowering clouds and temps right around 60. Mmm, fall.