I think we’re about marveled out over the saga of Saban’s Retreat From College Station. It got Texas A&M bumped all the way up to #21, so, you know. CFBP+ and its early-season collusion squad do what they do.
The one we can’t get over quite yet is UMass finally getting within whites-of-their-eyes range and bagging a W. Minutemen!
We are sorry to report that Navy has already succumbed to Memphis this week (Thursday night), which may have been foreseeable but is nevertheless sad. It wasn’t a very good game for the Mids.
Friday offers Clemson at Syracuse, for whoever’s still in that jeu d’orange, and a choice of Cal at #9 Oregon (-14) or #24 San Diego State (-10) at San Jose State in the nighttime slot. (Update: Clemson’s up 17-14 with half of the 4Q remaining as this goes to post.)
The Ducks will be rocking cartel chic. (We don’t think those are ill-arranged tefillin.)
Having pondered the matter, we believe we were in error last week going with a Lord of the Rings allusion for remedying Oklahoma’s offensive line problem. Much as we like Lincoln Riley as Aragorn, there’s a better metaphor for the O-line’s performance, in the cringe-y spectacle of V.P. Kamala Harris faking her way through an oration to middle schoolers about space exploration.
The solution for OU? Audition child actors for the O-line. Whatever it takes. Fist-pump. It helped putting Caleb Williams in behind center last week. We’ll see what Aragorn does. Does he win the crown, or does he morph into Boromir and lose a manhunt to the orcs?
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, finally won one the right way last week, and we’re darn proud of them. Good show. TU will be at South Florida on Saturday, kicking off at noon in Ray-Jay and giving 8.5 to the 1-4 Bulls.
New #4 Oklahoma posted a very exciting win in a true shootout with Texas, and will be back in Norman Saturday evening for a marquee-slot date with TCU. The Frogs gratified us with a win over Texas Tech last week, and this week will gratify us by giving OU a good game (the better to build CFPB+ cred with) before hopping home on the short end.
The campaign is raging to (literally) see which QB will start for the Sooners tomorrow. Reportedly, enterprising OU student reporters watched team practice through binoculars on Thursday and disclosed that Williams was taking snaps with the first string players. Aragorn ordered a media blackout thereafter, for whatever good that will do. We don’t think the B-52 Stratofortress, of which there’s always a nice selection in maintenance at nearby Tinker AFB, has a look-down imaging suite. But now would be the time.
The betting is that Williams will start.
Whatever the outcome – even if he transfers out posthaste – Spencer Rattler gets to keep the two dealer-donated cars (see link). So that’s the good news. Sooners give 13.5. Shimmy-shimmy totem shake.
#12 Oklahoma State heads to new #25 Texas after a week off. We don’t think Texas really needs to be ranked lower than #24 San Diego State or #22 N.C. State (motto: “They have a football team?”), or #18 Arizona State, for that matter. And we remain dubious about the OK-State ranking. So we’re largely with the oddsbubbas, who have the Longhorns a 3.5-point favorite. Aside from everything else, home-field advantage matters in Austin. Expect a good game.
We covered Navy in “troubled waters under the bridge,” above, and pause only to note that they’ll be at Cincinnati next Saturday.
Army may have lost for no good reason to Ball State in the last outing two weeks ago, but is only disfavored by 14 points at Wisconsin on Saturday. We wish our Black Knights well.
We can’t think why Air Force and Boise State aren’t a Storied Rivalry item, but they’re not. They’re just meeting for ordinary football on Saturday on the Blue Field of Death. Air Force is 5-1 to BSU’s 3-3; the Broncos are giving 3.5.
Virginia Tech came this close against Notre Dame, ultimately timing out at 32-29. They’ll host 4-1 Pitt in Blacksburg on Saturday, and although Pitt is a 5-point favorite, we’re calling it closer. VT has a disorderly grab-bag of problems, but they overcome some each week. Reasonable chance of a win tomorrow.
Nevada continues its gratifying roll, 4-1 and bursting with momentum as Carson Strong brings his arm back to Mackay Stadium for the Saturday nightcap hosting Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors are 3-3, and managed to contain Fresno State in a 27-24 win last week. The Wolf Pack is giving 14, which looks good on paper unless Hawaii can keep Strong from tossing 6 for 42 again, as he did against NMSU.
LSU is melting, but we believe in the 3-3 Zouave, even after two unrecoverable SEC losses, and will be cheering them on Saturday morning as they host #20 Florida for their Storied Rivalry. But dang, guys, the opposing wide receivers go downfield. That’s where they keep being wide open, in case it isn’t obvious. Well, now and then you have to build back better. No Salvation Army Thrift Store bric-a-brac will be endangered for this rivalry. Gators give 11.5.
Toledo heads to Central Michigan after last week’s heartbreak 22-20 loss to NIU. The Rockets are giving 5 to the 3-3 Chippewas, but we’ll see. In those three losses, CMU has put up 20+ points apiece on two Power-5 teams. Look sharp there, Toledo.
Wyoming will have a quality outing hosting Fresno State Saturday afternoon. The Pokes are 4-1 after the loss to Air Force; 4-2 Fresno State is better than its standing with an in-conference 1-1 in the MWC West. The Bulldogs are giving 3; we’re just envious of the folks who will be in Laramie for the sunny skies and crisp fall 50s.
New #1 Georgia hosts sudden #11 Kentucky for what might as well be the game of week, even if the ‘Dogs are giving 21.5. See #2-#10 for perspective.
New #2 Iowa (-12) hosts Purdue.
New #3 Cincinnati (-21.5) hosts Central Florida.
New #5 Alabama (-17) heads to Mississippi State. You’re seeing that game of the week point, I think.
New #6 Ohio State has the week off.
New #7 Penn State is also off.
New #8 Michigan (I rest my case) joins the no-shows.
New #10 Michigan State will be at Indiana giving 4.
Best of the rest
It’s one of those weird weekends where you keep thinking, “Some of these have got to be rivalries, right?” But then they aren’t.
There are two identifiable Storied Rivalry sightings in our spillover sample. One is vintage: Iowa State at Kansas State for Farmageddon!, which dates to 1917 and has in fact been played every year since, through war, famine, plague, rain, snow, dark of night, etc. We salute the longest continuous-running rivalry in FBS ball, even if its moniker dates only to 2009. No Dollar-Store trophies. The Cyclones are giving 6.5 in Manhattan.
The other features Nebraska at Minnesota in the much-interrupted rivalry series now contested for the $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy.
Deprecate, deprecate. Makes us long for a shillelagh that looks like a Josephine Baker headdress. The Huskers are favored by 5.
It’s not a recognized rivalry, but Yale (FCS, Ivy League) will be at UConn on Saturday.
#19 BYU at Baylor (-5.5) could be fun.
#13 Ole Miss (-2.5) at Tennessee and #18 Arizona State at Utah (pick ’em) have possibilities.
If you want to see Rutgers at Northwestern (pick ’em) for some reason, and we’re passing no judgments here, tickets at Ryan Field are going for $2.
In FCS, our McNeese State Cowboys are 1-4 heading to Natchitoches to take on 1-4 Northwestern State (LA) on Saturday. For long-time correspondents of the Follies, yes, this is the one with the Civil War-era ghost named Isabella, and the one that’s also the alma mater of LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. This would seem to be anybody’s game; the 1 PM kickoff should see a pleasant low 70s and sunshine.
In Div II, Slippery Rock remains #6 in the Coaches Poll, now 6-0 after knocking out Edinboro 49-13. Saturday is homecoming for the Rock, which will host major rival Indiana (PA), coming in 4-1 with one loss to #11 Shepherd. IUP isn’t currently ranked but continues to be a lurker just below #25. This will be SRU’s toughest match so far. It will start at 1 PM Eastern in plunging temps and a high probably of rain.
Central Oklahoma, 3-3, heads to Hays, Kansas Saturday for a night game at Fort Hays State. FHSU’s Tigers are also 3-3, but prevailed over then-#12 Nebraska-Kearney two weeks ago, and overall are at or perhaps a bit above UCO’s level of proficiency.
A notable childhood resident of Hays, Kansas (though not an FHSU alumnus) is billionaire Philip Anschutz, owner – among numerous business entities – of the L.A. Kings, Walden Media, and the Washington Examiner.
Kickoff, at 7 PM, will see clear skies and temps falling from the 60s.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman is 3-2 and perched atop the HCAC with Mt. St. Joseph after last week’s win over Hanover. RHIT hosts 0-5 Anderson U. (Anderson, IN) on Saturday. The front sweeping through today will leave temps right around 60 and sunny skies for the 1 PM game start in Terre Haute.
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is 5-0 after a handy win over Norwich, and will kick off at noon Saturday with visiting MIT as NEWMAC play rolls on. MIT is 2-2 with a NEWMAC loss to Catholic U., and a respectable 1,474 total yards in the four games so far. The front rolling through Indiana hits New York on Saturday, bringing low 70s and probable fall rain to Kings Point during the game.
Meanwhile, MIT is working on a vibrating fabric, which is probably something somebody needs.