Football Follies 2021: NCAA week 8

Week 8 upon us…can CFBP+ breakout be far behind?

Appalachian State already knocked off #14 Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, which is one of those schadenfreude type of thinger-doos.  We’re all, like, shucks, it was fun watching the Chanticleers go to town, but also like, Take that, CCU.  Hah.  Ain’t no bag of chips.

On a serious note, we have nothing against Coastal Carolina and continue to wish them well.  We just feel their crib in Conway, SC may be situated a little too close to Ketchup Town.

Ketchup Town, SC. The view west on Lake Swamp Road. Google Street View.

The Silly News this week is of course Washington State firing Nick Rolovich and four assistant coaches over the vaccine mandate.  Rolovich plans to sue.  The Cougars had sucked for some time, and this season Rolovich has had them on a 4-3 roll with successive wins over Cal, Oregon State, and Stanford (last Saturday), which puts them currently standing number one in the PAC-12 North.  So you wonder about the alumni boosters and what may be sick, lame, and lazy about that whole scene.

Maybe WSU can stay on their roll with DC Jake Dickert coaching for the time being.  We wish them well too.

The Rolovich drama has largely preempted the news about Ed Orgeron’s departure from LSU at the end of the season.  We’re saddened by this development, but at least it’s just because of the usual concern that the team isn’t winning.  Unlike Michigan, LSU doesn’t have to have head coaches pried from its cold, dead fingers.  (The usual media frenzy about Orgeron’s successor is swirling around Dabo Swinney at the moment.)

Thursday and Friday nights both have full slates of mostly non-P5 action, with the one ranked team, #21 SMU (-14), hosting Tulane on Thursday in an American showdown.  Colorado State (-3.5) will be at Utah State, and Washington (-17.5) at Arizona, on Friday.  We feel the Huskies are now a bit underrated, and hope they don’t prove us wrong.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, has the weekend off after a come-from-behind win over South Florida on the 16th.  Next up: Navy on 29 October.

New #3 Oklahoma will head to Lawrence to take on Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”) on Saturday morning at champagne-brunch hour (11 AM Central).  Caleb Williams recharged everyone except the offensive line in the shootout win over TCU last week.  It’s kind of hard to shake the totem when OU is giving 38.5, and let’s face it, no one takes poor old Kansas seriously.  But consider it shooken.  It’s the Sooners.  A totem unshaken is an invitation to disaster.

New #8 Oklahoma State has a perilous date with Iowa State in Ames on Saturday afternoon.  We’re eyeing this one with misgiving, the 4-2 Cyclones being a perennial spoiler for decent Big 12 teams, and RB Breece Hall (with his 748 yards) and QB Brock Purdy being healthy.  ISU doesn’t have a whole big bag of tricks this year, but what it’s got is cherce.  There’s a reason Pokes are giving no more than 7-ish.

Navy hosts #2 Cincinnati for an American clash at noon on Saturday, the Bearcats giving 28. We’re just going to leave that one right there.

Army hosts sudden #16 Wake Forest, which the always-sensible oddsquad is reacting to by giving the Demon Deacons a mere 3-point nod.  We’re seeking behind-the-scenes scoop on how triced-up and germ-free the Black Knights left their locker room in Madison last week, and will let you know what (if anything) we find out.

Air Force posted a nice win over Boise State last week to surge to 6-1, and hosts #22 San Diego State, 6-0, for a cross-division Mountain West showdown on Saturday afternoon.  The Aztecs give 3, but the Falcons are in this one.  Could be the championship rematch at the end of the season.  AFA’s got chops this year.

Virginia Tech comes off a woeful performance against Pitt balanced at 3-3, but gives 3 to visiting Syracuse for the Saturday faceoff in Blacksburg.  The Orange is 3-4, but 0-3 conference and suffering its own suckage.  The Hokies certainly have another good shot in this one.

Nevada at 5-1 has been kicking tail, but faces a challenge heading to Fresno State Saturday evening.  The 5-2 Bulldogs – behind SDSU and Nevada in the MWC-West – lost to Oregon and Hawaii so far, but beat UCLA in September and are still a contender.  Fresno State gives 3.5; should be a good game.

LSU did right the ship a bit last week with the heart-stopper win over Florida.  The Tigers will be at #12 Ole Miss on Saturday for their Storied Rivalry, the Magnolia Bowl.  These days viewers are as apt to associate a name like that with home remodeling, but the trophy actually has a 3-D representation of a magnolia blossom on it, and the rivalry goes back to 1894.  Ole Miss is giving 9.5, but we haven’t seen so darn much from them this year that we’re counting LSU out.

Toledo lost a squeaker to Central Michigan last week and at 3-4 is having a comeuppance of a learning season so far.  Saturday the Rockets will host 5-2 Western Michigan, which beat Pitt earlier in the fall and in general has looked pretty decent, with one of its losses to Michigan and the other to hot-running Ball State.  The Broncos are favored by 2.

Wyoming dropped last week to Fresno State, sinking to 4-2 (0-2 conference), but the road to redemption starts Saturday hosting New Mexico.  The 2-5 Lobos are beatable, and the Pokes could really pick up steam if they’d stop dropping the ball all over the field.  They can probably even afford a couple of drops on Saturday, but we hope they’ll mind the pigskin and make good on their 20-point advantage.

Top 10

#1 Georgia has the week off.

New #4 Alabama (-25) hosts Tennessee. 

New #5 Ohio State is at Indiana for the marquee game, giving 21.

New #6 Michigan (-23.5) hosts Northwestern.

#7 Penn State (-23.5) hosts Illinois.

New #9 Michigan State has the week off.

New #10 Oregon heads to UCLA, giving 2.  OK-State and Oregon have the only really competitive matches in the top 10, and since neither is likely to be a factor on the CFBP+ roulette wheel, we’re hard put to award either one the “game of the week.”

Best of the rest

If we awarded game of the week on sentiment, we’d hand it to UMass at Florida State, because we’ll be darned if UMass isn’t playing Florida State.  !!!  Good on em.  The Minutemen scored engagements this fall with long-time FBS vets Pitt, Boston College, and Toledo, and finally a win in the FBS over UConn last week.  So things are looking up, and getting to take the field with FSU is icing on the cake.  Seminoles give 35.5.

There’s a dearth of Storied Rivalries this week, but football aficionados will naturally be aware that USC will be at #13 Notre Dame for their utterly too, too Storied Rivalry – the one we call “that low-class dance hall downstairs.”  Yes, it’s time to skip back and forth across the field to see who totes home the bedazzled Shillelagh, the fruitiest game trophy in all college ball.

The Shillelagh. Wikipedia

USC may be inconsistent as all get-out to date, but in a Storied Rivalry as hard-fought as this one, even #13 isn’t giving more than 7.

If you want to see how Washington State does with a five-coach deficit, they’re hosting BYU (-4) at 12:30 (Pacific) Saturday on FS1.

Other ranks

In FCS, our McNeese State Cowboys are 2-4 coming off the win over Northwestern State, and will host Incarnate Word (yes, again) on Saturday.  We may have forgotten to mention that the Southland Conference had a messy divorce this year, with a bunch of schools heading for the exit to affiliate with other conferences.  There are six football schools currently left in Southland this fall, so they’re scheduling multiple meets.  McNeese gets another shot at UIW and will see Southeastern Louisiana again on the 30th.  UIW QB Cameron Ward pretty much ate the Cowboys’ lunch in their first match of the fall season (Incarnate Word also won their spring season meet); we’ll see if the Pokes can capitalize on experience this time.

It’s homecoming for McNeese this weekend; we hope it’s a festival in Lake Charles, which has taken big punches recently from Mother Nature.  The game kicks off at 10 AM Central, with rain predicted throughout the day and temps rising to the mid-80s.

In Div II, Slippery Rock took a tumble last week, slipping to 6-1 and #17 in the Coaches Poll with a loss to PSAC foe Indiana (PA).  IUP was a sub-ranked lurker, so SRU is a bit lucky to remain ranked after losing 48-21.  (IUP has bobbed to #23.  Top-cruising West Florida also suffered its first loss, to West Georgia, and has dropped from #1 to #6.)

SRU will be in Erie to face Mercyhurst, which at 2-5 with big losses to both Indiana (PA) and California (PA) would be the underdog at home.  The Rock is still in it for the PSAC championship and FCS tournament play; wins will be essential, with five top 25 teams still undefeated.

The game starts at noon, with intermittent showers and temps topping out around 50.  The lake’s chill will no doubt prevail; autumn has arrived.

Central Oklahoma is now 4-3, we are proud to report, after topping Fort Hays State 24-14.  Saturday is homecoming for the Bronchos, who will be hosting one of our fave schools – Washburn U. (Topeka, KS) – in Edmond.  Washburn edged out (former) Div II #2 Northwest Missouri State 17-16 last week, sending NWMSU south to #10 and ensuring a challenge for UCO this weekend.

Washburn’s Ichabod mascot. Washburn Alumni, social media

Long-time correspondents will remember the Washburn team as the Ichabods, with a mascot who should clearly be selling hamburgers and shakes.  But other than being the alma mater of Bob Dole (and, less illustriously, Fred Phelps, of Westboro “Baptist” “Church” infamy), what has Washburn does for us lately?

For one thing, it conferred a law degree on Togiola Tulafono, former governor of American Samoa.  Governor Tulafono had the interesting distinction in 2006 of demanding that Hawaiian Airlines cease service to Pago Pago, accusing the airline of predatory pricing.  Hawaiian offered the only external airline service to the island group; in Wikipedia’s account:

In August 2006, the FAA stated in an official letter to the governor that the territory must continue to allow Hawaiian Airlines to fly the Honolulu-Pago Pago route or risk losing U.S. financial assistance.

Tulafono, a Democrat, also endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Kickoff, at 2 PM, will see partly cloudy skies and temps in the low 80s.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman is up to 4-2 after a win over Anderson, and heads off Saturday to take on Manchester U. in North Manchester, IN.  Manchester comes in 2-4.

We would be remiss not to mention that Manchester (IN) is the alma mater of Roy J. Plunkett (1910-1994; R.I.P.), the inventor of polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, more commonly known by its commercial name: Teflon.

Manchester was also the first U.S. university to hold permanent observer status as an NGO at the United Nations.

Expect mid-50s and partly cloudy for the 1:30 PM game start.

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy keeps its record spotless, now 6-0 after downing MIT last week 56-34.  The Mariners host Catholic U. for USMMA Senior Day on Saturday, the Cardinals coming in 5-2 off a win over Coast Guard.

A tad dampish and around 60 for the noon kickoff in Kings Point, but in spite of cloudy conditions, no rain is expected.

Feature image via Wikipedia.  By ESPN, Fair use, Link

18 thoughts on “Football Follies 2021: NCAA week 8”

  1. Meh on Dabo rumors. Locally it seems that Mel Tucker of Mich State and James Franklin of Penn State have the inside track. Our new LSU president’s dissertation was on Critical Race Theory.

    1. Oh boy. Weird to think CRT’s been around so long that university presidents have done their dissertations on it.

      I wasn’t worried about the Swinney rumors. Just checking the block on that one.

  2. The company will be thinner at Lane Stadium on Saturday. It’s a 1230 kick, and the crowd will be reasonably sober. The better half will be staying back due to some doctors’ orders for a minor fixup that he’d rather not have to re-stitch. So, it’s just me. Even my writing partner didn’t want to go, he’s fixing a roof.

    Cuse looks a whole lot like the Hokies at the moment. The suckage is systemic and this might be the ACC Unscrubbed Slumfish bowl… The wise guys might be right on the spread… the O/U might be a bit optimistic, however.

    To win the Tech defense is going to have to take some chances, do some ball hawking, and put some serious pressure on the QB. I don’t have much hope that the offense will do more that produce one or two competent consistent drives. Here’s hoping that I am wrong.

    The Army game might be more interesting. It will certainly be a beautiful day along the side of the mountain in the cool of the Hudson Valley in late October. The Paul Johnson Triple Option is always difficult for conventional teams to defend, and since Johnson left the ACC to its own devices no one sees it unless they play Army or Navy. But the spread on that one is suspect. Army can run the ball but the Option is not particularly efficient at putting the ball across the goal line enough times in a game to compete with a team that has an offense that is working. Wake’s O is actually marginally functional.

    Wake should have been favored by a TD… and Army winning is going to be a home game miracle. Much welcomed, but I rather suspect that the Wise Guys are just unfamiliar with Wake Forest and unwilling to rate them higher. They’ll be surprised when the ACC Championship this season is Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh.


  3. Arizona is really not very good, and Washington didn’t look a whole lot better, but did manage to pull out a win after trailing for much of the game.

    1. Heh – that’s what I always think too. The mascot is named for Ichabod Washburn, the university’s founder (and all-around patron-about-Topeka).

  4. Nice W by Toledo indeed.

    ISU basically deserved the win. Hard-fought game.

    Wake-Army shootout was wild. Not your father’s Army football, for sure.

    Kind of a rough day for the Inner Circle. Didn’t see a lot of the LSU game, but what I did see looked like same old same old.

    Navy did keep up with Cincy there until near the end. Would have expected a bigger spread. I remain unconvinced on the Bearcats at #2.

    Wyoming’s just got to stop turning over the ball. Story of the season.

    Syracuse-VT could have gone either way, from what I could tell. ACC is in one of its everybody-cluster-around-the-middle phases. Pitt rather took it to Clemson though.

  5. Random notes.

    UCLA looked like they might tie it up and go to O/T there at the end. Oregon hung on to prevail 31-34.

    As expected by everyone in the 57 states, Washington State lost a close one to BYU. Write up the 5-coach-deficit experiment.

    Wow, Miami (A-ha) beat Ball State. MAC going up and sideways there.

    Tennessee tied with Tide 7-all in 1Q. Presumably won’t last.

  6. Nevada still in it with Fresno State, but it’s not looking likely at this point.

    TCU versus WVU – same.

    Arsh pretty in-charge over USC.

    ‘Bama pulling away from the Vols.

  7. Hey, though, at least McNeese knocked off Incarnate Word. Third time’s a charm! Nice work, Pokes.

    Slippery Rock edged out Mercyhurst.

    UCO fell to the ‘Bods, but not unrespectably. 29-17.

    Merchant Marine took out Catholic 44-34 to remain perfect on the season.

    And Rose-Hulman destroyed Manchester 57-14. Engineers perched atop HCAC at 4-0 conference, at least for now.

  8. Holy Happy Valley – missed the little detail that PSU’s loss to Illinois came with a 9 O/T price tag.

    What you get for falling asleep during the OK-State game.

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