Football Follies 2021: NCAA week 12

Coaches; mass hysteria, dogs & cats; even some good news.

Naturally, this week has been full of headlines about LSU courting Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, and Riley being depicted by the sportsbabblers alternately as “not interested” and “coy.”

The elephants’ dance of head-coach politics is so lame.  With all the out-of-work coaches out there, you can’t get away from it either.  It’s been chasing me into my political news feed and even the sidebar advertising, as if there’s something I can personally do about replacing Jimmy Lake at Washington by clicking on someone’s advertising video.

Fortunately, there was some nice, hometown football on Tuesday when Toledo bagged at W at Ohio, 35-23.  Eastern Michigan prevailed ever so slightly, 22-21, over Western Michigan in their Stored Rivalry, and on Wednesday Northern Illinois (8-3) continued to look unstoppable in its MAC resurgence with a win in OT over a suffering Buffalo.

A big Friday night lineup this week, including a two-fer Inner Circle outing with Air Force at Nevada.  Both are coming in 7-3 (4-2 conference) and lurking just under their division leaders (Utah State and San Diego State, respectively).  Neither really has a path to the MWC title match at this point, but wins down the stretch will at least line them up for the better class of Booger Bowls.  The Wolf Pack is giving 1 in Mackay.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, managed to not lose to Tulane last week, and is 4-6 hosting Temple (3-7) on Saturday.  Tulsa could still gain bowl eligibility, though again, we’re skeptical that a bowl is in the offing this year.  Temple is dreadful, having lost all but one American Conference game; TU gives 21.5, but naturally may turn the ball over enough to make hash of that optimistic take.

New #13 Oklahoma comes off the loss to Baylor having soared to the top of everybody’s “It” list, with the silly string and kazoos out for Riley Rumors and everyone behaving like dingbats.  You’d think a team had never lost a game before.  The Sooners also have to host Iowa State on Saturday, which is never a good idea.  (New #11 Baylor, incidentally, plays Kansas State, and there’s no guarantee of a Bears win in Manhattan.)  OU is favored by 3.5 in Norman, and we’re putting the totem on auto-shake.  Wherever the offensive line is, we hope they’re enjoying their extended vacation.

“%$@&*!!!” A frustrated Lincoln Riley vocalizes in the final second of the Baylor game on 13 Nov 2021.

New #9 Oklahoma State will be in Lubbock to grapple with Texas Tech, which at 6-4 but 3-4 conference is down the pack some.  OU and OSU, both 9-1, are paired atop the Big 12, but unlike OU, OSU has already beaten Baylor.  As usual, the Big 12 Karnak carnival machine will probably have to self-medicate before picking the faceoff teams for the title.  The Cowboys are giving the Red Raiders 10 on Saturday night.

Navy, 2-7, is coming off the bye week to host East Carolina (6-4).  The Pirates are favored by 4 over the stouthearted Midshipmen.

Army, we’re excited to report, 6-3 coming off the win over Bucknell, will be hosting our extracurricular hobby team, UMass, on Saturday.  Army’s been better than their record this year, with two of their losses to ranked teams (Wake Forest and Wisconsin), and can look forward already to a nice bowl slot.  They’ve got Liberty to get past before The Game on 11 December.  They’re giving the Minutemen 37 at Michie on Saturday.

Virginia Tech, 5-5 off the win over Duke, takes an evening stroll to 5-5 Miami (Da U) for their Storied Rivalry on Saturday.  As our correspondent Old Army Brat recounted in the comments on last week’s Follies, head coach Justin Fuente was fired coming off the weekend, and defensive line coach J.C. Price will be stepping in as interim head coach.  Drama, drama.  We do feel it was time for Fuente to go.  He hasn’t been a good fit for the Hokies, but he should land on his feet somewhere.

No rumors we’re aware of connecting VT with Lincoln Riley.  The Hurricanes’ give is 7.5.

LSU is 4-6 after ceding the Golden Boot to Arkansas (which bumped up to #21 off the win), and hosts Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday evening.  LSU’s giving 29 in that one; the season closes out with Texas A&M next week, and we aren’t totally giving up on a 6-6 outcome and a bowl bid.  With Coach O on the skids, we know it will be hard for the team to concentrate.

TCU will host Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”) on Saturday afternoon, although we don’t anticipate another four quarters of the demented Brownian movement we saw in the 57-56 Texas game.  The Frogs will probably have things in hand, but if it weren’t the Frogs, we’d be begging Kansas to “Do it again, Jayhawks!  Do it again!”  Ain’t holdin’ nobody’s beer any more in 2021.  TCU is donating 21.  Incidentally, TCU at 4-6 can get bowl-healthy by beating Kansas and Iowa State.

Toledo is officially bowl-eligible at 6-5 with the win over Ohio.  Rockets!  They’ve played their last weeknight game; the season finale will be hosting Akron on 27 November.  Best of luck to them in the bowl sweepstakes.

Wyoming remains in the bowl hunt, 5-5 off the loss to Boise State and heading to Utah State on Saturday for the 71st meeting in their Storied Rivalry.  The Pokes and Aggies play for an ice-cold trophy, the famed Bridger Rifle, a .50 cal Hawken rifle that we’re pretty sure no embarrassingly unsuitable person has ever had his hands on.

Our kind of rivalry trophy: the .50-cal Hawken muzzleloader known as the “Bridger Rifle.” Wyoming/USU athletics

We figure Wyoming will have extra incentive to tackle 8-2 USU, which sits atop the MWC Mountain Division.  If this week’s not the charm, the Pokes have another shot versus Hawaii.  Utah State is favored by 5.5.

Top 10

#1 Georgia has its turn hosting creampuff Charleston Southern (FCS, Big South) on Saturday.

#2 Alabama hosts Arkansas, not a Storied Rivalry, giving 20.5.

#3 Oregon is at #23 Utah for the marquee game Saturday evening.  The Youths give 3.  We love the CFBP+.

#4 Ohio State hosts #7 Michigan State for what is preordained to be the game of the week.  Buckeyes give 19.  We love the CFP+B even more.

#5 Cincinnati (-11) hosts SMU, which at 8-2 isn’t beanbag.  The spread is probably about right, but we don’t count SMU out in this one.

#6 Michigan gives 16 at Maryland.

#8 Notre Dame hosts Georgia Tech (we understand this is contingent on Georgia Tech having a heartbeat).  Arsh give 17.

#10 Wake Forest heads to Clemson, where the Tigers are favored by 4.5.

Best of the rest

We have no idea why #16 Texas A&M is hosting Prairie View A&M (FCS, SWAC), other than it’s November in the SEC.  We’re not actually noting this because it seems like a good idea to try to watch the game.

#25 Mississippi State will host Tennessee State (FCS, Ohio Valley), so there’s that.

Kent State will be at Akron, at least, for their Storied Rivalry, which we like to see roll around so we can say “Golden Flashes” and “Zips.”  Their Wagon Wheel is all right by us too.

Kent State is favored by 13.5.

Nebraska will be at #15 Wisconsin to fight it out for the Freedom Trophy, which to us looks for all the world like it commemorates somebody’s famous gourmet dessert, but is actually a depiction of the schools’ two stadiums – one side each – with a flag furled above it, dedicated to America’s veterans.  The Badgers give 9.

The Freedom Trophy, Wisconsin side. (Image via Huskers.com)

And of course, yes, yes, we know:  UCLA will be at USC for their Storied Rivalry Saturday afternoon, and our excellent excuse for not watching is that Tulsa is playing at the same time.  Neither team is in contention for the PAC 12 South, but UCLA, at 6-4, is already bowl-eligible.  Bruins give 3.5.

Rolling up in the rear, Cal will be at Stanford for their Storied Rivalry, the one featuring the lame plaque-mounted axe-head.  The Golden Bears are donating 1.5, and since the teams are 3-6 and 3-7 respectively, and living in the cellar of the PAC 12 North, we figure croaking “Brek-ek-ek” at each other will be the high point of the match.

The Stanford Axe-head, downblended with a home-improvement store backing. Social media

Well, we never want to despise those treasured traditions.

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State caps off the season in Lake Charles with another go at Northwestern State (Natchitoches), whom the Cowboys beat earlier in the fall.  The game is on Saturday at noon, attended by low 70s and plenty of sunshine.  We’re hopeful a win will boost McNeese to 5-6 on the year.

In Div II, Slippery Rock is 6th in Super Region One off the loss to Kutztown (which is 1st).  The Rock made the tournament cut by that much.  California-PA is #7.

We’re just gratified to have a Div II tournament again.  SRU will meet #3 Notre Dame (OH) for Round 1, at the Falcons’ aerie in South Euclid, which sounds all Greek and southerly but, as a suburb of Cleveland, is actually parked right off Lake Erie and seeing snow and temps in the 30s on Friday.

There will be a respite on Saturday, it appears, with temps climbing to the 40s and heavy cloud cover, but no precip in the forecast.  Go Rock!  Kickoff is at noon.

Central Oklahoma took one more in the shorts last week, losing a close one 30-29 to Central Missouri.  The Bronchos retire honorably from the season at 4-7, and we aren’t expecting them to get post-season invites, even to high school football stadiums in Texas.  We congratulate them on playing some choice venues and winning the all-important President’s Cup over Northeastern State in Tahlequah.

In Div III, we’re thrilled to report that Rose-Hulman, the 2021 HCAC champion, is ranked #7 in Region IV and advances into Round 1 of the tournament playing #3 DePauw on Saturday.  RHIT will meet the Tigers in Greencastle, Indiana on Saturday at noon, with temps in the upper 40s and cloudy skies.  Fight, Engineers!

Continuing our good news in the other ranks, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, 8-1 off the win over Coast Guard, is ranked a stellar 2nd in Region I .  While not seeded into the tournament, the Mariners will play on Saturday in the New England Bowl in Springfield, Mass., against Western New England of the Commonwealth Coast Conference.   USMMA finishes off a fine season at 2nd in NEWMAC – though their long-time coach, Mike Toop, is retiring after a 45-year career, 17 of which he spent at USMMA.  Coach Toop goes out on a high note.

The noon game start in Springfield will see upper 40s and partly cloudy.  Sink ’em, Mariners!

Feature image: Kansas players pile on after a successful 2-point try in overtime gives them a freak win over Texas, 57-56 on 13 Nov 2021. ESPN video via PSC, YouTube

34 thoughts on “Football Follies 2021: NCAA week 12”

  1. I love The Rock. It is my school. But they have a lot of injuries going into the Notre Dame (Ohio) game. The QB is going to have to play well this week if they are to win. And they have to stop with the penalties. They end up beating themselves with that kind of indiscipline.

  2. Purchased the economy size Tater Tots for ISU. Early Bedlam comment: OU, when playing a higher ranked team, favored to win, usually plays loose, pulls out all the stops, and wins.

    1. Looking a little further down the road, I’m thinking 5-7 in their first year in the SEC.

      That business with the Sooners’ patented, hybrid double-wide-zone+missed-man coverage on Kolar all afternoon won’t fly further east.

      But at least there should still be a small assortment of SEC teams to kick around, and maybe a magic-luck game or two.

      1. The guys in the both said (in the 4th Qtr.) numerous times : “When are they going to double team the TE? He’s all ISU has working for them now. Earth to Grinch Whiskey Tango!

  3. Clemson climbing all over Wake Forest. Wake’s not half bad, but it’s like the human element in the C+PB^F has atrophied to the point where it has no judgment anymore.

  4. …and Slippery Rock runs out of clock with a one-possession loss. 33-25. Wasn’t real pretty but they did show better than last week.

    Good season, Rock. Proud of you. Congrats to Notre Dame (OH)>

  5. If OU didn’t keep trying to triangulate away from every pre-snap look on offense, they might be more effective.

    1. To quote the eminent philosopher Eddie Money: “Shakin.” Williams had open receivers all game, but the coverage was tight. He is playing like the standard Freshman QB against higher quality Defenses. Best regards OC.

      1. Yeah, good kid but still has that 5-cent head. Need an offensive line to help him accrue interest.

        I think the O-line must be taking one of those cruises in Antarctica where you keep getting stuck in the ice.

  6. Haven’t detected a heartbeat from Georgia Tech yet. Notre Dame’s ticker is in overdrive.

    Michigan and Maryland on the clock.

    Ohio State closed it out at a respectable 56-7. The rate they were going they might have cracked 3 digits if they’d kept up the pace.

    Notably, Georgia beat Charleston Southern by the same exact score, 56-7. Says something about something, for sure.

    Doesn’t hurt my feelings at all to see Penn State blank the Scarlet Commies.

  7. BTW, congrats to Air Force for hanging on to edge out Nevada in OT. That was some rumble there at the end.

    San Diego State looked unnecessarily gooshy against flea-ridden UNLV. Hmm.

    1. Yeah, interesting. I don’t think the Huskers will be able to do much with the ball, having just gotten it back with nearly 3 min left.

      Not their style. But they’re only one-possession down.

  8. I think we can count out SMU (vs Cincinnati) at this point.

    Tulsa has covered vs Temple, unless the Owls gain on them in the 4Q. 37-10 with about 14 min left.

    TCU hanging on 28-21 in the 4th over Kansas.

    1. Not to worry; you’re now good to go for either one. (I think.) Happened to be here to “approve” the alt login.

    1. In a game that decidedly isn’t going the Ducks’ way. Feeling a big prescient here about Oregon’s performance against a ranked team (even one down in the pack).

      Well. O-Ducks do tend to wake up in the second half. We’ll see.

  9. K-State couldn’t get it done with Baylor. Coming down to style points and East German judges in Bedlam. if OU’s got a shot.

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