We seem to be synced up with the schedule-keepers at the NCAA football websites now, so we’re declaring victory in that little battle and moving on.
This weekend kicks off early for the TOC faithful, as two of our own will own Friday evening. More on that exciting development below. Florida State will also be at Louisville, Seminoles giving 2.5.
In miscellaneous weird updates, the SEC has ordered Georgia and Tennessee to cancel out-year dates with Oklahoma because two of them would fall after OU’s move to the SEC, which has been settled as occurring in 2025. This sounds on its face like prissy nonsense, but it probably has some parsable justification. It feels like something you could only get briefed on by being held hostage in a small, airless meeting room at a busy airport though, so we’ll pass.
Speaking of Tennessee, it looks like former Sooner Josh Heupel is winning popularity contests there, as he just got a nice contract extension as head coach.
Meanwhile, the NFL annoyed us Thursday night by airing Chargers at Kansas City on Prime Video, so we 4/4ths don’t care that the Chiefs won 27-24.
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, comes off a scorching, final minute win over well-matched Northern Illinois to host Jacksonville State (FCS, Long Explanation) on Saturday. Jacksonville State (AL) is playing in the inaugural 2022 gaggle of ASUN Conference Div I-AA (FCS) football. The conference, around on the fringes since 1978, has had different names over the years, most recently “Atlantic Sun,” and has long sponsored other sports. ASUN’s FCS football group has six members for 2022, none of which has played a conference game yet.
JSU is 3-0, however, and beat FCS #12 Stephen F Austin (now #16) in Week 1. The Gamecocks were formerly in Ohio Valley through 2021. They seem to rack up the points pretty regularly. Should be an interesting game.
To our relief, Saturday’s outing for new #6 Oklahoma needs no Long Explanation. We’re feeling a bit surly about this persistent edging up in the ranking before it’s warranted, Oklahoma having defeated only UTEP and Kent State so far, and in unimpressive fashion. In theory, the visit to Nebraska on Saturday should be another gimme, with the Huskers weighted down by the drama of seeing their head coach defenestrated after a miserable start to the season.
But every Sooner fan knows how that goes. The depth chart isn’t so awful darn deep that there are any pre-hatched chickens to count, and they do grow those linemen big in Nebraska. So we’ve got the totem on auto-shake preparing for the big day. OU’s Storied Rivalry with Nebraska started in 1912, and was played last year after a decade-long hiatus since the Huskers defected to the Big 10 in 2010, launching their pathetic downward slide. Back in the glory days of the Big 8, the game used to involve throwing oranges on the field from time to time, so you can see the Sooners have simply got to win.
OU give is 11.5. Shimmy-shimmy shake-shake.
Oklahoma State took more of a hurdle jump from #11 to #8 after coming on strong against Arizona State last week, and will host Arkansas-Pine Bluff (FCS, SWAC) on Saturday. Arkansas-PB has been whaling away on Div II schools in the first two weeks, and will now get a crack at the #8 team in the FBS. So, you know, Mazel Tov on ’em. Obviously, no lines with these cross-ranks matches.
Navy is 0-2 and learning absolute heaps, with this weekend out of rotation to contemplate what challenges it can meet in a smarter and more seamanlike manner. Next week, East Carolina.
Army is also 0-2, dusting itself off from the OT heartbreaker with UTSA to welcome Villanova (FCS, Colonial) on Saturday. Villanova is 2-0, ranked #5 in FCS, and racked up good points over Long Island University and Lehigh so far, so they won’t be a total creampuff. We note that in terms of campus gorgeousness, we’d call this one a tie.
Air Force, as mentioned, heads to Wyoming Friday evening for another campus-gorgeousness standoff, and of course an Inner Circle extravaganza. Colorado Springs, Laramie – how do you even choose? The oddsdudes have the Falcons favored by 15, which few would disagree with given Air Force’s multidimensional and productive offense. Eventually they’re going to lose their current team to a slew of proud new Second Lieutenants, and America will be the better for it. But in the meantime, they’re playing good football. Best of luck to both our contestants as they kick off Mountain West play.
Virginia Tech, we are happy to say, prevailed nicely over Boston College 27-10, and probably won’t have a lot of trouble with Wofford (FCS, Southern), which has been blanked so far by Elon and Chattanooga. Good to have VT in the plus column out of the gate in ACC play. The Hokies and Terriers kick off Saturday bright and early – 11:00 AM Eastern – in Blacksburg.
Nevada had half a hundred hung on them last week by FCS/Southland’s Incarnate Word, but don’t let’s talk about that no more. Water under the bridge. The Wolf Pack will be at Iowa this weekend, and it’s anybody’s guess how that’s going to turn out. Iowa has been cartoonishly bad so far, by Iowa standards: 316 cumulative yards in two games, 21 first downs, five turnovers, and one touchdown for a cumulative total of 14 points. How do you even do that?
Somehow, the Hawkeyes are managing to give 23. Go Pack!
LSU slaughtered Southern all over the place, as expected, and is preparing to host SEC opponent Mississippi State on Saturday to kick off conference play. The Bulldogs have topped Memphis and Arizona so far, but their defense is a little leaky for the SEC West. They could stop with the turnovers as well.
It will be interesting to see a Deep SEC game coached by two guys without SEC backgrounds, as Kelly and Mike Leach face off. (Aside: I had no idea Leach had a law degree from Pepperdine.) Leach of course has the PAC-12 “Air Raid” rep, but both coaches feel kind of old school in 2022. Kelly seems to have confirmed Wednesday that Jayden Daniels will start behind center. Dogs give 2.5.
TCU smeared the tar out of Tarleton State, 59-17, and has this weekend off. Next Saturday, the 24th, sees the Storied Rivalry match with SMU.
Toledo, as mentioned last week, has a big date with #3 Ohio State on Saturday at 6 PM Central, in Fox’s equivalent of the ABC marquee slot. We’re thrilled that the Rockets are 2-0 after thumping victories over Long Island and UMass, but we fear that will have to hold them through next week. The Buckeyes may be more kind of shaking out at #3 than really planting their booted feet there, but decisive wins over Notre Dame and Arkansas State aren’t a non-quality record going into week 3. We have no quarrel with the ranking, and only a few points’ worth with the give of 32 to the Rockets. Whom we beseech nevertheless to Go!
Sadly, Baylor plunged in a precipitate and unmilitary manner from the Top 10, off the loss to BYU. Texas A&M fell off a cliff (-18) with the appalling appearance against Appalachian State. Kentucky and Arkansas catapulted into the Top 10 by massive ranking jumps (the Wildcats an eye-opening +11), which we’ll see if they can hold.
New #1 Georgia, having trounced current #25 Oregon and Samford of the FCS, is now the top Bulldog and giving 24.5 at South Caolina (motto: The Other USC). We do like Georgia’s D better than Alabama’s.
New #2 Alabama hosts UL-Monroe, donating 49.
#4 Michigan (-47.5) hosts UConn.
#5 Clemson is favored by 34 hosting Louisiana Tech (motto: “We’re so confused about that ancient WAC thing now, our meds can’t keep up anymore. We give up”).
As expected, USC has popped up three spots to the new #7 coming off the decisive win over Stanford. Trojans won’t make quite as much hay from hosting Fresno State, but we’d certainly take the 12 points they’re laying.
Kentucky takes that new #9 out for a spin hosting Youngstown State (FCS, Missouri Valley).
Likewise, new #10 Arkansas hosts another Missouri Valley stalwart, Missouri State.
Best of the rest
We’re hard put to identify a game of the week, with all the lopsided matches in the upper tier. Nebraska could certainly make the Oklahoma game the game of the week, if the Huskers were to suddenly look competent.
The marquee game on ABC is #11 Michigan State at Washington (-3.5), which doesn’t really help us. Washington could surprise us by doing more than the possibility of not losing, but neither team can get particularly healthy with a win.
We suggest just enjoying whatever floats by this weekend.
A little bit of Storied Rivalry action will get our hearts started, with Cincinnati at Miami (OH) giving 22. These two teams will meet for their 126th rivalry match, having been at it since 1888. They play for one of those Victory Bells everyone seems to think are such a good idea, but you can’t take 1888 away from them.
You would so think Cal at Notre Dame would be a Storied Rivalry, but it’s not. The Arsh’s California rivalries are limited to USC and Stanford. Notre Dame (out of the Top 25 for now) is favored by 11. Crush ’em, Bears.
#12 BYU will be at #25 Oregon, which may be worth watching to see if there’s a fork stuck in the Ducks. Not sure they can turn it around this season. They’re giving 3.5 because Eugene, big program, big money, full thumping stadium, etc.
Meanwhile, our hats are off to Long island University, which is back for another round with the MAC facing Kent State (“Golden Flashes”), after the big (really big) but respectable loss to Toledo.
Old Dominion, nemesis of Virginia Tech, menaces Virginia in Charlottesville and could actually take Commonwealth honors this fall by knocking off both the Hokies and the Yahoos. Who’d have thunk, only a few years ago. UVA gives 8.5, but we wouldn’t take the points.
Tulane and Kansas State haven’t played since 1988, the year of their one previous meet (Tulane, 20-16), but will face off again in Manhattan on Saturday. The Wildcats have been looking pretty wild so far. We figure they’ll cover their 14-point give.
UMass, coming off the massive loss to Toledo, gets a big shot hosting Stony Brook (FCS, Colonial) and may snag another win as an FBS team, though it wouldn’t be a victory over another FBS team. (For those wondering – we know you’re out there – no, UMass and Stony Brook weren’t in Colonial at the same time.)
Otherwise, we feel pretty safe recommending #22 Penn State (-3) at Auburn, and we wouldn’t disdain SMU at Maryland (-2), for a match-up that hasn’t been seen since 1962. Both of the latter teams have had some chops in the last few years.
In FCS, things didn’t go so well for McNeese State at Rice last week (52-10), but at least it wasn’t unexpected. The Cowboys will host Alcorn State (Mississippi) of the SWAC on Saturday in Lake Charles. The Braves come in off losses to Stephen F Austin and Tulane.
Expect clouds and balmy 80s for the 7 PM Central game start. The rain isn’t supposed to arrive until Sunday.
In Div II, Slippery Rock rolled nicely over West Chester 35-14, and will be on the road again this week for a clash with Millersville (PA). Millersville has lost so far to Saint Anselm and Gannon, but respectably so, putting up 10 each time and holding the opponents to 28 and 16. Still, Slippery Rock, up to #11 in the Coaches Poll, would be heavily favored.
Speaking of the Div II ranking, we see that the sinister Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO), which was prancing around like a house afire last season, plummeted nine spots to #21 this week coming off two losses, to Grand Valley State and Angelo State. (Which granted are currently #3 and #5.) What can you expect with a team that calls itself the “Orediggers” and features a snarling donkey as its mascot.
Kickoff is at noon in Millersville (which we admit we had to look up; it’s next to Lancaster on the Conestoga in ridiculously picturesque country), with mid-80s and partly cloudy skies.
We’re proud all over Central Oklahoma for the win over Emporia State last week, bringing the Bronchos to 1-1. Their next game will be 17 September at Missouri Southern State U. in Joplin (Pride of I-44). Rarely has a town been so much the creature of an interstate highway. We can’t help loving Joplin just for that.
Missouri Southern, an MIAA foe, comes in 1-1 as well, off a loss to ranked Nebraska-Kearney and a win over Oklahoma’s Northeastern State (NEOSU). We bet you didn’t know that Dennis Weaver, whom many will remember as “Chester” from Gunsmoke, was an alum (from when MSSU was still Joplin Junior College). We also bet you didn’t know that Weaver flew F-4F Wildcats for the Navy in World War II. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 82. R.I.P.
But we really bet you didn’t remember right away that Joplin is where Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow had their hideout apartment from 1932 to 1934, and was where they left their stuff when they had to flee Joplin after killing a constable and police detective there. They were themselves killed shortly afterward, in May 1934, in the shootout in Louisiana. This famous photo, featuring the car seen in many of the famous photos of them after their deaths, was on a roll of film recovered with a camera from the Joplin apartment.
Joplin got the apartment put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
The game starts at 5 PM Central in Joplin, with a humid upper 80s and a few clouds as company.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman lost to Trine last week, and will host out of conference this weekend as well, entertaining Albion College (MI) in Terre Haute. Albion plays in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, not to be confused with Central Oklahoma’s Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association (which has two more syllables, so you can keep them straight), and has obliterated a couple of opponents already. Albion is a Top 25 lurker building up votes in the Div III Coaches Poll, so the Engineers have their work cut out for them. RHIT starts HCAC play on 1 October.
The noon Central kickoff will see mid-80s and partly cloudy conditions.
For the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Saturday is Homecoming, and the Mariners will be hosting SUNY Maritime (Bronx) for the event. They’re no slouches at SUNY Maritime; they could have been lame and lazy and called themselves Mariners too, but they went with Privateers instead, which is cheekier. These days, the world might be better off for a few letters of marque and a bit more derring-do at sea.
USMMA had the unfortunate outing with FDU-Florham a couple of weeks ago, and SUNY Maritime had one with Harwick (Oneonta, NY) in week 1, but defeated Massachusetts Maritime on the 10th. We’re hoping the Mariners are rested and restored after their week off.
We know how many times we’ve reminded readers that Geraldo Rivera and American ballet great Edward Villella are SUNY Maritime alumni. We believe we’ve mentioned that Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon Valdez at the time of her nasty oil spill off Alaska in 1989, also claims SUNY Maritime as his alma mater. But we should say “claimed” now, as Hazelwood passed away this year at the age of 75. He died in Long Island in July, from COVID-19 combined with complications from cancer. Following his conviction from the oil spill accident, he retained his mariner’s license (though it had been suspended for a time), and SUNY Maritime hired him as a training instructor on the college’s training ship. R.I.P.
Checking in on our old friend Mr. Villella, now 85, we ran across a 1970s-era film called Reflections in Space, which juxtaposed the work of artists with the ponderings of pundits on the artistic impact of space travel. For the film, Villella performed the ballet solo “Apollo,” described in an interview for which the intro starts at 11:20 in the video at this link.
What we could not guess is that a contemporary Bluegrass group, Lowland Hum, has used passages from the Reflections in Space video and its companion, Mystery of Space, to accompany their song “Slow.” We present it here, and are contemplating making it the official Bluegrass anthem of the TOC Football Commentary Service. We invite comments from our loyal correspondents.
Privateers, indeed. SUNY Maritime has a great deal to answer for.
Game start on Saturday is at 1 PM Eastern in Kings Point, with temps in the 70s and a few clouds overhead.
Feature image: Tulsa QB #7 Davis Brin hits WR # 2 Keylon Stokes for a go-ahead touchdown in a wild 4Q with Northern Illinois, 10 Sep 2022. TU won 38-35 in the final minute. American Conference video, YouTube.