Football Follies 2022: NCAA Week 5

The joy has bled out of Mudville after the Sooners celebrated their Big 12 opener by losing to Kansas State.  Other Top 10 teams looked non-dominating (that doesn’t include Alabama and Ohio State), but they still won, if narrowly, so OU had to fall the furthest.  (Two that should have won by more – Clemson and USC – didn’t fall at all.)  Sigh.  Heck of a game by the Wildcats.  They found every soft spot in the Sooner D.  Too bad there are so many of them.

The Inner Circle was otherwise a mixed bag this last weekend.  LSU whupped up right well on New Mexico, at least.  The game wasn’t carried here, so we don’t know how fine and foncy they looked getting to their 38-0 settlement.  We’re a-skeered-a Air Force heading into the Navy game.  Not holding out a lot of hope there, especially with the Mids up above 6,000 feet.

In other action, #19 BYU hosts Utah State Thursday in their Storied Rivalry for the Old Wagon Wheel, which we heartily approve of because it’s a real, no-kidding old wagon wheel, and one that seems to take a load of embossed plates and keep on ticking.  Aggies are 24-point dogs.

Old Wagon Wheel: BYU-Utah State rivalry. Via BYU Athletics

There’s a hefty line-up on Friday night, with the significant game featuring new #15 Washington at UCLA for a big PAC-12 clash.  The Huskies give 3.

Hurricane Ian is having an impact on the weekend schedule, of course.  We see two games have been moved to Sunday so far.  We’re not entirely clear on why Eastern Washington (FCS, Big Sky) will be at Florida (we say go for it), but we duly note that it will be on Sunday 2 October at noon Eastern rather than Saturday.  SMU at Central Florida in the American has also been moved to Sunday at 1 PM.

East Carolina is currently scheduled to be at South Florida (Tampa) in the early slot Saturday, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see that one shifted around.

NFL-wise, Dallas held off the Giants to win number 3 on the season Monday night.  We have the meds ready for the NFC East’s inevitable derangement interlude, however.  It’s an annual event; it’s just that, like Easter and Passover, it rolls around the calendar some.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, boosted Ole Miss to #14 with the loss to the Rebels last Saturday, and we hope the FBS appreciates the service.  TU actually kept it pretty close (35-27), with the D performing very decently against the Power 5 team.  It hurt a lot losing QB Davis Brin to an ankle injury; not clear at this writing if he’ll make Saturday’s game.

If not, hosting Cincinnati in the American Conference opener is a multiple times tougher proposition.  The Bearcats are giving 9.5.

New #18 Oklahoma heads to the Fort to take on 3-0 TCU, which lurched off with the Iron Skillet last week after a tough Storied Rivalry match with SMU.  The Sooners are laying 6.5, and they should be ashamed to lay that much, darn ’em.  Shaking the totem as usual:  Sonny and the Hoppers may be dumb, but they ain’t stupid.

#9 Oklahoma State has a big one coming up Saturday at #16 Baylor, 3-1 with the one loss to BYU in O/T.  Baylor has been effective on defense (most points allowed were the 26 to the Cougars), but less glorious in possession of the ball.  Still, they’ll be a key test for the Cowboys, who kick off their Big 12 season in Waco.  The Oddsdudes have Baylor favored by 2.5.

Navy is 1-2 with the first win last week edging out East Carolina in O/T in the American Conference kickoff.  We’re proud of the Mids, of course.  Air Force is 3-1, with its one loss to our own Wyoming, and can both run and throw on a regular basis, as demonstrated against our own Nevada last week.

If Navy can punch the option, there’s an outside chance as AFA’s defense is better prepared for the throwing tendencies of the Mountain West.  But while we’re pulling those oars like crazy for Navy, we have no quarrel with the Falcons’ 14-point give in this round of the Commander’s Cup.

Army hosts Georgia State on Saturday.  The Panthers are probably better than their 0-4 record; they’ve had better scoreboard in the past, and their game stats look much like previous years.  Coastal Carolina may have been their most useful demonstration to date, with the 41-24 loss.  Turnovers are killing them.  Army’s not quite at the performance level of the last couple of years, but they’re giving 7.5 in Michie.

Virginia Tech has had some time to recover from the stunned-mullet loss to West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, and heads to Chapel Hill for a big ACC clash with North Carolina.  No matter how ill the Tar Heels are performing – and they’re not looking that great this year, with weird narrow wins over Appalachian State and Georgia State, and a loss to a skidding Notre Dame – they always play the Hokies tough.  UNC is favored by 9.5; we wouldn’t take the points, but otherwise think the W/L cut is realistic.

Nevada has a well-timed break this weekend, after three weekends in a row of putting opponents on the map.  Iowa would be nowhere without Nevada; just saying.  You wouldn’t know it, but the Wolf Pack is still 2-3 and has wide-open prospects.  Next up is Colorado State on Friday night (7 October).

LSU is 3-1 after thumping New Mexico, and already has an SEC win (Mississippi State) going into the Tiger-off Storied Rivalry at Auburn on Saturday.  3-1 Auburn’s one loss (granted, a big one) is to #22 Penn State.  The Auburn Tigers also have an SEC win, but if you know your Old Testament and your Twelve Tribes, you’ll understand thinking of it as an asterisked win over the half-tribe of Missouri.

We’re all over the 9-point LSU give, at least in terms of the enthusiasm factor.  We also give this Storied Rivalry elegance-and-seemliness points for not entailing any recreational accoutrements as prizes.

Toledo couldn’t quite pull it out over San Diego State last week, but has better prospects on Saturday hosting 1-3 Central Michigan, which has one thunderous win over FCS’s Bucknell.  The Chippewas have been busy beefing up Ws for ranked teams (Oklahoma State, Penn State), but also managed to lose to South Alabama.  The Rockets give 7.5. in their MAC opener.

Wyoming took a licking from BYU last week, but comes in 3-2 hosting San Jose State on Saturday.  The Spartans won’t be beanbag; at 2-1, they had quite a respectable 24-16 loss to Auburn, and wins over Portland State (perennial Top 25 performer in the FCS) and Western Michigan – the latter a 34-6 shellacking.  SJSU is donating 2.5 in Laramie, but we think the Pokes can take them.

Top 10

#1 Georgia’s at the Half-Tribe of Mizzou giving 28.

#2 Alabama is at new #20 Arkansas, which plunged dramatically on the loss to Texas A&M.  Tide gives 17.5.

#3 Ohio State (-40.5) hosts Rutgers.

#4 Michigan is at Iowa giving 10.5 (and would probably be giving more if this were the Storied Rivalry it isn’t, but always seems like it should be).

#5 Clemson is favored (-6.5) hosting new #10 NC State (motto: “They have a football team?”).  This is Saturday’s marquee game, and all things considered may be the game of the week too, if the Wolfpack can pull something off.

New #6 USC hosts Arizona State Saturday night, giving 26.  That seems a little much to us, points-wise, but we’d certainly go with the W.

New #7 Kentucky visits #14 Ole Miss, which is laying 6.5 in the house.

New #8 Tennessee vaults by 3 into the Top 10 off the win over Florida, but now has the week off.

Best of the rest 

There’s not a lot of Storied Rivalry action this week.  So we’ll take the bests where we can get them.  Though we’re not that high on Purdue, a lot of fun is breaking out around #21 Minnesota this year, which is hosting the Boilermakers and giving 12.

Iowa State hasn’t been as much All That as usual, but heads to Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”) giving only 3.5, which if you follow Kansas is like any other team giving 10 on its home turf.  Could be interesting.

Likewise West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, at Texas (actual -10).

#22 Wake Forest at #23 Florida State (-7.0) is an ACC match we certainly wouldn’t despise.

And we assume we don’t have to advise everyone to tune in to Stanford at #13 Oregon (-16.5, but ‘ware the points) for the nightcap.

UMass, in the hunt for its third ever win as an FBS Independent, heads to Eastern Michigan (-20).

Intriguingly, New Mexico State is giving 14.5 hosting Florida International.  The Silver State Aggies don’t have the opportunity to give very often.

Other ranks

In FCS, we are pleased to report that McNeese State surged to 1-3 with the 32-17 win over Mississippi College (Div II).  However, Saturday brings a trip to San Antonio to kick off Southland Conference play at Incarnate Word, which may have dropped to #12 in the FCS polling off a loss to #24 Southeastern Louisiana last week, but has otherwise been on a tear.  (UIW is the FCS team that beat our own Nevada 55-41 a couple of weeks ago, racking up over 600 yards in the process.)

Saturday’s 6 PM Central kickoff should see mid-80s and clear skies, with a rapid cool down for the night under a high-pressure ridge.

In Div II, Slippery Rock is 4-0 off the win over Seton Hill, and jumps 3 to #8 in the Coaches Poll this week.  Naturally, this is also the week when the Rock heads to a rivalry match with Indiana (PA), perennially a top PSAC club and currently lurking just under the Top 25 (with a healthy 38 votes, the most among the lurkers).  This is the biggest game for SRU in the season to date.  A great opportunity to solidify that #8, or lose it.

We can’t imagine how we’ve so far missed the fact that Indiana, PA is known as the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World,” but so it appears.  Sadly, we weren’t there for the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers display at the state fair last month:

But Indiana is also the birthplace of actor Jimmy Stewart, whom you may remember from some rather famous movies a few decades back.  Among the commemorative recreational opportunities in the area, which include the Jimmy Stewart Museum, we’re intrigued by a unique lodging experience offered by the Dillweed Bed & Breakfast in nearby Dilltown, PA (about 13 miles southeast of Indiana): a “special package” that “includes overnight accommodations, a delicious themed breakfast, and a dramatic interpretation presented by Mr. Chris Collins, a talented local actor with The Dillweed Parlor Players.”

We feel sure Mr. Collins makes it worth your while.  But we’d be equally interested to know how you theme a breakfast to make it all, like, “Jimmy Stewart.”  If anyone is able to take advantage of this delightful offering, we’d love to get a full field correspondent’s report.

Admittedly, Saturday is looking a bit grim for the 2 PM kickoff, with rain and lower 60s in the forecast.  Even diehard football fans may experience a few pangs at forgoing a snug indoor stint with Chris Collins.

Central Oklahoma gave a reverse assist to Northwest Missouri State last week, dropping the Bearcats 10 places in the Div II poll with the 23-14 Broncho win.  Nicely done!  UCO heads to Jefferson City, MO Saturday for an MIAA match with Lincoln University, which is 0-4 and basically pretty bad.  The Blue Tigers managed to lose to Northeastern Oklahoma State last week, which kind of shows you.  None of that means the Bronchos will win, of course.

Lincoln University is a historically black (HBCU) university, incidentally, whose distinguished alumni include Tuskegee Airman Captain Wendell O. Pruitt of St. Louis, MO.  Pruitt flew with the 332 Fighter Group, which participated in the Allied invasion of Sicily and mainland Italy in 1943-44.  Pruitt’s airplane was the P-47 Thunderbolt; he and fellow pilot Lee Archer were known as the “Gruesome Twosome” (see Episode 13 at the link) for their dogfighting prowess.  Pruitt flew 70 combat missions and was responsible for three confirmed kills during the war.

Captain William O. Pruitt (Tuskegee Airman, 332 Fighter Group).  1920-1945. Wikipedia:  U.S. Library of Congress

Pruitt himself died in a training accident in April 1945, age 24.  R.I.P., Airman.

Mid-70s and clear as a bell in Missouri’s capital for the 2 PM game start.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman (0-3) heads to Anderson, IN to take on Anderson U., which is also 0-3 and actually a bit more hapless than RHIT, having scored a grand total of 7 points on the season (in an out-of-conference bout on 17 September with Alma College of Alma, MI).  Rose-Hulman has tended to win in its matches with the Ravens, so we’re hopeful to see a W edge into sight for the Fightin’ Engineers.

Expect a nice 70 and partly cloudy for the 1:30 kickoff in Anderson.

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will be at Worcester Poly in Worcester, MA on Saturday for the first NEWMAC clash of 2022.  The Mariners come in 2-1 to the Engineers’ 2-2, and although they have a fairly even history, WPI has tended to bag unexpected wins in recent years.

We’re dubious about Saturday though, having discovered that WPI’s mascot, Gompei the Goat, has been wearing a COVID mask for his closeups.  We suppose Engineers are just the right contingent to imagine a goat needs to wear a mask, and to get one on him (a goatherd would know better).  But we’ll be switched if we can figure out what good a mask would do a bronze goat.  (Now, a bronze mask…)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s mascot, Gompei the Goat, sports the day’s fashion. Wikimedia Commons: Own work: Author Kenneth C. Zirkel

We do give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the well-placed Adirondack chair.  Nothing like convenient seating for goat-inspired reflection and study.

Kickoff is at 2:30 PM with mid-60s and heavy cloud cover.

Feature image:  Navy SB #23 Vincent Terrell, Jr. sprints past defenders to run a Tai Lavitai pass in for a 72-yard TD.  Navy went on to win 23-20 in O/T. AAC video, YouTube.


18 thoughts on “Football Follies 2022: NCAA Week 5”

  1. Wonderful early surprise! Would write more, but I am busy checking our ONG gas line in the backyard.

  2. LSU completely dominated with over 600 yards offense and under 100 yards defense, Not a single punt. 33-39 in passing. NM was very much an everyone to the ball defense, with at least 3 tacklers per play and 2 there just in case. O Line did MUCH better especially with NM D line moving around with lots of twists, blitz packages and other stunts every play. After being injured Daniels could have returned but Nuss took the rest of the snaps. Oh, and Bech was a helluva a punter returned even taking ont to the house except for a bad call by a ref. No way that was a blindside block. The defender saw him and was also blocked completely in the front.

    I’m feeling a lot better about LSU after this game. The O line and offense gelled against More Cowbells an was firing on all cylinders this game. I know this wasn’t Bama or other SEC team but likely better than Vandy and maybe Mizzou.

    1. Thanks for the commentary. Firing on all cylinders is good. In the SEC cotton field maybe they won’t have to walk with the short-stack.

      I did see there wasn’t a single punt and felt like that had to be a good sign. Concentration didn’t bleed out over the course of the lopsided game.

      Good on NM for pushing the LSU O line a bit with different tricks. The Sooner line could stand a lot more of that. They couldn’t open a hole for a Mack truck roaring toward the defense at 80 miles an hour.

  3. Watched 2021 TCU game. Both D’s were poor in all phases. QB Duggan gave us fits with his mobility. OU O overpowered the TCU D, but TCU wouldn’t go away. Comfortable win for OU, but TCU put 31 on us. Duggan will give us trouble again. If OU O does another slow start, it could be a tight fit. BTW Duggan played injured last year. He was injured again two weeks ago. No idea what his real situation is.

    1. Looking for a stronger, more precise metaphor to replace Tight Fit. Found an interesting ceramic program on a Home Improvement channel. I may mow the backyard.

  4. I think we have to accept the Sooners aren’t very good this year. Deficiencies just everywhere.

    “What have we got on the spacecraft that’s good?”

    “Let me get back to you.”

    1. The craft has a complete Stargate SG1 library. Foyles War. Winds of War. Inspector Lewis. And, of course, Endeavor. Best regards OC.

    2. Yeah, OU appears to be in decline post Lincoln Riley. Personally, I am excited by my Fighting Illini who perhaps are the new Wisconsin of the Big Ten West. As bad as we have been for the last decade I can have a bit of hope. If we take Iowa this weekend at home – who can’t score – maybe we have a shot at something more than the “My Parents went to Vegas and all I got was this dumb T-shirt” Bowl on Dec 23.

  5. Navy, huh? I really didn’t expect to see them hold it to 10-10 with Air Force deep in the 4Q.

    GAST kicking Army around pretty good. Also not expected.

    I’m wondering if Ole Miss is going to get it done over Kentucky. I mean, what a run: first they knock off Tulsa, then UK?

    Michigan is having no trouble with Iowa.

    1. Switched over to the Navy game early on. Tough guys. Going to a game, in Colorado Springs, is on my Bucket List. Have you been there for s game?

  6. Somewhere out there, a worm is squirming. Illinois 34-10 over Wisconsin? Really?

    Well, congrats to Air Force. Navy covered though, big league. Held on to the very end. Sorry to see Army drop this one.

    I’m not seeing a spark in the Hokies this go-round. Still have most of the second half to go, but they’re looking stuck in low gear.

    The Big 12 is moving on. OU, Texas both looking bruised and battered. OSU, TCU, K-State on the surge. Baylor putting up a good fight. Texas Tech not as bad as in recent years. Even pathetic Kansas not quite so pathetic so far.

    All those walk-aways from Oklahoma are really hurting. They’ve got so few standouts at any position, and their depth chart is measured in “wading pool.” The defense needs a “This is the football” training video. They can’t find the darn thing. They have too little nose for where the play is going. Inexperience at the nosebleed level. Plus the basic execution deficiencies in open-field tackling.

    At any rate, rooting for Dillon Gabriel to suffer no long-term effects from the massive hit. He needs some serious coaching; his thinking factor is just about a second too slow. Barnes gets a lot done when they let him run, but it’s like they’re trying to conserve his energy because he’s all they have, or something.

    Toledo obviously crushing Central Michigan, but can’t see the game here.

    We don’t have to worry about Arkansas surprising Alabama, I think.

  7. Never want to speak too soon, but it looks like LSU’s going to get it done at Auburn.

    I don’t think TU’s going to pull off a miracle vs. Cincinnati. But they’re hanging in there with them.

    Feeling like Georgia’s bound to pull it out against Mizzou. But we’ll see. Stranger things have happened.

  8. On the targeting penalty against the TCU linebacker: I realize the speed of the sport. Unintended mistakes happen, but Gabriel was on his back sliding. The helmet shot was intentional. Gabriel was already down. Will leave my conclusion, concerning the linebacker, unstated.

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