Saturday, October 01, 2016

This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:
  • Texas @ Oklahoma State (ABC): Texas and Georgia are still ranked, thus proving the worthlessness of rankings at any point before mid-October, at best. At any rate, Texas will roll into Stillwater to face an Oklahoma State team that is somehow both better than I thought and worse at the same time. This is also Texas's first game since the debacle in Berkeley, and struggling to say whether that performance was just a product of the pressure that Cal's offense places on teams or that Texas's defense just isn't good. This week, at least, I'm going with the former.
  • Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (@East Rutherford, NJ; ESPN): Yes, the Domers lost to Duke last weekend, and this isn't a "pretty good" Duke team like in the past few years. Nonetheless, I don't think they'll have any issues with Syracuse. If they do, I'd say Brian Kelly's days are numbered, if they aren't already.
  • Miami @ Georgia Tech (ESPN2): So, uh, as it turns out, Clemson is a pretty good football team. Miami probably is, too, but we're the first real opponent they've played this season. There's some reason to believe we won't be whipped as thoroughly, but if we really want to make anything of this season, it's gotta happen Saturday.
  • Baylor @ Iowa State (FS1): Baylor.
  • Northwestern @ Iowa (ESPNU): One thing both these teams have in common: losses to FCS teams! Iowa still actually plays defense, though, so they'll probably win.
  • Southern Methodist @ Temple (ESPNEWS): Temple?
  • Florida @ Vanderbilt (SEC): The other SEC team from Tennessee might have some frustrations taken out on it here.
  • Rutgers @ Ohio State (BTN): Ohio State.
  • Central Florida @ East Carolina (CBSS): UCF is better this year, yes, but are they better enough? I'm still leaning toward no.
12:30: Virginia @ Duke (ACC): I know I said Duke isn't that good this year, but hey, Brono Mendenhall, what's going in Charlottesville? I'll take Duke here.

3:30:
  • Tennessee @ Georgia (CBS): These teams are coming at this game from totally different angles. Tennessee is ebullient after finally taking down Florida. Georgia is, well, whatever the opposite of "ebullient" is after getting thoroughly trashed by Ole Miss. The thing is, I didn't think Georgia was that good anyway, so I'm going with the Vols to keep it up.
  • Wisconsin @ Michigan (ABC): Boy howdy, Wisconsin sure did a thing to Sparty last weekend, huh? I don't think this Michigan team will be caught so unawares, though.
  • North Carolina @ Florida State (ESPN): In order to say relevant as anything other than a spoiler in the ACC, FSU needs this game. Technically, that will be true, of, well, any of their conference games, but Carolina figures to be one of their three toughest remaining tests (along with Miami and Clemson). If they fail here, that's that for the 'Noles this year. I think they'll pass.
  • Illinois @ Nebraska (ESPN2): Nebraska, probably?
  • Kansas State @ West Virginia (ESNPU): West Virginia hasn't really looked very good so far this year. I have my reservations about K-State, but I'll pick them here and then we can re-evaluate these teams next weekend.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Auburn (SEC): Okay, so, we joked about the Fired Bowl last weekend, but as it turns out, well, someone got fired, and it wasn't Gus Malzahn. I nearly suffixed that sentence with a "...yet", though. I don't think this Monroe team is good enough to win or anything, but somehow, it wouldn't surprise me.
  • Minnesota @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): I'm going to have to go with the Golden Gophers here.
  • Navy @ Air Force (CBSS): Both the academies here are undefeated so far this year, so the first round of the Command-in-Chief's trophy will knock someone from those ranks. The question is, of course, who? It'll be fun, but I'm going with the Falcons.
  • Wake Forest @ North Carolina State (ACC/RSN): *looks up both teams, cringes, types in "Wake Forest?"* Wake Forest?
4:00: Texas A&M @ South Carolina (SEC): I didn't see that coming last weekend, but is it possible the Aggies are actually good this year? If they can do what they did to Arkansas on any sort of consistent basis... oof. At any rate, the Gamecocks won't be able to score enough.

5:00: Oklahoma @ Texas Christian (FOX): Oklahoma was supposed to be the class of the Big 12 this year, but their blowout loss to Ohio State mainly served to show how far behind the conference is. TCU comes in, seemingly having lost their way on defense, which must drive Gary Patterson nuts. I think this game could go either way, so I'm picking TCU, fulling expecting to be wrong.

6:00: Utah @ California (Pac12): Unstoppable force, meet immovable object. But unlike a lot of defense-focused teams, the Utes can score enough to keep up with the Bears, and it seems more likely Utah will come up with the stop or two they'll need than Cal.

7:00:
  • Kentucky @ Alabama (ESPN): Kentucky, just show up with 7 guys and say you don't have enough people to play. Everyone will understand.
  • Memphis @ Mississippi (ESPN2): As you may recall, last year Memphis completely disrupted Ole Miss's playoff campaign. Justin Fuente parlayed that win (and others) into the Virginia Tech job, but as it turns out, the Tigers didn't pull a Vandy are actually still kinda good. I still wouldn't pick them to win this game, but this is going to be the game to watch in this timeslot, that's for sure.
  • South Florida @ Cincinnati (ESPNU):
  • Western Michigan @ Central Michigan (CBSS): ROW THAT BOAT.
  • Florida Atlantic @ Florida International (beIN): One of these teams is 1-3 and the other is 0-4. Should you watch this battle for second-tier Miami area supremacy? Probably not. But I'm here to tell you that you absolutely can. Also going with FAU.
7:30:
  • Missouri @ Louisiana State (SEC): Well, on the one hand, DACOACHO is back in the ranks of college football coaching. Of course, the question after this if Ed Orgeron appears on your coaching staff, does that definitely mean that you're on the hot seat? (Remember, his last gig before this was the interim coach at Southern Cal.) At any rate, I hope this stint is as successful for DACOACHO as his previous one, as I can't think of any better match for this school and that man. And I'm picking them to win this one.
  • Marshall @ Pittsburgh (ACC/RSN): Pitt.
8:00:
  • Louisville @ Clemson (ABC): Drop everything and watch this game. With the night game in Death Valley, I don't think the Cardinals are going to do to Clemson what they did to FSU. Also, Clemson's defense, especially their defensive line, is just really good. I have no idea who is going to win, because I think both these teams are pretty good, but I'm giving a slight edge to Clemson, just because it's at home.
  • San Diego State @ South Alabama (ESPNEWS): Aztecs.
  • Michigan State @ Indiana (BTN): Well, I didn't see that coming. "That" being Michigan State's kinda blowout loss to Wisconsin last weekend. But hey, Indiana is a pretty good chance to recover and get back on the right track, you know?
8:30: Arizona State @ Southern California (FOX): Speaking of places where Ed Orgeron was previously an interim coach, well, it looks like the Trojans are part of the way to having another interim. After all, who was it that got Lane Kiffin fired on the tarmac? Why, the Arizona Sun Devils, of course! That said, this game is at the Coliseum, so presumably they won't have to drive over to LAX after they lose to fire Clay Helton.

9:30: Oregon @ Washington State (Pac12): Yeah, so I think the good old days are pretty much done for the ducks, but Wazzou provides a chance to make it look they aren't.
10:15:
  • Utah State @ Boise State (ESPN2): Boise enters with a pretty good chance to assert itself in the Mountain West, and I think they'll take advantage.
  • Wyoming @ Colorado State (ESPNU): Wyoming, because why not? I wish this were in Laramie, though, 'cause dem (ugly) uniforms.
10:30:
  • Fresno State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (CBSS): Both of these teams are 1-3, but UNLV's at least had less blowout losses, from a quick glance, so let's go with them.
  • Arizona @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): #pac12afterdark! Seriously, it's fun how much they folks out here have leaned into that hashtag. Both of these teams have been pretty inconsistent so far, but that's just the way things go out here on the left coast sometimes. I'll go with UCLA so I can get this thing wrapped up.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This Weekend in College Football: Week 4

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:
  • Florida State @ South Florida (ABC): I think USF will be game, but I also think FSU  will be out for blood.
  • Georgia @ Mississippi (ESPN): Ole Miss has suffered two pretty heartbreaking losses so far this year, but on the balance I still think they're better than Georgia.
  • Iowa @ Rutgers (ESPN2): Iowa. Yes, really.
  • Colorado State @ Minnesota (ESPNU): Minnesota, probably? If not, not I don't have a lot of confidence about the Golden Gophers going forward.
  • Nevada @ Purdue (ESPNEWS): Uh, Purdue quarterback jokes aside... Nevada?
  • Kent State @ Alabama (SEC): Alabama.
  • San Jose State @ Iowa State (FSN): Iowa State... maybe.
  • Wisconsin @ Michigan State (BTN): Wait, this is on the Big Ten Network? This is one of the best games of the week, potentially? I mean, I think Sparty is going to win pretty easily, but at least based on the rankings, this one should be good?
12:30:
  • East Carolina @ Virginia Tech (ACC): VPI has a bit of a losing streak to the Pirates of East Carolina, but I don't think it will continue.
  • Central Michigan @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): CMU.
1:00: Syracuse @ Connecticut (CBSS): Syracuse.

3:30:
  • Florida @ Tennessee (CBS): I just got done listening to a 15 minute emergency podcast from two of my favorite college football writers about, and they both seem to think Florida has this one. And, indeed, the Gators have won 11(!) straight in this game, which is even more amazing when you think about what Florida has been through these last eleven years. Nonetheless, I think the Vols just have too many injuries that matter (i.e., in the defense), but I wouldn't be surprised at the result either way.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Michigan (ABC): The only question is how much Michigan wins by.
  • Duke @ Notre Dame (NBC): This version of Duke, well... they're not quite as game as they've been, you know?
  • Brigham Young vs. West Virginia (@Landover, MD; ESPN2): So apparently there's a lot of Mormons in Northern Virginia? Sure, let's go with that. And BYU, I guess.
  • Pittsburgh @ North Carolina (ESPNU): This one's tough, but I'm going with Carolina.
  • Boise State @ Oregon State (FS1): I think Boise will win, but I think it may be closer than many expect.
  • Miami @ Cincinnati (FS1): To be clear, this is the Miami that's a lot close to Cincinnati, so I'm going with Cincy.
  • Wake Forest @ Indiana (BTN): Uh, Indiana.
4:30: Vanderbilt @ Western Kentucky (CBSS): Western Kentucky.

5:30: Colorado @ Oregon (Pac12): Oregon, though probably closer than you think.

6:00: Louisiana State @ Auburn (ESPN): This game might well get someone fired, though I think after surviving last year Les Miles is relatively unassailable at LSU. I think Gus Malzahn is behind only Mark Stoops as "SEC coach most likely to get canned during the season", and I don't think this game will do a lot change it, especially when you consider Auburn home losing streak.

7:00:
  • Houston @ Texas State (ESPNU): Houston.
  • Central Florida @ Florida International (beIN): FIU?
7:30:
  • Oklahoma State @ Baylor (FOX): Oklahoma State (please?).
  • South Carolina @ Kentucky (SEC): Serious, it's a race between Stoops and Malzahn to get fired first. I think this game might do the trick for Stoops.
  • Nebraska @ Northwestern (BTN): Nebraska.
8:00:
  • Stanford @ California-Los Angeles (ABC): Arguably one of the games of the week, but I'm not really feeling it. I think McCaffrey and Co. are going to steamroll the Bruins.
  • Bowling Green @ Memphis (ESPNEWS): Memphis.
  • Louisville @ Marshall (CBSS):This game looked more interesting, er, say, two years ago? Louisville.
9:00: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (@Arlington, TX; ESPN): Arkansas won and important game in September? Sound the "Razorbacks May Actually Be Good" klaxon!

10:00: California @ Arizona State (ESPN2): Can Cal build off their crazy win over Texas last weekend? I'm going to go with "no".

10:15: Air Force @ Utah State (ESPNU): I don't have a lot of data for either of these teams, do I'm going to go with the Aggies.

10:30: Washington @ Arizona (Pac12): And..... UDub.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

This Week in College Football: Week 4

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday
7:30: Clemson @ Georgia Tech (ESPN): A brief history of Clemson-Georgia Tech, as I remember it:
  • 2003: My freshman year and second ever college football game attended. The first was our 17-3 upset of Auburn two weeks prior, that involved rushing the field, tearing down the goal posts, and carrying phenom freshman QB Reggie Ball off the field. (Yes, that actually happened.) This game was considerably less fun, as we lost 39-3. I actually laughed out loud when I saw we passed 42 times. It's like, well, maybe we would've been better off if Reggie passed at modern-GT passing rates. Anyway!
  • 2004: Probably still a personal best vertical leap record for me, after the events described here happened. If you don't want to read all of that, essentially, we scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes of the game and a freshman WR named Calvin Johnson became a bonafide star.
  • 2005: That link above contains a pretty good summary of that game as well. I remembered what happened on that play before I even read the description of it. Good times.
  • 2006: This game sucked, but if nothing else we still ultimately made the ACC Championship Game while Clemson was busy losing the division to Wake Forest.
  • 2007: The general rule of this series is this: we either barely win or lose by a ton. Clemson was 4-0 and ranked #13 coming in, but it was mostly our defense the held the day. Clemson was held to 71 yards rushing (excluding sacks) and we had the game's lone touchdown. I don't really remember anything about this, but hey, we won 13-3.
  • 2008: I was actually at this game, which, in a total coincidence, was Dabo Swinney's first game. I think it's pretty safe to say most everyone vastly underestimated him at the time (even the Clemson fans I was tailgating with), but it turns out the dude can recruit and knows how to delegate to his coordinators. His first game, however, was a 21-17 loss to Georgia Tech that featured 200 yards rushing and a game winning touchdown catch by Demaryius Thomas.
  • 2009, Part 1: I don't want to spoil anything, but you know what's better than beating Clemson once in a season? Beating them twice! This game featured many things, including a fake field goal of... dubious legality by us as we ran out to a 24-0 lead on a Thursday night. Clemson then spent the next 30 minutes of football scoring 27 unanswered points, including some very long touchdown passes caught by guys like C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. However, Tech battled back and kicked two more FGs to get a 27-24 win.
  • 2009, Part 2: It's not very often when you score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:20 to go that you think to yourself, "we left too much time on the clock", but that's the way this game went. It was cold and miserable in Tampa and the entire game was nerveracking. Both teams finished with over 400 yards of total offense. C.J. Spiller averaged 11.7 yards per carry en route to 233 rushing yards and four TDs, but Tech actually finished with more total yards. Neither team punted. Yeah, it was that kind of game, but somehow they didn't score in that last 1:20 and we won 39-34.
  • 2010: This game was considerably less exciting, but in terms of the rivalry, this was a close, 27-13 loss, though looking at the stats the scoreline may flatter us a bit.
  • 2011: You know what's fun? Upsetting a top-10 ranked Clemson team. We were 7-2 coming in, but our record flattered us and we had just lost two straight to Miami and Virginia. In retrospect, this wasn't really an especially good Tech team, yet there's Tevin Washington (not ever the best fit for the system) averaging nearly 7 yards per carry against Clemson. Tech led 31-10 and then held on for dear life, but it mostly worked and we won 31-17. Clemson's national title hopes were derailed, but went to go to the Orange Bowl anyway for that infamous 70-33 shallacking.
  • 2012: 2012 GT was not very good. The 47-31 scoreline flattered us in this one.
  • 2013: Yeah, the top-10 Clemson thing doesn't work so good when they're at home. 55-31 including a garbage time touchdown.
  • 2014: We won 28-6 in rare November matchup, but even then it was pretty obvious we did well because Deshaun Watson got hurt early in the game and had to give way to Cole Stoudt, who promptly threw three interceptions including two pick-6's. He had only three completions to his own team. Suffice it to say, Clemson wound up with 190 yards of total offense. That's not good!
  • 2015: Yeah, so it turns out that Deshaun Watson guy is pretty good? By this time, the malaise of last year's annus horribilis had fully set in and we meekly lost 43-24.
What does any of that have to do with this? Probably not much. Both teams are coming off encouraging victories this year, but about the only way we have any chance is to come out on top of a shootout, I think. Clemson has played us pretty well the past few seasons, coinciding with Clemson's hiring of Brent Venables as their defensive coordinator, so it seems, shall we say, grim. We're 8-6 over the period described here, but we've only won one of our last four. Yet, it's college football, and somehow, somehow, history always seems to lurk, waiting to cast its shadow on the events of the present day. There's always a chance.

Friday
7:30: Wyoming @ Eastern Michigan (CBSS): Wyoming.

8:00: Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (ESPN): TCU... probably.

9:00: Southern California @ Utah (FS1): So... a player maybe (probably not) punched Clay Helton. There's a quarterback controversy. Yep, things are just fine at USC. Just... fine, and really, they should be. Was anyone really expecting anything from them year? And their losses so far to Alabama and Stanford, which is not dishonorable at all! Yet, it seems pretty likely this where the wheels come off, as it were.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

This Weekend in College Football: Week 3

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:
  • Florida State @ Louisville (ABC): Okay, due to a series of, uh, events this is also going to be really snappy. But let's also note the oddity of arguably one of the most import games of the day being right at noon. Was ESPN asleep at the wheel? At any rate, FSU.
  • Miami @ Appalachian State (ESPN): I'm picking Miami, but they're totally going to lose this game. I mean, seriously.
  • North Dakota State @ Iowa (ESPN2): Normally I don't include FCS vs. FBS matchups, but I put this one in because it's on ESPN2 and it's NDSU. Whom I am totally picking.
  • Iowa State @ Texas Christian (FS1): TCU.
  • Kansas @ Memphis (ESPNU): Memphis.
  • New Mexico @ Rutgers (ESPNEWS): Rut—ah, what the hell, New Mexico.
  • Ohio @ Tennessee (SEC): Valws.
  • Temple @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): Temple.
12:30: Vanderbilt @ Georgia Tech (ACC): We've got a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. The schedule ramps up really quickly after this. Hopefully we make the necessary adjustments.

2:00: Idaho @ Washington State (Pac12): Wazzou.

3:30:
  • Oregon @ Nebraska (ABC): Oregon, probably?
  • Alabama @ Mississippi (CBS): As much as three-in-a-row would be hilarious, I have to go with Bama here.
  • Pittsburgh @ Oklahoma State (ESPN): This is probably the last weekend of wacky inter-sections games, so enjoy them while you can, even if it's Pitt at a very moribund Oklahoma State. Also, going with Pitt here.
  • Boston College @ Virginia Tech (ESPNU): Oof, this one's a bit of a stumper. Uh, VPI?
  • San Diego State @ Northern Illinois (CBSS): Even the Group of Five is getting in on the inter-sectional fun! Going with SDSU, though.
  • Colorado @ Michigan (BTN): Michigan.
4:00: East Carolina @ South Carolina (SEC): ECU is going for two, and I think they're going to make it!

7:00:
  • Texas A&M @ Auburn (ESPN): The folks over at EDSBS are calling this Anxiety Bowl, 'cause this game is going to get someone fired. I'd... say it's not looking good for Gus Malzahn.
  • Mississippi State @ Louisiana State (ESPN2): Speaking of which, this game might well get someone fired too. This is not a great LSU team or anything, but at night, in Baton Rouge, well, it's not looking real good for Dan Mullen.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Texas Tech (FSN): Tech! Er, oh, right. Uh, TTU, sure.
  • Maryland @ Central Florida (CBSS): Maryland?
  • Troy @ Southern Mississippi (beIN): Southern Miss.
7:30:
  • Michigan State @ Notre Dame (NBC): If this final score is like 12-9, then Sparty has got this. But I don't think that'll be the case.
  • Ohio State @ Oklahoma (FOX): The ramifications of this game are inversely proportional to the amount of time I'm going to spend on it. Ohio State.
  • North Texas @ Florida (ESPNU): Florida.
  • Georgia @ Missouri (SEC): I want Mizzou in this so badly, but... Georgia.
8:00:
  • Southern California @ Stanford (ABC): Stanford.
  • Duke @ Northwestern (BTN):  Duke.
10:15: California-Los Angeles @ Brigham Young (ESPN2): UCLA.

10:30:
  • Texas @ California (ESPN): Texas, but boy howdy there's going to be some points in this game.
  • Utah @ San Jose State (CBSS): Utah: apparently knows the way to San Jose, which I suspect will not otherwise offer much in the way of resistance.
10:45: Hawaii @ Arizona (Pac12): Zona.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Weekend in College Football: Week 2

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:
  • Central Florida @ Michigan (ABC): This weekend has one of the worst schedules I think we've ever had in all the years we've been doing this, so don't be surprised if some of these picks are a bit rapid fire. In addition, I'm going to be at a wedding most of the day and I basically didn't see anything that happened last week, so... yeah. Let's start here: Michigan.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Pittsburgh (ESPN): On the one hand, this is one of the better games this weekend. It's the resumption of a series where the two teams have met 96 times in the past yet haven't played each other since 2000. Yet my fear is that the score will similar now to what it was then: 12-0, Pitt.
  • Wyoming @ Nebraska (ESPN2): Might be worth checking in on just to see what Wyoming's wearing. Only so much you can do with white, brown, and yellow, y'all, and most of it isn't good.
  • Central Michigan @ Oklahoma State (FS1): Cowboys.
  • North Carolina State @ East Carolina (ESPNU): This... could be close? I don't think is expecting the Wolfpack to be world-beaters or anything this season, but ECU is always one of those teams that can be pesky on occasion. Both demolished some patsies last week, so, uh, going with the default here.
  • Rice @ Army (CBSS): The last time Army won two games in a row was 2010, when they beat North Texas and Duke on consecutive weeks. And hey, Temple was definitely the hearder of these two, so sure, why not.
  • Cincinnati @ Purdue (BTN): Cincy.
12:30: Troy @ Clemson (ACC): Clemson.

2:00: Utah State @ Southern California (Pac12): I never really though USC would beat Alabama, but I thought that they had, you know, the talent to at least make a game of it. Whoops. At any rate, that talent should serve them much better against these Aggies.

2:30: Ohio @ Kansas (FSN): Kansas beat Rhode Island 55-6 last week, which makes me wonder if they'll be as awful as everyone's expecting. Ohio is a step up, but Kansas has a pretty good shot of winning back-to-back games for the first time since 2011.

3:00: Mercer @ Georgia Tech (espn3.com): Being at PAX, I definitely was not even remotely able to see this game, which kicked at 4:30 AM local time here on the West Coast. This one is much more palatable! I can read articles and statistics, though, so this week I'm looking for better blocking on the line and by the backs.

3:30:
  • Tulsa @ Ohio State (ABC): Buckeyes.
  • Nevada @ Notre Dame (NBC): Irish.
  • Kentucky @ Florida (CBS): Sure, Florida wasn't great last week, but... Kentucky lost to Southern Mississippi last weekend. Whoops! I suspect I'll get to have a longer writeup about how Kentucky hasn't won this game since 1986 again next year.
  • Western Kentucky @ Alabama (ESPN2): Considering all the SEC upsets last weekend, the "THEY SUPPOSED TO BE SEC" meme got unearthed again last weekend, and the school that provided us that wonderful .gif was... Western Kentucky! However much I think these Hilltoppers are game, though, boy howdy 'Bama sure did take Southern Cal to the woodshed last week, so I don't think there exists a limb long enough for me to go out there to pick WKU.
  • Southern Methodist @ Baylor (FS1): Baylor.
  • Wake Forest @ Duke (ESPNU): Duke.
  • Connecticut @ Navy (CBSS): Navy.
  • Akron @ Wisconsin (BTN): Wisconsin.
4:00: Ball State @ Indiana (ESPNEWS): Indiana.

5:00: Idaho @ Washington (Pac12): UDub.

7:00:
  • Arkansas @ Texas Christian (ESPN): If this were November, I'd probably say Arkansas. But, well, with the style of play they have, it really takes a lot of effort to get that mass rolling and it's just too early in the season at this point.
  • South Carolina @ Mississippi State (ESPN2): Oooof. So... this is a game featuring a team coached by Will Muschamp that needed to get kind of lucky to beat Vanderbilt and a team that lost to South Alabama. Well, one of them still has Dak Prescott, though... I'll hold my nose and take Miss State.
  • Northern Illinois @ South Florida (CBSS): USF.
7:30:
  • Brigham Young @ Utah (FOX): The Holy War is back, and boy howdy, it's the best game on this slate by a long-shot. The Utes took a relatively gentle approach to their Week 1 opponent and won 24-0 against a FCS team. Meanwhile, BYU kind of quietly beat Arizona 18-16, at least as quietly as you can beat anyone on a last second field goal. And so, this looks to be a fun matchup and I have no idea which way it's going to go. The Utes are on a 5 game winning streak in this series, which is perhaps indicative of the increase in quality they've had since joining the Pac-12. On the flip side, like I said earlier, BYU just beat a Pac-12 team, and one that wasn't expected to be terrible or anything. So, why, not, let's go with the Stormin' Mormons here.
  • Arkansas State @ Auburn (SECN): I don't think that Auburn is in any danger to falling to this Arkansas State team, which is only slightly more removed from their Guz Malzahn glory days than Auburn is. Seriously, I can't help but read this article about Chip Kelly and wonder if the same applies to Malzahn.
  • North Carolina @ Illinois (BTN): Carolina.
  • Iowa State @ Iowa (BTN): This won't even be on TV here, but I feel compelled to talk about it anyway. For starters, for as utterly awful as the Cyclones have been basically... forever, this game has been relatively close over the past 10 plus years, give or take a few. Now factor in Kirk Ferentz's utterly insane contract extension, and yeah, at a minimum, I don't think Iowa's covering that 15 points.
8:00:
  • Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee (@Bristol, TN; ABC): It's in the middle of a racetrack, so I guess there's some novelty there. Otherwise, meh. Vols.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ California-Los Angeles (Pac12): UCLA.
10:15: Washington State @ Boise State (ESPN2): Wazzou losing to a FCS team from the Pacific Northwest is becoming something of a tradition, but I think they'll be in an 0-2 hole after a visit to the blue turf.

10:30:
  • Virginia @ Oregon (ESPN): Oregon's not what they used to be, but did you know Virginia lost to Richmond last weekend? That's not a good look, as the kids say.
  • California @ San Diego State (CBSS): Cal's defense is beyond awful, but is it awful enough to prop up the Aztecs' moribund offense? We're about to find out! I'm going to be lame and take Cal, though.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

This Weekend in College Football: Week 1

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Saturday

7:30: Georgia Tech vs. Boston College (@Dublin, Ireland; ESPN2): And here we are, my team, right here off the top, leading off the season, yet on the one weekend a year I can't really watch. There's not a whole lot that could have gone a lot worse for us last year. The beginning of a new season of any sport is always an opportunity for unfettered optimism. I know this, and yet, I find myself not too worried about this Tech. Sure, a lot of it is from the "well, it sure as hell can't be worse" perspective, but there's also the old college football saying "the best thing about freshmen is that they eventually becomes sophomores", and this is a team that can definitely be applied to.
BC are, of course, not slouches themselves. They had a legitimately great defense last year coupled with an unbelievably incompetent offense. This game could well be a chess match, and for those of you able to watch it, just keep that in mind.
Note: the rest of the picks are going to be pretty rapid fire, I just ran out of time. Sorry.

Noon:
  • Oklahoma vs. Houston (@Houston, TX; ABC): Going with the Sooners, but it's hard to understate the importance of this game. Surprised it's at 11:00am locla time.
  • Hawaii @ Michigan (ESPN): Michigan.
  • Missouri @ West Virginia (FS1): West Virginia.
  • Western Michigan @ Northwestern (ESPNU): They may well row the boat across Lake Michigan, but... yeah. Northwestern.
  • South Alabama @ Mississippi State (SEC): Miss State.
2:00: Rutgers @ Washington (Pac12): Washington.

3:30:
  • Louisiana State @ Wisconsin (@Green Bay, WI; ABC): LSU, but it'd be really funny the other way around, right?
  • California-Los Angeles @ Texas A&M (CBS): UCLA.
  • Miami @ Iowa (FSN): Iowa (since this is the MAC Miami)
  • Texas State @ Ohio (CBSS): Ohio.
4:00: Louisiana Tech @ Arkansas (SEC): Arkansas.

5:30: North Carolina vs. Georgia (@Atlanta, GA; ESPN): Georgia, but whoo boy, it'd be create if the Tar Heels could do it.

7:00: San Jose State @ Tulsa (CBSS): Tulsa.

7:30:
  • Southern Mississippi @ Kentucky (ESPNU): Kentucky.
  • Massachusetts @ Florida (SEC): Florida.
8:00:
  • Southern California vs. Alabama (@Arlington, TX; ABC): Alabama.
  • Fresno State @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska
  • New Mexico State @ Texas-El Paso (beIN): UTEP.
9:00: Clemson @ Auburn (ESPN): Clemson.

10:30:
  • Brigham Young vs. Arizona (@Glendale, AZ; FS1): Arizona.
  • Northern Illinois @ Wyoming (CBSS): NIU.
Sunday

7:30: Notre Dame @ Texas (ABC): Notre Dame

Monday

8:00: Florida State vs. Mississippi (@Orlando, FL; ESPN): FSU.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

This Week in College Football: Week 1

So, as usual, I won't see most of these games because I'll be at a thing, but here's the idea: I write hurried previews while incredibly tired while also providing completely accurate TV listings. Also, I don't preview games involving FCS teams (usually).

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday
7:30:
  • Indiana @ Florida International (ESPNU): 3-for-1 deals, recruiting, for one reason or another the Hoosiers are going down to Boca Raton for some reason. They'll probably still win, though.
  • Appalachian State @ Tennessee (SEC): Tennessee is everyone's favorite to step into the void of the SEC East, so they'd do well to not stumble. I think they'll carry the day here. I will say, though, either of these games are more interesting than the next few.
8:00:
  • South Carolina @ Vanderbilt (ESPN): I really hope you don't like points but instead like "defense" that mostly consists of two incompetent offenses. I probably wouldn't show this one to someone who hadn't seen football before, put it that way. And, yeah, I'm going with the Gamecocks anyway.
  • Rice @ Western Kentucky (CBSS): Hey, it's game, it's on TV, and I'll provide you an opinion slash wild guess: going with the Hilltoppers in this one.
9:00: Oregon State @ Minnesota (BTN): Just go to bed after the earlier games end. I mean, you probably still have to go to work on Friday, right? Minnesota likely prevails.

Friday
7:00: Army @ Temple (CBSS): Temple.

8:00: Colorado State vs. Colorado (@Denver, CO; ESPN): A rivalry is renewed! And you know what, I like that they play it on a neutral site, and that the Buffs have been consistently awful for so long I don't feel weird about picking Colorado State.

9:00:
  • Kansas State @ Stanford (FS1): I actually have several cousins who have played for K-State over the years, including one on the current roster. I was offered comp tickets to this game, but I had to turn 'em down because I'll be out of town, but I hope y'all enjoy the Bay Area. On a more somber note, I also don't really see how K-State is going to stop Stanford, and that's before we even get into them having one of the best players in college football thing.
  • Toledo @ Arkansas State (ESPNU): This feels more like a wacky weeknight game in November than September, but hey, that's what you get on the first, blessedly NFL-less weekend of the season. Let's keep rollin' with the home team here.