Monthly Archives: September 2008

This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

Once again, no stat update. I’ll do it as a separate post after this.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Michigan State @ Indiana (ESPN): Get your day started right with…okay, I can’t do this. I can’t really think of any reason to watch this Big Ten snooze-fest. The Hoosiers are coming off a 22-point loss at home to Ball State and counting down the days to basketball season. Meanwhile, MSU is riding high off beating Notre Dame. State by a few scores.
  • North Carolina @ Miami (ESPN2): I don’t think “da U” is a very good football team this year. Since the inexplicable hiring of Patrick Nix (thanks guys!), Miami’s offense has just been terrible. But UNC’s hopes for a decent season seem to have derailed by Tyler Yates going down for at least the next few weeks. Expect the usual tight, offense-less ACC battle, with something like a final score of Miami 12, UNC 9.
  • Northwestern @ Iowa (ESPN Classic): Fun fact: Northwestern is 4-0! Fun corollary: their BCS conference opponents so far have been Syracuse and Duke. Meanwhile, Iowa got beat by Pitt last week. What I’m saying here is that’s there’s still a terrible lack of data here, but I will say that I have my doubts there will be anything “classic” about this game. I’ll pick NU just for the heck of it.
  • Minnesota @ Ohio State (BTN): Thanks, Comcast, for getting a national Big Ten Network feed but no ESPNU. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Anyway, Minnesota’s schedule so far is weaker than Northwestern’s, but that said they’re still better than they were last year. Improved enough to avoid getting shellacked by Ohio State? Probably not.
  • Maryland @ Clemson (Raycom/Gameplan): See, I figured Maryland was trying to get their coach fired after barely beating Delaware and losing to MTSU. Since then, they’ve beaten Cal and shellacked Eastern Michigan. Clemson, meanwhile, is presumably better than the team that showed up in Atlanta back in August, but they haven’t played anyone since then. That said, on paper Clemson is a much better team than Maryland and it being at Clemson I have to give the purple-and-orange tigers the edge.

12:30:

  • Army @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (Versus): Alas, poor Army. TAMU by at last four touchdowns.
  • Mississippi @ Florida (Raycom/Gameplan): Ole Miss already has two losses (to Wake and Vandy) headed into the Swamp. Uh, yeah. UF by a few scores.

3:30:

  • Purdue @ Notre Dame (NBC): Purdue doesn’t really believe in defense. Notre Dame scored 35 against Michigan and then 7 against Michigan State. In other words, I have no idea what will happen here, but I will pick Purdue because I want them to win.
  • Tennessee @ Auburn (CBS): Two SEC teams with some issues in offense. That said, looking at this subjectively, Tennessee got the tar beat out of them last week. Auburn hung tough with LSU and certainly had chances to win.
  • Fresno State @ California-Los Angeles (ABC/Gameplan): Dear ABC: screw you. I swear to God this weekend is going to make me breakdown and order Gameplan. The two games I actually want to see (Arkansas@Texas, CU@FSU) are not going to be on TV here except for Gameplan. Argh. Also, UCLA’s combined score in their last two games: 90-10. UCLA is the “10”. Fresno gets their BCS win for the year.
  • Arkansas @ Texas (Gameplan/ABC): An old SWC rivalry is renewed, well, at least for a year. Arkansas is 21-55 all-time against Texas and the two schools last met in 2003 and 2004. I personally like these old SWC games, though I don’t think the Razorbacks stand much of a chance here.
  • Colorado vs. Florida State (@Jacksonville, FL; Gameplan/ESPN/ABC): This game would have been a heck of a lot more relevant in the mid-90’s. Nonetheless, this is the Big 12’s chance to get back at the ACC (along with Nebraska-VPI) after last week’s pasting of TAMU by Miami. Colorado’s signature victory so far is the win over WVU last week, though that doesn’t look that great right now. Nonetheless, FSU lacks any major wins and sports a loss to Wake. I somehow doubt any of FSU’s problems on offense (namely, the lack of a competent quarterback) will have fixed themselves over the past week, so I’ll take the Buffaloes.
  • Wisconsin @ Michigan (ESPN/ABC): Michigan is probably one of, if not the worst, team in the Big Ten this year. Badgers by a few scores.
  • Houston @ East Colarina (CBSCS): Remember a few years ago, when Houston wasn’t completely terrible? Remember a few weeks ago, when ECU was in the BCS for sure? How quickly things change. I’m still taking ECU here.

7:00: Texas Christian @ Oklahoma (FSN): Dear Comcast Sports Net Bay Area: screw you. Every other FSN/CSN affiliate is showing this national telecast except for you! And unlike the games under control of the Mouse, there’s no alternate way to see this. At any rate, Oklahoma should win.

7:30: Mississippi State @ Louisiana State (ESPN2): I almost started this off with “I know the transitive property doesn’t apply to college football, but“. Then I decided against it. MSU is not very good offensively. They allowed 38 points to us. I don’t know if LSU will score 38, but they will score more than enough to beat MSU.

7:45: Alabama @ Georgia (ESPN): I hate this game. I hate these teams. I, just, ugh. I will watch this game in a state of excited disgust. I have no idea who to root for. There are basically two schools of thought for this situation. Many Tech fans have a motto: “I root for GT and whoever is playing UGA this weekend.” There is a certain kernel of truth. But there is also a school that says, “Yeah, that’s great, but wouldn’t it be fun to cause UGA’s first loss?” Sure. It would be. But I’m not sure I have the patience for that. That said, I grew up an Auburn fan, and I still have no great amount of love for the University of Alabama. Unfortunately, there are no longer ties in college football. Though it pains me, I have to pick UGA to win here.

8:00:

  • Virginia Tech @ Nebraska (Gameplan/ABC): Nebraska’s played 3 games, none of which were against any opponent of note. In other words, this is their good OOC game. VPI has won 20-17 two weeks in a row over somewhat decent opposition. However, VPI dominated neither game, needing turnovers and penalties to win both. Nebraska also has the home field advantage here and should be looking to redeem themselves after being embarrassed by USC last year in primetime. Since VPI currently has the inside track for their division of the ACC, they’re pretty much playing for rankings and conference pride (especially as the ACC continues to try to rehabilitate their image after a dreadful opening weekend). All that said, I have to go with the ‘Huskers here. VPI is just way too inconsistent on offense with either QB (and Taylor got hurt last week at UNC) to pull this one off, I think.
  • Illinois @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/Gameplan): I really don’t want to watch this game, but ABC somehow deemed a Big Ten tilt was worth of attention here on the West Coast. Oh well. What Illinois has done to continue to be ranked baffles me. With the game in Happy Valley at night PSU has a massive edge here, in my opinion.
  • Central Florida @ Texas-El Paso (CBSCS): Of all the C-USA games to put on TV, I’m not sure the one with two teams of a combined 1-5 record was really the right choice. There’s been some controversy around UCF as of late (though I’m too lazy/tired to link it), but at least both of UCF’s losses are to BCS teams so I’m going to pick them and go to bed.

Whoops!

As you all probably know, USC lost to Oregon State. Again.

What does this mean for the Trojans? Well, the upside for them is that if they can win-out, they can sneak back in. The downside is that the rest of the Pac-10 has gotten slaughtered for the most part out-of-conference and their strength of schedule will not be what they expected.

Another plus is that the SEC can’t send two teams to the national title game.

I can’t say I know exactly why Oklahoma is number 2, it definitely looks like they and UGA (or whoever comes out of the SEC mostly unscathed) are in the driver’s seat for the national title.

Coverage of this weekend’s games will be up later today.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 4

Welcome to week four of the college football season! Only 11 more to go!

For anyone happening on this from Facebook, this is pretty much what I do here. Each of the following is a game featuring at least one DI-A team from a BCS conference on national television, with additional exceptions for games that are interesting but only on regionally (read: the Raycom ACC and SEC “Games of the Week”). My idea of national is mostly based on what Comcast carries because that is what I currently have – so you’ll see the national Big Ten Network game of the week but not the ESNPU game unless I want to talk about it.

As usual, all times are Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • East Carolina @ North Carolina State (ESPN): NCSU has scored 9 offensive points against DI-A teams this year, losing in blowouts to South Carolina and Clemson. Granted, those were both on the road, but I’ve seen nothing to make me thing that NCSU has any idea what they’re doing. Meanwhile, the Pirates needed a touchdown in the last two minutes to beat lowly Tulane, though that was their first road game of the year. I’m looking for ECU to win, though it may be closer than many think.
  • Iowa @ Pittsburgh (ESPN2): If this weren’t on an ESPN, I wouldn’t write about it. I can’t think of anything positive to say about either team. Iowa is 3-0, but all three teams are decidedly worse than them (Maine, FIU, and Iowa St.). Pitt, meanwhile, lost to Bowling Green and hasn’t played for two weeks since beating Buffalo. (Which I don’t think I’ve seen before – a two week break, that is.) I hate to pick another road team here, but I’ll go with Iowa so at least I can be mildly interested in this game.
  • Troy @ Ohio State (BTN): Do I want Troy to win? Yes. Do I think they will? No.
  • Mississippi State @ Georgia Tech (Raycom/Gameplan): This is an intriguing matchup for the Jackets. And not because of conference pride. Miss St. is terrible offensively (see the 3-2 debacle last weekend), and the Jackets had 3 fumbles last week in Blacksburg. Outside of just the fumbles, though, there is plenty of room of improvement for the Jackets. In what I suspect may be an issue all year, the middle of the offensive line has to get better blocks coming off the snap – with as often as VPI was in the backfield, it’s surprising there weren’t more fumbles lost. I say this because GT never established the first option in the triple option – the dive up the middle. B-back Dwyer had 10 carries for only 28 yards as VPI stacked the the middle-of-the-line. The other Tech then sold out on the 2nd option, the pitch-man on the outside. The result? A very banged up Josh Nesbitt, who ran 28 times for 151 yards. 5.4 yards per carry is nice, of course, but you don’t really want your QB getting banged up like that, and he is also prone to fumbling the ball. The good news for GT is that their best WR is back, which opens up the downfield pass even more. Anyway, I’ll be up early for this one.

12:30: Alabama @ Arkansas (Raycom/Gameplan): Alabama is 3-0! Which makes me very glad I’m not there last now, because I’m sure the press and fans are insufferable. We’ll ignore that they have 1 legit victory out of that (Clemson). Of course, we know about as much about Arkansas. Well, except that they needed last minute touchdowns to beat both DI-AA Western Illinois and annual DI-A punching bag UL-Monroe. I will reluctantly go with ‘Bama here.

3:00: Arizona @ California-Los Angeles (FSN): Yeah, I picked UCLA last week. Then they got shut out and embarrassed by the Stormin’ Mormons. Luckily for UCLA, this game is in, well, LA and against annual Pac-10 doormat Arizona, who has already lost to decidedly-worse-than-BYU New Mexico. Goin’ with Slick Rick and the Baby Blues here.

3:30:

  • Florida @ Tennessee (CBS): SEC East football! Woo! Tennessee is looking to restore its reputation as the loss to UCLA now looks kind of bad. Florida, meanwhile, just got Percy Harvin back, this restoring the other 1/3 of Florida’s offense that isn’t Tim Tebow. Florida’s defensive secondary is still suspect, but so is Tennessee’s quarterback. Since Tebow plays for the Gators, I give them a slight edge on the road.
  • Notre Dame @ Michigan State (ABC/ESPN): Michigan losing to ND says a lot more about Michigan than Notre Dame. Michigan State should win, but I’ll hesitate on calling for the rout. Unfortunately, the is the ABC national game for everyone who not on the Atlantic seaboard, the Southeast, and the area East of New Mexico and south of Missouri. Except for Orlando, FL. Let’s just move on.
  • Miami @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ABC/Gameplan): Ugh. Both these teams are terrible. I think TAMU is worse, mostly due to losing to Arkansas State. At home. I expect a repeat of last year’s 34-17 romp by Miami.
  • Virginia Tech @ North Carolina (ABC/ESPN/Gameplan): This is a game that a lot of people are saying will be closer than people think. Heck, Vegas even has the Hokies as an underdog, though it’s only by 3 (essentially, they’re saying they have no clue). I guess the perception among most is that VPI is a favorite anyway. If were betting on this game, I wouldn’t take UNC and the 3, that’s for sure. I’ll even go ahead and pick VPI straight-up. Tyrod Taylor looked good enough against GT last week, and all the UNC-Rutgers game told me was that Rutgers isn’t good anymore. Speaking of whom…
  • Rutgers @ Navy (CBS College Sports):

4:00: Utah @ Air Force (Versus): Both are 3-0, but Air Force’s 3-0 is against a couple very bad teams. The Utes, meanwhile, have victories over Michigan and, for what it’s worth, UNLV. I’ll go with them.

7:00:

  • Wake Forest @ Florida State (ESPN2): I have no idea what the line is and I’m too tired to look it up. What do I know is that if FSU is favored the oddsmakers are crazy. FSU’s offense is just terrible.
  • Rice @ Texas (FSN): Finally, I can pick a home team to win! Old SWC foes face off for the 6th straight time. The last time Rice beat Texas was in 1994, when the SWC still existed. The last time Rice had consecutive victories over the Longhorns was in 1953 and 1954. Ouch.
  • Ball State @ Indiana (BTN): I don’t have anything constructive to say about this game. Indiana should win.

7:45: Louisiana State @ Auburn (ESPN): Auburn will score more than 3 points in this game. However, I haven’t seen anything to make me thing they will be able to score enough. Tentatively picking LSU.

8:00:

  • Georgia @ Arizona State (ABC): Though it’d be almost everything I’d ever want or hope for, I can’t pick ASU here.
  • Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (CBS College Sports): TCU wins.

Why Hello There, Facebook

Didn’t see you come in. Feel free to grab a beverage and make yourself comfortable.

Some of you may already know what I do here, but if not, this is my “Sports Commentary Website”. Mostly, I don’t update it. But I do have a preview of all of Saturday’s somewhat important games that will be televised. I also cover the bowls, starting in mid-October with the first release of the BCS.

Anyway, not much more I need to explain. If you’re reading this, you probably already know where my biases lie. While you can comment on FB, I’d prefer you visit the actual site, which has several useful links and archives.

http://sports.asimweb.org

This Weekend in College Football: Week 3

No update on stats this weekend unless I feel like doing them later. Answer to last week’s question was “Charlotte.” No trivia this week.

Anyway, live from the ATL, here’s this weekend’s somewhat noteworthy games. As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • California @ Maryland (ESPN): Normally, I like to make fun of coaches that are going down faster than a sinking ship (see: DaCoachO and John L. Smith), but I have hard time doing so for Das Fridge. But, yes, UMD probably has the hottest seat in the country and various message board pundits are predicting he will be fired or quit at or by the end of the season. What does this mean to you? Cal by a couple of touchdowns, at least.
  • Florida Atlantic @ Michigan State (ESPN2): Normally, I wouldn’t dignify this game with a response, but look below. See that? That’s a bonfide rivalry game. This? This is bullshit. I shouldn’t have to say it, but MSU by a few scores.
  • Iowa State @ Iowa (BTN): Sometime, I should look up why these two didn’t play each other after the 1934 season for 42 years. Until then, the home team has won the last three, and I don’t see any reason why that’ll change here.
  • North Carolina State @ Clemson (Raycom/Gameplan): NC State lost to moribund South Carolina 34-0 in week 1, and then only beat William and Mary by 10. Clemson’s had their own troubles this year, but shouldn’t at home against the Wolfpack.

12:30:

  • Nevada @ Missouri (FSN): Mizzou in a route.
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ Tennessee (Raycom/Gameplan): I don’t really have anything different to say about this game. I mean, what can you say about UAB? Well, I guess it’s easy money.

3:30:

  • Michigan @ Notre Dame (NBC): Slapfight! If I had to set an over-under for this game, it’d be somewhere around 16. Michigan by a field goal.
  • Georgia @ South Carolina (CBS): Much like a cat playing with a mouse, UGA will bat South Carolina around for a bit before finally severing the spinal cord sometime in the middle of the 3rd quarter.
  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia Polytechnic (ABC/ESPN/Gameplan): Once again, it’s difficult to make predictions about a GT game. A preview I read earlier this week from the VPI side pointed out nearly half of GT’s offensive yards last game came off 3 plays, though this hardly surpirses me it does inspire a cause of concern. I break it down like this. Each of these defenses are good, or at any rate, will look good in this game. Special teams is a concern for each club, though I will go the traditional route and attribute greater special teams prowress to Virginia Tech. And so we come to the offense. Both teams have questions on offense. As noted above, GT has been getting yards on big plays more than the methodical drive of the option. VPI is trying to integrate Tyrod Taylor, the classic example of how the backup just has to be better than the starter, though to be fair Glennon has been terrible this season. I really have no idea who will come out on top here, and as usual I will not hazard a guess for this game.
  • Oregon @ Purdue (ESPN/ABC): Intersectional footbaal, woo! Purdue cruised to victory over a DI-AA scrub last week, meanwhile Oregon beat the tar out of Washington as well as annual “one of the worst teams in DI-A” contender Utah State. They’ve met once before, and only 20 points were scored as Purdue won 13-7. I would expect there will be many more points than that by the end of the day, with the scoreboard likely in Oregon’s favor.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Syracuse (Gameplan/ABC): The ‘Cuse already lost to Northwestern by 20 and Akron by 16. Meanwhile, Penn State may actually be good this year. I don’t think I need to spell this out for you.
  • California-Los Angeles @ Brigham Young (Versus): BYU is a trendy pick, along with ECU, as a BCS buster this year. (And unlike ECU, they were ranked in the pre-season.) However, unlike the Pirates, the Stormin’ Mormons barely espcated Seattle with a win over a pretty bad Washington squad. Like most folks, I agree this depends on which UCLA QB shows up. But nonetheless, I’ll take the minor upset angle here and go with UCLA.

7:00: Auburn @ Mississippi State (ESPN2): I’d say there’s about a 20% chance of Auburn getting Croom’d here. Maybe lower. Nonetheless, Tigers prevail.

7:45: Oklahoma @ Washington (ESPN): Washington is not very good again, or at any rate, not really good enough to beat OU. Big 12 goes to 2-0 in Seattle on the year.

8:00: Ohio State @ Southern California (ABC): Almost done, which is good because I’m tired. Many pixels have been dedicated to this game so I don’t think there’s much I can tell you. I didn’t think OSU had much of a chance beforehand, and with the likely loss of their starting running back for this game I will surprise absolutely no on and pick USC in this national-title semifinal.

10:30: Wisconsin @ Fresno State (ESPN2): Wisconsin has to know this is a trap. Fresno is good, and has a chance to knock off some big boys this year. You can bet that they are ready. It is difficult to get a read on the Badgers becaues they have played absolutely no one. Fresno has had 12 days to rest and get ready for this game. It’s probably not an upset, but I will go with Fresno here.

That’s all for this week. Now for some sleep.