Monthly Archives: October 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Indiana @ Iowa (ESPN): The first number that popped into my head as I wrote this was “12”, so I’m guessing that means the final score here will be something like 12-11, Iowa.
  • Purdue @ Wisconsin (ESPN2): Well, after staking their claim as the 2nd worst team in the Big Ten, Purdue should be back on schedule with their beatdown in Madison.
  • Cincinnati @ Syracuse (ESPNU): Cincy can’t lose this game, can they? I suppose they can, but the ‘Cuse has been even more dreadful than usual the past few weeks, while Cincy took care of business, including putting up 41 on the Big East’s other doormat, Louisville.
  • New Mexico State @ Ohio State (BTN): Mmm, delicious cupcakes. At any rate, OSU should be able to name their own score against NMSU. I was going to make a joke about their coach punching people, but that’s actually the head coach of New Mexico. So my bad.
  • Mississippi @ Auburn (SEC/Gameplan): Well, apparently the clock struck midnight for Chris Todd and turned back into, well, Chris Todd. Even worse during the three game skid has been Auburn’s defense, which gave up 44 points to Arkansas and 31 to LSU. This will be important if Jevan Snead isn’t on target again this week (he threw 2 picks against Arkansas), as the Tigers need to give their offense all the help it can get. I think this one will probably end up low-scoring and in Ole Miss’s favor.
  • North Carolina State @ Florida State (Raycom/Gameplan): FSU got up off the mat last week against UNC. Meanwhile, NC State is really, really bad. Christian Ponder should be able to have a field day on NCSU’s secondary, which Duke torched en route to 459 passing yards a couple weeks ago. The ACC may be wacky, but NCSU is just far and away the worst team in the conference this year.

12:30: Nebraska @ Baylor (Versus): All the recaps for Baylor should probably read, “It was over when… Baylor QB/wunderkund went down for the year with a knee injury.” Of course, if Nebraska turns the ball over EIGHT TIMES again, well, who knows?

1:30: Missouri @ Colorado (FSN): Colorado: still bad! Mizzou should finally get their first Big 12 win of the year here.


  • Florida vs. Georgia (@Jacksonville, FL; CBS): Ahahahahahahahahahahaha. Anyway, hopefully Florida can find an offense against Willy Martinez’s patented “swiss cheese” defense. They should win anyway, but still.
  • California @ Arizona State (ABC/Gameplan): Well, even though they did just play two of the worst teams in the Pac-10, I do feel good about saying Cal is back, and that trend should continue against a team that just lost by 19 to Stanford.
  • Michigan @ Illinois (ESPN2/ABC): Why is this even on TV at all? Michigan rolls.
  • Kansas @ Texas Tech (Gameplan/ABC): Though the ship has run aground for Texas Tech, this is still a Big 12 South vs. North matchup that doesn’t involve Baylor, so the team from the south division should win.
  • University of Miami @ Wake Forest (Gameplan/ABC): “Da ‘U'” heads up to Winston-Salem, and most likely a win, as Wake comes off a 13-10 loss to Navy. If you can’t put up more than 10 on Navy, well…
  • Central Michigan @ Boston College (ESPNU): Since the loss to Arizona in the season opener, Central Michigan has rolled off 7 straight. The downside for them is that this at BC, so while I expect CMU to give them a run for their money BC should still win.
  • Temple @ Navy (CBSCS): Hey, Temple isn’t terrible this year! Nonetheless, Navy should still be able to beat them.

4:00: Nevada-Las Vegas @ Texas Christian (Versus): TCU has to avoid the post-game let down against a very bad UNLV squad. Provided they do, they should win handily.

4:30: Pennsylvania State @ Northwestern (ESPN): Northwestern is on the edge of getting bowl eligible, but that will most likely come against Illinois in a couple of weeks.


  • Kansas State @ Oklahoma (FSN): This isn’t last year’s Oklahoma team, and this isn’t last year’s Kansas State team. So Kansas State may only lose by 13 instead of 23 this time.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Arkansas (ESPNU): Arkansas. Next!
  • Mississippi State @ Kentucky (SEC): Okay, this isn’t much more exciting, but at least this is a conference game. Miss State has shown signs of life but on offense the just lack talent outside of RB Anthony Dixon. Kentucky is tough to read right now, because while they are 1-3 in the SEC, those 3 losses are definitely to the upper crust of the SEC, including both Florida and Alabama. I still think Kentucky is a slightly better team than Miss State, but this could be pretty close.


  • Washington State vs. Notre Dame (@San Antonio, TX; NBC): I don’t know for sure if this is a “true” neutral site game, but they could play this game on the Moon and Notre Dame would still win by 30. Wazzou is just bad.
  • New Mexico @ San Diego State (CBSCS): Speaking of terrible teams, New Mexico is already 0-7 and that shouldn’t change against a merely bad San Diego State squad.
  • Georgia Tech @ Vanderbilt (SEC): The GT boards are alight with giddiness over the fact that GT now controls its own destiny, especially with 4 games to go. I’m still nervous, of course. The key for Tech here in Nashville is avoid a letdown and make sure that we come out in the 1st half and take Vandy out of the game. I’ve made the point in past weeks about just how terrible Vandy’s offense is this year, so I can’t exactly take it back now. But I’m just worried that our bad defense could show up again at any moment now and Vandy could figure out how to run and/or pass the ball and just ugh. GT just needs to go up there, stay focused, and avoid turnovers.

7:45: South Carolina @ Tennessee (ESPN): I’m still not buying what Tennessee is selling, and hey, now that Steve Spurrier has finally beaten Vandy perhaps him and his Gamecocks are over the hump now! (Now there’s a sentence that no one could conceive of being written 10 years ago.)


  • Southern California @ Oregon (ABC/ESPN2): The two most important games of the day, right here. This is the Pac-10, right here. And trust me, I want to pick Oregon so bad. And it wouldn’t even be that far-fetched. While both offenses have been absolutely rolling the past few weeks, the USC defense is just a shadow of its former self at this point. That said, USC just doesn’t lose games like this, it seems like. I’ll pick the Trojans until they show me why I shouldn’t pick them. Unfortunately.
  • Texas @ Oklahoma State (ESPN2/ABC): This is also a huge game, obviously. However, I think this is the game where OSU will finally feel the loss of their best player and while they may be in it for awhile, Texas will probably prevail.
  • Michigan State @ Minnesota (BTN): That said, this is is the game of the night! It has everything you want! Two 4-4 Big Ten teams going at it in primetime! Only on the BIG TEN NETWORK!!! Okay, seriously, I’ll go with the team that didn’t let Iowa drive the length of the field with 90 seconds in the left of the game, and that’s Minnesota.

8:15: Marshall @ Central Florida (ESPN): This is a very confusing game to pick. Both teams are roughly equal in terms of wins and losses. Both have lost to East Carolina, beat the terrible teams they played, and lost to their BCS conference opponents. So let’s play “C-USA East Coin Toss”. Marshall is heads, and UCF is tails. Heads it is!

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This Week in College Football: Week 9

Introducing “This Week in College Football”. With the proliferation of conferences desperate for ESPN’s money and exposure, we now have college ball on practically every day of the week. So each week, I’ll write up a short post about this week’s weekday games in the same vein as my weekend column.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

8:00: East Carolina @ Memphis (ESPN2): These are two C-USA teams going in opposite directions. ECU is 3-1 in the conference and has a win over fellow 3-1 team Marshall, which puts them in the driver’s seat for the C-USA East division. Memphis, meanwhile, is 1-3. Statistically, the two teams are somewhat similar, though Memphis has marginally better offensive stats, though this may be skewed by a couple of Memphis blowouts. However, Memphis has a harder time holding onto the ball and doesn’t play defense especially well. I expect this to be a close for awhile, with ECU pulling away at the end.

7:30: North Carolina @ Virginia Tech (ESPN): I’m not even going to get into the whole blocking discussion that flared up over the weekend. (It’s also been covered well elsewhere.) I will say that Carolina’s offense is still just terrible (namely, 114th in the nation bad). I think VPI should be able to cruise to a victory here.

8:00: West Virginia @ South Florida (ESPN2): It looks like the annual October swoon for USF – get everyone excited in September, and the flop against the teams you need to beat to win the conference. Mainly, it looks like it starts with the defense – allowing 75 points to Cincy and Pitt while averaging well less than 20 to that point in the season. WVU did what they needed to last week against UConn, and behind Noel Devine, they should be able to again.

Bowl Predictions 2009: Week 2

Once again, you’ll find the full set right over here.

Let’s hit the talking points.


  • The title game remains unchanged. Provided they win out, I see Alabama and Texas. If Texas beats Oklahoma State this weekend, then they are pretty much set barring a huge upset.
  • It’s extremely likely that Florida losing to Alabama would not drop them out of the top 14, which means the Sugar will snap them up. The Fiesta, however, has a lot more choices to replace Texas. Right now, I like the loser of USC/Oregon game to wind up here, but Oklahoma State could work themselves into this position as well. The Fiesta may also want Penn State, but I think they’ll take a western team.
  • With TCU’s resounding win over BYU Saturday, they have passed Boise in the BCS and considering each team’s remaining schedules this is unlikely to change unless TCU loses. Either way, I see the mid-major team going to the Fiesta, though Boise would have a higher chance than TCU at it. Either way, it is likely either the Fiesta or the Sugar, or at least I think so.
  • With Miami’s overtime loss to Clemson, GT now controls its own destiny in the ACC. In case you haven’t noticed from my weekly picks, I hate predicting GT to do anything. But since most mainstream projections now also have GT in the Orange I feel a little better. (I’m still nervous about it, though.)
  • The Orange has the first at-large selection this year, and if Penn State is available I think they’ll take them. With a decent season (provided they beat Ohio State) and a large fanbase, the temptation for the Orange (near the back of the at-large pack for the past 2 years) to take the best available at-large teams and sticking the Sugar and Fiesta with the remaining two auto-qualifiers (TCU and Cincinnati) would be too great.
  • Cincinnati would be stuck in the Sugar if the Fiesta takes TCU. I don’t really have much reason to think that the Fiesta would like Cincy more than TCU.
  • Finally, I currently have Iowa in the Rose, provided they win out. I think if Iowa loses any of its remaining games it is unlikely the Big Ten will get two auto-qualifiers, which opens the rest of the BCS up significantly (for teams like, say, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech).


  • Each of the ACC division leaders (GT and Clemson) controls their own destiny at this point.
  • After those two, Virginia Tech, and Miami the ACC picture is extremely muddy. Right now I have BC, followed by 3 7-5 teams (Clemson, Wake, and UNC) and that’s it. However, the middle of the pack could break several ways and the ACC could wind up with a few more 6-6 teams, but for now the conference will fall well-short of its 8 non-BCS bowl obligations.

Big 12

  • Texas is, of course, the runaway favorite in the conference.
  • There were two shocking upsets this weekend in the Big 12: Iowa State’s 9-7 win over Nebraska and Texas A&M’s surprising and thorough demolition of Texas Tech. I still don’t think either of those teams will make bowls, though, while TTU and Nebraska will probably continue as usual.
  • It’s still tough to predict Colorado to win any of its remaining games.
  • I still see Nebraska winning the Big 12 North, not that it matters.
  • Mizzou has gotten off to a terrible conference start, but with all the terrible teams it still has to play I don’t have a hard time getting them 8-4.

Big East

  • Pittsburgh its trying as hard as it can to be relevant, but I think Cincinnati is the better team and has better coaching. I see Pitt losing to West Virginia as well.
  • Thanks to Notre Dame likely taking their Gator Bowl spot, the Big East can generate an extra at-large team. With the other conference coming up short this year (looking at you, ACC) this is pretty important.
  • The extra team out will probably be a 6-6 Connecticut.

Big Ten

  • For now, I see Iowa continuing its string of 1-3 point victories no matter the opponent, if for no other reason than it simplifies things.
  • Penn State will likely earn a BCS at-large bid provided it wins out. I don’t think any other Big Ten team will be able to do so.
  • I actually think Michigan can get up to 9-3, along with Wisconsin.
  • I think Northwestern will just barely squeak in at 6-6.


  • This week’s Oregon-USC battle is for the conference, pretty much. Right now I have USC winning and Oregon getting an at-large berth. I’m not sure a 2-loss USC could do the same.
  • I think Cal is on the road to recovery, and I like Arizona and Oregon State to achieve winning records as well. Arizona State and Washington may just sneak in.
  • Without an upset or two the rest of the way, though, I see Stanford falling just short.


  • As is well-documented at this point, Florida and Alabama are on a collision course to the title game. It’d be nice if either actually could score some points, though. Florida has the easier schedule, having already cleared the LSU hurdle Alabama faces this weekend.
  • After those three, the SEC picture is extremely muddled. In the end, I have an excess of 6-6 and 7-5 teams, with only Vanderbilt and Miss State failing to reach the mark.

Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: Pretty slim pickings this week. I’d say Miami-Notre Dame in the Gator, but that’s pretty obvious, along with Nebraska-Michigan. But hey, while any weekend of college football is exciting, this weekend has the potential for some that could really shake up the bowl landscape. So we’ll see what goes here next week.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Minnesota @ Ohio State (ESPN): The natives are restless in Columbus, but I would still wager the odds of a Gopher upset are low. I also just refuse to accept that OSU is that bad despite the now piling evidence to the countrary.
  • Illinois @ Purdue (ESPN2): Purdue, despite last weekend, is not a very good football. Saying Illinois is a football team does a disservice to all football teams, everywhere. Digest this: the Illni have been outscored in 4 conference games by 71 points. Taking the Boilermakers here.
  • Connecticut @ West Virginia (ESPNU): I think it’s been well covered at this point what the folks at UConn are going through. As far the game goes, UConn seems like the rare team whose position in the Big East is well-defined: not at the bottom, but right in the middle. I like WVU here.
  • Arkansas @ Mississippi (SEC/Gameplan): I think it’s safe to say at this point the Ole Miss offense is not what most folks projected it to be this year. They’re averaging 12 points a game in SEC play so far, including a 10 point effort in Columbia and, admittedly like everyone else (including Arkansas), 3 points against ‘Bama. That said, even a 48-point effort against UAB last weekend doesn’t inspire much confidence in me, either. I like the Razorbacks here.
  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia (Raycom/Gameplan): One game at a time. That has to be the motto for GT going forward. Past GT teams have stumbled here, teams as good as this one, even. As anyone reading this probably knows, Tech has lost 8 straight in Charlottesville*, dating back to the 41-38 victory over #1 Virginia in 1990. I talked about this two years ago, as well. I hope I don’t have to link this post, or that one, two years from now.
    The most interesting matchup in this game is GT’s offense against UVA 3-4 defense. It was moderately effective last year, but GT’s 3 turnovers were perhaps the most effective defense for UVA as well. A perhaps overlooked part is UVA’s tall secondary, which contains many players over 6′ which will mean we need to smart in the passing game – as much as I love throwing the ball to Demaryius Thomas, a key aspect of his game is the fact he physically outclasses many of those assigned to cover him, so Nesbitt needs to look for the open man rather than the jump ball. The UVA defense is patient, and willing concede small plays to hope we make a mistake. It sound obvious, but GT simply cannot put the ball on the ground. They will make us earn every point.
    Conversely, our defense just has to play better on the road. I don’t think we’ll let them run up 500 yards on us, but in a game where I think points will be tight the defense has to do its part.


  • Iowa State @ Nebraska (FSN): Iowa State currently sits at 4 wins, and I think they have two very winnable games left on their schedule. This isn’t one of them.
  • Oklahoma State @ Baylor (Versus): Well, since the loss to Houston, Oklahoma State has just been doing it’s thing, as it were. Of course, since that time their single toughest opponent has been Missouri, so that may not be saying much. Of course, saying they’ll almost certainly beat the Bears isn’t really saying much, either.


  • Tennessee @ Alabama (CBS): While it’s actually the fourth Saturday in October this year, this is still a big game. That said, outside of the 45 point outburst against UGA (ahahahahaha) Tennessee isn’t really scoring much, and Alabama is not particularly the team you want to face as an offense anyway. That said, I suspect Alabama will still win by a score of like, 20-7 because that’s just how they roll.
  • Boston College @ Notre Dame (NBC): Boston College is 5-0 at home and 0-2 on the road. At home, they score an average of 39 and give up an average of 14.4 points per game. On the road, they have averaged 10.5 and 36.5, respectively. That said, I also think it’s a fair point to say they best teams they have played were also on the road, and I don’t think that changes this week against ND. They may put more than 163 yards, but then again, that’s not really a lot.
  • Oregon @ Washington (ABC/Gameplan): This is the very definition of a trap game. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll pick Oregon to win this one every time. But they can’t get caught looking ahead to the showdown at home next week against USC. Washington is an improved team this year, but they still have some issues. Oregon just has to take care of business. (Especially if they want a shot at the Rose Bowl.)
  • Clemson @ University of Miami (Gameplan/ABC): As with many teams in the ACC, the question of whether Clemson will win depends highly upon which version of them shows up. Is is the team that dominated Boston College and Wake Forest by a combined score of 63-10? Or is it the team that narrowly lost to TCU (no shame in that) and lost to Maryland (lots of shame in that)? Either way, Miami is not either Wake or Boston College, but simply the most competent passing attack in the ACC and my favorite to win this one, regardless of which Clemson shows up.
  • Oklahoma @ Kansas (Gameplan/ABC): See Kansas what happens when you schedule absolutely no one? There is no room for error, and losing to a very bad Colorado team is a very big error. That said, Oklahoma enters Lawrence having to define what their season is all about. Will the offensive side of the house at OU is in disarray, the defense is well in order and should hold Kansas under 30 (and probably 20) points, which will keep the Sooners in the game. In fact, I like them here.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Michigan (ESPN/ABC): Lots of people like Penn State to lose here, but I don’t. I’d certainly like to see that, though, because it opens up the BCS at-large bids a lot.
  • Louisville @ Cincinnati (ESPNU): Even after Tony Pike went down last week, Cincy rolled along on their way to drumming USF 34-17. Now they get two straight games with the worst teams in the conference. I like their chances of being 8-0 through that strech. A lot.
  • Wake Forest @ Navy (CBSCS): Neither of these teams scores a lot, and neither allows a lot. Compared to many of their BCS conference foes, the talent gap between Navy and Wake isn’t that large, and both teams are also smart. That said, I still think Wake a slight edge here.

4:00: Air Force @ Utah (Versus): This is the second most important game in the MWC today. That said, it may still be worth watching, but to me it looks like there’s a spanner in the works in the Air Force offense. I like Utah here.


  • Vanderbilt @ South Carolina (ESPNU): I’m not sure how, but Vandy has a two year winning streak running over South Carolina. As stated previously, though, the ‘Dores luck has run out this year and I can’t really pick them here.
  • Iowa @ Michigan State (BTN): Michigan State has been consistent the past two games, beating two clearly inferior teams 24-14. Iowa, well, we’ve had a dislike of Iowa here since the infancy of this site. Who knows, they’ll probably McGuyver another win together here and win 16-15 or some crap like that.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Kentucky (SEC/Gameplan): I’m not even going to dignify this with an analysis.


  • Florida @ Mississippi State (ESPN): ESPN’s been trying to make this one sound interesting, and sure, Miss State is slightly more competent this year, and heck, their RB will probably even break a couple of runs. That said, Florida should still pound them.
  • Auburn @ Louisiana State (ESPN2): Even despite the recent two game losing streak, I still would’ve picked the other Tigers. That said, if Chris Todd stops looking like, well, Chris Todd again Auburn stands a chance. I didn’t say they’d win, though.
  • Texas Christian @ Brigham Young (Versus): I really believe this is the game of the day. That said, I think TCU holds all the cards here. BYU may sport the better overall win, but even then those 54 points allowed to FSU – at home – stick out like a sore thumb. I think TCU is also the best team BYU’s played since then, and after putting up 44 on Colorado State last weekend I think TCU has the ability to exploit BYU’s defense as well.
  • Southern Methodist @ Houston (CBSCS): What in the hell is going on in the West division of C-USA? I was watching UTEP-Tulsa Wednesday, and after Tulsa scored to take a multiple-score lead I went home thinking Tulsa would take care of business. Then they didn’t, and I didn’t even see it until the next day because I didn’t even think UTEP had a chance. So now UTEP has wins over the two teams everyone thought could win the division, but already has a conference loss to a very bad Memphis team. Meanwhile, SMU is 2-0 and is in the driver’s seat of the division. Well, not for long, I think. Houston is still putting up points like it’s going out of style, and SMU’s defense has been more than obliging it looks like.


  • Oregon State @ Southern California (ABC/Gameplan): One of my coworkers is an USC alum, and thanks to that Thursday night last year in Corvallis has some sort of post-traumatic stress syndrome relating to really short running backs. That said, while OSU is a pretty solid team, I think USC takes care of business and heads into Eugene next week to determine the Pac-10 title.
  • Texas @ Missouri (Gameplan/ABC): Don’t look, but Mizzou’s best win is still over… uh… Nevada, maybe? They’ve lost both their Big 12 games so far and frankly I’m not sure why that trend wouldn’t continue.


  • Arizona State @ Stanford (FSN): Will Stanford get back on track this week against ASU? They could – ASU so far has a record evenly split down the middle. (They’ve lost to teams better than them and beat teams worse than them.) The problem is, these are effectively two teams in the middle of the Pac-10 race and I’m not sure how they compare. What I do know is that this is one of maybe 2 or 3 games left Stanford has a real shot to win, I think, but that said I’m going with the devils from the desert.
  • Fresno State @ New Mexico State (ESPNU): The Mike Locksley era will continue to get off to bad start with a loss to Fresno. I assume that Pat Hill will not be punched in the face after the game.

*: UNC’s streak in Charlottlesville is worse, having gone without a win in 14 straight games dating back to 1983. Overall, UNC is 6-19-1 in that span, including losing 6 of the last 7.

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