Saturday, October 24, 2009

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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