Saturday, November 14, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 11

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Tennessee @ Mississippi (CBS): It's a noon CBS game, so I guess this is their two-game package of the year. These are two teams going in opposite directions right now, so as weird as it feels I have to pick the Vols.
  • Michigan State @ Purdue (ESPN): Since their upset of Ohio State and subsequent drubbing by Wisconsin Purdue is 2-0, and I have to say, if you'd told me they'd be tied with Michigan State in Big Ten play, well, I'd be pretty surprised. In fact, in terms of their actual Big Ten resumes, I'd say they're pretty even. Still going with Sparty, though.
  • Georgia Tech @ Duke (ESPN2): I think this is the most stressed out I've ever been for a Duke game. With a win, Tech clinches the ACC Coastal title. With a loss, well, I have no idea what happens because there would be a 4-way tie for first (but I think Miami wins the tiebreaker).
    Now, the reason for the stress is this. Duke can throw the ball. Tech cannot defend passing offenses worth a damn. Tech has to do whatever Carolina did last week in limiting Duke to 11 first downs on 125 yards passing. Carolina was able to move the ball, though had trouble getting touchdowns, so if Tech cannot defend the pass we could very easily get into a shootout. Last week the pass defense was bad, and even downright horrible throughout the first half - being done in by a bad combination of playing very far off the WRs and then defending their routes incorrectly. UNC sacked Thad Lewis 4 times and picked him off twice - Tech will need to generate pressure while rushing four. One thing in most defense's advantage when facing Duke is their extreme difficulty in running the ball, which we need to take advantage of by perhaps switching to a 2 LB set to help defend the pass.
    As for Tech on offense, it looked, well, bad at times in the first half but recovered in the second. That said, we must press our athletic advantage over Duke and not put the ball on the ground.
    I honestly don't know what to expect. Most observers, of course, expect an easy Tech win. However, there is nothing easy about GT football. I still recall our last divisional title, 3 years ago, when we came out flat against a bad Carolina team. We won 7-0, but as I saw later, that was the downfall of that 2006 team. We avoided a huge let down last week, and I hope we realize that avoid some of the mistakes that almost cost us.
  • Texas @ Baylor (FSN): Baylor scored the surprise win at Missouri last week, but Texas should be able to take care of business.
  • Florida State @ Wake Forest (ESPNU): So much for FSU getting to a bowl - I agree with the conventional wisdom that FSU without Christian Ponder (a.k.a., the FSU offense) is pretty much toast.
  • Houston @ Central Florida (CBSCS): Houston should win, but expect lots o' points. Might be worth your while - Houst @ Tulsa last weekend was certainly worth mine!
  • Northwestern @ Illinois (ESPN Classic): I don't care what happened the last two weeks, Illinois still sucks.
  • Michigan @ Wisconsin (BTN): With the loss to Purdue, Michigan is in very bad shape at 5-5. I'm not projecting them to win either of their two remaining games.
  • Kentucky @ Vanderbilt (SEC/Gameplan): Neither of these football teams is what you might call "good" but Kentucky does display a certain competence Vandy lacks. Should probably be close and low-scoring, though.
  • Clemson @ North Carolina State (Raycom/Gameplan): As long as Clemson shows up for this one, they should have a field day.

12:30: Missouri @ Kansas State (Versus): Yeah... so.... Mizzou. You lost to Baylor last weekend. Yeah. You just violated my trust! Though I don't think that Kansas State is really that much, if at all, better, I can't really pick you at this point. I'm sorry.


  • Florida @ South Carolina (CBS): And now, let's begin a segment I call "ridiculous lines of the day". I think Vegas phoned it in for this weekend. I mean, 17.5 point favorites? I mean, yeah, UF will win, but probably by more like 7-10. Sheesh.
  • Iowa @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN): Without QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa could well lose this game and against Minnesota. And I won't mind at all. Freaking Iowa. Ugh.
  • Nebraska @ Kansas (Gameplan/ESPN/ABC): Nebraska, please win this game. I would like the Big 12 title game to be at least competitive. Hopefully Kansas's offense remains hidden for one more game.
  • University of Miami @ North Carolina (ESPN/Gameplan/ABC): While Miami probably won't put 52 on UNC, the home team most certainly will not. Da U should win easily.
  • Stanford @ Southern California (FSN): Speaking of lost offenses, anyone seen USC's lately? Or their defense, for that matter? While they did hold ASU to 9 points ASU had offensive issues of their own. I think USC will win, but I fully expect Stanford to make it interesting.
  • Idaho @ Boise State (ESPNU): THIRTY ONE AND A HALF POINTS? REALLY VEGAS? Boise only put up 45 against a very moribund bunch at Louisiana Tech and you're saying that they'll win by 5 scores against an in-state rival in the midst of their best year ever? This is crazy. Oh, and yeah, Boise still wins, but I mean, really?
  • Delaware @ Navy (CBSCS): First off, you owe it to yourself to read this. Secondly, Delaware is a pretty competent DI-AA team and has given Navy fits in the past, but the Middies should pull it out. (You should also read the other posts on that blog, because it's by far the best breakdown our (and Navy's) offense that I've ever seen.)


  • Alabama @ Mississippi State (ESPN): I wouldn't call Miss State "bad", but I wouldn't say they're good either. Alabama's defense should be able to stuff their only offensive weapon (RB Anthony Dixon) while Mark Ingram improves his Heisman stats.
  • Auburn @ Georgia (ESPN2): Okay, it probably won't happen (since they still play Kentucky) but I am giddy that there is even the possibility that Georgia could be 5-6 heading into our game. Awww yeah, savor the flavor - of schadenfreude! In addition to the heaping amount of bias I already have against Georgia, I also grew up an Auburn fan and generally prefer them to not suck, especially against UGA. And all that said, I'm also picking Auburn straight up. Hopefully the 38 points against Tennessee Tech wasn't a fluke.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Oklahoma (FSN): TAMU, you rolled off two straight wins and then you lost to... Colorado? How? Why? I mean, you should still beat Baylor to get bowl eligible but still. At any rate, they should also still lose to Oklahoma.
  • Arizona @ California (Versus): I was having my customary celebratory burger last weekend after our game against Wake Forest. I looked up at the monitors and it happened right then and there in real time. Jahvid Best, one of the best and most exciting players in college football, was floating in the air, got hit, and lay on the ground motionless. Scary. I drove home, had a half-dozen messages from my friends and turned on the TV. He was still on the ground. He was released from the hospital earlier this week, but to give you an idea of the magnitude it's never good when some has "just" a concussion. (The alternative being the initially feared spinal cord injury.)
    As for the game, Arizona's a pretty decent team this year. (Apparently nowawadays all Mike Stoops does is win football games.) I expect them to win.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): LSU. Next!


  • Utah @ Texas Christian (CBSCS): While Utah has only played one good team (Oregon) and lost, I don't really understand how TCU is 20 point favorite. I'll take TCU to win, yeah, but I mean, 20? Really?
  • Troy @ Arkansas (SEC/Gameplan): Ar-kansas. Next!


  • Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh (ABC/Gameplan): Taking Pitt and the Wannstache to win anything is painful for me, but I must do so here. I just don't like ND is that good.
  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State (Gameplan/ABC): A win here allows TTU to salvage a measure of respect from a season marked by losses to Houston and Texas A&M. Will they? Probably not, but forecasts call for a storm of points with a chain of hail (marys).

10:15: Arizona State @ Oregon (ESPN): If that guy ASU trotted out there in the 4th quarter of the USC game as their QB is playing in this game, Oregon wins easily. Oregon's drop below USC in the polls last week defies all logic, especially since, last I checked, the Ducks are still on track to win the conference. Madness.

8:15: East Carolina @ Tulsa (ESPN): It's late, I'm tired, and our game is in less than 6 hours. ECU.

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