Saturday, October 29, 2011

This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Missouri @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (FX): This Mizzou Big 12 schedule will soften up and propel them back to respectability, starting next week.
  • Michigan State @ Nebraska (ESPN): Nebraska is a favorite in this game... how? I like Sparty to pull the "upset" here.
  • Purdue @ Michigan (ESPN2): Michigan should roll.
  • North Carolina State @ Florida State (ESPNU): FSU should roll.
  • Northwestern @ Indiana (BTN): Northwestern isn't good, but Indiana is awful. Wildcats should take it.
  • Arkansas @ Vanderbilt (SEC): Vanderbilt's made some noise in the SEC this year, but it's hard to see how they can take Arkansas.
12:30: Virginia Tech @ Duke (ACC): VPI will do their usual "play to their level" thing but should win by a respectable margin in the end.

  • Washington State @ Oregon (FSN): Oh dear. Ducks roll.
  • Boston College @ Maryland (ACC): I was going to say how painful this is going to bed, but then I realized that BC is really that much worse than Maryland. I like the Terps here.
  • Georgia vs. Florida (@Jacksonville, FL; CBS): These are two teams with similar records but vastly different schedules so far. Florida comes in with a 3-game losing streak, but two of those teams were Alabama and LSU, which hardly seems fair. They were also missing their starting quarterback for most of that span.
    Of course, the Cocktail Party brings me to another curiosity of college sports: an emphasis on tradition and history, when most of your players will completely cycle through every four years. Think about it. I'll revisit that later. For now, I like the Gators.
  • Navy @ Notre Dame (NBC): Navy's going to be desperate (currently on a 5-game losing streak), and should cover, but I don't think it'll be enough. Domers win.
  • Illinois @ Pennsylvania State (ESPN2/ABC): I declare the wheels officially off for Illinois now. Penn State won't, role, per se, but I like them here.
  • Baylor @ Oklahoma State (ABC/ESPN2): Neither of these teams plays a lot of defense, but Robert Griffin III's one-man act probably won't be enough against the Cowboys.
  • West Virginia @ Rutgers (ABC): Somebody, anybody, please win the Big East. WVU winning would make my life a lot easier, so I'll go with them.
  • Oklahoma @ Kansas State (ESPN): The buck stops here for K-State. The Sooners should be out for blood this week.
  • Southern Methodist @ Tulsa (FSN): This game will determine who gets to finish 2nd to Houston in C-USA West. SMU just lost pretty bad to the best C-USA team they've played this year (27-3 to Southern Miss) so I like Tulsa here.
  • Wake Forest @ North Carolina (ESPNU): This is an up year for Wake, but Carolina should begin its trek out of the ACC Coastal basement here.
  • Iowa @ Minnesota (BTN): Iowa has put up 41 and 45 in their last two games. This does not bode well for the Gophers.
  • Iowa State @ Texas Tech (FSN): Texas Tech should continue its newfound winning ways against this year's version of a relatively hapless Iowa State squad.
  • Mississippi @ Auburn (ESPNU): I will refrain from saying how badly Ole Miss will lose so Houston Nutt won't come after me. So I'll be nonspecific: it'll be pretty bad.
  • Mississippi State @ Kentucky (SEC/FSN): Before playing Jacksonville State last weekend, Kentucky had failed to score more than 17 points since September 10th. Now, Miss State isn't that good this year or anything but I still like them here, suffice it to say.
7:15: South Carolina @ Tennessee (ESPN2): Can the Gamecocks cope without Marcus Lattimore? They've had a week off to try to figure it out, at least. I think they'll win but they'll still be on shaky ground the rest of the year.

  • Clemson @ Georgia Tech (ABC): I feel like I write this every year, but it goes back to what I was saying earlier about history in college football. We call it on it so much, yet so much as changed even from 2009. But I'll say it anyway: Georgia Tech will win by less than a touchdown or Clemson will win by at least two.
    This game is always one that is marked on a Georgia Tech fan's calendar. Clemson is GT's closest ACC rival, a mere two hour drive up I-85. It is also one of Tech's oldest rivals, as the two teams first played each other in 1898 and have played every year since 1962. Tech holds a large overall lead (49-25-1), but Clemson fans will be quick to remind you that Tech did not travel to Clemson until 1974. Since then, the teams are about as even as you can get: 16-16-1, with an average score of 19.73 to 24.18 in favor of Clemson.
    Of course, what does all that mean for this year's game? Well, nothing really. If Tech can find its offensive mojo again they have a chance, otherwise this will be a one-sided track meet. With the offense sputtering the past few weeks and a special teams that are usually referred to undiplomatically as "special", rationally it is hard for me to see us having a chance. Yet, it's a rivalry game, it's a night game (always the most fun, in my opinion), and I am nervous about it anyway.
  • Stanford @ Southern California (ABC): Blah blah best team Stanford's played so far blah blah. Whatever, the Cardinal should still blow them out.
  • Wisconsin @ Ohio State (ESPN): So I coin "Wisconsin Death Machine" for their offense last weekend and what do they do? Score their lowest point output of the season (a "mere" 31 points). Then again, 31 should be enough to beat Ohio State this year.
  • Southern Mississippi @ Texas-El Paso (CBSS): Southern Miss has blazed a trail of destruction across Conference USA since their inexplicable loss to Marshall in September 10th. They should easily handle UTEP provided they can get past the UTEP Reality Distortion Field.
10:30: Arizona @ Washington (FSN): Speaking of teams out for revenge after bad losses, oi, just turn your heads and look away Arizona fans. If you haven't already.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bowl Predictions 2011: Week 2

Subtitle: The One Where Texas Tech Ruins Everything.

First off, the predictions are here.

Second off, I still have no idea what is going on. Oklahoma losing to Texas Tech? I had Oklahoma State losing to OU but that meant I had no idea who would face the winner of LSU-Alabama in the national title game.

Week 3 should be a week's worth of information better, suffice it to say.

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Oklahoma State @ Missouri (FX): The biggest difficulty for me with these FX games so far is remembering they exist. I'm sure the Big 12 types remember, but I generally had an easier time when they were on FSN because then they were at least near everything else. As for the game, Oklahoma State should roll.
  • North Carolina @ Clemson (ESPN): One of these weeks, Clemson will play with fire and get burned. I think this a game they could lose, but they probably won't.
  • Illinois @ Purdue (ESPN2): Illinois should be out for blood a week after losing their undefeated mark, but on the flip side this is a team coached by Ron Zook. So, who knows? They should still win though.
  • Kansas State @ Kansas (FSN): Can K-State handle being heavy favorites in their in-state rivalry game? Yeah, they probably should be able to.
  • Jacksonville State @ Kentucky (ESPNU): Kentucky won't lose this game, but it could be too close for comfort.
  • Indiana @ Iowa (BTN): Iowa can really put up the points against drastically inferior competition. I believe Indiana qualifies as such.
  • Arkansas @ Mississippi (SEC): Can you imagine a SEC team giving up 60 in a conference game? Ole Miss almost did to the usually stodgy Crimson Tide last weekend, giving up 52. Arkansas should be worse.
12:30: Wake Forest @ Duke (ACC): This is apparently one of those years where all of the stars align for Wake Forest and they're sort of halfway decent. Which is probably bad news for Duke.

3:00: Boston College @ Virginia Tech (ACC/FSN): BC's defense isn't, like, terrible. It's not great or anything. But their offense is just so bad that even VPI should be able to win by (at least) 20.

  • Auburn @ Louisiana State (CBS): Yes, I get that LSU is missing several key players from this defense but still, we've got a freshman QB going into a place where even veteran QBs can whither and die. LSU all the way.
  • Nebraska @ Minnesota (ABC/ESPN2): Nebraska isn't as good as you probably think, but Minnesota is worse. Much worse.
  • Maryland @ Florida State (ESPN2/ABC): Maryland sure has made it interesting the past couple of weeks, haven't they? They may manage to do the same against FSU, but it's still hard to see them breaking through.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Iowa State (ABC): ISU just gave up 52 to Mizzou last weekend. I don't see this ending well for them.
  • Georgia Tech @ Miami (ESPN): I think I've mentioned each of the last three weeks the issues with our run defense. So what happened? Virginia ran all over us. That said, Georgia Tech had 3 chances to tie or take the lead in the 4th quarter but never mustered anything on offense.
    The usual things were said this week about "intensity" and "wanting it" and such on both sides of the ball. We certainly haven't been as sharp since the UNC game, missing the big pass element of our game that had been so crucial early in the year. The defense is just, well, it's a continual work in progress, though we should get two of our starting linebackers back this weekend.
    Miami enters with a rejuvenated offense but a very banged up defense. If this game turns into a shootout, I'm not really sure who I like better. Then again, that's true regardless.
  • North Carolina State @ Virginia (ESPNU): NC State isn't very good, but neither is Virginia and we just lost to them. So, yeah, I have no idea. UVA could well be in for a letdown after their big (ugh) win last weekend.
  • Oregon @ Colorado (FSN): Oregon will attempt to keep up with the Joneses in this one. In this case, the Joneses are Stanford (put up 48 points) and Washington (put up 52 points).
  • Air Force @ Boise State (Versus): Air Force might keep it close for a half, but Boise should just be able to keep throwing it over their heads.
  • East Carolina @ Navy (CBSS): Navy desperately needs a win to break out of a four game losing streak, and I think they'll get it against ECU.
  • Army @ Vanderbilt (ESPNU): In years past, this might've been a concern for the 'Dores, but this year's new and improved edition should be able to dispatch them fairly easily.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Northwestern (BTN): Northwestern's been more competitive in recent weeks, but they're still losing due to a lack of a defense. However, Penn State is inept enough on offense to keep this close and possibly allow the upset.
7:15: Tennessee @ Alabama (ESPN2): This one might get ugly. Tide rolls.

7:30: Southern California @ Notre Dame (NBC): It's the nation's favorite intersectional rivalry! Mostly because, well, there aren't really very many intersectional rivalries, but still. Outside of Michigan State and Michigan this will be Notre Dame's toughest test by far, but it appears that it will benefit them to play this at home. USC has a suspiciously bad defense (for them), so I like the Domers.

  • Washington @ Stanford (ABC): This could be one of the more interesting Pac-12 matchups of the year, but ultimately I don't think Udub can run with Stanford.
  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (ABC): Texas Tech has only held two teams below 30 points this year: Texas State and New Mexico. I have to say, I don't think I really like their chances against Oklahoma.
  • Wisconsin @ Michigan State (ESPN): Gutting out wins won't be enough against the Wisconsin Death Machine.
  • Southern Methodist @ Southern Mississippi (CBSS): This could well turn into one of the more interesting games of the evening, but I like the Golden Eagles at home.
10:30: Oregon State vs. Washington State (@Seattle, WA; FSN): Well, Wazzou already beat one of the awful teams of the Pac-12 (Colorado), they should be able to do the same against Oregon State.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bowl Predictions 2011: Week 1

I'm so busy right now that I will just copy my post from last year and change the URL.

Ordinarily, I use the first post of the year to go through my process and my thoughts on the individual bowls.

I won't do that here, though, for two reasons.
1. I am really busy right now.
2. I have no idea what is going on.

Hopefully I'll have something more substantive for week 2. In the meantime, enjoy.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Weekend in College Football: Week 7

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Baylor @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (FX): Expect this one to be high scoring, but in the end, Baylor plays even less defense than TAMU. I don't think Robert Griffin III will be enough.
  • Michigan @ Michigan State (ESPN): Sparty's played two non-cupckaes this year: Notre Dame and Ohio State, and scored a combined 23 points in those games. Michigan's defense probably isn't as good as either, but it will probably still be enough for the Michigan offense to do its thing.
  • Indiana @ Wisconsin (ESPN2): Our first complete mismatch of the day, this will probably be a massacre.
  • Utah @ Pittsburgh (ESPNU): Losing 34-10 to Rutgers probably wasn't quite how Pitt planned on this season going. Except for their demolition of BYU, however, Utah has lost to every team they've played with a pulse this year.
  • Purdue @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): Penn State will probably win this like 13-3, but they will win.
  • South Carolina @ Mississippi State (SEC): The Dan Mullen death machine hasn't quite gotten into gear this year, considering they only beat hapless UAB 21-3. South Carolina should win.
12:30: Miami @ North Carolina (ACC): Miami couldn't quite hold on against VPI. That may well translate into them getting blown away by UNC.

3:00: Florida State @ Duke (ACC): Yes, FSU couldn't handle the traditional ACC doormat they played last week. They will handle Duke.

  • Louisiana State @ Tennessee (CBS): Speaking of SEC death machine, this one could get ugly.
  • Oklahoma State @ Texas (ABC/ESPN): I'll parrot the conventional wisdom here. Texas's green secondary got repeatedly and thoroughly burned against a very good passing attack last week against Oklahoma. Now, they get the nation's best passing attack. Yeah, uh....
  • Ohio State @ Illinois (ESPN/ABC): If Braxton Miller plays, OSU has a shot and I think they'll win. If not, they don't. That simple.
  • Central Florida @ Southern Methodist (FSN): UCF has been up and down this season, but USM has been pretty consistent except for an inexplicable loss to Marshall. I like the Golden Eagles here.
  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia (ESPNU): Fact: Georgia Tech has 1 win in Charlottesville since 1990, and that came 2 years ago. Hopefully that will motivate Tech to do a little better this time around, as the effort against Maryland was lacking. Tevin Washington has gone from the nation's most efficient passer to not being able to find his receivers in a sort of bad flashback to last year's offense. Our defense is just plain bad against the run at this point - other than the ineptitude of their QBs, Maryland simply also had no reason to throw against this defense.
    UVA to this point has not looked that great. But, they have a big and capable offensive line that can open up running lanes - Tech will have to work especially hard to get, and this is key, maintain a lead this weekend.
6:00: Alabama @ Mississippi (ESPN2): This is the second of the predicted blowouts of the day. This may be a blowout in the sense that Alabama scores 31 but Ole Miss scores 0 and ends up with negative total yards of offense.

  • Florida @ Auburn (ESPN): Freshman starting quarterbacks are not really a recipe for success in any conference,
  • Kansas State @ Texas Tech (FSN): K-State is easily the most surprising 5-0 team in the country, as they should have at least two losses by now. They should beat TTU anyway, which leads to a difficult decision. But, given no records about these two teams, I probably would've picked the purple cats anyway.
  • Clemson @ Maryland (ESPNU): Unless Clemson really Clemsons this one up (and it's happened before, against Maryland even (see: 2009)!) this should be a rout.
  • Northwestern @ Iowa (BTN): Iowa does well against teams without very good defenses, so despite Dan Persa's best efforts this probably won't go well for NU.
  • Georgia @ Vanderbilt (SEC): This is a reasonably competent version of Vandy, but it probably won't be enough for them to be more competent than UGA.
7:30: Stanford @ Washington State (Versus): Though this version of Wazzou is not completely terrible, they did allow 42 to SDSU and 25 to bumbling UCLA. Expect the Cardinal to try to beat the combined score.

8:00: Alabama-Birmingham @ Tulsa (CBSS): UAB is 120th (i.e., last) in the country in points scored and 96th in points against. This is not a winning combination, to say the least. Tulsa should... argh trying to think of something to say other than "blow them away".

9:15: Oklahoma @ Kansas (ESPN2): And here's top-3 blowout number 3. This Week In Schadenfreude is always great, but this edition contained this gem:
There's actually a weird brand of Stockholm Syndrome going on on the KU boards, with several chipper folks envisioning wins later in the year because of things like this:
GT is a legit team and we hung with them for a half.
Georgia Tech put up 768 yards! Kansas fans must be the most tolerant in the country.
OU rolls.

10:15: Arizona State @ Oregon (ESPN): And, finally, a legit Pac-12 nightcap. Oregon should still win of course - and Autzen should be a madhouse on a Saturday night - but Arizona State is at least capable of making it interesting.

Okay, with the BCS coming out this week the bowl predictions should be out next Monday for reals. Until then...

Friday, October 07, 2011

This Weekend in College Football: Week 6

Well, I really hope you didn't take any of my "advice" from last week. Anyway, back to winners/losers.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Oklahoma vs. Texas (@Dallas, TX; ABC): It's the Red River Shootout and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Texas has shown signs of an offensive rejuvenation, but I don't think it will be enough against the Sooners.
  • Minnesota @ Purdue (ESPN):

    Purdue should win.
  • Louisville @ North Carolina (ESPN2): Carolina responded well to their first loss of the season by taking care of business against ECU. Louisville lost to Marshall last week. I think you can infer the rest.
  • Mississippi State @ Alabama-Birmingham (FSN): Things haven't quite gone to plan for Dan Mullen and Co. They should get a shot in the arm against the 0-4 Blazers, though.
  • Maryland @ Georgia Tech (ESPNU): Oy, where to begin? Well, first, let's discount those last two touchdowns against NCSU - both were freak plays. That said, against a better opponent we would have lost that game. Tech allowed 195 yards rushing to a team that averages less than 100 yards per game. This defense still has many, many, questions and will be weakened by the loss of 2 of their top 4 linebackers.
    Other than their week 1 win against Miami, the Terps haven't had much to show for this season, probably now mostly remembered for a 38-7 loss to Temple. The true talent of this team is probably somewhere in between, and Tech's tendency to play down to their competition makes this a very dangerous game.
  • Kentucky @ South Carolina (SEC): I don't think it's going to matter which QB Spurrier throws out there this week, Kentucky just isn't very good this year.
12:30: Florida State @ Wake Forest (ACC): If E.J. Manuel is back this weekend, then Seminoles win easily. Well, they should win otherweise as well, but it will probably be a lot closer.

3:00: Boston College @ Clemson (ACC/FSN): BC: still looking to break that elusive 20-point barrier. They probably won't against suddenly potent Clemson.

  • Florida @ Louisiana State (CBS): The only saving grace for Florida might be that this is an afternoon game and not a night one, which is really only conceivable way the situation could be worse for their trio of freshman quarterbacks.
  • Air Force @ Notre Dame (NBC): I think Air Force will keep it close but that ND will probably prevail in the end.
  • Iowa @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN): I'll take Iowa here, because they actually seem capable of playing offense.
  • Miami @ Virginia Tech (ESPN/ABC): It's the "readjusted expectations" bowl! I think the Hokies will be out for blood after last weekend, though.
  • Missouri @ Kansas State (ABC): It feels weird to say that K-State beating Baylor is one of the bigger upsets of the year, but here we are. Still, though, Missouri has lost to a whole spectrum of teams, so I will take a chance on the Wildcats here.
  • Pittsburgh @ Rutgers (ESPNU): Other than being an abomination against offensive football, last week's Rutgers-Syrcause game as pretty entertaining. The same probably won't be able to be said about this one as the Panthers should roll.
  • Southern Mississippi @ Navy (CBSS): Watch out, Navy, USM is pretty a pretty solid team. I still like the Midshipmen here though.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Texas Tech (FX): I don't think TAMU will need to worry about blowing a 2nd half lead here.
  • Auburn @ Arkansas (ESPN): I think Arkansas will be able to take this one from the outset.
  • Georgia @ Tennessee (ESPN2): I actually have no idea who will win this. Neither team boasts any real upset losses or unexpected wins, so it's hard to say what'll go down here. So, when in doubt: pick the home team. Especially in college football.
  • Iowa State @ Baylor (FSN): Iowa State's defense is not so hot. Neither is Baylor's, but if this turns into a shootout, my money is on the Fighting Robert Griffin the Thirds.
  • Vanderbilt @ Alabama (ESPNU): Anything less than a shutout will probably be disappointing for the Tide.
  • East Carolina @ Houston (CBSS): ECU's played a killer non-conference schedule, going 0-3 against South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina. And now they get the Case Keenum show. Probably not good for them.
  • Michigan @ Northwestern (BTN): Northwestern may finally have their own dynamic QB back, but Michigan's is even, er, dynamicier. (Yes, that's not a word. Let's move on.) Also, Northwestern's defense is, like, epically bad.
7:30: Colorado @ Stanford (Versus): Maybe they'll get Andrew Luck catch two passes in this likely laugher.

8:00: Ohio State @ Nebraska (ABC): Speaking of laughers, which will be greater: the number of points Ohio State scores, or the average number of beers consumed by their fans in trying to forget how the season has gone so far?

10:15: San Jose State @ Brigham Young (ESPNU): With two wins, San Jose State is just "bad" this year as opposed to "really bad" in years past. Probably still not enough of an improvement to beat BYU though.

  • Washington State @ California-Los Angeles (FSN): Washington State may go to 2-0 in the Pac-10/12 for the first in... well, I'm feeling lazy tonight so yeah it's probably been awhile. UCLA's offense is just so bad, though.
  • Texas Christian @ San Diego State (CBSS): TCU should've been in the Big 12 the whole time, so an injustice 15 years in the making is finally being righted. In other news, turns out this year's version of TCU isn't that good. I think SDSU will actually seize the opportunity to do some last-minute restructuring of the pecking order in the Mountain West.
Anyway, it's bowl predictions time! Look for 'em Sunday or Monday.