Saturday, September 29, 2012

This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Baylor @ West Virginia (FX): Baylor's off to a 3-0 start but I think they're going to be in for a rude awakening WVU's first Big 12 game.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Illinois (ESPN): Both these teams are 2-2, but one of them just got blown out by Louisiana Tech. I'll take the Nittany Lions.
  • Minnesota @ Iowa (ESPN2): Minnesota's 4-0 record won't last forever, but at least they managed to beat the directional Michigan team they played, unlike Iowa.
  • North Carolina State @ Miami (ESPNU): Miami: has better athletes than you and occasionally applies them in a constructive way. Which I think has a good chance of happening to NC State.
  • Missouri @ Central Florida (FSN): Side note: I keep forgetting Mizzou is in the SEC now. When I'm looking up team records on the ESPN standings page I always look for them under the Big 12. I don't have this problem for TAMU, Colorado, or Nebraska though. Anyway, despite being in Orlando for some reason they'll probably win.
  • Indiana @ Northwestern (BTN): Northwestern is 4-0 and has played 3 teams from BCS conferences so far this year. Okay, those teams were Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College, but still. Indiana meanwhile was part of the MAC-reckoning last weekend and lost to Ball State. I like the Wildcats's chances of getting to 5-0.
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Georgia Tech (ACC/FSN): What do you say about a loss like the one last week? The game looked like a blowout after the first quarter, and then we shut them out and surpass them in the middle two quarters. Then everything goes wrong in the fourth quarter and we lose in overtime again.
    What's the story going to be for Tech this year? It's hard to say now, as the ACC title is out-of-reach with two conference losses in September (side note: can we just get a ban on conference games in September?). Pretty much all that is left for Tech at this point is to try to ruin our rivals' seasons. But that's really the story for the vast majority of college football teams, as the twelve-game season is such a fickle mistress.
    As for this game, this is (somewhat surprisingly) MTSU's first game against a major conference opponent. They lost to a FCS team in their opener but have recovered to win two straight, albeit against FAU and Memphis.
  • Arkansas @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (SEC): Arkansas is a train wreck at this point, with John L. Smith again giving you the reason why you can't look away. I highly suspect TAMU will get their first SEC win here.
12:30: Duke @ Wake Forest (ACC): Both Duke and Wake are 3-1. Of course, those losses were blowouts against obviously superior competition (Stanford and Florida State). That said, the Blue Devils can really throw the ball and Wake can't really do much in the way of defending, so I like their chances.

3:15: Marshall @ Purdue (BTN): Purdue is in the ever-narrowing category of Big Ten teams that have yet to embarrass themselves this season. They shouldn't have much an issue with this edition of the Thundering Herd.

  • Tennessee @ Georgia (CBS): It was tempting to say the sky was falling for the Volunteers when they lost to Florida. It will be tempting to say again after this game.
  • Ohio State @ Michigan State (ABC): Ohio State almost fell victims themselves to the Big Ten's general malaise last weekend but woke up just in time to beat UAB by multiple scores. I actually think they'll be just fine against the Spartans.
  • Clemson @ Boston College (ESPN2): Boston College appears to still be awful, so... yeah.
  • Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati (@Landover, MD; ESPNU): Okay Cincy has only played two games this season so I kind of think they're good but I'm not really sure. Meanwhile, VPI has just been all over the map. I'll err on the side of them not losing to the Big East twice this season, though.
  • Houston vs. Rice (@Houston, TX; FSN): Boy howdy Rice is really bad this year. But wait, so is Houston! Well, at least the Owls managed to get more than one score against UCLA, so I'll take them.
  • San Jose State @ Navy (CBSS): It is a theoretically possibility that you may watch this game. I'm not sure why, but you could. Actually it turns out SJSU isn't awful and Navy has no wins this year against FBS competition, so I actually like them here.
  • Idaho @ North Carolina (ACC/FSN): Poor Idaho :(
4:00: Arizona State @ California (FX): Cal is also winless so far this year against FBS competition. Obviously that won't go on forever but I have to say I do not like their chances against the Sun Devils.

6:00: Florida State @ South Florida (ESPN): USF lost last weekend to Ball State. I deem their odds of victory are slim.

  • South Carolina @ Kentucky (ESPN2): The Gamecocks are 4-0 pretty much in spite of themselves, I'm convinced. And with Kentucky back to being Kentucky this year their chances of getting to 5-0 are looking pretty good.
  • Towson @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): I wouldn't have listed this except it's on an ESPN network.
  • Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (FSN): If it weren't so late I'd look up the rivalry trophy for this game. Instead you'll just have to settle for me telling you that TCU's probably going to win.
  • Texas Tech @ Iowa State (FCS): We will know slightly more about these teams after this game, because for now this may be the shakiest pair of undefeated teams in the country. I'll take Texas Tech almost entirely because they're not Iowa State.
7:30: Texas @ Oklahoma State (FOX): The Cowboys have only played one other team with a pulse this year: Arizona, by whom they ended up getting pummeled. Texas hasn't really played anyone with a pulse (Ole Miss doesn't count) but so we'll just have to go with "well they've looked pretty solid so far".

  • Wisconsin @ Nebraska (ABC): Wisconsin might be the worst 3-1 team in the country. For starters, they lost 10-7 to Oregon State. Their combined margin of victory in their three wins is 18 points. These games were against Northern Iowa, Utah State, and UTEP. Not exactly murderer's row there. Nebraska is 3-1 as well, but their loss was to UCLA, and they solidly beat the cupcake portion of their schedule, so I'll go with the home team.
  • Louisville @ Southern Mississippi (CBSS): Southern Miss is probably one of the disappointments of the year so far, as they were generally though to be a pretty strong C-USA team. It hasn't panned out, and will likely continue to not pan out against Louisville.
9:15: Mississippi @ Alabama (ESPN): Good thing this one is late, as what's going to happen to Ole Miss probably isn't safe for the kids to see. Reminder: in four games this season, the Alabama defense has allowed 21 points. Alabama's slimmest margin of victory this year is 27 points, from their win over Michigan. Yeah.

10:30: Oregon vs. Washington State (@Seattle, WA; ESPN2): Well, one Pac-12 power has been upset at CenturyLink field this week, why not another? Oh, right, Wazzou is awful. I think we're all getting a pretty good idea of how slim the pickings were out in Pullman for Mike Leach. It may take awhile for him to restock the cupboard with any sort of talent.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This Weekend in College Football: Week 4

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Maryland @ West Virginia (FX): One of these teams is awful. The other isn't. I'll get you guess which is which.
  • Virginia @ Texas Christian (ESPN): I can pretty comfortably say at this point that UVA is not that good this year. TCU should win easily.
  • Texas-El Paso @ Wisconsin (ESPN2): Wisconsin has had some problems this year. Okay, a lot of problems. Like almost losing to Utah State. But problems enough to lose to UTEP? No, probably not.
  • Bowling Green @ Virginia Tech (ESPNU): Dear Virginia Tech: how in the hell did you lose to Pitt? No, seriously, what the hell? I'm angry about this and I'm even a VPI fan because it makes me angry all over again about our game being in week one. Argh. Whatever, they should probably be able to beat a team from the MAC.
  • Mississippi @ Tulane (FSN): Don't look, but Tulane is really awful. But hey, there's probably plenty of Ole Miss fans down in New Orleans to help fill the Superdome.
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ Ohio State (BTN): Just... why? If you get satellite watch the other Big Ten Network game, Central Michigan @ Iowa. Er, well, maybe just watch something else entirely.
  • Kentucky @ Florida (SEC): Florida looks almost kind of good? I still don't trust them. Well, I'll trust them to the extent that I think they'll beat Kentucky, at least.
12:30: Army @ Wake Forest (ACC): Hey, if they're on TV, I list 'em. That's how things work around here. Wake wins.

3:00: Miami @ Georgia Tech (ACC/FSN): I am so confused. Since the 2008 Miami game, wherein we ran roughshod over their defense, Miami has basically owned Tech. But the circumstances of these two teams so far couldn't be more different. Miami got slaughtered two weeks ago by Kansas State (by the way: Bill Synder is a wizard). GT is, of course, coming of the incineration of UVA (it's always fun when you can say things like "the final score was 56-20 and it wasn't even that close"). But nonetheless, "physical superiority cancels all theories" and that is always the worry when lining up against da U's array of blue chip recruits. So we'll see.

  • Missouri @ South Carolina (CBS): Well, we're about to find a lot more about both these teams. Because speaking of teams I don't trust, South Carolina may be near the top of the list. I'll take them over Mizzou, but narrowly, because I don't think the Tigers are as bad as they looked against UGA, their only meaningful competition to date.
  • Temple @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN2): I'm doing a pick'em over on an Internet forum I frequent and it appears I picked Temple in this game. Uh, hrm. I mean, it's possible, but still. Go Owls, I guess?
  • Oregon State @ California-Los Angeles (ABC/ESPN2): Since their game in week 1 got postponed, the Beavers have literally only played one game this year: their 10-7 (at the time) upset of Wisconsin. UCLA has surprised everyone so far this season basically by not being completely awful, so I expect that trend to continue.
  • East Carolina @ North Carolina (ESPNU): When will the bleeding stop for UNC? Is it against the Pirates? I'm guessing yes.
  • Virginia Military @ Navy (CBSS): Navy.
  • Idaho State @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska.
4:00: Colorado @ Washington State (FX): Everyone expected Colorado to be awful. Wazzou, on the other hand, well, I guess we're getting an idea of what Paul Wulff was working with these past few years because the expected results have not quite materialized for Mike Leach. That said, Colorado is like, really, really bad you guys.

  • Louisiana State @ Auburn (ESPN): Ah, yes, overtime escapes against Louisiana-Monroe. Yeah, I reckon that clock has just struck midnight for Gene Chizik and he's starting to turn back into a pumpkin. LSU rolls.
  • Rutgers @ Arkansas (ESPNU): 7:00 is apparently the SEC Train Wreck Power Hour, though Arkansas is arguably worse since they're the ones that lost to UL-Monroe. I actually like Rutgers here.
  • Kansas State @ Oklahoma (FOX): It bears repeating: Bill Snyder is a wizard. But that said, we really know almost nothing about both these teams, and on paper, I still have to like the Sooners. But that means I won't enjoy it if the Wizard conjures up another inexplicable victory.
  • Michigan @ Notre Dame (NBC): Don't get me wrong: I am not confusing Notre Dame's defense with Alabama's. Nonetheless, they were able to go up to East Lansing and completely shut down Sparty. They should have an advantage at home against a Michigan team that looked shaky in their first two games, one of which was against Air Force.
7:45: Vanderbilt @ Georgia (ESPN2): The only team I like seeing beat UGA more than us is Vandy, simply because UGA had the gall to schedule them for Homecoming in 2006, suffering a defeat for their hubris. (Mmm, hubris.) Unfortunately, for every other year since 1995, Georgia has won, and this a state of affairs I expect to continue.

  • Clemson @ Florida State (ABC): Neither of these teams have played anyone (yes, Clemson beat Auburn, but that's looking less impressive by the minute) and sport 3-0 records. So how do you choose? Well, that indicates this game should be good, and this is also the first team FSU's played that really even has a pulse. I still like the Noles but they might actually end up behind in a game for the first time all season.
  • Fresno State @ Tulsa (CBSS): Prediction: points. By whom: both teams. Who has more at the end: probably Tulsa, but this could go either way.
  • Syracuse @ Minnesota (BTN): UMN has ridden a schedule of nobodies to 3-0, which is a shot in the arm at least for a program that hasn't won more than 3 games in 3 years. Then again, I would expect the 'Cuse to be 3-0 against that schedule as well. So I'll take the Orange in what's probably a very minor upset.
  • Arizona @ Oregon (ESPN): Points. Lots of points. But Oregon is better that game and should prevail in the end.
  • Nevada @ Hawaii (NBCS): Nevada seems pretty solid so far this year, while Hawaii did beat a FCS team 54-2. I'll stick with Nevada here.
Sorry that this was short, curt, and more than a little nonsensical, but well, look at the timestamp. Things have been pretty hectic lately. So until next time!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2014 World Cup Update: A Lot of Stuff Happened/Nothing Happened

Two years out from the World Cup are the doldrums of qualifying. Most confederations are in the middle of their qualification process now and there's little action either way (with some exceptions). I won't post the map because nothing has changed since July except that Cuba was eliminated. That's really it. I did, however, update the full list that's right here on the site to reflect that, as well as Europe beginning its process.

First, let's start with Asia.

The AFC is in its fourth round of qualification, out of five. They'll have two more rounds of games in October and November this year, but that still will likely not solve anything except for maybe Japan, who are definitively in the driver's seat in Group B. They only played one game in September, but the major news is Australia's continuing underwhelming performances. The Socceroos are still without a victory and lost 2-1 to Jordan. The Aussies could still very easily finish second in their group, but they need to get it together to avoid being upstaged and sent to the play-off round or out of the World Cup entirely. In Group A, South Korea is in control but doesn't have the same grip on their group that their 2002 co-hosts do. Iran, Quatar, and Lebanon are all sitting on four points in the middle of the group, so this will likely go down to the wire next June.

Not much to report from Africa, since they won't play again until next March.

North America is where all the action is, since the all the big boys are currently in play and trying to advance final round, with those spots to be decided in October. In Group A, the US, Guatemala, and Jamaica are all sitting on 7 points with only two games to play. The US plays last-place Antigua and Barbuda on October 12 while Guatemala and Jamaica duke it out in Guatemala. If the US and Guatemala win, this is very bad news for the Jamaicans as the two play each other in the last match, meaning that both sides can play for the draw to advance. A draw between the two or a Jamaican victory (or the US not winning) will ensure that things stay very interesting on October 16 though.

In Group B, Mexico has won all its matches and ensured advancement to the next round. This leaves El Salvador and Costa Rica battling for the second spot, with the two going head-to-head on the 12th. The two drew in their previous meeting in Costa Rica. However, if the Salvadorians win at home, things will still be unsettled as they play Mexico in the 16th while the Costa Ricans get last-place Guyana. This one could very easily come down to goal differential.

In Group C, Cuba has already been eliminated and Panama can advance with a win at home against Honduras. Also in this fight is Canada, which really needs to take advantage of playing Cuba at home by getting the three points. The Honduras-Canada match on the 16th seems like it will be a winner-advances, loser-goes-home match.

The main surprise from South America so far is probably that Argentina and Uruguay (considered the two strongest sides in the region along with automatically qualified hosts Brazil) have failed to separate themselves from the pack. Both sides drew last week to teams generally not considered all that strong, with the Uruguayans drawing 1-1 against Ecuador and Argentina drawing 1-1 against Peru. The former is understandable, at least, but the latter less so. But there's still a long way to go, with most of the teams still having 9 games to play.

New Zealand got off to a good start, recovering from their debacle at the OFC Nations Cup (where they came in 3rd) by defeating New Caledonia and Tahiti. Speaking of Tahiti, though, they won the Nations Cup and thus will be at the Confederations Cup next year, but so far are sporting 0 points and a -6 goal differential after the first two games of this last qualifying round. Whoops. Anyway, if the All Whites take care of business over the next two dates in October, the matches next March will likely not matter.

The Europeans finally got started, with almost everyone having gotten two matches in the books this month. However, it's too early to really make anything other than general observations so far, so we'll hit the surprises. For instance, Italy drew in their first match 2-2 with Bulgaria. Group H is just a barrel of surprises. Montenegro opened with a 2-2 draw of Poland and obliterated San Marino (okay, that part isn't surprising), to get to four points. England needed a penalty to get a 1-1 draw with the Ukraine, putting them at four points (they obliterated Moldolva). The Poles themselves are right there with four points as well, and the Ukrainians probably will be on October once they play again. At first glance one would definitely say there are three strong sides in this group, so the main thing is throwing Montenegro into the mix. I would argue this is the Group of Death, but many would also point to Group I, with Spain and France. While Group I stronger at the top, Group H is much deeper. Nonetheless, the defending world champions Spain began with a somewhat lackluster 1-0 victory over Georgia. The French also opened with a 1-0 win, but after the debacle that was their last world cup cycle they should be more than overjoyed with the two wins so far. (Don't forget that not only did the French team basically quit at the World Cup, they only got there due to Thierry Henry's "hand of God" goal in the playoff qualification match against Ireland in 2009.)

That's about all for now. Look for another post after the action in October, when we'll eliminate five more teams from CONCACAF.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This Weekend in College Football: Week 3

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • California @ Ohio State (ABC): While Cal rebounded from their Week 1 debacle against Nevada, it's still hard to see how they can really manage to do anything in Ohio Stadium.
  • Texas Christian @ Kansas (FX): While perusing the scoreboards last weekend, I saw Kansas had a narrow lead but a lead nonetheless against Rice in the fourth quarter and stopped thinking about it. Then I saw a bunch of "decided schematic advantage" jokes on Twitter and realized what must've happened. Yeah, so I can't say I like their odds against TCU.
  • Wake Forest @ Florida State (ESPN): Ready to have your mind blown? Wake Forest is 4-2 against Florida State in their last six meetings. Yes, after winning every meeting between joining the ACC in 1992 and 2005, FSU has now lost four of their last six against the Demon Deacons. That said, it's still hard to be a sane person and pick against the Seminoles. While one might generously call their opposition so far "undermatched", FSU has still destroyed them, while Wake only beat Liberty by 3 and escaped against a depleted Tarheel roster.
  • Arkansas State @ Nebraska (ESPN2): The main takeaway for me from Nebraska's loss to UCLA last week was that the Bruins were probably slightly better than we all thought more than it really said anything about the Cornhuskers. More obsessive college football fans had high hopes for Gus Malzahn's first year at Arkansas State, but so far the promise of a wide-open spread attack hasn't materialized, being limited to a come-from-behind 5-point win over a moribund Memphis team. I guess what I'm trying to say, Nebraska's going to win.
  • Virginia Tech @ Pittsburgh (ESPNU): They really aren't. VPI should roll.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette @ Oklahoma State (FSN): Cowboys. Next!
  • Northern Illinois @ Army (CBSS): I'm trying to figure out a diplomatic way to say that I think Army's going to get creamed but I can't.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Purdue (BTN): This has been a banner year for the Football Championship Subdivision (they might change it so that's why I've started saying FCS after holding out for years). I note this because Illinois State beat EMU last week. Meanwhile, Purdue managed to beat Eastern Kentucky, so I'll give them the edge.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Auburn (SEC): Okay so UL-Monroe beats a team coached by John L. Smith and everyone gets all excited. But remember, as bad as Auburn looks this year (and they sure don't look very good) they are still not, in fact, coached by John L. "Slappy" Smith. I like the Tigers here.
12:30: Connecticut @ Maryland (ACC): UConn lost to NC State 10-7 last week. Maryland is just awful (don't let the 2-0 record fool you). I would generally advise that you not watch this game. If you do, don't be surprised if UConn wins.

  • Alabama @ Arkansas (CBS): The U.S. Open is over so CBS is back with a matchup that probably looked a lot more interesting two weeks ago than it does now. I'm picking the team that has the former Michigan State coach that Sparty fans probably actually miss.
  • Navy @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN2): Man, Penn State looks really bad eh? Then again, it's not like Navy is going out there with a roster stocked with blue chip players either. And they did get demolished by Notre Dame to start the year, but they took last week off so it's hard to tell anything more. I like the Midshipmen here a little bit.
  • North Carolina @ Louisville (ABC/ESPN2): This weekend is awful. I'm not sure I've gotten to a single truly compelling game yet. Looking down the list I think we might have two or three and that's it. But yeah, UNC looked bad against Wake Forest last weekend, while Louisville has generally taken care of business so far this year. I'll take the Cardinals.
  • Virginia @ Georgia Tech (ESPNU): I was only able to listen to the first half of this game last weekend, but Tech rebounded well from the VPI loss. Virginia did win last week against Penn State, but they looked awful doing it and as you may've heard by now, PSU did miss a few (or five) field goals. The hope for the Jackets is that the defense has finally turned a corner in its third year under former UVA head coach Al Groh. Three years out should also mean that most of the UVA starting offense shouldn't remember their former coach at this point. To be honest, the other effect of having the VPI game in week 1 is that the rest of the season doesn't seem to have anything to particularly look forward to until the very end. The goal isn't to get better over the course of the season. Even more so than usual in college football, the goal is to win every game because the only chance for us is that VPI slips up twice along the way. Again, let this be a lesson to those who want to move the UGA game to week 1.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Southern Methodist (FSN): SMU lost 59-24 to Baylor two weeks ago, so yeah I'm going with TAMU here.
  • East Carolina @ Southern Mississippi (CBSS): Not much to go on here, as both teams have losses against obviously better competition. Pre-season USM was supposed to be a good mid-major team, so I'm going with them on that pretty much.
  • Massachusetts @ Michigan (BTN): In their first season playing real, big-boy football, UMass has been out-scored 82-6. By UConn and Indiana. Expect this trend to continue.
  • Portland State @ Washington (FX): Listed only because it's on a major national cable network.
  • Miami @ Boise State (NBCS): No, it's not that Miami, it's the other one (i.e., the one in Ohio). The Broncos should roll.
6:00: Florida @ Tennessee (ESPN): I guess this is one of the more interesting games of the day, but I can't muster a lot of enthusiasm for it. I have no read whatsoever on either of these, other than that they're probably both slightly less bad than I'd been led to believe. I guess I'll take the Gators though.

  • Arizona State @ Missouri (ESPN2): Mizzou and TAMU sure didn't acquit themselves well in their first week of SEC play, did they? I had hoped that maybe some exposure to some wide open offenses might throw Georgia and Florida for a loop, but alas, it did not turn out to be, especially for the Tigers. So far all we know about the Sun Devils is that they demolished Illinois. (I swear this'll be better next week, because on my schedule for today is pretty much "watch college football", which I didn't get to all that much of the past two weeks.) So I guess I'll take "beating a really bad Illinois team" over "rolling over for what is probably a pretty good Georgia team".
  • Western Kentucky @ Kentucky (ESPNU): This week we will discover precisely how awful Kentucky is. My guess is "awful" but not awful enough to lose to WKU.
  • North Texas @ Kansas State (FSN): I'm still trying to process that Kansas State beat Miami (yes, that Miami) 52-13. I like their chances against the Mean Green.
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ South Carolina (SEC/FSN): This one could get ugly.
7:30: Southern California @ Stanford (FOX): This is probably my favorite game of the day. No I haven't been infected with some sort of West Coast brainworm or something. Even though we don't really know anything about Stanford yet and we know that they lost pretty much all their best players from the last two years, this is still USC's first significant test. I like the Trojans here, but I still think this will be one of the better games of the day that is very sorely lacking in interesting matchups.

  • Notre Dame @ Michigan State (ABC): Folks are starting to wake up the echoes, and that's all fine and dandy, but except for last year's game this series has been nothing if not interesting these past few years. I like Sparty here but still, this is probably the other interesting game of the day and could be close after USC-Stanford is decided.
  • Colorado @ Fresno State (CBSS): This is your reminder that Colorado lost to Colorado State in week 1, and then both those teams lost to FCS teams in week 2. Yeesh. Fresno at least managed to beat Weber State, so I'll go with them.
  • Utah State @ Wisconsin (BTN): Wisconsin has had... issues so far this year. Dramatic overtime victories aside, I suspect there's a pretty good chance the badgers get their groove back here.
9:15: Texas @ Mississippi (ESPN): I refuse to accept that Ole Miss may not be awful this year until proven otherwise, so I'm going with Texas here.

10:00: Brigham Young @ Utah (ESPN2): Depressingly, this is the last time this bitter rivalry will be played for a while. I expect this one to be close and intense, but I think in the end the Stormin' Mormons will be 2-0 against the Pac-12 this year.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

This Weekend in College Football: Week 2

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Pennsylvania State @ Virginia (ABC): Last week I said Penn State wouldn't be that bad. I was wrong. I'll take UVA here.
  • Miami @ Kansas State (FX): Yes, it is in fact, the Miami, not a Miami. That said, this Miami did allow Boston College to score 32 points last week. Whoops! I'll take K-State here.
  • Auburn @ Mississippi State (ESPN): 5 years ago, these two teams "worked" together to score 5 points in a game. Hopefully that number will be eclipsed this year. I actually like Miss State better here, for whatever reason.
  • Central Florida @ Ohio State (ESPN2): The Big Ten's other team suspended from postseason play, but unlike Penn State, the Buckeyes still have some teeth. They should win easily.
  • Tulane @ Tulsa (FSN): I won't believe Tulane is any good at all until proven otherwise.
  • Maryland @ Temple (ESPNU): Temple scored 41 points against Villanova last week. Maryland scored 7 in the 4th quarter to come from behind against William & Mary. Yeah.
  • East Carolina @ South Carolina (SEC): Does South Carolina have a quarterback? We're still not sure. Nonetheless, it is difficult to pick against them here.
12:30: Ball State @ Clemson (ACC): I nearly didn't list this one, but well here it is.

3:00: North Carolina @ Wake Forest (ACC/FSN): Again using the "how badly did they beat their opening week creampuff" metric, Carolina wins in a landslide.

  • Purdue @ Notre Dame (NBC): Hard to get a read on this one, but it is safe to say that Navy is a slightly more impressive blowout win than Liberty. I'll take the Irish here.
  • Air Force @ Michigan (ABC/ESPN2): Michigan just has to be too fast for Air Force, don't they? Maybe they'll let their awesome running quarterback run the ball this week.
  • Southern California vs. Syracuse (@East Rutherford, NJ; ABC/ESPN2): Syracuse is no longer terrible, but that doesn't mean they're good. USC is one of the nation's top teams, no doubt, but their depth is so razor-thin an injury or two could spell disaster against the right team. Syracuse is not that team.
  • Florida @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ESPN): Oh boy it's TAMU's SEC debut! I'm not really that excited about it. Also, they'll probably win for what that's worth.
  • Rice @ Kansas (FSN): Even Kansas should be able to at least beat Rice. Probably. Maybe.
  • Michigan State @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): Even if you didn't know anything about these two teams, you probably still like the chances of the team that starts with the name of the state rather than the one that has a cardinal direction and then the name of the state. Just sayin'.
  • South Florida @ Nevada (CBSS): I like Nevada here. They just beat Cal in the refurbished Memorial Stadium, and USF has to fly all the way to Reno to face off at altitude against Nevada's somewhat rare offense.
  • Iowa State @ Iowa (BTN): Oof. Iowa only beat Northern Illinois 18-17. This year is certainly ripe for a Iowa State win, which is probably news to many but not Paul Rhodes.
  • Western Kentucky @ Alabama (SEC): A Western Kentucky backup linebacker boasted this week that they're going to beat Alabama. Look, I think it would be hilarious, but well, good luck with that.
400: Wisconsin @ Oregon State (FX): Sometimes you make a big deal out of top teams nearly losing to FCS teams, especially game ones like Northern Iowa. Sometimes, you don't. This game is an example of the latter. I like the Badgers here.

  • Washington @ Louisiana State (ESPN): As I commented to a Washington alum friend on Facebook, having a live tiger at practice is pretty much a win-win as far as I'm concerned. Still not sure how it will help the Huskies beat LSU, at LSU, at night though, unless they were practicing letting it loose on LSU players or something.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Arkansas (ESPNU): I believe this is my first chance to mention this season how much we here at ASimSports love, love having John L. Smith back as a head coach at a major college program. I may watch this just for the halftime interview. Arkansas should probably still win though.
  • Texas-El Paso @ Mississippi (SEC/FSN): Hey Ole Miss still sucks right? Though I'd like UTEP's chances a lot better if the game were in the strange confines of El Paso, but I'll take the Miners anyway.
  • Presbyterian @ Georgia Tech (ESPN3): I spent most of the summer ranting at anyone who would listen how dumb having our most important conference game the first week of the season was, but they, that's ESPN for you. Anyway, we have to use this game to get back to normal and shake off the rust heading into the remaining two conference games this month, which are now that much (much) more important.
7:30: Nebraska @ California-Los Angeles (FOX): So apparently Taylor Martinez learned how to throw this past offseason and UCLA probably still isn't really that good? Yeah, those are just the kind of write-ups you're going to get in September, sorry. I like the Huskers.

7:45: Georgia @ Missouri (ESPN2): Oh good, another SEC debut. I hope Mizzou rips them to shreds, because by joining the SEC Mizzou went from like the 2nd or 3rd best passing team in the Big 12 to far and away the best passing team in the SEC. So you know what, let's get crazy and pick the Tigers here.

  • Louisiana Tech @ Houston (CBSS): Geez Houston we knew that you lost just about everyone from your pretty good team last season but losing to Texas State is just proving that point a little too hard, eh? I'm not sure firing their offensive coordinator is going to fix their issues, so I'll take LaTech.
  • Vanderbilt @ Northwestern (BTN): Vandy lost in a very Vandy-like fashion last week to a pretty okay South Carolina, while Northwestern came from behind to win dramatically over Syracuse. I think both these teams are pretty decent and will pull off at least one major upset this year, but on this night I like the Commodores.
10:30: Illinois @ Arizona State (ESPN): I just have no opinion on either of these teams, so let's go back to the creampuff beatdown metric mentioned earlier. Hrm, let's see... well, even adjusting for the division of the opponent, the scale still favors the Sun Devils.

Don't forget if you live on the West Coast you probably have a and/or the Pac-12 networks now. Those may get included in future weeks.