This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Purdue @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN2): Ohio State is pretty clearly the best team in the Big Ten at this point, giving up 49 to Indiana notwithstanding.
  • Virginia Tech @ Clemson (ABC/ESPN2): It’s funny to reflect back on the first game of the season, with all the implications we thought they had. As it turns out, both us and VPI were worse than everyone thought. I guess what I’m trying to say here is  expect Clemson to win.
  • Iowa State @ Oklahoma State (FX): Iowa State: not awful, but probably still not going to be Oklahoma State.
  • Louisiana State @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ESPN): Boy howdy, this is going to be a fun one I think. I think TAMU will prevail simply by playing offense, though.
  • Minnesota @ Wisconsin (ESPNU): It’s the Big Ten, so who knows? But I’m going with Wisky.
  • Auburn @ Vanderbilt (SEC): I’ve said for two weeks Auburn is going to lose this game. No going back now, no matter how weird it feels to pick Vandy in anything.

12:30: Wake Forest @ Virginia (ACC): Unless you root for one of these teams, I can’t come with a reason to watch this. Picking UVA though.

3:00:

  • Stanford @ California (FOX): It’s The Big Game. This is also your reminder that Jeff Tedford has the best job in America, even if he loses this game by 30. They probably won’t, but I can’t see them winning.
  • Boston College @ Georgia Tech (ACC/FSN): When your season includes a loss to Middle Tennessee State, you can’t really take anything for granted. Word on the street is that the athletes were considerably less enthused about Al Groh getting fired than the fanbase or media. Two out of three isn’t bad, though. The way I look at it is this: someone has to get fired after you have three straight games where your opponents (including the aforementioned MTSU) converted two-thirds of their third downs. Watching the Clemson game two weeks ago I almost felt like that the Clemson offense wanted to get to third down, with the Clemson coaches and players saying to themselves “we’ve got you now!” Since this is college, you have limited resources and you can’t really fire the players, so you almost have to start at the top. I get the feeling (well, I doubt this is really at all disputed) that Paul Johnson would prefer that he never even have to think about the defense, and that is what he hired Al Groh to do. This season he has had to think about he defense a lot, which maybe contributed to some of the inconsistent fourth down decisions we’ve seen this year. Even with the bye week to adjust to new realities, I’m not expecting any miracles. We’ll see what happens.

3:30:

  • South Carolina @ Florida (CBS): This is the game of the day. I liked Florida’s chances to stop South Carolina in the same, and I like them even more now that Marcus Lattimore may not play, or will be limited if he does. A win here sets up the Gators for a shot at the title game against Alabama in Atlanta, and I think they’ll come through. But make no mistake: this will not be a LSU-style domination, because South Carolina has a pulse on offense. But the result will not be in doubt.
  • Brigham Young @ Notre Dame (NBC): Independent teams have to stick together, you know? It’s hard to envision how BYU has a chance against this Irish defense.
  • Nebraska @ Northwestern (ABC/ESPN2): I expect lots of running and lots of points, but also probably a Cornhusker victory in the end.
  • Texas Tech @ Texas Christian (ABC/ESPN2): I guess the Texas Tech defense is for real? That does not bode well for TCU’s pedestrian (by Big 12 standards anyway) offense.
  • South Florida @ Louisville (ABC): One of these teams lost by 9 last week to Temple. Hint: it wasn’t Louisville.
  • North Carolina State @ Maryland (ESPNU): Maryland is 4-2, which makes precisely zero sense until you look at their schedule. NCSU isn’t some sort of offensive juggernaut or anything but unless they make a ton of mistakes it’s hard to see how UMD will score enough to win.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Boise State (NBCS): These teams almost have opposite records, but alas, Boise will need this game to record their sixth win. They’ll probably get it.
  • Rice @ Tulsa (FSN): The country’s 105th ranked scoring defense against the 13th ranked scoring offense. This does not bode well for one of these two teams; which is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Indiana @ Navy (CBSS): I think this edition of Indiana may be unawful enough to beat Navy. Maybe.
  • Michigan State @ Michigan (BTN): It feels sort of weird that a game like this isn’t on network television and Nebraska-Northwestern is. I have a hunch that maybe the Big Ten Network gets one of these a year or something. Anyway, both have well-above-average defense, but only one posses any sort of notable offense, so I’ll go with Michigan.

7:00:

  • Kansas State @ West Virginia (FOX): You may not realize this, but adjusted for the pace of their offenses, Kansas State and WVU score about the same number of points. Can K-State succeed in Morgantown the same way they did in Norman? Personally, I’m not sure, and leaning toward “no”.
  • Alabama @ Tennessee (ESPN): I have no doubts about this game, however. As they say in the other football, it’s a walk-over for Alabama.
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Mississippi State (ESPN2): For Georgia Tech fans looking for any solace in the MTSU loss, well, the week after beating us they lost by two touchdowns against UL-Monroe. I can’t say I’m feeling good about their chances in Starkville.
  • North Carolina @ Duke (ESPNU): UNC is just too competent offensively and defensively for Duke to overcome, I think.
  • Kansas @ Oklahoma (FSN): The problem with scoring 63 against Texas is that everyone is then going to come out and say you’ll be disappointing if you don’t do the same against an awful Kansas team. I’d say that’s a little bit true, but I mean, that’s a lot of points. And besides, I’m sure the Sooners will want to get the starters rested for next week’s Game of the Century of the Week next week against Notre Dame.
  • Marshall @ Southern Mississippi (CBSS): All indications, er, indicate that USM’s disaster of a season will continue.
  • Georgia @ Kentucky (SEC/FSN): It’s almost, okay, well, not really, a shame that Kentucky and Auburn don’t play each other this year. Georgia rolls.

8:00:

  • Baylor @ Texas (ABC): It’ll be another shootout for the Longhorns most likely, but despite everything I actually like them here.
  • Florida State @ Miami (ABC): Another team looking to get right after a bad loss is FSU, and they should against one of their biggest rivals.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Iowa (BTN): It’d be shocked if either team breaks 21 points in this game. If Iowa finishes the game with a running back, they should win.

10:30:

  • Utah @ Oregon State (ESPN2): The Beavers’ surprisingly good season should continue against the Utes, but they can’t get caught thinking about their bigger-name conference foes that await.
  • San Diego State @ Nevada (CBSS): Both these late games have a ton of potential to be fun to watch. This game features two teams with great running offenses and subpar defenses. I give a slight edge to Nevada, though.

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