Saturday, October 18, 2014

This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Kansas State @ Oklahoma (ESPN): I was fully prepared to write that K-State was going to wind up being easy for the Sooners, but I was too hasty. My main argument was going to be that the Wildcats hadn't seen anything like the Sooner attack, but I forgot that they held Auburn to 20 in their narrow loss a month ago. So there's plenty to suggest both defenses are good, and that both offenses are all right. I still have the Sooners in the end, though.
  • Iowa @ Maryland (ESPN2): Iowa had a relative offensive explosion against Indiana, putting up 45 points. It's hard to see them doing the same again in College Park, though.
  • Baylor @ West Virginia (FS1): While it's tempting to write this will be a fun, high-scoring contest, the truth is that it's much, much more likely for that to be true for one of these teams, and that team is Baylor.
  • Tulane @ Central Florida (ESPNU): UCF isn't, like, really that good or anything. Tulane, though, is worse.
  • South Florida @ Tulsa (ESPNEWS): These are two of the worst teams in FBS, which makes this game a bit of a coin flip. Tulsa is slightly better at offense, so I'm going to go with them.
  • Texas-San Antonio @ Louisiana Tech (FSN): LaTech just dropped double-nickels on UTEP, and it's hard to see the Roadrunners' dreadful offense keeping up.
  • Purdue @ Minnesota (BTN): Neither team plays offense particularly well, but Minnesota's defense is good enough for them to get away with it. Purdue, not so much.
  • Syracuse @ Wake Forest (ACC/RSN): Syracuse didn't get quite as blown out by Florida State as Wake did, so I guess I'm going to go with them.
12:30: Virginia @ Duke (ACC): So much for the "Mike London is So Fired" watch. That said, I don't think the Cavs really play offense well enough to surpass the Blue Devils' attack, but the differences between these teams are slight and this could wind up being a pretty close game.

  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Alabama (CBS): The wheels have fallen off the new-look Alabama offensive bus the past couple weeks. Fortunately for them, perhaps, is the Texas A&M defense coming to town. TAMU will definitely want this to turn into a shootout, and even though this is a flawed Alabama defense this year I'm not sure that it will happen.
  • Rutgers @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN2): Rutgers picked up their first Big Ten win last week against Michigan, but other than that there's nothing to suggest that they can do much against the Buckeyes.
  • California-Los Angeles @ California (ABC/ESPN2): UCLA was expected, coming into this season, to field one of the premier defense in the country. That... is hasn't exactly happened. Against Cal's attack, it's going to continue to not happen. Fortunately for them, the same thing that keeps Cal's opponents in the game applies here: the Bears' defense, which is atrocious. I like the Bruins, but only by a little.
  • Michigan State @ Indiana (ESPN): Say, remember that time the Hooisers beat Mizzou? Yeah... it should be a walk-over for Sparty.
  • Clemson @ Boston College (ESPNU): I'm still getting used to the idea that Boston College isn't completely terrible, so it's still too soon for me to entertain the idea that they might beat Clemson.
  • Kansas @ Texas Tech (FSN): After four straight losses, including three in conference, a visit from the Jayhawks may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
  • North Carolina State @ Louisville (ACC/RSN): Since they made a game of it against FSU, NC State has suffered a 41-0 loss to Clemson and a 30-14 loss to Boston College. Against a stingy Louisville defense, the situation does not seem likely to improve for Jacoby Brissett and Co.
  • Cincinnati @ Southern Methodist (CBSS): SMU had a relative offensive explosion last week against ECU, but they still lost 45-24. To give you an idea of how bad it's been, that's also their closest loss of the season. On a three-game schnide themselves, this is exactly what the Bearcats need right now.
  • Oklahoma State @ Texas Christian (FS1): The last game in what might be the toughest 3-game stretch anywhere in the country, TCU looks to sweep the state of Oklahoma. With the four point win over Oklahoma and a three point loss to Baylor, that puts TCU at a differential of +1, which is about as narrow as things get. Fortunately for them, despite the #15 ranking, Oklahoma State is still easily the easiest of the three opponents. Provided TCU keeps their focus, they should have to trouble facing K-State three weeks from with a 7-1 record.
  • Georgia @ Arkansas (SEC): It's just a matter of time before the punishing Arkansas attack ruins someone's season. I think they'll win one their remaining games against Georgia, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss, I just have no idea which. Given that, I'm still going with Georgia here.
6:00: Colorado @ Southern California (Pac12): It's hard to say on a week-to-week basis how USC is going to do. They've certainly got the talent, but with like 60 scholarship players they lack depth. That said, it shouldn't be a problem against the Buffs.

  • Tennessee @ Mississippi (ESPN): I guess I have to start believing these Mississippi schools, huh? That said, it is a much easier task against the Tennessees of the world. 
  • Missouri @ Florida (ESPN2): If you thought last week's game against LSU was dumb, this game may even worse. I guess I'll take the Gators?
  • Georgia Tech @ North Carolina (ESPNU): Well, it happened. After putting together perhaps their best game of the past few years against Miami, we managed to play one of our worst against Duke. We didn't do anything particularly well, but it's come to light that the defense is really pretty bad. UNC is having their fourth or fifth disappointing season in a row, but that doesn't mean they aren't playing. Well, more accurately, they are at least playing offense. They gave Notre Dame everything they wanted in a 50-43 shootout last weekend in South Bend. The problem is that giving up 30+ is pretty routine for the Tar Heels defense.
    Given those things, the game is likely to resemble the 68-50 shootout from the last time we visited Chapel Hill, hopefully with the good guys on the right side of it again.
  • Utah State @ Colorado State (CBSS): If the Aggies were at full strength, this would project to being a pretty even matchup, but alas, given the way things are I have to go with the Rams.
  • Kentucky @ Louisiana State (SEC): Kentucky is 5-1 and likely ecstatic about it, while LSU is 5-2 and disappointed. That said, this is easily the best team Kentucky has faced so far this year, and I'm leaning pretty heavily toward things getting back to normal for them over the new few weeks.
  • Nebraska @ Northwestern (BTN): Look, I know Northwestern has the 11th ranked scoring defense in the country, but their offense is bad, Nebraska's defense is just as good, and their offense was only stopped by a probably great Michigan State defense. So I just don't see it, Northwestern. Sorry.
  • Notre Dame @ Florida State (ABC): Since the scares against Clemson and NC State, FSU has reverted to type, with that type blowing out weak ACC competition. Notre Dame, not so much. Though both sport easy victories over Syracuse, Notre Dame struggled against a pretty good Stanford team, which is okay, but then against a not-so-good North Carolina team. Unlike Stanford, Florida State is actually capable of scoring touchdowns in the red zone, which means that if Jamesis Winston is still thinking about football at all (one story I read earlier this week noted wryly that Winston's decision making is apparently vastly better on the field than off it) I don't think the Domers have the offense to keep up.
  • Washington @ Oregon (FS1): After the Ducks' offensive like performance on Thursday night against Arizona, most assumed their game against UCLA would be the sack-pocalypse, but it turned out to be a comfortable Oregon win. Most are excited for this game because U-Dub has been the only team so far to contain the prolific Cal attack. Unlike Cal, though, Oregon actually fields a somewhat competent defense, which would be trouble for the relative pedestrian Husky attack. I like the Ducks in this one.
10:15: Nevada @ Brigham Young (ESPN2): Hey, I said watching Nevada was fun, not that they were good. BYU is still definitely the favorite here, but it's going to be closer than I would've projected a month or so again.

  • Stanford @ Arizona State (ESPN): This is a game of opposites: Arizona State's good offense versus Stanford's great defense, and vice versa. If the Sun Devils can score, say, three touchdowns they have a pretty good chance, but I don't like their chances of doing so.
  • Hawaii @ San Diego State (CBSS): The Aztecs field a pretty legitimate defense, and this isn't exactly the Hawaii offense of yore here. I like them at home.

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