Saturday, October 31, 2015

This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Syracuse @ Florida State (ABC): I suspect Florida State's... suspect offensive line will be less of an issue against the 'Cuse.
  • Mississippi @ Auburn (ESPN): Auburn seems to be a solidly boom-bust cycle sort of team, and this year is definitely more on the "bust" side.
  • Illinois @ Pennsylvania State (ESPN2): Penn State may have some of the six easiest wins in college football, while the Illini have been better than anyone expected. I'd say this game is a tossup, so I'll guess in favor of the Nittany Lions.
  • Nebraska @ Purdue (ESPNU): Whatever issues the Huskers may have, they won't be issues against Purdue.
  • Central Florida @ Cincinnati (ESPNEWS): Cincy should handle the worst team in major college football.
  • South Carolina @ Texas A&M (SEC): I keep thinking that the Gamecocks will figure it out one of these weeks, and it could well be here. Odds are against them, though.
  • South Florida @ Navy (CBSS): USF has looked solid this year, but Navy has handled this first year in a conference thing with aplomb. I like them here.
  • Rutgers @ Wisconsin (BTN): Wisconsin should be able to handle this one.
12:30: Virginia Tech @ Boston College (ACC): This will almost certainly be the lowest scoring game of the day. Going with VPI since the Hokies seems to have at least a semblance of an offense, though.

  • Southern California @ California (FOX): Welcome back, USC! Though given their success with their interim coaches the last few years, perhaps their domination of Utah wasn't that surprising? Either way, it makes this game all that more intriguing. USC can out-talent anyone in the country, including Cal. The main thing with USC is whether they show up, and if they do, I think they have a very good chance to win.
  • Colorado @ California-Los Angeles (Pac12): UCLA's loss to Arizona State is starting to look more baffling than good, but they should ease past the Buffs. Speaking of Colorado, though, who would've guessed that Utah would be competitive more quickly?
  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): Whoo boy. I'm still not tired of watching the replays of the miracle from last weekend. I celebrated so vigorously that my deltoids were sore the next day. That said, I wish I could see a full replay from the north endzone.
    Anyway, this game. Virginia's had a schedule every bit as difficult as ours and with arguably worse results. What's the take away from that? It's hard to be sure. What is hard for the Jackets is winning in Charlottesville, where we've won the all of four times ever. If you enjoy anniversaries that are multiples of five, though, then 25 years ago on Tuesday GT won at then-#1 UVA, a win that put them on the map and primed to be a candidate for #1 themselves at the end of the season. Of course, tying with the sentence before that one, GT would then lose in Charlottesville every other year until 2009. So it's a bit helter-skelter up there.
    My main worry in this contest is how the team reacts to the win last week. It was awesome. The return is running continuously on loop. Lance Austin is already a legend. Jamal Golden won ACC Defensive Player of the Week for his interception in the end zone, the first thrown by Golson all season. The injuries remain, especially after multiple defensive backs left the game against FSU. So which team shows up? The one that couldn't block anyone for a month and a half and had horrendous special teams play? Or the one that could rush the passer, seal the outside running lanes, and provide a one-in-lifetime special teams play?
  • Florida vs. Georgia (@Jacksonville, FL; CBS): In the new, post-Florida-wins-every-year phase of this rivalry, it's been downright wacky and tough to predict. That said, I feel like I can reasonably pick the Gators here.
  • Clemson @ North Carolina State (ABC/ESPN2): Clemson should remain undefeated here.
  • Maryland @ Iowa (ABC/ESPN2): As should the Hawkeyes.
  • Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (ESPN): should the Cowboys.
  • Oklahoma @ Kansas (FS1): This one will likely have the largest margin of victory, though.
  • Boise State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (ESPNU): Boy howdy, which of these mid-afternoon to watch is pretty obvious, isn't it? Boise should roll.
  • San Diego State @ Colorado State (CBSS): The Aztecs have smashed through their conference schedule so far with aplomb, a trend which figures to continue here.
4:00: Tulsa @ Southern Methodist (ESPNEWS):I'd love to have more to tell you about this game, but SMU is 1-6, so...

  • Michigan @ Minnesota (ESPN): It's been a rough week for the Gophers, after Jerry Kill had to step down for his health. It's a real bummer, to put it mildly. As for the game, Minnesota's three losses have all come to teams with functioning defenses, which Michigan has, to say the least.
  • Vanderbilt @ Houston (ESPN2): Well, Vandy's a big underdog in this one. Who am I to disagree?
  • Miami @ Duke (ESPNU): Miami is sort of the ACC's version of USC, a capable team that has issues living up to the expectations created by the talent. With Al Golden gone, will the Hurricanes get a similar result? I don't feel safe calling that.
  • Texas @ Iowa State (FS1): Iowa State just fired their offensive coordinator. While head coaches getting canned in-season is unfortunate but understandable, dismissing and hiring new coordinators in many ways makes less sense (and it certainly happens less often). Suffice it to say, I'm going with the Longhorns here.
  • Tulane @ Memphis (CBSS): Three of Memphis's next four games are against solid to really good teams. This is not one of them.
  • Oregon State @ Utah (Pac12): I think the Utes will rebound from their devastating loss last week (it's not like they're out of it in the Pac-12 South), but I wouldn't be shocked if there's a hangover.
7:30: Tennessee @ Kentucky (SEC): I'm not sure which of these teams to believe in, so I'm going to go with my gut and say Tennessee.

8:00: Notre Dame @ Temple (ABC): It's cool Temple is undefeated and all, but their "signature win" this year is an eight point win over Cincinnati. Notre Dame has at least 4 better wins. I don't think this will be close.

  • Stanford @ Washington State (ESPN): As has been observed elsewhere, Wazzou is essentially having a breakout season that started with a loss to FCS Portland State. While I don't think they have any shot of beating Stanford, hey, it's Halloween in Pullman, weird stuff can happen. (Probably not, though.)
  • Air Force @ Hawaii (CBSS): Hawaii is kind of awful this year. Did you know Norm Chow is still their head coach? I had to look it up, so I can confirm he is. Huh.
11:00: Arizona @ Washington (FS1): Washington has a bizarre win over Southern Cal to their credit and not much else. Going with the Wildcats here.

To end, a quick shoutout to two of my favorite college football writers, whom I have followed across multiple sites over the years. Holly and Matt, I look forward to seeing where you land.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bowl Predictions 2015: Week 2

They're late but they're up. I'm three teams short again, huzzah!

Just in case, I looked up the top 5 in the most recent APR scores in case I need some 5-7 teams. Problem is, it has to be one of the top five in the APR, and no in that group is looking likely to finish 5-7. (Indeed, they'll all probably finish with much better records.) Again, there is no need to panic just yet, because as upsets happen things will shake out. That said, also for that reason I'm not comfortable doing a full analysis just yet. Look for that after Week 10 of the season, I'd say.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Clemson @ Miami (ABC): Miami probably isn't as bad as most people think. Will that be good enough to pull the (according to Vegas, minor) upset over the Tigers? I also suspect that with a noon kick in Miami it'll probably be mostly Clemson fans, as well. I additionally suspect that Clemson will continue hurtling toward their clash against Florida State in two weeks.
  • Iowa State @ Baylor (ESPN): Well, TCU did struggle in the first half before... okay yeah, I can't do it.
  • Northwestern @ Nebraska (ESPN2): So it turns out that Northwestern's offense is still kind of terrible, but I confess to not know what happened to the defense. Sure, giving up 38 to Michigan kinda-sorta makes sense, but 40 to Iowa? Where did that come from? I don't feel comfortable about it, but I'm going with Nebraska here.
  • Kansas State @ Texas (FS1): Bill Synder has, thus far, been unable to pull off another trick, but as the Big 12's resident wizard, there could still be some magic left. Also, it fits in with the way things have been going for Texas this year.
  • Pittsburgh @ Syracuse (ESPNU): Syracuse is terrible, Pitt should roll.
  • Houston @ Central Florida (ESPNEWS): And speaking of rolling... goodness me this could get bad. Real bad.
  • Auburn @ Arkansas (SEC): Auburn could well lose this game, but I find it difficult to pick Arkansas nonetheless.
  • North Carolina State @ Wake Forest (ACC/RSN): NC State is probably less awful than Wake? It's close, though.
12:30: Boston College @ Louisville (ACC):
Dear Boston College Eagles,
    You lost a game to Wake Forest 3-0. I cannot, in good conscience, pick you in any of your remaining contests.


1:00: Tulane @ Navy (CBSS): While Tulane does have the advantage of having already played a team with a substantially similar offense so far this season, the 55 point margin does not bode well for their chances.

  • Tennessee @ Alabama (CBS): There's not a lot of suggest that the Vols, revamped as they may be, are ready for this.
  • Indiana @ Michigan State (ABC/ESPN2): A week after the best/worst play in the history of college football, Sparty gets to play a team that just gave up 55 points to Rutgers. Yeah, I don't think they're going to need any botched punts in this one.
  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (ABC/ESPN2): The Sooners vented their frustrations onto K-State last week, pitching a 55-0 shutout. (This is the third time in this post 55 has shown up, what gives? Too bad this isn't a sport where I could drop 88 a lot.) That said, the Red Raiders can score some points of their own, and there's little to suggest so far that Oklahoma are as good as TCU or Baylor. I think it'll be close, but the Sooners will escape.
  • Pennsylvania State vs. Maryland (@Baltimore, MD; ESPN): I don't get the idea that Randy Edsall had beat Ohio State it would've saved his job. I mean, really? It's not like beating Ohio State after losing 45-6 to WVU and 28-0 to Michigan magically shows that everything is A-OK and that the program isn't a dumpster fire anymore. The situation in College Park seems to bad from the outside that I most agree with EDSBS's assessment that Maryland was doing Edsall a favor by firing him.
  • Kansas @ Oklahoma State (FS1): Yeah, this week is a bit short on interesting matchups, why do you ask? Cowboys roll.
  • Duke @ Virginia Tech (ESPNU): It still feels weird to type this, but: Duke should win this one.
  • Wisconsin @ Illinois (BTN): While there's still plenty of time for the Illini to finish 4-8, they still have to be the most surprising team this year, right? I don't think they'll beat the Badgers, but still.
  • Virginia @ North Carolina (ACC/RSN): I guess the nicest thing you can say about our performance against the Tar Heels is that we're one of only two teams that scored more than 14 against them so far this season? Seriously, in their four wins they've held all their opponents to exactly 14 points. Bizarre. That said, it's likely that UVA will score somewhere around that amount, while Carolina score more than enough.
  • Southern Methodist @ South Florida (ESPNEWS): It sounds odd to say this about a 3-3 team, but USF is clearly better than SMU.
  • Missouri @ Vanderbilt (SEC): Two terrible offenses and at least one strong defense. I'm predicting Mizzou 12, Vandy 6.
  • Washington State @ Arizona (Pac12): Don't look, but Wazzou is on a nice little run right now. Is it enough to beat Arizona? Probably not.
4:30: Connecticut @ Cincinnati (CBSS): Cincy isn't great or anything, but UConn is terrible.

  • Texas A&M @ Mississippi (ESPN): I'm still not buying what TAMU is selling. Going with Ole Miss here.
  • Florida State @ Georgia Tech (ESPN2): I may have audibly exhaled before starting on this bit. What else is there to say about this season? Last week, I already talked about the injury and experience situation. I'm not sure what else to say at this point.
  • Western Kentucky @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): This is how dire Week 8 is: these teams have the best combined record of any matchup this week. LSU is still going to win, but I'm hoping WKU makes then earn it.
  • Utah @ Southern California (FOX): Meanwhile, I am buying what the Utes are selling. I currently don't have them losing again.
  • Kentucky @ Mississippi State (SEC): Both these teams only have two losses, but that's about where the similarities end. The Bulldogs should roll.
8:00: Ohio State @ Rutgers (ABC): Speaking of rolling, with a settled starter at QB, will the Buckeye offense get back on track? Considering they just gave up 52 to Indiana, against Rutgers it was probably a good bet either way.

10:15: Wyoming @ Boise State (ESPN2): Boise got beat bad by Utah State last week, which is to say, I would not want to Wyoming right now.

  • Washington @ Stanford (ESPN): Losing by 6 to this year's edition to Oregon is not quite as meaningful as it was in the recent past. Meanwhile, Stanford figures to continue their quest to be the college football equivalent of a steamroller.
  • Colorado @ Oregon State (Pac12): I'd say the odds are looking pretty good for the Beavers to pick up their first Pac-12 win of the season.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bowl Predictions 2015: Week 1

It's that time once again. In the interest of not burying the lead, here's a direct link to the first edition of the 2015 bowl predictions.

Again, the process is the same that I've been using in the past few years, though without the BCS part. The key thing to realize is that I go through every team, look at their remaining schedule, and then try to figure out how many more games they will win. This early, this tends to not be a very exact science, as since this is college football we're talking about, wacky upsets happen.

This time around, for the time in a long time (if ever), I'm actually short three teams. Of course, we have 80 possible bids this year, so the fact I'm predicting 77 of the sport's 127 teams at this level will have .500 records or better is still pretty astounding. This is where the previous paragraph comes in: since upsets will happen and some teams will improve while others get worse, you'll have a team that really closes out the year and rallies to a 8-4 record while another might slump to 7-5 after starting 5-2. It's hard to call these things, sometimes. Nonetheless, I probably do need to see which teams would be eligible at 5-7, if it comes to that.

In previous years, I released the picks this week because this is usually when the first BCS standings came out. Without the BCS I'm now trying to guess what a group of thirteen people will vote on in a conference room in Dallas in a couple of weeks. To give an idea of what I mean by my not predicting a lot of upsets, though, the teams in the playoffs and the committee-controlled bowls all have two losses or less by my current predictions, which will probably not wind up being the case by the time December rolls around.

So, to reiterate: it's early. If I have your team in the Boca Raton Bowl instead of the Orange Bowl, don't panic. I'm probably wrong.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

This Weekend in College Football: Week 7

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • West Virginia @ Baylor (FOX): There's a lot of action in every timeslot today, and this is merely the start. I expect some early fireworks but eventually for Baylor to prevail.
  • Mississippi @ Memphis (ABC/ESPN2): This is almost certainly the biggest regular season game hosted at the Liberty Bowl in a long time. That said, if this game had happened in early September instead of mid-October, Memphis would probably not be undefeated right now. If they somehow do pull off the upset, the Tigers will become the favorites for that Group of Five bid.
  • Iowa @ Northwestern (ABC/ESPN2): This looks all the world like it's going to be a classic Big Ten defensive slugfest, which means the final score will probably wind up being like 52-48. Given that, I favor the Wildcats.
  • Louisville @ Florida State (ESPN): I was one of many who figured Louisville would be important players in the ACC this year, but, well, that's the ACC for you.
  • Texas Tech @ Kansas (FS1): Kansas has failed to prevent any of their opponent except for Rutgers from scoring more than 30 points. Texas Tech has not scored less than 30 points this season. Yeah.
  • South Florida @ Connecticut (ESPNU): I cannot conceive of any reason to watch this game. I guess USF will win?
  • Tulane @ East Carolina (ESPNEWS): ECU is the better team here, but it's hard to tell at this point. It should become more clear as they get into their AAC schedule.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Mississippi State (SEC): I'm pretty sure Miss State is going to win, but nonetheless, the Bulldogs from the Bayou can score some points. Could be closer than it appears.
  • Purdue @ Wisconsin (BTN): Wisconsin.
12:30: Pittsburgh @ Georgia Tech (ACC): While no football team is truly perfect, the list of things Tech is doing badly vastly outstrips the things they are doing well at this point. While losing to Clemson was the expected outcome, that was bad. I think I summed it up best last weekend after the game. (Last weekend was horrible for me sports-wise.) From last year, we retained none of our starting skill position players other than our (excellent) quarterback. Then all their replacements got hurt. Yeah. The reality of not being of college football's elites is that your two-deep is not full of guys who would "start anywhere else".

  • Oklahoma @ Kansas State (ABC): If nothing else, this post will move the post down on the front page of this site that predicted Oklahoma would beat Texas, though I did at least allow for "wacky shenanigans". At any rate, despite starting their 12th-string quarterback or some such, K-State only lost by a touchdown to TCU last weekend. Can Bill Synder's wizardy beat the Sooners? Sure, why not?
  • Alabama @ Texas A&M (CBS): Stickin' with the Tide, here.
  • Michigan State @ Michigan (ESPN): I think we all figured it would happen, but it just didn't figure out happen so quickly. What's it, you ask? The rejuvenation of Michigan, of course. That said, the shutout streak is impressive, but Sparty has the most competent offense the Wolverines have seen since Week 1 against Utah. (Pretty safe to say that was a good loss, at this point.) It all just seems too big, too fast, though. I'm going with Michigan State.
  • Nebraska @ Minnesota (ESPN2): Nebraska just looks hapless right now. Going with the Gophers to retain the first college football trophy created by the Internet.
  • Virginia Tech @ Miami (ESPNU): While both these teams are struggling on offense, Miami is struggling less.
  • Air Force @ Colorado State (CBSS): Air Force has more wins, but neither of these teams looks especially good to me. I guess I'll go with the Falcons.
  • Rutgers @ Indiana (BTN): The Hoosiers followed up their almost-upset of Ohio State with a 29-7 thud against Penn State. Rutgers is a pretty good way to get back on track, though.
  • Syracuse @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): Maybe if we all stop making jokes about Mike London's job status UVA will actually finally get rid of him? That or losing big to Syracuse, probably.
  • Vanderbilt @ South Carolina (SEC): ... I may have to add more Spurrier quotes to the bottom of the page. Gamecocks should roll.
  • Oregon State @ Washington State (Pac12): Sound the alert, we're in a reality where frickin' Washington State is now beating Oregon. I'm pretty sure that actually means Oregon State will win, but I can't bring myself to actually pick them.
  • Florida @ Louisiana State (ESPN): Hey Gators, welcome back to relevance! In return, here's your weird, meaningless, cross-division "rivalry" game. This will be, by far, the stiffest test for either of these teams so far this season. Florida looks like the better team to me, but their starting quarterback is suspended, and LSU does have the best running back in college football. And hey, it's at night: Yes, yes it is Les. And given these facts, I'm going with LSU.
  • Texas Christian @ Iowa State (ESPN2): Oof. Iowa State isn't awful this year, but... yeah.
  • Boston College @ Clemson (ESPNU): I fully expect Clemson to follow up last week's complete domination of us with a flop against BC. They'll still win, though.
  • Wake Forest @ North Carolina (ACC/RSN): Wake Forest beat Boston College 3-0 last week. Enough said.
  • Southern California @ Notre Dame (NBC): The circumstances for the Trojans look pretty bad right, and I'm not sure there's a happy ending in sight right now.
  • Missouri @ Georgia (SEC): While Georgia losing to Tennessee was about the best thing that happened last weekend, they figure to get back on track against an awful Mizzou squad.
  • Central Florida @ Temple (CBSS):UCF may well be historically awful. We could be watching something special here.
8:00: Pennsylvania State @ Ohio State (ABC): Don't look, but after losing to Temple the Nittany Lions have gone 5-0! Of course, either Temple or Indiana is the best team they've played this year, but still. Ohio State got some of their mojo back against Maryland last weekend; that trend figures to continue.

9:00: Arizona @ Colorado (FS1): Arizona isn't good, but Colorado is worse.

10:00: Arizona State @ Utah (ESPN): I think the Utes are legit, but we're about to find out just how legitimate they are.

  • Oregon @ Washington (ESPN2): That's it, I'm picking against Oregon. I can't even remember the last time that happened, but current circumstances leave me with no choice.
  • San Diego State @ San Jose State (ESPNU): Two 3-3 Mountain West division rivals.... hrm. San Jose State looks a tad better, so let's just go with that and get some sleep.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

This Weekend in College Football: Week 6

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Oklahoma vs. Texas (@Dallas, TX; ABC): Well, things are looking really, really bad for Texas at this point, but I guess if it's some consolation it's not unknown for this game to feature wacky shenanigans. The thing about that, though, is that you can't exactly bet on that.
  • Indiana @ Pennsylvania State (ESPN): Though part of the reason that Indiana almost pulled off a stunning upset of the Buckeyes last weekend has to due with Ohio State's issues on offense, they still appear to be a more solid team than Penn State.
  • Baylor @ Kansas (FS1): Kansas lost to Memphis 55-23. Uh-oh.
  • Illinois @ Iowa (ESPN2): Illinois fired their coach a week before the season started. Iowa has been stagnant under Kirk Ferentz's unassailable contract for the past several seasons. Naturally, these teams are a combined 9-1. That said, Illinois still got blown out by UNC and they squeaked by Nebraska last weekend, which gives me more confidence in Iowa.
  • Tulane @ Temple (ESNPU): It feels odd to predict Temple dominating, nay, blowing someone out, but here we are.
  • New Mexico State @ Mississippi (SEC): Dear Aggies: Get money, get paid, y'all.
  • Duke @ Army (CBSS): This one doesn't look good for the Black Knights.
  • Maryland @ Ohio State (BTN): So as it turns out, maybe having two quarterbacks is worse than having none? Ohio State is currently one of the least efficient offenses in the country, a fact which definitely contributed to their near-upset at Indiana. That said, the Terps offer a wonderful chance for them to get things back on track.
12:30: Virginia @ Pittsburgh (ACC): UVA was last seem getting beaten 56-14 by Boise State two weeks ago, so I'm going to go with Pitt.

3:00: Wake Forest @ Boston College (ACC/RSN): BC put up some good numbers early in the season, but against anyone with a pulse on defense they have completely faltered. I'm going with Wake here.

  • Georgia @ Tennessee (CBS): Tennessee can't keep finding excruciating ways to lose, can they? And not to get too Bill Simmons on you, but UGA had a stomach-punch game of their own last weekend, mostly in the sense that soon after the second half started they were pretty much out of it, and wrecking their shot a national title. I think Georgia's going to win, but I'm sure 38-10 sounds relative pleasurable to Vols fans right now.
  • Navy @ Notre Dame (NBC): While this looks good a good edition of Navy, it's hard to see Notre Dame losing here.
  • Georgia Tech @ Clemson (ABC/ESPN2): So, yeah, as it turns out, having to replace all your skill position players (other than the QB) is kind of a problem? (In fairness, injuries have not helped at all.) As I said going into the season, I was generally weary of all the preseason hype and expectations, and this weariness has been borne out in the worst possible way. The rest of the schedule is brutal, starting here. It'll be... interesting to see how this team responds to the now significantly lower expectations.
  • Wisconsin @ Nebraska (ESPN2/ABC): Most of the Internet college football types were somewhat, I wouldn't say surprised by the Pellini firing, but I'd say it wasn't exactly a lauded move. This was especially true after Nebraska poached Mike Reilly, who isn't a bad coach or anything, but it just seemed like a lateral move, except that Reilly probably swears a lot less. While Wisconsin is having a bit of a crisis of their own (realize that these are the two teams that just lose to Iowa and Illinois), the Badgers still figure to have the upper hand here.
  • Louisiana State @ South Carolina (@Baton Rouge, LA; ESPN): I applaud LSU's classiness and general level of support of South Carolina due to the floods in South Carolina, given that a truly neutral venue was unable to be found in time. I'd still expect LSU to win here, though.
  • Minnesota @ Purdue (ESPNU): The Gophers are solid, but their offense is "somewhat" lacking. But, hey, if there's a team they can score some points against...
  • Syracuse @ South Florida (CBSS): USF is pretty awful, so the 'Cuse should figure to take this one.
  • Northwestern @ Michigan (BTN): I'm sure the Big Ten is somewhat regretting a few things involving their TV rights at the moment, or at least I am because I don't get the Big Ten Network in HD. That said, both these teams feature solid offenses and really stingy defenses. I'm not well versed in Big Ten lore, but I would hazard a guess that this is the biggest Northwestern-Michigan game ever. I'm giving a slight edge to Michigan, but on my pick 'em I have Northwestern covering the 7.5.
3:45: Connecticut @ Central Florida (ESPNEWS): UCF is really, really, incredibly bad. I don't know if I'd be shocked if they won this game, but I'd be at least vaguely surprised.

  • Oregon State @ Arizona (FS1): One of these two loss teams is slightly better than the other, and it's a fair guess that team (Arizona, by the way) will be trying very, very hard to get a win after losing 111-47 to UCLA and Stanford.
  • Troy @ Mississippi State (SEC): Troy is vaguely better than New Mexico State, so I guess there's some slight increase in dignity for the Bulldogs compared to their rivals?
6:00: Washington State @ Oregon (Pac12): Like I said last week, Oregon isn't terrible or anything, they're just not great anymore. What would really be a shock, though, is if they bungle things against Wazzou.

  • Arkansas @ Alabama (ESPN): Okay, Razorbacks, you finally got a win, but you got one against the most self-destructive team in the country. If there's anything even this slightly diminished edition of Alabama doesn't do, though, it's beat themselves.
  • Oklahoma State @ West Virginia (ESPN2): Oklahoma State gets a chance to prove they're actually kind of a decent. It's a late game in Morgantown, so we know how that can go, but for now, I'm sticking with the Cowboys.
  • Boise State @ Colorado State (CBSS): Boise looks like they're back, y'all.
  • Texas Christian @ Kansas State (FOX): So one of my cousins is playing for K-State, maybe they'll let him play quarterback? Otherwise, if there's anyone who has the wizardy to win with offensive linemen lining up behind the offensive line, it's Bill Synder, but... yeah, things look kind of grim here.
  • East Carolina @ Brigham Young (ESPNU): This would be easier if either of these teams was more like what I initially thought before looking them up, but alas. It looks like both these teams are solid with some tough losses. With it being in Utah, though, I'm giving the edge to BYU.
  • Florida @ Missouri (SEC): Is Florida back? It's not like they were gone for very long, though. That said, while this 5-0 vs. 4-1, that 4-1 is somewhat deceiving, considering whom Mizzou has beat and their eight point loss to Kentucky. I'm going with the Gators here. (By the way, while we're here, this past Tuesday was the 25th anniversary of the Fifth Down game.)
  • Miami @ Florida State (ABC): I guess there's some unrest vis-a-vis Al Golden down in Miami? I don't think he's doing that bad, but they're probably going to lose this game, which will almost certainly be very bad for his continued job security.
  • Michigan State @ Rutgers (BTN): I'm currently operating under the assumption that Sparty's narrow, three point win over Purdue was a bit of a fluke and they'll have a much easier time with the Scarlet Knights.
  • California @ Utah (ESPN): As it turns out, this is the Utes's first game since their 62-20 drubbing of Oregon two weeks ago. Cal, in the meantime, eked out some narrow wins over Washington and Wazzou, which while exciting do not inspire confidence against the Utes. This is the game of the day, though, and I'd recommend finding a way to watch it, provided you're not watching USA-Mexico like I'm going to be.
  • Colorado @ Arizona State (Pac12): Getting blown out by USC and then soundly beating UCLA isn't exactly a recommended way to be a contender, but hey, whatever works. The Sun Devils shouldn't have much trouble with the Buffs, either way.
10:15: Wyoming @ Air Force (ESPN2): The Falcons aren't good, but fortunately for them, Wyoming is very, very bad.

10:30: Utah State @ Fresno State (CBSS): Through four games, Utah State has managed to score only 76 points. Through five games, Fresno State has scored 109 points. So that's pretty similar. The difference? Utah State has only given up 82 points. Fresno, 201 points. Yeah, uh, giving up 40 points a game is... not good. Yes, they did give up 73 to Ole Miss, but they also gave up 45 and 49 to Utah and San Jose State. I'm pretty okay with say Fresno State isn't very good at defense. So I'm go with the Aggies.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

As usual, times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Texas @ Texas Christian (ABC): Texas is better this year, no doubt, but it's hard to see their offense improving enough to keep up with TCU.
  • Iowa @ Wisconsin (ESPN): Wisconsin all the way here.
  • Purdue @ Michigan State (ESPN2): Another easy to call Big Ten game; Sparty should prevail.
  • West Virginia @ Oklahoma (FS1): It's funny that Oklahoma, of all teams, should be the team that has to prove themselves to the Baylors and TCUs of the world, but welcome to the Big 12 in 2015. West Virginia presents some issues, but it should be the Sooners in the end.
  • Army @ Pennsylvania State (ESPNU): Penn State isn't very good, but Army is worse.
  • Central Florida @ Tulane (ESPNEWS): UCF is 0-4. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, I tell ya. Nonetheless, Tulane is pretty bad, so there's a good chance the Knights will get their first win here.
  • South Carolina @ Missouri (SEC): While I'm sure most will be focused on how not-good South Carolina is this year, it's worth pointing out that Mizzou won the SEC East last year and they have scorelines like "Mizzou 9, UConn 6" and "Kentucky 21, Mizzou 13". Of course, the Gamecocks also lost to Kentucky, so we're not exactly dealing with powerhouses here. I'm going to go with South Carolina, because they seem to have some semblance of an offense now. Maybe?
  • Houston @ Tulsa (CBSS): Going with the Cougs here.
  • Michigan @ Maryland (BTN): This game actually displaced the Minnesota-Northwestern game as a result of getting moved up due to the hurricane. Either way, UMD is terrible, so it should be another successful stop on the Michigan Comeback Tour.
  • Pittsburgh @ Virginia Tech (ACC/RSN): So, wait, Virginia Tech lost to ECU again? When will they learn? Either way, they did score 28 points, which is more than the James Connor-less Panthers have mustered against FBS competition this year.
12:30: Louisville @ North Carolina State (ACC): Well, the Wolfpack are 4-0 but have played absolutely no one, while Louisville is 1-3 but with losses to Auburn, Clemson, and Houston. I view this as essentially a tossup, but I'm going to go with NCSU.

  • Alabama @ Georgia (CBS): The fun part about this is not only are the Tide underdogs, but the last time they weren't favored in a game was the 2009 game against... Georgia. That said, this is still pretty much a "meteor game" for me, but I'm still going with the Alabama until I'm sure they're not good. Then again, that's what I said about Oregon last week, and look where that got me...
  • Baylor vs. Texas Tech (@Arlington, TX; ABC/ESPN2):This game should be a lot of fun. I think Baylor will prevail in the end, but TTU looks better this year and they may be able to keep up.
  • Ohio State @ Indiana (ABC/ESPN2): I guess Gameday just hasn't been to Bloomington before? Buckeyes should dominate.
  • Florida State @ Wake Forest (ESPN): FSU all the way.
  • North Carolina @ Georgia Tech (ESPNU): So... yeah. 2-2 is not quite how I imagined this season starting. But it's almost like all the things I've been afraid of have come true, except that the defense appears to be kind of okay to good. If nothing else, perhaps this game being a shootout again will mean the offense will have gelled a bit. The most galling thing I remember from last week was a pass play in the second half from deep in our own territory. The pass wound up incomplete, but Justin Thomas was hurried once again. At first blush, A5 and I thought it was a busted screen play, based on where the defensive line ended up in relation our offensive line. I rewinded my DVR and discovered no, the blocking was just that bad that it looked like it was a screen. Ridiculous. It was emblematic of the offensive line's effort the whole game. If we were getting any sort of perimeter blocking, the situation might be better, but the injuries and talent loss at the skill positions really has come back to bite us. That said, in terms of pure defensive talent, this will be a bit of a respite for us. Which, again, will perhaps give the offense a chance to gel. We'll see.
  • Air Force @ Navy (CBSS): It's leg one of the Command-in-Chief's trophy, and honestly, I have to go with the Falcons.
  • Boston College @ Duke (ACC/RSN): Duke's path to the Coastal is clear, since they dodge both Florida State and Clemson. Step one starts here. They should win.
  • Kansas State @ Oklahoma State (FS1): I have to say, going to three overtimes with Louisiana Tech isn't a good look if you're the K-States of the world. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State appears to be on the verge of relevance in the Big 12 with a 4-0 start. I think they complete the first step here.
  • East Carolina @ Southern Methodist (ESPNEWS): ECU isn't great, but they're better than SMU.
  • San Jose State @ Auburn (SEC): Auburn is... not good this year, but man, they have absolutely no business losing to San Jose State. If they do, I will drive to Spartan Stadium and help tear down the goalposts myself.
  • Washington State @ California (Pac12): With a win over Washington last week, and the apparent toppling of Oregon's dynasty, this is the Bears's chance to seize the Pac-12 North. But with Utah, UCLA, USC, and Oregon following, they cannot afford to overlook a maybe-not-as-terrible-as-loss-to-Portland-State-might-indicate Washington State team.
  • Nebraska @ Illinois (BTN): They're still going to lose to Nebraska, but I could see Illinois going to a bowl this year. Which, yeah, I would not have called a little over a month ago.
  • Mississippi @ Florida (ESPN): Well, the Rebels haven't made it look easy at all, but they are the odds-on favorite now for the SEC West. Florida's an improved outfit this year, but I'm not sure they're improved enough to win here.
  • Arkansas @ Tennessee (ESPN2): This one is Tennessee's to win, if they can figure out how to not lose.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): Oof, uh, LSU.
  • Vanderbilt @ Middle Tennessee State (CBSS): I feel pretty good about saying that MTSU has a pretty good, and maybe even likely, chance of winning here.
  • Arizona State @ California-Los Angeles (FOX): The Sun Devils got exposed, burned (if you will) by Southern Cal last weekend. Their cross-town rivals will now to look to top that 42-14 beatdown. I'm not sure they will, but they'll almost certainly still win.
  • Mississippi State @ Texas A&M (SEC): I don't think either one of these teams is especially good, so, um, let's go with the home team I guess?
8:00: Notre Dame @ Clemson (ABC): I think Clemson is good, but I think that Notre Dame is pretty-to-really good. Hard to not like the Irish in this one, but that said, it'll be interesting to see what effect the monsoon-esque conditions will have on the game.
10:00: Oregon @ Colorado (ESPN): It's the end of a dynasty, yes, and Oregon looked, really, really bad against Utah. But, Colorado is still, well, Colorado. I think Oregon will demolish them and imbue their base with, perhaps, false hope.

10:15: Hawaii @ Boise State (ESPN2): Boise still looks pretty solid, and Hawaii still looks pretty terrible.

  • Fresno State @ San Diego State (CBSS): Both these teams are pretty terrible, but, looks, I have a commitment to you to list every FBS vs. FBS game that's on national television, so... here we are. Considering Fresno is fresh off getting pounded by San Jose State, I'm going to go with the Aztecs.
  • Arizona @ Stanford (Pac12): In this edition of Pac-12 After Dark, Arizona just lost badly in their first real game of the year, while the Cardinal have, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, rallied from their showing against Northwestern and have been pretty respectable the past few weeks. I'm expecting that trend to continue here.