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.

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