Friday, November 17, 2017

This Weekend in College Football: Week 12

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Mississippi State @ Arkansas (CBS): Novembert seems to be a thing of the past, especially now that the man who hired Brett Bielema was just fired. Have to like Miss State here.
  • Virginia @ Miami (ABC): Well, it'd be kind of on-brand for modern day Miami to score a huge win over a top-tier opponent and then immediately flatline against Virginia, but somehow I just don't see that happening.
  • Michigan @ Wisconsin (FOX): The best indicator of the kind of week we're looking at for Week 12 is that this is the consensus best game going. Which, well, that's probably true, and Michigan is the best team between Wisconsin and their trip to Indianapolis in a couple of weeks. That said, this still a reloading Michigan team that has some severe issues on offense that figure to be tough to overcome in Madison.
  • Texas @ West Virginia (ESPN): The Longhorns managed to break the 30-point barrier for the first time in a month last week by walloping Kansas 42-27. Unfortunately for them, West Virginia is not Kansas.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Auburn (ESPN2): Tigers.
  • Texas Christian @ Texas Tech (FS1): Texas Tech hasn't beaten a single Big 12 team with a pulse, a trend that doesn't figure to change now.
  • Central Florida @ Temple (ESPNU): We're only a week away from USF-UCF!
  • Southern Methodist @ Memphis (ESPNEWS): If you get tired of watching large men crash into other large men to move the ball a few yards at a time, then boy howdy do I have an offer for you! (If you get ESPNEWS, that is.) Because there will be POINTS in this game. The over/under is 110 points. Given that there's a non-zero chance that the halftime score could be 52-50, I'd say take the over. Outside of that, though, Memphis should win.
  • Minnesota @ Northwestern (BTN): I have no opinion on this game. Northwestern, I guess?
  • Cincinnati @ East Carolina (CBSS): Don't watch this unless you're flipping into the see the replay of something rare and/or dumb, like a one-point safety for something. (Which, given the announcers CBSS usually has, would be hilarious because I suspect they would have no idea what's going on.) As for who's going win? Uh, ECU I guess?
12:20: Pittsburgh @ Virginia Tech (ACC): I do so enjoy beating VPI, but they should be able to get back on track at home against a struggling Pitt team.

3:00: Arizona State @ Oregon State (Pac12): Remember those salad days of early October when the Sun Devils ripped off consecutive wins over Washington and Utah and we were all "hey, maybe they have a really good defense!" Yeah, it didn't last. They should still be able to take the Beavers, though.

  • Illinois @ Ohio State (ABC): Buckeyes.
  • Navy @ Notre Dame (NBC): Provided Notre Dame can get up for this game at all, they should be able to take this one. This Navy is good, but not as good as the Navy teams that have given Notre Dame fits in the past.
  • Kentucky @ Georgia (CBS): Kentucky is probably the second or third best team in the SEC East right now, which says more about the relative state of Florida and Tennessee football right now, but still. Anyway, it was fun to watch Georgia lose last week (and lose badly, at that), but they should be able to run over, around, and through Kentucky.
  • Oklahoma @ Kansas (ESPN): Sooners.
  • Kansas State @ Oklahoma State (ESPN2): Kansas State won't win this game, but I sort of consider it a compliment to Bill Synder that I can't just write off a 5-5 K-State completely.
  • Syracuse @ Louisville (ESPNU): The Fightin' Lamar Jacksons should be able to handle Syracuse, but the usual problem will be that Lamar Jackson does not play also defense.
  • Purdue @ Iowa (BTN): In some way, the fact that Purdue is associated with fun football again is still pretty good for Year 1. The Hawkeyes though, yeah, they're probably going to win.
  • San Jose State @ Colorado State (CBSS): Rams.
  • Georgia Tech @ Duke (ACC/RSN): It's not going to rain tomorrow. There's a lot of factors that go into whether or not you're a good rain team. To be clear, there are no good rain teams (except Michigan State). Classically, run-oriented teams are considered to be good in the rain, which may well be true. Like many assumptions along those lines, Georgia Tech is often lumped in that category, which results in announcers being shocked when Paul Johnson says things like "we're not a good rain team". This is because the stereotype imagines a bunch of guys in mud-stained, soaked jerseys, running backs being literally slippery, and just the lines crashing into other lines. But that's not really Paul Johnson's game. Remember, the option offense works on the principal of using numbers to gain leverage against the defense to hit big plays. This means you need linemen that are able to move and receivers that can hold their blocks. If it's wet, both of these things are much more difficult. And that doesn't even account for the slipperiness of a pitched ball.
    But yeah, it's not going to rain tomorrow.
    As mentioned before, beating VPI is always fun. A great relief for me especially is that we finally manged to not only get a lead in the final minutes but hold it. This team is one of the most snakebit Tech teams I've ever seen in close games and it was fantastic to finally get one in the bag. Now, though we need to win a road game for the first time this year against a team that we've generally found to be tricksy the past few seasons. Hopefully we're up to the task in Durham.
  • Maryland @ Michigan State (FOX): Speaking of the weather, the forecast for East Lansing, MI tomorrow is rain throughout the day and a temperature of about 42 degrees at kickoff. SPARTY GONNA ROLL Y'ALL.
  • Nebraska @ Pennsylvania State (FS1): Penn State's just over here, waiting to be called on, bags packed and ready for Indianapolis, you know, just in case. They just need to make sure they don't look past this one for that theoretical Big Ten title game.
  • Houston @ Tulane (ESPNEWS): This Tulane team has been feisty at times this year, but yeah, I don't like their odds against Houston.
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ Florida (SEC): My favorite college football story of the year are your University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers not only getting back up off the mat after being killed off in the dumbest conspiracy ever but then proceeding to go 7-3 and 5-2 in C-USA play. I mean, look, Florida has superior talent at every position on the two deep, and any logical conclusion has the Gators winning. But screw logic, GO BLAZERS.
6:30: Army @ North Texas (beIN): The last time Army had more than 7 regular season wins was 1996, when they went 10-1 (before the bowl game). Sitting at 8-2, that has to be the target. I like their chances of getting to 9, at least.

  • Louisiana State @ Tennessee (ESPN): LIGHTNING ROUND. LSU.
  • Texas A&M @ Mississippi (ESPN2): TAMU?
  • Boston College vs. Connecticut (@Boston, MA; CBSS): This is being played at Fenway Park for some reason. Also, BC.
  • Arizona @ Oregon (Pac12): Taking the Fightin' Khalil Tates here.
  • North Carolina State @ Wake Forest (ESPNU): Even considering that a lot of widely anticipated contests turned out to be blowouts last week, I still say the unlikeliest result was Wake Forest dropping 64 (64!) on Syracuse. They scored 24 (24!) in the fourth (!) quarter. Exclamation marks! Anyway, NC State actually plays defense, so they probably won't do that again, and one wonders if they maybe spent all their points allowance in the Carrier Dome last weekend.
  • Missouri @ Vanderbilt (SEC): Mizzou is unstoppable right now, which also coincides with the fact that Mizzou got all of the team that are obviously better than them out of the way early. (To give you an idea of how things are going in Gainesville, consider that one of the teams they steamrolled was Florida.) So yeah, I like them here.
  • California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (ABC): The weather will be perfect and both teams will be wearing their colors. That figures to be about the high point of evening for UCLA.
  • California @ Stanford (FOX): The Big Game figures mostly be a Bryce Love showcase in primetime.
10:15: Air Force @ Boise State (ESPN2): It's odd when Air Force is the worst of three academies, but here we are. Boise should roll.

  • Utah @ Washington (ESPN): We're barrelling toward a 3-way tie atop of the Pac-12 North, but in the meantime, let's consider what should probably be a crucial home win for the Huskers.
  • Nevada @ San Diego State (CBSS): Aztecs.

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