As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (FOX): It’s week 5 already? It’s the end of September already? How in the world did this happen? I feel like I was just rushing to get Week 1 out before PAX. Anyway, OU status: still rolling!
- Northwestern @ Wisconsin (ABC): This may well be a replay of last week’s demolition of Michigan for the Badgers, as they’re facing another Big Ten team with serious issues on offense.
- Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (@Arlington, TX; ESPN): Arkansas didn’t just lose to San Jose State last week. They got demolished by San Jose State. Suffice it to say, I don’t like their chances here!
- Middle Tennessee State @ Iowa (ESPN2): The Blue Raiders are fun and all, but I can’t take them over Iowa here.
- Kansas @ Texas Christian (FS1): TCU got a little unlucky in losing the Iron Skillet last week, but KU doesn’t figure to put up as much of a fight as SMU did.
- Buffalo @ Miami (ESPNU): Buffalo is at least decent, probably? To be clear, this is some Saturday Maction here, not a team from Buffalo, NY venturing to south Florida.
- Northern Illinois @ Vanderbilt (SEC): Vandy gets some relief from the Georgias and LSUs of the world with a chance to catch its breath here.
- Rutgers @ Michigan (BTN): Well, presumably the Michigan offense will look like it has some semblance of idea of how to play football against Rutgers… right?
- Central Michigan @ Western Michigan (CBSS): The spread here is WMU by 17.5, but don’t be fooled, the Directional Michigan Rivalries are the toughest in the sport. Okay, well, maybe not, but there is a trophy on the line.
- Brigham Young @ Toledo (ESPN+)
- Clemson @ North Carolina (ABC): Apparently on this Saturday “ABC” stands for “All Blowout Coverage” because, seriously, go ahead and peek at what the prime time game is. It’s cool, I’ll wait here.
- Virginia @ Notre Dame (NBC): Notre Dame actually managed to earn a smidgen of respect for hanging with Georgia. Now they need to show they’re closer to that tier by holding serve at home against a good UVA team.
- Southern California @ Washington (FOX): What to make of the Pac-12? I seriously don’t know. UDub is a solid favorite here, but USC is a little hotter right now and may actually have a clue on what its doing on offense. We’re certainly farther away than ever than all the half-joking 0-6 starts predicted for USC. I like them here, straight-up.
- Mississippi @ Alabama (CBS): Ole Miss is bad, y’all.
- Iowa State @ Baylor (ESPN): Iowa State is one of the few Big 12 teams that purports to play defense, and they’ll need that to pick up a win in Waco.
- Minnesota @ Purdue (ESPN2): Here’s another mid-tier matchup in a conference that’s “Big” followed by a number. That said, I don’t know what’s really up with Purdue at this point, so I’m also taking the road team again.
- Wake Forest @ Boston College (ACCN): Y’all, anyone who gives up 40+ to Kansas (in football) is bad. Wake all the way here.
- Florida Atlantic @ Charlotte (NFL): Hey, it’s on TV, so I gotta talk about it. I think Charlotte is starting to be okay now? And it sure seems like Lane is going to be stuck in Boca forever, eh?
- Indiana @ Michigan State (BTN): You could watch this, but then you’d have to watch a game involving both Indiana and Michigan State on purpose, and I just in good conscience can’t recommend that. Uh, I’ll take Sparty here?
- Georgia Tech @ Temple (CBSS): Sigh
Maybe it would be more bearable here in Year 0 if two of the most visible problems with this team weren’t almost diametrically opposed to how the previous regime handled things. Let’s start with the deep handoff on 3rd/4th and short, which may be the one of the most crazy things to the average football fan. I guess my point of view is that if Tom Brady, who is approximately 500 years old and in his 300th NFL season, can get under center and run a QB sneak, then just about anyone should be able to.
The other thing is that while we did run the ball about 80% of the time, Paul Johnson did not call a conservative offense. If we were on the other side of the opponent’s 40, we were going for it. I’m pretty sure we’ve already punted from that area three games into this season more than the previous regime did in several seasons put together. It’s ridiculous. Personally, I think that if you really trust your defense, that if you’re willing to live and die with your defense, then you should be okay with turning it over on downs at the opponent’s 35. Maybe that’s just me, though.
Either way, look, it really is Year Zero. That term was coined for a reason. Arguably the previous regime probably should’ve lost to a FCS team in their first season. Not all is lost, and it’s not time to hit the panic button yet.
At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
- Coastal Carolina @ Appalachian State (ESPN+)
4:00: Southern Methodist @ South Florida (ESPNU): SMU is good. USF, uh, not so much.
5:00: Cincinnati @ Marshall (Facebook): I have no idea how to watch this game, but I may need to figure it out. Marshall’s only blemish so far is a tight loss to Boise, and while I don’t think Cincy will still be reeling from getting destroyed by Ohio State, they’re still a bit of a step down from where most of us thought they would be in this season. But hey, the season is long and they can still go beat UCF and Memphis, so not all is lost of the Bearcats. And I still like them in this game.
- Louisiana-Lafayette @ Georgia Southern (ESPN+)
- Arkansas State @ Troy (ESPN+)
- East Carolina @ Old Dominion (ESPN+)
- New Mexico @ Liberty (ESPN+)
- Mississippi State @ Auburn (ESPN): Auburn’s defensive line will likely just be too good for the Bulldogs.
- Connecticut @ Central Florida (ESPN2): UCF took a direct hit from the Pitt Superweapon, but they still get to also play the UConns of the world and regroup.
- Stanford @ Oregon State (Pac12): These might be the two worst teams in the Pac-12, ugh. I’m picking the Beavers just because I can’t pick Stanford anymore.
- Texas-El Paso @ Southern Mississippi (ESPN+)
- Alabama-Birmingham @ Western Kentucky (ESPN+)
- South Alabama @ Louisiana-Monroe (ESPN+)
- Ohio State @ Nebraska (ABC): So, yeah, like I said, nothin’ but blowouts in ABC today. Eesh.
- Kentucky @ South Carolina (SEC): I’d almost say that this is a mid-tier SEC game, but South Carolina is just kinda really bad on offense. I like Kentucky here.
- North Carolina State @ Florida State (ACCN): NC State was thought to be solidly in the middle of the ACC, and then they took a surprising a surprising blowout from a rebuilding West Virginia team a couple weeks ago. Of course, it’s basically impossible to predict what FSU will do at this point, so this may be interesting in a trainwreck sort of way. I’m going with FSU here.
- Colorado State @ Utah State (CBSS): I like the Aggies here.
8:00: Nevada-Las Vegas @ Wyoming (ESPNU): Well, Wyoming is no longer America’s luckiest team after losing to Tulsa, but they’re still good enough to beat UNLV.
10:00: Washington State @ Utah (FS1): Wazzu had a game for the ages last weekend, which is a statement that as equally true now as it was at halftime of that game when they had a 35-17 lead that didn’t even feel that close. 78(!) second half points later, they lost to UCLA. I’m not comfortable predicting a win for them here, as Utah shouldn’t be able to keep pace, but that’s what anyone would’ve said last week too.
- California-Los Angeles @ Arizona (ESPN): For now, I’m not going to get too high off that crazy comeback and predict a UCLA victory here. But you may wanna watch this one.
- Hawaii @ Nevada (ESPN2): You may wanna watch this too. I like Hawaii but it should be fun, and who knows what can happen as the midnight hour approaches in Reno?