Category Archives: college football

This Weekend in College Football: Week 3

I’ve tried to roll with the various time changes and cancellations due to Hurricane Florence the best I can, but there may still be inaccuracies.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Oklahoma @ Iowa State (ABC): Iowa State didn’t look that good against Iowa last week, a bad sign for the forthcoming Sooner attack.
  • Florida State @ Syracuse (ESPN): Things are about to get quite salty at one of these places, I’m just not sure which. I like FSU here I guess?
  • Miami @ Toledo (ESPN2): So, yes, this isn’t a MAC game, it’s the Miami from Florida. Either way, they’re at Toledo to save some money. After taking care of business when they had to go to a much more hostile Appalachian State last year, I’m sure the ‘Canes will be fine.
  • Georgia Southern @ Clemson (ESPNU): Clemson had a tough time with TAMU last weekend. They should have no such problems here.
  • Kent State @ Pennsylvania State (FS1): Turns out Penn State is probably still pretty good. Kent State, not so much.
  • Rutgers @ Kansas (RSN): Rutgers?
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Georgia (ESPNEWS): Georgia.
  • Texas-El Paso @ Tennessee (SEC): Vawls.
  • Ball State @ Indiana (BTN): Hoosiers.
  • Temple @ Maryland (BTN): Terps.
  • Troy @ Nebraska (BTN): Huskers, probably.
  • Hawaii @ Army (CBSS): Is this Hawaii team as good as everyone’s hoping? Hopefully they won’t be too jet lagged after voyaging to West Point, because I otherwise see them as a favorite.

12:30: Georgia Tech @ Pittsburgh (ACC/RSN): Okay, so… the defense still sucks. I mean, yeah, it’s early, but it was a bad show last week. Sure, special teams allowed two kickoff return TDs, but there’s little evidence the defense would’ve stopped them anyway, so at least it gave us more time with the ball in the end. The only thing sustaining me right now is that USF might be better than Pitt.

2:30: Vanderbilt @ Notre Dame (NBC): Any notion that Vandy is good this year should be dispelled quickly in this one.


  • Louisiana State @ Auburn (CBS): This is the “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” of college football games: everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. That said, LSU still appears to lack the offense to keep up with the Plains Tigers.
  • Brigham Young @ Wisconsin (ABC): Wisky.
  • Boise State @ Oklahoma State (ESPN): I don’t think Boise will win, but boy howdy this one could get fun.
  • Duke @ Baylor (FS1): Duke, I guess?
  • Miami @ Minnesota (BTN): So here’s the Miami from Ohio. They will probably lose.
  • Southern Methodist @ Michigan (BTN): Wolverines.
  • South Florida vs. Illinois (@Chicago, IL; BTN): Like I said, USF had better be pretty good. At least good enough to beat a consistently mediocre-to-bad Illinois squad.


  • Houston @ Texas Tech (FOX): If Kliff is trying to avoid getting fired, this game will likely do him no favors.
  • Texas-San Antonio @ Kansas State (RSN): K-State.
  • Colorado State @ Florida (SEC): Florida?
  • North Texas @ Arkansas (SECA): Arkansas?

4:30: Ohio vs. Virginia (@Nashville, TN; ESPN2): Rather than cancel, this game got moved to the empty Vanderbilt Stadium since the ‘Dores are up in South Bend for the weekend. It does boggle the mind a bit that Virginia surveyed all their possible neutral site sites and somehow came up with the SEC school that is the most like Virginia.

5:00: San Jose State @ Oregon (Pac12): Ducks.


  • Alabama @ Mississippi (ESPN): Remember when this game was fun and drove Bama fans nuts? Yeah…
  • Arkansas State @ Tulsa (CBSS): I don’t know anything about either of these teams, so I’ll take Tulsa and venture to guess this might be more fun to watch than Bama-Ole Miss.


  • Missouri @ Purdue (BTN): Purdue is… kinda bad probably. Mizzou.
  • Akron @ Northwestern (BTN): Northwestern.
  • Massachusetts @ Florida International (beIN): UMass?
  • Western Kentucky @ Louisville (ACC/RSN): This one could also be fun, unless you’re a Louisville fan. (They should win easily, though.)


  • Southern California @ Texas (FOX): Welcome to ANGST BOWL 2018. USC is angsty after getting pretty much Stanforded by Stanford last weekend. And Texas is, well, Texas. Which is why I’m going to take USC in the rematch of the greatest BCS title game ever. (Vince Young should’ve won the Heisman.)
  • Ohio State vs. Texas Christian (@Arlington, TX; ABC): Here’s the big one for the day. I think Ohio State will get through it, but that it’ll be a game.

10:00: Washington @ Utah (ESPN): Utah usually pretty game, but there’s not much to suggest they’ll be able to stop UDub right now.


  • Fresno State @ California-Los Angeles (FS1): Surely UCLA isn’t bad enough to lose to Fresno, right? Right?
  • Arizona State @ San Diego State (CBSS): HERM! No, seriously, we can’t all be wrong, can we? I’m taking the Aztecs.




This Weekend in College Football: Week 2


  • Georgia Tech @ South Florida (ABC/ESPN2): Right at the top, eh? Well, we didn’t find out much about either team in their tune-ups last weekend. I especially didn’t because I didn’t see basically any games from the entire weekend. That said, Tech will need to ramp up quickly against a quarterback who can throw and a Bulls team that has been game for the past few seasons and is looking to avoid any drop-off under new coach Carlie Strong.
  • Arizona @ Houston (ABC/ESPN2): Speaking of unknowns, how about this one? Arizona really needs to get back on track after losing to BYU at home last weekend, which really makes this seem like Houston’s to lose.
  • Mississippi State @ Kansas State (ESPN): This is a major test for a Miss State team that’s supposed to be pretty good, because weird stuff can happen in the Little Apple. On talent alone I have to stick with the Bulldogs though.
  • Western Michigan @ Michigan (FS1): Angst aside, the Wolverines got this one.
  • Duke @ Northwestern (ESPNU): This game will be… surprisingly watchable? Yeah, that’s the ticket. Going with Northwestern.
  • Nevada @ Vanderbilt (SEC): Vandy can probably win this one?
  • New Mexico @ Wisconsin (BTN): Wisky.

12:30: Georgia State @ North Carolina State (ACC/RSN): Wolfpack.

1:00: California-Los Angeles @ Oklahoma (FOX): UCLA’s got a long way to go.


  • Colorado @ Nebraska (ABC): CU @ NU! Classic Big 8 action! Nebraska got lightninged-out last weekend, so this will be the first game for the Huskers under Scott Frost. Will they be any good? Uh, let’s go with TBD, but I’ll take them over the Buffs.
  • Ball State @ Notre Dame (NBC): Domers.
  • Georgia @ South Carolina (CBS): South Carolina might be the second best team in the SEC East this year, and this game will likely show how much that isn’t going matter.
  • Arkansas State @ Alabama (ESPN2): To quote Steven Godfrey on this week’s Podcast Ain’ Played Nobody: “Do you like snuff films?”
  • North Carolina @ East Carolina (ESPNU): I think the Tarheels might win themselves at least one game this year!
  • Rutgers @ Ohio State (BTN): Well, Rutgers is slightly better than Arkansas State, but… yeesh. Yeah, probably good to just get this one out of the way early.
  • Memphis @ Navy (CBSS): Navy looks to get its season back on track after losing at Hawaii last weekend. For now, I’ll stick with the Midshipmen, but losing at home to a good Memphis team might not be a good sign for them.

5:00: Iowa State @ Iowa (FOX): While El Assico is still funny, last year’s instance of everyone’s favorite Week 2 rivalry was… actually really good? Let’s hope for more of the same, though on paper the Hawkeyes are the better team.


  • Clemson @ Texas A&M (ESPN): “Well, that’s a good offer, and while the SEC West is tough, at least I won’t have to play Clemson anymore.” “should we tell him?” “nah”
  • Wyoming @ Missouri (ESPNU): Hey, Mizzou, are you going to be good this year? Because you should win this.


  • Fresno State @ Minnesota (FS1): I don’t pick enough upsets, and Fresno is kinda good, and Minnesota kinda isn’t, so what the heck, I’ll take the Bulldogs here.
  • Utah @ Northern Illinois (ESPNEWS): Uh, Utah? Probably.
  • Kentucky @ Florida (SEC): November 16, 1986. Kentucky defeats Florida 10-3. Would anyone in Commonwealth stadium that day believe you if you told them that over the next three decades, Kentucky would not have beaten Florida again? That’s a lot of seasons, and this ain’t exactly Navy and Notre Dame. Sure, there’s been more bad years than good for Kentucky in the interim, but this is just plain bad luck. Luck that doesn’t look like it’ll change again this year.
  • Virginia @ Indiana (BTN): Indiana? Sure.
  • Arkansas @ Colorado State (CBSS): Arkansas? Probably.
  • Florida International @ Old Dominion (beIN): ODU?

8:00: Pennsylvania State @ Pittsburgh (ABC): This is one of the nastiest rivalries out there, but it’s way too early in the season for Pitt to Pitt things up just yet.

8:30: Southern California @ Stanford (FOX): Hey, here’s an important Pac-12 South game in week 2. You should watch this! I probably give the Cardinal a slight edge.


  • California @ Brigham Young (ESPN2): BYU has already defeated one Pac-12 team this year, but I don’t trust them quite enough to say they’re going to make it two.
  • Connecticut @ Boise State (ESPNU): After this, UConn will have played both UCF and Boise this year. Kingmakers!

10:45: Michigan State @ Arizona State (ESPN): Arizona State was college football’s biggest offseason joke. After firing their coach and hiring the mother of all retreads in Herm Edwards, they claimed the dubious hire was so they could keep their coordinators. Less than a week later, both bolted for other jobs, leaving the Sun Devils with… Herm Edwards. So, probably Sparty here?

11:00: San Jose State @ Washington State (Pac12): Wazzu.


This Weekend in College Football: Week 1

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Central Florida @ Connecticut (ESPNU): The Defending National Champions look to hold their own in the Civil Conflict, which is totally an actual rivalry that people care about. Seriously, UCF should roll.
  • New Mexico State @ Minnesota (BTN): Yeah, after getting demolished in Week 0 last week it looks like the shine is off the Aggies after being one of college football’s major feel-good stories last year. Alas.


  • Northwestern @ Purdue (ESPN): A Week 1 weekday Big Ten game at night?!?!? Surely monocles across the Midwest are being dropped as we speak. But hey, this could well be the game of the day. The Wildcats are more consistent than most remember and Purdue should be that much better this year. This could be, dare I say, fun?
  • Wake Forest @ Tulane (CBSS): Wake Forest is good. Tulane, less so.

6:00: Syracuse @ Western Michigan (CBSS): Syracuse really needs this one, mostly because this is the year Dino Babers needs to start showing signs of improvement. They should get it, but still, this could be dicey.


  • Army @ Duke (ESPNU): If Duke loses to a service academy and then beats us again this year I am going to be so mad. For the time being, I’m not worried about that scenario.
  • Utah State @ Michigan State (BTN): I’ll still list Big Ten Network games even though, as far as I know at the time of writing, this game will likely not be on your TV unless you live in the Midwest. That said, you shouldn’t need to watch this to know Sparty should roll.


  • Western Kentucky @ Wisconsin (ESPN): I don’t know much about WKU going into this, and I know Wisconsin should be good. Nonetheless, I feel like this could be better than many expect.
  • San Diego State @ Stanford (FS1): If you like watching large men grinding each other into dust, amazingly it won’t be any of the Big Ten games, but a game involving a team from the Pac-12 and another from San Diego. Stanford should win, but yeah, this is where you want to be if you want to watch teams good at running the ball.

9:30: Colorado vs. Colorado State (@Denver, CO; CBSS): Colorado: you may want to investigate the shovel pass. If the Hawaiis of the world can use to run all over the Rams defense, well, the tape is there. Just sayin’.


  • Florida Atlantic @ Oklahoma (FOX): Come for the potential hilarity of Lane Kiffin threatening Oklahoma at all, stay for the chance that it might actually be closer in the third quarter than anyone actually expected. (The Sooners will rally to win comfortably in the end, though. Probably.)
  • Oregon State @ Ohio State (ABC): Ohio State.
  • Mississippi vs. Texas Tech (@Houston, TX; ESPN): Well, this is definitely a football game in a sterile NFL dome in Houston for some reason. Uh, Ole Miss?
  • Texas vs. Maryland (@Landover, MD; FS1): Speaking of sterile NFL environments… Texas can’t lose to Maryland again, can they? Not in year 2? Surely?
  • Coastal Carolina @ South Carolina (SEC): Your annual reminder that Coastal Carolina is now in the FBS.
  • Texas State @ Rutgers (BTN): As is Texas State. Also, Rutgers isn’t quite bad enough to lose this. I think.
  • Kent State @ Illinois (BTN): Illinois will win at least one game this year. I think.
  • Houston @ Rice (CBSS): I wonder if Houston has enough cachet to fill Rice Stadium these days. It’d be nice to see a few tens of thousands of people there. Also apparently this game is known as the “Bayou Bucket Classic“.

12:30: Alcorn State @ Georgia Tech (ACC/RSN): This will hopefully be significantly less stressful for me than last year’s opener. Nonetheless, I will probably be killing my phone battery while I’m at PAX because of this game.


  • Washington vs. Auburn (@Atlanta, GA; ABC): This game is the Game of the Week for Week 1, and I’d hope that it’s obvious why. Two potential playoff teams, which could still be true for either after this game. It’s also a solid West Coast-South matchup, with one of the Pac-12’s more physical teams versus one of the SEC’s consistently best offenses. I’m also having a hard time seeing which way this one will go myself. Flipping a coin, I’m going to go with… UDub.
  • West Virginia vs. Tennessee (@Charlotte, NC; CBS): Going into the season no one seems to have a read on either of these teams, so I’m going to go with the relatively more consistent Mountaineers.
  • Central Michigan @ Kentucky (ESPNU): Kentucky… probably?
  • Northern Illinois @ Iowa (BTN): Iowa.
  • Appalachian State @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): Penn State.
  • Washington State @ Wyoming (CBSS): I would be so unsurprised that Wyoming wins this game that I’m actually just going to straight-up pick them.


  • North Carolina @ California (FOX): The Tarheels venture west for an early afternoon kickoff in Berkeley. Just by body clock logic along, I’m going with Cal.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Southern California (Pac12): USC.

6:00: Boise State @ Troy (ESPNEWS): This could well be the game to find on your TV dial after Washington-Auburn is over. In someways, it’s that game writ small: a team from the Northwest versus a team from Alabama along with New Year’s Day bowl game implications. The winner here could very well set themselves up to be the G5 rep. I like Boise here.


  • Cincinnati @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): We may find out very quickly if Chip Kelly learned anything from his NFL experience and whether he can adapt to the changes in the college game since he left. I’m going to go with UCLA, but yeah.
  • Indiana @ Florida International (CBSS): Indiana…. probably.


  • Michigan @ Notre Dame (NBC): It’s almost too obvious that this will the game of NATIONAL IMPORTANCE here in the first weekend of September that won’t be relevant at all by the time November rolls around, right? That said, if one of these teams actually could break out, I think it’s actually Michigan. They have to do better than third at some point, right? Going with the Wolverines here.
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Vanderbilt (SECA): Screw it, MTSU.
  • Southern Methodist @ North Texas (Stadium): SMU?


  • Louisville vs. Alabama (@Orlando, FL): I don’t think I would’ve liked Louisville’s odds with Lamar Jackson here, so… yeah.
  • Akron @ Nebraska (FOX): Nebraska.
  • Bowling Green @ Oregon (Pac12): Oregon.

10:30: Texas-San Antonio @ Arizona State (FS1): HERM jokes aside, Arizona State. (Probably.)

10:45: Brigham Young @ Arizona (ESPN): What in the world has happened to BYU? Right now it’s hard to see anything other than ‘Zona rolling here.

11:00: Navy @ Hawaii (CBSS): This could well be an offensive explosion, which, let’s face it, is EXACTLY what you want out of the late game out of Hawaii. I still like the Midshipmen though.


7:30: Miami vs. Louisiana State (@Arlington, TX; ABC): I think LSU is more talented and that Miami got supremely lucky last year. Going with LSU.


8:00: Virginia Tech @ Florida State (ESPN): And finally, five solid days of football ends with an ACC matchup on Monday night. And it figures to be a good one too, except that, well, VPI may not be able to field a defense. Whoops. Going with the ‘Noles.


Rating the 2018 Non-Conference Slate: Epilogue

In the interests of time and actually, you know, talking about football games, this is going to be pretty terse compared to past years.

First up is the List of Shame, which is a list of teams with more than one FCS opponent. I’m happy to report that the list only has three teams on it this year. Virginia and Auburn are on it due to playing transitional FCS-to-FBS team Liberty. Florida is on it only because Idaho moved to FCS from FBS this season, which I suspect the Gators didn’t think would happen when they scheduled the game. So good job, everyone!

Next up is honoring the best OOC schedules. Ordinarily, you need to have a “legit rating” over 1 to be considered. Southern Cal reaches that threshold by playing Texas in addition to Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the only other team that meets the criteria is Florida State, which got there by playing their annual rival and a team effectively scheduled by their conference in Notre Dame. So, instead, I’m just going to list every team playing more than 1 team from the Power 5 (plus Notre Dame) this season, regardless of criteria and in no particular order:

  • Florida State
  • Pittsburgh
  • Louisville
  • Clemson
  • Duke
  • Southern California
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Northwestern
  • Ohio State
  • Purdue

Figuring out which major Power 5 conference doesn’t have any teams on this list is left as an exercise for the reader.

Speaking of conferences, here’s each conference’s average legit rating, accounting for the different number of OOC games payed:

  1. Pac-12 (0.229)
  2. Big 12 (0.2)
  3. ACC (0.178)
  4. SEC (0.156)
  5. Big Ten (0.131)

The Big Ten is last again. While I can admire, in some ways, not scheduling FCS teams, it would help if they also, you know, scheduled good teams more consistently. But hey, there’s always hope for the future. Especially for a future with fewer neutral site games.

Rating the 2018 Non-Conference State: SEC

Y’all know the drill by now, but for those that don’t: FCS teams are in italics and “N-” indicates a neutral site game.

  1. Texas A&M (1 legit, 1 FCS): Northwestern State, Clemson, Louisiana-Monroe, Alabama-Birmingham. Let me put this gently: SEC OOC scheduling remains pretty dire. Despite sticking with four OOC games, most of these teams only have one other P5 team on the docket. But hey, at least that means we get Jimbo’s return to Clemson pretty early.
  2. Louisiana State (1, 1): N-Miami, Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, Rice. I will more about this in the weekly writeup, but I feel like LSU-Miami is flying under the radar a little bit. But then again, neutral site games are, just, well, not that exciting. Mostly.
  3. Vanderbilt (1, 1): Middle Tennessee State, @Notre Dame, Nevada, Tennessee State. Vandy might be go 1-3 against this schedule, but hey, it’ll at least get them ranked third in something.
  4. South Carolina (1, 1): Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Tennessee-Chattanooga, @Clemson. Again, it’s worth repeating that annual rivalries are usually discounted a bit, and the rest of this schedule was not enough to buoy the Gamecocks any higher.
  5. Auburn (1, 1.5): N-Washington, Alabama State, Southern Mississippi, Liberty. Liberty is transitioning to FBS, so they count as half a FCS school for now. In the meantime, this schedule has a fairly large hurdle to clear and would ordinarily be ranked second. Rules are the rules, though.
  6. Florida (1, 2): Charleston Southern, Colorado State, Idaho, @Florida State. In fairness to the Gators, Idaho was a FBS team when they scheduled them, and I’m assuming they couldn’t get out of the deal. So that’ll give me something to remember come bowl prediction season, I guess.
  7. Georgia (0.75, 1): Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee State, Massachusetts, Georgia Tech. As a reminder, the people who do these ratings every year (my brother and I, that is) are Georgia Tech alums. We may be biased in terms of our legit value.
  8. Alabama (0.5, 1): N-Louisville, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, The Citadel. There’s not much to recommend on this one. Yeah, they’re playing Louisville, but… without Lamar Jackson that’s just not that interesting.
  9. Mississippi State (0.5, 1): Stephen F. Austin, @Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech. Road trip to the Little Apple? Nice. Two small Louisiana schools, eh, less o.
  10. Tennessee (0.5, 1): N-West Virginia, East Tennessee State, Texas-El Paso, Charlotte. Playing Tennesse-West Virginia in a neutral site should be a crime. Especially when that neutral site is Charlotte, of all places.
  11. Kentucky (0.5, 1): Central Michigan, Murray State, Middle Tennessee State, @Louisville. I have no opinion about this schedule.
  12. Missouri (0, 1): Tennessee-Martin, Wyoming, @Purdue, Memphis. Now, see, this is a spicy, yet low-rated schedule. Two good G5 teams and a road trip to an up-and-coming Big Ten team? Sign me up! Whether Barry Odom agrees in a few weeks remains to be seen.
  13. Mississippi (0, 1): N-Texas Tech, Southern Illinois, Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe. At least Houston is between these two campuses, but it’s still far. I keep hoping these games will go away, but of course this is the fifth SEC team involved in a neutral site game this season. Ugh.
  14. Arkansas (0, 1): Eastern Illinois, @Colorado State, North Texas, Tulsa. Colorado State has a cool new stadium, which kudos on getting the Hogs in for that. Other than that, there’s not much here.