Category Archives: On TV This Week

This Week in College Football: Week 1

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday

7:00:

  • West Virginia @ Pittsburgh (“The Backyard Brawl”; ESPN): We are starting the weekend in the most appropriate manner possible: the return of the Backyard Brawl. Two teams from Appalachia face off in a battle of the city boys versus country roads. If you wanna read up on your history, you’d do well to read probably the most definitive retrospective on the game. Okay, done? Yeah, so the renewal of the rivalry features two programs at a bit of a crossroads. West Virginia has never really gotten it going in the Big 12, while Pitt is coming off its best season in a very long time while losing their starting quarterback (to the NFL) and best wide receiver (to Southern Cal). I’m taking Pitt here as the favorite at home, but I don’t feel great about it.
  • Central Michigan @ Oklahoma State (FS1): The Pokes should have this one wrapped up around halftime.
  • Ball State @ Tennessee (SEC): Same for the Vols. Possibly even earlier.
  • Bryant @ Florida International (espn3.com)
  • Long Island @ Toledo (espn3.com)
  • South Carolina State @ Central Florida (ESPN+)

7:30: Virginia Military @ Wake Forest (ACCN)

8:00:

  • Pennsylvania State @ Purdue (FOX): While many eyes will be on the happenings in Pittsburgh, this game, well… okay, you’ll probably want to keep your eyes there. But still, this is an interesting start for the Nittany Lions, as they’ve sort of… not been that good the past few years? It is possible for that to catch up to James Franklin? Well, if they drop this one, and they probably won’t, we may start to find out.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Missouri (ESPNU): Unless LaTech finds some magic from those years when it was competent, this won’t be much of a watch.
  • Alabama A&M @ Alabama-Birmingham (CBSS)
  • Eastern Illinois @ Northern Illinois (ESPN+)

9:00: New Mexico State @ Minnesota (BTN): There’s a lot of offseason anxiety about whether PJ Fleck schtick is getting tired in Minneapolis, but I don’t think you can take anything from this. Well, other than whether the apparent beef between former head coach Jerry Kill and Fleck boils over in the pre- or post-game handshake.

10:00: Northern Arizona @ Arizona State (Pac12)

10:30: Cal Poly @ Fresno State (FS1)

Friday

7:00:

  • Western Michigan @ Michigan State (ESPN): Yeah, again, there’s the downside of Week 1: Sparty should have this wrapped up by halftime.
  • Virginia Tech @ Old Dominion (ESPNU): Then again, you sometimes get weird stuff like this. There’s no reason for VPI to travel to their up-and-coming in-state rival, and nothing good could happen here. I’m not saying it will, but I won’t be shocked either.
  • Eastern Kentucky @ Eastern Michigan (espn3.com)
  • William & Mary @ Charlotte (espn3.com)

7:30: Temple @ Duke (ACCN): I… um… I’m going to pick Temple here? It’s going to be a long season for all 12 Duke football fans out there.

8:00:

  • Illinois @ Indiana (FS1): Last year was a huge disappointment for the quest for #9WIndiana, but I feel okay that the kickoff this season in Bloomington won’t be.
  • Tennessee Tech @ Kansas (ESPN+)

10:00: Texas Christian @ Colorado (ESPN): For the first time since 1999, someone else will coach TCU other than Gary Patterson, who if he had his way, would probably still be there. Instead, he decided to flip the bird while walking out the door by getting a job at Texas, and Sonny Dykes heads back to his home turf. Meanwhile, as noted previously, Colorado has a hell of a schedule to start the season (this game, at Air Force next week, and then at Minnesota) that certainly doesn’t help their chances of getting back to 6-6. I suspect the pain will start right here.

This Week in College Football: Week 14

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Friday

7:00:

  • Western Kentucky @ Texas-San Antonio (Conference USA Championship; CBSS): As previously mentioned, the Hilltoppers essentially took 4 players and a coordinator from a successful FCS offense and imported it. Now, they’re getting a chance to challenge a UTSA team that lost their first game to North Texas last weekend. I like their chances.
  • Holy Cross @ Villanova (NCAA Division I Playoffs Second Round; ESPN+)

8:00: Oregon vs. Utah (Pac-12 Championship @ Paradise, NV; ABC): So the main the mystery in this game is whether history will repeat itself. A few weeks ago in Salt Lake City, the Utes absolutely obliterated the Ducks.  I mean, they definitely did things that would require many synonyms for “obliterated” to really fully give you the scope of the slobberknocking they got. At any rate, can the Utes do it again? I’m not sure there’s a whole bunch of precedent for this, but this is on a neutral field, which I think is going to favor the Ducks. And if I’m wrong, well, my response is already at the top of this post.

9:00: Eastern Washington @ Montana (NCAA Division I Playoffs Second Round; ESPN+)

 

This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday

7:00:

  • Western Michigan @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): NIU is possibly the luckiest team in FBS football this season. Of their 11 games played, they have won or lost 9 of them by 7 points or less (and often the latter). Western, by all rights, is not good enough to beat them, but even if they were, it wouldn’t matter because NIU is apparently just some sort of team of destiny this season.
  • Buffalo @ Ball State (ESPN+)

Thursday

3:30: Fresno State @ San Jose State (FS1): In the annual battle of the Central Valley vs. Silicon Valley, well, this year the Bulldogs appear to have the upper hand. Fresno has been a tough out all year, and meanwhile the Spartans haven’t quite lived up to their magical seasons from the past couple of years.

7:30: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (“Egg Bowl”; ESPN): Ole Miss should win, but this is truly a rivalry series of late where should doesn’t matter. The butterfly effect of a player pretending to pee like a dog after scoring a late touchdown in 2019 continues to reverberate around the sport of college football. Since 2012, Ole Miss is 5-4 in the series, and no team has won three in aroud over the other. You could watch some boring NFL game while trying to power through the tryptophan, or you could watch to see what happens in Starkville. I know where I’ll be.

Friday

Noon:

  • Kansas State @ Texas (FOX): I figure K-State will go ahead and put the Longhorns out of their misery. Should K-State win this game? Well, no, Texas is a lot better than them, But that hasn’t seemed to matter since sometime in the 4th quarter of Red River.
  • Boise State @ San Diego State (CBS): Since a 24-17 loss to Air Force back in mid-October, the Broncos have won four straight. That said, why in the world is this kicking off at 9:00 AM local time? I mean, I know why, but the fact of the matter is that what should be a great game of the Broncos trying to score and San Diego State’s punter singlehandedly trying to thwart those efforts will probably be a near-literal sleepwalk. In that case, I like the Aztec’s chances.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): Both of these teams have beaten Western Michigan, so this is the fight for Directional Michigan Superiority. I like the Chippewas here just as the better team over the course of the season so far, plus they won comfortably against WMU while Eastern had to stage a comeback.
  • Ohio @ Bowling Green (CBSS): It’s been a long season for both of these 3-8 teams. At least the Bobcats have reeled off a couple more MAC wins, so I’ll take them.

1:00: Utah State @ New Mexico (FS1): While not as bad as their compatriots in Las Cruces, the Lobos aren’t actually good or anything. I’ll take Utah State here.

1:30: Iowa @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska is on track to possibly be the best 3-win team in the history of major college football over the course of a full season. My prediction is that they’ll play this tough and close, but make a few key mistakes and ultimately lose by a single score in the end. How do I know this? Because this practically how all of their games have gone this year, regardless of the opponent. I’m not sure Iowa even needs to show up, frankly.

2:00: Texas-El Paso @ Alabama-Birmingham (ESPN+)

3:30:

  • Missouri @ Arkansas (“Battle Line Rivalry”; CBS): Mizzou beat Florida last weekend and got Dan Mullen fired, but that figures to be the high point of their season.
  • Cincinnati @ East Carolina (ABC): As I suspected last week, playing an opponent with a pulse was enough to wake up the slumbering beast that is the Bearcats and they drubbed SMU 48-14. ECU is 7-4 and after a couple early losses has put together a nice little season for themselves, especially considering that they’re usually one of the more, shall we say, downtrodden of the AAC teams. While they’re not as good as Houston, they should serve to have the same effect in terms of getting Cincy’s blood up.
  • South Florida @ Central Florida (“War on I-4”; ESPN): This is a rivalry with some beef. Unfortunately, except for that glorious 2017 contest these two teams have mostly never been on the same wavelength, and as of late UCF seems to have left USF behind. While the first season on the Gus-bus has been a bit uneven for the Knights, they shouldn’t really have any trouble here.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Air Force (CBSS): UNLV has won two games this year, which is probably a prop bet a lot of people lost (as it’s more than ‘0’ or ‘1’). So while this season’s probably exceeded expectations for the Rebels, it’ll likely stop at 2 to this wrecking ball of an Air Force team.
  • Costal Carolina @ South Alabama (ESPN+)

4:00: Colorado @ Utah (“Rumble in the Rockies”; FOX): It’ll be a rumble, all right – the rumble of Utah’s players blocking, tackling, and ramblin’ past Colorado’s.

4:30: Texas Christian @ Iowa State (FS1): As I mentioned in my bowl post, I suspect there won’t be enough bowl eligible teams. TCU is 5-6 and, well, I can’t see how this team beats even what’s been a bit of a down year for the Cyclones.

7:00: North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ESPN): I think almost everyone, except maybe Mack Brown, agrees that this isn’t the kind of season the Tar Heels expected to have. Meanwhile, NC State continues to do NC State things: win most of their games and look competent doing it. I suspect they’ll do the same in this rivalry game.

8:00: Washington State @ Washington (“Apple Cup”; FS1): This is a particularly weird edition of the Apple Cup, and y’all that’s really saying something. Both teams will be rolling in with interim head coaches after Jimmy Lake was dismissed a couple weeks ago, and of course Wazzu’s head man has been gone for a while. But a funny thing happened for the Cougs while they’ve been searching for a new coach: they’ve mostly won. Since losing to Utah, they’ve won 5 out of 7, which the losses coming to a pretty good BYU team this year and the other to Oregon. For the Dubs, it’s just been a spiral: a 26-16 loss to Oregon that wasn’t really that close, a 5 point loss to Arizona State (where hey, they scored 30 for the only time this season), and then a 3 point loss last week to a… not good Colorado team. But nonetheless this game is in Seattle, and it’ll be cold and drizzly. Who knows what will happen? (I’ll still take the Cougs, though.)

This Week In College Football: Week 1

As we get the season proper started, a quick reminder on the format of this post. I’ll do small descriptions of each contest involving two FBS teams on a regular linear television channel, otherwise it’s just listed here without commentary.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday

6:30: Temple @ Rutgers (BTN): Wait, this is the game that’s going to kick off the college football season? Well, at least Greg Schiano will get a chance to show some progress in Week 1.

7:00:

  • Boise State @ Central Florida (ESPN): This is the sort of intra-G5 matchup I want to see more of. Mostly because I don’t have a fantastic read on either of these teams and I think it’d be fun to be able to watch this, even though I’m traveling and I won’t be able to. I’m picking… this is a tough one y’all. Boise? Sure, Boise.
  • Long Island @ Florida International (espn3.com)
  • Wagner @ Buffalo (espn3.com)
  • Tennessee-Martin @ Western Kentucky (ESPN+)
  • Western Illinois @ Ball State (ESPN+)
  • The Citadel @ Coastal Carolina (ESPN+)

7:30:

  • Eastern Carolina vs. Appalachian State (Duke’s Mayo Classic @ Charlotte, NC):  App State should be able to take out ECU easily.
  • South Florida @ North Carolina State (ACCN): This is still a relatively depleted USF team that shouldn’t worry the Wolfpack.
  • Weber State @ Utah (Pac12)
  • California-Davis @ Tulsa (ESPN+)

8:00:

  • Ohio State @ Minnesota (FOX): I hope the Gophers can give a fight here, but it’s hard to see anything other than the Buckeyes rolling.
  • Bowling Green @ Tennessee (SEC): The Vols should be able to take out one of the worst teams in college football.

10:00: Eastern Washington @ Nevada-Las Vegas (Stadium)

10:30: Southern Utah @ Arizona State (Pac12)

Friday

6:00: North Carolina @ Virginia Tech (ESPN): Most of the college football universe is essentially waiting to see whether Justin Fuente is going to get fired, and well, I like Carolina here for a reason.

7:00:

  • Duke @ Charlotte (CBSS): I think I still have to pick Duke here but if I’m being honest I’m not all that confident about it.
  • Old Dominion  @ Wake Forest (ACCN): Wake.
  • Saint Francis @ Eastern Michigan (espn3.com)

8:00: South Dakota @ Kansas (ESPN+)

9:00:

  • Michigan State @ Northwestern (ESPN): I’m not going to watch this game, and you don’t have to either. I’ll take Northwestern here though.
  • South Dakota State @ Colorado State (FS1)
  • Northern Colorado @ Colorado (Pac12)

Bowl Games 2020: Four Games, but I Wish There Were More

The latest schedule and picks can be found here in convenient table form. As you might have surmised, I’m posting these at a trickle so I don’t spend a bunch of time researching stuff for games that get canceled. So let’s talk about the games for Tuesday and Wednesday.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday, December 29

5:30: Miami vs. Oklahoma State (Cheez-It Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): There’s been one constant this season, and that’s the incessant parade of Cheez-It commercials during games. It all culminates right here, right now. Formerly, they sponsored what would’ve been the Guaranteed Rate Bowl this year, but that game won’t be played, so here we are with what used to the Camping World Bowl. So yeah, what’s your favorite flavor? Me, I love white cheddar anything, but I usually get the reduced fat ones because… oh, right, there’s a football game. Both these teams head into this game going backward, especially since the Canes were most recently seen getting their doors blown off by North Carolina. Also, Miami has recently been hot garbage in bowl games. For those reasons, I’m going against the numbers and picking Oklahoma State.
SP+ line: Miami by 1.8
Vegas line: OSU -3
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Just one, a regular season matchup back in the Orange Bowl in 1991. Miami won 40-3.
Last bowl game: While Miami still isn’t back, they’re definitely on a consistent bowl streak now. This will be the eighth straight bowl game for the Canes, dating to the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl, where they lost to Louisville 36-9. Last season they lost 14-0 to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. For Oklahoma State, this will be their 15th consecutive bowl game, going back to the 2006 Independence Bowl, 34-31 win over Alabama. Last season they lost 24-21 to Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl.
Announcers: Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Katie George
Fun fact: Did you know that this is the first Power 5 vs. Power 5 matchup of the 2020 season?

9:00: Texas vs. Colorado (Alamo Bowl @ San Antonio, TX; ESPN): I was supposed to travel a lot this year, but as with most things 2020 those plans have gone by the wayside. Instead, of the two times I’ve left California this year, one of them was to go to San Antonio. Anyway, that’s about my entire connection this. I don’t think I watched Colorado at all this year, so I don’t have a great read on them. That said, if Texas has done anything consistently under Tom Herman, it’s “show up for bowl games”, so I’m picking the ‘Horns.
SP+ line: Texas by 12
Vegas line: Texas -12.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: There’s been 18 meetings between the Longhorns and the Buffs all-time. 6 of those were before the implosion of the Southwest Conference, and the other 12 were when they were both in the Big 12. Texas won the first meeting back in 1940 39-7. The last time they met was also a Texas victory, 38-14 in 2009. Overall, Texas has a 11-7 record in the series.”
Last bowl game: “This will be Texas’s fourth straight bowl game, dating to the 2017 Texas Bowl, where they beat Mizzou 33-16. Last season they beat Utah in the Alamo Bowl 38-10. For the Buffs, this is the first bowl game since the 2016 Alamo Bowl, where they lost 38-8 to Oklahoma state.
Announcers: Jason Benetti, Mike Golic, Kris Budden

Wednesday, December 30

12:00: Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin (Mayo Bowl @ Charlotte, NC; ESPN): Sure, it’s officially the “Duke’s Mayo Bowl”, but a) I’m from the South and I’ve never heard of Duke’s Mayo before I saw the announcement for the title sponsor of this bowl game and b) it’s always more fun to have just the product if possible. Anyway, I’m not sure there’ll be much to this game, which is maybe why ESPN is leaving it at noon even though the in-between game for today, the Music City Bowl, was canceled when Mizzou pulled out. I’m off work this week and I’m still on the West Coast, so this one may be over before I even wake up.
SP+ line: Wisky by 14.5
Vegas line: Wisky -7
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: This is Wake’s fifth straight bowl game, going back to the 2016 Military Bowl, a 34-26 win over Temple. Most recently, they lost 27-21 to Michigan State in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Badgers are meanwhile appearing in their 19th consecutive bowl game, dating to the 2002 Alamo Bowl, where they beat Colorado 31-28. Last season they lost 28-27 to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
Announcers: Taylor Zazour, Matt Stinchcomb, Marty Smith

7:15: Oklahoma vs. Florida (Cotton Bowl @ Arlington, TX; ESPN): After several Florida players opt-ed out today, I thought about maybe taking this game down a notch, but I think this will still be pretty good regardless. The Sooners are extremely young, so there is still a risk of Florida pulling away, but I’ve actually got this down as a close Sooners win.
SP+ line: Florida by 1.9
Vegas line: Florida -3
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Just one, the 2009 BCS Championship Game. The Gators won 24-14.
Last bowl game: This is Oklahoma’s 22nd consecutive bowl game, dating to the 1999 Independence Bowl, where they lost to Ole Miss 27-25. Last season they lost to LSU in the Peach Bowl, 63-28. This is the third straight bowl game for the Gators. They beat Michigan 41-15 in the 2018 Peach Bowl and beat UVA 36-28 in last season’s Orange Bowl.
Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Greg McElroy, Holly Rowe