Category Archives: On TV This Week

This Week in College Football: Week 9

Surprisingly pretty packed! Let’s get to it.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday

7:00:

  • Toledo @ Western Michigan (ESPN2): The Rockets aren’t very good this year, but Western Michigan is 6-2 and already 4-0 in the MAC. They should be favorites here.
  • Baylor @ West Virginia (FS1): Baylor is 4-3 but still has a long way to go, and West Virginia should be looking to get back on track at home after what happened in Ames.
  • Ball State @ Ohio (CBSS): It’s double-MACtion! This game may actually be more intriguing than the other game, in that this should be close. That said, I’m taking the Bobcats.

7:30:

  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech (ESPN): And the whole reason why I’m doing a weekday preview this week: this game. I don’t like to think of it as the battle for “the real Tech”, because the answer should be obvious if given any thought. At any rate, in terms of this being a football game, who the heck knows. You’ve got a team that should able to run the dang ball versus a team that lost to Old Dominion. Sitting at 3-4 on the season at this point, I just feel like we’re playing with house money. Hopefully the team can stop forcing things and just play, which is all you ask for in what should be a raucous environment in Blacksburg.
  • Appalachian State @ Georgia Southern (ESPNU): If you’re a neutral, this might be the game of the night. These rivals are undefeated in Sun Belt play, have one loss on the season, and App State is even ranked for the first time ever. And for good reason, I think they’re the better team and should win.

Friday

6:30: Louisiana Tech @ Florida Atlantic (CBSS): It’s not been a good year so far for the Fightin’ Lane Kiffins, and it doesn’t look to be getting better with the Bulldogs coming to town.

7:00: Miami @ Boston College (ESPN): And there’s the big Miami let down we were all waiting for, a 16-13 disaster in Charlottesville that leaves the Canes with no obvious quarterback. BC is having a very solid season and sports a couple of close losses. On paper, they shouldn’t stand a chance, but if that were the case Miami would be national title contenders every year instead of modern-day Miami. Going with the Eagles.

8:00: Indiana @ Minnesota (FS1): I think the Hooisers are going to take out some frustration here.

10:00: Wyoming @ Colorado State (CBSS): Back in August, I probably would’ve told you to circle this Friday-night Mountain West game on your calendar. With the teams a combined 5-11 overall here in late October, well, not so much. Wyoming has had the misfortune of starting their MWC schedule with four of the conference’s better teams (Boise, at Hawaii, at Fresno, and then Utah State, for good measure), so the Rams should be a welcome reprieve.

10:30: Utah @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): UCLA looks to make it three-in-a-row to which I’ll say… eh, I wouldn’t count on it.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 1

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday
7:00:

  • 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.

8:00:

  • 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.

Friday
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.

7:00:

  • 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.

9:00:

  • 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’.

Saturday
Noon

  • 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.

3:30:

  • 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.

4:00:

  • 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.

7:00:

  • 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.

7:30:

  • 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?

8:00:

  • 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.

Sunday

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.

Monday

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.

 

This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday
7:30: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (ESPN): Okay, the Egg Bowl is usually good, but this year it figures the Bulldogs will just put the Rebels out of their misery.

Friday
11:30: Western Michigan @ Toledo (ESPNU): Toledo’s been a solid MAC team for years, but they’ve developed a reputation for blowing their shots at winning their division by suffering bad late-season upsets. They can clinch the MAC West here with a win over 5-6 Western Michigan.

Noon:

  • Miami @ Pittsburgh (ABC): Okay Miami, all you have to do is go to a half-full Heinz Field this Friday and not screw this up. It’s going to be cold but sunny. You’ll go to Charlotte (for the first time!) next weekend either way, but still, it’s important for the sake of the ACC that you’re undefeated.
  • Navy @ Houston (ESPN): Well, both these teams are 6-4, but they’ve arrived there by different ways. I’d actually thought Navy was done this year, but looking the balance of the season for the Midshipmen I like them here.
  • Baylor @ Texas Christian (FS1): Well, this one’s easy: TCU.
  • Northern Illinois @ Central Michigan (CBSS): It’s MACtion Friday, apparently! NIU needs this and a Toledo loss earlier to win the MAC West, while CMU is just trying to play spoiler. That said, I pretty heavily favor the Huskies here.

2:30: Missouri @ Arkansas (CBS): If you told me two months ago that Mizzou would be favorite by over a touchdown here, I’d have said you were crazy, but here we are.

3:30:

  • South Florida @ Central Florida (ABC): Here’s the one you’ve been waiting for, finally. Worth noting though that USF has continued to struggle a after their loss to Houston, which means that UCF enters as heavy favorites. Which isn’t to say that this won’t be close, but it’d be hard to see the Bulls pulling this thing out.
  • New Mexico @ San Diego Sate (CBSS): The Lobos have been pretty awful this year, this figures to just put them out of their misery.

4:00: Iowa @ Nebraska (FS1): Iowa figures to remain LIT IOWA, which sometimes mean destroying Ohio State by 31 points and sometimes means losing to Purdue. Which one are the actual Hawkeyes? Spoiler: it’s both. I like them here.

7:00: Western Kentucky @ Florida International (beIN): I like Western Kentucky here.

8:00:

  • Texas Tech @ Texas (FOX): They’re not rivals, sure, but nonetheless they’re playing for the Governor’s Spurs! You can’t deny that. Well, you can, but still. Texas Tech isn’t terrible or anything, but as the Longhorns have improved over the course of the year they figure to win.
  • Virginia Tech @ Virginia (ESPN): The Commonwealth Cup features a feisty Virginia, but I don’t think that will be enough to stop the Hokies.

10:30: California @ California-Los Angeles (FS1): It’s not officially the Battle of California, but it probably should be. Anyway, I have no idea who’s going to win this game, but UCLA did just fire their coach, so let’s roll with Cal.

This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday
7:30: Louisiana State @ Texas A&M (ESPN): It’s late November, which means if nothing else we’ll start getting some fun weather conditions, so I’ll be noting them for all games. (Keep in mind all forecasts will be as of early Thursday morning.) It’ll be around 60 in College Station tonight. As for the game, well, it’s not Texas-TAMU, and really, the story here may be the coaches more than anything else. (Especially since Leonard Fournette reportedly didn’t even make the trip.) DACOACHO probably isn’t going to be retained as head coach of LSU, and while I don’t think A&M will fire Sumlin, his seat is getting a bit warm. All that said, I like the Bayou Bengals here.

Friday
Noon:

  • Houston @ Memphis (ABC): (60 degrees, clear) Memphis was still respectable this week, but the Cougars have got their grove back after beating Louisville last weekend.
  • North Carolina State @ North Carolina (ESPN): (63 degrees, cloudy) While NC State pulling off the upset here would greatly help my bowl team predicament, I don’t think they can quite hang with Carolina’s offense.
  • Northern Illinois @ Kent State (CBSS): (40 degress, overcast) Not much at stake in this MAC matchups, but I like Huskies.

2:30: Arkansas @ Missouri (CBS): (48 degrees, clear) I… think it’s rational to miss the KU-Mizzou rivalry? Either way, Arkansas hopes to, and should be able to, turn around a disappointing end of the season here.

3:30:

  • Nebraska @ Iowa (ABC): (40 degrees, clear) Iowa is a slight favorite here, but I’m not buying it. I’m going with the ‘Huskers.
  • Washington @ Washington State (FOX): (44 degrees, chance of rain) And this is what you’re going to watch on Friday. The Apple Cup is fascinating for many reasons. For instance, not very mean years ago this game featured 1 win combined by these two teams. For another, I can’t think of a more marked contrast between two teams’ locales than between the gorgeous waterfront locale of Husky Stadium in Seattle and the relative moonscape that is the Palouse.
    Photo from the Seattle Times

    Tellingly, I couldn’t find a decent aerial photo of Martin Stadium. Anyway, the point is, these two places couldn’t be more different. I have hard time of thinking of any other intra-state rivals that are as distant. (I guess it depends on how you view the various California rivalries).
    As for the game itself, well, here’s the situation. I still think Washington is in the playoff if they win out, i.e., this game and the Pac-12 title game against Colorado or USC. I also still think Washington is pretty good, dismantlings by USC nonwithstanding. On the other side, we have Wazzu, which as you know by now spent the beginning of the season losing to Eastern Washington and Boise State. They also lost to Colorado last weekend, but that’s respectable this year.
    If there’s another team in the Pac-12 the Huskies resemble, it’s probably Colorado, even though they’ll be missing one of their d-line stars, I still like them to win this one. The fact the game will kick off at 12:30 local time probably also helps them.

  • Texas Christian @ Texas (FS1): (65 degrees, clear) In perhaps the worst firing ever, just in terms of the process, Charlie Strong is out. Both teams are sliding into the end of the year and a bowl bid is on the line. With all the drama around Austin, Charlie Strong is either going to get carried off the field or actually fired after the game. I’m betting on the latter.
  • Boise State @ Air Force (CBSS): (54 degrees, clear) For Boise to have any shot at the Cotton Bowl, they need to win this game and hope Wyoming loses to New Mexico. I suspect they can take for business on their end.

4:00: Louisiana Tech @ Southern Mississippi (ESPNEWS): (72 degrees, clear) Southern Miss isn’t, like, bad, this year, but they aren’t very good either. LaTech should win. (But you’ll have something to put on during halftime of the Apple Cup, at least.)

5:00: Toledo @ Western Michigan (ESPN2): (41 degrees, chance of rain) These are the two best teams in the MAC, and it’s not even close. The question is whether Toledo is anywhere close to Western Michigan, who have beaten every opponent on their schedule (except for Northwestern) by at least two touchdowns.

6:00: Baylor vs. Texas Tech (@Arlington, TX): (dome) Texas Tech

8:30: Cincinnati @ Tulsa (ESPN2): (48 degrees, clear) I don’t really see how Cincy will score enough to keep up here, or how Tommy Tuberville will retain his job.

9:30: Arizona State @ Arizona (ESPN): (69 degrees, clear) We’ll wrap up with the Territorial Cup, which, well, the nicest thing I can probably say about this game is that Arizona probably only has any sliver of a chance because it’s a rivalry game.

This Week in College Football: Week 4

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday
7:30: Clemson @ Georgia Tech (ESPN): A brief history of Clemson-Georgia Tech, as I remember it:

  • 2003: My freshman year and second ever college football game attended. The first was our 17-3 upset of Auburn two weeks prior, that involved rushing the field, tearing down the goal posts, and carrying phenom freshman QB Reggie Ball off the field. (Yes, that actually happened.) This game was considerably less fun, as we lost 39-3. I actually laughed out loud when I saw we passed 42 times. It’s like, well, maybe we would’ve been better off if Reggie passed at modern-GT passing rates. Anyway!
  • 2004: Probably still a personal best vertical leap record for me, after the events described here happened. If you don’t want to read all of that, essentially, we scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes of the game and a freshman WR named Calvin Johnson became a bonafide star.
  • 2005: That link above contains a pretty good summary of that game as well. I remembered what happened on that play before I even read the description of it. Good times.
  • 2006: This game sucked, but if nothing else we still ultimately made the ACC Championship Game while Clemson was busy losing the division to Wake Forest.
  • 2007: The general rule of this series is this: we either barely win or lose by a ton. Clemson was 4-0 and ranked #13 coming in, but it was mostly our defense the held the day. Clemson was held to 71 yards rushing (excluding sacks) and we had the game’s lone touchdown. I don’t really remember anything about this, but hey, we won 13-3.
  • 2008: I was actually at this game, which, in a total coincidence, was Dabo Swinney’s first game. I think it’s pretty safe to say most everyone vastly underestimated him at the time (even the Clemson fans I was tailgating with), but it turns out the dude can recruit and knows how to delegate to his coordinators. His first game, however, was a 21-17 loss to Georgia Tech that featured 200 yards rushing and a game winning touchdown catch by Demaryius Thomas.
  • 2009, Part 1: I don’t want to spoil anything, but you know what’s better than beating Clemson once in a season? Beating them twice! This game featured many things, including a fake field goal of… dubious legality by us as we ran out to a 24-0 lead on a Thursday night. Clemson then spent the next 30 minutes of football scoring 27 unanswered points, including some very long touchdown passes caught by guys like C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. However, Tech battled back and kicked two more FGs to get a 27-24 win.
  • 2009, Part 2: It’s not very often when you score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:20 to go that you think to yourself, “we left too much time on the clock”, but that’s the way this game went. It was cold and miserable in Tampa and the entire game was nerveracking. Both teams finished with over 400 yards of total offense. C.J. Spiller averaged 11.7 yards per carry en route to 233 rushing yards and four TDs, but Tech actually finished with more total yards. Neither team punted. Yeah, it was that kind of game, but somehow they didn’t score in that last 1:20 and we won 39-34.
  • 2010: This game was considerably less exciting, but in terms of the rivalry, this was a close, 27-13 loss, though looking at the stats the scoreline may flatter us a bit.
  • 2011: You know what’s fun? Upsetting a top-10 ranked Clemson team. We were 7-2 coming in, but our record flattered us and we had just lost two straight to Miami and Virginia. In retrospect, this wasn’t really an especially good Tech team, yet there’s Tevin Washington (not ever the best fit for the system) averaging nearly 7 yards per carry against Clemson. Tech led 31-10 and then held on for dear life, but it mostly worked and we won 31-17. Clemson’s national title hopes were derailed, but went to go to the Orange Bowl anyway for that infamous 70-33 shallacking.
  • 2012: 2012 GT was not very good. The 47-31 scoreline flattered us in this one.
  • 2013: Yeah, the top-10 Clemson thing doesn’t work so good when they’re at home. 55-31 including a garbage time touchdown.
  • 2014: We won 28-6 in rare November matchup, but even then it was pretty obvious we did well because Deshaun Watson got hurt early in the game and had to give way to Cole Stoudt, who promptly threw three interceptions including two pick-6’s. He had only three completions to his own team. Suffice it to say, Clemson wound up with 190 yards of total offense. That’s not good!
  • 2015: Yeah, so it turns out that Deshaun Watson guy is pretty good? By this time, the malaise of last year’s annus horribilis had fully set in and we meekly lost 43-24.

What does any of that have to do with this? Probably not much. Both teams are coming off encouraging victories this year, but about the only way we have any chance is to come out on top of a shootout, I think. Clemson has played us pretty well the past few seasons, coinciding with Clemson’s hiring of Brent Venables as their defensive coordinator, so it seems, shall we say, grim. We’re 8-6 over the period described here, but we’ve only won one of our last four. Yet, it’s college football, and somehow, somehow, history always seems to lurk, waiting to cast its shadow on the events of the present day. There’s always a chance.

Friday
7:30: Wyoming @ Eastern Michigan (CBSS): Wyoming.

8:00: Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (ESPN): TCU… probably.

9:00: Southern California @ Utah (FS1): So… a player maybe (probably not) punched Clay Helton. There’s a quarterback controversy. Yep, things are just fine at USC. Just… fine, and really, they should be. Was anyone really expecting anything from them year? And their losses so far to Alabama and Stanford, which is not dishonorable at all! Yet, it seems pretty likely this where the wheels come off, as it were.