This Weekend in College Football: Week 2

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Arkansas State @ Kansas State (FOX): Yeah, we’re really doing this I guess. I guess if nothing else this gives me a good excuse to take my new mechanical keyboard for a test drive. The main thing I’m noticing that’s interesting so far is that I don’t seem to know what to do with my right hand. My left is definitely properly positioned, whereas my right is mostly just hunting and pecking, albeit very quickly and efficiently. At any rate, 20 Memphis players tested positive for COVID after playing Arkansas State last week. The initial report was that the players got it after celebrating the victory on a party bus, but one of the players said they hadn’t done anything and that “they should go test Arkansas State” (paraphrased). So K-State will win, but at what cost?
  • Louisiana @ Iowa State (ESPN): I believe I noted this earlier, but this year I’m going to start referring to “Louisiana-Lafayette” as just “Louisiana”. It’s a big thing, as it makes both Louisiana-Monroe and LSU fans mad. That said, the rage against the Ragin’ Cajuns is interesting, but it won’t help them beat the Cyclones.
  • Charlotte @ Appalachian State (ESPN2): I’m assuming that Charlotte is still bad and that App State is still good.
  • Eastern Kentucky @ West Virginia (FS1)
  • Syracuse @ North Carolina (ACCN): I haven’t re-upped YouTube TV yet to get the ACC Network, so I won’t be able to see this. I haven’t gotten yet mostly because I’m not super crazy about the price increase from last year considering that I use it pretty much just for a single network. That said, that will last for about as long as Georgia Tech isn’t on the ACC Network, so we’ll see. In the meantime, I guess this is the year that Carolina’s Back!!, so I’ll go with them.

1:30: Louisiana-Monroe @ Army (CBSS): Well, Army has played a game, which means they should look better than their Naval counterparts did last week. I like them over ULM.

2:30: Duke @ Notre Dame (NBC): So technically Notre Dame has been a member of the ACC since 2013, but yes, this will be their first season playing an exclusively conference schedule in football. And they should be able to get it started with an easy victory over Duke.

3:30:

  • Georgia Tech @ Florida State (ABC): Well, here goes I suppose. Tech still has a blisteringly hard schedule this season, and while this isn’t the FSU of old (or even a few years ago, for that matter) this will still be a good yardstick to judge the growth of Tech in Year 2. There’s just gotta be some measurable progress that will tell us if the program is going in the right direction. We have the most returning experience in the country, and let’s hope that they’re talented enough to make that experience worth it.
  • Texas-San Antonio @ Texas State (ESPN2): I have no idea if either of these teams is good, or even decent. UTSA was really bad last year though (I think) so I’m going with Texas State.
  • Campbell @ Georgia Southern (ESPNU)

4:00: Austin Peay @ Pittsburgh (ACCN)

7:00: The Citadel @ South Florida (ESPN+)

7:30:

  • Clemson @ Wake Forest (ABC): Wake Forest may actually be Woke Forest now, but no amount of Wokeness is going to help them against Clemson.
  • Tulane @ South Alabama (ESPN2): I don’t know why, but I like Tulane, and this could well be far more engaging than the Clemson-Wake bloodbath on ABC.

8:00:

  • Western Kentucky @ Louisville (ACCN): I have this idea that WKU has been good recently, and Louisville has been really bad, but I don’t think it’s enough for me to put the Hilltoppers, uh, over the top.
  • Houston Baptist @ Texas Tech (ESPN+)

10:00: Coastal Carolina @ Kansas (FS1): Well, there’s no Pac-12 After Dark this season, so instead we get Kansas kicking off at 9PM Central time and plenty likely to lose to a team nicknamed the Chanticleers.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 1

Yeah, look, I’m just as surprised as you are.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday

8:00: Central Arkansas @ Alabama-Birmingham (espn3.com): Mostly just posting this one because, well, for obvious reasons this weekend is greatly diminished, and also because I enjoy the Shutdown Fullcast joke about UCA being a bunch of Ozark ronin.

9:00: South Alabama @ Southern Mississippi (CBSS): I have no idea which, if either, of these teams are going to be good this year. But here you are: FBS vs. FBS football. I’ll pick USM.

Saturday

1:00: Eastern Kentucky @ Marshall (ESPN): Naturally, because of the pandemic there is no PAX this year. So I have plenty of time to watch the first full weekend of college football. Which is, of course, also not really its normal self during the pandemic. Also, Marshall.

1:30: Middle Tennessee State @ Army (CBSS): So instead we’ll get this nicely spaced out slate that features no Power 5 teams. Army will get in the first of its eight home games this year. Has that ever happened before? Well, since WWII anyway? Also, my site I use for TV listings started calling Army “Army West Point”, and while I do respect anyone’s decision to be called whatever they want, Army is still referred to plenty as just Army, so I’ll stick to that. (I have finally caved and started referring to Louisiana-Lafayette as just Louisiana, though.) Oh, and I like Army here.

4:30: Southern Methodist @ Texas State (ESPN): I am as unsure about everything as I about most of these contests, but I’m pretty sure Texas State will still be terrible.

8:00: Arkansas State @ Memphis (ESPN): I’ll also assume that Memphis is still fun and good.

Monday

8:00: Brigham Young @ Navy (ESPN): I need to check, but I think BYU may be the only FBS team west of the Rockies that is playing football this year. I’ll also take Navy here.

Rating the (Original) 2020 Non-Conference Slate

It’s that time once again. The methodology is the same as years past. The major difference is, of course, that none of these games will be played. That said, continuity weighed heavily on me and I decided to dig up each Power 5 team’s original 2020 schedule. This turned out to be way more work than I thought, but in the end I was reminded once again of some of the spectacular matchups we’ll miss this year.

This year, my brother and I rated 71 teams on a scale from 0 to 1 in .25 increments.

Legit Rating Number of teams
1 22
0.75 4
0.5 13
0.25 10
0 22

The 22 teams earning a “1” were: Alabama, Auburn, California-Los Angeles, Clemson, Florida, Florida state, Georgia, Louisiana state, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma state, Oregon, Pennsylvania State, Texas, Texas A&M, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Legit Rating for each conference was:

  • ACC: 0.43
  • Big 12: 0.5
  • Big Ten: 0.46
  • Pac-12: 0.52
  • SEC: 0.52

Since none of these games will actually be played, I will eschew my usual commentary on each team’s schedule, but I will provide the original schedules and their ratings. FCS teams are indicated in italics.

ACC

  1. Georgia Tech (2.75 legit, 1 FCS): Gardner-Webb, Central Florida, Notre Dame, @Georgia.
  2. Florida State (2, 1): N-West Virginia, Samford, @Boise State, Florida.
  3. North Carolina (1.75, 1): @Central Florida, N-Auburn, James Madison, Connecticut.
  4. Virginia (1, 1): Georgia, Virginia Military Institute, Connecticut, @Old Dominion.
  5. Virginia Tech (1, 1): Liberty, Pennsylvania State, @Middle Tennessee State, North Alabama.
  6. Wake Forest (1, 1): @Old Dominion, Appalachian State, Villanova, N-Notre Dame.
  7. Clemson (1, 1): Akron, @Notre Dame, The Citadel, South Carolina.
  8. Pittsburgh (1, 1): Miami (OH), @Marshall, Richmond, Notre Dame.
  9. Louisville (1, 1): Murray State, Western Kentucky, @Notre Dame, Kentucky.
  10. Duke (1, 1): Middle Tennessee State, Elon, Charlotte, @Notre Dame.
  11. Miami (0.5, 1): Temple, Wagner, Alabama-Birmingham, Michigan State.
  12. Boston College (0.25, 1): Ohio, @Kansas, Purdue, Holy Cross.
  13. North Carolina State (0.25, 1): Mississippi State, @Troy, Delaware, Liberty.
  14. Syracuse (0, 1): @Rutgers, Colgate, @Western Michigan, Liberty.

Big Ten

  1. Ohio State (1, 0): Bowling Green, @Oregon, Buffalo.
  2. Michigan State (1, 0): @Brigham Young, Toledo, Miami.
  3. Michigan (1, 0): @Washington, Ball State, Arkansas State.
  4. Wisconsin (1, 1): Southern Illinois, Appalachian State, N-Notre Dame.
  5. Pennsylvania State (0.75, 0): Kent State, @Virginia Tech, San Jose State.
  6. Maryland (0.5, 1): Towson, Northern Illinois, @West Virginia.
  7. Nebraska (0.25, 1): Central Michigan, South Dakota State, Cincinnati.
  8. Iowa (0.25, 1): Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Illinois.
  9. Purdue (0, 0): Memphis, Air Force, @Boston College.
  10. Indiana (0, 0): Western Kentucky, Ball State, @Connecticut.
  11. Rutgers (0, 1): Monmouth, Syracuse, @Temple.
  12. Minnesota (0, 1): Florida Atlantic, Tennessee Tech, Brigham Young.
  13. Northwestern (0, 1): Tulane, Central Michigan, Morgan State.
  14. Illinois (0, 1): Illinois State, Connecticut, Bowling Green.

Big 12

  1. Texas (1, 0): South Florida, @Louisiana State, Texas-El Paso.
  2. West Virginia (1, 1): N-Florida State, Eastern Kentucky, Maryland.
  3. Oklahoma (0.5, 1): Missouri State, Tennessee, @Army.
  4. Iowa State (0.5, 1): South Dakota, @Iowa, Nevada-Las Vegas.
  5. Baylor (0.5, 1): Mississippi, Incarnate Word, Louisiana Tech.
  6. Texas Christian (0, 1): @California, Prairie View A&M, @Southern Methodist.
  7. Texas Tech (0, 1): @Texas-El Paso, Alabama State, Arizona.
  8. Oklahoma State (0, 1): Oregon State, Tulsa, Western Illinois.
  9. Kansas State (0, 1): Buffalo, North Dakota, Vanderbilt.
  10. Kansas (0, 1): New Hampshire, Boston College, @Coastal Carolina.

Pac-12

  1. Southern California (2, 0): N-Alabama, New Mexico, Notre Dame.
  2. Stanford (1, 1): William & Mary, @Notre Dame, Brigham Young.
  3. Oregon (1, 1): North Dakota State, Ohio State, Hawaii.
  4. Washington (1, 1): Michigan, Sacramento State, Utah State.
  5. Oregon State (1, 1): @Oklahoma State, Colorado State, Portland State.
  6. Colorado (1, 0): @Colorado State, Fresno State, @Texas A&M.
  7. California (0.75, 1): @Nevada-Las Vegas, Texas Christian, California Polytechnic.
  8. Washington State (0.5, 1): @Utah State, Houston, Idaho.
  9. Utah (0, 1): Brigham Young, Montana State, @Wyoming.
  10. Arizona State (0, 1): Northern Arizona, @Nevada-Las Vegas, Brigham Young.
  11. Arizona (0, 1): Hawaii, Portland State, @Texas Tech.
  12. California-Los Angeles (0, 0): New Mexico State, @Hawaii, @San Diego State.

SEC

  1. Alabama (1, 1): N-Southern California, Georgia State, Kent State, Tennessee-Martin.
  2. Louisiana State (1, 1): Texas-San Antonio, Texas, N-Rice, Nicholls State.
  3. Tennessee (1, 1): Charlotte, @Oklahoma, Furman, Troy.
  4. Arkansas (1, 1): Nevada, @Notre Dame, Charleston Southern, Louisiana-Monroe.
  5. South Carolina (1, 1): Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Wofford, @Clemson.
  6. Florida (1, 1): Eastern Washington, South Alabama, New Mexico State, @Florida State.
  7. Georgia (0.75, 1): N-Virginia, East Tennessee State, Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia Tech.
  8. Mississippi State (0.5, 1): New Mexico, North Carolina State, Tulane, Alabama A&M.
  9. Vanderbilt (0.5, 1): Mercer, @Kansas State, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech.
  10. Auburn (0.5, 1): Alcorn State, N-North Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Massachusetts.
  11. Texas A&M (0.25, 1): Abilene Christian, North Texas, Colorado, Fresno State.
  12. Missouri (0, 1): Central Arkansas, Eastern Michigan, @Brigham Young, Louisiana.
  13. Mississippi (0, 1): Baylor, Southeast Missouri, Connecticut, Georgia Southern.
  14. Kentucky (0.25, 1): Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Eastern Illinois, @Louisville.

My alma mater, Georgia Tech, takes home the crown of the “most legit” schedule, as this year is their turn to face Notre Dame, and they had always feisty UCF on the schedule, along with annual rival Georgia. But this being 2020, what matchups will we miss the most?

Well, first I’m going to miss the inter-conference traditional rivalries that many ACC and SEC teams have. Good bye Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State, Kentucky-Louisville, and South Carolina-Clemson. And let’s not forget Bedlam (Iowa-Iowa State), and Notre Dame’s traditional rivals like Navy and Southern Cal.

Next I’ll miss what were some of the ones that the college football world had collectively circled on their calendars. This includes, but likely isn’t limited to:

  • Florida State vs. West Virginia
  • Florida State @ Boise State
  • North Carolina vs. Auburn
  • Ohio State @ Oregon
  • Michigan @ Washington
  • Texas @ Louisiana State
  • Texas Tech @ Arizona
  • Oklahoma vs. Tennessee
  • Oklahoma @ Army
  • Southern California vs. Alabama
  • Colorado @ Texas A&M

FSU on the blue turf, Michigan and Ohio State venturing to the West Coast, the Sooners making the return trip to West Point after almost getting knocked off by Army a couple years ago… it’s tough to think about.

Alas, it won’t be. All I hope is that what does remain of the season can be done as safely as possible and that something good can come from all the chaos of the offseason.

Finally, here are the conferences ranked by their average Legit Rating.

  1. Pac-12 (0.23)
  2. ACC (0.203)
  3. SEC (0.156)
  4. Big Ten (0.137)
  5. Big 12 (0.117)

This is nearly the exact same ranking as last year, but that’s not too surprising. It seems that the Pac-12 just cares the most about getting interesting games.

Bowl Games 2019: Final

It was a pretty good bowl season for me, I’m at about 64% right now in terms of picking winners. I’ll take that all day, every day.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Monday, January 13

8:00: Louisiana State vs. Clemson (College Football Playoff Championship Game @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): Hoo boy, this is going to be a ball game, folks. I like both of these teams. Clemson probably really wishes they had that defensive line from last year, as the main occasions where LSU has really been challenged at all this year, they were facing fantastic defensive lines that could keep Joe Burrow contained. I think Clemson is actually still good enough to challenge them again this year, and they’ve certainly showed they can hang with a challenge by coming back against Ohio State. I think, ultimately, my pick here is going to be to hedge this one a little bit. I’ve got LSU winning a close one and Clemson covering the 5.5.
SP+ line: LSU -2.5
Vegas line: LSU -5.5
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Three all time, and none in the regular season. LSU won the 1958-9 Sugar Bowl 7-0, and then prevailed 10-7 in the 1996 Peach Bowl. The Tigers from South Carolina finally got a win in the series back in the 2012 Chick-fil-a Bowl, 25-24.
Last bowl game: LSU had no problems with Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl back on December 28, winning 63-28. Clemson, though, gritted out an instant classic with a 29-23 win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Announcers: Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit

Bowl Games 2019: 2020

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Wednesday, January 1
1:00:

  • Michigan vs. Alabama (Citrus Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): There’s definitely been plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth about how this “clash of the titans” will be overhyped on the way to New Year’s Day. Which, look, I understand: I’m as tired of hearing about Michigan and (especially) Alabama as anyone. But that said, this should still be a pretty good football game! Well, provided Bama doesn’t just up and run away with it. Which is entirely possible.
    SP+ line: Bama -11.3
    Vegas line: Bama -6.5
    Watchability tier: IV
    Previous meetings: The series is even, a 2-2 split. Three of the previous meetings were bowl games: the 1987-88 Hall of Fame Bowl (28-24, Michigan), the 1996-97 Outback Bowl (17-14, Bama), and an overtime thriller in the 1999-2000 Outback Bowl that Michigan won 35-34. They kicked off the regular season in 2012, and Bama won 41-14.
    Last bowl game: This is Michigan’s fifth straight bowl game, dating to the 2015 Citrus Bowl, where they beat Florida 41-7. Florida then got them back in the Peach Bowl last season, where the Gators won 41-15. Alabama has been to sixteen straight bowl games, dating to a 20-16 loss to Minnesota in the 2004 Music City Bowl. Last season, they defeated Oklahoma 45-34 in the Orange Bowl, and then used their kicker as a lead blocker on a fake field goal while getting blown out 44-16 by Clemson in the College Football Playoff Championship Game.
    Announcers: Dave Pasch and Greg McElroy
  • Minnesota vs. Auburn (Outback Bowl @ Tampa, FL; ESPN): Congratulations on one of the best seasons in school history, Minnesota! Your reward is to lose in some bizarre way to Auburn, the random number generator of college football teams.
    SP+ line: Auburn -4.3
    Vegas line: Auburn -7.5
    Watchability tier: IV
    Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
    Last bowl game: Minnesota defeated Georgia Tech 34-10 in last season’s Quick Lane Bowl. Auburn has been to seven straight bowl games, dating to the 2013 BCS Championship Game, where they lost 34-31 to Florida State. Last season they beat Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl.
    Announcers: Jason Benetti and Rod Gilmore

5:00: Wisconsin vs. Oregon (Rose Bowl @ Pasadena, CA; ESPN): This actually seems like a perfectly fun Rose Bowl! I don’t really have a good idea of who will win. There are both really-good-not-great teams that should produce a fun contrast of styles: Wisconsin should be able to run Jonathan Taylor behind their huge offensive line, but Oregon should be faster. I think (slash am hoping) that this will produce a close, fun matchup, though I think Wisconsin will win in the end.
SP+ line: Wisky -3.1
Vegas line: Wisky -2.5
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Wisky is 3-2 overall against Oregon. The first four meetings were in 1977, 1978, 2000, and 2001. Wisky won the first three. Their last meeting was the 2011-12 Rose Bowl, a 45-38 Oregon win.
Last bowl game: Wisconsin has been to 18 consecutive bowl games, dating to a 31-28 win over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. Last season they demolished Miami 35-3 in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Ducks have been to three consecutive bowl games. They lost 38-28 to Boise State in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl and beat Michigan State 7-6 last season in the Redbox Bowl.
Announcers: Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit

8:45: Baylor vs. Georgia (Sugar Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): I’m not really giving Baylor much of a chance in this one, but the the main thing that could keep them in it is Georgia’s offense, which hopefully remains pretty much non-functional against a Big 12 defense. If Georgia gets up by multiple scores, though, this is (probably) over.
SP+ line: UGA -7.8
Vegas line: UGA -6.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: UGA is 4-0 all-time against Baylor. They first met in 1972, a 24-14 UGA win. Their last meeting was in 1989, a 15-3 Georgia win.
Last bowl game: Baylor defeated Vandy 45-38 last season in the Texas Bowl. Georgia has the country’s second longest consecutive bowls streak, now at 23 games. Their streak dates to the 1997 Outback Bowl, where they defeated Wisconsin 33-6. They lost 28-21 to Texas in last season’s Sugar Bowl.
Announcers: Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge

Thursday, January 2
3:00: Boston College vs. Cincinnati (Birmingham Bowl @ Birmingham, AL; ESPN): Let’s see… Cincy is pretty good, BC just fired their coach and is kinda bad on offense… yeah, this isn’t looking good for a Boston College win.
SP+ line: Cincy -12.3
Vegas line: Cincy -6.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: BC is 4-3 all-time against Cincy. They first met in 1961, a 23-0 BC win. They last met in 1997, a 24-6 Cincy win.
Last bowl game: Boston College’s last bowl game was the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl, a 27-20 loss to Iowa. Cincy defeated VPI 35-31 in last season’s Military Bowl.
Announcers: Kevin Brown and Andre Ware

7:00: Indiana vs. Tennessee (Gator Bowl @ Jacksonville, FL; ESPN): So I picked Indiana a couple weeks ago, but I’ve since started talking myself into the Vols. They finished the season pretty strong! Whereas I don’t really know what to make of the Hoosiers at all. I’ll stick to my guns, though.
SP+ line: Indiana -4
Vegas line: Vols -1.5
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: Just one, a 27-22 Tennessee win in the 1987-88 Peach Bowl.
Last bowl game: Indiana’s last bowl game was the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl, a 26-24 loss to Utah. This is the first bowl game for the Vols since the 2016 Music City Bowl, where they beat Nebraska 38-24.
Announcers: Dave O’Brien and Tim Hasselbeck

Friday, January 3
3:30: Nevada vs. Ohio (Potato Bowl @ Boise, ID; ESPN): I don’t think that Nevada is actually two touchdowns bad, but, yeah, on paper at least this should be close. But we’ll see if the data actually bears that out.
SP+ line: Ohio -15
Vegas line: Ohio -7.5
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: Nevada defeated Arkansas State 16-13 in last season’s Arizona Bowl. For the Bobcats, this is their fifth straight bowl game, dating to a 31-29 loss to Appalachai nState in the 2015 Camellia Bowl. Last season they shutout San Diego State 27-0 in the Frisco Bowl.
Announcers: Anish Shroff and John Congemi

Saturday, January 4
11:30: Tulane vs. Southern Mississippi (Armed Forces Bowl @ Fort Worth, TX; ESPN): Tulane had a fantastic season and should be able to cap it off with a win over a mediocre Conference USA team.
SP+ line: Tulane -10.8
Vegas line: Tulane -6.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: USM leads the all-time series 23-7 between these closely located former conference-mates (from 1996-2010). Tulane won the first matchup in 1979, but it’s been all downhill from there, including losing the last six in a row.
Last bowl game: Tulane beat Louisiana-Lafayette 41-24 in last season’s Cure Bowl. Southern Miss’s last bowl game was a 42-13 defeat to Florida State in the 2017 Independence Bowl.
Announcers: Chris Cotter and Mark Herzlich

Monday, January 6
7:30: Miami vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Mobile Alabama Bowl @ Mobile, AL; ESPN): And, finally, the last bit of college football for an entire week. It’ll be odd to go back to, well, normal as it were? It’s the first indication of the long dark of the offseason. And, unfortunately, this should really be a romp by the Cajuns. But I’ll watch it anyway.
SP+ line: Cajuns -19.2
Vegas line: Cajuns -13.5
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: I was fully expecting that this would be the first meeting between these teams, but it’s not! They first met in 1991, a 27-14 Miami victory, and then again in 1993, a 29-28 Miami win.
Last bowl game: Miami’s last bowl game was a 17-16 loss to Mississippi State in the 2016 St. Petersburg Bowl. ULL los 41-24 to Tulane in last season’s Cure Bowl.
Announcers: Dave Lamont and Gene Chizik