Monthly Archives: October 2008

This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Georgia Tech @ Clemson (ESPN): I will actually be at this game. Not really sure what to expect here. Will Clemson be rejuvenated with a new coach and, presumably, a new offensive philosophy? Will the mobility of Willy Korn make up for the huge deficiencies in their offensive line? (Also note that GT has one of, if not the best defensive lines in the ACC.) Too many variables here, and I just hope that GT will play through a surely re-energized fanbase and get the job done.
  • Purdue @ Northwestern (ESPN2): NU got their first loss of the season last weekend against Michigan State. Meanwhile, Purdue has lost 3 straight and has failed to beat a single BCS opponent. Have to go with Northwestern here.
  • Wisconsin @ Iowa (BTN): Wisconsin. Next!
  • Texas Tech @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (FSN): Anyone noticed how bad TAMU is this year? Seriosuly. TTU rolls.
  • Wake Forest @ Maryland (Raycom/Gameplan): Which Maryland is going to show up this week? Beats me! For the sake of my sanity, I’m picking Wake and moving on.


  • Nebraska @ Iowa State (Versus): Bad Big 12 matchup of the day! Both these teams are winless in the conference and Nebraska has lost 3 straight. Nebraksa has a narrow overtime loss to Texas Tech last week, while ISU lost by 28 to Baylor. I like the Huskers here.
  • Vanderbilt @ Georgia (Raycom/Gameplan): My brain says UGA but my heart is hoping for a repeat of 2006.


  • Mississippi @ Alabama (CBS):

    This game will be close, for awhile. Then, eventually, Houston Nutt will find a way. A way to lose.
  • North Carolina @ Virginia (Gameplan/ABC/ESPN2): I’m not buying into the UVA hype just yet. They may have themselves a QB, and UNC is missing some crucial parts. I still think they pull it out in Charlottesville, though.
  • Ohio State @ Michigan State (ESPN/ABC): Important game for OSU on the come back trail, yet again. But to be completely honest I don’t know who can beat them on their remaining schedule except for Penn State. Which, notably, is next week. So the only way OSU loses is if they overlook MSU and are preparing for Penn State.
  • Kansas @ Oklahoma (ABC/Gameplan): Is Kansas a good football team? Yes. But are they as good as Oklahoma? No.
  • Southern California @ Washington State (FSN): Wazzou is really, really, really bad. USC should be able to beat these guys with their backups.
  • Pittsburgh @ Navy (CBSCS): Despite, you know, the entire season I am not really sold on Pitt at all. So I’ll take Navy and the upset.

4:30: Michigan @ Pennsylvania State (ESPN): As you can tell, I’m tired and writing these previews with even less analysis than usual. My apologies. At any rate, has Michigan looked bad these past two weeks or what? Penn State rolls into their huge game against OSU next week.

7:00: Oregon State @ Washington (Versus): Does OSU hang 66 like they did on Wazzou last week? Maybe, but it will probably be more in the 40-50 range.


  • Missouri @ Texas (ABC): Is this game as significant as it looked to be last week? Probably not. But is it still important? Yes. However, with the game in Austin I have to favor the Longhorns.
  • Louisiana State @ South Carolina (ESPN): Don’t look, but USC has won 4 straight. The reason why you shouldn’t look is because they haven’t beaten anyone of note. In fact, I won’t even say who, that’s how unnoteworthy they are. LSU should roll.
  • Virginia Tech @ Boston College (ESPN2): GT badly, badly needs VPI to lose this game. For reasons I can’t quite figure out, VPI is actually a slight underdog here, but I’m not buying. I think VPI will win, though I’ll be rooting for BC.
  • Indiana @ Illinois (BTN): Hey, it’s exactly kind of game that should be on the Big Ten Network! And that’s why I’m not going to watch it. Illinois wins.
  • Texas-El Pas @ Tulsa (CBSCS): Tulsa scores 60 and wins.

That’s all for now. Bowl predictions probably won’t be up until Monday evening, but I’m looking forward to getting back on that old horse.

“All Predictions Wrong”

That’s the mantra of my weekly predictions column, but so far this season I’ve actually acquitted myself fairly well. To wit:
Week 1: 16-11
Week 2: 13-1
Week 3: 11-4
Week 4: 12-4
Week 5: 12-8
Week 6: 15-3
Week 7: 9-8
Total: 88-39 (69.3%)

However, I’ve also said some fairly wrong things over the course of these 7 weeks. Last weekend, for instance, I was wrong about almost all of the morning slate.

Anyway, I wanted to do a wrap-up column here but I’m feeling pretty tired. Bowl predictions return next week, so look forward to that.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 7

Busy again, so let’s get down to business.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Texas vs. Oklahoma (@Dallas, TX; ABC): It’s still the Red River Shootout to me. With more fans for each side than ever (the Cotton Bowl just finished renovations to expand capacity to 90,000) this will hopefully be a close game. Neither of these teams has been even remotely challenged this year, but I am going to go ahead and drink the Sooner Kool-Aid.
  • Minnesota @ Illinois (ESPN): How does Minnesota not suck this year? Granted, they’ve only played 2 opponents worth talking about (and went 1-1) but still. At any rate, Illinois is still better than Indiana and should have no problems with the Gophers.
  • Iowa @ Indiana (BTN): Now this was the kind of game the Big Ten Network was made for! Iowa has 3 straight losses to heavyweights like Pitt, Northwestern, and Michigan State. Indiana also has 3 straight losses, but to Ball State, Michigan State, and Minnesota. Hard to tell who will suck less here. My general policy is to avoid picking Iowa as much as possible, so I’ll go with the Hoosiers. And yes, I know Ball State is 6-0, but their best win is a tossup between Indiana and Navy, so…
  • East Carolina @ Virginia (Raycom/Gameplan): Virginia scored 13 points (combined) against UConn and Duke. Then they hung a 31 spot on Maryland. The ECU bandwagon is officially sunk, so this sounds like a good time for UVA to start losing again. Yarr.


  • Colorado @ Kansas (ESPN2): It’s your other entirely too early Big 12 game! CU is coming off two straight dismantlings admistered by FSU and Texas. (By the way, Monday was the 18-year anniverisary of the 5th down.) KU rolls.
  • South Carolina @ Kentucky (Raycom/Gameplan): If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience the, er, magic of the Daves, all these games are streamed online. Kentucky very quietly go to 4-0, but they didn’t play anyone and couldn’t quite top Alabama last week. The Visor has reeled off 3 striaght, but against Wofford, UAB, and Ole Miss. (At some point this season, it’ll be nice to not have to say “they haven’t played anyone yet.”) Anyway, Kentucky looked fairly competent last week and it’s at home, so why not? (That’s some hard hitting analysis right there, folks.)

1:00: East Michigan @ Army (ESPN Classic): Not only did Army actually win last week, they beat a DI-A opponent, and pretty badly at that. (The victim was Tulane, and the score was 44-13.) Tulane may or may not be better than New Hampshire, but that’s beside the point. Eastern Michigan lost 4 straight, getting drubbed by even the two MAC teams they played. However, a last minute touchdown put them past Bowling Green, so here we are. They’re probably the better team, but this is enough of a toss-up (I hope), so I’ll pick the sentimental favorite, Army.

3:00: Nebraska @ Texas Tech (FSN): Over/under on points scored by Texas Tech alone should be around 50 or so. I’d still take the over.


  • Arizona State @ Southern California (ABC/Gameplan): Gee, thanks, ABC for still showing football games in standard definition in 2008! This is one of the most messed up coverage maps I’ve ever seen, too. See that blue patch in southern Tennessee and northern Alabama? That’s where I’d be if I were back at home. I can gauruntee that, no matter what, no one in the South gives a damn about Arizona State or Southern Cal, at least in terms of wanting to watch them as opposed to the two other games that are actually in HD. Oh, and USC wins by a few touchdowns. They’re baaack!
  • Ohio State @ Purdue (ESPN/ABC): Purdue still doesn’t really trust this “defense” thing. Ohio State should take care of business here.
  • Notre Dame @ North Carolina (Gameplan/ESPN/ABC): A-C-C! Well, maybe. I think UNC’s schedule has actually been slightly tougher, but they’re still lacking their starting QB. Then again, they seem to have found a new one. Both these teams have pretty sudden turnarounds from last year, both programs being labeled as sleeping giants, needing only the right coaching to spring forth. So they’re both 4-1, and just to spite Lou Holtz, I will pick UNC.
  • Michigan State @ Northwestern (ESPN2): I think NU’s luck runs out against the Spartans.
  • Texas Christian @ Colorado State (CBSCS): Against teams that aren’t currently ranked #1 in the country, TCU has been putting up a lot of points, and I don’t see that stopping here.
  • Gardner-Webb @ Georgia Tech (No TV): So Tech will probably start its 3rd string QB here. (Also, for the final time, this game was supposed to be up in West Point. Army backed out right before last year’s game.) Those actually attending the game will be in for a treat – this game will not be on live TV anywhere, which means no fat dude in a red jacket stopping play after turnovers and punts. As for the QB thing, well, I’m not worried. Nesbitt’s hamstring still hurts, but I suspect he will see some game action, even if for a drive or two. Clavin Booker will probably get the start, and he’s certainly earned for being a team player if nothing else. (Rumor is Jaybo Shaw got a minor concussion last week against Duke.) As for Mr. Demaryius “BeBe” Thomas, he doesn’t quite have Calvin’s height (6’3″ versus 6’5″) but he still towers over many corners. Calvin also never had a 200 yard game at Tech, or an 88-yard reception. Is BeBe as good as Calvin? Of course not, but he’s darn close which provides a huge asset in this offense. Most teams can’t afford to leave him one-on-one, but because of the run game they will often have little choice.


  • Louisiana State @ Florida (CBS): A rare evening game with Uncle Verne, and I’m looking foward to it. (Of course, it’s at 5:00 here, which is hardly the evening, but still.) Like many matchups of elite SEC teams, this should feature precious little offense. The problem for UF at the moment is that they are totally lost on offense and defense. (Yes, I am aware that they beat Arkansas 38-7. Arkansas is that bad this year.) That said, LSU hasn’t looked bad all year, even though they almost lost to now OC-less Auburn. Will the SEC eat its own children this year, or will LSU go on to the Game of Destiny against Alabama? I say the latter will probably occur, just so Alabama can beat them to spite me.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Wisconsin (ESPN): My opinion on this game is this. Wisconsin is not as good as everyone thought they were before they lost 2 straight. Penn State is 6-0. I’ll take the safe pick.
  • Oklahoma State @ Missouri (ESPN2): I don’t know what the over/under on this game is, but take the over. And also take Mizzou, though I have a gut feeling it might come down to who gets the ball last.
  • Boise State @ Southern Mississippi (CBSCS): Unless they are jetlagged, Boise State should come out on top here. USM might keep it close, so if you can take your eyes off LSU-Florida or OSU-Mizzou for a second (though I would be afraid of blinking during the latter game), give this a shot….

10:15: California-Los Angeles @ Oregon (FSN): …because it’ll probably be better than this game, at any rate. Both these teams found some mojo against hapless Washington State (enroll now, try out for QB tomorrow!) but Oregon then went and had the unfortunate chance of playing a USC that actually showed up for the game. I’ll still take the Ducks here, though.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 6

Been busy as hell this week, not much say. Let’s get started.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong. Also, expect plenty of typos.


  • Pennsylvania State @ Purdue (ESPN): I still don’t think Notre Dame is a very good football team. Mostly, what does that say about Purdue? Mostly that they don’t really do the “defense” thing very well, having given up 31 points per DI-A game and 38 to Notre Dame. Sure, ND is scoring some points this year, but not at the same clip as Penn State. PSU should handle this one.
  • Iowa @ Michigan State (ESPN2): Iowa has lost two straight to the juggernauts known as Pitt and Northwestern. Michigan State is on a roll after an early loss to Cal. What I want to know is: wasn’t the Big Ten network supposed to save us from this crap? MSU rolls.
  • Duke @ Georgia Tech (ESPNU): I toyed with starting a separate column to preview the week’s upcoming GT game, since I probably write more analysis about GT than all the other games combined. Anyway, in case you haven’t heard Duke doesn’t completely suck this year. They are coming off a demolition of a very, very terrible Virginia team and have faced this offense before in the Navy game. So what’s to watch here? For the Duke offense, it begins and ends with Thaddeus Lewis. His completion percentage is 61% this year, up from 55% last year, mostly thanks to new head coach David Cuttcliffe. He’s thrown 7 TDs to 2 interceptions, also an improvement over the past two years. And these percentages are not for lack of attempts. Against Navy, he threw the ball 35 times, and against UVA 32 times. Are they the best passing team in the country? No, but they are by the best passing offense we’ve seen this year. Will they run the ball? Not much. Fortunately, Tech’s passing defense is much improved this year (8th, in fact) especially helped by improved secondary play from Jahi Word-Daniels and doubly so by Morgan Burnett, who is rapidly becoming the ballhawk safety we all hoped he’d be. Tech can also use it’s all-ACC defensive line to get pass pressure by rushing 4 men, and is almost certainly the best front 4 Duke has faced all year. If Micheal Johnson is firing on all cylinders for this game, he will use at least 2 blockers by himself. (We’ve talked about MJ in the past on this site. Against Miss State he blocked a FG and got a sack and was just generally all over the field.) As mentioned above, Duke played Navy and may be somewhat more well-prepared than other opponents that will face Tech this year. Also, starting QB Josh Nesbitt will also miss the game due to a hamstring he strained against Miss State. While backup QB Jaybo Shaw is more than capable of running a proficient option offense (as demonstrated two weeks ago), he lacks the raw athleticism of Nesbitt, especially as a passer. Thanks to the bye week, though, several players on both sides of the ball will return. Overall, the attitude on the boards is cautious optimism, and I tend to agree. On the flip said, Vegas says Tech by 12. So I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.
  • Indiana @ Minnesota (BTN): Oh, wait, the Big Ten Network exists to show these kind of games. So apparently UMN doesn’t suck this year? I’m still trying to get a handle on that, of course, they also haven’t beaten anyone, but it’s still an improvement over last year’s bunch that lost to North Dakota. Meanwhile, Indiana does have a bad loss to Ball State and took the expected beating from Michigan State. So for the first time in a long time, I’m picking the Golden Gophers.
  • Boston College @ North Carolina State (Raycom/Gameplan): NCSU has had a relatively tough schedule so far, but they got absolutely destroyed last week by USF. Meanwhile, BC still hasn’t really, um, played anyone since losing to GT. I’ve seen nothing to make me think NCSU will win another game this year, though, so I’m taking BC.


  • Oklahoma @ Baylor (FSN): How long will we keep this #1? I’m going to go ahead and say until at least next week. OU should take care of business here, but at least this edition of Baylor has a chance to make it interesting.
  • Kansas @ Iowa State (Versus): With all the choas in this great, big, confusing world, it’s nice to know there’s at least one constant, and that’s Iowa State being terrible. Jayhawks roll.
  • Florida @ Arkansas (Raycom/Gameplan): Okay, Ole Miss is not exactly lighting the world on fire this year. Unlike Arkansas, though, they’ve at least had a chance to win all their games. Arkansas beat Western Illinois and UL-M by a combined 7 points, and then went on to lose to Alabama and Texas by a combined score of 101-24. Florida gets back on the national title horse with a win here, and I think they’ll come through.

2:30: Stanford @ Notre Dame (NBC): Notre Dame has re-discovered this year that to win football games, you usually need to outscore your opponents. Stanford, meanwhile, hasn’t lost to any obviously inferior opponents, but with the game in South Bend I’ll give the edge to the guys in gold hates and then move on.


  • Kentucky @ Alabama (CBS): Kentucky had a joke of a non-conference slate and was still about a yard away from suffering a loss to Hail Mary-happy MTSU. They roll into what is (unfortunately) a very re-energized Alabama fan base, and probably into a loss.
  • Illinois @ Michigan (ESPN2/ABC): Michigan is an enigma this year. Lose to Utah, barely beat the non-“da U” version of Miami, and then lose to Notre Dame. Oh, and then come out and beat Wisconsin. While I would argue Wisconsin beat themselves, Michigan still had to execute on offense to win, and that’s the first time they’ve really proven they can do so this year. Illinois’s blemishes are much better – losses to Mizzou and Penn State, though they decisively lost both. This is usually where I look up the odds to see what Vegas thinks, and they have no clue – the line is Michigan by 3. I’ll take the Wolverines due to the home field advantage as well, but you never know when one of Zook’s teams will suddenly decide they don’t suck again.
  • Texas Tech @ Kansas State (Gameplan/ABC): The Big 12’s back baby, and it’s all a lot more like the Red Raiders than the power rushing attacks of old. (Well, unless you’re OSU.) Whole K-State is the only college football squad that contains any members of my extended family (to my knowledge), I’m gonna have to take the Leach Band O’ Pirates, er, Raiders here.
  • Arizona State @ California (ABC/Gameplan): Cal’s back! After losing to Maryland they came back to everyone’s favorite stadium on the Heyward Fault and demolished Colorado State 42-7. Arizona State’s season, meanwhile, is kind of down the tubes after that OT loss to UNLV a few weeks ago, followed by their dismantling by UGA. I’ll take Cal here.
  • Florida State @ Miami (Gameplan/ESPN2/ABC): The over/under on this game is a mind-boggling 42. Unless FSU suddenly found a QB and Miami fired Nix, I would definitely take the under here. And Miami, because have you seen FSU this year?
  • Southern Methodist @ Central Florida (CBSC): CBS needs to put a little more effort into choosing C-USA games, methinks. I debated even putting this on here, but I get this channel and it is technically a game between DI-A teams. Both of whom are in C-USA and have 2 wins between them. Oh, and O’Leary’s starting to feel the heat at UCF. And SMU still sucks. And…ugh. Do I have to pick someone here? Hold on….it’s heads, SMU wins.

4:00: Navy @ Air Force (Versus): Clash of the service academy titans! The winner here, as with the past several years, pretty much wins the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy. Navy has victories over two BCS conference opponents (even though one of them is Rutgers), while Air Force lost to the only decent team it has played (Utah). I’ll go with the Midshipmen here.

6:00: Auburn @ Vanderbilt (ESPN): It’s Auburn! It’s Vanderbilt! It’s your SEC PRIMETIME GAME OF THE WEEK! Growing up with the Daves I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Vanderbilt football and it’s nice to see they’re making another run at bowl eligiblity after almost getting over the hump in 2005 and 2007. Unfortunately, it looks like the foundation of this year’s edition of the Commodores isn’t built very well. As the linked article points out, Vandy is last in the SEC in several categories except for turnover margin, which pretty much means they’re getting really lucky. So will the luck run out? I have to think, yes, it will. (That said, Vandy still has games against Miss State and Duke and while neither team is a pushover, per se, they should win at least one of the two.)


  • Texas @ Colorado (FSN): It’s Texas! It’s Colorado! And I don’t care! Longhorns roll, setting up the GAME OF THE YEAR OF THE WEEK next week in Dallas.
  • Connecticut @ North Carolina (ESPN2): While I will be rooting for UConn because of one of the best football-player written blogs I’ve ever read, I think UNC will win here.

7:30: Washington @ Arizona (Versus): Arizona is 3-1? When did that happen? Of course, that includes a loss to New Mexico and a win over UCLA, which lends a certain air of unpredictability. The main focus is here is whether either of these coaches will be employed by their teams at the end of the season. I would say it’s worse for Willingham, since no one really expects Arizona to not suck. And I expect it for that to continue.


  • Ohio State @ Wisconsin (Gameplan/ABC): Wisconsin is still a good football team, but not nearly as good as everyone thought they were after letting Michigan make a huge 4th quarter comeback. Meanwhile, OSU has hit the road to top-10 recovery these past two weeks with methodical victories over Troy and Minnesota. In my mind, the only stumbling block for OSU here is Wisconsin’s massive homefield advantage, which will have had the mjaority of the day to get “prepared” for the game. Playing into this is freshman QB Terrelle Pryor, but he also has a security blanket back in Beanie Wells. I will go ahead and pick OSU here but will not be surprised if Wisconsin prevails.
  • Oregon @ Southern California (ABC/Gameplan): I would say USC is back on the trail to the top-10, but they never left. That has to be one of the worst polling mistakes I’ve ever seen. At any rate, back in the safe confines of the coliseum against a team that is desperately running out of QBs they should win this time.
  • Rice @ Tulsa (CBSCS): Uh, sure, Rice. Why not?

9:00: Missouri @ Nebraska (ESPN): We’ve all seen the replays over-and-over again from the Nebraska “das boot” game a decade ago. That is a seriously unlucky end zone for Mizzou. Fortunately for them, Nebraska isn’t very good this year. Mizzou and Chase Daniel prevail.