I love Thursday night games. What I like even more is that we managed to win this year.
Das Jackets are now 8-3 with 1 game to go. We’re basically at the upper bound of what I predicted we could this year (4 to 8 wins), based on all the stuff that happened in the offseason. And what I saw tonight is one of the best games mentally Tech has played all year. There was only really one or two major player mistakes (the chop block early in the 1st quarter, which was legit, and the bad pitch by Jaybo in the third) and one coaching mistake (the onside kick after MJ’s pick-6). All these mistakes presented opportunities to let Miami into the game, but the team recovered and shut down Miami on offense until garbage time. The Tech offense didn’t let up until late in the 3rd quarter, and perhaps best of all the Jackets never trailed in this game.
Anyway, unlike the crap last weekend, there’s actaully some games on Saturday. So let’s do some predictin’.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Michigan @ Ohio State (ABC): It’s Michigan! It’s Ohio State! Er, wait, OSU is favored by three touchdowns? Trivia of the week: The last time either team came in with a losing record was OSU in 1988 (they were 4-5-1 at the time, and then lost). The last time Michigan came into this game with a losing record was 1967. As for the prediction part, well, I agree with Vegas on this one.
- West Virginia @ Louisville (ESPN): Louisville has no moment here, as losers of 3 straight. The only thing in their favor is WVU’s terrible coaching, but even so I don’t like the Cardinals’ chances here.
- Indiana @ Purdue (ESPN2): I like how this game is on national TV but Illinois-Northwestern isn’t. At least Northwestern is going to go a bowl. Anyway, will the Boilermakers be able to win one for Joe “Oatmeal” Tiller? Since both are 1-6 in the Big Ten and 3-8 overall, and also terrible in general, this game is about a push as far as I’m concerned. So I’ll just root for Purdue and move on.
- North Carolina State @ North Carolina (Raycom/Gameplan): GT needs UNC to lose one of its last two games, but I don’t really see that happened. Of course, I didn’t really see UNC losing to Maryland last week, either, but them’s the breaks. Also, Maryland is better than Duke and NC State, even in this topsy-turvy ACC. Tarheels win.
- Clemson @ Virginia (Raycom/Gameplan): If Clemson pulls out a win here, they will be bowl eligible. Talk a miracle comeback. Tech also needs UVA to lose again, but I don’t really see that here either. Cavs win.
12:30: Tennessee @ Vanderbilt (Raycom/Gameplan): The last time Tennessee did not go to a bowl was 2005, where Vandy (having blown their chance to do so) played the spoiler. While there will probably still be more construction orange than black or gold in Nashville, I like Vandy’s chances here now that they have the bowl qualification monkey off their back.
2:30: Syracuse @ Notre Dame (NBC): Man, I really wanted Navy to win last week. Oh well. This is pretty automatic for ND here as long as they’re not looking forward to next week.
3:00: Washington @ Washington State (FSN): CRIPPLE FIGHT. The two worst teams in major college football will face off in the Apple Cup Saturday. Hilariously, both teams have scored the same paltry amount of points (139) but U-Dub’s defense is allowing 10 points less per game. I suspect this will be the edge here, so I’ll take the Huskies.
- Mississippi @ Louisiana State (CBS): I don’t know if the rest of the college football world noticed, but LSU nearly lost to Troy last week. The short story is that for 3 quarters, LSU’s quarterbacks were really, really bad. That said, I still like LSU here as at every other skill position they are more talented than Ole Miss. (That said, if LSU is down 31 at the start of the 4th quarter they’re not coming back this time. I think that’s obvious, though.)
- Michigan State @ Pennsylvania State (ESPN2/ABC): Penn State is playing for the Rose Bowl here, basically. If Michigan State wins, they will probably have a case for one of the other BCS bowls. If Penn State wins, and I think they will, then they’ll go to the Rose.
- Boston College @ Wake Forest (Gameplan/ESPN2/ABC): Wake has been, well, inconsistent this year. I realize this is moniker that could apply to every team in the ACC, but still they lost to by far the worst team in the conference last week. Meanwhile, BC is on something of a roll after wins over Notre Dame and FSU. I like the Eagles here.
- Stanford @ California (ABC): My favorite thing about this game? The Stanford Jonah. Yes, that’s right, the song GT ripped off at the 1929 Rose Bowl and turned into “Up With the White and Gold”. So I get to watch a usually entertaining game (and, if you look at the coverage map, not many people will) and sing one of our fight songs. Everyone wins! At any rate, Stanford needs this win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2001. I’m not really optimistic about their chances, so I’ve got to pick Cal here.
- Air Force @ Texas Christian (Versus): Hey, uh, Versus? If you were going to show a Mountain West game, why not, you know, BYU-Utah? I mean, I’m just saying. At any rate, I may watch this just for AF’s true wishbone offense (at least, I think it is) but TCU should prevail.
- Illinois @ Northwestern (BTN): I wonder when the last time NU was favored here? Well, I don’t know if Vegas does but I do.
- Oregon State @ Arizona (Versus): Oregon State is living the dream right now, and as long as they don’t overlook Arizona I think they will go into next weekend with a very real chance of winning the Pac-10.
- Iowa @ Minnesota (BTN): Minnesota has got to be the turn-around story of the year. Of course, they’re not exactly ending on a high note at the moment as they’ve lost 3 straight with bad losses to Big Ten bottom-dwellers (and try not to laugh (too much)) Michigan and Wisconsin. Despite every lesson I’ve ever learned about Iowa, I like them here.
7:15: Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (ESPN2): I really just cannot take the Wann-stache here. Also, a win here would just about clinch the conference for Cincy, as they’d hold tiebreakers over everyone except UConn. So I like the Bearcats.
7:45: Florida State @ Maryland (ESPN): While a win here does not clinch the ACC Atlantic for the Turtle, it does keep them in the driver’s seat. Also, nothing about FSU scares me and the game is at Maryland, where it will be cold (and loud, if anyone shows up). I’ll take the Terps here.
8:00: Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (ABC): If I had a copy of “The Final Countdown” I’d start playing it right now. Of course, the question is, does a loss to Oklahoma even knock TTU out of the title game? I’m not so sure it does. Oklahoma would be best loss sported by any of the 1-loss teams. And if OSU beats Oklahoma next week TTU would still go to the Big 12 Title Game with a shot at redemption anyway. So maybe this isn’t quite the final countdown. At any rate, I like Texas Tech. This offense is just too good. I realize both offenses are good but OU’s is pretty white break in my opinion, whereas I (and the talking heads are jumping on board with this) think of Mike Leach as a pass-happy version of Paul Johnson. So I have to go with Texas Tech here.