Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bowl Predictions: Week 7

Well, this is the final week before the conference title games. I expect some bids to be announced this week, especially for bowls that more than likely know they're going to need at-large teams.

With that said, let's hit the last round of purely speculative predictions. You can find them in the usual place.
  • I could probably write a whole article on rivalry game upsets and my disappointment therein, but outside of our own blown chance the biggest loser from last weekend has to be Oklahoma State. Providing the best chance of the Big 12 getting two BCS bids this year (outside of a truly shocking upset Saturday), the Stillwater Cowboys fell flat on their face, losing 27-0 to the Sooners. With that upset, I had to relent and finally put Boise State into a BCS game, and I have a feeling the BCS may have to do the same.
  • Outside of that, the BCS selections are pretty standard. Alabama/Florida vs. Texas, the loser for the former going to the Sugar. The only really viable major at-large teams at this point are probably Iowa and Penn State, and though it pains me that either one will make it in, I have to go with the Team JoePa. I think the Fiesta will take one of those, the Orange will take Cincy, the Fieta picks up Boise and TCU is forced into the Sugar's hands.
  • Thanks to Miss State's upset of Ole Miss, I've put LSU back up at the Capital One slot. After that I really have no clue how the SEC shakes out, so what you see are reasonable guesses, I think.
  • The MAC will have two 7-5 teams, which will get slotted. MTSU is 9-3 and will have to grab an at-large spot as well. Notre Dame and UCLA are 6-6, so they will get whatver's left, most likely.
  • I wonder if the Car Care bowl is cool with having the same matchup as last year? I don't think any of the alternative are that palatable (i.e., FSU or BC from the ACC side or Rutgers instead of WVU).
  • Game I'd Rather See on the Hardwood: Connecticut versus Kentucky ( Bowl).
  • Somewhat Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: Well, there's the UCF-USF game, but I also like USC-Oklahoma State. I'm not sure either are all that non-obvious, though.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

i can haz defence?

I mean, really? :(

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/28

Men, Georgie's a fine football team, a very fine football team. Georgie's bigger and faster than we are. Probably a little tougher, too.

That's okay, because we're smarter than they are.

Now, let me tell you what's going to happen. That Georgie team's going to come running out of the tunnel screaming and foaming at the mouth and smashing one another upside the head just to get warmed up.

We won't do any of that. While they waste their energy, we'll conserve ours. I've told you that they're bigger, faster, and tougher than you. That's true. But we do have that one big advantage.

We ... are ... smarter.

Think about what I teach you. Play field position. Play great defense. Make no mistakes on offense. Be great in the kicking game. Do that and we'll keep it close.

As the game goes on, they'll start to get tired because they wasted so much energy in the beginning. Because we're smart, we'll have plenty of energy left, and at some point in the fourth quarter they'll make a mistake.

When they do make that mistake, we'll get the football. And when that happens, I'll think of something and we'll win!
Coach Bobby Dodd, as told by Bill Curry

Friday, November 27, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Clemson @ South Carolina (ESPN): Much was made over the past month of Clemson's propensity of blowing late-season divisional leads, but they avoided any disappointment and clinched a trip to Tampa. South Carolina, meanwhile, has continued their own streak of November swoons, having not won since Oct. 24 against Vandy. Clemson, meanwhile, has won six straight and has found their offense while South Carolina hasn't shown anything resembling one all season. Tigers win.
  • North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ESPN2): This NC State team is just awful. Nothing embodies this more than the fortunes of QB Russell Wilson, who went into the season with a nearly year-long streak of interception-free games. After this and his other qualities were beginning to be noticed nationally, he's been, well, less good—since Oct. 3, he's thrown 11 picks. UNC has really rallied to get to 8-3 over the past couple of months, and I think they'll go to 9-3.
  • Mississippi @ Mississippi State (SEC/Gameplan): Ole Miss behind Dexter McCluster has put themselves firmly in control of 2nd place in the SEC West, and I don't see this changing barring a huge upset by Miss State.
  • Wake Forest @ Duke (Raycom/Gameplan): This is a tough game to pick. Neither of these teams have athletes that are necessarily superior to the other. Both are relatively close, losing consecutive games to mostly superior competition. I still like Duke's offense overall, but Wake should be smarter defensively and Riley Skinner is probably the superior QB. I'll take the Deacs.
  • South Carolina State @ Appalachian State (ESPNU): Yes that's right folks, we're going to talk about the Division I-AA playoffs. Appy State has one of the most prolific offenses in all of I-AA, averaging 6.75 yards per play, against SC State's highly ranked defense. No pick on this since I don't really know enough, but I think these I-AA can be worth watching.
12:30: Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (FSN): It's bedlam! Though for the first time since I can remember, OSU will be favored. It feels a little bizarre, but it's hard to dispute, especially after Oklahoma's flop against Texas Tech.

1:30: Southern Mississippi @ East Carolina (CBSCS): This is for all the C-USA East marbles right here, and the winner will most likely face Houston next week in the C-USA title game. I think at this point ECU's the slightly better team, though USM can probably put up the points to keep it interesting.

  • Florida State @ Florida (CBS): Florida.
  • Arizona @ Arizona State (Gameplan/ABC): Last I checked, Arizona state's straight-from-10th-grade freshman QBs are still terrible. So I'll go with Arizona here.
  • Missouri vs. Kansas (@Kansas City, MO; Gameplan/ABC): There is just no way Kansas wins this game, with the blowout last week and all the chaos surrounding the program. No way.
  • University of Miami @ South Florida (ABC/ESPN/Gameplan): I think USF may be able hang in there, but overall Miami should take care of business.
  • Virginia Tech @ Virginia (ESPN/ABC): Well, I'm 0-1 in my "so fired" pool, with Dan Hawkins inexplicably coming back next year. So what able Al Groh? UVA has to get rid of him notwithstanding the result of this game (where UVA is going to lose), right? Right?
  • Boston College @ Maryland (ESPNU): Will the Fridge get fired? My 8-ball says "reply hazy, try again" so I'm not sure. I don't need a magic 8-ball to tell me that Boston College should win this game, though.
5:00: Utah @ Brigham Young (CBSCS): It's the MWC Runner-Up game! I like Utah here, personally.

6:00: Texas Tech vs. Baylor (@Arlington, TX; FSN): Well, Baylor gave it a good effort this year, but they still have at least another year or two of Robert Griffin. Texas Tech should take care of business over in Jerry Jone's Intergalactic Space Palace.

  • Arkansas @ Louisiana State (ESPN): It's the battle for the boot! I still think LSU is the better team, just not necessarily the better coach. They should win, but it may be interesting.
  • Tennessee @ Kentucky (ESPNU): Hey, this Kentucky team is (very quietly) not terrible! Kiffin gets to bowl eligibility in his first year, but probably not much more.
  • Notre Dame @ Stanford (ESPN2/ABC): Completing the possible "so fired" trifecta is a one Charlie Weis. I feel pretty confident that he's going to get canned, but perhaps the Domers should consider this is the best they can do? At any rate, Stanford should be able to blow them off the ball and control this game.
  • Georgia @ Georgia Tech (ABC/ESPN2): To Hell With Georgia.
10:00: California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (FSN): UCLA got on a nice little 3-game win streak to get to bowl eligibility against the three worst teams in the conference. Despite USC's recent efforts, they're still better than the Wazzou's and U-Dub's of the world.

10:30: Navy @ Hawaii (ESPNU): Hawaii's trying to make a late season push to be invited to their own bowl game, but I don't like their odds. Especially since they should probably lose to Navy here.

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/27

Like Wake Forest or Maryland or somebody...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/26

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Now, onto the hate.
"We may not make a university student out of him, but if we can teach him to read and write, maybe he can work at the post office rather than as a garbage man when he gets through with his athletic career." --- UGA defense attorney Hale Almand
Yes, remember folks, being functionally illiterate is A-OK as long as you can play football for the University of Georgia (where, last I checked, remedial classes count towards credit).
It takes absolutely no courage or conviction to be a [UGA] fan. All it takes is $10 and a trip to Wal-Mart. --- "GTDad", on StingTalk
This is from a message board post from last year, but I think it still applies.

Also, finally, remember UGA fans hate America:
Original caption: Children cheer after singing "Happy Birthday" to Cuba's leader Fidel Castro while standing around a birthday cake at the Pioneer's Palace in Havana, August 13, 2007.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/25

Well, a little late. I have a little video for you all, though.

I can hardly think of a more important quarter in my football watching experience. We were down 16 and we just went out there and everything went right. Others have written about the game and that quarter at greather length.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

7:00: Ball State @ Western Michigan (ESPN2): This game has already started, so I'll just say I was going to pick Western Michigan anyway.

8:00: Texas @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ESPN): Even with their improved play as of late, it's not really working out terribly well for TAMU (though they will, improbably, make a bowl). Texas should win by at least a few scores.

  • Rutgers @ Louisville (ESPN2): So Rutgers inexplicably lost to Syracuse last week. That may faze some people but not me! Rutgers should still win.
  • Temple @ Ohio (ESPNU): This is for all the MAC East marbles! Fear the Owl, I say.
12:00: Illinois @ Cincinnati (ABC): I think Cincy can safely handle the Illini, despite them going 2-1 the last three weeks.

2:30: Alabama @ Auburn (CBS): Can you imagine the chaos if Auburn can pull this off? Because I can't - it's hard to imagine Bama or Florida even losing a game at this point would make any difference at all, so big are their leads in the BCS. Do I want Auburn to win though? Of course. Will they? Probably not.

  • Nebraska @ Colorado (ABC): How fired is Dan Hawkins? So fired. They should also probably lose to Nebraska, but it's the Big 12 North, so you never know.
  • Memphis @ Tulsa (CBSCS): Man, what happened to Tulsa? After a 4-1 start it looked like an average year in the C-USA East for them, but since they've lost six straight. They haven't exactly gotten beatdown, either, including close losses to Boise State, UTEP, and that wacky 1-point loss to Houston. Well, okay, they got blown out by ECU, but still. It's hard to say which team is more moribund, but I'll take the one that hasn't fired their coach (hint: Tulsa).
7:00: Pittsburgh @ West Virginia (ESPN2): It's the backyards brawl! Considering the coaches involved, except rare moments of brilliance with bad clock management and nonsensical trick plays in attempt to break out of their conservative norms. I'll take the Wannastache.

10:15: Nevada @ Boise State (ESPN2): STAY UP FOR THIS GAME, unless it quickly becomes a blowout in favor of one of the teams. Nevada features not one, not two, but three 1000-yard rushers on the year and Boise has yet to face a significant obstacle in their tear through the WAC. Will a competent opponent faze them? Perhaps, but I'm still taking the Broncos.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bowl Predictions: Week 6

Predictions are up.

Some notes:
  • With most seasons wrapped up, hopefully we'll start seeing some confirmations, especially for bowls that will probably not have their primary tenants.
  • What to do with Boise? I still feel its entirely possible they are left-out by the powers-that-be. For the past two weeks, I used this to put them in the Poinsettia, but with the Pac-10 only getting 1 team into the BCS and having some surprise qualifiers (like, say, Stanford) they will actually fulfill their obligations this year. Result: if Boise doesn't get picked by the BCS, they're probably going to the Humanitarian.
  • My BCS picks remained the same, reflecting the stability at the top after last weekend. You can switch Florida and Alabama around however you like.
  • The Sun may be too optimistic for USC at this point.
  • On second thought, Virginia Tech going to the Peach over Clemson may not be all that great - VPI has already been to Atlanta twice this year.
  • With their loss to Ole Miss, LSU slides all the way down to... the Cotton. I don't think anyone over there is panicking about this part.
  • Other that than, there are a bevy of MAC teams that qualified with winning records (i.e., 7-5). It got to the point where it was difficult to produce matchups that didn't involve MAC vs. MAC games. We'll see how all that shapes up after this weekend.

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/22

Continuing last year's grand tradition, it's To Hell with Georgia Week here at asimsports.

Tomorrow, we start a series of posts relating to the game and our hated rival. For now, though, we rest and travel.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 12

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Ohio State @ Michigan (ABC): Bright and early, the way they like it up and Big Ten country. Or perhaps they just want to get it over with? Ohio State should be able to roll against this defense.
  • Minnesota @ Iowa (ESPN): While I'm sure we'd all like Iowa to lose again, they should manage to beat a now-hapless (but bowl eligible!) Minnesota squad. 13-9 sounds about right.
  • North Carolina @ Boston College (ESPN2): It's been erroneously reported Clemson has already clinched the ACC Atlantic. Not quite true, as BC should win out, but they would need Clemson to lose to have a shot. I like BC's odds of winning out, but not so much the odds of Clemson winning.
  • Duke @ University of Miami (ESPNU): After last week's game, I'm okay with saying that this Duke team is better than years past. That's also not saying much, but it's a start. Miami should still win, though.
  • Mississippi State @ Arkansas (SEC/Gameplan): Speaking of improved squads, Miss State is a lot better than years past, but again it says a lot about how bad they were that they're still 4-6 and probably going to lose to Arkansas.
  • Maryland @ Florida State (Raycom/Gameplan): FSU can get bowl eligible as long as they avoid falling to an utterly dreadful Maryland team. Since the rumors of the death of FSU's offense seemed to be greatly exaggerated, they should be able to get it.

12:30: Oklahoma @ Texas Tech (FSN): Well, Oklahoma probably won't win 65-21 this time around. Heck, they may even not win overall. It's hard to tell at this point. I think I'll take OU.

2:30: Connecticut @ Notre Dame (NBC): Ahahahahahaha. Anyway, ND should actually still win, as loathe as I am to admit. If there's a team that deserves a break, it's UConn.


  • Louisiana State @ Mississippi (CBS): I'm comfortable with saying LSU is probably a little better with this defense thing than Tennessee is. I refuse to be fooled by Ole Miss's and McCluster's sudden display of competence, or the fact that LSU at one point was losing to Louisiana Tech. LSU.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Michigan State (ABC/ESPN): It's pretty bad when you reasons is over because you lost to the only decent games you played. Michigan State made a late charge to bowl eligibilty, but I think PSU can pull this one out, as they have been all year.
  • Virginia @ Clemson (ESPN/ABC): If BC loses to UNC in the early game, this game is moot. Otherwise, Clemson needs only to avoid a terrible loss to clinch the ACC Atlantic and meet us for a re-match in Tampa. They should be able to take care of business.
  • North Carolina State @ Virginia Tech (ESPNU): Though VPI fans may be off the bandwagon, they should still beat NCSU.
  • Air Force @ Brigham Young (CBSCS): This is pretty much a battle for bowl pecking order in the Mountain West. It's hard to judge because these teams have both lost to TCU and BYU will probably lose to Utah (as AF already has). I like BYU better, I think AF will give them all they can handle.
  • Wisconsin @ Northwestern (BTN): Mike Kafka says he wants the elusive 8th win, but deep inside the ennui of existence in the face of the world triumphs. Wisconsin keeps on doing what they do, which is win 9-10 games but not the Big Ten.


  • Arizona State @ California-Los Angeles (FSN): So Arizona State's starting their 3rd string QB this weekend. I still think both of their backups look like they stepped out of a JV high school game and onto the field, but hey, whatever works for them. Well, except it's not working terribly well. Meanwhile, UCLA is on a 2-game roll... against the two worst teams in the conference. So this could be good, in a sad sort of way. I'll go with UCLA at this point.
  • San Diego State @ Utah (Versus): Utah rolls.

7:00: Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (ESPNU): Sigh, I wish Vandy could win this game. It would be so great to see the calls for Kiffin's head after a loss to Vandy. Sadly, Vandy just can't score points this year. UT rolls.


  • California @ Stanford (Versus): It's the Big Game! Cal put forth a valiant effort in the win against Arizona last weekend, but how can you pick against Stanford at this point? I sure can't.
  • Tulsa @ Southern Mississippi (CBSCS): Don't look, but Tulsa has lost five straight. Hard to believe. But they just got absolute owned by ECU last weekend, and while USM probably won't do the same, I have to like the dudes from Hattiesburg this weekend.


  • Kansas State @ Nebraska (ESPN): I apologize to the entirety of my Mom's side of the family (including two cousins of mine who are alums, including one who was on K-State's football team) and the state of my birth but I have to hope Nebraska wins this to even make the Big 12 Title Game remotely interesting. Also, if K-State loses they won't be bowl eligible at 6-6 thanks to the Bill Synder scheduling philosophy.
  • Kentucky @ Georgia (ESPN2): I promise I won't make any jokes about UGA VII dying. At any rate, Kentucky is on a roll, but this "roll" consists of victories over Auburn, UL-Monroe, EKU, and Vandy (and includes a loss to Miss State). Georgia's trajectory is similar, which is pretty consistent with the rest of the mediocre center of the SEC. Also, Georgia managed to pull it out last week, which ruined the chance of us making them 5-7. So I'll take UGA here.


  • Kansas @ Texas (ABC/Gameplan): Texas rolls.
  • Oregon @ Arizona (Gameplan/ABC): Well, this is the de facto Pac-10 title game here. Oregon already kind of hurt their changes in that loss to Stanford but unless Masoli pulls a Dennis Dixon (sigh) they should be able to take care of business.

10:30: Nevada @ New Mexico State (ESPNU): Nevada. Now, sleep!

Bowl Predictions: Week 5

Let's just pretend I wrote this on Sunday.

At any rate, the predictions have been up since then. Not much to say this late in the week. Things will probably stay fairly static at the top, but hey, every week is a playoff, right guys?

I'm traveling on Sunday, but I'll make an effort to get the week 6 predictions updated as soon as I can.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Was Making Fun of the BCS Propaganda Machine Before It Was Cool

So apparently someone at the BCS office decided it'd be a great idea to get their propaganda message out there via Facebook and Twitter. Well, as various other sites have reported, it's going about as well as you think.

So I just wanted to say I was making fun of the BCS's original propanda machine ( as early as last year:

As for the bowl predictions and the TV guide, well, I'm really busy at work right now. Rolling a giant stone up a hill is bad enough as-is, but then I have to do something else and the damn thing rolls back down. I'll try to get to each, though.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 12

Introducing "This Week in College Football". With the proliferation of conferences desperate for ESPN's money and exposure, we now have college ball on practically every day of the week. So each week, I'll write up a short post about this week's weekday games in the same vein as my weekend column.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


6:00: Buffalo @ Miami University (ESPNU): This game is going on right now and I can't see it because I'm at work. Buffalo should win, I guess?

8:00: Central Michigan @ Ball State (ESPN2): I originally made bad jokes involving the MAC and Dan LeFevour. Now you'll just have to take my word for it. CMU should walk through this.


7:30: Colorado @ Oklahoma State (ESPN): Oklahoma State will likely be starting their backup QB. Colorado will likely start a QB. Will it matter? No.


5:30: Akron @ Bowling Green (ESPNU): Bowling Green needs a win to get to the magical land of bowl eligibility. Akron, well, their mascot is a kangaroo.

9:30: Boise State @ Utah State (ESPN2): Four wins would match Utah State's highest win total since 2002. Note I didn't say "five wins".

Also, I know bowl predictions haven't been posted yet. They're up but I haven't time to do the writeup yet. Patience.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hindsight is 20/20: An Apology to Vegas

While I was correct about the ridiculousness of the Florida-South Carolina line, Boise actually covered the 31.5 points against Idaho and TCU darn near doubled the 20 points on TCU in their 55-28 drubbing of the Utes.

Let’s see what else I was horrendously wrong about (I say “all predictions wrong” every week for a reason), along with some other observations.

  • Dexter McCluster has Ole Miss going the right way after their 42-17 drubbing of Tennessee.
  • Purdue made it interesting for awhile, but ultimately Sparty prevailed in West Lafayette.
  • FSU’s offense was pretty much not toast as Ponder’s replacement, E.J. Manuel, went 15 for 20 and 220 yards passing and the FSU ground game racked up 217 on a very deflated looking Wake squad.
  • It looked like Miami was headed right to BCS-ville for awhile today, but ultimately suffered the letdown in Chapel Hill that will likely mean the ACC’s chances of getting that elusive 2nd BCS bid are shot.
  • Oh, Stanford made it interesting all right.
  • Why do all of Arizona State’s backup quarterbacks look like they’re 15 or 16 years old? They just look so wirey and thin out there, I’m surprised they haven’t gotten snapped in half yet.

As for GT-Duke, man, I woke up and turned the game on just in time for kick off. And then I saw my worst nightmare come true – Duke came out throwing, and the defense came out flat and they scored right off the bat. Then we went 3 and out and screwed up the snap on the punt, putting the Blue Devils in great position to go up 14-0. Instead, we forced them to kick a field goal and then returned the kickoff to the Duke 1 yard line, and after that scored 49 unanswered.

The result? Well, I seem to have booked a flight to Tampa for some reason….

Bowl predictions go up later today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 11

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Tennessee @ Mississippi (CBS): It's a noon CBS game, so I guess this is their two-game package of the year. These are two teams going in opposite directions right now, so as weird as it feels I have to pick the Vols.
  • Michigan State @ Purdue (ESPN): Since their upset of Ohio State and subsequent drubbing by Wisconsin Purdue is 2-0, and I have to say, if you'd told me they'd be tied with Michigan State in Big Ten play, well, I'd be pretty surprised. In fact, in terms of their actual Big Ten resumes, I'd say they're pretty even. Still going with Sparty, though.
  • Georgia Tech @ Duke (ESPN2): I think this is the most stressed out I've ever been for a Duke game. With a win, Tech clinches the ACC Coastal title. With a loss, well, I have no idea what happens because there would be a 4-way tie for first (but I think Miami wins the tiebreaker).
    Now, the reason for the stress is this. Duke can throw the ball. Tech cannot defend passing offenses worth a damn. Tech has to do whatever Carolina did last week in limiting Duke to 11 first downs on 125 yards passing. Carolina was able to move the ball, though had trouble getting touchdowns, so if Tech cannot defend the pass we could very easily get into a shootout. Last week the pass defense was bad, and even downright horrible throughout the first half - being done in by a bad combination of playing very far off the WRs and then defending their routes incorrectly. UNC sacked Thad Lewis 4 times and picked him off twice - Tech will need to generate pressure while rushing four. One thing in most defense's advantage when facing Duke is their extreme difficulty in running the ball, which we need to take advantage of by perhaps switching to a 2 LB set to help defend the pass.
    As for Tech on offense, it looked, well, bad at times in the first half but recovered in the second. That said, we must press our athletic advantage over Duke and not put the ball on the ground.
    I honestly don't know what to expect. Most observers, of course, expect an easy Tech win. However, there is nothing easy about GT football. I still recall our last divisional title, 3 years ago, when we came out flat against a bad Carolina team. We won 7-0, but as I saw later, that was the downfall of that 2006 team. We avoided a huge let down last week, and I hope we realize that avoid some of the mistakes that almost cost us.
  • Texas @ Baylor (FSN): Baylor scored the surprise win at Missouri last week, but Texas should be able to take care of business.
  • Florida State @ Wake Forest (ESPNU): So much for FSU getting to a bowl - I agree with the conventional wisdom that FSU without Christian Ponder (a.k.a., the FSU offense) is pretty much toast.
  • Houston @ Central Florida (CBSCS): Houston should win, but expect lots o' points. Might be worth your while - Houst @ Tulsa last weekend was certainly worth mine!
  • Northwestern @ Illinois (ESPN Classic): I don't care what happened the last two weeks, Illinois still sucks.
  • Michigan @ Wisconsin (BTN): With the loss to Purdue, Michigan is in very bad shape at 5-5. I'm not projecting them to win either of their two remaining games.
  • Kentucky @ Vanderbilt (SEC/Gameplan): Neither of these football teams is what you might call "good" but Kentucky does display a certain competence Vandy lacks. Should probably be close and low-scoring, though.
  • Clemson @ North Carolina State (Raycom/Gameplan): As long as Clemson shows up for this one, they should have a field day.

12:30: Missouri @ Kansas State (Versus): Yeah... so.... Mizzou. You lost to Baylor last weekend. Yeah. You just violated my trust! Though I don't think that Kansas State is really that much, if at all, better, I can't really pick you at this point. I'm sorry.


  • Florida @ South Carolina (CBS): And now, let's begin a segment I call "ridiculous lines of the day". I think Vegas phoned it in for this weekend. I mean, 17.5 point favorites? I mean, yeah, UF will win, but probably by more like 7-10. Sheesh.
  • Iowa @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN): Without QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa could well lose this game and against Minnesota. And I won't mind at all. Freaking Iowa. Ugh.
  • Nebraska @ Kansas (Gameplan/ESPN/ABC): Nebraska, please win this game. I would like the Big 12 title game to be at least competitive. Hopefully Kansas's offense remains hidden for one more game.
  • University of Miami @ North Carolina (ESPN/Gameplan/ABC): While Miami probably won't put 52 on UNC, the home team most certainly will not. Da U should win easily.
  • Stanford @ Southern California (FSN): Speaking of lost offenses, anyone seen USC's lately? Or their defense, for that matter? While they did hold ASU to 9 points ASU had offensive issues of their own. I think USC will win, but I fully expect Stanford to make it interesting.
  • Idaho @ Boise State (ESPNU): THIRTY ONE AND A HALF POINTS? REALLY VEGAS? Boise only put up 45 against a very moribund bunch at Louisiana Tech and you're saying that they'll win by 5 scores against an in-state rival in the midst of their best year ever? This is crazy. Oh, and yeah, Boise still wins, but I mean, really?
  • Delaware @ Navy (CBSCS): First off, you owe it to yourself to read this. Secondly, Delaware is a pretty competent DI-AA team and has given Navy fits in the past, but the Middies should pull it out. (You should also read the other posts on that blog, because it's by far the best breakdown our (and Navy's) offense that I've ever seen.)


  • Alabama @ Mississippi State (ESPN): I wouldn't call Miss State "bad", but I wouldn't say they're good either. Alabama's defense should be able to stuff their only offensive weapon (RB Anthony Dixon) while Mark Ingram improves his Heisman stats.
  • Auburn @ Georgia (ESPN2): Okay, it probably won't happen (since they still play Kentucky) but I am giddy that there is even the possibility that Georgia could be 5-6 heading into our game. Awww yeah, savor the flavor - of schadenfreude! In addition to the heaping amount of bias I already have against Georgia, I also grew up an Auburn fan and generally prefer them to not suck, especially against UGA. And all that said, I'm also picking Auburn straight up. Hopefully the 38 points against Tennessee Tech wasn't a fluke.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Oklahoma (FSN): TAMU, you rolled off two straight wins and then you lost to... Colorado? How? Why? I mean, you should still beat Baylor to get bowl eligible but still. At any rate, they should also still lose to Oklahoma.
  • Arizona @ California (Versus): I was having my customary celebratory burger last weekend after our game against Wake Forest. I looked up at the monitors and it happened right then and there in real time. Jahvid Best, one of the best and most exciting players in college football, was floating in the air, got hit, and lay on the ground motionless. Scary. I drove home, had a half-dozen messages from my friends and turned on the TV. He was still on the ground. He was released from the hospital earlier this week, but to give you an idea of the magnitude it's never good when some has "just" a concussion. (The alternative being the initially feared spinal cord injury.)
    As for the game, Arizona's a pretty decent team this year. (Apparently nowawadays all Mike Stoops does is win football games.) I expect them to win.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): LSU. Next!


  • Utah @ Texas Christian (CBSCS): While Utah has only played one good team (Oregon) and lost, I don't really understand how TCU is 20 point favorite. I'll take TCU to win, yeah, but I mean, 20? Really?
  • Troy @ Arkansas (SEC/Gameplan): Ar-kansas. Next!


  • Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh (ABC/Gameplan): Taking Pitt and the Wannstache to win anything is painful for me, but I must do so here. I just don't like ND is that good.
  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State (Gameplan/ABC): A win here allows TTU to salvage a measure of respect from a season marked by losses to Houston and Texas A&M. Will they? Probably not, but forecasts call for a storm of points with a chain of hail (marys).

10:15: Arizona State @ Oregon (ESPN): If that guy ASU trotted out there in the 4th quarter of the USC game as their QB is playing in this game, Oregon wins easily. Oregon's drop below USC in the polls last week defies all logic, especially since, last I checked, the Ducks are still on track to win the conference. Madness.

8:15: East Carolina @ Tulsa (ESPN): It's late, I'm tired, and our game is in less than 6 hours. ECU.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 11

Introducing "This Week in College Football". With the proliferation of conferences desperate for ESPN's money and exposure, we now have college ball on practically every day of the week. So each week, I'll write up a short post about this week's weekday games in the same vein as my weekend column.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

7:00: Ohio @ Buffalo (ESPN2): Lots of games this week, so let's kick it off with some MAC-tion. Buffalo no doubt wishes it were last year again, but at 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the MAC, well, it's not looking good against MAC East front-runner Ohio, who look like they have the best chance to knock off Temple's lead.

8:00: Toledo @ Central Michigan (ESPN2): Toledo has the 96th ranked pass defense in the country, so I would expect a big day from everyone's favorite MAC QB, Dan LeFevour.

6:00: Ball State @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): Ball State is terrible, NIU less so.

7:30: South Florida @ Rutgers (ESPN): USF is coming off that huge win against WVU, while Rutgers has been plodding along with winning the games they're supposed to. New USF B.J. Daniels has played well for a freshman so far, and overall it looks as though these two teams are about even. I think USF's offense is a little more dynamic, though, and should be able to outscore Rutgers in the end.

8:00: West Virginia @ Cincinnati (ESPN2): Even with the upset last week, WVU has a big chance to influence the Big East race as well as the national title picture. That said, I'll take the team that isn't coached by Bill Stewart.

8:30: Temple @ Akron (ESPNU): Akron was zipping along (pun intended) to a 1-11 season until they sprung (also intended) a huge upset over Kent State last weekend. The Owls, meanwhile, needed a last minute field goal to keep their own streak alive and beat one of the worst teams in the country in Miami (OH). So, Temple should win, but I expect it to be close again.

Bowl Predictions 2009: Week 4

As usual, you can find the predictions here. I’ll eschew the conference breakdowns and just hit the high points this week.

  • First, let’s start with the BCS. Despite the debacle again Stanford, Oregon should still win the Pac-10 (despite the delusions of the pollsters). Meanwhile, Iowa and Penn State combined to really hurt the Big Ten’s chances of being a two bid league. (Last time the Big Ten didn’t send two? 2004-2005.) Now, of course, they still have a shot, especially for lack of other BCS-desirable options. But I came up with an alternate scenario. Alabama beats Florida, Florida gets taken by the Sugar. The Fiesta takes USC, and the Orange takes Cincy to face the ACC winner. With the Fiesta and Sugar remaining, the Sugar does whatever it needs to do get their Florida dream opponent: Miami. Yes, don’t look, but Miami is ranked 14th in the latest standings and, provided they don’t lose again, should be eligible.
  • I still don’t think it’s very likely that both TCU and Boise will be BCS teams unless they are ranked 3 and 4 in the final standings (which would make both of them auto-qualifiers).
  • I still hate projecting GT to win the rest of their games.
  • I’ve finally read in enough places that Duke’s win against NC Central will not count towards bowl eligibility, which I still wasn’t sure about when I did the predictions Sunday night.
  • That said, that’s less of a big deal with this week, with the MAC breaking the right way so that it’s possible we’ll have some extra teams. Also, the Big East and Big 12 may have enough provided Missouri can get to 6-6. Crisis averted, for now.
  • Oh, as usual Navy is the first confirmed team, as their win over Notre Dame makes them eligible and thus they go to their partner for this year, the Texas Bowl, nominally to face a Big 12 opponent. The odds of this occurring right now are somewhat decent, since I’m currently not projecting Oklahoma State to make it to the BCS.
  • Outside of Alabama, Florida, and LSU is the SEC is exceedingly mediocre this year. When I was doing the individual teams this weekend it was a lot harder than it usually is this time of year, as no one in the SEC actually played each other this past weekend. So outside of the best and worst teams, I had no idea where to put anyone, which is how you get Auburn in the Cotton and Tennessee in the Outback, and Ole Miss still in the Chick-fil-a. It’s entirely possible none of those teams will have 9 wins.
  • Somewhat Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: Central vs. South Florida, I guess.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 10

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Northwestern @ Iowa (ESPN): Can Northwestern end our long, national nightmare championship game scenario? Probably not! Iowa wins 15-11.
  • Central Florida @ Texas (FSN): This is the Priceline of football games. Congratulations Colt McCoy, you can name your own score!
  • Syracuse @ Pittsburgh (ESPNU): Should I even bother waking up at 9 for these games? I mean, I usually sleep through the first half anyway, but this is ridiculous.
  • Purdue @ Michigan (BTN): I'm willing to chalk up the loss UIUC as a fluke. If Michigan loses to Purdue they've got problems.
  • Virginia @ University of Miami (Raycom/Gameplan): You know, I almost want UVA to win this game, because it would make it that much more difficult to fire Al Groh. (Now that GT has the UVA monkey off it's back, I can go back to treating UVA as the terrible team they are.)
  • South Carolina @ Arkansas (SEC/Gameplan): I bet the Visor is playing lots of golf these days. Hitting drives, chipping on to greens, making putts. Trying to figure out exactly what he did to deserve this. Sure, South Carolina is 6-3, but they have no offense. How does a man, know for such a thing, deal with that? Whatever the case, they can still beat Arkansas.

12:30: Kansas @ Kansas State (Versus): Both of these teams are so bad, but I'll go with the team that managed to beat Colorado.

2:30: Navy @ Notre Dame (NBC): Notre Dame isn't great, but has begun an unfortunate rise in the polls. Hopefully Navy keeps it close.


  • Louisiana State @ Alabama (CBS): I'm actually willing to accept that Alabama is a good football team at this point. In fact, they're damn good, and I'm willing to downgrade my hatred to "loathing" to set up a match against Florida in the Georgia Dome next month. Okay, I still hat them, but I want to see that game.
  • Ohio State @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN2):I've already heard several times this week that this game will "decide the Big Ten". That should tell you how much everyone hates Iowa. At any rate, if Ohio State calls this game like they did their other big game this season (against USC) they will lose. Of course, we still don't really know anything about Penn State. I still like them to win, though.
  • Oklahoma State @ Iowa State (ABC/Gameplan): Somehow, I don't see Iowa State holding OSU to 14 points.
  • Wake Forest @ Georgia Tech (ESPN2/ABC/Gameplan): Having expectations placed on your team is weird.
    At any rate, last week we did exactly what I said we couldn't do (allow Vandy to stay in the game) but then Vandy started to play like, well, Vandy and we pulled away to a 56-31 win. Wake, however, will not rollover so easily. While Vandy isn't incompetent, Wake probably does have slightly better players and are led by 50th year senior Riley Skinner. (Despite suffering a concussion last week against Miami, he will be starting.) Wake is always a tough assignment for Tech - our last meeting was in the 2006 ACC title game, which Wake won 9-6. (Though it did get Patrick Nix fired and then hired (for some reason) by Miami, which worked out great for us over the next two years.) And with the way the defense is playing, no doubt older Tech fans (and by "older", I mean "a few years older than me") are having PTSD-flashbacks to 1999, where the offense scored 38 points a game and still lost 4 time. The 3rd loss was to Wake Forest, dropping Tech to 7-3 and likely ruining any chances Joe Hamilton had of winning the Heisman.
    So, suffice it to say, Tech will need to do all it can to avoid a repeat of history.
    By the way, the other three losses that year? @FSU, @UVA, and to Miami in the Gator Bowl.
  • Oregon @ Stanford (FSN): Well, Stanford, you've had a good year so far. 5-3 overall, 4-2 in the Pac-10. Not bad, especially by Stanford standards. The problem with this rosy outlook? This game, @USC, vs. Cal, vs. Notre Dame. That 6th win may prove to be elusive, and they probably won't find it here.
  • Duke @ North Carolina (ESPNU): Fun fact: even if Duke loses, they can still beat Tech next week and have a shot at the ACC title. That's said, there's little about this UNC team on defense or offense that has particularly impresses me. They still allowed nearly 400 yards passing to FSU. If Duke puts up similar numbers - and they should - they have a pretty good shot to win here.
  • Army @ Air Force (CBSCS): The battle for the Commander-in-Chief's trophy continues in Colorado. Unfortunately, it's hard to pick an Army team that was outscored 56-23 by Temple and Rutgers to win here.
  • Washington State @ Arizona (FCS Central): Why did I list this? I have no idea. Arizona.
  • Washington @ California-Los Angeles (FCS Pacific): (see above) U-dub.

4:00: Texas Christian @ San Diego State (Versus): SDSU is on a roll, by their standards, but TCU should still be able to take care of business here.


  • Oregon State @ California (FSN): Cal's rolled off 3 straight against the worst of the Pac-10, while Oregon State has pretty much lost when they were supposed to and win when they were supposed. That said, Cal is still having issues getting the ball to its best player and needed a last minute FG to get past Arizona State. I actually kind of like the Beavers here.
  • Memphis @ Tennessee (ESPNU): Mmm, delicious cupcakes.

7:15: Vanderbilt @ Florida (ESPN2): Too detailed prediction: Vandy hangs tough through the first quarter to make everyone go, "Hey, Florida's only leading Vandy by 3 points" but the Tebow gets on track and is out of the game by the end of the 3rd quarter.


  • Houston @ Tulsa (CBSCS): This game was supposed to be for the C-USA West title, but Tulsa's sort of fallen off the wagon and has lost 3 straight, including losses to completely schizophrenic UTEP and also to SMU. Since their inexplicable loss to UTEP, Houston has won 4 straight mostly via a way we'd entirely expect: offense. I expect a lot of points in this game (akin to Houston's shootout last weekend with Southern Miss) but the Cougars to prevail in the end.
  • Northern Arizona @ Mississippi (SEC/Gameplan): Ole Miss. Next.

7:45: Florida State @ Clemson (ESPN): It's the Bowden--- oh, right. At any rate, FSU really needs this to make itself relevant in the ACC Atlantic race again, while Clemson controls its own destiny, and in terms of that destiny FSU represents the last major hurdle (Clemson's remaining ACC games are @NCSU and at home against UVA). We could see a reenactment of the Clemson-Miami game (if it's half as exciting as that game was, well, this will be a pretty exciting game), but I don't see a different outcome.


  • Southern California @ Arizona State (ABC/Gameplan): Okay, so our illusions have been shattered, USC is mortal, blah blah. But let's face it, USC should still be favored to win all their remaining bids and get themselves to a BCS game, and that process starts here.
  • Connecticut @ Cincinnati (Gameplan/ABC):Although this will almost certainly doom them, I really do think Cincy is "that good", at least against their Big East compatriots. And this is the home stretch for the Bearcats, a win here and next week against WVU sets up the de-facto Big East championship game December 5th at Pittsburgh.
  • Oklahoma @ Nebraska (Gameplan/ABC): I'm not sure why, but the Big 12 doesn't have a fix-opponent system for its divisions, and it really hurts here. (Of course, this is probably the only major intra-divisional rivalry in the Big 12, so that's probably why.) At any rate, while Oklahoma probably won't put up 68 (that's not an exaggeration) like they did in last year's beatdown, they'll probably still win handily.

10:30: Fresno State @ Idaho (ESPNU): Ah, the late WAC game. You know you love it. At any rate, Idaho is bowl eligible for the first time since 1999 (as well as guaranteed their first winning season since 1999) versus usual suspect Fresno State, which sits at 5-3. This is at least worth watching for a bit because it's in THE KIBBIE DOME. That said, I like Fresno to win.

8:30: Nevada @ San Jose State (ESPN): I wonder how cheap I could get tickets to what will most likely be the Colin Kaepernik show? Nevada should win easily.

Monday, November 02, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 10

Introducing "This Week in College Football". With the proliferation of conferences desperate for ESPN's money and exposure, we now have college ball on practically every day of the week. So each week, I'll write up a short post about this week's weekday games in the same vein as my weekend column.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

7:00: Bowling Green @ Buffalo (ESPN2): This is probably an elimination game for getting 6-6, in this battle of 3-5 MAC teams. Though both sport negative scoring margins in MAC play, Buffalo has allowed its collegues to outscore them by over a touchdown per game and has one less conference win. I'll go with BGSU here.

  • Virginia Tech @ East Carolina (ESPN): This ECU team certainly isn't terrible, but in their other BCS-conference matchups versus WVU and UNC, they lost by a combined 29 points. VPI should be able to take care of business here.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): Northern Illinois sits at 5-3 and needs only a win against the second worst team in major college football to get it. And they should.
8:00: Boise State @ Louisiana Tech (ESPN2): Well, LaTech almost beat Idaho last weekend but fell a point short. Of course, they also fell two points short of Utah State, which provided the Aggie's first win over a DI-A team this year. So, uh, I have to say I like Boise here.

Bowl Predictions 2009: Week 3

Predictions here! Get your predictions here!

Before I do my usual thing, let me just say that for starters, this is every bowl eligible team. Keep in mind that there will be 2 or 3 new games next year. (Though with some of the matchups that are currently scheduled, and the current state of the economy, I think a few games may fold after this year.) When I started doing this shindig back in 1999, there were "only" 23 games. Now there are 34, which well over half the teams in Division I-A today, and right now I see only 68 teams getting eligible. Think about that for a second. While, yes, I don't slavishly predict the record of every 3-5 MAC team to see if they'll make it (which I do for the Big Six teams) things could break such that there are 70 teams or just as easily break such that there are 65 teams. I haven't seen anything about what could happen if we don't get to 68 this. Would the NCAA let 5-7 teams compete? I don't know.

Anyway, let's hit the major talking points.

  • The title game still looks to be Florida/Alabama versus Texas. With Florida's stomping of Georgia on Saturday, it looks like they may have an edge over Alabama once again.
  • I'm slotting Alabama to the Sugar, and while I'm sure the Sugar will be glad to have them, they did go there last year and the BCS selection rules do allow for such situations.
  • I still have Iowa winning the Big Ten and Penn State getting an at-large bid. If Iowa does lose, that raises some interesting questions about the Big Ten's ability to field two teams.
  • Despite the loss Saturday, USC will be favored in all their remaining games and should win out. Since they didn't even fall out of the top 14 with their second loss, they'll probably get into the Fiesta. Some folks I know believe Notre Dame may give the Fiesta pause if they're eligible, though I doubt the ability of ND's remaining schedule to catapult them far enough up the standings.
  • Right now, I only have one of TCU and Boise getting into the BCS. I think the only way both getting will happen is if one or two more undefeated teams lose. The only way both can ensure qualification is to finish at #3 and #4 in the final standings.
  • Though it pains to do so, I still put GT in the Orange. I am still extremely worried about picking us to win anything, of course.
  • With Virginia Tech's loss last Thursday, any chance the ACC had of being a two-bid league were shot. The win does greatly help UNC's ability to get bowl eligible, though.
  • Overall, I see 7 of the ACC's 12 teams getting eligible, which is down from last year's 10. This leaves the league two short, so it will not send a team to the Eaglebank or GMAC Bowls.
  • Yes, um, Carolina, that is Duke in a bowl game! Also note FSU getting to the Emerald, provided they can get to 6-6.
Big East
  • With an assist from Notre Dame going to the Gator, the Big East will fulfill its obligations.
  • I know USF went to the St. Petersburg last year, but I just don't know where else to put them, and I would think that neither party particularly cares at this point, either.
  • As per usual, the Big 12 North is a disaster. Kansas State is currently at the top of the table, but I don't think there's any way they'll last there. In fact, I don't even have them going to a bowl.
  • While Missouri is 1-3 in conference, they've pretty much played all the teams on their schedule they're categorically worse than. I expect them to recover to 9-3 overall, losing the tiebreaker to Nebraska.
  • From the South, Texas will probably make the national title game, but at this point it doesn't look good for Oklahoma State to get to a BCS game. The Cotton bowl isn't a bad consolation prize, though.
  • With Texas A&M's upset of Texas Tech two weeks ago, they're actually 5-3 and need only to beat Baylor to get to 6-6.
Big Ten
  • I swear, Iowa is the worst undefeated team ever. Is there anyone who actually wants them to run the table? As I've pointed in the past, we have an irrational hatred of Kirk Ferenetz here, but their current "style" doesn't help.
  • Ohio State is the wild card here, as they have yet to play Penn State and Iowa. I have them beating Iowa but losing to Penn State to slide into that old Big Ten standby, the Capital One Bowl.
  • Wisconsin should finish up 10-2 for a trip to Florida as well.
  • The rest of the Big Ten is extremely muddy. As awful as Michigan has been lately, they should still get to 6-6, though.
  • The King is dead; long live the King! As you no doubt know by now, USC lost! (Again.) With a 2 game lead and 4 games to go, Oregon has the conference pretty much clinched, along with a trip to Pasadena. The last time the USC didn't go to the Rose Bowl was the 2004-5 season, when they went to the National Title game at the Orange Bowl instead.
  • Thanks to the magic of a full round-robin and a late ending conference season, the Pac-10 still has plenty of games to go. That said, with Oregon and USC going to the BCS I only see three other bowl eligible teams: Cal, Arizona, and Oregon State. I just don't see two games on Stanford's remaining schedule they should win, and Arizona State will come up just short.
  • Outside of a probable 10-2 LSU, the SEC's bowl slate (again) looks pretty bleak. For starters, the SEC East looks terrible. With South Carolina's loss to Tennessee, there is clear second place team anymore to send to the Outback. So be prepared for Lane Kiffin to say something dumb about whichever Big Ten team he faces and then lose by 20.
  • With LSU going to the Capital One, the representative for the Cotton is also equally debatable. I know Ole Miss went there last year, but I think the Peach will really want Auburn (travel time from Auburn to Atlanta: about 2 hours).
  • Provided they can make it, 6-6 Kentucky and Arkansas should round out the SEC's field to full strength.
Somewhat Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: BYU-Boise State. It could happen if Boise doesn't make the BCS, which would give the WAC 4 bowl eligible teams. Since the Pac-10 won't send a team to the Poinsettia in all likelihood, this will allow them once again to get one of the best mid-major matchups since the WAC has the backup slot. Personally, I'd prefer Utah-Boise in the Las Vegas Bowl, but I don't think that'll happen.