Friday, September 26, 2014

This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

Week 5 is also a week of discovery, as lots of teams face real competition for the first time, or have a chance to show than an earlier slip-up was just that. Also, this will be the first week with "proper" previews this season, as I'm fully back from my vacation.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Tennessee @ Georgia (ESPN): It's hard to see how the currently formed Volunteers can win this one.
  • Wyoming @ Michigan State (ESPN2): Wyoming is 3-1... but... yeah. Sparty all the way here.
  • South Florida @ Wisconsin (ESPNU): USF allowed 315 years rushing to NC State. This does not bode well for their defense against the Badgers.
  • Tulane @ Rutgers (ESPNEWS): Rutgers should, and I emphasize should, be able to take care of Tulane.
  • Texas-El Paso @ Kansas State (FSN): Weird things can always happen against UTEP, but this would be super weird.
  • Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (CBSS): It doesn't look to be getting any better for SMU's season of utter disarray.
  • Northwestern @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): We'll find a lot about both these teams so far. For whatever reason, James Franklin seems to have drained whatever talent and wherewithal Vanderbilt had under his tenure and transported it wholesale to State College, though. So I guess I'll take Penn State.
  • Vanderbilt @ Kentucky (SEC): Speaking of Vandy, Kentucky should be able to get some revenge for the last few years here.
  • Western Michigan @ Virginia Tech (ACC): VPI gets a good chance to recover here against the Broncos.
  • Colorado State @ Boston College (ACC/RSN): I'm not sure how good or bad these teams are, so I guess I'm going with BC by default.
  • Arkansas vs. Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (@Arlington, TX; CBS): I saw a tweet earlier this week that Arkansas's starting offensive line averages 328 pounds per man. Suffice it to say, they're in the top 10 in rushing offense. However, TAMU is plenty good in rushing and is 4th in passing. What TAMU hasn't faced so far in their very soft out-of-conference schedule is any sort of legitimate offense, either on the air or the ground, so while I think they'll still win comfortably it will be their first test.
  • Florida State @ North Carolina State  (ABC/ESPN2): So it turns out Florida State is a much better team with their best player, huh? The Wolfpack will probably pick up their first loss here.
  • Minnesota @ Michigan (ABC/ESPN2): Boy howdy, things sure look bad up in Ann Arbor after last week's moribund loss to Utah. ("Moribund" may still be putting it generously.) That said, at least on paper, Minnesota still has no business in this game. In their one game against legitimate competition, they lost 30-7 to TCU. This might be a low-scoring, ugly game. I'll take the Gophers.
  • Wake Forest @ Louisville (ESPNU): Louisville.
  • Western Kentucky @ Navy (CBSS): Navy should be able to take care of business here, emphasis on the "should".
  • Stanford @ Washington (FOX): Washington is 4-0, but again, hasn't really played anyone. Again, sort of going with Stanford by default here, but my real hunch is that we'll find out a bit about both these teams here.
  • Texas @ Kansas (FS1): I don't care how "good" Duke is these days, losing 41-3 is not a sign of a quality football team. Longhorns should roll.
  • Temple @ Connecticut (ESPNEWS): UConn is 122nd in the country in scoring. That's... not good. It always feels odd picking Temple, but here we are.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Auburn (SEC): Auburn.
  • Colorado @ California (Pac12): Cal, in their quest for their first Pac-12 game in... a while suffered one heck of a punch in the stomach against Arizona last weekend. With 5:21 to go, Cal lead 45-30, and then proceeding to give up 19 points, including a last weekend Hail Mary to seal the loss. Fortunately for them, they have another pretty good chance against a not terribly good Colorado team.
6:00: Cincinnati @ Ohio State (BTN): Cincy took the first two weeks of the season off, meaning that they're 2-0 and still haven't played out their OOC schedule. Basically, we know even less about them than all the other teams I've been complaining about having a lack of information on. How will they fare against their in-state big brother? I dunno. Probably not?

  • Missouri @ South Carolina (ESPN): How do you lose to Indiana? How? South Carolina should probably be able to figure things out here.
  • Boise State @ Air Force (CBSS): I was going to give Air Force more of a chance here, but then I saw they allowed 38 points to Georgia State, so...
  • Duke @ Miami (ESPN2): This was supposed to be the Duke Johnson show for the Hurricanes. It sort of still is, as he averages over 6 yards a carry, but less than 100 yards a game. Duke, meanwhile, is firing on all cylinders offensively, but... they have played absolutely no one. Given what happened last year, I won't be shocked if the Blue Devils win, but I'm not banking on it.
  • North Carolina @ Clemson (ESPNU): Last week was not a "Clemsonsing", technically, as they frittered away the win against an otherwise good team, not the Marylands and Wake Forests of the world. They should be able to take care of the Tarheels, who yet again do not appear to be as good as expected.
  • New Mexico State @ Louisiana State (SEC): LSU.
  • Memphis @ Mississippi (SEC/FSN): I'm not sure I can cope with the idea that Memphis may not be a raging tire fire this year (see: solid win over MTSU, loss by 7 to UCLA), but I don't think that will quite translate in being able to hang with Ole Miss.
  • Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (@East Rutherford, NJ; ABC): I don't know if Notre Dame is any good or not, but I feel pretty good about saying that Syracuse isn't.
  • Baylor @ Iowa State (FOX): Even if Iowa State's defense wasn't awful, well, their offense sure as hell isn't going to be able to keep up.
  • Texas State @ Tulsa (ESPNEWS): Goodness Tulsa has been awful this year. Okay, sure, you expect them to lose to Oklahoma, even if it 52-7. But getting blown out 50-21 by FAU? Oi. I think this might be the first time I've picked Texas State to win.
  • Washington State @ Utah (Pac12): Well, Utah will face an offense that at least has some semblance of an idea of how the pass the ball, unlike last week. Wazzou doesn't do anything else well enough, though, but this may well be the best game in prime time, considering the rest of this slate.
9:00: Illinois @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska may be the best team in the Big Ten. (That still feels odd to type.) Illinois, not so much.

  • Oregon State @ Southern California (ESPN): USC's loss to Boston College still feels like a practical joke of some sort, but, well, it isn't. Still, it's hard to call this one for the Beavers, especially on the road. Could be some solid late-evening viewing, though.
  • Nevada @ San Jose State (CBSS): Nevada might be halfway decent, which is always a good recipe for making the Mountain West more fun. I think they'll be able to take the Spartans.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This Weekend in College Football: Week 4

Once again, this is going to be the express edition because a) I am tired and b) I haven't actually watched like any games in the first three weeks. Expect a proper writeup next week.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech (ESPN): Both these teams have had what one might generously call "up-and-down" seasons so far. After beating Ohio State by two touchdowns, VPI lost to East Carolina. But wait, haven't I in this column been saying like all summer that ECU is a very common darkhourse? So it's not like they should've been surprised.
    Meanwhile, Georgia Tech has yet to play a coherent game of football. They've had excellent halves, sure. But the second half against Georgia Southern was basically a disaster. The first half against Tulane was similarly puzzling. There's maybe a good team somewhere in that jumble, but with the ACC slate now completely in front of us we really need to figure out it out starting immediately.
  • Bowling Green @ Wisconsin (ESPN2): Wisconsin.
  • Iowa @ Pittsburgh (ESPNU): Pitt.
  • Western Illinois @ Northwestern (ESPNEWS): Northwestern.
  • Old Dominion @ Rice (FSN): Rice.
  • Troy @ Georgia (SEC): Georgia. (Seriously. Troy is super bad this year. They lost to Abilene Christian last week. Abilene Christian is a transitional FCS team. As in, they just moved up. To FCS.)
  • Eastern Michigan @ Michigan State (BTN): Sparty.
  • Maryland @ Syracuse (ACC): Not a conference game! Also this one is hard to call. Maryland?
  • Tulane @ Duke (ACC/RSN): Duke.
2:00: Hawaii @ Colorado (Pac12): Colorado.

  • Florida @ Alabama (CBS): Alabama.
  • Utah @ Michigan (ABC/ESPN2): Michigan.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Southern Methodist (ABC/ESPN2): TAMU.
  • Virginia @ Brigham Young (ESPN): BYU, though I'm having a hard time dealing with the reality that UVA might not be awful this year.
  • North Carolina @ East Carolina (ESPNU): ECU.
  • Louisville @ Florida International (FS1): Louisville.
  • Central Michigan @ Kansas (FSN): Central Michigan.
  • Rutgers @ Navy (CBSS): Navy?
  • Texas State @ Illinois (ESPNEWS): Illinois.
  • Massachusetts @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): Penn State.
  • San Jose State @ Minnesota (BTN): Minnesota.
  • Indiana @ Missouri (SEC): Mizzou.
6:00: Georgia State @ Washington (Pac12): UDub.

  • Mississippi State @ Louisiana State (ESPN): LSU.
  • Northern Illinois @ Arkansas (ESPNU): Arkansas.
  • Miami @ Cincinnati (CBSS): Ciny.
  • Oklahoma @ West Virginia (FOX): Oklahoma.
  • South Carolina @ Vanderbilt (SEC): South Carolina. (Seriously, what the hell happened to Vandy?)
  • Clemson @ Florida State (ABC): FSU? (Downgraded from a '.' with Winston being suspended for the whole game.)
  • Miami @ Nebraska (ESPN2): Nebraska.
10:00: California @ Arizona (Pac12): Cal? (This would be their first conference win since... October 2012. Hard to tell at this point, though. This is the first week of conference play in most leagues, which is at least nice because in a couple weeks we'll start to have a much more coherent picture of the landscape.)

  • Oregon @ Washington State (ESPN): Oregon.
  • San Diego State @ Oregon State (FS1): Oregon State?
  • Louisiana-Lafayette @ Boise State (CBSS): Boise.

Friday, September 12, 2014

This Weekend in College Football: Week 3

Again quick due to lack of time.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Kent State @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN2): Ohio State.
  • Boise State @ Connecticut (ABC/ESPN2): Boise.
  • East Carolina @ Virginia Tech (ESPN): VPI.
  • Pittsburgh @ Florida International (FS1): Pitt.
  • Indiana @ Bowling Green (ESPNU): Indiana?
  • Syracuse @ Central Michigan (ESPNEWS): Syracuse?
  • Ohio @ Marshall (CBSS): Marshall.
  • West Virginia @ Maryland (BTN): West Virginia?
  • Central Florida @ Missouri (SEC): Mizzou?
  • Massachusetts @ Vanderbilt (FSN): Vandy?
  • Georgia Southern @ Georgia Tech (ACCR): This is a tough one to call. The main fear is that Georgia Southern beat Florida last year (of course, they then lost to NC State the next week). If GT comes out as flat as they have in their first two games, though, then we might be in real trouble.
12:30: Louisville @ Virginia (ACC): Louisville.

2:00: Wyoming @ Oregon (Pac12): Oregon.

  • Georgia @ South Carolina (CBS): Georgia.
  • Arkansas @ Texas Tech (ABC): Arkansas?
  • Iowa State @ Iowa (ESPN): Iowa.
  • Arkansas State @ Miami (ESPNU): Miami.
  • Miami @ Michigan (BTN): Michigan.
  • North Carolina State @ South Florida (CBSS): NC State?
  • Kansas @ Duke (ACCR): Duke?
  • Illinois @ Washington (FOX): Washington.
  • Minnesota @ Texas Christian (FS1): Minnesota?
  • Mississippi State @ South Alabama (ESPNEWS): Miss State.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette @ Mississippi (SEC): Ole Miss.
5:00: Army @ Stanford (Pac12): Stanford.

6:00: Southern Mississippi @ Alabama (ESPN2): Alabama.

  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): LSU.
  • Texas-San Antonio @ Oklahoma State (FSN): Oklahoma State.
  • Wake Forest @ Utah State (CBSS): Utah State?
  • Purdue vs. Notre Dame (@Indianapolis, IN; NBC): Notre Dame.
  • Kentucky @ Florida (SEC): Florida.
  • Tennessee @ Oklahoma (ABC): Oklahoma.
  • California-Los Angeles vs. Texas (@Arlington, TX; FOX): UCLA?
  • Southern California @ Boston College (ESPN): Southern Cal.
  • Navy @ Texas State (ESPNEWS): Navy.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Rutgers (BTN): Penn State.
9:00: Rice @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ESPN2): TAMU.

10:00: Arizona State @ Colorado (ESPNU): Arizona State.

10:30: Nebraska @ Fresno State (CBSS): Nebraska.

11:00: Nevada @ Arizona (Pac12): Arizona.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

This Weekend in College Football: Week 2

This is going to be quick, as I've spent most the past eighteen hours traveling.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Oklahoma @ Tulsa (ABC/ESPN2): Oklahoma.
  • Akron @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN2): Penn State.
  • Missouri @ Toledo (ESPN): Mizzou.
  • Kansas State @ Iowa State (FS1): Kansas State.
  • Central Michigan @ Purdue (ESPNEWS): Central Michigan?
  • Southern Methodist @ North Texas (FSN): SMU.
  • Buffalo @ Army (CBSS): Buffalo.
  • Western Kentucky @ Illinois (BTN): Illinois?
  • Florida Atlantic @ Alabama (SEC): Alabama.
  • Arkansas State @ Tennessee (SEC): Tennessee.
2:00: Alabama-Birmingham @ Mississippi State (SEC/FSN): Miss State.

3:00: Fresno State @ Utah (Pac12): Utah?

  • Southern California @ Stanford (ABC): Stanford?
  • Ball State @ Iowa (ESPN2): Iowa.
  • Ohio @ Kentucky (ESPNU): Kentucky.
  • Maryland @ South Florida (CBSS): Maryland?
  • Georgia Tech @ Tulane (ESPNEWS): This is a bit of a tough call. It's the first home game in over three decades for the Green Wave, who are moving out of the cavernous Superdome and back into a proper stadium. It's also tough because we didn't exactly cover ourselves in glory last week against Wofford, with a sluggish start that lasted for the entire first half. There's some questions for this team, and I suspect there will be some answers from this game.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Florida (SEC): Florida.

4:30: Mississippi @ Vanderbilt (@Nashville, TN; ESPN): I figured all week there was some Cinderella metaphor where, with James Franklin leaving representing the clock hitting midnight and turning back into a pumpkin and stuff, but I'm super exhausted so I'm not sure how I was going to really tie it together. Either way, Ole Miss.

6:30: Michigan State @ Oregon (FOX): Oregon?

  • San Jose State @ Auburn (ESPN2): Auburn.
  • East Carolina @ South Carolina (ESPNU): South Carolina?
  • Arizona State @ New Mexico (CBSS): Arizona State.
  • Michigan @ Notre Dame (NBC): Notre Dame?
  • Brigham Young @ Texas (FS1): Texas.
  • Virginia Tech @ Ohio State (ESPN): Ohio State?
  • San Diego State @ North Carolina (ESPNEWS): North Carolina.
10:00: Memphis @ California-Los Angeles (Pac12): UCLA.

  • Colorado State @ Boise State (ESPN2): Boise State.
  • Air Force @ Wyoming (ESPNU): Air Force?
10:30: Oregon State @ Hawaii (CBSS): Oregon State.

11:00: Texas Tech @ Texas-El Paso (FS1): Texas Tech?