Monthly Archives: October 2014

This Weekend in College Football: Week 7

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Georgia @ Missouri (CBS): Mizzou bounced back from their shocking loss to Indiana with a shocking win over South Carolina. Nonetheless, Todd Gurley or no, Georgia is still the favorite here.
  • Texas vs. Oklahoma (@Dallas, TX; ABC): Oklahoma’s loss to TCU last weekend has put them out of many’s minds, yet somehow I think the shocking blowout loss to Texas last year may still be in the craw of many a Sooner.
  • Florida State @ Syracuse (ESPN): The ‘Cuse is 108th nationally in scoring offense. Sure, it’s one thing to only score 15 against Notre Dame, they’re good. But only 6 against Louisville? Also there was that whole “double overtime” thing with Villanova. Yeah, I like FSU’s chances here.
  • Illinois @ Wisconsin (ESPN2): Wisconsin lost to Northwestern last week, but that’s still better than losing by 11 to Purdue.
  • West Virginia @ Texas Tech (FS1): Texas Tech didn’t exactly blow away their weak no-conference opponents, so three straight losses to stronger foes is not a huge surprise. West Virginia is not great, but they still appear to be made of sterner stuff.
  • Indiana @ Iowa (ESPNU): Indiana through five games: win, loss, win, loss, win. So far, it doesn’t seem to have mattered who the opponents were, as they were Indiana State, Bowling Green, Missouri, Maryland, and North Texas, respectively. So, just going to go ahead and call a loss to Iowa this week and a win over Michigan State next week.
  • Tulsa @ Temple (ESPNEWS): This is one was easier to call than I was expecting, Temple all the way. (And seriously, we should’ve realized Vandy was in huge trouble. What business does a SEC team have losing by thirty to Temple?)
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Marshall (FSN): Marshall undefeated watch: odds still look pretty good. Of course, the closest margin in any of their five wins so far is a 15 point win over Miami (the MAC one) in their opener, so basically I have the Herd in all their remaining games until further notice.
  • Rice @ Army (CBSS): Rice actually compares pretty favorably for Army, which is a nice way of saying that they’re both pretty low in terms of national rankings. Fun fact: Army is dead last in passing. They don’t throw the ball a lot, but still. They average 50 yards a game less than Georgia Tech does, which are themselves ranked only six spots higher. Either way, at least the Black Knights do one thing sorta well, so I’ll take them here.
  • Northwestern @ Minnesota (BTN): I suspect ESPN wishes they had known both these teams were going to knock off traditional Big Ten powers a couple weeks ago. Also, the vagaries of television scheduling, even when it’s only done 12 days in advance like it is in college football. Either way, both these teams sort of operate the same way, at least in the sense that will they don’t score a lot of points, they also give up even less. I’ll again apply the “at least Minnesota does one thing well Northwestern doesn’t”, and that’s run the ball, so I’ll take the Gophers.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Kentucky (SEC): While the world is a more exciting place when the Ragin’ Cajun’s are okay, it’s just not in the cards against this maybe not awful Kentucky squad.
  • Cincinnati @ Miami (ACC/RSN): Why Miami’s offense is anything other than “Give Duke Johnson the ball 30-40 times” is a complete and utter mystery to me, but I am very thankful that’s the case. Either way, Cincy’s 114th ranked defense may be just the salve Miami’s maturing offense needs. I’ve got the Canes here.

12:30: Duke @ Georgia Tech (ACC): I remember the last time we lost to Duke, because I watched the trainwreck live. We got blown out 41-17. That 2003 Duke team wound up going 4-8. These days, though, the Blue Devils are made of sterner stuff. After losing to us last year, Duke suffered an arrow loss to Putt and then one their next six conference games in a row, including wins over Virginia Tech and Miami. They got throttled by an ascendant FSU in the ACC Championship Game, but then they gave Johnny Football and Co. all they wanted on New Year’s Eve in what was probably the best bowl game last season. This year, they raced out a 4-0 start again, easy wins over the likes of Elon, Troy, Kansas, and the same Tulane team we struggled against. However, two weekends ago they were throttled by Miami.
With a bye week to lick their wounds, though, it’s hard to discount them. As much as I love researching matchups over the years, it’s not really super relevant to today’s players that Tech has won 10 in a row dating back to when they were in middle school. Hopefully, though, we can turn last year in a warning. Even though we beat them soundly, these guys aren’t your younger self’s Blue Devils. They’re still an obstacle in the Coastal, and we will pay for it if we take them lightly.


  • Oregon @ California-Los Angeles (FOX): Unless Oregon found some offensive linemen, like, between the couch cushions or something like that, it’s hard to see how they’re going to stand up to UCLA’s defense. (For the sake of analogy, let’s assume it’s a really big couch.) Of course, UCLA did lose to Utah last weekend, so this matchup has probably lost a bit of its luster. Oh, and that UCLA defense? Yeah, not actually that good. Then again, neither was Arizona’s, and they were good enough to harass Marcus Mariota all night. All night, I was being reminded that he was a Heisman candidate and one of the best quarterbacks in all the land, but man, he didn’t really look that way. Shows the importance of the big guys. At any rate, I guess I’m taking the Bruins.
  • North Carolina @ Notre Dame (NBC): Carolina got throttled by VPI last weekend, 34-17. So much for being a dark horse ACC front-runner, once again. The Domers should win easily.
  • Auburn @ Mississippi State (CBS): Good job against TAMU last weekend. I really mean it. But this is an Auburn team with a second-year starter and with an apparently scary defense. Yes, I know yours is good as well, but nonetheless someone has to lose here, and I think it’s going to be you guys. Sorry.
  • Texas Christian @ Baylor (ABC/ESPN2): Every few years, Gary Patterson unearths an offense to go with his usually good defense and TCU comes out and surprises people. Like, say, Oklahoma. Of course, they had some special teams help last week as well. This game was actually pretty tight last year, as well, with the Bears only winning by 3. That said, with home field, I have Baylor winning again.
  • Michigan State @ Purdue (ABC/ESPN2): Sparty should be able to breathe easy in this one.
  • Louisville @ Clemson (ESPNU): Louisville’s defense rates highly, yes, but they haven’t seen an offense like this year. I think Clemson prevails handily.
  • Boston College @ North Carolina State (ACC/RSN):With a loss last week to Colorado State, I think BC’s win over Southern Cal now belongs pretty firmly in the “fluke” category. NC State must’ve been hungover last week, as they got demolished by Clemson to the tune of a 41-0 shutout. (Seriously, only 154 yards of offense? That takes some doing.) That said, I guess I’m still more apt to buy what the Wolfpack are selling.

4:00: Oklahoma State @ Kansas (FS1): I took my computer algorithms and theory course when I was doing a study abroad program in Barcelona eight years ago. At the end of the term, the professor asked us to write down what grade we thought we deserved and then turn it in. As far as I heard, he assigned us what we wrote down. The ploy worked on me, at least, because I wrote down ‘B’ and got that. I felt that while I was giving myself the benefit of the doubt, an ‘A’ would’ve just been downright dishonest. Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is that Oklahoma State can pretty much name their own score here.


  • Alabama @ Arkansas (ESPN): The cracks in the armor are starting to show a big in the Tide, but fortunately for them Arkansas is exactly the wrong team to exploit those weaknesses. Arkansas is the kind of team that Nick Saban defenses are built to stop.
  • Washington @ California (Pac12): While it’s cool that we’re excited about Cal and all, it’s still helpful to remember that their defense gets burned so often that I’m surprised they were let back into the state after last weekend, what with the high fire risk here and all. … sorry about that. Anyway, I maybe a win here and I’ll start believing, but for now I’ve got the Huskies.


  • Pennsylvania State @ Michigan (ESPN2): Last week, I said that if you love points, you should watch the Cal-Wazzou game, and boy howdy, neither you or I were disappointed, that’s for sure. Well, if you hate points and like watching the slow moving wreck that is Michigan football this year, then you’ll like this one. Seriously, Penn State is going to win like 9-3 or something.
  • East Carolina @ South Florida (ESPNU): Put it this way, if ECU loses another game this year I’ll be pretty surprised.
  • Houston @ Memphis (CBSS): I’m still coping with the idea that Memphis is not completely terrible, which is good, because they’ll probably win this one.

7:30: Louisiana State @ Florida (SEC): Should be a good rebound of LSU after last week’s debacle. Either way, Florida just can’t score, even enough to keep up with LSU’s pedestrian offense.

8:00: Connecticut @ Tulane (ESPNEWS): Well, at least ESPNEWs is conveniently bunched together, at least on my cable system, with all the other sports channels, which means that this is probably still going to be a better bet than watching commercials. Tulane, for the hell of it. Also, anything can happen at night in New Orleans…

9:00: Mississippi @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ESPN): Yeah, so I’m not going to dance around this: I have both Mississippi teams losing. At night, at Kyle Field, with TAMU looking to get back on track? I don’t think good Dr. Bo is going to make it to the stadium this time.

10:15: Air Force @ Utah State (ESPNU): I like Air Force in this one.


  • Southern California @ Arizona (ESPN2): Arizona passed their first test last week, and it would up being decisive. I have them favored again here, but USC is still plenty talented, just shorthanded. If they can build a lead in the first half, it may be tough for the Wildcats to recover. If it’s close, they’ll pull away in the end.
  • Colorado State @ Nevada (CBSS): Folks, the Rams have two wins over Big 5 teams. Sure, they were Boston College and Colorado, but that still counts. I like them to keep it up here.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 6

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Ohio State @ Maryland (ABC): At least judging from results, both these teams really above even. Which means we have to go deeper, and that’s where it starts to fall apart for the Terps.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Mississippi State (ESPN): While Miss State was able to prevail against LSU last weekend, I thought (and still presently think) TAMU was better anyway, struggles with Arkansas aside. It’s fair to say the Bulldogs haven’t seen anything like what TAMU is going throw at them (in some cases, literally) and I’m not sure they can keep up.
  • Purdue @ Illinois (ESPN2): Illinois is… bad but Purdue is just so inept that it’s basically impossible to pick them.
  • Iowa State @ Oklahoma State (FS1): Iowa State is still terrible, so at least some things are constant.
  • Southern Methodist @ East Carolina (ESPNU): SMU has been one of the worst teams in football so far this year, while ECU has lived up to their darkhorse billing. I don’t think it’s going to end well for the ‘stangs.
  • Marshall @ Old Dominion (FSN): I thought ODU was pretty alright, but they lost to MTSU last week, so I’m going to go with Marshall getting to 5-0.
  • Ball State @ Army (CBSS): Army, when you lose games to Yale, I’m going to have a hard time picking you even against 1-3 MAC teams. That’s just the way it is. I’m sorry.
  • Florida @ Tennessee (SEC): Given all the vitriol, you probably wouldn’t think that Florida is 2-1 with that one loss coming to Alabama, but yeah it’s hard to disagree with the idea that Will Muschamp isn’t going to last the season. Meanwhile, the conventional wisdom is that the Volunteers look leagues better this year, even if it’s not reflected in the results. Well, here’s your chance Vols, now reach out and grab it.

12:30: Virginia Tech @ North Carolina (ACC): When it comes to the ACC Coastal, no one is ever truly out of it, at least not in the first week of October. So both these teams have chances to recover from exceedingly disappointing starts. That said, UNC has looked downright bad so far, while VPI has at least been competitive in their two losses. Going with the Hokies.

2:30: North Texas @ Indiana (BTN): Ah, Indiana. One week you’re beating Missouri, the next you’re losing decisively to Maryland. What do I do with you? I’ll still pick you to beat North Texas, I just wish I could feel better about it.


  • Stanford @ Notre Dame (NBC): Stanford is awful in the red zone, but the reality of this game is that I don’t think either offense is going to factor much into it. I actually have the Cardinal in this one.
  • Alabama @ Mississippi (CBS): This is likely the biggest game in Oxford in… a long time. Nonetheless, it’s hard to see how Ole Miss stacks up against the Alabama machine, especially now that it has a legitimately threatening offense. If Ole Miss is going to prevail, though, it’ll be against the seemingly-suspect Alabama secondary.
  • Oklahoma @ Texas Christian (FOX): Boy howdy, lots of undefeated teams playing each other this weekend, but that’s the magic of conference play. Not that either of these teams has a feather in their cap, per se. TCU is only allowing 7 points per game, but they’ve only played three games and one of those was against SMU. The Sooners seem more legit overall, but I guess we’ll find out out for sure.
  • Baylor @ Texas (ABC): I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self that he’d pick Baylor in a game at Texas and not really even think twice about it.
  • Wake Forest @ Florida State (ABC): Florida State has found ways to make it interesting against Wake in the past, but as usual no sane person would ever call it.
  • Wisconsin @ Northwestern (ESPN2): About the only chance for Northwestern here is to build up a big lead early and try to force Wisconsin out of their ground-and-pound game plan. This seems… unlikely.
  • North Carolina State @ Clemson (ESPNU): Both these teams have relatively fresh close losses to Florida State possibly on their minds. NC State and the antics of Jacoby Brissett electrified many last weekend, while Clemson had many opportunities and let them slip away. Overall, I still think Clemson is the better team, and they will need to play like to salvage their season.
  • Navy @ Air Force (CBSS): Air Force posted a solid win over Boise State last week, which signaled two things. One, Boise is probably coming back down to Earth. Two, Air Force is pretty good again, while Navy has struggled at times this year, most recently posting a loss to Western Kentucky. Air Force are definitely my favorites right now to win the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy.


  • Kansas @ West Virginia (FSN): I keep having to remember that Charlie Weis was the head coach at Kansas, and just when I realized that, they fire him! Thanks for nothing, Jayhawks. Also, WVU wins in a walkover.
  • Vanderbilt @ Georgia (SEC): Todd Gurley has 610 yards rushing on the season. Vanderbilt has 510. This does not bode well for the Commodores.
  • Oregon State @ Colorado (Pac12): There’s nothing that really makes me sure that Oregon State has an edge over the Buffs, but… it’s just that I’m not going to call Colorado to win anything until proven otherwise.


  • Louisiana State @ Auburn (ESPN): The yearly edition of Tigers vs. Tigers is back. I think the Auburn offense is still just too good for LSU to keep up, especially after the issues they showed against Miss State a couple weekends ago.
  • Texas Tech @ Kansas State (ESPNU): K-State’s offense is potent enough to exploit the truly awful Red Raiders defense.
  • Memphis @ Cincinnati (CBSS): So Cincy went out for their first real game last week and got shellacked by Ohio State. Meanwhile, Memphis is 2-2, with the expected result against Ole Miss and a surprisingly game loss to UCLA. Nonetheless, still difficult to pick them here, so going with Cincy.
  • Michigan @ Rutgers (BTN): I almost have to think the Wolverines are relieved this game isn’t taking place in Ann Arbor. It’s a bit late to weigh in on this now, but the handling of what happened in game last weekend and afterward is nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. On the field, the Michigan offense is as well. Rutgers isn’t good or anything, but they’re certainly going to be more into this game than Michigan probably is.


  • Arizona State @ Southern California (FOX): That loss to Boston College will probably continue to be a bit of an albatross for USC. Arizona State just got pasted last week by UCLA, but I’m not sure they’re really that bad? Still going to pick USC, but I don’t feel at all good about it.
  • Miami @ Georgia Tech (ESPN2): It would be wonderful if we could flash back to 2008 for a second, eh?

    I picked that spot because it shows a good job of the kind of holes we had that night. Of course, since then, Tech has dropped every contest to Miami, usually due to just plain superior talent. Can we prevail this year? I honestly have no idea. Miami certainly was able to leverage their talent against Duke, and Duke Johnson is as advertised. Meanwhile, Tech finally had a decent game against VPI, but I wouldn’t exactly want to play against FSU or Alabama or someone right now, either.
  • South Carolina @ Kentucky (SEC): Kentucky may be just what South Carolina needs right now.
  • Pittsburgh @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): Going into the year, I thought for sure I wouldn’t pick UVA in any game. Yet it’s Pitt with the inexplicable loss to Akron, so here we are.


  • Nebraska @ Michigan State (ABC): The best two teams in the Big Ten face off, and it’s not really even close. Against their schedules so far, both these teams have dominated on both sides of the ball (with the exception of Sparty’s loss to Oregon), so this is will be a real test for both. I’m going with Sparty, but that’s mostly just a guess.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ San Jose State (ESPNEWS): Both these teams are bad, but SJSU has been slightly less bad.


  • Utah @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): So the Utes followed up their triumph against Michigan with… a loss to Washington State. Whoops. At any rate, this game could be close, but I expect UCLA to pull it out.
  • Boise State @ Nevada (CBSS): I think I actually like Nevada here? Maybe?
  • California @ Washington State (Pac12): I HOPE YOU LIKE POINTS. Saturday night, Pullman, anything could happen. Well, anything involving offense, anyway. A perfect nightcap, if you ask me. Going with Wazzou here.