I have to confess, y’all: when I was walking home tonight, I considered doing these picks all rapid-fire like in the form of a video. But then I considered that for the video to be anything other than me drunkenly rambling off attributes of college football teams, I’d actually need to some preparation, which, well, would probably have wound taking as long as it normally does to write this, if not longer. So!
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
11:30: Cincinnati @ Connecticut (CBSS): Wake up early for this battle of the… two teams at the basement of the AAC East division? Okay, maybe don’t. Also going with Cincy.
- Notre Dame @ North Carolina State (ABC): The Wolfpack are 3-1, but, well, even at 2-3 the Domers are their stiffest test of the year thus far. Also not helping the ‘Pack is that Notre Dame was rejuvenated last week against Syracuse, to to the tune of scoring 50. So I’m going with them.
Louisiana State @ FloridaAuburn @ Mississippi State (ESPN): This game slides up from the SEC Network slot and, in some ways, this is might be Fired Bowl II. Dan Mullen is not exactly having a very good go of it this year, and unlike his counterpart across the field this year, he did not beat LSU. In addition, Miss State only beat UMass by 8 last week. Oof. I think Auburn’s going to win this one, which might make Gus Malzahn some sort of Southern grim reaper.
- Iowa @ Minnesota (ESPN2): The only appropriate scenario for this game is for Kirk Ferentz’s contract to become more of a joke, so yeah, Minnesota’s going to win.
- Texas vs. Oklahoma (@Dallas, TX; FS1): I have no idea what to say about this game, other than that since Oklahoma a) blew it last year and b) is kinda not having a great season this year means that they’ll defy expectations and win by 40. That will also make the “we don’t fire coaches mid-season” thing even more uncomfortable down in Austin.
- Texas Christian @ Kansas (ESPNU): TCU.
- East Carolina @ South Florida (ESPNEWS): USF.
- Maryland @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): I’m not sure I’m prepared for a universe where Maryland doesn’t suck, but I’m pretty okay with one where they beat Penn State.
12:30: Georgia Tech @ Pittsburgh (ACC): Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Georgia Tech will play at Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Okay, so there’s a lot of ways to approach this game. This team’s got issues, but quitting isn’t one of them, at least. Frankly, I think Miami is getting way too much of a pass for basically winning on a pair of defensive touchdowns. Of course, while that was pretty much the worst possible outcome on those pairs of plays, it’s not like the offensive line covered themselves in glory in valiant effort to prevent Justin Thomas from getting blindsided on the first one, so yeah. It wasn’t a good look! Yet, this team is still better than last year’s version. Are they good enough to beat an improved Pitt team that has, by all indications, a pretty good run defense? We’re about to find out!
3:00: Houston @ Navy (CBSS): This vintage of Navy isn’t good enough to really challenge Houston, but this one contains a very slight chance it could be entertaining as hell. It’s probably the most interesting game the Cougars will play until they play Louisville next month.
- Tennessee @ Texas A&M (CBS): Don’t look, but TAMU is very quietly 3-0 in the SEC, with their strongest effort being the time they pulled away from Arkansas in the second half. Their other two SEC wins are less impressive, but they’re still good. My hunch is that this were the luck runs out for the Vols.
- Virginia Tech @ North Carolina (ABC/ESPN2): It’s the first reverse split of the year! Woo! Anyway, enough geeking out about TV coverage, let’s talk this important battle in the ACC Coastal. Carolina still can’t defend anyone, but it’s cool because they’ve still got an offense to match. We’ve still only got early returns in so far, but it looks like VPI is also offensively competent for the first time in, well, awhile. Still going with UNC until I get a better feel for what’s going in in Blacksburg.
- Brigham Young @ Michigan State (ABC/ESPN2): Losing by a combined score of 54-27 to Wisconsin and Indiana is not the brand of football I generally associated with Michigan State, but here we are. Fortunately for them, BYU has been slightly more challenged against defenses that have a pulse, so this should work out slightly better for them.
- Indiana @ Ohio State (ESPN): “Hey so Indiana beat Michigan State last week, maybe they can—” No, just stop right there.
- Iowa State @ Oklahoma State (ESPNU): Iowa State is still kinda bad, so there at least some constants in this world.
- Purdue @ Illinois (BTN): Well, this definitely isn’t the game that will make me complain that Comcast doesn’t carry the Big Ten Network in HD here. Uh, Illinois I guess?
- Army @ Duke (ACC/RSN): Things looked to be going well for Army with a legitimate chance at getting to 6 wins, but then they lost to Buffalo. They’re currently 3-1 and they play two FCS teams, so only one of them will count. So that’s probably 4-1. From there, they need to beat two out of Duke, North Texas, Wake Forest, Air Force, Notre Dame, and Navy. The only win I see on there is UNT, so yeah, it’s an uphill battle now.
- Vanderbilt @ Kentucky (SEC): Seriously, move Alabama and Auburn to the East and Kentucky or Vandy to the West. No one will notice this game doesn’t get played all that often as a result. I promise. In the meantime, uh, well, maybe a Vandy will finally put Mark Stoops out of his misery?
- Colorado @ Southern California (Pac12): I think Colorado being “back” is going to be pretty short-lived, as it appears that yeah, Oregon just is that bad. The Trojans meanwhile managed to get the ship to stop listing as much with a pretty resounding win over Arizona State, which is a trend that I think will continue here.
6:30: Northern Illinois @ Western Michigan (CBSS): PJ Fleck continues rowing to a once-in-a-lifetime payday.
- Alabama @ Arkansas (ESPN): The conventional wisdom in college football is that when a team is known for doing something really well, you don’t try to beat them at their own game. This often takes the form of a phase like “you’re not going to out-Alabama Alabama”. Often cited exampled are when Michigan State played Alabama in a bowl game a couple years ago, where they, well, failed to out-Alabama Alabama despite trying very hard to to do so. On the flip, this occasionally works, such as last weekend when Washington announced to the nation the Huskies are for real by out-Stanfording Stanford. I have a feeling, though, that will prove out to be the exception that proves the rule.
- Michigan @ Rutgers (ESPN2): Name your score, Wolverines.
- Texas Tech @ Kansas State (ESPNU): I just don’t see how K-State can score enough points to win this game.
- Syracuse @ Wake Forest (ACC/RSN): I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but here we are: I’m picking Wake Forest.
7:30: Washington @ Oregon (FOX): So, yeah, I’m going to guess this isn’t quite what FOX signed up for when they picked this game. This figures to be a national coming out party for UDub, and whatever the opposite of that is for the Ducks.
8:00: Florida State @ Miami (ABC): Speaking of proving a point, the ‘Canes will look to do that here against what looks like a shadow of the FSU teams of the past few years. This FSU team is still good, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not one of the best two teams in the ACC right now, and after this game, they probably won’t even be in the top three.
9:00: California @ Oregon State (Pac12): Well, Oregon has this last least: they are not nearly as catastrophically bad as Oregon State is right now. I’m not sure the Beavers are going to win a game, but they’re playing Cal this week, so the Bears will either win 60-3 or lose 12-9, who knows. While I’m here, let’s all enjoy a private moment and chuckle about the fact Cal won their game against Utah last week on a goal line stand.
- Arizona @ Utah (FS1): Speaking of Da U(tes), their inability to score on Cal’s defense aside, I think they’re still a better team than Arizona.
- Utah State @ Colorado State (CBSS): Uh, Aggies, I guess? The bottom of the Mountain West looks pretty brutal this year, y’all.
- Washington State @ Stanford (ESPN): If you’re wondering why all of a sudden people are starting to stick a fork in Oregon, it’s because they played Wazzou last weekend and it was bad. Washington State, a team that pretty much only runs to set up the pass, rushed for 280 yards of offense. Don’t worry though, they still threw the ball 48 times for 371 yards and won 51-33. Yeah. Naturally, this of course means things are pretty much going to plan for the Cougars: lose to an FCS team, then reel off a respectable conference run and make a bowl game. All that said, and despite what happened to Stanford last week, yeah, Stanford’s still going to win.
- California-Los Angeles @ Arizona State (ESPN2): It’s UCLA’s turn with the Sun Devils, and think the results will be pretty similar to what their cross-town rivals did.
- Nevada-Las Vegas @ San Diego State (ESPNU): SDSU is probably going to make the Mountain West title game, so naturally they were last seen two weeks ago losing by 18 to South Alabama. Whoops. They should be able to take care of business here though.
2:30: Georgia @ South Carolina (SEC): 10 years ago I probably would’ve recommended watching this game over the NFL, but, well, we’ve got the Red Zone channel these days and the NFL really has gotten more interesting as they’ve cribbed offensive ideas from college and there’s really no reason to subject yourself to Big Dumb Will Muschamp Football. At any rate, Georgia should be able to get over what happened last week pretty quickly.