As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
7:30: Louisiana State @ Texas A&M (ESPN): It’s late November, which means if nothing else we’ll start getting some fun weather conditions, so I’ll be noting them for all games. (Keep in mind all forecasts will be as of early Thursday morning.) It’ll be around 60 in College Station tonight. As for the game, well, it’s not Texas-TAMU, and really, the story here may be the coaches more than anything else. (Especially since Leonard Fournette reportedly didn’t even make the trip.) DACOACHO probably isn’t going to be retained as head coach of LSU, and while I don’t think A&M will fire Sumlin, his seat is getting a bit warm. All that said, I like the Bayou Bengals here.
- Houston @ Memphis (ABC): (60 degrees, clear) Memphis was still respectable this week, but the Cougars have got their grove back after beating Louisville last weekend.
- North Carolina State @ North Carolina (ESPN): (63 degrees, cloudy) While NC State pulling off the upset here would greatly help my bowl team predicament, I don’t think they can quite hang with Carolina’s offense.
- Northern Illinois @ Kent State (CBSS): (40 degress, overcast) Not much at stake in this MAC matchups, but I like Huskies.
2:30: Arkansas @ Missouri (CBS): (48 degrees, clear) I… think it’s rational to miss the KU-Mizzou rivalry? Either way, Arkansas hopes to, and should be able to, turn around a disappointing end of the season here.
- Nebraska @ Iowa (ABC): (40 degrees, clear) Iowa is a slight favorite here, but I’m not buying it. I’m going with the ‘Huskers.
- Washington @ Washington State (FOX): (44 degrees, chance of rain) And this is what you’re going to watch on Friday. The Apple Cup is fascinating for many reasons. For instance, not very mean years ago this game featured 1 win combined by these two teams. For another, I can’t think of a more marked contrast between two teams’ locales than between the gorgeous waterfront locale of Husky Stadium in Seattle and the relative moonscape that is the Palouse.
Photo from the Seattle Times
Tellingly, I couldn’t find a decent aerial photo of Martin Stadium. Anyway, the point is, these two places couldn’t be more different. I have hard time of thinking of any other intra-state rivals that are as distant. (I guess it depends on how you view the various California rivalries).
As for the game itself, well, here’s the situation. I still think Washington is in the playoff if they win out, i.e., this game and the Pac-12 title game against Colorado or USC. I also still think Washington is pretty good, dismantlings by USC nonwithstanding. On the other side, we have Wazzu, which as you know by now spent the beginning of the season losing to Eastern Washington and Boise State. They also lost to Colorado last weekend, but that’s respectable this year.
If there’s another team in the Pac-12 the Huskies resemble, it’s probably Colorado, even though they’ll be missing one of their d-line stars, I still like them to win this one. The fact the game will kick off at 12:30 local time probably also helps them.
- Texas Christian @ Texas (FS1): (65 degrees, clear) In perhaps the worst firing ever, just in terms of the process, Charlie Strong is out. Both teams are sliding into the end of the year and a bowl bid is on the line. With all the drama around Austin, Charlie Strong is either going to get carried off the field or actually fired after the game. I’m betting on the latter.
- Boise State @ Air Force (CBSS): (54 degrees, clear) For Boise to have any shot at the Cotton Bowl, they need to win this game and hope Wyoming loses to New Mexico. I suspect they can take for business on their end.
4:00: Louisiana Tech @ Southern Mississippi (ESPNEWS): (72 degrees, clear) Southern Miss isn’t, like, bad, this year, but they aren’t very good either. LaTech should win. (But you’ll have something to put on during halftime of the Apple Cup, at least.)
5:00: Toledo @ Western Michigan (ESPN2): (41 degrees, chance of rain) These are the two best teams in the MAC, and it’s not even close. The question is whether Toledo is anywhere close to Western Michigan, who have beaten every opponent on their schedule (except for Northwestern) by at least two touchdowns.
6:00: Baylor vs. Texas Tech (@Arlington, TX): (dome) Texas Tech
8:30: Cincinnati @ Tulsa (ESPN2): (48 degrees, clear) I don’t really see how Cincy will score enough to keep up here, or how Tommy Tuberville will retain his job.
9:30: Arizona State @ Arizona (ESPN): (69 degrees, clear) We’ll wrap up with the Territorial Cup, which, well, the nicest thing I can probably say about this game is that Arizona probably only has any sliver of a chance because it’s a rivalry game.