Monthly Archives: October 2017

This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

11:30: Buffalo @ Akron (CBSS): You could watch an early MAC game, or maybe you could get a little extra sleep. I know which one I’m doing. Also I like Akron here.


  • Oklahoma State @ West Virginia (ABC): Okay, WVU is probably better this year than you think, but the Pokes are still pretty good.
  • Wisconsin @ Illinois (ESPN): Illinois is, full stop, the worst team in the Big Ten.
  • Miami @ North Carolina (ESPN2): North Carolina is as bad, if not worse, than Illinois.
  • Texas @ Baylor (ESPNU): Baylor’s not great, either.
  • Arkansas @ Mississippi (SEC): Uh, stick to Oklahoma State @ WVU, okay? Geez. Somehow this timeslot has managed to feature four of the worst major conference teams in the country.
  • Rutgers @ Michigan (BTN): Serious, Rutgers is no worse than the fifth worst team in this timeslot. Still, Michigan’s offense might look a little better in this one.

12:30: Virginia @ Pittsburgh (ACC/RSN): Don’t look, but, apparently UVA’s good now? Huh.

2:00: California @ Colorado (Pac12): Not sure who I like here, as these teams are about equally mediocre. Cal is more exciting, though, so I’ll take them.


  • Kansas State @ Kansas (FS1): This might be the worst KU team ever, and trust me, that’s saying something.
  • Air Force @ Colorado State (CBSS): Colorado State is pretty good. This year’s edition of the Falcons are not.


  • Georgia vs. Florida (@Jacksonville, FL; CBS): How badly I want Florida to win (because I hate Georgia and it would be hilarious) is about inversely proportional to their odds of actually winning.
  • North Carolina State @ Notre Dame (NBC): Did you know that NC State is the only undefeated team in the ACC Atlantic right now? And that the only thing between them and Charlotte is a home game against Clemson? Yeah, they’re good! The problem is, so is Notre Dame, and this one is in South Bend. I’ll take the Domers here, but not by much.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Ohio State (FOX): 3:30’s doing it’s best to make up for the nooners, I tell you what. The Buckeyes have reeled off five straight and appear to actually have a functioning offense again. The flip side, though, is that their best win in those five games is, uh, Maryland I guess? Penn State also has a functioning offense and just took care of Michigan, which has a pretty good defense. I’m going with the Nittany Lions here.
  • Texas Christian @ Iowa State (ABC/ESPN2): Yeah, uh, Iowa State is good now? Huh. I mean, they’re going to still lose to TCU, but it might be interesting.
  • California-Los Angeles @ Washington (ABC/ESPN2): UDub all the way here.
  • Michigan State @ Northwestern (ESPN): Northwestern isn’t bad, they’re just not, you know, good.
  • Indiana @ Maryland (BTN): See also “California @ Colorado”, because this is about the same thing. Uh, edge to the home team?

3:45: Houston @ South Florida (ESPNU): Is more than one AAC team allowed to be good in a given year? How does this work? As a reminder, USF plays UCF on November 24th.

4:00: Vanderbilt @ South Carolina (SEC): Gamecocks.

5:45: Utah @ Oregon (Pac12): Utah just doesn’t have their usual plucky mojo this year, at least not enough to go beat a revitalized Oregon team on the road.


  • Minnesota @ Iowa (FS1): Minnesota will be there next year or the year after, but for now, they’re still having to row pretty hard.
  • Missouri @ Connecticut (CBSS): This is definitely a game that is happening for some reason. Mizzou I guess?

7:15: Mississippi State @ Texas A&M (ESPN): See also “California @ Colorado” and “Indiana @ Maryland”, because this is pretty much the SEC equivalent. TAMU I guess?

7:20: Duke @ Virginia Tech (ACC): LIGHTNING ROUND! VPI.


  • New Mexico @ Wyoming (ESPNU): Wyoming.
  • Tennessee @ Kentucky (SEC): Kentucky.
  • Nebraska @ Purdue (BTN): Purdue.


  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (ABC/ESPN2): Look, the latent magical energies that course from Bill Synder ebb and flow, and though this season has seen more ebb than not, that’s not say sudden spikes can occur and not-very-good-to-this-point-Kansas-State can force Oklahoma to come from behind to win. This just happens sometimes. Essentially, I still think the Sooners are pretty good and they should be able to win here.
  • Georgia Tech @ Clemson (ABC/ESPN2): Hoo boy. This is the game that has changed more than any other for us over the last five season. We used to be pretty competitive with Clemson (see: 2009) but, well, that just isn’t the case anymore. And it starts up front with the Tigers’ defensive line. Paul Johnson once said something like “physical superiority cancels all theories” and indeed, with the option key is fast enough that you can’t even option them, that’s a problem. Our defense still worries me, especially after coming out flat against Wake Forest in the first half last week. We eventually managed to prevail on defense, but it took over 30 minutes for them to wake up. I still think the defensive playcalling is atrocious, but our secondary gives us a chance to stay in games if they’re used effectively. Add this up, and it sounds like I’m saying we don’t have a chance. But there’s still one thing about even reigning-national-champions Clemson that’s true: we’ve always got a chance.

9:30: Washington State @ Arizona (Pac12): I still can’t get over how wrong we all were about Arizona and Arizona State entering this season. Yes, you were also wrong, even if you didn’t actually have a prediction saying that the Territorial Cup would be contested by two teams with interim coaches this year. I’m still baffled by Wazzu’s suddenly stingy defense, but I feel like Khalil Tate may do a thing or two to change that perception by the end of this night.

10:00: Boise State @ Utah State (CBSS): Speaking of mojo, welcome back Broncos! I like them to prevail over the road against the Aggies.

10:45: Southern California @ Arizona State (ESPN): Yeah, seriously, I didn’t think back in September I’d be pretty confident that the Sun Devils would win pretty easily over the Trojans, but here we are.

11:15: San Diego State @ Hawaii (ESPN2): And here’s your nightcap, which will likely be “watching the Aztecs run the clock out after you’ve the other games ended”.

Bowl Predictions 2017: Week 1

And… here we go again! The first bowl predictions of the season are here! Over the next several weeks, I’ll be doing my best to foresee where 80 teams will play football in the last few weeks of the year.

For the first edition this year, I got an assist from Bill Callahan’s S&P+ stat profiles. This saves me a good bit of time when it comes to handicapping the teams, especially at this point in the year when there’s still a lot of football left to be played. And indeed, it shows in the predictions. I was also short several teams, but upsets late in the year tend to help out in that department. In other words, no need to panic (yet).

Essentially, it’s still too early to say what’s what. Nonetheless, all the bowl information is there and correct to the best of my ability, but the predictions? Just for fun at this point.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Oklahoma State @ Texas (ABC): This edition is going to be quick and abbreviated, I’m not going to lie. And that also means that while I think Texas has a good defense, I think that the Pokes are going to be too much for them offensively.
  • Maryland @ Wisconsin (FOX): Wisconsin is just going to keep doing Wisconsin things, as far as I can tell, though I think this is an improved Maryland team.
  • Louisville @ Florida State (ESPN): Boy howdy, this matchup looked a lot better two months ago than it does now, eh? Uh, well, Louisville is as much of a one-man show that has ever existed in college football it seems, since their offensive line is terrible and their defensive seemingly non-existent. FSU is struggling on offense, but I suspect their still excellent defense will allow them to prevail.
  • Iowa @ Northwestern (ESPN2): This is a thing you could watch, I guess. Uh, Iowa?
  • Iowa State @ Texas Tech (FS1): This one might be interesting. The Cyclones are not terrible, but it seems that Texas Tech is on their way to a pretty good season, and for that to be true, they really need to circle the wagons down in Lubbock. (Which I think they will.)
  • Tulsa @ Connecticut (ESPNU): Uh, Tulsa?
  • Idaho @ Missouri (SEC): Mizzou is bad this year, but not this bad.
  • Purdue @ Rutgers (BTN): Now here’s a chance for the Boilermakers to really Brohm it out, if you will.
  • Temple @ Army (CBSS): Army looks decent this year? I like them against Temple, at least.

12:20: Pittsburgh @ Duke (ACC): It still feels weird to pick Duke, but here we are.

12:30: Boston College @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): Speaking of feeling weird picking a team, apparently UVA isn’t terrible this year and will be bowl eligible with this win. Huh.


  • Tennessee @ Alabama (CBS): It is definitely the Third Saturday in October, all right, and I’m not sure I can think of any time in the recent past where I’ve felt as sorry for the Volunteers coming into this as I do right now.
  • Indiana @ Michigan State (ABC): This will be a good barometer for Sparty’s recovery back to the normal steady-state they’ve maintained, and I think they’ll get it.
  • Syracuse @ Miami (ESPN): Okay, Miami, please don’t need a last second play to get a win against a feisty Syracuse. Please.
  • North Carolina @ Virginia Tech (ESPN2): VPI.
  • Arizona State @ Utah (FS1): I, and basically everyone else in the college football universe, was wrong about the Arizona schools. I still like the Utes here.
  • Illinois @ Minnesota (BTN): Gophers.


  • Oklahoma @ Kansas State (FOX): The Bill Synder mojo just does not seem to be in effect for this year.
  • Southern Methodist @ Cincinnati (ESPNU): Cincy, I guess?
  • Kentucky @ Mississippi State (SEC): Okay, Miss State isn’t the awesome team we all thought a few weeks ago, sure. But… I’ll still take them over Kentucky.
  • Oregon @ California-Los Angeles (Pac12): So far in this quick write-up this is the first one where I’ve really had to stop and think. I think UCLA is pretty much a disaster at this point, but I think the Ducks still have a long way to go. I’m taking the Ducks, but just barely.

6:30: Alabama-Birmingham @ Charlotte (beIN): Go Blazers!


  • South Florida @ Tulane (ESPN2): I could keep posting the date of the USF-UCF game, but… yeah, I think y’all get the idea.
  • Brigham Young @ East Carolina (CBSS): BYU sure can’t play offense, but I’m not so sure about ECU playing football, in general.

7:15: Louisiana State @ Mississippi (ESPN): LSU seems to have recovered well from, you know, losing to Troy. I like them here.


  • Southern California @ Notre Dame (NBC): I listen to two college football related podcasts: Podcast Ain’ Played Nobody and the Shutdown Fullcast. Both, but especially the latter, have noted that Notre Dame is actually kinda good this year? I’m still taking USC, but still…
  • Michigan @ Pennsylvania State (ABC): I run a pick-’em elsewhere, and more maximum main I had this game as against the spread (with Penn State favored by 9.5 points). But on here I don’t have to do that, so I can just pick Penn State. Whee!
  • Wake Forest @ Georgia Tech (ESPNU): If (one of) the worst nights of my life hadn’t happened to me two weeks ago, then last week’s game against Miami would have hurt a lot more. As it it is, it hurt a lot, but this still feels like a pretty decent version of GT so far this year despite the gut-punch losses? I dunno. What I do know is that we cannot wallow in our misery, as this is a feisty Wake Forest squad in the mold of those Wake teams Jim Grobe used to get every once in a while that was actually good. Also, I just wanted to lament that, as a small, private Baptist school I will probably never get to unironically refer to Wake Forest as “Woke Forest”. Thanks for reading, try the veal, and remember to tip your waitress!
  • Auburn @ Arkansas (SEC): Comeback losses to LSU aside, Auburn is probably still good? It’s not Novembert yet, so I like their chances.


  • Kansas @ Texas Christian (FOX): TCU.
  • West Virginia @ Baylor (FS2): WVU.
  • Arizona @ California (Pac12): Zona?

10:15: Wyoming @ Boise State (ESPN2): Boise’s back! Well, maybe. But probably at least for this game.

10:30: Fresno State @ San Diego State (CBSS): Still like the Aztecs here.

10:45: Colorado @ Washington State (ESPN): And I still like the Cougars here.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 7

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Michigan @ Indiana (ABC): Somehow everyone forgot last weekend as Michigan’s offense looked hapless against Michigan State that this was supposed to be Michigan’s rebuilding year. I suspect now with a more porous Indiana defense they’ll suddenly look a lot more competent.
  • South Carolina @ Tennessee (ESPN): The season figures to continue to go off the rails for Butch Jones and company, though in fairness to him he seems to be a pretty earnest guy? I mean, he’s probably going to be an earnest guy without a job soon, but still.
  • Florida State @ Duke (ESPN2): FSU should improve from “the best 1-3 team in the country” to “the best 2-3 team in the country” after this.
  • Texas Christian @ Kansas State (FS1): Weird stuff can happen when it involves K-State, but I think this version of the Wildcats just lacks the offensive power to keep up.
  • Texas Tech @ West Virginia (ESPNU): Here’s a real measuring stick for WVU to figure out the hierarchy of Big 12 teams. The only point of comparison is that TTU beat Kansas worse, which, sure, that seems as reasonable as anything.
  • Connecticut @ Temple (ESPNEWS): Temple’s not good or anything, but they’re better than UConn.
  • Brigham Young @ Mississippi State (SEC): This version of BYU is just too offensively limited, but they may still get to 6-6 with their schedule after this. The key word being “after”.
  • Kansas @ Iowa State (FSN/RSN): Cyclones.
  • Rutgers @ Illinois (BTN): AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Also, uh, Illinois?
  • Eastern Michigan @ Army (CBSS): I’d say Army is looking pretty good so far on the year, and with a win here they’ll be most of the way to bowl eligibility.
  • North Carolina State @ Pittsburgh (ACC/RSN): This Pitt is a long, long way from last year’s memes.

12:20: Boston College @ Louisville (ACC): Lamar Jackson is still one of the best players in college football. Hopefully folks remember in a month or two.


  • Georgia Tech @ Miami (ABC): And we’re back. An off-week is a little more welcome at this point, lets some people get another week of healing in (in particular, Clinton Lynch has yet to really look like Clinton Lynch). The real interesting part is where Miami is after for. For most of the past 5-6 seasons Miami was good for a two week funk after losing the FSU game. Now that they’ve won, now that they’ve climbed the hill, how well will they come out? Will Year 2 Mark Richt also make a difference in the attitude of the team? Ultimately, I think this one will come down to where Miami is mentally.
  • Auburn @ Louisiana State (CBS): Hard to see how Auburn’s offense won’t just run circles around LSU.
  • Oklahoma vs. Texas (@Dallas, TX; ESPN): Late kick for the Red River Whatever You Want to Call It. I still like “Shootout”, but I’ll accept any other alternative as long as it’s not “Rivalry” and especially if it’s humorous, like “The Red River Respectful Disagreement”. Anyway, I like Baker Mayfield and company to get their mojo back.
  • Northwestern @ Maryland (ESPN2): Goin’ with the Terps here.
  • Baylor @ Oklahoma State (FS1): Pokies.
  • Vanderbilt @ Mississippi (SEC): Avoid at all costs. Vandy, I guess?
  • Purdue @ Wisconsin (BTN): Purdue is back and exciting, but this feels like they’re going to run into a brick wall. Made of beef. Look, it makes sense, okay?
  • Akron @ Western Michigan (CBSS): Western Michigan is still actually kinda good.
  • Virginia @ North Carolina (ACC/RSN): UNC somehow dodged NCAA sanctions, but I still don’t like them against a rapidly improving Virginia team.

3:45: Navy @ Memphis (ESPNU): This may secretly be one of the most interesting games of the day. I still like Navy here, but the contrast in styles figures to be fun to watch.


  • Houston @ Tulsa (ESPNEWS): This Tulsa, yeah, no.
  • Colorado @ Oregon State (Pac12): Well, one of these teams just had their coach resign essentially because their coach wasn’t feeling it, so, uh, Buffs.

6:30: Middle Tennessee State @ Alabama-Birmingham (beIN): GO BLAZERS! I mean, they probably won’t win, but seriously.


  • Texas A&M @ Florida (ESPN2): I think this game could result one of the biggest narrative shifts of the day. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot pressure on Jim McElwain at Florida right now, at least outside of the disgruntled Florida fans I follow. Meanwhile, folks are figuring that Kevin Sumlin is as good at TAMU. I like A&M to win here and shift the narrative.
  • East Carolina @ Central Florida (CBSS): UCF looks neigh unstoppable. For reference, they play South Florida on November 24th.

7:15: Arkansas @ Alabama (ESPN): Speaking of narratives and neigh unstoppable… yeah, Bama continues to roll.


  • Ohio State @ Nebraska (FS1): Hey Urbz, it’s actually a 6:30 kick out in Nebraska, so it’s not that late! Seriously, though, the Buckeyes seem to have their groove back, then again, the schedule got seriously easier after Oklahoma. I figure that trend will continue.
  • Cincinnati @ South Florida (ESPNU): USF looks neigh unstoppable. For reference, they play Central Florida on November 24th.
  • Missouri @ Georgia (SEC): Mizzou came close against Kentucky last week, but… Georgia is not Kentucky. Unfortunately.


  • Utah @ Southern California (ABC): USC is not a juggernaut, but they’re better than Utah. Then again, relative talent levels don’t seem to matter a whole much to Utah. I still think the Trojans will win, but it won’t be easy.
  • Michigan State @ Minnesota (BTN): Both these teams are improving, but the Gophers figure to remain winless in Big Ten play.

9:00: California-Los Angeles @ Arizona (Pac12): I still don’t, uh, believe in Arizona? If that makes any sense. Not that UCLA inspires any amount of belief, and it’s on the road so, uh, Beardown I guess?

10:15: Nevada @ Colorado State (ESPN2): Not Nevada’s year this year, going with the Rams.

10:30: Boise State @ San Diego State (CBSS): I like the Aztecs to pass their biggest test here.

10:45: Washington @ Arizona State (ESPN): UDub figures out put somewhat more than 3 points in this road contest.

11:00: Oregon @ Stanford (FS1): Oregon is improved, but I don’t see them stopping Bryce Love.

2018 World Cup Update: The Worst Night of My Life

Okay, probably not the worst, but it’s certainly up there. Enough said.

Let’s review this past international break.

Qualified: Nigeria, Egypt, Honduras, Costa Rica, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium, and Iceland.

Eliminated: Syria, Mali, Gabon, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Austria, Wales, Montenegro, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Albania, Cyprus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey, and Ukraine.

There are now 20 teams competing for the 9 remaining spots. The status of all teams page has been updated. We’ll take a look at the scenarios for Africa and preview the UEFA and inter-confederation playoffs in a couple of weeks.