Category Archives: college football

This Weekend in College Football: Week 14

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


7:00: New Mexico State @ Liberty (Conference USA Championship; CBSSN): I suspect Liberty will win, but that won’t stop me from pulling hard for the Aggies here. And if the Aggies do pull it off, Jerry Kill should merit some serious Coach of the Year consideration.

8:00: Washington vs. Oregon (Pacific 12 Championship @ Las Vegas, NV; ABC): There’s still a chance I may just up and off out to Vegas today because this game is not only the last ever Pac-12 Championship game (at least, as we know it) it should also be an absolute banger of a game. These are two of the best teams in the country in what is functionally a playoff quarterfinal. I am rolling with the conventional wisdom and predicting Oregon to win, but it is impossible to discount the Huskies, who seem to have a knack for getting out of close games.



  • Oklahoma State vs. Texas (Big 12 Championship @ Arlington, TX; ABC): This would be a super bad time for the version of Texas that existed before this season to show up. That said, so far Texas hasn’t really Texas’d this season, and there’s not any reason to think they’ll start now.
  • Toledo vs. Miami (Mid-American Championship @ Detroit, MI; ESPN): This may secretly be the better game. These are clearly the two best teams in the MAC. Toledo is rightly favored as the Rockets have shaken off their reputation for not being able to win the big game. It should be a good game, though, and may be a refuge if Texas is taking care of business.
  • Youngstown State @ Villanova (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
  • Richmond @ State University of New York at Albany (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)

1:00: Tennessee-Chattanooga @ Furman (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)


  • Mercer @ South Dakota State (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
  • Sacramento State @ South Dakota (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)

3:00: Boise State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (Mountain West Championship; FOX): It’s not often that a team in a conference championship game fired their coach less than a month before said game, but that’s what the Broncos did. It does seem to have some impact, but they’re also here because the computers said they were better than San Jose State, which is the tiebreaker the Mountain West had to go with because none of the the three teams played the other. That said, it’s been a heckuva year for the Runnin’ Rebels and I don’t see it stopping here.


  • Southern Methodist @ Tulane (American Championship; ABC): SMU got better as the year went on, but Tulane just figures to still be the class of the conference.
  • Georgia vs. Alabama (Southeastern Championship @ Atlanta, GA; CBS): Both of these teams kinda seemed to take it easy in their rivalry games. That put the Tide in real danger that took converting what might become the most famous “4th and goal from the 31” play in history. And while I’m not complaining, the Bulldogs looked pretty one-dimensional against us as they opted to rest McConkey and Bowers. (That said, when you average seven yards per carry, there’s not any reason to stop doing that.) At any rate, unlike the past couple seasons, Bama doesn’t feel like the team most capable of stopping Georgia: I would say both Michigan and Oregon could beat them. This Bama team isn’t perfect either, though they have figured what they can do with their QB the past few weeks. So, in summary, this Georgia team can get got, and while I don’t think it will happen here, I wouldn’t be surprised either.
  • Appalachian State @ Troy (Sun Belt Championship; ESPN): While JMU obviously deserves to be here, at least App beat them. Troy, though, continues to be Troy: play (relatively) great defense and run the ball. App is just too inconsistent to make me think they have a chance here.
  • Prairie View A&M @ Florida A&M (Southwestern Championship; ESPN2)

6:00: North Dakota State @ Montana State (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)


  • Florida State vs. Louisville (Atlantic Coast Championship @ Charlotte, NC; ABC): You can discount rivalry week or not, but it’s really hard not to think about how those games might carry over to this one. FSU rallied to beat Florida and show that can still work an offense without their best player. Louisville missed a chance to finally show Kentucky who’s boss (indeed, it’s as though Kentucky’s chances of beating the Cardinals is inversely proportional to how good the Cards are that season). Add that to the sort of general “they can’t keep getting away with this!” vibe the Cardinals have been doing all season, and it’s hard to see how FSU doesn’t win this.
  • Iowa vs. Michigan (Big Ten Championship @ Indianapolis, IN; FOX): It’s very difficult to see how this will be any different from the 2021 version of this game that the Wolverines won 42-3.

9:00: Delaware @ Montana (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)

10:00: Southern Illinois @ Idaho (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)

Bowl Predictions 2023: Week 5

They’re up and they’re here!

Let’s get right into it:

  • There’s lots of garment rending and gnashing of teeth online at the moment regarding the playoff, but I think it’ll work itself out. Well, unless Oregon and Texas win. Which is what I’m betting will happen. At any rate, I will fully admit putting Oregon at #3 is just purely to get a traditional Rose Bowl. It sort of seems like that as long as Florida State stays undefeated, they’ll finish above any 1-loss team. We’ll see though!
  • Predicting this stuff isn’t what it used to be. I used to spend the post-Thanksgiving period doing Google News searches for local beat writer articles about possible bowl destinations. Now, these articles are just summations of the more prominent national writers’ bowl predictions. Gee, awesome. The whole point of this exercise for me is to use my own know-how to try to get somewhere near what might happen.
  • The exception of to the above is actually an article done the old fashioned way, and it’s very helpful because it tracks with what I was thinking and also changes my feel for how I think Georgia Tech’s bowl prospects look.
  • On that note, this article out of El Paso is also helpful – if the Sun Bowl chairman is saying out loud that he wants two “name” teams, he might well get it. (Then again, at least on the ACC side it’s up to the conference, not the bowl.)
  • On the 5-7 watch, we had to wait for the late returns from the West Coast and beyond, but with Cal whomping UCLA and Hawaii kicking a last-second field goal to conclude the regular season, we wound up 3 teams short. This means James Madison and Jacksonville State: step right up! And that means we need one 5-7 team, which looks like it’ll be Minnesota.
  • With JMU going bowling, that means the Sun Belt gets 12 of its 14 teams in, which is a pretty big accomplishment for a non-power conference. (Since, generally, each of those teams pretty much starts with 1 loss due to a paycheck game against a power team.) I did some juggling with the ESPN Events affiliated bowls to avoid Sun Belt vs. Sun Belt matchups, and I don’t think what I did was unreasonable.

That’s about it. On Sunday, I’ll be following the announcements as live as I possibly can. There’ll be one last update Saturday night after the conference title games conclude to account for any new news after this or upsets, and the final predictions will be uploaded. I may not be able to make a post. If I don’t, I will be updating the predictions on Sunday. When this happens, as long as I don’t know future results, I do update the table to account for things I get wrong in the hopes of getting bowls further down the chain correctly, so keep that in mind when assessing how correct I was.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Ohio State @ Michigan (“The Game”; FOX): And once again, we start the last full day of college football with The Game, which is every bit as consequential as it has been the past two seasons. In Ohio State’s favor is human cheat code Marvin Harrison, Jr. In Michigan’s favor is a two game winning streak where they have more-or-less out-toughed the Buckeyes. It’s sort of crazy to think about, but I think the Wolverines will make it three in a row.
  • Kentucky @ Louisville (ABC): I still don’t really believe in Louisville and they could definitely lose this, but I can’t really put my fingers to the keyboard and type that.
  • Texas A&M @ Louisiana State (ESPN): A&M is probably slightly less dysfunctional on offense without Jimbo. LSU though just has a score-at-will type ability through Jayden Daniels that a lot of other teams, even top ten teams, lack.
  • Navy @ Southern Methodist (ESPN2): Ponies figure to keep the pedal down all the way through the end of the season here, with a date with Tulane next weekend looming.
  • Houston @ Central Florida (FS1): Both of these teams have been varying degrees of bad this year, especially Houston. It was a rough go for both in their first year of Big 12 play. That said, I have no idea what to expect here and I’m kind of tempted to pick Houston.
  • Indiana @ Purdue (BTN): The Old Oaken Bucket is on the line, and, well, it’s a battle of 3-8 teams. State of Indiana pride is on the line, and that’s about it. One of the things about being 3-8 is that it’s hard to say if a win over Minnesota or Wisconsin means anything when the context is that you only won two other games. I’ll take the Boilermakers because they’re at home.
  • Troy @ Southern Mississippi (ESPNU): Southern Miss did reel off two straight wins before losing to Miss State last week, but regardless Troy isn’t as good as they were, but they’re still in the upper crust of the Sun Belt. They should be fine here.
  • Pittsburgh @ Duke (ACCN): Duke has QB injury issues, but Pitt just has offense issues in general. The Blue Devils should romp.
  • Miami @ Ball State (CBSS): We’ll have some Saturday MACtion back, though this one should be straightforward for Miami.
  • Northern Illinois @ Kent State (ESPN+)
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Sam Houston State (ESPN+)
  • Connecticut @ Massachusetts (ESPN+)


  • Florida Atlantic @ Rice (ESPN+)
  • Sacramento State @ North Dakota (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)


  • Wake Forest @ Syracuse (The CW): We’ll close out the first (only? I need to check) year of ACC football on the CW. Wake Forest has lost four straight. Yes, Syracuse just fired their coach (the second time my team has gotten a Syracuse coach fired since I matriculated) and the offense is… limited, to say the least, but they still seem like a more coherent team than Wake at this point.
  • Tulsa @ East Carolina (ESPN+)
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ North Texas (ESPN+)
  • Georgia State @ Old Dominion (ESPN+)
  • Southern vs. Grambling State (Bayou Classic @ New Orleans, LA; NBC)
  • North Carolina Central @ Richmond (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)
  • Lafayette @ Delaware (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)


  • Colorado @ Utah (“Rumble in the Rockies”; Pac12): Remember what Oregon did to Colorado a couple of months back? Well, Utah doesn’t have Bo Nix (or anyone else that’s a real quarterback, for that matter), but I expect this to look pretty similar.
  • San Jose State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (MWN)
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Louisiana (“Battle on the Bayou”; ESPN+)
  • Western Kentucky @ Florida International (ESPN+)
  • Tennessee-Chattanooga @ Austin Peay (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)
  • Nicholls State @ Southern Illinois (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)
  • Gardner-Webb @ Mercer (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)


  • Alabama @ Auburn (“Iron Bowl”; CBS): Okay, it’s the Iron Bowl, and it’s on the Plains, and sometimes stuff can… look, just no. The Tigers just got manhandled by New Mexico State last week. [Editor’s note: italics here for emphasis, NMSU is a FBS school.] I’m pretty sure Alabama can scheme some stuff up to do something similar. This might be a good point in the afternoon to go to the store.
  • Brigham Young @ Oklahoma State (ABC): On the one hand, Oklahoma State seems determined to show that they won their one-game season by winning Bedlam, even if they did rally and beat Houston last week. On the other, BYU is super beat up and has lost four straight. Oklahoma State may well try to throw this but just back their way into getting blasted by Texas next week. This could wind up being interesting in a certain sort of way.
  • Arizona @ Arizona State (“Territorial Cup”; ESPN): It’s generally a bad sign for your roster depth when you starting a true freshman at QB, who then got hurt, and is now starting again for the first time since September. That’s what Arizona State is doing, and I suspect that this one might be over early.
  • James Madison @ Coastal Carolina (ESPN2): It’s neat Grayson McCall came back for Coastal this season, but they just don’t have the juice this season. I like JMU here.
  • Wisconsin @ Minnesota (FS1): This is the most ambiguous Axe game in a while. Neither of these teams is especially good, with Minnesota stalling out a bit and Wisconsin going through a philosophy change on offense under a new coach. With the game effectively being a coin toss, I’ll take the home team.
  • Maryland @ Rutgers (BTN): Maryland scared the heck out of Michigan last week, even if it was never really really in doubt. I suspect that means Rutgers is going to win easily this week.
  • Northwestern @ Illinois (BTN): Northwestern’s coach should win at least one of the various coach of the year awards. Seriously. I think they win this one easily.
  • Georgia Southern @ Appalachian State (“Modern Day Hate”; ESPNU): App is still somewhat maddening, as I’d definitely written them off going into JMU last week. Naturally, they left with the upset. This is a real G5 rivalry that goes back to their FCS days and there should be a good crowd in Boone. This could be a sneaky good game, or… an App rout. We’ll see.
  • Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (SEC): Vols by a lot.
  • Virginia Tech @ Virginia (“Commonwealth Cup”; ACCN): Virginia’s upset of Duke last week aside, there’s been a lot more to be optimistic about over on Blacksburg. That said, the talent level of these two teams is similar so we could wind up with a close game, though I’m expecting a VPI win.
  • Liberty @ Texas-El Paso (CBSS): It brings me no pleasure to report that Liberty will be 12-0 after this. Tulane, we need you to win out.
  • Arkansas State @ Marshall (ESPN+)
  • Drake @ North Dakota State (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)


  • Washington State @ Washington (“Apple Cup”; FOX): Wazzu worked out some frustration last week on Colorado, subjecting the Buffs to a 56-14 game that wasn’t that close. Before that, however, the Cougs lost 6 straight after beating Oregon State, which made one feel like they’d lost the plot a bit. UDub is 11-0 and definitely more talented. I’m a bit skittish after what happened in Eugene earlier tonight, but I think this game is going to be closer than one might think.
  • Jacksonville State @ New Mexico State (ESPN+)

5:00: Duquense @ Youngstown State (NCAA Division I First Round; ESPN+)


  • Florida State @ Florida (“Sunshine Showdown” ; ESPN): Even with their backup QB, I still expect FSU to win here. The talent level on both sides of the ball is still good and the Gators are just not good enough right now to overcome it.
  • West Virginia @ Baylor (FS1): I’m still trying to figure out what happened at Baylor after last year. ‘Neers get to one of the most unexpected 8 win seasons in the country after this one.
  • South Alabama @ Texas State (NFLN): Texas State probably won’t give up 77 again, but I don’t really trust them at this point.
  • Notre Dame @ Stanford (Pac12): It’s not a coincidence that this is one of the largest point spreads of the weekend (at Notre Dame favored by 25). Maybe it’s for the best this will probably be the last ever football game shown on the Pac-12 Network.


  • Georgia @ Georgia Tech (“Clean, Old Fashioned Hate”; ABC): TO HELL WITH GEORGIA
  • Kansas @ Cincinnati (ESPN2): I know the QB at situation means this line is close, but KU shouldn’t have any trouble here.
  • Charlotte @ South Florida (ESPNU): USF figures to get bowl eligible against one of the worst teams in the country.
  • Clemson @ South Carolina (“Palmetto Bowl”; SEC): The Gamecocks have won three in a row and salvaged the season a little, but that figures to come to a screeching halt at the hands of a seemingly rejuvenated Clemson squad.


  • Iowa State @ Kansas State (“Farmageddon”; FOX): This is the longest continuously played rivalry in FBS, but regardless it’s due to rotate off the Big 12 schedule in 2028. This error should be fixed. Outside of that, we’ve already remarked a couple of times that Iowa State is playing well as of late after being dead in the water earlier in the season. I hope it’s been fun, because this trip to the Little Apple isn’t likely to be.
  • North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ACCN): NC State has reached 8 wins, which isn’t exactly news, because they do that almost every year. What this does imply is that UNC will probably win. Look, I don’t make the rules, okay.

9:00: Wyoming @ Nevada (CBSS): Wyoming isn’t as good as their record (7-4), but they good enough to take care of business in Reno.


  • California @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): It’s a shame this game never really got a name, considering the shared history and governance of these schools. Plus that it’s probably on hold for the foreseeable future. But yeah, the main motivation in this one is that we’re going to be winding down the season with these games, and this does figure to be more watchable than the next game. That said, UCLA should handle business here.
  • Fresno State @ San Diego State (FS1): And finally, we’ve got the battle for the Oil Can. I still have no idea what is going on with Fresno after they lost to New Mexico last week, but I will still say they’re going to be able to take care of this SDSU team. Well, unless the Aztecs decide to send Brady Hoke off with a sudden burst of competence on the offensive side of the ball, which feels unlikely.

11:00: Colorado State @ Hawaii (Team1Sports): Mahalo, the 2023 college football regular season. There’s a lot of change coming in 2024, and it’s been a fun send-off to what will possibly be a very significant point in the history of the sport.

This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern all predictions wrong.


7:00: Bowling Green @ Western Michigan (ESPNU): We’re finally going to cover some MACtion here as part of our look at the weeknight games this week. We still should have never lost to Bowling Green, but my worst fears after their 27-0 blanking by Miami didn’t materialize. The instead rolled off 5 straight MAC wins until last week’s close loss to MAC front-runners Toledo. They seem to actually be kind of okay, which wasn’t something I was expecting to say. I’ll guess they’ll win here.

7:30: Eastern Michigan @ Buffalo (ESPN2): This probably wouldn’t be what I’d pick to put on ESPN2 over EPSNU, but they didn’t ask me. The Bulls have lost 3 straight in what is a bit of a lost season for Mo Linguist and company, while EMU needs the win for bowl eligibility. I guess on paper the Bulls should win, and they’re at home, but I’ll take EMU.


7:30 PM: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (“Egg Bowl”; ESPN): Okay, let’s get to Thanksgiving Day. As usual, I’ll ask that you at least keep an eye on this one over the NFL game that evening because, well, it’s the Egg Bowl. While it’s been less, er, chaotic since 2019, and Ole Miss should win easily, anything can happen!



  • Miami @ Boston College (ABC): What a lost season for the Canes. They’re currently 6-5 with a 2-5 record in the ACC. They’re going to need to do some deep introspection on this season, not the least of which is wonder if Mario Christobal can figure anything out about game management. (There’s been more questionable things since they played us, believe it or not.) On paper they should easily beat this BC team, and I’ll go with that, but I don’t feel good about it.
  • Iowa @ Nebraska (CBS): So as of this writing the over/under for this game 27.5 points, which is insane. That said, Nebraska’s quarterback situation is so bad the Iowa defense may well hit the over on their own.
  • Texas Christian @ Oklahoma (FOX): There’s not really anything about how TCU is playing that makes me thing they can pull this off.
  • Memphis @ Temple (ESPN): There’s been years where this would’ve been an interesting game. This isn’t one of them.
  • Toledo @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): Toledo should roll here.
  • Ohio @ Akron (CBSS): Ohio is still one of the better teams in the MAC, and Akron… not so much.


  • Texas-San Antonio @ Tulane (ABC): Tulane isn’t as obviously good as they were last year, but they’ve now reeled off 9 in a row. The Roadrunners should present a formidable challenge after senior QB Frank Harris was missing early in the season. I still like the Green Wave, but this could be a sneaky fun game.
  • Utah State @ New Mexico (CBSS): I’m still trying to figure out what happened to Fresno after this New Mexico team beat them, but in the meantime I’m going to predict them to lose again.


  • Missouri @ Arkansas (“Battle Line Rivalry”; CBS): Mizzou shouldn’t need an end-of-regulation field goal in this one. If they win they’ll probably get a New Year’s Six bid. What a season for the Tigers.
  • Air Force @ Boise State (FS1): Love yourself like Air Force loves committing turnovers. It’s kind of ridiculous at this point that they’ve lost three straight starting with that 23-3 loss to Army. Boise, meanwhile, wasn’t predicted to be that good this year, then wasn’t, and then fired their coach. Naturally, they’ve now won two in a row, and I suspect they’ll make it three. If some other results break their way, they could well be playing in the Mountain West championship game with an interim coach. College football, y’all.


  • Pennsylvania State vs. Michigan State (@Detroit, MI; NBC): The battle for the worlsd’s best worst trophy is renewed again on a neutral field for some reason. At any rate, Michigan State has lost every game they’ve played against a team with a pulse. Penn State has problems, but they’re not “lose to this Michigan State team” problems.
  • Texas Tech @ Texas (ABC): The Red Raiders are 6-5, but considering everything about running a program in Lubbock, it’s still a good piece of work. That said, I can’t really see them threatening Texas. Generally, the ‘Horns have to do it to themselves.

8:30: Oregon State @ Oregon (FOX): The game of the day, and possibly the weekend. The Ducks should thank the stars they got this one at home, because the crowd in Corvallis nearly got the Beavers to the promised land against Washington last weekend. Alas, this Oregon team is just too lights out to see them lose here, but I think this one could still be very fun.

Bowl Predictions 2023: Week 4

It’s that time again, and you’ll find the latest predictions here.

Notes and tidbits:

  • This week I needed 5 5-7 teams, down from 7 last week. The trajectory is good, but we’ll need some big upsets to get all the way there.
  • The Sun Belt has 9 teams qualified, and they’re certainly doing their part to plug a lot of gaps left by the decimated Conference USA.
  • Speaking of the Sun Belt, while James Madison lost their NCAA petition, barring a lot of upsets, they’ll still get a bowl game at least. As a reminder, they would get in before any 5-7 team.
  • Once again, unlike JMU, I don’t think Jacksonville State can get in this year since this is the first year of their FCS to FBS transition.
  • Since Army and Navy aren’t already qualified, I don’t see them making it since the bowls are announced a week before they play. In addition, Army is 5-6 and played two FCS teams. Navy plays SMU this weekend and if they win, they’ll get in, but I see that as… unlikely.
  • For the playoff picture, I realized that the Committee will likely rank the undefeated teams ahead of any 1-loss team, so Oregon slides down to the 4th spot.
  • And finally, I needed no shenanigans to get Georgia Tech in, which is something I haven’t been able to safely do since 2018. That said, I really suspect we’re going to get the Sun Bowl or some such.

Playoff tiers:

  • First tier: Georgia (undefeated SEC champ), undefeated Big Ten champ (Michigan or Ohio State), Florida State (undefeated ACC champ), undefeated/one-loss Pac-12 champ (Washington or Oregon)
  • Second tier: Texas (1-loss Big 12 champ)
  • Third tier: 1-loss Big Ten non-champ (Michigan or Ohio State)
  • Fourth tier: 1-loss SEC champ (Alabama or (if only) Georgia), Washington (1-loss Pac-12 runner-up)
  • In other words: if Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, Washington, or Oregon win out, they’re in. I’m aware of the Jordan Travis injury for FSU but if they’re undefeated they’re in.
  • Texas, if they win out, is probably ahead of any 1-loss team that isn’t Oregon, though I could see Washington staying above them.
  • We’d need a lot of weird upsets in the next two weeks to even really start talking about Louisville getting in. This is pretty much the whole field as I see it.