Category Archives: On TV This Week

This Week in College Football: Week 14

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.



  • Western Kentucky @ Texas-San Antonio (Conference USA Championship; CBSS): As previously mentioned, the Hilltoppers essentially took 4 players and a coordinator from a successful FCS offense and imported it. Now, they’re getting a chance to challenge a UTSA team that lost their first game to North Texas last weekend. I like their chances.
  • Holy Cross @ Villanova (NCAA Division I Playoffs Second Round; ESPN+)

8:00: Oregon vs. Utah (Pac-12 Championship @ Paradise, NV; ABC): So the main the mystery in this game is whether history will repeat itself. A few weeks ago in Salt Lake City, the Utes absolutely obliterated the Ducks.  I mean, they definitely did things that would require many synonyms for “obliterated” to really fully give you the scope of the slobberknocking they got. At any rate, can the Utes do it again? I’m not sure there’s a whole bunch of precedent for this, but this is on a neutral field, which I think is going to favor the Ducks. And if I’m wrong, well, my response is already at the top of this post.

9:00: Eastern Washington @ Montana (NCAA Division I Playoffs Second Round; ESPN+)


This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.



  • Western Michigan @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): NIU is possibly the luckiest team in FBS football this season. Of their 11 games played, they have won or lost 9 of them by 7 points or less (and often the latter). Western, by all rights, is not good enough to beat them, but even if they were, it wouldn’t matter because NIU is apparently just some sort of team of destiny this season.
  • Buffalo @ Ball State (ESPN+)


3:30: Fresno State @ San Jose State (FS1): In the annual battle of the Central Valley vs. Silicon Valley, well, this year the Bulldogs appear to have the upper hand. Fresno has been a tough out all year, and meanwhile the Spartans haven’t quite lived up to their magical seasons from the past couple of years.

7:30: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (“Egg Bowl”; ESPN): Ole Miss should win, but this is truly a rivalry series of late where should doesn’t matter. The butterfly effect of a player pretending to pee like a dog after scoring a late touchdown in 2019 continues to reverberate around the sport of college football. Since 2012, Ole Miss is 5-4 in the series, and no team has won three in aroud over the other. You could watch some boring NFL game while trying to power through the tryptophan, or you could watch to see what happens in Starkville. I know where I’ll be.



  • Kansas State @ Texas (FOX): I figure K-State will go ahead and put the Longhorns out of their misery. Should K-State win this game? Well, no, Texas is a lot better than them, But that hasn’t seemed to matter since sometime in the 4th quarter of Red River.
  • Boise State @ San Diego State (CBS): Since a 24-17 loss to Air Force back in mid-October, the Broncos have won four straight. That said, why in the world is this kicking off at 9:00 AM local time? I mean, I know why, but the fact of the matter is that what should be a great game of the Broncos trying to score and San Diego State’s punter singlehandedly trying to thwart those efforts will probably be a near-literal sleepwalk. In that case, I like the Aztec’s chances.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): Both of these teams have beaten Western Michigan, so this is the fight for Directional Michigan Superiority. I like the Chippewas here just as the better team over the course of the season so far, plus they won comfortably against WMU while Eastern had to stage a comeback.
  • Ohio @ Bowling Green (CBSS): It’s been a long season for both of these 3-8 teams. At least the Bobcats have reeled off a couple more MAC wins, so I’ll take them.

1:00: Utah State @ New Mexico (FS1): While not as bad as their compatriots in Las Cruces, the Lobos aren’t actually good or anything. I’ll take Utah State here.

1:30: Iowa @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska is on track to possibly be the best 3-win team in the history of major college football over the course of a full season. My prediction is that they’ll play this tough and close, but make a few key mistakes and ultimately lose by a single score in the end. How do I know this? Because this practically how all of their games have gone this year, regardless of the opponent. I’m not sure Iowa even needs to show up, frankly.

2:00: Texas-El Paso @ Alabama-Birmingham (ESPN+)


  • Missouri @ Arkansas (“Battle Line Rivalry”; CBS): Mizzou beat Florida last weekend and got Dan Mullen fired, but that figures to be the high point of their season.
  • Cincinnati @ East Carolina (ABC): As I suspected last week, playing an opponent with a pulse was enough to wake up the slumbering beast that is the Bearcats and they drubbed SMU 48-14. ECU is 7-4 and after a couple early losses has put together a nice little season for themselves, especially considering that they’re usually one of the more, shall we say, downtrodden of the AAC teams. While they’re not as good as Houston, they should serve to have the same effect in terms of getting Cincy’s blood up.
  • South Florida @ Central Florida (“War on I-4”; ESPN): This is a rivalry with some beef. Unfortunately, except for that glorious 2017 contest these two teams have mostly never been on the same wavelength, and as of late UCF seems to have left USF behind. While the first season on the Gus-bus has been a bit uneven for the Knights, they shouldn’t really have any trouble here.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Air Force (CBSS): UNLV has won two games this year, which is probably a prop bet a lot of people lost (as it’s more than ‘0’ or ‘1’). So while this season’s probably exceeded expectations for the Rebels, it’ll likely stop at 2 to this wrecking ball of an Air Force team.
  • Costal Carolina @ South Alabama (ESPN+)

4:00: Colorado @ Utah (“Rumble in the Rockies”; FOX): It’ll be a rumble, all right – the rumble of Utah’s players blocking, tackling, and ramblin’ past Colorado’s.

4:30: Texas Christian @ Iowa State (FS1): As I mentioned in my bowl post, I suspect there won’t be enough bowl eligible teams. TCU is 5-6 and, well, I can’t see how this team beats even what’s been a bit of a down year for the Cyclones.

7:00: North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ESPN): I think almost everyone, except maybe Mack Brown, agrees that this isn’t the kind of season the Tar Heels expected to have. Meanwhile, NC State continues to do NC State things: win most of their games and look competent doing it. I suspect they’ll do the same in this rivalry game.

8:00: Washington State @ Washington (“Apple Cup”; FS1): This is a particularly weird edition of the Apple Cup, and y’all that’s really saying something. Both teams will be rolling in with interim head coaches after Jimmy Lake was dismissed a couple weeks ago, and of course Wazzu’s head man has been gone for a while. But a funny thing happened for the Cougs while they’ve been searching for a new coach: they’ve mostly won. Since losing to Utah, they’ve won 5 out of 7, which the losses coming to a pretty good BYU team this year and the other to Oregon. For the Dubs, it’s just been a spiral: a 26-16 loss to Oregon that wasn’t really that close, a 5 point loss to Arizona State (where hey, they scored 30 for the only time this season), and then a 3 point loss last week to a… not good Colorado team. But nonetheless this game is in Seattle, and it’ll be cold and drizzly. Who knows what will happen? (I’ll still take the Cougs, though.)

This Week In College Football: Week 1

As we get the season proper started, a quick reminder on the format of this post. I’ll do small descriptions of each contest involving two FBS teams on a regular linear television channel, otherwise it’s just listed here without commentary.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


6:30: Temple @ Rutgers (BTN): Wait, this is the game that’s going to kick off the college football season? Well, at least Greg Schiano will get a chance to show some progress in Week 1.


  • Boise State @ Central Florida (ESPN): This is the sort of intra-G5 matchup I want to see more of. Mostly because I don’t have a fantastic read on either of these teams and I think it’d be fun to be able to watch this, even though I’m traveling and I won’t be able to. I’m picking… this is a tough one y’all. Boise? Sure, Boise.
  • Long Island @ Florida International (
  • Wagner @ Buffalo (
  • Tennessee-Martin @ Western Kentucky (ESPN+)
  • Western Illinois @ Ball State (ESPN+)
  • The Citadel @ Coastal Carolina (ESPN+)


  • Eastern Carolina vs. Appalachian State (Duke’s Mayo Classic @ Charlotte, NC):  App State should be able to take out ECU easily.
  • South Florida @ North Carolina State (ACCN): This is still a relatively depleted USF team that shouldn’t worry the Wolfpack.
  • Weber State @ Utah (Pac12)
  • California-Davis @ Tulsa (ESPN+)


  • Ohio State @ Minnesota (FOX): I hope the Gophers can give a fight here, but it’s hard to see anything other than the Buckeyes rolling.
  • Bowling Green @ Tennessee (SEC): The Vols should be able to take out one of the worst teams in college football.

10:00: Eastern Washington @ Nevada-Las Vegas (Stadium)

10:30: Southern Utah @ Arizona State (Pac12)


6:00: North Carolina @ Virginia Tech (ESPN): Most of the college football universe is essentially waiting to see whether Justin Fuente is going to get fired, and well, I like Carolina here for a reason.


  • Duke @ Charlotte (CBSS): I think I still have to pick Duke here but if I’m being honest I’m not all that confident about it.
  • Old Dominion  @ Wake Forest (ACCN): Wake.
  • Saint Francis @ Eastern Michigan (

8:00: South Dakota @ Kansas (ESPN+)


  • Michigan State @ Northwestern (ESPN): I’m not going to watch this game, and you don’t have to either. I’ll take Northwestern here though.
  • South Dakota State @ Colorado State (FS1)
  • Northern Colorado @ Colorado (Pac12)

Bowl Games 2020: Four Games, but I Wish There Were More

The latest schedule and picks can be found here in convenient table form. As you might have surmised, I’m posting these at a trickle so I don’t spend a bunch of time researching stuff for games that get canceled. So let’s talk about the games for Tuesday and Wednesday.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday, December 29

5:30: Miami vs. Oklahoma State (Cheez-It Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): There’s been one constant this season, and that’s the incessant parade of Cheez-It commercials during games. It all culminates right here, right now. Formerly, they sponsored what would’ve been the Guaranteed Rate Bowl this year, but that game won’t be played, so here we are with what used to the Camping World Bowl. So yeah, what’s your favorite flavor? Me, I love white cheddar anything, but I usually get the reduced fat ones because… oh, right, there’s a football game. Both these teams head into this game going backward, especially since the Canes were most recently seen getting their doors blown off by North Carolina. Also, Miami has recently been hot garbage in bowl games. For those reasons, I’m going against the numbers and picking Oklahoma State.
SP+ line: Miami by 1.8
Vegas line: OSU -3
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Just one, a regular season matchup back in the Orange Bowl in 1991. Miami won 40-3.
Last bowl game: While Miami still isn’t back, they’re definitely on a consistent bowl streak now. This will be the eighth straight bowl game for the Canes, dating to the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl, where they lost to Louisville 36-9. Last season they lost 14-0 to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. For Oklahoma State, this will be their 15th consecutive bowl game, going back to the 2006 Independence Bowl, 34-31 win over Alabama. Last season they lost 24-21 to Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl.
Announcers: Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Katie George
Fun fact: Did you know that this is the first Power 5 vs. Power 5 matchup of the 2020 season?

9:00: Texas vs. Colorado (Alamo Bowl @ San Antonio, TX; ESPN): I was supposed to travel a lot this year, but as with most things 2020 those plans have gone by the wayside. Instead, of the two times I’ve left California this year, one of them was to go to San Antonio. Anyway, that’s about my entire connection this. I don’t think I watched Colorado at all this year, so I don’t have a great read on them. That said, if Texas has done anything consistently under Tom Herman, it’s “show up for bowl games”, so I’m picking the ‘Horns.
SP+ line: Texas by 12
Vegas line: Texas -12.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: There’s been 18 meetings between the Longhorns and the Buffs all-time. 6 of those were before the implosion of the Southwest Conference, and the other 12 were when they were both in the Big 12. Texas won the first meeting back in 1940 39-7. The last time they met was also a Texas victory, 38-14 in 2009. Overall, Texas has a 11-7 record in the series.”
Last bowl game: “This will be Texas’s fourth straight bowl game, dating to the 2017 Texas Bowl, where they beat Mizzou 33-16. Last season they beat Utah in the Alamo Bowl 38-10. For the Buffs, this is the first bowl game since the 2016 Alamo Bowl, where they lost 38-8 to Oklahoma state.
Announcers: Jason Benetti, Mike Golic, Kris Budden

Wednesday, December 30

12:00: Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin (Mayo Bowl @ Charlotte, NC; ESPN): Sure, it’s officially the “Duke’s Mayo Bowl”, but a) I’m from the South and I’ve never heard of Duke’s Mayo before I saw the announcement for the title sponsor of this bowl game and b) it’s always more fun to have just the product if possible. Anyway, I’m not sure there’ll be much to this game, which is maybe why ESPN is leaving it at noon even though the in-between game for today, the Music City Bowl, was canceled when Mizzou pulled out. I’m off work this week and I’m still on the West Coast, so this one may be over before I even wake up.
SP+ line: Wisky by 14.5
Vegas line: Wisky -7
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: This is Wake’s fifth straight bowl game, going back to the 2016 Military Bowl, a 34-26 win over Temple. Most recently, they lost 27-21 to Michigan State in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Badgers are meanwhile appearing in their 19th consecutive bowl game, dating to the 2002 Alamo Bowl, where they beat Colorado 31-28. Last season they lost 28-27 to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
Announcers: Taylor Zazour, Matt Stinchcomb, Marty Smith

7:15: Oklahoma vs. Florida (Cotton Bowl @ Arlington, TX; ESPN): After several Florida players opt-ed out today, I thought about maybe taking this game down a notch, but I think this will still be pretty good regardless. The Sooners are extremely young, so there is still a risk of Florida pulling away, but I’ve actually got this down as a close Sooners win.
SP+ line: Florida by 1.9
Vegas line: Florida -3
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Just one, the 2009 BCS Championship Game. The Gators won 24-14.
Last bowl game: This is Oklahoma’s 22nd consecutive bowl game, dating to the 1999 Independence Bowl, where they lost to Ole Miss 27-25. Last season they lost to LSU in the Peach Bowl, 63-28. This is the third straight bowl game for the Gators. They beat Michigan 41-15 in the 2018 Peach Bowl and beat UVA 36-28 in last season’s Orange Bowl.
Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Greg McElroy, Holly Rowe

Bowl Games 2020: Opening Slate

Oh, right, the bowl games start today. I should’ve anticipated this since these games were generally announced last week, but here we are. At any rate. I’ve been in this bowl game business since 1999. The last time we had 28 regular bowl games, it was 2005, likely more famously known for Vince Young singlehandedly leading Texas over the pre-anointed Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, which unlike this year’s Rose Bowl was actually in the Rose Bowl.

Anyway, I’ve got this whole thing put together at pretty much the last minute, at least for these pre-Christmas games. So let’s get crackin’. First, though, let’s also examine a 2020-adjusted version of the Watchability Rankings:

  • I: Something to have on on the background while reading the Wikipedia article about “Timeline of the Far Future” and trying not have an existential crisis while doing so.
  • II: Decidedly less existential, this tier starts to get into stuff that could be interesting, or might just go totally sideways for one team or the other. Either way, it’s worth at least having on for the first half.
  • III: This is a game I will definitely be watching, but isn’t a “mainstream pick”, as in, “yeah man, I knew about Coastal Carolina before knowing what a Chanticleer was was cool”.
  • IV: Playoff games, well, the championship game at least, and anything else of important note.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Monday, December 21
2:30: North Texas vs. Appalachian State (Myrtle Beach Bowl @ Conway, SC; ESPN): Okay, let’s get this thing started… with a game that kicks at 11:30 AM on the West Coast and one team is heavily favored. Yeah, this is what Watchability Tier I was invented for. But hey, App State is a fun team, and you’ll be free to enjoy your evening.
SP+ line: App State by 21.3
Vegas line: App State -21
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: This is North Texas’s first bowl game since a 52-13 loss to Utah State in the 2018 New Mexico Bowl. This is the sixth straight bowl game for App State, going back to a 31-29 win over Ohio in the 2015 Camellia Bowl. Last year they bet UAB 31-17 in the New Orleans Bowl.
Announcers: Courney Lyle, Eric MacLain, Marty Smith, Ryan McGee

Tuesday, December 22
3:30: Tulane vs. Nevada (Potato Bowl @ Boise, ID; ESPN): This one could actually be pretty cool. Tulane’s offense is just plane fun, and it’s been good to see Nevada be kind of decent again. The forecast this game calls for snow in the morning, but cold and clear by kickoff, so that’s less than ideal, but the blue turf will be a different vibe for your TV. I wonder if Tulane will wear their all-green uniforms… at any rate, I expect the Green Wave to win in the end.
SP+ line: Tulane by 5.7
Vegas line: Tulane -3
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Once, back in 1992. The Green Wave washed over Reno 34-17.
Last bowl game: This is the third straight bowl game for the Green Wave. They won the 2018 Cure Bowl over Louisiana, and beat Southern Miss in last season’s Armed Forces Bowl. This is also the third straight bowl game for the Wolf Pack. In the 2018 Arizona bowl they beat Arkansas State 16-13, and last season they lost this very bowl game to Ohio, 30-21.
Announcers: Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich, Taylor Davis

7:00: Central Florida vs. Brigham Young (Boca Raton Bowl @ Boca Raton, FL; ESPN): UCF looked like world beaters when they played us, and I know we’re not good or anything, but they still dominated in a way that no on else did outside of Clemson against us. At any rate, I expect this game to fun and poinsty, but with BYU playing enough defense to win in the end.
SP+ line: BYU by 9
Vegas line: BYU -7
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: Twice, and relatively recently. The first meeting was a 24-17 BYU win in 2011, followed by a 31-24 overtime win for the Knights in 2014.
Last bowl game: This is the fifth straight bowl game for UCF, dating to a 31-13 loss to Arkansas State in the 2016 Cure Bowl. Last season they bulldozed Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl, 48-25. This is the third straight bowl for BYU. They beat Western Michigan 49-18 in the 2018 Potato Bowl, and lost last year’s Hawaii Bowl to Hawaii, 38-34.
Announcers: Dave Neal, DJ Shockley, Lericia Harris

Wednesday, December 23
3:30: Louisiana Tech vs. Georgia Southern (New Orleans Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): Start your Christmas Eve Eve off right with… well, okay, this is probably not so great. Southern is favored by multiple scores, and I have no reason to doubt that.
SP+ line: GSU by 11
Vegas line: GSU -6
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: Louisiana Tech has a good streak going for themselves, as this is their seventh straight bowl game. They beat Illinois 35-18 in the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl, and more recently they shut out the Miami Hurricanes in last season’s Independence Bowl by a score of 14-0. Georgia Southern is making their third straight bowl game. In 2018 they beat Eastern Michigan in the Camellia Bowl, 23-21. Last season they lost to Liberty 23-16 in the Cure Bowl.
Announcers: Matt Barrie, Mike Golic Jr, Dawn Davenport

7:00: Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic (Montgomery Bowl @ Montgomery, AL; ESPN): This game was originally supposed to be the new Fenway Bowl, but now I sort of wonder if that will come back, pandemic notwithstanding. Fenway’s an awkward fit for a football field and, well, it’s Boston in December. For the game itself, FAU wasn’t really that good this year, and while Memphis has come down from the high of last year, I think they’ve got this game easily.
SP+ line: Memphis by 7.2
Vegas line: Memphis -9
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Once, back in the 2007 New Orleans Bowl. FAU won 44-27.
Last bowl game: Memphis is appearing in their seventh straight bowl game, dating to the legendary (and no, I’m not being sarcastic) 2014 Miami Beach Bowl, where they beat (heh) BYU 55-48. Last season they tried their shot at the big guys, but came up short 53-39 to Penn State in the Cotton Bowl. FAU is making a second consecutive bowl game. Last season they beat SMU 52-28 in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Announcers: Clay Matvic, Rock Boiman, Lauren Sisler

Thursday, December 24
3:30: Hawaii vs. Houston (New Mexico Bowl @ Frisco, TX; ESPN): The Rainbow Warriors get the leave the island for a bowl game for the first time in a while (largely because the Hawaii Bowl itself was canceled, but still), and they wind up against a team that sort should eat their lunch. But you know what, if I have to be on the West Coast and watch a game that starts at 12:30 on Christmas Eve, well, I’ll do just that. Besides, Houston still figures to be rusty, anything could happen! (They’re probably going to win easily.)
SP+ line: Houston by 13.7
Vegas line: Houston -13
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: Once, in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl. Hawaii won 54-48 in overtime.
Last bowl game: Hawaii’s made three straight postseason contests, but this will be their first outside the state. In 2018 they lost to Louisiana Tech 31-14, and season they beat BYU 38-34. Houston last appeared in a bowl game back in 2018, where they got walloped 70-14 by Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Announcers: TBA

Friday, December 25
2:30: Buffalo vs. Marshall (Camellia Bowl @ Montgomery, AL; ESPN): I can’t say that I know much about Marshall this year, but I do know that Buffalo is fun, so once you’re done unwrapping presents over Zoom, grab yourself a beverage and hop over to ESPN. This one could be good by virtue of the two teams apparently being even according to SP+, so I’ll take it, but I still like the Bulls better in the end.
SP+ line: Buffalo by 0.3
Vegas line: Buffalo -3.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Nine times, going all the way back to 1959. Buffalo won that meeting 37-12, but the Bull have gone 0-6 ever since. The most recent was a 48-14 Marshall win in 2004.
Last bowl game: The Bulls are buffaloing their way to a third straight bowl game. They appeared in the 2019 Dollar General Bowl, where they lost 42-32 to Troy. Last season they beat Charlotte in the Bahamas Bowl, 31-9. Marshall is thundering their way into a fourght straight bowl game, dating to the 2018 New Mexico Bowl, where they beat Colorado State 31-28. Last season they lost the Gasparilla Bowl 48-25 to UCF.
Announcers: TBA