Football Follies 2014 – NCAA Week 2

Football Follies 2014 – NCAA Week 2
Let the wild rivalries begin. Michigan-Notre Dame 2013, when fans went to a soap opera and a football game broke out. Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon sprints for major inches. (Image: wsbt.com via Twitter, James Brosher)

Opening note: alert reader wreed22 has forwarded this bit of essential trivia, noting that it didn’t seem to fit anywhere else.  We are happy to include it in the update from your LU Football Commentary Service:

Can’t find a good place to insert this little tidbit from NRO. Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (prisoner #44678-039) is in the Federal Pen in El Reno, Oklahoma.
I was thinking of talking to Kwame (through the glass) about cash flow theories.

On to our regularly scheduled pigskin piffle.  The FBS action starts this evening with UT-San Antonio – one of those fresh-caught FBSers Left Behind in the C-USA Remnant – hosting Arizona.  We basically give the Roadrunners no shot; Arizona stomped UNLV’s lice-infested Rebel chestnuts something fierce in Week 1.

Inner circle

Tulsa, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, comes off an exciting last-minute OT victory over Tulane, but will have no such luck on Saturday in Norman.  The best that can be said is that the Sooner give, at 24, is smaller than it was versus Louisiana Tech (Motto: “Pssst!  Wanna see some insane WAC pictures?”).

#4 Oklahoma may still have some of the first string on the field in the second half, however.  (Hey, when you’re the straphangers of the FBS, you take your triumphs where you can get them.)  Tulsa multi-threat Keevan Lucas, flanked by Keyarris Garrett and James Flanders, could make things interesting, even for OU’s speedy, much-improved D.

Oklahoma State will have the opportunity for a friendly scrimmage hosting Missouri State (FCS, MVFC), which distinguished itself in 2013 with a 5-7 record.

Navy heads for Temple on Saturday, and is favored by the oddsquad over the Owls by about 3.  The Midshipmen’s showing against Ohio State was pretty darn good last week, all things considered, and although Temple downed Vandy 37-7, the Commodores frankly stank.  We like Navy for this one.

Army launches its 2014 season hosting Buffalo on Saturday, and danged if the oddsquad doesn’t have the Black Knights giving about 3.  Buffalo is coming off a win, but it was over Duquesne.  Army, as always, lacks some heft on the offensive line.  That excuse will recur throughout the season.  Air Force heads to Laramie to meet another member of our inner circle, Wyoming, for an early-season Mountain West showdown.  Both defeated FCS opponents last week.  They’re expecting 60s and lurking T-storms at game time, but we’d love to be there anyway.

Virginia Tech goes to meet its fate in Columbus, in the marquee slot on Saturday evening.  Ohio State’s ranking slid a bit to #8 after the slow start against Navy (based in part, presumably, on the Buckeyes’ utter inability to react to the option).  Tech’s stock rose a bit, meanwhile, with the Hokies getting some poll love after an unusual eruption of “offense” from a Beamer squad.  The Buckeyes give 11; we do think their D will be better prepared for the Hokies’ impressive-starting but basically Mod 1 Mark 0 ACC offense.

Nevada hosts Washington State Friday evening.  The Cougars lost a squeaker to Rutgers in Week 1; the Wolf Pack prevailed over Southern Utah, but the first half play was unimpressive.  The oddsbubbas have WSU giving 3, which at this juncture shows mainly a lack of confidence in the Cougars.  But Nevada continues to have promise, with nice performances last week by QB Cody Fajardo and workhorse receiver Jerico Richardson.  The Pack’s got a good shot.

LSU edges up from #13 to #12 after downing a now-#18 Wisconsin, and will sit pretty on Saturday hosting Sam Houston State (FCS, Southland).  The Tigers’ next real test will be the showdown with Auburn on 4 October.

TCU has the week off and will meet Minnesota on the 13th.

Obligatory

#1 Florida hosts Eastern Michigan and gives 38.  #2 Alabama hosts Florida Atlantic with a modest give of 40.

#3 O-Ducks might just be in game-of-the-week territory, importing the Spartans from #7 Michigan State for what could be a very informative match-up.  We don’t always get to see these teams play a serious opponent this early in the season.  Duck fans are at full roar in the odds skirmish; they’ve got Oregon giving a hefty 11, which we think may be optimistic.  The sportsbabblers are focused on the QB comparison – Marcus Mariota versus Connor Cook – but we suspect the key may be the Spartans’ so-far merely adequate running game.  It’s early days, however, and we’ll know more after Saturday, as befits a major face-off.

#5 Auburn, hosting San Jose State, perches atop a spread of 33.  Fine by us.  Georgia, coming off that convincing win over Clemson, debuts in the Top 10 at #6 but sits it out this weekend.  The Bulldogs will play the Gamecocks on the 13th.

Texas A&M has vaulted from #21 to #9 after pounding the Gamecocks into sawdust, and will be at Lamar (FCS, Southland) for a creampuff scrimmage on Saturday.  (We do note that Lamar beat Grambling State 42-27 last week.)

Baylor is still hanging in there at #10, and hosts Northwestern State (FCS, Southland) on Saturday.  UCLA joined South Carolina (Motto: The Other USC) in dropping out of the Top 10, in UCLA’s case for sheer, uninspiring tedium in the tepid win over Virginia.  Bruins clock in now at #14, and give a faint-praise 23 in their homefield match with Memphis on Saturday.

Best of the rest

We don’t much like either team, but it would be prejudiced and hateful not to mention that #14 USC will be at #13 Stanford on Saturday, in a game that’s almost always a good one.  The Spicy Paprika gives 2, and for some reason there are apparently more than 4,000 tickets still available.

#15 Ole Miss’s match with Vanderbilt on Saturday is an accredited rivalry, known with a certain lack of imagination as the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt rivalry.  If they exchange a garage-sale knickknack, we find no evidence of it.

Another rivalry will come and go in South Bend, as #16 Notre Dame hosts Michigan.  Last year’s iteration of this storied game ended in sour grapes: the Wolverine band played the “Chicken Dance” to commemorate Notre Dame’s decision to suspend the rivalry meeting after the 2014 season.  The Arsh lost in 2013 but are favored by 3 on Saturday.  Drama drama drama.

Texas hosts BYU for a serious grudge match on Saturday.  The Longhorns will be looking to avenge last year’s Week 2 loss to the Cougars, a 40-21 flame-out.

We are excited to report that Colorado (Motto: “We take a pounding!”) has found an opponent over which it is actually favored this weekend: Massachusetts.  The Colorado give is an impressive 17, in the two teams’ first-ever gridiron clash.

Other ranks

OK, we misread the schedule last week and had our inner-circle FCS team, McNeese State (Southland), of Lake Charles, LA, hitting the gridiron in Lincoln on 30 August to take on (then) #22 Nebraska.  The game will in fact be held this Saturday, the 6th, and Nebraska will be #19 for it.  Reset your counters.

The season kicks off this weekend for Div III, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) will take on a non-conference foe in Kalamazoo College.   Kalamazoo plays in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and beat RHIT in the season openers in both 2013 and 2012.  The Fightin’ Engineers managed live online video for most of their games last season, and you can check their schedule page here to follow along.  Saturday looks to bring a mild 70 or so and overcast at game time.

The Captains of Christopher Newport University kick off at home, in Pomoco Stadium in Newport News, VA, on Saturday evening.  They will host Salisbury U. (Maryland) of the Capital Athletic Conference, their season-opener opponent for the third straight year.  The Captains downed the Seagulls in 2013, but lost (rather badly) in the 2012 match.  Video is available online at the schedule page.  USA South conference play will start for the Captains on 18 September.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, our Div III rearguard, kicks off the season against Apprentice on Saturday, which gratifies us tremendously in the Diversity department because Apprentice is not even an NCAA team.  The Builders play in the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association, and will host the game in Newport News.  The USMMA plays football in the Liberty League of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, and will start conference play on the 27th.

Speaking of Other Ranks, the high school football season for much of the country started either last week or Friday of this week.  We rely on our readers, for the most part, to keep us up to date on prep play.

Finally, of course, the NFL season kicked off about an hour and a half ago, and the Seahawks lead the Packers 17-10 at the half.  Fasten those seatbelts; it’s about to get footballicious out there.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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