Football Follies 2014 – NCAA Week 9

Football Follies 2014 – NCAA Week 9
East Carolina's RB Breon Allen, picking up some of his total 600 yards to date in the UNC game. (Image via WRALSports.com)

Virginia Tech is back for more this evening, kicking off Week 9 for the LU Nation football faithful hosting Coastal Division rival Miami (Da U) in Blacksburg.

Heads may have been hanging low in Hokie-land for weeks now, and the Hurricane may be giving 2.5 in the line.  But VT and Miami are actually tied in both overall and conference records, and as far as we here at your LU Football Commentary Service are concerned, this one’s more of a pick-em.  We do recommend that VT’s hard-working D figure out how to shut down at least one of RB Duke Johnson or WR Phillip Dorsett.

The American gets a workout tonight as well, with #18 East Carolina (current motto: Purple Rising) hosting Connecticut.  The Pirates give a remarkable 27.5.

The NFL, for its part, actually has quite an AFC contest for our delectation this evening: Chargers at Broncos.  The remote’s going to get a serious workout.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, has the weekend off, and fans everywhere are breathing a little easier.  Next up: Memphis, on Halloween (Friday the 31st).

#17 Oklahoma has the weekend off too, which doesn’t mean the Sooners can’t fall further in the rankings.  It will just be a little harder.  Iowa State will host OU on the 1st.

Oklahoma State, now out of the Top 25 (and for good reason), will be in Stillwater hosting West Virginia, Pride of the Big 12 and the new #22 on the block.   Much as we love the Mountaineers, we’re not convinced by the whole ranking situation after the general lack of “defense” in last week’s Baylor game.  The bettors aren’t either; they’ve got the Okie Pokes giving 1.

Navy is back in action on Saturday, hosting San Jose State and giving a somewhat surprising 9.  The 3-3 Spartans haven’t been total squishes – their losses have been to Auburn, Minnesota, and Nevada – and Navy has struggled recently.  So we’ll see.

Army and Air Force both have an off week and will be preparing for their Commanders’ Cup showdown on 1 November.

Nevada will be in Hawaii on Saturday (technically, early Sunday morning for the East coast contingent) to take on the Warriors.  The 4-3 Wolf Pack may be 1-2 in Mountain West play, having lost to Boise State and Colorado State, but they should be in full frisk coming off their dramatic victory over BYU.  Hawaii does have that Paniolo Trophy going for them, but they’re 2-5 overall, and we’re thinking you can take the 2.5 points Nevada’s giving and not regret it.

#10 TCU will host Texas Tech on Saturday, giving 23.  The Horned Frogs clearly carry the honor of Texas on their shoulders now, Baylor having slip-slid to #12 (and having the weekend off to lick its ursine wounds).  Somewhere, we know somebody in LU Nation is happy.

New #24 LSU will host #3 Ole Miss in what could be a very big match, if the Tigers bring their A-game.   It certainly vies for game of the week status, with no one else in the Top 10 playing a ranked opponent this week.  Tiger bettors are in there pitching, holding the Rebel give to 3.5

Wyoming will be at Colorado State for an expected drubbing.  The 6-1 Rams are giving about 18 at this writing.

Kansas State, fresh-caught #11, debuts in the LU Nation Inner Circle this week with a nod to our shipmate NaCly Dog.  The 5-1 Wildcats are now 3-0 in Big 12 play and perched atop the conference.  They’ve knocked off Oklahoma, but still have TCU and Baylor to get past before the Big 12 is signed and delivered for the year.  KSU hosts Texas on Saturday, with the kickoff at 11:00 AM in Manhattan, and a 10-point KSU give.

Obligatory

#1 Mississippi State visits Kentucky giving only 14, which – after Kentucky’s inert non-performance against LSU last week – gives us a poor idea of the betting zeal of Bulldog partisans.

#2 Florida State has the week off, and will be at Louisville next Thursday.  #4 Alabama heads to Tennessee giving 17.  #5 Auburn hosts South Carolina (motto: The Other USC) with a give of 19.

Oregon has surged back to #6, and isn’t likely to lose momentum at Cal on Friday night.  Duck give is 18.

#7 Notre Dame is off this week, preparing to meet Navy on 1 November for their long-running rivalry.

Big doings in Michigan, as the #8 Spartans host the Wolverines for their annual rivalry bout.  The Paul Bunyan Trophy quite frankly ought to be too precious and trophy-like to qualify as a truly excellent rivalry prize, but it’s still tops in our book.  Michigan State gives 17, but of course the teams always play hard in these old rivalries, and we foresee some fine entertainment for a Saturday afternoon.

#9 Georgia has the week off.

The one and only Paul Bunyan Trophy, in play once more. (Image: Wikipedia)
The one and only Paul Bunyan Trophy, in play once more. (Image: Wikipedia)

Best of the rest

#13 Ohio State will be at Penn State for another long-running Big 10 rivalry match, this one bagging the marquee slot on Saturday evening.  We’re sure the Nittally Lions will give it their all, but taking the 13-odd points being given by the Buckeyes looks like a good tip.

The South’s Oldest Rivalry erupts anew this weekend as North Carolina heads to Virginia.  If bric-a-brac changes hands in this one, there seems to be no record of it.  We are informed, however, that Calvin Coolidge was a spectator at the 1928 game (which also was approximately the last time the game mattered to any meaningful college football outcome).  The Yahoos give about 6.

In New Big 10 action, Maryland and Wisconsin will have their first-ever gridiron meeting in Madison on Saturday.  You might think Rutgers and #16 Nebraska have never met before either, but in their case, you’d be wrong.  They played once, on 20 November 1920 (Nebraska won 29-0).

Calvin Coolidge, football hound. In this photo, he's the vice president-elect, attending the Amherst-Williams rivalry game in 1920.  Coolidge was an Amherst alum, '95; Amherst won 14-7. (Image: Amherst.edu)
Calvin Coolidge, football hound. In this photo, he’s the vice president-elect, attending the Amherst-Williams rivalry game in 1920. Coolidge was an Amherst alum, ’95; Amherst won 14-7. (Image: Amherst.edu)

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State is hanging in at #10, and heads to San Antonio Saturday to take on Southland opponent Incarnate Word.  The Cardinals are 1-6, having defeated only 1-6 Houston Baptist so far, and – knock wood – aren’t likely to give the Cowboys too much trouble.  Quite warm in San Antonio Saturday: 80s and clear for the 6:00 PM CDT kickoff.

In Division III, Rose-Hulman has a big game at Franklin College (OH) on Saturday.  Franklin is the perennial powerhouse of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, and is usually in the Div III Top 25, although that’s not the case this year.   The Grizzlies have an uncharacteristic 2 losses on their balance sheet.  But they’re 5-0 in HCAC play and leading the conference.  RHIT is 5-1 (3-1 conference), and probably doesn’t stand a chance against the better-backed Grizzlies.  1:30 CDT kickoff; mid-60s and overcast.

Christopher Newport, 4-3 after the romp over Averett U., hosts Greensboro College (NC) in Pomoco Stadium Saturday night.  The 1-5 Pride doesn’t seem to have much of a defense, going by their record, and should offer the Captains another shot at victory.  The weather, at least, will be spectacular: 60s and clear for the 7 PM start.

Merchant Marine, undaunted at 2-5, hosts Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA) in a conference match on Saturday.  The main thing to be said about WPI’s 2-4 Engineers – other than that their mascot is Gompei the Goat – is that they lost by closer scores to the same teams Merchant Marine has lost to.  Make of that what you will.  Expect an invigorating 60-ish and clear for the 4 PM kickoff.

Pros

Things are starting to matter in the ranks of pro ball, and we’ll slot in a few choice observations from time to time as the season matures.

Duly noting the NFL interests of shipmate pandainc, we’ve already mentioned the big game tonight featuring the Bolts and Broncs.  The Eagles have a big match with hot-running Arizona on Sunday, needing to make up W-Ls on the Surprising Cowboys, who in turn have an NFC East contest with the (earmuffs, kiddies) Redskins in the Howard Cosell Memorial Monday slot.  Dallas is giving 10 for that one, but we’d prefer it if everyone would just bet against them and not get a jinx started.

Bears will be at Patriots for a not-much-there-there game on Sunday, which the Patriots had frankly better win if they want to keep being, well, the Patriots.  But we wish the Bears well.  (We pretty much always default to the NFC team in a cross-conference contest.)

Colts have been on a tear, and the Sunday afternoon game at Pittsburgh is shaping up to be a good one.  LU heavyweight Howard Portnoy is a Steeler fan, along with our shipmate Mighty Fahvaag.  A lifelong Dallas Cowboy partisan may not be able to cheer for the Steelers, exactly, but one can certainly be polite about them.

I doubt anyone expected, when the season began, that the Packers at Saints on Sunday night would look so lopsided going in.  But so it is.  Meanwhile, for just potentially good football, we don’t count out Ravens at Bengals.

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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