Football Follies 2014 – NCAA Week 15

Football Follies 2014 – NCAA Week 15
Sooner WR Jalen Saunders runs it in for a TD in Bedlam 2013. Saunders is now a New Orleans Saint. (Image: Richard Rowe, USA Today via SportsDay DFW)

It’s a much-abbreviated slate we have in week 15, as some conferences mop up and others hold conference championship games.  Although none of our Inner Circle made it to a conference championship game, we do have a title contender in the Big 12, and a game with big potential CFB implications.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, finished the season 2-10.  Tulsa fans everywhere are relieved that the ordeal is over.  Head coach Bill Blankenship was fired shortly after the final loss to East Carolina.  He can no doubt get hired again by the high school program of his choice.  Sorry that Blankenship, who’s a good guy, just couldn’t make it happen at TU.

#20 Oklahoma (8-3) and Oklahoma State (5-6) will meet for their super-colossal Bedlam match on Saturday, kicking off in Norman at 2:30 PM Central.  This accredited rivalry has had an annual meeting every year since 1910, making it the fourth-oldest continuous rivalry in college football.  It shares that position with Wake Forest and NC State (motto: “They have a football team?”); the three rivalries with longer records of continuous meetings are #3 Clemson-South Carolina, since 1909; #2 Minnesota-Wisconsin, since 1907; and #1 Lafayette-Lehigh, since 1897.

Bedlam is played for the Bedlam Bell, which admittedly is lame.  The football usually isn’t, but we’re making no promises this year.  The Sooners give 21, and with most teams that are much better than the 2014 Cowboys, that would be a good bet.  But OU has endless ways of shooting itself in the foot, so take points at your own risk.

Navy (6-5) and Army (4-7) will be preparing for The Game, which kicks off in Philly on the 13th.

Air Force is riding high after going 9-3 and knocking off Colorado State for the Ram-Falcon trophy.  Next stop:  Booger Bowl.

Virginia Tech downed the Yahoos to finish the season 6-6, and may finagle a Booger Bowl out of that.

Nevada ended at 7-5, and not just bowl-eligible but bowl-likely.  The wait is on for our bowl-eligible contingent.

TCU fleeted up to #3 after Mississippi State’s unfortunate adventure in the Egg Bowl, and has to stay focused for one more game on Saturday while waiting for a much more portentous game to kick off to the south.

The 10-1 Frogs will be at Iowa State, 2-9 and terrible, and aren’t likely to have much of a problem with the Cyclones.  (TCU give is 34.)  But TCU’s fate in the Big 12 is also in the hands of new #9 Kansas State and #6 Baylor, who meet in Waco on Saturday evening to see who can put the Big 12 to bed.

Baylor (10-1) sits on top right now, having defeated TCU a few weeks ago in a wild shootout.  But TCU could still take the Big 12 title with a win on Saturday, if Kansas State, 9-2, can shut down the Bryce Petty Express.

A K-State win would also knock Baylor out of the privileged #6 position for CFB festivities – something of tremendous interest to others in the Top 10 who have tough games to finish out the season.  There could still be surprises this weekend, and the rumble in Waco will be at the eye of the storm.  Bears give 7.5.

LSU finished the season 8-4 and Booger Bowl-eligible.  Booger Bowls for all is our motto.

Wyoming, 4-8, has roped its last dogie for the year.

Obligatory

#1 Alabama meets #16 Missouri for SEC championship on Saturday afternoon.  Tide gives 14.5, and no one with any sense thinks Mizzou has much of a shot.

#2 Oregon plays fresh-caught #7 Arizona for the Pac-12 title Friday evening.  In the unlikely (but by no means impossible) event that the late-surging Wildcats stifle the Ducks, the other “players” in the Top 10 will no doubt be unable to sleep Friday night.  Duck give is 14.5.

#4 Florida State will battle #11 Georgia Tech for the ACC honors in the marquee slot on Saturday.  The bettors are wisely holding the FSU give to 4.5; FSU has found a way to pull it out time and again this season, but mostly against opponents that aren’t as good as the Yellow Jackets of Week 15.  We here at your LU Football Commentary Service won’t be the only ones smelling upset in this match.

#5 Ohio State will duke it out – also in the marquee slot Saturday –with #13 Wisconsin for the Big 10 title.  The Buckeyes’ notoriously skittish betting fraternity are giving their team short shrift at the moment, presumably due to the loss of starting QB J.T. Barrett last week with a broken ankle.  The Badgers are favored by 4 in the line.

Michigan State regained its patented #8 position after the CFB took one of its overreactive fliers on UCLA.  The Spartans finished the season 10-2 and 2nd in the Big 10 East with their win over Penn State.

#10 Mississippi State winds up 10-2 and 2nd in the SEC’s East Other East.

Best of the rest

Although half the American Conference is playing each other this week, Memphis (9-3) has already locked up the title with the thumping win over Connecticut last week.  UConn, 2-9, has finally found an opponent to give points to in these later weeks, hosting 0-11 SMU.  UCF at ECU unfolds Thursday night.

Northern Illinois meets Bowling Green Friday night for the MAC championship.  The 10-2 Huskies give 6.5 in this one; Bowling Green may be 7-5, but the Falcons are scrappy.

The C-USA championship game on Saturday features 8-4 Louisiana Tech (motto: “Doing way better since we left the WAC!”) and 11-1 Marshall, which finally lost one in the unnatural, basketball-scored shootout with Western Kentucky last week. The Thundering Herd gives 10.5.

Don’t forget to tune in late on Saturday when 6-6 Fresno State, of the hilarious MWC West division, takes on 10-2 Boise State for the Mountain West title.  Broncos give 22.

Other ranks

Our inner circle faves in Division III have all bowed out at this point, but we do note that Hobart, standard-bearer of Merchant Marine’s Liberty League, is still in the hunt, having downed Johns Hopkins 24-21 last week.  Hobart will be at #5 Wesley College Saturday for the next round.  This one looks pretty overmatched for the Hobart Statesmen, but the JHU game was overmatched too.  50s with rain for the noon Eastern kickoff.

Pros

The often-worthless Cowboys are in a trough of worthlessness again as they prepare to meet the Bears in Chicago on Thursday night.  The Pokes gives 4, but they’ll need more than one trick for this one.  If the Bears were taking notes during the Eagles game on Thanksgiving, they know how to box in Dez Bryant and slow down Demarco Murray.

Sunday sees a big AFC North match-up as the Steelers, coming off their painful loss to the Saints, head to Cincinnati.  The Bengals have already beat Baltimore twice; if the Steelers want to stay in the wildcard hunt, they need this one.

A lot of cross-conference and/or lopsided play this weekend, but standouts include Bills (7-5) at Broncos (9-3), with a sick-lame-and-lazy Denver receiving corps evening things up a tad; Seahawks at Eagles (who have surged to a who-knew 9-3); and Patriots at Chargers on Sunday night.  We’re betting on the latter to be a heck of a game.

Falcons at Packers round out the weekend on Monday night.  We don’t despair of Atlanta, coming off a big win over Arizona, making a game of it, even if Green Bay does give 13 in today’s line.

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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