Football Follies 2015 – NCAA Week 5

Football Follies 2015 – NCAA Week 5
A Rensselaer Polytechnic runner and Worcester Poly defender demonstrate football as performance art during their game on 26 Sep. (Image: Frank Poulin via RPI)

Big doings for some of the LU faithful as Pittsburgh hosts the Ravens tonight.  Oddly enough, Baltimore gives 3 at the moment.  (In the 2Q, the bettors are looking pretty smart.  Steelers can’t seem to get much going.)

Miami (Da U) at Cincinnati will also help kick off the weekend.  The Hurricanes give a paltry 7, in spite of Cincinnati’s subpar showing so far this season.  (OK, so Cincinnati is up 24-20 as of this writing.)

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, is back in action on Saturday hosting Houston for the Golden Hurricane’s first American Conference match of 2015.  Houston, 3-0 (one of those a narrow win over Louisville), certainly looks better on paper than 2-1 Tulsa, and the oddsquad has the Cougars giving 7.  If Tulsa can buy a vowel or two for its tackling-deficient defense, however, the game ought to be fairly evenly matched.  The rapid Tulsa tempo should keep Houston hopping.

Hurricane fans are hopeful.  (Rumors that Breck Girl Dane Evans lost his superpowers when he cut his hair off are unfounded.)

#15 Oklahoma also comes off a bye week, and will host #23 West Virginia in Norman.  The number of the day for the line is 7; that’s what the Sooners are giving, and it sounds reasonable to us.  It’s been about six quarters now since Oklahoma looked totally unhinged and incompetent on offense.  The defense has been showing some intermittent zing, and may be able to keep Mountaineer QB Skyler Howard just out of open receivers.

One of a couple of big games for LU Nation will unfold in Stillwater, as new #20 Oklahoma State hosts Kansas State.  Darned if the Cowboys aren’t giving – you guessed it – 7.  K-State has the chops to give Team Gundy at least as much as Texas did last week, so this one could go either way.

Navy hosts Air Force for the first of the Commanders Cup matches for 2015.  Although the Falcons have recovered from their insanely quarterback-less condition of yesteryear, and are coming in at a respectable 2-1, Navy has hit Keenan Reynolds’ stride this season, and we’d take the 5 points the Mids are giving in the line.

We note that the Mids in Annapolis on Saturday, and the other teams playing on or near the Atlantic seaboard, will be subject to the whims of Joaquin, which is expected to bring heavy rains and flooding.  No FBS games have been preemptively cancelled, as far as we can tell right now.

Army, meanwhile, 1-3 after chewing up Eastern Michigan last week, heads to Happy Valley to take on an LU Nation sometime-fave, Penn State.  (We don’t tell too many people about that.  Associations, you know.)  The Nittally Lions are giving 26.5 and not a point less.  We do figure on a healthy spread going PSU’s way.

Virginia Tech has annoyed us once again by losing to East Carolina.  Which is just so stupid and unnecessary.  But we digress.  On Saturday, the Hokies will host Pitt for an ACC Coastal face-off.  This bout will decide the important question of which of the teams will sit squarely in the middle of the divisional pack.  Hey, somebody’s got to settle these things.  Pitt’s not looking real hot this year, and we’re not surprised by the 4-odd points the Hokies are giving.

Rivalry throw-down brewing in the Silver State!  Nevada will be hosting lice-ridden, flea-infested UNLV (1-3) in Reno for the annual fight for the Fremont Cannon – one of our all-time favorite game trophies.

The Fremont Cannon is a life-size replica of an 1840s-era howitzer, and at 545 pounds is far and away the heaviest trophy in football.  This makes it hard for enterprising underclassmen to shoplift (in fact, legend has it that UNLV students, with their chronic soft-abdomen/weak-biceps problem, actually dropped the sacred cannon on the ground after their team won it in 2000).  But it also makes for a nobler, hipper trophy.

The Fremont Cannon in Nevada blue. (Wikipedia)
The Fremont Cannon in Nevada blue. (Wikipedia)

The Wolf Pack, current owner of the trophy, gives…7.

#4 TCU hosts Texas in the early game on Saturday.  Through some unaccountable oversight, these two Texas powerhouses have failed to develop a Storied Rivalry.  We’re just mentioning that, in case anyone wants to take it for action.  Frogs give 15. We’ll see.

For some reason, new #9 LSU (which dropped a notch after the struggle with Syracuse) will be hosting hapless Eastern Michigan.  This starts out seeming like a bad idea and can only get worse.  It’s the first-ever match between the two teams.  LSU gives 44.5, which seems a tad pessimistic for the Tigers.  We imagine they’ll have to get creative to avoid running up the score, as the first quarter wears on.

We’re sorry to have to mention that Wyoming, now 0-4, will be at Appalachian State (FCS, Sun Belt) on Saturday.  Wyoming taking the field anywhere isn’t a very good sign this year.  Appalachian State, having lost respectably to #12 Clemson and thoroughly thumped two FCS opponents, gives 25.

Obligatory

#1 Ohio State gives 21 at Indiana.  #2 Michigan State gives the same hosting Purdue.  (So close for the Old Brass Spittoon.  That happens on the 24th.)

#3 Ole Miss will be in Gainesville taking on #25 Florida, with a give of 7.5.

#5 Baylor hosting #14 Texas Tech could be a heck of a game, if you prefer your offense unhindered by “defense.”  Each person has his own particular taste in that regard.  Bears give 17, but that’s probably a bit optimistic.

In the marquee slot Saturday evening, #6 Notre Dame will be at #12 Clemson for a rare meeting.  The teams have only played twice before, the last time in 1979.  Clemson, at home, gives 1.5.  Expect rain.

#7, now UCLA, hosts Arizona State, giving 14.  Georgia has edged up to #8, and will host #13 Alabama Saturday afternoon, in what bids fair to be the game of the week.  And yes, that means we’re overlooking the Arsh.  The Tide actually has every prospect of beating the Bulldogs, although Georgia gives 2.5 in the line.

New #10 Utah has the week off.

Other games of interest see lesser rivalries being played.  Iowa will be at #19 Wisconsin to play for the Heartland trophy (Badgers -7).  New Mexico will host New Mexico State for the Rio Grande Rivalry, which we are sorry to report is apparently no longer sponsored by the Route 66 Casino Hotel, long a landmark on Interstate 40 (Lobos -12.5).  The winner gets the boring, conventional Maloof Trophy.

Fresno State will be at San Diego State on Saturday for their Storied Rivalry.  The teams play for an Oil Can, apparently because somebody found one from Fresno once, down in San Diego, after one of their games in the 1930s.  This seemed like a good enough reason to play for an oil can as the game trophy.  It’s a California thing, what can I say.  Both teams are 1-3; Aztecs give 8.5.

The SDSU-FSU Oil Can, one of college football's premier rivalry trophies (sadly, now mounted on wood). (Image via San Diego Union-Tribune)
The SDSU-FSU Oil Can, one of college football’s premier rivalry trophies (sadly, now mounted on wood). (Image via San Diego Union-Tribune)

If #22 Michigan were playing someone besides Maryland, their game might be of interest to others besides Wolverine fans (Michigan -15.5).

Sudden Cal has bobbed up to #24, and will be giving 18 to a visiting Washington State.

We note that Oregon is now totally unranked and gives only 7.5 heading to Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”), which hasn’t happened for simply the longest time, and just feels wrong.

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State heads to Thibodaux to take on Nicholls State.  The Colonels have lost badly in their first three games, so the Cowboys are likely to come out of this one OK.  Right around 80 with fair skies for the 2:30 PM kickoff.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman comes from an off week to visit Anderson U. (Anderson, IN) for a Heartland Conference match.  Anderson is 1-3 to RHIT’s 3-0.  Kickoff will be at 1:30 PM Central, with perfect football weather: 50s and strong winds.

Last week, we jumped the gun on Christopher Newport’s next NJAC test hosting Rowan University (Glassboro, NJ).  That game will be this coming Saturday evening, in Newport News.  (What can we say; we need our correspondent Old Army Brat to keep us straight on these matters.)  Rowan comes in 3-0 and ranked #15 nationally.  60s, wind, and driving rain from Joaquin still expected at the 6 PM game time.

Merchant Marine, now 1-2, heads to Troy, NY for conference play with Rensselaer Polytechnic, which comes in 3-1 and loaded for bear.  The RPI Engineers will be enjoying their homecoming weekend; skies may be cloudy, with temps in the 50s, for the 1:00 PM kickoff, but no rain is expected.

Pros

Major NFC East action as the Redskins Redskins Redskins host the Eagles in the early slot on Sunday.  Philly shown giving 3 at the moment.

Bengals will be hosting Chiefs at the same time, giving 4.

Broncos host Vikings for the afternoon game, giving 7.  Packers at Niners should be a good match-up in the same slot.

Dallas heads south to take on the Saints in Sunday Night Football.  This should actually be a pretty good game, if Dallas doesn’t swap the defense out for a pod-people gang as they did this past Sunday.  New Orleans giving 4-ish as of this writing.

Lions (0-3) at Seahawks (1-2) doesn’t look very promising on paper, for Monday night.  Neither team has caught fire this season.  Seattle gives 10 in the home stand.

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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