Football Follies 2015 – NCAA Week 12

Football Follies 2015 – NCAA Week 12
Navy's record-breaking QB Keenan Reynolds, in full scamper in the UConn game, 2015. (Image: AP, Stew Milne via Navy Times)

Toledo showed Bowling Green (44-28).

Thursday is admin-football night this week, as East Carolina heads to Central Florida and Louisiana Monroe trots off to Texas State.  Friday night brings Air Force at Boise State (-11.5), which may hold a bit more interest for some of us.

Titans will be at Jaguars tonight to see who can dominate the cellar of the AFC South.  Bonus question: who’s more pathetic, Tennessee or Dallas?

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5-5), which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, will host American rival #16 Navy at Chapman Stadium on Saturday.  Yes, the day has arrived.  Navy’s giving 12.5, which is probably conservative, but we’re determined to expect a good game.  Navy is Tulsa’s fourth ranked opponent on the season, incidentally.  With Tulane left, TU still has a shot at ending with a 6-6 record.  But there’s no bowl bid to be expected for a mid-pack American team.

#7 Oklahoma (9-1) gets to host #18 TCU, a game likely to be every bit as challenging for the Sooners as it would have been when TCU was up in the nosebleed ranks.  The Sooners have the marquee slot again this week, and the two teams will probably justify every second of it.  No line on the game at the moment.

#6 Oklahoma State, 10-0, gets its shot at new #10 Baylor in Stillwater, kicking off just moments before the TCU-OU game.  (With Navy-Tulsa starting shortly before that, and all the Oklahoma FBS games at home, the whole state will be rocking – in the good, non-earthquake way, of course).  The oddsquad has the Cowboys giving 1; we figure it might as well be a pick-em, and it’ll be a heck of a game.  Naturally, OU and OSU have to hope they’ll both win, to give a CFB boost to the outcome of the Bedlam game next week.

Army (2-8) hosts Rutgers, which through some unexplained oversight is giving only 4.5.  We assume the Army loss will be worse than that (even if the Black Knights are a walking moral victory and always will be, compared to the Scarlet Commies).

Virginia Tech (5-5) hosts #17 North Carolina for a big game on Saturday, hitting the field at noon to see if the 9-1 Tar Heels can be dealt their first conference loss.  Although it won’t matter to the ACC playoff, which will feature UNC and Clemson, a loss to VT would ensure that the Tar Heels couldn’t use the ACC championship to vault into the CFB playoffs.  The Hokies, of course, need the win to lock in bowl eligibility.  Tar Heels give 5.

Nevada, 6-4, will be at Utah State, which comes in 5-5 but still gives 15 for this one.  The Aggies have admittedly lost (mostly) to a better quality of opponent than Nevada has, minus the 14-13 USU glitch against New Mexico.  We’re counting on the Wolf Pack to cover, and we wouldn’t consider you insane to take the risk on a Nevada win.

LSU, LSU, LSU…what are you gonna do.   Now #15, with local media talking in tones of certainty about Les Miles being on the skids.  We feel ya, Tiger fans.  Having Nick Saban to kick around is a bridge you’ll have to cross if and when you come to it; meanwhile, out of this list (which looks a bit fanboy-wishful from here), we from the SoCal contingent wouldn’t, er, wish Lane Kiffin on anyone.  Other pure speculators in the sportsbabbling world tout FSU’s Jimbo Fisher.

We know the team won’t let any of this mess with their heads as they head to #22 Ole Miss for the Magnolia Bowl.  The Rebels give 6-ish in this Storied Rivalry, which is played decently and in order for a nice little trophy with a cute magnolia on it.  None of those 4-foot-high emblems of decadence this time around.

Kansas State (3-6) hosts Iowa State (3-7) in a make-or-break bout for KSU’s potential bowl eligibility.  Wildcats give 6 in the home stand, in spite of Iowa State’s scare tactics versus the Okie-Pokes last week.

Our beloved 1-10 Wyoming has the week off.

Penn State, 7-3, hosts #12 Michigan for a Big X game that seems like it ought to be a Storied Rivalry, even though it technically isn’t.  8-2 Michigan is favored by 4.  The Wolverines have had significant trouble with some lesser opponents this season; this one won’t be a walk.

Obligatory

#1 Clemson, at home, presumably has nothing to fear from 3-7 Wake Forest.  Tigers give some huge number.

#2 Alabama takes one of those SEC November flyers on the FCS, hosting Charleston Southern (Big South) this weekend.  Hey, both teams do come in 9-1.  (And Charleston Southern is lurking somewhere near the FCS Top 10.  Not that we’re implying anything.  Good luck to them.  Maybe they can hold the spread to something respectable.)

#3 Ohio State hosts #9 Michigan State for our game of the week (with all due respect to the Big 12), hitting the field in the early slot on Saturday. Buckeye backers are going crazy in the line, giving them a 13.5 advantage that looks somewhat optimistic from here.  Sure, Ohio State will be loaded for bear, and the Spartans have been looking vulnerable and morose lately.  But you know the men in green are going to play the game of their lives.  Schedule this one in ink: you don’t want to miss it.

#4 Notre Dame hosts Boston College (3-7) for the “Holy War,” AKA the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl, one of our Storied Rivalries.  So, OK, this one only goes back to 1975.  It’s still a bunch of Catholics going insane over football, and what could be better than that?  The trophy itself is nothing to speak of, but it’s all good times.  Arsh give 15.5, and if they want us to believe in their #4 ranking, they’ll need to do considerably more than cover.

#5 Iowa lingers like an unpicked booger just outside the Fab Four, having played no one to get to its 10-0 record, and not expecting to.  The Hawkeyes host Purdue on Saturday, giving 23.

#8 Florida hosts Florida Atlantic, giving 31.

There’s a bit of nice rivalry action this weekend, as we near the Thanksgiving week paroxysm.  South Carolina (motto: The Other USC) will host The Citadel (FCS, Southern), which actually comes in with a better record (7-3) but of course has no chance of beating the 3-7 Gamecocks.

Arizona (6-5) will be at Arizona State (5-5) to battle for the Territorial Cup, which may look like a boring old silver cup, but has the distinction of being the oldest rivalry trophy in college football, dating to 1899.

Don't let the depressing museum-display sheen fool you. The Arizona Territorial Cup has some fierce backstory. (Image via AZ Central)
Don’t let the depressing museum-display sheen fool you. The Arizona Territorial Cup has some fierce backstory. (Image via AZ Central)

It also has the truly outstanding distinction of having been lost between the years 1912 (notably, when Arizona joined the Union) and 1980.  After many decades, it was discovered in the basement of a church next to the ASU campus (which does seem to implicate Sun Devil fans in its long unaccounted absence).  Since Wyoming and Hawaii aren’t playing for the Paniolo Trophy this season, we’ll make do with the missing-Territorial-Cup tale for our cheap entertainment.

Cal, now 6-4 and no longer even in the same zip code as Sudden, heads to #11 Stanford to play for the Stanford Axe.  This is a much wimpier trophy than Paul Bunyan’s Axe – the totem for the winner of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game – which is, like, a big axe.  The Stanford Axe, we are sorry to report, is the remnants of an old axe mounted For Your Safety on a wooden trophy board.  The Fey Cerise gives 11.

The un-fierce board-mounted axe head of Palo Alto. (Image: Wikipedia)
The un-fierce board-mounted axe head of Palo Alto. (Image: Wikipedia)

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State (9-0), #2 in the Coaches Poll, will finally play the game we previewed last week, against 5-5 Lamar in Beaumont, TX.  This will be the last game of the regular season; it’s on to the FCS tournament for the Pokes afterward.  Kickoff at 6 PM, 60-ish and clearing from morning showers.

In Div III, regular-season play is over for our inner-circle teams.  Rose-Hulman ended the season 8-2 after the win over Earlham, the Fightin’ Engineers’ best showing in years.  The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion, Franklin College, will continue to the Div III playoffs, meeting Ohio Northern in Round 1 on Saturday.

Christopher Newport finished its first season in the New Jersey Athletic Conference at a respectable 4-6.  The NJAC champ, #21 Salisbury (MD), will host SUNY Cortland for Round 1.

Merchant Marine ended its season 3-6, with one of its victories over Coast Guard – always the tiebreaker for a successful year.  Liberty League’s champion St. Lawrence made it into the playoffs, but is virtually certain to be eliminated in Round 1 by #1 Mount Union.  We wish them well, nevertheless.

Pros

Broncos head to Bears to test-drive Brock Osweiler (who with that name really ought to be a major league pitcher) in the early slot on Sunday.

Cowboys will be at Dolphins, with odds even in spite of the Dolphins’ better record (4-5), comparative good health, and home-field advantage.

Redskins Redskins Redskins head down I-95 to clash with the Panthers, who at 9-0 are full of frisk and giving 8-ish.

Saints and Steelers have the week off.

Sunday afternoon sees a game that will be curiously underwhelming at this point:  the 3-6 Niners at the 4-5 Seahawks.

Bengals at Cardinals holds the promise of good football, however, on Sunday night.  Arizona gives 5 at the moment.  Monday night?  Your call: Bills at Patriots.  Yada-yada.  Pats donating 8.5 to the cause.

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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