Football Follies 2016: NCAA Week 12

Football Follies 2016: NCAA Week 12
Wyoming WR Tanner Gentry, #4, celebrates a TD in the Cowboys' win over Air Force in October 2016. (Image: Screen grab of WYO-VISION video, YouTube)

Our hats are off to the CFP brain trust for not buckling under the pressure of the top 10 meltdown last week.  This may be the last time our hats are ever off to the CFP, so, you know, get your commemorative photos now.

We aren’t necessarily expecting Houston to spring any surprises on #5 Louisville (-16) this evening (Thursday).  We’re just saying.  Making no premature hints.  (P.S.  Well, what do you know.)

LU fave New Orleans will be at Carolina (-3.5) in the pros, and we figure we’ll watch that one.  Unless we see someone comporting himself disgracefully during the national anthem, in which case we’ll switch to the NCAA, or the History Channel, or HGTV or Bravo or almost anything else.  My Cat from Hell is always fun.  (Update: the Saints are really looking consumptive tonight.)

More on our MAC Attack in the Inner Circle segment.

Inner circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-3), which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, will be at Central Florida on Saturday night, giving 1.5 to the 6-4 Golden Knights.  TU is bowl-eligible, but we’d sure like them to be in the running for the better class of Booger Bowl.  Roar, Hurricane, roar!

Oklahoma has crept on little cat feet (or on DeDe Westbrook’s zippities, take your pick) back into the top 10, clocking in at #9 in this week’s CFP ranking.  We’ve heard the sportsbabblers start to brag all over the Sooner offense again, just as if they learned nothing from Week 1.  So our hearts are sinking as the Sooners head to Morgantown for the marquee-slot showdown with #14 West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, on Saturday night.

Memo to the babbler squad: shut up, already.  OU’s got no D.  Believe me when I tell you, a Sooner give of 3.5 points in Vegas means Sooner bettors basically expect them to lose the game.

This probably is the game of the week, which only makes things gloomier for Oklahoma.  With the totem well and truly shaken, we move on.

Oklahoma State, new #11, goes to Fort Worth on Saturday morning to face TCU, in another of our uncompromising LU fave match-ups.  The 5-4 Frogs have underperformed their buzz, but come off the yuuge win two Saturdays ago over Baylor.  OK-State knows how to live on the knife’s edge in terms of running around like crazy and marking the passage of time with weird plays and strange outcomes.  So it ought to be an interesting game.  TCU gives 4.5, which sounds wrong to us.

Navy heads to East Carolina for an American bout, giving 7.5.  The Mids might even afford to lose this one, since Houston is likely to lose to Louisville.  (Note: that looks moot at this point.)  But Coach Ken Niumatalolo (Indian name: Needs a Nickname) would never let them think that way.

Army (5-5) takes on Morgan State (FCS, Mid-Eastern Athletic) at West Point Saturday, its last game before the pre-Navy break.

Air Force (7-3), rounds out the FBS week with a Saturday night stop at San Jose State (3-7).  Falcons give 10.

Virginia Tech has bowed out of the top 25 once again, and we just salute the Hokies for their adaptability as they motor off for a first-ever meet with the Arsh in South Bend.  We think it’s fair to say VT really can’t look worse than it did against Georgia Tech last week.  The oddsquad has it all even for this one.

You wouldn’t know it from the long faces in Blacksburg, but VT is 7-3 and beat UNC in October, so their dragging tailfeathers are still very much in the ACC Coastal hunt.  4-6 Notre Dame is like meh at this point.

Nevada hosts Utah State Saturday evening, with both teams 3-7 and playing for pride.  The Aggies give 6.5, and since the Wolf Pack’s starting QB is lost for the season, the trend that spread represents probably won’t change.  But now’s the best time of the year to be bundling up for night games in Mackay Stadium in Reno.  We’re envious.

LSU, springing back to #16 this week, hosts #23 Florida for the Storied Florida-LSU Rivalry on Saturday at noon Baton Rouge time.   We tend to think LSU is a bit underranked at this point, and could certainly foresee them covering their 14-point give.

Kansas State will open our Saturday with a big outing to Baylor (6-3).  With Bear QB Seth Russell out for surgery, and after the catastrophic loss to TCU, even the thinly-populated 5-4 Wildcats are giving 2 in Waco.  Baylor doesn’t have a good path to get well in the Big 12, whereas K-State is still seeking the sixth win.  We figure on the Wildcats to be loaded for…wait for it…Bear.

If you watched Toledo host Ball State Wednesday night, you now have a new standard for weird viewing experiences.  We assume there was fog elsewhere in the area, but having the thick fog settle right on the surface of the football field was…surreal.  Kudos to the teams for keeping it all going through the soup.  Toledo QB Woodside connected through the air more than one might have expected in such conditions.  Congrats to the Rockets for the convincing 37-19 win.

Wyoming, 7-3, is still theoretically competitive in the MWC Mountain, although Boise State has vaulted to the pole position, and probably won’t falter with UNLV and Air Force left to play.  But you never know, so the Cowboys want to look smart hosting San Diego State (9-1) on Saturday.  It may or may not matter that the Aztecs have the MWC West locked up even if they lose (there being no actual divisional competition).  SDSU gives 9.5, but this is the year Wyoming could actually take them.  Our Gal in Laramie may be able to sneak out a photo or two.

Top 10

#1 Alabama hosts Chattanooga (FCS, Southern) for a patented “SEC November Creampuff Slaughter.”  Earn that bonus, Mocs.

Ohio State, back at #2 as nature intended, heads to Michigan State giving a zestful 21.5.

#3 Michigan gives 24 hosting Indiana.

New #4 Clemson gives 22.5 at Wake Forest.  #5 Louisville is down to Houston 17-0 in the 2Q as of this writing. (And it’s only gotten worse.)

New #6 Washington hosts Arizona State, giving 27.

#7 Wisconsin gives 28 at Purdue.

New #8 Penn State heads to Rutgers, giving 28.  That sounds ridiculous to us, not that we don’t love the Nittally Lions.

And new #10 Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”) gives 4 hosting #22 Washington State, in what is very unlikely to be the game of the week because it’s, well, Colorado and Washington State.

Best of the rest

#13 USC (7-3) heads across town to take on UCLA in their Storied Rivalry – an oddly oomphless event this year, what with bumptious Colorado leading the PAC-12 South, and the 4-6 Bruins having faded early on.  Trojans give 13.

#24 Stanford will be at Cal for their Storied Rivalry, another that will basically pass as an afterthought for most of the nation this year, both teams being in a downswing in their fortunes.  We note, as usual, that their famous axe-head is mounted on wood For Your Protection, unlike the – let’s be frank here – manlier axe situation prevailing in the Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry.  Plus, we’ve never heard Goldie evoking Aristophanes in any axe-related chants on a football field, and we tend to think of that as a cultural triumph.

Bubblegum Pink 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)

Ole Miss and Vanderbilt will renew their Storied Rivalry in Nashville, with the Rebels giving 10.

Darned if Massachusetts isn’t playing another first-ever opponent, BYU, on Saturday in Provo.  The Cougars are laying 29 on the table, and we’d take every one of them.

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State is still 5-5 and hoping to end the season on a positive note with a last outing against 3-6 Lamar (Beaumont, TX).  Our conditions from last week still apply: it’s Senior Day for the Cowboys, and a pleasant evening can be expected.  But it will be a bit chillier, probably in the upper 50s and with clear skies, for the 6 PM Saturday kickoff in Lake Charles.  Perfect football weather.

Divs II and III have sung their last for the regular season.  But our golden boys, the Fightin’ Engineers of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, get their first Div III tournament slot on Saturday representing the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.  RHIT takes on #4-ranked North Central (IL), coming in 10-0, and we wish them well.

Congrats to all our other faves – Slippery Rock, Christopher Newport, and Merchant Marine – for turning in winning ledgers.  The season turns a little darker and colder as the booger-ball ranks pack it in for another year.

We do note that PSAC’s Indiana U. (PA) hosts Fairmont State on Saturday to kick off the Div II tournament, and we wish IUP all the best representing the Conference of Death.

In Div III, NJAC champion Wesley, #21 in the Coaches Poll, takes on #22 Stevenson in Round 1.

And Liberty League’s Hobart goes up against the Battleship Mount Union, frequent Div III champ, whose 16-inch guns will probably be a bit too much for the Statesmen.

Pros

Pittsburgh kicks us off in the early slot Sunday at Cleveland, giving the 8 you’d expect considering the Browns are 0-10.

Baltimore gets a rare shot at Dallas in Arlington, and Tony Romo confirmed earlier that Dak Prescott will be behind center for the Pokes.  Dallas gives 7.

Green Bay at Redskins (-3) might well have some zest to it as our Sunday night fare.

Denver has the week off, which might actually be deemed to interrupt QB Trevor Siemian’s gathering momentum.

On Monday night, Houston at Oakland (-5.5) looks to be a pretty good game.  We’re a little surprised at the spread.

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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