The Seminole faithful will be in full chopping mode tonight, as #2 Florida State heads to #25 Louisville for an ACC Atlantic showdown. The oddsquad is wary on this one, awarding FSU a give of only 3.5. We don’t really foresee a repeat of the LSU-Ole Miss outcome last week, but we do think the ‘Noles will have more trouble with the Cardinals than might have been imagined a few weeks ago.
Don’t forget to Fall Back Saturday night.
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, will get its business over with on Friday night, for which Golden H fans may have a certain gratitude at this point. Tulsa will be at Memphis (4-3), on the receiving end of a 24-point give. Happy Halloween.
#18 Oklahoma will be at Iowa State on Saturday, giving 16.5 because Iowa State sucks. Fall is definitely upon us, with a brisk mid-40s expected at game time in Ames. We’re canvassing for interest in a bet on which quarter Trevor Knight throws his first pick in.
Oklahoma State will be in Manhattan to take on new #9 Kansas State, with the Cowboys a 12-point dog. (Balmy mid-50s for that one.) Weekly question: will OSU remember to pack the D for the trip? If NaCly Dog is working the concession stand again, we expect a full report.
Navy has its annual Excellent Adventure in the marquee slot on Saturday evening, hosting overranked #10 Notre Dame. The Arsh give 14.5 or so as of this writing. Although homefield advantage does help the Mids, we aren’t expecting a one-trick Navy to be the team that gives Notre Dame its watershed defeat this season.
Army and Air Force lead off the FBS on Saturday with an 11:30 AM kickoff in West Point. Air Force has already downed Navy this season, and the oddsdudes have the Falcons with a 2-point edge on the Knights. Army hasn’t been as crummy as usual this year, and is likely to make a game of it. There’s a real possibility of a three-way standoff in 2014, with Army beating Air Force and Navy beating Army in December.
Virginia Tech, struggling at 4-4, will host 5-3 Boston College on Saturday. The Eagles haven’t been completely awful this year, but they’re not very good, frankly, although they did beat USC in week 3. Tech gives 3.5, and does have a shot at this one. Serious football weather in Blacksburg, with a rain/snow mix and low 40s predicted for the game.
Nevada hosts a biggie for the Mountain West on Saturday, the showdown with San Diego State. The 4-3 Aztecs are 3-1 conference, and lead the West Division. But 5-3 Nevada, after knocking off BYU, has advanced to 2-2 conference, and could overtake SDSU with a win. The Wolf Pack is still awfully dependent on QB Cody Fajardo’s legs – he’s got 278 passing yards, but is their leading rusher with 585 – but the defense stands up as well as most in the MWC. Pack gives 3.
New #7 TCU heads to Morgantown for a major Big 12 confrontation on Saturday afternoon with #20 WVU. The game of the week is clearly Auburn at Ole Miss (see below), but the TCU game actually has more “adjusting the Top 10” potential. (We’d rank it number 2, after tonight’s FSU-Louisville match.) The Mountaineers have had some surprises for visitors this fall; we think TCU should cover its 3.5-point give and then some, but we’ve got a wary eye on the home team for this one.
New #19 LSU is busy changing its name to Chopped Liver, after shwacking Ole Miss all over the field and only being lifted to #19, while the Rebels fell exactly one place, from #3 to #4. It being a down week for the Tigers, they can devote time to that administrative task while they prepare for their gi-normous meet with Alabama on the 8th.
Wyoming heads for Fresno State on Saturday, arriving just in time for the first autumn storm. Both teams are 3-5; the Bulldogs give 13.
#1 Mississippi State hosts Arkansas Saturday, giving 10.
#3 Auburn will be at #4 Ole Miss for a major SEC showdown, although it’s quite likely that it will do very little to the Top 10. The Rebels are giving 2 at this writing, and neither looks to give any more by game time. Projecting a defensive battle and a close, lower-scoring game, we figure the most that could happen is that the teams will switch places.
#5 Oregon hosts Stanford Saturday night. O-Ducks give 8, but with Mariota going in and out of a spacey funk lately, they could lose this one, even to the sucky Cerise.
#6 Alabama has the week of, setting up for its collision with LSU next week.
Michigan State has taken out a lease option on #8, and will have time for its own paperwork this weekend, with nothing to do but admire its handiwork in the Michigan game last week, and prepare for #16 Ohio State on the 8th.
Best of the rest
In Storied Rivalry action, Florida will be at #11 Georgia to fight for the Okefenokee Oar. We are pleased to report that the Oar is a goofy-looking thing, although it doesn’t look like it gets stolen or otherwise desecrated very often. ‘Dogs give 10.5, and it ought to be a pretty good game.
But the big rivalry news is that…it’s Illibuck time! Yes, it’s time for Illinois to meet Ohio State (in Columbus) and duke it out for Illibuck, one of our all-time favorite rivalry knickknacks. For excellence in knickknackery, it’s pretty hard to top a wooden turtle. (Don’t worry, Floyd of Rosedale fans. We’ve got you covered.) Sadly, today’s PC teams no longer celebrate their annual Illibuck bout by smoking a peace pipe, which in our view is a blatant show of moral weakness. #16 Buckeyes give 28.
Texas will be at Texas Tech to battle for the Chancellors’s Spurs, which certainly aren’t the lamest rivalry prize we know of. The odds action is completely lame, however, with no one laying points.
Meanwhile, more history is being made in the New Big 10 this week, as Wisconsin heads to New Brunswick for its first-ever meeting with Rutgers.
And we suspect a pretty good game may break out when the #17 Youths of Utah arrive to take on the #14 Sun Devils of Arizona State. Call this one the Fall Back Bowl; it starts at 8:00 PM Arizona time (for the cognoscenti, of course, Arizona doesn’t have to fall back. But East coast viewers will collide with the clock reset in the 4Q).
In FCS, McNeese State has rebounded to #8 after the decisive win over Incarnate Word. The Cowboys will be in Natchitoches to take on the Demons of Northwestern State. Northwestern, a Southland foe, comes in 4-4 off a loss to Central Arkansas. The Demons did, however, beat Sam Houston State two weeks ago, the FCS spoiler from which the Pokes drew their second of two losses this season. (The first, of course, was the cliffhanger in week 2 with Nebraska.) Upper 50s and sparkling clear for the 7:00 PM kickoff.
In Division III, Rose-Hulman hosts Heartland rival Manchester U. (IN) on Saturday. After last week’s loss, RHIT is 5-2 overall; the Spartans come in 3-4 off a loss to Bluffton. A plummy 50-ish and sunny for the 2:00 PM CDT kickoff in Terre Haute.
Christopher Newport, 5-3 and on a roll, hosts LaGrange College (GA) in Pomoco Stadium Saturday night. The 4-4 Panthers won’t be a walkover; they won a tough one at Huntingdon last week, the team CNU lost to on 11 October. LaGrange’s play at Huntingdon bagged them not one but two USA South player-of-the-week titles, in fact. Heads up, Captains.A fall-like 50s and raining for the 7:00 PM start in Newport News.
Merchant Marine has the weekend off.
NFL fare starts with reasonable zest tonight (in just a very few minutes, in fact), with Saints at Panthers. So both are 3-4, sure; but the Saints got some mojo back with a major win over Green Bay, and the Panthers held Seattle to 13 in their outing.
Sunday brings some serious clashes: Cardinals at Cowboys, Broncos at Patriots, and of course Ravens at Steelers, which should be a rock-em-sock-em for the AFC North. Bengals aren’t looking to get a big workout hosting the Jaguars, but since they’ve already beaten Baltimore in both games, and still have both games with the Steelers left to play, Pittsburgh’s looking more in control of its destiny than it was a few weeks ago.
Monday night’s Colts at Giants game is, well, football on Monday night, and we always appreciate that.