Football Follies 2015 – NCAA Week 9

Football Follies 2015 – NCAA Week 9

[Note: See the very end of this post for an important PSA.  If you want to be on schedule for the Sunday NFL games, that is.]

We’ll get to the news that the Top 10 may not have Baylor to kick around much longer.  Well, actually, we’re here anyway, so: the Top 10 may well have to do without Baylor for the balance of the season, although that won’t be settled until next week.  Starting QB and offensive spark plug Seth Russell is out for 2015 after suffering injuries to his cervical vertebrae in the Iowa State game.  He requires surgery, for which the recovery period is typically six months.

It’s a blow for the Bears, as it is of course for Russell.  We wish him well.  The #2 Bears will start true freshman Jarrett Stidham a week from tonight, when they’re back in action against Kansas State.  The timing could never have been good, but Baylor’s season is about to crescendo, with Oklahoma, OK-State, and #5 TCU in November, and a final game against Texas, never an easy ride inside the Lone Star state.

Speaking of TCU, they’re looking flashy at home this evening against West Virginia, pride of the Big 12 – but they’re also looking a bit goosey and ragged.  An awful lot of uncaught passes for a long-ball offense.  WVU isn’t covering the receivers that well.  They’ve got the screen pretty well shut down, at least in the first half.  But they’re just forcing the Frogs to the longer tosses – usually a Boykin strength, especially with all the open receivers.  (Update: Toads have straightened out in the second half.)

Oregon will be at Arizona State later tonight, for those who care about such things.  Our Inner Circle owns Friday night, with a Wyoming trip to Utah State (-27).

Patriots are now up 36-7 on the Dolphins, as nature intended.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane (3-4), which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, will be at SMU on Saturday.  The 1-6 Mustangs are terrible; Tulsa gives 2.5.

#14 Oklahoma (6-1) heads to poor, pathetic Kansas on Saturday.  Sooners give 40, which is usually just about when they either lose in some mindlessly moronic way, or have to pull it out at the very end as their loyal fans hop around shrieking with annoyance.  Hard as it is to lose to Kansas these days, we never misunderestimate the Sooners.

#12 Oklahoma State will be in Lubbock giving 2.5 to Texas Tech.  The Pokes have been finding ways to surge, correct course, and dominate the second half – IOW, Gundy-ball – throughout the season, and we like the points.

Navy (5-1) hosts American rival South Florida (4-3), giving 7.  This one has the chance of being a pretty good game.  USF has been improving as the season progresses, and managed to keep the loss to #16 Memphis tight a couple of weeks ago, at 24-17.

Army (2-6) has the week off.  The Black Knights will meet Air Force (4-3) on the 7th.  Air Force is at Hawaii on Saturday to face off for the Kuter Trophy, which commemorates their Storied Rivalry.  The Kuter Trophy, named after the first head of Pacific Air Forces Command, is a big bowl on a wooden base, which we would never think of disparaging as, oh, a bit boring.  Air Force has had it since their last game in 2012.  Falcons give 7.

Virginia Tech, a painful 3-5, is at 3-5 Boston College on Saturday.  The Hokies give 2.5, and are objectively about that much better a team than the Eagles this year.

Nevada, also 4-4, has the week off to prepare for Fresno State on Thursday, 5 November.

LSU, now #4, is off as well, preparing for the big rivalry meet with #7 Alabama on 7 November.

Kansas State (3-4), will as mentioned face Baylor next Thursday evening.

Penn State, 6-2, hosts a 4-3 Illinois for what seems like it ought to be a Storied Rivalry, but isn’t.  PSU gives 4.

We’re pleased to note that Toledo is still in the Top 25, clocking in at #20 after the scare from UMass last week.  The 7-0 Rockets continue our trend of going game-less on Saturday, but will delight the crowd with a Tuesday night MAC match with NIU on the 3rd.

Obligatory

#1 Ohio State is off this week.

We’re terribly sorry to have to report that former “#3” Utah is now #13, after the ignominious loss to USC.  We’re not convinced about the new #3, Clemson, but then, we aren’t all that convinced about the top three in general, and we figure things are going to change over the next ten days.  Clemson’s giving 10.5 at NC State (motto: “They have a football team?”).

Michigan State’s hanging in there at #6, with a well-timed week off.

And danged if #7 Alabama doesn’t have the week off too.

#8 Stanford has surged wildly back into the Top 10 after a run of good performances.  The Funky Fuchsia will be at Washington State this weekend (not last, as erroneously reported in our previous edition), giving 10.5.

#9 Notre Dame heads to #21 Temple to offer 11 points and change in the marquee slot Saturday evening.

#10 Iowa hosts Maryland, and is giving an interesting 17 points.  We don’t think we’d take the points.  But backing Iowa for the win looks OK from here.

Now for the good stuff.  #15 Michigan will be at Minnesota playing for the Little Brown Jug, which we consider to be one of the pre-mier NCAA football trophies, totally and bar none.  We’re always sad to have to report that the actual Little Brown Jug from 1903 is kept in storage (so we’re told), and the jug that appears during the game is a replica.  But if you’re going to have a replica being guarded and photographed during a football game, like it’s the crown jewels, it certainly might as well be a replica of a Little Brown Jug.

The Little Brown Jug replica, painted in Michigan blue. (Image: Wikipedia)
The Little Brown Jug replica, painted in Michigan blue. (Image: Wikipedia)

Wolverines give 13.5.  We’re thinking of setting Big X fans up with a training session on how to bet properly on football games.  To any self-respecting fan of a Big 12 powerhouse, it sure looks like the Big X skinflints leave a lot of, er, potential lying around unrealized.

Georgia will be at #11 Florida to fight for the Okefenokee Oar, another impressive trophy we love.  As befits a hard-fought SEC rivalry, the Gators give only 2 in the “War for the Oar.”

The Okefenokee Oar's glamour shot from its Facebook page.
The Okefenokee Oar’s glamour shot from its Facebook page.

Tennessee will be at Kentucky for one of the most storied of Storied Rivalries, stretching back to 1893.  As we’ve reported previously in this space, the rivalry was once fought for a beer barrel, but after a fatal alcohol-related car crash in 1998, involving two Kentucky players, the barrel was retired to storage in an undisclosed location.  The Vols give 9 going into Saturday’s match.

Florida International heads to Florida Atlantic for their more recent, less storied rivalry.  It’s an accredited rivalry, however: dubbed the Shula Bowl, and fought for the tasteful Don Shula Award.  FIU is favored by 2.5.

And, yeah, yeah, OK.  USC will be at Cal for their rivalry game on Saturday.  Cal has ceased being Sudden, and doesn’t seem likely to start again this weekend, given the respective record of recent performance by each team.  Trojans give 5.5.  No lurking garage-sale junk in this one.

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State (7-0) has surged to #7 in the Coaches Poll, and will be in Abilene (TX) on Saturday to take on Southland rival Abilene Christian.  ACU, 2-5, isn’t very good, but we all know how that can go.  Although Friday will see thunderstorms in the area, Saturday’s looking mild (60s) and dry for the 2:30 CDT game start.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman (6-1) squares off with Manchester U. in North Manchester (IN) on Saturday.  The Spartans come in 3-3; RHIT has a good shot at improving to 7-1 with this one.  Kickoff at 1:30 with 50s and lurking rain showers.

Christopher Newport (1-6) heads off to collide with Salisbury U. (MD) on Saturday afternoon.  CNU has played Salisbury often in the past, and now meets the Sea Gulls as an NJAC rival.  Fortunately for the Captains’ learning-opportunity horizon, 5-1 Salisbury is ranked #23 in the ACFA Div III poll, and CNU basically has no chance in this one.  Around 60 and partly cloudy for the 1 PM (EDT) game start.

Merchant Marine, 2-5 after the loss to Worcester Poly last week, has the weekend off.

Pros

Giants hit the Superdome to take on the Saints in the Sunday early slot.  After the last few weeks they’ve had, the Saints give 3.

Bengals will be at Steelers in the early slot as well, for their first AFC North clash.  Pittsburgh at 4-3 is second behind 6-0 Cincinnati in the division.  With the Steeler home-field advantage, the oddsquad has them even in the line at this writing.

Cowboys (2-4) host the Seahawks (3-4) in the afternoon late game.  Both NFC teams have had disappointing starts this season, but few would argue with the Seahawks’ 7-point give.  The Romo-less Cowboys’ QB problem remains a big, smelly pile of cow plop, although there are cautiously positive signs about Dez Bryant being ready to come back for the game.

The Broncos, meanwhile, will delight us hosting an infrequent cross-conference meet-up with the Packers in Sunday Night Football.  That one should be a good game between unbeatens and top-level QBs.  The Packers are giving 2 at the moment, but we wouldn’t take those points in Sports Authority/Mile High.

The Trick Play Colts hit the limelight again at Panthers on Monday night.  Carolina gives 7.

Redskins Redskins Redskins have the week off, which in the NFC East is, like, a strategy.  Wait for your rivals to lose, and eventually you’ll burble upward through no fault of your own.

Happy Halloween to all our pigskin-heads out there in LU Nation.

And a reminder:  if you fail to retard your clocks one hour on Saturday night, we’ll come after you with a tire tool.

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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