It’s another weekend of gridiron glory looming before us, and let’s just say it’s a nice balance of nail-biting fabulousness and meh.
Although Thursday night has respectable offerings, we’re not holding out a lot of hope for rank-busting excitement. #6 Houston will be at Cincinnati, which has been workmanlike but not brilliant defeating much-weaker teams so far. The pros give us Jets at Bills, with a tepid 1-point advantage for the Jets.
By rights, meanwhile – from the big-flick perspective – there are probably several games that can bid for game of the week. But you know which of our inner-circle teams gets that nod on Saturday.
Not, of course, the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010 – much as we love them. TU hosts North Carolina AT&T (FCS, Mid-Eastern Athletic) on Saturday afternoon. TU should be able to win this one without major drama, although we do note that the Aggies prevailed over Kent State last week 39-36 in a 4OT slugfest.
The #14 University of Oklahoma Sooners will be playing the game of the week. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. They’re hosting a rare meeting with #3 Ohio State in the late-afternoon slot on Fox. Eat it, ABC marquee game.
The health is pretty robust on both sides for this one, but we suspect OU’s youthful D-line and secondary will ultimately be worn down by dual-threat OSU QB J.T. Barrett (not least because the second half will be past their bedtime). Ohio State is pretty youthful too, but (woe is a Sooner fan for saying this) they’ve got Urban Meyer.
Hey, anything could happen. Buckeyes have opened the spread to about 2.
Danged if Oklahoma State, now south of 25 after last week’s bizarre final minute, doesn’t host Pitt on Saturday afternoon. This will be the first-ever match for two teams with long and distinguished histories. The Panthers managed to grind it out over Penn State last week, but Pokes give 6 in this one. Watch your six, Pokes.
Navy will be at Tulane on Saturday for some more American action. Although we also suspect they heard about the slick modern stadium and just wanted to check it out for mahogany trim. Navy gives 5, and let’s not kid ourselves: Tulane may suck, but Navy didn’t have an easy time of it prevailing over U Conn last week.
Army comes off two nice wins in the first weeks, and heads for UT-El Paso on Saturday. UTEP, of the C-USA Remnant, doesn’t seem to blow quite as badly as it has in previous years, although it (rather naturally) lost big to Texas last weekend. The oddsdudes are cautious, boosting Army by 3.
Air Force has the week off.
Virginia Tech cranks into the ACC season hosting Boston College in Blacksburg on Saturday afternoon. By rights, Tech should win this one by at least a TD, comparing demonstrated, position by position capabilities and performance. But the Hokies have so far taken two games to play what amounts to about three quarters of actual “football,” so we understand the VT give of 5. Discussion question: which quarter will VT choose to implode in this week?
Nevada hosts a rare outing with Buffalo Saturday evening. The Wolf Pack had a good first half versus Notre Dame last week, whereas the Bulls lost to Albany. Nevada gives 11.
#20 LSU hosts Mississippi State in Death Valley Saturday, and gives 14 for the rather obvious reasons that (1) the Bulldogs lost to South Alabama in week 1, and (2) LSU bettors are in-SANE. The Bulldogs came back to beat South Carolina (motto: The Other USC) in week 2, but then, who doesn’t?
Kansas State is back in action Saturday, hosting Florida Atlantic and giving 22.5 as nature intended. We hope the pickings will be easy in the concession booth.
TCU, plummeting out of the top 25 after the heartbreaker with Arkansas, opens Big 12 action hosting Iowa State on Saturday. The Cyclones are so pathetic TCU is giving 24, even without a top class D.
Toledo’s off and running with a couple of decisive wins, and takes a flyer hosting Fresno State in a rare match-up on Saturday afternoon. Although the Bulldogs dominated in their first two meets, last decade, Toledo’s got the edge for this one, giving 20.5. Fresno State didn’t meet expectations in 2015, and hasn’t started out impressively this season, so we’re going with the tough-slogging Rockets to win, and we wouldn’t try to talk you out of the points.
Wyoming’s Cowboys are still our dudes, having hung in there like a Commando strip in the first half against Nebraska. Hosting UC Davis (FCS, Big Sky) on Saturday, they should have a very fine chance of logging another win.
#1 Alabama probably thinks this song is about them, visiting #19 Ole Miss for an epic SEC collision Saturday afternoon. Yeah, yeah. Norman, baby. Tide gives 10.
Spanking new #2 Florida State will be at #10 Louisville for even earlier epicness in the Saturday action. ‘Noles give 2, which suggests a tad more game-of-the-week cred. But no. Norman.
Equally new #4 Michigan, seeming to get better by the week, looms over a spread of 13 hosting Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”). Clemson, now #5, has a nice scrimmage scheduled with South Carolina State (FCS, Mid-Eastern Athletic).
#7 Stanford has that Saturday marquee slot to host USC in, and an outcome that isn’t preordained and will definitely matter to the CFB alchemy later in the fall. But still we say “Norman.” And not just because we love seeing the Prophylactics lose. Fabulous Fuchsia gives 8.5.
#8 Washington, which we remind you is #8 on the strength of beating 1-1 Rutgers in week 1 and 1-1 Idaho in week 2, fends off Portland State (FCS, Big Sky) at home. #9 Wisconsin shouldn’t have much trouble with Georgia State, to whom they’re giving 34.
Best of the rest
#13 Iowa takes on the FCS Wehrmacht of North Dakota State (Missouri Valley Asylum) midday Saturday, a rare cross-subdivision match that will merit watching, just for the sheer aficionado’s interest of the football.
Good upset potential with East Carolina at South Carolina (-3). Same for #12 Michigan State at #18 Notre Dame (-8).
Since Cal managed to lose to San Diego State last week, and #11 Texas is running hot, the Longhorns are pretty likely to cover the 8-point give on Saturday. But we know our Horn fans are glad to be back in the game.
#23 Florida hosts North Texas on Saturday, for some reason. The teams played once before, in 1947. The Mean Green won 20-12. This week the Gators give 36.5. We just like North Texas’ spunk.
In Storied Rivalry action, Idaho will be at Washington State for the Battle of the Palouse (which outside of a 25-mile radius around Moscow, Idaho sounds like the name of a barbecue sauce). The game hasn’t been played much in recent years, what with Idaho’s conference hopping and Washington State’s desire to be competitive with a meaningful schedule. The Cougars rolled 42-0 in 2013; on Saturday they give 25.
In FCS, McNeese State hosts Southland rival Stephen F. Austin (Nacogdoches, TX) on Saturday evening. The Lumberjacks distinguished themselves by scoring 17 in the loss to Texas Tech in week 1, and won’t be a pushover. The Cowboys lurk at #13 in the FCS Coaches Poll this week, and could use a boost from a decisive win. 80s with lingering showers possible at 6 PM in Lake Charles.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman, 1-1, dives into Heartland conference play Saturday afternoon at Hanover College (Hanover, IN). Hanover is 0-2, having lost badly in the first two games, and won’t be the Engineers’ toughest opponent. It’s gonna be raining all day in southern Indiana, with the high hitting 80 right about the 2:30 PM kickoff.
Christopher Newport, 2-0, will face quite probably the season’s toughest opponent on Saturday, hosting Div III #17 Wesley College (Dover, DE) in Newport News. Captains QB K.J. Kearney is throwing hot, however – named the NJAC offensive player of the week after setting new records in the win over Hampden-Sydney – and the CNU defense has made big strides since last season. A respectable showing in this conference match is very much on the table. 70-ish with stray clouds at 6 PM Eastern in Pomoco Stadium.
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy plays Friday evening, visiting SUNY Maritime in the Bronx for an out-of-conference meet. SUNY Maritime’s Privateers, who play in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, come in 1-1 to USMMA’s 1-0. 70 and overcast for the 6 PM kickoff.
If you thought it couldn’t get more frustrating than the ending to the OK-State Cowboys game last week, you only had to wait a day to see how wrong you were. With the NFL kicker everyone would vote Most Likely to Make A Shot From 55+ Yards on their side, the Dallas Cowboys managed to avoid giving Dan Bailey his shot, by frittering away the last few seconds of the Giants game for no good reason and losing 20-19.
Moral of the story: don’t let your babies grow up to be Cowboys.
Dallas will be at Washington in the early slot Sunday, for what we’re thinking of here as the Gorilla Grrrls Bowl. Redskins give 3.
Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati in an AFC North gooser, also in the early slot. Steelers give 3.
We did for sure Learn A Lot from the Saints’ outing against Oakland last week: we learned the Saints couldn’t hang onto a lead. They really want to defenestrate that S again. New Orleans will be at Giants on Sunday, on the short end of 4.5.
Denver hosts Indy in the late afternoon game, giving 6. We report that No-Stand Drama Queen Brandon Marshall has gained a new sponsor after losing two, and will now be hawking Visa’s prepaid RushCard. You decide what you want to about that. We assume Marshall will keep the drama going on Sunday.
As, presumably, will Colin Kaepernick, casting a pall over the Niners trip to Carolina (-13) on Sunday. That 13 points looks a little optimistic to us, but we’ll see.
Green Bay (-2.5) will be at Minnesota on Sunday evening, and Iggles entertain us at Bears (-3) on Monday night.