Football is so much saner than politics, we hesitate to mention that Navy should have been playing tonight, but isn’t, and Appalachian State soundly whomped “U-La-La” (Louisiana-Lafayette) last night in a Sun Belt collision, which just goes to show you.
LU Nation fave Denver is in San Diego Thursday evening, very possibly not annoying the fans with too much politics on the sidelines. We, personally, think the Broncos’ 3-point give may be a tad parsimonious, considering. (Well, OK. In the 2Q, the Bolts are zapping Denver 10-0. So far it seems like the Broncos have never seen a football before. Update, 3Q: my goodness, Denver looks awful tonight.)
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, will be at a posterior-hurt #13 Houston for the Cougars’ first game after their epic loss to Navy. That won’t give TU much of a leg up, of course. The Hurricane’s basic execution on defense wasn’t terrible in the unnecessarily protracted OT win over SMU, but it still needs work. We basically figure on Tulsa covering the Houston give of 21.
Oklahoma edges up to #19 with the True Shootout win over Texas, and hosts Kansas State in a major battle of LU faves on Saturday. Sooners give 14, so this is exactly the kind of situation in which the Kansas sportsbabblers should make sure they’ve got their “Wildcats Win!” headlines ready to go.
Oklahoma State has the weekend off.
New #25 Navy, as mentioned, was originally to play East Carolina Thursday night, but Matthew had other plans for the Tar Heel State. The teams will square off for their American match on 19 November instead. The Mids will no doubt use their time wisely, studying up on physics and marine engineering and such.
Army hosts Lafayette (FCS, Patriot League) on Saturday.
Air Force will be involved in some up home, downright fun this weekend, hosting Mountain West opponent New Mexico at the Cotton Bowl. By rights, the Falcons should basically soar over the Lobos (to whom they’re giving 14); the real entertainment is the Texas State Fair, which is underway in its usual most-famous haunt. We don’t have a feel for how adept the AFA fans are at tailgating, but we’re betting the New Mexicans and Texicans between them will ensure everyone has a quality experience.
New #17 Virginia Tech takes off for the Loud House, scheduled to knock heads with Syracuse on Saturday afternoon. Never say nothin’ ‘bout never, but the Hokies give 20 for good reason going into this this one.
Nevada, coming off the relief of a win over Fresno State, surges across I-80 to San Jose State for the weekend. The Spartans’ suckage has been pretty unrelieved this season, their one win being over FCS team Portland State. Oddly enough, the oddsquad has them a 2.5-point favorite. A smart Wolf Pack bettor could score with this one.
For LSU, a little clean gridiron action with Southern Miss, in Death Valley, will be a relief from the ongoing soap opera down there off the field. In terms of ranking, it seems to have been out of sight, out of mind for the AP: LSU was #18, but then didn’t get to play on schedule because of Matthew, and is now under a cloak of invisibility, south of 25 and unlocatable by modern technology. Mascot Mike the Tiger (Mike VI) just passed away, and now PETA is on LSU’s case to stop having a live mascot. Plus, LSU and Florida have agreed to make up their missed game on 19 November, in Baton Rouge. But for reasons that perhaps make sense if you’ve been following it closely, everybody’s torqued off with LSU about the whole thing, and you’d think the Gainesville Mafia (you can’t fool me; I used to live in Florida) was the Little Sisters of the Poor fighting off the Obama administration. Well. LSU gives 25 on Saturday.
TCU has the week off. And none too soon.
Wyoming has the week off as well.
Toledo hosts Bowling Green Friday night for the Battle of I-75, one of our great Storied Rivalries. We hear they also call it the Black Swamp Rivalry, which if nothing else is a great name for a rock band. The match has some awesome rivalry cred, in that it has featured a peace-pipe in the past, but one year the peace-pipe was stolen, and never found. (We’re sure our correspondent rbj knows nothing about that.)
Stanford’s Greek-chanting Brony-bros should have such lore at their backs. And if the trophy itself has to be a conventional-style trophy, bronze and mounted on a base, it sure might as well feature a bronze replica of an Interstate Highway sign.
We give this rivalry two thumbs up. Rockets give 30. (We’re skeptical on the spread, even as well as Toledo’s been playing. BGSU has a habit of playing these big games like they’re guarding the right flank at Armageddon.)
#1 Alabama will be at #9 Tennessee, and let’s just say it’s a sign of the times, in the Biblical sense, that this game actually matters this year. The Tide gives 13, and although we tend to think the Vols are a bit overrated, Alabama certainly can’t sleep at the wheel.
Game of the week honors must go to #2 Ohio State visiting #8 Wisconsin. Marquee slot on Saturday evening, natch. Buckeyes give 11. If anybody can cover, it’s the Badgers.
#3 Clemson hosts NC State (motto: “They have a football team?”), giving 18.
#4 Michigan has the week off, after its exhausting 78-0 squeaker over Rutgers.
#5 Washington is off as well.
New #6 Texas A&M – also off.
#7 Louisville (-34.5) hosts Duke Friday night.
Nebraska has nosed up to #10, and we’re a tad skeptical. We’re not counting on it, but we’re intrigued by the possibility that the Mad Hoosiers might get Sudden on them on Saturday, and send them back to the mid-pack snack room. The oddsdudes seem like-minded, favoring the Huskers only by 3.
Best of the rest
Rooting around in the next tier, it looks like #12 Ole Miss at #22 Arkansas will deliver some good football.
On the other hand, if you’re not into watching defenses spoil all the fun, #20 West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, will be in Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.
Stanford and Notre Dame have to play in their Storied Rivalry series sometime, and it happens to be this weekend. One or the other will tote home the Legends Trophy. It looks a little peculiar from here that the Arsh are giving 3.
Vanderbilt and Georgia (-14) renew their Stored Rivalry in Athens, bright and early on Saturday.
We know we don’t have to tell you the Friday night game featuring San Diego State at Fresno State is a Storied Rivalry. It’s played for one of our all-time top rivalry trinkets, the Oil Can – which we love to remind folks is an actual, gnarly old oil can from the 1930s. Keep your Kegs of Nails, your Old Oaken Buckets; if you ain’t got an Oil Can, you ain’t. Aztecs give 17.
In a startling development, Louisiana Tech (motto: “Don’t get us started on that whole WAC nightmare”) will be playing Massachusetts, for some reason. It’s the first match for these teams.
In FCS, McNeese State has dropped out of the top 25 after a painful 31-24 loss to Southeast Louisiana, and goes 3-3 into Saturday’s home stand against Southland foe Central Arkansas. Central Arkansas is all that, if they bring their bag of chips; 4-1 and ranked #22, with their one loss to Samford, also a top 25 contender and currently ranked #24. So the Pokes have their work cut out for them. Tough, tough Saturday night in Lake Charles, 70s and clear.
In Div II, Slippery Rock is 5-1 coming off a nice win over Mercyhurst, but faces a tough test on Saturday. They’ll be in Indiana, PA to play Indiana U. (PA), AKA the Div II #13-ranked Crimson Hawks. It’s homecoming weekend for IUP; Slippery Rock has homecoming next week. Right around 70 and sunny for the 2 PM kickoff, on a leafy campus halfway between Pittsburgh and Altoona on a fall afternoon. I mean, good grief.
In Div III, sadly, the evil arch-enemy Mt. St. Joe thrashed Rose-Hulman last week 45-27. The Engineers go to 4-2, and on Saturday host conference rival Manchester U. (North Manchester, IN) in Terre Haute. The 0-5 Spartans are obviously terrible, but if you can’t love 75 and partly cloudy for a 1:30 PM kickoff, you can’t love anything.
Christopher Newport, 4-1, comes off the down week to host NJAC opponent Montclair State (Montclair, NJ) on Saturday afternoon. Montclair State is 3-2, with quality wins over Rowan and Southern Virginia, and won’t be a pushover. 60s and overcast for the 1 PM game start.
They’re seeking medication and therapy in Kings Point, to deal with the unaccustomed excitement being stirred up by Merchant Marine football. Darned if the Mariners didn’t score 17 points in the 4Q last week to edge out Worcester Poly 45-44, and surge to 3-2. USMMA will host Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) on Saturday. The RPI Engineers are 4-2 and don’t suck. Plus their most illustrious alumnus is George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., the – you guessed it – inventor of the Ferris Wheel. (But what we love is that there was more than one George Washington Gale Ferris.) Mid-60s and sunny at 1 PM.
Redskins kick us off hosting Philly (-2.5) for an NFC East funny farm scrimmage in Sunday’s early slot.
New Orleans is hosting Carolina (-2.5) for our second early slot bout.
And Pittsburgh (-7) hits Miami to round out a full early slot slate for LU Nation.
Dallas doesn’t have to compete with the Rams game in the LA viewing area this week, but the Cowboys’ outing to Green Bay shares the second afternoon slot with Atlanta at Seattle, so we may not get it here. (And that’s even though, if you actually did a survey, you’d find a lot more Dallas fans in this area than Seahawk fans.) I’m going to sigh heavily until someone apologizes. Anyway, the Packers give 3.5 in that one.