Ecumenical note: Cubs have a 4-1 lead on a Baez homer as the top of the 5th takes off. Dude! Update: the Cubs have the hot bats tonight. Another homer, this one number three (by catcher David Ross), brings it to 6-3 in the 6th. Update: Oh, Lord have mercy. Indians tie it up 6-6 in the 8th.
Gonna have to post this one. Bottom of the 9th, 6-all. Have to hand it to Cleveland for getting back into it with the late rally.
Meanwhile, we’re disgusted to have to mention that you’ll want to set your clocks back Saturday night, if you want to make your NFL game appointments on time.
It’s week 10, and MAC Madness is upon us. Toledo is at Akron zooming the Zips as I type, and #23 Western Michigan has already romped over Ball State, as has Northern Illinois over Bowling Green.
But back on that interesting CFP enormity. You almost kind of have to wonder if A&M was positioned at #4 because – well, there just doesn’t seem to be a real good reason. The AP ranking is working better for me, although I’d still have Ohio State #4, followed by Washington. (The Huskies’ 8-0 run is a tiebreaker, but on strength of schedule, one is hard-put to not vault 7-1 Louisville over them.)
Well. We’ll gag and spit and use the CFP ranking anyway, because we’re all about saluting smartly and getting over it, here at your LU Football Commentary Service.
Thursday night, at least, is very special this week, and it’s not because of Atlanta at Tampa Bay in the pros. Read on.
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane (4-2), which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, hosts American Conference rival East Carolina on Saturday night. The two teams have developed something of an unofficial rivalry from their days in C-USA, and both moved to the American in its first year. ECU is in the East Division, so they don’t get to play every year. But it’s always a good game. 6-2 Tulsa is giving 8 to the 3-5 Pirates, who’ve had some woes to overcome this season.
Oklahoma, the CFP #14, heads to Iowa State Thursday night to slap the Cyclones around. This is one of those prime opportunities for the Sooners to go all stupid, especially since they’re favored by 20.5. (Making that point does seem to function like shaking a good luck totem at the game, and I’m all for whatever works.)
Oklahoma State, #18, will be at Kansas State on Saturday afternoon for one of our LU fave match-ups, and interestingly, the Wildcats are giving 2.5. They certainly could bring this one off – as could the Cowboys. We think the Pokes are little healthier, but the match-up of head coaches could hardly be about more grit, adaptability, and no-quit-in-‘em drive. We’ll be thinking good thoughts about the foot traffic in the northwest concession booth too. Bonus tip: take U.S. 77 for this trip.
It’s finally time for Navy (5-2) and Notre Dame (3-5) to have their annual meet, and they’ll be taking the field bright and early on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s been a while since neither team was ranked for their Storied Rivalry clash. Navy dropped out of the top 25 after being insanely outrun for four solid quarters by South Florida last week. The doughty Mids had pulled within 7 by the final whistle, but the game was very lopsided in reality. Notre Dame gives 6, but we think it’ll be closer than that.
Army, meanwhile, hosts Air Force Saturday for the next leg of the Commanders’ Trophy series. Both teams come in 5-3, with Army looking better than they have in years. They give 1 in a near pick-‘em, which is probably about right, since they’re at home, and the service academies always outdo themselves in these games.
Virginia Tech’s getting love from the CFP, vaulting to #19 after the slugfest with Pitt. The 6-2 Hokies hit the road Saturday afternoon to take on 3-5 Duke, giving a justifiable 11 in the Blue Devils’ house.
Nevada will be back on the turf in Albuquerque Saturday night for a meet with MWC opponent New Mexico, which at 5-3 isn’t awful this year. The 3-5 Wolf Pack could definitely use a win in their quest to be in the Booger Bowl hunt. But they’ve lost starting QB Tyler Stewart to the shoulder injury from the Wyoming game, so we’ll just have to see if back-up man Ty Gangi can turn his promising stand-in performance of two weeks ago into gold. The oddsquad is dubious, giving the Lobos a 15-point advantage.
LSU clocks in at CFP #13, and of course will be playing what must be considered the game of the week, hosting #1 Alabama on Saturday night. The main portents from an unlikely win by 5-2 LSU would be for Texas A&M and Auburn, sniffing at ‘Bama’s heels. But that’s this week; LSU still has A&M left to play, and as yet, nothing is, shall we say, inconceivable. The oddsdudes like the Tide by 7.5, naturally. Geaux Tigers!
TCU will be at new #17 Baylor, with the Bears fresh off their dramatic photo-finish loss to Texas. Baylor has dropped to 6-1, and you’d think might be giving more than 7.5 to the 4-4 Frogs. But then you remember that it’s the Big 12, and neither team brings an actual “defense.” Baylor’s outing with Oklahoma is next week.
Toledo started slow but they’re leading Akron 20-10 at the half. And not looking half bad. Scrappy Rocket battalion. Update: Toledo over Akron 48-17. Nice job, Rockets.
Wyoming hosts Utah State Saturday night. We’re so tickled by the 6-2 Cowboys we can’t stand ourselves. The Aggies are 3-5, and you’ll be proud to know the Pokes are giving 5 at the gate.
It’s mostly overdogs’ choice this week in the top 10. CFP #2 Clemson (-27) hosts Syracuse Saturday afternoon.
#3 Michigan (-31) hosts Maryland.
#4 Texas A&M is at Mississippi State. The Aggies give 13.5, but we don’t count out a surge from either the Bulldogs this week, or the Rebels next.
#5 Washington (-16.5) is at Cal Saturday night.
We think the oddsbubbas have this one about right: CFP #6 Ohio State hosts #10 Nebraska in the marquee slot Saturday evening. On paper it might be the game of the week, but the Buckeye give of 17 – pretty darn zesty for those skinflint OSU bettors – looks reasonable. We’ll stick with Alabama-LSU for game of the week honors.
#7 Louisville (-24.5) is at Boston College.
#8 Wisconsin (-7) is probably giving too little at Northwestern.
#9 Auburn (-26) hosts Vanderbilt.
Best of the rest
We mention UCLA at #15 Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”), on Thursday night, because we’re always delighted to see the Buffaloes ranked.
#11 Florida (-5) at Arkansas has potential.
We’re excited to report that Massachusetts will be at Troy, for the first meet ever between these two schools’ football teams. Troy gives 21, but we just smell Totally Dope Trophy all over this one, somewhere down the road. Give it a few years.
Iowa will be at Sudden #12 Penn State, for those who like to keep themselves informed on these matters. We’re not necessarily recommending Oregon at USC, but it would be a good one to hum “Where have all the good times gone” to, if you like that sort of thing.
In FCS, McNeese State comes off a win over Abilene Christian, but faces #1-ranked Southland foe Sam Houston State in Huntsville, TX on Saturday evening. Not holding out a lot of hope for the Cowboys in this one. Partly cloudy and 70-ish for the 6 PM game start.
In Div II, Slippery Rock slumps to 5-4 with a 27-23 loss in Clarion last week. But they get home field advantage in their match with PSAC foe Seton Hill on Saturday. The Seton Hill Griffins come in 5-4 as well, although, of note, they defeated Clarion on 8 October by an eerie 27-23. Hmm. A glorious Saturday looms in Slippery Rock, with mid-50s and full sun for the 3 PM kickoff.
In Div III, we’re dying here over Rose-Hulman, which whacked Bluffton all over the field last week (42-19) to go 7-2 and remain atop the HCAC. The Fightin’ Engineers have the week off, but will play their final game next Saturday against Earlham College.
Christopher Newport goes to 5-3 after a tough loss to #17 Salisbury. The loss ends the Captains’ faint hopes for any post-season action, but they can improve on last year’s performance and boost their soaring NJAC cred with the final two games. CNU will be at William Paterson U. (2-6) in Wayne, NJ on Saturday. Sunny and near 60 at 1 PM.
Merchant Marine, having a bang-up year at 4-3, heads to Schenectady to take on Union College on Saturday. We’re sure 2-6 Union College has a team name, although we can’t quite tell what it is. (We can tell they’re sponsored by Dunkin Donuts, which seems promising.)
We’re also sure no one has forgotten that President Chester A. Arthur is a distinguished alumnus of Union College. But we’re kind of obsessed now with his fellow alumnus Squire Whipple, of Hardwick, Massachusetts. We, personally, had no idea that America had a Father of Iron Bridge Building. But we do, and Whipple’s the guy.
Low 50s and partly cloudy at noon on Saturday in Schenectady.
Pittsburgh at Ravens kick us off in a pick-‘em in the early slot on Sunday.
Dallas gives 7 at Browns, also in the early slot.
Saints (-3) head to Niners later afternoon. We attribute San Francisco’s 1-6 meltdown this season to the bad juju inevitable with hating on your country, still the place on earth with the biggest potential for hope and a future.
Broncos at Raiders, both coming in 6-2, have some potential of their own in a Sunday Night Football pick-‘em.
Skins have the week off.
Monday night: Bills at Seahawks (-7).