First of all, we really regret to announce that Toledo lost rather badly to Ohio on Wednesday (although we know you all knew that already. Just checking all the blocks here).
The Bobcat running game was king of the night, slicing through the Toledo D like buttah. Logan Woodside put up numbers that would have been respectable for a lot of QBs, but were low-end for him (260-some passing yards), and the Rockets spent what seemed like frustrating hours unable to make it count on the scoreboard.
The good news is that this match should get a replay in the MAC championship game. Both teams are now 8-2, 5-1 conference. Toledo has its Storied Rivalry with Bowling Green – the “Battle of I-75” – coming up on 15 November.
Northern Illinois stomped all over Ball State this evening (Thursday), and Pitt is keeping it close with North Carolina as the 4Q wanes. (Tough loss for the Panthers, before this goes to post.)
Up in the nosebleed section, the games are huge this week for the top 10. We’ll be talking “this is the season” for half of them.
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, has slumped to 2-8 and has the weekend to compose itself for a Thursday night game at South Florida on the 16th. We hesitate to think what the line will be on that one. With ear pressed firmly to 11 Street, we’re yet to hear rumblings of a Phil Montgomery ouster.
#5 Oklahoma (8-1) hosts #6 TCU (8-1) for the Big 12’s shot at the Final Four. All things being equal, the Patterson D has to be the tiebreaker in this one. The Sooners will have to find a way to punch the run. It would be really nice if they could get some pressure on TCU QB Kenny Hill to give their Miniature Secondary a fighting chance, but I’m not holding my breath. Both teams have something to prove if they want to break the glass ceiling; it’s hard to predict how this one will go, partly because it’s Muleshoe Man’s first rodeo. OU gives 6.5 because Sooner bettors never say die.
#15 Oklahoma State starts us off right at 11 AM Saturday with a hop to #21 Iowa State for the Cowboys’ turn near the open flame. They’ve lost to both OU and TCU, so it’s looking more like the Big 12 playoff will be a rematch between the top two, as these last weeks count off. But there’s no quit in Gundy, any more than there is in his ‘do. Oklahoma still has to face West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, and TCU’s got Texas Tech left on its dance card. So the fat lady ain’t sung yet. Pokes give 6.5.
Navy hosts SMU Saturday afternoon, and at 5-3 really needs to get it together and sneck up to 6. Notre Dame is coming up next week. The Mids give 4 because 6-3 SMU, although promising this fall, is something of a hot mess at the moment.
Army hosts Duke on Saturday, with the Blue Devils giving 3. Which under other circumstances would be a hoot. Army’s all proud and frisky at 7-2, coming off the win over Air Force.
Air Force hosts Wyoming Saturday evening for a Mountain West showdown. Although it’s unlikely Wyoming is in MWC title contention at this point, having already dropped the game to Boise State, the 6-3 Cowboys really want to keep their winning drive alive and get the best bowl slot they can. The Falcons, at 4-5, are trying to get to 6, and still face BSU and Utah State. Wyoming gives 3 on the road. No snow for this one; dropping into the lower 40s as the game wears on.
#17 Virginia Tech, now 7-2, feasts on the painful loss to Miami (Da U) last week, but has to gear up for the Storied Rivalry match with Georgia Tech on Saturday in Atlanta. With Coastal-leading Miami looking unstoppable at 8-0, it’s about the bowl slot and the pride now. Hokies give 3; they’re better than that, but the 4-4 Yellow Jackets always fight them hard for this one.
Nevada may be 1-8 in the ongoing rebuilding project, but they host 1-9 San Jose State on Saturday afternoon, and we’re pleased to announce that they’re giving 18 to the visitors. SJSU allowed Cal Poly (FCS, Big Sky) to score 13 points in the Spartans’ one win this season, which just shows you (although you may have to live in California to appreciate the ignominy here. Cal Poly couldn’t suck more if they were a Hoover, currently ranked 11th in Big Sky). Anyway, go Pack!
New #24 LSU has a big weekend coming up hosting Arkansas for their Storied Rivalry clash. Arkansas, 4-5, had a rather astonishing scare with Coastal Carolina last week, and comes in a 17-point dog. But that’s just the sort of situation 6-3 LSU has been capitalizing on to freak everyone out this fall, so we’re wary of the points. For the record, Coach O disclosed on Thursday that he respects Coach Bielema:
I respect coach Bielema.
So get ahold of yourselfs, Hog fans.
As always, we’ve scheduled a good swoon over the gaudiest, most extravagantly over-the-top trophy in college football: the Golden Boot. It was realizing that he would never attain to the Golden Boot’s sheer aesthetic chutzpah that caused Solomon to write the book of Ecclesiastes, with those exhausted reflections on the vanity of it all. For some things, the only remedy is to bow, salute, and have some barbecue.
Kansas State, 5-4, gets an advantage hosting West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, on Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers are bowl-ready at 6-3; the oddsquad agrees with us this will be a tight one, and has the Wildcats giving about 2.5 as this goes to post. K-State still has tough sledding ahead with OK-State and Iowa State to finish out the season. WVU is probably KSU’s best opportunity to get to 6, but any one of these games will be (a) tough, but (b) winnable for the purple ‘Cats.
Doggies, the action is juicy for the top 10 this week.
#1 Georgia heads to #10 Auburn for what probably edges the others as the game of the week, just because Georgia’s #1-ness is on the line and Auburn is a credible opponent. The Bulldogs give 2.5 in what we can hope will be a barn-burner.
#2 Alabama heads to #16 Mississippi State for their Storied Rivalry bout, another one in which the lower-ranked opponent is worthy and non-dismissible. Alabama gives 14, but the 7-2 Magnolia State Bulldogs aren’t beanbag, with their two losses being to Georgia and Auburn. We expect the Tide to take this one, but think Mississippi State can cover.
#3 Notre Dame is at #7 Miami (Da U) in the marquee slot Saturday evening, the Arsh’s #3 definitely on the line. We’re not actually smelling upset here, with Notre Dame giving 3. But we’re not counting it out either.
#4 Clemson doesn’t exactly have the week off, but does get to host Florida State with a give of 15.
#8 Wisconsin faces the giant-slayer, #20 Iowa, in an afternoon bout on Saturday. Although there’s little peril to the 9-0 Badgers’ Big 10 West perch, a loss to the stealth Hawkeyes would shut down Wisconsin’s hope of being positioned to vault into the Final Four, if some losses fell into place for higher-ranked teams. Badgers give 12.5; we’ll see. Iowa’s a better team now than they were in September.
#9 Washington, like Clemson, faces a nominally less stressful opponent this week. The surprise in 2017 is that it’s Stanford. Friday night game; Huskies give 6 on the road.
Best of the rest
They may be lurking in the second tier, but #12 Michigan State at #13 Ohio State, renewing their Storied Rivalry, can’t fail to be a good time in the early slot Saturday morning. Buckeyes give 16.5. You go, girls.
I know you know Texas Tech at Baylor is a Storied Rivalry. But did you know that it is sometimes known as the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Shootout? (Don’t even start. You know you didn’t.) The sad thing is that there’s no national broadcast of this one, so we’ll never know if some Gummy-sugar announcer-type is too Nancy-pants to call it a shootout on live TV. Red Raiders give 7.5.
Nebraska is at Minnesota to play for the $5 Bits of Broken Chair, which we honor appropriately by not paying attention to. Golden Gophers give 2.5.
Vanderbilt gives 2 hosting the Storied Rivalry match with Kentucky.
If you’re bored at 6 PM, and for some inexplicable reason are not watching either Alabama at Mississippi State or Old Dominion at Florida International, you could do worse than check in on the random match-up of New Mexico at Texas A&M. These two teams have played before, but only three times, starting in 1926. Aggies give 17.5.
In FCS, McNeese State has rebounded to #18 on the strength of an ugly 13-3 win over SE Louisiana. The Cowboys host again in Lake Charles on Saturday, facing off with Northwestern State (Natchitoches), whose suckage at 3-6 is pretty well established.
We note with some bemusement that the NSU campus is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a woman named Isabella, who plunged a dagger into her heart after her early suitor was killed in a duel and she then spent years “wasting away” as a nun. We feel confident this is unrelated to the quality of NSU Demons football.
Around 70 and clear for the 6 PM kickoff.
In Div II, Slippery Rock slapped Seton Hill silly last week, 77-38, and hits Kutztown U. on Saturday to wrap up the season. The Kutztown Bears come in 7-3 and non-trivial. The 8-2 Rock wants to win this one: PSAC rival Indiana (PA) is #1 in Super Region 1; SRU is hanging in at #5, and California (PA) is #9, as of today. A brisk 40 and partly cloudy for the noon game start.
The University of Central Oklahoma knocked Ichabod’s block off 27-10 last week, and now, at 6-4, heads to Tahlequah Saturday to take on Northeastern State in the President’s Cup match. The NEOSU River Hawks are 1-9, but they also boast alums like Carrie Underwood and (who knew?) Shelby Grant, the 1960s actress whom you of course remember from Fantastic Voyage. She married Chad Everett in 1966, and they remained an item until her death in 2011. Everett passed away the following year. R.I.P.
Kickoff at 3 PM, with cloud cover and upper 50s.
In Div III, our 7-2 Rose-Hulman heads to Earlham College (Richmond, IN) on Saturday for the last game of the season. Earlham is 0-9, so, you know. High right around 40, brisk and overcast for the 1:30 kickoff.
Christopher Newport is 5-4 after dropping a heartbreaker 21-19 to The College of New Jersey. The Captains will be in Dover, DE on Saturday for their final season meet, with #13 Wesley College. So – well – again, you know. Kickoff at noon, and another 40-ish high with clouds.
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy trounced Catholic U. 62-27 last week to surge to 4-4 heading into Saturday’s big rivalry match with Coast Guard. This is the Big One for the Mariners: the one it all comes down to. The 3-6 Bears will host in New London, CT for a noon game start, and Veterans Day commemorations are predicted. The game will be streaming on ESPN3. Another 40, but sunny and clear, for the kickoff.