Football Follies 2018: NCAA week 1.0

Football Follies 2018: NCAA week 1.0
Sooner QBs strut their stuff on the practice field, Aug 2018. YouTube

There are advantages to being in the Pacific time zone, and they often occur during football season.  For example, on Saturday (1 September), the Totally Major Kickoff Day for this year’s FBS season, it will be only 8 PM in California when the Navy-Hawaii game starts.

And then, on the inconvenient date of Monday, 3 September (really? The last day of Labor Day weekend? What genius came up with this?), when our beloved Virginia Tech Hokies open at Florida State, it may be 8 PM in Tallahassee, but it’ll be only 5 PM here.  The game can go into extra innings and everything, if it has to, and it won’t jeopardize Tuesday morning for us.

So life is good.  Life also come at us fast, and we’re dog-paddling behind here at your LU Football Commentary Service.  Wyoming, just to consider one point, has already rolled decisively over New Mexico State (last Saturday, or Week 0.5), and Kickoff Saturday hasn’t even kicked in yet.  We are also pleased to observe that UMass crushed it in a 63-15 romp over, admittedly, Duquesne (FCS, Northeast).

Moreover, OK State takes the field here in just a few hours, for once being sooner than the Sooners.

So with the freight train at constant bearing, decreasing range – never let it be said we don’t know how to mix a metaphor until it hollers “Uncle!” – we’ll dispense with the formalities in this inaugural Follies post for 2018.  If you don’t know the drill, follow the deflated football as it flops along.  You’ll pick it up.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which totally beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, hosts the non-shabby Bears of Central Arkansas (FCS, Southland) in the season opener on Saturday in Chapman Stadium (AKA Skelly Field).  The big news for Tulsa is that the QB is no longer named President – and has now actually been identified (like, yesterday), after a nail-biting period of indecision.  Luke Skipper, third year sophomore from Texas (and President’s backup last season), will be taking the snaps behind center.

Chad President is still there, and Coach Phil Montgomery has been a little cagey about his role this fall.  Skipper has a big arm, but had some trouble with throwing into traffic in his few starting games last year. Meanwhile, we’ll be watching to see if the Tulsa D is still in water ballet mode, or if it’s invested in some tackling practice.

Obviously no line on this one, but we’re not counting Central Arkansas out.

Oklahoma kicks off at #7 (we use the AP poll here, until the CF-whatever break, because we do), hosting Florida Atlantic on Saturday in what promises to be an epic clash with Kiffin’s Hooters.  Our regular correspondents know of our boundless admiration for Lane K.  The Owls were the C-USA champs last year, and went on to nearly blank the Zips 50-3 in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (motto: You only wish).

The Sooners have found themselves a QB to replace Baker Mayfield, even if he is actually a baseball player.  Kyler Murray is the scion of a distinguished line of superior athletes, and we look forward to seeing him at work. The Sooners start with high hopes for an experienced offensive line, which should give the whip-fast Murray and his skill-position henchmen – a usual OU stable-full of them – a boost.

As always, on the defensive side of the ball, remember: Big 12.  Oddsquad has Oklahoma giving 21.  Don’t take the points.  Trust us.

Oklahoma State may start unranked, but the Pokes will be at home hosting Missouri State (FCS, Missouri Valley Ronin Football League), which went 3-8 in 2017.  The ‘Boys seem likely to shoot their way through this one.  If you can shoot with a multifarious off-tackle running game; but we decree that you can.

Like the other Oklahoma FBS teams, OSU is initiating a new QB this week: senior Taylor Cornelius from Bushland, Texas, by way of a walk-on and a four-year wait in Stillwater. (Bushland seems to be routinely mentioned in terms of its proximity to the Cadillac Ranch on I-40, west of Amarillo, but the real landmark is the Happy Tracks Horse Motel a mile or so to the east.  As any fool can tell you, Happy Tracks is where you can count on leaving the smell of that HIDEOUS dairy farm in Wildorado behind you.)

The happiest place on I-40: where the smell fades. YouTube

Our armed forces contingent spreads it out this week, with Navy guarding the rear on Saturday evening at Hawaii.  After much speculation, Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo (Indian name: Needs a Nickname) is not going to Arizona, which will be a relief to many.  Junior Malcolm Perry is being moved to QB, and last year’s QB starter, Zach Abey, floats over to the more natural fit of WR, which we predict will be an improvement for the team.  Oddsdudes have Navy by 11.

Army tees up Friday in an afternoon meet at Duke, facing a spread deficit of 13.5.  We’d say last year’s Army would cover, but we’ll see what takes the field tomorrow.  On Saturday early, Air Force hosts Stony Brook (FCS, Colonial), which isn’t bad, FCS-wise (a round two dropout in the 2017 tournament), but on any given Saturday not a match for the Falcons.

Moving to our LU in-crowd: as mentioned, #20 Virginia Tech shoves off in a big Week 1 ACC match at #19 Florida State Monday evening, with the Seminoles donating 7.  We think the Hokies will show better than that, but practice is over;  it’s all waiting on the paper to turn colors now. (In the interest of time and tide, we’re going to move this along without much additional chatter.  That OK-State game start is looming, and it looks like FS1 will be carrying it here.  So talk amongst yourselves if you have urgent insight to contribute.)

Nevada launches in style Friday night hosting Portland State (FCS, Big Sky), and we’d love to see the game to figure out what the Wolf Pack’s deal will be this year.  Portland State pretty much sucks (0-11 in 2017), but Nevada has so many new players it’s hard to form an opinion without just seeing them play. QB Ty Gangi is back this season, so they’ve got that going for them.

LSU clocks in at #25 to host #8 Miami (Da U) in a rare Sunday outing.  We’ve got it like that, since the NFL hasn’t started their clock yet.  We applaud the ranking optimism about LSU, with the losses of top talent to felony raps and the QB substitution of J.T. Barrett’s former backup Joe Burrow, transferring in as a graduate student from Ohio State.  The Aranda D may just make up for it.  A cross-conference game, but a big one in stealth mode.  Hurricanes give 3.

Kansas State hosts South Dakota (FCS, Missouri Valley) Saturday afternoon, and shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Coyotes.  We miss the updates from the Northwest Concession Booth provided by our correspondent NaCly, but hope there will be quality Wildcat watching from the home command center to make up for it.

#16 TCU rounds out the purple people-eater watch, turning out Saturday early to host Southern (FCS, Southwest) for a cross-ranks bout.  We’re assuming in favor of the Frogs.

Our MAC Attack dudes in Toledo host VMI (FCS, Southern) on Saturday.  With former QB Logan Woodside off to the Bengals, and several other top players gone, the Rockets have some rebuilding to do.  But rainmaking WR Cody Thompson is there for his final year, and slapping VMI around should be good practice for everyone.  Toledo will face Miami (Da U) in two weeks, so no time to slouch.

Last but never least, Wyoming hits the home turf on Saturday playing host to Washington State, a quality cross-conference encounter for both teams.  WSU has the edge by 1 in the line, but this one could go either way.  Josh Allen and his Atlas-Titan arm have moved on to the Bills, of course; Tyler Vander Waal started at QB against NM State last week and, let’s say, supported RB Nico Evans in creditable fashion. The Poke D is looking strong this year.

Top 10

#1 Alabama hosts Louisville in the marquee slot Saturday evening, giving 24.5.  #2 Clemson hosts Furman (FCS, Southern) Saturday midday.

#3 Georgia hosts Austin Peay (FCS, Ohio Valley) on Saturday as well.  #4 Wisconsin bucks the trend, hosting Western Kentucky on Friday with a give of 36.

#5 Ohio State squares off in Columbus with Oregon State, a rare match-up (last meet in 1984) in which the Buckeyes have a 2-0 edge.  They’re giving 38.5 this go-round.

#6 Washington will be keeping it lively on midday Saturday with a visit to #9 Auburn, portending some top cross-conference action on a mostly lopsided day.  This one has the Huskies a 2-point dog; we’ll see if the Auburn defense can stretch that out a bit.

#10 Penn State will entertain Appalachian State Saturday afternoon, giving 24.

Best of the rest

It’s Week 1, it’s all good, and we’re missing a bunch of games at this very moment, as OK State is up 24-0 on Missouri State.  Whole lotta runnin’ goin’ on.  (In the 3Q it’s now 31-7.)

But, being very selective, we commend to you Friday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown for the Centennial Cup, which sees Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”) heading to Colorado State for their Storied Rivalry match.  Now, alas, played the first weekend of the season due to Colorado’s switch to the PAC-12.  CSU gives 7.5.

Houston and Rice collide Saturday for the Bayou Bucket Classic, which you understand if you’re from Houston.  Rice continues to suck ostrich eggs and is on the wrong end of 26 for this one.

#14 Michigan will be at #12 Notre Dame, which we know will absorb a lot of avid fans.  Practically a pick-‘em, with the Arsh giving 1.

Cal and North Carolina are playing again for some reason, after playing their first game ever in 2017.  The Tar Heels will be in Berkeley, where the Golden Bears are giving 7.

And we couldn’t be prouder of Bowling Green for heading to Eugene to take on #24 Oregon for the first time ever.  Ducks staring down a give of 33.

Other ranks

Our FCS obsession, the McNeese State Cowboys of Lake Charles, Louisiana, will head to Greeley, Colorado for an afternoon match with Northern Colorado on Saturday.  McNeese plays in the Southland Conference, and starts the season ranked #18 in the FCS Coaches Poll.  Northern Colorado is a Big Sky team.  80-ish with chance of thundershowers at the 2 PM (Mountain) game time.

In Div II, our Slippery Rock U. team (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) hosts Kentucky State of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Saturday at 1 PM Eastern.  Another 80-ish day, with humidity and overcast conditions.

The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) Bronchos, on the other hand, are diving right into conference play as we speak.  It’s half time in the season opener with Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) foe Pittsburg State, of Pittsburg, Kansas.  The Bronchos are down 21-0, but we never give up on them.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, HCAC) has what may be its biggest non-conference game ever coming up on Saturday, with an outing to none other than Mount Union (Alliance, OH; Ohio Collegiate Athletic Conference), of which Div III football is a wholly-owned subsidiary.  RHIT wangled this benny by winning the HCAC championship last year, and we’re darn proud of them.  Mount Union plays ritzy night games; expect cloudy skies and temps in the upper 70s for the 7 PM kickoff.

Christopher Newport University (Newport News, Virginia) kicks off at home on Saturday, hosting New Jersey Athletic Conference opponent Southern Virginia for a night game in Pomoco Stadium.  Expect a damp and warmish evening, although no actual precipitation is anticipated.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, New York) has its first game Saturday in Dallas, Pennsylvania, taking on Misericordia of the Middle Atlantic Conference.  (USMMA plays football in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, or NEWMAC.)  It turns out that the last U.S. Register of Copyrights – the Director of the United States Copyright Office – was Misericordia alumna Ms. Maria Pallante, which is one of those coincidences you can’t make up.

Dallas, PA appears to be just outside Wilkes-Barre.  The temps should be balmy, in the upper 70s, for the 1 PM kickoff.

Note on the pros

We may occasionally refer to the pros in the course of our football-related discussions.  Until they stop comporting themselves disgracefully, we prefer to do so as little as possible.  We judge no one for individual choices in this regard.

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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