Football Follies 2018: NCAA Week 5

Football Follies 2018: NCAA Week 5
Nevada RB #35 Toa Taua runs a handoff from QB Ty Gangi in for a TD in 63-44 loss to Toledo, 22 Sep 2018. MWC/CBS video, YouTube

We’ve already missed #16 Miami (Da U) slaughtering North Carolina all over the place, which took place in Miami Thursday night. So we’re dog-paddling behind, as usual, here at your LU Football Commentary Service.

Our current ruminations are enlivened by an AAC match: Memphis at Tulane.  So far it’s looking…offense-y.  Later, UCLA will be at Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”) for one of the PAC-12’s patented whatever-fests.  They’re still Power 5 though; promise.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, has the weekend off.  TU will be at Houston on Thursday (4 October) for a big AAC game.  We assume 3-1 Houston will be giving some monster donation in the line.

It was an enjoyable diversion with Army last week, but it’s time for new #6 Oklahoma to stop fiddle-boofing around and hit the real gut of Big 12 play.  (We are nothing if not a one-stop shop for cultural enlightenment here at your LU Football Commentary Service.  Who knew we’d all be learning new slang words from a 1983 high school year book this week?)

The Sooners’ excellent adventure starts in earnest on Saturday, hosting Baylor with a 23.5-point give.  Our correspondent Kermit Hoffpauir has already pointed out that LSU vaulted OU on the strength of last Saturday’s decisive intra-Louisiana win.  We figured on that, especially considering it took Oklahoma overtime to overcome Army, and we don’t begrudge it to LSU.  Fair adjustment.  Baylor is still in recovery mode, but won’t be a cake-walk.  We’re trusting Muleshoe Man to keep his guys motivated.

Oklahoma State has plunged from the Top 25 with the ugly-loss to Texas Tech, and will be looking for a start on the road to redemption in Lawrence Saturday morning, taking on Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”).  Kansas, 2-2, still sucks, but not quite as much as it has for, well, we won’t even go there in terms of how long it’s been. There’s a spark of life in the Jayhawks now, and that’s what counts. The Cowboys, with a 17.5-point advantage, will be loaded for rhino.  Mike Gundy still and always has the Most Notable Coiffure in the FBS; you’ll never convince us otherwise.

Navy is off this weekend, preparing for its big game with Air Force next Saturday.

Army gets right back on the horse with a command appearance at Buffalo, where the Bulls are giving 6.

Air Force brings us one of our treasured Inner Circle two-fers this week, hosting Nevada for a Mountain West showdown in Colorado Springs.  The Falcons are favored by 3, but this one could so go either way.  The Wolf Pack put up nearly 600 yards in the shoot-out loss to Toledo last week, and has no problem playing at nosebleed elevations.  Aim high, dudes.

Virginia Tech, like Oklahoma State, dropped out of the Top 25 rather summarily last week.  Seemed to have something to do with losing to the Old Dominion Monarchs, who no one realized are actually in the FBS now.  Saturday sees the Hokies at #22 Duke, where I’d kind of hate to be a Blue Devil this weekend.  Duke gives 4.

New #5 LSU will be hosting Ole Miss Saturday night for their Storied Rivalry, the Magnolia Bowl.  You can’t swing a dead cat through any zip code in the SEC and not find a football rivalry that goes back to before Bear Bryant was even born, and the Magnolia Bowl is no different, dating to 1894.  (Yes, I checked. 1913.)  The schools went the tasteful route with the Magnolia Trophy, at least, doing nothing worse than affixing a sculpted gold-colored magnolia to a slab of wood.  We salute the aesthetic restraint.

The 3-1 Rebels are outfitted with a somewhat porous defense this year, and aren’t likely to overcome LSU’s 9.5-point advantage in Death Valley.  But complacency is never in order in these Storied Rivalries of the SEC.

The aesthetically discreet Magnolia Trophy, ready for its closeup. Wikipedia

Kansas State gets its crack at new #18 Texas in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.  The oddsquad has Texas giving 8, which at this point, with the Longhorns having surged to 3-1 on a pair of quality wins over USC and TCU, seems pretty well-advised.  As always, we’re pulling for the Purple Cats.  We expect a full report from the concession brigadiers.

TCU has also bid farewell to the Top 25 for now, after the owwie with Texas.  They’ll have a chance to redeem themselves Saturday hosting 1-2 Iowa State; no gimme, even if the Frogs are giving 10.5.

Toledo takes another Mountain West flyer on Saturday night at Fresno State, where the Bulldogs are all loud and proud coming off a thumping 38-14 win over UCLA.  We advise Fresno State against complacency with their 10-point advantage; based on their offensive histrionics last week, and the Rockets’ own red glare, it ought to be a fun game.

Well, doggies, it’s a big Saturday in Laramie, as Wyoming hosts Boise State for a major MWC Mountain bout.  The 2-2 Pokes were off last week, as were the 2-1 Broncos, still nursing their wounds after the meltdown with Oklahoma State.  We can’t disagree with the BSU advantage in the line – or even (much) with the size of it, at 17.  That said, the Broncos are vulnerable on the run – OK-State basically shut them down – and demonstrably aren’t unbeatable.

Top 10

#1 Alabama hosts Louisiana, giving a zestful 49.  #2 is Georgia this week, favored by 31 hosting Tennessee for their Storied Rivalry.

Clemson takes a dip to #3 and gives 25.5 hosting Syracuse.

#4 Ohio State gives us our marquee game this week, albeit with a half-hour early start time.  The Buckeyes are at #9 Penn State for their Storied Rivalry, a huge Big X match-up in Week 5 with all the goosebumpy CFB implications that keep sportsbabblers hoarse and sweaty.  On paper, of course, Ohio State has a bigger edge than the on-the-road 3.5 its skinflint bettors are backing.  (They’re so wimpy.  Seems to help explain that whole John Kasich thing.)  Should be a good game.

Some people will naturally think #7 Stanford, at #8 Notre Dame for their Storied Rivalry, is big stuff.  We’re pleased to take a tolerant view.  The Arsh and Frosted Fuchsia will duke it out for the modestly-named Legends Trophy at the same time as Ohio State-Penn State, but over on the Notre Dame Broadcast Channel.  Arsh give 5.

#10 Auburn hosts Southern Mississippi, giving 27.

Best of the rest

Pickings are a little slim in the Storied Rivalry action this week, but Arkansas will be at Texas A&M for their Southwest Classic, which may not ring too many bells unless you’re an Aggie or a Hog, but is a great excuse to clog the interstates on a fall weekend nonetheless. Aggies give 21.

#12 West Virginia at #25 Texas Tech could be good for some fireworks, and we wouldn’t warn you off of #20 BYU at #11 Washington, exactly, or #19 Oregon at #24 Cal.  Otherwise the Power 5 match-ups are looking a bit lopsided.

Meanwhile, we are startled to report that Bowling Green will be at Georgia Tech for the first-ever meet between these two great programs. Tech’s favored by 28.5.

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State dropped only one notch to #11 after the expected loss at BYU, and will be in Nacogdoches Saturday evening to take on Southland rival Stephen F. Austin U., which comes in 1-2.  Looking like showers and 70s for the 6 PM game start.

In Div II, Slippery Rock is 3-1 after thumping Seton Hill, and gets a nice weekend at home to host PSAC opponent Mercyhurst (1-3) on Saturday at 6 PM.  Cloudy and in the 50s for the kickoff.

We couldn’t be prouder of UCO for the rousing 31-21 victory over Northwest Missouri last week.  The Bronchos are off to Hays, KS to meet MIAA foe Fort Hays State (3-1) on Saturday evening.  Fort Hays State has a number of very distinguished alumni, but none so distinguished as Mrs. Nola Ochs, who was certified by the Guinness Book of Records, in 2007, as the oldest person ever to receive an undergraduate degree.  She was 95 at the time.  Sadly, Mrs. Ochs has since passed away, but not until she reached 105, and had been able to enjoy her degree from FHSU for ten years.

Fort Hays State graduate Nola Ochs, at the time the oldest person ever awarded a baccalaureate degree. YouTube video

(In 2016, Alfonso Gonzales, a World War II veteran, received a baccalaureate degree from USC at the age of 96, but I haven’t seen a report that Guinness has marked his feat as a new record.  We salute both seniors for their accomplishments.)

In Div III, Rose-Hulman is now 1-3, having finally bagged a W after taking on some major out-of-conference challenges in the first month.  The Engineers will be at Franklin College (IN), typically the leader of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference pack, for one of the toughest conference games of the season.  The Grizzlies come in 2-1 off a bye week, and will be – you know it – loaded for bear.  The weather, at least, couldn’t be finer for the 1:30 PM game time: partly cloudy and right around 70.

Christopher Newport, 2-1 after the OT heartbreaker with Montclair State, visits Glassboro, NJ to take on NJAC opponent Rowan University on Saturday.  Rowan comes in 3-1 , but the one loss is to Frostburg State, which roams free in the Div III Top 10.  This will be a tough game for the Captains.  The weather looks to cooperate, with upper 60s and a few clouds for the 6 PM kickoff.

Merchant Marine (3-0) heads for conference action at MIT on Saturday.  MIT is 4-0, but three of the wins were non-conference – Becker College, Endicott College, and Curry College (whose first chancellor, you will be gratified to know, was Alexander Graham Bell, from 1907-1922) – and football-wise, they all suck.  The fourth win was over Catholic University, which USMMA stomped badly last season.  Bottom line: we think the Mariners have a good chance on the road.  The early kickoff – 11 AM – will see partly cloudy conditions and upper 60s.

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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