Football Follies 2019: NCAA week 4

Football Follies 2019: NCAA week 4
TCU RB #6 Darius Anderson shoots the gap to sprint home for the first TCU TD in a 34-13 win over Purdue, 14 Sep 2019. Big 12 video, YouTube

Let us congratulate ourselves that we do college football here, and therefore have no reason whatsoever to animadvert upon the peripatetic Mr. Antonio Brown.  But let us also take a moment to mourn the season-ending injury to Pittsburgh’s Ben14.  Roethlisberger has pulled an awful lot out of a hat over the years.  He could better have spared one of his knees, which never seemed to be in particularly good working order anyway.  We wish him and the Steelers the best.

We note – because we have the personal problem that the AAC matters to us here at your LU Football Commentary Service – that Tulane knocked off Houston 38-31 Thursday night.  Hmm.  Also worth noting, because the Sooners matter to us, that Houston scored as much against their defense (31) in the opening week loss as the Cougars scored on the Green Wave last night.  So, to summarize, we’re just saying.

Friday night will afford us an opportunity to watch Inner Circle fave Air Force uninterrupted and see what’s really happening with their success so far. #20 Boys Estate is giving 7 at home.

USC and the Youths of #10 Utah are doing something too, and whatever it is, opinion seems to favor the Youths by 3-ish.

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(Air Force was hanging in there with BSU for quite a while, but eventually fell 30-19.  USC is clinging to 30-23 over Utah as the clock winds down.)

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, takes on yet another Inner Circle stalwart as our Wyoming Cowboys ride into town on Saturday.  We’re seeing this one as a pick-‘em, although the oddsquad has Tulsa giving 3.5.  We’re mainly gratified that CBS College Sports will be carrying the game, as we wouldn’t miss it for the world.  It kicks off at 2:30 in Chapman/Skelly, and we understand one of our faithful correspondents will be there in person.  The forecast for 80s and showers at game time is less than promising (game delays have a rather epic history in Tulsa, as befits the home of the Golden Hurricane), but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

#5 Oklahoma has the week off.  We encourage the Sooner defense to spend it in whatever way will improve ball-awareness at the line.  No prejudging: it might take Zen meditation or eating bacon.  Whatever works.

Oklahoma State has a very big date in the marquee slot Saturday evening with #12 Texas.  We fear this is the one that will trip up the Pokes’ D more than the offense can compensate for; but, as always, any given Saturday.  We’d call this the first major square-off for the 2019 Big 12 pennant race – Texas facing a real Big 12 test – but have to admit we think the Longhorn give of 6.5 in Austin is parsimonious.  What can we say; Sooner bettors are in a class by themselves, and everyone else looks like a little old lady betting on Bingo in comparison.

Navy has the week off, but will be at Memphis for AAC action on Thursday evening, 26 September.

Army hosts Morgan State (FCS, Mid-Eastern) on Saturday early.

Virginia Tech, also with a week off, will be preparing to host a big one with Duke Friday evening (the 27th).  The ACC Coastal is pretty much up for grabs so far; kind of the ACC’s version of tectonic subsidence, a non-dominance condition that comes and goes a-cyclically.  (It’s a little freaky, to tell the truth.  The PAC-12 has to melt down with unsightly coaching and leadership dramas and crazy injury lists to achieve this level of unbroken packery; in the ACC it’s more like everybody’s just off to work as usual.)  We don’t envision the Hokies being in the title race this year, but we don’t despair of a quality bowl shot.

Nevada is back right-side up at 2-1, and headed for El Paso to take on UTEP on Saturday, giving 14.5.

#4 LSU gives 24 in a Saturday visit to Vanderbilt.

Darned if Kansas State doesn’t have the week off too.  They’ll be meeting Oklahoma State in Stillwater on 28 September, so start clearing your schedules now.

TCU looks fierce, surging to #25 off the win at Purdue and heading into the epic Battle for the Iron Skillet with SMU, one of our most highly-flavored Storied Rivalries.  What we especially love about the Iron Skillet is that it’s just a big old iron skillet, which nobody paints in garish colors or hangs silly kindercrafty doodads on.  SMU always plays this one to hilt, but we expect the Horned Frogs to cover their -8.5 in the Fort.

The Iron Skillet. Via Twitter

Toledo will still be shaking the wiggles out, heading west for an out-of-conference clash with Colorado State on Saturday night.  The 1-1 Rockets are giving 9, the Rams having pretty much sucked so far; the good news is that we’ll get to see the game here, and look forward to it.

Top 10

#1 Clemson (-41.5) hosts Charlotte, which we know you knew is C-USA New Blood.  The 49ers whomped our mild obsession UMass 52-17 last week, but Saturday is bound to turn out differently.

#2 Alabama hosts Southern Miss giving 38.5.

We suppose the sportsbabblers will have #3 Georgia hosting #7 Notre Dame as the game of the week, and more power to them.  The Bulldogs give 14, which any Sooner fan can respect.  No guarantee, actually, that the Arsh will cover, for all their #7 status.  That Georgia D is looking mighty mighty so far.

#6 Ohio State hosts Miami (OH) giving 38.5.

#8 Auburn heads to #17 Texas A&M for what looks to be a pretty good game.  No kind of gimme; A&M favored by 4 at this hour.

It’s time, of courses, for #9 Florida to donate 14 in the annual, Way-Storied Rivalry match with visiting Tennessee.  Hard (and weird) as it may be to recall, it was 10 years ago in this game that Lane Kiffin, new head coach for the Vols, squared off with Urban Meyer in Gainesville, who had then yet to be blinded on the road to Damascus for the first time.  Sands of time.

Best of the rest

Although it seems like you can’t get past week 3 without a Storied Rivalry stalking you in the Big 10, we do issue a reminder that #11 Michigan at #13 Wisconsin (-3) isn’t technically a rivalry.  It just promises to be a very interesting game.  Get your stopwatches ready and let’s see whose offense, such as it is, takes longer to get its heart started.

In other Storied Rivalry action, Bowling Green will be at Kent State to battle for the Anniversary Award, which gets our Understated Elegance nod this week for not trying too hard, as it’s just a garden-variety trophy, and apparently happy to be itself.  Oddly enough, the Golden Flashes give 11.

New Mexico State will be at New Mexico (-4) for the Rio Grande Rivalry, and the good news is, someone is almost certain to win.

Otherwhere, Cal heads to Ole Miss, a match-up we love (in the Isaac Mizrahi loving chartreuse this season sense), and the Rebels give 3.  We give the Golden Bears a shot.

Stanford hosts #16 Oregon (-10), which not so long ago would have mattered.

And for the “Huh” factor, it’s hard to beat Central Arkansas (FCS, Southland) at Hawaii on Saturday night.  Sneaky devils, those Southland Bears.

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State dives into Southland conference play heading to Abilene to take on Abilene Christian.  The Wildcats come in 1-2, having dropped their first Southland match to Central Arkansas last week.  The ‘Boys are officially lurking again, with 7 votes in the Coaches Poll this week after knocking off Alcorn State.  They could use a thumping win.  Thankfully, kickoff in Abilene is 6 PM, when the temps should have subsided just a tad from the mid-90s.  At least they’re out of the flood zone there.

In Div II, Slippery Rock hosts PSAC opponent Millersville on Saturday.  Millersville lost spectacularly to Indiana (PA) last week, 54-0, but we know the Rock won’t approach their Family Day game on the slouch.  They’re hanging in there at #11 in the rankings.  The 2 PM game start should see a seasonable low 80s and partly cloudy.

UCO hosts Lincoln University of Missouri (Jefferson City) on Saturday in an MIAA bout.  The Bronchos are coming off their win over Nebraska-Kearney; Lincoln is 0-2 so far although they’ve shown an ability to put up some points.  Lincoln is a historically black university with several notable alumni, including actor Stephen McKinley Henderson (whom you’ll probably remember from a lot of series TV) and late activist and lawyer John Morton-Finney, whose credits include a truly alarming five separate law degrees (out of 11 total academic degrees).  His Ethiopian ancestors had reportedly migrated to Nigeria at one time, which is where they were taken into slavery and sent to North America; Morton-Finney “was crowned Adeniran I, Paramount Chief of Yoruba Descendants in Indiana during ceremonies held at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis on August 31, 1979.”  Not a distinction very many among us can claim.  Mr. Morton-Finney passed away in 1998 at the age of 108.

Kickoff is at 7 PM in Edmond; as in Tulsa, it’s looking like a dank 80-ish with rain.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman has a well-deserved weekend off after blanking Rhodes College 30-0 last week.  RHIT will be back in action next Saturday at Manchester.

Christopher Newport lost a heartbreaker in O/T to Hampden-Sydney last week, and has one more jog out of conference on Saturday before settling in for NJAC play.  The Captains head to Brevard, NC to take on Brevard College, which plays in USA South and will actually be playing its first game of the season this week.  The original first game for Brevard, against the Apprentice School of Newport News, was cancelled.  (The Apprentice School, which teaches shipbuilding, is stranger than a $3 bill: a non-degree-granting institution, it belongs to neither the NCAA nor NAIA, but it’s in the USCAA and picks up a full season’s worth of Div III football matches each year.  This is America, after all.  The Builders went 9-3 in 2018; not too shabby.)

For the 7 PM game start in Brevard, 70s and clearing skies.

Merchant Marine hosts SUNY Maritime for Homecoming on Saturday, with both teams coming off losses.  (SUNY Maritime is 1-1, having defeated Maine Maritime in week 1.)  We of course want our Mariners to prevail, and not the invading Mariners, but we wish both teams a good game and stout play.  Partly cloudy, low 80s with gentle breezes for the 1 PM game start.

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.