Since we last spoke, of course, the state of California has decided to allow college athletes to earn money from college athletics. This a stupid move, which the NCAA should promptly sanction by expelling California schools until it is reversed. This is what you get when you have one-party rule in a state: Complete Loss of Intellectual Function (CLIF).
In the course of committing this error, Governor Gavin Newsom invoked a reference of his earlier in 2019 to California as a “nation-state.” Whatever he meant by that, it sounds more like Confederate thinking ca. 1860 than not. Don’t be California.
As we speak, Cincinnati is up on UCF 27-16 – unexpectedly (Bearcats won) – and San Jose State, bless ‘em, has found someone they can pound to dust in visiting New Mexico.
Meanwhile, we have Saturday morning coming up, and it’s going to be more than ordinarily challenging. Too much good stuff from our Inner Circle, all erupting at the same time.
Happily, the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, won’t be contributing to the big football traffic jam in the AM. (It’s AM here and in the Central time zone, although noon on the East Coast.) Tulsa won’t be part of it; the Golden H will be in Dallas later on, having it out with AAC-West rival #24 SMU in Gerald J. Ford Stadium, named for SMU alum Gerald J. Ford, a banker and philanthropist unrelated to the 38th president. Although there’s no exchange of garage-sale knick-knacks in this rivalry, it’s becoming quite a Thing for both schools, and should be a good game (at the respectable hour of 6:30 PM) now that TU has a defense again. The Mustangs give 13, and considering how they’ve performed in the last two games, and their (probably temporary) ranking, that’s fair enough.
Starting us off in the AM madness, at 11:00 AM, #6 Oklahoma will be in Lawrence taking on Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”). We don’t ever dare to get complacent, but as usual, the 32-point Sooner give looks good on paper. Even if the Sooner D grabs Jayhawk partners and waltzes at the line, as it is so wont to do, while Kansas runners roam free, it’s well within Jalen and the Gang’s power to outscore them by 32 anyway. From the little we’ve seen of the Kansas D, they’re slower than molasses trying to react to miniscule temperature fluctuations on an ice floe in the Arctic. Les has his work cut out for him.
Oklahoma State is fresh caught at #21 after the win over Kansas State, and will be in Lubbock for a meet with Texas Tech, also at 11:00 AM. The Pokes ride in on a give of 10.
Navy plays host in the annual Commanders’ Cup match with Air Force, and it ought to be an interesting game this year. Air Force can throw. Navy, not so much, but they’re doing good stuff with the option. The oddsquad nods to the Falcons by 3.5; it could go either way. N-A-V-Y – sing second, Mids. Do us proud.
Army will have its hands full with visiting Tulane in another early match. Both teams are 3-1, and neither is a slouch this season. Tulane has earned the 2-point give, but Army could pull this one out.
Virginia Tech will be at Miami (Da U) for their usual, with both teams coming in 2-2 and looking like nobody’s business. We swear, they’ll have Kilz and spackle, nail guns and drywall on the sidelines, that’s how much they’re both repairing and rebuilding this year. The Hurricanes give 14, for reasons that are obvious if you’ve been watching the Hokies play. But by Miami standards, they too suck ostrich eggs this season. It’s the Curse of the ACC Coastal, what can we say.
Nevada has a well-timed week off after a somewhat unsightly loss to Hawaii last Saturday. We know they’ll be well-adjusted and ready to contend again next week, when they host San Jose State.
#5 LSU has to add to the 11:00 AM traffic jam by hosting Utah State in Death Valley. Assuming Kansas won’t be able to keep it very interesting, we’ll be sneaking away to this one from time to time. Granted, it’s out of conference and not an SEC classic, but the 3-1 Aggies bring some talent, and the Great West penchant for throwing long, and could make it fun. LSU is a 27-point favorite, and can certainly cover.
TCU will be up at Iowa State doing the usual “Why did I get myself into this?” Big 12 dance. No one should ever have to play at Iowa State. (Well, no one in the Big 12, anyway. Whatever the Cyclones want to work out with Iowa. Personal problem.) That’s our position. ISU gives 3.5, which just shows you.
Kansas State dusts itself off and hosts Baylor in Manhattan for an afternoon clash. Baylor has started to play actual football again this season, and although we wouldn’t overstate narrow wins against Rice and Iowa State (in Waco), they’re not to be despised. Rhule has got the Bears on the move. We do think the Wildcat give of 1.5 is a bit skimpy, but let ‘em kick off and see what they can do tomorrow.
Toledo had a most gratifying win over BYU last week, and kicks it in gear in MAC play hosting Western Michigan on Saturday. The Broncos won the Victory Cannon last week, as nature intended, knocking off Central Michigan 31-15. They lack the oomph of previous seasons, with respectable but not scary-close losses to Michigan State and Syracuse; overall, at 3-2 and 1-0 conference, they look beatable. The Rockets are a 1.5-point favorite, but we regret to say this match is airing on ESPN+, which is a Bolshevik plot against humanity. Once again, we’ll have to follow the action via cartoons.
Wyoming punched UNLV’s lights out last week, and we’ve sworn our eternal loyalty just for that service to all mankind. The Laramie Pokes have a well-deserved weekend off. Next up: SDSU on the 12th.
#1 Alabama and #2 Clemson have swapped top slots, and both have this week off.
#3 Georgia will be at Tennessee Saturday evening giving 24.5
#4 Ohio State hosts #25 Michigan State in a YUUGE Big 10 clash in the marquee slot. Buckeyes are giving 20. Will the Spartans be the ones who can spoil the fun?
#7 Auburn will be at #10 Florida giving SEC partisans palpitations in an afternoon meet. Fittingly, the War Eagle gives 2.5 in this Storied Rivalry.
#8 Wisconsin (-35) hosts Kent State, for some reason.
There’s no telling why #9 Notre Dame is hosting Bowling Green either, but the Arsh are giving 45, so maybe it’s a philanthropic endeavor.
Best of the rest
Crowding the early slot even more, #19 Michigan hosts #14 Iowa in a match that couldn’t be more storied if it were a Storied Rivalry (which technically it’s not). Hawkeyes are a 4-point dog.
Morgantown won’t be anything to sneeze at in the afternoon match, with West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, hosting #11 Texas. Interestingly, the Longhorns are giving only 11.5. Sooners will be keeping a close eye on this one with the Shootout coming up.
We’ve finally reached the point at which FCS teams aren’t hanging around for the early-season funding goose-up, and cross-conference play has mostly faded. So the parody matches are fewer and farther between. It’s hard to keep track of the PAC-12, which is mostly off the radar at this point, but the cream of the crop this week would be #13 Oregon (-20) hosting Cal.
We’re not optimistic for the Terps at Rutgers, but darned if the oddsbubbas don’t have Maryland giving 14.
In FCS, McNeese State is 2-3 after the loss to Sam Houston State, and will be hosting Southeastern Louisiana in Lake Charles Saturday afternoon. It’s Distinguished Alumni weekend, and you know they’ve got some Distinguished Alumni from McNeese, including NFL players Leonard Smith (CB/Buffalo, St. Louis) and Tom Sestak (DT/Buffalo) as well as Zack Bronson (S/San Francisco), now cornerback coach for the Pokes.
But we’ve kind of taken a shine to Christopher Catrambone (McNeese ’02), who works out of Malta (yes, the one with Joseph Mifsud) and, with his wife Regina, founded a rescue group called Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS). For his MOAS work, Catrambone was awarded the Medal for Service for the Republic of Malta (Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika) in 2016, something we doubt any other alumni in the Southland Conference can claim. Perhaps equally distinctive, Catrambone hangs with “Robert Young Pelton, a Zelig-like American journalist, filmmaker, and folding knife merchant (under the DPx Gear label),” and we defy Mifsud himself to get as downright Maltese as these two seem to.
It’ll be straight up 90 and humid as all get-out for the 4 PM kickoff.
In Div II, Slippery Rock is hanging in there at #10 with the win over Seton Hill, and heads off to Mercyhurst in Erie for a Saturday afternoon contest. Mercyhurst is 2-2, having lost big to Indiana (PA) last week. 60-ish and partly cloudy for the noon game start.
UCO hosts Fort Hays State, which comes in at a matching 2-2 with a non-beanbag victory over Washburn to its credit. The kickoff in Edmond is at 1 PM, under partly cloudy skies with low 60s whistling in the stands.
In Div III, Rose-Hulman hosts Franklin (IN) on Saturday, for what in previous years has been one of the big games of the season. Franklin rode high in Div III for a number of years, but has lost a step in the past two and comes to this week’s game 1-3 overall, to RHIT’s 2-1. 70s and humid with cloud cover for the 2 PM game start.
Christopher Newport heads into NJAC play at 0-3, taking on Kean U. in Union, NJ on Saturday. Kean at 1-2 hasn’t exactly been keen, but did prevail over Dean (College, Franklin, Mass.) last week in a way-out-of-conference match (Dean plays in the New England Collegiate Conference). The noon kickoff in Union should see upper 50s and bright sun.
Merchant Marine hosts MIT (the Massachusetts institute, not the Turkish intelligence organization) in Kings Point on Saturday. USMMA comes in 2-1, with two thumping wins under its belt; MIT is also 2-1, having lost to Carnegie Mellon in week 1. The paper trail says the Eggheads need to shut down the Mariners’ voracious running game. MIT’s defense has been pretty stingy with the running yards allowed, so it should be interesting to see how that comes out.
We’re hard put to decide which MIT alumnus is having the toughest time right now: Ricardo Rossello, the ex-governor of Puerto Rico who had to resign in August for being a schmo; actor James Woods, suspended by Twitter for saying one too many true things; or Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to hold Likud together and assemble a government after the second national Israeli election of 2019. As far as we are aware, none of them has been awarded the Medal for Service for the Republic of Malta (Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika), nor has any of them met George Papadopoulos.
Game start is at noon, with weather virtually identical to Union, NJ’s: upper 50s and sunny.