We’re a touch underwhelmed with the action in Waco so far Thursday evening, where #12 Baylor is giving 17 to West Virginia. We assume the Bears will get on the stick here shortly. (Note: they haven’t. Underwhelmage continues with a 14-all tie at this late hour. … Baylor pulls it out 17-14 at the end. Excruciating.)
We also miss our early-week MAC Attack, which in the past has made the early-dark evenings of fall just that much more fall-like with the onset of week 8 and after. Time marches on. The CFP rankings keep threatening to kick in (after Saturday). Fake “impeachment” processes get shrieked about. Hero dogs get photoshopped. Baseball team with the world’s worst fans wins the Series, but at least it’s not a particularly good Series, although the Astros pulled out of an 0-3 tailspin so that was cool. Steph breaks his hand or some darn thing. LeBron is chased out of his tony West LA home by the Getty Fire, which got really honking close to hundreds of millions’ worth of irreplaceable art. Well, too early to be thinking about orange ball. Halloween creeps in on little cat feet.
Don’t forget to set your clocks back Saturday night. Rend your hearts and not your garments over this loathsome ritual. Vote the next chance you get to never, ever do it again.
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, fell to 2-6 after another respectable loss and quality learning experience versus #24 Memphis.
Tulane – blown out by Memphis earlier – is giving 10.5 hosting Tulsa in cozy Yulman Stadium on Saturday. We’re counting no chickens, but this is one TU has a shot at winning.
Memphis is 7-1, by the way, and has a baggern of an AAC match coming up this weekend hosting #15 SMU (8-0). The AAC West is on the line. This is also the week’s marquee game in the ABC evening slot on Saturday. Tigers are giving 6.
New #10 Oklahoma, sadder and wiser, more annoying, less filling, and 7-1 on the edge of an unforgiving field, has the weekend off. Adieu, mon CFP hope.
Oklahoma State hosts a frisky TCU in a great Inner Circle match-up early Saturday evening. We were so proud of both teams prevailing in tough Big 12 contests last week. The 5-3 Pokes are giving 2.5 to a 4-3 Toad squad, but knowing OK-State’s luck with Xtreme weather, we feel the good news is that Fall Back is overnight, after the game, so if there are any 7-hour mid-game delays, it’ll at least be one less hour lost off the clock for the deeply committed.
Navy is 6-1 heading for UConn (2-6) Friday night, giving 27.5.
Army, 3-5, takes to the wild blue yonder for the big Commanders’ Cup match with 6-2 Air Force in Colorado Springs. Air Force has a very decent air game and a hard-working defense; the Falcon give of 16 is not unreasonable.
Virginia Tech goes big with an expedition to new #16 Notre Dame, now tucked tidily south of #14 Michigan in the ranking and sporting the same record as the Hokies: 5-2. If you’re keeping track, VT is still in contention in the ACC Coastal, because the ACC Coastal is an extraterrestrial mutant. We kind of love that about it. For the Hokies it’s an uphill climb, with Notre Dame, Wake Forest, and Pitt all coming up. But they’ve knocked off UNC, and meet the division-leading Yahoos at the usual time on 29 November to see if there’s any possibility. The Arsh give 17.5 on Saturday.
Nevada, 4-4 after the first-half loss to Wyoming last week, hosts New Mexico (2-6) Saturday night and is favored at this hour by 3.5. Hang in there, Pack! – two more and you’re bowl eligible, but the real issue is the Cannon, and we know you can run it out this year.
Our own prize tiger #1 LSU is off this weekend, preparing for the humongoid Storied Rivalry match with new #2 Alabama on 9 November. We look forward to the 8,697 times the sportschatters will tell us when was the last time LSU was #1 and Alabama was #2 for their epic annual meet. That patter will of course be overshadowed by the drumbeat on Tua Tagovailoa’s ankle sprain, which we’re told will make him a game-day decision for the Tide.
We may have known before this that new #22 Kansas State and Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”) have named their Storied Rivalry the “Sunflower Showdown.” But it still came as an unpleasant shock a short while ago. What are you guys, Disney Tuscany now? (And yes, as your neighbor to the south for many meaningful years, I know Kansas is the Sunflower State.)
But, I mean, Kansas is the home of the world-famous Beecher Bible and Rifle Church, named for the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, who helped smuggle rifles past pro-slavery forces in crates marked Beecher’s Bibles. We feel sure a state full of wildcats and mean, nasty jayhawks can find a way to do better. (Be sure to visit the church next time you’re in Wabaunsee, by the way. Good times.)
K-State, 5-2 and on the prowl after the win over Oklahoma, is giving 6 at 3-5 Kansas at 5:30 PM Saturday.
Toledo, 5-3 after the OT win over Eastern Michigan, will requite us with a little MAC Attack on Tuesday the 5th hosting Kent State, 3-5 and sucky as ever. The oddsquad isn’t disclosing yet, but we’re feeling pretty good about anywhere from 7-10 points Rockets-wise.
Wyoming has the weekend off to prepare for the big clash with #21 Boise State on 9 November. The 6-2 Pokes still have both the Broncos and Air Force on their dance card; i.e., the two teams above them in the MWC-Mountain standings. BSU is a far bridge, but Air Force is within range. Lot of football left to play.
#3 Ohio State is off.
#4 Clemson hosts sacrificial Wofford (FCS, Southern).
#5 Penn State is off.
#6 Florida hosts #8 Georgia in their Many-Storied Rivalry for our game of the week. It feels like we ought to be more excited about it, but we’re stuck on that big, shiny thing next weekend in Tuscaloosa.
Georgia holds the Okefenokee Oar at present. We’re a bit startled to report that in 1986, some years before the Oar became the winner’s loot, the city of Jacksonville (the neutral site where the game is played) offered to give the goalposts to the contest winner, reportedly in the hope that such an incentive would keep fans from storming the field after the game and tearing them down. In a remarkable case of shortsightedness, nobody wanted the goalposts (hello. Car dealers??). Apparently that offer was never repeated, but it isn’t clear if the goalposts continued to suffer an ignominious fate after that.
Bulldogs give 6.
In what we can only characterize as a gross oversight, 7-1 Oregon has vaulted to #7. The Ducks will be at 5-3 USC Saturday night giving 4.5.
#9 Utah is at Washington giving 3.
Best of the rest
More classic Storied Rivalry action teed up for us on Saturday:
North Carolina State (motto: “They have a football team?”) meets #23 Wake Forest, with the Demon Deacons giving 7.5 at home.
#11 Auburn hosts Ole Miss, giving 19.5.
North Carolina will host Virginia in the “South’s Oldest Rivalry” Saturday night, giving a tepid 2.
… and the one we’ve been waiting for all season, the battle for the Golden Screwdriver, featuring Fresno State at Hawaii. It’s probably best to just quote from the Fresno Bee and Honolulu Advertiser to get you up to speed on this one (via Wikipedia; see links here):
Although [then-Hawaii head coach June Jones] claimed that he saw a screwdriver being thrown over his head from the Fresno State student section and falling on the field, a Fresno State investigation did not produce any witnesses from security or field crews. On October 31, 2002, Fresno State athletic director Scott Johnson issued an apology to Hawaii fans that stated in part: “…we believe that a screwdriver was thrown by one of our fans at the University of Hawai’i team bench.”
If you’re going to exchange something gold-toned, it might as well be a screwdriver commemorating a phantom act of hooliganism, amirite? Some of our trophy knick-knacks are really kind of tiresome in terms of trying too hard, but this one lands five center-mass, if you ask us.
— Star-Advertiser (@StarAdvertiser) November 17, 2016
Hawaii’s giving 2. (The Bulldogs would have the Screwdriver, by the way, if they were in the mood to accept it last year. Apparently there’s some reluctance there. Perhaps because of the juicy tastelessness of the seemingly homemade trophy itself. A lot to love about this possibly overstoried rivalry.)
In FCS, McNeese State is 5-4 after rolling nicely over Stephen F. Austin last week. The Pokes will host Northwestern State (Natchitoches; 1-7) on Saturday at 4 PM. The chill will have Lake Charles still in the 60s with overcast skies.
In Div II, Slippery Rock roared to a 41-6 win over Clarion last week, delighting us on ESPN College Extra and surging to 8-0. The Colorado School of Mines got the nod to occupy the #9 position solo, so SRU is #10 this week. The Rock hosts California (PA), 6-2 on Saturday. A brisk mid-40s for the 1 PM kickoff in Slippery Rock.
UCO prevailed over Washburn 22-20 last week, although we’d never in a million years refer to that as bringing back Ichabod’s head. The Bronchos are 3-5 now and will be hosting Missouri Southern (Joplin) for Hall of Fame weekend on Saturday. The Lions come in 2-6; expect sunny and mid-50s in Edmond for the 1 PM game start.
In Div III, we’re thrilled to report that Rose-Hulman clobbered rival Mt. St. Joe all over the place last week, and is 5-2 hosting 0-7 Defiance (OH) on Saturday. For the 1:30 PM kickoff, the weather-guessers foresee mid-40s and partly cloudy skies.
Christopher Newport may not have learned anything last week, but by golly, they put another in the W column. Nicely done. They’re 2-5 rolling into Salisbury, MD Saturday to take on Salisbury University, perennially one of the top teams in the NJAC and 6-0 this year (although unranked). Temps will touch 60 during the game, which kicks off at 1 PM, with a stray cloud or two overhead.
Merchant Marine, we’re sorry to report, lost ugly to Worcester Poly last week, the 66-13 final knocking the Mariners down to 4-3. USMMA has this weekend off, with Catholic U. up next week and the big finish at rival Coast Guard on the 16th. (It’s that last one that counts.)