Football Follies 2019: NCAA week 12

Football Follies 2019: NCAA week 12
Navy DE #96 Jackson Perkins intercepts UConn QB #11 Jack Zergiotis to set up another Navy TD. 2 Nov 2019. AAC video, YouTube

Who would have guessed it would be obligatory to have a little chat about the NFL (“that low-class dance hall downstairs”) before diving into week 12?

After Thursday night’s unseemly events in Cleveland, we assess that some people did something, and could have made better choices.  We’re hard over on that.

The Steelers’ Mason Rudolph isn’t blameless, although there was no excuse for the lingering (really lingering) late (really late) hit by Myles Garrett of the Browns.  And Rudolph’s knee-knock to Garrett’s Safe Space, and handsy interlude with Garrett’s helmet, certainly didn’t justify Garrett in ripping off Rudolph’s helmet and whacking him upside the head with it.  Pouncey (Steelers) pouncing on Garrett to avenge the attack on his QB got the “ooh, ahh” reaction, but it also was Officially Unjustified and not to be sanctioned.  The other shoulder-thumping lookie-loos stomping in and out could have been dispensed with. There was no need for any of the action to move to the end zone and take on a life of its own.

Video (the replay shows the action in detail; click through to watch on YouTube):

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O.J. Simpsonsplains us:

Garrett’s sentence (season-plus suspension) seems about right.  It’s possible that Rudolph got off easy.  On the other hand, who cares?  He didn’t get Garrett’s helmet off, and he didn’t bash anyone in the head with a helmet.

One thing every military servicemember learns (and all adults used to know) is that when situations deteriorate like this one, because of bad choices on the part of multiple participants, there’s no perfect division of “justice” in the punishments and correctives.  The administration of law and order still functions to an acceptable standard at least 98% of the time.

The moral of the story: people, stop doing something.  Don’t do something again.  Don’t even think about it.

Meanwhile, we are sad to report that Toledo’s bout with Northern Illinois didn’t go as planned.  The Rockets fell to the Huskies 31-28 on Wednesday night.  Sigh.  We’re at least glad to be in the swing with the week-long MAC Attacks.

Friday evening has brought a great Storied Rivalry to our doorsteps, as Fresno State meets San Diego State in San Diego County Credit Union Stadium to duke it out for one of our most treasured Gross Old Piece-of-Junk game tokens, the Oil Can.  So far the football action has been pretty low-rent, scoring-wise, but we can never rest easy until we know who’s got custody of the Oil Can for another year.  It’s 10-7 Aztecs at the moment.  (It ended 17-7 Aztecs.)

The Oil Can hoisted aloft by Fresno State. YouTube video

Before moving on, we pose an essay question for our insightful correspondents.  Which is worse, the People Doing Something episode in Cleveland, or the three judges in a brawl at a White Castle in Indianapolis, in May 2019, two of whom got shot?  We feel like it’s been pretty weird out there for a while now.

Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, beat Central Florida very unexpectedly last week, and has this week off.  We, personally, have long been aware that Tulsa is the smallest-enrollment school in the FBS.  But we didn’t know until last week’s game that UCF is the largest-enrollment school in the entire FBS, with over 66,000.  Little factoid to see you through.

#10 Oklahoma has a whale of a game coming up in the marquee slot Saturday evening, visiting #13 Baylor in Waco.  We’d call it the game of the week, weighed down as it is with Freighted Import about second-tier OU’s CFP prospects and the outcome in the Big 12, but the truth is that the game of the week is going to be Georgia-Auburn.  More on that later.

For the Sooners, this is one they’ll either roar into and helmet-whack until it’s dead, or play the stunned mullet in and be dog-paddling desperately to not lose in the 4Q.  It’s their way.  I’m not even sure it’ll be as much up to the D this time, as to the suddenly ghostly offensive line.  What happened to that once formidable passel of 300-pound cannon rounds?

Matt Rhule and his talent squad have the stuff to bring on the dog-paddling.  Sooners give 10.5, which unnatural generosity is never a good sign, but always a sign that Oklahoma bettors are driving the line.

#22 Oklahoma State will host 3-6 Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”), with a homefield give of 17.5.

For sentiment and the songs of yesteryear, there’s no beating #23 Navy (7-1) heading to the Storied Rivalry meet with #16 Notre Dame (7-2).  The Arsh give 7, but danged if we don’t think this year’s Mids can win this one.

Army hosts an other-ranks match with VMI (FCS, Southern) on Saturday at noon.  The Keydets are 4-6 and 5th in Southern, which of course is no match for Army being 4-6 in FBS play.  Best of luck to all.

Air Force (7-2) has a Storied Rivalry meet of its own Saturday night at Colorado State (4-5), playing for the safely-encased Ram-Falcon trophy, which we always like to point out is topped with little statues of a ram and a falcon.  We’re betting there aren’t many of these in the world, because who else would it occur to; but in any case, it would be kind of like our beloved MSU-PSU Land Grant Trophy (a Spartan and a Nittany Lion), except that the ram and the falcon are protected from greasy fingers by a rigid see-through enclosure.  Which somehow has an Air Force-ish, newfangled-y Western-universities vibe to it.  Air Force is donating 10.

Virginia Tech (6-3) prevailed over Wake Forest last week, and will be at Georgia Tech (2-7) for their Storied Rivalry, the Battle of the Techs, on Saturday.  The Yellow Jackets are seriously courting a motto these days, seemingly unable to pull out of their extended funk.  That said, the Hokies, who are favored by 6.5, assuredly know how to lose a gimme.  Their D is starting to step up and shed the penalties, at least.  No question they’re still in the ACC Coastal hunt.

Nevada just about killed us with the 17-13 win over San Diego State, and is now bowl-eligible.  It feels like the Pack takes every other week off; they have this one off, at any rate.  Fresno State is coming up on the 23rd.

TCU hits Lubbock at 4-5 on Saturday for their Storied Rivalry with 4-5 Texas Tech.  No trophy featuring a saddle could fail to be among the trophy nobility, and the Saddle Trophy doesn’t disappoint.  We’ve always thought a Red Raider might have more use for a saddle than a Horned Frog does, but we know little from Texas Horned Frogs, so we’ll let them thrash that one out.  TCU is favored by 3; we’re expecting some serious scoring, there being little defense on the landscape in this one.

Our very own #1 LSU heads to Ole Miss (4-6) for a spot of target practice on Saturday.  We feel the Tiger give of 21 is about right, and may be stingy.

Kansas State has subsided to 6-3 and #24, and will host West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, on Saturday PM in the usual spot in Manhattan.  The Wildcats are giving 13.5 to the 3-6 Mountaineers.

Toledo is 6-4 with the loss to NIU, and will next see MAC Attack action at 5-5 Buffalo on Wednesday 20 November.  We’d envision a fair-trade Rocket advantage of about 3.

Wyoming (6-3) strikes out for Logan for a match with Utah State (5-4) on Saturday, with the Aggies favored by 5 at home.  USU beat Wake Forest in week 1, but was unnatcherly crushed by not only LSU but Air Force and BYU.  So we still give the Pokes at healthy shot at this one.

Top 10

#2 Ohio State will be at Rutgers, giving the Scarlet Commies 52.

#3 Clemson (-34.5) hosts Wake Forest.

#4 Georgia heads for #12 Auburn for the undoubted game of the week, mid-afternoon on CBS.  Auburn can beat the Bulldogs.  War Eagle’s got the D.  A two-loss Georgia would find it hard to stay in the top 4, and Alabama would wound no sensibilities with a comeback.  This is a must-win for Georgia, which is giving 3.  (It’s also The Deep South’s Oldest Storied Rivalry.)

#5 Alabama heads to Mississippi State to donate 18.5 points.

#6 Oregon (situational motto: “C’mon, man!”) will host 4-5 Arizona Saturday night, for all the good that will do anyone.  Ducks give 27.5.

#7 Utah, likewise, has Saturday night hosting duties versus 4-5 UCLA, which comes in a 21.5-point dog.

It’s just a load of fun that Minnesota is 9-0 and #8, having taken a 9-rank vault since last week, coming into one of our most favorite Storied Rivalries, the battle with #20 Iowa for Floyd of Rosedale, Pig of Pigs.  We’ve been over the original Floyd’s demise from cholera a number of times, but we don’t recall previously mentioning a relevant data point that surges to the fore this Saturday because the Golden Gophers are 9-0 for the first time since 1903.  In that selfsame year, Minnesota beat Iowa 75-0.  But that was also the year Minnesota and Michigan fought to a 6-6 tie, and were so overcome by the experience that they had to adopt the Little Brown Jug as the token of their Super-Storied Rivalry.

Iowa is favored by 3, because the CFP has got no reason to live.

Floyd of Rosedale, Pig without peer. Wikipedia

#9 Penn State, having taken a big 5-rank tumble, hosts 7-2 Indiana and gives 14.5.

Best of the rest

The Storied Rivalries are flying thick and fast now.  #15 Michigan hosts Michigan State to settle who takes home the giant Hummel figurine of Paul Bunyan, which is a really cute trophy, if not quite as manly as Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  Blue is favored by 13.

Debonair Paul Bunyan strikes a pose. Wikipedia: By megstersdad –, CC BY 2.0, Link

#14 Wisconsin will be at Nebraska to play for the Freedom Trophy, an intriguing artifact which features graven images of both teams’ stadiums.  We feel sure there is some logical reason for that.  Badgers are favored by 14.

Kentucky heads to Vanderbilt for their Storied Rivalry, the Wildcats giving 10.

It might not actively hurt to drop in on #11 Florida (-6.5) at Missouri or #19 Texas at Iowa State (-7).  It probably would hurt to watch much of UMass (1-9) at Northwestern (1-8), where the Wildcats are giving 41.  But it’s on BTN, and how often do you get to see the Minutekind at work?

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State heads to Nicholls State, both teams 6-4 and looking pretty well matched.  The 3 PM kickoff in Thibodaux should see right around 60 with plenty of sun.

In Div II, Slippery Rock rolled over Gannon 56-7 to surge to 10-0, #8 in the Coaches poll, and the PSAC championship match on Saturday at #13 Kutztown.  Kutztown is also 10-0, averaging 445 total offensive yards a game to SRU’s 499, and limiting opponents to 287, versus SRU’s 291.  Very healthy head-to-head match-up, at least by the numbers.  A brisk 39 and sunny for the noon kickoff.

We’re assuming UCO won the President’s Cup, after pulverizing Northeastern State 82-14.  It would be pretty weird to go to all that trouble, including a 35-point 3Q, and not get the Cup.  The Bronchos have one more on Saturday at MIAA opponent Emporia State (KS), 3-7 to UCO’s 5-5.  We’d love to see UCO finish 6-5.  60 and partly cloudy for a 2 PM game start.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman fell 42-13 to Hanover, dropping to 6-3 and congratulating Hanover as HCAC champion for 2019.  The Fightin’ Engineers’ final season match is out of conference at St. John’s Minnesota (St. Joseph), which plays in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  The Johnnies are 8-1 and go around whupping up on people, so RHIT has its work cut out for it.  The 2 PM kickoff in St. Joseph can expect 40 degrees and overcast skies.

Christopher Newport, 2-7 and having fallen to Rowan 27-23 last week, heads to Dover, DE to meet 8-1 Wesley College for the final game on Saturday.  We have a funny feeling how that’s going to go.  The 1 PM game start will see low 40s and lowering clouds.

Merchant Marine is 5-3 after trouncing Catholic U. 47-10, and eagerly awaits the Big Game with Coast Guard on Saturday in New London.  Coast Guard is 5-4 and coming off a big loss to Worcester Poly.  The game starts at noon, when it should actually be sunny and clear with temps in the upper 30s.

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.