Football Follies 2019: NCAA week 13

Football Follies 2019: NCAA week 13
OK-State WR #17 Dillon Stoner prepares to catch QB #3 Spencer Sanders for a 52-yard TD in 31-13 win over Kansas, 16 Nov 2019. Kansas S #24 Ricky Thomas defending. Big 12 video, YouTube

The shadows are growing long on the 2019 regular season.  We’re awfully sorry, once again, to have to report that the week-long MAC Attack regime isn’t working out so well for Toledo.  The Rockets fell 49-30 to Buffalo on Wednesday night, and although it was still way better than watching the Democratic debate, it could have been just a touch more fun with an alternate scoring outcome.

Thursday evening gives us NC State (motto: “They have a football team?”) at Georgia Tech, and the exciting news is that there are points.  The Wolfpack is giving 3.

We’re saving Friday night for an Inner Circle surprise.

It’s Creampuff weekend for the SEC stalwarts, so enjoy the overdog mismatches.

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Inner Circle

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, comes off the bye week to host Houston on Saturday evening.  Both teams come in struggling at 3-7.  Tulsa’s giving 3 in the House, presumably in part on the strength of the unexpected win over UCF.

#9 Oklahoma hosts our Inner Circle fave TCU for a zesty Big 12 Boogaloo on Saturday night on Fox.  The Sooners are giving 18 to the 5-5 Horned Frogs, and all signs point to shaking the totem on this one.  “Don’t screw up like you always try to, Sooners.  Yeah, I saw you there.  Stop moving. I’m serious.”

That ought to do it.  If they’ll play their hearts out as they did in Waco, they might just avoid ignominy.

#21 Oklahoma State will be in Morgantown to take on West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, first thing on Saturday.  Pokes are favored by 6, and could certainly do better than that if they’ll apply themselves.

Navy is 7-2 and rankless after the drubbing by Notre Dame, but still set to entertain visiting, rankful #25 SMU (9-1) on Saturday afternoon.  This is a big game for the AAC-West; SMU can make a major move with a win.  Although the Mustangs are tied with Memphis in the W-Ls, and lost to the Tigers already, Memphis still has to play AAC (East) top-seed Cincinnati, and could end up a 2-loss team.  We’re just all about the “Go NAVY!” here.  The Mids are giving 3.5.

Army is 5-6 coming off the win over VMI, and has the week off.  Next Saturday they’ll be in Hawaii for a big shot at bowl eligibility.  The Game will be on 14 December.

Air Force is 8-2 and safely in possession of the Ram-Falcon Trophy heading for Albuquerque and the postponed meet with New Mexico (2-8).  Air Force, BTW, has already lost to MWC-Mountain leaders Boise State and Utah State, and isn’t likely to make up any ground on them.  But the Falcons have been playing good ball and should get a quality bowl slot.  The Lobos, after the untimely loss of their teammate, are a 23-point dog on Saturday.

Virginia Tech (7-3) has nothing but biggies coming up – now conceivably in a position, after the season’s rough start, to take the ACC Coastal crown.  That would start with prevailing over visiting Pitt, also 7-3.  Both teams are 4-2 conference; the Hokies need to knock off 7-3 Virginia in the Storied Rivalry match next week, and they’ll git ‘er done.  We know Fuentes will have them focused on the Panthers on Saturday, however.  VT has a 4-point oddsquad advantage.

Nevada is 6-4 heading for Fresno State on Saturday night, but if you know the MWC you understand why the 4-6 Bulldogs are giving 13.5.  Football skids around like a Suzuki Samurai in a high wind, west of the Rockies.  There’s no accounting for it.  Neither team is in the hunt for anything but a Booger Bowl at this point, but we’re gratified to say that the Wolf Pack has seen steady improvement in some aspects of their play, and should be more than a match for the lice-infested Rebels next week.

#1 LSU gets to host 2-8 Arkansas for their Storied Rivalry Bout for the Boot on Saturday evening, which is just as well since LSU is already in possession of the trophy, and therefore won’t have to be seen with it going both ways in transit.  You all know what we’re talking about.  If the palace of Versailles had a mascot, it would be the Golden Boot.  It’s so over the top, you can’t mail anything back to the top from where this fabulously lurid, 4-and-a-half-foot-tall “boot” is.  Not even FedEx delivers.

The Golden Boot, a trophy that would make even the Sultan of Brunei run scared. Wikipedia

We do love the depiction of the rivers and terrain on the Boot.  In a pinch, the National Guard could use it for battlefield analysis and planning.  LSU is giving 42.5 in Death Valley; we just hope the Hawg fans have good vittles scared up for the tailgating, since they aren’t likely to enjoy much of the rest of Saturday’s festivities.

Kansas State’s fortunes have waned a tad the last couple of games; they’re 6-4 now, off the loss to WVU, and headed for Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (4-6) on Saturday.  The Red Raiders are donating 2.5.  We’d like to see the Wildcats take ‘em down.

Toledo is 6-5 coming back from Buffalo, and sees final action the day after Thanksgiving at Central Michigan.  We’ll plan to get you ready for that one next week, but reserve the right to totally fail to do it prior to the game.  Sort of a reverse Joe Biden for you.

Wyoming (6-4) couldn’t pull it off against Utah State, but gets another chance entertaining Colorado State (4-6) in their Storied Rivalry, for which we’ve come to have a great affection here at your LU Football Commentary Service.

The football action kicks off Friday night at 7:30 PM Mountain.  This game, first played in 1899, will be in its 111th iteration on Friday.  Here, to get you in the mood, is a fantastic image circulating on Twitter from the 1939 game 80 years ago.

But there’s more.  As every schoolboy knows, the game ball is run from one school to the other along U.S. Highway 287, with the schools meeting for a handoff at the state line.

The ROTC cadets run in formation and it’s this whole big thing, and we swear we’re not getting teary eyed just because the kids ran in the autumn precip on Thursday up high in the exhilarating elevations of the Great West.

The winner takes home the Bronze Boot (its tasteful, thrift-store simplicity as a literal bronzed combat boot making a stark contrast to the gaudy — if equally beloved —  artifact haunting Louisiana).

The Bronze Boot. token of the Wyoming-CSU “Border War.” (Image: Wikipedia. By WhyohOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link)

The Cowboys are giving 6.5.  Bundle up well, if you’re headed for the stadium in Laramie.  Go Pokes!

Top 10

#2 Ohio State has the game of the week hosting #8 Penn State in their Storied Rivalry.  Although we’re not giving PSU much of a shot, we do keep in mind the nagging point that the Buckeyes haven’t been as battle tested up to now as you might think.  In any case, it’s a big game for the CFP.  The OSU gives 18.5.

#3 Clemson has the week off.

#4 Georgia hosts Texas A&M, giving 13.

#5 Alabama hosts the Western Carolina Catamounts (FCS, Southern).  And we get to type the name “Catamounts” for another season straight running.

#6 Oregon (situational motto: “C’mon, man!”) will be at Arizona State in the marquee slot Saturday evening, donating 14.

#7 Utah (-22.5) will be at Arizona.

#10 Minnesota gives 13 at Northwestern.

Best of the rest

More Storied Rivalries festoon the weekend, although they’re a bit spotty east of the Mississippi.  Boston College (5-5) will be at #16 Notre Dame for the Ireland Trophy, with the Arsh giving 20.

Further west, California teams get their Storied Rivalry on, starting with UCLA (4-6) at #23 USC (7-4).  Trojans give 13 in that one.

Cal (5-5) heads across town to Stanford (4-6) to battle for the unsightly plaque-mounted axe-head, which we have repeatedly explained is an unsatisfactory game token because it’s safety-mounted and that’s just silly.  But we do always enjoy pausing to think deep thoughts about Aristophanes, patron spirit of the game.  Brek-ek-ek!  The Raspberry Jam gives 2.5.  We think the Golden Bears can take ‘em.

The Stanford Axe, plaque-mounted For Your Safety. Wikipedia

We would never think of neglecting UTEP and New Mexico State, both 1-9, who are meeting in Las Cruces to duel for the Silver Spade.  There’s a line and everything; NMSU is giving 7.5.

Beyond rivalries, we wouldn’t turn our noses up at a couple of fine offerings.  #13 Michigan (8-2) at Indiana (7-3), with Wolverines giving 9.5, seems to have more promise than this match-up has had for some time.

Unfortunately, it’s on at the same time as Texas (6-4) at #14 Baylor (9-1), which on paper might not look that interesting.  But the ‘Horns will always give this one all they’ve got.  Bears plonking down 6.

Other ranks

In FCS, McNeese State dropped one to Nicholls last week and is 6-5 heading into the home stretch.  Saturday afternoon the Cowboys will be in Beaumont, TX to take on Lamar U., which clocks in at 4-7.  Rain may be sweeping through now, but it should be mid-60s and sunny for the 3 PM kickoff.

In Div II, Slippery Rock edged out Kutztown in a hard-fought 37-35 battle for the PSAC championship.  Congratulations to both teams, which will also both advance to the Div II tournament.  The Rock remains #8 in the Coaches poll, and gets this weekend off to prepare for the second round on 30 November.  SRU will play the winner of Indiana (PA) at Shepherd U. (Shepherdstown, WV).

UCO lost the season finale to Emporia State, 34-14, to retire honorably at 5-6 from 2019.  Good job bringing it home, Bronchos.  Plenty of years ahead for quality jaunts to small towns in Texas for post-season play.

In Div III, Rose-Hulman went down, rather as expected, in a 47-14 loss to #8 St. John’s Minnesota (St. Joseph).  The Fightin’ Engineers finish the season 6-4 and all to the good.  Great job!

Christopher Newport ends the season 2-8 with a 42-7 loss to Wesley College.  Keep stroking, Captains.  More to learn, room to grow, many winning seasons ahead.

Merchant Marine finished 6-3 with a barnburner 56-41 victory over Storied Rival Coast Guard last Saturday.  Nicely done!  No word on the horizon about a post-season meet, but they do occasionally pop up, so we’ll be on the qui vive.

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.