Football Follies 2020: NCAA week 15 – The Game

Football Follies 2020: NCAA week 15 – The Game
A scene from the Army-Navy game at West Point in wartime 1943. Army Athletics image

We’re now careening insanely where no man has gone before, into Week 15 of FBS ball with perfectly normal Power 5 teams having regular-season games like nothing’s weird, and everybody just making stuff up as we go along.  Dog and cats, living together … mass hysteria!

Sudden Melancholy Cancellations are decimating the Inner Circle offerings this weekend, and you can’t tell us it’s because everyone really has The COVID.  We think some folks are taking advantage of COVID Rules, which seem to be that Melancholy Cancellations and Solemn Postponements can only drive your ranking upward, if they move you at all.  (And it’s not just in the Inner Circle.  Sabu, these Kikuyu want to be sick now.  Mass hysteria.)

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

We do regret to report that our beloved Nevada, which gamely got out there and played San Jose State Friday evening, went down 30-20 in a blaze of little defensive miscues and glorious turnovers.  The Pack has played better.  SJSU is good this year, and we’re trying hard to like the Sudden Spartans, although without much success.  They’re comfortably atop the Mountain West at 6-0; Nevada finishes in third place behind Boise State with a very respectable and bowl-eligible 6-2.

In the game we didn’t watch, Arizona State obliterated, and we mean obliterated, Arizona, 70-7, to tote off the Territorial Cup from their Storied Rivalry match.  Mass hysteria.  Maybe even human sacrifice.

Inner Circle

The #24 University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, has been subject to a Melancholy Cancellation with #8 Cincinnati.  Tulsa and Cincinnati will now play only on 19 December, for the conference title, instead of two weekends in a row.  COVID Rules.

#11 Oklahoma has likewise experienced a Melancholy Cancellation with West Virginia, pride of the Big 12.  The Sooners will meet #7 Iowa State, conveniently ranked a notch higher than last week, in the Big 12 championship match next weekend.  You’d almost think someone was trying to leave the door open to the Big 12 winner (especially if it’s Iowa State?) having a shot at the Final Four.

New #22 Oklahoma State, taking a big plunge after doing its duty in the teens to bolster Big 12 cred, will be at Baylor on Saturday for their last hurrah, giving 6.

For the third week in a row, Oklahoma has three FBS schools in the Top 25.  Dogs and cats.

Navy and Army can hardly be seen through all the noise of the dogs and the cats, on a weekend they usually have, in a more seemly fashion, to themselves.  This year it’s mass hysteria.  For one thing, The Game is being played at West Point, for the first time since 1943.  It’s only been played at West Point two other times, both decades earlier, and in all three of the West Point meets, Navy has won.

That may be the only thing Navy has going for it in terms of probabilities this year.  Army comes in 7-2 (though granted not having played Air Force yet), with demonstrated kick to its option get-along and a strong defense.  Navy is 3-6, having improved significantly over the season but being hamstrung more than Army by coronavirus visitations and general vicissitudes (i.e., mass hysteria).  Navy lost to Air Force 40-7, and we suppose someone is still counting, in this year of years.

The Black Knights are favored by 7.5.  We’ve already offered up the 1943 Game for your delectation, and we’d never deny you the annual glamour shot of Bill the Goat.

Bill XXXVI, Head Goat in Charge for the upcoming tactical evolution. (Image via

A couple of tasteful (well, G-rated) Spirit Spots to keep you going.

Come on, they’re cute.

And yes, POTUS will be at Michie Stadium – unlike practically everyone else on the planet, attendance being subject to COVID Rules.  Human sacrifice.

Air Force meets Army for the Commander’s Trophy on 19 December.

Virginia Tech hosts Virginia for their Totally Storied Rivalry on Saturday, and we are pleased to report that, challenged as the 4-6 Hokies have been this season, they’re still giving 3 to the 5-4 Yahoos, who actually suck a bit worse.

Nevada snuggles down in the wolves’ den from a fine season, and although we don’t see a bowl slot yet, we’re not unhopeful.  Presumably we’ll get word on that pretty quickly, as the Booger Parade starts on the 19th.

LSU heads to #6 Florida to flesh out the Gators’ resume for the CFP-off.  No one, least of all us, expects LSU to surprise Florida, which is donating 23.5.  But sugar plums are apparently dancing in someone’s head at the thought: what if LSU did?  We’re just trying to account for all this sneaking around jacking up Big 12 teams in the ranking while no one is looking.

Kansas State retires from 2020 at 4-6 and still in danger of excommunication from the Inner Circle.  We’ll let you know our prayerful decision after the conference title game next week.  Dogs and cats, I’m telling you.

TCU (5-4), in a seriously admirable move, is actually playing on Saturday.  Louisiana Tech (motto: “Haven’t been in the WAC since 2012. You got a problem with that?”) will be visiting, with its 5-3 record in tow, so the two teams will obviously be duking it out for that Magic 6 and a bowl shot.  We can all calm down; that explains the otherwise demented prospect of a C-USA (Remnant)-Big 12 match in a December regular-season time slot.  The Frogs are laying 21.5.

Toledo hosts Central Michigan, with both teams 3-2 coming in for their final game.  The story in the MAC, otherwise, looks to be a title contest featuring Ball State (West, 4-1) and Buffalo (East, 4-0), the latter of which has been K-Killing everything in sight all over the field for the last six weeks.  (Buffalo isn’t likely to have difficulty with Akron this weekend, for that matter.)  The Rockets are favored in the Glass Bowl by 11.

In a game we really hope comes off, Wyoming (2-3) is to host Boise State Saturday evening to finish off their season.  We figure the 4-1 Broncos’ 9.5 points are about right, if not a tad undercooked, but we wouldn’t miss this one for the world.  Go Pokes!

Top 10

#1 Alabama heads to Arkansas, giving 32.5.

#2 Notre Dame’s next game is the ACC title contest with #3 Clemson.

#4 Ohio State and Michigan have announced the Melancholy Cancellation of their Big Game.  Human sacrifice, but we’re numb at this point.

#5 Texas and Ole Miss have also experienced Melancholy Cancellation.

#7 Iowa State’s next game is the Big 12 championship with Oklahoma next weekend.

#8 Cincinnati will play Tulsa for the American title next week.

New #9 Georgia (-13.5) heads to #25 Missouri to pad its resume for bowl preening.  (The latest speculation is a Cotton Bowl appearance versus Oklahoma, in fact.)

#10 Miami (Da U) hosts #17 North Carolina, giving 3.

Best of the rest

Our count of Solemn Postponements and Melancholy Cancellations for the week is up to 13, so you can see why we’re suspicious.  We’re frankly heartbroken that the Storied Rivalry of Indiana and Purdue is among them, so we won’t get to wail out rounds of “The Old Oaken Bucket” this year.  Dogs and cats, people.

Illinois will, at least, be at #14 Northwestern to play for the Land of Lincoln Trophy, one of our very most favorite game tokens.  Northwestern has the odds nod by 14.

Utah (-1.5) will be at #21 Colorado (motto: “We take a pounding!”) for the Rumble in the Rockies.

Minnesota heads to Nebraska (-10, for some reason) to play for the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy, which we don’t actively despise (and we could, you know.  That one’s iffy, for obvious reasons).

So NOT. Twitter

#16 Iowa hosts Wisconsin (-2.5) in the Storied Rivalry for the Heartland Trophy, which is just fine as trophies go, but could be a good game.

The one we’ve all been waiting for, however, may be a truly hideous game this go-round, but it’s for the hand-down best game trophy ever conceived.  That’s right, it’s Michigan State at Penn State for the one and only Land Grant Trophy: the one that looks like a telephone table you buy in a box at Big Lots and assemble with a screwdriver and a hex wrench (included!).

The elegant Land Grant Trophy in an action pose. Get it? A Nittany Lion and a Spartan? PSU Athletic Dept

We love this trophy more than life itself.  If somebody’s laying points for the on-field action, we four-fourths don’t care.

We do feel we should warn Troy that #13 Coastal Carolina (-14) is coming, and the Trojans should probably move the furniture and breakables out of the way.

As for other action, yeah, yeah, #15 USC (-3) is at UCLA in the marquee slot on Saturday evening for their Storied Rivalry.  In the context of the draconian but highly selective lockdown policy affecting some 33 million Californians this month, that’s a little hard to get excited about.  Maybe Bruin fans will decide to have a peaceful protest in the Rose Bowl to liven things up, and then go hold peaceful protests all over the restaurant spots in Pasadena.

The year couldn’t be allowed to close without Appalachian State at Georgia Southern for their Storied Rivalry, which is dubbed Deeper than Hate because Hate is just, like, their rivalry thing in Georgia and Georgia-adjacent precincts.  We’re grateful that this one isn’t played for any bells, cannons, or even garage-sale junk – but in a year of human sacrifice, dog and cats, and mass hysteria, we suggest they might play for COVID vaccine doses for their home towns.  The Mountaineers give 9.

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.


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