Rivalry Week 2020

If there was ever a year that you’d say a Hokie is a Turkey, it would be 2020. The only thing the Hokies have to be thankful for is that they don’t have to play Clemson until next week.

This week is normally one of the best weeks in college football. There’s nothing like rivalry week to bring out the best in teams. Alas, Covid-19 has claimed this weekend, with several traditional rivalry games not being played.

Typically, Thursday is for the NFL. Unfortunately, we’re getting the brussels sprouts (Houston versus Detroit) and lima bean casserole (Washington versus Dallas) of Thanksgiving games, with the stuffing (Ravens versus Steelers) relegated to Sunday leftovers. Thankfully, the NCAA has responded with University of New Mexico (0-4) versus Utah State University (0-4). Mmmm, creamed onions anyone?

Friday’s slate improves if you were looking for an excuse for not putting up the Christmas lights. ISU at Texas and ND at UNC should prove to be watchable. If you must get out of the house, there’s still tickets available for UMass at Liberty, although they are bit pricey.

Liberty is a dry campus but I hear that Falwell’s tailgate is jumping. Just ask for the signature drink, “The Pool Boy”.

ABC’s big game on noon EST is PSU at Michigan. Hmm, anyone up for Maryland versus Indiana? The Iron Bowl is still a thing this year, but does it count with Saban watching from his den? Well, maybe he can catch up on his Aflac paperwork. If your family Thanksgiving was cancelled, you still have a chance to get Covid-19 . There’s going to be a super spreader event at College Station this weekend as the Texas A&M hosts LSU. Wear those masks Aggie faithful.

 

Source as of 11/25, 4pm CST: Time.com

Enjoy the dark meat,

Tree

 

 

MEH

Meh. That summarizes my feeling about college football this year. You can see my malaise by my lack of updates. You know things are bad when ESPN felt they had to spice up Gameday by holding it at the Masters last week. Look, Augusta is beautiful and all, but Golf versus Football? No contest.

I had hoped to catch the Navy SMU game on Halloween but I could not convince my wife to go with me. Normally, I would go solo to a game like that in a worst case scenario but Covid protocols fundamentally altered the economics of that game. I would have had to buy four tickets. The SMU Mustangs program is in a bit of a resurgence, but $150 to sit in a 3/4 empty stadium of a Group of Five team was not happening.

Today, Gameday is at Oklahoma for Bedlam. It is another grim reminder of what could have been. Bedlam was our big group game of the year. We had locked it in after the Va Tech – Notre Dame game last year. Alas, the original date was scrubbed and moved to this weekend. Either way, we weren’t going. MEH indeed.

This week’s games?

  • Bedlam – Ok State vs Oklahoma, I guess is the best game on the slate. Still don’t believe in OK State. They have to prove it to me.
  • App St vs Coastal Carolina – Hard to believe the Chanticleers are undefeated, but App State is the big dog in the Sun Belt. Time to earn your stripes Coastal
  • Indiana vs Ohio State. – I am hopeful the Hoosiers can hang. Unfortunately, I am also doubtful that they can run with the Buckeyes
  • Cincy vs UFC – Another Group of Five game that may be better than anything the ACC or SEC is highlighting this weekend.

Even the November SI Calendar is down on college football. Til next week, I guess.

Week 7 Gig’d ‘Em

Last week’s games were pretty good, but it is clear that College Football is better with the BIG 10 and PAC 12 than without. Thankfully, there’s only one week to go until the BIG 10 season kicks off. It is hard to believe the PAC 12 doesn’t kick off until November 7. From the polls to the playoffs, this whole season should just carry a big asterisk. Look, this season is a welcome diversion but it is hard to consider it a valid one. The inconsistency in schedules and the high number of cancellations make it even more difficult to assess who the best teams are. It doesn’t make the eventual national championship meaningless, just diminished. With that, some random thoughts on last week games before I weigh in on this week’s slate.

Last week’s games:

  • I still don’t know if the Aggies are for real, but upsetting Florida is a step in the right direction.
  • I find Gus Johnson hard to listen to. He is constantly shouting, often trying to make drama where there is none. He also has a tendency latch on to one theme throughout the game. For a minute during the OU Texas game, Johnson almost had me convinced Ehlinger could walk on water. Look, Ehlinger had an inspired game, but the fairy tale ending that Johnson was crafting was ruined when the QB threw a game ending pick. And for once, Johnson was speechless. 
  • VT – UNC game mildly entertaining. Not sure how good UNC’s offense really is. Beating up 3rd string walk-on DBs isn’t exactly impressive. I should known since I was one.
  • You have to wonder if Orgeron at LSU is distracted with personal issues. The Tigers don’t look like themselves. Missouri beating LSU was certainly a surprise.
  • I have been keeping a close eye on the stands because I still hope to catch at least one game this year. In general, the adults have been social distancing but not the students. I wonder what that is going to look like in three weeks
  • Auburn got a gift on the fumble call on the clocking of the ball. Felipe Franks was something else for the Hogs. The Tigers were very lucky to win that game.
  • The rockhead move of the week was George Pickens from Georgia spraying water on the Tennessee QB on the sidelines. It wasn’t malevolent but it was stupid. 
  • And no, Miami is not back. They are better, but Clemson still handled them.

Week 7 Games

  • There’s already been two great Sun Belt games. The locations of the schools may not always be easy to get to, but the teams are entertaining. Trust me, I have been to both Arkansas State (pre Waterfall) and Troy. Still, the Sun Belt is the Fun Belt.
  • Even with Saban out with Covid-19, Georgia at Alabama should still be a great game. Finally a prime time game worth its slot.
  • Don’t complain LSU and Florida for having your game postponed. Houston plays BYU this weekend. It is their second game of the season.
  • The best game of the day may be Army at UTSA. If not for Covid, I would have strongly considered driving over to San Antonio to watch that game live.

Again, not the meatiest tray of games this weekend. Still, it is better than nothing.

Week Five

Week Four was only slightly better than Week Three. Despite all the fanfare about the SEC season kicking off, most of the games were fairly pedestrian. However, some matchups did not disappoint.

My random thoughts on the Good, Bad and Ugly of last week.

  • The Ole Miss – Florida game wasn’t as close as it seemed, but Lane Kiffen does seem to have Ole Miss playing better. I was a bit surprised to see Rebels spray painted on the end zone. I thought that moniker had gone the way of the Confederate War statues. 
  • What an exchange in Kentucky-Auburn at the half – no touchdown for Kentucky, then the pick 6 was taken off the board for targeting by Auburn. Kentucky was better than I thought. Had they not been cheated on that touchdown at the half, the game might have had different result.
  • Again no ACC channel. Missed Louisville-Pitt game and the Hokies dominating win over NC State despite missing 23 players. 
  • Bo Nix has enough challenges, SEC Network. Can’t you air brush out the poor kid’s acne on his promo photo?
  • Sweet play by Army on the option scoop and score. It was not enough to allow them to keep up with Cincinnati.
  • Oklahoma crashes and burns against K-State. I did like the uniforms though. Lincoln Riley can thank Texas Tech’s Matt Wells for blowing a lead in an even more dramatic fashion. Up 15 points with about three minutes to go and the Red Raiders still lost. Rough.
  • Miami – Fla. State was a debacle. Was there anyone that didn’t see that coming? I can’t believe that was the national game on Saturday night. 
  • LSU was missing their shutdown corner, Derek Stingley Jr, so losing to Mississippi State is not shocking. I can’t help liking Mike Leach. 623 passing yards. The SEC just got a bit more entertaining.
  • A&M yikes. You do know you play “Bama this week right?
  • South Carolina – “Peter, Peter, Peter”
  • UTEP is 3-1. Man, 2020 is a weird year.

Week 5 Thoughts:

There still really isn’t that much to watch. Thoughts for this week:

  • I really hope the Aggies were looking ahead to Alabama against Vanderbilt. If not, it’s going to be a rolling Tide all afternoon.
  • Auburn at Georgia should be a game worthy of a Saturday night. It is the best of the bunch on a pretty light slate.
  • I would like to think that Virginia could give Clemson a good game. I doubt it, but at least I can hope.
  • Navy – Air Force may be worth watching for rivalry’s sake. 
  • UNC at Boston College is on ABC so I will probably have that on a secondary TV. I do like Coach Mac Brown. There’s something very appealing about his persona and affection for his players.
  • Florida State is so bad that Jacksonville State may be able to keep it close. If not, just hope that ESPN3 shows the JSU band. Check out our youtube video on collegemarching.com to see why.
  • The worst game of the day looks to be 0-2 Western Kentucky at 0-3 Middle Tennessee State. Bleh. 

It looks like this will be one of those weekends that will require a fair bit of channel surfing to find the good games. I just hope they aren’t on the ACC Network. Sigh.

Enjoy the Games, Tree

Week 4?

It is Week Four of the college football season but it doesn’t quite feel that way. At least with the Big 10 coming on board in a few weeks it will feel a little more normal. However, there are still gaps.

Last week we should have been checking the box in Murfreesboro, TN to see the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State host the Virginia Tech Hokies. Missing that game may have been a blessing in disguise given that the Raiders are 0-2 and lost by 33 to Troy at home. Of course, the Hokies have a tendency to play to the level of their competition so you never know.

Instead, it was another week on the couch, assembling my Sports Illustrated Wall Calendar for September. An all pro football calendar was the theme in recognition of the NFL’s commitment to a full season. I have to admit, it is one of the better looking walls I have created. There’s something about the commonality that make the covers come together.

My thoughts on what I saw last weekend:

  • Louisville’s defense was atrocious. Every time their offense would try to get the Cardinals back into the game, their defense would give up a big play. I think the stat line for two plays at one time was, 2 plays, 150 yards, 2 touchdowns. The ‘Canes look better then they have in years. Of course, Clemson will still crush them by 24.
  • The Louisiana Tech winning touchdown was great. To think that without instant replay, Southern Mississippi would have come away with the win. To be fair to the refs, when I saw the play real time, I didn’t think the receiver got his foot down either.
  • It was nice to see Navy get that win against Tulane, coming back to win after being down by 24. it was a record comeback for the midshipmen. It seemed like a low number for a new record until you recall that it is usually Navy (and Army and Air Force) giving up the lead. Nonetheless, we reward the Navy win with our release of our Navy review on youtube.
  • I would have loved to seen the NC State vs Wake Forest game on the screen instead of via ESPN updates. I may have to look at buying the ACC network on FUBO Tv, whatever the hell that is. Thanks so much Xfinity.
  • UCF makes the case for Group of 5 after beating up Georgia Tech 49 -21. They play Cincinnati in late November, probably to claim the American Conference title. Between them and the Sun Belt, the Big 12 doesn’t seem very big. Yes, I said that. Don’t forget that Tulsa nearly upset national playoff dark horse Oklahoma State last weekend as well. Big 12 indeed.
  • Of course, Clemson got their cupcake fix in by beating up Citadel.
  • However, the classiest move was Notre Dame going for it on 4th and goal up 45 points with less than three minutes to play. Remember Irish faithful, karma is a bitch.

The games don’t get much better this week which seems to be a real dog’s breakfast. ESPN’s college GameDay is doing Miami again this week against Florida State. They better hope the rivalry does something for the Seminoles because this could be a disaster of a game. What I might be watching this week:

  • Louisville at Pitt may be the most entertaining of the early games.
  • Kentucky at Auburn will probably make one my secondary TVs. The Wildcats are ranked 23. But, unless this is hoops, the Tigers will roll over the Wildcats
  • Army versus Cincy is the best game of the afternoon. There’s lots of chatter that the Bearcats have a shot at the playoffs. It is 2020 so I guess anything is possible.
  • WVU at Oklahoma State might be a good game but the Cowpokes kind of scared me off last week.
  • Tennessee vs South Carolina might be the best game of the SEC. The Vols are ranked a surprising sixteen. They and Kentucky should send the PAC 12 and the Big 10 each a fruit basket.
  • NC State at Va Tech is my preferred Saturday night game. What’s the ACC Network cost on FUBO Tv again?

No picks this year, I just can’t seem to get up for it. Maybe next year.

Til then, see you on the couch

Tree