Once a year, a group of us, the 9 O’clock club, go to a game. We are all, well, let’s just say we aren’t as young as we used to be. We usually go out Friday night, tailgate Saturday, followed by the game. By, nine o’clock Saturday night, we crash. Hence, the name. This week we are going to Chicago for the Minnesota – Northwestern game where two of the club members live. Ironically, these are also the two guys who can’t read a calendar because neither of them will be able to attend the game because of other personal commitments. It makes me laugh, because we really do try to plan this far in advance to make sure everyone can attend. I also get it. Life happens and sometimes you have to call the audible. This, however, feels more like wasting a timeout in the third quarter because you didn’t pay attention to the halftime adjustments. Either way, there’s always next time. In addition to the game, we are going to catch a couple of games at Wrigley Field. It should be a blast.
I have been to a lot of stadiums and honestly, I always know that some of them are not going to meet expectations. I had scheduled my second visit to Old Dominion to check out the tailgating scene that I had missed on my previous visit. When I couldn’t cobble together a group, I decided I would do a solo research trip. While it was nice to have a lazy start, I set low expectations as I drove over to Norfolk. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had a great time at ODU and I will update the review later this week.
Not only was I wrong about ODU, but I underestimated the power of the Colorado /Colorado State rivalry. It was a much different Rams team than the one I saw two weeks ago. The Prime train ends here. ODU nearly beat Wake Forest so that pick was burned early. It made tracking the K-State – Mizzou game a bit of a sweat. It, of course, ended on a dramatic 61 yard field goal which was great for Missouri but for me, not so much. The Huskers salvaged my weekend with a big win over NIU. It took awhile, but they took charge early in the second half. It was great, because it allowed me to catch some of the other exciting finishes.
Other observations from Week 3
- I was listening to sports radio on the way back from the ODU game and the announcers were questioning the strength of both Georgia and Ohio State after their first half performances. It was way too much hyperbole. Both those teams rolled in the second half to post strong wins.
- There were two teams that did warrant such criticism. Alabama’s offense was awful against South Florida. However, even worse was the tackling by Tennessee. It was a disgrace. It was no wonder Florida lit them up.
- Do not adjust your set – the color scheme in Backyard Brawl was crazy. With WVU and Pitt’s blue, yellow and white color schemes so close, the game looked like an intra-squad scrimmage.
- I have to admit I went to bed halfway through the third quarter of the Colorado game. It was okay though. I had just witnessed the wild ending of the Vandy-UNLV game. It was more than enough to satisfy my college football needs for the night.
This week’s picks
I don’t love picking against the home team, but it won’t stop me from rooting for Northwestern despite taking Minnesota. Oregon State versus WSU is perhaps, the second best game of the weekend. I like the Cougars to upset the Beavers. I know I said I was off the Prime train, but when I saw Colorado was getting over 21 points against Oregon. I had to get back on. I also like the Utes to hold handle UCLA in my final pick of the weekend. My other thoughts on this week’s games:
- Illinois was a popular dark horse in the preseason polls. They are 1-2 right now and really need to beat FAU to right the ship.
- The Group of Five game that interests me the most this week: App State at Wyoming. These are two of my favorite small programs and this one should be a good game.
- Worst game this week: New Mexico at UMass. If you are attending the game, the most you can hope for is that these two are equally bad and you end up with a competitive game.
- Some good matchups this week: Auburn at Texas A&M, Ole Miss at Bama, UCLA at Utah, Colorado at Oregon and Iowa at PSU. The best game should be Ohio State at Notre Dame. The only risk is that the Irish may not show up. Much like some of their drunk frat boy fans, Notre Dame sometimes disappears late in big games. The only other question is whether I can avoid the Nine O’clock club curtain call. The key for this weekend is moderation.
That’s all I got, enjoy the games.