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.
Bowl Game UPDATE: I managed a bit of rally as the bowl season closed and will finish slightly above 500. Like I said, if you are putting money on bowl games, you might as well be betting on the greyhounds. Anything can happen, but I did get LSU winning the championship right. Geaux Tigers indeed.
Here’s my annual Bowl Review with me just picking the winners (in bold) straight up. I haven’t even looked at the lines yet. I say that betting on Bowl games is a fool’s errand but I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. Enjoy the seasons, Bowl and Holiday.
Makers Wanted: Bahamas – Buffalo (7-5) vs. Charlotte (7-5) Nassau, Bahamas Fri., Dec. 20 2:00 pm ESPN
What a great bowl game for Buffalo, giving them a chance to leave the snow and cold and play in the Bahamas. If there was ever a bowl game to go to as an Alum, this is the one. I am going with the 49ers due to a higher level of concentration.LOSS. This one wasn’t even close. Buffalo rocks Charlotte 31- 0
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco: Utah State(7-5) vs. Kent State(6-6) Frisco, TX Fri., Dec. 20 7:30 pm ESPN2
It is long way for Kent State to come and a relative easy trip for the Utah State faithful. At least they get to go to the west coast. Oh wait, this is Frisco, Texas, not San Frisco – sorry Mom and Dad. The travel, combined with a down year for the MAC, and I like Utah State. LOSS. The Golden Flashes shine with a 10 point win, 51 – 41.
Air Force Reserve Celebration: Alcorn State(9-3) vs. North Carolina A&T (8-3) Atlanta, GA Sat., Dec. 20 Noon ABC
No idea on this. Alcorn State I guess. LOSS. Almost feels like I should not count this one, but I will. N.C. A&T 64 – 44.
New Mexico: Central Michigan(8-5) vs. San Diego State(9-3) Albuquerque, NM Sat., Dec. 20 2:00 pm ESPN:
I was not impressed with Central Michigan in the MAC Championship. I like San Diego State. WIN. San Diego State rolls 48-11.
Didn’t Rutgers beat Liberty in the regular season? How did they make a bowl? I love that Hugh Freeze, fresh off an escort scandal at Ole Miss, became the head coach of the evangelical Liberty. I wonder how many times he had to be baptized to get that stink off? Georgia Southern wins this one.LOSS. Liberty wins 23 – 6. I think this one is more telling about Rutgers than Liberty. The psychological part of the game should not be underestimated and I have to believe the guys at Rutgers said to themselves, “I am a Power Five athlete and we may be bad, but we don’t lose to Group of Five teams.”
FAU wins ten games and they have to stay home and host SMU. And, they are losing their coach. I think the Ponies will run away with this one as I can’t imagine too many “Win one for Lane!” cheers coming from the Owls.LOSS. Maybe they do love Lane. FAU 52 – SMU 28
Camellia: FIU(6-6) vs. Arkansas State(7-5) Montgomery, AL Sat., Dec. 20 5:30 pm ESPN
It wasn’t too long ago that FIU was listed as my worst stadium to visit. They have certainly improved in play and in my rankings (thanks to awful experiences at Duke and UAB). I still like the Red Wolves of Arkansas State. WIN. Whew, thank god the Red Wolves win 34 – 26.
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas (19) Boise State(12-1) vs. Washington(7-5) Las Vegas, NV Sat., Dec. 20 7:30 pm ABC.
I think Boise has a chip on their shoulder. I like them to make a statement for the Mountain West and beat the Huskies of Washington.LOSS. Turns out this was a statement game, but it was the Huskies making all the comments. See my Rutgers – Liberty comments for my analysis on this on. Washington 38 – 7.
R+L Carriers New Orleans: (20) Appalachian State(12-1) vs. UAB(9-4) New Orleans, LA Sat., Dec. 20 9:00 pm ESPN.
At least there is some consolation for App. State not getting a New Year’s Day bowl by getting a trip to New Orleans. I have no love for UAB and look for the Mountaineers to roll over the Blazers.WIN. The Mountaineers had me grumbling early in this one, but came back to win strong, 31-7.
Bad Boy Mowers: Gasparilla UCF(9-3) vs. Marshall Tampa(8-4), FL Mon., Dec. 23 2:30 pm ESPN.
This should be a good game to watch. UCF is still awfully good and Marshall had some tough non-conference games against Cincinnati and Boise State. UCF in a close one. WIN. The Knights win 48-25 in a game not as close as I thought.
SoFi Hawai’i Hawaii(9-5) vs. BYU(7-5) Honolulu, HI Tue., Dec. 24 8:00 pm ESPN
It would be interesting to know how the Rainbows feel about this game. You would think there is some glamour in playing a mainland bowl game. However, they may just think it is a pain in the neck. With this game, they can play the game and still have Christmas at home (if they are local). I saw Hawaii this year and they impressed me their pluck and grit. Rainbows to win this one. WIN. The Rainbow Warriors win in dramatic fashion.
Walk-On’s Independence: Louisiana Tech(9-3) vs. Miami(6-6) (FL) Shreveport, LA Thu., Dec. 26 4:00 pm ESPN
Miami is pretty awful and the Dawgs do not lose bowl games. It is a mortal lock that the Louisiana Tech wins this one. WIN. The Dawgs shut out Miami, as expected.
Quick Lane: Pitt(7-5) vs. Eastern Michigan(6-6) Detroit, MI Thu., Dec. 26 8:00 pm ESPN
Is Eastern Michigan just happy to be here or will they come to play? The same could be said for Pitt. I still like the Panthers in this one. WIN. Pitt by four
Military North Carolina(6-6) vs. Temple(8-4) Annapolis, MD Fri., Dec. 27 Noon ESPN
This is an interesting game. Temple is pretty good this year and UNC has been exciting, if not consistent. I like the Owls in a tight one. LOSS. Ha, I couldn’t have been more wrong as UNC cruised past the Owls 55 -13.
New Era Pinstripe Michigan State(6-6) vs. Wake Forest(8-4) Bronx, NY Fri., Dec. 27 3:20 pm ESPN
I saw this game, and thought this is only a game an alum could love. I guess freezing your butt off is compensated by having a holiday in NYC. Wake Forest, I guess…but really who cares about this dog? LOSS. Michigan State wins a close one, 27-21.
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas: (25) Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5) Houston, TX Fri., Dec. 27 6:45 pm ESPN.
This game should be a great atmosphere. Both schools are a reasonable drive to Houston so I would guess NRG Stadium will be packed. In addition, these teams are pretty reasonably matched. I think Jimbo Fisher would like to quiet the “Former Students” of A&M. So I am going with the Aggies, but with little confidence after their shellacking at the hands of LSU. WIN. Aggies by 3.
SDCCU Holiday (22) USC(8-4) vs. (16) Iowa(9-3) San Diego, CA Fri., Dec. 27 8:00 pm FS1
It was surprising to see USC right the ship as the season progressed. This game strikes me as a pick ‘em. Given Ferentz’s streaky bowl record, I am going to roll the dice with the Trojans. LOSS. Iowa handles USC easily. 49- 24
Cheez-It Air Force(10-2) vs. Washington State(6-6) Phoenix, AZ Fri., Dec. 27 10:15 pm ESPN
I completely slept on Air Force this year. I had no idea they were having such a good year. At a minimum this should be a good game because Mike Leach always seems to make it interesting with the Cougars. Like I said, I know nothing about the Falcons but I am going to go with them. WIN. Air Force wins by 10.
Goodyear Cotton (17) Memphis(12-1) vs. (10) Penn State(10-2) Arlington, TX Sat., Dec. 28 Noon ESPN
While I wanted App State to get the New Year’s Day bid, it is hard to argue with Memphis getting the game. The Nittany Lions seem to think they are better than they really are. I think this will be a really entertaining game. I am going with PSU, but grudgingly. WIN. Memphis hung with them for awhile, but PSU eventually took care of business, 53-39.
Camping World (15) Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State(7-5) Orlando, FL Sat., Dec. 28 Noon ABC
Notre Dame is another team that thinks they are better than what they are. The Irish are a bit dicey and Iowa State has lost a ton of close games this year. I am going to go with the sentimental pick and take Iowa State. Here’s to Purdy playing his ass off. LOSS. All Irish in this one, 33 – 9.
Chick-fil-A Peach: (4) Oklahoma(12-1) vs. (1) LSU (13-0) Atlanta, GA Sat., Dec. 28 4:00 pm ESPN
Oklahoma is good but LSU is great. Tigers are going to roll in this one. WIN. Yep Tigers all the way.
PlayStation Fiesta: (3) Clemson(13-0) vs. (2) Ohio State (13-0) Glendale, AZ Sat., Dec. 28 8:00 pm ESPN
This one should be a dandy. I am going with the Buckeyes only because they have played a tougher schedule. LOSS. Clemson in a great one.
SERVPRO First Responder: WKU(8-4) vs. Western Michigan(7-5) Fort Worth, TX Mon., Dec. 30 12:30 pm ESPN.
Hmmm. Nothing to say here. I guess I will go with the Hilltoppers. WIN. Hilltoppers by three.
Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City: Mississippi State(6-6) vs. Louisville(7-5) Nashville, TN Mon., Dec. 30 4:00 pm ESPN
Mississippi State is another middling SEC team. Louisville isn’t much better. The Cardinals in a toss up. WIN. Louisville by ten.
Redbox California(7-5) vs. Illinois(6-6) Santa Clara, CA Mon., Dec. 30 4:00 pm FOX
I guess I might bounce over to this game if the Peach Bowl gets out of hand. I saw Illinois nearly lose to UConn. I will go with the Bears. WIN. This was one I thought was a lock. The Illini were just too inconsistent.
Capital One Orange (9) Florida(10-2) vs. (24) Virginia(9-4) Miami Gardens, FL Mon., Dec. 30 8:00 pm ESPN
The ACC is hoping Virginia makes this a statement game. I am not sure they have enough to beat Florida. My money is on the Gators, but my heart is with the Hoos. LOSS. The Gators do their part for the SEC.
Belk: Virginia Tech(8-4) vs. Kentucky(7-5) Charlotte, NC Tue., Dec. 31 Noon ESPN
Unless they revert back to early season form, the Hokies should take care of the Wildcats. Virginia Tech gets the win. LOSS. Another frustrating loss for the Hokie faithful.
Tony the Tiger Sun: Florida State(6-6) vs. Arizona State(7-5) El Paso, TX Tue., Dec. 31 2:00 pm CBS
How did Florida State manage to make it to a bowl game? ASU was hot and cold this season. I am going with the Sun Devils in this one. WIN. Herm Edwards for the win.
AutoZone Liberty (23) Navy(9-2) vs. Kansas State(8-4) Memphis, TN Tue., Dec. 31 3:45 pm ESPN
Navy could go from ten losses to ten wins if they beat Army this weekend. What a turnaround for the Midshipmen. K-State is pretty good but I am going with Navy in a sentimental pick. WIN. Boy did Navy have a good year or what?
NOVA Home Loans Arizona: Wyoming(7-5) vs. Georgia State(7-5) Tucson, AZ Tue., Dec. 31 4:30 pm CBSSN.
Ouch, this game has about as much appeal as a wide awake colonoscopy. Wyoming I guess. WIN. Wyoming wins big.
Valero Alamo (11) Utah(11-2) vs. Texas(7-5) San Antonio, TX Tue., Dec. 31 7:30 pm ESPN
This is practically a home game for UT and they will need all the help they can get against the Utes. The inconsistency of the Longhorns gets them again. Utah wins. LOSS. This one hurt. I can’t believe that Utah didn’t even show up for this game.
I was going to go with Auburn just on their SEC credentials but then I thought about the Gophers stingy DBs and Bo Nix’s tendency to throw the ball all over the field. This is a pick ‘em, but I am going with the Gophers. WIN. I don’t know what Minnesota has coming back, but they will be on my radar next preseason.
So apparently Saban is less than thrilled with this game while Harbaugh sees it as a way to save his job. No need for a fifth quarter for the JV’s in this one, half of them will be starting in this one. Roll Damn Tide. WIN. Michigan thumped again. Not much of a surprise here.
Rose Bowl Game (6) Oregon(11-2) vs. (8) Wisconsin(10-3) Pasadena, CA Wed., Jan. 1 5:00 pm ESPN
This should be a game worth watching. My guess is the Badgers wear down the Ducks with a heavy dose of a punishing ground game. LOSS. The one point win by Oregon was as great a game as predicted.
Allstate Sugar (5) Georgia(11-2) vs. (7) Baylor (11-2) New Orleans, LA Wed., Jan. 1 8:45 pm ESPN
I am going with the Bulldogs because even I can’t escape the SEC bias. The Bears had a nice run, but I don’t they are going to have a good time at the Sugar Bowl. WIN. Georgia wins in a game closer than I thought it was going to be.
TicketSmarter Birmingham: Boston College(6-6) vs. (21) Cincinnati(10-3) Birmingham, AL Thu., Jan. 2 3:00 pm ESPN.
It is another crime that Boston College gets a Bowl Game. Cincinnati is going to crush them. WIN. As predicted, the Bear Cats crush the Eagles, 38 – 6.
I stopped watching Tennessee after they lost to Georgia State. They managed to feast on the weak sisters of the SEC to climb back to a bowl. I think the Hoosiers are better and will win. LOSS. Thanks alot Indiana. This win goes a long way to supporting the claims of SEC dominance because no one will remember it was a one point game.
Famous Idaho Potato: Ohio (6-6) vs. Nevada (7-5) Boise, ID Fri., Jan. 3 3:30 pm ESPN
I guess Ohio and Nevada are lucky that folks are probably taking Friday off, otherwise there would be no one to watch this dreck. Nevada wins on the basis of a shorter trip to the game. LOSS. Well congrats to the Bobcats or something.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces: Southern Miss (7-5) vs. Tulane (6-6) Fort Worth, TX Sat., Jan. 4 11:30 am ESPN.
Boy, Tulane really fell apart as the season came to the end. I am going with Conference USA in this one. Fly Eagles fly. LOSS. Grrr. What the hell, Southern Miss? This game wasn’t even close.
LendingTree Louisiana (10-3) vs. Miami (Ohio) (8-5) Mobile, AL Mon., Jan. 6 7:30 pm ESPN
I can’t believe that Miami won the MAC. Talk about winning with smoke and mirrors. As I noted in my review of South Alabama, Mobile is a pretty cool place. I hope the Bobcat faithful have a good weekend, because the Ragin’ Cajuns are going to run away with the game on Monday night. WIN. They did not exactly run away with it, but the Cajuns hung on to win.
CFP National Championship Semifinal Winners New Orleans, LA Mon., Jan. 13 8:00 pm ESPN:
Geaux Tigers. WIN. At least Clemson kept it close for a while.
This week we are back at home, looking forward to seeing LSU host Alabama – on my couch, nice and cozy. It was a great time at Notre Dame last week, but it was cold. I am a little behind on my reviews, but here are my thoughts for last week:
I saw Ga Southern take 2OTs to beat South Alabama earlier this year. There is no way I can fathom how they beat App State – and it kept me from a perfect week. Maybe I should have noticed that they only lost to undefeated Minnesota by three points.
After Nebraska’s loss to Purdue, they have to win two out of three against Wisconsin, Maryland, and Iowa. I don’t see that happening. The season highlight for the Huskers? Game Day coming before the Ohio State slaughter.
Florida losing to Georgia ends their season. The remainder of their schedule, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Florida State, gives them nothing to bolster their reputation.
Really thought Kansas would give K-State more trouble. Apparently not.
Did Clemson play this week? Oh yeah, they played Wofford – cupcake city. But, next few games could be trouble. NC State, Wake Forest, South Carolina
Memphis and SMU represented the AAC well on national TV.
Mac Brown has another rough weekend as UNC loses to Virginia by seven.
Oregon rolls against USC, but their remaining schedule won’t help much. Even with SEC (Bama and LSU) and Big Ten (PSU and Ohio State) eliminating two of the top four, I think they are going to need help to get into the FBS playoff.
Escapes: Baylor by over WVU by three, ND over VT by one, Cincinnati over East Carolina by three.
It was a good week for my picks. If not for the aforementioned App State lost, I would have gone a perfect four and oh. Alas I will have to settle for three and one. VT gave an inspired performance against ND, only to come up one point short but more than close enough given the 17 points they were getting. Georgia won outright and Bowling Green easily covered to give me a nice weekend. This week I like Boston College to easily handle a dying FSU and Iowa to keep it within 9.5 points against Wisconsin. Baylor should beat TCU by more than two. Lastly, I like LSU even if the game is in Tuscaloosa.
Thoughts on this week’s game:
What has happened to Army since they lost to Michigan 24 -21? They are now three and six with losses to Georgia State and San Jose State. Ouch. At least UMass is coming to town this weekend. That ought to be a win. Imagine if Michigan had lost to Army. I don’t think you’d see two Big 10 teams in the top four FBS rankings.
Ugh: South Alabama (1-7) vs Texas State (2-6) – I may have seen the best performance of South Alabama this year when they lost to Georgia Southern in OT.
Answer Games: Kansas State (6-2) at Texas (5-3) and Wake Forest (7-1) at Virginia Tech (5-3). See if the Power Cats and Demon Deacons are for real
I can’t believe Illinois is 5-4. Lovie Smith has righted the ship and that is saying something after they nearly lost to UConn. They should beat MSU.
Ole Miss has New Mexico State (0-8) this week. I bet they wished that was every weekend.
For some reason, I can see App State having a bounce back game against South Carolina
San Jose State versus Hawaii will probably be a good game. Too bad nobody will stay up to see it.
Relaxing on the couch this weekend after some heavy travel. I am still working on the update to the Alabama review. The original is a classic so I am feeling some pressure with the update. It won’t match the jailhouse experience, but at least there will be pictures. I also have reviews due on South Alabama, UAB, Oregon and Oregon State. So yeah, I am a bit behind.
I had a great trip to Oregon last week even if the games were duds. The weather and scenery was absolutely beautiful. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I may be short changing the experience by trying to cram so many stadiums in each year. With a two hour flight delay in Houston, I missed the kickoff of the Ducks game, not by much, but I didn’t get to tailgate with the Oregon faithful either. Oregon State was a lot of fun, but I also had a short night with a flight that left Portland at 5AM. It may be time to start emphasizing quality over quantity.
Some great games last week, but most of mine was through scoreboard watching.
I did catch the end of the USC – Georgia game. I am not saying the SEC and ACC are on the same level, certainly not this year. However, I do seem to recall UNC beating USC. Any give Saturday, just about any FBS can beat another one. So let’s stop giving the number two SEC team a free pass.
LSU is the real deal and so, apparently, is Texas despite their loss.
While I am glad Penn State won, I kind of feel bad for 6-0 SMU. Their game against 5-1 Temple would have been a great option for Game Day. Instead, it is a repeat visit to Happy Valley
The Oregon State game was as bad as it looked. Talk about a beat down.
Another even week at 2-2. Texas State didn’t cover and the Beavers could not muster any Homecoming spirit. The Ducks, however, rolled over the Buffs and Texas kept it close against Oklahoma.
Due to time constraints this week, my picks are all Saturday games. App State is giving up 15.5 against UL-Monroe, but the Mountaineers are the real deal. I think Virginia covers against Duke. I am taking Vandy and the points because I still don’t believe in Mizzou. Lastly, I was relatively unimpressed with UAB against Rice although they eventually did cover. Maybe ODU is missing their QB? I probably should have done some research to see why they are getting 17 points, but I am picking them anyway.
Thoughts on some other games this week:
I would think the Ducks would beat the Huskies, but the PAC 12 is really hard to figure out. If Oregon loses, I don’t think the PAC 12 gets anyone in the FBS playoff.
Really wanted to hit the Temple versus SMU game today, but I just couldn’t make my schedule work. Bummer
Minnesota is going to stay undefeated. No way Rutgers beats them.
Bargain of the week Nevada at Utah State – $2 gets you in the game.
The week started off great thanks to the South Alabama Jags. While they did lose the game against Georgia Southern, they still covered. It was also a very entertaining game to see live. South Alabama’s going to get a good review. Friday night was not nearly as satisfying as UCF lost to the Bearcats of Cincinnati. The Knights are dead to me and the New Year’s Day bowl selection committees. Saturday was a mixed bag. I really thought Troy was going to score enough against Mizzou to cover, but it was another loss. My UAB experience was dismal but at least the Blazers put it together enough in the second half to cover against Rice in the rain. It was about the only redeeming feature of my UAB experience. So once again, average reigns supreme at somanystadiums, where I went 2 -2 for the week.
Other observations on last week.
Big win by Florida, looking to the LSU game to provide some clarity in the top 10.
SMU wins in triple OT. Definitely trying to find a way to get to Ford Field this year.
Some good looking teams in the Big 10: Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all dominate. And don’t forget Minnesota at 5 – 0 ?!?
Gotta give San Jose State some love. They win again to go 3 – 2 even it was against New Mexico
Oklahoma State just doesn’t seem to like success. Just when they crack the top 25, they get upset by Texas Tech
The ACC is a mess. Pitt beats Duke and Hokies upset the ‘Canes in Miami. Just nuts.
Whew: Michigan, Nebraska both escaped with close wins.
What, still undefeated? Baylor, Boise State, Memphis all still trucking.
I didn’t like the options for Thursday night, but I have to pick someone. I am going with the Bobcats of Texas State to cover at home against the ULL Warhawks. Friday night, it is an emotional hedge. I’d prefer a good game since I will be seeing it live in Eugene, but if it is a blowout, at least I get the win. Saturday is the same as I go with the Beavers to keep it close at home against the Utes. My other pick is Texas. I figure the Longhorns to keep it close in the Red River Shootout.
Other observations for Week 7:
I don’t think the Cavaliers will sneak up on the ‘Canes like the Hokies did. However, I don’t think it will matter either. Virginia wins.
Undefeated Memphis heads to one-loss Temple. I am pulling for the Owls because that will set up a great game against SMU the next week.
I would like to see Texas A&M give Alabama a good game, but that doesn’t mean I think that will happen
First real for Penn State as they visit Iowa. Some of the luster is gone after the Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes last week.
So how many times do you think ESPN will show an alligator grilling at a LSU tailgate. The answer is too many. I like the Tigers in this one.
Lastly, UNLV at Vanderbilt tickets going as low as $2, so if you are in Nashville this weekend…