This week, I am off to “Bama to witness the execution of Ole Miss at the hands of the Crimson Tide. I know what you are thinking: Why not save “Bama for a big game? I have been trying to for years, but between the strength of the Tide, their steady diet of cupcakes, and a generally weak lower half of the SEC all combine to make finding a competitive home opponent for a ‘Bama game more difficult than Antonio Brown taking the high road.
Notes Games 4
It was a good week to watch a lot of college football. Tulane broke out those sweet light blue uniforms (would have been perfect if only they had included the angry wave helmet as well) for their upset of the Coogs. The exciting finish with the fake kneel down was a sign of more exciting things to come for Week Four. My only regret is going to bed and seeing it the morning after. That put me down one on my picks, but sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. It was sweet hook job by LA Tech on Friday night with an onside kick-off TD return to get me my cover. Unfortunately UConn was clearly not as good on the road as at home. Apparently, even the 27 points they were getting were not going to get me the win against Indiana. (I did find the UConn home game experience to be enjoyable. See the latest review here.) However, ND saved my bacon with their late touchdown against Georgia to put my picks at 2-2 for the week.
Other thoughts for this weekend:
ESPN’s Game Day feels like it needs a bit of a shake-up. The “you had one job” is getting stale. It is everything you have already seen on Twitter, Reddit, etc.from the previous week. Perhaps, some “On the road” feeds from lesser known stadiums would be a good feature. We, at somanystadiums are ready and willing.
Despite not being selected to share my experience on the “150 Years of College Football”, I did love the Chocolate Labrador storming the field at Georgia story. I am a sucker for dog stories, especially ones with Labs.
I thought Notre Dame played fairly well against Georgia. I am not a big Notre Dam fan, but their tight end Cole Kmet is a stud. I wouldn’t characterize the Dawgs as holding on though. The Irish were in full desperation mode at the end.
I would say the same about the Texas A&M and Oklahoma State near comebacks, more “a hope and a prayer” than anything else. And, while I loved the Pitt win, it did feel like UCF was the better team even though they lost.
But look, they were all certainly much more competitive than Michigan at Wisconsin. There’s nothing positive for the Wolverines to take away in that absolute beat down. It is beginning to feel the Harbaugh era will be one of good to very good, but never great.
So ODU almost beats VA, Maybe Va Tech is better than I think? Furman did just pound Mercer and nearly beat Georgia State. And, didn’t Georgia State beat the SEC’s Tennessee. And well, beating an SEC team is something right? Wait, San Jose State beat Arkansas this week?!? Nevermind. Va. Tech is still clearly a wait and see proposition.
Pitt upsets UCF, Think about that statement, Pitt upsets UCF. I am not sure the AAC is comparable to the ACC, but it is getting much closer. Open the playoffs to eight teams and you may get some surprising answers.
UCLA vs. Washington St. – Again, I went to bed. The Bruins were getting boat-race and then a track meet broke out. UCLA roared back for the win. The tackling was atrocious in that game. The defenses were so bad, both teams covered the Over.
Whew: Virginia over ODU, Cal over Ole Miss, Fla St. over Louisville
Doh: TCU loss to SMU, Washington St. loss to UCLA UNC loss to App. State.
Lastly, it is a poke in my eye every time ESPN runs that ad for their new relationship with the ACC network, immediately followed by an ad for Xfinity, who has not yet picked up that network. My only satisfaction is that some poor bastard at ESPN is stuck serving the Comcast/Xfinity relationship.
Week 4 will be tough to match, but there are some good games on the slate this weekend. I am staying consistent with picking Thursday and Friday games. I really don’t like the Navy Memphis game because I don’t think we know enough about either team. Since I have to make a pick, I am going with Navy being able to at least keep it close. Friday night was easy. I think PSU will roll over Maryland despite the extra seats and fans. Saturday, I feel compelled to pick the Ole Miss Bama game since I will be there. The line is 38.5 which seems crazy high, but Ole Miss has looked pretty bad. For my last pick, I am going to keep riding the La. Tech Dawgs. Rice is just struggling.
Other thoughts on this week’s slate:
Pretty good slate for Friday night. Beyond PSU, the Duke vs Va Tech game should be a good one. I also think ASU can play with Cal. Will have to find a sports bar in Meridian, Mississippi for the night.
I am guessing Michigan will take out all their frustrations on poor Rutgers
Same for the Aggies against the Razorbacks
NIU could give the SEC another out of conference loss. Stay sharp Vanderbilt
Delaware at Pitt – A classic trap game, especially after Pitt upsets UCF
I can’t make heads or tails of the PAC12 – Maybe I will understand after USC vs Washington
Ark St. vs. Troy – A Sun Belt classic. Seriously, I could see myself watching that game
Bleh game of the week: 0-4 Akron at 0-4 UMass. I guess somebody has to win, but it won’t be the fans.
2019 is a big bounce back year with a great schedule and some great locations: Hawaii, Wisconsin (SI #19) and Notre Dame (SI #7), who is hosting Virginia Tech (SI #22). We also have some double weekends in Alabama (SI #1) and Oregon (SI #9). If I factor in seeing Oregon State host Utah (SI #14), I am seeing six top twenty-five teams (per SI) this year, including the number one. Big time indeed.
Game 1 – 8/24/2019, Arizona at Hawaii: While the second game of the weekend, it is the first true college game of the season. Miami plays Florida in Orlando first, but neutral sites don’t count at somanystadiums.com. Hawaii is certainly one of the better locations to see a game. This should be a good game where the Rainbow Warriors home field advantage offsets the depth of the Wildcats.
Game 2 – 9/7/2019, Illinois at University of Connecticut: So not exactly a marquee match up with UConn going 1-11 in 2018 and Illinois finishing at 4-8, but I had to hit East Hartford, Connecticut at some point. As a consolation, the Steelers host the Patriots the same weekend. So there is that.
Game 3 – 9/28/2019, ‘Ol Miss at Alabama (SI #1): After a couple of weeks off, I’ll be heading over the Tuscaloosa to see an SEC classic when ‘Ol Miss takes on Alabama. Unfortunately, I have the feeling the only thing that will be classic about this game will be the traditions. The Tide will probably roll all over the Rebels, er Black Bears, er Landsharks – not exactly sure what the Ol Miss mascot is these days. Rebels is not exactly the most PC nickname, but if the NFL will still let Washington run with the Redskins moniker, “Rebels” seems pale in comparison.
Game 4 – 10/3/2019, Georgia Southern at South Alabama: It is right back to the great state of Alabama for the following weekend. I hear Mobile, Alabama is actually a pretty interesting city so maybe it will be a good Thursday night. South Alabama’s program is a baby, having just started in 2009 and they went 3 – 9 last year. Georgia Southern, on the other hand, has rich a history (first game in 1924) and six FCS championships. They went 10-3 and won their bowl game. It might be a rough week for the Jaguars if the Eagles fly high.
Game 5 – 10/5/2019, Rice at UAB: It is a short(?) drive up the road to Birmingham for another potential blow out as UAB hosts Rice. The UAB program was resurrected from the dead after a two year hiatus in 2017. A short year later, UAB went 11-3, won their first Conference USA title and their subsequent bowl game. Rice, on the other is a program in serious decline, having gone 2-11 last year. It is not exactly the most appealing weekend on the schedule. It’s not all Game Day and rich traditions out there – sometimes it is just a plain old slog.
Game 6 – 10/11/2018, Colorado at Oregon (SI #9): Things take a remarkably better turn in Week 7 as I head out to Oregon for another double header weekend. The Ducks need to turn it around or it is probably curtains for their coach Mario Cristobal. I look forward to checking out Eugene on Friday night and seeing the team Phil Knight built.
Game 7 – 10/12/201, Utah (SI #14) at Oregon State: Saturday, it is a short drive up north to Corvallis to see the Beavers host the Utes. The Beavers had a disastrous 2 -10 season last year. The Utes were decent at 9 – 5 and are ranked in the SI top twenty-five. This might be a blow out if the Beavers 2nd year coach, Jonathan Smith can’t right the ship. Still, it is the Pacific Northwest in early autumn so it is probably going to be a good weekend regardless.
Game 8 – 11/2/2019, Virginia Tech (SI #22) at Notre Dame (SI #7): I had always planned on saving South Bend and Touchdown Jesus as the final stadium in the list. However, when I saw the home and away with Virginia Tech, it was too good to resist. Add to it a strong connection with a number of Midwest guys and the Golden Domers got put on the schedule for this year. Tech has been hot or cold, but they seem to always play to the level of their competition. Hopefully they remember they are playing the Fighting Irish and not the Old Dominion Monarchs. Twelve to sixteen guys in an AirBnB – what could go wrong?
Game 9 / 10 – 11/23/2019,Purdue at Wisconsin (SI #19) and/or Minnesota at Northwestern. It is nearly a month off before I catch another game, although there is always a chance I could zip over to SMU in between games. The Mustangs are always dependent on weather and the matchup (and if I can get someone to go with me). The kickoff for both the Wisconsin and Northwestern games are TBD so there’s the outside chance I could pick up the rare Saturday double dip. Ideally, the Northwestern game goes off at noon and is a blowout by half time. Then, if the Wisconsin game is prime time, we could head off for what looks to be a three and half hour drive. It would be really tight, but you could kick it around Madison afterwards. Otherwise, I will just have to pick one.
Game 11 – 11/26/2019, Western Michigan at Northern Illinois: This last game is really dicey. It is a MACtion Tuesday night game the week before Thanksgiving. I am typically off that week for vacation, so I can see an opportunity to catch this game in combination with a holiday trip. Maybe? Games this late in the season often get cut, especially the ones up North. I could see where the weather would be sub-optimal for a Tuesday night game in DeKalb, Illinois.
So there you have it. The one thing I have learned in the 78 games I have already hit, nothing is set in stone. This schedule is, as it is every year, a target. On paper though, it appears to be a good one. See you in the tailgate lots and in the stands.
As I wait out a nine hour layover in Qatar, I figured I might as well write up a new post. We will publish the 2018 schedule in a couple of weeks and it looks to be a good one. In the process of mapping the 2018 season, I have come to an early conclusion on the 2018 BSC playoff. Shocker, I am betting that defending champion Alabama makes the playoff again. Actually, I am only wishing I was able to really bet. No wagering here as Texas drags its feet on legalizing betting despite the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Murphy, Governor of New Jersey v. NCAA, which sounds more like some aggrieved Notre Dame alum railing against college football for unfairly penalizing the Irish for their independent schedule than the case legal gambling. Of course, it has nothing to do with whiny ND alums, although I would appreciate any legislation that does. Instead, it gives all of us punters the right to finally legally bet on college football if only our resident state will comply. Strange that my current home state of Texas will let me buy all the AK-47s and armor piercing bullets I want, but if I want to take the over in Texas Tech versus Boise State, I am shit out of luck. However, I digress. Let us refocus on the issue on hand and wonder at how the Crimson Tide schedules its way to the CFB playoffs every year.
I had already mapped out my schedule for the 2018 season when my son mentioned that he had an inside track on some ‘Bama tickets. The Tide was not on my schedule this year for a number of reasons, primarily because there wasn’t a South Alabama or UAB Thursday night game to pair with a Saturday in Tuscaloosa. With the chance to get reasonable tickets to ‘Bama, I checked out their schedule to see what might work for us. This is the Tide’s schedule for 2018:
This schedule is not exactly a murderers’ row. I did a little research and noted that five of these teams didn’t even have winning seasons in 2017 and if I subtract Texas A&M’s squeaker win over the FCS’ Nicholls last year, it brings that total to six teams. It is not particularly impressive when half your schedule was made up of last year’s losers. Here’s another interesting nugget, half the teams ‘Bama plays will have brand new coaches. The Tide’s quality opponents in 2018? Discounting a Lamar Jackson-less Louisville, it leaves you with LSU (who lost to Troy in 2017), Mississippi State (new coach) and Auburn (who they have at home). Hell, I might as well add Sun Belt runner up Arkansas State to the list because there really isn’t anyone else.
Combine this with the strategic placement of the Citadel in a November game, and Saban will have his cupcake and eat it too. It is easy to see the Tide roll into the Auburn game undefeated, lose, and still make the playoffs because they only lost once! Oh, and assuming that loss eliminates them from the SEC championship game and as surely as an undefeated group of five team will be overlooked, the committee will let them in again. Enjoy that nice long three week vacation Nick, where you can coach up another freshman QB to save your ass. Look I am not bitter. Alabama won the championship fair and square last year. However, the playoff format has to change. The committee can’t keep rewarding teams for not winning their conference championships.
In the end, we still haven’t yet lined out the Alabama game for 2018. Honestly, their home games are pretty weak but as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers. Nonetheless, I will be damned if I going to ‘Bama to see them play the Citadel.