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.
We are off to Notre Dame this week to see the Hokies take on the Fighting Irish. I have had this game circled since last year when when we picked it for our group trip. Of course, it did almost get erased a couple of times like when V. Tech nearly lost to Furman. With a number of “perils of Pauline” type wins and rotating QBs, the Hokies somehow have managed to right the ship and come in at 5-2. Notre Dame is also 5 – 2 but had been in the top ten all year until last week’s blowout at Michigan dropped them to number 16. Nonetheless, the Hokies are still getting 17 points this weekend and despite my best judgement I am picking them. Before I go into my other picks, some thoughts on Week 9 in FBS College Football.
No reason OU should complain about that onside kick call. It was the right call and it should have never came to that.
Nice upset of the Longhorns by the Horned Frogs, but ugh, those TCU uniforms. Rough week for the sartorial crowd between those uniforms and the perennial worst band uniforms sported by Texas.
Wisconsin did not show up against Ohio State. Not much fight in those Badgers
Gophers looked good in their gold helmets. I can’t say much about their actual play as their opponent was Maryland. We will find out soon enough if they are real when PSU comes to town. I bet Game Day gave that game some consideration, but given they were just at Penn State they made Memphis their choice this weekend.
The PSU tight ends are very good by the way.
Ohio State’s Chase Young is a beast. Four sacks, five tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles.
Auburn LSU didn’t feel as close as the score was. LSU was in control the whole time.
Love the UNC helmets, but not the navy blue uniforms.
SMU escaped with the win against Houston. They are going to have to step it up against Memphis if they want to stay undefeated.
The American Athletic Conference is a good conference – end of discussion.
Pitt defense chokes on the last Hurricane drive. Coach Pat Narduzzi let that game get away.
Some great finishes with the 3:30 EST games. It was one big finish after another and I was able to rotate them all through on the big 65″ silly in the Man Cave. Five TVs may seem like overkill, but it was well worth it last Saturday.
Navy gets the big kick to beat Tulane. I assume all the midshipmen got a weekend pass. Nice work by a true freshman kicker.
Couldn’t be happier for Mac Brown with that last second win against Duke.
Texas Tech tried to do too much – Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
As for the remainder of my picks, Tulane kept it close and Utah easily covered. Clemson just rolled over Boston College – so much for getting 35 points. And, Temple just let me down. Other random thoughts for the games this week.
Bargain of the week: Marshall vs Rice for $2
Watch out Illinois, Rutgers won last week against Liberty saving the Big 10’s reputation in the process.
Wofford gets $360k to play Clemson. I think the Tigers got off cheap.
Based on the remainder of Oregon’s schedule, the U Dub Huskies are their last hurdle to the PAC12 championship.
Remember when Miami vs. Florida State was “can’t miss game?” It is now one to avoid.
I think every UNC game I have seen this season has been exciting. I don’t think the UVA game is going to be any different.
No game again this week which will allow me to catch up on some reviews (but maybe not yet the Ducks and Beavers) and do some planning for next week’s big game at Notre Dame. Before I go into my picks for this week, just a few thoughts on last week.
Why did Washington get called for unsportsmanlike for hiding the return man on the kickoff? Terrible
Va Tech UNC finish was not great football but was still a blast to watch. I really like the two point conversion rule.
And with that result, the ACC Coastal is officially a mess.
Texas escapes. I am not sure if they are as good as they think they are.
Vandy upsets Missouri – I knew the Tigers were overrated
Baylor exorcised some demons against Oklahoma State. Maybe they are legit.
Even though the Ducks won against the Huskies, Oregon’s defense laid an egg.
Gophers still undefeated and with the Terps coming to town they will probably stay that way.
South Carolina’s Coach, Will Muschamp, was completely right when he went off on the officials after their game with Florida. I can give a pass on the missed holding call given the angle of the official, but missing the offsides was inexcusable.
I finally had a good week with my picks. I went three and one with Appalachian State and Virginia rolling coupled with the upset by Vanderbilt. It was only a lackluster performance by ODU’s offense that kept me from four and oh. This week I like Tulane getting four against Navy. The Green Wave is having a good year. Even though they are home and have the same record as UCF at 5 – 2, Temple is still getting 11 points. Admittedly, I don’t feel great about it but I am taking the Owls. I do feel good about Boston College getting 35 against Clemson. The Tigers are shaky. I am taking the Utes over the Cal Bears on the transitive property. I saw Utah beat Oregon State by 45 two weeks ago in Corvallis and then last week the Beavers beat Bears. How can Utah not crush Cal?
Some other thoughts on Week Nine.
It will be interesting to see which Badgers show up at the Horseshoe. Will it be the team that smoked Michigan or the one that choked against Illinois?
App State should stay undefeated with an easy win against South Alabama.
Do they Scarlet Knights of Rutgers have any pride? Liberty comes to town at 5-2 but it would still be an embarrassing loss for the Big Ten.
Can I call Penn State’s contest against Michigan State a trap game with a looming game against a likely undefeated Minnesota?
LSU should handle Auburn.
Bargain of the week. UVA at Louisville tickets going for $2.
Not a bargain at any price: 1 – 6 UConn at 1 – 6 UMass.
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.