Rest and recovery

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.

That’s all I got, enjoy the game.

Just do it?

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…

2019 Season Schedule: Big Time

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.

Week 1

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.

Week 5

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.

Week 6

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.

Week 7

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.

Week 10

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?

Week 13

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.

Week 14

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.