Labor Day weekend is nice because you essentially get five (six if you include Georgia State/Abilene Christian this year) days of FBS football in some way, shape or form, which is almost overkill. Because the Tuesday and Wednesday after? TORTURE. Its not quite the 231 days that preceded last Wednesday after the Auburn/Florida State game, but its a struggle. We had a taste, now we want more. This is how heroin addictions get started.
Arizona at UT-San Antonio, 8pm, FS1. This game has intrigue to me for three reasons:
1) Arizona has a chance to be a decent football team and darkhorse in the Pac-12 South.
2) Thursday night road games are where claims such as 1 go to die.
3) Larry Coker- still a corpse that coaches football.
This game really doesn’t intrigue me at all.
Pitt at Boston College, 8pm, ESPN: Two teams who will win 5-7 games and play in pre-Christmas bowls. If you haven’t seen Pitt WR Tyler Boyd yet, then maybe it tickles your fancy.
Washington State at Nevada, 10:30, ESPN: Man, the standard is so much lower for Thu/Fri games. This one should at least feature a LOT of points (O/U is set at 65.5, I’m banging the over) and the world’s favorite coach.
Saturday: The Noon Swoon
Lord, this is a pitiful slate. There are three SEC games, with #2 Alabama hosting FAU and Tennessee hosting Arkansas State, somehow both on the SEC Network. #24 Missouri travels to Toledo (that is not a typo) and is the ESPN game for noon (also not a typo). What a world.
On ABC, you get a chance to see #4 Oklahoma, as they travel to Tulsa. And beyond that, in no particular order, #20 K-State in a conference game at Iowa State on FS1, Penn State/Akron on ESPN2, and #23 Clemson’s lack of a run defense against South Carolina State on your local ACC Network affiliate.
3:30- The Football Gods Give Us One
I’d be kinda pissed if I lived on the West Coast and this was a nooner for me, but #14 USC travels to Palo Alto to take on perpetually immovable object #13 Stanford on ABC. USC ran 102 plays in their week 1 win over Fresno State, and Stanford always ruins hurry-up extraordinaire Oregon’s season. CONSIDER ME COMPELLED.
Beyond that, its uglier than the noons. Kentucky will have a competitive game at Ohio on the Collegiate ESPN network, Florida debuts against EMU at 4 on the SEC, and #15 Ole Miss and Vandy come at you from LP Field at 4:30 on ESPN.
Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday, Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday, Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday Night’s Alright
#7 Michigan State at #3 Oregon. 6:30pm. FOX. Be there or be square.
Reeling #21 South Carolina hosts possible-best-team-in-North-Carolina East Carolina on ESPNU at 7 in a game where ECU QB Shane Carden is out to throw the ball more than Kenny Trill’s 60 attempts.
The #5 Barners get a tune-up against San Jose State at 7 on ESPN2. We get to see round 2 of senor Trill as Lamar visits #9 Texas A&M on the SEC Network at 7. Texas gets to try to hold BYU under 500 rushing yards at the same time on FS1. What I’m saying is this: you should have your rotational trigger finger ready to go by now, its week 2.
At 7:30, our favorite game that has no bearing on any titles at all takes place, as #16 Notre Dame hosts Michigan on NBC. So, that’s 6 games to keep an eye on. For #7, how about Virginia Tech at #8 Ohio State on ESPN at 8?
Let’s rank them in order of what you should have on your ‘favorites’ list to flip through:
1) FOX. Sparty/Ducks.
2) NBC, I guess, for you purists out there.
3) ESPNU, because S.C. could seriously be 0-2 with Georgia on deck.
4) ABC. Nobody likes seeing Urban Meyer win anything, even if it means Frank Beamer wins instead.
5-7) Up to you, man. I don’t own you.
Enjoy the games, folks!
The Sugar Bowl:
I tweetered about this last night to the point of exasperation, but here are a few bullet points on Florida’s loss to Louisville:
- I’m really, really glad that Charlie Strong didn’t come to Tennessee.
- Now I see why he stayed, that team is talented and most of the talent is coming back.
- I’ve said this before, but the Big East was underrated this year.
- Florida still doesn’t have an offense. Never have, at least not this year.
- Anybody who thinks this is an indictment against the SEC, please explain your logic after reading mine in the next three bullets.
- Last time I checked the winner of an automatically-qualifying BCS Conference beat the non-winner from another.
- Last time I checked Florida finished second in their division within the SEC.
- I’m not discrediting Louisville, they were the better team. But I’m making the point that it shouldn’t be so absurd that the best team in a BCS Conference beat the second best team in another conference’s (supposedly) weaker division by 10 points.
- The math said to take Louisville, as the Cardinals were getting 15 whole points.
An Interesting Thought on Gambling:
There have been eight bowl games thus far with double-digit point spreads. Four favorites (Cincinnati against Duke, Arizona State against Navy, Oklahoma State against Purdue, FSU against Northern Illinois) covered the spread and four underdogs (SMU against Fresno State, Minnesota against Texas Tech, Georgia Tech against Southern Cal, Louisville against Florida) covered the spread. That’s not surprising at all. In fact, by design it seems like a favorite should cover about 50% and the underdog should cover about 50%.
What stands out is that three of the four ten-digit underdogs who covered the spread (all except for Minnesota) also won the game outright. Fresno State was favored by 11.5, but SMU won 43-10. Southern Cal was favored by 10.5, but Georgia Tech won 21-7. Florida was favored by 15, but Louisville won 33-23. The combined gap between the spread and the actual score in those three games was 94 points. That’s huge. The odds of those things happening are slim.
Also of note: the DudeYouCrazy Normalized Scoring Model is 19-11 with five bowl games remaining. At worst it will close out with a 54.29% winning percentage. But I’m hoping I close out with five more wins to threaten 70%.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Aside from the fact that a brand of chips is sponsoring a bowl that Chip Kelly is coaching in, I’m really excited about the Party Bowl tonight. Kansas State and Oregon represent the dreams of mid-November that came crashing down when everyone lost – seemingly on purpose – to pave the way for another SEC National Championship. As for what you should expect? I’m not totally sure.
Oregon’s coach, Chip Kelly, seems NFL-bound as he’s being pursued by the Bills, Browns and Eagles for a head coaching gig (I’d love to see him coach the Eagles’ speed, for what it’s worth). Meanwhile Kansas State’s coach, Bill Snyder, seems bound for a bowl of jello and an early evening in a recliner at the age of 73. Something has to give.
I like watching Oregon play. There I said it. I rooted hard for Oregon against Auburn a few years ago. I said it. I even tweeted “War Duckle” a number of times. You mad, bro? Oregon is exciting. On the other hand, I can’t remember anything about Kansas State even though I watched them play three or four complete games this year. They’re that unimpressionable. But, perhaps that’s what you get when Calvin Klein is your quarterback and an old man is your coach.
Despite all of this, something tells me that old-man football just might win out again here. Oregon’s offense has a lot of moving parts, and as a physical Stanford team showed, when the timing is off the wheels roll in the wrong direction. I can’t help but think the long layoff and the distraction of Kelly’s potential departure might do some damage. But at the same time, don’t be surprised if nobody from the entire state of Kansas, let alone from Kansas State’s team, can physically keep up with the Ducks.
I’ll leave you with this: the math says Kansas State will narrowly cover the spread. Let’s see what the game says.
Enjoy it, I think it could be a good one.
That’s all I got/