Let’s hope today’s games are as exciting as last night’s Friday the 13th Upset Special. Great action. First an surprising upset of Clemson on an “off-night” game. ACC does not seem to understand how motivated home teams are how this impacts your contenders like FSU and Clemson when they play night games on short weeks. Then a game in which the final score was shocking but the potential outcome was not as Cal ended Washington State’s undefeated season. That game had more turnovers than a kitchen at McDonald’s. Seven total picks and fumbles did the Cougars in who never could catch that spark they needed to get the offense rolling.
Today, all of the key games of interest are not battles between highly ranked teams but instead are local Florida teams except for the late night game which comes from the Pac 12. In fact, there aren’t any games between two ranked teams on the schedule which is odd as well although probably partly attributable to the reduced number of SEC teams in the Top 25. Alright enough chit-chat on to the games that matter:
TOP GAMES OF INTEREST
Florida State at Duke – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – If I’d have told you that the Noles were playing the Blue Devils and one team would be 4-2 and the other would be 1-3, a sure fire assumption would be that the Noles would have the better record. That’s obviously not the case this year but don’t fret Nole fans. Rumors of our demise are misplaced and won’t last forever. Although Duke is very capable of beating us and has played great this year I still have confidence that the Noles offense will have an easier time moving the ball against the Duke defense than it has against 3 of the 4 prior opponents. With a few pounds advantage and a greater sense of urgency, look for the running game to take off today and the Noles defense to smother the Duke passing attack. With Clemson’s loss, FSU is also back in a position of playing spoiler and they have the slimmest of hopes for the ACC Championship game although it is very slim, I know but still a boy can dream. First things, first a win is needed on the road against the Blue Devils. My pick is Noles by 6 as every game will seemingly be within a score this year.
Georgia Tech at (11) Miami, FL – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – Sure some could argue that Miami got lucky with the last drive, but they put themselves in position to compete with a strong defense and gave away few easy points with turnovers. In fact, they are tied for #17 in the country in turnover margins while Georgia Tech is 93rd. Nole fans don’t even ask about FSU’s turnover margin you’ll throw up. Canes are at home and will be feeding off the win with a little extra swagger. Have to guard against a let down against this Tech team which has some some sneakiness to them with their triple option offense but Miami should be prepared to stop the run and dominate with a late TD to break open the game.
Texas A&M at Florida – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Oh boy. Talk about let downs. Florida’s fan base probably would have been okay (or at least as okay as one fan base can be) with an LSU lost had Florida not started off the season with this two tight SEC wins over Tennessee and Kentucky. Gator fans began to consume the koolaide and think they might be looking at a team of destiny although none said it openly. But I thought they were flawed and they proved it last week. Crazy part is the one area I thought was bullet proof is what let them down, the kicking game. Now what remains to be seen is how flawed are they. Aggies may have slept on the wrong side of the plane when they lost to UCLA in week 1 but they rallied to beat Arkansas and then South Carolina so they have recovered from that massive meltdown game. And their lost to Alabama was great. A one score, 8 point loss to the Semi-Pros from Alabama is as close to a win as most teams will get this year against the Tide. Still Felipe I think is starting to improve and tweak his mastery of the Gators offense and won’t be a completely disaster so I’d say the surprising aspect of this game will be how well the Gators do on offense. But the SEC West still has a hold of the SEC Least and this season they already own a 4-2 edge. That should expand slightly with a win in this game by the Aggies 24-13.
East Carolina at (22) UCF – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – East Carolina is pitiful. UCF Knights have it all going strong. I’m looking forward to the battle between the Knights and Bulls on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Both teams have a legitimately good shot at still being undefeated by then. To-knight UCF by a lot as the stadium is a-rocking.
Oregon at (23) Stanford – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – Of the four late games this is the only one that is worth watching. First of all, one of these two PAC 12 giants will find themselves with a third loss before mid-October. Question is which one. Stanford is still eligible for the Pac 12 divisional crown despite two early season losses since one was a non-divisional loss. David Shaw is also a stud coach and they are at home so I’ll take the Tree over the Ducks by about 10.
Okay so for the rest of the televised games I’m going lite on the commentary today as we have 7 a.m. pitching lesson. Gotta love the commitment to learning our son has but seriously who can pitch at this hour? Oh well, enjoy!
South Carolina at Tennessee – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Gamecock and Volunteer fans hate me for picking their team but I have to pick someone right? I’d like to pick Rocky Top at home but I think the Butch Jones Era is sadly coming to an end right before our eyes. Muschamp in a close one on the road.
(24) Texas Tech at West Virginia – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – West Virginia is a solid team and they have had two tough losses but in Morgantown, I’m taking the Mountaineers by a few.
(6) TCU at Kansas State – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – TCU is having the kind of season where all of a sudden no one on the schedule looks like they will take them down until maybe when they play Oklahoma in four weeks. Meanwhile K-State struggles mightily against Division 1 opponents. I’m taking TCU in a comfortable win.
(17) Michigan at Indiana – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – I should have seen the Michigan debacle coming against a difficult in-state rival but I didn’t. That doesn’t negate Michigan nor does it create a blue print on how to beat them. They are solid fundamentally and will continue to improve as the season progresses. Indiana plays tough at home but just not enough to keep up with Michigan’s talent.
(20) NC State at Pittsburgh – Fox Sports Florida (DTV-654) (SPEC-1149) – This game may be hard to find but will be worth it to see if NC State continues to build on their momentum from the wins over FSU and L’ville. This is their last road opportunity to stumble with later games against BC and Wake. Pitt improved a smidge but they won’t be able to to stop Chubbs or the defensive line for NC State who wins going away on the road.
Kansas at Iowa State – Fox Sports Sun (DTV-653) (SPEC-1148) – Kansas I’ve told you is miserable. I’d say the same thing about Iowa State but they just beat Oklahoma. Okay never mind the Cyclones are also miserable but J-Squawks are much worse. Cyclones with a win but don’t watch this game. In fact, I’m hitting the backspace button now as we speak so you’re not tempted to watch it.
Rutgers at Illinois – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Boy if Rutgers is going to win a conference game this is it. Since joining the league in 2014 they are 4-23 in the Big Ten and have lost 16 straight. No bueno, amigos. Illini is not much better but they have too win this game or else Love Smith gets a canned ham and he is fired. Illini in a squeaker but another can MISS game.
BYU at Mississippi State – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – Speaking of Miss, welcome to the MISS SEC pageant. The first game on the SEC Channel today is MISS State playing BY-WHO? BY-WHO is a fraud this year but Mississippi State was a contender all of a week. Since they dismantled LSU they have only lost their past two games by a combined 80-10 score. I’ll take the Bulldogs (on a walk) but apprehensively as they may wizz all over my shoes and embarrass me at home.
Eastern Michigan at Army – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Eastern Michigan has a tough stretch of games and is in the tougher still MAC Conference. Army is at 4-2 and starting to cruise this season with their difficult option offense to defend. Army should win this as Eastern Michigan has not seen the option in some time and it’s always a little tricky (FSU fans think about every time we play Georgia Tech and frustrating those 3 yard gains are). Army by 7.
UConn at Temple – ESPN News (DTV-207) (SPEC-1129) – Remember kids if it’s on ESPN News, then it’s not worth watching. Temple is the better team and will prevail by at least 17.
Boston College at Louisville – WRBW (DTV-65) (SPEC-1065) – Lamar Jackson is special but he doesn’t have enough talent to help his team make a serious run at the ACC championship, especially now with 2 losses. Boston College is not very good but they have been quiet assassins on the road in recent years. Louisville is better than that and Petrino can still coach. If the game is close look for BC to pull off the upset but I’m hoping Louisville creates some separation and wins so the Noles can face them next week perhaps close to being ranked.
(10) Auburn at LSU – CBS (DTV-6) (SPEC-1060) – Three weeks ago, this was going to be a great match-up. Before last Saturday however you probably could have traded a can of cat food tuna for a ticket to see the Tigers. Now after last week’s games this is back to being the marquee CBS/SEC match-up of the two most likely teams to give Alabama a scare. But both are putty-cats compared to Bama. I like the Tigers this season but I’m never impressed with someone that says, I beat the Gators. The Tigers are at home but it’s not a night game so the fans won’t be as drunk or as loud. Of course the Tigers did lose a close one to the Tigers early on this year and have rebounded nicely with convincing wins since then. You really can’t say enough good things about the Tigers so I’m going to stop and pick my sure lock pick of the year. Tigers with a win. Boy that joke never gets old. Okay maybe it does, Road Tigers over the dangerous-don’t-sleep-on-them Home Tigers.
(12) Oklahoma vs. Texas (in Dallas) – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – You could say that Texas has the blue print on how to beat Oklahoma but instead I think what they’ll have is a Sooner team that will be playing angry. And the last thing you want is an angry Sooner backed into a neutral corner. Texas still has a ways to go to make this a fair fight but maybe next year as I believe in Tom Herman to turn this thing around.
Purdue at (7) Wisconsin – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Badgers are quietly once again moving up in the ranking and no one pays much attention to them. Boilermakers made a big splash with their early season start and despite the loss to Michigan came out last week and beat a solid Minnesota team in a bit of an upset. Badgers should win at home and be jumping around but Purdue is not an easy win.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – The MISS SEC pageant continues with the second of three MISS games today. Not that MISS games are not competitive but Vandy is really not that good. They just happen to beat K-State and thought they were all that before losing three straight. Make it four after today.
Virginia at North Carolina – New England Sports Network (DTV-628) (SPEC-834) – I thought UVA needed another week but Bronco Mendenhall has this team clicking. Meanwhile in Chapel Hill the Fedora’s are no longer in vogue. UNC loses at home today and is going to turn towards basketball much sooner than they had hoped.
Northwestern at Maryland – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Wildcats and Terrapins. This is actually a competitive game as Maryland has played better than most expected this year. Northwestern meanwhile has underperformed. Maryland however is on their third or fourth QB so I’m taking NW to win on the road.
Baylor at (14) Oklahoma State – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – OK State gets a breather against an overmatched Baylor team. Not a pretty game to watch and don’t adjust your set as the uniform colors are awful too. Cowpokes by a lot.
Akron at Western Michigan – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Both of these MAC teams may be leading their divisions at 2-0 in the conference but they are worlds apart. Western Michigan showed a lot of resiliency last week taking on Buffalo’s best punches and winning in a 7 OT thriller 71-68. Today it won’t be that difficult at home. Broncos by a couple of TDs over Terry Bowden’s Zips.
(25) Navy at Memphis – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – This game is definitely worth checking out. Navy has the ground attack and Memphis can sling it all over the place. Even though UCF made them look weak, Memphis still has a great team. But Navy may just be too much for the Tigers as the option is so annoying to defend. High scoring game that will be decided late. Midshipmen in a fun one to watch.
Houston at Tulsa – ESPN News (DTV-207) (SPEC-1129) – Remember the only thing worse than fake news is ESPN News. Stay away from this channel. Tulsa may be the Golden Hurricanes but they have played more like a depression. Houston still is playing well despite the coaching transition. Cougars win easily.
Colorado at Oregon State – Pac-12 Network (DTV N/A) (SPEC-822) – Speaking of being water-logged, how about them Beavers? Total train wreck here as Gary Anderson quit in one of the most bizarre coaching careers. Here was a guy at Wisconsin doing well with a Power Five job and he takes over at Oregon State? Huh? What kind of career move is that? Then after 2 plus years he just up and quits because his team can’t find the tunnel fast enough after getting whooped in all their games this year, including the only one they won against a Division III/trade school opponent. Buffs will run all over the Beavers and crush them in Corvallis.
Arkansas at (1) Alabama – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Bret Bielema Fire Watch is on full alert and his troubles continue this week against Bama. And then next week he has Auburn so nothing will be easy for this cat. Bama is the only sure thing in college football these days and no amount of Friday the 13th leftover upset curse is going to change this result. Saban by a lot over Bielema.
(9) Ohio State at Nebraska – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – I thought Nebraska would have upended Wisconsin at the beginning of the year followed by a win over Ohio State. Well, I stopped thinking that a while ago. Good news though for Mike Riley. His old job in Corvallis just opened up. He better take it before he gets canned.
Missouri at (4) Georgia – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – Oh Dawg fans. How I love your enthusiasm but you are not the 4th best team in the country. I know, I know. You’ll win again this week in convincing fashion and convince yourselves you are #3 with Clemson losing but boy will you be sadly surprised before the season ends. Still on the MISS SEC Pageant Channel, you only get the best college football money can buy and this is another classic sham for the conference as MISSouri is simply MISS-erable. Dawgs by a lot.
Cincinnati at (18) USF – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – Hey check out the best candidate in Florida to be invited to the Heisman presentation, Quinton Flowers. Of course he won’t win or come close but still he might get an invite unless UCF ruins his season. (insert evil laugh here Bruhahaha). Cincy no match for Da Bulls.
Utah at (13) USC – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – Ah, this is a great game with some potential intrigue but now that a few teams have lost along the way USC may see a chance to climb back into the national spotlight. Question is which Sam Darnold will we see? The over hyped player that has played with so much pressure that he throws picks all over the field or the under the radar star that led his team to victory last year? Utah is no slouch either and will give USC a challenge. I’m taking the Trojans but wouldn’t be surprised if Utah pulls off the minor upset on the road.
(21) Michigan State at Minnesota – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Another great game to monitor as Sparty is back just as I predicted they would be. After last week’s big win, Michigan State will not have a let down but instead will be moving with even greater focus and belief as Mark Dantonio is a very driven dude. Michigan State could still win the toughest division in college football but we’ll know more on that after they take on Penn State in early November. For now, the boat is sinking in Minnesota and taking on water as Sparty beats the Gophers and hands them their third conference loss.
UCLA at Arizona – Pac-12 Network (DTV N/A) (SPEC-822) – Wildcats surprised Colorado last week and played Utah close. So maybe the demise of Rich-Rod is greatly exaggerated and we should be talking about the demise of Jim Mora and his Bruised Bruins. UCLA has no room for error left and I fear and suspect their defense will be left behind. Zona in a mild upset at home over UCLA.
Nevada at Colorado State – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Okay, I’m gassed here. I got nothing. Rams Tough Enough Over the Wolf Pack? Nevada is 1-5 so don’t even watch this if you are a Wolf Pack grad.
Boise State at (19) San Diego State – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – This game has more intrigue on paper because the two schools are well recognized by average college football fans but the Aztecs are the real deal here and will win comfortably. Boise State I’ve told you is slowly slipping from the Non-Power 5 Conference Elite group and the blame may be on Chris Petersen’s successor who has not been as offensive as his predecessor. As I said, Rocky Long and San Diego State easily.
(5) Washington at Arizona State – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Somehow the sneaky Sun Devils managed a conference win against the Ducks. But it won’t happen again even at home against Washington. Speaking of Chris Petersen he has recently fired off his growing frustration with ESPN for slating them in the middle of the night for the East Coast fans and I don’t blame him. They should be playing no later than 8 p.m. and maybe even earlier but they get the Rodney Dangerfield award for getting no respect. Huskies in a rout so go back to the Stanford game. You won’t miss much here.