Okay let’s start with the premise that some weeks, I work really hard to put these predictions together and find the best games for you to watch based on the quality of the games. Then there are weeks like this one. Where I find it very easy to make predictions and pad my stats only to tell you that there are very few games that might be of regional interest or consequence. And not just because FSU and UF are not in the running for a national championship, there just aren’t many good games out there. Period. The great news is that next week we get a whole smorgasbord of not just any games but rivalry games and they are parceled out over a 3 day period beginning on Thursday.
Ah, but alas, if you LOVE college football, you’ll help you can’t help but watch to see if there is a train wreck along the way. In fact, you’ll even find excitement in games like Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky last night which went from a ho hum sleeper of 10-3 heading into the fourth quarter and finished up as a 38-41, triple, overtime thriller with 66 points scored in the final quarter and OT. So see there is hope out there. And by the way, I would have taken Middle Tennessee, even though they lost so there are lots of bad picks before your eyes so don’t go betting the farm on these picks either. So without further adieu I’m going to just dive in with our early slate of games.
Noon – This is where they put the bad games and this week these may be the best games for the day. Yikes!
Delaware State at Florida State – Are we on TV? – (ESPN3 – which would be your computer/with a connection to your service provider or possibly on one of these DirectTV channels: 159, 628, 631, 642-1, 646, 646-1, 654, 659-1, 662, 668-2 or 788 or possibly none of the above) – Always have to start with my alma mater (which loosely translated in the Que Pasa USA?-Cuban-Spanglish dictionary means, my soul matters). So FSU has to win this game by 60. That’s all there is to it. And Blackman will get his confidence going and Cam Akers will score 4 TDs while running for 300 yards and getting closer to 1,000 for the season and we’ll be feeling good about our defense which will hold the Hornets (these aren’t even the Delaware Hens we are playing) to negative yards rushing and passing and produce three pick-sixes in the first quarter of play. Unrealistic expectations Nole fans? Yes of course, but if Jimbo doesn’t have this homecoming game wrapped up by halftime, someone may call down to the locker room and put that call from Texas A&M through to him. I don’t think that will be necessary but FSU won’t cruise as easily as we want. Still we win handily 45-10.
Virginia at (3) Miami, FL – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – Okay Cane fans are you ready? Are you ready for me to buy into the hype and start wearing the turnover chain and singing your praises? Are you ready for me to start picking your Canes to win in impressive fashion over mediocre opponents? Are you ready for me to start typing the words possible national championship game in Atlanta? Well wait some more because I ain’t picking them this week. I know they are heavily favored and they are at home and Virginia hasn’t done much all year but I have a baaaaad feeling about this game. Plus if I pick you to win, I get no lovely posts from your fans but if I pick you to lose some of you may feel inclined to drop me a love note or give me some choice comments on my selections. So I’m going to pull the double Lee Corso reverse and pick UVA over the Canes in my upset special of the week 20-17 on a late missed field goal by Miami to tie it or am I . . .
(15) UCF at Temple – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – UCF fans don’t be nervous. I still think you have the best team in the state and you’ll prove it with a win by a larger margin of victory over Temple than any of the other state universities will win by today including FSU and UF. Okay maybe I’m not that crazy as Temple did beat Navy and lost to Houston and Army by less than 7 points but UCF will win this handily probably by 14 or more on the road and get psyched Knights fans because the big green machine is coming to town next Friday afternoon.
(24) Michigan at (5) Wisconsin – FOX (DTV-35) (SPEC-1035) – How does that Golden Slumbers, Beatles song go again:
Once there was a way,
To get back homeward.
Once there was a way
To get back home.
Sleep, pretty darling,
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby
Ole Khaki Pants, do not cry. You are almost back home to your beloved and rabid Michigan fan base. And next week you will be home before a hostile crowd playing against your hated rivals, the Buckeyes. Until then you’ll just have to wait another week before you get trounced by them and be satisfied with a relatively light beating by a Wisconsin team hungry for respect in front of the Madison faithful for your third loss of the season. I’d say it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy but I’ll save that for next week.
(16) Mississippi State at Arkansas – CBS (DTV-6) (SPEC-1060) – Wow! The Arkansas game is one of the top 5 games in any time slot? Really? They must be because they bypassed the SEC Network and jumped straight to the rarified air of the Noon CBS game. Oh maybe, it’s to get a glimpse of Mississippi State instead of Bret Bielema breaking down crying on the sidelines after another loss. Another double digit favorite wins in impressive fashion. Bulldogs by a lot over Razorbacks.
Minnesota at (23) Northwestern – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Okay here we go. A game with a point spread under 10. Minnesota has fizzled since they began conference play although they trounced Nebraska last week. But Northwestern has been playing like the darlings most predicted before the season started. I’ll take the favored little rascals at home by about 7.
Texas at West Virginia – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Another possible close game but Texas just hasn’t beat anyone of consequences except for maybe Iowa State but that was before Iowa State went on a short significant streak of wins. West Virginia has a more mature QB and they are at home in what could be sloppy and dreary weather in Morgantown. West Virginia by about 10.
SMU at (21) Memphis – ESPN News (DTV-207) (SPEC-1129) – Okay normally, I’d tell you if it’s on the News don’t watch it but this is actually a compelling game. I so like Schmoo. I desperately want to pick them. But alas, I’m going to be conservative and take Memphis which has a tremendous QB in Riley Ferguson who may become a good fantasy football starter in the NFL next season. Note they beat UCLA and have only 1 blemish on their record but if they keep winning they’ll get a chance to avenge that loss against UCF in the Conference Championship game in just two weeks. Tigers by about 7.
(12) TCU at Texas Tech – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – This just in, TCU is without their starting QB Kenny Hill in a conference in which QB Lives Matter. Ruh roh! I’d say TCU is the better team but without a guarantee at QB this conference is too tight to just win games with back-up QBs. I’ll take the Red Raiders at home in a mild upset.
Rutgers at Indiana – Big Ten Network (DTV-610-1) (SPEC-????) – Wow Rutgers do I owe you an apology. A win over not 1 but 2 Big Ten opponents. Oh wait, I take that back they have won 3, three games over Big Ten opponents (Bru ha, ha, ha, insert Count Von Count’s maniacal laugh here). Indiana however is no Maryland. Or Illinois. Or Purdue. In fact, the Hoosiers are 1-6 in conference play but have lost to the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Had they played Rutgers’ schedule they probably would have a much better conference record. I’ll take the Hoosiers at home by 4.
Mercer at (1) Alabama – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – Say what? Alabama is #1? Really? it took the pollsters how long to figure this out? Georgia as #1? Silly pollsters. And I’ll pick it here first, Bama over that other school in the state next week by a lot. But first they have to take care of business and they will. Lots of playing time for the third stringers who could probably beat the Cleveland Browns.
ULM at (6) Auburn – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Speaking of that other college in Alabama, Auburn wins easily and hopefully takes out a couple of ULM players to soften them up for FSU in a couple of weeks. Would I root for injury? No that’s not nice nor necessary. Auburn still wins handily minus any injuries at home.
Cincinnati at East Carolina – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Finally that philosophical question that has been dogging us for years is answered. What happens when two 1-5 teams play each other on national television? Nothing because no one is watching it. Pirates lose to Bearcats but no one is watching so we’ll have to take someone’s word on the final score.
The Citadel at (2) Clemson – WRBW (DTV-65) (SPEC-1065) – Why is this the ACC game on the local affiliate and not the Pitt-Va Tech game? No idea as Clemson will roll easily and the other one would be worth watching if it were on TV. Tigers by a lot.
Florida A&M vs. Bethune Cookman – ESPN Classic (DTV 614) (SPEC-???) – The Florida Classic is on ESPN Classic as they take a break from their 30 for 30 marathon to showcase the best game in the MEAC. I am disappointing my Rattlers friends with a projected win for Bethune Cookman in the game but . . . I am predicting an all-out she bop, bop, boogity, boogity, beep, bada boom, bada bang win for the FAMU band over the Bethune Cookman band in the most entertaining halftime event in sports (and yes I know those sound effects have nothing to do with the high stepping fun they have on the field but even I can’t do that justice as it is is a sight to behold). Lots of fun in this game every year irrespective of how the teams are playing and great weather in store for today’s game will make it even better. And congrats to our friends at Florida Citrus Sports that do such a great job of putting this on every year and making it a premiere event for attendees of both fan bases.
3:00 PM – The 3:00 p.m. time slot is only here to get a jump on the 3:30 p.m. games that matter. Unfortunately neither of these two games will be close enough by 5:30 to warrant switching over to them. And perhaps the Miami-UVA will be close enough to avoid the having to watch the start of these two games.
Arizona State at Oregon State – Pac-12 Network (DTV N/A) (SPEC-822) – Sun Devils demolish the Beavers on the road. And as Forest Gump would say that’s all I have to say about that.
UMass at BYU – BYU Channel (DTV-374) – This is here only to prove that yes Marvin and Velma, there is a channel just for you in Provo. Not even George Diaz, our local version of Fletch would watch this mess but I’ll predict the Cougars by a deuce over UMass.
3:30 PM – These are the important games that matter right? Typically yes except for today. A very rancid afternoon group of games to monitor.
Navy at (8) Notre Dame – NBC (Local NBC Channel) (DTV-2) (SPEC-1020) – If this is the best to watch at 3:30 p.m. you better start volunteering to put up those holiday decorations this weekend so you can enjoy football next weekend. Navy is a solid team but Notre Dame, despite the humiliation last weekend, is no slouch. And they will be used to a running attack from Navy although the Midshipmen’s triple option is more sophisticated than most. Still not a great year for the Academy and Notre Dame gets to rejoice in front of TD J plenty today.
Kansas State at (13) Oklahoma State – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Alright so K-State has a chance against Ok State but if TCU stumbles they’ll get their Bedlam Rematch they were craving at the start of the season in the Big 12 Championship game. OK State with too much to lose to stumble here wins by 13 or more.
Kentucky at (7) Georgia – CBS (DTV-6) (SPEC-1060) – Wildcats taking on Dawgs. Kentucky needs the win to get to their elusive 5 wins in conference play. Love Kentucky’s spirit and the work Mark Stoops has done but not today. Not today. Georgia at home bounces back and wins by about 10.
Illinois at (9) Ohio State – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – Wow! The ABC game features Illinois? With an 0-7 conference record? See how bad this weekend is for football? Need I say more?
(4) Oklahoma at Kansas – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Wow! The ESPN game features Kansas? With an 0-7 conference record? See how bad this weekend is for football? Need I say more? See how easy this is to just cut and paste?
Purdue at Iowa – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Okay well a verifiably entertaining game. Purdue showed great improvement at the beginning of the season but the Boilermakers have lost some steam . . . (wait for it and insert rim shot now). Hawkeyes have been up and down but have beaten the teams they were supposed to dominate and even upset Ohio State (thank you Iowa). Taking the Hawkeyes in a game probably decided by single digits.
Syracuse at Louisville – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – So this game may frustrate FSU fans just thinking about the Louisville loss and the fact that we had to struggle to beat Syracuse this year. That’s okay Louisville will struggle to beat Syracuse too. But they will and thereby deny Syracuse bowl eligibility.
San Jose State at Colorado State – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Okay so in the first segment CBS Sports Network gave us Cincy vs. East Carolina with a combined 2 conference wins. Now it’s a San Jose State team with an 0-6 conference record. Rams win easily but I’ll pass on this one too.
UAB at Florida – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – I was thinking this was a blowout win for the Gators but not so fast my friends. They should win at home, I’m not going to go UVA on you and pick out of spite or frustration but unlike the FCS chumps that FSU faces, UAB is actually playing with lots of purpose after restoring their football program and they have already clinched bowl eligibility. I don’t think their contract says they have to lie down and accept a loss but Florida’s offense will need to churn out some yardage. Good news is that the UF defense is still fairly good and will hold UAB in check. Gators by 14. And as for those Canes . . .
Nebraska at (10) Penn State – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – Nebraska is a hot mess and will fire their coach. Only question is whether Scott Frost takes that job or the Florida job. Or the UCLA job. Or the Texas A&M job. Or the Oregon job if Florida hires Taggart. Or the oh wait never mind you want to hear about Penn State. Penn State wins easily in this one as the red shirts are embarrassed by the white shirts.
Maryland at (17) Michigan State – FOX (DTV-35) (SPEC-1035) – Sparty is a very solid football team and I would not be surprised if they end up in our bowl game, next year. This year I’d look for either Penn State, Ohio State or Wisconsin. Sparty by 10 over an improved Maryland team on another average national television game.
Houston at Tulane – ESPN News (DTV-207) (SPEC-1129) – Again, the News doesn’t normally put out good product but Green Wave have been watchable and Houston is still a competitive product. Much better than the CBS Sports Network programming today. Houston by 14 on the road.
Wofford at South Carolina – SEC Alternative Network (DTV-611-1) (SPEC-???) – Gots to put the Wofford game in here. Heck SEC created an alternative channel for games just like this one. So only Gamecocks can watch it. Woo hoo! Go Gamecocks! Blow out city so don’t even think about turning this one on even if you could find it on your Spectrum dial.
7:00 PM – Night games mean big time college football. But not tonight. Not tonight.
Arizona at Oregon – Pac-12 Network (DTV N/A) (SPEC-822) – So how has that Willie Taggart experiment worked for Oregon? Not well my Gator friends so you really should not hold out hope he comes to you. The real question you should ask yourselves is why would anyone want him at UF. His 5-5 record is not the issue it’s the four embarrassing losses he has had in his first year including a 14 point loss to UCLA who is mediocre at best. And when you are at Oregon and you only produce 10, 7 and 3 points in games against top teams at a place where they were going for 2 points 2 minutes after the opening kickoff, you have a problem that may spiral out of control. Zona meanwhile has done a good job of recovering from what some thought was Rich Rods final year last year. Nothing changes today but Oregon loses in closer game or else.
Boston College vs. UConn (Fenway Park) – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Hey another CBS Sports Network game and this one is at Fenway. How quaint. Still Connecticut is 3-7 and BC is well still BC despite their win over FSU. Eagles over Huskies in a game only the Northeasterners can watch.
(20) LSU at Tennessee – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Hey here’s another doozy. Too bad Butch Jones didn’t make it to see it. Although, I reckon he could buy a ticket with the buyout he’ll be getting. Tennessee is another school that will have a hard time finding a coach to lead them to the next level but I think they will find a good mid-tier coach without the same expectations that Gator fans put on theirs. And Coach O is still looking like a good hire and definitely is a good fit in Cajun Country. LSU rolls over Rocky Top by 17 or more but it won’t be easy at first and will be close heading into the fourth quarter.
Texas A&M at Ole Miss – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Aggies whatcha doing trying to hire our coach before you’ve fired yours? Kevin Sumlin is like Abe Vigoda. Everyone thinks he’s dead but he hasn’t croaked yet. A&M gets a chance to fight for their coach but I don’t get the feeling they care. And their Regents are calling for his head. Meanwhile at Ole Miss, they continue to just go through the paces while they await to see what kind of penalties the NCAA will hand down. I think they will be severe. Even more so than the self-imposed no bowl games based on crappy football that they seem to be undertaking this year. Aggies win but it won’t save Sumlin his job. Oh wait and this just in . . . Abe Vigoda is indeed dead and has been for almost two years. Wow, that’s too bad . . . for Sumlin.
(19) NC State at Wake Forest – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – When is this classic rivalry between schools separated a few miles apart the best game in its time slot? When the other game involves Vandy or Missouri. Wolfpack have a decent team this year and not just because they beat FSU. Wake could be one of 3 or 4 ACC teams to be bowl eligible but with a 6-6 record. Yeah! That will sell tickets I’m sure. Wolfpack by a touchdown on the road.
Missouri at Vanderbilt – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – Missouri has improved a lot and, in fact, I’m calling for them to become bowl eligible today. Not bad for a team that started 1-5 but then again they have played Idaho, Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee. But it’s the way they have man-handled those opponents that would give me hope if I were a Tiger fan. Tigers over the Commodores by triple err double digits.
California at (22) Stanford – FOX (DTV-35) (SPEC-1035) – Ah, the good old days of kickoff returns and band players getting run over in what was dubbed as “The most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heart wrenching, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football.” Back in a time before highlights were the norm and not every game was on TV this play and the Flutie Hail Mary were the bombs. Still all these years later it holds up as all those things. Today’s game, 35 years later, will not be as exciting as David Shaw has his team poised for another 10 win season. With a win today he will move past the legendary Pop Warner as the winningest coach in Stanford’s history. Not bad Coach Shaw and let me be the first to congratulate you. Much classier than your predecessor Mr. Khaki Pants.
UCLA at (11) USC – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – Oh a classic rivalry with big names that have worn the uniform on both sides but another sad punch in the gut for UCLA fans as they will not be competitive despite that it being a cross-town rivalry game. After winning 8 in a row in the 90’s USC has won 14 of the last 18 making this a shadow of the rivalry it once was. USC is favored by 15.5 and should cover that with ease but hey on a positive note, the weather is 75 degrees for the game. Gotta love that California weather at least.
Air Force at (25) Boise State – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Boise State is undefeated in conference play and had to come from behind against Colorado State to do so. Air Force is mediocre at best this season. Broncos win easily on the blue turf by 10 or more.
Nevada at San Diego State – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – In the last game of the night for the poor producers at CBS Sports Network they get the classic between 8-2 San Diego State and 2-8 Nevada. Wowsers! Are we really paying extra to have this channel included as part of basic package?
Utah at (18) Washington – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Final game may appear to be a blow-out match-up but Utah is still a solid football team and well coached and Washington is underrated with just two close losses to Arizona State and Stanford. Potential for a late night upset but I’m taking Washington.
Now did you quit reading Cane fans? Did you get fed up and think I’d really take UVA over your impressive Canes? Not a chance. Turnover Chain is working and Mark Richt is a good coach. I think I told you so before he was even on the market. Still hate the U but love that they are relevant again so we can mock U. Canes in a laugher at home over a well coached and classier UVA team that just doesn’t have the horse power to compete with the Canes defense on the road.