Saturday Celebration: What to Watch in Week 9
Army’s got a big game, obviously, but if you’re like me, you’re already scheming new and inventive ways to multi-screen what’s liable to be an ass-kicking Saturday of college football. Alas, the remnants of Hurricane Willa will have started passing over the Greater New York/Connecticut/West Point area by the time you read this, meaning that we can’t go full-on #SportsBarOnTheBackDeck here at Casa Cabeza. I am, however, planning to run at least two screens—and maybe three—if I can figure out how to get them all jammed into one end of my basement
Georgia Tech 49, Virginia Tech 28
What in the Hell is going on with the ACC Coastal? GT loses to USF, Pitt, and Duke but then throttles Louisville and Virginia Tech? Meanwhile, Duke gets smoked by VT and UVA but demolishes GT, while UVA loses to NC State and Indiana but actually beats then-#16 Miami. Without looking, I’d have said that Miami was the best team in the conference, but they’re in third place following a 1-point win over an underperforming FSU squad, the aforementioned loss to Virginia, and last night’s loss to Boston College. What now?
Your current standings:
Everybody north of GT probably still has a shot at the division title.
— UVA closes with UNC, Pitt, Liberty, GT, and VT. They might finish 8-4 (5-3), but I’d probably lean under.
— VT closes with Boston College, Pitt, Miami, and UVA. The way things are going, they might win one of those, but let’s say that beat both Pitt and Virginia. That’s 6-5 (5-3) with one cancellation.
— Miami closes with Duke, GT, VT, and Pitt. They probably ought to win all of those, but I’ll bet they drop at least one, just like they dropped last night’s game to BC. The fact they’re giving up almost 200 yards rushing/game with GT still on the schedule is an ominous sign. Let’s say 8-4 (5-3) but also lean under.
— Meh. Pitt’s not gonna win.
And… I think that would put Virginia in the ACC Title Game, which I guess I believe, though it probably won’t be much of a game.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 27, 2018
For what it’s worth, Georgia Tech still has four games to find two more wins with UNC, Miami, UVA, and Georgia remaining. They won’t beat Georgia, but if they can maintain their rhythm on offense, they could easily beat everybody else, and at a minimum, I think they’ll get into the postseason.
* * *
I culled the following from 506Sports.com.
- 12:00 pm – Army @ Eastern Michigan (CBSSN)
- 12:00 pm – Texas Tech @ Iowa State (ESPN2)
- 12:00 pm – Massachusetts @ Connecticut (ESPNU)
— Army WP Football (@ArmyWP_Football) October 26, 2018
Speaking personally, these are my top 3 in the opening timeslot. Army’s obvious, and with the line set at pick’em, the game ought to be a barnburner. Both these teams have a decided tendency to take it down to the last play.
Texas Tech @ Iowa State also promises adventure. Two bowl-bound Big 12 teams in a battle that ESPN’s FPI gives each an equal chance of winning. My very good friend Elizabeth is an Iowa State grad, and if that’s not enough for you, I’ll add that Army could easily face either team in a postseason bowl game.
UMass at UConn is one that might only interest me. Can the Huskies win another game? I’m not sure that’s the way I’d bet.
Picks: Iowa State (-5) & UMass @ UConn Over 65.5. Because the Cyclones absolutely need this game at home, and because UConn’s defense is giving up an average 51.4 points/game. Holy smokes!
Now, what if I told you that UMass is averaging 6.3 yards/play on offense?
- 12:00 pm – #2 Clemson @ Florida State (ABC)
- 12:00 pm – #20 Wisconsin @ Northwestern (FOX)
- 12:00 pm – Purdue @ Michigan State (ESPN)
- 12:00 pm – North Carolina @ Virginia (Raycom)
— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) October 26, 2018
I can’t get too excited about any of this. Clemson is gonna romp FSU, Wisconsin will do the same to an underwhelming team from Northwestern, and who cares what happens between Purdue and Michigan State? North Carolina at Virginia might have some sizzle (see above), but what in Hell is Raycom, and why can’t America watch ACC football on a regular network?
- 3:330 pm – #21 South Florida @ Houston (ABC/ESPN2)
- 3:30 pm – #9 Florida vs #7 Georgia (CBS)
For the first time since 2005 …
We're headed to Jacksonville for Florida vs. Georgia! pic.twitter.com/tWf8gGA9z1
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 21, 2018
Now this here is legit football.
Picks: The line opened at Florida (+9) but has since fallen to Florida (+6.5). Personally, I’d take the moneyline and bet the Gators to win outright. I’d also play Under 52 on what’s liable to be a true defensive struggle.
I’ll pass the USF/Houston game, but I absolutely plan to watch it.
- 3:00 pm – TCU @ Kansas (FS1)
- 3:30 pm – Kansas State @ #8 Oklahoma (FOX)
- 3:30 pm – Northern Illinois @ BYU (ESPNU)
- 4:00 pm – New Mexico @ Utah State (Stadium)
— TCU Football (@TCUFootball) October 26, 2018
TCU is interesting because they recruited me a little for swimming and because they’ve been mentioned recently as a potential bowl opponent for the Black Knights. The same is true of BYU and Utah State, thought without the bit about recruiting.
- 7:00 pm – Boise State @ Air Force (CBSSN)
- 7:30 pm – Tennessee @ South Carolina (SECN)
- 8:00 pm – #3 Notre Dame vs. Navy (CBS)
- 10:30 pm – Hawaii @ Fresno State (ESPN2)
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) October 15, 2018
I’m hoping to watch the Air Force game by way of scouting next week’s opponent. If that doesn’t work, the Mountain West Conference publishes condensed games on YouTube. Those are excellent, especially because you can catch maybe 75% of the action in about 20 minutes. Done that a few times already this season by way of prepping for previews.
Tennessee at South Carolina is one of the most interesting games of the day. Unfortunately, some Communist put it on the SEC Network. What the heck?
The Mids are gonna get smoked. That never gets old.
Finally, Army could really use a rebound from the Rainbow Warriors. Granted, the statistics kind of predicted a late-season collapse, but even so, they’ve really struggled these past few weeks. If they could maybe win two more games, it would really help Army’s ambitions to break into the Top 25 nationally.
Not sure that’s gonna happen, tho. After Fresno State, they have Utah State, UNLV, and then SDSU. The line on this week’s game is Hawaii (+24), so a win would be a honest-to-God miracle. After that, Utah State is 6-1 and rolling. UNLV looks beatable, but SDSU has only lost to Stanford.
Pick: Volunteers (+7.5). I believe Tennessee is gonna turn its season around, sneak into the postseason, and wind up facing Army in the Armed Forces Bowl. I feel like if I just keep saying that, if I keep throwing it out to the universe, eventually it’ll happen.
- 6:30 pm – #15 Washington @ California (FS1)
- 7:00 pm – #22 N.C. State @ Syracuse (ESPN2)
Primetime, National TV. Ranked opponent coming in. Let's rock the Loud House. pic.twitter.com/iMhfRURHZK
— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) October 26, 2018
Washington is gonna beat the life out of Cal. Early in the season, folks were talking about the Golden Bears as a potential bowl opponent for the Black Knights, but I’ve not seen that lately. Ditto for Syracuse, though I think an Eastern NY vs. Western NY match-up remains a distinct possibility.
Dudes in my office are talking about making the trip down to Annapolis with me if we wind up with Army vs. Syracuse in the Military Bowl. That’s my second choice if UT can’t get six wins. Really, any opponent out of the SEC or ACC would do.
That’s all I’ve got.