5 Games on a Bye Week: What to Watch When You’re Not Watching Army
It’s Halloween this week, and that’s fun but maybe a little scary. However, there’s no Army Football this week, which is even scarier. Moreover, there are a bunch of ostensibly important games this weekend that probably won’t be even remotely competitive because 2020 has been a scary, crazy year, and a few teams are dealing with that way better than most of the others.
Here’s what the AFF Crew will be watching this weekend. If you’re wondering, 506Sports.Com has the complete list of games and broadcast channels.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) October 26, 2020
What to Watch When You Can’t Watch Army Football
5. Texas (+3.5) at #6 Oklahoma State
The 3-2 Texas Longhorns take on the team that is actively trying to steal a national championship from the Black Knights of the Hudson. Obviously, the Cowboys suck — at least on moral grounds. Unfortunately, they have been pretty darned good at football this season. In fact, they are the Big 12’s only real shot at the College Football Playoff in 2020, longshot though they may be.
Ordinarily, I’d expect the Longhorns to make short work of the Cowboys, but this season’s Texas team dropped a game to mediocre TCU and to similarly mediocre Oklahoma. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re toast, but they’ll have to find a way to score on an Oklahoma State defense that’s giving up just 9 points/game. Similarly, Oklahoma State ought to be able to run the ball against a Texas team that’s giving up almost 150 yards rushing/game.
Fox has this one starting at 4 pm. Hook ‘em!
Saturday – Texas vs. Oklahoma State pic.twitter.com/NXr3IO0Ccq
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) October 26, 2020
4. #16 Kansas State (+3.5) at West Virginia
I dated a girl from K-State back when my buddy Joe was a company commander out at Ft. Riley. She was beautiful, of course, and very tall. She even did some occasional modeling work. I gotta say, though, that spooning with a woman who’s an inch taller than you are is a weird adjustment. All the distances are off. Definitely an acquired taste.
Anyway, I don’t know that K-State is gonna win this week. Basic statistics suggest that West Virginia is better on both sides of the ball. However, K-State is ranked where the Mountaineers are not, and the Wildcats have the better record, 4-1 vs. 3-2.
This one could go either way.
Hence my putting it on this list. Coverage starts at noon on ESPN2.
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) October 29, 2020
3. LSU at Auburn (+3)
I grew up watching SEC football, and I’ll always have a soft spot for LSU because the Tigers were the first team to recruit me for swimming. Unfortunately, this year’s Tigers team just isn’t the giant-killer that we’ve seen in seasons past. In fact, LSU currently stands 2-2, having somehow dropped relatively bad losses to both Mississippi State and Mizzou. The Tigers are fine on offense if anemic in the running game, but their secondary is toast, and sometimes that’s enough to get you beat.
Auburn is 3-2, having dropped a game to #5 Georgia and another to South Carolina. There’s no shame in losing to the Bulldogs in 2020, but I’d not have bet on the Gamecocks to hang an “L” on Auburn, especially not by 8 points. Auburn’s a little more balanced than LSU on both offense and defense, but they’re not nearly as explosive. This one could also go either way, especially given the lack of a hometown crowd, but if I had to bet, I’d bet on LSU disappointing again.
This is the Big Game on CBS. Kickoff goes at 3:30 pm.
Some fear these ghosts…
They've made the earth shake
The night catch fire pic.twitter.com/TbkwaRLDBm
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) October 29, 2020
2. UTSA (+5) at Florida Atlantic
Folks, this is a hugely important game in Conference USA. UTSA is 4-3 overall, 2-1 in C-USA-West behind UAB. The Roadrunners dropped their game to the Blazers, unfortunately, having played their 3rd string quarterback after starter Frank Harris got hurt. Harris is back now, and though we all saw that he’s still a little hobbled, he’s all they’ve got given that Lowell Narcisse is now out for the season.
FAU is 1-1 but 0-1 in C-USA-East, having dropped last week’s game to division leading Marshall. Unfortunately, the Owls have had half their season postponed or cancelled to this point by the coronavirus. This match-up marks just their third game of the year. It’ll be interesting to see if/when they can start playing their best football. The Thundering Herd beat them up pretty bad last week, but given the inconsistencies of their season, I’m not sure how much we can take from that.
Both these teams run the ball reasobably well, but FAU has the better rushing defense while UTSA has a far more balanced offense. The Black Knights obviously need UTSA to win this one, and despite the line, I think they’ve got a good chance. Either way, this should be an entertaining contest with plenty of explosive play potential.
The game itself kicks at noon. Unfortunately, it’s on Stadium’s regional affiliate network, which makes watching it a little tricky. Locally, the MSG Network has coverage, but there are a host of other possibilities, including a whole collection of Fox Sports regional channels. I hope you can find it because it’s not only gonna be a good game, it also has big-time implications for Army’s strength-of-schedule argument.
The nation's leading rusher resides right here in the 210. Sincere McCormick had 165 yards and 3 TDs on a school-record 37 carries vs. Louisiana Tech. He leads the FBS with 867 rushing yards and ranks 10th with 7 rushing TDs.#BirdsUp 🤙 pic.twitter.com/273PDEqSIw
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 25, 2020
1. Memphis (+6.5) at #7 Cincinnati (Noon on ESPN)
Memphis dropped a close game to SMU, who in turn just lost big-time to Cincinnati. In fact, with the way their defense is playing the Bearcats have played themselves into the College Football Playoff conversation, though they probably need a few things to break their way in order to have a legitimate shot at getting in.
Alas, though Cinci’s defense has been outstanding, their offense hasn’t been as consistent. By comparison, Memphis is averaging over 500 yards of total offense per game. This ought to be a pretty even contest, save that Cincinnati just trucked a similar team in a contest folks expected to be pretty even as well.
If the Bearcats want to take the next step, then they’ve absolutely got to have this game — by a lot. It’s hard to imagine that they win big, though. Memphis has been at one of the apex predators of the American Conference for a Hell of a long time. That kind of thing can generate its own momentum.
This game kicks at noon on ESPN. It just might be the best of the weekend.
📆 Saturday, October 31st
📍 Nippert Stadium
📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/h8xodTKKuO
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) October 26, 2020
— Temple at Tulane (Noon on ESPN+)
— UCF at Houston (2:00 pm on ESPN+)
— #3 Ohio State at #18 Penn State (7:30 pm on ABC)
— Arkansas at #8 Texas A&M (7:30 pm on the SEC Network)
Any one of these could be a great game, but the two most entertaining contests have been relegated to ESPN+ while Ohio State at Penn State is just not gonna be good. It’s a marquee match-up, sure, but the Buckeyes are terrific and the Nittany Lions aren’t, and Penn State won’t even have any crowd noise to help their defense.
Folks, Ohio State is gonna roll.
Arkansas at Texas A&M might be a good one, too, but like a lot of these games, it’s been relegated to the SEC Network. Ugh.
That’s all we’ve got this week.