I really wanted to continue being cruel and spiteful to Ahearn today, but he actually left me some interesting games this week so I guess I'm going to have to play this week's Wednesday Game straight. You all know how much this hurts me, I hope.
Be sure, if you haven't already, to check on Ahearn's choices from yesterday, and then we can all plow on together for the conclusion of this week's enterprise. As always, remember that these are For Entertainment Purposes Only, unless of course you live in that desolate waste surrounded by other desolate waste and no I don't mean Lawrence.
Eastern Washington (+3) over TOLEDO 6 p.m., ESPN3
Glass Bowl, Toledo OH
JM: Okay, so I'm starting off with an M-80. Here's the thing. Toledo did look good in the opener against Florida, but what we've discovered in the interim is two things: Florida may not be very good this year, and Toledo lost to Missouri. I mean, come on. Meanwhile, Eastern Washington (1) went into the stadium of a ranked team which won ten games last year and walked out with a scalp, (2) pantsed their opponent last week, although granted it was only D-II Western Oregon, and (3) is right up there with NDSU on the list of FCS teams you don't want to play anywhere period. In other words, I'm calling the upset here, straight up.
AA: Listen, I don't like your implications there about Missouri. Henry Josey is back from the dead and James Franklin isn't as bad as you think he is. Really. Anyway, lightning doesn't strike twice. At the end of the day, Eastern Washington is a very good FCS team and Toledo is a competent FBS squad. The Rockets pull this one out by more than a field goal.
Boston College (+14) over SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Notwork
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles CA
JM: Excuse me, WHAT? Look, USC's gonna win this game, but a fourteen point line? After what we've seen from them so far? Christ, they barely covered 14 against Hawai'i. Boston College ain't all that, but come on. Take the points and bathe in the salty tears of Hello Kiffy fandom.
AA: USC is one of those teams with an absurd amount of talent and a bad coach, so normally they don't do as well as they should. Every once in a while, though, things come together against all odds and they actually look like a good football team. I'm not sure why, but this seems like one of those weeks. The Trojans are going to roll.
IOWA STATE (+2.5) over Iowa, 5 p.m., Fox Sports 1
Jack Trice Stadium, Ames IA
JM: You know, this game is always sort of boring, isn't it? I mean, we're not talking about pointsplosion material, nor are we talking a gritty battle of pure unadulterated MANBALL. It's what it always is: two middling corn belt programs facing off in their annual battle for bragging rights. One in which Iowa State seems to have the recent advantage. And this year, one being played in Ames, and let's all be honest with one another: Iowa State's going to win, spread be damned.
AA: On the one hand, you've got a team that lost to Northern Iowa. On the other, you've got a team whose biggest highlight of the season is the crazy drunk girl who blew a .341 while allegedly trying to get onto the field. There are no winners here, just one team that happens to score more points than the other. In this case, I think I have to agree with Jon that Iowa State will prevail on its home field. Somehow. Either way, you can be sure I won't be watching.
RICE (-6) over Kansas, 6:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Rice Stadium, Houston TX
JM: You didn't think we were going to do a FEPO without picking on little brother, did you? On the positive side for Kansas: they've finally figured out that you can, in fact, throw the ball in the air to a player whose job is putatively to catch a thrown ball and score a touchdown as a result. Working against Kansas: they are playing on television, which will confuse them, and they will be playing in a stadium which is not half-empty. (Playing in a stadium full of the other team's fans is, of course, not an issue for the Jayhawks.) Seriously, though... Rice showed they could ball against Texas A&M. The line on this game is too short, and there's no way Kansas covers.
AA: Quick: Does anybody know the last time Kansas won a road game? It has been a while. Almost exactly four years to be exact, and that was only because they scheduled a road game at UTEP. Coincidentally, Rice and UTEP are in the same conference, and the Owls have won two straight games in that series. They also have a seemingly competent run game. Goodnight, Kansas.
UCLA (+4) over NEBRASKA, 11 a.m., ABC
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln NE
JM: This is the big toss-up game of the week. I honestly don't know. On the one hand, UCLA's played one game and just piled points up on Nevada like the folks at the local BBQ joint pile meat on the plate when you order the XXL Combo. (Seriously, I eat for three days on one of those suckers.) Also, Nebraska gave up about two billion yards of offense to Wyoming. That said, it's not like Nebraska can't score points, and UCLA hasn't done anything to necessarily show they're capable of preventing them from doing it. And the game's in Lincoln. But strange things always seem to happen when UCLA plays a team from this particular longitude, and I am just going to have to go with my gut here: UCLA covers, if not winning outright.
Of course, you know I probably just sent someone into a lunatic rage. Oh, well.
AA: Listen, it's really tempting to just go with the voices in my head that hate Nebraska and pick against the Huskers in this one. As Jon noted, there are even some rational reasons to do this. He didn't even mention that the Bruins have a pretty capable coach in Jim Mora. Still, Nebraska has a very good, experienced offense led by Taylor Martinez, who will probably always seem better to me than he is because.....well, you know. The defense pretty much has to improve from week one, and they're at home. I'm not going to like it, but Nebraska wins this one by at least a touchdown.