There's not much to work with today as all the games involving top teams which will actually be competitive were covered yesterday -- except one, which we'll get to in a bit. But there are some other interesting games on the slate this weekend, and Luke and I will offer you our absolutely horrible opinions on them, For Entertainment Purposes Only.
|Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta GA|
JM: It's come to this. It's really hard to fathom, but with Virginia Tech playing on Saturdays the final two weeks, up against much more important games, this will probably be the final time the vast majority of people see a Frank Beamer team take the field for a regular-season contest.
This game looked dangerous for Virginia Tech two weeks ago; Georgia Tech was 2-5 but those losses had been to Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, and Pitt. In succession. The Ramblin' Wreck seemed snakebitten more than mediocre, and then they beat Florida State to prove the point. Except they then lost to Virginia. Ugh.
The problem for Virginia Tech in this game, however, is that their run defense is actually worse than Baylor's. Jackets cover.
LT: Yeah, that last part is really all I need to know. Georgia Tech is bad, but the Yellow Jackets can still run the ball, so they're going to score against that Hokies defense. Virginia Tech's offense is pretty terrible, too, so that's going to be a problem. GT covers.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway NJ|
JM: You caused this, Luke. Always remember that.
So here's the thing. Nebraska's 4-6 and is going to have to somehow beat Iowa in order to become bowl eligible. That's just hilarious to everyone who's not a Bugeater and something we should all comfort ourselves with over the long cold winter without football. But they're not actually that bad. A lot of those losses have been inexplicably dumb. Rutgers? Rutgers is bad. They come by their 3-6 record honestly, and they're going to get smoked again on Saturday. Huskers cover.
LT: I hate you so much. This is terrible. You're absolutely right, though, and just to add on, let's look at Rutgers' three wins. One came against Norfolk State, a 3-6 FCS team in a terrible FCS conference. The second came to Kansas, and I don't need to say anything more about that. The third came at Indiana, when the Hoosiers inexplicably unraveled and allowed 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 55-52 Rutgers win. Nebraska won't be so generous. Huskers cover.
|Saturday, 6:00 p.m. The New Sombrero, Tampa FL|
JM: It absolutely baffles me that two weeks after they took Notre Dame to the wire and in the process earned enough respect to remain in the top 25 after the loss, Temple is less than a field goal favorite over South Florida, in Tampa or otherwise. Mind you, South Florida is on the right track now, and needs just one more win to become bowl eligible. Not only does the American have four legitimately good teams, they're also ridiculously deep; eight of the league's twelve teams have already reached five wins, and nine could reach bowl eligibility before it's all said and done. Tulsa and Cincinnati, both 5-4, play Saturday; if Tulsa loses, well, they've still got Tulane up ahead. South Florida and Connecticut both just need one win, somewhere, although UConn's schedule is a nightmare. East Carolina, at 4-6, has Central Florida next week, meaning they'll face Cincinnati with their bowl fate on the line in two weeks.
But I digress. The point of all that is that we perceive the American as Memphis-Houston-Navy-Temple, but it's actually a really good league this year. And that, more than anything, explains why Temple isn't favored by more. But don't let that scare you. The Owls will cover.
LT: Sorry, I refuse to believe a team that lost by 18 at Maryland is actually good. Meanwhile, I absolutely believe in Temple. Owls cover.
|Saturday, 7:00 p.m. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City IA|
JM: We poke a lot of fun at Minnesota in this space, mostly to get a rise out of our resident dual-degreed staff editor. Not this week. All that is right and good about college football depends on the Gophers this week, and this is probably the first real chance we're going to have to see whether Iowa's real or just the product of a squishy schedule.
(Hint: it's the latter, and for those who weren't aware it's still better than Ohio State's.)
Iowa may win. That would be horrible, largely because it would put the Big 12 at further risk and leave the conference in the untenable position of hoping Nebraska ends the Hawkeye tyranny -- I mean, Purdue's not going to do it. What they are not going to do is cover a ridiculous 12.5 point spread. Gophers cover.
LT: Actually, I really think Minnesota is terrible. Sure, the Gophers somehow managed to play TCU sort of close and didn't lose by a ton against Michigan or Ohio State, but I'm choosing to believe that's more of a reflection of how awful the Big Ten is. Minnesota doesn't have much of an offense, and it's also on a three-game losing. Please don't make the mistake of thinking I believe Iowa is good, because I definitely don't.
But the Hawkeyes can put up some points, largely thanks to a solid rushing attack ready to exploit a weakness of the Minnesota defense. As for Iowa's remaining schedule, I would like to remind Jon that Purdue beat Nebraska, so it's rather insulting to the Boilermakers to say the Huskers have a better chance to beat Iowa. I'd absolutely love to see Purdue take down Iowa, just like it did on its last trip to Iowa City in 2012. But for this week, Hawkeyes cover.
|Saturday, 9:45 p.m. Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA|
JM: I really don't have that much to say about this game, other than to note that nobody understands home field advantage in the Pac-12 and the entire conference is pretty much drunk anyway. We should take a moment to congratulate Washington State, however, who are 6-3 despite opening the season with a loss at home to an FCS team. The last time Washington State had a winning record: 2003, when some guy named Bill Doba took over for Mike Price and went 10-3 with Price's recruits. We all know what's happened since then.
Anyway, this is the Pac-12 and I don't trust a nearly-double-digit spread when both teams seem to be competent. Washington State has actually played some defense this year, and they also don't entirely depend on throwing the ball. UCLA has been inconsistent and crazy and almost lost to Colorado. Coogs cover.
LT: Clearly, the Bruins have a better football team. They also have homefield advantage and showed signs of putting it altogether last week in a 41-0 win. Washington State is riding way too high and is due for a reality check. UCLA has the Pac-12's best pass defense, which is just what you need to slow down an offense that ranks 126th out of 127 teams in rushing yards per game. Look, I know the Pac-12 is crazy and road teams are awesome and down is up, but there's just too much going against the Cougars here. Bruins cover.