You're going to have to forgive us for the brief introduction, but during the preparation of this Wednesday's installment there was, um, something else going on. It was taxing, exhausting, and we've all got a headache.
So with that in mind, we present you the second set of five games in this week's selection of crazed prognostications, offered as always For Entertainment Purposes Only.
(Even though according to ESPN it's totally okay to bet real money now. We still don't recommend it.)
|Thursday, 7 p.m. L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green KY|
JM: Luke hates it when I do this, but in this case we've got a legitimately interesting football game between the two teams most likely to threaten Marshall in Conference USA. What's especially curious is that after their 14-12 win over Vanderbilt last week, Western Kentucky received votes in the AP poll, but not the coaches poll. Louisiana Tech, on the other hand, received votes in the coaches poll after obliterating FCS HBCU Southern, but got no support from the writers. Vegas now gives the Bulldogs a slight edge, but the line opened with Western Kentucky as a three-point favorite.
In short, this has all the makings of a pretty good ballgame, the Hilltoppers' inability to score a bunch of points on Vanderbilt notwithstanding. Still, if Vanderbilt's offense was anything to fear, Western Kentucky's performance defensively would be a lot more impressive. I don't think they can stop Louisiana Tech. Take the Bulldogs and give that measly point.
LT: A 14-12 win, really? That sounds terrible. Also, as you sort of alluded to, Vandy is a really bad football team. Therefore, I am wildly unimpressed with WKU, while Louisiana Tech, as usual, has a good quarterback. His name is Jeff Drisk -- wait, what? Louisiana Tech's quarterback is Florida transfer Jeff Driskel? This changes everything. I just can't pick a team quarterbacked by Jeff Driskel to win against a slightly decent opponent. WKU covers.
|Saturday, 2 p.m. Jones Stadium, Lubbock TX|
JM: The first question you have to ask yourself is this: is UTEP better or worse than Sam Houston State? That's an FCS team, albeit now the #1 team in the nation per the FCS media poll. Tech beat them by 14 points. UTEP got hammered, but they got hammered by Arkansas. Tech is going to win this game, don't get me wrong. I just don't see them winning it by three touchdowns. UTEP covers.
LT: I think the first three games on Texas Tech's schedule last season are also instructive. The Red Raiders narrowly beat an average FCS team (Central Arkansas), squeaked out a win at UTEP, and got crushed by Arkansas.Consider all those things together with what Jon mentioned, and I just don't see how you could pick TTU to win by 3 touchdowns. Miners cover.
|Saturday, 3:45 p.m. Jack Trice Stadium, Ames IA|
JM: Normally, this space would be filled with jokes about Kirk Ferentz and Paul Rhoads. But both Iowa squads actually showed up last week. The Hawkeyes eviscerated last season's FCS runners-up in clinical fashion, while Iowa State performed quite well against Northern Iowa -- another FCS team that has a nasty habit of beating its in-state brethren. And on CyHawk day, none of that matters in the slightest. My policy when picking Iowa vs Iowa State is a very simple one: unless the very idea is just patently absurd, take the underdog. Cyclones cover.
LT: Three of the last four years in this series, Iowa State won by 3 points. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I tend to agree with Jon's policy here. Cyclones cover.
|Saturday, 8 p.m. Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati OH|
JM: Either Vegas thinks Penn State is actually a really, really bad football team, or they think Cincinnati proved something by crushing an FCS HBCU last weekend. I saw a good portion of the Penn State-Temple game, and the Owls are a good football team. Good enough to take a flyer on six and a half points. Temple covers.
LT: Listen, this sounds like a great basketball game, but as far as football goes, I really couldn't care less. Unlike Jon, I'm really not convinced by a win over Penn State, no matter how dominant. The facts tell me Cincinnati appears to be the better team, I think, so I'm taking the Bearcats to cover.
|Saturday, 9:15 p.m. Lavell Edwards Stadium, Provo UT|
JM: And here we have the marquee matchup of the Group of 5 teams for the entire season. Boise looked really good last weekend, but they were playing what seems like might be a pretty sad Washington squad. BYU gave Nebraska all they could handle, but only won the game on a freak hail mary. Not that it's a bad thing, but they didn't dominate the Huskers by any stretch. This one's hard to predict, but BYU lost Taysom Hill (AGAIN, good lord), and I think Boise will be too much for them. Broncos cover.
LT: Has there ever been a better reason to convert to Mormonism than the Cougars' hail mary to beat Nebraska? I doubt it. That made me so happy, I wanted to hug a referee. However, I have a hard time seeing BYU pull this one off against a pretty good Boise team. Broncos cover.