I simply ignored it. At my peril, it became oh so very clear as the weekend’s games played out.
“The Big Ten sucks,” it read. “Predicting wins by its members, except when competing against other conference schools, in which case one has no choice but to choose one league member or the other, shall leave one open to legitimate ridicule.”
Mea culpa. Maryland, despite the Star Spangled unis worn by its players, did not beat West Virginia, as I incorrectly predicted it would. Had I read the memo, had I made a more prudent prognostication, my slate last weekend would have been, as they like to say in those border towns, “muy perfecta.”
Uh, wait a minute, I just double checked my score sheet. Okay, actually, so addled am I about the debacle that happened in Charlottesville, I now realize what I wrote above is not true. So, forget that “muy perfecta” crap.U of L lost. Duh. But UCLA, Florida and Penn State1 registered Ws.
3-2 for the weekend that was. 8-7 for the season.
I forge ahead with this week’s “sure” winners.
Auburn @ Kansas State. Had UK not been jobbed by the shot clock, the SEC would likely have every school but Vandy in the Top 25. Paul “My Conference Can Beat Up Your Conference” Finebaum is ridin’ high these days. Which makes this Thursday Night delight, THE match up of the weekend. Bill Snyder State is intoxicated with Purple Passion. Ws over Stephen F. Austin2 and Iowa State in a comeback have invigorated all the boroughs of Manhattan. Snyder may be cranky, but he’s not old and in the way just yet. His ‘Cats always compete. Which they shall have to do mightily as the highly ranked SEC School on the Plains travels to the real plains for this intriguing showdown with a Big 12 stalwart. I am predicting Auburn’s Tigers shall be hurrying up and scurrying back home, after the Purple Pride reaches out and orders War Eagle meat on its celebratory post-game pie at A.J.’s NY Pizza.
UConn @ South Florida. Why would I even consider wasting my time, writing about this insignificant AAC Friday match up? Good question. Legit. Uh, I dunno. Not a lot of boffo games this weekend. And it’s a short spread, with the home standing Bulls a slight fave. I’m also an equal opportunity considerer. I feel duty bound to periodically remind denizens of Planet Chinstrap that the game is still being played outside the Big 5 Leagues. The Huskie faithful are already anxious for hoops to begin, a W over Stony Brook the only check mark so far. The warmer clime notwithstanding, Willie Taggert is wondering why he derailed his previously ascendent career with a move to this “power of the future,” whose moment has apparently passed? He wins this one, but he’ll still long in the morning for the halcyon days in Bowling Green.
Maryland @ Syracuse. Remember the memo, Chuck, remember the memo. The Terps are a Big Ten team still. Remember the memo. Besides, Syracuse is once again a fellow conference member with U of L in the ACC. Which means I, for one, root for fellow confederates except when they’re playing my team. All of a sudden, out of the Orange, I’m wondering, whatever happened to the Dome Ranger? Remember that masked guy, the Clayton Moore wannabe, who ran up and down the sidelines at the Carrier Dome during ‘Cuse games? Did he do it during football season? Hmmm. Anyway, wins over Villanova and Central Michigan are not exactly harbingers of a possible spot in the Playoff. But, I feel compelled to — all together now — Remember the Memo. Orange prevails.
North Carolina @ East Carolina. At least once a year I feel compelled to weigh in on a Pirates’ game. If only to drag up my now stale joke. Where the hell is East Carolina? Rim shot, s’il vous plait. If only I’d have picked the upset W over the Hokies last weekend, I’d be looking like a real expert, instead of just a guy with some shtick and his own blog. Anyway they have hoisted that scalp on the totem pole of their skull and crossbones, uh, Schnellenbergian whatever. While the Tar Heels continue their road back from academic scandals, recruiting scandals and general indifference in the land where Roy Williams is Supreme Commander. EC won last season’s defensive struggle 55-31, after trailing by 15 after intermission. The home team is certainly tested already, its W over Va. Tech preceded by a competitive L to South Carolina. Can the Pirates keep the mo going? Or, shall they fall with Larry Fedora playing Captain Phillips? Chalk up an “upset” by the Carolina team in baby blue.
Louisvile @ Florida International. How does it come to pass that the lowly Golden Panthers from C-USA play host to big time Pitt and U of L on consecutive weekends? Must be the weather. Or, the willingness of “big name” schools to travel and play a team ranked nationally 117th in rushing and 98th in passing. FIU was competitive for a bit against Pitt. Operative phrase: “for a bit.” Meanwhile, in its L to UVa, the Cardinals put on display for all to see, the many flaws that plague. Iffy quarterbacking. Unsteady O line. Special teams gaffes. Short secondary. Lack of steely resolve to close a competitive game. None of that will be resolved this weekend. This should be a walkover, another “scrimmage” before jumping back into league warfare. Louisville wins, but still wonders what the future will bring.
— Seedy K