After another dumbfounding weekend, when I was but two up and three down, there’s a part of me, some would say the responsible part of me as minuscule as that may be, that wonders whether I should apologize for the numbing inaccuracy of the last two weekend’s predictions?
It’s a cockamamie season. Utah is ranked #1 by more than a few experts. How many of you had that one before opening kickoff? The secret behind Ohio State’s offensive success is now coaching Houston, and Pope Urban is playing eenie meenie minnie mo with his QBs. The Longhorns get throttled one Saturday, and play like Darrell Royal’s back on the sidelines the next. There’s nary a sure thing in any of the Power 5 conferences.
Which is to say I’m not alone.
Besides, if the Wolverines don’t botch a punt in the Big House, I’d be 3-2, and cocky as ever. But, yeah, the Maize & Blue let me down. So too the Cats who can’t seem to catch a break or an important pass which could have meant victory. And, of course, the Cardinals, who lost to a better team, but played in a manner that made sure anybody watching knew that.
Stanford, on a collision course with a Pac12 showdown against the aforementioned Utes, and the ever lurking Crimson Tide, on a collision course with a SEC showdown against the Bayou Bengals, did come through.
So, I stand 19-16 for the season.
And I forge ahead with this week’s winners:
Memphis State @ Tulsa. This is what we like to call in the biz, a trap game. Memphis State coach Justin Fuente is all of a sudden, one of the hot names in coaching circles. He’s proving that last year’s 10-3 turnaround and double OT W over the Book of Mormon in the Miami Beach Bowl weren’t flukes. The Tigers scored 9 points under their season average, but the 37 they tallied last weekend in the Liberty Bowl were way more than enough to manhandle the not so Hotty Toddy Gosh Almighty Johnny Rebs, who seemed to have nothing left in the tank after rolling the Tide. The Tigers are 6-0, thinking of sneaking in to the New Year’s Day schedule, even if their fans are still more concerned that Josh Pastner is coaching that other sport, after whatisname jumped ship. The Golden Hurricane are just mediocre at 3-3, with nothing on the resumé that jumps out at you. Buuuuuuut, their passing attack is 9th best in the land, better even than this week’s foe. And the GH are a tough out at home, having won there often even when coached by that Kragthorpe guy. But it won’t be enough. Memphis State is for real, and their upcoming consecutive Saturday encounters with fellow Top 25 undefeateds, Houston and Temple, should be fun to watch, maybe even significant on the national scene.
Kansas State @ Texas. Cranky Bill Snyder has coached in that lesser Manhattan so long — 24 years in two different stints — that he’s got a tie on his record. He’s also won 190 against only 97 Ls, making the Purple Pride almost relevant on the national scene. But this year, his Wildcats are struggling along at 3-3, ofer the Big 12. Which has some State fans wondering whether he’s, you know, ancién regime. But I’m sure they’re hoping to get off the conference schneid this weekend in Austin against Charlie Strong’s Texas Perplexations. The fuzzy faced Longhorns are 2-4. But all their Ls have come against Top 25 schools. And that last Red River Rivalry W over Oooooooooooooooooklahoma was so out off the charts, I feel compelled to throw in this musical interlude:
So, this one’s for pride. And to answer the questions that might be on my mind alone: 1) Is the magic of Snyder kaput at K State? (Not that his scowl as he prowls the sideline would be missed.) and 2) Has Charlie finally started to turn it around in Austin? I’m thinking the latter. At least for this weekend. Hook ’em Horns.
Utah @ Southern Cal. Unfortunately for USC, one of the Men of Troy suiting up these days isn’t prime time Pat Haden at QB. Nor is it Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart. Unfortunately for the Trojans, that Haden guy happens to be AD, and his job performance is, frankly, abysmal, more hapless than his team, given his propensity to fire coaches mid-season, and at the oddest times. So the Trojans are a bit adrift, not to mention a disappointing 3-3 on the year. But, given the talent level, foes can never count them out. Especially in the Coliseum. Which is where the surging Utes, everybody’s Flav of Flav of the Month, lands this weekend. The Utes are feisty, and, more important, without an L on their resumé for the campaign. Despite all the turmoil, SoCal is a slight overdog. I daresay Utah won’t run the table. (Now THAT would be a surprise.) But that first L will not be this weekend. Utes.
Kentucky @ Mississippi State. It’s hard for me to draw a bead on the Cowbell State. Fact: I haven’t seen them play. They won at Auburn, which may or may not be something worthy of praise. And only fell to some folks #1, LSU, by a deuce. Their four Ws over schleppers means nada. Yet, despite all that, the Dan Mullen turnaround seems legit. Which can’t be said — yet — for the BBN’s expected uptick during the regime of Mark Stoops. I watched UK receivers drop pass after pass last weekend, a completion on any of which might have been a confidence building Victory over Auburn. And I wondered why I’d swallowed some of the Kool Aid, and picked the Cats to win. It would be great if the Wildcats would silence those nagging cowbells this weekend. It ain’t gonna happen.
Boston College @ Louisville. I don’t have the fondest memories of U of L/ BC games. Some friends and I followed the The Schnell’s most disappointing Cardinal team to Beantown in ’91. Doing that Patriot Walk thing the day before the game, I rebroke a leg that had been injured a year before when I was hit by a car while jogging. Meanwhile, the Cards decided not to show up for the game, losing 3-33. We left at the half. Which has nothing to do with this Saturday’s game, but I thought I’d trot the story out again anyway. BC doesn’t give up many points. The problem is all the half way decent teams they’ve played have still scored enough to defeat the Eagles, who are 0-4 in the ACC. This year may turn out to be as disappointing in the Petrino II era, as that ’91 Schnellenberger crew. Especially if U of L doesn’t improve immeasurably, and quickly. I can’t fathom Louisville losing this one.
— Seedy K