And they didn’t even play.
Houston, the one highly regarded, highly ranked foe left on U of L’s schedule was bamboozled by the triple option in Annapolis, gave up forty plus points while scoring way fewer, and is now not nearly as highly regarded.
So, the Cards, even should they dominate the rest of their schedule, have a more difficult path to the Final Four, than had they been able to tame an undefeated squad of Cougars in the heart of oil country next month.
So it goes.
As for my picks among teams who did compete, well, it was the second perfecto of the season. Aggies, Nittany Lions, Boomer Sooner, Huskies and the We Are The Wildcats Mighty Mighty Wildcats of the University of Kentucky all prevailed.
5-0 for the weekend, adds up to 22-8 on the year. 73%. I’ll take it.
This week’s prognostications:
Nebraska @ Indiana. Even though the Hoosiers are an afterthought during football season, it is usually this time of the campaign when there is legitimate crispness in the air, and Brown County’s leaves morph glorious, that I find an excuse to mention the denizens of Bloomington. Usually with the same lame old joke about how the Crimson & Crean can turn their minds to the state’s real love now that hoops practice has commenced. On the gridiron, there is some hope of better times. A W over Sparty doesn’t look quite as impressive this season as in the the past, but the Hoosiers hadn’t come close for awhile. They always seem to play Ohio State tougher than they should, but this year’s effort seemed especially hopeful. Now they welcome the Huskers for Homecoming Weekend in the schools’ first ever meeting in a league game. (I attended a Nebraska/IU game once in Bloomington, actually sat in a box with then Coach Corso’s family. Huskers rolled. Big. Not fun, notwithstanding a post game pie at Nick’s.) Nebraska, 6-7 last year just like IU, is one of this year’s surprises, stands currently undefeated. Though its last 3 Ws have come against a not so murderer’s row, the Quack, Northwestern and the Illini. Out on a limb here, I’m going with IU, even though Bobby Knight won’t be there for the coin toss, and I won’t be in attendance, thus unable to stop for some of those biscuits and apple butter on the way home after the game.
UCLA @ Washington State. It’s been awhile since I’ve considered Mike Leach’s Cougars here. After a couple of not so good Ls to start the campaign, Coach Cockamamie’s charges have steamrolled thrice in a row. Making the Evergreen State the only one with two undefeated schools in PAC12 play. The singular other reason I’m charting this battle is that these Cougars have an all name team free safety, one Shalom Luani. (Is he fasting today on Yom Kippur? If so, will he break the fast with a poi-centric repast?) Meanwhile the Bruins 3-3 start (1-2 in the conference) is seriously disappointing. They lost to Stanford, whose mascot is a pine tree, and The Cardinal haven’t won since, losing on consecutive weekends to the Evergreen State schools. Call in the dendrologist. So, confused are the experts in Vegas, they’ve given up on this one. “Take your choice,” they say, “we got no clue.” Neither do I. In such matters, I usually choose the team which sleeps at home. (At least in its familiar home game motel.) Shalom, y’all.
Alabama @ Tennessee. If there’s been constant the last few years in college football, it’s been the ever excellent, ever loathed Roll Tide, coached by one Nick Saban, who may be the Bill Belichick of college football. Sure seems like they have the same nails and bolts cereal with buttermilk for breakfast. I’m a cranky guy. They’re HOF cranky. I stand in awe. Houndstooth U. is up to its usual tricks, leading the rankings, beating the bejeezus out of its opponents week after week after week after week. With A&M and LSU to come, this encounter with the Vols in Knoxville is the beginning of testing three game run, during which Saban, I’m so sure, intends to prove his team’s mighty mettle. The Vols ran out of pixie dust last week in College Station. Should they fall behind early, as is their wont, they’ll have zero chance of prevailing. Even if Cam Newton were somehow to be calling signals, like he was when Auburn fell way behind the Tide then came back in its title campaign. Alabama seems clearly the best team in the land — Sit down ye Buckeye and Wolverine fans — and Rocky Top isn’t the team to prove otherwise.
West Virginia @ Texas Tech. You know who might as well and probably will sit this one out? The Mountaineer and Red Raider defenses. Such as they are. TT is 3-2, while averaging 55.2 ppg (2d in US), and giving up 38.6 (116th in US). WVa’s numbers are much calmer — an unusual situation. But something happens when visiting teams take to the gridiron in Lubbock. Their offenses seem to rave on (Thank you, Buddy Holly.) And it’s more than the fact that pretty boy Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury could give a shit about D. This will not be one Woody and Bo will be watching. 10-7? After 90 seconds perhaps. Dana Holgorsen’s unbeaten guys seem to comprise much the better team. But something happens there amidst the sagebrush and tumbling tumbleweed of west Texas. (Didn’t I already say that?) I like the Red Raiders.
Duke @ Louisville. What a strange campaign it’s been for David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils. Consecutive Ls to Wake Forest and Northwestern. Followed by a win in South Bend against the reeling Irish. Followed by an inexplicable L in Charlottesville, about which the coach was none too happy. Followed by a steady W over better than usual West Point. Now a Friday night road encounter against the rested and ready to go and out to put the hurt on somebody/ anybody Cardinals. Given its early season success, U of L has two goals. 1. Crush every opponent on the schedule so the playoff makers will have to notice. 2. Have LJ continue his SI cover dominance, so as to shut up all those Jabrill Peppers acolytes, who seem to be cropping up these days. My guess is Bobby P shall be full throttle, keeping the pedal to the metal, until the few Doooooookie fans who make the trip will be screaming “Uncle . . . but you just wait until hoops.” It ain’t basketball season just yet.
— Seedy K