Sort of like the hors d’oeuvres passed around before the sit down dinner at a wedding. Some canapés to whet the appetite for the main courses to come.
But, there hasn’t been anything to galvanize the populace since that sun and moon crossing paths thing. And that was, what, at least forty eight hours ago, yesterday’s tweeters. Folks are already tired of shlepping the kids off to soccer practice and school’s only been in session for a few days.
Which is to say that we are ready for diversion in the guise of mayhem on the gridiron, i.e. some college pigskin. Oh so very ready. Thus we shall cherish this weak-end’s quintet of encounters, despite the actuality that The Real Deal — you know, Seminoles/ Tide, Cardinals/ Boilermakers, Cats/ Golden Eagles — is still another work week away.
Sooooooo, ever willing to jump in the fray, to do my little part in helping my loyal followers enjoy the football festivities, to give you an edge while handicapping the battles all season long, welcome one and all to the inaugural 2017 edition of American’s most favorite football fantasia — thanks for the standing O, Chinstrap Universe — Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications.
The fun has now begun. Let’s go:
Portland State @ Brigham Young. It’s hard to get a handle on this one. Coach Bruce Barnum’s P State Vikings belong to the Big Sky, such a lesser league that even pigskin obsessive compulsive Phil Steele doesn’t see fit to weigh in. (Meaning Seedy K has no cheat sheet.) Such is the lot of institutions of higher learning toiling in the FCS. Which means this visit to Provo is for a paycheck and the opportunity to be descended upon by bike riding missionaries in short sleeve white dress shirts, desiring to add some Vikes to the blessed who adhere to the dictates of the Book of Mormon. My guess is that, coming off a boffo W over Wyoming in the Poinsetta Bowl, the Cougars, to stick to my theme, are looking at this one as some sort of appetizer for the meat of their 13 game schedule. LSU in Houston is next week’s task. So, based on absolutely nothing whatsoever, I’m going with the home team. And supposing that the BYU student body shall celebrate the big victory with nothing stronger than reverence, lemonade and hands to the side, closed lipped busses on the cheek in the dorm lobby before curfew.
Oregon State @ Colorado State. This one’s got me a bit confused. The Rams traditionally open their campaigns with a blood battle against cross-state rival Colorado. (Something I personally wish U of L and UK still did.) But that tussle doesn’t come until next week. Nonetheless they’ll have their hands full with the visiting Beavers. Coming off a 50-61 defeat to Idaho in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Mike Bobo’s CSU squad has its eyes among the many outsiders spying that interloper’s spot in the Group of 5’s bowl bonanza. Outside its Mountain West schedule and this matchup with a PAC-12 squad, they have a gimme against Abilene Christian, then visit Tuscaloosa. Yes, that Tuscaloosa, the one near the Mercedes Benz plant. Slipping up against Oregon State would put a quick damper on expectations. The Orange meanwhile haven’t been bowling since ’13, the last year they won more than they lost. 3d year mentor Gary Anderson has a bunch of vets back. Problem is they haven’t proven themselves to be very good. Beavers go down.
South Florida @ San Jose State. Our last three games have a similar theme, long road trips to get to kickoff by one (or both) squads. Fired in Austin, Charlie Strong quickly landed on his feet with a loaded Bulls’ team with the kind of schedule that whispers: Undefeated. But his squad schleps 2,889 miles across country to open against the Spartans in Cali. The question facing USF is whether QB Quinton Flowers will be for Strong in Tampa what Teddy B was for Strong in Louisville? Flowers’ resumé thus far says it’s a dream that could come true. OC Sterlin Gilbert knows how to wring lots o’ points from his offenses. He and his signal caller could be a grande pairing. A big W on opening day as a Strong fave would vault SoFla to the top of the NY Day outsider wannabes. It shall be so.
Hawaii @ UMass. Now here’s a pairing that Makes Absolutely No Sense Whatsoever. South Florida’s airline points are nothing compared to those to be garnered by the Rainbow Warriors, who shall be trekking 5100 miles more or less to battle the hapless Minutemen. I mean, they can’t be doing it for the paycheck, right? UMass must be looking for or moving to a new league or something? They’re an indy. And not a very good one. They are 10-50 over the last five seasons. Despite the long journey, Hawaii, coming off a big home field bowl W over Middle Tennessee to end their 7-7 last campaign, are a slight favorite. Is this the year things start to turn around in Amherst? For the NESCAC Amherst Mammoths perhaps. Hawaii overcomes jet lag for the W.
Stanford vs. Rice (Sydney, Australia). Yes, it’s odd but true. The Owls and The Cardinal for some reason shall be traveling Down Under to prove something or another to Aussie footy fans. In Rice’s case, that’s a sojourn of 8501 miles. I have flown to Sydney. It’s a lovely town, and I had a great time with my bride and friends. But the trip is dreadful. Long. Very long. Very very very long. It was 48-72 hours before I recovered enough to enjoy the pleasures of Bondi Beach. The thought of attempting to compete in an athletic competition like a college football game does not compute. (Don’t even ask about the trip home, where flight delays caused us to spend a frozen January night on cots in baggage claim at O’Hare, with guys jackhammering the sidewalk outside. And that was after a sleepless jaunt from Sydney to Frisco to Chitown.) As for the game, the guys from Silicon Valley are overwhelming overdogs. I believe it. They will win. And the players on both squads will be grateful that they have the following weekend off after the shlep home.
— Seedy K