Oh, Pauline, you never warned me about the perils of predictioneering in a pandemic.
I mean, a little but not really. Not enough to keep me from taking a Pasadena until times are more settled, as would have been prudent.
After a fashioning a perfecto in Week XII, the buzz dissipated quickly. Should have figured, Week Unlucky XIII.
Florida won. Indiana won, but lost catalyst QB Michael Penix, who tore an ACL for the second time as a Hoosier.
Louisville fell in Chestnut Hill, Michigan allowed the Nittany Lions their first W of the season, and the Quack got lost in the fog, which didn’t hamper the arch rival Beavers in the Game Formerly Known As The Civil War.
Oklahoma/ West Virginia was a DNP.
Two up. Three down. One nolo contendre. (Actually that’s a specific legal term of art, which really doesn’t fit what I mean. But I loved the rhythm of those three short verbless sentences.)
For the year, I stand at 41-24-5.
And, mask in place, asocially distanced, I forge ahead.
This week’s winners:
Cincinnati @ Tulsa. The Bearcats, itchin’ for a shot at the Final Four, and every opportunity to impress the Selection Committee, were a DNP. Their trip to Philly to trounce Temple went the way of COVID. Which means they should be rested and ready for a tough test in Tulsa. Did I unknowingly eat Alpha Bits for breakfast? My alliteration is out of control today.
Uh oh. Which is not the only thing out of kilter. I now realize this game is scheduled for Saturday a week. Ah, the minimal research I do for these things actually has once inured to my benefit, avoiding at least one embarrassment. Which means I’ll weigh in on . . .
. . . Nebraska @ Purdue. Homeboy hero Scott Frost has to be ready to move on. Not like out of Lincoln, but from this disastrous campaign. His team’s lone W is over Penn State. Which is something Jim Harbaugh all by himself can’t say this year. But not quite enough to quiet the mumbling and grumbling throughout the Cornhusker state, where football is religion. The Boilermakers themselves are having a less than scintillating season. Purdue’s lost three in a row, last time out to Rutgers. Somebody’s gotta head to the locker room with a smile. Jeff Brohm.
Texas A&M @ Auburn. The Legion of 12th Men ( & Women) love their Aggies. Feel their Aggies are ever entitled to consideration for national honors. Which the school made more problematic when jumping to the SEC West, the toughest division in the sport. Truth be told, A&M hasn’t been truly relevant since the Junction Boys including Heisman winner John David Crow opened ’57 with 8 Ws in a row, then fell apart when it came out that Bear Bryant was splitting College Station for Tuscaloosa. The Aggies have their faces pressed against the candy store window, perched at #5 in the CFP standings. Auburn’s always tough on the Plains, but not enough this time.
West Virginia @ Iowa State. I’ve fallen prey to the charm of Matt Campbell’s upticking Cyclones. Iowa State has slowly been climbing the ladder to B12 titlehood. This year they’ve made a huge jump, with Ws over Oklahoma and Texas, for the first time ever in the same season. An opening week L to Louisiana means they won’t crash the Final Four, but they’re just about a lock for league title battle. The Mountaineers are rested after COVID week off. It shall not be enough to win in Ames.
Liberty @ Coastal Carolina. Hugh Freeze has been newsworthy for several things in his checkered coaching career. He coached a game from a hospital bed, wheeled into the press box. He was guilty of a laundry list of recruiting violations at Ole Miss, where all of a sudden out of the blue he signed an unfathomable class of prepsters. The powers that be found out how. Say sayonara to Oxford Town. He can also coach. This year his 9-1 Flames have Ws over Virginia Tech and Syracuse, and fell to NC State by only one. The #20 Chanticleers are undefeated, and this year’s Darlings of the Gridiron. This is going to be a battle, arguably the best of the weekend. I will not allow myself to pick Jerry Falwell U.
South Carolina @ Kentucky. Speaking as we were of Hugh Freeze, there are more than a few wags who believe he’ll be on the sideline (or in the press box in a hospital bed) next season in Columbia. Massive recruiting violations are no deterrence to employment in the SEC if a fellow can coach ’em up. The Gamecocks come a callin’ in Lexington with interim coach Mike Bobo wearing the head set previously worn (disinfected we hope) by dispatched Will Muschamp. UK’s not very good. South Carolina is even more not very good, and finish the game with an empty cart while Krogering.
— c d kaplan