Rarely do I present a slate of games to predict that is thematic in nature.
Actually, never before.
But, college pigskin aficionados, this is Week Roman Numeral 5 of the current campaign. Trends are on the cusp of beginning to commence to evolve. P5 Coaches have already been fired. Count ’em, 1, 2 3. It’s time to discover which schools got it, which don’t? To separate the wheat from the chaff. To learn whose leading the Dead Man Walking crew.
Which contingents are the real contendas — other than, oh, I don’t need to tell you the trio — and who are the pretendas?
Including your inveterate, flackjacketed prognosticator. Last week I went 4-1. Only the Demon Deacons let me down and Kansas, Southern Cal, UK and the Cardinals didn’t.
(By the by, was it not I who advised Louisville would “roll”? I inquire as my arm is being surgically encased in a cast after cracking while patting myself on the back?)
I stand 17-9 for the season.
But it’s time to ask of the teams competing below, and for you ask of me, the phenomenological query, “You for Real?”
Note that the only game being projected with more than a spread of four is U of L’s, the Cards traveling to the Land o’ Chowda as a headscratching almost two TD fave.
I dunno about that. What happens in Vegas is ofttimes mystifying.
“You for Real?” Weekend winners:
LSU @ Auburn. Talk about karmageddon, how must those Not As Fat As They Thought Cats and Kiddies on the Plains be feelin’? They made up their best fake news in a failed coup to rid the school of Coach Bryan Harsin. He and those Tigers survived a couple of cupcakes, got smoked by Penn State, then just as the Ready To Ask “Next” Gang was set to plant For Sale signs in the yard of their beloved team’s mentor, put in a call to Prime Time, Mediocre Mizzou handed the Toomer’s Corner crew a W on a gold platter. What will those money folks be thinkin’ if Harsin’s troops best Brian Kelly’s Bayou Bengals? Will they be happy? Will they be sad? They certainly won’t be Que Sera Sera. Or in need of confliction therapy? We’ll find out after this “You for Real?” toilet paper W. Or . . . maybe not. Talk about confliction, I can’t go with Auburn. I have no faith. Nor in their foe. Oh me oh my. When the game is in its 47th OT at 3:12 am, it’s called on account of exhaustion. Yes, kids, another first. I’m presenting a game without proclaiming the victor. I will sell no wine before it’s time. I start the weekend 0-0-1. Or is it 0-1?
Michigan @ Iowa. One of the great weekly pleasures of the college football seasons is Ryan McGee’s too sublime “Bottom 10” feature arriving usually on Wednesdays at ESPN dot com. If only I was as clever as that dude. Among this year’s feeders off the floor are Colora-Duh State (0-3), U Can’t (1-3) and Huh-Why?-Uh (1-3). What they have in common is they’ve all visited the Big House this season, as the first three faux foes of the Mighty Wolverines. Scheduling über alles. Which combined score of 166-17 vaulted Go Blue to that open #4 spot near the top of the charts. I mean the Maize & Bleu’s narrow 7 point escape over Oh Maryland Meh Maryland was hardly moderately meaningful. You for Real, Michigan? Meanwhile the Hawkeyes rolled an awesome 7 in their opener on a couple FGs and a safety. Against South Dakota State. I thought for sure there was some sort of trad trophy for this midwest rivalry in its sixty somethingish skirmish. The Little Brown Spittoon or Paul Bunyan’s Bucket or somethin’. Nope. It’s the Harbaughs’ first trip out of Ann Arbor. Can the Ferentzs hold ’em to no points and get this one to OT? No. Visitors prevail for the first time since ’05 near the Field of Dreams. Indicating they could be for Real.
Wake Forest @ Florida State. The Seminoles at 4-0 with W in Red Stick (and Derbytown) also seem to be, you know, for Real. This Big Afternoon Battle on ABC will provide possibly definitive evidence. Because Wake was absolutely positively supposed to be for Real. Before the season. But, in Deacs’ first big test last time out, at home against the Dabos, they couldn’t close. It says here WF is not as for Real as the faithful in Winston-Salem thought they would be. And it shall be proven Saturday, if in fact this game is contested at all, given the turmoil and potential toll of Ian. Mother Nature: Undefeated.
Kentucky @ Ole Miss. Have you and Lane Kiffin, as I have, wondered about the origin of the distinct moniker Ole Miss? Maybe. Maybe not. Turns out, as it it writ, that in 1896 one Miss Elma Meeks suggested that to be the title of the school’s first yearbook. It beat out “Cotton Boll,” as suggested by Miss Josie Frazee Cappleman of Okolona . . . Mississippi. Wise choice, that. It stuck. But this Saturday’s question is can rising UK prove it’s “for Real.” Perhaps with its “best” player upset the Johnny Rebs, and morph into Really Real? In Oxford Town. Can the Big Blue become boll weevils in the land where old times there are not forgotten? How will they answer the question, “You for Real?” Affirmatively. Ole Miss has O. UK has D and more of it.
Louisville @ Boston College. Fear not, even redundant ever repetitive me shall not trot out yet again the tale of the trip with my peeps to a game in Chestnut Hill in the early 90s. You are welcome. There’s no juice left in that lemon. Cards are a surprisingly large fave. Last week the good guys rolled. This week they survive. Then, after the game, I’ll don that truly hip shirt I bought at Louie’s of Boston, which I do periodically decades later.
— c d kaplan