Soooo, who’s excited? I am pleased to report that today is an unqualified blockbuster. There are so many outstanding, important games on the menu today. And the schedule is so packed, that there are probably a dozen more that may turn out to be doozies. Today is Sorting Saturday: Pretenders, get back to the kids’ table.
Let’s begin, shall we? First, here’s your schedule and channel — everything is in God’s right and proper Central Time Zone.
|Arkansas at Georgia||11:00 am||ESPN: 206|
|Charlotte at Illinois||11:00 am||BTN: 610-1|
|Duke at North Carolina||11:00 am||ESPN2: 209|
|Memphis at Temple||11:00 am||ESPNU: 208|
|Michigan at Wisconsin||11:00 am||FOX (cable) / 4K: 106|
|Minnesota at Purdue||11:00 am||BTN: 610|
|Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech||11:00 am||ACC Network: 612|
|Tennessee at Missouri||11:00 am||SEC Network: 611|
|Texas at TCU||11:00 am||ABC (cable)|
|Toledo at UMass||11:00 am||NESN: 628 *1|
|Western Michigan at Buffalo||11:00 am||CBSSN: 221|
|Louisville at Wake Forest||11:30 am||RSN: 646,654,662,663,668,669,671,675,676,686,693,787|
|Columbia at Princeton||12:00 pm||(SNY: 639 / NBCSCH: 665 / NBCSCA: 698) *1|
|Davidson at Stetson||12:00 pm||ESPN Extra: 788|
|Robert Morris at North Carolina A&T||12:00 pm||ESPN Extra: 790|
|Elon at Richmond||1:00 pm||NBCSWA: 642 *1|
|Missouri State at Illinois State||1:00 pm||MARQ: 664|
|Cincinnati at Notre Dame||1:30 pm||NBC (cable) / 4K: 105|
|Indiana State at South Dakota||2:00 pm||ESPN Extra: 789|
|North American at Texas Southern||2:00 pm||ATTRM: 683 / ATTRMW: 684 / ATTSWa: 674-1 *1|
|Fordham at Lafayette||2:30 pm||NBCSBA+: 696-1 *1|
|James Madison at New Hampshire||2:30 pm||NBCSB: 630 *1|
|Nevada at Boise State||2:30 pm||FS1: 219|
|Ohio at Akron||2:30 pm||ESPN Extra: 787|
|Ohio State at Rutgers||2:30 pm||BTN: 610 / BTN: 610-2 (overflow if needed)|
|Oklahoma at Kansas State||2:30 pm||FOX (cable) / 4K: 107|
|Ole Miss at Alabama||2:30 pm||CBS (cable)|
|Oregon at Stanford||2:30 pm||ABC (cable)|
|Syracuse at Florida State||2:30 pm||ACC Network: 612|
|Texas Tech at West Virginia||2:30 pm||ESPN2: 209|
|Troy at South Carolina||2:30 pm||SEC Network: 611|
|UCF at Navy||2:30 pm||CBSSN: 221|
|Houston Baptist at Nicholls||3:00 pm||ESPN Extra: 788|
|South Florida at SMU||3:00 pm||ESPNU: 208|
|Eastern Illinois at Murray State||4:00 pm||ESPN Extra: 790|
|SHSU at Stephen F. Austin||4:00 pm||BSSW+: 676-1 *1|
|Florida at Kentucky||5:00 pm||ESPN: 206|
|DII: Tusculum at Wingate||5:00 pm||ESPN Extra: 789|
|Air Force at New Mexico||5:30 pm||FS2: 618|
|Southern Miss at Rice||5:30 pm||ESPN Extra: 787|
|Baylor at Oklahoma State||6:00 pm||ESPN2: 209 / 4K: 108|
|Kansas at Iowa State||6:00 pm||FS1: 219|
|Liberty at UAB||6:00 pm||CBSSN: 221|
|Mississippi State at Texas A&M||6:00 pm||SEC Network: 611|
|Boston College at Clemson||6:30 pm||ACC Network: 612|
|Indiana at Penn State||6:30 pm||ABC (cable)|
|Northwestern at Nebraska||6:30 pm||BTN: 610|
|UConn at Vanderbilt||6:30 pm||ESPNU: 208|
|Western Kentucky at Michigan State||6:30 pm||BTN: 610-1|
|Auburn at LSU||8:00 pm||ESPN: 206|
|Arizona State at UCLA||9:30 pm||FS1: 219|
|Montana at Eastern Washington||9:30 pm||ESPN2: 209|
|New Mexico State at San Jose State||9:30 pm||NBCSBA: 696 *1|
|Fresno State at Hawaii||10:00 pm||CBSSN: 221|
No. 1. Alabama -14.5 vs. No. 12 Ole Miss — Not going to downplay this. It’s as big a game in Tuscaloosa as any we’ve seen since the 2019 LSU-Bama contest. And, yes, that includes last season, when the Georgia Bulldogs came to down. This looks to be the best chance since 2018 for a Saban assistant to finally get that W against their Obi Wan. Alabama will never be in such a state of rebuild as it is right now, and this early in the season. But are you gonna’ bet against the GOAT?
No. 2 Georgia vs. No. 8 Arkansas — We live in a world where Arkansas is a legitimate Top 10 team. In just 20 months, Pittman has taken Chad’s ghastly, undertalented team and blasted two Top 15 programs, exorcising a lot of pain the Hogs have felt since Petrino’s motorcycle dalliance. Almost a decade wandering int the woods. No, the Hogs don’t have much talent, but no one plays harder on every snap. Can the Bulldogs match that intensity? Will UA’s first road trip prove too much, especially for freshman QB KJ Jefferson? Vegas doesn’t think highly of the Pigs’ chances. But, we’ve seen Kirby lose to a lot worse teams than this one. If it’s a 60-minute effort and execution game, I don’t know that Georgia wins. If it’s a matter of talent, then the Dawgs should romp.
No. 7 Cincinnati at No. 9 Notre Dame — Cincinnati almost passed a similar test last season, when Georgia squeaked by the Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl. This looks to be an even better version of that Cincy squad. But, they’re in Notre Dame, and for a Midwest kid like Luke Fickell, that’s going to be a helluva moment when he comes out of the tunnel and sees Touchdown Jesus: In just a few short years, he’s made this one go from a paycheck game to a legitimate playoff elimination contest. This Notre Dame team isn’t as good as their record; but all they do is win...aided by teams playing really stupid when they see those gold helmets. Can the Bearcats live up to their potential and play team football? Or do the Domers just out-talent an outstanding G5 team?
No. 23 Auburn at LSU — As the sun makes its way across the Western Sky...blah blah blah. Auburn has struggled mightily against its two non-soup can foes, and an 8:00 p.m. start in Red Stick, with 12 hours of lubrication for the 103,000 in attendance is going to prove to be one of this season’s most hostile environments. Yes, Harsin saw the White Out in Happy Valley. But these people eat giant swamp rats and river roaches. And make cookbooks about it.
On the field, Auburn’s scheme allows a metric ton of throws underneath. If they don’t get pressure or can’t make tackles — and they had an issue against Penn State with that — then LSU is going to run them out of the building. Watch in particular the line play in this one: LSU and Auburn just aren’t the same up front on either side of the ball this year. Scheme? Effort? Coaching? Busts? Lack of development? Maybe it’s a little bit of everything. Whoever shows up there probably wins.
Arizona State at No. 23 UCLA — This is a game where it feels like the wrong team is favored. The Bruins have two quality wins, but have they played a fully-loaded squad that can run, pass, play defense, has equal talent, and that has a veteran coach? Nope. Not even remotely. Whoever wins this game takes complete control of the Pac 12 South and a meeting with destiny a/k/a Oregon in December. UCLA’s running game vs. ASU’s defense, and ASU vs. their own mental mistakes, will decide this game. It should be a barn burner; probably the best game on the P12 menu all season. I also suspect it will be a sloppy one. Can’t believe I’m recommending a Pac 12 game, but here we are. This is the darkest timeline.
Be Ready To Grab The Remote:
No. 14 Michigan at Wisconsin — We know Wisconsin is dumb and unathletic. But what do we know about the Wolverines? They’ve looked great until last week, when Josh Gattis almost single-handedly lost a game that UM led by 20 at the half. Wisco is a different team at home; Meat Chicken a very different one on the road. Expect a conservative, physical contest. And be ready for a meltdown, no matter what.
No. 6 Oklahoma at Kansas State — Which is the real K State? The one that blew out Stanford or the one that didn’t get off the bus in Stillwater. The Sooners are 4-0, and last week was a decent win against the Mountaineers. But OU hasn’t looked right at all last year, especially that hideous offense. If they want to lose a game, the Wildcats will oblige them. They did so just two years ago with a much worse team.
Boston College at Clemson — Can the Tigers reverse the “Dynasty’s Dead!” narratives? They’ll have to get by a scrappy BC team down its best player. The Eagles have traditionally given CU fits, for whatever reason, and this is the least-talented Clemmie team we’ve seen in about a decade. In-fighting, injuries, fan discontent, immobile young QB, lack of WR depth, recruiting misses, arrogance from the coaching staff, and a terrible offensive line. If there’s a problem, Clemson probably has it. But will BC be able to take advantage of the chaos?
Florida at Kentucky — It’s the first time Gata has left Gainesville in about 21 years. The Wildcats do two things very well: stop the run, and win ugly. The Gators do two things consistently under Mullen: Run the ball well, and play like crap on the road. And in this stadium particularly, UF has traditionally struggled. Can the ‘Cats do the danged thing?
Missouri vs. Tennessee — The SEC has been accused of looking like the Old WAC lately; high powered offenses and ghastly defenses. That actually fits the bill here. Except the Vols may not even have the offense figured out...until they see this Mizzou defensive front. I can literally name four Sun Belt front sevens that are better. This will be a fun game of catastrophically bad, decidedly not-SEC football.
Troy at South Carolina — Two bad teams with awful offenses, and their defenses pulling out all the stops to try and salvage respectability. Heroes are usually dead for a reason, and in this case, those heroes are metaphorically the 22 guys who play D here. Watch your ass, Sakerlina, This is a very losable game.
Liberty at UAB — The Flames haven’t been quite the well-oiled machine they were last season. They don’t have time to regroup either. The Blazers aren’t winning this season with their usual aerial attack; they’re winning with suffocating defense. Malik Willis loves to make bad TOs in the worst possible moments in the waning moments, and you can easily see that happening here. Again. Like it has in LU’s last two losses. Troy/USCe will be bad teams playing good defense. This will be good teams playing outstanding defense.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M — Mike Leach has directly coached these Bulldogs to two losses in the last two weeks. I have no idea how he survived. CLANGA’s defense has been fairly stout, and the offense marginally improved. Aggie, however, has taken a step back in every respect on offense, even as its defense has improved. In many ways this game reminds me of the 2005 Cotton Bowl, where defensive-minded Alabama won a squeaker against Leach’s Red Raiders...except that these two are worse than either of those squads. Jimbo and Dread Pirate are going to do some baffling stuff here guaranteed to provoke a meltdown. We ought to have a drinking game for it.
Western Michigan at Buffalo — Is this is preview of the MACCG? It could be. Two of the conference’s best defenses face off after tough road outings. And, like Liberty/UAB, it will be good football played by good teams. Just don’t expect a shootout. Winner takes complete control of the MAC, that’s for sure.
We were “blessed” this week with two games so unreservedly awful that they could qualify for unwatchable filth any week and win in a landslide. The runner-up was Ohio at Akron.
When the MAC stinks, it really stinks. And the Zips in particular as as bad a team as you will see. They’re so awful they could even get kicked out of the MAC for lack of competitiveness. (And, god help me, I actually bet on that game too. I need an intervention)
But, there can only be one winner, and you had to know what it was. UConn at Vanderbilt
There’s really not a whole lot to digest here. The numbers tell the story of two remarkably untalented, poorly coached teams. This is a contest so spectacular in its awfulness, that even my prolix nature fails me.
Let’s just send this to the tale of the tape.
- Scoring offense: 129th (12.5 PPG)
- Rushing: 94th total, 104th YPC (3.49), 2 TDs
- Passing: 122nd total, 119th YPG (163), 128th YPA (4.5), 122nd Comp. % (51.6)
- Defense: 120th total, 115th vs. Run, 67th vs. Passing, 120th Scoring (38.6)
- Turnover Margin : 125th (-6)
- Sacks Allowed: 129th
- Sacks Forced: 129th
- 3D% : 121st, 28.13%
- Scoring Offense: 124th, 14.2 PPG
- Rushing Offense: 119th total, 119th YPC (3.04), 4 TDs
- Passing Offense: 124th total, 127th in YPG, 130th YPA (3.6), 127th Comp. % (46.6)
- Defense: 122nd total, 124th vs. run, 74th passing, 126th scoring (41.6 PPGA)
- Turnover Margin: 116th (-5)
- Sacks Allowed: 87th
- Sacks Forced: 91st
- Third Down %: 118th, (28.88%)
Can I say something positive about either of these? Sure. UConn has covered one spread as an underdog this year, while the Dores have not? How about the fact that the Huskies don’t take many penalties? Neither have had a kick blocked for a score against them yet?
I’m running out of stuff. And, yet, for as competitively terrible as this game will be, Vegas still sees Vandy not only winning, but winning by two scores.
As for that, I say that we’re the only losers here. This would have made for an interesting basketball game in 1998. In 2021, it’s just shitty football (and I’m taking UConn +14.5)
Choose your fighter!
This poll is closed