This weekend LSU is away, so the boys will play.
And by “play”, I mean “sit on the couch and watch football for 12 consecutive hours”. Here is how:
#FUNBELT BACK Shift
That’s right, it’s about that time of the season when Group of Five games begin to take over the midweek schedule. The Sun Belt comes first and their first offering is Georgia State at Arkansas State. However, if you want sloppy football that bleeds points, you may have to wait a bit because Georgia State is ranked 60th in defensive S&P+ and Arkansas State is 90th which is worse, but not as terrible as we’re going to get on a midweek.
Road Rhules Shift
Matt Rhule’s Temple has experienced some regression from last year’s breakout season, with losses to Army and to Penn State. Memphis is coming off of their first loss to Ole Miss. First year Memphis head coach Mike Norvell replaces Justin Fuente but is another offensive minded coach, which will be a stark contrast to Matt Rhule’s Temple that despite sitting at 3-2 is 16th in defensive S&P+. In the meanwhile, Western Kentucky will reverse engineer the Louisiana Tech defense on the Forbidden Network.
The Red Bandanna Shift
A week after out-dueling Lamar Jackson and Louisville, Clemson has the ACC version of playing Arkansas after Alabama: Boston College. If you’re not aware of the extreme nature of Boston College, they are the desert of college football. The Eagles are ranked 62nd overall in S&P+, and for very good reason. Their defense is great, S&P+ has them pegged at eight. That’s exactly one spot better than LSU, who have only allowed five touchdowns in as many games. Their defense, not so much. “Sounds a lot like LSU!” you say in jest, but Boston College brings this to a brand new level. LSU sits at 42 in offensive S&P+, which is bolstered by playing Mizzou. Boston College doesn’t have that. Boston College is ranked 122nd in offensive S&P+. So the game for Clemson is just like blackjack: get to 21 or as close to it as possible, because BC will make life miserable for Clemson’s offense.
And there are other games on Friday night! Chad Morris’ Pony Up Tempo rebuild of SMU will try to pick up in signature win against Tulsa, who has quietly crept up to 3-1. Boise travels to New Mexico, and as of now Tulane has a road game at UCF, which may be moved because of Hurricane Matthew.
...and as of now, LSU at Florida will be played in Gainesville but that is still up in the air. We’ll let the speculation about where the game will be played air out. As for the actual game, this is gonna be a bruiser. Neither team has (consistent) offenses that are very productive (42nd and 75th), and even if Luke Del Rio is starting at QB for Florida, the offensive line is battered and was not all that imposing to begin with. However S&P+ has LSU as the 9th best team defensively, and has Florida even higher at 2nd. LSU will need a healthy Fournette and last week’s Derrius Guice to show up if they want to win Saturday, while Florida probably needs to find a way to live off of quick throws in order to take some pressure off of the offensive line, but even still either Del Rio or Purdue transfer Austin Appleby will have to throw into the teeth of the real DBU.
In years past I’ve spilled considerable ink about the Red River Shootout (it will always be the Red River Shootout and the LIBRALL MEEDYA won’t change that for me) but it has always proven to be an unpredictable mess so I won’t even bother this year. It’s on FS1 and both Bob Stoops and Charlie Strong are fighting not to be shitcanned for Tom Herman, so that will be fun.
Speaking of contentious coaching games, somebody from the Auburn-Mississippi State is likely to get fired, maybe not on Sunday but more probably at the end of the season.
The rest of the games are your standard nooner drivel. Notre Dame and NC State may be effected by Matthew so that may be off the table, but there still Georgia Tech-Pitt (featuring potential future LSU head coach Pat Narduzzi) and Iowa-Minnesota.
The Chavis Bowl Shift
John Chavis and the undefeated Texas A&M Aggies roll into his alma mater and former job for a top 10 showdown of undefeateds. Only there are a lot of reservations about the hype of this game because Tennessee is a second half shutdown from Florida and a Hail Mary away from sitting at 3-2, and that’s ignoring their overtime game against Appalachian State. Texas A&M, on the other hand, has legitimately looked impressive since they skirted by UCLA in overtime. Does Tennessee’s Auburn 2013 magic run out against the Aggies or will they be bailed out by some more dumb luck? Or they can actually show up and play to their capabilities, but that won’t happen.
You won’t think Virginia Tech at North Carolina would have LIT potential, but it does. Justin Fuente’s offense is starting to gel and North Carolina does this thing where they feature an explosive offense (7th in offensive S&P+) that can go off at any second YET they choose to play to their opponent’s level due to their lackluster defense (101st in defensive S&P+). So definitely keep an eye glued to that game. That game will be on either ABC or ESPN2 depending on your location, and BYU-Michigan State will be on the opposite channel.
Ohio State is going to whip up on Indiana and Oklahoma State will punish Iowa State for 2011, and also because Mike Gundy’s job may depend on it. Now that I’ve said that about two teams with a propensity for creating chaos, watch both games dump the college football world on fire with the most impressive team in the country making a hard right into the wall and T. Boon firing Mike Gundy right on the field.
Don’t watch Vanderbilt and Kentucky. I know that’s on the sheet but that’s more of a theoretical thing, just look over it ok.
4,724 Days Shift
4,724 Days. That’s how long it will have been since Washington beat Oregon on Saturday. Oregon may be a bunch of ...lame ducks... right now, but I wouldn’t put it past them to wake up in time for this game and play spoiler to extend the streak. I think Washington snaps the streak resulting in a bout of catharsis, but I wouldn’t put it past them.
In a weird twist of fate, Mark Richt’s Miami has the best record in the state at 4-0, but they get to win that title for good when they play the undisputed most talented team in the state, the Noles of internet fame. Miami’s jump has not been made with their offense, but rather their surprisingly tight defense that ranks 11th in defensive S&P+. The Hurricane’s defense will have their hands full, because although the Seminoles are at 3-2, S&P+ says they have the third best offense in the nation with only Texas Tech and Louisville being better. Again, this game may end up being effected by Hurricane Matthew.
The Alabama gets to line up against Arkansas this weekend, and once again Bama benefits from their schedule by playing Arkansas before the BERT Star is fully operational in November. Then again, Arkansas seems to have abandoned BERT’s running philosophy in favor of The Alabama’s lone weak link: passing.
Michigan-Rutgers, Georgia-South Carolina, and Texas Tech-Kansas State round out the shift.
Pirates On The Farm Shift
Pretty packed dessert shift, but it’s mostly filler. Washington State at Stanford is the biggest game, if only to see how the Cardinal respond to getting pants’d on Friday night against Washington. Will Luke Falk get his against Stanford’s defense? Probably. Will McCafferey get his against Washington State’s defense? OH MOST DEFINITELY.
Utah tries to hold ground in the PAC-12 South race (AGAINST COLORADO!) with a game versus Arizona, and Arizona State tries to do the same (again, TRYING TO KEEP PACE WITH COLORADO) against UCLA, who themselves is still in contention for the division (THE DIVISION THAT COLORADO IS LEADING).
You G-5 nightlights are UNLV-San Diego State and Utah State-Colorado State.