Last week was garbage, but this week we’re back to normal with a full slate of good games. We’re leaving this Cici’s and going to Mr. Gatti’s.
Big 12 Spotlight Shift
Two presumptive future Big 12 members face off on Thursday when Tom Herman’s Mighty Mighty Cougars ship off to Cincinnati to play Tommy Tubbs’ Bearcats. Both teams are undefeated buuuuuut Houston is only slightly more proven. Depending on how good Navy is, this may be Houston’s last challenge before November 17th when they play Louisville. That’s on the mothership while on the U we got some spicy SWAC action when Arkansas-Pine Bluff travels to Alcorn State.
Frank Wilson Shift
Former LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson’s first year at San Antonio got off to a win with a 26-13 win over Alabama State before suffering a tough 23-14 loss to Colorado State in Fort Collins. This Friday night they host Arizona State on ESPN2 who just skated past Texas Tech 68-55 on the back of Kalen Ballage’s NCAA-record tying eight touchdowns*. I’d be surprised if the Sun Devils struggle with the Road Runners, but it will be nice to see Frank get some exposure.
*Against Texas Tech, so really it comes out to five real touchdown.
ESPN major will be showing Baylor chewing up Rice, and later that night we get Arkansas State and Utah State on The Forbidden Channel.
Mountain Morning Moonshine Shift
Gameday will be broadcasting from Louisville for the Florida State-Louisville game. If Lamar Jackson puts up the same absurd numbers he did for the first two games he all but has the #SeptemberHeisman locked up: 37-62 for 697 yards (18.83 per completion) for seven touchdowns and running for 318 yards on 32 carries (9.94 per rush) for six touchdowns. In two games. That’s some video game shit. But those games were against Charlotte and Syracuse, which are a few rungs below Florida State. Also, Deondre Francois is pretty damn good himself.
Miami (FL) plays in one of those “how the hell was this scheduled” games when they go to Boone, North Carolina to play App State. Actually, that’s less of a question of “how” and “WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU PLAY APP STATE IN BOONE ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR GOD DAMN MIND”. We already know how stingy App State is from them fighting Tennessee to the overtime death, so Miami might literally get stabbed with a broken jug. Speaking of power five teams getting worked, Iowa hosts North Dakota State on ESPN2. Iowa basically just made Kirk Ferentz’s contract a lifetime contract, so I don’t expect good decisions to be made by them in the first place.
Over on the Big Ten Network, Penn State’s never-ending search for a rival continues with a follow up interview with Temple after the Owls beat the Nittany Lions 27-10 to open the 2015 season. I hope that Penn State finds somebody worth settling down with.
Tennessee recovered nicely from their dogfight with App State by putting Virginia Tech into the wall at Bristol. Now they draw The Ohio University of Ohio (OH), because playing MAC teams in September always works well.
Now, for the juicy part of the shift: Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech in a game TOO HOT FOR TELEVISION.
Three In A Row Shift
Ole Miss has had Alabama’s number the past two years and beat the Tide in both contests, but each year was the beneficiary of some dumb luck. Will Ole Miss be talented enough to hang with the Tide and catch a break again? Is Alabama “down” enough so that Ole Miss can play them straight up? Probably not, but we’re going to find out now aren’t we?
After their big win against #notrivals Penn State, Pitt travels to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State a week after the Cowboys’ controversial loss against Central Michigan. This game has a lot of potential impact for both programs and nobody is really discussing it. Pat Narduzzi has built up a lot of excitement around the program and a win against Oklahoma State could be the shot in the arm that would bring Pitt to the next tier of the college football hierarchy, while a loss to Pitt would likely start to raise some serious concerns about the future of Mike Gundy’s tenure in orange and black.
Oregon at Nebraska is on ABC, which will lowkey house some good hatin’ from Oregon fans because of former Beaver head coach Mike Reilly, who has since taken the reigns at Nebraska. The rest of the shift is pretty much filler, with Boston College and Virginia Tech, USF and Syracuse, and Western Michigan and Illinois rounding off the shift.
All Gold Everything Shift
LSU busts out their sweet new threads against Mississippi State, and those of you still objecting to LSU football have options, a plentiful supply of options. The first being Ohio State at Oklahoma. The Sooners obviously had their week one tilt with Houston that they lost, but Ohio State has been pretty much coasting into the game after beating the snot out of Bowling Green and Tulsa. Thanks to their loss to Houston, Oklahoma losing this game would be a heavy blow to their playoff chances given the current state of the Big 12 around them. And if the winner of this game is on the fringe of the playoff, this would be a colorful feather to have in the cap. This game has to be on a TV because using FOX Sports Go is an exercise in futility.
Meanwhile, back in the land where the ranch flows like water, Notre Dame hosts Michigan State on NBC. This is the resumption of a rivalry which was last played in 2013 when Notre Dame took 17-13 off the back of some pretty bad officiating. This is our first true look at the Spartans, their only game of the year was an odd struggle with Furman. But they’ve had a week off to break everything down and make what changes needed to be made, while Notre Dame obviously showcased DeShone Kizer in their Labor Day eve game against Texas.
Clay Helton and USC hammered Utah State for their home opener after being flattened by The Alabama, and now their happiness will be shattered into a million pieces by Stanford (probably) in primetime on ABC because football is the cruelest sport.
Going back into the SEC, Auburn hosts Texas A&M, a matchup between two teams that...I’m not exactly high on. Both teams have head coaches with seats that are quite warm and need this win because the rest of the SEC West is looking pretty imposing to both teams. Winning this game may be the difference between either Gus Malzahn or Kevin Sumlin getting fired.
Duke and Northwestern is your designated alternate for this shift.
Fondue Party Shift
The main even in the late night shift is Charlie Strong’s #NewTexas travelling to Berkeley to play Cal. The Fighting Sonny Dykes just lost a 45-40 contest against San Diego State late Saturday night. Like, so late Saturday night only a few people on my Twitter were even up to document it. Life after Goff went well for a week, and even though Davis Webb was still pretty good, Cal’s defense is just that, a Cal defense. Through two games, Shane Buechele is 38-53 for 524 yards (13.79) and six touchdowns. So yeah, watching him light up Cal will be appointment television.
After losing a heartbreaker to rivals Utah in the Holy War off of a missed two point conversion, BYU will try to rebound against UCLA. Believe it or not, BYU’s offense is actually less explosive than LSU’s and UCLA is a Jim Mora coached team, so digesting this one may be pretty hard, but often that results in some entertaining finishes.
In keeping with the odd scheduling choices theme, Utah travels to San Jose to play the Spartans while Rich Rod’s Wildcats feast on Hawaii.