I’m gonna be real honest with y’all upfront, this weekend of football is bad. GameDay is spurning every game listed below to go to James Madison and I don’t blame them one bit. The trash slate listed below justifies that completely.
The Boys From Alabama Shift
Southern Alabama is looking for their first win over a FBS team this year, and they’re probably going to have to continue their search for it because uh, they have to play at Troy. They had the weekend off to prepare but...so did Troy. This one can get bad. Go see Blade Runner.
Do The Hudspeth Hustle Shift
And there it is one game on Thursday night, the heavyweight tilt between 1-5 Texas State and 2-3 ULL. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s okay to have whatever shieldball cooks up for us.
Orange Crush(ed) Shift
Finally we dip out of the realm of lower tier G5 teams and Troy when Clemson goes up to Syracuse to play a Friday night game in the Carrier Dome. Dino Babers was able to get the Syracuse rebuild right back on track after a 27-24 win against Pitt, but the remaining schedule is absolutely brutal: Clemson, at Miami, at Florida State, an actually good Wake Forest team, at Louisville, and ending with Boston College. Maybe he can flip one or maybe even two of those games, but I don’t think it’s going to be this one.
PAC-12 Before Dawn Shift
Gee Wazzu, that’s a pretty great season you’ve got going for you. You know what would be really great for that? Playing Cal in Berkeley on a Friday night. Shouldn’t be an issue there. Not at all. Nope. Good luck.
The Wabash Cannonball Shift
The two most notable games of the shift are confined to the ever-expanding plains of the Big 12: TCU at Kansas State and West Virginia at Texas Tech. Thanks to Iowa State springing an upset over Oklahoma, a window has opened up for TCU to make a run for the conference championship. The next hurdle in their way is a tricky Kansas State that is coming off of a close loss to Texas.
Elsewhere in conference, West Virginia tries to keep pace with the Horned Frogs when they visit Lubbock to play Texas Tech. You’re going to want to hold on tightly to this game because it can break into “plaid” with a quickness, even faster than most Big 12 games do.
Michigan has to fight off the Michigan State hangover with a trip to Bloomington to play Team Chaos, Indiana. Maybe the Hoosiers will have something for the Wolverines but I’m not expecting too many fireworks late.
Also happening in this shift: A very pissed off Florida State taking out frustrations of losing to Alabama, NC State, and rival Miami against a sliding Duke team fresh off a loss to Virginia, South Carolina possibly getting Butch Jones fired on-site, and BYU-Mississippi State, a very confusing game for LSU fans.
Cigars and Cotton Candy Shift
The afternoon shift is by far the best shift of the day: Auburn-LSU (which will likely draw all or the majority of your attention), Georgia Tech-Miami, Oklahoma-Texas, and a sneaky good game in Purdue-Wisconsin.
After their defensive lapse in Atlanta to open the season, Georgia Tech has been kicking relative ass for a triple option team: 37-10 over FCS juggernaut Jacksonville State, 35-17 over Pitt, and 33-7 over North Carolina. With a normal offense those are the same as scoring 45+ a game. They face their biggest test so far in the season when they head down to Coral Gables to play the white hot Hurricanes.
Since both of Texas’ losses came outside of conference play, they are in the catbird seat in terms of the Big 12 race and can all but knock out their arch rivals out of both the conference and playoff picture with a win in the Cotton Bowl. Also, this game will unfairly define the losing coach’s image at their respective school for some time to come, so that will be fun.
Wisconsin has been flying steadily under the radar with wins against lesser opponents, but this week they draw their scariest test yet: Purdue. Wisconsin should win just because there is an enormous talent gulf between the two programs, but Jeff Brohm has made it work in his first year leading the Boilermakers and I don’t doubt his ability to really ruin somebody’s season somewhere down the line.
One of the other Big Ten Babyfaces, DJ Durkin, leads his Maryland Terrapins into battle against Northwestern.
This slate is trash. Skip!
Coffee And Cupcakes Shift
Washington draws another post-9:00 kick, much to the dismay of head coach Chris Peterson. But it’s against Arizona State, so it looks like the feud between ESPN and Peterson will be getting plenty of time devoted it to it during the latter stages of the game.
Elsewhere in the PAC-12 North, the rebuild race between Stanford and Oregon comes to a crossroads when the two teams meet down on the farm. Oregon is still without starting quarterback Justin Herbert and that will likely be the difference Saturday night against the Cardinal defense.
Elsewhere: Boise travels to San Diego State, Nevada goes to Fort Collins, and we visit an old friend before hitting the hay.