And just like that, we are in the penultimate week of college football. After a seemingly never-ending stream of complaints on how bad each week is, we get...a week that doesn’t have one blockbuster but many interesting or promising game. What’s more is that a large chunk of these games come in the nooner slot, traditionally the most ass of the shifts and leaves the evening pretty bereft of big games.
All rankings are S&P+.
Torch Bearer Shift
The beat of 27 consecutive football days continues with Western Michigan at Ball State. The Broncos aren’t dead yet, but they need to win out to have a shot at the MAC West. Speaking of late-season division scenarios...
If The Ohio University of Ohio (OH) wants to make the MAC Championship game, then they need to beat Buffalo this week and beat Akron next well and have the Bulls drop the game against Bowling Green. If anything else happens, Buffalo will win the MAC.
The real wildcard is if that situation happens while Miami (OH) beats NIU and Ball State. That will create an Ouroboros situation where Miami (OH) beat The Ohio University of Ohio (OH), who beat Buffalo, who beat Miami (OH) and every school finishes 6-2 in conference play.
We have the technology.
Defeat Communism Shift
OUR BOYS FROM HAMMOND, AMERICA NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
It has been a rough and tumble campaign for our green and gold sons, as they ride into battle at a tough 4-6. After a week to celebrate their triumph of the lawless Cowpokes to the western reaches of the Texas border, the intrepid Lions turn their focus to tackling the biggest threat to American values: defeating the Red Wave. The vile socialist scum have had a successful campaign, recording seven wins, including one in The Battle of Lawrence, with just three defeats. The red menace has rattled off four straight decisive victories and await our daring raiders from Hammond.
Our Boys need your support! If you are able to take up arms, then ride at once to the enemy lines of Thibodaux and support our boys. And if you are unable to fight, then don your best green in support of our boys. Come home with a victory, men!
North Texas has kind of slipped off the map following their 44-17 smackdown of Arkansas in mid-September, but they are still really good, like Top 25 good. Nevermind that they just lost to Old Dominion. Pay that no mind, that happens. Ask Virginia Tech, they have everything figured out and lost to them.
Death By SMU-SMU Shift
Really tame shift in all honesty. You wouldn’t be wrong to make this a date night, the deadline for cuffing season is rapidly approaching.
Costco Football Shift
So the nooner doesn’t have one traditional blockbuster game, but there are a wide variety of games worth keeping an eye on for one reason for another. The breakdown is as follows:
Hate-watch games: Ohio State at Maryland, probably the most morally reprehensible matchup in 2018, for a wide variety of reasons; and Notre Dame at Syracuse at 1:30, because Notre Dame needs to be coddled and told what a special child he is at any and all avenues. Seriously, there is no damn reason for this game to be kicking off when it is other than the fact that it’s Notre Dame and it can’t be normal.
Low-key heaters: Pitt at Wake Forest, where a week after running up 52 points on Virginia Tech, the Panthers gets a marginally better defense to do it against and a worse offense to contend with. But it is still Pitt, and Pitt is known to Pitt at any given moment. And then we have USF-Temple, the #50 offense vs. the #73 defense and conversely, the #32 offense against the #29 defense. Finally, a bad TCU team meets a...Baylor team. TCU’s defense is bad and Baylor’s defense is...a Baylor defense. Flipping that, a bad Baylor offense has to compete with a similarly bad TCU offense.
Pageantry game: Harvard-Yale is one of the few games I don’t even feel the need to sell. This is on ESPN2 and you should watch it for all that it stands for in the context of college football.
I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel: If you really want to do some soul searching, we have three absolute football deconstructionism games in the nooner, like God intended: Arkansas at Mississippi State, **BIG TEN WEST CHAMPION** Northwestern at Minnesota, and Michigan State at Nebraska.
Snowflakes And Moonshine Shift
Following his fifth loss of the season, Mike Gundy had a normal one. That normal one has a chance to happen again following Saturday afternoon’s 2:30 game against West Virginia. Both teams bring a top ten offense into the game (#5 vs. #7) but the big deciding factor for me is that OSU’s defense is ranked 78th and WVU’s defense comes in 24 spots higher at 54th. It’s gonna be a blizzard either way.
With llvll officially canning Bobby Petrino, Jeff Brohm Watch is officially underway, and Saturday could be his last real hoorah in West Lafayette given how he’s expected to return to his alma mater. The Badgers are favored by a little under four points in the game and I’ll be surprised if that isn’t the case one way or another.
It happened rather quietly, but Georgia Tech’s offense has been firing on all cylinders down the stretch of the season. The Yellow Jackets don’t have 40 every game, but they are 3rd in success rate and 4th in marginal efficiency, which is the dream for an option offense. A good option offense is always worth viewing.
Also: Boston College at Florida State. Woof!
Ok Cool. Hook ‘Em Shift
Sadly, there won’t be much else to turn to after the LSU game gets out of hand. GameDay will be in Orlando for Cincinnati at UCF. This is a matchup between UCF’s #4 offense and Cincy’s #19 defense, but I’m not sure the Bearcats have anything for the Knight’s “just barely good enough” defense.
Meanwhile, Texas and Iowa State will potentially be a toss-up type game between two really close teams. Yes, I said that about the Iowa State Cyclones and the Texas Longhorns. I will never log off. Unfortunately, there are a lot of you who will not be able to watch this game because it falls on the Longhorn Network. ESPN is smrt.
The rest of the games on ESPN and 2 tell you all you need to know about this shift: Duke at Clemson and **CUSA WEST CHAMPION** UAB at Texas A&M
Hello And Goodbye Shift
The nightcap is decent enough this week, with Washington State trying to keep the dream alive hosting Arizona and Arizona State travelling to Eugene. S&P+ says the latter is a virtual tossup, but if Oregon can get Arizona State to get out of their zone offensively then I think the Ducks can pull away. The issue is that Oregon has little idea of who they want to be from what I’ve seen.
The MWC offers up San Diego State at Fresno State and New Mexico State at BYU.
But what we’re really here for is the final Hawai’i home game of the year, fittingly situated at 11 PM CST. We ride once more into the breach, Exclusively on the Watch Stadium phone and tablet apps...