If you’re not going to be on campus this weekend then first off, you’re lame. Second off, at least you’ll be able to soak in a pretty damn solid college football Saturday, even if it is weirdly front loaded (again).
GameDay will be broadcasting from behind the Dodson Fountain this week. Glug.
Be Yosef Shift
- App State-ULL: Do not adjust your monitors, this is correct. Midweek Fun Belt start THIS week, at 7:00 sharp god’s time zone when YOUR Appalachian State Mountaineers travel across the mighty river and then across the basin to play ULL in Lafayette. This games falls victim to the double-edged sword that is P5 scheduling. On one hand, this is a game between two lowkey good teams that we probably wouldn’t get to see if it was on a Saturday. On the other hand, this game is being played on a very short week and there’s a strong chance that will interfere with the quality of play.
Tar Heel Thursday Shift
- Bethune-Cookman-NC Central: Thursday night kicks off with a MEAC showdown between B-C and NCC. The Wildcats share a lead of the conference with a 4-1 record, unbeaten against Howard and Morgan State. Meanwhile the Eagles are 2-4 overall with a loss to Florida A&M after beating Morgan State in MEAC play.
- Syracuse-NC State: I don’t want to editorialize, but I’m pretty tired of NC State, specifically trying to get a handle on them. I don’t know dude. They’ll win seven games and they’ll lose five, which ones are which doesn’t really matter. And then Dave Doeren will get hyped up again and then the cycle will repeat again. I don’t know.
Sabine Showdown Shift
- ULM-Texas State: Gonna keep it “one hundred fam” with you squad, these two teams are not really all that great: Texas State is 104th in SP+ and ULM is 106th. The silver lining here is that maybe it will be sloppy enough to have a dumb, fun, dumb ending. What else are you doing on a Thursday night, watching baseball? Nerd.
Breaking Bobo Shift
- Lafayette-Princeton: Non-conference FCS October game as the Lafayette (PA) Leopards go to New Jersey. Laffy is going through it, winless on the year while the Tigers are 3-0.
- Virginia-Miami: Two relatively even teams with wildly different records. The 2-3 Hurricanes have only beaten Bethune-Cookman and Central Michigan, but two of their losses came down to less than a touchdown, including a week zero game where the offense had obviously not gelled yet. Meanwhile, The Cavaliers beat Pitt, William & Mary, a bad Florida State, and Old Dominion before losing to Notre Dame two weeks ago. If Miami wants to turn their season around, they need a win here.
- Colorado State-New Mexico: The Lobos are the 119th ranked team in SP+. Mike Bobo needs —NEEDS— to win this game. I don’t think he can really save his job this year but a loss means I don’t think he can save his job for the weekend.
Legalized Recreation Shift
- Colorado-Oregon: Mel Tucker has done nothing wrong, but the fact they needed...basically everything that happened at the end of the Nebraska game to beat the Cornhuskers and then were felled by Air Force and Arizona probably tells us all we need to know about the Buffs as it pertains to 2019. An interesting project in Boulder, but I don’t think they’re close to hanging with Oregon. On the other hand, the PAC-12 is in full Wreckfest mode, so...
Golden Hats And Golden Facemasks Shift
- Oklahoma-Texas: One of the “throw out the record books” rivalry games, the only predictable part of Red River is that isn’t predictable at all. This game has earned it’s place in the yearly “must-watch” ranks and has been living up to the expectations recently. I don’t expect this year to be any different given how both teams have finely-tuned offenses (because I said this, the game will end 17-13).
- Memphis-Temple: The 5-0 Tigers cracked the SP+ Top 25 this week and immediately face a huge challenge against 4-1 Temple. Both teams are currently tied for the lead in their respective divisions, and with Cincinnati and SMU (as well as Tulane for Memphis) hot on their heels, this game would wind up having major conference title implications.
- Maryland-Purdue: The Boilermakers are wearing kick-ass Apollo 11-inspired uniforms against the Terps, but unfortunately Rondale Moore is questionable for Saturday’s game with a leg injury. We’ll see how well Jeff Brohm’s boys can get on without him, but they had a rough go of it last week in Happy Valley, getting dropped by Penn State 35-7.
- Mississippi State-Tennessee: The Volunteers showed some spunk last week against Georgia but ultimately it didn’t last and the Dogs were too powerful. This week they get a more manageable Bulldog in Mississippi State. State is still favored, but if Tennessee can put forth the same effort they did in the first half last week then this could wind up being one hell of a ball game.
- Villanova-James Madison: Alright, so this weekend is kind of huge in the FCS. There are three top-25 matchups, two of which are top 10 meetings. First up is #7 Villanova at #2 James Madison. The Wildcats are 6-0 after prevailing in their first real challenge against William & Mary last week, 35-28, while the Dukes needed over time to dispatch Stony Brook 45-38 last time out. This game might be a hard one to get a hold of, but if you can it should be a heater.
- BONUS: Northern Iowa-North Dakota State: The other top 10 matchup, this one pits #10 Northern Iowa against #1 North Dakota State (duh) in the Fargo Dome. After dropping a week one three-point game to Iowa State, the Panthers dropped a clunker to Weber State two weeks ago, the first time any team outside of the Cyclones scores more than 13 against the UNI. They’ll need that strong defense for NDSU, who has crushinated all comers so far this year with the exception of #21 UC Davis.
Loyal Sons Shift
- Alabama-Texas A&M: Well, you know it’s a pretty bad shift when a two-touchdown game is your shift anchor. I think we all know the script for this one.
- Iowa State-West Virginia: Last week I called for a “competitiveness check” for West Virginia against Texas and they passed pretty well, losing at home 42-31. I think Iowa State will still be able to walk off with a win, but they’ll need a fairly complete game to do so.
- Michigan State-Wisconsin: Sparty has been played a lot better that I thought they would have, fielding an elite defense as expected (6th) with an offense that isn’t laughably terrible (56th). But the Badgers have just been crushing, playing elite on both sides of the ball with an even better defense (4th) and uber-efficient offense (16th). In a refreshing Pepsi Twist, this game might not be a terrible, by the numbers three-possession sharpied victory for the Badgers. They’ll probably win though.
- Cincinnati-Houston: A week after their “upset” of UCF and the gold-standard for trolling that followed, the Bearcats hit the road for Space City, Rocket City, Clutch City, The City That Sips Slow, The City Where The Stadiums Drop The Top, The Bayou City, H-Town. After their Terrible, No Good, Horrible start to the season the Cougars got back on the left side of the column with a 46-25 beatdown of North Texas last week. We’ll find out Saturday if UH can be competitive for the rest of the year or if we can just sim to the next season.
- Texas Tech-Baylor: As fascinated as I am with the Texas Tech program under Matt Wells, the Baylor program really needs more attention. After I gave them credit for holding on to beat Iowa State 23-21, they went on the road and upended Kansas State 31-12 and climbing into the top 15 of SP+. Regardless of the result in Dallas, they’ll be tied for the conference lead by the time their game kicks off against the Red Raiders. This should be a pretty well-played game between two balanced teams, but the Bears should hold a slight edge.
Saturday Night In Death Valley Shift
- Florida-LSU: For more information about this under-the-radar matchup, refer to andthevalleyshook.com.
- USC-Notre Dame: The Trojans were on a bye after their two-score loss in Seattle to Washington, and it probably couldn’t have come at a better time, what with Kedon Slovis out with a concussion sustained against Utah the week prior. Maybe the Trojans can figure things out for good, otherwise it will be a pretty steep hill to climb in South Bend.
- Penn State-Iowa State: SP+ spits out a final score of 28-22, which is pretty bold to assume from Iowa a week after Michigan keeps them outside the endzone in an ugly 10-3 win. Iowa has a top-10 defense (9th) but I don’t see their offense (55th) being able to move much against the Nittany Lions’ 16th-ranked defense.
- Nebraska-Minnesota: For what it’s worth, this game appears to be a carbon copy of the USC-Notre Dame game, with Minnesota a 10 point favorite.
- Arkansas-Kentucky: Man, look, they can’t all be winners, alright? Just focus on the LSU game.
- Hawaii-Boise State: Our late night Rainbows are mainland this weekend, and on the blue turf no less. I have very high hopes for this game, mainly that it will be hella pointsy, to use a scientific term.
- Washington-Arizona: For reasons unknown to me, this is only projected to be a five-point game. This seems to be both a combination of the numbers distrusting the Huskies (who can blame it?) and being bullish on the Wildcats, namely ranking them 9th overall in SP+ while the defense is 98th.
- Wyoming-San Diego State: Both teams rank within 10 spots in SP+, with SDSU falling in at 76 and the Pokes at 85. Both teams field pretty bad offenses and solid defenses, with the Aztecs falling into the more extreme side of the camp. So we’re almost guaranteed to have a pretty close game.