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How To Football: Week 5

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Navigating through an LSU-free college football weekend.

LSU is on a bye, but unfortunately this weekend isn’t nearly as great as a week as last week was. Nevertheless, we press on in our journey to make the most of the college football season.

GameDay is broadcasting from Lincoln, although they should be in Auburn. But I digress. On to the football!

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Sea Sick Militia & Three Six Mafia Shift

  • Navy-Memphis: The only FBS game of the shift, watch in abject horror as the Tigers show blatant disrespect to our troops conscripted to defend our borders. But really, despite of what you think when you see “Memphis” they’re being successful with defense, ranking third in SP+ and 74th in offense. Which doesn’t bode well for Navy, who needs to keep the offense on the field as long as possible to limit chances for Memphis.
  • We also get some HBCU action, when Delaware State and NC A&T play in MEAC play. The Aggies have become an HBCU power and should win pretty handily. But then again, part of what makes that corner of the sport so fun is the unpredictability and accelerated volatility.

Four Loko Friday Shift

  • Penn State-Maryland: I really can’t believe this game is on Friday night, it feels so wildly out of place. I had to double check to make sure that was right. Both sides have shown some Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde tendencies, with Penn State looking like the more stable (and better) side. However, if we get Syracuse-Maryland and not West Virginia-Maryland? Hoo boy this baby could blow.
  • Duke-Virginia Tech: Post-Daniel Jones Duke (lmao) has been just fine, dropping 45 on the aforementioned NC A&T and Middle Tennessee State after getting processed in week one. Meanwhile, Post-Frank Beamer Virginia Tech is not so hot. The Hokies are 2-1 with wins over FCS Furman and half-step above FCS Old Dominion with a week one loss to Boston College on the books. VT has slid downhill since Justin Fuente’s first year and with each loss the seat gets hotter. These are the types of games he cannot lose if he wants to save face in Blacksburg.
  • San Jose State-Air Force: It’s football! There’s a double-flyover, which feels like they’re just showing off.
  • Brown-Harvard: Before he passed and had his social media accounts hacked by Disney, our beloved Bill Connelly preached about the fun of Ivy League. I always work on Friday so I missed them all, so I can’t tell you much about this other than it’s what Bill, who is definitely dead, would have wanted. Honor his memory that way.

Help Me, Obi-Wan Calnobi/NMOᗡ ƎᗡISԀ∩ ƎH⊥ ᴚƎ⊥NƎ Shift

  • Arizona State-Cal: So uh, unless Oregon runs the table, somehow still-undefeated Cal is the PAC-12’s last real viable shot at a playoff birth. Cal. Yeah I’m as shocked as you are. Anyway, for that dream to stay alive they have to beat Arizona State, which I admit is a harder task than previously thought with Herm Edwards at the helm. The Sun Devils recently lost their first game of a year, a tight 34-31 game against Colorado.
  • PodKATT- Around about 11:23pm God’s Time, the small cable backwater Fox Soccer Plus will cut in live to the pregame festivities of the Australian Rules Grand Final, the Aussie Super Bowl. The championship matchup pits the 133 year old Richmond Tigers club with it’s high scoring basketball-on-grass against the 10 year old GWS Giants and their aggressive UFC-on-grass style. So it’ll be a blowout or GWS is going to make someone’s elbows bend the wrong way again. Either way, highly entertaining. More on this to come...

12 Piece Bucket O’Yikes Shift

  • Arkansas-Texas A&M: It speaks volumes to the quality of this shift that I can make this tweet and then say that this is your anchor game of the shift. Observe:
  • Texas Tech-Oklahoma: Okay, so MAYBE this can become a fun shootout before the Sooners body the Red Raiders. Maybe. Maaaaaaaaybe.
  • Central Michigan-Western Michigan: Central Michigan is a bottom-ten team and Western is pretty bad in their own right. Maybe it will be close, but it probably won’t be great football.
  • Northwestern-Wisconsin: The Badgers are favored by 36.
  • Kansas-TCU: I’m just gonna punt here.

Messy Bench Shift

  • USC-Washington: Down to their third string quarterback, reeling from a road loss to BYU, USC went on the road to Utah and...won? I’m about done trying to plot what exactly the Trojans are, which is excellent timing because we’ll find out for sure Saturday when they go up to Seattle. The Huskies have responded well to their head scratching loss to Cal, dropping 52 on Hawaii and 45 on BYU. Clay Helton won’t go the 0-5 or 0-6 we had fun predicting last month, but I think the magic stops here. Maybe.
  • Georgia Tech-Temple: Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins was the head coach at Temple last year, and now he has to return to Philadelphia leading an objectively worse team than the one he left. As in, the Owls are favored by multiple touchdowns over the Yellow Jackets. If you love drama more than TNT, this is the game for you.
  • Iowa State-Baylor: Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy is probably my second favorite college quarterback not named Joe Burrow after Jordan Love, and last week he absolutely dropped the damn hammer on ULM: 21-27, 435 (!), 3 TD, 1 INT, 9 rushes for 80 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Iowa State is fun in a chaotic neutral sort of way, and Purdy exemplifies that well. But don’t sleep on Baylor, as Matt Rhule has quietly gotten the ship righted in Waco with a top 30 defense and top 40 offense.
  • Virginia-Notre Dame: Well, they can’t all be winners. But if you’re not a winner, then you can always be a cop. Speaking of which, hey did you know that Mike London used to be a-
  • Indiana-Michigan State: via The Athletic’s Brody Miller, an alum and proponent of the #9WININDIANA movement: “Michigan State’s offense is poo. Indiana is sneaky deep. This game has been competitive for five of the past seven years. If it turns into a rock fight, MSU has some pieces to maybe steal one.” And Indiana alum Alex Hickey, currently covering West Virginia: “When they battle for the Old Brass Spittoon, you can throw the records out the window”

ELLASHOE AN AWWBARN’S HAWGIN’ ALL THE NIGHT GAMES PAWL Shift

  • Mississippi State-Auburn: The Bulldogs rebounded from their loss against Kansas State with a 28-13 win against Kentucky. I feel like we have a pretty good handle on State: a good-not-great team, and more so when Tommy Stevens isn’t taking snaps. If Stevens is good to go then this could be a brawl, but if he isn’t then Auburn will probably cruise.
  • Ohio State-Nebraska: The rest of the shift is pretty ass-tastic, as evidenced by Ohio State getting the GameDay/ABC feature spotlight. I don’t know why we’re pretending this will be close and I don’t care to continue the conversation. But nothing else is really on, so why not hope for a Buckeye trainwreck.
  • Kentucky-South Carolina: I started to kinda feel bad for Kentucky. They should have beaten Florida and they just straight-up dropped a clunker against Mississippi State. Then I realized they have four easy wins on their schedule: Arkansas, Tennessee, Tennessee-Martin, Louisville, and maybe Vanderbilt and Missouri. But still, the South Carolina game is huge in determining what kind of season they’ll have after two straight losses. There’s a world of difference between 9-3 and 7-5.
  • NC State-Florida State: SP+ is ruling this one a virtual toss-up, and I can see that. I haven’t been impressed with Dave Doeren but at the same time he hasn’t been massively overrated like some other coach at a power five school I can think of. However, if he can’t beat THIS Florida State team then I think we know what the ceiling is on him at NC State. Conversely, what happens if a Florida State teams gets to 2-4 on a season after next week’s trip to Clemson? I don’t think Willie Taggart wants to know.
  • Kansas State-Oklahoma State: Due to the Big 12’s lack of a proper network, this game was sucked up by ESPN+, making it a rare sighting of a P5 streaming-only game on the playsheet. SP+ gives the nod to the Pokes by three points, but I think that’s putting a lot of faith in the K-State defense to put the brakes on Okie Lite in a matchup between the 10th ranked offense and 20th ranked defense. I think this is a game late until the fourth quarter when the Cowboys break free.

Of All The Fireball Joints In Utah Shift

  • Washington State-Utah: The dust still hasn’t settled from Wazzu’s 50-point implosion against UCLA last weekend, but there is no rest for a weary pirate. The Cougars travel to play one-time PAC-12 South darkhorse Utah who were on a bye after their loss to USC, who at the time was using their second-string QB.
  • UCLA-Arizona: UCLA overcame a 50-point deficit on the road and Arizona is undefeated.¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
  • Hawaii-Nevada: The ‘bows are stateside for the week, and have a tossup on their hands (SP+: 1.9 to the Wolfpack). It’s not as late as we’re used to seeing UH football, but they should send us into Sunday morning with a good one.