There is no FBS or really notable FCS game on Thursday due to the the NFL’s big dumb Bears-Packers season opener. Which is fine, because it leads to a pretty stacked week two. But for now, we’re do a first for HTF and skip directly to Friday night.
Murder Smurfs Shift
Like most Friday nights, not a lot of meat on these bones. Wake Forest will likely boat-race Rice. I really only wanted to type that because it’s still wild to me that Wake Forest is in a position to boat-race any FBS team.
So with that in mind, let’s play a game: who will win by a larger margin, Wake Forest over Rice or Boise State over Marshall? Place your bets below.
ALSO: William & Mary at Virginia. Pretty unfair that they have to play two different teams.
Stop Trying To Make 10 AM Kicks Happen Shift
In an effort to make the ACC Network ~~stand out~~, they have false started and will kick off THE Ohio University of Ohio at Ohio (OH) and Pitt at 10 a.m. God’s time. This allows them to sneak in a second game of the shift, Georgia Tech at USF.
THE Ohio University of Ohio at Ohio (OH)-Pitt will be an okay game, but nothing to really clear the table for. But that GT-USF game, hoo boy. After last week’s pants-ing, losing to a stripped-to-the-studs Georgia Tech would not bode well for Charlie Strong. On the flip side of the coin, this will be the first real look we’ll get of the post-option Tech given how they drew Clemson in week one.
Back at the normal kickoff time slots, Ohio State hosts Cincinnati in the big one of the shift. The Buckeyes will likely win, but former OSU interim coach Luke Fickell’s Bearcats looked pretty solid in their win over UCLA in the season opener last Thursday.
A week after West Virginia avoided the wall against James Madison 20-13, Neal Brown faces his first real test as an underdog when he travels to CoMo. SP+ is diving in headfirst on the Tigers and projecting a 15-point margin, but I’m mostly interested in the game because it will be the first time we’ll get to see how the Mountaineers will look against not just a FBS team, but a power five team that’s about on their level in terms of stature and resources.
Syracuse and Maryland and Vanderbilt-Purdue round out the shift, but those aren’t really throwaway games. Quite the contrary! SP+ is saying both are too close to call, pinning the Terps as a 1.9 point favorite. We don’t really know a hell of a lot about any of these teams, especially Maryland under Locksley (beat Howard 79-0 week one) so we’ll be able to go into that game blind and hopefully get a good one.
In West Lafayette the margin is much tighter, with Purdue getting the nod at 1.3. This is a noted Rondale Moore fan page, but Nevada got the better of the Boilermakers 34-31 off a 56-yard walkoff field goal so the Purdue defense may need some work. Fortunately, the Vanderbilt offense doesn’t look to be much of anything, but the Commodore defense is stiff.
PODKATT: Also in this shift BRAVE OLD ARMY TEAM invades Ann Arbor to fight the Kahki Menace. This will be the football equivalent of trench warfare and Michigan will, win or lose, come out looking much worse from this game. Don’t read too much into it, Army does that to everybody.
The School Down South Shift
Texas A&M at Clemson. That’s the entree and there’s really no debating it. It’s the turkey at Thanksgiving.
So let’s set it and forget it while we tend to the corn grits, Southern Miss at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs should hold a decided talent advantage and that should take hold, but last week they looked pretty iffy against ULL in the Dome (38-28). I’m going to give the Golden Eagles a puncher’s chance and if they can pull it off, hoooo boy.
Colorado and Nebraska may not be a good game, in fact it probably won’t, but it may be a close game. So keep tabs on that for a possible flip over late in the 4th, especially when Clemson drops it into a gear that A&M doesn’t have.
Also, Illinois-UConn will be a game that is played.
Horns Down Shift
I’d pick LSU to win this game straight up, but it’s kind of scary to see that SP+ says LSU by 13.8 points. I’m confident but I’m nowhere near THAT confident. The consensus outside of Baton Rouge and Austin seems to say something about the same, and that is absolutely wild to me. I wish I was as unshakably confident as the rest of y’all, but I’m just not there yet. We’ll see Saturday night.
Outside of that, there are worthy options on the television in the evening shift, but not for the reasons you’d think.
You remember the whole thing where Tennessee lost to Georgia State last week? Well, they get BYU this week and if they go 0-2 against Georgia State and a bad BYU, Neyland may literally burn.
On the opposite end of the spectrum but interesting for about the same reason, Auburn draws Tulane. I can’t really come up with a hypothetical situation where the Green Wave has an actual shot outside of several Bo Nix interceptions and/or pick sixes, but there’s a non-zero chance that happens if he gets too confident after his (kinda lucky) game-winning pass against Oregon.
Speaking of disasters, somebody has to win the game between Arkansas and Ole Miss and somebody has to lose it. Stoppable force, meet movable object.
Lastly, Miami plays UNC. I didn’t get a chance to watch UNC beat South Carolina, but everything I’ve heard led me to believe that it wasn’t much as bad as we all thought it would have been in Mack Brown’s return. Which is good because as laughably bad as Miami’s week zero meeting with Florida was, they still hold a pretty strong talent advantage over the Tar Heels.
PAC-12 After Dark Shift
Well, we can all throw out our “What are the odds USC starts 0-X?” takes now that they upset Fresno State in the late hour last week. But that’s not going to get any easier with Stanford and their second-ranked defense.
Elsewhere, Washington hosts New Cal and Fresno tries to bounce back against Minnesota. The Gophers are favored in a tossup in the valley, so if you can stay up you may be rewarded with a finish.
But of course, you should stay up anyway for some late late island football to see Hawaii claim pelt #2 from the PAC-12.