Week 8 sees the return of the Big Ten and the Mountain West, bringing with it the return of after dark football. But despite two conferences rejoining the fold, most of the good stuff is to be found in the conferences already playing. We’ll break it down after the jump.
- Arkansas State-App State: Despite winning the game, the Red Wolves fired their defensive pass and run game coordinators following their 59-52 game against Georgia State. So that’s where the Red Wolves are at, and I don’t expect much to change in a week.
Burninate The Cajuns Shift
- Illinois-Wisconsin: Yeah I’m not sure why the Big Ten decided to put it’s first game of the year on Friday night and decided that Illinois-Wisconsin was the matchup they wanted to set the tone with, but here we are.
- ULL-UAB: Okay, now this is the actual good stuff of the Friday night block. SP+ is calling this a virtual tossup, which is good enough for me on a Friday night.
- Tulsa-USF: USF is baaaaaaaaaaad, and for that reason I’m very surprised for that reason that Tulsa is favored by a little bit over a field goal per SP+, especially considering that they lost to Oklahoma State 16-7 and beat UCF by two scores.
- Jacksonville State-FIU: In case you’re really truly jonesing for some college football on a Friday night.
21 Million, 450 Thousaaaaand Shift
- Auburn-Ole Miss: I don’t think we see schools making rash decisions when it comes to firing coaches this season, but if Auburn loses this very losable game, that theory could be put to the test.
- Oklahoma-TCU: The Sooners finally got off the conference schneid against Texas in the Red River Shootout two weeks ago, and after both teams have a bye to prepare they meet with TCU and Gary Patterson’s defense. I don’t think Spencer Rattler is good (yet), so seeing him go against GP’s patented 4-2-5 should be somewhat interesting.
- Georgia Southern-Coastal Carolina: Yes, Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina. Less than a touchdown projected as your margin in favor of the Chants. If you can’t appreciate this game then 1) maybe college football isn’t for you and 2) well it’s not a great shift and this is likely going to be the closest game.
- Florida State-llvll: Florida State head coach Mike Norvell got his first ACC victory as head man of the Seminoles last weekend with a 31-28 upset of North Carolina (yes, FSU beating UNC is an upset now). This week they get Louisville, a team themselves rebuilding along the same tracks as the Seminoles.
- NC State-North Carolina: Speaking of the Tar Heels, they round out the shift with the most boring rivalry game of all time against NC State.
Honorary El Assico Shift
- Iowa State-Oklahoma State: The best thing about this shift is that in-state rivals whose usual game been canned this year are playing at the same time in games that should mirror each other in terms of the margins. The Cylones have probably the more attractive game given how every year since 2014 this game has been decided by one score or less and every year the loser had more than 27 points.
- Iowa-Purdue: Our unproblematic kings Jeff Brohm and Rondale Moore return to the gridiron and face off against Kirk Ferentz and Iowa, who over the summer has been revealed to be kind of scumbags! The rooting is easy here, but the actual game might be a little more uphill for the ‘Makers.
- Georgia Tech-Boston College: Okay I know it’s easy to see a team that allowed Clemson to win with a number that started with a “7” and not want to see them play, but hear me out. That game needs to be struck from the record when talking about a rebuilding GT team. Looking at the team in a vacuum, they play a Boston College team that has quietly been this year’s chaos team: they beat Duke by 20, narrowly escaped Texas State (at home), upset Pitt on the road, and then got flattened by a (still) rebuilding Virginia Tech. This team is impossible to pin down, and that’s kind of exciting.
- Houston-Navy: For some strange, odd, unexplainable reason, when Navy plays Houston, their offense explodes. It’s the strangest thing. The scores since Navy joined the American: 56-41 Midshipmen, 49-36 Cougars, 24-14 Cougars (throw that one out), 46-40 Midshipmen, 52-31 Cougars. If you like watching a triple option team gash a team that can score in 45 seconds itself like I do, here’s your game.
- Baylor-Texas: After Dave Aranda got his first win as a head coach against Les Miles, he got his first loss against Neal Brown, the same coach who came into Baton Rouge and upset LSU and Aranda’s defense with Troy. So naturally, his third game is against the guy LSU almost hired instead of Orgeron. Life is funny that way.
G5 “Excellence” Shift
- South Carolina-LSU: For more on this game, visit www dot andthevalleyshook dot com on Al Gore’s internet.
- Michigan-Minnesota: By a country mile the best game of the Big Ten’s return to play features the traditionally underdelivering Harbaugh Wolverine team line up against the Fleck Golden Gopher who had a breakthrough last season. I’ll just say that SP+ says the margin in less than a field goal and leave you to guess what team it favors.
- Cincinnati-SMU: SP+ calls this one a toss-up, which seems about right. I’m very excited to keep up with this one, and you should be too if you truly love college football.
- Wyoming-Nevada: The MWC has opened up shop, and while we know nothing in terms of these teams in 2020, with what information SP+ has it’s calling this another tossup.
- Louisiana Tech-UTSA: We round out the evening shift with yet another game projected to be decided by less than a field goal from the G5. Unfortunately, former LSU quarterback Lowell Narcisse had to be carted off during UTSA’s game against Army with a “severe” left ankle injury, so that rooting factor has been removed.
Mountain West After Dark Shift
- Air Force-San Jose State: So, these games might not be great, but let’s just be happy that we have late night college football to eventually fall asleep to.
- UNLV-San Diego State: ...because yeah, it won’t exactly be great.
- Texas State-BYU: Hey y’all, you wanna see a dead body?