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How To Football: Week...15

Sure, why not?

Schedule as of 2:00 Wednesday
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Hall Pass Shift

  • Pitt-Georgia Tech: For some unexplainable reason, this game is on the ACC RSNs (essentially the same situation as the LSU baseball games on CST) while ESPN proper is airing....SportsCenter. Not any live sports, just...SportsCenter. That’s super weird and I don’t get it, but that’s 2020 for you.
  • FAU-Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles close the book on the 2020 season and turn the page over to the Will Hall Era following their contest with the Owls. Despite USM being pretty terrible this year, they have a pretty good shot in this game, as FAU is favored by less than a touchdown by SP+.

Terrible Cup Shift

  • Arizona State-Arizona: The PAC-12 is a mess, so much so to where the Territorial Cup will be decided by either the Sun Devils or Wildcats picking up their first win of the season and the other going winless on the season, technically.
  • Charlotte-Marshall: NOPE, COVID.
  • North Texas-UTEP: Man, I’m just glad UTEP gets to finally play a game. Their season has gone like this: W, L, W, W, L, postponement, L, postponement of this game, cancellation, L, cancellation, cancellation, cancellation of the first postponement. That’s one game played since October 25th. It doesn’t matter if they lose this game, at least they get some closure of the season.

Chaos Out West Shift

  • Utah-Colorado: Again, the PAC-12 is a mess. While the Buffaloes are undefeated and in the same division as also undefeated USC, the Buffs could end their regular season undefeated and in a tie with USC because neither team played each other despite being in the same division. Which, to be clear, would be the most chaotic scenario and the one I am wholly rooting for. Go Buffs.
  • Nevada-San Jose State: Due to the lockdown in Santa Clara county barring sporting events, the Spartans’ home game and shot at an undefeated regular season has been moved to Sam Boyd Stadium, the former home of the UNLV Rebels, the Wolfpack’s arch rivals. And the thing is, this should be a really, really good game! It’s just that the circumstances it will be played in are going to be weird.

Sippin On Some Syrup Shift

  • Houston-Memphis: The Cougars return to the field for the first time in nearly a month to play the Tigers, who are just all over the play as a team. They went from beating UCF 50-49 to getting dead dropped by Cincinnati 49-10 to beating Navy by the ugly score of 10-7. I don’t know what to really expect here, but it should be a good one.
  • Rutgers-Maryland: No, seriously. It’s not going to be a great game, but it won’t be an abject affront of human decency, and that’s progress for two programs trying to carve out a role for themselves in the Big Ten.
  • Wake Forest-llvll: So it’s hard to fault Scott Satterfield for failing to continue moving forward in his Cardinals rebuild given all the odd circumstances in 2020. But, he has waisted all that good will be flirting with the South Carolina gig and making it look like he’s actively trying to jump ship. Losing this game would drop llvll to 2-8, and while I don’t think they’ll fire him in 2020 it makes the seat AWFULLY hot.
  • Minnesota-Nebraska: Oof, someone has to win this game and someone is going to have to lose it and it won’t be pretty either way you slice it. Both are understandable given how Fleck’s Gophers lost a ton of experience last year and Frost is still trying to get the Huskers on the right track, but two wins won’t cut it either way.
  • Oklahoma-West Virginia: So it likely won’t be close but I’m slapping the upset watch on this bad boy because I feel like this one could easily fall to WVU’s way. - NOPE, COVID.

Respect Are Troops Shift

  • Army-Navy: Oh right, this is supposed to be the one day of the year solely devoted to the Army-Navy game. This year the troops are more or less forced to share their special day with the rest of the civilian college football players, for better or worse. The least they could have done was vacated the afternoon and super-loaded the noon and night shifts but I digress.
  • North Carolina-Miami (FL): I think this is the tightest game of the day per SP+, which has it as a toss-up with a faint lean towards the Tar Heels. This’ll be good, watch it along with Army-Navy. That game will probably over midway through the third quarter of this one.
  • Wisconsin-Iowa: Remember the Hawkeyes’ 0-2 start that had losses to Purdue and Northwestern? Well, they have since rattled off five in a row and that loss to Northwestern doesn’t look bad in the slightest. And if they beat Wisconsin, they’ll actually end up finishing ahead of the Badgers for second in the division. Not a bad in-season turnaround.
  • Washington-Oregon: Speaking of in-season turnarounds, the Ducks dropped their past two games to Oregon State and Cal, setting up a winner-take all rivalry game between them and the Huskies. But as of writing, Washington has paused all football activities due to a spike in COVID cases, so this may be subject to change. NOPE, COVID.
  • Purdue-Indiana: Geaux Hoosiers. NOPE, COVID.

Baby I’m Burnin’ Shift

  • LSU-Florida: Unfortunately, the season from hell is not over yet and there are still some fingers on the monkey’s paw that have yet to curl.
  • Auburn-Mississippi State: So it might not seem like it, but this one could potentially be close, with SP+ saying it will be under one possession. It might not be because State will get into a boat race with Auburn, but rather the defense gives Bo Nix fits and Auburn stalls out enough to allow the Bulldogs to make it a game.
  • USC-UCLA: The undefeated Trojans face off against their crosstown rivals to maybe possibly potentially decide the PAC-12 South. I’m hesitant to call the Bruins “good”, but I was also hesitant to call the Trojans’ 2-0 record legitimate but they’ve won their past two games convincingly so who the hell knows man.
  • Oklahoma State-Baylor: Another one of those games that probably won’t be used at coaches’ clinics but should be pretty good entertainment-wise. SP+ likes the Cowboys by less than a touchdown.
  • Virginia-Virginia Tech: Sooooo if the Hokies lose to the Cavaliers for the second straight year and for a fifth straight loss, Justin Fuente has to be done in Blacksburg. Has to be. There’s no way he can survive a loss here.

Beavers And Trees Shift

  • San Diego State-BYU: The Cougars’ playoff longshot hopes were binned in Conway last weekend, but that doesn’t mean they stop being a fun team to watch.
  • Oregon State-Stanford: The other toss-up per SP+ is between a much-improving Beavers team led by Jonathan Smith and a Cardinal team that has fallen off a cliff over the past few years. Winning this game won’t be bigger than beating arch rivals Oregon, but getting OSU squarely out of the PAC-12 cellar would be a huge leap forward for the Smith.
  • Cal-Washington State: Loser gets the dishonorable distinction of finishing last in the PAC-12 North.
  • Fresno-New Mexico: We’ve got to round of this shift somehow while still saving the best for last...
  • UNLV-Hawaii: The lone bright spot in the terrible year and season in college football is that we’ve gotten plenty of midnight Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football, and this weekend we get to visit the islands and scenic Aloha Stadium one more time with our old friend Robert Kekuala sending us home with the call.