A busy two weeks for me, a crummy two weeks for my #1 team, a great two weeks for my #2 team, and a weird on week for my #3 team. Throw in some questionable officiating, and you’re pretty much up to speed.
Tennessee Volunteers 3, #3 Ole Miss Rebels 34 (L)
Colorado State Rams 16, Utah State Aggies 13 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 31, Air Force Academy Falcons 35 (L)
#21 Texas A&M Aggies 0, #7 Really Mad 1-Loss, 1-Barely-Win Team 59 (L)
With the first playoff rankings released this week, one of the games next week is #3 Auburn vs. #4 Ole Miss; that should be a good one. Tennessee visits Columbia to see if they can give Steve Spurrier an L, while Colorado State has the opportunity for some separation in the Mountain West if they can beat San José State on the road.
It’s back! 4 teams each week, looking for a winning record; last year, I went 23-33, for a .411 average. New this year, I will set a default line-up for fill-in teams for off weeks or conflicts. First alternate is the University of New Mexico Lobos, and second alternate is the Air Force Academy Falcons. When both of those are unavailable, I continue my willy-nilly picking of replacement teams. This year, the teams are:
The University of Tennessee Volunteers - Coming off a nice first-year effort, #Team118 is looking to add their bricks to the “brick by brick” rebuilding that Butch Jones began leading last year. The schedule is pretty tough this year; three opponents are in the preseason top-10, and six are in the top 25. Wins will certainly have to be earned. (September 20th: UNM over New Mexico State Aggies)
The Colorado State University Rams - Jim McElwain enters his third season as head coach on a high note, with a late-game victory in the New Mexico Bowl to end last year. However, CSU graduated a cadre of seniors who had played together for several years, and the second team is now the first team. While none of their opponents on the schedule are ranked in the top 25, their path to a bowl invitation will be an uphill journey. (September 20th: South Carolina Gamecocks over Vanderbilt Commodores)
The Auburn University Tigers - I’m switching the third team this year, bringing in the favorite team from the “in-law” side of my family. Gus Malzahn sets out to show that last year was not a fluke, and with the personnel he has returning, he has a good chance of showing just that. Ranked 6 in the preseason polls, they have six top 25 teams in their schedule, plus the #2 team in the Iron Bowl. Auburn could win its way to a rematch with Florida State, but they will have to do just that - win. (September 13th: AFA over Georgia State Panthers)
As per tradition, any team that can give Lame Kitten an (L). That team is a switch this year as well.
August 30 - West Virginia Mountaineers
September 6th - Florida Atlantic Owls
September 13th - Southern Miss Golden Eagles
September 20th - Florida Gators
September 27th - Off (UNM over Fresno State Bulldogs, played September 26th)
October 4th - Ole Miss Rebels
October 11th - Arkansas Razorbacks
October 18th - Texas A&M Aggies
October 25th - Team #1 (Troy Trojans over South Alabama Jaguars, played October 24th)
November 8th - LSU Tigers
November 15th - Mississippi State Bulldogs
November 22nd - Western Carolina Catamounts
November 29th - Team #3 (UNM over Wyoming Cowboys)
The regular season is now complete, so let’s see if the final 3 weeks got me to .400. Colorado State ended its regular season at 7-6, and becomes the lone bowl-eligible team of the three I follow here.
After last week, any wins would be a win. This week, we got 2. Colorado State put one away in the 4th quarter, and is now 1 win away from bowl eligibility; nice job, Rams! New Mexico also got their first conference win by defeating Air Force in a Friday night game. Sadly, Tennessee was not able to handle #9 Auburn; there didn’t seem to be an aspect of the game where Auburn didn’t have the edge.
Tennessee Volunteers 23, #9 Auburn Tigers 55 (L)
Colorado State Rams 38, Nevada Wolfpack 17 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 45, Air Force Falcons 37 (W)
California Golden Bears 28, USC Trojans 62 (L)
This Week: 2-2 Cumulative: 17-27 (.386)
I missed a second off week for Tennessee; while I would replace it with Auburn (vs. Georgia), I already have that game picked because Colorado State plays New Mexico. Stanford (vs. USC) is also already on the schedule as well, and Air Force is also off. So, all my standby picks are already used! I guess I’ll pick South Carolina over Florida. See you next week.
This was a horrible week for my chosen teams. Tennessee got outmuscled by then-#9 Missouri, San Diego State outlasted New Mexico, Colorado State fell short against Boise State, and Oregon State let me down too.
Tennessee Volunteers 3, #9 Missouri Tigers 31 (L)
Colorado State Rams 30, Boise State Broncos 42 (L)
New Mexico Lobos 30, San Diego State Aztecs 35 (L)
Oregon State Beavers 14, USC Trojans 31 (L)
This Week: 0-4 Cumulative: 15-25 (.375)
Next week, Tennessee again gets to play the #9-ranked Tigers when Auburn comes to town, while Colorado State hosts a sub-par Nevada squad, and New Mexico plays host to the Air Force Academy on Friday night. If ratings ring true, we should end up at 2-2; but, as they say, that’s why they play the games.
After last week, I don’t think anything other than a Tennessee win over #1 Alabama would have made this week better than last week. That didn’t happen; a mix of upset-hangover on Tennessee’s part, combined with Alabama’s best performance I’ve seen yet this season, left them with a now 7-year win streak in this rivalry. Meanwhile, Colorado State took care of Hawaii - barely, letting a good portion of their lead evaporate in the 4th quarter. I’ve been harping on the whole the-game-is-four-quarters thing for nearly 2 years with regards to CSU; at least they’re starting to put up enough points in the first three quarters to last that final 15 minutes. (And, maybe I’m all wet; South Carolina only needed a quarter and a couple of OT periods to knock off then-undefeated Missouri.) The other two games were flops; Air Force is not having the greatest season (I blame sequestration! LOL), and USC decided they wanted to win a football game.
Tennessee Volunteers 10, #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 45 (L)
Colorado State Rams 35, Hawaii Warriors 28 (W)
Air Force Falcons 10, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 45 (L)
Utah Utes 3, USC Trojans 19 (L)
This Week: 1-3 Cumulative: 15-21 (.417)
Next week, Tennessee visits Missouri. We beat South Carolina, and South Carolina beat them, so we should be good, right? Colorado State hosts Boise State (hey, Boise ain’t a state!), a team that’s been more vulnerable than in years past; while New Mexico heads out to take on San Diego State, another traditionally strong Mountain West team that’s stumbled in recent weeks. Oregon State hosts the Trojans. With the exception of that latter game, this Saturday’s theme is “uphill-but-doable.”
This was the best weekend for college football yet, at least considering the teams for which I cheer. Tennessee now knows it can win, getting a great home win over South Carolina by showing what they learned two weeks ago against Georgia; and Colorado State went up the road a bit and hung 52 points on division-leading Wyoming. In other games around the SEC, ranked teams fell to lower or unranked teams; #24 Auburn won over #7 Texas A&M, Vanderbilt pulled off a last-minute win over #15 Georgia, and Ole Miss topped #6 LSU. Meanwhile, with #14 Missouri defeating #22 Florida, I’m left wondering if the overall strength in the SEC is working to its national detriment; with today’s losses, #1 Alabama is now the lone team to finish this BCS era with the SEC’s current win streak intact. They certainly seemed to be back on their game against Arkansas. I guess this year’s bowl season will have to answer the comparative question.
Well, enough speculative babbling. With no further ado…
Tennessee Volunteers 23, #11 South Carolina Gamecocks 21 (W)
Colorado State Rams 52, Wyoming Cowboys 22 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 10, Utah State Aggies 45 (L)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 14, USC Trojans 10 (W)
This Week: 3-1 Cumulative: 14-18 (.438)
This week’s celebration won’t last long. Tennessee tries to add to their lone SEC win in Tuscaloosa against #1 Alabama, with the added stakes of ending the SEC’s run at BCS titles. I’m thinking we’ll probably have more people cheering for us next week than any other team does! Colorado State heads down to the land of luaus to take on a struggling Hawaii team looking for their first win of the season. New Mexico is off, so we go from cheering for Notre Dame to cheering for their Air Force Academy opponents, and Utah gets their chance to deal another Trojan loss. The CSU game is late, so we’ll wrap it up next Sunday.
What looked like a promising week last week failed to materialize. You almost had to expect a USC bump, but Colorado State and New Mexico both come up a bit short. Tennessee didn’t lose, as it was their bye week, and Auburn did well in the replacement game to save this from being an 0-4 week.
Auburn Tigers 62, Western Carolina Catamounts 3 (W)
Colorado State Rams 27, San José State Spartans 34 (L)
New Mexico Lobos 31, Wyoming Cowboys 38 (L)
Arizona Wildcats 31, USC Trojans 38 (L)
This Week: 1-3 Cumulative: 11-17 (.393)
Next week, Tennessee hosts #14 (as of Saturday) South Carolina, still looking for their first statement SEC win of the Butch Jones era; they get two more opportunities after that to play ranked SEC opponents. Colorado State gets to try to do what New Mexico couldn’t do this week, while Mountain Division leader Utah States visits the Lobos. Finally, we’ll be looking for the luck 'o the Irish in the fourth game next week.
I was on the road all day Saturday, so once again I did not observe a single snap live; and, thanks to bad Internet connections, this draft didn’t publish when I tried to publish it on Monday, so here it is week 6 with this post. Week 5 tied for the best week yet, but holds the tiebreaker in the Saturday night / Sunday morning release of the coach for the University of Southern California.
Tennessee Volunteers 31, South Alabama Jaguars 24 (W)
Colorado State Rams 59, UTEP Miners 42 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 42, UNLV Rebels 56 (L)
Arizona State Sun Devils 62, USC Trojans 41 (W)
This Week: 3-1 Cumulative: 8-12 (.400)
With Lame Kitten gone, the Trojans’ name can appear for the rest of the season. It’ll be interesting to see what Ed Orgeron, former Ole Miss head coach, can do with them for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Tennessee welcomes its biggest challenge yet this season, New Mexico hosts its in-state rivals to the south, and Colorado State takes a week off before facing San José State in two weeks.
I have mixed emotions about this week. Yes, my picks are 2-2, but New Mexico and Colorado State both dropped games that they should have won, leaving a 4-way tie at the bottom of the Mountain West instead of those two schools there in the middle. Meanwhile, Tennessee barely escapes a mid-level Sun Belt opponent. Oregon hanging 62 on their opponent was nice, though.
Next week, Tennessee, still seeking that elusive first SEC win of the season, gets a visit from first-year SEC team Missouri. Meanwhile, Colorado State and New Mexico swap opponents from this week; maybe they can watch either others’ tape and figure out how to do what the other couldn’t.