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)
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.