Thanksgiving and vacation conspired to keep me away from here. How did my teams finish their seasons?
Tennessee Volunteers 50, Kentucky Wildcats 16 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 21, Utah State Aggies 28 (L)
#9 Auburn Tigers 7, #15 Georgia Bulldogs 34 (L)
#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs 20, #5 Team That Shall Not Be Named 25 (L)
Tennessee Volunteers 21, #20 Missouri Tigers 29 (L)
Colorado State Rams 58, New Mexico Lobos 20 (W)
#14 Auburn Tigers 31, Samford Bulldogs 7 (W)
Western Carolina Catamounts 14, #1 Team That Shall Not Be Named 48 (L)
Tennessee Volunteers 24, Vanderbilt Commodores 17 (W)
Colorado State Rams 24, Air Force Falcons 27 (L)
#15 Auburn Tigers 44, #1 Team That Shall Not Be Named 55 (L)
New Mexico Lobos 36, Wyoming Cowboys 30 (W)
These 3 Weeks: 5-7 Final: 30-26 (.536)
Above 500, but nowhere close to where I’d hoped. However, all three of my primary teams are going bowling, which is way better than last year, so I don’t know that I can complain. Tennessee will be taking on Iowa in the Taxslayer Bowl on January 2nd, Colorado State meets former Mountain West foe Utah in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on December 20th, and #19 Auburn gets #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. (As if I needed another reason to crave cheese fries!)
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)
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.
This week was better than the scores would indicate. Tennessee and Florida played one of the sloppiest halves of football I can remember seeing in recent history; in the second half, though, Tennessee’s offense looked decent against Florida’s defense. Tennessee’s defense, though, seemed to always leave one guy uncovered, and that was the one who ended up burning them. Tennessee’s rebuilding decade continues apace.
I just have to brag on Colorado State. Those Rams were ready for Alabama, and their defense played better than I’ve ever seen it before. They were down by 11 points at the end of the third quarter to the #1 team in the country! Sadly, though, the 4th quarter letdown pattern continued, and the final score looked more like people expected it would. (Psst… Hey, Coach McElwain - your conditioning coaches need to fix this immediately; games are 60 minutes, not 45.) If the Rams that showed up to this game show up to their remaining games, they should be very competitive in the Mountain West this year. This game had huge implications for Alabama as well; they were not firing on all cylinders. I would not be surprised to see Oregon move ahead of them in the rankings that come out later today; but, whether they stay #1, or become #2, this is not the well-oiled machine of previous years - yet.
Utah State almost pulled it off; great try, Aggies. Looks like I picked the wrong MWC matchup in the Lobo’s off week as well, which led to the first 0-4 this season.
Tennessee Volunteers 17, #19 Florida Gators 31 (L)
Colorado State Rams 6, #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 31 (L)
Air Force Falcons 23, Wyoming Cowboys 56 (L)
Utah State Aggies 14, People of Troy 17 (L)
This Week: 0-4 Cumulative: 5-11 (.313)
Tennessee goes non-conference next week before hitting the toughest part of their schedule in October, while Colorado State hosts UTEP and New Mexico hosts UNLV. It should be a good week!
As I type this, I’m stunned at Alabama’s loss today. Not only does it mean I don’t get bragging rights for having called the score (my guess was a 42-9 Alabama win), it likely means the end of the SEC’s 6-year BCS reign as well. But, if you spot the opponent 20 points, it’s tough to win.
Speaking of tough to win - Tennessee lost a 4OT heartbreaker in Knoxville, and is still winless in the SEC (the same week that Vanderbilt became bowl-eligible and has a winning SEC record - maybe the Mayans were right). Here in Albuquerque, the Lobos, missing their regular starting quarterback, ran into a Wyoming team that is starting to put things together towards the end of the season. The Sun Devils couldn’t handle the heat in Pasadena. However, Colorado State played a very good game against a UNLV team that seemed unable to get much going the entire day.
Tennessee Volunteers 48, Missouri Tigers 51 (L)
Colorado State Rams 33, UNLV Rebels 11 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 23, Wyoming Cowboys 28 (L)
Arizona State Sun Devils 17, #19 Dishonest Wooden Horses 38 (L)
This Week: 1-3 Cumulative: 15-29
It’s hard to believe we’re pulling into the 4th quarter of this season, but here we are. Tennessee has the first of its season-ending two SEC showdowns against Vanderbilt; a win would be nice, but it wouldn’t save this season or, likely but sadly, our head coach’s job. Colorado State travels to Boise State on Saturday; maybe they can find the blue end zones. New Mexico can still be bowl eligible, but they must make a statement against a better Nevada team. Will one of my teams get to go bowling? Two are mathematically eliminated, but one remains.
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.