Texas-OU, Tennessee-Texas A&M, LSU-Florida, Alabama-Arkansas & Those Oregon Uniforms
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com College Football Blogger
Welcome to the Pigskin Prognosticator, a weekly look at the top college football games and not only which teams will win but why they will win.
PubClub.com’s college football blogger goes “inside the helmets” in a style similar to that of the funny radio show he used to listen to as a kid in the South, Leonard Postosties’ “Leonard’s Losers.”
Hello Huskies! And goodbye Sparty, Ducks and Seminoles and oh there you are Tigers (Clemson). And okay, for you USAF Falcons folks out there, way to sink the Midshippers and stay undefeated. Hey Boise Broncos, looking forward to watching you Friday night, albeit not on the blue turf, against the (Lost?) Lobos; that may turn out to be a high-scoring thriller.
But beyond the on-field action, which last week provided two incredible fantastic finishes and who knows what excitement this week might bring, the thing to watch now is the Tom Herman Watch.
The Houston coach is being courted like a homecoming queen, potential suitors lining up for him ready to hand out not a bouquet of flowers but a rich contract with lots of zeros in it. Texas has all but told Charlie Strong simply to keep the seat warm for Herman while LSU has no doubt had a few bowls of gumbo with his agent.
Meanwhile USC is doing what, anything?
Now here’s something interesting. Guess who might just be a good fit for the upcoming soon-to-be-available USC job? Now don’t laugh because you know what The Prognosticator has written about him in the past but go grab a Kona beer out of the fridge and take a deep breath. Lame Kiffin!
If you think about it – and I did – it’s not such a crazy idea, as I explain here:
Now onto this week’s games.
TEXAS vs. OU IN THE RED RIVER RIVALRY (9 a.m., Cotton Bowl as part of the Texas State Fair, FS1)
It’s a mess in Texas. The Bevos have boosters and an AD feeding the media bits of prime beef about head coach Charlie Strong’s doomed future, who are sitting around the table like hungry dogs eating it up and begging for more.
This circus overshadows the carnival of the Texas State Fair (but hopefully, not the party for the fans, who make this annual game one of the great tailgate traditions in college football) but of course the Longhorns are as powerless as their defense to stop it.
Meanwhile, the Boomers are drooling, dreaming of a rout and revenge, but they were doing the same thing this time last year. And lost. Winner (in a shootout, which is what the Red River Rivalry used to be called): Oklahoma
LSU at FLORIDA (9 a.m., ESPN)
The Bengal Tigers did what pretty much every team does after it fires its coach and names the popular assistant interim coach. They went out and roared to the point that the media and some fans start clamoring for the popular assistant to be named permanent head coach (sound familiar USC!?). Well, really you all just need to pump the brakes.
A team always gets an emotional spike after the coach is fired. But at least Coach O has done something different, and that is to introduce the forward pass to the LSU offense. Now the Tigers must face a team called the Gators in a place called The Swamp at a time when real gators will be coming out of real swamps due to a tropical storm/hurricane that’s due to roll through the state on Thursday or Friday.
LSU should win because the Florida Gators can move the ball at about the pace a gator walks on land, but is this a sign? Winner: LSU.
VIRGINIA TECH at NORTH CAROLINA (12:30 p.m., no TV. What!?)
Normally, when you look at the schedule and see “North Carolina” on it, you quickly look to the top to see if you’re looking at the basketball or football schedule. And if it’s the latter you let out a sigh of relief and say “oh, perfect; we’ve got this one!”
But the coach with the hat name who wears a visor (Larry Fedora) has taken the Tar off the Heels and has this team somewhat quietly rising into a second-tier national power. Why is nobody talking about this guy as a second choice to Tom Herman? Remember, Mack Brown came from North Carolina and he did pretty well at Texas until he started chewing the fat with the Texas boosters.
The Gobblers’ best hope is that they can make the Heels feel like heels for looking back at last week’s Florida State upset rather than at a suddenly ranked Gobbler clucking into town. Winner: North Carolina
TENNESSEE at TEXAS A&M (12:30 p.m., CBS)
Texas A&M is fool’s gold. Despite what you hear in the media, which likes to swoon over this team each and every year, perhaps thinking Johnny Manziel is somehow still a ghost that won’t ever leave (well, he’s doing nothing else these days), the Cadets are nothing more than a slightly above-average team.
Ol’ Smokey’s season is also a bit of a smoke screen and while the Volunteers earned their nickname in Texas (Tennessee sent more volunteers to defend the Alamo than any other state) this is no mercy mission.
It will be a shootout, however, and the way UT is playing this year, be sure watch the fourth quarter. Winner: Tennessee
COLORADO at USC (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The last we heard from the Heard they were stumbling out of the tunnel with their mascot’s handlers falling and being pulled down the field when taking the field against the Trojans. But since that time the Buffs have beefed up – the Prognosticator picked them to upset Michigan earlier this year and it darn near happened – while the Trojans have stumbled. Last week, Troy put it all together.
The freshman quarterback has ignited the offense and the coaches have finally decided to let their best ball carrier actually carry the ball. Well that was last week anyway. Arizona State was simply hapless on defense. Colorado won’t be, but the Prognosticator is putting faith in Boy Wonder QB to hold things together for Troy.
Tip: It’s best if these coaches just stay out his way. Winner: USC
ALABAMA at ARKANSAS (4 p.m., ESPN)
The Pachyderms stomp into Hogland, a place where the Pigs are always hot off the grill and ready for the Tide. Two years ago, Bama escaped 14-13 on a blocked extra point. This is the type of team Alabama likes to face and rarely does these days, a straight-up running team, tho the Hogs’ best offensive weapon is the play-action short and medium pass.
Trying to run against Bama is like trying to run in the thickest sand in the Los Angles South Bay Beach Cities; you’re not going to go very far very fast.
If the frosh QB that didn’t quit can start seeing all those receivers running freely through the secondary to compliment his coolness and Bama’s abundance of outstanding running backs, then this team might become the best of the Saban era. And that’s saying something impressive, folks. Winner: Alabama
WASHINGTON at OREGON (4 p.m., FOX)
These teams are like two fighter jets passing each other in a quick dogfight. One is rising into battle while the other is dropping to earth headed back to home base. It is the Huskies who are flying high while the Ducks are becoming grounded. Considering the way Stanford used to pound Oregon and how Washington pounded Stanford last week, and this could turn into a real turkey shoot.
At least the Ducks still know how to dress. They are coming out against U-Dub in “webfoot” uniforms. Webfoots is not a reference to the Ducks, but is actually the school’s original nickname, referencing a nickname people got back in the 1860s from living in the waterlogged Williamette Valley. By the way, the uniform is blue.
One of U-Dub’s school colors is blue. Is this simply caving into the inevitable? Winner: Washington
FLORIDA STATE at MIAMI (5 p.m., ABC)
There’s a hurricane due to arrive in Florida – a real one, Matthew – and a storm is already taking place in Tallahassee. The Spears have lost their sharp edge, especially on defense where they seem to think tackling is an ancient tribal custom not worth pursing in these modern times.
There’s rumors of divisions between the offense and defense, which the head coach denies, which of course means there’s some truth to it. On the other side, are the Hurricanes (Miami) for real, or are they just as hard to track as Matthew?
By Saturday the storm should have passed by this game, but if the Seminoles lose, a different kind of storm will be getting even stronger in Tallahassee. Winner: Florida State
UCLA at ARIZONA STATE (7:30 p.m., ESPN 2)
The Trampolines are living up to the Prognosticator’s nickname for them this year by losing one week and winning the next (UNLV doesn’t count). So this means they will drop this game to the Sun Devils? Not exactly.
Actually, it’s impossible to predict what either Arizona team will do from one week to the next, so the Pitchforks could come out and hang 50 on the Bruins (while giving up oh, about 48) or they could dry up like a raisin in the sun.
The bottom line is the Bruins are by far the better team and even with these two whacky programs that should be enough for the Baby Bears to win in a desert breeze. Winner: UCLA.