ESPN’s College Game Day Goes To New York City
You know it’s an off week in college football when not only are there no blockbuster games, big rivalries or major conference battles, but when ESPN’s College Game Day goes to New York City.
New York City!? That’s like celebrating Mardi Gras in Starkville.
At least they are not in Missouri, where there’s misery over what’s happening to the Tigers. Or Baton Rouge, where there’s a sudden belief that Coach O is really what the fans dreaded all along: “Oh NO, Coach O is no different than he was at Ole Miss!” Or on the Plains at Auburn, which will be about as quiet this week when the team is out of town as it was last week when the Tigers fumbled five times and – oh mercy! – barely beat Mercer.
Still, there’s some interesting matchups on Saturday, perhaps even a couple of surprises. All times are Pacific Time because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
N.C. State at Florida State (9 a.m., ABC)
There hasn’t been a tomahawk chop in Seminole Country this year, in part because the last time the Spears played they were picking up the pieces – as well as their quarterback – from the turf in the season-opening loss to Alabama. Now they host a team many feel could be a thorn in the side of ACC contenders. And indeed that may be the case. But ‘ol Jimbo will have the ‘Noles ready for this one. Winner: Florida State
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (9 a.m., ESPN, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX)
It’s going to be 95 degrees in Dallas on Saturday but that’s not the reason Kevin Sumlin or Bret Bielema better not get off their feet because their hot seats are sizzling. Even if the underachieving Bielema loses this game – and several others – he’s going to survive the season because he and his agents have out-maneuvered the Hogs into a $15 million buyout. Over in Aggieland, Sumlin’s smug personality, confusing offense and a defense that can’t hold a lead any better than some of its receivers can hold passes has him one slip-up from not being allowed back into the locker room. This one is likely go in any direction but the Cadets don’t have any direction. Winner: Arkansas
Alabama at Vanderbilt (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The big elephants in the SEC room come stomping into Music City while the once-easily sinkable Commodores are suddenly loading the cannons and are ready to fire on any intruder. This may startle the Pachyderms a bit but it won’t hurt them. They will simply brush it off and keep marching forward and onto victory. The Admirals will put up a fight but simply don’t have enough ammunition to stop the flow of the Tide. Having three injured linebackers back will help the wounded defense look more like we’re used to seeing from the Crimson warriors. Winner: Alabama
USC at Cal (12:30 p.m., ABC)
Traveler apparently needs to tighten his horseshoes a bit because he keeps tripping, but somehow manages to keep his balance. He was nearly BBQ’d by a Texas steer last week and while the Parent Bears are usually the ones getting grilled themselves, they’ve got just enough of a fire in them that if Traveler keeps stumbling he could toss Tommy Trojan right onto the flame. The Prognosticator is going with Troy but would not be surprised to see an upset here. Winner: USC
Michigan at Purdue (1 p.m., FOX)
Here’s what will happen in this game. The Boilermakers will play tough, be in the game into the fourth quarter – so much so that Wolverine fans will start drinking boilermakers – then Purdue will do what Purdue does best and has done for decades. It will somehow, someway, manage to grab defeat from the jaws of victory. Winner: Michigan.
Mississippi State at Georgia (4 p.m., ESPN)
It will be a Dog & Dawg fight ‘tween the hedges as the State Dogs and the Georgia Dawgs go barking up each other’s trees in Athens town. The State Dogs took quite a bite out of LSU last weekend, which has them and their fans thinking they can do the same thing to UGA. They are likely to get in a few good licks but the biggest bites will come from the home canines. That is, if the Dogs can shake off their propensity to lay down in big games. Winner: Georgia
Penn State at Iowa (4:30 p.m., ABC)
The Lions have been roaring this year but they could get drowned out in a place that’s known for producing upsets. The Hawkeyes needed a miracle – and a few helpful screwups from the other guys – to beat Iowa State and remain undefeated but are tough to crack when a big conference foe comes to Kinnick. The Lions may not be roaring after this one but will be limping out with a win. Winner: Penn State
Washington at Colorado (7 p.m., FS1)
Welcome to college football 2017, Huskies! While you’ve been preying on Rutgers, Montana and Fresno State, the rest of the schools have been playing the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma… But hey when you’re new to this top ranking stuff, it takes a while to stretch the schedule legs. You’ve got bigger prey to hunt down this week, and the Buffs are not just cluelessly grazing on the plains these days. You better be in full stalking mode or you may get trampled. Winner: Washington
UCLA at Stanford (7:30, ESPN)
Well, the Trampolines did it again; after riding high they fell flat on their faces. Which is precisely why they will spring back up and beat the Cardinal this week. Their cause is aided by the fact the Trees are more like tree stumps this year. Winner: UCLA