Butch Jones, Bret Bielema & Jim Harbaugh Keep Fans Entertained Even In A Weak Week Of Top Games
Just as the Prognosticator envisioned, Iowa gave us a Big 10 treat last week in its almost-upset and certainly thrilling game against Penn State.
And while Purdue did not exactly take Michigan down to the wire before collapsing, it did have Wolverines fans drinking a few Boilermakers into the third quarter and Jim Harbaugh a few afterward, as he spent part of his Monday press conference commenting on the uncomfortable and primitive locker rooms at 90-plus-year-old Ross-Aid Stadium (which, it’s interesting to note, is on Beering Drive. Yes, a college football stadium is located on Beer-ing Drive!).
Then again, he didn’t go all Butch Jones on us, blaming the media for creating “fake news” or Bret Bielema crying after another loss to Texas A&M.
Bielema – who lost again to the Aggies, for the seventh time in seven years – tried to convince us he’s just like Bill Belichick by dressing in a sloppy sweatshirt. The Head Hog also waddled from side to side and was so big it looked as if he had swallowed an entire real Razorback before kickoff. Then after losing he cried, supposedly for his players. But after knowing Bielema has been called out for pre-planning his “off the cuff” comments in press conferences, the experienced and cynical Prognosticator has to wonder if this was clever ploy to keep the media from asking questions about his job security.
There are not any blockbuster games in college football this week, but as always something interesting will happen, if not on the field than in the press conferences.
It’s all proof that even when there’s a weak week, college football will still manage to keep us entertained. Who knows what surprise(s) await us this week. Perhaps something odd will happen, like Oregon State – a team so bad it should consider giving up the sport at times – rising up and stunning both us and Washington at the same time.
All times Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast. That’s also why UCLA is included every week – also, it’s for part personal amusement considering the state of the team – tho this tradition may be revisited in the coming weeks.
Friday, Sept. 29
USC at Washington State (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Playing in Pullman, Washington, is not all that difficult. Getting to Pullman, Washington, can be, on the other hand. On a lonely stretch of the two-lane highway leading into the town, the highway patrol once gave a speeding ticket to an ambulance. Troy should not be facing any emergencies on this trip, tho the hosts can sometimes act like pirates and pillage a team’s chances of winning. They are undefeated, but only because of a “Boise blunder” two weeks ago. Playing on a Friday night should be an insult to USC and provide the Trojans with enough motivation to show the country and the Pac-12 that they belong only on college football’s prime day. Troy gets a break with the weather; it’s going to be 50 degrees but at least clear. Were it raining, that might result in a different outcome. Winner: USC
Saturday, Sept. 30
Northwestern at Wisconsin (9 a.m., ABC)
Yeah, this choice is a stretch but the Prognosticator needs an early-morning game. And you can bet, even after being out on a Friday night getting clubbed with The Boot” on State Street, the hearty Wisconsin fans will be at it again Saturday morning camping out in Camp Randall. And while it may appear they are applauding this win, they will also be celebrating the fact that Bielema is no longer their coach. Winner: Wisconsin
Georgia at Tennessee, (12:30 p.m., CBS)
Ol’ Coach of Life is about the get the life coached out of him by Kirby Smart who, based on what’s happening in Athens, may be the smartest of Nick Saban’s disciples. The Dawgs are showing smarts, toughness and resolve, three things that have been missing since Hershel Walker and “Buck Belue-to-Lindsay Scott.” Rocky Top is on unstable foundation under Jones and it may be about ready to crumble into the Tennessee River. Look for the Vols players to play proudly but even if this one is close then Butch will butcher the effort with some of his patented in-game decisions that has Volunteers fans hoping he will volunteer to resign. Winner: Georgia
Mississippi State at Auburn (3 p.m., ESPN)
The Mullen-Heads were brought back down to Planet Earth ‘tween the Hedges last week and now must try to keep from looking plain on the Plains. The War Eagles are flying high after soaring over Missouri last week but that was only Missouri. The Dogs coming to town have a lot bigger bite than the toothless Mo Tigers and if they are through licking their wounds from the Dawgs, then this is like feeding them a bone. Winner: Mississippi State
Clemson at Virginia Tech (5 p.m., ABC)
Things could not be bigger in Blackburg this week. Clemson is in town, ESPN’s College Game Day is broadcasting live from campus and the Pigskin Prognosticator is writing about the Hokies. The Lunch Pails will be wearing the hard hats on Saturday will be holding back the visiting Cats with whatever tools they can find in the shed. That will work for a while but eventually the Felines will figure a way to go up or even around this wall while the Gobblers offense gets completely gobbled up by the Tigers’ D. Winner: Clemson.
Ole Miss at Alabama (6 p.m., ESPN)
Apparently, if you want to stir up a Pachyderm, then say something like “Bama you’re next,” or be a headline-grabbing college football analyst and boldly proclaim that “Clemson is the best team in the country.” Such things, apparently, get these Red Elephants stomping mad. And if you see them coming at you, just step out of their way. You can bet Colonel Rebel will be limiting the pregame talk to a few “Hottie Toddies,” which is code for “come over here and let’s have some drinks together!” The new-look Rebels were supposed to be an offensive machine, even without their rebel coach, but kept firing blanks on a recent trip to California. This is an all-or-nothing, potential season-saving game for Ole Miss and it will throw everything it has at the Tide – perhaps even including a couple of real Hottie Toddies. But that might only make the hosts mad, and as Vandy learned, you don’t want to stir up this bunch of angry elephants. Winner: Alabama
Colorado at UCLA (7:30 p.m., ESPN2)
It’s time to take the trampoline out and get it repaired. The current model is broken, sitting like some unused piece of sports equipment with weeds growing around it in the back yard. It’s no longer able to provide that spring that’s needed for this team to get it back on its feet. It’s so bad one has to wonder if Rosen is thinking that he should have chosen a different school to attend. Into this scene comes the rambling Buffalos, who stampeded the Baby Bears last year. But the defending Pac-12 South champions are showing signs of their futile recent past as opposed to some rebirth of the program. In losing last week, the quarterback went into a slide a yard too early on third down, forcing a punt. Which, of course, was blocked. Winner: UCLA