Inside The Helmet For Alabama-Tennessee, Clemson-Miami, USC-Utah
Obviously knowing that Jimmy Buffett is playing Irvine Meadows, the college football schedule makers made it a light weekend of games this week.
The most significant involves the Third Saturday of October, a long-time traditional Southern rivalry.
They may have also sensed we need a week to catch our breath after last week’s excitement, none bigger than the “Michigan State Miracle.”
The reason that happened, by the way, was not just a fierce rush by Sparty but the “running punt,” in which a lot of teams now use, the punter kicking the ball on the run. The Prognosticator has never liked it, and it came back to bite Michigan.
Still the punter is a bloke of high standards – he calmly did media interviews, which even some coaches (we’re looking at you, John Calipari, straight in the eye) don’t even do in some circumstances. He’s received some threats on Twitter but folks, while we love this thing called college football it is, after all, just a game.
All times Pacific.
This Week’s Games Predictions
UCLA at CAL (6 p.m. ESPN)
The Baby Bears go to visit Papa Bear and the Bruins are playing a second consecutive Thursday night game. Things didn’t go so well last week in the Bay Area. The defense has been in hibernation since suffering injuries to three starters and the overall mental edge of the team has been hurt, as well. The traditional Trampolines would brush this off, bounce back up and play like champions. But somehow, the Prognosticator doesn’t envision this happening because Cal’s Aaron Rodgers of the present will likely have a huge night. Winner: Cal
CLEMSON at MIAMI (9 a.m., ESPN)
This is the game the Tigers should worry about, not because Miami is any great power anymore but because it’s an early game on the road and we’re all waiting for Clemson to be, well, Clemson. Miami is pretty weak this year but showed up to play against Florida State and if the Canes do the same here, then the Tigers will be blown away by the Hurricanes. Winner: Miami
TENNESSEE at ALABAMA (12:30 p.m., CBS)
There was a time when this was a bigger game for Alabama than Auburn. General Neyland had Alabama’s number, too, and that infuriated Paul “Bear” Bryant so much that he started passing out cigars to the team every time the Tide beat the Vols. The smell of cigars has been coming out of the Alabama locker room a lot the past few years. Tennessee’s head coach helped light them two years ago when he forbid his coaches and players from mentioning the name Alabama, instead calling them “that red team.” That kind of stuff may work in the smaller leagues from which he emerged, but this is big-boy football in the South. Winner: Alabama.
TEXAS A&M at OLE MISS (4 p.m., ESPN)
Hey Colonel Rebel – if you beat Alabama, then you are supposed to go on and win every other game, dominate and do the conference proud by at least making it to the College Football Playoff. You’re not supposed to scramble around against Vanderbilt the next week, you’re not supposed to get blown out at Florida and you are certainly not supposed to lose to Memphis! Sure, you can get sky-high for one game but you have to sustain your excellence! Otherwise just go back to being a good tailgate party. Winner: Ole Miss
UTAH at USC (4:30 p.m., Fox)
Troy put up a good fight in South Bend last week but, as the Prognosticator predicted, ran out of fight in the end. USC will try and Fight On this week and one of two things will happen: The players will rise to the occasion because they know the rest of the season could be riding on how they respond in this game, or they could fall flat on their face because they are emotionally drained from all the drama. It’s impossible to know which will be the case until the game starts, but the Prognosticator remains unimpressed by the Utes. And they are playing away from home for seemingly the first time this season. Winner: USC.
WASHINGTON at STANFORD (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
So what’s up with the Cardinal? They looked like National Championship contenders against UCLA but it’s impossible to overlook those first two games. Maybe the Trees just needed to take root before blooming this season. U-Dub is improving and has a solid coach but doesn’t have the physical strength or the athletes to plow the Farm. Winner: Stanford