Warning: The beginning of this piece mentions U of L’s arch rival, for reasons which will be obvious. Seedy K apologizes for any consternation this might cause to diehard Cardinal fans.
The Professor’s been my best bud since high school. Love him dearly, but, truth, I hold little store in his observations about what might happen on the gridiron or hardwood.
So, when we were chatting in advance of last Saturday’s battles, I sort of tuned out when he opined that Kentucky would end its losing streak to Florida. “I watched them against, who was it, Michigan something in their opener, they’re pretty good.”
I rolled my eyes.
He was right, it turns out. Unfortunately. For any number of reasons. Not the least of which is that yours truly would have bounced back from a less than stellar opening weekend of picks with a perfecto 5/5 comeback in Week II. Cards won. Clemson survived 12 men in College Station. Houston dismantled Arizona. Penn State blistered Pitt.
But, since I went with the chalk Gators, UK’s victory left me 4/5. Hey, predictioneering is not an exact science. If it were, Las Vegas would be nothing but a ramshackle general store with a half empty cooler and shelves of melted Kit Kats by the side of a dusty two-lane about thirty miles west of Hoover Dam.
Anyway, the 80% weekend puts me at 6-4 on the still young campaign.
Starting to get my rhythm, here are this week’s winners:
LSU @ Auburn. Unless the school you love is a member of the Southeastern Conference, you’ve had just about more than enough of Paul Finebaum haughtily extolling the virtues of the league and how its football is simply better top to bottom. I’m tired of it. Buuuuuuuuuuuut, when it comes to planning out my Saturday viewing schedule, I admit to being inclined to prioritize battles such as this one between the Tigers and Tigers. I get a kick out of Ed Orgeron, the Bayou Bengals coach, who is 17-6 in Baton Rouge after upsetting Miami and skunking SE Louisiana this year. That evens his lifetime head coaching record at 33-33. With his guttural coachspeak pouring through clenched teeth, he talks like a football coach. He looks like a football coach, a guy who loves to ride the blocking sled. And he may actually be a pretty good mentor. Auburn’s resumé includes what is arguably the most impressive W of the season so far, over Washington in Atlanta. Some frat boys will be in bow ties. Some will be painted purple and gold head to toe. Some coeds will be in cocktail dresses. Some will be painted head to toe in blue and orange. All will be locked in, because, well, that’s what they do in autumn on Saturdays in Dixie. The home team usually wins this annual Division West battle. This year will be no different. Toomer’s gets TPd again.
Ohio State vs. Texas Christian (JerryWorld). As much as I cherish those big intraconference clashes, these spicy made for TV skirmishes between Top 15 powers from different leagues are mighty zesty too. So far so good for the Buckeyes, who will take the gridiron for the last time -- this season anyway -- without Pope Urban Meyer. He as you probably have head is sidelined because for years he ignored an assistant’s spouse abuse, blatantly lied about what he knew before an entourage of media types, and thus was handed out strongly for penalty and repentance, a three game slap on the wrist. Oh those by the book pigskin-addled academicians who run THE Ohio State University. His absence didn’t matter against rummies Oregon State -- which did manage three scores of fifty yards or longer -- and hapless Rutgers. Traveling to the Lone Star state to confront Gary Patterson’s always feisty Horned Frogs is something else again. Script Ohio don’t mean fecal remnants to guys and gals wearing Luccheses and a Stetson. This will be the first time these two have met outside the Horseshoe. Away from the banks of the Olentangy, the Horned Frogs defense and special teams will be the difference. Purple prevails.
Boise State @ Oklahoma State. Not many schools have happy trips home after venturing to contest a game in the Southland. But the Blue Fielders were all smiles after bashing tough Troy in Sweet Home Alabama opening weekend. The Broncos, vying for that Group of 5 New Year’s Day bid, not only hung 56 on the Trojans, but rang up 35 by marching band time. The Cowboys have also topped the half a hundred mark in its two pushover Ws. But that’s the only way Mike Gundy’s teams win, by outscoring their foes. Defense is a four letter word in Stillwater. Look for lots of O in this one. Boise State racked up 818 yards against UConn. While Okie State is averaging 675 yards per. The Sooner Staters would learn something about shootouts up in Idaho, should they google up Cowboy Bob, that Northwest territory’s first gunslinger of note. Take the over. Broncos buck Cowboys.
Murray State @ Kentucky. The most fascinating aspect of the Wildcats win in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is simply how workmanlike it was. UK was just better than Florida, and that was on display for most all of the affair. Cats averaged 7+ yards per play, and converted 9 of 13 on 3d down. Terry Wilson completed 70% of his throws. The exclamation point came at the end. At that moment when Kentucky’s opponents traditionally throw a Hail Mary as the clock expires to steal the game, the Cats showed their mettle, forcing a fumble resulting in a defensive score. After Ls to a couple directional schools, Southern Illinois and Central Arkansas, the Racers journey to Lexington in the name of filling the athletic department’s coffers into the black. No matter how cocky and complacent the Cats might be after breaking their losing skein to the Gators, they can mail it in and still best Murray State.
Western Kentucky @ Louisville. The Toppers are still trying to find themselves in the wake of Jeff Brohm’s abdication before last season. They were 6-7 in Year I of the Mike Sanford era after falling in the fabled Cure Bowl to Georgia State. They expected to open this season with an L, journeying to CFP wannabe Wisconsin, and did, 34-3 in Camp Randall. What they didn’t expect was losing in Bowling Green in Week II to Maine’s Black Bears, which they also did. What they didn’t expect was to be traveling to the Commonwealth’s largest city to face a U of L squad that remains one of the biggest question marks in the Power 5. Bobby Petrino has repeatedly showed off his “Dancing with the Stars” moves, sashaying around a direct response when asked about his QB situation. Which may not be Louisville most vexing issue. Despite the weather-impaired circumstances, the Cards performance against Indiana State remains a head scratcher. This Saturday’s forecast calls for dry and sunny weather, unless Florence decides she wants to see more of the US than the Carolinas. If the Cards fail to fire against WKU, they shall be in a heap o’ heap. They’ll win. But how they do it will be more telling.
-- Seedy K