For those nagging nabobs of negativitude who have been inspecting the results of my predictions and have been kind enough to inquire, the answer is “No, I’m not inclined to change the title of this weekly endeavor.”
Sweet of you to ask.
Yet, I must admit, last weekend, I suffered my second under .500 slate of the season.
Auburn couldn’t hold on at home against emerging LSU. TCU learned that Ohio State is pretty good on the gridiron, even if the Buckeye head man, now off suspension, is less than sympathetic when it comes to spouse abuse if it might impact his team’s fortunes.
And Oklahoma State, victor over Boise State, now that it no longer pays for the services of a defensive strategist with the initials BVG, actually shows some mettle stopping it’s foes when they have the ball, making the Cowboys both an outlier and title contender in the Big 12.
Kentucky and Louisville both won payday games, the latter barely.
2-3 for the weekend makes it 8-7 for the season.
I forge ahead. This week’s winners:
Kansas @ Baylor. Why on earth, you would be justified in asking, would I consider this under the radar “battle” between a couple of n’er do well programs from the heartland? Rock Chalk Jayhawk, as even the slightest of pigskin fans knows, has consistently been the worst Power 5 program in recent memory. Just considering fourth year mentor David Beaty’s stint in Lawrence, KU has gone ofer 12, 2-10 and 1-11. No need to pull out your abacus, I’ve totaled up the Ws already. Three in three seasons. Three games into this campaign, the Jayhawks have already prevailed twice. Yes they lost their opener to the Nicholls Colonels, but then handily vanquished Central Michigan and Rutgers by a combined score of 86-21. Plus, getta load of this, the Jayhawks lead the nation in positive turnover margin at +12. Go figure. Always with a soft spot for the underdog, I’ve jumped on board. Meanwhile, Baylor’s not been very good since the football sex scandal that rocked the allegedly religious, formerly Kenneth Starr-led university. The Bears’ only W last season came when they dismantled this week’s foe. They’ve already won twice, and are a TD favorite at home this weekend. But, and this might be why my prediction record ain’t so glossy this season, I’m liking the Jayhawks. Feel free to guffaw.
Boston College @ Purdue. There’s an increasingly vocal contingent of diehards at my favorite school -- THE University of Louisville -- who are screaming, “Bring me the head of Bobby Petrino.” Until a couple of weeks ago, that would have been followed by a loud call to hire favorite son Jeff Brohm, now head guy in Boilermaker Country. But the shine has washed off in Lafayette. PU finished last season with three consecutive Ws over Iowa, IU and Arizona, but has been peeeeyouhhh this season, opening with three consecutive Ls to Northwestern, Eastern Michigan and Missouri. This is the way the season begins, not with a bang but a whimper. Meanwhile, Boston College is the non-SEC Flavor of the Month. Formerly best known, if known for anything pigskin at all, for its D, the undefeated Eagles are soaring on the scoreboard, tallying 55, 62 and 41. Which makes this a pretty big game. Brohm needs to win back the winnowing fan base. Steve Addazio is looking for his squad to be considered legit in a fading ACC. The visitors get their wish.
Stanford @ Oregon. There are so very many reasons why Stanford should be your favorite team after your real favorite team. Leland’s band is legendary due to its impertinent shenanigans. They haven’t a bit of Script OHIO in ‘em. Then there’s the mascot, which is, uh, a tree. A redwood, it is said. For reasons that have never adequately been explained. And, more pertinently, David Shaw is arguably the best college football coach rarely mentioned as being among the tops at his profession. In his ninth season at Palo Alto, he’s 76-22 including three Ws already this campaign. For years, the Quack were my favorite team other than my favorite team. It was the unis. And Chip Kelly’s nanosecond quick offense. Kelly’s in Westwood now. Willie Taggert’s gone also after a quick stayover in the Great Northwest. But so far so good under new mentor Mario Cristobal. When Oregon won the first national b-ball title, they were known as the Great Firs. No more. Lee Corso is going to be in the house. If he choses to costume up as a sequoia sempervirens, he’ll be correct. Stanford “Singular” Cardinal prevails in this tussle between Left Coast Unblemished.
Mississippi State @ Kentucky. Is it my imagination or are there like 28 SEC teams in the Top 25? Sure seems like it. Conference fan boy Paul Finebaum is a walking advert for Cialis™. Anyhow, Cowbell State is one of those schools. Three huuuuge Ws. Lots of returning starters. Great O and D lines. A more than solid QB. And they throttled the Cats last season in Starkville, 45-7. Which makes this a most daunting task in The Most Important Game of Mark Stoops’ Career. If Kentucky wishes to kick it up a notch, the Bulldogs are one of the programs it must leapfrog. The Cats have a Top 15 rushing attack -- thank you Benny Snell -- and Top 25 points against D. There’s a certain confidence, one must assume, that is fostered by how UK closed out its W against the Gators. Instead of holding on for dear life until the clock ran out, or pissing away the lead altogether, UK made a play and upped its advantage. This is the kind of “if only” battle the Cats have traditionally found a way to let slip away. So, why am I picking underdog UK to go Krogering™? Ask my therapist.
Louisville @ Virginia. Those who desire precision in their nomenclature are wondering, now that Malik Cunningham is the starter, whether this is Bobby Petrino version 2.3, or still just Bobby Petrino 2.2 (Post Lamar)? Given that I’m not sure if U of L’s coach hasn’t totally lost his way, and keeps tweaking, I’m going with the former. Updates and upgrades are required Meaning that something, actually a lot of things, are amiss pigskin-wise on the Belknap Campus. The Cards have fallen into or near triple digit territory in key national statistical rankings. The D line is getting smoked. The AFROS are dropping passes aimed right in their bread baskets. This will be a most telling encounter with the Jeffersonians. My favorite scenario would be Puma Pass coming off the bench to lead the Cards to victory late. However it happens, U of L should eek out a W in Charlottesville.
-- Seedy K