Your steadfast pigskin forecaster has had more auspicious beginnings to a season.
The U of L Cardinals, Michigan Wolverines and Miami Hurricanes -- all predicted to prevail by yours truly -- were not the only ones battered in Week I.
My foresight obviously faltered, proving arguably in need of some tweaking, if not complete recalibration.
Auburn and UK came through. Still folks, I am not a happy camper and have dedicated myself to not allowing such incorrectitude to occur again.
Thus, I’ve powered down and powered back up. Jiggered with the complicated formulations used to correctly identify winners in advance. And erased all cookies. (Actually eaten all cookies. A man gets hungry sitting in his recliner for hours on end watching football over a holiday weekend.)
I stand but 2-3 after opening kickoffs, but forge ahead with confidence.
Here are this week’s winners:
Clemson @ Texas A&M. I must inquire why U of L was penalized four separate times against Alabama for something the Aggies have been getting away with for decades. If they can play with 12 men, how come U of L can’t? Just askin’. Truth is if Dabo’s Tigers are legitimately on the same level as Roll Tide, Jimbo, the new guy in boots and a Stetson, might try to figure out how to sneak in an extra pigskinner or deux on big third downs. The Aggies, 7-6 last campaign, will learn soon enough that the orange and purple visitors are more than a few steps up from Northwestern State, whom A&M conquered 59-7 in a Week I walkover. (OK, Furman, who fell 48-7 to the defending ACC champs wasn’t much more of a test either.) But Swinney’s got it going, and Jimbo has plenty of rows to hoe before he proves he’s worth the obscene salary he’s been given to move to College Station. (Is all that moolah really enough reason to leave the relative comfort of the ACC to fight SEC battles all season?) Anyway, as has already been proven, there shall be many underdogs prevailing this season. But this week, Texas A&M will not be one of them.
Arizona @ Houston. Before opening weekend, this one had serious Heisman implications. (If you’re into that sort of nonsense, which I am not, but which I mention anyway for the purpose of being inclusive to college pigskin fanatics of all ilks.) For the home team, you got defensive savant Ed Oliver, who has discombobulated more than one opponent during his career. In the Cougars opening W over crosstown rival Rice, Oliver garnered 13 tackles, including 3 1/2 behind the line of scrimmage. Thus he remains as legit a Heisman contender as any DL might be. On the other hand, hold off on the Khalil Tate coronation. The Wildcat signal caller completed only 50% of his passes in a loss to Brigham Young. (You may know the school as BYU.) And generated but 14 yards on 8 rushing attempts. Kevin Sumlin’s debut for the Wildcats was not what the fans in Tucson were hoping for. Will he fare better against the school he used to coach? I don’t think so.
Penn State @ Pittsburgh. Now this is a rivalry. It dates back not to last century, but the one before that. First kickoff: 1893. How heated was it from the get go? The Nittany Lions under the tutelage of Coach George Hoskins won the first four games. Easily. Total score of those: 81-4. After which, Hoskins got in touch with his inner Rick Pitino, and jumped across the Keystone State to mentor the Panthers. To little avail, as the boys from State College skunked Pitt 27 zed. There were fights in the stands. This Saturday night prime time battle will be the 99th encounter between the rivals. The last time a B1G power misunderestimated Appalachian State was Michigan in ‘07. The Wolverines recovered to win 8 straight and finish with a bowl win over Florida. Against the Mountaineers last Saturday, Penn State recovered sooner, in OT, to escape by the hair on its chinny chin chin. Will State get a streak going like its conference mate years ago? Meanwhile Time will tell. Pitt was warming up with Albany. This is a rivalry, so Pitt will be game, but not enough. The Panthers mediocrity will show late. And, actually, maybe early also. Nittany Lions roar.
Kentucky @ Florida. I was going to start out by emphasizing, “UK never beats the Gators.” But that would be a falsehood, and I strive for exactitude here. The last time the Cats were victors in this series The Cosby Show led TV ratings, “Walk Like An Egyptian” was a hit for the Bangles, Dennis Hopper was implored to “sing Candy Colored Clown” in “Blue Velvet,” and U of L was national hoops champion. 1986. 32 years ago. Kentucky 10, Florida 3. Since then Florida has prevailed year in and year out, like last season on a last second uncontested TD pass, also in OT, 65 zip, 73-7, 63-5, etc, etc, etc. There’s a new regime in Gainesville. Should that give the Wildcats hope? Not really. Mark Stoops still roams the Big Blue sideline. Gators again.
Indiana State @ Louisville. Is there anyway a matchup between the Sycamores and the Cardinals might be interesting? Well, yes, if we joined Sherman and Mr. Peabody in the Time Machine and traveled back to March, 1979. And switched sports. If the Cardinal hoopsters hadn’t thrown in a clunker in the regional semis, losing to Arkansas 73-62, Louisville would have met the Sycamores and that Bird fella in the regional final. Now that would have something to see. As for this Saturday evening, not too much frankly. But there is reason to watch even though U of L is a lock. Will the Cards be able to move on from the Bama beatdown? Will Louisville handle the visitors as they should, or will it be a struggle? Those questions make this somewhat compelling, at least for the fans wearing red and black and those donned in baby blue. The result is a fait accompli.
-- Seedy K