Sometimes the Great Greek God of Pigskin Bronconagurskius giveth.
Sometimes he taketh away.
Last weekend was the latter.
After Boise State grounded Air Force on the blueturf, and Wisconsin pummeled the Wolverines like a butcher tenderizing flank steak, the kid was hopeful, then triple-teamed, chop blocked and clipped. Ole Miss, UK and the Cards all fell.
The fields in Oxfordtown, Starkville and Tallahassee were littered with the chinstraps of the vanquished.
So it was a less than spectacular weekend of predictioneering. 2-3. But the season tally remains six games above .500 at 14-8.
Undaunted at this minor setback, a mere blip on the screen signifying nothing, I forge ahead.
This week’s winners:
Penn State @ Maryland. I was about to mention that both the Nittany Lions and Terrapins are coming off bye weeks. Then I remembered the admonition of the Ethics Enforcement Assimilation Committee of the PPAPOA (Pigskin Pundits & Predictors of America). Which advised, by certified return receipt requested snail mail that, under the penalty of expulsion without reimbursement of membership dues, the term “bye week” was never to be keyboarded again. The proper terminology is now “Week Off.” Except at Liberty U. where it’s a “day of rest.” Which is to verbosely advise that neither of these B10 squads played last weekend in advance of this Friday evening’s conference opener. So Maryland is not technically coming off its embarrassing slide back to the norm at Temple. It’s had two whole weeks to lick the proverbial wounds. While Penn State has had the same couple of weeks to fine tune matters after a rivalry win over schizophrenic Pitt. James Franklin’s charges demolished Maryland in last regular season’s closer. It will not be quite as easy this time, but they eek out a road W in College Park.
Southern California @ Washington. My favorite quote of the week in the grande world of college football was uttered by ESPN’s Rece Davis on College Game Day. Referencing the Trojans surprising W at then #10 Utah, one of the league faves, Davis quipped, “A funny thing happened to Clay Helton on the way to the guillotine.” Clever that one. I wish I was the author. So, even with his AD deep sixed and a new school prexy and Urban Whatisname looking at homes in LA, the USC coach lives for another week. On the Dead Man Walking list he remains. UDub showed itself a bit wobbly, falling at home to upstart Cal the second week of the campaign. So, what we have here in the perennially beleaguered Pac12 is an honest to OJ Top 25 battle. The yachts will be fighting early for docking space outside Husky Stadium. Two league losses and Chris Peteresen can probably forget about Pasadena on Rose Day, let alone the CFP. His charges take care of biz. Helton again starts looking back over his shoulder.
Wake Forest @ Boston College. Speaking of coaches who have developed a nervous tick, come on down Steve Addazio. Wasn’t it just a short while ago that hopes were up in Chestnut Hill? Young QB Anthony Brown showed panache and promise. RB AJ Dillon was busting through tackles. 6-0. 250 lbs. The kid can be a beast. But Addazio’s teams cannot bust past 7 Ws. Which is their total for four of the last five seasons. In ‘15 they were 3-9. That America’s worst P5 program Rock Chalk Jayhawk doubled up on the Eagles, 48-24 in Week III, is the type of blemish that needs to be examined by an oncological dermatology specialist at Harvard Med. Meanwhile the Demon Deacons have been slithering into the Flavor of the Week category at 4-0. QB Jamie Newman is getting some ink, though 5 TD tosses against Elon is not exactly a Heisman-quality stat. That these are U of L’s next two foes makes this a game of more than passing interest for Cardinal fans. Eagles in an upset.
Minnesota @ Purdue. The most convincing yet inexplicable beatdown I’ve see all year is TCU 34, Purdue 13. The Horned Frogs womped the Boilermakers up the side of the head for the full 60. It was like men against boys. This came after Jeff Brohm’s crew was surprised in Week I at Nevada. And Gary Patterson’s purple-clad troops fell the next week at home to SMU. Go figure. The word enigma comes to mind when contemplating Purdue. Like that battle mentioned above, both these schools are coming off bye . . . oops off weeks. Off Weeks. Hear me. The Golden Gophers are undefeated, if also underwhelming, in the third year of PJ Fleck’s tenure. Another upset here by the home team underdog in a league opener.
Kentucky @ South Carolina. South Carolina is hard to figure out. They play in the heart of football country. Near miles and miles of fertile recruiting territory. And if you’ve ever driven the two lane blacktop of the Palmetto State, you know there’s a church every few hundred yards. Literally. So, despite the continued affection for Strom Thurmond, they consider themselves right with the Lord. Yet the Gamecocks just have never been consistently good. And the university didn’t do itself any favors when the eminently mediocre Wil Muschamp was hired to coach. He’s at it again this season, standing 1-3 (0-2). And now the 2-2 Wildcats come to town, hoping also for their first league W. QB Sawyer Smith has a bad shoulder. I tried to run some computer simulations of this “battle,” but my computer shut down as if infected with malware, and a message came on the screen, “Who cares?” Shrug. Well, the fan bases do. And, so do I, because the outcome shall affect my bottom line. But, for the second week in a row, I’m flipping a coin on Kentucky’s game. Hope it works out better than last time. Heads: Cats. Tails: Gamecocks. Heads.
-- Seedy K