The Houston vs. Baylor battle, put together mere days before, was cancelled. As the Cougars’ buses to carry them to Waco were waiting to be filled with footballers.
Little did I realize that would be the highlight of my weekly predictioneering.
Georgia Tech fell back to the norm against Central Florida. Boston College’s QB transfer from Notre Dame and new head coach won the day at Duke. Tulane let a 24 nil halftime advantage slip away, enabling the Midshipmen their biggest comeback in school history.
Which left it up to my Cardinals to save the day. Of which possibility I began to get queasy, when seeing that the mediocre Flames of Liberty overcame the horrors of the peccadilloes and precipitous downfall of Familia Falwell (Jr.), and upended Western Kentucky, Louisville’s opening game conquest.
Soooooooo, it was, sigh, an ofer weekend.
0-4-1 puts me at 8-9-1 on the season. Buoyed by the spirit force of Woody “Bear” Schnellenbechler, I forge ahead.
Florida @ Ole Miss. As best I can determine, America’s premier tailgating venue, Ole Miss’s venerable The Grove, will not be open on Saturday. Of course, I could be as wrong about that as I was with all of last week’s predictions. Will masks and cocktail dresses be the look of the day, I must wonder? Vaught Hemingway Stadium will be at 25% capacity for the eagerly anticipated debut of Lane Kiffin as mentor of the Johnny Rebs. Given his unorthodox ways, he just might be the guy for these weird times. Unfortunately, the opener is against a Gator squad with legit aspirations for the SEC title game and beyond. The visitors leave Oxford Town with a W.
Army @ Cincinnati. How long has it been since West Point played a ranked team, when the Black Knights were also ranked? The Lonesome End? Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside? It’s been a long time for the Long Gray Line. Last year, during a 5-8 season, they almost smote Michigan, taking the Wolverines to OT in the Big House. Year before, same situation, same tough result to Boomer Sooner. Is this the year they overcome? Luke Fickell and the Bearcats are looking for that G5 spot in a BCS bowl. With enough time to prepare for improved Army’s unique attack, it says here Cincy takes care of biz.
Florida State @ Miami. Why am I thinking of Denny Crum? Because he was sick once, coaching a game contested at Freedom Hall against UCLA, over the phone from home while watching on the telly. Will Mike Norvell, quarantined with the COVID, do the same against arch rival in this more technologically advanced age? We’ll have to tune in to find out. Under any circumstance, this would be tough one for Florida State against Flavor of the Month Miami. Will the Canes have big heads, after smashing Louisville? Will the Seminoles be able to rectify all the mistakes they made when falling to Georgia Tech? Yes, maybe, to Q#1. Absolutely not to Q#2. The buzz about Miami shall continue.
Kentucky @ Auburn. One thing I absolutely need to do moving forward is to stop misunderestimating Mark Stoops. Despite that deer in the headlights look he often gets along the sidelines, the fellow obviously knows what he’s doing. How he and staff salvaged last season was borderline genius. Yet his counterpart here, iconoclastic Gus Malzahn, also knows a thing or two about a thing or two. Plus the Tigers appear to be simply better. Leaving but this question, will there be masks as well at TP hanging from the limbs at Toomer’s Corner?
Louisville @ Pittsburgh. Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers looked solid last week, in a relatively workmanlike victory over Syracuse. They are indeed improved on offense. And are as tough as usual on the other side of the ball, under this D-minded staff. The Cards were frankly exposed in a lot of areas last time out against the ‘Canes. How much can the D improve in a week of practice? Will M Cunningham be able to find Tutu and Dez and Brandon deep downfield as has been his wont? Can Javian continue to show he’s legitimately in the conversation as one of the premier RBs in FBS? I hope so. I am picking the Cards, as I always do.
— c d kaplan