Within hours of posting my predictions for Week VIII, I should have had a sense I wasn’t quite on top of matters as I am wont to delude myself on a daily basis.
I incorrectly advised that the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina would vanquish App State. In Boone, N.C., where the latter resides. That was wrong, but not the harbinger mentioned in the paragraph above.
That Sun Belt battle had a Made For ESPN Wednesday evening kickoff. I post my picks on Wednesday. But hadn’t a clue, when I revealed them that this particular game was starting within moments.*
* Had I waited until Thursday morning, as I sometimes do, I would have really looked as misguided as I probably am.
While scrolling about that night on the laptop, and seeing the game was already on, and that matters weren’t going as Cock A Doodle Do as I said they would, the pending gloom and doom of the weekend became apparent.
Purdue fell back to the norm, after its big W the week before.
UCLA showed it’s still not really ready to play on its home turf on the 1st of the year.
Fortunately the Irish were good enough against coachless Troy. And the Cards showed heart over BC, even if a majority of their fan base had better things to do Saturday afternoon.
2-3 for the weekend. Feh. But, still 27-17 for the season.
You know my mantra: I forge ahead.
This weekend’s winners:
Louisiana Monroe @ Appalachian State. Yes, this one, of minor consequence in the national picture, appears a walkover for the aforementioned Mountaineers. So, yeah, I’ll own it. I need to see the ball go through the basket. But, there’s another reason to talk about this one. Warhawks first year coach Terry Bowden. He lost his legendary dad right as fall practice commenced. La. Monroe not only didn’t win a game last season, they never led one, and were a solid Bottom 10 contingent. But Bowden’s magic was apparent opening weekend. They were slaughtered by UK, but did take the lead early on. Then, two Ws followed. After a couple of losses, Bowden’s rejuvenated squad is on another two game win streak. Oh, they won’t beat App State, but, dagummit, Bowden with his 86-71-1 career record knows how to coach football.
Ole Miss @ Auburn. The Plainsmen are simply one of those teams I haven’t paid much attention to. New coach by way of Boise State. 2-1 in the conference that cares more. But one of those Ws came over future former Coach O’s Bayou Bengals. Manhandling Arkansas might mean something. Or not. So, we, at least I, just don’t know. Meanwhile we hear too much out of Oxford Town, given their grating coach’s penchant for pub. Though pocketing the golf ball was a cool gesture. As for star Matt Corral, we don’t know how serious his injuries are? He did go 18/23 against LSU. Maybe it’s just my dislike for You Know Who on the Johnny Reb sideline, but I believe Toomer’s get toiletpapered.
Michigan @ Michigan State. I’ve mentioned I’m a Great Lakes Stater by birth. Somewhere along the way in my youth, I became a fan of Sparty, when considering the Big Ten anyway. Around the time of Clarence Peaks, it was. Early 50s, after I’d already moved to Louisville. When considering colleges, I was going to apply to Ann Arbor, even took a visit to the Big House. But they required a writing sample for the SAT, and I’d have none of that. Oh, how I digress into my indulgences. Anyway, this is a big one. Up there in Michigan. And nationally. Has Harbaugh really turned things around, while he makes ends meet with lesser salary? Is Mel Tucker about to become as revered as Duffy Dougherty? Is former Demon Deacon Kenneth Walker a legit Heisman hopeful? My mind reels, this is such a coin flip. Going with my heart. Green.
Kentucky @ Mississippi State. Mike Leach’s return to the Bluegrass last season didn’t turn out very well. His Bulldogs put up but a deuce in Kroger’s. He was on the staff at UK under fabled Hal Mumme. Along with Sonny Dykes, who now leads SMU. And the iconic Claude Bassett. Whom, the Google advises, was last seen coaching the running backs for the Manor (Texas) HS Mustangs. Which rabbit hole journey has nothing really to do with Saturday’s game. But I couldn’t help myself. Leach and Bassett are such good copy. If these Wildcats are truly the best in Lexington since Fran Curci’s Art Still/ Derrick Ramsey-led 10-1 ‘77 squad, they will handle Cowbell State. And they shall.
Louisville @ North Carolina State. While the victories against Central Florida and Florida State were pleasant enough, they are proving not to be quite the resumé enhancers, the U of L community was hoping for. The subsequent last second Ls are arguably more impressive. Which is to say that the Cardinals weekend battle with the Wolfpack will tell if the rubber meets the (Tobacco) road? State should be especially ready, given its surprising L last time out to reeling Miami, and its adverse effect on their Division and ACC title hopes. Coach Satt and the Cards will be up to the task.
— c d kaplan