How’s a predictioneer supposed to intuit three days before kickoff whether the greatest QB not only in the history of the conference where they care more, but more than likely ever anywhere in intercollegiate football since St. Louis Billiken Bradbury Robinson tossed the first completed legal forward pass against Carroll College in 1906.
I am of course speaking of Kentucky Wildcat and Mel Kiper dandy Will Levis, who was forced to sit out UK’s L to South Carolina last weekend because of turf toe. Thereby decreasing his team’s chances of prevailing, and, more important, costing me a correct pick.
Flavor of the Month Kansas also fell to Texas Christian in an anything a Jayhawk can do a Horned Frog can do too barn burner of a finish giving the visiting team in purple the W. Wrong again.
But the UCLA Bruins, North Carolina State Wolfpack and, most significantly, Louisville Cardinals did win.
3-2 for the Weekend. 21-15 for the season.
Oklahoma State @ Texas Christian. Those schools a little farther east, with fuller coffers thanks to Mr. and Mrs. TV moolah, might “care more,” but they sure do play exciting football here in cattle country in the numerically challenged Big 12. So yeah, how ‘bout these Cowboys brought to you by T. Boone Pickens Inc.? And these Fort Worth Denizens with a new coach they pilfered from their nearby hated rival? The duo, both standing tall at 5-0, are ready for a shootout. Winner joins the Manhattanites atop the league. I love the color purple. I love TCU’s unique nickname. I’m not really fond of Coach Mullet. But somethin’ tells me the visitors prevail.
Pennsylvania State @ Michigan. Of the undefeated Nittany Lions’ five victories, none is especially awe inspiring. Unless besting the Purdue Brohmins in a road opener floats your boat. The road gets more than a smidge bumpier this weekend. A visit to the Big House to face the surging and conceivably really relevant again Wolverines of Michigan. The undefeated Ann Arborites similarly have nothing to crow about schedule-wise. Their first three foes all reside in the Bottom Ten. (As opposed, you know, to the Big Ten.) Which team is real, which team is Memorex™? Hail to the Victors.
North Carolina State @ Syracuse. The Wolfpack were one of the preseason buzz squads. Sleeper Final Four possibility. Looking for a spot near the top of the totem poll of college pigskinnery. They are 5-1 but haven’t shown this wag anything too awfully much. Dino Babers shook up his staff, and the ‘Cuse’s record remains unblemished. The Orange are one of the truly surprising feel good stories of this campaign. Can the home team continue its all winning ways? Will the Carrier Dome be loud? Yes. And Yes.
Alabama @ Tennessee. I just read an interesting article about how the Crimson Tide’s former AD reeled in Nick Saban, who at the time was still coaching the Miami Dolphins. Clandestine flight to Miami on a booster’s plane so it wouldn’t be tracked, registering at a nondescript hotel, and waiting for an audience. Which he only got when Saban’s better half invited Mal Moore to dinner. Let’s just say UT’s hiring of Josh Heupel was a bit more circuitous as well as more perilous, when his predecessor self destructed after that Pruitt dude was hired only because Greg Schiano was hired and then he was not. The Vols are back, and that coaching riffing notwithstanding, what matters is about the QB in Crimson. Here’s a hedge, based on that whole Cats/ Levis situation described above. If Bryce Young plays significant minutes, Tide rolls. If not, cue “Rocky Top.” That’s right, I played the middle, sort of. Deal with it.
Mississippi State @ Kentucky. I have been accused by readers of losing focus when musing. Justifiably so, given in recent weeks there has been an invocation of diagonal sandwich slicing and Alligator Lizards. But, if you think I get off track, learn about Cowbell State coach Mike Leach’s mental meanderings in his QB room. He is likely to go off in any direction, and does so often and, apparently, at length. That said, the dude is a quarterback whisperer. Even though his passing attack consists of but a few plays with only a couple variations of each. Which they practice over and over and over and over and over again. His current arm Will Rogers has 22 TD tosses so far, and is getting 355 yards a game airmail. The #16 Bulldogs are 5-1 with Ws over Arkansas and Texas A&M. They come Krogering as a slight fave over the reeling Wildcats. Get ready for it, kids, here it comes yet again. The so nice I’m doing it twice QB hedge. If Will Levis plays significant minutes, UK wins. If he doesn’t, more cowbell. You got problems with my wishy washiness, grab your cellphone and call someone who cares.
— c d kaplan