Together, we have gone around the SEC, and now it is time to turn our attention to the national games of interest. As previously reported, my national record for prognostications now stands at 29-18, so, uh, yeah; Don’t Bet On It!
Here are this week’s noteworthy non-SEC outings, which are slated to be played on Saturday, November 20, unless otherwise indicated:
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Texas A&M Aggies: If you aren’t going to be where you can watch this game this weekend, don’t worry about it; there will be a rematch between these two teams five or six years from now, when the ‘Huskers meet the Aggies in a Sunshine State bowl game with Big Ten and SEC tie-ins. For now, though, I’ll be rooting for Texas A&M, but I know Nebraska is capable of winning a shootout on the road against a Big 12 South opponent with offensive firepower.
Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan Wolverines: Is it just me, or has Bret Bielema staked an incontrovertible claim to being the smirkingest, smarmiest college football head coach not named Lane Kiffin? Honestly, is there a non-rival coach you’d rather see get one broken off in him than this guy? Unfortunately, it won’t happen this weekend, because Wisconsin is going to beat Michigan in the Big House.
Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears: It’s too bad that whole Colorado-and-five-sixths-of-the-Big-12-South-to-the-Pac-10 thing didn’t work out, because, if it had, there would be a whole lot of Left Behind jokes to be made at the expense of religious-affiliated Baylor, but, as it stands, this is just an intriguing football game between a longtime power that appears to have lost a step or two and a longtime doormat that has improved dramatically on the gridiron. I may regret doing this, but I’m going to pull the trigger and pick the Bears to beat the Sooners in Waco.
Fresno St. Bulldogs at Boise St. Broncos (Friday, Nov. 19): I take nothing away from Pat Hill’s Golden State Bulldogs, who earned their reputation as giant-killers over the course of the last decade, but the clear pattern for Fresno State has been to win marquee games against teams from automatically-qualifying conferences before slipping up in league play. There’s no way Fresno State is winning a WAC road game in November against the Broncos.
Ohio St. Buckeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes: How on earth is there not some sort of "Golden Eye" or "Eye in the Sky" or "Pitchfork Poked in Your Eye" or similarly-themed trophy on the line in this game? It’s late-season Big Ten football, for crying out loud! Jim Tressel couldn’t be bothered to extricate a rotting bucket from the bottom of a well on a decrepit farm in the middle of the Heartland? Kirk Ferentz couldn’t take the time to exhume a rusty iron spike buried beneath an abandoned railroad line somewhere on the Great Plains? Jim Delany couldn’t put himself to the trouble of spending a Saturday morning driving around to yard sales in Indiana in search of a Ken doll with a missing leg so he could super-glue it to a discarded hunk of irregularly-shaped lumber and declare it the time-honored traditional symbol of victory in this storied rivalry? That’s weak, and, at the moment, so are the Hawkeyes, which is why the Buckeyes are going to win.
Virginia Tech Hokies at Miami Hurricanes: Who knew in mid-September that this one would matter? After VPI fell to James Madison (who plays in Division I-AA, is just one guy, and has been dead for the better part of 200 years) and The U got rolled up and smoked in the Horseshoe, you could have written off this rivalry for dead, but here we are, and, believe it or not, this actually registers as a contest of consequence in
the Coastal Division the Atlantic Division the Coastatlantic Division the Atlanticoastal Division the Big East the ACC. I would give the ‘Canes credit for home field advantage if they had anything genuinely resembling a home field, but I’m siding with the Hokies to keep the streak alive.
Those are this week’s national forecasts, with respect to which I am almost certainly wrong, so you should resist the temptation to place any stock whatsoever in any of the foregoing predictions. Boiled down to its essence, the advice you would do well to heed is this: Don’t Bet On It!
Coming soon: National game of disinterest.