You have seen this week’s SEC picks, so now it is time for me to bring you my forecasts for the national games of interest. After going 5-0 in last week’s national predictions to improve to 8-3 for the autumn, I am tempted to tell you I might have some idea what in the sam hill I’m doing, but we know better, so, just to be sure, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Unless otherwise stated, the following games will be played on Saturday, September 17:
Texas Longhorns at UCLA Bruins: I genuinely do not know what to expect from this one. Neither club has been impressive thus far this season, and, strangely enough, I would be a believer in the Bruins if the game was being played in the Lone Star State. I’ve learned better than to bet against the Longhorns when they’re taking the field in the Rose Bowl, though.
Utah Utes at BYU Cougars: It’s a bit jarring to see this game being played so early in the season with no Mountain West Conference consequences on the line, but, as someone who has never liked giving the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pride of place at the end of the Georgia Bulldogs’ schedule, I’m pleased the newest addition to the major conference ranks and the latest institution to embark upon athletic independence still found a way to keep their rivalry intact. (Are you listening, Texas?) Given Brigham Young’s struggles with Ole Miss and Texas clubs that do not appear to be world-beaters, I expect the Utes to prevail in the Beehive State battle, much as they did in "My Cousin Vinny."
West Virginia Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins: What, precisely, will be the options available to the winner of the coin toss? In addition to electing to receive, could the prevailing team choose, for instance, to ignite the opposing team’s bench, or to dress the other club in its own state flag? Just checking. Randy Edsall is no stranger to the Mountain Men, and, between his familiarity with West Virginia and his team’s home field advantage, I like the Terps to take care of business.
Boise St. Broncos at Toledo Rockets (Fri., Sept. 16): This one just got a lot more interesting, didn’t it? One week after taking the Ohio St. Buckeyes right down to the wire in Columbus, the Rockets welcome Boise State to the Glass Bowl. Is this a trap game or a chance for the Broncos to cement their national stature by going on the road and whipping a Toledo team that just went on the road and put a huge scare into the Big Ten’s standard bearer? Yeah, I’m going with the latter, because I think Boise State is going to spank the host squad. (See, BSU fans? We respect your team! Can we please cool it with the fanposts now? Thanks.)
Michigan St. Spartans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Brian Kelly’s club is 0-2 and reeling after dropping a pair of heartbreakers. Michigan State is 2-0 and lately has owned the Irish in South Bend. Is it just me, or does this strike you as exactly the sort of game Sparty is apt to lose? I’ll be pulling for the visitors, but I believe the Irish will send the home crowd away happy.
Oklahoma Sooners at Florida St. Seminoles: More than a modicum of the sheen on last year’s resurgent season for the Tribe was tarnished by FSU’s poor effort in Norman, which is but one of the reasons why this game matters immensely if the ‘Noles truly are to restore themselves to the national stature they last occupied more than a decade ago. This year, the home field advantage should give Florida State a substantial boost; as the defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators, Bob Stoops was 2-0 against the Seminoles in venues other than Doak Campbell Stadium, but 0-2 against FSU in Tallahassee. I’m siding with the Tribe.
That is my assessment of the contests of consequence in college football this week, but, as always, I would urge you not to put
too much any stock in my prognostications, because I truly am terrible at this, which is why I warn you weekly: Don’t Bet On It!
Coming Soon: National Game of Disinterest.