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Barometer or Thermometer? Week 8

By now, you know that college football is not simply a game of strategy, physical talent or will. It's also highly scientific and meteorological in a high-pressure 500 millibar sort of way. Let me explain...

Streeter Lecka

Barometer or Thermometer: Week 8

The National Weather Service just issued their long-range forecast for the upcoming winter. In a nutshell, they’re predicting cooler weather for Florida, warmer than normal weather for the Midwest, and isolated pockets of butt-searing heat in place like southeast Alabama, north central Kentucky and possibly a little slice of urban blight located in the vicinity of North Avenue, Atlanta, GA.

Yep, it’s the delayed version of Barometer (state of a program) or Thermometer (a coach on the hot seat), an in-depth meteorological analysis of this week’s upcoming college football games. Now excuse me while I whip out my pyranometer.*

*Did you know the highest ever measurement from a pyranometer was 1.21 Gigawatts, recorded at the conclusion of the 2004 season in Gainesville, Florida. The instruments has since been renamed the Zookometer.™

#6 LSU @ #18 Texas A&M (12 Noon, ESPN)

An interesting game at the crack of dawn on a late-morning start in College Station. Will LSU have an emotional let-down from the ‘Carolina game? Can Texas A&M do anything on offense against a very good defense? By virtue of the Bengal Tiger’s comeback victory last Saturday against South Carolina, they’re back in the National Title talk, while A&M, thus far, has shown they belong amongst their Conference brethren. A victory for the Aggies would be a coup de Sumlin, but I don’t see it happening. It’ll be close.

Verdict: Barometer

Auburn @ Vanderbilt (12:21, SECNet)

The best thing about this game is who’s calling it from the booth. Dave Neal is a solid professional. Andre Ware is "Mr. Revelation." If you really want a good nap, or a good laugh (totally dependent upon your personality Type), tune in and watch/sleep and/or chuckle at 12:21 Saturday. Auburn is a 7-point ‘dog in this game. Vegas hasn’t seen this type of spread in this series since Alcott Parker Hollingsworth, III (Vandy, ’02) and Joe Bob Skaggs (Auburn ’03) squared off on "College Jeopardy."

This is a Barometer game for Vanderbilt. James Franklin’s War on Culture Change continues to impress, having led Florida early last week by 7. Conversely, the thermometer in Auburn has officially surpassed the Doug Barfield benchmark, and there are rumors that he’s done. Now, we don’t know whether that means he’s "done" or done, but he really could be done when it’s "all said and done."

Verdict: Honey Wagon hitched up to a ’74 Gremlin with a stripped differential and dash-mounted thermometer.

Boston College @ Georgia Tech (3:00, Pep Boys Waiting Room - Zenith b/w)

Tech wins. Paul Johnson is a genius. Barometer game, no doubt. Things are great in Atlanta, right?

Wait just a second. Is Boston College a worse team than Middle Tennessee State? ‘Tis truly hard to tell. But if Paul Johnson lost, got canned and left to coach another Service Academy, I would not complain. The "Chop-Block" Offense should go by way of Newsweek. It should cease to exists except on the interwebs. No one wants to play against that crap anymore.

Verdict: Giggleometer. Measures the depth of a tickle pile.

#7 South Carolina @ #2 Florida (3:30, CBS)

There are many Dawg fans out there that want Florida to win because it helps our cause. For the record, I ain’t one of them. If we take care of business and beat Florida next week, regardless the result of this game, I’ll be happy whether we meet Alabama (probably) in the Dome in early December or not. And at this point in time, do you really think we could beat Alabama? I don’t. I’d certainly like to find out, and if the chips happen to fall that way in a few months, so be it. I’m more worried about Kentucky and the state of our defensive dysfunction, thank you. Besides, there’s nothing better than going into Jacksonville and beating a top 5 Florida team. It could happen and I’ll be there to find out. Sure, this hasn’t happened since the Bush Administration. Uh, George H.W. Bush. (Somehow, this became an analysis of our program. I digress…)

I can never, ever pull for Florida. It’s true, I hate Spurrier the coach. I have no idea if the Man is worthy of the same disdain, though I suspect he is. I don’t hate South Carolina and they may (or may not) be really banged up for this one. It looks like they have a key suspension, too. Although they’re clearly fast becoming a rival (see what I did there?), I want ‘em to emerge victorious (then lose the rest of their games this season). Florida, on the other hand, is the epitome of institutional hate. That will never, ever change. Ever. Go Gamecocks.

Verdict: Barometer

BYU @ #5 Notre Dame (3:30, Vatican

I’d rather watch a re-run of Arkansas @ Southern Cal, 2004 on FoxSportsInsomnia than watch this game live. The worst part is, Notre Dame might actually be a pretty good team. And a question: Is it legal to play a college football game with wet paint on your helmets?

Verdict: Krylon

#4 Kansas State @ #13 West Virginia (7:00, FX)

I watched Kansas State gut out a win at Iowa State last weekend. The difference in this game, despite being played in Morgantown, is defense. K-State has it; The ‘Eers do not. Kansas State in a close one, methinks.

Verdict: Barometer

#14 Florida State @ Miami (8:00, ABC)

This used to be the mid-October matchup in college football. Now, it’s just a sad, sad shell of its former self. There are still plenty of good seats to be had at Joe Robbie, Pro-Player, Land Shark, Dolphins Stadium. The old Orange Bowl was a dump, completed in 1937 by the City of Miami as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA Program and had absolutely no amenities. It was also a great place to watch a football game. As austere as the Orange Bowl was, Dolphins Stadium is worse because of the angles and sterility; it's just too corporate for college football. Sad, really.

Anyway, Miami isn’t a very good football team but if it comes down to a field goal, I like the Hurricane’s chances. There’s a ton of pressure on Jimbo Fisher in this one. Imagine if he loses? Wide Right IV is way, way overdue...

Verdict: Imma say Thermometer

We are now on the back-side of the season and the most important part of the season really begins this week. Honestly, there aren’t too many Thermometer games to be played because by now, we pretty much know which programs are for real, which are pretenders (verdict is still out on UGA, by the way), and which coaches are clearly in trouble.

Go Dawgs!

Editor's Note: I did not pick the Alabama-Tennessee game (7:00, ESPN) out of mercy. Squaring off against Satan with a bad hip, no sense of style and a horrible defense just isn't fair. I bet that big rock on campus in Knoxville gets a new coat of paint this week...