Thursday, October 29, 2015

This week's picks: Almost Heaven, Elton John, Barney Fife and June Cleaver

Last week: 7-1; For the season, 40-12.

Phrynosoma cornutum.
Thursday night:  #3 TCU hosts West VA. 
Dana Holgorsen brings his Mountaineers to North Texas on Thursday night for a mid-semester crash course in Etymology, specifically, some up-close research on the Horned Toad.  This class will take about 3-4 hours and will not be easy for the Mountaineers. 
West VA is 3-3 overall and 0-3 in Big 12 play, losing to #14 OU, #12 OSU and #2 Baylor.  Gary Patterson’s Frogs will not take scrutiny from the WVA students lightly.  TCU’s Heisman Trophy contender, QB Trevone Boykin, will use main receiver Josh Doctson and others to teach WVA a solid lesson in the principles of the Air Raid offense. 
To paraphrase the late John Denver, it will not be “almost heaven, West Virginia.”  Projected winner: TCU.


‘Cause I live and breathe that Philadelphia Freedom.”-Elton John.  
#21 Temple hosts #9 Notre Dame. 
The Owls are one of those teams that not many people expected to hear the words “Top 25-ranked” to describe them at this point in the season, but here we are. 
The Irish bring their top ten ranking, one-loss record to Philly for a Saturday night showdown with big post-season implications for both teams:  The Irish want to stay in the hunt for a possible playoff berth; the undefeated Owls for a major bowl game, or better. 
ND relies on running back C.J. Prosise who’s averaging more than 7 yards per carry, and has 9 TDs.  Temple has the FBS’ 6th stingiest rushing defense.  The Owls have also intercepted 12 passes.  
Back in the ’70s, TSOP stood for The Sound Of Philadelphia, as R&B artists from the city populated U.S. music charts with hit after hit.  There’ll be a lot of hits Saturday night, too.  Projected winner, in an upset:  Temple.


Barney to Andy: “They’ll take over the whole town… a reign of terror!”  #3 Clemson @ N.C. State. 
The FBS’ # 3 and #4 defenses collide Saturday in Raleigh.  Their offenses are prolific, too. 
The Tigers are averaging 520+ yards per game.  They’ve won their last three by at least 17 each. The Wolfpack has scored TDs 22 out of 28 times inside the 20 this year. 
Dabo’s Tigers are looking to stay undefeated and preserve a Final Four spot for the end of the season.  NC St. has lost 10 of the past 11 times they’ve played Clemson. 
An upset could happen, but, Barney would be correct if he was talking about the Tigers coming to Raleigh on Saturday.  Projected winner: Clemson.


The Uncle Verne Bowl:  Week 9.  
#11 Florida vs. Georgia in Jacksonville. 
The Gators and the Dawgs meet on Florida’s NE coast on Saturday for the annual renewal of “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”  
Both teams are now without key players who were difference-makers just a few weeks ago:  Running back Nick Chubb for Georgia; QB Will Grier for the Gators. 
The difference in this game will be which tean can rush for the most yards and whether the Dawgs' pass rushers can get to Florida’s QB.  Projected winner:  Georgia.


In the land of Buddy Holly.  
#16 Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech. 
The undefeated OSU Cowboys ride into Lubbock after an emotionally numbing win last week just a few hours after a woman barreled her car into a crowd watching the homecoming parade.  Four people, including as four-year-old child, were killed and several dozen were injured.  The 25-year-old female driver could face second degree murder charges.
After beginning the year 3 and 0, the Red Raiders have lost three of their last five, with all three losses being to ranked teams:  TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma.  Raiders QB Patrick Mahomes II has had a great year, throwing 21 TDs and running for another 7.   But, the Cowboys have the FBS’ 21st Total Defense and the 22nd Scoring Defense.  Projected winner:  Oklahoma State.


Now, some Quick Headlines…


“Ward, I’m worried about the Beaver.”--June Evelyn Bronson Cleaver.  
#13 Utah hosts Oregon State. 
After a tough trip to L.A. last Saturday night, and their only loss of the season to USC, the Utes return to Salt Lake City to go Beaver hunting. 
Oregon State arrives at Rice-Eccles Stadium with a four-loss streak and has been outscored in those games 115-75. 
The Beavers may wish they’d stayed home in their lodges in Corvallis.  Projected winner:  Utah.


“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey.”—Oliver Goldsmith. 
#19 Ole Miss @ Auburn. 
After a four-OT loss on the road at Arkansas last week, the Tigers return to the Loveliest Village of the Plain (another poetic phrase from Mr. Goldsmith) to welcome Ole Miss. 
The Rebs have the SEC’s highest scoring offense, averaging 41 points per game.  Gus Malzahn is trying to keep his Tigers from being a .500 team after Saturday--if they lose to Ole Miss. 
Hugh Freeze’s team would like nothing better than to leave Jordan-Hare with a win—and a sweep of Alabama teams this year.  And it’s very unlikely they’ll settle only for a glass of ice cold Toomer’s Drugs lemonade.  Projected winner:  Ole Miss.


Home of the National Lentil Festival. 
#15 Stanford @ Washington State. 
The Cardinal brings its 6-1 record and high SAT scores to Pullman on Saturday to face an equally smart coach/lawyer in Mike Leach. 
The pirate-loving Leach has his Air Raid offense flying high this season.  Cougars QB Luke Falk leads the PAC-12 in TD passes (26) and in yards passing (412 per game avg.). 
A win this week by Cardinal QB Kevin Hogan would place him in a tie (with 31 wins) with now-Colt Andrew Luck.  Stanford has won its last seven against Wash. St.  Stanford HC David Shaw is 4-0 against the Cougars.  Projected winner: Stanford.


Sources:; Cities of Auburn and Pullman;

For your CFB TV watching pleasure, the quintessential, easy-to-read guide:
And…the links no fan should be without:  Holly Anderson on Grantland… and her Twitter feed.


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