Potential for Shockers This Saturday

Navigation Solution 10-24
The past two weeks of college football have been incredible but this Saturday it appears things will be coming back down to Earth. Just two games involved top 25 teams and three of those four schools are outside the top 15. Still, the games are important as someone is probably going down. Ohio State is one such candidate as it could falter at Penn State. In terms of conference races, watch USC at Utah as it will make an impact on the PAC-12 South.

A couple of volleyball games to watch includes UC-Davis at Cal State-Northridge Friday night in Big West play. The big one though is Nebraska at Wisconsin on ESPN2 Sunday. The Badgers are currently on top in the Big Ten and it’s rare for ESPN2 to air a regular season game in volleyball.

Conference Races Hit Top Speed

Moving into late October we have a large enough sample size to gauge how the conference races will shake out.

SEC Favorite: Ole Miss
SEC Sleeper: Georgia

While the SEC West is getting all the attention, Georgia can still ruin everything and win the SEC championship game. The only team that can take the East from Georgia is Missouri and that’s only if the Tigers win out and Georgia loses a game. Going against Georgia in Atlanta for the SEC championship is a tough out. Ole Miss gets Mississippi State and Auburn at home so it is currently the favorite in the West.

PAC-12 Favorite: Oregon
PAC-12 Sleeper: Arizona

Oregon is the only team in the North with a winning conference record at 3-1. Stanford is close at 2-2 but still has to play at Oregon. The PAC-12 South is a traffic jam of four teams at one loss, but I like Arizona to come out of it. Arizona State must come to Tucson and traveling to UCLA on Nov. 1 seems less intimidating now for the Wildcats.

Big 12 Favorite: Kansas State
Big 12 Sleeper: West Virginia

The fact that the Big 12 does not have a championship game makes this conference race more interesting. While Kansas State is the last remaining undefeated team in conference play, West Virginia has a favorable schedule. The Mountaineers have just one conference loss and will host both K-State and TCU. If West Virginia can get past Oklahoma State in Stillwater Saturday then Mountaineer fans must like their chances of singing country roads a few more times.

Big Ten Favorites: Michigan State and Ohio State
Big Ten Sleeper: None

The Big Ten is straightforward, whoever wins the Ohio State at Michigan State meeting on Nov. 8 will win the conference. The Big Ten West is too shaky to pull off the upset this year as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska give different performances each week.

ACC Favorite: Florida State
ACC Sleeper: Duke

Florida State has practically won the ACC Atlantic but Clemson does have a small chance of catching up to it. The story though is in the Coastal where Duke is in the lead to repeat as division champions. The Blue Devils are down to two road games against Pitt and Syracuse (nothing to worry about) with Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest at home. Duke will be favored in all of those games and may sneak up on a napping Florida State in the ACC championship game.

Mountain West Favorite: Boise State
Mountain West Sleeper: Nevada

This conference is still fuzzy but Boise State is always a Mountain West favorite and gets San Diego State at home. The Broncos have already defeated Colorado State and should come out of the Mountain Division as Air Force has a tough schedule. San Diego State is 3-1 in conference play but has a tough slate ahead with Boise, Nevada and Air Force remaining. This opens the door for Nevada to come out of the West. The Wolfpack have defeated Washington State and BYU and should be favored in four of its final five games.

American Athletic Favorite: East Carolina
American Athletic Sleeper: Central Florida

The AAC is a two-team race with East Carolina being the pride of the conference so far at 5-1. UCF is 2-0 in conference play and will give the Pirates a test on Dec. 4. It’s hard to see any other school like Temple, Houston or Cincinnati winning the league but they are long shots.

Conference USA Favorite: Marshall
Conference USA Sleeper: None

It's just too easy for them

It’s just too easy for them

CUSA is all about Marshall and no one else. The last undefeated team among the mid-majors, Marshall is looking at an Orange Bowl bid. Louisiana Tech is 3-0 in CUSA play but has lost to a FCS school so it’s hard to call it a threat.

Mid-American Favorite: Northern Illinois
Mid-American Sleeper: Akron

The MAC is a mess of unpredictability as Northern Illinois lost to Central Michigan at home. Yet I don’t see another team taking them out in the West. Central fell to 2-2 in conference play and Toledo and Western Michigan are unproven. In the East division, Akron’s final five games will be against underdogs as it gets Bowling Green at home. The Zips beat Pittsburgh earlier in the year and is well coached under Terry Bowden.

Sun Belt Favorite: Georgia Southern
Sun Belt Sleeper: Louisiana

Georgia Southern at the top of the Sun Belt at 4-0 in the conference. Louisiana Monroe at home to the end the regular season appears to be its toughest remaining game. Louisiana is 2-0 in Sun Belt play though and will host Arkansas State Tuesday who is also 2-0. The Ragin’ Cajuns are playing well in the Sun Belt after a disappointing non-conference campaign. I’m picking Louisiana to win Tuesday and perhaps grab a share of the Sun Belt with Georgia Southern.

Big 12 Football Steps into Spotlight

Here is your navigation solution for viewing college sports in the next three days.
Navigation Solution Oct 17Big 12 football seems to dominate Saturday as it has half of the games I consider “must see” for passionate college football fans. Baylor will have a hard test at West Virginia. Kansas State has a chance to destroy Oklahoma’s playoff chances at noon as well. TCU looks to rebound from the disappointing Baylor loss at 4 against Oklahoma State.

The sneaky game is Northwestern hosting Nebraska in what could create chaos in the Big Ten West if the Wildcats can defend their home turf. Florida State and Notre Dame has obvious playoff impact.

If you only see one non-football game this week, check out North Carolina going to rival Duke on Sunday in women’s volleyball. Both are ranked in the top 25 and you know that game will be heated.

Fighting Pirates on Vine

Last week a very colorful vine from AAC member South Florida caught my eye. The Bulls were hosting the No. 19 Pirates of East Carolina for Homecoming and pulled out all the animation guns to promote it. The result was a pirate ship being flushed down a whirlpool while a South Florida boat floats in the air.

Does is matter that clipper ship is totally irregular for a team called the Bulls? Guess not as South Florida appears to think it can borrow ideas from its professional neighbor in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As weird as that was, South Florida surprised East Carolina with a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. That didn’t last though as the Pirates would score the next three touchdowns to win 28-17. Sensor Scans
Next time, hopefully, the Bulls will make an animation about… well… a bull.

This Kid Knows PAC-12 Football

Thought you knew a lot about college football when you were a kid? Well Jack and his PAC-12 football knowledge has you beat. While only being 2-years-old he has mastered something that took me to at least the age of 4 or 5 to accomplish. Memorize all the teams in a power conference.

Now if a kid could do this with Conference USA or the American Athletic that would be even more impressive. I didn’t master all the teams in the American Athletic until last month. Mainly because the league is new, changes every year and make no sense in terms of geography.

Marshall in the Top 25

Marshall is the second mid-major school to crack the top 25 this season joining East Carolina. It’s the first time the Thundering Herd has been ranked since 2002 and fans are proudly showing their enthusiasm.

Marshall’s best win of the season may have been Saturday as it jumped on 4-2 Middle Tennessee State for 49-24 victory. Marshall has not beaten a big name team yet but the way the Herd has been tearing up opponents is noteworthy. The Herd is 6-0 and has scored at least 40 points in every game. Anything short of an undefeated season may actually be a disappointment.

1,000 Volleyball Wins for Northern Iowa

The Northern Iowa volleyball team is off to strong year at 12-6 and more importantly, 7-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play. Northern Iowa rolled to a sweep of Southern Illinois Sunday and took to social media to showcase its big milestone.

Over 2,500 fans were there to see the Panthers reach 1K. That is a sharp contrast with our next school.

WCU Volleyball Needs Fans

The Western Carolina women’s volleyball team defeated the Citadel in three sets Sunday at home. Problem is I’m sure if any fans were there to see the Catamounts improve their record to 9-11. Not one fan could be seen in this highlight video.

To be fair, the box score says 156 fans were in attendance, just they were never in front of the camera.

Colorado State’s Great Promotion

Want to get fans to see a 4-9 women’s soccer team. Give away free BBQ.

The Rams would lose the game 3-2 to Colorado College but fans can’t complain with a great a deal like that. Hope the Rams can turn their season around as Mountain West play continues.

Damage Report: Big 12 Refs and Mississippi

Saturday is finished and we learned quite a few things this week in college football. Such as to never go for it on 4th and 3 in a tied game after burning two time-outs to think about it. That was for you Gary Patterson. Here are winners and losers from the past 24 hours.

How UCLA fans felt today.

How UCLA fans felt today.

Winner: Mississippi State and Ole Miss

Honestly, I thought both Mississippi teams would get carried away with their top rankings and have a bad game. That didn’t happen as Mississippi State jumped on No. 2 Auburn with a 21-0 first quarter lead and never looked back. Ole Miss was in control of No. 14 Texas A&M the whole way and led 21-0 at the half. The Egg Bowl has never been so enticing in October.

Loser: Big 12 Referees

The zebras called pass interference on TCU corner Corry O’Meally placing Baylor in field-goal range in the final minute with game tied at 58. Baylor would kick the game-winning three points to end the bout 61-58. Problem is the flag was bogus. Replay showed O’Meally made contact as the ball reached the Baylor receiver and even turned his head to find the ball. It was a shame that a great game ended on the result of a bad call from the refs. Then again, if TCU had simply punted instead failing on 4th and 3 maybe this would not have happened at all.

Winner: Duke

The Blue Devils knocked of the ACC Coastal leading Yellow Jackets on the road 31-25. Duke is now in great shape to repeat as division champions. With Florida State in the news for all the wrong reasons there is a legitimate possibility Duke could win the ACC in football. Yeah, I said in football.

Loser: UCLA

The Bruins went from being a playoff favorite to dropping two-straight at home. Unlike last week’s close game with Utah, UCLA was lifeless against Oregon. Don’t let the 42-30 score fool you. It was 35-10 after the third quarter. UCLA has plenty to fix.

Winner: West Virginia

Trailing Texas Tech on the road 34-20 with less than eight minutes to go it looked bleak for WVU. The Mountaineers would score two touchdowns in drives lasting only 1:37 and 2:37. They even had time to set up a 55-yard field goal for kicker Josh Lambert. The sophomore kicker drilled the field-goal to crush the hearts of Texas Tech fans everywhere. At 4-2, West Virginia has plenty to play for while Texas Tech is going to need a miracle to reach bowl eligibility at 2-4.

Loser: Fresno State

The Bulldogs were a contender to repeat as Mountain West champions but that took a hit Friday night in Vegas. Fresno lost UNLV in overtime 30-27 who was previously 1-4. The Rebels had been torched this season with a minus 131 point-differential. It was Fresno State’s first Mountain West loss who fell to 3-4, and 2-1 in conference. Instead of making a run at the conference crown, the Bulldogs will have to fight to just finish 6-6 after the bad loss.

Weekend Game Plan: Oct 10-12

Saturday is loaded with great football matchups from noon to 2 a.m. A total of five games between top 23 teams meaning at least 20 percent of the best are going down Saturday.

Missouri has a golden opportunity to take control of the SEC East with Georgia coming to Columbia. Especially now with Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley being placed on indefinite suspension. Georgia Tech is undefeated and will have control of the ACC Coastal with a win over Duke.

Then at 3:30 will be the massive meeting between No. 2 Auburn at No. 3 Mississippi State. No. 9 TCU will give No.5 Baylor its first test of the season at the same time.

Penn State will try to add insult to injury at Michigan in the evening. Will be interesting to see how Michigan fans react during the game. No. 3 Ole Miss will try to follow up its win against Alabama by going to No. 14 Texas A&M. Expect the Aggies to play better after losing to Mississippi State. Late at night will be a fun game between a vengeful and unranked USC against No. 10 Arizona. I’m sure the Trojans will play with fury after losing to a Hail Mary last week against Arizona State.

Some good volleyball games this weekend with No. 4 Florida State on Friday and No. 9 Florida in action Sunday. If the NFL is boring Sunday than be sure to check those games out on the SEC Network. Here is the sports schedule I’ll try to follow.

Oct 10-12 Game plan

Pink Out College Football

Like running on bubble gum.

Like running on bubble gum.

Now that we’ve hit October some schools are sporting pink in breast cancer awareness. While the NFL continues to go all out in pink, a few athletic departments are tackling the promotion too. New Mexico State is one school who takes it to another level. First, the Aggies changed the color of its field in Photoshop in its Twitter Banner photo.

But digitally altering a photo is nothing compared to what is becoming an annual tradition in Las Cruces. New Mexico State wore pink jerseys once again in Saturday’s loss to Georgia Southern.

New Mexico State grabbed a 14-0 lead against a favored Georgia Southern in the first quarter but then the novelty of pink must have worn off. The Eagles would score the next 29 points to win the game 36-28. New Mexico State should have won the game if it were not for four costly turnovers.

Oregon State was not as extreme in its pink promotion but did change the color of its profile picture for the month. Now we just need a cartoon called the “Pink Beaver.”

Several conferences have also changed their profile to pink or added a pink ribbon to it. This list includes the Big West, the MEAC, the CIAA, the Peach Belt, East Coast Conference, Great Lakes Valley and MAAC.

Arizona’s Duck Hunt

Arizona upset the No. 2 Oregon Ducks on Thursday and the result was this epic sports and video game crossover. Love it. Nice touch adding the final score in the bottom right corner.

Where in the World are the Ole Miss Goal Posts?

Great times at Ole Miss as it upset Alabama Saturday. The story then became what happened to the goal posts as fans carried them out of the stadium.

One upright ended up at an apartment of a student. That’s why college football is awesome.

Southern Mississippi’s Bad Comparison

While Ole Miss and Mississippi State were taking the entire spotlight from their wins Saturday, Southern Mississippi turned to an alumnus in the NFL for pride. The result was this comparison of Austin Davis to Brett Favre.

Not sure the disastrous Rams offense is a good place to boast about Southern Miss.

Tired Purdue Pete

Purdue scored a surprising victory at Illinois Saturday 38-27 and it appears the mascot needed to take a break from all of the excitement after the game.

Miami University Wins!

In a battle between two winless teams, the Miami RedHawks rallied from a 41-14 hole to beat UMass 42-41. It was the first win Miami has had in nearly two years, ending a torturous 21-game losing streak.

Sure, Miami won because of a missed extra point earlier in the game. Sure, Miami won because UMass didn’t spike the ball allowing time to expire on its final drive. Sure, Miami still has a lot of work to do. But who cares. MIAMI UNIVERSITY WON A FOOTBALL GAME! Streak over.