Tony Gerdeman

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Last updated: 09/27/2012 3:11 PM
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Tony's Tip Sheet
By Tony Gerdeman

Finally, conference play is fully underway this week. The only cupcakes on the schedule are the ones who have always been on the schedule.

Unless, of course, you're in the Big Ten and now everybody is a cupcake. (Sorry, I'm watching ESPN as I type this intro.)

Actually, I would argue that the Big Ten is still the second-best conference in the nation, and maybe the SEC isn't as good as many would have you believe. (I just changed it over to the BTN.)

Ugh, don't you just hate men? I know I do. Why have they been so awful to Meredith Baxter-Birney and Nancy McKeon!?? (Whoops, “accidentally” turned it to the Lifetime Movie Network.)

It's gonna be a good weekend of football this week, unless there's a “Honey Boo Boo” marathon on, of course.

Thursday September 27

WashingtonTeams:  #8 Stanford (3-0) at Washington (2-1)
Time (TV):  9:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Washington

After an offseason of hearing about just how good Washington quarterback Keith Price was going to be this year, it's time to start actually seeing it. He was terrible against LSU three weeks ago, but he won't have to worry about facing anybody like LSU ever again. This is Stanford's first game since beating USC two weeks ago. I wouldn't worry about any type of let down from the Cardinal because they're simply not talented enough to think that much of themselves. They're like the exact opposite of Michigan, who thinks they're more talented than they are, and is always willing to tell you about it. After all, let's not forget that Stanford opened the season with a three-point win over San Jose State. Washington 31 – Stanford 24

Friday September 28

BYUTeams:  Hawaii (1-2) at BYU (2-2)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  BYU

We're cheering for BYU because if I don't put a team name there, my boss will email or text me asking who we're supposed to be rooting for. I don't know if you know what it's like to be micromanaged, but it's incredibly irritating. I can't type two words without that guy looking over my shoulder and asking if I need so many commas. Yes, I need these commas, that's how I see the words in my brain, you jerk! I can't even grab a nap at the office without being asked if I “should really be doing that”. Hey, if you didn't want me taking naps at the office, then you shouldn't have gotten carpeting. Also, if you didn't want me sleeping in the office four hours a day, you shouldn't require me to be here at least four hours a day. DO THE MATH, EDISON! It gets pretty ridiculous around here. Actually, after reading what I just wrote, I want to apologize – we should actually be rooting for Hawaii instead. BYU 24 – Hawaii 19

Saturday September 29

BaylorTeams:  #25 Baylor (3-0) at #9 West Virginia (3-0)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (FX)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Baylor

This has all of the makings of a great American shootout. Baylor is scoring 51.3 points per game and West Virginia is right behind them at 47.3 points per game. Both defenses are allowing over 20 points per game, which means they aren't opposed to being scored on. Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith has thrown for 1,072 yards and twelve touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception in 118 pass attempts this season. That will change in this game because people will finally be watching West Virginia play, and there's something about playing under watchful eyes that has a way of making people from West Virginia tense up. And that's not some hillbilly joke, that's just the way it's always been for West Virginia. That doesn't mean Smith won't be throwing for 450 yards though. West Virginia 51 – Baylor 34

IllinoisTeams:  Penn State (2-2) at Illinois (2-2)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Illinois

Illinois lost 52-24 at home to Louisiana Tech last week, and Tech turned it over three times. The problem was that Illinois turned it over six times. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase returned from injury but was benched quickly, which means that the offense is in a state of confusion right now. Penn State comes into this game having won back-to-back games against Navy and Temple, which are probably comparable opponents to the Illini at the moment. The Illini are currently a one-point favorite, but I'm not confident that they know what they're doing right now. I am picking Penn State in this game because I have enough confidence in Matt McGloin to not be the worst quarterback on the field in this game. Illinois hasn't gotten much pressure on the quarterback yet this year, so McGloin will have time to look past his first read – which is always an interception, and dump it off to a fullback in the flats. That is how the Nittany Lions will win this game. Penn State 24 – Illinois 23

MinnesotaTeams:  Minnesota (4-0) at Iowa (2-2)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Minnesota

We're cheering for Minnesota because if the Buckeyes can't win the AP National Championship, then you should want the Gophers to do it. Also, while you're at it, why not root for something that is more likely to actually happen, like golden rainbows and unicorn kisses. If the Gophers win this, there is a chance they could be ranked, but they wouldn't deserve to be. They have yet to win a game against an FBS opponent by more than seven points. But I just can't believe that they could go into Iowa City and beat the Hawkeyes, especially if quarterback MarQueis Gray isn't recovered from his injury yet. At some point doesn't Kirk Ferentz's decided schematic advantage have to kick in? What if it already has and this is all they get out of it? Like scraping an empty gas can with a butter knife looking for fuel. I really want to pick Minnesota in this game, but everything that I have ever been taught about Big Ten football won't allow it at the moment. Iowa 21 – Minnesota 14

UCFTeams:  Missouri (2-2) at UCF (2-1)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (FOX Networks)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  UCF

This game might be interesting to check out just to see how Ohio State compares to a mighty SEC team when examining common opponents. Though the one thing that Missouri will have to learn about being in the SEC is that you never travel this far for a non-conference road game. Apparently they have forgotten part of the SEC's charter about scheduling: “If you can't get their (sic) via a redneck pulling a rickshaw, then you don't go.” UCF 27 – Missouri 24

NorthwesternTeams:  Indiana (2-1) at Northwestern (4-0)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Northwestern

Northwestern could be ranked after they win this. I would tell you when the last time they were ranked was, but I'm really running late on the Tip Sheet this week, and besides, you wouldn't even remember anyway. Why must we have such nice carpets to nap on? Northwestern 34 – Indiana 21

ArkansasTeams:  Arkansas (1-3) at Texas A&M (2-1)
Time (TV):  12:00 pm (SECN)
Interest:  2.5
Cheer For:  Arkansas

We're cheering for Arkansas because we're not monsters. We are seriously worried about the mental health of John L. Smith. I'm afraid that one of these days he's going to pause during a halftime interview to eat some paste or wipe his feces on Holly Rowe's face. “Coach Smith, what happened there at the end of the half when you tried to call timeout but instead opened fire on the student section?” “I just couldn't take the voices in my head anymore!” “Coach, those are the assistant coaches speaking to your through your headphones.” “It's a what now?” Texas A&M 42 - Arkansas 26

PurdueTeams:  Marshall (2-2) at Purdue (2-1)
Time (TV):  3:15 pm (BTN)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  Purdue

Keep an eye on this one. Marshall is leading the nation in passing, averaging nearly 400 yards in the air per game. Meanwhile, Purdue has to be feeling pretty confident in their season so far. Their biggest win, after all, was a three-point loss at Notre Dame. Fortunately, they've had two weeks to prepare for mighty Marshall, which should be enough for them to eek out a win. Purdue 31 – Marshall 27

TennesseeTeams:  Tennessee (3-1) at #5 Georgia (4-0)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Tennessee

This is a matchup of SEC heavyweights. Wait, sorry, my bad. I didn't see the “Tennessee” part. This is a matchup of the best SEC East team against a team that is also in the SEC East. The Bulldogs are a two-touchdown favorite, and should finally be getting a couple of suspended defenders (great band name) back this week. The Vols will try to keep up with a Georgia offense that is scoring 47.5 points per game, but they won't be able to. They will throw a lot of haymakers, and whiff most of the time. Meanwhile, UGA quarterback Aaron Murray will sit back in the pocket and pick Tennessee apart like a creepy judge at a child's beauty pageant. “She just doesn't do it for me.” Georgia 38 - Tennessee 17

VTTeams:  Virginia Tech (3-1) vs Cincinnati (2-0) (Landover, MD)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ESPNU)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Virginia Tech

We're cheering for Virginia Tech because we can't respect the fact that Cincinnati sold this game, which was supposed to be a home game for the Bearcats. Instead, they will get $3.5 million for giving up a home field advantage that has been pretty stellar for them – UC has won 22 consecutive non-conference games at Nipper Stadium. Ultimately it came down to the fact that $3.5 million in Cincinnati can buy you an awful lot of rebel flags. Of note, Virginia Tech's lone loss this season came to Pitt, who beat the Hokies 35-17. Cincinnati, on the other hand, opened the season against Pitt, and walked away with a 34-10 win. Obviously this juxtaposition means that the Hokies will win by at least two touchdowns. Virginia Tech 27 – Cincinnati 13

USFTeams:  #4 Florida State (4-0) at USF (2-2)
Time (TV):  6:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  2
Cheer For:  USF

This is a very sad day for me because I think I have finally bought into Florida State. They're second in the nation in scoring with 56.3 points per game, and despite giving up 37 points to Clemson last week, it's pretty clear that they'll likely be double-digit favorites the rest of the season. They basically have three games left: a Thursday night game at Blacksburg, a home game against Florida to wrap up the regular season, and then the ACC Championship Game against a terrible Coastal Division team that the Seminoles have likely already blown out. It's gonna be amazing to see how they blow this. Florida State 48 – USF 17

KentuckyTeams:  #6 South Carolina (4-0) at Kentucky (1-3)
Time (TV):  7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Kentucky

If South Carolina is anything like me when I visit Kentucky, they'll be on their way to another state as quickly as possible. South Carolina 38 – Kentucky 17

Oklahoma StateTeams:  #12 Texas (3-0) at Oklahoma State (2-1)
Time (TV):  7:30 pm (FOX)
Interest:  4
Cheer For:  Oklahoma State

Texas is very pleased with themselves right now, which virtually guarantees a loss this week. However, the Pokes have played just one competent opponent this season (Arizona), and were blown out by three touchdowns. They are first in the nation in scoring, averaging 62.3 points per game, but they haven't yet played a defense who has ever played defense before. Freshman quarterback J.W. Walsh stepped in last week for Oklahoma State and threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns against Louisiana-Lafayette. It's unclear yet whether he will play again this week or starter Wes Lunt will be back from injury. I don't think Texas' defense much cares. They have to pressure the Pokes' offense and get it out of rhythm. I think they will. Texas 48 – Oklahoma State 37

NebraskaTeams:  Wisconsin (3-1) at #22 Nebraska (3-1)
Time (TV):  8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest:  3.5
Cheer For:  Nebraska

Remember when this was going to be a preview of the Big Ten Championship Game? Now it's merely another chance for us to witness the debacle that is Wisconsin football. So for that, we should be thankful. Still, the Badgers are 3-1, so they also demand our complete and laughless respect. The Huskers are 3-1 as well, and in each of their wins Taylor Martinez has a passer rating of over 200. In their loss to UCLA, it was under 100. With the way the Badgers are having trouble scoring, the Huskers should be able to put enough points on the board that Wisconsin won't be able to catch up. But don't be surprised when the Badgers circle the wagons and find a way to make this game close. Nebraska 30 – Wisconsin 20

Ole MissTeams:  Ole Miss (3-1) at #1 Alabama (4-0)
Time (TV):  9:15 pm (ESPN)
Interest:  1
Cheer For:  Ole Miss

What can be said about Alabama that ESPN already hasn't said? Are they the best team in human history? Of course. Is their presence on this earth worth not discovering the cure for Polio until the 1950s? Absolutely. Alabama 41 – Ole Miss 10

ArizonaTeams:  #18 Oregon State (2-0) at Arizona (3-1)
Time (TV):  10:00 pm (P12N)
Interest:  3
Cheer For:  Arizona

Arizona's life in the Top 25 didn't last long, but I don't think anybody expected it to. Now we have Oregon State in the rankings, and they don't look any more suited for a long run either. Maybe with a win over a ranked team, the Wildcats can jump back into the polls, and then next week when they lose to an unranked team, that team can then jump into the polls. Wait...I think I just invented perpetual motion. Arizona 48 – Oregon State 42

Washington StateTeams:  #2 Oregon (4-0) at Washington State (2-2)
Time (TV):  10:30 pm (ESPN2)
Interest:  1.5
Cheer For:  Washington State

If Mike Leach wants to make his presence in the Pac Twelve known, then this is the perfect time for him to do it. Though since the Pac Twelve already knows who he is, I guess that frees  up Oregon to absolutely destroy Washington State. Oregon 62 – Washington State 21

OSUTeams:  #14 Ohio State (4-0) at #20 Michigan State (3-1)
Time (TV):  3:30 pm (ABC)
Interest:  5
Cheer For:  Ohio State

Ohio State has the better offense in this matchup, but sometimes it doesn't take a great defense to make the Buckeye offense quiet. And Michigan State doesn't have a great offense, but it doesn't take a great offense to have success against this Ohio State defense. Both teams struggled against two of the worst teams in the nation last week, so no matter what may or may not be expected, there is always the possibility that one of these two teams simply isn't good enough to play with the other. This is a game where the dynamic part of Ohio State's bi-polar offense can take hold and make itself known to the rest of the nation, and possibly stave off giving way to its weeping, snot-faced mess of an alter ego. I'm not really as concerned with the defense stopping Le'Veon Bell as everyone else is. If Ohio State is going to win this, it will be up to their offense to do so.

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