Tip Sheet - National Edition

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Last updated: 10/16/2013 4:25 PM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet – National Edition
by Tony Gerdeman

We've reached the midway point of the season – and yes, I realize it seems like it's only been a couple of weeks since the season started – and things are finally starting to shake out for the Buckeyes and what needs to happen for them to make it to the BCS National Championship Game.

At least one threat to the Buckeyes' “rightful” spot will be slashed on Saturday, as Florida State travels to Clemson. Still, it's not so much the teams that the Buckeyes have to worry about as it is the conferences. Even with one of those two teams gone, the other will still be standing.

In the Pac 12, you still have Oregon and UCLA undefeated, and one of them will eventually knock the other off. Before that happens, however, Stanford could trip the Bruins up all on their own this week.

Overall, it's a big week in college football, but then when isn't it? Other than the opening season, then like week three, and then the week before the final week of the regular season, of course. But other than that, it's always a big week in college football.

Thursday October 17

Teams: #10 Miami (FL) (5-0) at North Carolina (1-4)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: North Carolina

North Carolina's only win this season is over Middle Tennessee, so any hope for a win in this game is fruitless. That's not to say that Miami isn't unaccustomed to stumbling on the road. After all, they haven't lost fewer than two games on the road since 2005. Today's Miami players weren't even old enough to have their hookers or abortions paid for by boosters back then. Miami 38 – North Carolina 17

Friday October 18

Teams: UCF (4-1) at #8 Louisville (6-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: UCF

People are pointing to this game as a tough one for Louisville, and it very well could be. But that would speak more to Louisville's deficiencies than UCF's strengths. UCF has had a week off to prepare for this game, and they'll need it to combat the Cardinals' NCAA-best 7.3 points allowed per game. This is Louisville's chance to make up for some sub-par performances, and if they're capable of it, I would expect them to do so. The past will be forgiven immediately with an impressive performance from Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville 31 – UCF 17

Saturday October 19

Teams: #15 Georgia (4-2) at Vanderbilt (3-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (CBS)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Georgia

You're cheering for Georgia because, when healthy, they can beat Alabama. When unhealthy, they can't even beat Missouri. This will be Vanderbilt's chance to show that they're not as bad as everybody not in the South knows them to be. If Georgia does lose, however, then they will never be able to show their faces down to the crick again. Georgia 28 – Vanderbilt 27

Teams: #11 South Carolina (5-1) at Tennessee (3-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: South Carolina

There's no harm in cheering for South Carolina, because they won't be jumping Ohio State. Plus, you'll want them to stay as good and confident as possible, because you may need them to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. This is a huge opportunity for Tennessee, and eventually Butch Jones' team is going to beat a team they shouldn't. That's how programs start, and it's time to get this program started. The Vols already have tough losses to Florida and Georgia, and a third tough loss would be the icing on a great big cake of suck. It would be like rolling a pack of smokes up in your sleeve, and then forgetting about them when you do your laundry and then all of your clothes come out smelling like wet Marlboros. Wait, Tennessee fans probably love that smell. South Carolina 34 – Tennessee 21

Teams: #16 Texas Tech (6-0) at West Virginia (3-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FS1)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: West Virginia

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Texas Tech is undefeated this season. The last time West Virginia was at home, they shocked #11 Oklahoma State. Could the Mountaineers play spoiler again? Quite possibly. They've had a week off to prepare for this game, but having a week off in West Virginia can lead to all sorts of stories that you'll read about in next year's Darwin Awards email. Sometimes that bye week is no help at all, especially when you're shooting your testicle off while trying to fix your toaster with a pistol. Texas Tech 41 – West Virginia 24

Teams: #22 Florida (4-2) at #14 Missouri (6-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (SECTV)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Missouri

You're cheering for Missouri because you want Florida out of the SEC Championship Game picture because their offense is so pathetic that they have no chance to beat Alabama. At least Missouri's offense knows the difference between forward and reverse. This week however, they'll have to move forward without quarterback James Franklin. Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk will get his first career start against one of the best defenses in the SEC. He won't need to score a lot, and 24 points should be enough to win it. A loss for Florida here would be devastating to Urban Meyer's reputation. Missouri 24 – Florida 17

Teams: #24 Auburn (5-1) at #7 Texas A&M (5-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Auburn

I'm not sure what to make of Auburn. Their lone slip this season was a 14-point loss at LSU. A win at Texas A&M would sure clear some things up. However, I just don't see them being able to stop Johnny Manziel, let alone keep up with him. Texas A&M 48 – Auburn 31

Teams: #9 UCLA (5-0) at #13 Stanford (5-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Stanford

Stanford is a six-point favorite in this one, but we'll see how they move forward following their loss at Utah last week. If they're like normal people, they'll want UCLA to be as unhappy as they are and will do everything in their power to pass on their misery to others. The Bruins did what Stanford could not, in winning at Utah earlier in the season. I just think UCLA is more dynamic than the Cardinal, but I still can't bring myself to pick the upset here. Stanford 31 – UCLA 30

Teams: Arkansas (3-4) at #1 Alabama (6-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Arkansas

Bret Bielema is now 0-3 in the SEC, and soon to be 0-4. If you want to read that first sentence again, I'll sit here and wait, but make it quick. Arkansas has now lost four straight, and it all started with a collapse in New Jersey against Rutgers. At this rate, Arkansas is going to have to pick up the pace if they are going to be deliciously matched up in a bowl game against Wisconsin, which is every person on this earth's hugest wish. Alabama 35 – Arkansas 10

Teams: #6 LSU (6-1) at Ole Miss (3-3)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: LSU

You're cheering for LSU because you think it would be awesome if Alabama didn't even win their own division. You're also a very petty person, but we've known that for years. Ole Miss was ranked #21 when they lost to Alabama, so when people bring up the fact that the Rebels are one of Alabama's wins over ranked opponents, remember to give them Ole Miss' current record. LSU 38 – Ole Miss 20

Teams: Iowa State (1-4) at #12 Baylor (5-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Iowa State

If you are an offensive coordinator, don't let your children see this one. They'll think offense should always be this easy. And definitely don't let your wife see it. Baylor 63 – Iowa State 21

Teams: USC (4-2) at Notre Dame (4-2)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (NBC)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Notre Dame

What a big game, right? Notre Dame fans used to call this the best rivalry in college football. I don't know what they call it anymore, because nobody is listening. USC got a big win over Arizona last week, which kind of makes you wonder how mediocre of an opponent you can beat and still qualify for a big win. I guess we'll find out this week. Notre Dame 31 – USC 28

Teams: #5 Florida State (5-0) at #3 Clemson (6-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Clemson

Is it crazy that I trust Jameis Winston more than Tajh Boyd right now? I think it's simply because Winston hasn't ever let us down (in his five career games). However, I do not trust Florida State on the road, and I haven't for about a decade. Winston is throwing for 360 yards per game against BCS opponents this season, and completing 76% of his passes while doing it. The kid is insane. Of course, Boyd isn't bad either. He's thrown 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season (Winston has thrown 17 and 2), and both of those interceptions came against Syracuse, so it's not like they even hurt. I'm taking Florida State in this one, and it scares me how much faith I'm putting in Winston so early in his career. But it's better than putting faith in an FSU quarterback later in their career. At least when it's this early, there haven't been two years of warning signs. Florida State 38 – Clemson 35

Teams: Washington State (4-3) at #2 Oregon (6-0)
Time (TV): 10:00 pm (FS1)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Washington State

Whatever Oregon wants this score to be, it will be. They probably just need to find the right feng shui for all of their touchdowns. Oregon 63 – Washington State 28

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