Tip Sheet - National Edition

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Last updated: 09/25/2013 3:32 PM
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Tony's Tip Sheet - National Edition
By Tony Gerdeman

It looks like a pretty good slate of games around the country this week, but we will unfortunately be without the close game between Michigan and a believed-to-be-inferior opponent, as the Wolverines are enjoying a bye week this weekend.

But there will assuredly still be some fun games to watch. LSU goes to Georgia on Saturday, so you'll be able to get two hours of pregame from Gameday's three-hour show. Conference play is in full swing from around the nation, which means no more FCS cupcakes for the rest of the year (unless you're the SEC, of course.)

Thursday September 26

Teams: Virginia Tech (3-1) at Georgia Tech (3-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Georgia Tech

You're cheering for Georgia Tech because a Virginia Tech loss makes Alabama's best win look worse. Not that anybody will notice, since we're not allowed to talk about anything that might put Alabama in a poor light. In fact, don't even read what I just wrote because not only am I not allowed to write it, you're not allowed to read it. We better get back to this game before the authorities find out about this. Virginia Tech went to triple overtime with Marshall last week. Both teams somehow went scoreless in the first two overtimes. The Hokies are collapsing, and what was once a solid non-conference game for Alabama will be another joke non-conference game for the Buckeyes next year. Oops, sorry, don't read that. Of course, Ohio State scheduled the Hokies back in 2002 when they were a top five program, and Alabama waited until 2011 and wouldn't even sign a home and home, but whatever. Oh my gosh, stop reading this. You're going to get into so much trouble. Just remember, after you read the Tip Sheet, print it out and burn it, or hide it under the floorboards of the attic. Do not let the authorities find this in your possession. Georgia Tech 31 – Virginia Tech 21

Saturday September 28

Teams: #12 South Carolina (2-1) at UCF (3-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: UCF

This is going to be a quality win for South Carolina, yet UCF's win over Penn State will still be considered a bad loss for the Nittany Lions. People keep talking about what a tough game this is going to be for South Carolina, which means when they win it, they can then heap even more praise on them. (Remember when that happened after Ohio State beat UCF last year? Neither do I!) I don't expect UCF to be able to stop the Gamecocks' running game, and who knows, maybe even Jadeveon Clowney shows up to grace us with his presence. The danger for Ohio State here is that if UCF wins this, they could have an undefeated season, and with an SEC win under their belts, the nation will fall in love with their story and they'll jump an undefeated Ohio State team. South Carolina 27 – UCF 13

Teams: #11 Oklahoma State (3-0) at West Virginia (2-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: West Virginia

West Virginia's two wins this season have come against William & Mary and Georgia State. Now, the Georgia State win was a quality win because Georgia State is on Alabama's schedule and I've never heard a bad thing said about them, so they must be pretty good. In their two games against BCS opponents (Oklahoma and Maryland), WVU has scored one offensive touchdown, and that came on a 75-yard touchdown run that was clearly now a fluke. I don't see any way the Mountaineers can keep up with Oklahoma State in this one, unless, of course, they draw on their big win over Georgia State to guide them through this one. Oklahoma State 41 – West Virginia 14

Teams: #15 Miami (FL) (3-0) at USF (0-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: USF

This is a pretty hot ticket. And by “hot”, I mean in the literal sense, as they've probably had to burn the majority of them due to lack of interest. I wouldn't expect many Miami fans at this game because Miami fans only travel if it's on their normal route for buying untraceable burner phones from random carry outs and gas stations. Miami 38 – USF 14

Teams: #14 Oklahoma (3-0) at #22 Notre Dame (3-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: Notre Dame

You're rooting for Notre Dame because an Irish win makes Michigan's win over them look better. Of course, it may not matter given how Michigan has looked of late. Right now the Notre Dame win looks like a Pontiac hood ornament on a Kia. It doesn't really stand out, but it still looks out of place a bit. The Sooner offense is much more effective now with Blake Bell throwing the ball around, but that was one game, and it was against Tulsa. Oklahoma has had two weeks to prepare for this game, so I have to side with them in this one, and I beg you not to mention the words “Big game Bob” around me or else I'll change my pick. This is more of a pick against the Irish. Oklahoma 34 – Notre Dame 24

Teams: #6 LSU (4-0) at #9 Georgia (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Georgia

This is the biggest game of the week not involving the team you care the most about. With an LSU loss, the SEC would have just three undefeated teams (Alabama, Ole Miss, Mizzou), and Bama and Ole Miss play this weekend, so one of them will be knocked free from the undefeateds as well. This is a very difficult game for me to pick because LSU has an offense now and Aaron Murray doesn't show up in big games. Wait, how is this a difficult game for me to pick? However, LSU hasn't played anybody nearly as good as the Bulldogs. Still, I can't see the SEC allowing the Tigers to lose this game. Georgia could end up getting homered at home, but I'm sure their fans would gladly make that sacrifice for the greater good of the SEC that they love so much. LSU 27 – Georgia 24

Teams: #8 Florida State (3-0) at Boston College (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2/ABC)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Boston College

Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is 50-64 passing this season, which means he has only thrown six more incompletions than Devin Gardner has thrown interceptions. Florida State should win this game comfortably. Don't worry, though, their inexplicable loss will eventually happen. This is still Florida State, after all. Florida State 41 – Boston College 14

Teams: Connecticut (0-3) at Buffalo (1-2)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN3)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Buffalo

This is an interesting game to me given Connecticut's terrible loss to Michigan last week and Ohio State's “terrible” win over Buffalo to start the season. What happens if Buffalo – a one-point favorite in this game – beats Connecticut, who gave Michigan everything they could handle? Actually, nothing happens, but it would still be pretty damn funny. Connecticut actually opened up as a 2.5-point favorite, and the close loss to Michigan has apparently convinced bettors to put money on Buffalo rather than the Huskies. That's how bad they think Michigan is right now. Buffalo 24 – Connecticut 17

Teams: #21 Ole Miss (3-0) at #1 Alabama (3-0)
Time (TV): 6:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Ole Miss

Ole Miss has had three weeks to prepare for this game, as they had a bye week last week and the week before that they played Texas. Alabama is 90th in the nation in rushing, averaging just 132.0 yards per game on the ground. Their 370.7 yards of total offense per game is 85th in the nation. It's not crazy to think that Ole Miss will be able to come in and run the ball a bit, especially considering the defense that you think Alabama is supposed to have might not actually exist. I'm not going to be crazy enough to pick Ole Miss in this one – I'll leave that up to Desmond Howard – but this game could go a long way towards exposing a few Crimson Tide weaknesses. Or, those weaknesses will be completely ignored, and instead Ole Miss will be praised for their superhumanicity. Alabama 30 – Ole Miss 20

Teams: Arizona (3-0) at #16 Washington (3-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (FOX)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Arizona

You're cheering for Arizona because if they win, they'll enter the top 25 and they will likely be right behind Michigan. How crazy would it be to see Rich Rodriguez ahead of Michigan and Brady Hoke in the rankings? Do you think you'd have your loved ones gather around the Coaches' Poll and then have somebody take a family picture? However, Arizona hasn't played anybody this year, so we don't really know how good they are just yet. Washington, meanwhile, has at least played Boise State and Illinois. Well, I don't know if that really counts. Washington opened as a touchdown favorite, but now it's up to 10 points. Sounds like people are more sure of Washington than Arizona. Me, on the other hand, I choose to never be sure of any Pac12 team that doesn't have at least 250 uniform combinations. Washington 38 – Arizona 34

Teams: #10 Texas A&M (3-1) at Arkansas (3-1)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: Arkansas

I was a bit surprised to find out that Arkansas is actually favored in this game by as much as a touchdown. Did Johnny Manziel stay out too late at the Emmys, or something? I don't get this line, but I'll go with it. Arkansas has run the football on everybody, and A&M isn't exactly a defensive power. Perhaps the Razorbacks will simply just keep the ball out of Manziel's hands and slow cook the clock. Still, I can't bet against Manziel until he loses to a team that he shouldn't lose to, and I think that's what Arkansas is. Texas A&M 37 – Arkansas 35

Teams: #5 Stanford (3-0) vs Washington State (3-1) (Seattle, WA)
Time (TV): 10:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Washington State

I've said since he got to Washington State that Mike Leach would beat a team that he's not supposed to beat. This would fall under that description for sure. Stanford hasn't yet been the dominating team that their #5 ranking would have you believe. They looked great for three quarters last week when they lead Arizona State 39-7 after three quarters, but the 21 fourth-quarter points that they gave up made the game a lot closer than it should've been. Arizona State threw the ball well, and that's what Washington State likes to do as well. I don't think they have enough skill to pull this game off, but we shouldn't pretend that Stanford is above such an upset. Stanford 31 – Washington State 23

Teams: USC (3-1) at Arizona State (2-1)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Arizona State

This game means something in the Pac12, but it doesn't mean anything anywhere else. It's sort of like the French road signs in Canada. They mean something to Canadians, but they mean nothing to you. This game is basically the French Canada of the college football weekend. Arizona State 24 – USC 16

Teams: California (1-2) at #2 Oregon (3-0)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (P12N)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: California

Don't get too upset when Oregon beats California by over twice as many points as Ohio State beat them by a couple of weeks ago, it's just what they do. They're one uppers. If you tell Oregon about the time you tamed a wild horse, they'll tell you about the time they taught a wild horse how to read braille. If you tell them about the time you defused a bomb, they'll tell you about the time they talked a bomb into joining the Peace Corps. Oregon 70 – California 31

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