In every edition of The Tip Sheet, I give you an in-depth rundown of the week’s most-important college football games. Treat it is a manual or resource, or a “mansource” as I call it. (Though, I don’t call it that out loud anymore for obvious reasons.)
Anyway, the Tip Sheet is always an important resource for Buckeye fans, but it gets even more important following an Ohio State loss, and that’s where we find ourselves at the moment.
With OSU’s loss to Oklahoma last week, your rooting powers cannot be taken for granted. They need to be used to their utmost if Ohio State is going to find its back to the College Football Playoff.
If they don’t, you’ll really only have yourselves to blame.
Friday September 15
Teams: Illinois (2-0) at #22 USF (2-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Illinois
This is actually way better than most of our Friday nights go. I mean, it will still end up with us being alone, muffledly sobbing into a pillow, and caked in sweat and Dorito dust. But at least we’ll get to see a Big Ten team take on a ranked opponent on the road. Wait, how is this better, again? It will be interesting to see if Illinois can get a win over a ranked opponent. It would be their first such win since a 17-14 win over Arizona State in 2011. Coincidentally, the Sun Devils were ranked No. 22, just like USF is in this one. USF is coming off of a Category 5 hurricane, so you’d think a Category 1 Big Ten team wouldn’t be a problem. Am I crazy for thinking Illinois is going to stay in this one because of the distraction that Irma has provided to the Bulls?
USF 23 – Illinois 16
Saturday September 16
Teams: #9 Oklahoma State (2-0) at Pittsburgh (1-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Pittsburgh
Sorry, I just spent the last hour watching Youtubes of kids presenting adoption papers to step-dads and seeing color blind folks see color for the first time with those $500 glasses, so I am going to be an emotional wreck for the rest of this Tip Sheet. Anyway, this is a pretty important game for Buckeye fans because a win for Pitt not only gives Oklahoma State a loss, but it makes Penn State’s win over Pitt last week look even better. If Okie State then goes on to beat Oklahoma in Bedlam and Ohio State beats Penn State, then it’s almost like OSU’s loss to Oklahoma gets erased. Provided the Buckeyes win out, of course. I don’t know if Pitt has an offense to keep up with the Pokes, but I also have a hard time putting faith in any Big XII team away from home. (You see how well that worked out for me last week.) Good point, me. I’m changing my pick to OSU.
Oklahoma State 38 – Pittsburgh 30
Teams: Northern Illinois (1-1) at Nebraska (1-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Nebraska
Nebraska almost did enough to win at Oregon last week, but I wonder if there will be a bit of a hangover here for the Huskers. Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee threw four interceptions last week, which is…something. It would probably take another four interceptions from him in this game for NIU to win because I’m expecting a whole bunch of Husker running back Tre Bryant, who is averaging 149.5 yards rushing per game so far.
Nebraska 41 – Northern Illinois 21
Teams: Air Force (1-0) at #7 Michigan (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Michigan
I mean, if you’re already going to cheer against America in the Army-Ohio State game, you may as well go full commie and cheer for Michigan too. I know you’re never going to cheer for Michigan, but it’s more important than ever that the Wolverines come into their game against the Buckeyes undefeated. I’m looking forward to seeing how Michigan’s defense handles the width of Air Force’s offense.
Michigan 38 – Air Force 17
Teams: #23 Tennessee (2-0) at #24 Florida (0-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Florida
Remember when this rivalry used to mean something? Now it’s basically the Tennessee-Florida of rivalries. I remember reading an article in Scientific American a couple of years ago and they said that from 1974-2014, the average hair length of each fan in attendance was longer than the length of their shorts. Especially the men. Crazy. And disturbing. But that’s science for you.
Florida 20 – Tennessee 16
Teams: #10 Wisconsin (2-0) at BYU (1-2)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Wisconsin
The Badgers just spent the last week with Lane Kiffin as a house guest, so they’re probably thrilled to be heading somewhere a little more…tame. Who even knew you could karaoke EDM? Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 223 yards last week and is averaging 155 yards rushing per game so far. I don’t know if he’ll hit that number, but he is a threat to score from anywhere based on his first two games.
Wisconsin 27 – BYU 19
Teams: Notre Dame (1-1) at Boston College (1-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Notre Dame
It’s an ACC* matchup between Boston College and the Boston College of Indiana. Not even Catholics care anymore.
Notre Dame 26 – Boston College 13
Teams: North Texas (1-1) at Iowa (2-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Iowa
The Hawkeyes are undefeated and prepping for Big Ten play. North Texas will allow Iowa to continue building its confidence. After this one, Iowa might even have enough courage to ask Wisconsin to the Sadie Hawkins Dance.
Iowa 37 – North Texas 7
Teams: Middle Tennessee (1-1) at Minnesota (2-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Minnesota
I saw on Facebook that there’s a place in Minnesota that has macaroni and cheese donuts and now I want to live in Minnesota. But not during the winter. And not during the fall. And it’s probably too rainy in the spring. Actually, I just need mac ‘n’ cheese donuts in Columbus, please. I’m sure they’re here somewhere. If not, they will be soon. It’s deep-fried pasta and cheese, and this is Ohio after all.
Minnesota 31 – Middle Tennessee 20
Teams: Morgan State (0-2) at Rutgers (0-2)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Rutgers
Rutgers lost at home to Eastern Michigan last week and Eastern Michigan treated it as a real victory over a Power 5 team. Now Morgan State comes to town and they’re probably going to want to treat this like a real victory over an FBS team. Rutgers is the B-movies of college football, except they ain’t acting.
Rutgers 3 – Morgan State 2
Teams: Purdue (1-1) at Missouri (1-1)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (SECN)
Cheer For: Purdue
The over/under for this game is 76 points, which it should be because Missouri’s defense is about as effective as a strongly-worded letter in the middle of a fistfight.
Though I deign to call you sir as you pummel me in front of my wife and two children whilst I simultaneously scream and pen this letter, I would ask that you evaluate your current state of anger and perhaps think back to whomever it was that hurt you as a child that made you such a brutish clod as an adult. I want you to know that I will make it my life’s mission to see that neither myself or any of my family members ever again attend any of your magic shows. The illusion has been lost.
Missouri 52 – Purdue 38
Teams: Army (2-0) at #8 Ohio State (1-1)
Time (TV): 4:30 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Ohio State
You’re rooting for Ohio State because a Buckeye win here would be good for the Buckeyes. I mean, what more do I need to say? Do you want me to say that I’m an idiot for predicting OSU will hold Army under 40 yards passing? Of course I’m an idiot. Army will have that after their first completion. Why do you always have to be so angry with me? You should think about where this anger comes from and how it made you the terrible person that you are today. Also, I will make it my life’s mission to see that neither myself or any of my family members ever again attend any of your magic shows. At least not without discounted tickets. We’re not gonna pay full price to be treated like idiots.
Ohio State 38 – Army 7
Teams: #12 LSU (2-0) at Mississippi State (2-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Mississippi State
If Mississippi State junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is going to become a college football star, it begins in this game. Fitzgerald is big (6-5 230) and athletic (152 yards rushing this season in two blowouts), but wins over Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech don’t mean anything yet. Meaning could be assigned to them with a similar performance against LSU, however. The Tigers are favored by 7.5 because they are LSU. This feels like a game that Ed Orgeron doesn’t know how to win.
Mississippi State 27 – LSU 19
Teams: Colorado State (2-1) at #1 Alabama (2-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Colorado State
There are probably gonna be a lot of Buckeye fans tuning into this game from the OSU game because I keep hearing from them about how terrible the Ohio State defense is and how the Buckeyes just need to get back to running the ball and how can Alabama keep winning with a freshman quarterback last year and a sophomore quarterback now. They’ve already committed adultery in their hearts, so I expect them to seal the deal completely this week.
Alabama 42 – Colorado State 7
Teams: Bowling Green (0-2) at Northwestern (1-1)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Northwestern
Northwestern did what they do best last week, which is lose an early-season game against a team they would beat in October. This week they host Bowling Green, who lost to South Dakota last week and gave up over 500 yards of total offense in the process. I have never been so disappointed in Northwest Ohioans, and that includes my high school guidance counselors, whom I have never forgiven.
Northwestern 44 – Bowling Green 20
Teams: Georgia State (0-1) at #5 Penn State (2-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Penn State
Enjoy your night game against Little Sisters of the Boiled P-Nuts. I’m sure this is a killer ticket. Saquon Barkley will rush for 150 yards on six carries. Trace McSorley will dazzle. The Nittany Lion defense will dominate. Only Penn State fans will watch.
Penn State 59 – Georgia State 0
Teams: #3 Clemson (2-) at #14 Louisville (2-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Louisville
It’s the game of the week in college football and it should be starting just as the Buckeye game is ending. It’s perfect timing for you. You’re cheering for Louisville here because the Cardinals still go to North Carolina State (on a Thursday) and Florida State. There are more opportunities for them to lose, and that’s without even factoring in the implosion factor. Clemson is favored by three points in this one. They pulled out a tough one last week 14-6 over Auburn, but this game will be more of a test for the Tigers. Can the front four contain Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, who has been outstanding so far this season? If they can’t, they’re going to need to outscore Louisville, which could make this a very entertaining game to watch. If the Cardinals can protect Jackson and keep from making stupid mistakes on defense, I like them in this one.
Louisville 31 – Clemson 27
Teams: Texas (1-1) at #4 USC (2-0)
Time (TV): 8:30 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Texas
This game is a one-hit-wonder band getting back together a decade after their only hit and playing a gig at a bar downtown. And a band that probably opened for them once — Clemson vs. Louisville — is playing the arena a couple blocks away at the very same time.
USC 41 – Texas 27
Teams: Fresno State (1-1) at #6 Washington (2-0)
Time (TV): 9:30 pm (P12N)
Cheer For: Fresno State
Washington is favored by 33 points in this one, which means that I made a mistake by including it on the Tip Sheet. I could probably be done with this thing by now if I didn’t include it, but now that I’ve invested nearly two sentences I can’t back out now. This third sentence is a real pain, though, because I don’t know where to go with it. The fourth sentence is no better, but in theory it gets me closer to the last sentence. With the fifth sentence I would normally change gears or throw in an interesting factoid about the game. The sixth sentence would be something about why I liked the team I was picking. The seventh sentence is normally me questioning myself, followed by an eighth sentence that tells me to be proud of what I’m writing because people are reading it — some of them even on purpose. The ninth sentence is usually me just writing “Nods in agreement with self” in brackets, capped by a tenth sentence that gets a little weepy as I thank everyone who has ever supported me on my quest for near-adequacy, even though we know it’s so hard for me. The seventh-through-tenth sentences are usually edited out for brevity’s sake.
Washington 58 – Fresno State 17
Teams: Ole Miss (2-0) at California (2-0)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: California
Quarterback Shea Patterson is putting up some huge numbers for Ole Miss, but I just can’t see the Rebels traveling all the way out to California and getting a win. That’s just a really long way to have to sit in the back of a pickup.
California 48 – Ole Miss 45