I have a lot of games to get to and I can’t be spending time writing an introduction that has depth and meaning.
I use my brains pretty much every day, but I hate using them before I need to use them. It’s like pulling the car out of the garage and parking it down the street and then going back inside to shower and shave before leaving for the day.
It don’t make no sense.
So that’s why my introductions for Tip Sheets aren’t what most people would consider “good” or “writing” or “even remotely adequate considering we’re all adults here and more should be expected of somebody who does this for a living.”
I guess I should mention that this is a pretty big week in college football and there are going to be games that you’ll need to know who to root for in order to ensure Ohio State’s berth in the college football playoffs.
Now let’s get to the bull crap.
Saturday September 15
Teams: #5 Oklahoma (2-0) at Iowa State (0-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Iowa State
Iowa State somehow upset Oklahoma last season, which was their first win over the Sooners in 19 attempts. Don’t expect the Cyclones to suddenly have the Sooners’ number, even with Oklahoma losing star running back Rodney Anderson last week. Quarterback Kyler Murray will put up some big numbers, but doubting Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell is sometimes a fool’s errand. For what it’s worth, A Fool’s Errand is my band’s name and we’ll be playing Oldfield’s on High next Tuesday. There is no cover, but we would appreciate it when after we play a request that you simply give us $200 for our efforts, whether they were satisfactory or not. That may seem like a steep price, but where else are you going to be able to hear a live band perform your favorite Madonna hits on a Tuesday night?
Oklahoma 38 – Iowa State 20
Teams: Florida State (1-1) at Syracuse (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Syracuse
At this point you are rooting for Syracuse because what is going on at Florida State right now is impossible not to rubberneck and we all love to watch a disaster unfurl. You want to see how bad it can get before things start to turn around. You should probably root for Florida State instead, but this is reality television and as my wife says, without disasters, reality television is pretty boring. Orange quarterback Eric Dungey is leading my fantasy league in scoring, which means he’s pretty fun to watch. He’s tough too.
Syracuse 34 – Florida State 24
Teams: #21 Miami (FL) (1-1) at Toledo (1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Toledo
I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, ‘Why is Miami playing in Toledo?’ The Toledo Blade actually did a story about that this week. I didn’t get a chance to read it, but I assume it had something to do with the Toledo mob. Everything has something to do with the Toledo mob. If the story wasn’t about the Toledo mob, then you know the mob got to the Blade and changed the story. Here’s the real story. There is no Toledo mob. The Blade’s story was correct. What even is the mob? You ain’t seen nothin’. Does anybody know how to get Tony Packo’s hot dog sauce out of a track suit?
Toledo 27 – Miami 24
Teams: Kent State (1-1) at #11 Penn State (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: 1
You’ll be watching this game because there’s no way you’re gonna watch Rutgers at Kansas. Keep an eye on Kent State quarterback Woody Barrett, who is a transfer from Auburn. Penn State destroyed Pitt last week, so they may be ready for a letdown. Their talent will only let them down so much, however. They’re favored by 35 points. Kent State almost won at Illinois to open the season, which sounds like a compliment, but we both know it ain’t.
Penn State 52 – Kent State 17
Teams: Rutgers (1-1) at Kansas (1-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FOX Sports Networks)
Cheer For: Rutgers
One of the very best things about college football is the dream matchups that we get to see every year. This year, that perfectly describes the Rutgers at Kansas mega-game. Although this dream was brought on by a late-night stop at a Speedway for some 12-hour old taquitos dipped in questionable ranch from your fridge. So enjoy the game while you can because the food poisoning will soon follow.
Rutgers 20 – Kansas 7
Teams: Ball State (1-1) at Indiana (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Indiana
Ball State gave Notre Dame all they could handle last week, which means Indiana should have no problem with them this week. If Indiana wins this game, that will move them to 1-0 against in-state opponents. If they beat Purdue at the end of the season and move to 2-0 against in-state opponents, they will hoist the Tom Raper Cup as state champs for the first time since 2001. If the Hoosiers win this game, they will be just three wins away from bowl eligibility after missing the postseason last year.
Indiana 27 – Ball State 17
Teams: Temple (0-2) at Maryland (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Maryland
This is a pretty terrible week for Big Ten games and it only gets worse if you have to write about them. If you think Temple at Maryland sounds bad, try sitting down at your typewriter and cranking out 100 words on why people should be interested in this game. It’s impossible. Nobody cares about this game. So what you have to do is what I do for every game — you dig deep in the game notes provided by both universities and you look for something interesting to write about. For instance, the first time Temple and Maryland played was in 1902. The Maryland newspaper urged Terrapin fans to bring owls to the game in cages and then once the Terps won, the owls would be beaten to death with wooden bats. When Temple fans heard about this, they all brought turtles to the game with a plan to take axes to them after the Owls secured the big victory. Unfortunately for the animals in attendance, the game ended in a 7-7 tie and neither fan base had actually planned to take the animals back home. So yeah, there was a bloodbath. Axes to turtles, bats to owls. I bet you didn’t know that turtles could scream, but they can. That was the last college football game to allow owls, turtles, bats, or axes in the stadium. It was also the last time these two teams played. Oddly, this will be the 117th-consecutive year these two fanbases will have gathered together to murder owls and turtles.
Maryland 31 – Temple 7
Teams: Troy (1-1) at Nebraska (0-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Nebraska
Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez is a game-time decision apparently, but there should be no reason to play him this week, especially with Michigan up next week. The Huskers are only favored by 11 points, which might be a bit much if Martinez can’t go. Nebraska and Troy have met four times this century, with the Huskers winning each time. It hasn’t always gone well for Nebraska against Troys, however, as 20 years ago, Louisiana Tech receiver Troy Edwards put up 21 catches for 405 yards on the Blackshirts. It was the reason why Edwards was able to win David Boston’s Biletnikoff Award in 1998.
Nebraska 20 – Troy 13
Teams: Vanderbilt (2-0) at #8 Notre Dame (2-0)
Time (TV): 2:30 pm (NBC)
Cheer For: Vanderbilt
This is a sneaky game. Vanderbilt’s defense has been pretty outstanding, albeit against Middle Tennessee and Nevada. This week will be a little bit of a step up for the Commodores. Notre Dame’s offense is made for being stifled. This should be a pretty ugly game, but could be exciting at the end. If Vanderbilt does win this game, get ready for the SEC chatter to start up once again. (As if it had ever stopped.)
Notre Dame 24 – Vanderbilt 13
Teams: BYU (1-1) at #6 Wisconsin (2-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Wisconsin
This is such a terrible week of Big Ten games that this one almost stands out as not being terrible, and yet the Badgers are still favored by 22 points. At least you won’t have to watch it since you’ll be watching Joe Burrow at Auburn instead. If you were to watch this game, you’d see Jonathan Taylor rush for 212 yards on 27 carries and Alex Hornibrook complete 13 of 24 passes for 187 yards. It will be like shotgunning molasses. It won’t be quick and it won’t be pleasant, but it will be slow and you will almost certainly choke on it.
Wisconsin 38 – BYU 10
Teams: #12 LSU (2-0) at #7 Auburn (2-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Auburn
The reason you’re cheering for Auburn is because they go to Georgia and Alabama yet this season, so they’ll find some losses. LSU’s schedule, on the other hand, is much easier because they get Alabama at home and miss Georgia entirely. That being said, you know you won’t be able to root against Joe Burrow. Burrow has yet to complete over 50% of his passes in a game and is averaging just 145.5 yards passing per game. He will need to be at his absolute best in this one, and even then that may not be enough. Auburn is favored by 10.5 points. This should be a pretty good lead-in to Ohio State – TCU.
Auburn 24 – LSU 16
Teams: #17 Boise State (2-0) at #24 Oklahoma State (2-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Boise State
If a game between ranked teams happens in Stillwater, but neither of the teams are Oklahoma or Texas, does it make a sound? This is the first meeting between these two teams. Boise State is 4-3 against current Big XII teams and are only 2-point underdogs in this one. Both defenses have been outstanding this season, but this game should be every bit of an offensive shootout. Boise State is averaging 59 points per game, and the Pokes are only slightly behind them at 56.5 points per game. Both teams throw it for over 350 yards per game as well. First one to 40 may or may not win. First one to 50 probably has a slightly better chance though.
Oklahoma State 38 – Boise State 34
Teams: USF (2-0) at Illinois (2-0) (Chicago, IL)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Illinois
This is a game that is happening, so it will be typed about. Illinois is undefeated, but that can only last so long. They haven’t looked good in either of their wins this season, which tells you what kind of schedule they’ve played. Their starting quarterback is hurt. Their backup quarterback quit. They are playing this game in Chicago for some reason. I’m going to be really angry if we get to AT&T Stadium on Saturday and this is the only game on the televisions. I will find Jerry Jones and I will ask for the stadium remote. He will try to call security on me, but I’m pretty sure when I explain to him that the televisions are all stuck on an Illinois game, he will hear me out. And then he will have security rough me up. But that’s why I get to the games so early. I get beat up by security probably four to five times a year because I’ve been labeled “an incessant complainer” by 18 of the top 25 stadium security companies in America. And the irony is that I’m not really a complainer, I just try to tell people things that would make them better at their jobs.
USF 34 – Illinois 10
Teams: Miami (OH) (0-2) at Minnesota (2-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Minnesota
Must I? Haven’t I been through enough today? What do you even get out of this? Why are you reading about Miami at Minnesota? You saw right at the top that this was Miami at Minnesota, so why did you move your eyes down and start reading about this game? What could you possibly want to know about a game that you have no interest in watching? Are you…are you gambling? You are, aren’t you? You told Mother that you would never gamble again after you lost Barney in a Poker game. And who even accepts a stuffed chihuahua as a bet? What kind of people do you associate with? Or do you guys just bet with odd things? Is that why you brought home a hubcap last week and yelled, “Look at this! I’m the King of the World!”
Minnesota 24 – Miami 10
Teams: SMU (0-2) at #19 Michigan (1-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Michigan
Michigan is favored by 36 points, but I’m not sure how SMU is supposed to score negative points. After a huge win last week over Western Michigan, the Wolverines are 100% fixed and back on track. I would not expect any more letdowns this season. I have never seen them look so crisp. In fact, I am bestowing upon Michigan my 7-star LOCK OF THE SEASON that they will be in Indianapolis this December. Don’t try to stop me, it is done. I only have one such lock in my possession and now it belongs to the Maize and Blue. Go ahead and book the hotels, Michigan fans. I have spoken.
Michigan 56 – SMU 0
Teams: #1 Alabama (2-0) at Ole Miss (2-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Ole Miss
You’re cheering for Ole Miss, but Alabama is going to put 50 on the board and win by a bunch and there’s nothing you can do about it. Ole Miss may be able to throw some points on the board, but it also won’t matter. The Crimson Tide are a machine that has no stoppable parts. At least not until Michigan meets them in the playoffs.
Alabama 52 – Ole Miss 31
Teams: Northern Iowa (0-1) at Iowa (2-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Iowa
Well would you look at that, another terrible Big Ten game. This entire week is like the week before rivalry week in the SEC. Except I’m not forced to write about those games. Life is better for me that week. The birds sing better. The beer is wetter. The meatloaf is loafier. But this week? This week is torture. But at least it gives you something to watch for 30 minutes before the real action begins.
Iowa 38 – Northern Illinois 17
Teams: Missouri (2-0) at Purdue (0-2)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Purdue
Missouri is favored by six points in this one and the Boilers are desperate for a win. This would be a great bounce back for Purdue, but that’s asking an awful lot. The Boilers have cost themselves the first two games this season, but I’m not sure they have the fortitude to straighten themselves out against a pretty formidable Tiger offense. If they can get the win, give all of the credit to Jeff Brohm.
Missouri 38 – Purdue 27
Teams: Akron (1-0) at Northwestern (1-1)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Northwestern
I swear I’ve already done this preview three times today. Northwestern is favored by three touchdowns, as I’ve probably said before. I should just go and read what I’ve already written and just copy and paste it, but it’s probably just as desperate as this one. Northwestern scored just seven points at home last week in a 21-7 loss to Duke. The entire team needs to bounce back from that embarrassing display. Akron will help, but it won’t mean anything yet. After this game, they’ll have a week off and then they’ll host Michigan. Now is the time to start getting ready.
Northwestern 27 – Akron 13
Teams: #4 Ohio State (2-0) vs. #15 TCU (2-0) (Dallas, TX)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Ohio State
This is a measuring stick for both teams, so we’ll find out a lot more about both Ohio State and TCU Saturday night. Greg Schiano says TCU has a Big Ten offensive line, but Big Ten offensive lines have been pretty good to Nick Bosa in the past. TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson will be the key for the Horned Frogs’ chances. While everybody loves TCU’s receivers, the distributor still has to be accurate and under control. The Ohio State offense, meanwhile, will be facing a stacked front as the Horned Frogs set out to stop the run. TCU will ask Dwayne Haskins to throw the ball and Ryan Day will happily comply. This could develop into a shootout, especially if we see the same kind of Ohio State defense we saw to open the season.
Teams: #10 Washington (1-1) at Utah (2-0)
Time (TV): 10:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Washington
Washington’s playoff hopes are all locked up in this game. They’re 5-point favorites. Utah won a close one 17-6 last week at Northern Illinois. They may have been looking ahead, or maybe playing at NIU just isn’t a recommended thing that people should do. This week’s game could be a preview of the Pac 12 Championship Game. If Utah gets the win, then they’re in a pretty good position in the South. If they lose, they’re still actually in a pretty good spot because they’ll have to beat everybody else in the South anyway. I like Washington here though.
Washington 31 – Utah 24