I don’t think I’m going to get this week’s Tip Sheet done before the TCU game tonight, and if I do, you should know that I put very much less analysis into these blurbs than I normally do.
My normal painstaking process is to begin each Tip Sheet around May and then go over as much information as I can get. I spend hundreds of hours looking at old blueprints of stadiums down at the courthouse for some reason and I will also make phone calls to to random people in the phone book who might be fans of teams because that’s where you get the best insight.
Unfortunately, my phone book is from 2004 and so most of the numbers have been disconnected or the people at those numbers are dead.
The reason why this Tip Sheet might be late is because I didn’t get it started until about mid-June and I didn’t even get to make my requisite 400 phone calls. I actually decided to stop at 183 calls because I’m just not getting any return on my time investment.
Right about now, you can probably relate.
So I’m going to do my best to zip through these previews — stopping once to run to a local taco truck and drive-thru carryout for beer — and hopefully you will know who to root for by the time Texas Tech and TCU kick off.
Thursday October 11
Teams: Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1) at TCU (3-2, 1-1)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: TCU
You need TCU to start making some noise in the Big XII, and a win here would do that. In fact, it’s pretty much a necessity. People still call Ohio State’s win over TCU a “Top 15 win,” but if the Frogs lose here, the laughter will drown out any future mentions of Top 15 anything. There’s a pretty good chance this is a shootout, but Texas Tech has a pair of QBs who are injured. Freshman Alan Bowman suffered a collapsed lung last week, but initial starter McLane Carter could be back from his own injury this week. All of this is good news for TCU, of course.
TCU 38 – Texas Tech 27
Saturday October 13
Teams: Minnesota (3-2, 0-2) at #3 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Ohio State
Minnesota has a decent defense, they say, but the Gophers gave up like 48 points to Iowa last week, so how good can they actually be? And yes, I remember what happened to the Buckeyes last year in Iowa City and my statement remains. Minnesota’s offense is also pretty meh, as they are down to third and fourth-string running backs. Starting a true freshman quarterback isn’t great news either. All of this means that the Buckeyes should look much better in the running game and defensively. Dwayne Haskins will put up more big numbers and the Gophers will head back home after the game being much more aware of just how much more rowing they’re gonna have to do.
Ohio State 63 – Minnesota 10
Teams: #14 Florida (5-1, 3-1) at Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Vanderbilt
Vandy is a 7-point underdog and they’ve been blown out in both SEC East games this year, so why should we expect anything different here? I mean, sure, the Gators haven’t put up 400 yards of offense against anybody other than Georgia Southern this season, but I’m sure that’s just because they don’t want to show off. I’m the same way. I don’t wear watches when I’m out in public because I don’t want to flaunt that I am able to know what time it is with just a twist of my arm and a quick glance down. Does having that ability make me special? Of course it does, but do I need to make everybody aware of my abilities? Not always. Sure, there are times when I’m in a crowd and I clear my throat and people know that I’m getting ready to use my ability to find the time and I can hear them whispering anxiously, “He’s gonna do it.” And then I check the time and I can hear gasps from people around me. It helps that I only hang out with asthmatic people suffering from emphysema, sure, but I truly believe there is also some awe in there.
Florida 19 – Vanderbilt 12
Teams: Rutgers (1-5, 0-3) at Maryland (3-2, 1-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Maryland
I remember the very first day at my new school in the third grade. I may have told this story before, but I had to transfer from one elementary school to another because I was too smart for my first school. Anyway, I knew that when I got to my new school, I had to go and find the biggest, baddest third grader and punch him or her in the face. Those were the rules of the playground. You can’t show any weakness. So imagine my surprise when I showed up on my first day of school and I find another kid making his third-grade debut as well. And then imagine my horror when two minutes later the other new kid is being pummeled by the biggest 8-year old I have ever seen. My new classmates all then turned their attention to me and were smiling at what was about to happen. So what did I do? I did what any kid who was too smart for most schools would do. I ran over to the still-unconscious new kid and kicked him square in the groin to show that I could also be a bully. While it didn’t work, the bully did leave me alone because of his utter disgust. What does this have to do with anything? Maryland is me. Rutgers is the other new kid. The bully is the rest of the Big Ten.
Maryland 34 – Rutgers 17
Teams: Iowa (4-1, 1-1) at Indiana (4-2, 1-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Iowa
This is actually a pretty interesting game and it is a game that allows you to root for either team. Root for Indiana to win because that makes Ohio State’s win over the Hoosiers look better. Or you can root for Iowa because you want a rematch for 55-24 in the Big Ten Championship Game. I was about to talk about how the week after playing the Buckeyes has been disastrous for Indiana over the years, but they’re actually 8-8 over the last 16 games following a game against Ohio State. I don’t know what that means, but maybe it means the Buckeyes should hit a little bit harder against the Hoosiers. The Hawkeyes are coming off of a big road win at Minnesota. I wonder what the game after Floyd of Rosedale looks like for Iowa. Let’s check. Well, sorry Indiana, Iowa is 9-1 in their last 10 games following the Gopher game. Still, this is absolutely a danger game for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa 27 – Indiana 21
Teams: Nebraska (0-5, 0-3) at Northwestern (2-3, 2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Nebraska
Eventually Nebraska is going to beat somebody, and it would be peak Pat Fitzgerald to have his team lose one week after a huge win over Michigan State. You are rooting for the Huskers because they come to town this season and it would be nice if people weren’t viewing them as another Rutgers. Nobody deserves that. In his last two games, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has averaged 353 yards passing and 74 yards rushing. At some point things are going to click for the rest of the team. I could see the Huskers playing Iowa at the end of the season with a bowl berth on the line.
Nebraska 34 – Northwestern 31
Teams: Pittsburgh (3-3) at #5 Notre Dame (6-0)
Time (TV): 2:30 pm (NBC)
Cheer For: Pittsburgh
Again, feel free to root for Notre Dame as long as Ohio State is undefeated. If the Buckeyes lose, however, then you’re going to have to go against everything your family stands for and root against the Irish. You don’t have to tell your family, though. Just keep it on the down low like you’ve done with your secret family in Lima. “Why does somebody need to spend every other week in Lima for business?” your first wife asks you. But you tell her that when she married a Kewpee grillmaster, she knew what that meant. “I can’t just not be who I am,” you say. She also asks why you sometimes introduce her as “My other wife Janet.”
Notre Dame 31 – Pittsburgh 14
Teams: #2 Georgia (6-0, 4-0) at #13 LSU (5-1, 2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: LSU
You are cheering for LSU because Joe Burrow! Also, you’d like Georgia to lose because the SEC getting two teams into the college football playoffs is such a let down. The Tigers lost a tough one last week at Florida, so they’ll need to find a way to bounce back this week against a much tougher opponent. They will have the advantage of an overrated crowd, so that will be nice. Georgia is favored by 7.5 points, which means an upset here isn’t out of the realm of distinct possibility. The closest game the Bulldogs have been in this season was a 14-point win at Missouri. What happens when things aren’t going their way? If LSU’s offense can put pressure on Georgia and contain the running game a little bit, we could see an upset here.
Georgia 27 – LSU 20
Teams: #7 Washington (5-1, 3-0) at #17 Oregon (4-1, 1-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2/ABC)
Cheer For: Oregon
You are cheering for the Ducks because Washington lost to Auburn and you don’t want to give the committee anymore reason to fall in love with the SEC. Although it’s not like they could fall into more love with the SEC. Of course, I say that now, and then in December they will announce three SEC teams are making the playoffs this year. The first clue should have been the committee quoting Roscoe P. Coltrane on the first poll reveal show of the year. Anyway, this is like a frickin’ huge game in the Pac 12, which is why I had to talk about the SEC in order to garner your interest. But seriously, it’s huge. Given how shady the Pac 12 refs are, don’t be shocked by a controversial Washington win here.
Washington 31 – Oregon 24
Teams: Michigan State (3-2, 1-1) at #8 Penn State (4-1, 1-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Penn State
You are going to be cheering for Penn State for the rest of the year, barring anything unforeseen. Michigan State has not allowed an opponent to rush for 100 yards yet this season, and they are holding teams to just 1.3 yards per carry. And yet they have lost games where opponents rushed for 44 yards on 29 carries and eight yards on 20 carries. So even if they stop Miles Sanders and Trace McSorley on the ground, they have been pretty bad in pass defense. Can Penn State’s receivers hold onto the ball? I expect the Nittany Lions to play well enough to secure a hilarious Sparty blown opportunity.
Penn State 34 – Michigan State 20
Teams: Baylor (4-2, 2-1) at #9 Texas (5-1, 3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Texas
You’re cheering for Texas right now because Maryland still owns a win over the Longhorns. Texas is favored by 14 and looking to move 4-0 in conference play. Three of their five wins this season have been by one score or less, and their 31-16 win over TCU was an 8-point game with four minutes to play. The Horns are coming off of a huge upset win over Oklahoma, however, which means TEXAS IS TOTALLY BACK! And because Texas is back, they’ll probably lose this week. The Longhorns have started 4-0 in conference play just once in the last eight years. Remember, these two teams play for the worst trophy in sports — Dan Rather’s Belt Buckle. Why is it the worst? Because Dan Rather shows up in the locker room of the winning team and takes his belt off and then hands it over to the winning head coach. The coach then awkwardly thanks Rather while the walk-ons help Rather pull his pants up.
Texas 34 – Baylor 31
Teams: Purdue (2-3, 1-1) at Illinois (3-2, 1-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Purdue
I feel stupid for even saying this, but this could be a pretty entertaining game. Defenses won’t be allowed in the stadium, but that’s not new. It’s been that way all season for these two teams. Purdue is favored by 10.5, which seems like a lot, unless you remember that the Boilers have three losses by a total of eight points. As a Buckeye fan, you should keep an eye on Purdue just so you don’t allow yourself to get 55-24’d later this season.
Purdue 42 – Illinois 31
Teams: Missouri (3-2, 0-2) at #1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Missouri
Missouri will have some offense to test the Alabama defense, but Alabama is going to dump so much talent on them that the Tigers won’t know which 5-star backup hit them. (Hint: It’s going to be a lot of them.) Bama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the best quarterback in the nation right now and he won’t be tested against a Missouri defense that has given up 37 points to Purdue, 43 to Georgia, and 37 to South Carolina. Before they leave for Alabama, Mizzou head coach Barry Odom is going to have his players sign waivers stating that they won’t quit in awe upon the sight of the Crimson Tide. I don’t know how legally binding it is, but I guarantee you he’s got better lawyers than some college kids. And if any of them quit, I hope those players got prosecuted to the fullest extent of civil law!
Alabama 63 – Missouri 28
Teams: #6 West Virginia (5-0, 3-0) at Iowa State (2-3, 1-2)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: West Virginia
Again, this is a personal preference, but feel free to root for undefeated non-SEC teams until Ohio State has a loss. If you want to root for Iowa State, nobody will call you a traitor or threaten your children as they wait for the school bus. You don’t consider waving an ax menacingly “threatening” do you? We were waiting for Iowa State to upset a good Big XII team and it finally happened last week with their 48-42 win at Oklahoma State. And they did it with a backup quarterback who put up over 400 yards of total offense. Now they come home to an adoring crowd. The momentum will be on the Cyclones’ side. This is going to be a shootout at night. Expect craziness. West Virginia isn’t going to be undefeated forever.
Iowa State 44 – West Virginia 38
Teams: #15 Wisconsin (4-1, 2-0) at #12 Michigan (5-1, 3-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Michigan
A win here for Michigan would be great for Ohio State, so if you would like to see something good happen for Ohio State, then root for the Wolverines. If you hate Ohio State and everything that Urban Meyer’s program stands for, then by all means turn your back on the Buckeyes and root for the Badgers. I feel very strongly that Michigan is going to win. Their offense is picking up steam and Wisconsin’s defense knows the pain of steam burns. I don’t think the Badger offense can be one-dimensional and win this game. Alex Hornibrook needs to be the quarterback that Pro Football Focus believes him to be. If he is, then Wisconsin wins. If he’s just a guy, however, then give me the Wolverines by two scores.
Michigan 24 – Wisconsin 14
Teams: Ole Miss (4-2, 0-2) at Arkansas (1-5, 0-3)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (SECN)
Cheer For: Arkansas
Fans, remember to keep your ticket stubs and take them to one One-Legged Charlie’s Bait-n-Tackle Superstore for $20 off of any purchase of $75 or more in nightcrawlers.
Arkansas 37 – Ole Miss 34
Teams: #19 Colorado (5-0, 2-0) at USC (3-2, 2-1)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Colorado
You are cheering for Colorado while Ohio State is still undefeated. The committee isn’t stupid enough to put in a second SEC team over an undefeated Buffs team. If they do, then expect the entire state of Colorado to get up angrily off of their couches, put on a ball cap, stop where they are standing, try to remember what they got up for, and then be distracted by the television. Colorado is 0-7 against USC as members of the Pac 12. If the Buffs are for real, they have to win this one. I don’t know how for real they are, but they’re for realer than the Trojans.
Colorado 35 – USC 28