Football

The Tip Sheet: Such a Spartan Existence

Tip Sheet college football

You have come here to be told what to do, so let’s get started on setting you straight.

More than anything, you need to be rooting for Ohio State. Without that, the rest of the formula goes out of whack. Consider Ohio State the denominator. The numerator is all the other Big Ten games. The remainder is the rest of the country.

I don’t actually know if fractions have remainders. I haven’t been to school in a long time, but you get the idea.

And even if you don’t, I’m really just trying to type out enough words to fill out an intro. These things don’t just happen, you know?

Suffice it to say, there are games this weekend and you need to be rooting for somebody in every single one of them. If you don’t, then you could be the difference between a team you need to lose winning. You would never forgive yourself. I’ve seen it happen a thousand times before. I get emails from these people every week. It makes me feel much better about myself, so I thank you all for reaching out at your lowest.

Anyway, this intro has turned out pretty good, so let’s get to the rest of the stuff.

Saturday November 10

Teams: TCU (4-5, 2-4) at #9 West Virginia (7-1, 5-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FS1)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: TCU

You are cheering for TCU because Ohio State beat them and because West Virginia is currently ahead of the Buckeyes in the playoff poll. However, rooting for TCU is like spending a lot of time designing a wine menu for a hotdog stand. Nothing really pairs well with encased anus.

West Virginia 49 – TCU 17


Teams: #10 Ohio State (8-1, 5-1) at #18 Michigan State (6-3, 4-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FOX)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Ohio State

We are going to learn quite a bit about Ohio State’s new running game against Michigan State. Even if they can’t run the ball, however, Sparty is plenty Sparty enough to find a way to lose. Of course, against Ohio State, Sparty has also shown a knack for winning games. Michigan State’s offense has been up and down this year, thanks in part to the inconsistency of their skill position players, primarily quarterback Brian Lewerke. There is undoubtedly enough talent on hand for MSU to pull off the win, but they have found some bizarre ways to lose games this season.

Ohio State 28 – Michigan State 20


Teams: Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2) at #20 Penn State (6-3, 3-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Wisconsin

At this point, you’ll need the Big Ten West to start winning out because you’ll want the Buckeyes to have a ranked opponent in the Big Ten Championship Game. This will be a difficult game for Wisconsin to pull off, however, because starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook may not play. Wait, what did I just type? Hornibrook is dealing with his second concussion in a month, so he might just want to pack it up this season. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley is also banged up, which means this is going to be one ugly game for the entire world to see. Or at least the weird part of the world that won’t be watching Ohio State – Michigan State.

Wisconsin 24 – Penn State 20


Teams: Illinois (4-5, 2-4) at Nebraska (2-7, 1-5)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Nebraska

I’m a Scott Frost fan, so I want to see Nebraska do well. They are the best 2-7 team in the nation. I haven’t seen many other 2-7 teams because I’m not a masochist, but I stand by my opinion. Illinois comes into this game after a 55-31 win over Minnesota last week. The Illini are just two wins away from going to a bowl, which would be the worst thing to ever happen to that particular bowl. Even worse than the time they decided to go out with the other bowls for some Thursday night drinking and ended up engaged to the Little Caesars Bowl parade.

Nebraska 38 – Illinois 31


Teams: Maryland (5-4, 3-3) at Indiana (4-5, 1-5)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Indiana

You are cheering for Indiana because you don’t need Maryland coming into next week’s game against Ohio State on some type of high. Yes, it would be better for the Buckeyes if Maryland had a more impressive record, but the difference between six and seven wins isn’t going to be the difference in OSU making the playoffs or not. Right now, you should just root for Maryland to go through the motions the rest of the season. Plus, you like Indiana football because they’re not too demanding. If you don’t want to watch them, they aren’t in your face bothering you about it. If you don’t text them for a couple of weeks, they don’t get upset. And when you do text them, they’re thrilled to hear from you. Plus, you can usually get a free meal out of them and if you ever need a place to crash, they have a sweet sectional and there is always leftover Chinese food in the fridge. The Terps have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games. They are now due for a win. Indiana, however, has lost four in a row, which makes them overdue. That’s the story of the Hoosiers’ life though.

Maryland 31 – Indiana 28


Teams: #16 Mississippi State (6-3, 2-3) at #1 Alabama (9-0, 6-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Alabama

Again, you should just root for Alabama to go undefeated in order to keep any SEC shenanigans from happening. That being said, if Alabama does lose, you shouldn’t get all broken up about it. Just know that if they do ever lose, the loss will be forgiven quicker than you forgive somebody when they apologize for bringing you too much pizza. Mississippi State has a losing record in the SEC, which means they would be undefeated in any other conference in America. Keep an eye on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s troublesome knee.

Alabama 56 – Mississippi State 10


Teams: #4 Michigan (8-1, 6-0) at Rutgers (1-8, 0-6)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Michigan

There is no way to write about this game and do it in a manner that isn’t offensive. It’s gonna be ugly. You won’t have seen this many disgusted Italians since the Sopranos finale.

Michigan 56 – Rutgers 0


Teams: Oklahoma State (5-4, 2-4) at #6 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Oklahoma State

Bedlam is always an interesting time, even if Oklahoma State hasn’t won the game since 2014. Last year’s game was a 62-52 shootout, and with Oklahoma’s defense this year, we might be in for a similar score. The Sooners are a 20.5-point favorite and the over/under is 79, which means Vegas is looking at a 50-29 win for Oklahoma. The Cowboys have lost three of their last four games, but two of those losses came by a total of 10 points. The lone win was a victory over Texas, who owns a win over the Sooners. Crazier things have happened, but OU quarterback Kyler Murray is going to be almost impossible to keep up with.

Oklahoma 56 – Oklahoma State 27


Teams: #8 Washington State (8-1, 5-1) at Colorado (5-4, 2-4)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Colorado

Colorado is in a tailspin right now, but if they can get receiver Laviska Shenault back, that would help things. Washington State is currently ahead of the Buckeyes in the rankings, so you’ll be rooting against them as hard as you’ve ever rooted for anything. Yes, even harder than when you go to the circus and root for trapeze artists to fall into the net. But that’s how you’ve always been. When you’re born into a family of people who get shot in the stomach by cannons, there’s always going to be a rivalry with other circus acts. Colorado has lost four games in a row, which coincides with Shenault’s foot injury. He has missed the last three weeks, which has also put my fantasy team in a bind. Could he be back this week? He is questionable, which he’s been for the last two weeks as well, so don’t expect him to actually grow a pair and play with a sore foot! I’ve got playoffs to think about, Laviska!

Colorado 38 – Washington State 34


Teams: #11 Kentucky (7-2, 5-2) at Tennessee (4-5, 1-4)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (SECN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Tennessee

Kentucky and Tennessee is one of my favorite rivalries because it’s impossible to tell where the raccoon hats stop and the beards start. You are rooting for Tennessee because nobody should have to live with losing to Kentucky in football.

Tennessee 27 – Kentucky 24


Teams: Northwestern (5-4, 5-1) at #21 Iowa (6-3, 3-3)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (FOX)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: Iowa

Root for Iowa because they are already ranked and they can climb the rankings with more wins. There is actually a scenario where Northwestern can win the Big Ten West this weekend. If they win and Wisconsin and Purdue both lose, then the Wildcats will have secured a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. That would be a pretty underwhelming game for the Buckeyes, but at this point, the Buckeyes would gladly take underwhelming if it means an overwhelming — or simply whelming — win over Michigan the week prior. Iowa is favored by 11 points in this one, which feels like a lot for a team that has lost two games in a row. Of course, those two games were on the road at Penn State and Purdue and the total deficit was eight points.

Iowa 27 – Northwestern 16


Teams: Purdue (5-4, 4-2) at Minnesota (4-5, 1-5)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Purdue

Purdue is 3-0 against ranked opponents this season, so what chance does Minnesota have? The Gophers have lost five of six, and none of those losses have been close. P.J. Fleck’s team has to show up tougher this week, which they have done throughout the season when at home. You want Purdue to win, but you don’t want them winning the Big Ten West because you remember what happened the last time OSU and Purdue played. Actually, maybe you do want them winning the West. That way the Buckeyes can even the score, assuming such a thing is possible.

Purdue 34 – Minnesota 21


Teams: #24 Auburn (6-3, 3-3) at #5 Georgia (8-1, 6-1)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Auburn

Following losses to Mississippi State and Tennessee, Auburn has bounced back with wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Now they are primed to upset Georgia. Or at least try. For a quarter. Maybe. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are trying to show they are still in the national title picture. They don’t have to do much to stay in that picture, however, since ESPN has all of the cameras.

Georgia 37 – Auburn 17


Teams: Florida State (4-5) at #3 Notre Dame (9-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (NBC)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Florida State

There is big news here in that Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book is out with an injury this week. Don’t get too hopeful, however, as Florida State has no fight in them, and they’re going to have even less playing at night with a kickoff temperature of 32 degrees. Expect to see a bunch of Florida kids trying to get back to the portable heaters as quickly as possible. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see FSU quarterback Deondre Francois spiking the ball on third down just because he’s cold.

Notre Dame 24 – Florida State 7


Teams: #7 LSU (7-2, 4-2) at Arkansas (2-7, 0-5)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (SECN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Arkansas

You are cheering for Arkansas because you consider hitting a possum on the side of the road “picking up some drive thru.” Also, it’s insulting that LSU is ranked ahead of the Buckeyes right now and you want those rankings to be shoved back in that committee’s face and if you ever see them you are going to give them a piece of your mind about how they need to stop buying the hype of teams that are not your team. LSU is favored by 13.5 points, but this feels like a spot where an upset could happen.

Arkansas 27 – LSU 26


Teams: #2 Clemson (9-0, 6-0) at #17 Boston College (7-2, 4-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Boston College

Clemson is favored by 20 points, but this is a game that could get funky for the Tigers. Boston College has offensive talent and they employ those players in many creative ways. Sometimes, however, they can also look bland and boring, in which case they’ll just roll over and be docile. Before you get your hopes up, however, keep in mind that Clemson has won their last four conference games by 60, 34, 49, and 61 points, “respectively.” Still, something crazy has to happen this weekend, so why not have it happen here?

Clemson 45 – Boston College 17

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