People may try to tell you that this week of college football doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. That might be true, but this is our hill and these are our beans.
(Thank you Frank Drebin.)
Ohio State is off, but there are still games for you to watch. That’s actually the entire point of the Tip Sheet since its inception, you know?
Sure, it got away from that for a few years during its less-commercially-viable experimental jazz phase, but we eventually brought it back to what it is now.
And I hope you’re frickin’ happy because I’ve completely lost my jazz hands.
I will never forgive you for making me sell out like this.
Just remember, as you read through this and are told who to root for in order to improve Ohio State’s chances for the playoffs, in my head, my hands aren’t typing, they are bent at a 90-degree angle and shaking back and forth at a speed commensurate with my burning fury.
Saturday November 2
Teams: #14 Michigan (6-2, 3-2) at Maryland (3-5, 1-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Michigan
The first thing I look at in this game is whether or not Michigan will be able to run the ball. Maryland allowed 321 yards on the ground to Minnesota last week and 186 to Indiana the week before. Hell, Rutgers even went for 151 yards on them. This means that Michigan is going to be around 325 yards and completely control the clock. And Maryland doesn’t really care about the clock, which is going to kill their defense in this one. The Terps are last in the Big Ten in time of possession, which is fine if you score like they did early in the season. It’s not so fine when they’re going three and out five or six times per game. Maryland has played two ranked teams — Penn State and Minnesota, and has rushed for 60 and 79 yards against them, respectively. They have some interesting talent, but Michigan’s defense is going to smother them and Michigan’s offense is going to make them long for the ACC.
Michigan 45 – Maryland 14
Teams: North Carolina State (4-3, 1-2) at #23 Wake Forest (6-1, 2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: North Carolina State
There is a thought that you should root for Wake Forest here because if they win out — including a victory over Clemson — then they’d win the division over the Tigers. If you think that’s a possibility, then have at it. All four of their games against ACC teams (only three of which were conference games) have been decided by one possession this season. Could they end up beating Clemson? Sure. They beat North Carolina by more than the Tigers did, after all. But it’s like robbing a liquor store — it’s fun to think about, but probably won’t happen. More than just the game, however, these two teams are also playing for bragging rights, because Paul Bunyan’s Pack of Winstons is once again up for grabs!
Wake Forest 30 – North Carolina State 26
Teams: Nebraska (4-4, 2-3) at Purdue (2-6, 1-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Nebraska
Two months ago this seemed like it was gonna be all kinds of heckin’ fun. Having the day off, however, I’m still planning on having fun watching it. Will it require drinking? Maybe, but I won’t judge if you don’t. The Huskers are favored by 3.5 points and the forecast is calling for some snow and rain. I just wonder if Nebraska can acclimate to the breezy flatlands and the 614 feet above sea level of West Lafayette, Indiana. That’s half the feet of Lincoln, Nebraska, which means the Huskers may end up getting too much oxygen in their blood. This is ideal for ninjas or emergency surgeons, but completely unnecessary when playing a football game against Purdue.
Nebraska 31 – Purdue 23
Teams: Virginia Tech (5-2) at #16 Notre Dame (5-2)
Time (TV): 2:30 pm (NBC)
Cheer For: Notre Dame
You know what? Go ahead and cheer your little Irish heads off for Notre Dame because every ND win from here on out looks better for the Big Ten than the SEC. I refuse to look up any information on Virginia Tech and I’m just going to assume Notre Dame wins this because the game is at home. The Irish are coming off of a bad loss to Michigan, but Brian Kelly knows how to rally his team to fight for him. One time he had them fight a waiter who tried to tell him he was abusing the free breadsticks promotion. Olive Garden ended up winning that one 27-3.
Notre Dame 34 – Virginia Tech 24
Teams: #8 Georgia (6-1, 3-1) vs. #6 Florida (7-1, 4-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Georgia
You are cheering for Georgia because Florida can’t beat Alabama. Not that you’re afraid of Alabama, you just really enjoy watching them lose in the SEC Championship Game. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that UGA can beat the Tide, but they’d have a better shot than the Gators. The Bulldogs are favored by six points. This game features two of the three best defenses in the SEC, as well as two of the 14 best offenses! Earlier in the week, I was leaning Florida because I like the moxie of quarterback Kyle Trask. Plus, Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has virtually no moxie. Like, none. He probably can’t even shotgun a beer. However, after putting very little thought to it over the last few days, I don’t know that ability to shotgun a beer is going to help much in this game.
Georgia 24 – Florida 20
Teams: #22 Kansas State (5-2, 2-2) at Kansas (3-5, 1-4)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Kansas State
You’re cheering for Kansas State because you don’t want Oklahoma’s loss to look that bad just yet. Remember, you’re trying to keep two SEC teams out of the playoffs, and a one-loss Big XII champion Sooners should be able to do that. Did you know they call this game “The Sunflower Showdown,” which sounds more like a child’s beauty pageant than a violent competition between college football teams. “Up next on the Sunflower Showdown is Miss Laci, who is 8-years old from Topeka and when she grows up she wants to be a zoo keeper. You go, Laci!” Actually, now that I think about it, Sunflower Showdown is the perfect name for a Big XII rivalry. Only second behind “Fluffamania.”
Kansas State 34 – Kansas 31
Teams: Miami (4-4, 2-3) at Florida State (4-4, 3-3)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Florida State
The Miami-Florida rivalry is like the Yankees-Red Sox, except both teams suck and their fans are all violent goons. Wait, that part about the fans is another reasons these two rivalries are similar, not different. You are rooting for Florida State because you have a skin allergy to cheap gold. The Seminoles are on a roll right now, having won one of their last three contests. The Canes, meanwhile, have gone W-L-W-L-W over their last five games, and even a Florida State grad could tell you what letter comes next in that sequence.
Florida State 41 – Miami 38 (2OT)
Teams: Rutgers (2-6, 0-5) at Illinois (4-4, 2-3)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Illinois
A win here puts Illinois one win away from bowl eligibility and they still have Northwestern at home to end the season. Illinois is a 20-point favorite, which is just the seventh time in the last six seasons that the Illini have been favored in a conference game. It is, however, the fourth-consecutive year they have been favored over Rutgers. The other three times Illinois was favored? All Purdue, from 2014-2016. I’m still trying to figure out what Ohio State should do when they head to Rutgers. Do you even send Justin Fields, or do you keep him home, wrapped up in a robe and tuned into Penn State film? Ohio State could score 49 on Rutgers with Zach Harrison at quarterback. You know what, the more I think about it, the more I definitely want to see Zach Harrison at quarterback for the Buckeyes at Rutgers.
Illinois 45 – Rutgers 17
Teams: Wofford (5-2) at #4 Clemson (8-0)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (ACCN)
Cheer For: Wofford
People are ripping Clemson for scheduling this game but those same people are failing to point out that Wofford is 5-2 this year — and five of those wins have come in their last five games, meaning they have won five in a row without any losses. They are arguably the hottest team in the game right now. But they won’t tell you that on your precious Big Ten Network. Also, Wofford spelled backwards is “Droffow,” which is the FCS team Clemson plays the week before South Carolina this month.
Clemson 70 – Wofford 17
Teams: #9 Utah (7-1, 4-1) at Washington (5-3, 2-3)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Utah
I am now full subscribed to having you root for all 1-loss teams in the Pac 12 in order to freeze out a second SEC team. The problem, however, is that both 1-loss Pac 12 teams could be on the way out this weekend. In this one, Utah opened as a 4.5-point underdog, but the Utes are now favored by three. That’s quite a swing, but Utah is rolling right now. They have won four conference games in a row since their loss at USC, and none of those four games have been close. Going on the road at Washington is the toughest test they’ve had since that loss. The Huskies, meanwhile, have had a week off to stew following their 35-31 loss at home to Oregon. The Pac 12 wants Utah to win this, so don’t be surprised by some funny stuff. But this feels like a heartbreaker for the conference.
Washington 24 – Utah 20
Teams: Florida Atlantic (5-3, 3-1) at Western Kentucky (5-3, 4-1)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (ESPN+)
Cheer For: Florida Atlantic
Florida Atlantic is one win away from bowl eligibility, but so is Western Kentucky. Watch how hard these two teams fight for a possible bowl bid to the Bahamas Bowl. The loser could end up in Montgomery, Alabama or Boise, Idaho. If you don’t think that’s incentive not to lose, then you’ve never been to Boise in December or Montgomery ever.
Western Kentucky 27 – Florida Atlantic 24
Teams: UAB (6-1) at Tennessee (3-5)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPNU)
Cheer For: UAB
Three years after being without a program for two seasons, UAB is currently sitting at 6-1 and having a great season. That’s all well and good for the folks in Birmingham, but Tennessee is going to be arguably the best team the Blazers have played this season. I know teams can sometimes let down a bit when they play out of conference in the middle of the season, but UAB can’t allow that to happen. They need to be locked in or else they could get tripped up, especially on the road. Tennessee wants this win because they’re trying to make their dad proud after embarrassing him in front of everyone a week ago when they got sick after dipping Copenhagen for the first time.
Tennessee 31 – UAB 20
Teams: Northwestern (1-6, 0-5) at Indiana (6-2, 3-2)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Indiana
Barring something unforeseen, Indiana is going to leave this game with a 7-2 mark and a trip to Purdue on the schedule yet. They have to play at Penn State and host Michigan, but an 8-win regular season would be almost a school record. Is it too early to chalk up a win in this game? No. In five conference games so far this season, Northwestern has scored 38 total points. Indiana has been held under 31 points just once this season, and that was their 51-10 loss to Ohio State back in September. They have played better defenses than this, and the 10 points they scored against Ohio State should be enough to win this one.
Indiana 34 – Northwestern 14
Teams: #15 SMU (8-0, 4-0) at #24 Memphis (7-1, 3-1)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: SMU
Why cheer for SMU? Why not? Who is it hurting? I have only listed this as a 2.5 regarding interest, but in terms of “How Fun Might It Be,” I’d easily put a 4.5 on there. Besides, it’s not like you’ll be doing anything on a Saturday night, other than ordering grocery delivery because you just finished an entire bag of Doritos again. “Why don’t you just buy four or five bags,” the people try to tell you. “Because some of us have self-control,” you tell them condescendingly. This game opened with Memphis -3, but now it’s around -5.5/-6.0. Let’s go with the money.
Memphis 41 – SMU 37
Teams: #7 Oregon (7-1, 5-0) at USC (5-3, 4-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Oregon
This is another one that the Pac 12 will have a rooting interest in. Ironically, the crown jewel of the Pac 12 — a USC program that has run aground — might end up being responsible for keeping both Utah and Oregon — as well as themselves — out of the playoffs. The Trojans are 4-0 at home this season and this is just Oregon’s third true road game of the year. The Ducks have escaped by four and five points in their last two conference games. I think the Ducks’ luck runs out this week, ending the Pac 12’s playoff hopes. (Unless the mandate gets to the refs in time, of course.)
USC 30 – Oregon 26