Well, this season was going well — or decently well, all things considered — and then we hit November and it all fell apart. Last week saw cancellations and postponements hit double digits, and this week the SEC has had more games get called off than not. I’m not saying it was the Halloween Parties..... but it was probably the Halloween parties. Will things start to trend upward as we continue into November? Well, Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, so don’t get your hopes up.
Last week was a rough one for all of us. Pretty much everyone picked Clemson to cover -5.5 against Notre Dame, thinking whatever pieces they were missing would still be enough, and uh, whoops. As a result, the top score went to a lot of people with 4s, and kjjrb555 gets the Price Is Right trombone sound for striking out. We have a new name standing alone atop the leaderboard, and it’s THE MACHINE. THE MACHIIIIIIIIIIIINE!
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders @ #16 Marshall Thundering Herd (-23.5)
Been a long, long time, but Marshall is ranked again. (Remember when they had to hit 10-0 just to crack the top 20? It’s been that long. That was six years ago.) And what’s Saturday for the Herd? Well, it’s the 50th anniversary of the worst thing to ever happen to a football program. No one survived the crash of Southern Airways flight 932, and the program itself was almost a casualty as well. 50 years later, the Herd are thriving.
South Alabama Jaguars @ #25 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (-15.5)
Despite all their rage, the Jags are going one-on-one with the Caj’. Technically, South Alabama is currently second in the C-USA West behind only Louisiana — and they will be referred to as simply Louisiana, for now, as they have returned to their winning ways and clawed their way back into the echelons of the ranked — but they sit at 2-2 to the Cajuns’ 4-1, and those two wins are over teams that are a combined 1-16. The Cajuns can actually wrap up the division with a win here, which really just speaks to the general crappiness of the C-USA West. But hey, being the king of crap is still being a king.
UTEP Miners @ UTSA Roadrunners (-7)
Get ready for the Battle of I-10! ....is what I would say, except apparently this series between these two Universities Texas doesn’t have a formal name. Something about the Roadrunners football program only being a decade old? Whatever, clearly that’s the name this in-state rivalry needs. The two are separated by a mere 551 miles and a timezone on the interstate! That sounds like a lot, sure, but remember: everything’s bigger in Texas. Does that mantra make the eight hour journey across the Pecos feel any shorter? No, probably not.
#2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-13.5) @ Boston College Eagles
Finally, it’s time for the fiercest rivalry in the ACC: the Catholicism Cup, AKA the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl, named for the man himself, who coached both Boston College and Notre Dame, and is sadly now dead. Wikipedia also says it’s called the Holy War, but that rivalry name has been taken and thus I have chosen to ignore it. It’s been a while since Boston College actually beat the Irish — back in the Matt Ryan era, if you can believe it! He was really good at quarterback, I wonder what happened to him. Anyway, right, been a long time, but the Eagles have an ace up their sleeve: it’s the Red Bandana game. If you’re not familiar, go read up on the backstory, but the Eagles tend to show up in these games. Well, except for last year.
Pick: Boston College
Nevada Wolf Pack (-17.5) vs. New Mexico Lobos
New Mexico has found themselves in an interesting spot this season. Unable to play in their own stadium due to Covid restrictions in the state, the Lobos said, “fine, we’ll find our own home stadium — with blackjack, and hookers!” They were serious about it, too — UNLV has departed Sam Boyd Stadium to shack up with the hot new NFL team in town, so it’s New Mexico’s home for 2020. Does that technically make their game against Nevada an in-state rivalry game? Regardless, they won’t be able to avoid seeing what the spread of the game is, so they might as well see if they have any luck at that blackjack table.
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