Even though the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are off this week, the One Foot Down staff still has their games to watch as the season hits peak MID-SEASON MELTDOWN SZN.
The staff took a loss last week despite the win on the football field. Jessica Smetana is heading to Sports Illustrated to continue her career path. (Actually, she’s already there and wore her shirt inside out on her first day of work — so she’s right on target).
I’m also mixing it up a bit with the bye week. We need to track things, so Jude is taking Clemson from a fleeing Jess, and I dropped the Broncos like Josh Allen. I’ll be focusing on one or two games a week that can directly affect Notre Dame’s standing in the rankings.
Here we go...
Ohio State Buckeyes 38, Purdue Boilermakers 41
To cope with both Bye weeks I will give an upset pick of the week. Look for Purdue to cover the spread and make this game very close. Purdue’s offense has been rolling the last couple of weeks and this night game turns into a shootout. Also, a night game in West Lafayette could be an oddly intimidating environment. This is a long shot, but always root for the underdog!
Oregon State Beavers 21, California Golden Bears 35
The Beavs are likely going to put up the same type of performance they have posted many times recently with Cal in town. OSU’s offense is going to put up some significant yardage, but make a few too many mistakes. The defense, meanwhile, will allow somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 points, which would tie for fewest points they have allowed this season.
Army Black Knights 49 Miami-Ohio RedHawks 42
The RedHawks have won three of their last four, and looked pretty good in the last two. They’re one game away from .500, and the offense is now finally rolling, albeit against some mediocre-to-bad teams. It is progress. However, they run into a pretty good Army team that likes to control the ball and score points. I think The Black Knights will win, but I don’t think they’ll cover the 11-point spread.
Washington Huskies 31, Colorado Buffaloes 17
Both teams in this matchup are coming off disappointing losses, which could have unforeseen effects on this game. With that said, Washington is the safe bet here. More proven, more talented, and more tested, they should put away a good — but not top tier — Colorado team.
Eastern Michigan Eagles 10, Ball State Cardinals 14
Yours truly was in attendance last year when these two teams faced off in Ypsilanti, where the Eagles embarrassed the Cardinals 56-14. Needless to say it was the most dominating victory I’d ever witnessed at Rynearson Stadium. Ball State has improved this year, already surpassing last year’s win total.
Those reading this will remember Ball State’s week two loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where they went into Notre Dame Stadium and only lost by eight. This week, I see Ball State capitalizing off the uncertainty at quarterback for the Eagles. I think the EMU defense has a big game, but they’ll struggle with putting enough points on the board to get the win on the road.
Clemson Tigers 34, N.C. State Wolfpack 21
The undefeated Tigers and the undefeated Wolfpack represent the ACC’s two best hopes for a spot in the College Football Playoff. While the Tigers have seemed destined since preseason, the Wolfpack are a surprise. Can they come into Memorial Stadium and catch a tiger by the proverbial toe? I don’t think so. Ryan Finley is magical this year, but the offense is struggling to get the run game clicking. No such problems for Clemson, which has Travis Etienne. I like the Wolfpack to cover the enormous 17 1/2 point spread, and give me the under 56 as well.
Florida Atlantic Owls 48, Marshall Thundering Herd 27
Time for Joey Freshwater and the boys to take control of their season. No Byron Leftwich or Chad Pennington to save the Thundering Herd in this one. Roll, Owls, roll.
Toledo Rockets 31, Buffalo Bulls 30
A bummer of a loss last week but I expect Toledo to respond. These teams are very equal. It could come down to a last-second kick. I’ll take Toledo to barely squeak it out.
Central Michigan Chippewas 31, Western Michigan Broncos 30
Oh man. The battle for Michigan MAC glory. It’s Central-Western week. This is a time to get HYPE! I don’t care that The Chips have only one win this season. This intense rivalry game is at home in Mount Pleasant this year. I can’t even come close to picking the ponies in this game. I don’t really know what the score will be, but I’m picking a score a la ND-Miami in ‘88. It’ll be close, and the Chips prevail because hell yeah they will. FIRE UP CHIPS! Beat the Broncos!
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 34, Appalachian State Mountaineers 49
Appalachian State is favored in this game by about 25 points (depending on where you look) against a Ragin’ Cajuns team who scored 66 last week. They also gave up 38 points to New Mexico St. though. The Ragin’ Cajuns offense is starting to click and looking less like the team that face Mississippi St. and Alabama earlier in the year, but the Mountaineers on the road prove to be too big of a hill to climb this week.
Arkansas Razorbacks 34, Tulsa Golden Hurricane 23
It’s been a rough season for the Hogs, to say the least. The offense has been a little lost, and the defense has spent a great deal of time on the field. But, as a 1-5 Golden Hurricane team comes to Fayetteville, the 1-6 Razorbacks should be able to pick up a win for homecoming weekend. The Arkansas defense needs to capitalize on Tulsa’s turnover problem, and give the offense the spark they need to play a solid four quarters and finish with the W. It’s gonna be a perfect day for football, sunny and 67F. Call the Hogs and cheer on an Arkansas W! Woo Pig!
Houston Cougars 38, Navy Midshipmen 21
(That’s all he sent in via phone text. He’s on the run).
Michigan State Spartans 19, Michigan Wolverines 17
The lovefest for Michigan come to an end in East Lansing. Jim Harbaugh still has trouble on the road, and especially against ranked teams. Mark Dantonio keeps cashing in on his deal with the devil, and wins on a last-second field goal.
Mississippi State Bulldogs 13, LSU Tigers 17
The Tigers are a ridiculously hot team right now despite splitting their last two games. They’ll be looking to make a statement against MSU, but could come out flat and sloppy (not fat and sloppy). They eke out a win to keep their dreams alive.