Coming off a rather ugly 17-6 win last weekend over Wake Forest, the 5-2 Florida State Seminoles have used this extra week off to heal and prepare for Clemson’s visit to Tallahassee next Saturday.
Lots of teams, like FSU, have a bye week across college football this weekend. With Miami playing (and losing) last night, all three major Florida schools are off this Saturday. The Georgia Bulldogs are still licking their wounds from that nasty loss to SEC stalwart Vanderbilt as they prepare for the Georgia-Florida game as only Georgia knows how. There are only three ACC conference games this weekend, and only three total games feature ranked opponents. But hey, bad college football is still better than no college football (except maybe at Purdue).
Although the ‘Noles are off, and the Saturday pickings are rather slim (outside of TAMU-Alabama), there are still some important games that will affect FSU’s season and ultimate bowl destination. As a reminder, Florida State faithful should continue to root for outcomes that will help FSU’s AP ranking, as well as their chances of earning a New Years Six bowl berth. And like we mentioned last week, we’ll also root for some chaos and some embarrassment at the hands of our rivals, just because we can. As usual, the matchups are broken down by conference and the listed game times are EST.
NC State at No. 7 Louisville, 12:00, ABC: NC State. We’re still mad at your kicker, NC State; and FSU fans know all too well the pain that can come at the foot of a kicker. UNC’s man-bun kicker can nail a last-second 54-yarder to humiliate FSU at home, but your guy can’t make half his kicks, including a measly 33-yarder at the end of regulation, to beat Clemson in Death Valley? If either of those outcomes change, this is a different season for the Seminoles. I’m afraid Florida State fans are destined to toil with the eternal suffering of the football kicking gods. No worries though, as I’m sure NC State’s kicker will show up big for the FSU game on November 5th. It’s just a natural part of the haunted purgatory known as Carter-Finley Stadium.
Make it up to us and upset Louisville on Saturday, Wolfpack.
No. 22 North Carolina at Virginia, 3:00, ACCN: UNC. At this point, Florida State fans should root for UNC to win out and defend their Coastal Division title. The ‘Noles won’t face any more Coastal teams this year, and Virginia is bad. UNC currently leads the Coastal Division standings, and if the Heels can defend their division title, FSU’s home loss to them at least becomes somewhat more tolerable.
On the bright side, Miami will extend their streak to 13 years of ACC membership without winning the Coastal Division. North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech laugh at your incompetence, Canes.
South Florida at Temple, 7:00 (Friday), ESPN: USF. The Bulls are leading the AAC East at 3-0 and sit at 6-1. A South Florida win tonight could—and probably will—propel South Florida into the AP Top 25. FSU fans should be pulling for South Florida to finish out the year strong, as that will help FSU’s strength of schedule if the ‘Noles find themselves on a NY6 bowl-berth bubble late in the season.
No. 11 Houston at SMU, 7:00, ESPN2: Southern Methodist. Houston is ranked two spots ahead of FSU in the current AP poll, so FSU fans should be rooting for an unlikely SMU upset over the Cougars on Saturday.
TCU at No. 12 West Virginia, 3:30, ABC or ESPN2: TCU. The 5-0 couch-burners managed to jump FSU in the AP poll last week for their win over Texas Tech, and suddenly West Virginia is only 3 spots behind conference-mate Baylor in the AP rankings. After TCU, West Virginia still has to play at Okie State, at Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor, so it’s very early to be on the ‘Neers hype train. However, because FSU has a bye week and because West Virginia is ranked ahead of FSU, ‘Noles fans should root for unranked TCU to put a blemish on WVU’s perfect season, continue the cannibalization of any semblance of success in the Big 12, and help move the Seminoles up in the AP rankings.
No. 16 Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 8:00, FOX: Texas Tech. Oklahoma is only ranked three spots behind Florida State in the current AP poll, and could be competition for a NY6 bowl berth down the road. The sooner (pun intended) OU loses, the better FSU’s chances are of obtaining a NY6 berth at the end of the year. FSU fans should therefore pull for unranked Texas Tech on Saturday night.
No. 10 Wisconsin at Iowa, 12:00, ESPN: Iowa. Wisconsin is ranked tenth in the current AP poll, three spots ahead of FSU. They’re also the highest ranked two-loss team in the nation. FSU fans should root for Iowa to change that on Saturday. The Badgers are coming off an emotional home overtime loss to Ohio State, so a letdown this weekend is certainly possible. A ‘Scony loss would help FSU’s AP poll ranking and potential for a NY6 bowl berth at the end of the season. Here’s some fun spin: Wisconsin is ranked tenth in the country, but is currently tied for dead last in the current Big Ten West standings.
Illinois at No. 3 Michigan, 3:30, BTN: Illinois. Why not root for Lovie Smith’s Fighting Illini to upset milk-chugging Jim and his third-ranked Wolverines on Saturday? It’s not going to happen, but it’s always fun to root for the underdog. Unless you’re this reporter questioning Lovie Smith’s manhood. Nothing screams underdog louder than a 2-4 Illinois team that lost to Purdue two weeks ago being led by a “soft” head coach, right?
Purdue at No. 8 Nebraska, 3:30, ABC or ESPN2: Purdue. Purdue has had a really tough year. They had a gigantic sinkhole open in the middle of one of their endzones earlier this month (luckily, no Boilermaker has come close all year to falling into it). Earlier this week they fired head coach Darrell Hazell after he managed to win only nine games during his four-year tenure in West Lafayette. Now there are rumors swirling about Purdue giving Les Miles serious consideration. 2016 just keeps getting worse for the Boilermakers.
But don’t worry, Purdue: FSU fans will be throwing you guys some pity rooting on Saturday. A Huskers loss would be beneficial to FSU’s AP ranking. Nebraska also leads the Big Ten West, so this would be a big (albeit very unlikely) upset at this point in the season.
No. 2 Ohio State at Penn State, 8:00, ABC: Penn State. Again, there’s no harm in rooting for a little chaos by taking the Nittany Lions here, and this pick is easy because every true ‘Nole fan despises Urban Meyer. I know everyone enjoyed watching that referee hit Urban Meyer in the face with his arm and then flag Urban for physical interference last Saturday. I must say, that was probably one of the most competent and entertaining officiating sequences I’ve seen in a while. If that had been an ACC official, they probably would’ve tossed him for targeting (I mean, he technically made forcible contact with his head or neck area to a defenseless referee).
The Buckeyes are coming off of a tough, overtime road win against Wisconsin last weekend, and they’ve got Nebraska in two weeks. Will they be caught napping in Happy Valley? Florida State fans should hope so.
No. 19 Utah at UCLA, 4:00, FOX: UCLA. Utah is one of two ranked teams in the Pac-12. UCLA has lost three of their last four games. By the confusing laws of Pac-12 physics, UCLA should win this one handily. The Pac-12 is truly a land devoid of rationality.
As we’ve said all year, the Pac-12 is collectively pretty bad, and its teams have managed to cannibalize each other (sans Washington) all year. The worse the conference is overall, the better FSU’s chances of a NY6 bowl berth. FSU fans should root for the UCLA upset on Saturday, but keep in mind that Utah still has to play Washington, Arizona State, Oregon, and Colorado.
Oregon State at No. 5 Washington, 6:30, PAC12: Oregon State. Could anyone have predicted that Washington and Washington State would be tied for the Pac-12 North lead halfway through the season, with Stanford at .500 in conference games and Oregon winless in conference play? Washington is the surprise of the season thus far. They’ve come from seemingly nowhere and are the only remaining Pac-12 hope for making the College Football Playoff eight weeks into the season. The Huskies beat the doors off of Oregon last weekend. They have the Beavers this weekend. They play their lone ranked regular-season opponent, Utah, next weekend.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, a lot of pundits are still not sold on UW, although it doesn’t help that a lot of East Coast fans, experts, media members, and AP voters are asleep by the time Washington typically kicks off. UW has had a fun ride to this point, but will that skepticism diminish at all if they only beat one ranked opponent all year?
FSU fans should root for Oregon State on Saturday. The more chaos at this point, the better for the Seminoles.
No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30, CBS: Texas A&M. Okay SEC haters, here’s some crazy chaos to pull for on Saturday. We know that TAMU’s collapse/falter is inevitable. Let’s just run this hypothetical for a moment: if Texas A&M can find a way to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, then drop a late game against Ole Miss or LSU, Alabama loses the Iron Bowl at the end of the year, and Ole Miss wins out, the SEC West champion would be selected from one of those three teams subject to the SEC’s crazy divisional tiebreaker system. What’s better: the SEC would be guaranteed a 2-loss champion and run the potential of missing out on the College Football Playoff, given the strength of multiple teams in other conferences right now.
Do I really think Texas A&M has a chance to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday? Probably not, but its not unfathomable. For the pure joy of rooting for a potential SEC collapse, Florida State fans should root for Texas A&M.
No. 17 Arkansas at No. 21 Auburn, 6:00, ESPN: Barn. There’s really nowhere to go but down after that verbal drubbing I gave Bret Bielema in last week’s rooting guide. I enjoy making fun of Fat Bert almost as much as I enjoy watching him lose and make excuses afterwards. But if you’re in need of more Bret entertainment, here’s an article from the Birmingham paper last year trying to make sense of Bert’s nonsensical explanation for why he hates Auburn.
Florida State fans should root for Auburn on Saturday primarily because Arkansas is closer to FSU in the current AP rankings, and while Auburn is a game up on Arkansas in the SEC West standings, the Tigers/War Eagles/Plainsmen have a tougher remaining schedule (Auburn still has Ole Miss, Vandy, and Alabama left. Also, Georgia).
No. 23 Ole Miss at No. 25 LSU, 9:00, ESPN: Ole Miss. The Rebs have fallen to 3-3 on the year, and after going to Baton Rouge, they still have to play Auburn and Texas A&M. At this point, FSU’s premiere win on the season is hanging on to an AP Top-25 ranking by the skin of their teeth. It especially hurts to lose to Fat Bert.
That being said, Ole Miss still has a lot of season left to play. And if the chaos scenario described above in the TAMU-Tide game preview is to work, Ole Miss will have to finish the season strong.
That will start Saturday against former Ole Miss head coach and current LSU interim head coach, Ed Orgeron. The Ole Miss-LSU series is already somewhat of a pseudo-rivalry game, but the Rebels will want this one worse than normal. Ed Orgeron spent his time in Oxford making horrible Hummer commercials, challenging his players to fights, and losing a lot of football games. On the other side, LSU will want revenge for their loss to the Rebels last season. It should be entertaining.
Florida State fans should root for Ole Miss on Saturday for strength of schedule purposes.