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Don’t Watch This; Watch That: An Ode to MACtion

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The best games in college football, Week 10.

http://www.ubbulls.com/sports/fball/2018-19/photos/0006/index#PhotoSwipe1541016126043

Part of me feels guilty that I haven’t been putting this article out earlier in the week to account for the return of that national treasure—MACTION.

You missed two excellent MACtion games on Tuesday night: the Buffalo Bulls absorbing damn near every punch the Miami-Ohio Redhawks could give them, and getting one last drive from Tyree Jackson and a field goal from Adam Mitcheson to put the game out of reach, 51-42, before sealing it with a strip-sack of Gus Ragland, who was heroic in the face of the Bulls’ battering.

A fun note about Mitcheson: He hit his 45th field goal on Tuesday night, setting a Buffalo school record. He also missed his 14th PAT, which I’m pretty sure is also a Buffalo record. MACTION and COLLEGE KICKERS: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.

Also, Kent State got their first MAC win in probably 10 years or something, getting some timely sacks on the final drive to stunt a Bowling Green comeback bid, 35-28. That last drive featured two things: (1) a player’s helmet coming off, and instead of him having to sit out a play, he just pointed at another player and told the refs “It wasn’t me!” as the past started—the Shaggy Defense working!—and (2) me remembering that Carl Pelini is the interim HC of Bowling Green.

You don’t know how bad you need MACtion, and how you owe it to these players.

The men and women of the MAC have it hard enough, playing in scenic locales from a cornfield in central Illinois on a rainy Tuesday night to an abandoned parking lot in burnt-over north-central Ohio on a dreary Wednesday evening. (Actually, this is a great idea for a spec script of Hey Arnold! meets the 2003 Miami-Ohio Redhawks and I’ll get back to you...)

Anyways, I bring that up only because I’m sure I’ve seen it before, but it never fails to amaze me when the ESPN game previews show the ticket prices of games.

I’m not totally sure what would compel a person to pay $2 plus, like, $4.50 in taxes and fees to go watch Balls Tate vs. Toledo on a Wednesday night. There were, however, a number of impressive costumes n the crowd, in particular the girl wearing a basket around her and a hot-air balloon made out of balloon animal balloons.

But I had my laptop tuned to ESPN2 while we watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The wife came home with dollar-store costumes for us (I wore a kid’s chef costume, she was a turtle), and we played cribbage, handed out candy, and got wine-drunk on our first Halloween as a married couple. Haven’t seen a mouse in a week, week and a half.

It was great. Marriage is awesome. The only complaint I would register is that we put our pumpkins out too early: soon our beautiful “H”, black cat, and Minion pumpkins were just big old circles because the damn squirrels in our tree are aggressive assholes.

Oh, and we did the Halloween-themed stuffed peppers you see (—>) for dinner, followed by three different bowls of pumpkin seeds (salt, garlic/seasoned salt, and cinnamon sugar). It was delicious. I love celebrating holidays just because I can.

Thursday

Don’t Watch This

Northern Illinois Huskies (-6, O/U 37!!!) at Akron Zips [6pm, CBSSN]
Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers [7:20pm, FOX]

Watch That

Ohio Bobcats (5-3, 3-1 MAC) at Western Michigan Broncos (6-3, 4-1)

6pm | ESPNU | OU -3 | O/U 64.5

Temple Owls (5-3, 4-0 AAC) at [12] UCF Knights (7-0, 4-0)

6:30pm | ESPN | UCF -10.5 | O/U 61

On Saturday, September 1, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, the Temple Owls allowed something named Zach Bednarczyk of Villanova to roll up 254 yards through the air as Frank Nutile threw three INTs to an FCS defense. The Wildcats failed on two PATs, and yet Temple managed no fourth-quarter points and lost, 19-17.

Since then, the Owls have lost just two games, to the 6-2 Buffalo Bulls by 7 and to the 7-1 Boston College Screamin’ Dudes Eagles by 10. They went on the road and beat a nominally-Big Ten team by three scores. And since starting AAC play? They’re 4-0, starting with a win over Tulsa and ramping up to an overtime upset of previously-unbeaten Cincinnati.

Now, there is no reason to believe this team is a Team of Destiny—the Owls are winning close games as opposed to losing them (24-17 over both Navy and Cincy), the QB change from Nutile to Anthony Russo (find a more Philly name) has been a minor improvement but still yielded a 9:10 TD:INT ratio, and the Ryquell Armstead-led rushing attack is racking up just 3.2 ypc over the last three wins in an attack that has still been 60-40 run-pass. Like, that’s a bad bad bad bad bad offense. But the Owls turned over the Bearcats three times and have been lights out defending the pass.

That, uh...that will likely change against UCF. McKenzie Milton and the fifteen or so running backs that the Knights have are ridiculous, but this is easily the best defense (15th in S&P+) UCF will face—ECU is the next-best, at 53rd in S&P+. I guess that’s why UCF has the 124th-best strength of schedule. Anyways, go Owls.

In the other action, you’ve got your choice of MACtion. Akron has been shit after winning at Northwestern (GO FUCKING FIGURE), and NIU just won a football game 7-6 at BYU. I went and looked for highlights of what that looked like, and instead I found this:

I mean, that’s some sexy football. Plus, look at that line! An O/U of 37! [/kisses fingers]

But I’m not watching that on Thursday night after I get back from All Saints’ Day Mass. I’m watching points. Give me Temple-UCF, with an excellent MAC crossover game as a nice little palate-cleanser with potential waiting in the wings.

Poll

I mean, MACtion’s on, so I don’t know what else you’d be watching, but...

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Ohio-WMU
    (17 votes)
  • 11%
    Northern Illinois-Akron
    (11 votes)
  • 62%
    Temple-UCF is basically MACtion, right?
    (59 votes)
  • 8%
    I will leave my name in the comments, as I am watching NFL and deserve to be banned from OTE.
    (8 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now

Friday

Don’t Watch This

n/a

Watch That

Pittsburgh Panthers (4-4, 3-1 ACC) at [25] Virginia Cavaliers (6-2, 4-1)

6:30pm | ESPN2 | UVA -7 | O/U 48.5

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (1-7, 0-4 C-USA) at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (5-3, 4-1)

7pm | CBSSN | MTSU -13.5 | O/U 53

Volleyball: Penn State at Nebraska

7pm | BTN

Colorado Buffaloes (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) at Arizona Wildcats (4-5, 3-3)

9:30pm | FS1 | AZ -3 | O/U 56.5

First, if I may, a word on why I would possibly tell you to watch a C-USA game on a Friday night where the road team is in the midst of an historically-bad season. You see, this is a rivalry game.

But it is no ordinary rivalry game. This is 100 MILES OF HATE, and when you’ve got mid-level G5 teams duking it out on a Friday night, you throw out the motherfucking records. Take their games played in the 2010s: One—ONE—has been decided by more than 5 points. One—ONE—has featured fewer than 60 points combined (53, in 2010, a game that ended 27-26).

You should watch this game. Something delightfully stupid will happen. Points will happen.

wait why the fuck is Virginia ranked

The Hoos lead the ACC Coastal?! How drunk have I been that I haven’t noticed that they...oh. A 16-13 home win over Miami (sure), then a road win over Duke (ok), then a home win over North Carolina (fine). So they’re really just making the case for the Top 25 to actually be a Top 20.

Meanwhile, Pitt...just is kinda here?. The confusingly-named Qadree Ollison is running for 6.3 ypc, Pat Narduzzi’s team still doesn’t play a lick of defense, and this weird-ass football program has lost games to Notre Dame (by 5), UCF (by 31), and trash-ass Penn State (by 45!), so fuck it, I’m embracing Pitt fully. Go Panthers.

I’m saying watch Colorado-Arizona not because there’s anything particularly special about it, but because it’ll be late and on TV and Pac-12 After Dark...is better than nothing?

Just kidding, Pac-12 After Dark has been complete ass. Here are their Thursday/Friday night game results this year:
Week 4: USC 39, Washington State 36 (this was the only really-enjoyable game)
Week 5: Colorado 38, UCLA 16
Week 7: Utah 42, Arizona 10
Week 8: Stanford 20, Arizona 13
Week 9: Utah 42, UCLA 10

It’s pretty clear that this is a dumping ground for Arizona, Utah, and Colorado games. Why not just give us Oregon State-Cal on Friday night at 10pm CT and call it a day? Fuck this.

Poll

Lotta good stuff on Friday night. So I’ll go with...

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Pitt-UVA
    (18 votes)
  • 17%
    100 MILES OF HATE
    (18 votes)
  • 35%
    UNL-PSU Volleyball
    (36 votes)
  • 6%
    Colorado-Arizona
    (7 votes)
  • 21%
    Washing my hair
    (22 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

Louisville Cardinals at [2] Clemson Tigers (-39) [11am, ABC]
Nebraska Cornhuskers at [10] Ohio State Buckeyes (-17.5) [11am, FOX]
[20] Texas A&M Aggies at Auburn Tigers (-4) [11am, ESPN]
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at wisconsin badgers (-28.5) [11am, BTN]
[24] Iowa St. Cyclones (-14.5) at Kansas Jayhawks [11am, Fox Regional]
Memphis Tigers (-13) at East Carolina Pirates [11am, ESPNU]

Watch That

Michigan State Spartans (5-3, 3-2 B1G) at Maryland Terrapins (4-4, 2-3)

11am | ESPN2 | MSU -2.5 | O/U 46.5

Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-3, 2-3 Big XII) at Baylor Bears (4-4, 2-3)

11am | FS1 | OSU -7.5 | O/U 68

Air Force Falcons (3-5) at Army Black Knights (6-2)

11am | CBSSN | Army -7 | O/U 43

I am tentatively in on Oklahoma State-Baylor (points to be scored hellooooo)...but Mike Gundy remains a national treasure:

This man will, someday, be elected Governor of Oklahoma. He will wear a camouflage suit and a bolo tie to his inauguration and make fart noises into the microphone, then tweet at his successor how he would’ve managed that game-ending two-minute drill. Oklahoma is ready for a Second* Golden Age; Mike Gundy is the man to lead them there.
*Regrettably applies, as do most things referencing Oklahoma history, to white folk only.

I have no desire to watch either of the Top 10 games in the morning slot. Is there a chance that Adrian Martinez could be exactly the quarterback who gives Ohio State more trouble? Sure. But I’m not holding my breath on that. The rest of those games are just BLECH.

No, I want to see if Maryland can do what Purdue didn’t—rev its offense up to keep the Spartans on their heels. The problem: Are you taking Maryland to throw for a few hundred yards like Northwestern did? I mean...no, but this is a must-win for Maryland to keep bowl eligibility alive. I’ll check it out.

As for Army, you should always watch their games. But Jeff Monken has the Black Knights firing on all cylinders, with a 15-point win over EMU at the Factory. They now move into the second leg of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, with Air Force looking to seal it after their 35-7 win over Navy. I’m sold.

Poll

Good morning! As I am knocking back my fifth or sixth Hamm’s ahead of a 6:30pm kickoff, you are turning on...

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Oklahoma State-Baylor
    (1 vote)
  • 8%
    Air Force-Army
    (10 votes)
  • 20%
    Nebraska-Ohio State
    (24 votes)
  • 45%
    Michigan State-Maryland
    (54 votes)
  • 12%
    Rutgers-wisconsin
    (15 votes)
  • 2%
    Texas A&M-Auburn
    (3 votes)
  • 10%
    IOWA STATE-KANSAS LET’S GET WEIRD WOOOOOO
    (12 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

[6] Georgia Bulldogs (-9) at [9] Kentucky Wildcats [2:30pm, CBS]
Florida State Seminoles at [21] N.C. State Wolfpack (-9) [2:30pm, ABC]
Navy Midshipmen at Cincinnati Bearcats (-13) [2:30pm, ESPNU]
Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs (-8) [2:30pm, FS1]
Minnesota Golden Gophers (-9.5) at Illinois Fighting Illini [2:30pm, BTN]
Marshall Thundering Herd (-3) at Southern Miss Eagles [2pm, Stadium/Facebook]
Tulane Green Wave at South Florida Bulls (-7) [2:30pm, CBSSN]

Watch That

[14] Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-2 B1G) at [5] Michigan Wolverines (7-1, 5-0)

2:45pm | ESPN | MI -10.5 | O/U 53

[13] West Virginia Mountaineers (6-1, 4-1 Big XII) at [17] Texas Longhorns (6-2, 4-1)

2:30pm | FOX | TX -2 | O/U 58

[16] Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2 B1G) at Purdue Boilermakers (4-4, 3-2)

2:30pm | ESPN2 | Purdue -3 | O/U 52

Liberty Flames (4-3) at Massachusetts Minutemen (3-6)

2:30pm | Eleven | UMass -2.5 | O/U 71

To be honest, I’ve still got all eyes on Iowa-Purdue in this slot. Sure, Michigan-Penn State will be all kinds of insufferable and grab most of the eyeballs and whatever, but there’s a little bit of poetry to the way the West has just kind of derped itself into Northwestern having a game-and-a-half lead. Realizing that, by the grace of God, they’re still in this, Iowa fans are educating themselves on all the possible tiebreakers and what could allow them back into the West race.

(Not losing at home to a trash wisconsin team is a great start, guys.)

We’ve warned Iowa fans that their team was nothing special, regardless of how many points Maryland scored against Illinois and how good you want to feel about shutting them out. Wins over Minnesota, Indiana, and Maryland do not mean dick, other than putting you behind the 8-ball in the event that your team should find itself in a three-way tie for first. Maybe collect yourselves and think about that before you piss all over an SMCD thread.

Speaking of trashy frauds, I see people are buying right into the idea that the Kentucky Wildcats are actually going to be in the New Year’s Six bowl games when this season is over! That’s a cute idea. Let’s list all the teams in the CFP Top 10 who are at least a whole game underwater in Football Outsiders’ 2nd-order wins:
Kentucky: -1.0 (7-1, 6.0 wins expected)
Ohio State: -1.2 (7-1, 5.8 wins expected)
LSU: -1.3 (7-1, 5.7 wins expected)
Notre Dame: -1.3 (8-0, 6.7 wins expected)

Y’know, I started out thinking that would be a fun exercise, but it turned into something downright delightful. Look at those fucking frauds. LOOK AT THEM.

West Virginia-Texas for points, Liberty-UMass for the same and because everyone should watch at least one game on Eleven.

Poll

I don’t care what you’re watching. Big the biggest fraud from these:

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Kentucky
    (35 votes)
  • 13%
    Ohio State
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    LSU
    (4 votes)
  • 26%
    Notre Dame
    (36 votes)
  • 30%
    It’s still Iowa, somehow
    (41 votes)
134 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

UConn Huskies at Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-17.5) [6pm, CBSSN]
Duke Blue Devils at Miami-Florida Hurricanes (-9.5) [6pm, ESPN2]
[17] Houston Cougars (-14) at SMU Mustangs [6pm, ESPNU]
UCLA Bruins at Oregon Ducks (-10) [6:30pm, FOX]
Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners at UAB Blazers (-22) [6:30pm, beIN]

Watch That

[4] Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-0, 3-0 ACC) at Northwestern Wildcats (5-3, 5-1 B1G)

6:15pm | ESPN | ND -9.5 | O/U 53.5

[1] Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 SEC) at [3] LSU Tigers (7-1, 4-1)

7pm | CBS | Ala -14.5 | O/U 54

[7] Oklahoma Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big XII) at Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-3, 3-2)

7pm | ABC | OU -13.5 | O/U 77!!!!!

Florida Atlantic Owls (3-5, 1-3 C-USA) at FIU Sunblazers (6-2, 4-0)

6:30pm | Stadium | FIU -3 | O/U 59

One of the stupidest things in the world to annoy me—of the many things that do—is the cut to the coach on the sideline after the first score of the game. Like, Northwestern scored to tie it up at 7 with wisconsin, and what is Pat Fitzgerald doing?

There is nothing more important that Pat Fitzgerald could do, right then and there, then to let the team know that with the score 7-6 in the first quarter, they will kick the PAT.

To be clear, I don’t fault Fitzgerald for signaling this: This is something common that coaches do. But the look of self-importance, the important cutaway to the Very Concerned Coach...it pisses me off for no goddamn reason. MAKE SURE TO GO FOR ONE, ‘CATS.

Anyway, weird things could definitely happen under the lights in Death Valley. I guess that’s a possibility! But unless LSU can hold Alabama under their season-low of [/checks notes] HOLY SHIT, 39 POINTS?! Fuck it. LSU is still losing by 10. Un-fucking-real.

Anyways, you know why to watch Oklahoma-TTU. So let’s check in on Florida Atlantic, which is 3-5 (1-3) and in danger of not making a bowl. Surely the Lane Train is still—

The rain won’t spoil your nice new paint, Lane!

This has been your Lane Train update.

Poll

Saturday evening! What are we thinking?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Fuck Notre Dame
    (75 votes)
  • 20%
    Bama by 20
    (22 votes)
  • 4%
    Guns up, lots of points
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    FAU-FIU
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Duke-Miami
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Houston-SMU
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    UCLA-Oregon
    (2 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now

I’m Awake and Drunk, What Should I Watch?

Don’t Watch This

USC Trojans (-16.5) at Oregon State Beavers [9pm, FS1]
San Diego State Aztecs (-10.5) at New Mexico Lobos [9:15pm, ESPNU]

Watch That

BYU Cougars (4-4) at Boise State Broncos (6-2)

9:15pm | ESPN2 | Boise -13 | O/U 55

[23] Fresno State Bulldogs (7-1, 4-0 MWC) at UNLV Rebels (2-6, 0-4)

9:30pm | CBSSN | Fresno -26 | O/U 60

Fresno State is ranked 23rd in the country. They are 7-1. Their one loss is to...
...
...
...
...Minnesota.

College football makes no fucking sense.

Anyways, BYU-Boise State is the play here, though seeing whether UNLV can score enough to keep up with Fresno State is the other game with some possible redeeming value here.

BYU lost to Northern Illinois 7-6 on Saturday, but that’s not important here. You see, BYU and Boise will be marred with at least 5-6 personal foul penalties, some cheap shots, and maybe even a benches-clearing brawl. These teams dislike each other for some reason Wikipedia can probably tell you about, and it’s the kind of drunk late-night football I’m here for.

Poll

It’s late, I’m stumbling to the El, and at the bar I’ll watch...

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    USC-Oregon State
    (4 votes)
  • 4%
    SDSU-New Mexico
    (4 votes)
  • 31%
    BYU-Boise State
    (28 votes)
  • 6%
    Fresno-UNLV
    (6 votes)
  • 15%
    Whatever the bar has on
    (14 votes)
  • 37%
    lol i got into a fight with a bush outside Welsh-Ryan Arena and passed out hours ago
    (34 votes)
90 votes total Vote Now

That’s what I’ve got for you. Share your favorite Halloween night activities, Halloween-themed recipes, what you did to celebrate the return of Tuesday-night MACtion, and whatever other thoughts you have about the games.