One of the perks, or curses, of being ranked in the Top 10 of the nation is that poll watching becomes a real thing.
Poll watching? You don’t know?
For those of you unfamiliar, “poll watching” is a Saturday ritual among the ranked elitists that starts with a dedicated fan looking in the morning at the slate of coming games, deciding which ones have implications on the rankings relative to where your team currently stands, and then becoming invested in an outcome to a game that a non poll-watcher would not normally give two squirts about.
For example, the Houston Cougars are currently ranked #6 in the nation, a couple of spots ahead of UW. If pressed, I might be able to name two players on Houston. Maybe. The truth is that I have never cared about Houston nor do I wish to care about them.
However, that Houston sits just ahead of Washington in the rankings means I’m completely invested in the outcome of their games. I watched and I cringed last week as they entered the fourth quarter against Cincinnati behind only to come back and win thanks to a pair of pick sixes that were the definition of “fluky”. Under normal circumstances, I should not have an emotional reaction to anything Houston does. But, because I am now a poll-watcher, I do.
There are some games that are poll-watching interest to UW fans today. I’ve got those and an upset pick for you. Let’s dive in.
The Not-Yet-Frozen Tundra
Games in the heartland are always fun. Because of recruiting dynamics in the midwest, it is often the case that heartland teams are stocked chock full of big, mean men who have competed against other big, mean men all their lives. In fact, when I called NDSU’s upset over Iowa last week, the thing that motivated my pick the most was the fact that NDSU athletes have been playing Iowa athletes all of their lives and would not suffer any kind of unfamiliarity factor at all.
That is why I like matchups such as #11 Wisconsin vs #8 Michigan State. Wisconsin comes into this one riding a little more momentum given their big win over LSU a few weeks ago. Not that Michigan State has slouched off. They are always well coached and have a win over Notre Dame to brag on. Still, I fear that Wisconsin may be the better team and that a road win is not out of the question. Wisconsin is starting a new QB today and their losing streak visiting Michigan State dies date back to 2002. Still, this feels like a Wisconsin win which, of course, would not help UW.
The Aggie Threat
Husky fans need to be watching the #10 Texas A&M Aggies. With a win over UCLA (a team that UW won’t play this season) and a matchup with #17 Arkansas (a game they ought to win), the Aggies are in a nice position to jump over UW in the rankings if UW does anything other than absolutely demolish Arizona.
Yes, I understand that it is the long game that matters and that the SEC will eventually cannibalize itself. But, still, what fun is it to NOT worry about the week to week intricacies of poll politics? Why have polls at all if you are not going to sweat who might pass you this week.
I my view, Texas A&M is clearly better than Arkansas, although FEI does not necessarily see it that way. I suppose I might be influenced by my paranoia, but I will be watching this one closely.
I struggled finding a pick that I felt really good about without resorting to the kind of lame Florida over Georgia or Auburn over LSU type of pick (which isn’t really all that dramatic an upset pick - both of which I expect to happen).
The one that has me intrigued, though, is Penn State visiting Michigan. Here is why: Penn State has a sophomore RB named Saquon Barkley who, I swear to you, is the east coast version of Myles Gaskin. He’s bigger than Myles - about 220 lbs or so - but he has that same ability to set up blocks and then to break tackles in the second level. If there were ever a kind of back that Michigan’s vaunted defense might struggle with, it would be a guy like Barkley. This guy is ridiculous after contact.
We all know what Michigan is about right now. They deserve all of their accolades. However, after watching Colorado punch them in the mouth at the start of last week, I’m not totally sure that Penn State can’t do the same. The Nittany Lions are one of those teams that kind of do everything “ok” or “just-better-than-ok”. Plus, they have a legit x-factor in Barkley.
I’ll go on a limb here. Penn State 27, Michigan 24
Here is the full TV Schedule for Saturday’s action. This will be your open thread.
|Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016|
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV / Streaming|
|(11) Wisconsin at (8) Michigan State||Noon||BTN / BTN2Go|
|(12) Georgia at (23) Ole Miss||Noon||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|Kent State at (1) Alabama||Noon||SECN / WatchESPN|
|(13) Florida State at USF||Noon||ABC / WatchESPN|
|Iowa at Rutgers||Noon||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|Colorado State at Minnesota||Noon||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|San Jose State at Iowa State||Noon||FSN / ESPN3|
|Nevada at Purdue||Noon||ESPNEWS / WatchESPN|
|Charlotte at Temple||Noon||ASN / ESPN3|
|East Carolina at Virginia Tech||12:30 pm||ACCN / WatchESPN|
|Central Michigan at Virginia||12:30 pm||RSN / WatchESPN|
|Syracuse at UConn||1:00 pm||CBSSN / CBSSports.com|
|Wagner at Boston College||1:00 pm||WatchESPN|
|Gardner-Webb at Ohio||2:00 pm||ESPN3|
|(19) Florida at (14) Tennessee||3:30 pm||CBS / CBSSports.com|
|Penn State at (4) Michigan||3:30 pm||ABC / WatchESPN|
|Pittsburgh at North Carolina||3:30 pm||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|BYU vs. West Virginia (Landover, MD)||3:30 pm||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|Duke at Notre Dame||3:30 pm||NBC / NBCSports.com|
|Boise State at Oregon State||3:30 pm||FS1 / ESPN3|
|Wake Forest at Indiana||3:30 pm||BTN / BTN2Go|
|Appalachian State at Akron||3:30 pm||ASN / ESPN3|
|Miami (OH) at Cincinnati||3:30 pm||ESPNEWS / WatchESPN|
|Mississippi State at UMass||3:30 pm||ASN / ESPN3|
|UTSA at Old Dominion||3:30 pm||KMYS-CW 35 / CUSA.TV|
|Western Illinois at NIU||3:30 pm||ESPN3|
|Delaware State at Missouri||4:00 pm||SECN / WatchESPN|
|Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky||4:30 pm||CBSSN / CBSSports.com|
|Tulsa at Fresno State||4:30 pm||MWN|
|Colorado at Oregon||5:30 pm||Pac-12N / Pac-12.com|
|(18) LSU at Auburn||6:00 pm||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|North Texas at Rice||6:00 pm||CUSA.TV|
|Ball State at Florida Atlantic||6:00 pm||CUSA.TV|
|(6) Houston at Texas State||7:00 pm||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|Missouri State at Kansas State||7:00 pm||K-StateHD.tv|
|Georgia Southern at Western Michigan||7:00 pm||ESPN3|
|Army at Buffalo||7:00 pm||ESPN3|
|Louisiana Tech at Middle Tennessee||7:00 pm||ASN / ASN.com|
|New Mexico State at Troy||7:00 pm||ESPN3|
|Nicholls State at South Alabama||7:00 pm||ESPN3|
|Central Arkansas at Arkansas State||7:00 pm||ESPN3|
|UCF at FIU||7:00 pm||beIN Sports / beIN Sports Connect|
|Oklahoma State at (16) Baylor||7:30 pm||FOX / ESPN3|
|(20) Nebraska at Northwestern||7:30 pm||BTN / BTN2Go|
|South Carolina at Kentucky||7:30 pm||SECN / WatchESPN|
|(3) Louisville at Marshall||8:00 pm||CBSSN / CBSSports.com|
|(7) Stanford at UCLA||8:00 pm||ABC / WatchESPN|
|Bowling Green at Memphis||8:00 pm||ESPNEWS / WatchESPN|
|Southern Miss at UTEP||8:00 pm||Campus Insiders|
|UL Lafayette at Tulane||8:00 pm||ESPN3|
|(17) Arkansas vs. (10) Texas A&M (Arlington, TX)||9:00 pm||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|Idaho at UNLV||9:00 pm||MWN|
|California at Arizona State||10:00 pm||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|Air Force at Utah State||10:15 pm||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|(9) Washington at Arizona||10:30 pm||Pac-12N / Pac-12.com|