The Spread, Week Four: The Game of the Century Parts III & IV


As the would-be game-tying drive fizzled out for Matt Barkley and USC Saturday night, something insidious and horrible crept into to mind. This means Alabama and LSU will be ranked 1 & 2. Are we seriously going to do this again? It would serve college football right to have to endure a repeat of last year’s repeat for the national title. This past off-season, the powers-that-be finally agreed to a playoff format and the BCS was dead and gone forev–well, in two years anyway, because figuring out just exactly how to ensure that they don’t somehow end up the powers-that-were is going to take some time.

And now we’re all going to pay for it.

You already see how it’s going to unfold. As the remaining unbeatens in other conferences start playing each other, their numbers obviously begin to dwindle. Of course, this also happens in the SEC, but Bama and LSU roll on. By the time those two face off, we’re down to a handful of realistic contenders. Maybe Notre Dame is still alive. Maybe Texas. It doesn’t matter. The Tide and Tigers play another game of field goal derby and ESPN shifts into full This Is The Best Thing You Could Hope For mode. Maybe you even start to see their point. But there are still other undefeated options, so you stick to your anything-but-a-rematch guns and watch in horror as Florida State loses to Florida, Oklahoma knocks out West Virginia, USC gets the best of Notre Dame but falls to 2-loss Oregon in the P12CG. Ohio State thrashes the Big Ten but can’t play for a title. No one else in the conference has a resume worth reading. And there on top of it all sit Alabama and LSU, laughing quietly to themselves. We’ll look up and shout, “Save us!”

And ESPN will whisper, “no.”


Wisconsin: The Badgers take on UTEP, a team that has double-digit losses to Oklahoma and Mississippi and a double-digit win over New Mexico State. That’s great! you think. Wisconsin is more like the first two than the last one. Are they?

The Wisconsin offense is a sputtering mess and now they may be making a switch a QB. Unless freshman Joel Stave is secret offensive genius, don’t be surprised if this ends up being another nail biter.

Michigan: Last week, Notre Dame humiliated Michigan State right out of not just the top 10, but the top 20. We’ve already seen the Wolverines dismantled by a top team in the spotlight and after surviving a scare against Air Force and taking it out on UMass, they have to travel to South Bend to face the first 3-0 Irish team in a decade. While the Domers haven’t faced an athlete like Denard Robinson yet this year, they have held three different types of offenses in check. I see no reason to believe at this point that they can’t do the same this week.

Minnesota & Illinois: These two are actually having pretty decent seasons so far. Illinois did lose big to Arizona State, but that was on the road and those games are always tough. This week both face high-yardage offenses and either could easily lose. I’m mostly worried for Illinois, as LaTech has a pretty balanced attack and isn’t afraid to operate one-dimensionally if they have to. Minnesota is here because they’re undefeated and we all know that isn’t going to last.


Wednesday: Kent State @ Buffalo. While they’re not the most dynamic teams around, it’s still worth a check-in because MACtion.

Thursday: BYU @ Boise State. I guess some people around here would like it if I said something pro-Mormon for a change. Fine. I would like it if Boise State lost this game. Happy?

Friday: Baylor @ Louisiana-Monroe. ULM played two SEC teams on the road and came away with a 3-point win and a 3-point loss. Baylor is unbeaten but unchallenged in the post-RG3 era. You already know the answer.

Saturday: Clemson @ Florida State. The last two undefeated teams in the ACC meet and it’s only week FOUR! Haha, they’re as bad as we are!

Over/Under 7 or 70: UMass @ Miami (OH). Combined, these two teams have scored fewer points per game than 89 other FBS teams have alone. Individually, they have given up more points than the top 6 teams combined. If you’ve ever wanted to see what happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object, I promise you there will be seats available in Oxford. Get Bruno’s afterward so the whole day isn’t a waste.


  1. I had the exact feeling you did watching the end of that USC/West Coast Nerdwestern game: NOT LIKE THIS. NOT LIKE THIS.


    I guess some people around here would like it if I said something pro-Mormon for a change. Fine. I would like it if Boise State lost this game. Happy?

    Yes, happy 🙂

    But I’d rather Boise won so as to bolster MSU’s shaky non-conference accomplishments…

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