College football predictions: OU & OSU go to unfriendly territory
OU and OSU play road football games Saturday in locales that have not been particularly kind to the visitors. The Sooners in California and the Cowboys in Tulsa. Neither has a winning record in those spots.
OU is 7-8-1 all-time in the state of California. OSU is 15-21-2 at Tulsa.
The Sooners played twice at Santa Clara, losing 33-13 in 1940 and 20-17 in 1948. OU split at Cal-Berkeley, winning 27-13 in 1954 and losing 40-36 in 1996. OU beat UCLA 34-14 in 1990 and lost 41-24 to the Bruins in 2005. OU twice won at Stanford, 35-29 in 1978 and 27-14 in 1983. OU lost 51-31 at San Diego State in 1996. OU went 1-2-1 against Southern Cal, winning 17-12 in 1963, tying 7-7 in 1973 and losing 28-24 in 1981 and 23-7 in 1988. OU beat Oregon 17-14 in the 2005 Holiday Bowl in San Diego. And OU is 1-1 in Rose Bowl games, beating Washington State 34-14 in the 2002 season and losing to Georgia 54-48 in double overtime in 2017.
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Meanwhile, the Cowboys have had a strange series with Tulsa. OSU and TU played every year from 1926 through 1965. But between 1929 and 1945, the teams played only twice in Stillwater. Then the series resumed in 1976, with 21 games over 25 seasons, basically playing home-and-home.
Now in the 2000s, the teams have played just five times, thrice in Stillwater and twice in Tulsa. TU plays in Stillwater in 2020 and 2021. But in 2024, the series resumes annually, with alternating sites. Which means when the home-and-home format returns in five years, OSU will have played in Tulsa 39 times, and Tulsa will have played in Stillwater 36 times. Fascinating.
Let’s get to the predictions.
Oklahoma at UCLA: Sooners 48-24. It’s going to be hot in Pasadena on Saturday. High of 97. But that’s not atypical. When the Sooners played USC in the LA Coliseum in 1963, the temperatures rose to 105. When the Sooners played UCLA in the Rose Bowl in 1990, the temperature was 104.
Oklahoma State at Tulsa: Cowboys 45-25. Not exactly going to be balmy at Chapman Stadium. The high Saturday is projected at 92 degrees in Tulsa, with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
Iowa at Iowa State: Hawkeyes 19-13. ESPN’s GameDay is in Ames, and the Cyclones could soar up the AP poll with a win. In only 10 seasons has Iowa State cracked the top 20 at any point during the year, with a high of No. 9 in 2002. ISU finished in the top 20 only once, No. 19 in 1976.
Kansas State at Mississippi State: Bulldogs 31-20. The Wildcats were pushed around by Mississippi State last season in Manhattan. It will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can bully KSU this year, with Chris Klieman now coaching the ‘Cats.
TCU at Purdue: Horned Frogs 20-17. Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar has a concussion and could miss the game.
Texas Tech at Arizona: Red Raiders 51-40. Kliff Kingsbury won’t be able to drive down from Glendale to watch his former team. The Cardinals play in Baltimore on Sunday.
Kansas at Boston College: Eagles 30-7. Egads. Maybe Les Miles will get KU going, but for now, same old Jayhawks.
North Carolina State at West Virginia: Wolfpack 38-14. Dana Holgorsen fled Morgantown at the right time. The Mountaineers are a mess.
Texas vs. Rice in Houston: Longhorns 52-10. NRG Stadium is hosting this one. Too bad. Rice Stadium is a throwback.
Florida at Kentucky: Gators 33-14. Del City’s Terry Wilson, UK’s quarterback, is lost for the season with a knee injury.
Alabama at South Carolina: Crimson Tide 44-7. Gamecock quarterback Jake Bentley also is lost for the season, with a foot injury. The SEC East is getting easier by the week.
Arkansas State at Georgia: Bulldogs 48-14. Georgia and Murray State were tied 7-7 after one quarter last week. Then the Bulldogs scored 35 second-quarter points.
Colorado State at Arkansas: Razorbacks 33-24. Hey, how about a schedule flop? Have Arkansas play Arkansas State and Georgia play Colorado State. That would get the big in-state showdown that never happens in the Land of (non) Opportunity. And Colorado State Mike Bobo was a Georgia quarterback in the 1990s.
Kent State at Auburn: Tigers 51-7. Kent State made headlines last week for forcing a Maine-Temple field hockey game to stop in overtime, so daytime fireworks could be set off before a football game against Kennesaw State. There are so many things wrong with that scenario, that we forget to ask the questions, why is anyone shooting off daytime fireworks?
Tennessee-Chattanooga at Tennessee: Volunteers 45-10. Here’s the scary thing about the Vols’ woebegone start. Georgia State, which pushed around Tennessee in the season opener, beat Furman last week, 48-42.
Southeastern Louisiana at Ole Miss: Rebels 38-6. Mississippi’s bowl ban is over. The Rebs haven’t played in a bowl since their 2015 team beat OSU 48-20 in the Sugar Bowl.
Lamar at Texas A&M: Aggies 59-7. The Aggies didn’t quite challenge Clemson the way they did in 2018.
Northwestern State of Louisiana at LSU: Tigers 55-6. Too bad LSU isn’t playing McNeese State, so Cody Orgeron could quarterback the Cowboys against his dad.
Southeast Missouri State at Missouri: Tigers 62-7. Good for Mizzou, keeping the I-AA payouts in-state. The Tigers also played Missouri State two years ago.
Arizona State at Michigan State: Spartans 29-19. Good series. Certainly made for a good game last year, when ASU pulled a 16-13 upset.
Pittsburgh at Penn State: Nittany Lions 45-12. The revived rivalry ends again after this game. No future games scheduled. The people who run college football are idiots.
Maryland at Temple: Terrapins 23-20. Can Maryland avert the script of the last two seasons, when strong starts, including victories over Texas, were soon followed by losses to American Conference teams, including Temple last season?
Ohio State at Indiana: Buckeyes 38-10. The Hoosiers haven’t beaten Ohio State in 31 years and have just two wins over the Buckeyes since 1951.
Northern Illinois at Nebraska: Cornhuskers 35-13. Nebraska turned Folsom Field red last week, accounting for perhaps half the crowd at Colorado. Then the Huskers turned red-faced, blowing a 17-0 lead and losing in overtime.
Georgia Southern at Minnesota: Golden Gophers 34-17. In two games for GSU, tailback J.D. King, the transfer from Oklahoma State, has 64 yards on 24 carries.
Nevada-Las Vegas at Northwestern: Wildcats 28-13. The Mountain West Conference is 6-5 against Power 5 opponents so far. The Big 12 is 1-2 vs. Power 5 foes.
Eastern Michigan at Illinois: Illini 41-14. Lovie Smith could get to 3-0 with Illinois this season, and I’m pulling for him. But after this, the rumdums are gone.
Florida State at Virginia: Cavaliers 26-24. The Seminoles don’t seem to be getting better. They beat Louisiana-Monroe 45-44 in overtime last week, when the Warhawks missed an extra point. Serves them right for not going for two.
Clemson at Syracuse: Tigers 38-21. This looked to be Clemson’s toughest ACC game. Then Syracuse lost by 43 to Maryland.
North Carolina at Wake Forest: Tar Heels 31-14. Wake coach Dave Clawson never has been Mack Brown’s defensive coordinator, which means the Deacons have a chance. Mack is 2-0 this year against head coaches who once coordinated his Texas defense.
Duke at Middle Tennessee: Blue Devils 30-20. If you can’t go to Nashville and play Vanderbilt, do the next-best thing. Go 30 miles away to Murfreesboro and play the Blue Raiders.
Louisville vs. Western Kentucky in Nashville: Cardinals 35-11. This is a strange neutral-site game, but heck, what do I know? I think Penn State ought to play Pitt.
Furman at Virginia Tech: Hokies 31-20. Something is not right in Blacksburg. This is a losable game for Justin Fuente.
The Citadel at Georgia Tech: Yellow Jackets 29-7. Two schools with cool names. I’ll give them that.
Bethune-Cookman at Miami: Hurricanes 56-14. Credit Miami for playing a lot of in-state foes. All four non-conference foes are from the Sunshine State – Florida, Bethune-Cookman, Central Florida and Florida International.
Stanford at Central Florida: Knights 28-20. Huge game for UCF. Win this one, and the Knights have an advantage over Boise State should both go unbeaten and challenge for a major bowl berth.
Washington State at Houston: UofH 48-42. Upset special. Great Friday night game. Mike Leach vs. Dana Holgorsen. Air Raid vs. Air Raid. I won’t miss it.
Southern Cal at Brigham Young: Trojans 35-23. If USC wins, and I think USC will win, then the Trojans are 3-0 against a formidable opening schedule, and Clay Helton has turned down the pressure, though his athletic director (Lynn Swann) is gone.
Air Force at Colorado: Buffaloes 41-14. CU plays the Falcons for the first time since 1974. The schools are 97 miles. Sometimes the idiots don’t win the day.
Hawaii at Washington: Huskies 49-17. Uh, when do we start getting serious about the Rainbow Warriors? They are 2-0 vs. the Pac-12 this season.
North Texas at California: Golden Bears 33-27. Natural letdown for Cal, which pulled a massive upset at Washington last week. UNT was a disappointment in losing to SMU.
Idaho State at Utah: Utes 52-0. Utah could be the class of the Pac-12. The Pac-12 needs to hope that the Utes are the class of the Pac-12.
Cal Poly at Oregon State: Beavers 51-14. Oregon State finally finds the win column. The Beavers didn’t look horrible against Oklahoma State or Hawaii.
Montana at Oregon: Ducks 58-14. Oklahoma scored 10 touchdowns against South Dakota, with 10 players each scoring one. I didn’t know if that ever had happened in college football. Turns out, it wasn’t even the best spread-the-wealth example of the day. Oregon scored 11 touchdowns against Nevada, each by a different player, in a 77-6 rout.
New Mexico at Notre Dame: Fighting Irish 47-13. Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie will not make the trip. The New Mexico head coach had a “serious health scare” after the Lobos beat Sam Houston State on August 31.
Army at Texas-San Antonio: Black Knights 32-14. The Cadets visit a military town to display their wonderful gridiron show.
East Carolina at Navy: Midshipmen 50-24. Navy is 5-1 vs. the Pirates since the series began in 2006, and the Midshipmen have averaged 50 points a game.
Memphis at South Alabama: Tigers 38-22. Memphis and Mobile. Too old southern towns. One of them is pretty good at football.
San Diego State at New Mexico State: Aztecs 23-7. San Diego State has scored 29 points total this season and is 2-0. That’s hard to do in 21st-century football.
Miami-Ohio at Cincinnati: Bearcats 19-17. Old, old rivalry. Might be a tougher game for Cincy than was UCLA.
South Carolina State at South Florida: Bulls 31-14. Charlie Strong’s program is staggering, but a MEAC opponent should help the recovery.
Texas State at SMU: Mustangs 39-13. Another Air Raid matchup. The Bobcats’ Jake Spavital is a protégé of Holgorsen; the Mustangs’ Sonny Dykes is a protégé of Leach.
Missouri State at Tulane: Green Wave 31-10. Tulane played tough at Auburn, losing just 24-6. Maybe Willie Fritz has the Green Wave hopping.
Idaho at Wyoming: Cowboys 43-14. Idaho-Wyoming doesn’t sound like a football game, it sounds like a backpacker’s delight.
Weber State at Nevada: Wolf Pack 24-10. Jay Norvell was brought back to reality after his big upset of Purdue in Week 1.
Portland State at Boise State: Broncos 41-0. Portland State was the original Boise State, a Division I-AA power with quarterback Neil Lomax. Boise State, of course, eventually took the next step.
Last week: 51-10. Season: 106-21.