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GBH WATCHLIST Week 8: SEC mediocrity & betting on MAC games

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It's raining football. Hallelujah.

Austin, TX or somewhere in the Pacific?
Austin, TX or somewhere in the Pacific?
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

It's raining. It's gonna rain more tomorrow. It's gonna rain all weekend, so take a hint from Mother Nature, go load up on the supplies of your choice, and become a football hermit.

First things first: last week's predictions. I think we have a tie. oscar picked Memphis-Ole Miss and thacktor picked Michigan-Michigan State. Alliteration Madness. Now on to the present.

Dr. Norris Camacho

Auburn @ Arkansas | 11 a.m. | SECNetwork

This is a cliche, but this game really could be the turning point for one or both of these teams. A win could be the difference between a bowl game and a losing season for BERT, and Auburn, despite all that has gone wrong this season, IS STILL SOMEHOW SITTING AT 4-2. #Blesst.

Auburn will be on the road for the second straight week after sneaking past Kentucky. Arkansas will be trying to engage that magical second-half-of-the-season booster that it used last year to scorch ranked LSU and Ole Miss teams in the home stretch. It's an animated object vs. a movable force and there really is no winner, not even physics.

Whoever wins is going to lose to Ole Miss within the next 14 days anyway, so let's go with Arkansas: 21-16.

Doug

Kansas State at Texas
11:00am CDT
Fox Sports 1

Sure, it's a game involving our no-they're-not-a-rival-we-just-sing-about-them-in-our-fight-song-and-passive-aggressively-poke-at-each-other-continuously team. And it features the immortal purple wizard that is Bill Snyder.

But the real fun of this 11am kickoff? Monsoon football. The forecast in Austin is calling for the sort of rain that will have the hipsters paddling to Whole Foods in their fair trade kayaks. If you thought the texas special teams were entertaining before, wait til ya see them in the slop.

The burnt orange loyalists are riding high after being gifted a Big Game Bob special at the Cotton Bowl two weeks ago, while Kansas State is licking their wounds after a shellacking at home from the very same Oklahoma team. So this is sure to be a texas blowout because college football transitive property magic never fails, right? Not to worry, over the last few days Coach Snyder procured six stray dogs, some scraps of sheet metal, and a ball of rubber bands and has fixed the problem. He also has a jar of Werther's Originals on his desk if you'd like to have one and listen to a few stories from his time as an administrator for the Works Progress Administration.

Crack open your "It's noon on the east coast, honey" beer and nibble on some piping hot texas turnovers. Take the Cats +7.

Jimmy

Toledo at Massachusetts
2 PM CDT
ESPN3

Folks, we have a truly regrettable slate of games this week. No matter. I lived through a Houston summer goddammit and I won't take one single fall Saturday for granted. Need something to flick the reward center bean in the back of your gin-soaked brain? May I suggest gambling. Nothing invigorates the soul quite like watching two MAC teams battle it out with the stakes being your paycheck from the welding factory. YOU COULD BECOME RICH OR NOT.

Now. Toledo is a very good, fun team this year. Great corch. A lot of my family went to Toledo and I turned out OK. This game is in the Patriots' stadium. The Northeast can shampoo my crotch when it comes to college football. What a dearth. UMass is the Texas Tech of the commonwealth. If you like hanging with guys named Angelo and Sully (they hate each other, obviously) who wear hoodies and timberland boots while saying horrible things to women, well this is the game for you.

Take Toledo and lay the points.

oscarwildecat

Penn State at Maryland (M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore)
2:30 p.m. Saturday
ESPN

"Oh no." You say. "Tennessee and Alabama play at 2:30!" You say. "Texas Tech and Oklahoma play at 2:30For crying out loud Kansas and Oklahoma State get going at 2:30!"

You are a beautiful person, and you are so very, very wrong.

James Franklin is a marvelous recruiter, a passionate, charismatic leader, and runs a frightfully horrific offense. Led by the most mercurial* (*whinyass) quarterback in all of American football, and combined with a delightfully entitled, yet remarkably thin-skinned fan base, the Penn State sideline is always ready to erupt.

And we haven't even arrived at the opponent who used to employ James Franklin and is trying to turn it into a rivalry**! (**It is not.)

Maryland has already fired their head coach, and surmised that offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is a better leader of their program***. (***Mike Locksley was last seen as head coach at New Mexico where he got into a fight with an assistant, was accused of age and sexual discrimination, and watched his son loan his car to a recruit who received a DWI.)

Did we mention this game is being played in the Baltimore Ravens stadium for absolutely no reason at all? And that Maryland is as desperate to make this game an Important Big Ten Contest as Penn State fans are to reclaim their status as a college football blue blood? And that Maryland captains last year refused to shake the hands of the Penn State captains at midfield before the game in the weakest burn of all time?

This game will be borderline unwatchable, but in a beautiful way, like when you know Omar is coming around the corner. Sometimes car crashes are beautiful.

Shooter Flatch

Kentucky at Mississippi State
6:30 p.m. CST
SEC Network

These two historically downtrodden football programs are sitting fairly well halfway through the season.  Kentucky comes in at 4-2 with two or three fairly easy winnable games on the back after this one.  The Bulldogs are 5-2 with a little tougher finishing stretch of games that include Bama, at BERT, and the Egg Bowl.

This game will play a huge role in determining not only if they make a bowl, but which bowl invitation they'll receive.  Drop this game and you could spend your Christmas holidays in overcast and balmy Shreveport.  "Look mom, Santa left us a pile of ATM receipts from Diamond Jack's casino, and half of Hurricane from Daiquiri Express!!"  Win this game and you could spend the New Year's weekend in Nashville at the Music City Bowl.  Guitars and Cadillacs, and hill-billy music.  Hell, that should be the pre-game speech from both coaches.  Once the importance is placed in those terms, I expect a very competitive game from both teams, giving 100% effort not to spend their bowl trip eating at Fuddruckers on the Boardwalk.