Football Friday 9/1/23

People who have been aboard the “Curmudgeon Caravan” for a while recognize that the calendar has entered a period where American football dominates interest here.  For those who have joined in more recently, this is a feature that will appear every Friday until the Super Bowl.  This is the first Football Friday of this season and for any newcomers, here is what these offerings will be like:

  • The Linfield College Wildcats are a Division III team located in McMinnville, OR.  The last time they had a losing season in football was in 1956.  They will open their season on September 9, and I will track their progress – or lack thereof – to another winning season.  Why do this?  Because I want to…
  • Then will come general college football commentary and a review of important games from last week.
  • Then an overview of games I find interesting on the schedule for this week.
  • Now apply the same structure to happenings in NFL football.  (Of course, none of the NFL stuff will appear this week since there were not games last week nor this week.)

Late in the college season, I will propose a slate of teams that should play an imaginary tournament where the loser must play on until we decided “on the field” the worst team in the country for 2023. I call this the “SHOE Tournament” where SHOE is an acronym for Steaming Heap Of Excrement.

I have tried to offer up a Six-Pack of wagering opportunities every week.  Obviously, that must be taken in context; there simply are not 6 games this weekend that have even marginal betting interests.  So, instead of calling it a “Six-Pack” I will call it the week’s “Betting Bundle”.


College Football Commentary:


Let me begin with a couple of historical comments about the: Linfield Wildcats’ football program:

  • Ignoring the 2020 COVID season when Linfield did not play football, they have had a winning record in football for 66 consecutive years.
  • The Wildcats play in the Northwest Conference, and they have been conference champions in 12 of the last 13 seasons.

College football arrived on television last week when Notre Dame and Navy both took themselves across the pond to play a game in Dublin, The Irish are ranked #13 in the country; the Middies are not nearly ranked.  The game was a not-so-very interesting win by Notre Dame 42-3.  The telecast featured Jason Garrett as the color guy and he was awful.  Granted, he has not done a lot of that sort of thing but let me just say he left himself acres of improvement to expand into.  Here is my analysis:

  • He could not bring himself to shut up once in a while.
  • He belabored several points to death.
  • He “restated the obvious” far too often.

Look, Jason Garrett – unlike Forest Gump – is a smart man; he has a Bachelor’s Degree in history from Princeton.  No one who graduates from Princeton is a dumbass.  So, I have reason to hope that with some coaching and some more experience Garrett will become one of the good college football color analysts.  However, there were a couple times last week when I found myself wishing this announcing assignment had gone to either Brock Huard and/or Mark Schlereth.

That was the only game of any interest/importance from last week.  In the early part of the college season, you have to sift through lots of chaff to find a couple of kernels of wheat…

I mentioned in my College Football Pre-Season essay here that all eyes would be on Colorado and Deion Sanders’ attempt to return Colorado football to relevance.  And next door to Colorado – – in Nebraska – – another attempt at program resurrection will also happen.  Just a bit of background:

  • Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, Nebraska was always a Top Ten team and often better than that.  The Cornhuskers were crowned as national champions 5 times in those days.
  • The program went into eclipse in 2001 and has been mediocre at best for the last 20 years.  Over the last six seasons, the Huskers cumulative record is an underwhelming 23-45.
  • Nebraska football is a big deal in Nebraska.  Home games at Memorial Stadum are always sold out at 90,000 fans; when a game is in progress, that makes Memorial Stadium the “third largest city in Nebraska”.

The school hired a new coach; as you might expect, he has told everyone that his intent is to restore the glory that used to be Nebraska football.  The difference here is that the new coach is Matt Rhule; and if you forget his less-than-sterling time with the Carolina Panthers, you may recall that he has performed two major turnarounds for Division 1-A college football teams.

  • He turned Temple from a 2-win team to a 10-win team in two seasons.
  • He took over the Baylor program in the wake of the Art Briles fiasco and after going 1-11 in his first year there, he had Baylor with an 11-3 record and playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Can Rhule do it again?  At least he has a track record that says his program needs attention because it may be one “on the rise”.  I am not suggesting that you fail to pay attention to Colorado and Coach Prime; just keep an eye on happenings at Nebraska too.


Games of Interest This Week:


Florida at Utah – 5 (44.5):  It is difficult enough to pick games in early September without injury bugs already in the air.  Florida will probably be without their starting center and one of their starting defensive ends. For Utah, QB, Cam Rising is listed as “Doubtful”.

Miami-OH at Miami-FL – 16.5 (45):  I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that Miami will win this game.

Colorado at TCU – 20.5 (63.5):  TCU played in the National Championship game last year; Colorado was not much more than a foot-wipe last year. I suspect that Coach Prime will get a rude introduction to Division 1-A football here.

Boise St at Washington – 14 (58.5):  The Broncos are favored to win the Mountain West Conference and Washington is coming off an 11-2 record last year.

West Virginia at Penn St. – 20.5 (50):  This is a “backyard rivalry game” of sorts.  In these slim pickings of Week 1, that is enough to make the game “interesting”

South Alabama at Tulane – 7 (52):  Don’t laugh.  This game pits two teams against each other where both teams had double-digit wins last season.  This game might be a key deciding element at the end of the season to determine which Group of 5 team and conference gets the reserved slot in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

Northwestern at Rutgers – 7 (39.5):  Laugh if you want …  The reason this game is interesting is to see how Northwestern plays considering the hazing scandal that is still under investigation.  Neither football program is interesting beyond that …

LSU – 2.5 at Florida St. (56):  Early season polling and rankings are mercurial at best, but for now, both teams are ranked in the Top Ten.  This is the Game of the Week by a wide margin.

If I have counted correctly, there are 86 college football games on the betting board this week and I stretched the point to come up with 8 “interesting games”.  My viewing priorities will include:

  • Colorado/TCU:  Unless that gets totally out of hand.
  • Boise St./Washington:  Could be a fun game.
  • So, Alabama/Tulane:  Think this one might be a very good game.
  • LSU/Florida State:  Must See TV …

Finally, let me close today with these words from former Nebraska head coach, Tom Osborne:

“My hardest job is to convince the people of Nebraska is that 10-1 is not a losing season.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “Football Friday 9/1/23”

  1. The UW Huskies last season owned the 61st-ranked defense last season (372.7 yards allowed per game, and ranked 58th in scoring defense last year (25.8 points allowed per game). I predict the Husky defense improves this season. Sound like a safe bet?

    1. TenaciousP:

      If that defense improves significantly, the Huskies are going to be a handful for just about any team.

  2. After enduring many years of football drought in Tallahassee I am most excited to see the Curmudgeon’s quote, ” LSU/Florida State: Must See TV …”.

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