Coach Drew Burnham is on assignment this week. Game picks will return next week.
Curator Sam Burnham
Game of the Week:
Penn State @ Ohio State
Thus one should be an easy choice. It should be a no-brainer. But the truth is that I shopped around before deciding this one. This is just not a great week for games. And even with Ohio State being overrated and prancing through a schedule of daisies and petunias, two facts stand out about this game. 1) The Buckeyes are a good football team. & 2) Penn State is not an elite program.
Ohio State’s offense is going to fly all over the field with no serious interference. Penn State will score, but not nearly enough and TV commentators will discuss what went wrong.
This is the best matchup of the week but don’t expect too much from it.
Illinois @ Iowa
i feel odd picking both of these games from the Big Ten. But the SEC & ACC matchups this week should be sponsored by Hostess Cupcakes. Just pitiful.
Iowa is coming off a big big win over Minnesota and should have momentum. With an unranked Illinois team coming to town, this will be an easy week to underperform. Illinois has won four in a row including wins over Sparty and Wisconsin. The Illini have real momentum and will take advantage of it and stun the Hawkeyes before dismantling Northwestern to finish 8-4 and land in a respectable bowl game.
Coach Drew Burnham
GAME OF THE WEEK
PITT @ VIRGINIA TECH
This little matchup has flown under the radar with Penn St and Ohio St getting all the hype for the week. These 2 are currently tied for 2nd in the Coastal Division and Tech will play Virginia next week who sits in 1st place. In my opinion, this is the Coastal division Championship game (because Tech just doesn’t really lose to UVA.) There’s plenty of “football reasons” why this game matters, but if you know this coach you know he’s a sucker for a good storyline. Saturday’s matchup will be Coach Bud Foster’s final home game in Lane Stadium. Coach Foster is an anomaly in our business. He graduated from Murray State (Go Racers!) in 1980 after playing there for Coach Frank Beamer and mover into a graduate assistant role. He was promoted to a full time role there and followed coach Beamer to Virginia Tech in 1987. That’s it. That’s the job experience. No bouncing around. No clout hunting. No ball chasing. The man has been in Blacksburg, VA for 32 years. Coaches are hard pressed to stay in one place for 32 months. It’s absolutely unheard of in our business. He is a personification of loyalty, one of the supposed make-or-break qualities in this profession. His stint wasn’t caused by lack of opportunity to leave. Countless head coaching opportunities have come to him and all have been returned to the sender. He’s at home in Blacksburg. On top of all of that, he is a LEGEND. 11 times he has lead a top 10 national total defense, twice #1. 13 times he has lead a top 10 scoring defense, also twice #1. In 2006 he was awarded the Broyles award as the top assistant coach in the country and in all the other years the committee was kidding themselves. One last run out of that tunnel to Enter Sandman will certainly be an emotional one for many. Ill be cheering hard for the Hokies Saturday and you should too.
OREGON @ ARIZONA ST
This is a big one! Arizona St has defeated 2 of the 3 ranked teams they’ve played this season. Old Herm just seems to find a way to pull the best out of the boys when the deck is stacked highest against them. The Sun Devils have struggled on defense recently and while you would be correct to say that’s not really the area you want to be weak in against an explosive Oregon offense, State also returns a couple key offensive players from injury this week. That will allow them to use Jayden Daniels at QB, Eno Benjamin at RB, and Brandon Aiyuk at wideout to really balance out their attack. True balance is difficult to defend and leads to dominating the time of possession. If Arizona can limit the possessions for Oregon and just manage to get a few stops along the way, they could win this one in a pseudo-shootout. It’s a night game at the #1 party school in America. The atmosphere will be elite. Can Herm and the boys pull out their biggest one of the year?
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