Clear Your Schedule 2021 | Week 7

By Brian Wilmer -

Friends, Romans, countrymen! Give me 1,500 (or so) words.

Week 7 of the college football season is upon us, this whole “ask Brian questions” thing is getting a little momentum, and our dream of the reverse perfect season is STILL ALIVE, y’all! More on that in a minute.

I’m gonna take you through my game to watch from each FBS and FCS league — and answer your questions! — right here in this handy little space. Before I answer your questions, however, I’ve got one for you!

TRIVIA (answer at the end of the column):  Yale has won 32 of 49 games against UConn all-time. Who coached the Huskies the last time the Bulldogs won a game in the series?

You’ve got questions, I’ve got (mostly serious) answers! Let’s see what you had to ask about college football this week.

You know, I actually really like this question. Most people — including a national podcast/TV show or two — are pointing at the game at Nebraska as the main place where the Hawkeyes could stub their toes. Purdue is not getting a lot of attention from most of those voices as a possible loss for the Hawkeyes, and Vegas agrees — Iowa is affording the Boilers 11-and-a-hook.

Part of me wants to reflexively say, “Well, Purdue doesn’t have Rondale Moore, so..” but know this — Moore played once against Iowa in his career, tallying just 88 all-purpose yards in a Purdue victory in 2018. Purdue has rushed for 85 or fewer yards in every game this year except one — which was a victory over UConn, so it almost doesn’t count — and has coughed up 115 rushing yards or greater in all but one (Oregon State) this year.

Iowa last week allowed its largest rushing output of the year on defense, with Penn State tallying 107 yards on the ground. No other foe has cracked the hundred-yard mark on the ground against the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes will probably still win the game, but thinking that Nebraska is the only hurdle remaining on that schedule is a fool’s errand.

Oh, we can only hope, my friend. UConn is such a total mess as a program right now that it’s hard to favor them against anyone. Yale hasn’t even played an FBS opponent since 2014 — coach Tony Reno’s third season — when it beat Army, 49-43, in overtime.

The bigger question is where UConn goes from here. UConn’s beaten one FBS opponent since 2017 (UMass). I would ordinarily suggest they’d look at someone like Central Connecticut State’s coach and target him, but they only have one win. Honestly, they could do worse than Reno, who’s still young in coaching terms (47), but he probably has a better job where he is.

I don’t see another win on UConn’s schedule if they don’t get this one, even as bad as my alma mater, Middle Tennessee, (sadly) is.


Okay, so this is going to be a two-part answer. Let me explain.

USC is going to want a “name” — especially after how badly things blew up with Helton — so it’s going to swing for the fences. It also has a bit of an overinflated sense of importance in the college football landscape, so that will only help those efforts.

People like Lincoln Riley and similar are probably out, so they’ll then look to more attainable “name” guys. If they do that, I think they’ll make James Franklin turn them down. Franklin’s done good things at Penn State, and seems as if he may be movable. Urban Meyer has all the smoke around him right now, which I think will ultimately lead to his not getting the job.

If you take a step down from that, there are guys like Luke Fickell just waiting. The window to get Fickell may have even closed, though. Do you want to see if Sonny Dykes can succeed in his second Pac-12 run?

Here’s a name that likely won’t be in that discussion, but should be a candidate for a better job:  Jay Hill.

The letter (which was to the AAC), in case anyone hasn’t seen it, essentially suggests a conference realignment based on geography.

“We are writing to request an opportunity to bring the leadership of our two conferences together to discuss ways we might be able to work together,” (Conference USA commissioner Judy) McLeod writes on behalf of the conference, “including on matters related to conference realignment/reorganization. We believe that it would be beneficial to have a conversation about the future landscape of college sports in this time of great uncertainty.”

Also, Football Scoop proposed this set of realigned teams in the two conferences:

AAC:  Charlotte, ECU, FAU, FIU, Marshall, MTSU, Navy, ODU, South Florida, Temple, Western Kentucky
C-USA:  Louisiana Tech, Memphis, North Texas, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UTEP, UTSA

Nothing spells “geographically convenient” like the Bowling Green-to-Philly and UAB-to-El Paso treks.

Something’s gotta be done — ODU to UTEP is just an indefensible trip on a regular basis — but I’d rather see an eastern league with a couple of teams like Appalachian or Coastal involved, a central league with WKU/MTSU/UAB, and a southwestern league. It’ll come down to money, though, as always.

He’s certainly a lot more in the discussion than anyone wants to acknowledge. Just look at some of the key numbers and where he ranks, including those better than he in those categories (highest to lowest):

Yards per game:  9th, 319 (Zappe, Armstrong, Rogers, Haener, Pickett, Stroud, Wells, Henigan)
Total yards:  21st, 1595 (I’m not listing out this group)
Completion percentage:  
17th, 69.3 (McCall, Rogers, Rattler — ha, Holmberg, Tagovailoa, Pickett, Purdy, Mordecai, Zappe, Daniels, Harris, Tune, Hooker, Haener, Plummer, Young)
TD:  T-11th, 14 (Mordecai, Zappe, Young, Pickett, Haener, Stroud, Armstrong, M. Johnson – LSU, Howell, Reynolds; tied with Rogers, Henigan, Strong, Bortenschlager, Tagovailoa, Hartman, Thorne, McCall, C. Thompson – TEX)
Rating:  20th, 159.9

I don’t know if he’s the best, based on some of those names in that group, but I’m absolutely willing to entertain his being in that class.

I’m guessing it’s either nitrogen or ham. Maybe both.

This dude really wowed his kid by trying to answer this exact question:

Last question!

Anybody hiring a national college football writer/editor with ten-plus years of experience? Tweet me with offers!

Now, on to what I’m watching — one game per conference, as usual. First, though, as usual:

DISCLAIMER:  This article will reference gambling lines and game odds. This feature is not meant to offer gambling advice or influence any financial transaction, and should not be construed as such.

All lines from Caesars Sportsbook, except where otherwise specified. All times Eastern. All games Friday night or Saturday considered for selection. All times Eastern.

American:  UCF (3-2, 1-1) at #3 Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0,  -21), noon Saturday, ABC
ACC:  #22 NC State (4-1, 1-0, -3) at Boston College (4-1, 0-1), 7:30pm Saturday, ACCN
Big Ten:  Army (4-1) at Wisconsin (2-3, 1-2, -14 — what?!), 8:00pm Saturday, BTN
Big 12:  #19 BYU (5-1) at Baylor (5-1, 3-1, -6.5), 3:30pm Saturday, ESPN
CUSA:  Louisiana Tech (2-3, 1-0) at UTEP (5-1, 1-0, -6.5), 9:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
Independents:  Yale (2-2) at UConn (0-7), noon Saturday, CBSSN
MAC:  Ball State (3-3, 1-1) at Eastern Michigan (4-2, 1-1, -1), 2:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
Mountain West:  Air Force (5-1, 2-1) at Boise State (3-3, 1-1, -4), 9:00pm Saturday, FS1
Pac-12:  #18 Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) at Utah (3-2, 2-0, PK), 10:00pm Saturday, ESPN
SEC:  #13 Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1,-2.5) at Tennessee (4-2, 2-1), 7:30pm Saturday, SECN
Sun Belt:  Liberty (5-1, -32) at UL-Monroe (2-3, 1-2), 7:00pm Saturday, ESPN+

AQ7:  RV Eastern Kentucky (4-2, 1-0 AQ7) at RV Central Arkansas (2-3, 1-1 AQ7), 5:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
Big Sky:  
Sacramento State (3-2, 2-0) at #5 Montana (4-1, 1-1), 3:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
Big South:  NC A&T (3-2, 2-0) at #15 Kennesaw State (4-1, 1-0), 5:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
CAA:  #8 JMU (4-1, 2-1) at Richmond (2-3, 0-2), 2:00pm Saturday, FloSports
Ivy:  Dartmouth (4-0, 2-0) at New Hampshire (3-2, 2-1 CAA), 1:00pm Saturday, FloSports
MEAC:  Morgan State (0-5, 0-1) at SC State (1-4, 0-0), 3:30pm Saturday, ESPN+
Missouri Valley:  #21 South Dakota (4-2, 2-1) at #16 Northern Iowa (3-2, 1-1), 5:00pm Saturday, ESPN+`
Northeast:  St. Francis-PA (3-3, 2-0) at Bryant (3-3, 1-1), noon Saturday, No TV
Ohio Valley:  Tennessee Tech (2-4, 1-1) at Tennessee State (2-3, 0-1), 3:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
Patriot:  Lafayette (2-4, 1-1) at Harvard (4-0, 2-0 Ivy), 1:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
Pioneer:  Presbyterian (2-3, 0-2) at Davidson (3-1, 2-0), 7:00pm Saturday, No TV
Southern:  RV VMI (4-2, 2-1) at RV Mercer (4-1, 3-0), 4:00pm Saturday, ESPN+
Southland:  RV Nicholls (2-3, 1-1) at #18 Incarnate Word (4-1, 2-0), noon Saturday, ESPN+
SWAC:  Alabama State (3-2, 2-1) at Jackson State (4-1, 2-0), 3:00pm Saturday, ESPN+

TRIVIA ANSWER:  I asked earlier:  Yale has won 32 of 49 games against UConn all-time. Who coached the Huskies the last time the Bulldogs won a game in the series?

Current Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz (34-23 in five seasons at UConn) manned the sidelines for UConn on October 1, 1994, as Yale claimed a 28-17 result over the Huskies. Holtz is in his 22nd season guiding a collegiate squad at the FCS or FBS levels, while former Yale coach Carm Cozza was in his 30th season in that year. Cozza guided the Bulldogs for two more seasons, stepping aside after the 1996 campaign.

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If Notre Dame doesn’t make the playoff this year (their chances were severely damaged by the loss to Cincinnati) they should part ways with Brian Kelly, who ironically coached the Bearcats before he came to ND.

This would make him available to UConn. They could use a guy like Kelly.