Sep. 23, 2016
"The Stack" 9-21-16
The Stack is back on this Thursday and we need to look ahead to the college football weekend. Will there be any big upsets like what we saw last weekend with North Dakota State over Iowa? Probably not, but we’ll discuss that and more so let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Thursday, September 22nd:
College football weekend forecast
It doesn’t seem like it is going to be that exciting of a week in college football, at least in terms of the matchups we have. There are only four matchups pitting ranked teams against each other and three of those four matchups are in the SEC. It’s still going to be a good weekend, but it feels like we’ve seen better. #12 Georgia @ #23 Ole Miss (Noon ET on ESPN) will be OK, but I have to think Ole Miss can hang onto a lead this game if they get one. Georgia has looked a little shaky so far this season. #19 Florida visits #14 Tennessee (3:30 PM ET CBS). Can Tennessee finally exercise the demons and beat Florida? What has it been, eleven straight wins for the Gators? I’ll take them until Tennessee proves me wrong. #17 Arkansas goes against #10 Texas A&M at Jerry World (9 PM ET ESPN) and I feel like A&M is ranked too high. I like Arkansas and their running game to keep the Aggies offense off the field and beat A&M in a fairly low scoring game. I’m probably wrong there.
Those are all good matchups, but the biggest game arguably is #11 Wisconsin @ #8 Michigan State (Noon ET BTN). Sparty was very impressive in taking down Notre Dame last week. Wisconsin barely got by Georgia State. This feels like a mismatch. Like A&M, Wisconsin is ranked too high. How is this game on the Big Ten Network?
I personally like USC and #24 Utah Friday night (9 PM ET FS1). USC needs a win here, because they have not looked good so far this season. Granted they have played Alabama and Stanford, but a win on the road would do wonders for how the rest of their season plays out. #3 Louisville shouldn’t overlook Marshall (8 PM ET CBSSN). They have a date with the Clemson Tigers next week. Overall this seems like a 3 out of 5 football weekend. Enjoy all of the college action everyone. Should be a fun Saturday.
NFL injury bug
We may have just done this on Tuesday, but Wednesday carried more significant injury news in the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings were at the injury forefront. Running back Adrian Peterson will have surgery today to repair his torn meniscus and it was reported Wednesday that he will likely be out 3-4 months. We know AP is a fast healer and head coach Mike Zimmer has said before that there is no definitive timetable on Peterson’s return, but 3-4 months puts the rest of his season in jeopardy unless the Vikings make it to the playoffs or have a chance in January (the team did sign Ronnie Hillman). As if that weren’t bad enough, left tackle Matt Kalil is likely to miss the rest of the season with a hip injury. Vikings fans may say he sucks, but Kalil has started 66 straight games. He has been dealt with his fair share of injuries and the offensive line for the Vikings through two games has been shall we say bad. How is it going to get better without one of their starters? I just don’t see it.
The bad luck isn’t just in Minnesota though. The bad luck is in Cleveland too (Browns fans would argue the bad luck has been with the franchise since they came back in 1999). Rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman broke his hand in practice. There is no known time that Coleman will be out and he may not miss any time, but certainly with all of the injuries to the quarterbacks and center Cameron Erving, the bad news keeps coming to the bad luck Browns.
A quick note here before we get to tonight’s Thursday Night Football game and it is regarding Los Angeles Dodgers longtime announcer Vin Scully. He is retiring at the end of the season and his last game is likely October 2nd in San Francisco. ESPN honored Scully during their broadcast last night of Dodgers-Giants. I encourage you all to read this piece by ESPN’s Jayson Stark on Scully. We’ll have more on him next week, but this is well worth the read. 67 years Scully has been announcing Dodgers games. 67! Simply amazing.
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots 8:25 PM ET CBS & NFL Network
I forgot to mention last week that Thursday Night Football is streaming on Twitter. Did you know that rookie Jacoby Brissett from North Carolina State will be starting at quarterback for the Patriots? He is. Now we should never doubt the great Bill Belichick and on a short week when his team is the home team, it’s dumb to. I’m about to though. I have a lot of reservations about the Texans and their ability to make a playoff run with Brock Osweiler as quarterback. They do have to travel cross country on a short week, but if the Patriots do not have Rob Gronkowski, the Texans know they have to hone in on LeGarette Blount. I mean, Julian Edelman will be Brissett’s backup should something happen to Brissett. It might with J.J. Watt coming to town. I don’t feel good about this pick, but…
Prediction: Texans 23 Patriots 16
Coming up Friday: Week 3 NFL preview and predictions