Presto’s Picks: Lonely is the Lone Star State

WASHINGTON — Everyone knows the saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” This college football season, the disappointment and disillusionment is definitely bigger, with three of the state’s name programs going belly-up on Labor Day weekend.

We all watched Texas usher in a new era of underachievement (no school yaps more with less hardware to show for it) by allowing 51 — 51!!! – points at home to Maryland. Somehow the Longhorns got touchdowns from a punt return, a blocked field goal, and an interception, yet still found a way to start 0-1.

Texas A&M left the Big 12 so it could get out from under UT’s shadow…and Sunday night they found a way to just that by blowing a 34-point second half lead. And then, to make sure nobody missed the meltdown, a member of the school’s board of regents openly discussed firing heaed coach Kevin Sumlin.

Baylor has a lot to deal with in the aftermath of the scandal that sent Art Briles packing…and the Matt Rhule era began with a 48-45 loss at home to Liberty. Liberty? Yes, the Flames took a break from competing against the likes of Monmouth and Kennesaw State to beat the Bears.

I was half-expecting to wake up Tuesday morning with news that SMU & TCU were being put on probation for leftover recruiting shenanigans from the ‘80s or that Rice got lost on its way home from facing #14 Stanford in Sydney, Australia. Easily the worst weekend for the state since Arkansas left the SWC for the SEC.

Saturday’s Games

Maryland (1-0) vs. Towson (1-0), noon, (B1G Network)

After losing Tyrrell Pigrome to a season-ending ACL injury in the win over Texas, the Terps will go with Kasim Hill at quarterback. While starting a true freshman at QB is never ideal, the big hit moving forward for coach DJ Durkin will be the loss pass rusher Jesse Aniebonam from his defensive line. It won’t be that noticeable this weekend, as they’ll face a Tigers offense that completed less than 50 percent of its passes and gained fewer than three yards per carry, when adjusting for sacks last weekend.  Actually, Morgan State was penalized for more yards than Towson gained that afternoon.

Presto’s Pick: Terrapins Triumph, 36-13

#18 Virginia Tech (1-0) vs. Delaware (1-0), 3:30 p.m. (ACC Network)

The Hokies have a tight turnaround (fewer than six days) from their win over West Virginia, while the Blue Hens are in their first year under former Richmond coach Danny Rocco. Redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson like the ideal heir apparent to Jerod Evans in his first game, passing for 235 yards while running for 101 more and accounting for three touchdowns. Delaware does boast a solid running game (4.6 yards per carry against Delaware State), although junior Thomas Jefferson (102 yards on 19 carries in the opener) may be more effective against MEAC schools than ACC teams and more at home in Charlottesville than Blacksburg.

Presto’s Pick: Hokies handle the Hens, 41-16

Virginia (1-0) vs. Indiana (0-1), 3:30 p.m. (ACC Network)

One week after winning its first opener since 2013, the Cavaliers try to go 2-0 for the first time since 2012. They’ll face an Indiana squad that outplayed Ohio State for over 30 minutes in their season opener, only to crash to earth against the nation’s number two team. Can a defense that had issues all 2016 find a way to contain Hoosiers quarterback Richard Lagow (410 yards and three touchdowns against the Buckeyes)? After scoring against William & Mary with Conundrum, Kippy & Buffy continue to think big for the tailgate — this week it’s Cakebread Chardonnay. “The nose offers vivid, creamy aromas of green and golden apple, pear and citrus with supporting scents of beeswax and mineral … remarkably persistent on the palate, culminating in a long finish showcasing pleasing spice, yeast and mineral tones.” Break out the brie on Wasa multi-grain flatbread…but will the UVa D be just as persistent?

Presto’s Pick: Cavaliers come up short, 37-31.

Navy (1-0) vs Tulane (1-0), 3:30 p.m. (CBSSN)

It’s a duel of option offenses in Annapolis…as the Mids and Green Wave both boast quarterbacks who can hurt you by land and air. While Tulane’s Jonathan Banks may be the more polished passer, the Mids’ Zach Abey gained over 200 yards against Florida Atlantic. The Green Wave came within a touchdown of the Mids last year in New Orleans, but have won just four road games over the last three years — and one was at UMass.

Presto’s Pick: Midshipmen roll, 44-20

Howard prevails at Kent State, Georgetown tops Campbell, Richmond rolls Colgate, James Madison beats East Tennessee State.

Last Week: 6-2. Thanks to Maryland & Howard for keeping Labor Day weekend interesting, and me imperfect.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up