Presto’s Picks: Loading up on college football candy

Halloween in an almost post-pandemic world means you better bring your A-game this weekend.

Wearing a vest and calling yourself “Han Solo” won’t cut it this year, nor will throwing on a tacky suit and saying you’re “Saul Goodman” (wait until a year when the show is actually back on).



Although you could probably get away with wearing your 2019 costume because that year still feels like a decade ago. Halloween is also the time of year where we realize “Mr. Goodbar,” “100 Grand” and “PayDay” are still in business, or they just made so much back when they were prosperous there’s a ton of excess inventory. And it’s also the holiday when you learn which neighbors think raisins are “nature’s candy.” Yum.

After a weekend where there were zero Top 25 matchups, we’ve got three such showdowns this Saturday. No. 6 Michigan Meets No. 8 Michigan State at noon (don’t they know 12 p.m. is the domain of Indiana, Maryland, and Rutgers?) for the Big Ten East lead in a series where the kid brother-Spartans have had the better of the older sibling Wolverines (9-4 since 2008) recently. While No. 1 Georgia-unranked Florida holds down the 3:30 time slot, the most intriguing SEC game of the week has is the 7 p.m. showdown between No. 10 Mississippi and No. 18 Auburn (both schools envy Alabama and have fan bases that have short memories of success). The sweet game that turned sour is the 7:30 p.m. tilt between No. 5 Ohio State and No. 20 Penn State (losing in nine overtimes to underwhelming Illinois at home has a way of sapping hype out of a matchup). Eat up, and make sure you brush after each gorging.

Friday

Navy (1-6, 1-4 AAC) at Tulsa (3-4, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., ESPN2.
Friday night lights may be dialing up a thriller: the Midshipmen have lost one-possession games this year to Houston, SMU, and Cincinnati — three schools that are a combined 20-1 this fall. The Golden Hurricane has won all three of their games by seven points or fewer, but quarterback Davis Brinn has thrown an AAC-high ten interceptions this fall. Their defense also ranks last in the conference at getting off of the field on third down, and while the Mids rank eighth in moving the chains they’ve converted a conference-best 18 fourth downs in 27 tries. Meaning they actually lead the AAC in retaining possession if you combine their third and fourth down conversion numbers. Navy has won three straight at Chapman Stadium but is playing on short rest on the road for the second time this fall (they lost by 18 at Memphis earlier this month) while Tulsa is coming off their bye week. Will they be rested or rusty?

Presto’s Pick: Midshipmen come home happy with a 24-20 victory.

Saturday

Maryland (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten) vs Indiana (2-5, 0-4), noon, Big Ten Network.
Shootout at high noon? These two schools allow the most points per game in the Big Ten. While the Terps are averaging just 17 points per game in conference play, the Hoosiers have score 28 points total in four league games. IU’s quarterback situation is up in the air with Michael Penix Jr. and backup Jack Tuttle both injured, meaning Donaven McCulley and Grant Gremel (a combined ten career passing attempts) have been taking snaps this week in practice. After years of dealing with their own QB carousel, stability is one thing the Terps have going for them as quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa who’s tied for second in the Big Ten in passing yards and is fourth in efficiency. Homecoming in College Park means the 2001 ACC Champs plus then-Head Coach Ralph Friedgen will be honored. Current Head Coach Mike Locksley was an assistant on that team and probably hopes Tagovailoa channels their QB from that year Shaun Hill moving forward.

Presto’s Pick: Terrapins triumph, 38-21.

Virginia Tech (3-4, 1-2 ACC) at Georgia Tech (3-4, 2-3), noon, ESPN3.
The Hokies are a lot like the Terps in that they’re dealing with three straight October losses and their once-rosy bowl prospects are in jeopardy. Tech’s ills begin with an offense that ranks 13th in the ACC in passing, total yards and scoring as Braxton Burmeister is completing 36-of-82 passes this month. They also have trouble stopping the run (12th in the conference) and they’ll have their hands full with Yellow Jackets freshman Jahmyr Gibbs (132 yards and a touchdown against Virginia last week). The two teams didn’t meet last year but the Hokies have lost three of four in the series.

Presto’s Pick: Hokies autumn of discontent continues with a 31-26 loss.

Virginia (6-2) at No. 25 BYU (6-2), 10:15 p.m., ESPN2.

The school that kicked off week two at 11 a.m. in Charlottesville sees the other end of the spectrum with a late-night game in Provo. Brennan Armstrong (an NCAA-best 3,220 passing yards) will find the thin mountain air quite inviting, while a defense that’s near the bottom of the ACC in stopping the run (198 yards allowed per game on 5.3 per carry) will be tested by Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (his 191 yards rushing in a win over Washington State last week give him 866 on the season). Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall spent 11 seasons as BYU’s Head Coach from 2005-15, winning 99 games at the school while winning a pair of Mountain West Conference titles before the school went independent. The Cougars are now on track to join the Big 12.

Kippy & Buffy are on track for another awesome tailgating season, and a non-conference game in the Rockies means they’re going with a bottle of white that wins out west. Barboursville’s 2019 Vermentino Reserve captured the Platinum Medal at the San Diego International Wine Competition this year while earning a rating of 94 points. “Vivid citrusy aromatics with a deep, dry palate of sustained structure,” their website reads. “Excellent body, lingering minerality and finesse of finish.”

Presto’s Pick: Cavaliers show sustained structure and finish with finesse in a 34-30 victory.

Georgetown beats Lafayette, Howard falls Delaware State, James Madison beats Elon, Richmond loses at New Hampshire, William & Mary slips at Villanova, Towson tops Albany, Morgan State tumbles at Norfolk Sate.

Last Week: 8-2.

Season: 53-15.

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).

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