Presto’s Picks: Terps, Cavaliers, Midshipmen and Hokies just a part of Saturday’s menu

We kick off College Football’s “Moving Month” with three showdowns of Power Five unbeatens.

But with apologies to Maryland vs. Ohio State (No. 4) and Georgia (No. 1) vs. Kentucky (No. 20), the big game this weekend is in Big D. And it’s about time that Texas-Oklahoma provides a matchup that matches the traditional hype.

As the Longhorns and Sooners play their final seasons in the Big 12 (that has 15 members), both teams enter their showdown unbeaten for the first time since 2011. While Oklahoma won that matchup, Texas has found a way to hand the Crimson and Cream its first loss of the season in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

This year, No. 3 Texas already has a signature win (at Alabama), and is rated No. 1 in the nation by (the Longhorns have the 10th toughest schedule in FBS according to the site). No. 12 Oklahoma (No. 10 on RealtimeRPI) averages 47 points per game behind senior quarterback Dillon Gabriel who’s thrown for 1,593 yards and 15 touchdowns this fall.

For a rivalry that’s been hungry for a classic showdown, one hopes the game will match the hype.

Do you know what always lives up to the hype? The food at the Texas State Fair. Located right near the Cotton Bowl where Saturday’s game will be played, the menu lately has been better than the matchup of the two schools. According to the State Fair’s website, this is the best of what they have to offer this year:

We begin with a different slice of Texas beef, the “OX’cellent Soul Roll.” I don’t know exactly what “oxtails” are, and part of me wants to keep the mystery there. This dish combines beef oxtails with tasty chunks of potatoes, savory smoked Gouda and mozzarella paired with rich butter, celery, bell peppers and sweet onions. It’s rolled into a light and flaky, crispy spring roll, and then deep fried and served with southern hush puppies and garlic chili sauce.

The “Ox’Cellent Soul Roll.” (Courtesy Texas State Fair)

For those looking to leave land and enjoy a taste of the sea, there are “Deep Fried Cheesy Crab Tater Bites.” Minced crab meat, shredded potato, cheese and spices that go in the fryer, then sautéed with melty American cheese and a secret Cajun spice mix. Also, it’s topped with a cheesy crawfish sauce on top, making sure each bite is topped with Cajun gold.

Deep-fired cheesy crab tater bites. (Courtesy Texas State Fair)

And finally for someone looking to “eat healthy,” try out the “Bourbon Banana Caramel Sopapillas” (hey, there is fruit in the recipe). It’s hot and delicious traditional sopaipillas topped with vanilla-caramel-infused bananas, sweet bourbon syrup, crushed candied pecans, sweetened mascarpone cheese, crumbled Nilla Wafers and dusted with powdered sugar. Bon appétit!

Bourbon Banana Caramel Sopapillas (Courtesy Texas State Fair)

Saturday’s games

Maryland (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 4 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0), noon, FOX.

The Buckeyes were idle last week? Are they telling us that OSU needed two weeks to prepare for the Terps?

Perhaps they should as head coach Mike Locksley’s team heads to Columbus enjoying their best start since 2001 (the year they won the ACC), while leading the Big Ten in total offense and ranking second in scoring, passing and third down conversions.

But the Buckeyes lead the conference in passing, rank No. 2 in total yards, and are No. 3 in scoring. Their defense also has a history of causing trouble for Taulia Tagovailoa, sacking him five times in their 2021 and 2022 meetings.

Two years ago, they returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown while last November their fourth quarter fumble recovery for a TD ending the Terps’ fading hopes. Tagovailoa’s been sacked just three times this year despite playing in a pocket that’s been less than spotless.

Maryland is 0-8 all-time against the Buckeyes, and they’ve allowed an average of 63 points in their four games at Columbus. By the way, they play the McCoy’s “Hang On Sloopy” (a No. 1 hit in 1965) every time the Buckeyes score a touchdown with the fans shouting “O-H-I-O” during the chorus (grows old quickly).

The question facing this year’s Maryland defense is containing junior quarterback Kyle McCord (66% completion rate with 264 yards per game passing) and his top target Marvin Harrison Jr. (17 catches for 336 yards and three scores). Programming note: Gus Johnson is announcing Saturday’s game, and it seems that by law, Gus games have to go down to the wire or have spectacular plays.

Presto’s Pick: Plenty of spectacular plays sends this one down to the wire, but the Terps come up short 31-27.

Virginia (0-5) vs William & Mary (4-1), noon, ACCN.

The fourth quarter has not been the Cavaliers’ friend this fall. Not only have they lost consecutive games on late field goals, they wasted a double-digit lead against James Madison University and collapsed in the final frame at Maryland.

Virginia’s been outscored 53-14 in the closing quarter this fall, but at least they’ve got some company this Saturday in William & Mary as the Tribe allowed a pair of touchdowns in the final period of their 14-6 loss to Elon last weekend. Former Cavaliers head coach (27-46 in six seasons in Charlottesville, 27-17 in four-plus years in Williamsburg) Mike London’s team is driven by a defense that allows fewer than 14 points per game. Unlike his days in the ACC, his CAA squad has enjoyed stability at quarterback with third-year starter Darius Wilson directing the offense.

The Cavaliers hope for quarterback Tony Muskett’s continued health (he played a full game for the first time this season) as well as better offensive line play. The school ranks last in the ACC in rushing and third down conversions while allowing the second-most sacks.

Defensively, they look for Ben Smiley III’s healthy return to help spark a pass rush that’s been held in check for most of the season. History is on the side of the Cavaliers, who have won five straight and 11 of 12 in the series.

Kippy and Buffy know enough about history that when the school Thomas Jefferson founded plays the school he attended, one has to tailgate with a bottle from Jefferson Vineyards. The 2019 Skin Fermented Viognier “opens with delicate aromas of citrus, guava, and apricot,” according to the winery’s website. “The earthy palate delivers grilled pineapple, light mango, and brown sugar. The wine finishes with a tannic accent and layered acidity.”

Presto’s Pick: Cavaliers finish with a winning accent this time, topping the Tribe 31-20.

Virginia Tech (2-3, 1-0 ACC) at No. 5 Florida State (4-0, 2-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC.

Has it been 23 years since Michael Vick and company took on Bobby Bowden’s 90s dynasty for the National Championship?

The Seminoles’ 46-29 win in the 2000 Sugar Bowl isn’t the only time they’ve played, but Florida State does own a 14-3 all-time advantage. The two programs haven’t met since Labor Day 2018, when the 20th ranked Hokies topped the 19th rated Seminoles in Tallahassee.

Little did anyone know that would begin a major slide for the Florida State program as they’d post four straight losing seasons. Tech’s also taken a turn for the worse, with just one winning season since. And while Brent Pry is trying to get the Hokies back on track, Mike Norvell’s enjoying the fruits of his fourth year on the sidelines with the program regaining its role as the bully of the ACC.

The Seminoles are coming off a bye week, and perhaps they could use it after winning nail-biters at Boston College (31-29) and Clemson (31-24 in overtime). They’re led by four-year starter (and sixth-year senior) quarterback Jordan Travis, who’s not only completing 61% of his passes but stretching secondaries to the tune of 14.3 yards per completion.

The Hokies currently lead the ACC in pass defense but that might be more of a reflection of the run-first mentality of opponents Rutgers and Marshall that ripped up huge holes on the ground.

Presto’s Pick: Hokies are humbled, 41-17.

Navy (1-3, 0-2 AAC) vs North Texas (2-2), 3:30 p.m., CBSSN.

These two schools have met just once, and what a meeting it was: a 74-62 triumph for the Academy where then-head coach Paul Johnson’s team rushed for 572 yards.

The Mean Green enters its first year of AAC competition with a first-year head coach in Eric Morris, who guided Incarnate Word to a 24-18 record and a pair of FCS Playoff berths in his four years with the Cardinals. He brings a high-powered offense (first in the AAC in yardage gained and No. 2 in points scored) to Annapolis, but the North Texas defense is last in the conference in yardage and points allowed.

I’d add they’re also last in stopping the run, but when you surrender 241 yards per game and 5.9 yards per carry are you really stopping anything? Tai Lavatai and the Navy ground game that’s averaging 270 yards per game and 5.5 per carry will be ready in Annapolis.

Presto’s Pick: Midshipmen control the clock and more importantly the scoreboard in a 34-27 win.

Howard slips to Northwestern, Georgetown loses at Penn, Richmond beats Maine, Towson tumbles to Albany.

Last Week: 4-1.

Season: 30-11.

Presented by FanDuel Sportsbook.
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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