WASHINGTON — I’m always confused when Halloween falls on a Monday. Do we celebrate it this weekend or next? And are we allowed to wear costumes at work? Actually, the fall holiday takes me back to the store-bought costumes of the 1970s that featured cheaply made cardboard masks and even cheaper plastic smocks. Thankfully, I thought outside the box as a youngster. Who would have thought a black garbage bag and a box could be transformed into a voting machine? And who would have thought my fifth grade class would be so civic minded that they’d give me grief for NOT having John Anderson on the ballot?
This fall many of the area coaches have had to go with their plan B (we can’t all go as Mr. Spock, Han Solo or Kermit the Frog) costumes to navigate through their rough-and-tumble conference neighborhoods. While the Terps, Hokies and Midshipmen have scored plenty of king-size Snickers bars this year, the Cavaliers appear to have gotten a combination of raisins (nature’s candy?!?) and rocks. Stay safe this weekend, my friends.
No. 22 Navy (5–1, 4–0 AAC) at South Florida (6–2, 3–1) | 7 p.m. Friday, ESPN2
It’s a battle of East and West Division leaders. Yes, I know fully well that Annapolis is on the Chesapeake, yet the Mids are in the “AAC West.” I think they’re paying tribute to the old NFC West that had Atlanta in its membership. One should expect a shootout: Coach Ken Niumatalolo‘s defense will have its hands full trying to stop Bulls’ dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers (1,700 yards passing, 700 yards rushing through eight games), while Will Worth and the triple option look to feast on a subpar USF run defense (last in the AAC stopping the run and the worst in the red zone).
Presto’s Pick: Midshipmen in a nail-biter, 34–30
Virginia (2–5, 1–2 ACC) vs. No. 5 Louisville (6–1, 4–1) | noon Saturday, ABC
The Cardinals boast the most electrifying player in the country in the country in Lamar Jackson, and lead the ACC in rushing, passing efficiency, yards gained and scoring. The Cavaliers? Last in yards and points allowed and second-to-last in passing yards surrendered. Perhaps, they’re spending too much time concentrating on stopping the run (third worst in the conference). Good thing Kippy & Buffy will be tailgating with multiple bottles of Pollak Vineyards 2012 Merlot: “aromas of fresh, ripe cherries and blueberries burst forth, aged in new and neutral French oak barrels.” Break out the smoked cheddar and Urban Oven Crackers (try the olive oil flavor).
Presto’s Pick: Cavaliers come up short, 42–16
Maryland (5–2, 2–2 Big Ten) at Indiana (3–4, 1–3) | noon 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
For the second straight Saturday, the Terps will tangle with a team trying to salvage its season — the Hoosiers have dropped three straight. Last Saturday the tailback tandem of Lorenzo Harrison and Ty Johnson each gained more than 100 yards against Michigan State, and one can expect more of the same against an IU defense that has taken its share of lumps in losses to Ohio State, Nebraska and Northwestern (combined 10–1 in Big Ten play). Injuries have turned Maryland’s secondary inside — out this fall, and this week they’ll have to stop an offense as balanced (265 runs, 256 passes), as you’ll see. A win wouldn’t just double 2015’s total but would also clinch bowl eligibility in coach D.J. Durkin’s first fall on campus — no small feat.
Presto’s Pick: Terrapins triumph, 27–20
Howard falls at Savannah State, Georgetown routs Lafayette, William & Mary loses to Maine, James Madison beats Rhode Island, Towson tumbles at Delaware, Morgan State beats Norfolk State.
Last Week: 8–1. When a Maryland win ruins a perfect week, you tip your cap.