There are some potentially entertaining games tonight, particularly on the college side. Virginia Tech goes into Pittsburgh where they look to win for the first time in this century. Utah heads to Oregon State, a difficult place to win, especially on a raucous Thursday night. And in the NFL, the recently revived Patriots play host to a dismal Jets team that goes into New England with a 1 – 5 record.
(20) Utah (4 – 1) 27 @ Oregon State (4 – 1) 30: Traditionally, Oregon State has been an upset machine at home. But Utah has already won against UCLA and Michigan on the road, so they’re used to playing against good (okay, I’m giving Michigan the benefit of the doubt here) teams away from home. I’m not that impressed with Oregon State’s offense, but they play decent defense, especially for the wacky Pac – 12. With the exception of being at home on a Thursday night, I can’t really see a good reason to go with the Beavers. Except they are playing at home, and it’s a Thursday night. I’ve started off most of the last few weeks with a loss, so why change now? I’ll go with the home team in what I’m sure will be very colorful orange and black uniforms in this Halloween season.
Virginia Tech (4 – 2) 27 @ Pittsburgh (3 – 3) 20: This is another matchup that doesn’t usually go very well for the visitors. Going back to their Big East days, the Panthers have given the Hokies fits in Pittsburgh. I remember spending a miserable Saturday afternoon in San Diego in 2001 watching a fifth ranked 6 – 1 Tech team get drilled 38 – 7. Those were three hours that could have been spent on Coronado enjoying the California sunshine. Back to this year’s game, this sets up as a real trap game for Virginia Tech. The Panthers have lost three in a row and their offense has all but disappeared. On the other hand, the Hokies seem to have fixed some of the issues that led to back to back heartbreakers against ECU and Georgia Tech. On paper, it looks like all Tech, except there was 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2012, with Tech finally breaking the four game skid with a defensive show last year in Blacksburg.
New York Jets (1 – 5) 16 @ New England (4 – 2) 27: I would have to be totally insane to entertain any scenario where the Jets would be in a position to defeat the Patriots in New England. Except that over the years, Rex Ryan has had a knack of handing Brady and company an untimely loss, even in the playoffs. Of course, those were teams capable of getting to and competing in the post-season, not 1 – 5 teams that are struggling on both sides of the ball. Still, you have to wonder if the bad Patriots might resurface at some point. Judging from the way they’re playing, I would think that is probably not likely tonight. Even if the Jets looked better at times against Denver, that was at home against a team that is traditionally lethargic at sea level. If the Jets can find a way to prevail, it may mean a resurgence for Rex and his antics. I think it’s more likely to be his last visit to Gillette Stadium as head coach of New York’s AFC team.