COYNE: Cal Poly went on the road and beat the then-No. 1 team last week, so hosting the No. 5 team should be no problem, right? Think again. Part of it is the scheduling. Cal Poly has doubled itself down, playing San Diego State on Friday night while Chapman will come in fresh. In addition, Chapman is a different team than the one that lost to BYU in overtime and CSU up in Oregon. The defense has solidified and the confidence is sky high.
I know SLO is not a fun place to play, but Chapman races out to an early lead and parries a late charge from the ‘Stangs. Panthers, 12-11.
SCHOOLER: Chaptown has been on a bit of a hot streak, winning their last seven games. Cal Poly just knocked off the top-ranked team for the second time this season. This will be an epic match-up between two well-coached, disciplined teams. This will be a great game between one of the best attacks in the country pitted against one of the best defenses, but the Mustangs finish on top, 11-9.
No. 2 UC Santa Barbara (8-0) at No. 3 Colorado State (8-1) – Thursday, 7 p.m. MT
SCHOOLER: I am not going to act like I am totally confident that UCSB will win this game, but what kind of alumni would I be if I didn’t pick them? Jac was happy when I asked him to throw a Thursday game into the mix because he thinks this will be a gimme.
He has a point. UCSB has not played a game in two weeks because they have been in finals. They have also had minimal practice time. On the other hand, Mike Allan and his coaching staff have had plenty of time to get a game plan together. But will they have enough time to implement and execute it?
I think they will, but they need to shut down any hope for CSU. The Rams are fired up after losing to Cal Poly. UCSB has not beaten CSU since the 2004 national championship game. Nothing would be better for the Rams than beating the Gauchos again, but that is not going to happen. UCSB wins, 10-8.
COYNE: The Gauchos are a good team, and should make some noise at nationals, but this is a terrible match-up. There are the X-factors such as limited practice during finals, playing at altitude and the Rams being loaded for bear after losing to Poly. It’s also a stylistic mismatch. The Rams will be more than willing to play at the Gauchos’ methodical pace, and it will mean big trouble if UCSB falls behind. I think they will, and CSU will be in control from the start. Rams, 11-7.