Mascot: Unimaginatively enough, the Bulls, just a letter different than the Bills. We'd like to think they were originally called the Bills, just like the pro team, to save on uniforms and promo, but someone made a typo and cost everyone a shitload of money in the process. Mavis Beacon could have saved you millions, sir!
Stadium differential: +12,497
The line: Rutgers by 32
Beating best described as: Cornerstore robbery gone wrong, but with the potential that Rutgers, the guy who's taken years of kung fu and hasn't gotten the chance to use it in a setting where he won't go to jail but is longing to put someone in a Mantis Devours Mate shoulder break, gets just that shot versus a jittery, sleep-deprived crackhead with an unloaded gun.
Rutgers only really got them rangs out for Howard last year (because they're racist. Look! I'm Terrence Moore!) in a 56-7 game. They beat Ohio 24-7, but Ohio made the MAC championship game, and certainly couldn't be put in the suck bin. Buffalo isn't even the cream of the mike.
This is a classic gasoline-soaked man meets toddler-holding-sparkler scenario in the making. Rutgers: 15th best rushing attack in the nation. Buffalo: 109th ranked rushing defense. Ray Rice should have a healthy boulder of rushing yards running downhill by the 2nd quarter. Buffalo should be under said boulder by then.
2. Murray State.
Stadium differential: +46,200
Mascot: The Racers, as in "Blood racing from gaping wounds all over my body WHYYYYYY???" Or racehorses.
The line: Louisville by 55.5
Beating best described as: Jericho meets the hand of God. An angry, bloody eyed Old Testament god waking up with a gin and red wine hangover with a chainsaw in one hand and an RPG in the other on a Monday morning.
Murray State went 1-10 last year in the OVC. Louisville was the Big East Champion, averaged 37 points a game, and returns Brian Brohm, Mario Urrutia, and Harry Douglas, all possible All-Americans at their positions. Louisville also, like a rampaging Val Kilmer at a bakery, displays no mercy on cupcakes: they beat Temple 62-0 in 2006, beheaded UNC 69-14 in 2005, and beat Cincinnati 70-7 in 2004.
We only ask that Kommandant Kragthorpe let the women, children, and Bryan Hardister's mustache out of the game intact. Surely a merciful victor would not harm such a thing of beauty.
3. Weber State.
Playing: Boise State.
Stadium differential: +13,000
Mascot: The Wildcats. As in feral cats, easily devoured by coyotes and shot with impunity by gas-huffing redneck teens.
The line: Boise by 41.5
Beating best described as: A swift, merciful decapitation. When they're over at Boise State at home, they're over fast, usually. Weber State went 4-7 last year in the Big Sky and is coming in with even less hope in the tank than Sacramento State did last year against Boise. They went on to lose 45-0, but were at least emotionally prepared for a rough second half by being down 25-0 at the half. Boise State is a merciful assassin, even if they plan to let the mob drag your body around for a few hours afterwards for a giggle.
4. Appalachian State.
Stadium differential: +90,851. That's all.
Mascot: The Mountaineers. As in the ones who get off K2 too late, hearing the roar of a howling blizzard ripping up from north face, and know death approaches them with its inexorable, frosty steps. Later, they will eat their companions quickly before they freeze solid to survive.
Seriously, this isn't as frightening as ASU's actual baby-eating mascot, whom you may remember from the HOT HOT HOT! video, or from one of the trippier sequences from a Bjork video.
The line: Michigan by 26.
Beating best described as: A tasteful but ultimately fatal caning of a bumptious bumpkin by a formidable gentleman of class and substance. Since Mike Debord is proud of his two offenses--the one that scores, and the one that doesn't--count on the one that does to appear for a quarter and a half or so before yielding to the Blob schemes designed to eat clock and get the hell out without injury. If Michigan hits thirty, just listen for the sound of the engine decelerating and the cruise control pinging on. They usually don't crest the 45 point mark against even the flimsiest of foes.
Appalachian State will assist in what will look like a closer game than actually was by being the most respectable D-1AA team around: national champs two years running and coached by Tom Osborne disciple and former Texas Tech coach Jerry Moore, ASU put in a 23-10 loss to Kansas in 2006 and a 24-0 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge. Both constitute Hall of Fame performances in the annals of cupcakery. No mere chocolate nightmare with sprinkles: ASU will be the all bran muffin with Splenda-flavored frosting you can feel slightly less ashamed of downing on a late night sugar binge.
5. Western Kentucky.
Stadium differential: +69,409.
Mascot: Big Red. Who needs no fictional embellishment to emit an air of bemused but inescapable doom and pathos.
The line: None. Always a good sign.
Beating best described as: Butterbean lets Johnny Knoxville hit him first. Then Butterbean knocks Knoxville into a jewelry case and concusses him into oblivion. Western kept a first year starter off balance last year for at least a quarter against Georgia in Athens. They also benefitted from a brain-dead play on a punt return by Mikey Henderson, who threw the ball up in celebration before crossing the goal line, giving WKU a touchback and a few more minutes of stalling before the glacial talent differential crushed the Hilltoppers with geological certainty.
Florida cupcake games usually feature a few moments like this before Tebow and company hit three or four quick tds in a row and reduce the game to an academic exercise--an option fumble, a nervous first game pick, etc. Point totals could go through classless, Bowdenish, and into outright Spurrieresque by the time this ends: WKU gave up 48 to a hiccupy UGA team last year, and Florida's offense is hypertrophic with speed and talent. Order lightbulbs--the scoreboard will need them.