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For the eight of you that read this (hey mom!) you’ll know I have a debilitating disease. It controls my life for most hours of the day. Oh, it’s 3AM and I can’t sleep? Better check cricket lines!

But, the one thing I’ve found to soothe this pain during the football offseason happens to also be football… well it’s soccer. Honestly, it’s a large mix of alcohol and experimenting with “grandma’s good pills.”

Anyways, “soccer is boring and stupid.” Sure. Fair. I get it. Not everyone likes it. But during the dark, dark spring and summer months, this lodestar keeps me going.

“Why are we talking about soccer, this is an Iowa blog?” -you

“Because, it’s Derby Week in college football” -me, an intellectual

What is a Derby (pronounced darby by our step-cousins across the Eastern American Ocean)? It’s a matchup between two rivals of close geographical proximity.

This being Iowa/Iowa State week, this term couldn’t be more fitting.

“Hey, that’s just a rivalry game?” Very True. But, for this week’s theme, we’re betting strictly college football Derbies. It’s a quick homage to the sport of football that got me through the desperate days where there was no football, which led me to become a fan of football and appreciate the term “Derby” in football. Glad that’s clear so we can move forward to our first College Football Derby Picks.

For the three of you that are still reading: Congratulations! You’re about to win 80% of your bets again this week. My Venmo name will be at the end.

Florida Atlantic -9.5 vs. Air Force Academy (9/8 1:00PM CST on probably MWC tv or something idk)

“But Ben, the Air Force Academy is located in Air Force Academy, CO (honestly, they got lazy with the town name). That’s 2,003 miles by car from Boca Raton! That’s hardly a Derby by the definition listed above!”

Look at you. Thinking you’ve stumped me on the first Derby pick of the weekend. You’d think they aren’t geographically close, but maybe you missed the “Air” in Air Force Academy. Those guys are in the AIR. That is geographically on top of Boca Raton. And around it I suppose. I’m not a “science guy”.

Bounce back game for my Lord and Savior, Lane Monte Kiffin. These Air Force cadets think they can just control the air space in and around Boca Raton? No chance. The Second Coming’s aerial attack will be on full display. He also owes us for our only loss last week. Owls -9.5.

Ball State +34.5 vs. Notre Dame (9/8 2:30pm CST on NBC)

Now here is a Derby. The only two relevant football teams in Indiana, duking it out for what I presume are the rights to drive their F-150s on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is for all the marbles in this sad, sad “state.” Not even sure if any other teams from the Armpit of America are playing this weekend. But I know every Indiana State Trooper is going to have their hands full keeping these two super fun schools in check.

Can we extend the Skyway over Gary at this point?

Notre Dame beats Ball State. But the Pride of Muncie back door covers for us in the 4th.

Penn State vs Pitt +9 (9/8 7:00pm on ABC)

Derby Day continues, and I hate it. I don’t want to bet this game. But inner me is screaming “don’t bet the Nittany Lions” while other inner me is screaming “DON’T BET PITT” and still the other inner me is screaming “I need help. Someone help me please.”

Pitt +9 because I don’t want to sit here and justify this pick. Just bet it. Maybe.

USC vs Stanford -6 (9/8 7:30pm on FOX)

The California Derby is going to be straight fire. Unless it’s flood season.


There’s our answer. This game is going to have a fiery atmosphere between two top-20 teams. Now I’m not going to sit and here and pretend we might get burned with this pick, but Stanford’s red hot receiving core is going to bring this one home for us.

Stanford’s offense in the second half against SDSU was en fuego (shoutout to our readers in Spain and Portugal). The Aztecs could not put out K.J. Costello’s flame throwing arm. And I don’t see USC extinguishing that flame this weekend. And if they do? Draw plays to Bryce Love’s blazing speed all day. He’s due.

Cincinnati +1 vs Miami Ohio (9/8 7:00pm on It Doesn’t Matter)

The Meth Capital of the World Derby. Seriously, check the stats on this region of Ohio. This is fair criticism.

Miami, Ohio is a tough place to play. You can easily be blinded by the pastel pant colors coming from their student section. But the Bearcats will overcome the blinding Easter pinks, yellows and blues to win. They just beat UCLA! For Kiffin’s sake why is this line so low?!? Trap! But who cares. Vegas is historically awful at setting lines for this game. I have no evidence to back that up but neither did OJ’s attorney’s and he got away with it.

I hate that OJ reference more than I hate these picks.

Go Hawks. Enjoy Derby Week.