It may be the middle of November, but Old Man Winter has already placed his icy, bony fingers around the neck of college football, and today he intends to squeeze.
In Iowa City and Ames, the coldest recorded kickoff temperatures loom as the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa St. Cyclones get set to play in arctic cold. At Folsom Field in Colorado, USC may play in snow for the first time in over 55 years.
USC has not played a game in the snow since November 30, 1957, at Notre Dame. Folsom Field today: pic.twitter.com/2G4ZlFe8Dj— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) November 22, 2013
And in Stillwater, the top game in the nation, Baylor at Oklahoma State, is a potential mess in the making.
On Friday, a significant weather system moved through Oklahoma (and, well, basically the entire middle third of the nation), dropping ice and sleet on Stillwater the day before the game.
The good news is that the game should at least be dry; kickoff temperatures will be in the 30s and falling in breezy conditions. No rain, no sleet, but clearly there's plenty of residual ice on the field and it may refreeze during the course of the game. The warmer temperatures—highs are in the low 40s—should help drain things out at the stadium considerably, so there shouldn't be any standing water or anything by kickoff. But as the temperature drops, whatever residual moisture there is should make field conditions worse as it freezes.
In terms of which team this weather will affect, the obvious answer is "yes." Both teams like to air the ball out, especially when the game's in doubt. For example, Baylor only has 277 pass attempts on the year (a rate of 31 per game), but 200 of those came in the first halves of their games, before it was time to ease off the gas pedal and run the clock out more quickly in the name of sportsmanship. If Baylor threw with the same frequency after halftime, it would throw the 17th-most passes in the nation.
Oklahoma State is up at 34th in the nation with 365 passes on the season of its own, and senior QB Clint Chelf will need to have the game of his life in the poor conditions. If not, well, nothing wrong with blaming the weather.