2012-12-31

Official RZA ESPN Pickem 2012

Hello all,

as you might remember we started a Pickem game on ESPN (More Details). After 17 gamedays we have a winner. Slider6 won quite impressive by having 179 picks right. To give you a measure, the worlds best picker this season had 188.

We say: Congratulations!

Slider6 will receive his "RZA - I won the 12/13 Pick'em on ESPN" T-shirt with his name on it, the trophy for winning this competition, soon.

Cheers, and thank you all for your participation!

CU next NFL season again.

BOWLS - the fifth

OK, the biggest Bowls are coming up and we are almost finished with the Bowl season.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FROM LAST WEEKEND

AdvoCare V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL: Ohio vs Louisiana Monroe
Oh boy, that was a bad game by ULM.
Or a good game by Ohio.
The Bobcats did dominate the whole game and there was no light at the end of the road for the Warhawks.
Ohio did win big and my pick was bad.
45-14 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-6

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL: Rutgers vs Virginia Tech
A defense dominated battle and at the end, VT took home a W in OT.
Rutgers lead the whole game until VT tied the game in the fourth.
Bad defense stand by Rutgers.
10-13 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-7

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL OF TEXAS: Minnesota vs Texas Tech
I have to admit, the Gophers did show their teeth here but it was not enough.
A close game though out the whole gametime but at the end, the Red Raiders won by 3.
31-34 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 6-7

BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL: Rice vs Air Force
Rice DID play tough, and it was way tougher than Air Force did.
The Owls did dominate the second half and won this one.
Falcons Defense look bad and they better strengthen that part of their game next season.
33-14 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 6-8

NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL: West Virginia vs Syracuse
Ha Ha! A blind chicken does sometimes find a corn, too. Or something like that.
It was cold and snowy in New York and Syracuse did play waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better unter those conditions.
They basically stopped this dangerious Mountaineers offense and scored TWO safties!
How can you as a team called Mountaineers suck so much under snow conditions?
14-38 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 7-8

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL: Navy vs Arizona State
There is not much to say.
The Sun Devils did basically slaughter the Midshipmen.
14 Points of Navy came in the fourth quarter when Arizona State did already celebrate the win.
28-62 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 8-8

VALERO ALAMO BOWL: #23 Texas vs #13 Oregon State
Oregon State did suck.
They basically had Texas the whole game under control, until it counted in the fourth.
Nice defense by Texas and bad execution by Oregon State.
31-27 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 8-9

BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL: TCU vs Michigan State
And this drove me mad.
TCU lead 13-0 at the half in a defense battle.
How can you lose such game in the second half?
Muffed punt anyone? Before your own endzone, anyone?
That punt returner should just be ashamed for the rest of his live.
At the end it was a field goal kicking competition, but that one muffed punt a the TD after that was the game changer.
16-17 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 8-10

Well, that was bad ..... Maybe I can pick better the next few days.

And now let’s take a look at the next upcoming games.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FOR MONDAY AND TUESDAY

We are having 10 game on the years end and beginning of the next year.
I don't know why the do that, frm marketing point of view, this makes no sense.
So it must be tradition.

FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL: North Carolina State vs Vanderbilt
This is played on Monday.
Since 1998 is this Bowl played and they field it at LP Field in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans.
The SEC send a team versus an ACC team.
Each team gets around 3.500.000$.
The Wolfpack has a 7-5 record and does only play here, because many ACC teams did play bad this season.
For the Commodores, this is homegame, since the University is also placed in Nashville.
They had an 8-4 record and are the favourite here.
I have to admit, I don't see much in NC State.
They did have one great win, against Florida State. The rest was average at best.
Vanderbilt did lose against the SEC big shots, but played good versus the other ones.
I expect them to play that way, while I expect NC State to play bad because they have to play with an interims coach.
So I pick Vanderbilt.

HYUNDAI SUN BOWL: USC vs Georgia Tech
This is played on Monday.
Since 1935 is this Bowl played!
It is now played in Sun Bowl Stadium since 1963 (home of the UTEP Miners) at El Paso, Texas.
It's a game PAC 12 vs ACC.
Each team gets around 4.100.000$.
I think this one is already over, before it started.
USC is 7-5 with losses against Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona and Notre Dame.
Georgia Tech is 6-7 (negative record!!!) with a highlight loss against Middle Tennessee from the SBC.
They lost every game against a worthy mid level opponent.
So I pick USC by a mile.

FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL: Iowa State vs Tulsa
This is played on Monday.
This one exists since 1959.
It's meant to play the CUSA Champion vs SEC #8. Since the SEC had not enough eligible teams, the Bowl guys picked a Big 12 team.
Each team gets around 1.700.000$.
Iowa State could win this one.
They are 6-6 but did beat Tulsa in the regular season.
Tulsa is 10-3 and CUSA Champion, but the two conferences are a bit apart in strength, so it is hard to compare their stats.
For me this is a decision made by gut feeling.
I think it is hard to beat a team in a season twice, so I pick Tulsa in a close game.

Chick-fil-A BOWL: #8 LSU vs #14 Clemson
This is played on Monday.
Since 1968 is this Bowl played and is now fielded in the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons.
It's a SEC vs ACC game.
The ACC team gets around 4.000.000$, the SEC team gets 2.900.000$.
This a game worth to watch.
I think this is one of the matchups Bowls were made for and here we have a very good one.
LSU is 10-2 and Clemson is 10-2, too.
LSU did lose against Florida and Alabama, Clemson did lose against Florida State and South Carolina.
All classy teams.
I think LSU has a small edge here, because Clemsons defense is a bit on and off.
LSU on the other hand has a very good defense, which might be able to control thaz nice Clemson offense.
So ... Tigers vs Tigers and a Tigers team will win.
LOL.
I pick LSU.

TAXSLAYER.com GATOR BOWL: Missisippi State vs #20 Northwestern
This is played on Tuesday.
Since 1946 is this Bowl played and is of cause played in Florida, at EverBank Field, Home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At the moment it is a SEC vs Big Ten Bowl.
Each team gets around 7.000.000$.
This will be fun.
The Bulldogs are a bit of a mystery here, since they started strong and then 3 in a row and at the end of the season against Ole Miss.
That 8-4 season is not bad, but I think Bulldogs-Fans were expecting more of them.
The Wildcats were 9-3 but they played a weaker schedule and did lose against the big shots of the Big Ten.
So?
Can this Big Ten team survive against a SEC team?
I don't think so.
I think the SEC magic will come out (as hard knocking defense) and will win the game.

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: Purdue vs Oklahoma State
This is played on Tuesday.
This is very new, since 2011 is this Bowl played.
To confuse all it is played in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the Stadium named after the event (which was moved to another stadium).
At the moment it is a Big 12 vs Big Ten Bowl.
Each team gets around 1.200.000$.
What can I say? This should be a beating the Boilermakers will get from the Cowboys.
I can't see Oklahoma State lose in this one.
Purdue was meant to be strong this year but finished 6-6 in a weak Big Ten year, while Oklahoma State did play 7-5 in a very strong Big 12.
So Cowboys win here.

OUTBACK BOWL: #10 South Caroliona vs #18 Michigan
This is played on Tuesday.
This is played since 1986 and is fielded at Raymond James Stadium, Home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the South Florida Bulls.
Another SEC vs Big Ten Bowl and each team gets around 6.900.000$.
South Carolina will be hard to beat here.
Michigan had some ups and downs, but for me it says a lot, when they lost on season opener against Alabama by a mile.
They were not ready and I think they will probably not be ready against the Gamecocks.
They have QB issues and the Gamecocks does have everything ready.
It will be a closer game, but the Gamecocks will eat that Wolverine alive.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: #7 Georgia vs #16 Nebraska
This is played on Tuesday.
Since 1946 played, under different names. Thanks to sucking sponsors it is no longer the Citrus Bowl.
But is is still played in that stadium in Orlando, Florida.
SEC against Big Ten, again.
Each team gets around 4.550.000$.
Georgia did play in the SEC Championship game and lost.
Nebraska did play in the Big Ten Championship game and lost.
So they are in good company here, right?
I'm still mad at Nebraska, since the were soooooooooooo bad in that game against Wisconsin.
So who will win?
I say Georgia, since Nebraska did suck so much, but if (and that seems to be a big IF) they come out prepared and focus, this can be even and they can win.
But a team which comes out that bad in a damn Championship game .... forget it.
If Georgia not does field 11 UGAS (that Bulldog mascot) instead of players, they shoudl win against the Cornhuskers.

ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY VIZIO: Wisconsin vs #6 Stanford
This is played on Tuesday.
The mother of all Bowls is played since ... 1902!
It was permanently installed in 1916 and is played since then.
Normally it is the Big Ten Champion vs the PAC 12 Champion.
Sometimes other teams come into this place, because one or both champs have to play in the BCS Finals, but very often do the champs meet here.
Each team gets around 18.000.000$. (it is a BCS game)
For Wisconsin, this is the third trip in three year.
They did wiggle themself into the Big Ten final, did beat a sloppy Nebraska team and here they are again.
They lost the last two Bowls.
Stanford did beat a very good UCLA team and is the favourite in this.
I can't see them lose here. But who knows.
If Wisconsin finds that energy they had in the Big Ten final, this will be nice.
I'm expecting a close game, with the Cardinals beating the Badgers.

DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL: #15 Northern Illinois vs #12 Florida State
This is played on Tuesday.
This is played since 1935 and is fielded at Sun Life Stadium, Home of the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes.
It is the ACC Champion against an at-large BCS worthy opponent.
Each team gets around 17.500.000$. (a BCS game)
Welcome to the worst BCS-matchup ever.
I love Northern Illinois, but they are in no universe worth a matchup against a Florida State team.
They did come into this Bowl, because of some rules in the BCS-setup list, and rules are rules.
What i don't get is, why the Huskies were ranked by the humans that high?
For me this is over, before the first whistle was blown.
Seminoles in a one dimensional game.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-12-30

Trade players?

We activated a new feature for testing today, so called player trading.

First of all: at the moment this is just in status Alpha, this means you use the feature, can make offers, veto them, whatever. But the transfer won't come true finally, no money or player changes its owner, no penalty on Team chemistry and so on will happen.

So what is it about: You can put your players up for trade. By this, they appear on the transfer market - marked as traded. Now everyone can place offers on that player. The owner can refuse or accept these offers during a period of 7 days. Once an offer got accepted, a period of another 7 days (review period) is starting, while other owners can't put offers on that trade anymore. All team-owners out of the league where the player is originating from, and where he is going to, get notified about this trade attempt. These managers are able to put a veto on that trade, by telling a short reason for their veto. Vetos can be withdrawn. Once a Veto was withdrawn, this owner cannot put another veto on the same trade. If, after the 7 days review period, there are less than 4 vetos on a trade, it will happen (Keep in mind, actually it won't happen during our test). Putting a player up for trade is possible until day 67 of a season (during the test this limit is not active).

So we expect you to test this feature, to send bug reports if needed, to make suggestions how to make it better.

Let's see if this works as expected, if the community is great enough to handle such an offer without starting riots, attacks or just to abuse it. We know there is a lot of cheating potential in there, this is why we decided to go for a public alpha test for the very first time of RedZoneAction.org.

2012-12-28

BOWLS - the fourth

Now they keep on coming and they keep on been what they should be: Interesting.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FROM LAST FEW DAYS

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL: Western Kentucky vs Central Michigan
This was a close game and at the end ... my prediction was wrong.
Western Kentucky trailed a long time but were able to get the lead in the third quarter.
But in the fourth, Central Michigan were able to score again and did take home the win.
21-24 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 3-4

MILITARY BOWL - PRESENTED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN: #24 San Jose State vs Bowling Green
I have to admit, Bowling Green had all the tools to get a victory here, if not the turnover did just killed them.
The Spartans had some crucial picks and fumble recoveries and at the end, SDSU won by 9.
Not that high scoring as expected, but OK.
29-20 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 4-4

BELK BOWL: Cincinnati vs Duke
Duke led 16-0 before Cincinnati did show up and did come back.
About 1:30 before the end the game was tied at 34.
I have to admit, I would never expected such from the Blue Devils.
The Bearcats did then a 83 yard TD pass and the game was basically over.
48-34 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-4

BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION HOLIDAY BOWL: Baylor vs #17 UCLA
Oh boy, Baylor looked good in that game and UCLA never stood a chance!
The game was over at the half and starting of the 4th quarter it was 42-13!
Then did Baylor some stupid things and at the end UCLA did score some, but far from enough.
49-26 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-5

And now let’s take a look at the next upcoming games.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FOR THE WEEKEND

AdvoCare V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL: Ohio vs Louisiana Monroe
This is played on Friday.
Since 1976 is this Bowl played and they field it at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Because of the 200 year celebration of independence at 1976, this Bowl has its name.
The SEC 10th team should face an ACC team (7th).
The SEC had only 9 eligible teams this year, so a replacement was needed here.
And because North Carolina and Miami are not eligible because of NCAA investigations or sanctions, also an replacement for an ACC team was needed.
That's how this matchup did come together. (and of cause there was this thing with Louisiana Tech see my blog a few entries ago...)
Each team gets around 1.100.000$.
Ohio did start well in the season, but did suffer some losses at the end of the season; They ended with an 8-4 record.
ULM did had a great season, including that stunning win against Arkansas, until they ULL and Arkansas State.
That did end all hopes for a championship in the SBC.
This will be close, I think. If ULM comes out in their first half of the season form, Ohio will lose.
But if Ohio does match that with their first half of the season form .. it will be fun.
I will pick ULM and I put my money on the QB of the Warhawks and the fact it is played in Louisiana.

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL: Rutgers vs Virginia Tech
This is played on Friday at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.
It's played since 1990.
The ACC should face up against the Big East.
Each team gets around 2.325.000$.
This will be a nice defense against an explosive offense (once they get going this year).
This year was the worst for VT (6-6) sind 1992 (2 win that year) (same coachsince than, by the way).
Their best win was maybe against Georgia Tech in OT at the start of the season.
Rutgers did play good the whole season, but did fall to Kent State, Pitt and Louisville, which resulted in a share for the Big East Crown, which could have been theirs all alone.
I think Rutgers has a small edge here.
I will not give up VT at all, so I think the Hokies will fight, but it looks like this year is not A Hokie year.
The Scarlet Knights will win.

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL OF TEXAS: Minnesota vs Texas Tech
This is played on Friday at Reliant Stadium at Houston, home of the Houston Texans.
It's played since 2006.
The Big 12 should face up against a Big Ten Team.
Each team gets around 1.700.000$.
I would Texas Tech the edge here.
Even or maybe because they lost their HC (boltet to Cincinnati).
The Red Raiders had a 7-5 season with some tough wins and losses, while the Gophers had a 6-6 season with honestly only weak opponents wins and all losses against bigger programs.
So Texas Tech will win in Houston. Period.

BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL: Rice vs Air Force
This is played on Saturday.
Since 2003 is this Bowl played and they field it at the moment at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Home of the TCU Horned Frogs in Texas.
A MWC team should face a CUSA team. If either conference can't field an eligible team here Army or Navy can play.
Each team gets around 1.200.000$.
Rice had a 6-6 season and is the underdog in this matchup.
Air Force had a 6-6 season, too, but does not field that losing tradition as does Rice.
Sorry for that, but it is true.
I asume here, that Rice will play tough. but will come up short.

NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL: West Virginia vs Syracuse
This is played on Saturday and does operate since 2010.
It's played in Yankee Stadium in New York and does field Big East teams (#4) facing Big 12 teams #7 or Notre Dame.
Each team gets around 2.000.000$.
West Virginia had a rough year in their first year in the Big 12.
With 7-5, this is far from being a regular Mountaineers season.
Syracuse on the other hand had a very nice season compared to former ones and did finish also 7-5.
The Orangemen are still the underdogs in this.
I can decide here.
I love how the Orange did play and I thing West Virginia did play not as good as they might could.
So ... who will win?
I pick the Orange as the winner and will probably suffer from that, but who cares.

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL: Navy vs Arizona State
This is played on Saturday.
Since 2002 does this Bowl operate, even under different names.
It is played at AT&T Park in San Francisco and home of the San Francisco Giants (Baseball team)
This is a PAC 12 Bowl facing Navy, BYU or some teams from the ACC, MAC or WAC.
The PAC 12 team gets 900.000$ the other team only 750.000$.
Arizona State did play really nice this season and did had a 7-5 record.
Navy did also play nice, fielding a 8-5 record and the Commander in Chief Trophy. Yeah.
I'm not sure, if this will help here, but maybe it does in the Midshipmen heads.
The Sun Devils are the favourites here and I go with that.
Navy was too inconsistent and had a lot of close games they won against very weak opponents.
So I think the Sun Devils will win easily.

VALERO ALAMO BOWL: #23 Texas vs #13 Oregon State
This is played on Saturday.
This one exists since 1993 and has tie ins to the Big 12 and the PAC 12.
It is played in the Alamobowl in San Antonio.
Each team gets around 3.000.000$.
The Longhorns did really not had a season worth the money this program is worth or it does earn.
There were questions regarding their HC, but as it looks now, he will stay and will not be fired or send into retirment.
With 8-4 they did play better than last year, but the expectations were higher.
Opposing to that, the Oregon State Beavers did have a season which did beat any expectations anyone had in them.
With 9-3 they have a terrific result and it will be fun to see, if this team can beat Texas.
I think they will.
Texas looked very weak in their games and they had some close ones which could have been a loss also.
So the Beavers will win and the Longhorns fans will be mad.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL: TCU vs Michigan State
This is played on Saturday and does operate since 1989.
It's played in Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona, home of the Arizona State Sun Devils.
It does field Big Tean facing Big 12 teams.
Each team gets around 3.300.000$.
If this would have been the matchup LAST year, I would have been excited, but TCU and Michigan State did not play as last year.
TCU is 7-5 and Michigan State is 6-6.
So this is a bit of a downer.
Still this will be tough and a tough defense matchup.
I expect TCU to come up with the win here.
The Spartans were to on and off this year, I think TCU will just be better prepared and better suited for that.

No games on Sunday!

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-12-26

BOWLS - the third

Ho Ho Ho. The second wave of Bowls are through.

Nice games there.

Interesting side note: Boise State is meant to join the Big East Conference next year.
NOW they are negotiation for staying in the Mountain west Conference?
They seem to try to have the home TV rights of their own, which is not common for any conference football team.
We will see, how this will turn out.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FROM LAST WEEKEND

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL: BYU vs San Diego State
This game is a good example of playing well prepared against playing sloppy.
San Diego State did play bad and they made turnovers at the wrong time at the wrong place.
BYU did win this in the fourth quarter, when SDSU did collapse and had basically a blackout in playing.
6-23 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 2-1

BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL ST. PETERSBURG: Ball State vs UCF
This on the other hand was basically over when the half time was up.
Ball State did not play good enough to keep up with Central Florida.
The Cardinals were three scores behind and that margin was held.
17-38 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 3-1

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL: East Carolina vs Louisiana Lafayette
I said it would be a close game.
Well, are 9 points close?
It looked close, before LLU did score big in the second.
It looked close, when East Carolina did tie the game, in the middle of the third quarter.
And it still looked close in the middle of the fourth quarter, when LLU ahead up by 6 points.
But East Carolina was not able to move the ball and so did the Ragin' Cajuns score another field goal and the won.
Lots of scoring in this game.
34-43 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 3-2

MAACO BOWL LAS VEGAS: Washington vs Boise State
Then is was Boise State time and they did play good.
Until the middle of the second quarter. They led 18-3 at that point.
The Huskies did score and score again and it was suddenly 18-17 to the half.
The Broncos did score first in the second half and Washington did score again, but failed the 2 point conversion.
25-23 for the Broncos beginning of the fourth quarter.
Washington missed a field goal at the beginning of the quarter and was not able to score, so Washington did reach FG-range again and hit it.
Boise State behind now by one point.
But in that situation they did come back and hit a FG by themself and won the game.
26-28 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 4-2

SHERATON Hawai'i BOWL: Fresno State vs SMU
OK, that one was so wrong anticipated by me ... by a mile.
SMU did play like a beast and Fresno State looked like a puppy.
That offensive line was so bad by the Bulldogs.
At the end, the Mustangs did win by a mile, instead of my predicted win by Fresno State.
10-43 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 3-3

And now let’s take a look at the upcoming games.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS

Now do those Bowl game come in big numbers, so I will cover them with that entry here until Thursday.

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL: Western Kentucky vs Central Michigan
This is played on Wednesday.
The once Motor City Bowl is played in Detroit at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions.
The Bowl itself is played since 1997.
This is played between a MAC team (very often the MAC Champion) and a Big Ten team, if enough teams are eligible.
If not, a Sun Belt Team can be chose, which is what happend this year.
Each team gets around 600.000$.
Western Kentucky was in the hunt for the SBC championship, but lost to Louisiana Monroe and after that it went downhill.
Still the performance was enough to play in a Bowl with a 7-5 record and to give the coach a better paid job at South Florida.
So the Hilltoppers will have an interims coach here.
Central Michigan is 6-6 this season and more or less stumbled into this Bowl, with a win on the last gameday.
If not for the missing coach, I would pick WKU without a doubt. But that coaching changes can go either way.
The team can say: That was our season, not yours and play like the devil, or they can be frustrated and play like a bunch of pancies.
I still think WKU should win this, but it could get close.


MILITARY BOWL - PRESENTED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN: #24 San Jose State vs Bowling Green
This is played Thursday.
Since 2008 this Bowl is played and has yet to find some kind of tradition.
It is meant to team up teams from the ACC versus CUSA or Navy, Army or Air Force.
If not enough teams of those conferences and service academies are eligible, they can chose other teams.
That's how this year a MAC team does face a WAC team.
It's played in the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C. and each team gets around 1.000.000$.
The Spartans are 10-2, the Falcons are 8-4 and by any book, San Jose State is the favourite here.
Even if the headcoach did run away to become the new Colorado head coach (good luck with that, you will need it).
So I expect a nice high scoring game here with a Spartans win at the end.

BELK BOWL: Cincinnati vs Duke
This is played Thursday at the Bank of America Stadium at Charlotte, home of the Carolina Panthers.
It's played since 2002.
The ACC (around #5) should face up against #3 of the Big East.
Each team gets around 1.600.000$.
OK, this is a joke. The Blue Devils are basically not Bowl worthy, and not for this one.
Yes, they won 6 games but the also lost 6 and 5 of them in a row.
The Bearcats on the other hand are 9-3 and they should win this.
A Blue Devils win would be a surprise here.

BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION HOLIDAY BOWL: Baylor vs #17 UCLA
This is played Thursday at the Qualcomm Stadium at San Diego, home of the San Diego Chargers.
It's played since 1978.
The Big 12 should face up against a PAC 12 team.
Each team gets around 2.350.000$.
I'm really currious to see them facing off here.
Baylor had a good season with 7-5 and the year one after RG III.
UCLA had a fantastic season (9-4) in year one of Jim Mora Junior as new coach.
I'm here for the Bruins, I think Mora will prepare them the best he can and that will be enough to beat a reloading Baylor team.
It's also in California, so a bit of a home game for the Bruins, too.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-12-24

Merry Christmas, dear gamers

We would like to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas. Hopefully you can enjoy the days, find some relaxing hours, get some distance from everydays trouble. We wish you all the best.

You might remember: we asked you for making some advertisement on social networks, here is the result.

Facebook: Our follower base has grown by 47 to 192. This makes 10 Credits.

Google+: We won 19 new followers, this makes 65 now. This results in another 4 Credits.

Twitter: 16 new followers, this makes it 54 now. 4 Credits on top.

Twitter hashmark competition: we found one (!) hashmark #RedZoneAction, which is worth 1 Credit.

OnlineSportManagers: We raised our global rank to #5, which is one rank better than 4 weeks before. This is worth another 2 Credits.

If I am not mistaken this results in 21 Credits for each of you. Because it is Christmas, and we had an amazing year, we will double this to 42. This should provide a chance to you to join a Friendly Cup, or to arrange some Scrimmage games, or anything else from the "menu".

CU

Preachie and Pete

2012-12-20

BOWLS - the second

The first two Bowls are over and at least one delivered a nice game.

Winning a Bowl is prestige, money and with that you get recruitings and probably more money so I can't understand how some teams get sloppy before a Bowl.

I don't think it was the case in those first two ones, but we will see some sloppy teams losing against the underdog, because they play like it's the Pro-Bowl, not a college bowl.

Interesting development for the Big east this week, seven NON-football schools decided to leave the conference, since they see themselves in a bad position in a Big East Conference raiding other conferences to expend.
Football playing teams will have the majority soon in that conference and so the decisions will be made by them, not as in the past by the basketball powerhouses.
The conferences are still on the move even this one does not change the football landscape.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FROM LAST WEEKEND

GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL: Nevada vs Arizona
I expected a quite close game, with an Arizona team leading throughout the game and with Nevada trying to play catch-up until the game is over.
Well ... it came different.
Nevada did challenge Arizona to the bones and beyond. They led them in the fourth quarter and 40 second to go and with 6 points behind, Arizona needed a successful Onside-Kick and a 40 second scoring drive to win this game with 1 point!
Nice ending, at least if you are not a Wolf Pack fan.
48-49 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 1-0

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Toledo vs Utah State
This went as expected. Utah State did dominant the whole game and did win by a mile.
I'm curious to see Utah State next season in the MWC.
I said the coach should get an offer and it looks like Wisconsin will offer him the job.
We will see, if he will leave the Aggies for that opportunity. Probably he will.
15-41 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 2-0

And now let’s take a look at the upcoming games.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FOR THE WEEKEND

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL: BYU vs San Diego State
This is played Thursday.
OK, this one is one of the leaders for having the longest and dumbest name of all Bowls this season.
This is played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego where the San Diego Chargers do play and also the San Diego State Aztecs.
So this is basically a home game for San Diego State.
It is played since 2005 and each team gets around 500.000$.
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC (2. place) and different teams from different conferences each year, if they are eligible.
For this year BYU was fixed, if they are eligible (and for example next season it would be Army).
The Bowl itself was played already 1952-1955 between western and eastern Military Academies as a championship game.
It was then resurrected in 2005.
(Regarding the name for Germans: Pointsettia = Weihnachtsstern/Christstern)
This year, this game will be fun to watch, since San Diego State did play very well (9-3) and BYU had a bit of a down-year with 7-5.
I think a smaller majority does see San Diego State as the favourite, which also includes me.
Why?
Home game and they are a tough team with a seven game winning streak.
They did beat Nevada and Boise State on the road.
You have to respect that.
BYU on the other hand did lose five times including against Boise State and San Jose State.
I think it will be close, but BYU can easily win this one, if they come out fast and strong.
But if San Diego does the same, it will be a close game and the Aztecs will take home the win with the help of the crowd.

BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL ST. PETERSBURG: Ball State vs UCF
This is played Friday.
This is played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. It's a DOME in Florida and home of the Tampa Bay Rays, a major league baseball team.
Anyone thinks the same on this? A dome in Florida? Sounds like a waste.
It is played since 2008 and each team gets around 500.000$.
It's a Bowl organized between the Big East and the CUSA. If the Big East does not have enough eligible teams, teams from the MAC or the SBC can be invited.
As it happened this year, since Ball State is from the MAC.
I think Central Florida is a favourite, no doubt.
As nice as Ball State did play, they are still a MAC team and that conference has still some seasons to prove.
They whole MAC did good this season, so this is not matter of decades, especially not with all the team shifting at the moment, but I can't see UCF lose here.
Ball State did lose against NIU (MAC Champion), Kent State (MAC Championship-game loser) and Clemson from the ACC.
Not that bad, sure. But they beat only mid level teams on the other hand.
UCF did lose against Ohio State (Big Ten), Missouri (SEC) and twice against Tulsa (CUSA Champion) and they were the Championship game loser in the CUSA.
That weights a bit more in my book.
Now add the basically existing homefield advantage.
A Cardinals win would be a surprise.

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL: East Carolina vs Louisiana Lafayette
This is played on Saturday.
This is played at the Superdome in New Orleans (oh wonder!).
It is played since 2001 and each team gets around 500.000$.
The teams are chosen from the CUSA and the SBC. And if not enough teams are eligible from the CUSA, they can choose some other team, like last year, when Louisiana Lafayette did beat San Diego State in that Bowl.
In 2005, while Hurricane Katrina did hit New Orleans, this Bowl was actually played at the home site of Louisiana Lafayette.
So it sounds almost like a home game for the Ragin' Cajuns.
My guts are favouring East Carolina, because they are CUSA.
I can't help it.
The Ragin' Cajuns are very dangerous, especially on offense, so this can go also in their favour, but I think the Pirates are strong enough to fight them off.
Most people don’t think so, but OK, I can't always be with the majority. LOL.
Louisiana Lafayette is 8-4 and they did not have one win against an impressive team outside the SBC.
East Carolina is also 8-4 and they also couldn't achieve that signature win.
So I'm expecting a close game with a Pirates win.

MAACO BOWL LAS VEGAS: Washington vs Boise State
This is played on Saturday.
They play (oh wonder, too) Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. It's the home of the UNLV Rebels.
It is is played since 1992 and each team gets around 1.000.000$.
The Tie-ins on conferences are since 2001 between PAC 12 (5th) and MWC (1st).
I think this will be interesting.
Washington (7-5) had an up and down season with highlight wins against Stanford (PAC 12 Champion) and Oregon State and bad losses against USC and especially against Washington State.
Boise State (10-2) did beat BYU and did lose against Michigan State and San Diego State.
The question is, will Boise State come out as the old Broncos or like they played the whole season?
Because, Washington will be a tough cookie and they might bite their teeth off on that.
But I still think the Broncos will win this one.
That Coach is very good and has a nice Bowl history; he won his last 3 in the last 3 years.
So I predict a Broncos win here.

SHERATON Hawai'i BOWL: Fresno State vs SMU
This is played Monday!
If I would have the choice to play in a Bowl, this would be it.
Not because if the prestige or the relevance, but because of the Island.
It's played of cause at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu (Home of the Hawai'i Warriors and the former Pro Bowl was also played here).
I would love to go there and have fun for a few days, as a player.
But thinking of that ... I probably would have signed with the Warriors anyway. LOL.
The Hawai'i Bowl is played since 2002 and each team gets around 750.000$.
It did team up teams from either PAC 12 or CUSA against a team from the WAC before Hawai'i did switch Conference.
The rule was that if Hawai'i is eligible and not qualified for the BCS it has a guarantee to play here, regardless of the standings in the conference.
Hawai'i did move to the MWC and the bid was transferred to the MWC.
OK, so Hawai'i did finish last in the MWC this year and that way Fresno State did come into this Bowl.
Fresno State had a great season so far and did only lose 3 times, against Oregon, Tulsa (CUSA Champion) and Boise State.
There is nothing to be ashamed about that.
SMU on the other hand is 6-6 this season and they did lose against Rice and Tulane (which is a shame) and they won against later CUSA Champion Tulsa in a meaningless game (at least for Tulsa).
The Bulldogs are so much the favourite that you have to pull the June Jones card to have some excitement in this game.
June Jones was the Hawai'i coach here, before he bolted to SMU and he is very much respected on the Island.
So there will be a warm welcome for SMU and a fair one for Fresno State.
But this "home advantage" won't give the Mustangs the edge here.
Fresno State will win, probably by a mile.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-12-18

Scrimmage games now available

Here is a copy from the manual:

A Scrimmage is a game where your Offense is playing versus your Defense.

You can have such Scrimmages here in RedZoneAction.org now. Just go to the Games menu, and pick the Scrimmages entry. You can schedule a Scrimmage everytime you wont, with the following exceptions:

Only for the today
Kickoff every full hour, from 3 am on
No more than one Scrimmage at the same time
No Scrimmages when other games are scheduled at the same kickoff time
Each Scrimmage costs 5 Credits...not enough Credits = no Scrimmage


Once you scheduled a Scrimmage you will find 2 buttons for setting the game settings, instead the one you already know in your Games-list. One is for the "Home team", the other is for the "Away team". By this, you can carry different tactics between "Home" and "Away" side of the ball. The player stats are collected the same way, one set for the "Home team", another one for the "Away team". There are no further restrictions. Such Scrimmages don't create any Ticket income or Fanshop sales, they don't influence Moral, or Experience or Team Chemistry or any other skill. Such Scrimmages don't harm your players Physicial Condition. The stats collected on such games don't count in the Hall of Fame or Team-stats.

We hope you fun with that new feature. Might be very well we missed small things left and right of this feature, please donÄt hesitate to tell us your thoughts about it.

2012-12-13

BOWLS - the first

The Bowls are near!

This weekend is the beginning of the end of the season.

From 15th of December to 8th of January they will play 35 Bowls.

There are some odd pairings, some nice back-to-rivalry-game and of cause the BCS-Final.

Regarding the final there is a (very slim) chance for CO-Champions.

How is that?

The BCS-Finals winner is for 100% sure the #1 in the coaches poll.

But that team is not automatically the #1 team in the AP poll.

That means, there would be the champion named by the coaches, and the one named by the press members.

Did happen in the past and could happen here again. Not likely, but I just wanted to give you the info.

Why not likely?

If Notre Dame beats Alabama, the rest is irrelevant; Notre Dame is ranked #1 now and will not drop in any poll by beating the #2.

So we have to assume Alabama would win the Final, means they would rise and Notre Dame would drop, probably 2-3 spots.

Now we have to look at the current rankings in the AP and there is at #3 Ohio State, #4 Florida and #5 is Oregon.

#3 Ohio State could rise in that case, but since they are not bowl eligible, they probably won't jump to former #2 Alabama.

#4 Florida does play #22 Louisville in a bowl and a dominating win will probably not be enough to jump over Alabama and Ohio State.

#5 Oregon plays #7 Kansas State and that might be enough if they win in a dominant way, but probably even that won't help them to jump all those spots to #1.

So sorry for the wasted time you spend reading this, it will not happen. LOL.

Let's have a look at the upcoming Bowls:

The BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWLS FOR THE WEEKEND

GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL: Nevada vs Arizona
This is played at the University of New Mexico and is played since 2006.
Each team gets around 750.000$.
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and the PAC 12.
Nevada as team from the MWC had a bit of a disappointing season, they were thought to battle Boise State for the Championship but did finish only 5th and were 3 games behind the champions.
Arizona on the other hand did finish above expectations. Rich Rodriguez did win 3 more games than the coach last year and brought them into a bowl.
The Wildcats are favourites in this and it's easy to see why.
Arizona did beat against some ranked teams and did lose against some ranked teams by an inch or two.
Nevada on the other hand did not win against any ranked team and all losses where against MWC teams or even worse, against a bad South Florida team.
I see Arizona win here easily, but this should include a lot of scoring so it might get funny.

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Toledo vs Utah State
This was known as the Humanitarian Bowl.
It is played at the University of Boise in Idaho and is worth around 750.000$ for each team.
As most Bowls these days it had a crappy name and I can't see how those companies think it will HELP their Brands.
For me this really messes up the fun, so I more dislike those companies.
Anyway, this Bowl is played since 1997 and it is played at the moment between teams from the WAC and the MAC.
Toledo had a very nice season, but I think they expected more. They finished 3rd in the MAC West and did only lose against Arizona and Conference rivals Ball State and NIU (who later became MAC champions).
Utah State did over perform in any way. The WAC was meant to be won by Louisiana Tech, but Utah State did travel to Louisiana and did win that game in OT. The Aggies did become the WAC champion and did lose in this season only against BYU and Wisconsin (the later Big Ten Champion).
I think this game is a game only Utah State can lose if they play stupid.
I would be surprised by a Toledo win, the Aggies did really play like hell this year and you can't compare this to a Toledo Rockets team.
But they lost this Bowl last year, so who knows.
To my surprise did no college with a HC vacancy knock on the door of the Aggies HC, but that will happen, I'm sure. Maybe next year.
So, to finish this: Utah State will win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-12-06

Week Fifteen FBS Preview - The Bowls are coming, the coaches are going and the Heisman will be awarded ...

So here it is, the LAST week of regular season with only ONE game.

That game is a tradition since 1890!

I will write more in the game preview.

For the rest of the teams it either end of the season or preparations for the Bowl games.

Those Bowls are strange for League/Championship-driven people.

You know the Superbowl, right? The basic idea behind that game was NOT to find the NFL-Champion.
At that time the NFL had a competing league, the AFL and this league was quite successful, so some thought, who might be better?
The NFL-Champion or the AFL-Champion. In the process of the merger of both leagues, which THEN became the NFL we all know now, the AFL-NFL Championship Game was created, later officially called the Superbowl.
It was to compare and to compete.
Until Joe Namath led his Jets to victory in Superbowl III, nobody believed the AFL teams could compete with the NFL teams.
The Colts were the favourites, by far.

And here come the deja vu for college football bowls.
The first was 1902 which later was named the first Rose Bowl.
Michigan did beat Stanford in 3 quarters (they gave up after that) 49-0 and nobody believed the west coast teams could beat the east coast teams.
It was so obvious, that it took 15 years to get the second Rose Bowl on the way.
Washington State did beat Brown and a year later did Oregon beat Pennsylvania.
The dominance of the east was broken.

From the Rose Bowl spirit did more and more Bowls originate and now we have 35 different ones.
The reason now is very much money driven, since those Bowl games do get good TV ratings and do also sell good tickets for the stadium.
Some of those games get better ratings than NFL games and in some areas this is the highlight of the season.
Party for the fans, teams and the people in the city.

I love the idea, compare and compete.
A last friendly match, worth honour and money, prestige and fan support.
In addition those teams playing a bowl get more training time and can get better for the next season.

I will cover those step by step and the games will start 15th of December.

For now, let’s have a look some other issues.

The coaches carousel is in full swing and it looks like there will be easily more than 20 head coaching changes this season.
Remember, we had 25 changes in 2012 and I expect the same number or more.

Some teams did not wait long and did not only fire their HC immediately after the last game; no they did already find his successor.
Almost all found successors yet are headcoaches of OTHER programs, so now THOSE teams have to find a new coach on their own.
Some changes are really hard for the teams, since if you get hired NOW, normally you leave the team immediately; means BEORE the Bowl game, if one has to be played.
And normally there is one, since you don't hire unsuccessfully coaches (expect Boston College, they hired the 4-7 HC of Temple), so those teams letting their coach walk have to find an interims coach for the Bowl, sometimes the biggest game in school history.
Like Northern Illinois, playing the Orange Bowl without their HC, because he left for North Carolina State.
Or Wisconsin, playing the Rose Bowl without their HC, because he took the job at Arkansas.
Or Arkansas State, because their HC left for Auburn.
Or Kent State, their HC left for Purdue.

But some coaches did decline changes, like Jim Mora, Coach of UCLA, declined two offers from SEC schools.
Or Les Miles, declining a job at Arkansas and got a raise at LSU.
Or Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and Charlie Strong of Louisville.
Of cause it's not always clear WHY the stay, and of cause not always the reasons are noble, sometimes it's money or power.

Anyway. When the dust has settled (and that might happen beginning of the NEXT season as we learned this season) there probably will be more than 25 new coaches in new places and the next season can begin.

The reason behind an immediate change is simple. The new team wants the new coach yesterday to do as much recruiting as possible. New kids are the fuel behind changes.
And the old teams? Well, nothing is worse than a coach who abandoned ship telling you an additional month to play for your heart and soul and for the program. It just doesn't work.

I'm not sure if this all is a good and fair way to handle such changes, but at the moment it is that way.

It's a strange world, once the last drive was played in college football.

Then there is the Heisman Trophy.
This Trophy is awarded to the MVP of the season, regardless of the position.
It's a big hype each year and very often that player become an average player in the NFL with a big price tag at the beginning.

The finalist were announced and the normally offensive position dominated list is filled with two QBs and one LB!
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Kansas State's Collin Klein will be the QBs, Notre Dames Manti Te'o the LB.
If the word would be fair, the Trophy would go to Te'o, his outstanding playing was the reason for Notre Dames perfect season and he might become a NFL star.
Both QBs did play very good, but the did not only lost 1-2 games each, not they also look not that good in those games.
Not so Te'o.
But my Guts are saying the Trophy will go to the hyped Johnny "Football" Manziel.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAME FOR WEEK 15 (and the only one)

Navy vs Army
This is huge.
At least the media wants to tell this everyone.
If you find it as huge as the media depends on you.
Those two service academies do play that game for a very long time and since 1930 every year.
It's normally played on a neutral site and Navy has a 10 game winning streak and is leading the series 56â€"49â€"7.
It is part of the "Commander-in-Chief's Trophy"-tournament played between Army, Navy and Air Force.
Sometimes this game is meaningless regarding the Trophy, since Air Force did beat both teams and did already clinch the victory.
Sometimes the Trophy can be won by one of the teams or both teams.
This year Air Force did lose against BOTH teams, so the winner of this game will get the Trophy.
The odds are in favour of Navy.
Even the best Army Fan has to admit that Army does suck since years.
Their record this year is 2-9 with wins over Air Force and Boston College which doesn't mean much and they lost actually against Stony Brook, a FCS Program.
Navy on the other hand has a record of 7-4 with losses against Penn State, Notre Dame, Troy and San Jose State.
Not that bad, but beside the 5-7 year in 2011 that's the worst record since 2002.
Still, that Navy team should be able to beat Army any given Saturday and that's what I'm expecting for this weekend.
It could even happen that the HC of Army has to look for a new job after that game, since he did not turn that program around in his fourth year and it might be that the West Point (That's the Army Academy behind the Army Blackknights) wants a new face.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-11-27

Week Thirteen FBS Results - Notre Dame did it

So it really happend.

When Brian Kelly was hired for Notre Dame, almost three seasons ago, the Notre Dame Athletic Director hoped (again) to have a coach which would make Notre Dame relevant again.
Since Lou Holtz left in the 80s and guided the program to its last national championship, Notre Dame became a second class program with a lot of history and a high value television contract.

They tried and tried to get the next hot coach, but Brian Kelly is the first to deliver.
There was a time, almost every coach had a Notre Dame clause in his contract, giving him the right to abandom ship, once Notre Dame would call him to become the HC.
That is no more and some coaches even said NO to Notre Dame which was unthinkable in the past.
Brian Kelly was not taken from a high profile program, but from Cincinnati where he was able to WIN.

Now, this season he managed to bring Notre Dame back into National Spotlight, into the BCS Finals against either Alabama or Georgia.
We will see how this will turn out.

The season is almost over, next week will be championship week and and some conferences under 12 teams will play their final games.
This week did decided some championship participants and it was worth a look.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 13

#1 Notre Dame @ USC
Not as high class as thought, it would have been nice to see USC at full strength.
As expected not many points and at the end did Notre Dame win.
For Notre Dame it became a PERFECT season with 12-0.
To be fair, most of the so tough opponents in the preseason did turn out to play not that tough.
Still a remarkable result.
USC will have to rebuild, since Matt Barkley will be gone and the window for a national championship run might be closed for some years.
With some new tough teams in the PAC 12 (UCLA, Arizona, Oregon State) they will have to become better.
22-13 -> Jacks Score: 43-20

#21 Oklahoma State @ #13 Oklahoma
Not that clear, they needed OT to close this, but at the end, the Sooners did win.
I'm not sure if Oklahoma State can recharge and come back next year.
We have to see, who is leaving and who stays.
Same for the Sooners.
48-51 -> Jacks Score: 44-20

#4 Florida @ #10 Florida State
FSU was the National Champion Favorite for some people in the preseason, they are far away from that now.
The Gators did win by a nice fourth quarter comeback and FSU did basically fall apart.
I think FSU needs another two years to recharge and come back, the Gators look like a hot thing for next season.
37-26 -> Jacks Score: 45-20

#5 Oregon @ #15 Oregon State
Not that hard fought.
The Ducks did win and hadn't they lost to Stanford last week, they would play for a PAC 12 championship and maybe the national championship.
Now they have to settle with some second tier Bowl.
As Oregon State.
The future is bright for both teams.
The question will be, if the HC of the Ducks will stay.
He did great things at Oregon and there are a lot of spots open in the better paid SEC.
48-24 -> Jacks Score: 46-20

#12 South Carolina @ #11 Clemson
This was won by the Gamecocks and I have to admit they did good.
I'm not sure where the program will head from hear, for sure Spurrier, the HC, will not leave, maybe retire.
Clemson did play a nice season, but were too unconsistant.
27-17 -> Jacks Score: 46-21

#8 Stanford @ #18 UCLA
This was a nice effort by Stanford.
They earned the spot in the PAC 12 championship game and will play there next week against UCLA again.
We will see, if they can beat them twice in two weeks.
35-17 -> Jacks Score: 46-22

Some games of interest:

- as writen already, Washington State did win the Apple Cup against Washington.
The last 8 in a row before.

- TCU did win against Texas at the Longhorns site. Big win for the Horned Frogs.

- West Virginia did win against Iowa State to win after 5 losses in a row.

- Arizona State did win the Duel in the Desert against Arizona.

- Georgia did win the "clean old fashioned hate" game against Georgia Tech as clear as expected

- UConn did beat Louisville, that makes the Big East Championship for Louisville NOT unreachable, since Rutger did stumble also.

- Michigan did lose against Ohio State, the Buckeyes with a perfect season.

- Rutgers did lose against Pitt.

- Tulsa did lose against SMU. Might be they rested some starters.

- Baylor did win against Texas Tech.

- Penn State did win against Wisconsin.

- Alabama did shut out Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

- Ole Miss did win against Mississippi State.

- San Jose State did win against Louisiana Tech.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-11-25

We need more advertisement

Hello all,

after having a review on our follower counts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, it seems we could have some more.

So here we go with a small "campaign" running until December 23, that is 4 weeks from today:

1. Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/RedZoneAction.org
Go there, and "Like" RedZoneaction. 5 new followers = 1 Credit. It does not matter if you or friends of you push the like button. Count at the moment: 145

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https://plus.google.com/102524459743339655876
Go there, and "plus" us. 5 new followers = 1 Credit. It does not matter if you or friends of you push the like button. Count at the moment: 46
On top you could add a short link in your profile, and if you do that don't miss to remark it with #RedZoneAction. Each post we can find: 1 Credit

3. Twitter:
https://twitter.com/pstimpel
Go there, and "plus" us. 5 new followers = 1 Credit. It does not matter if you or friends of you push the like button. Count at the moment: 38
On top you could create a short tweet, and if you do that don't miss to remark it with #RedZoneAction. Each tweet we can find: 1 Credit

At the 23rd of December '12 we are counting the Credits based on the rules described above, and push the "Send Credits button". This will be our this years XMas gift to you.

On top of that we will run a lottery on all so called hashmark-posts (the #RedZoneAction thing), and one of the users is receiving a 3 months Supporter account.

Thanks a lot

Btw: There is a page we are receiving users from, it is called http://www.onlinesportmanagers.com/game-profile/football-140-red-zone-action/
We would appreciate it if you could vote over there, and we have no doubts you will use the Best-option only. At the moment we are place #6 there, each rank we climb up in their global ranking is worth 2 Credits for the XMas-gift.

2012-11-17

Week Twelve FBS Preview - The College Football Players

Greating from the Maldives!

I'm on vacation, but I can still do some stuff here, even if I have only a netbook and an WLAN access at the lobby.

Today I want to have a look on the players in college football.

Most of you probably now the NFL and their system, at least a bit.

You know about the Draft (of college players, so you will learn today where there come from before the got their draft status), the Free Agents (maybe even restricted abd unrestricted), the transition and franchise players?

Well, in college fottball, this all does not exist.

While a regular NFL player has in average now around 6+ season and the stars even have 10+ seasons, the regular college players has 4 season of eligibiity to play on that level.

Once you finished your fourth year, you are destined to move on, either to the NFL or to a different job.
If you were smart, you have a college degree already and can work where ever you want (if you did find a job).

As a college player you start your career as ... High School Football Player.

High Schools do offer regularly football teams and they often do field several teams by age.

The last class of High School Players, which get a High School degree and did play football, sometime get the attention of college football scouts.

The colleges were very very often informed about a talent by the high school coach of that talent himself.
The coach does some videos (or do some cutings on existing game material) and sends it to college football departments.

Based on those videos, the scouting staff of the bigger programs and the coaching staff of the smaller one do check closer and might decide to offer a scholarship.

The FBS can offer over 80 scholarships for the whole team, so each year around 20 scholarships are offered to kids from each FBS team.

That sounds as a lot, but there are of cause way more players than scholarships (of all levels of college football).

Mathematical there is a factor of 1 scholarship on 10 players, realistic the chances are a bit higher since not all players decide to play college football or any sport at all in college or what ever they do after graduation.
Some do say that the factor in reality is 1 to 4.

As a non-us-player, you have a hard time getting one, if you are NOT in an US-high school.
You should have at least play there and got the attention of scouts, after that it gets easier and even players from different countries then get a scholarship offer sometimes, even if they don't graduate in the US.
But those kids are the tropical birds in the college football squads, they don't come often.

OK, now the player (any player) got the attention and receives an offer by at least one program.
If there is only one, well, take it or leave it.
If there are more, the player can choose between those schools.

Every program can recruit in his own state and normally in all states of schools in your own conference.
So lets take the SEC, they have schools from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas and South Carolina.
They can recruit all there.

Some schools can even recruits further, nationally. Like Notre Dame as Independent.

So it is no surprise that a really hot talent gets more than one offer.
Latest on signing day (normally the first wednesday in february) they have to commit to a program and that will normally be your home for the next four years.

They scholarship is only a one year commitment, and it sometimes happens that the school or the player decide to part ways, but it is not so easy than fire and fire.
There are special rules by the NCAA for both cases, which I will not explain here.
At the end of the day, it can happen that a player changes the school or even loses the scholarship in total.

But normally the school does renew the commitment every year and will be your home and family for four years.

A new recruited player, playing his first year, is called a FRESHMAN.
A second year player is called a SOPHOMORE.
A third year player is called a JUNIOR.
And a fourth year player is called a SENIOR.

The regualar cicle for a player is, that in his first year he rarely gets playing time, since he is adjusting to that next level.
In his second year he gets often playing time as a backup, and in the third and forth year it can happen, that you become starter.

Keep in mind, that latest AFTER the senior season a player leaves, so all players, which might have been better and older than you on the roster do leave, year after year.
Of cause it happens, that there are really great talents, playing starter in their first or second year ale.rady, but there are also players as senior, who never became starter in their whole career.

There is a special rule for coaches, which gives them the chance to keep player for five years.
It's called REDSHIRTING.

Redshirted players can do training with the team, but they are not allowed to play on the field in their redshirt-year.
This normally happens to QBs and some really good players hit by a season ending injury before the regular season startet.
They are often refered, when then become regular players again, as redshirt-freshman (or which ever season they are in).

The coaches only have a few spots for redshirting, so they normally take very talented QBs and teach them in their first year in training all the stuff they need and then have a few years a stable QB to lead the team.

Unfourtunatelly for coaches, a very good player will always have an eyes on the NFL and the player is allowed to declare for the draft, once he was three years in college, doesn't matter if this includes a redshirt year or not.
So it can happen that a hot QB plays his redshirt-sophomore season and decides to declare for the draft.
If he does that, he loses all his rights to play the left two years of college football, even when he is not drafted.

Each year more and more players do decide to declare to the draft early and skip the final year(s) of their college football career.
Most of the time these are regular Juniors, but sometimes also Redshirt-Sophomores.

Each year, some of those are NOT taken. They gambled high and lost everything.
Most of the time they even not finished the educational part of college and don't have a degree.

That's the dark part of college football and the system.

Those players are hot recruited and get the sugar blown into their butt holes, but there are only 32 NFL teams needing around 5-7 new players every year and there are 4 time many FBS schools and they have 20 seniors each year and then some leaving early (called UNDERCLASSMEN).

Of cause some believe that THEY will be taken and will get rich. And some will do that.
But some won't and those UNDERCLASSMEN don't even have a degree to work with.

But many DO get a degree and when they are not drafted (or then decide to NOT play in the NFL, which also happens) they go and find a job or do further university stuff or try to get into the coaches ranks.
The system is NOT designed to create NFL players, it's primary designed to help kids getting education.

I hope you got now some infomations about the lifecycle of a college football player.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 12

#13 Stanford @ #2 Oregon
This is the end for Stanford. The end of hope for a PAC 12 championship game.
No more Luck, no more close games, they will get pounded by Oregon and then some.
Oregon is too fast and too good for them.
They will beat Stanford and then try to beat Oregon State for a PAC 12 Championship game.
AFTER that, they will play for National Championship.
I'm in here for Oregon and that will not change.

#18 USC @ #17 UCLA
That's a game nobody expected to be meaningful, this year.
UCLA did turn around great and USC did fall hard.
UCLA can try to secure a PAC 12 championship game, so can USC.
I'm expecting a tough match and a Bruins win!

#23 Texas Tech @ #24 Oklahoma State
The Red Raiders are hotter than expected and Oklahoma State did lose some games more than anyone expected from them.
Now, they battle it out.
I really liked the change of game Texas Tech had this season.
They are much better than last year.
Oklahoma State on the other hand is inconsistent.
It's a wonder they did not lose more games.
But the HC of the Cowboys knows his job and did save the season for them.
Expect a high scoring game and a Cowboys win at the end.

Ohio State @ Wisconsin
The Buckeyes are the true favorites here.
They are unbeaten and only the errors of the former coach and players did bring them out of the postseason.
Next year will be a stunner.
Wisconsin will play in the Big Ten Championship game, regardless of the result of this game.
But they can prove they belong there, by beating the Buckeyes.
I split here.
But in that situation I go with the home team, so the Badgers will win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

Keep me logged in

As requested we added a feature called "Keep me logged in".

On the login page there is a small tick box. If you activate it on login, the page will store a so called Cookie on your computer. Now, if you come back to RedZoneAction.org later, and we find this Cookie containing the right information, we will log you in automatically. To destroy the cookie, you can use the "Logoff" button. If you were authenticated by the cookie, we might ask you give us your password again, especially on actions regarding Credits or Purchases.

As said already, this is working per Computer, but for as many computers at the same time as you activate it by ticking the box...

2012-11-08

Week Ten FBS Preview - College Football for beginners ... the next try

So I promised to give another shot at the COLLEGE FOOTBALL FOR BEGINNERS approach and here it is.

I did some similar stuff already in the past weeks starting with the preview of week 3, but unfortunately the blog/forum software only allows reading it once more, if you know the post IDs, which I don't have.

Maybe Peter can give us the whole IDs of Block of Granite, I will do a summery on that, then.

So let's do a different approach.

Most of you know the NFL and their system. You know Conferences and Divisions, you know the Big Game at the end, you know playoffs and the 16 game schedule.
It is quite easy to understand, but I doubt ALL of you know the little details in NFL scheduling, or the history behind the situation the league is at the moment.
You don't have to; you only have to understand how they play a season and who becomes champion.

Some might have a problem with the tie-breaker-rules for the playoff seating, but that's the hardest stuff you have to face.

College Football looks more or less chaotic in comparison to that.

Over 500 Institutions/teams are structured in a system, which looks weird on the first (and second and third) view.
The good thing is, you don't have to GET the whole system at once to have fun.

Thanks to the NCAA, the organisation which regulates college sports, those institutions/teams are structured in levels.

The HIGHEST level is most of the time the ONLY level covered in all media available on international level.

Of cause some media do also cover the lower levels of college football, but the focus is always on the highest level.

This level is the level I do cover in my blog, the FOOTBALL BOWL DIVISION, short FBS.

Unfortunately this is the level with the most confusing system.

Still, as you know the NFL-system with Conferences and Divisions, you do find those systems on FBS-level (and of cause on lower levels, too).

So if you focus for a start on ONE Conference, you easily understand the played system, it's basically the same as conferences are played in the NFL.

You don't believe that?

A NFL-Conference does work that way:
4 Division, each has 4 teams, each team play each team in its own division twice, and then 4 other teams from the conference and 4 additional teams from the other conference.
At the end, they have 6 teams in the playoffs and the last team standing is the conference champion.

So what do we have here in terms of competition?

The teams play a so called all-play-all-tournament (also called round robin) twice in its own division and do schedule some more teams from its own conference and from out of the conference. Then they do determine a champion though a knockout phase.
The amount of games and the playoff mode are basically a result of the amount of teams in the conference and some kind of best practice for the playoff system to maximize attention and revenue.
At the moment the NFL has 32 teams and each conference has 16 teams.

The biggest conference (and by incident the strongest) conference in College Football is the SEC, the SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE.
It has 14 teams (since this year) and it's easy to see, if you only look at those 14 teams, that they play almost like the NFL.
OK, they only play 12 regular season games, but those 16 NFL games are only for revenue maximization, there is no real reason in form of competition need to do 16 games.

The SEC is divided in two Divisions (it's hard to order 14 teams in more then two divisions and to keep it simple, try it).
Each SEC team has to play each team from its own division once, which are six games, and two teams from the other division, which are then 8 conference games in sum. They add four more games against teams from other conferences.
At the end of the regular season the two division champions do play a championship game and the winner takes it all.

So we have in terms of competition: For each team there is a all-play-all-tournament once in its own division and some more games from its own conference and from out of the conference. Then they do determine a champion trough a knockout phase.

Sounds familiar?

Yes, it looks different, because there are fewer teams in the conference and they play less games and the shortest knockout-tournament possible, but the system is basically the same.

The NCAA does regulate some stuff, for example the single-game-knockout-tournament.
I'm sure the SEC would like to have some kind of playoffs with four teams or more in it, because they would cash in even more money, but the NCAA does only allow a Championship game.
And they only allow it, if you have 12 or more teams in your conference.

Hence, if you have 11 or less, you have to play that season a bit different.

Those smaller conferences do only have one division, being the whole conference (and then nobody calls it "Division").
They play also an all-play-all-system, but since they usually play only 9 games or less in total inside the conference, they sometimes do not play ALL teams in the conference. (OK, that sound stupid, but it’s true)

At the end of the season, the team which won the most conference games is champion, if more teams than one have the same amount of wins; they all are co-champions, regardless of tie-breaker-rules.
It’s much easier but maybe a bit boring.
But the NCAA does not support a final decision game.

So if you look only at a single conference at a time, the tournament rules are like the NFL or at least quite similar.

The big leap of confusion starts when you look at the big picture of the FBS with 11 Conferences and 4 independent teams, which are not part of any conference at all.

Out of that pool are all non conference games of each team scheduled (and even beyond, they also play teams from lower levels).

And at the end of the season, there is no BIG GAME / BIG TOURNAMNENT which does cover all Conference Champions and the National Champions is determined by a nice knockout phase.
No, not on that level, sorry. Lower levels do have such a system (almost, LOL, but not the HIGHEST level, the FBS.

Why? Tradition. But they will do a four team playoff probably starting in 1-2 seasons.
Still, no BIG TOURNAMENT which do cover like 16 teams or more. No.

So how do those conference tournaments, like the mentioned SEC, does fit into the BIG PICTURE?

Ha, now comes the complicated part, where a lot of football addicted fans do stop and say "to much, I'm out of here".

The main problems regarding this BIG PICTURE for the FBS, the highest level of college football, are traditions and the amount of teams.

You probably heard of the so called BOWLs at the end of the season. At the moment there are more than 30 and the numbers are regularly increasing, because of money.

But it all started with a tournament between West (represented by Michigan) and West (represented by Stanford) 1902 (Michigan spanked Stanford 49-0) and that game later became known as the first Rose-Bowl. That Bowl-Series is still played today.

Money was in that time not a big factor. No TV, no big media events, no big attendence (under 9.000 in that first Rose Bowl).

But over time more and more Bowls were created and a NATIONAL organisation of those Now-FBS-Schools was not intended or done.

Regional rivalries were way more important and those conferences were the main driver for winning.

Because of the distances between the colleges from coast to coast, a real tournament with more than 2 teams to determine a national champion was not in scope. The Bowls were supposed to have some kind of comparison, but the more Bowls were created, the more complicated it got.

The press did create Polls to determine the champions (around 1901 was the first one printed ...). It’s still that way today.

When the USA got TV nationally and the games were shown, the tradition of
- Conferences
- Bowls
- Poll-Champions
was so established, that a change was not in scope.

It worked and every institution/team (at least the powerhouses) did benefit of it.
Because there often were more that one National Champion named, by different Polls.

You think that's a big No-Go? Think of reputation and money, and you might see the benefit of having NOT to battle the OTHER hottest team in the nation.
You might lose. A title is a title.

OK, so much for History.

Now let’s focus on the teams.

At the moment there are 124 teams, and the amount of teams in the FBS is increasing.
They are organized in 11 conferences and 4 teams are independent.

How do you put that into a playoff tournament?

Conference Champions should be in, right?

Great you have 11 teams already. But for sure not the 11 toughest or best ones.

So there would be a riot, if you would not add some more.

How many? 5 more to get 16? or maybe some more?

Tough choice, since each round would prolong the season by a week.

The next lower level, the FCS has a playoff system with 20 teams (out of also over 100 FCS teams), but will expend to 24 soon.
But many conferences there do not participate in the playoffs, never, because of academical concerns, or scheduling problems.

So it is not easy to create a fair and short playoff system for that many teams.

Take that note in combination with a over 100 year old grown tradition in Bowls and conferences, with many organisations OUTSIDE the NCAA involved, it's tough to change things fast.

Probably in 2014 we will have a 4-Team-Playoff-system. Haha.

So how does it work then NOW?

We have 120 teams in conferences and 4 free circling teams as jokers. Fine.

Each Conference does find its Championship team and finds a ranking from 1 to the last member. Fine.

There is a rule for the Bowls; it said you need at least 6 wins. Easy to understand.

The Bowl-organizer then s e l e c t by some rules their participants.
Those rules are normally that way: Rose Bowl - Big Ten Champion vs PAC 12 Champion.

Of cause there are exceptions to every rule, but basically those are easy to understand, if you are interested in it. I normally do not care about the motivations behind the Bowl-matchups, I just take them as they come. At least for the smaller ones. Some are nice, some do sound boring. At the end of the day, those games are just the EXTRA after the regular season. Enjoy it!

But what about the BIG PICTURE, the NATIONAL CHAMPION?

Remember the Polls? Done by Newspapers and some other organisations?
They crown the NATIONAL CHAMPION since ages.
There were times where there were 2, 3 or even more teams named NATIONAL CHAMPION.

But with the increasing coverage of College Football in the media the critics of that system did grow.
So the Powerhouses did create the Bowl-Championship-Series, short BCS.

They basically did create a List out of several Polls, to get some kind of ranking for a FINAL GAME, a game between #1 and #2.
The winner then should be clear Champion.

Well, it works, sometimes, but not always.
Instead of having a discussion regarding the National Champion, we now have a discussion regarding the BCS ranking.
If you don't have a chance to become #1 or #2, you can never become National Champion (well, almost never …)

That's the reason behind the 4-team-playoff-system in the future. To let #1 - #4 battle it out.
If this will help at the end, we will see.

Still some questions? How do these rankings happen?

You remember the games against other conference teams?
Those are 3-5 games per team, depended on the conferences.

THESE games give the pollsters a chance to rank teams from different conferences against each other.

Some mathematican/physican did calculate that because of those who-played-which-team-which-played-which-team-relations all teams can be linked after a few gamedays.
So after 12 regular season games we have a very good data foundation to determine which team did play better than the other ones.
It only is a matter how to interpret the data.

And that's the flaw of the system, since there are many different ways to value wins and losses.

Yes, the system has flaws and it IS a bit chaotic, but on the other hand it is rich of passion and tradition.
You will never see such in the NFL.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 11

Basically there are four weekends left in the regular season.

So now it's getting to the endgame of this season, it's time for teams to get the last needed wins to play a Bowl, to get the last needed wins against conference woes to get into the best possible position for Bowls and eventually Championship games.
Some teams do game the toughest games ahead of them, some do have only pushovers left.

Be assured, it won't get boring.

#11 Oregon State @ #14 Stanford
Stanford did really play better than anticipated, at least in my book.
The lost their star QB Luck and basically did lose only a half step on offense by that.
The Cardinals did only lose twice this season so far, both on the road, against Washington and Notre Dame.
Both very close games, that Notre Dane game in OT.
Oregon State is at the same level and did only lose once so far, against Washington on the road, in a close game ...
Sounds familiar ....
I'm expecting a close game and I'm leaning toward the Cardinals.
That's a not disrespect against the Beavers, only respecting the home strength of Stanford.
After that game we will have a better picture of the PAC 12 power rankings.
So ... cardinals win in a close game.

Penn State @ #16 Nebraska
Nebraska won against Michigan State last week but so far did not secure the Big Ten Legends Division so far.
The are ahead of Michigan, because the have beat them, but if the Huskers might lose THIS game against Penn State, they might drop too deep to climb back on their own.
Penn State did so far only lose one game in the Big Ten against Ohio State at home.
No they face one of the better teams of the Big Ten on the road.
The Nittany Lions will have to bring their A-game to beat the Huskers at home and I doubt that will be enough.
Unless the Huskers beat themselves by some stupid actions.
But nobody is safe against such gameday blackouts, so I don't count that stuff in.
I'm expecting a close game and a Cornhuskers win.

#15Texas A&M @ #1 Alabama
Ok, on paper this is already done. Alabama is the favourite (13.5) and plays also at home.
But Texas A&M might be the last bigger bump for Alabama before the SEC Championship game.
After that Aggies game does only come a FCS-Opponent and then the in-state-Rivalry against Auburn (the Iron Bowl) which will be a joke this year, since Auburn is 2-7 and 0-6 in the SEC.
Of cause it COULD happen that Alabama loses against one of those teams, but it's very very unlikely.
So, if anyone can do it BEFORE the SEC Championship game, it's Texas A&M after an Alabama-LSU-matchup in Death Valley.
Unfortunately it's played in Bryant-Denny-Stadium, so that lowers the chance for an upset a tiny little bit.
Like a mile .....
So I'm expecting a clear Crimson Tide win, but have a close eye on that game, a miracle might happen.

#2 Kansas State @ TCU
Tough situation for Kansas State.
They have a hurting QB, even if it looks like he will play against TCU, and they face a TCU team, which won last week against West Virginia on the road.
TCU is NOT on the same level as a full strength Wildcats squad, but they are not full strength and TCU is on a high note and play AT HOME.
Good news for KSU is, that the TCU-home-advantage is not that great this season, they already have lost two at home and only one on the road.
I give KSU my pick; because this coaching team did do wonders the last two seasons and they won't stumble over a rebuilding TCU team.

Fresno State @ Nevada
Let's do some Mountain West Conference coverage.
Fresno State is now, as three other team, in the position to win the Mountain West, after Boise State did lose last week.
And the Bulldogs have to play against Nevada on the road.
Fresno State did this season so far only lose on the road.
Good news for them is, that Nevada is not THAT good at home, they lost against San Diego State at home two weeks ago.
And they also lost last week on the road.
So bad news for the Bulldogs, since a team on a losing streak, coming home again, playing a very meaningful match ... this can get ugly.
The experts do expect a close win by Fresno State.
Might happen.
I believe in an Upset by Nevada.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-11-06

Supercup scheduling

Some days ago we asked you what to do with the Supercup schedule. Since we added spots for another 1024 managers, the scheduling mode we used so far wouldn't work anymore without causing some "riots".

This is why we changed the mode as following:

1.) The best team of each Supercup division after the 15 divisional games played, is entering the playoffs.

2.) The 16 best of all other teams will follow the Divisions-winners into the playoffs. Please notice: we are not talking about the 16 best of the runner-ups, we are talking about the 16 best of all non-division-winning teams - this i quite a difference.

3.) There is no sorting based on performance, these 128 teams are paired random, the bigger stadium is the host.

4.) The Wildcard round was deleted, we start directly with the playoffs after Supercup gameday #15.

5.) The Bowl-game was moved from Monday one gamedays ahead, to Thursday. Just to make room for the additional playoff rounds

6.) After each Divisional gameday there is a small job calculating the playoff-contenders. Those teams are marked with an "x" in the tables.

Don't understand this wrong...you still have to be exceptional good to make it into the Supercup playoffs. And we wish you good luck with that task...

2012-11-05

Week Ten FBS Results - No big changes ... and no feedbacks ...

Hmmm. My last Blog entry did not receive a lot of feeback star-wise.

And basically no feedback at all in the forum.

So, was it too short?

Not "worthy" enough?

Boring?

The thing is, I can only write about stuff I know and which I use.

And the meta raking at Massey is from my point of view a great thing.

Anyway, let's get to the gameday 10.

All favourites in the championship hunt did win, so no big changes at the top of the BCS-rankings.

Biggest surprise was probably the almost-defeat Notre Dame had to suffer.

So right now, the BCS-Standings are heading into a epic failure season with four teams unbeaten and claiming to be worth the Championship game.
But only two can play there.

I'm sure the BCS-guys are praying for some losses by 2 of those four teams, doesn't matter which one, and are hoping for new story which does not involve the SEC.
Having SEC-teams winning it all since 7 years does destroy the product and that means at the end, less money. So I think they would like to have an Oregon - Kansas State matchup or even more an Kansas State - Notre Dame matchup. Notre Dame is still very popular and would probably get a lot of attention.

But it looks like Alabama will play only the next thing to a worthy opponent in the SEC-championship game and probably win that one and then will face who ever is left in the BCS-Finals.

There are many articles about the chances of any of the 3 contenders, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame and all claiming the same two things:
- Because of THIS you will be in
- Because of THAT you will be out

There are several strange and not really transparent procedures in the background of the BCS-rankings, since the six computer rankings are more or less a mystery and the Harris Poll is also a well guarded secret as a human poll.
Only at the LAST gameday it will happen that all pieces will fall in place and there will be discussions over the places.

Maybe then will the meta-ranking be interesting? LOL.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 10

#20 Nebraska @ Michigan State
They met on eyesight and did play tough. MSU did have a 10 point lead, but did play poorly in the last quarter and did lose the game because of this.
They had twice the chance to run down the clock in the last quarter and were not able to get the needed first downs.
The Cornhuskers did cruise down the whole field in their last drive and scored the game winning touchdown.
The Spartans defense were there for three quarters, but did lose focus when it counted most.
Nebraska is heading further in sight of the Big Ten Championship game, Michigan State still needs one win to be Bowl-eligible.
28-24 -> Jacks Score: 33-16

#4 Oregon @ #17 USC
Well ... let's say, the defenses were not on the field.
If there are 113 points scored in ONE game, well ... there was not much resistant, right?
Oregon did score more in the first quarter, did come out more focused and better prepared and did basically carry those 11 point lead though the game.
USC was able to cut this down to 3 points at some points, but Oregon did basically score in the next drive to get the double digit lead back.
For USC there are two crucial games ahead, UCLA and Arizona State.
One of those three teams will win the PAC 12 and will have to face (probably, we have to wait for the Civil War) Oregon in the Championship game.
Oregon has to play Cal, Stanford and the Civil War against Oregon State.
It looks good for Oregon to reach the PAC 12 Championship unbeaten and even to win the PAC 12.
62-51 -> Jacks Score: 34-16

#1 Alabama @ #4 LSU
It really was a hard fought game and LSU almost had it in their pocket.
LSU did score the 17-14 lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
It looked good and the Death Valley magic started to work.
Two times it was 3 and OUT for Alabama.
LSU cruised over the field and did kick a field goal. Missed it.
Alabama started at their 28th yard line and needed 5 plays to score the game winning touchdown.
0:51 were left and LSU was not able to get into scoring range.
Alabama is almost through to reach the BCS-Championship game, LSU can burry all hopes for it, since two losses are too much this season.
21-17 -> Jacks Score: 35-16

#24 Oklahoma State @ #2 Kansas State
The good new is, the Wildcats did win.
The bad news is, Collin Klein did leave the game and did not return.
His injury is yet unknown. He watched the rest of game from the sideline, his helmet kept away, to avoid him getting back in the game on his own.
We will see, what his injury is in the week, and if he can play the next games.
TCU and Baylor are away games, and then does Texas visit for the final game.
Without Klein this might get tougher than expected.
The Cowboys did play well, but their defense did allow 44 points, which was too much.
They still have to play four Big 12 opponents including the battle against Oklahoma.
30-44 -> Jacks Score: 36-16

#22 Arizona @ UCLA
This went pretty much one sided.
I did expect a shootout, but the Wildcats were not able to play.
Maybe the game against USC was too much for the team, maybe UCLA was too much at all?
Don't know.
An impressive win for the Bruins and they have to win against WSU, USC and Stanford to seal the PAC 12 Championship game.
If they lose against USC, they might fall back to second rank, depended on the USC games.
Arizona has to win one more to be Bowl-Eligible and I think many would love them to see.
Should be possible, since Colorado, Utah and Arizona State are no class A programs and beatable.
30-44 -> Jacks Score: 37-16

Some games of interest:

The favourite in the BCS-games did not fall, but some teams did basically shoot themselves this weekend and did open the Conference Championships wide open again.

- Miami did win against VT and is now the leading candidate for the ACC Championship game from the Coastal Division. At least this week.

- Middle Tennessee did win against Western Kentucky and is now in a three team tie in the Sun Belt Conference, after Louisiana Monroe did stumble over Louisiana Laffayette.
The Warhawks had it all, but with this stumble, they now have to face Arkansas State next week to get back in the driving seat of the Sun Belt.
Middle Tennessee also has to play Arkansas State in the upcoming weeks, so we might get a clear champion here or a split one.

- Florida almost lost against Missouri. Florida still has to wait for a loss of Georgia to have any chance for the SEC Championship game.

- East Carolina did beat Houston and might slip into the CUSA-Championship game, since the leader of the East Division, UCF, has to play three more games, including Tulsa (leader of the West Division) in Oklahoma.

- Texas A&M did win against Mississippi State and brought them back to earth. Two losses in a row, one away, one at home. Next one @LSU, prepare for the third loss in a row.

- Air Force did lose against Army, the first in seven years.

- Buffalo did beat Miami (OH). Their first MAC-win this season.

- Tennessee almost lost against Troy. If they had lost, I think the HC of the Vols would have to leave right after the game. His stuff would have been send after him.

- And Tulsa almost won against Arkansas.

- Virginia did win against North Carolina State, their first ACC win.

- TCU did beat West Virginia in double OT. Big win for the Horn Frogs.

- Indiana did win against ... Iowa. It's hard to be a Hawkeye-Fan at the moment.

- Biggest finish this week in the Notre Dame - Pitt game. 3 OT and this Pitt Kicker had the win on his feet in the second OT. He missed right about a few inches and Notre Dame won the game at last.

- Texas did beat Texas Tech. Still some life from the Longhorns.

- Rice beats Tulane. Battle of the bad teams ..... defense left at home.

- South Florida did win its first Big East game, maybe not enough to keep Skip Holtz in his job.

- Duke lost big against Clemson and it showed, that whoever will enter the ACC Championship game, will be slaughtered by FSU or Clemson.

- UAB did beat Southern Miss. Their first CUSA win. There are only two teams left with ZERO wins. UMass, a FBS newcomer, and Southern Miss.
UMass is understandable. Maybe a bit unlucky, but OK. But Southern Miss was the CUSA champion last year and they did not lose THAT much players. They lost the HC to a big money program.
The new HC is probably in his first and last year. There is no excuse for this kind of letdown.

- One of the biggest stunner, Boise State did lose against San Diego State AT HOME.
Now the Mountain West is wide open again.

- And at last, Arizona State did lose against Oregon State. Oregon State that way still in the mix for the PAC 12 North crown.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2012-11-04

Howto ... create a proper playbook?

Hello all,

since we have the new engine now, the first gameday has shown quite impressive how important it is to understand how gamesettings and playbook influence the gameplay of your team...

The first thing you will have to do is setting up the gamesettings. A lot of information can be found in the manual and the forum, so we won't go deeper here, but just to mention a few things:

1. Don't forget to store kind of a default set. This safes you from playing "nonsense" when forgetting to create gamesettings for a certain game. Check the Coaches hints, there you'll find warnings too.

2. Don't use special settings like "Don't substitute" rules unless you are sure what you are doing. Wrong settings on this one can be the trigger for losing high.

3. Don't forget to activate the right playbook both for offense and defense. This is important to activate the playbook settings.

This Video lesson will give you further hints...

Now for the playbooks...there are offense and defense playbooks, and for both there are basic rulesets available here and there is a video lesson available too, you could follow here.

Now some basic "rules" for creating a playbook:

1. Be careful with "any"-rules...they cover "any" situation, this might cause trouble when punting from the opponents 1 yard line on 1st and goal. Basically you could say the more "any"s are in the rule, the more you should move it the bottom of the playbook.

2. Playbook rules overwrite settings made in the gamesettings...you can say in the gamesettings "never go for the new 1st down on 4th down attempts"...if you put a rule in your playbook saying "go on 4th by rush no matter how many yards", you players will go for the run!

3. Be sure you are using the Playbook-checker, could be found top right in the playbook. This smart tool will check for you if a rule becomes active or not. Needless to say: every single bug report we got in the past for not working playbooks was solved by using the playbook-checker, and in 99% of all bug reports it was the managers fault

4. In your offense playbook you will have to try to be a unique as possible. It is a good idea to have different rules per quarter, and more sophisticated playbooks force the team to pass and rush out of a certain formation to confuse the defense. Try to fool your opponents D, but don't overcook it.

5. The same is valid for your defense playbook. Some offenses try to fool you by playing 3 quarters medium pass out of the shotgun, but in the 4th quarter they go for the rush through the middle. If you have only one rule for the whole game to cover the shotgun attack, you will not take any advantage out of the "learning Defense brain". This "brain" is counting per formation and playbook rule, how offense formations are used, and is trying to find the right answer by guessing for rush or pass. You could "reset" this brain by having 4 rules, 1 per quarter, to react on shotgun - instead of having one shotgun answer all game long. Notice: the basic playbooks you got when taking over your team, or from the manual, or not covering this fact.

There are tons of hints left for the playbook...we will write a followup on this howto during the next few weeks, and reveal some more of them. Meanwhile you should play with your already existing knowledge, and turn your basic playbooks into much smarter ones....but please: do it step by step. Change small things, check them in the playbook-checker and of course on the field, in friendly games...if you fail, fix the playbook, and if you had success, think about the next small change.

We wish you good luck.