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

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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

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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.

2012-11-03

ManagementStudio released - manage your roster in a smart way

Today, we make just another milestone here in our American Football game. We activated the RedZoneAction.org Management Studio (RZAMS) for public use.

You could download it from http://redzoneaction.org/football/index.php?page=help&subpage=rzams once you are a registered TedZoneAction.org user.

This application can help you managing your roster. It keeps track of finances, provides a training monitor, helps you selecting the right position for a player and some more.

The RZAMS is free to use for owners of a Supporter Account. Other users can enable it by spending a few Credits. There are two purchase plans available for those users without a Supporter Account. You can enable RZAMS for 30 days by spending 10 Credits, or you can enable RZAMS for 90 days by spending 25 Credits.

For more information, please read here

2012-11-02

Week Ten FBS Preview - The meta-Poll-Ranking-Site .. what ever ...

You remember my ranking article?

No? Hmmm. Doesn't matter. LOL.

At the moment all eyes are on three rankings:
- AP poll (they do crown a relevant national champion at the end of the season, regardless what the BCS-Championship game does bring)
- The USA Today Coaches Poll (The crown a relevant national champion based on the BCS-Championship game)
- The BCS-Standings (It determines the two BCS-Championship-Participants)

The BCS-Standings are based on Coaches-Poll, The Harris-Poll (both human made polls) and six computer rankings.
The Harris-Poll is based on a secret ranking method, based on weekly randomly picked human (around 100, coaches, journalists, and other College Football people) out of around 300 in a pool.
Those computer rankings get some spotlight, but are not often analysed as single rankings, more as the average of it.
Those computer rankings are most of the time also a big secret, since many of their developers do make a living out of it.

But there are LOTs of more rankings and there are a lot of more people thinking about rankings.

Today I just wanted to give you a link to a site which tries to do a META ranking based on DOZENDS of rankings.

Some are public known rankings, with open computing, some are secrets.

College Football Ranking Coparison

This site is provided by Kenneth Massey, his rankings are also part of the BCS-Computer-Polls.

Just browse a little bit in his site; you will see (if you are interested in such stuff) that he has some decent information and some very nice links there.

Have fun!

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 10

This week is dominated by two games, the rest is more or less second tier.
That's not said out of disrespect, but out of media coverage.

Still, some fine games beside the two blockbuster games so don't miss them.

#20 Nebraska @ Michigan State
The Cornhuskers are the leader in the Big Ten Legends Division.
But they did lose already two games overall, one in the Big Ten.
So they are beatable and now they have to go to Michigan State with their fine Defense and have to win.
If they lose, the win last week against Michigan is then only for the books, since Michigan would probably jump them and eventually never give them the chance again to regain the lead.
Michigan State has only outsider chances to win the Legends, but they can play spoiler for all others and they can climb the overall ladder to get into a better bowl position (and first getting bowl eligible).
So don't expect a nice game.
Expect a tough fight and at the end we might see a change in the Big Ten, again.
Nebraska is a favourite with a tiny margin by 1.5 points.
I pick the Huskers, because they seem to be more consistent and Michigan State Offense is not that good.
Nebraska probably need an A-game day, but THAT I expect, no less.

#4 Oregon @ #17 USC
This was supposed to be THE clash of the PAC12-Titans and the preview of the PAC 12 Championship game.
It was supposed to be the meeting of two unbeaten teams looking for a National Championship, knowing that only one can maybe make it to the National Final.
Oregon did all it can to keep the promises.
They are 8-0 and did basically beat everything by a mile.
Fresno State did had the lowest margin with 17, the rest did worse.
USC on the other hand lost two games, close ones, against Stanford and Arizona.
Some might say, they are ALMOST unbeaten, but none of the beaten opponents has a better record than .500 at the moment.
The did show skills and talent, but something is missing.
Last year, USC did win against Oregon in Oregon by 3 points.
This year, it could be a loss at home by a very high margin.
The Ducks not only look impressive on offense (fast and deadly), no they also play a quite good defense and THAT might cost USC a lot.
I'm can't see here a Ducks loss.
It might get closer than expected, but an upset would surprise me and probably the whole planet.
Ducks win.

#1 Alabama @ #4 LSU
This is again a deciding game. Last year it was a defense battle, which LSU did win (9-3 OT), only to meet the red elephants in the National Championship game AGAIN and get beaten (21-0).
You don't have to say REVENGE here, those two programs play each other since the 19th century and since Nick Saban became the Crimson Tide coach after his NFL "career" and being the former LSU coach, this game is called the SABAN-BOWL.
They are 3-3 since then and it will be nice to see, what happens this week.
It's said that LSUs home site at Baton Rouge, Louisiana is the loudest place to play by far, makes it the toughest place to play, hence the nickname DEATH VALLEY (some call it DEAF VALLEY).
That's the only reason from my point of view that might help LSU this year.
Alabama did show so many skills, it's hard to imagine they might lose.
If this game would be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this would have Tide-Win written all over it.
But you don't play in Baton Rouge and win easily. At least not often.
Alabama is a 10-point-favourite in this.
I give then 14 points. LOL.
They are too good on offense and too good on defense.
LSU is very good at defense, but not quite good on offense, so they will simple not score enough points to match the points they will have to take.
Alabama win.

#24 Oklahoma State @ #2 Kansas State
Another week for the Wildcats to show they are legit contenders.
And Oklahoma State is a very good team.
But the lost twice this season, at home against Texas and at Tucson, Arizona against THEIR Wildcats.
That said, I think this elusive Cowboys offense will have to score a lot to keep up with the Colin Klein lead offense of KSU.
And there is the problem ... KSU has a way better defense.
Expect a high scoring game, decided by around 10 points.
Still ... KSU will win.

#22 Arizona @ UCLA
The battle of the first year coaches?
Rich Rodriguez vs Jim Mora junior?
Both did great on turning around struggling programs.
Arizona was 4-8 last season and their best seasons in the last 10 years were 8-5 in 2008 and 2009.
UCLA record was 6-8 last season, they won the PAC 12 south by default, since USC could not compete, and got beaten in the PAC 12 Championship game and in the Bowl.
Their best record in the last 10 years was 10-2, but that was before Rick Neuheisel was hired. Neuheisel was let go after the loss to Illinois in the Bowl.
Now both teams are in the winning area, 5-3 for the Wildcats, 6-2 for the Bruins.
Arizona is ranked, because they have beaten and lost to more ranked teams than UCLA.
But that is only temporary, since the rankings at the end are important.
What do we have here?
Two hot teams, which did lose some games, because they are not yet consistent.
I can't figure out a clear favourite here, both teams can win.
In doubt I tend to give the home team the advantage.
So, the Bruins win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE