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