2013-12-25

FBS Bowls - Wave 2

The Bowl-Season started and some games were really nice.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 1

Saturday, December 21, 2:00 PM ET GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Washington State vs. Colorado State @ University Stadium, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
I picked Wazzou, but nobody can expect to pick a winner if one team decides to do suicide.
The games was basically over, Wazzou was leading 45-30 with 9:35 to go.
The teams went back and forth, and with 2:50 remaining, CSU did score for 45-37.
Uh .... Maybe not over?
WSU got the ball and marched down the field ... puh. FUMBLE!
The Rams recovered and scored in the ensuing drive.
Add a two-point conversion and we have a tied game.
On the next kickoff, Wazzou did return and FUMBLED AGAIN!
Colorado State was able to bring out the filed goal team and did hit the winner with time running out.
Washington State 45 - Colorado State 48 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 0-1

Saturday, December 21, 3:30 PM ET ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL
#20 Fresno State vs. #25 USC @ Sam Boyd Stadium, LAS VEGAS, NV
I picked the Bulldogs, but USC did show they are a good PAC 12 team at least and Fresno State is a Mountain West team, still.
The game was never really close and at the end it was a disaster for Fresno State.
USC can now welcome their new head coach and hope for a restart.
Fresno State 20 - USC 45 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 0-2

Saturday, December 21, 5:30 PM ET FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Buffalo vs. San Diego State @ Bronco Stadium, BOISE, ID
Uih, the first right pick.
And San Diego was way dominant.
Really no chance for Buffalo, even when they had some scoring in the 4th quarter.
Buffalo 24 - San Diego State 49 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 1-2

Saturday, December 21, 9:00 PM ET R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette @ MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS, LA
Hmmm . Nobody mentioned the error I hand in the text for this game.
At the end of the text I had the preview of last years games ....
This yeat I picked Tulane and they started bad. ULL did score 21 points before Tulanes HC did pull Joe Montanas son (who had a pick 6) and brought in another QB.
That one did help to tie up the game, but a crucial play in their own endzone did result in a bad throw of him, ULL did intercept the pass and did score a FG out of this.
Over 1:30 to go, Tulane did their final drive and came into FG range.
The Kicker did kick the ball for 48 yards, but was too wide left and missed the tying FG.
Louisiana-Lafayette won now 3 New Orleans Bowls in a row.
Tulane 21 - Louisiana-Lafayette 24 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 1-3

Monday, December 23, 2:00 PM ET BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL ST. PETERSBURG
East Carolina vs. Ohio @ Tropicana Field, SAINT PETERSBURG, FL
This game was open until the beginning of the 4th quarter.
Ohio did kick the game leading FG for 17 - 20.
And then did someone knock on the door of ECU team zone and said "hey you? You let yourself get beaten by a MAC team? Really?"
ECU did score 20 unanswered points and did let Ohio not get into that game again.
East Carolina 37 - Ohio 20 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 2-3

Tuesday, December 24, 8:00 PM ET SHERATON HAWAII BOWL
Boise State vs. Oregon State @ Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI
Aloha.
The latest Bowl did went as expected.
The Beavers were very good and the former HC of the Broncos was missed everywhere.
Boise State was not able to get their high octane offense on the field.
On the other hand did Oregon State play like there is no tomorrow.
Easy win for the team.
East Carolina 37 - Ohio 20 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 2-3

That's the first wave.
Now come the second wave of Bowl games.
I will put here 5 Bowl games, until Friday.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 2

Thursday, December 26, 6:00 PM ET LITTLE CAESARS BOWL
Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green @ Ford Field, DETROIT, MI
The once Motor City Bowl at the 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.
A very strange thing happened this year, since the 8. Big Ten team was not available and a SBC team should have been taken.
There were plenty available, but the Bowl people took Pitt, from the ACC.
Don't ask me why they could do that.
Each team gets around 600.000$.
But no we have the MAC Champ vs a good ACC team.
Who will win?
I think Bowling Green as a real chance to win this.
They stunned NIU on the MAC final and they will give Pitt something to think about.
But Pitt could also get this one, since they have had their chances all over the season against bigger team, but were not able to win the close ones.
I give the Falcons my pick, I like their game.
Now I hope I'm right.

Thursday, December 26, 9:30 PM ET SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL
Utah State vs. #23 Northern Illinois @ Qualcomm Stadium, SAN DIEGO, CA
This is played on the homefield of the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs.
It is played since 2005 and each team gets around 500.000$.
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC (2. place until 2014) and different teams from different conferences each year, if they are eligible.
For this year Northern Illinois of the MAC was selected, since Army, who would have had a guaranteed place if eligible, failed to get the 6 wins.
The Bowl itself was played already 1952-1955 between western and Eastern Military Academies as a championship game.
It was then resurrected in 2005.
This year again the game will be fun to watch, since Utah State had a very nice season and Northern Illinois did almost win the MAC.
So it's 2. team from the MWC against 2. from the MAC.
Interesting is, that Vegas has Utah State as a small favorite in the game, but many people do believe Northern Illinois will win.
I for my part think that Utah State should win.
They were very good and the loss of Northern Illinois did show that the Huskies are not as the BCS Buster of last season.
Of cause the do have a chance, especially with their Heisman Finalist QB, but I think the Aggies will bring in enough defense to control that nice Huskies offense.
I pick the Aggies.

Friday, December 27, 2:30 PM ET MILITARY BOWL - PRES. BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN
Marshall vs. Maryland @ Navy Memorial Stadium, ANNAPOLIS, MD
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.
This year Marshall and Maryland were chosen, so the plan worked, not as it was last year.
For Maryland, it's almost a home game, since it is played in Maryland.
Each team gets around 1.000.000$.
Marshall did disappointed my in their last game against Rice.
So I'm not buying into that favorite role they got from Vegas here.
The only thing that's in for Marshall is, that they did win a few more games as a CUSA team.
But Maryland had to play some tougher teams, so ....
I'm leaning for Maryland here, but I think it will be close.
Anyway. My guts are saying Terrapins.

Friday, December 27, 6:00 PM ET TEXAS BOWL
Syracuse vs. Minnesota @ Reliant Stadium, HOUSTON, TX
Last season it was the MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL OF TEXAS.
Sounds like we got an upgrade this season, the sponsorship of Meineke Car Care did run out last season.
This is played at the home of the Houston Texans.
It's played since 2006.
The Big 12 should face up against a Big Ten Team here.
Well, this season, there were not enough Big Ten teams for all the Bowls, so an ACC team got the spot.
Each team gets around 1.700.000$.
I give Minnesota my pick.
This is a team on the rise and they played very good this season.
Syracuse did barely made it to the eligibility in the ACC.
No, the Gophers will win. Period.

Friday, December 27, 9:30 PM ET FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
BYU vs. Washington @ AT&T Park, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Another Bowl losing it's sponsor.
Since 2002 does this Bowl operate, even under different names.
It is played at the home of the San Francisco Giants (Baseball team)
This is a PAC 12 Bowl facing Navy, BYU or some teams from the ACC or MAC.
The PAC 12 team gets 1.000.000$ the other team only 850.000$.
If Washington wouldn't have lost it's coach, I would dhave picked the Huskies.
But now?
BYU did play some tough games and they CAN win this.
The biggest question will be, if the no leaderless Huskies will show up 100% or not.
Here is my theory: Sarkasian did not build a quitter team.
They have a familiar interims coach and will play against a not quite elite BYU team.
I think it will be close, but Washington will win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

Merry Chhristmas, Dear RZA Community

First of all we wish you and you loved ones a Merry Christmas. may you find some relaxing from our daily stress, from the noise, the rush, the restless days...

We started a small campaign to raise our Social Network presence...

We counted all the stuff together...and what to say, 110 Credits for each of you. Again, Merry Christmas. Well done!

2013-12-23

Only a few hours left...

Ho Ho Ho...

you might remember our Social Campaign. Only a few hours left, then we will count the numbers, and send you our small X-Mas gift...time for the final push, please HELP!

Cheers

2013-12-16

XMas...tweaking the game-engine...

Hey folks, how are you doing? XMas-Gifts purchased already?

We thought the time is right for part 1 of our X-Mas-Gift to you...No worries, we did not hire Toni "Wanna be a QB" Romo to tell us how the Passing part shouldn't work...

From now on, engine V 3.50 is active, for Friendlies and Scrimmages only.

This new version adds some more action on the Punting gameplay. There are now 2 11-me squads on the field.

The Punting unit consists of a Punter, a Fullback to protect the Punter, 2 Gunners (left/right), 2 TE (left/right) and a complete O-Line.

The Punt Returning unit is kind of an 4-3-3-1 formation. It consists of 4 Linemen (DT and DE, left/right each), 1 MLB, 2 OLB (left/right), 2 CB (left/right), 1 Strong Safety and 1 Punt-Returner (KR).

The players are chosen via the Depth Chart.

Now much more players have a chance to be really involved into the gameplay. At the same time the Yardage of Returns was adjusted slightly.

Some may ask why we are utilizing standard personal for these things...and there are 2 reasons for it.

1.) This way the gameplay stays easy

2.) The added code to the engine is transparent

3.) In real life, the Returning team members have to deal with the risk of being tricked by the Punting team, and therefore the guys need standard skills like on every standard play. Yes, NFL teams carry special players for such action, and maybe we will add dedicated Depth Chart positions later to meet this - but for the moment it works as described.

On a sidenote we would like to remember you of our small Help Needed"-Post a few weeks ago. Our Social Network Campaign is still running, which means you could push the count of your X-Mas-Credits through the sky, if you like...

FBS Week 16 - Review

So the Navy-Army game is over and so is the regular season.
No starts the most hire and fire movements for coaches and of cause the awards are handed out.

The most hyped award is of cause the Heisman and as expected did Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston take home the hardware.
It was not even close.
Second was AJ McCarron, QB of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Winston is a freshman, means he is in his first year of college football playing time.
Last season did Johnny Manziel win the Heisman also as a freshman, as the first time ever to take home the trophy as such.
Many did wonder if Manziel would win the Heisman again, but his team did not play as well as last season.
No Winston will get all the hype for next season.

Biggest coaching chance happened in Texas. Mack Bown did step down as Headcoach of the Longhorns.
Be sure that this will have a major impact on coaching changes, since Texas will sing a nice dollar song to get (almost) any coach they want.
So it might happen that some team, thinking they had their coaching position well set for years will have to look for a new coach soon.
Another interesting thing regarding coaches:
Boise State did hire Bryan Harsin, the first year HC of Arkansas State and former Boise State OC, as new HC.
That's not the big news; the big news is, from my point of view, that Arkansas State did lose their 3rd HC in 3 years, because some bigger school did wave the dollar bundles.
Hugh Freeze did leave after 1 season left after 2011 for Ole Miss, Gus Malzahn left after 1 season in 2012 for Auburn and now Harsin leaves after 1 season for the Broncos.
In that time did Arkansas State win ... 3 conference titles and went to 3 Bowls.
Looks like the AD of Arkansas State has a hand for good coaches. I'm curious to see, who will succeed Harsin.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 16:

Saturday, December 14 2013 3:00 PM ET
Army vs. Navy @ Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
There is not much to talk about.
Navy did basically destroy Army on the ground.
343 yards and 4 TDs, against 10 yards passing.
Well, no surprise, since thy play a triple option offense.
Army did not score until the 3rd quarter and that's that for them.
The consequence was clear; Army did fire their HC after 5 bad seasons.
Navy did win the Commander in Chief trophy by beating Air Force and Army.
Army 7 - Navy 34 -> Jacks Score: 64-28

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-12-12

FBS Week 16 - Preview

The last regular season game is here.
Traditionally the Army-Navy game is played one week after the other last games.
More about that game in the preview.

The Bowl-matchups are set and there are some very nice ones coming.
I will cover them step by step in the upcoming weeks when the games will be played from mid-December on until beginning of January.

The next big think coming is the Heisman trophy.
Awarded to the best college football player of the year it became the most hyped trophy of all awards you can get.
Even the NFL MVP is not hyped that way.
In the past many Heisman-Winners did become stars in the NFL, but that time is long over.
Here are the names of the last 20 players. Now tell me, who made a difference in the NFL?
1992 Gino Torretta Miami Quarterback
1993 Charlie Ward Florida State Quarterback
1994 Rashaan Salaam Colorado Running back
1995 Eddie George Ohio State Running back
1996 Danny Wuerffel Florida Quarterback
1997 Charles Woodson Michigan Cornerback/Punt returner
1998 Ricky Williams Texas Running back
1999 Ron Dayne Wisconsin Running back
2000 Chris Weinke Florida State Quarterback
2001 Eric Crouch Nebraska Quarterback
2002 Carson Palmer* USC Quarterback
2003 Jason White Oklahoma Quarterback
2004 Matt Leinart USC Quarterback
2005 Reggie Bush USC Running Back
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State Quarterback
2007 Tim Tebow Florida Quarterback
2008 Sam Bradford Oklahoma Quarterback
2009 Mark Ingram, Jr. Alabama Running back
2010 Cam Newton* Auburn Quarterback
2011 Robert Griffin III Baylor Quarterback
2012 Johnny Manziel Texas A&M Quarterback
I give the last 5 years a pass, since they would still have time to get it done (or did not have the chance yet), but except Charles Woodson none of those players were more than solid. Some even worse.
So, what does this say about this year’s finalist?
Luckily, nothing, since everybody has his career in his own hands.
But don't expect the winner to be a future NFL Hall of Famer. He might become one, but the odds are bad.
This season did 6 players have an invitation for the ceremony in New York, which is a bit odd, since normally there are only 3-4 invited.
The players are:
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois Quarterback
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Quarterback
AJ McCarron, Alabama Quarterback
Jameis Winston, Florida State Quarterback
Tre Mason, Auburn Running back
Andre Williams, Boston College Running back
Everybody does expect that FSUs Winston will win the trophy.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 16

Saturday, December 14 2013 3:00 PM ET
Army vs. Navy @ Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Played since 1890, yearly played since 1930.
Navy is leading the series 57-49-7 and is driving on a winning streak of 11 games so far, the longest they had ever.
The reason for that is the very bad state of Army Football.
Rich Ellerson is their HC since 5 season and his record is 20-40 so far, including one 7-6 season with a bowl win.
He survived so far the axe, but with a 3-8 season this year it doesn't look that good.
But you never now with those service academies.
Navy is coached by Ken Niumatalolo since 6 years and HIS record is 47-30 so far and 7-4 this season, which is very good for a service academy.
The service academies do have some problems with the BIG talents, since those want to play pro, not serving a few more seasons AFTER their final year as player for Uncle Sam.
So those schools are left out of the best players.
But in the Army-Navy game, both teams have the same background and somehow Navy does play good football and Army ... not.
The game is part of the Commander in Chief trophy, which is played for by all three service academies by playing each team once each season.
Army did lose to Air Force and Navy won against Air Force so far this season.
In case of a tie in the game result (means every team lost once and won once), which would happen in an Army win, the trophy is kept by the winner of last season, which was Navy.
So Navy will keep the trophy this season any way, but the main reason to play this game is not to win the trophy, it's to show those mud crawlers called Black Knights who is the better football team and for sure those Midshipmen will try to win, in best case, big.
Of cause the Army players will try to show those sea whips that there is strong and there is army strong .... Or something like that.
Honestly, I doubt an Army win, even if this game is different than a normal college football game.
Army football is far from being on top and at the end quality will win.
I pick Navy for the win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-12-09

FBS Week 15 - Review

That’s it, the games are played and the Conferences Champions are finally fixed.
The Bowl games will be filled in the next few days and the BCS Championship participants are also known.

But the first big news came before the weekend, when the University of Washington was able to hire Chris Petersen away from Boise State.
Petersen was more or less an every list for every job opening for the last 5 years.
He always denied and stayed with the Broncos.
Now does the PAC 12 get another high profile coach and if this goes as expected, the PAC 12 will get another very well coached team.

Another interesting hiring was Wyoming’s new HC. The Cowboys did fire their HC Dave Christensen after 5 season a few days ago and did not wait for long. They hired Craig Bohl, who still is the HC of North Dakota State, the reigning FCS Champion for the last 2 seasons. He will remain the HC of the FCS program, as long as their playoff run will last.

There will be a few more coaching changes, but this will unfold with time, since there will be a lot of domino effects by each hiring and firing.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 15:

Friday, December 6 2013 8:00 PM ET MARATHON MAC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Bowling Green vs. #14 Northern Illinois @ Ford Field, DETROIT, MI
This was a very entertaining game. And I have to admit that I never thought Bowling Green would have such a game against Northern Illinois.
The Huskies never had a chance.
The Falcons did control them with every play, with every down a little bit more.
Northern Illinois did score only 27 points, while Bowling Green did score a lot more.
For the Huskies QB, the hope for a Heisman Dark Horse is more or less over.
He might get an invitation, but I doubt it.
Bowling Green wins the MAC.
Bowling Green 47 - Northern Illinois 27 -> Jacks Score: 59-25

Saturday, December 7 2013 12:00 PM ET CONFERENCE USA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Marshall @ Rice
I tip my hat to Rice.
You did well and you earned that title (first since 56 years).
I was sure they would lose against Marshall in a close game, but as I did also write Rice at home ain't that easy.
At the end it was way too much for Marshall.
I wouldn't say the game was over at halftime, but Rice had a nice lead and they came out of halftime with force and did put in the coffin nails for a Marshall Conference Championship.
I'm curious to see, how the conference will do in the Bowl games.
Rice wins the C-USA.
Marshall 24 - Rice 41 -> Jacks Score: 59-26

Saturday, December 7 2013 3:30 PM ET
#25 Texas @ #9 Baylor
I have to admit I thought Oklahoma State would beat Oklahoma at home which would have made this game between Baylor and Texas less interesting.
But the Sooners did again beat their hated neighbours (10 out of 11) and left Baylor and Texas with basically a championship game.
The first half was all defense driven and a 3-3 halftime score did show this.
But after halftime did Baylor score and score and Texas was beaten.
At the end there was no close game, no question regarding who was lucky.
Baylor won the game. Period.
if you would have told someone a few seasons back that Baylor will win the Big 12 in 2013, they would have laughed at you, like would be the most craziest person on the planet.
But it's true ....
Baylor is the BIG 12 Champion.
Texas 10 - Baylor 30 -> Jacks Score: 60-26

Saturday, December 7 2013 4:00 PM ET SEC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#5 Missouri vs. #3 Auburn @ Georgia Dome, ATLANTA, GA
If a game sees 101 points, I think everybody would say it was either very one dimensional or very entertaining.
I think if the two best SEC teams meet, a one dimensional game is quite unlikely with such a score.
So yes, it was very entertaining.
Mizzou did play their brand of football, and Auburn did basically rush for the sunlight.
It was an open game until the 4th quarter.
Auburn scored and was able to hold off Mizzou from scoring.
With 6 minutes to go Mizzou was deep in their own half and decided to play the 4th and 1.
Auburn did stop them and scored the next play a TD.
THAT was the moment when the game was more or less over.
The Tigers tried to come back but needed way to much time and did not even score.
The Auburn Tigers won the SEC and will play for the National Championship. (Why? because of Ohio State)
Missouri 42 - Auburn 59 -> Jacks Score: 60-27

Saturday, December 7 2013 7:45 PM ET PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#7 Stanford @ #11 Arizona State
The PAC 12 was very wild this year.
This game was not.
Stanford came into the desert and basically left ASU wondering what's going on.
The Cardinals were always in front, ASU only able to tie the game at 7-7.
From that point on did Stanford the Sun Devils not get back into the driver seat.
It will be a very nice Rose Bowl matchup coming, when Stanford will play Michigan State.
The Stanford Cardinals won the PAC 12.
Stanford 38 - Arizona State 14 -> Jacks Score: 60-28

Saturday, December 7 2013 8:00 PM ET ACC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#20 Duke vs. #1 Florida State @ Bank of America, CHARLOTTE, NC
I really love what Duke did this season, but they were just no match for Florida State.
The Seminoles let them score the pity score in the 4th, but it was a clear message by FSU: We are the best. Period.
We will see, if this is true, when they will play Auburn in the BCS Championship game.
Florida State wins the ACC Championship.
Duke 7 - Florida State 45 -> Jacks Score: 61-28

Saturday, December 7 2013 8:17 PM ET BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#2 Ohio State vs. #10 Michigan State @ Lucas Oil Stadium, INDIANAPOLIS, IN
This was very nice.
I said "we might see an upset" in the preview and it was a very strange game to deliver such.
Michigan State did came out strong, did score 17 unanswered points, there defense was strong as it could be.
Then did Ohio State respond and was able to cut the point difference to 1 score before the half.
Then came out of the box, did score to tie the game and score again for a lead.
Yes, 24 unanswered points.
Michigan State did look like they were doomed.
But not so fast. MSU did score FG in the 3rd and did score a TD beginning of the 4th for the lead.
Then the defenses did take a bit over until about 6 min. to go.
On 4th and 2 did the Buckeyes decide to go for it.
And the Spartans did stop that 1 always successful play of OSU.
They got the ball and did score the next few plays.
BOOM. The unbeaten Ohio State did lose the most important game.
Michigan State wins the BIG 10 and will play Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State will play Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Ohio State 24 - Michigan State 34 -> Jacks Score: 62-28

Saturday, December 7 2013 10:00 PM ET MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Utah State @ #23 Fresno State
Bad luck for Fresno State, they lost last week. Or maybe not.
Here is my theory: If they would have won last week, they might have fallen this week.
The loss did give them the needed punch for the final and they delivered.
It was a close match were Fresno State did lead early, the Aggies did came almost back in the second half, but the Bulldogs did play just enough tough football to win the game.
Bad luck for them, the loss last week did spoil their chances for a BCS Bowl, but according to my theory, they would have last the championship game and would then have nothing.
So ... Fresno State is the Mountain West Champions, not too bad.
Utah State 17 - Fresno State 24 -> Jacks Score: 63-28

Games of Interest

Louisville won against Cincinnati in OT - A very close game but Louisville was able to win it by stopping Cincinnati in the final drive in OT on 4th down.
Oklahoma did beat Oklahoma State - The Sooners looked done when the Cowboys did score for the lead, with 1:46 in the game and testing their 3rd QB.
But that QB did deliver a very nice scoring drive with 19 ticks left in the game.
OSU could not score in the last seconds and the Sooners won the Bedlam Series.
UCF wins against SMU - They had more work to do than expected, but finally they won and did become the unbeaten American Conference Champion
Rutgers beats South Florida - Rutgers becomes Bowl eligible by that.
Louisiana-Lafayette lost against South Alabama - All ULL had to do was winning to claim the SBC Championship all by their own, but the lost and now have to share with Arkansas State. South Alabama had an impressive late season run.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-12-05

FBS Week 15 - Preview

So here come the final gameday (except that Navy-Army game next weekend).
ALL conferences are still up for grab. Some teams did already secure at least a share, but who likes sharing if you can get the title all for yourself?

Sun Belt Conference
The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns did lose against Louisiana-Monroe, but thanks to Arkansas States loss against Western Kentucky the Cajuns are still in the lead to NOT share the title. All they have to do is, beat South Alabama on the road.
Right behind them with 2 losses are the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Their season is over; they have to hope for a Cajuns-loss to grab a share of the Conference title.

Mid American Conference
The East Division is won by the Bowling Green Falcons.
The West Division is won by Northern Illinois.
They will meet each other this weekend for the title.
NIU has two issues to think about. 1st is the title game; second is their unbeaten record and the potential 2nd BCS Buster spot in 2 years.

Conference USA
East Division is won by the Marshall Thundering Herd.
West Division is won by the Rice Owls.
They will fight for the title this weekend.

Mountain West Conference
The West Division is won by Fresno State, even after their loss the last weekend.
The Mountain Division is won by Utah State.
The Aggies will play Fresno State this week in the Championship game.

American Athletic Conference
Last gameday for the conference and 3 teams are in the mix for at least a share of the title.
Leading team is still UCF, unbeaten inside the conference. They have a share of the title already.
If they win against SMU, they are the lone champions. I think they already secured the BCS Bowl spot due head-to-head tiebreaker, but I have to admit I'm not 100% sure.
Right behind are Louisville and Cincinnati with 1 loss.
They have to play against each other this week.
Whoever wins that game has to hope for a UCF loss to get a share of the title.

Atlantic Coast Conference
The Atlantic Division is won by the Florida State Seminoles.
The Coastal Division is won by the Duke Blue Devils.
They will battle it out this weekend.
The Seminoles have to win this to play in the BCS final.

Big Ten Conference
The Legends Division is won by Michigan State.
The Leaders Division is won by Ohio State.
They will play against each other this week for the conference championship game.
For Ohio State this is crucial, if they want to play in the BCS final.

Pacific 12 Conference
The North Division is won by Stanford.
The South Division is won by Arizona State.
They will face each other this week, in a rematch of a regular season game which was won by Stanford.

Big 12 Conference
Oklahoma State is leading, but they have to win against Oklahoma to secure a share of the title.
Texas and Baylor are right behind Oklahoma State and have to play each other this week.
Texas and Baylor can win the conference on its own, if they win and OSU loses to the Sooners.
The BCS Bowl spot is up for grab.

Southeastern Conference
The Eastern Division is won by the Missouri Tigers.
The Western Division is won by the Auburn Tigers.
The teams will face off against each other on the weekend.
The SEC has spot #3 to #5 in the BCS.
It's still an open debate, if the SEC champ might jump Ohio State (at the moment at #2) even if Ohio State wins.

BCS-Standings
Florida State and Ohio State are leading.
Next in line then are Auburn, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Stanford, South Carolina, Baylor, Michigan State and Arizona State.
The rest is not needed at the moment.
Assuming both leading teams will win their Championships games, it's almost sure they will play in the BCS final.
There is a small issue regarding Ohio State. It might happen that the SEC Champ, Auburn or Mizzou, gets more juicy points out of the matchup than Ohio State gets from beating Michigan State and the SEC champ jumps OSU.
I think if possible, it's only possible for Auburn at #3.
But OSU plays Michigan State (ranked #10), so they will get also a lot of brownie points by winning.
It will be close, but I think the SEC could be left out in that case.

It will get more complex, if FSU loses to Duke (THAT would be fun ... lol.) and OSU loses to the Spartans.
THEN the SEC jumps for sure back into the game and the next in line would be ...?? Maybe Alabama. Maybe Oklahoma State, if they win. Maybe Stanford, but even if they win the PAC 12 I doubt it.

Two small notes:
USC did grab Steven Sarkisian, the HC of the Washington Huskies, as new HC of their program.
He is a former Pete Carroll Assistant at USC and did bring back Washington from the 0-12 abyss to a 8-4 record this season, did coach there for 5 seasons.

On the other hand, long time HC of Wake Forest, Jim Grobe, did step down after 13 seasons with the Demon Deacons.
He won a conference championship in 2006 (with the smallest BCS program).
He is tied for most wins with the school and many do believe him to be the best coach the school ever had.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 15

Friday, December 6 2013 8:00 PM ET MARATHON MAC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Bowling Green vs. #14 Northern Illinois @ Ford Field, DETROIT, MI
The MAC final has at least for NIU at lot to offer.
If they win, they will not only have won their third MAC title in 3 year, no they could also get a BCS Bowl spot the second year in a row.
That means a lot of money.
A bad person could argue, the conference will do anything to let NIU win, since a share of the money and the fame will also go to the other MAC teams.
If Bowling Green wins, they will play NOT in the BCS and will earn a lot less.
Well, I have to assume that every team will play 100% for the win.
Bowling Green is 9-3 with 7-1 in MAC games; Northern Illinois is only the 3rd team in the FBS to be perfect (Ohio State and Florida State being the other 2).
Of cause it will be hard for Bowling Green to win this.
NIU has played very good this season, they were not really in danger to lose any game this year and don't have to fear the Falcons.
Bowling Green on the other hand did lose against Toledo (7-5 MAC), Mississippi State (6-6 SEC) and Indiana (5-7 Big 10).
So they did not lose against dominating teams.
If Bowling Green can control that dynamic NIU offense, they do have a chance.
But i doubt it.
NIU will win and will play in another BCS Bowl.

Saturday, December 7 2013 12:00 PM ET CONFERENCE USA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Marshall @ Rice
Bad luck for Marshall, this is played at Rice.
If this would be in Huntington I would pick the Thundering Herd and that's that.
But an away game is an away game.
The CUSA Championship game was won in 8 games 3 times by the visiting team.
The odds are not that bad.
Both teams have the same record inside the conference which will give us the chance for a nice match.
I give my Pick to Marshall anyway.
I can't understand why Rice did get the better BCS standing result (to get the home field advantage). Probably the win over Kansas did give them a boost.
We will see, if that's enough to stop the Thundering Herd.

Saturday, December 7 2013 3:30 PM ET
#25 Texas @ #9 Baylor
Texas has the chance to win it all.
As has Baylor.
This is the Big 12 Championship game part 2.
When this game is kicked off, the result out of Stillwater between the Sooners and the Cowboys will be known.
So both teams will know what's at stake.
The records of both teams do not reflect the strength of the teams.
Texas did suck the first few games, but did correct that and did win since then, except the loss against OSU.
They even did beat Oklahoma.
Baylor did also lose only once, against OSU.
So both teams will cheer for the Sooners to beat OSU (even no Texas fan or player will say that) and the winner of this matchup here will take the price.
Who will win here is open for debate.
I think Baylor has a very solid chance to win, even win big.
It all depends on Texas offense.
If they can keep up the pace to match the scoring of Baylor, this will get funny.
I do believe Baylor will score a lot, but who knows, maybe Texas can copy the Cowboys defense and shut them down?
I doubt it, so I pick Baylor.

Saturday, December 7 2013 4:00 PM ET SEC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#5 Missouri vs. #3 Auburn @ Georgia Dome, ATLANTA, GA
This will be fun!
It's open from my point of view, it will have a lot of scoring and whoever wins might be left out of the BCS championship game.
The only chance to get into the big game? Win BIG.
So, they better start scoring early and often.
Problem with that?
Both teams can score.
I love it.
Since it's a neutral site game, it depends on the teams, how they adjust and play inside the dome.
Auburn is the favourite by an inch, since they won against Alabama abd are ranked higher.
But I think the Iron Bowl did cost them too much to rebound a week later against the second best team of the SEC.
I pick Missouri for the win!

Saturday, December 7 2013 7:45 PM ET PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#7 Stanford @ #11 Arizona State
Arizona State did only lose once inside the Conference, against Stanford in California.
Now we have the rematch, in Arizona.
Since Stanford did lose some games, not meant to lose, the Sun Devils get the home field advantage.
The Rose Bowl spot is the price i addition to the conference title and Stanford won't get this price without a fight.
And Arizona State won't get it also with some effort.
Even ranked lower than Stanford, ASU is the favourite by a few points, thanks to their latest played games and the home field.
I think Stanford can win this if they are able to get their A-game on DEFENSE.
They will need a really good one to stop that Sun Devils attack and I'm not sure they will deliver.
ASU on the other side has to control the Stanford offense good enough to give their offense the chance to win the game.
I'm expecting a close game with not that many points.
I pick ASU, out of my gut feeling.

Saturday, December 7 2013 8:00 PM ET ACC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#20 Duke vs. #1 Florida State @ Bank of America, CHARLOTTE, NC
OK, I will make that one a quickie.
Anyone thinks this will be won by DUKE?
No?
As do I. FSU is a mile high favourite.
As much as I like underdogs and Cinderella football season, Dukes dream does end here.
Even the game in North Carolina (Dukes State) will not help.
IF Duke wins, I will be stunned and happy for them. Call Hollywood and make a movie deal!
Seriously, I FSU does not get a team wide epidemic, or half of the team gets injured during warm-up, Duke has no chance.

Saturday, December 7 2013 8:17 PM ET BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#2 Ohio State vs. #10 Michigan State @ Lucas Oil Stadium, INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Looks like Ohio State did everything right with hiring Urban Meyer almost 2 seasons ago. He delivered so far 2 undefeated seasons and he might deliver this year not only a Big 10 championship (last time won by Ohio State in 2009) but also a national championship.
All he has to do is, win with his team two more games.
And to get the second game (the BCS final), win THIS game big.
Because if he wins only a bit, by a few points, the voters might give their love a bit more to the SEC Champ and he might jump OSU in the rankings.
Sounds easy, right? Win big, play for the big game.
Not so fast.
Michigan State did basically shut down every damn football team.
They lost only once, to Notre Dame.
I can't believe they will be overrun by OSU. They might lose to them, yes, but not big.
I think we will have a nice matchup here and we might see an upset.
OSU gets my pick, but it was a close call, since MSU is tough and then will not play like pansies.

Saturday, December 7 2013 10:00 PM ET MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Utah State @ #23 Fresno State
Welcome to the first Mountain West Championship game.
The Bulldogs got the home field advantage because of their better BCS ranking.
Their loss last week might be the best they could have at that time.
NOW they now they can lose and they will not underestimate the Aggies.
Utah State did have luck this season, since Boise State had a tougher schedule.
What speaks for a Utah State win?
In my book?
Nothing. They won all the big games, except Boise State, granted, but Fresno State did WIN against Boise State and all the other big shots.
Yes, the Bulldogs did lose last week against San Diego State, but I think that was the season final underestimation bug.
NOW they will play 100%+ and that will be too much for the Aggies.
I pick the Bulldogs.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-12-02

FBS Week 14 - Review

Only one week left to decide the remaining open spots regarding Bowl eligibility and conference championships. And of cause the #1 and #2 spot in the BCS.

This weekend saw one of the wildest games I ever have seen. The Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn did finish in a very unique last play, historic.
The consequences did not only affect the SEC but also the whole BCS.

A different story this weekend was the coaching search of USC.
They seem to eyes Boise States Chris Petersen, who did turn down several request from other schools in the past, and Vanderbilt James Franklin.
USC is optimistic to finish the HC search this week.
One HC is out of work right after the weekend. Wyoming did fire Dave Christensen after another 5-7 season. He was 27-34 with the Cowboys.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 14:

Saturday, November 23 12:00 PM ET
#3 Ohio State @ Michigan
That game was intense. Several ejections and a very close game in the big house.
The game was tied going into halftime and in the 3rd did Ohio State score twice for a 35-21 lead.
Over?
Not yet. Michigan scored as response and did recover a fumble during the second play of the next Ohio State drive.
The Wolverines did score again and the game was tied again.
Still 5 min. on the clock, did the Buckeyes drive down the field and score.
2:20 left for Michigan to respond.
And they did, gaining yards after yards and scored for the 42-41 TD.
Kick the XP and going into overtime?
Not in Hokes book.
The Wolverines tried a 2 point conversion and .... failed.
That gutsy call will be talked about for years.
From my point of view I can understand the decision. Maybe I would have done the same in that situation.
Image it. Your behind, did cruise over the field, 113511 fans behind you. You score. Hard to beat THAT momentum.
At the end you can't even blame the Michigan QB for throwing into the best covered area on the field. 2-point-plays are designed for quickness.
I'm sure he did regret the throw, when the ball left his hand.
Anyway. The Buckeyes won and are well in the mix for the BCS title.
I'm not sure regarding Hokes future at Michigan, but I think he will stay.
Ohio State 42 - Michigan 41 -> Jacks Score: 56-22

Saturday, November 23 12:00 PM ET
#24 Duke @ North Carolina
I think any Dukes fan will have a hard on for the next few days.
Not only did Duke win against those Tar Heels, they did not only have the most wins EVER in school history, they did also win the division and will face the Florida State Seminoles in the final.
Duke scored the game winning FG with about 2:20 left.
North Carolina tried to answer but was picked off at Dukes 37 yard line.
Fedora really has to get his team better to keep his job.
I think this season was a real disappointment for every Tar Heel fan.
Duke fans can enjoy their hard on for the week.
I fear against the Seminoles it will get MUCH tougher.
Duke 27 - North Carolina 25 -> Jacks Score: 57-22

Saturday, November 23 3:30 PM ET
#1 Alabama @ #5 Auburn
And here is the Iron Bowl.
If you find a Highlight film, WATCH IT!
Auburn started nice, they stopped Alabama and their Kicker did miss the Field Goal.
They needed then 2 drives (so they stooped Alabama again) to score and went ahead 0-7.
They managed to stop Alabama again, but could not score.
After that it was all Alabama in the second quarter.
The Crimson Tide did score 3 times, one sore after an Auburn fumble.
The Tigers did score only once, so it was 21-14 to the half.
Auburn got the ball after the kick-off and scored for the tie.
With that score it went into the 4th quarter.
The poor Alabama kicker (who got killing threats after the game) missed another field goal, but Auburn was also not able to score.
But they did down the punt at Alabamas 1 yard line.
No problem for the Tide, the QB dropped back in his endzone (quite risky with that this day REALLY stingy Auburn defense) and passed to the right sideline down the field.
The Alabama WR did catch it and ran TO THE HOUSE!
99 yards!
Oh dear ...
After that both teams were unable to get anything done, in addition did Alabama got another missed FG try, this time it was blocked by Auburn.
Motivated by that did Auburn cruise over the field and scored. Game tied!
32 ticks left on the clock.
But those are the Crimson Tide, right?
They went over the field, and with 1 tick left on the clock, on Auburn 38 yard line, the FG crew came on the field.
This time a different kicker.
Nobody kicks 57 yard field goal by default.
Alabama tried it anyway and kicked short.
The ball came down, right in front of the goal post.
An Auburn player did wait there for a return.
He ran ... and ran ... and ran THE WHOLE FUCKING FIELD TO WIN THE IRON BOWL! 109 yards!
Alabama went down. Almost no chance for a BCS championship spot, the chances for a three-peat are over. By a field goal return TD.
Still they will play in a BCS bowl and I fear for the opponent.
Alabama 34 - Auburn 28 -> Jacks Score: 57-23

Saturday, November 23 7:00 PM ET
#6 Clemson @ #10 South Carolina
This was a close game until the 4th quarter.
Then did South Carolina just score 14 unanswered point and won this game the 5th time in 5 years.
Clemson had a great season but they still need some more juice to play for the big one. They lost twice this season.
Against FSU and against South Carolina.
Nothing to be ashamed of.
South Carolina did win and keeps their chances for a BCS Bowl.
Their SEC dreams were shattered by Mizzou, but there is always the next season. ;-)
Clemson 17 - South Carolina 31 -> Jacks Score: 58-23

Saturday, November 23 7:45 PM ET
#21 Texas A&M @ #5 Missouri
This game was open until the end.
Mizzou was often in the lead, but A&M was able to tie the game.
Unfortunately they were not able to get into the leading position.
Mizzou scored again for the lead with 3:34 left on the clock.
You might think with a QB like Manziel it should be possible to get that one tying score?
No.
They had to punt and the Tigers were able to run down the clock, to win the division and to play for the SEC Championship in their 2nd year in the SEC.
Everybody thought it would be or could be A&M to accomplish that but now the Tigers might win the conference.
Next stop? Manziels announcement regarding his future. Sumlins contract was prolonged until 2019 already.
Texas A&M 21 - Missouri 28 -> Jacks Score: 59-23

Saturday, November 23 8:00 PM ET
#22 UCLA @ #23 USC
Wow, I think we will see a new USC HC very soon.
I think if that interims coach would have won the battle of LA, he might have gotten the deal, but with such a result as of last weekend?
I think, he will get HC offers, because of the good work he did with USC during the season, but USC wants someone to win with.
I'm stunned by the two leading candidates, I would have guessed they try to get someone like Del Rio or any other NFL coach waiting, but it looks like they want the next hot coach.
UCLA did let USC never get into that game and was always a bit better. Or even a bit more.
Jim Mora has to get his team to the next level; expectations will only grow in LA.
UCLA 35 - USC 14 -> Jacks Score: 59-24

Games of Interest

NIU wins against Western Michigan - NIU stays perfect and stays the only team worth a BCS Buster spot.
Mississippi State won against Ole Miss - The Egg Bowl is decided in OT.
Iowa wins against Nebraska - The Heroes Trophy is won by Iowa for the first time. (is awarded since 2011) but much juicier must be ... Iowa won in Nebraska the first time since ... 1943!
Marshall won against East Carolina - The Thundering Herd is playing for the CUSA Championship next week against Rice.
Akron beats Toledo - Akron with 5 wins this season.
Bowling Green wins against Buffalo - The Falcons will play for the MAC Championship against NIU next week.
LSU did almost lose to Arkansas - The Golden Boot is LSUs for the third time in 3 years.
San Jose State did beat Fresno State - Fresno State got their first loss of the season. They will play Utah State for the MWC championship next week.
Oregon State did almost win against Oregon - The civil war was VERY close. 30 ticks left and the Ducks did get the 1 point lead. 6th straight win for the Ducks.
UCF won against South Florida - UCF now has a share of the American conference title in the pocket.
Florida State beats Florida - After losing to the Gators last season, FSU did win this time to stay in the hunt for the BCS championship game
Kansas State wins against Kansas - The Governor's Cup is won by Kansas State for the 5th time in a row.
Utah State wins against Wyoming - For Utah State is means playing for the MWC championship game, for Wyoming it means looking for a new HC.
Rice wins against Tulane - Rice now the division winner and will play Marshall for the CUSA championship next week.
Georgia beats Georgia Tech in 2 OT - Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate! The Bulldogs have won that game for the 5th straight.
Purdue loses against Indiana - This year the Old Oaken Bucket is for the Hoosiers.
Virginia Tech wins against Virginia - The Commonwealth Cup is awarded to VT the 10th straight time.
Penn State upsets Wisconsin - The Badgers lose AT HOME!
Baylor wins against TCU - Baylor stays in the hunt for a BIG 12 Championship.
UTSA wins against Louisiana Tech - UTSA with a terrific season for a FBS sophomore
Western Kentucky beats Arkansas State - A bit expected did the Red Wolves lose, still they have all chances for a SBC championship, since ULL lost also.
Notre Dame lost against Stanford - This season the Legends Trophy is won by Stanford.
ULL lost against ULM - After 5 straight wins did Lafayette lose AT HOME against Monroe. Battle on the Bayou is this rivalry called.
Arizona State beats Arizona - The Territorial Cup is won by ASU 2nd straight.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-11-18

Help needed - again

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2013-10-31

Trick or treat?

Yes, again it's All Hallows' Eve - Halloween. Pumpkins are ready?

Kids are driving house owners nervous with their "Trick or treat"...and usually the kids win - it is kind of a "Shotgun 2 WR outer left" of the real life :)

We hope you enjoy the evening, maybe join some good friends for a costume party...

For those not knowing what to do, here are 10 Credits for free, you could use them for having some Scrimmages as example.

Cheers!

FBS Week 10 - Preview

Just a short one this week.

First news: Carl Pelini, the Headcoach of Florida Atlantic did resign.
It looks like he and one of his assistants was seen using illegal drugs and confronted with such accusations he resigned.
The drugs are named as pot.
Hmmm.
I'm not sure this is the complete story, since IF this is the complete story, it's a lame one.
Resigning because of someone saw you smoking pot (on a concert by the way)?
No police involved and no further evidence?
I can understand that a University don't want to defend illegal drug use, sure.
But one joint? Isn’t this a bit of a kneejerk reaction?

And on the other hand ... Why did Pelini DO this?
As public figure of the University you just don't do such things.
(Of cause people still DO it, because they are still human beings, which are .... emotional and irrational)

Second News: It's gameday 10, which means for most teams they have only 5 or less games left to turn the season around or to put the icing on the cake.
For many teams the BIG games are coming up and I'm sure we will see a few teams fall from graces in the next few weeks.
Most divisions and conferences are wide open and in college football sometimes it only needs one great day by an opponent or one bad week by your own team to turn the season into a mess.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Saturday, November 2 8:00 PM ET
#7 Miami @ #3 Florida State
Probably the preview of the ACC championship game.
I'm not 100% sold on that, because of one reason.
Miami did not play as dominant as expected in the past few weeks.
They almost fell to North Carolina and Wake Forest.
They have not played the next in line waiting Virginia Tech so far.
That will be next week. Virginia Tech can win this and then will probably VT meet the Seminoles.
FSU is the favourite in this game, they are not only higher ranked, they also play at home.
Officially both teams will do the "just a regular game" routine, but this will be heated up by players, coaches and the press.
Expect a hot game, but expect also a one dimensional one.
Only chance for Miami is to come out 150% or having FSU out of synch.
I doubt that, I pick the Seminoles.

Saturday, November 2 7:00 PM ET
Tennessee @ #9 Missouri
Now, what should I here?
Pick Mizzou and have them lose, or pick against them to let them win? LOL.
Let's get the facts: The Vols are 4-4 in total and 1-3 in SEC games.
That one win was against South Carolina, at home.
Mizzou is 7-1 with 3-1 in SEC games.
That one loss was at home against South Carolina.
I think that loss did help them to GET it.
Lose and the dream starts to vanish quicker than saying "Championship game".
I think they will not lose a second time at home.
The Vols?
They got last week their Crimson Tide packages on the road and do have to travel AGAIN.
I don't think they will be ready as they could be.
Mizzou will win (oh dear, I did it)

Saturday, November 2 7:00 PM ET
#18 Oklahoma State @ #15 Texas Tech
The Red Raiders lost to the Sooners in Norman last week.
Oklahoma State did win all games, excepts that loss against West Virginia.
Both teams are in position to take stay in the Big 12 race.
The loser will probably be out of competition.
This is a tough one.
On paper the Red Raiders are the favourites.
But I doubt it.
They played some good games, but I think their Cinderella season started to crumble last week and it will continue this week.
They won't get blasted by the Cowboys like the last few seasons, but I doubt they will score enough points to stay in the game until the final whistle blows.
I pick the Cowboys, for two reasons:
First: They are a quite mature team under Gundy. Texas Tech is not such a team.
Second: Texas Tech is turnover prone and you can't be such a team against the top teams in your league.
Oklahoma State wins.

Saturday, November 2 3:30 PM ET
#21 Michigan @ #22 Michigan State
The day of truth for both teams.
The Wolverines did enter the season as one of the biggest favourites for the Big 10 Championship game. They division games were meant to be only warm-ups expect the Ohio State game.
On the first look, with 6-1 and 2-1 in Big 10 games they look at least OK. But they did play poorly in a lot of games this season and did only survive by luck or by being still a strong team, stronger than a MAC team or an AAC team.
Now they face the leading team in their division.
The Spartans are also a bit surprising to be still on top, but since they won all games except the Notre Dame game, they deserve it.
They have a very good defense, which will give the Wolverine some problems and they do also have some offense.
Enough?
Not sure.
I'm leaning towards Michigan, but the home field advantage and the poor games this season do not let me finalize on such a pick.
So I pick Michigan State.
I think it will be an open game and chances are good for both teams to win this.
But at the end I'm counting on the Spartans home crowd and a bit more defense then Michigan can bring up.

Saturday, November 2 12:00 PM ET
#24 Wisconsin @ Iowa
I'm 100% I will regret picking on that game.
I hate picking Hawkeyes games.
If you think they will suck, they win, If you expect wins, they lose.
This game is (as always) a hard one.
Wisconsin is a good team.
Let them play the Hawkeyes 100 times, they will win most of them. I'm sure.
Iowa on the other hand will win SOME.
So, what will happen?
Wisconsin has a joker in this game. They had a bye week, last gameday.
So here comes a RESTED Badgers team.
I pick the Badgers, hoping and expecting a close game.

Friday, November 1 2013 9:00 PM ET
USC @ Oregon State
Hey, a Friday game.
Oregon State hosts the interims coached Trojans and this might get funny.
USC did hit the fun button, after they let their former coach go and they won 2-1 games so far since then.
They face an Oregon State team which I capable of winning, even if they lost last week against Stanford.
Many expected an upset in that game, but the Beavers fell short.
But USC is no Stanford, and I think this will be some kind of fight back game for Oregon State.
I'm looking for a high scoring game with some happy Beavers players at the end.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-10-29

FBS Week 9 - Review

What a nice weekend. Not for picking games, but to keep the season at least a bit open.

There are only 8 teams left standing as UNDEFEATED.
All of them are ranked, but Northern Illinois (#17) and Fresno State (#16) would need a perfect season AND in addition a 3+ loss season of all now ranked teams above them. And even then I wouldn't be surprised they would be left out of the BCS Championship game.

The remaining 6 teams are ranked from #7 Miami, #6 Baylor, #4 Ohio State to now #3 Florida State, #2 Oregon and #1 Alabama.
All of them do have tough games left to play and at least Miami and Florida State will play one (or maybe two, including an ACC Championship game) game (next week).

The BCS super-gau is always having more than 2 teams "worth" the #1 and #2 spot, means this time of the year normally "undefeated".
We have the ACC, Big 12, Big 10 and SEC fielding unbeaten teams at the moment and I might happen they will stay unbeaten until the end.

The good news is it can happen any given Saturday that another unbeaten team falls.
This week 2 teams fell, Texas Tech and Missouri.

The season is not over for them, for sure not.
Texas Tech can still win the Big 12, lots of games left including games against the Big 12 leaders Baylor and Texas.
Missouri is even in a better spot. They are 1 game ahead of all other teams in the SEC East. Win the remaining games and they play for the SEC Championship. Not easy to do this, but it CAN happen.

But in the national title race those losses won't help them, unless the mentioned undefeated teams fall, too.
ALL of them have to play ranked opponents and ALL of them can also suffer a loss from an unranked opponent, upsets do happen.

I personally hope for such events, since this does spice up the competition and because I would like to see a different Final than Alabama vs. someone and Alabama wins. LOL.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 9:

Saturday, October 26 7:00 PM ET
#12 UCLA @ #3 Oregon
This was an open game until the 3 quarter.
It looked like someone on the Oregon sideline said: "Oh! We forgot to release the handbrake. I wondered why we were so slow ... Wait a sec ... That should do it ..."
BOOM, 28 unanswered points and UCLA looked like a bunch of kids playing with the big boys.
If those two teams will meet in the PAC 12 final, UCLA should be better prepared; otherwise this game will be one-sided as this one of last weekend.
UCLA 14 - Oregon 42 -> Jacks Score: 33-15

Saturday, October 26 7:00 PM ET
#21 South Carolina @ #5 Missouri
Man, I better pick against Missouri, if I want them to win.
Who is to blame for such a game?
The team?
The Coach?
The Kicker?
The damn goalpost?
What happened?
End of 3rd Quarter Mizzou lead 17-0.
It looked like South Carolina didn't get anything done.
Then 17 unanswered Gamecocks points later, with a missed FG from the Tigers Kicker and a TD with 42 ticks left on the clock, the game headed into OT.
Both teams scored in the first OT, the Gamecocks kicked a FG in the 2nd.
The Tigers lined up for a 24 yard chip shot FG.
The ball did hit the left goalpost and the game was over.
Missouri dropped from the undefeated ranks and a few spots in the rankings.
This might be the right thing at the right time.
They are 1 game ahead in the SEC East and still can win it all.
South Carolina kept the last chance for a division championship; they still have to keep a lot more. One more loss will mean goodbye for such dreams.
South Carolina 27 - Missouri 24 (2 OT) -> Jacks Score: 33-16

Saturday, October 26 10:30 PM ET
#6 Stanford @ #25 Oregon State
Oregon State was there and did almost defeat the Cardinals.
With basically nothing left on the clock, 4th and goal at Stanfords 7 yard line and 8 points down, the game was still open at that point.
We all have seen such games.
TD, 2 Point-Conversion, OT, win.
It happened in the past.
Unfortunately not for the Beavers this week.
That last pass was incomplete, the game was over and Stanford won a close game.
I think the Beavers did play quite good, but not good enough to top the Cardinals.
But don't think they will fall to other PAC teams easily.
The Civil War against Oregon on the last gameday might get interesting.
(I doubt a Beavers win for that game, but upsets happen. ;-) )
Stanford 20 - Oregon State 12 -> Jacks Score: 34-16

Saturday, October 26 3:30 PM ET
#10 Texas Tech @ #15 Oklahoma
Hmm .... What did I say?
Close game and a Sooners win.
7 minutes left and the Red Raiders closed the gap to 30-35.
Oklahoma marched down the field and scored a FG. 30-38.
1:17 on the clock.
Close enough?
The Red Raiders did then a 4 and out, so the game was over.
I picked right.
Texas Tech did fall from the unbeaten ranks and has now to fight for a Big 12 championship twice as hard.
It looks like Baylor (who has thought about that a few season back ...) is the team to beat.
As long as the Red Raiders NOW do keep winning they would end up on top.
Unless Oklahoma beats Baylor, too.
Interesting season at the Big 12 ...
Texas Tech 30 - Oklahoma 38 -> Jacks Score: 35-16

Saturday, October 26 3:30 PM ET
Michigan State @ Illinois
That pick sucked ...
This Spartans defense was able to stop the Illini offense almost completely.
128 yards in total for the Illini .... That's not much.
I still believe the Spartans will NOT play in the Big 10 championship game, but I have to admit they might make it anyway.
But for that they have to beat Michigan next week, Nebraska, Northwestern and Minnesota.
No easy games, so I still might get right on the Spartans.
Michigan State 42 - Illinois 3 -> Jacks Score: 35-17

Saturday, October 26 10:30 PM ET
#17 Fresno State @ San Diego State
It was not that high scoring as expected, but a close game anyway.
The Bulldogs needed 1 OT to win this game and to stay unbeaten.
San Diego State not much wrong, just not enough to win this at home.
Don't count them out, still some games to play and Fresno State is beatable.
But for now, the Bulldogs look like the leading team for a BCS buster, but close behind them are Northern Illinois.
Fresno State 35 - San Diego State 28 -> Jacks Score: 36-17

Games of Interest

Boise State lost against BYU on the road - This is a bid unusual for Boise State with now 3 losses already. Last season with 3 losses? 2007. Between 2008 and 2012 they lost only 5 times. 2013 is not over yet ...
Nebraska fell to Minnesota - Minnesota with a huge upset this week. I don't think any team likes to play the Gophers this season. They are good and sometimes bad. Which team you have to play is a lottery. But chances are high you get the good team.
Houston wins against Rutgers - The Cougars are in the front seat with UCF for the American. But in 2 weeks they will face Louisville and UCF back to back. Then probably the American will be decided.
Iowa bests Northwestern - What looked like a nice season for the Wildcats is now a 0-4 Big 10 season so far, and what looked like another bad season for the Hawkeyes looks now quite OK.
Miami almost fell to Wake Forest - This doesn't look good for the upcoming showdown with FSU.
Navy did beat Pitt - The Panthers are also a bit on and off this season. Lucky for them this was not a conference game.
Toledo tops Bowling Green - That keeps the MAC a bit open. Except Northern Illinois all teams in the MAC lost at least once overall, but Buffalo and Ball State are still perfect in conference games.
Western Michigan won against UMass - First win for the Broncos so far. Bad season for them.
Duke won against Virginia Tech - This is a real stunner. First win for Duke against a ranked opponent since 1994! And on the road? 1971! Duke is Bowl eligible. Period.
Tulane wins against Tulsa - Tulane still perfect in the CUSA. Unbelievable ...
USC wins against Utah - Looks like the interims coach can do it.
Troy tops Western Kentucky - I think Bobby Petrino will not get a call at the end of the THIS season. Western Kentucky was named by some as favourite for the SBC and are now 4-4 with 1-3 inside the conference.
UTSA bests UAB - Now UTSA is 3-5, 2-2 in the CUSA. Not bad for the 1st year in the CUSA and 2nd in the FBS.
Louisiana Tech overcomes FIU - I'm still not convinced that Holtz will keep his job, but I think the seat is getting colder.
San Jose State wins against Wyoming - Bad few weeks for the Cowboys. They lost 2 in a row and they will face Fresno State next week. .....
Texas State wins against South Alabama - Texas State now 5-3, really good for a 2nd year FBS team.
Texas won against TCU on the road - Texas still perfect in the Big 12. It looks like Mack Brown did the right adjustments after the bad losses in the first few weeks.
New Mexico State won - First win for them since the first gameday in 2012! This win this week was against a FCS team ...

2013-09-29

Part 1 of the Updates for Season 10

In the change-log you will find:

Engine V3.40 for all games
-enable STBL and STT for gameplay on Kickoffs
-enable returns on both Kickoffs and Punts, including OOB/downed Punts and Touchbacks for Punts and Kickoffs
-set the Kockoff to the own 35 yard line, according to the NFLs rulechange
-enable first-string players in the Depth chart
-adjust success-rate for Fieldgoals

Yes, we enabled the last engine-version for all games now. Based on your last friendlies you might notice some slight changes of the return-success on kicking and punting, and on the Fieldgoal-Success-rate overall.

You should add player for Special-Team-Tacklers (STT) and Special-Team-Blockers (STBL) in your Depth Charts, since the Kickoff-play benefits from these positions now. As well you can use the "First-Stringer" check-box for all games from now, so First-Stringers are preferred over other players when the benching-decisions are made during the game.

We adjusted the kickoff-point to the teams 35-Yard-line, so it adapts the rulechange made by the NFL earlier.

More to come, just follow the news...

2013-09-27

Week 5 - Preview

Welcome to the wide spread start of the conference games. And there are a lot of games already this week with potential.

Last week I explained very short how this season the National Champion will be selected.
It's more or less not very transparent, WHY a team gets the chance to play in the BCS Championship game, once you start to question the BCS rankings.
But 2013/2014 is the last season to have it THAT way.
Next season we will have the start of a new system.

At least until the 2025 season we will see 4 teams to reach the new College Football Playoffs. The semi-finals will be played in 2 of 6 big already existing Bowl games, with the other 4 big ones will host their regular games as usual that season, and each year the semi-final-Bowl-games will rotate through the 6 Bowls. First year (2014) is slated to be the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, in 2015 it will be the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl and in 2016 then the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl will host the Semis.

Sounds complicated?

Well, those Bowls had to be brought in because they are those with the most money impact and you can't do this whole playoff thing without their permission. Their lobby is very strong.
So this strange rotation was brought in.

The FINAL will then be hosted in Cities willing to host it. You have bid for that right to host the final.
In 2014 season it will be Jerry Jones Cowboys temple.
After that nothing is fixed yet.

OK, so we now play the first time in FBS history semis and a final. Nice.

But who of those 125+ teams will be selected for 4 spots available?

Now comes the tricky part.

They will be selected by a Selection Committee, consisting of 12-20 people.
It's NOT clear WHO will be part of the committee.

It looks like it will be filled with no longer active athletic directors, coaches, media members and maybe other members somehow connected to college football. Also there should be 1 selected active AD of each of the 5 biggest of the 6 current BCS conferences (SEC, PAC 12, Big 12, Big 10 and the ACC (called the big 5 conferences ...)).
So we have 5 active ADs plus up to 15 other people formerly involved in College Football.

They will do a ranking (not known how many times and how many teams will be on that list) which they will present a few times during the season and of cause the final list after the regular season.
They will s e l e c t then (probably the top 4) 4 teams on that list for the semis and will seat them, and they will also s e l e c t 8 other teams for the 4 remaining Bowls.
How they do create their rankings and do s e l e c t the teams will be not public.

Anyone satisfied with that?

I'm disappointed.

Instead of a more public and transparent system it got more fishy and cloak and dagger.

Some old farts will s e l e c t the 12 teams to play in the bowls ... great.
At least there will be only a semi-final selected and the final participants do have to earn it by winning.
I'm curious to see the first round of this system, but I see controversials coming.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 5

Saturday, September 28 3:30 PM ET
#6 LSU @ #9 Georgia
This game will not decide the SEC, for sure, but it will knock the loser deeper into the "No Chance for the National Title" pit.
For Georgia it would be the second loss, for LSU the first one.
Nothing is sure if it comes down to the BCS standings in a few weeks, but one thing IS certain, if you lose, it doesn't help you.
You always need the help of other teams (means they have to lose) to get back into the picture.

Funny thing here is that a loss might not even destroy the teams hope for the SEC title game, since this is an inter-division matchup and at first you have to win inside the division to win it. Of cause will a loss not help you, but it might also not hinder you much.

Now, what will we see?
The Tigers have to face a quite strong Bulldogs team, in Athens, so advantage for Georgia here.
But the Tigers looked good last week. In fact they looked like a very good team.

I pick LSU for two reasons.
I'm still impressed by their performance against Auburn.
That's may sound not like a strong argument, but guys, they really looked VERY GOOD.
Georgia lost against Clemson and those Tigers got almost 200 yards on the ground.
Now I have the picture of that LSU Tiger Runningback in my mind....
I pick the Tigers, but I expect a close game.

Saturday, September 28 3:30 PM ET
#14 Oklahoma @ #22 Notre Dame
This is one of those games I hate.
On one hand I have the SOONERS.
Big time football.
On the other hand I have NOTRE DAME.
Former BIG BIG time football, but that golden dome is a bit tarnished over the years.

So who will prevail in South Bend in Irish territory?
Last season did Notre Dame win in Norman. 30-13.
So this year at home is a winner not being played, right?
Not so fast.

Last season did Oklahoma suck (a bit) and Notre Dame was on a high note.
I think Oklahoma got better, Notre Dame got worse.
Sounds like a fair and square matchup.

I pick the Sooners, since I don't see that Irish team ready to tackle such a team.
They lost against Michigan (which later almost stumbled over UConn and Akron. Wuuuuhuuu!)
They then almost lost against Purdue and needed everything they had to beat Michigan State in South Bend.

Now comes one of the favourite to win the Big 12 and you expect them to win?
IF they win, I'm impressed first and then confused.
But I expect the Sooners to win. And that would fit.

Saturday, September 28 6:30 PM ET
#21 Ole Miss @ #1 Alabama
This game is slated to be the test for Alabama.
Are they worth the #1 tag, are they really that good?

I'm not sure if this game will answer these questions, but if they win the SEC got a bit more boring and Alabama is still on track to win the division.

If Ole Miss wins, the SEC got much more open and everything is possible.
But if you ask me, I pick Alabama at home against any team so far.

I hope Ole Miss will give them more than they ask for and I really hope for an upset to make everything more interesting, but I believe the big red elephant will at the end win the game.

Saturday, September 28 8:00 PM ET
#23 Wisconsin @ #4 Ohio State
This game will probably decide the Leaders division. It doesn't look like any other team inside the division will really compete for this title.
Maybe Penn State will get back to strength faster than expected, but I doubt it.
So this is the deal.

Badgers or Buckeyes, played in Columbus.

Last season did Ohio State win but were not eligible to compete for the Big 10 title, which later was won by Wisconsin.
Odd combination.

I tell you what will happen this season:
Wisconsin will play like hell, but the Buckeyes will play better and will win, at home.
They will win the division and probably also the Big 10 in total.
Wisconsin got a new coach and they are not ready to take on the Buckeyes.
They almost lost against Arizona State and I thing Ohio State is way better.
Buckeyes win.

Saturday, September 28 10:00 PM ET
#5 Stanford @ Washington State
This will hopefully be funny.
It's a road trip for Stanford and I hope for a open game at least for a half and some.

I have no doubt the Cardinals will win this, Wazzu is not ready to compete for the division, but I hope for a high scoring game, where Stanford does just score a few more times than the Cougars.

Why is it on the list?

Not just to annoy you, for sure.

I think Wazzu will upset another team or two in the PAC 12 and maybe it will be this.
And who would not like to see this?

Not because I would like to see the Cardinals lose, no, only because I like upsets and just because it just would be great to say "Oh yeah, Stanford was well on track for the title game, until that Wazzu game I saw. Somehow they lost that one...." LOL.
I still pick the Cardinals of cause.

Saturday, September 28 7:00 PM
Arizona @ #16 Washington
And the second Washington team in the same week!

Rich Rods Wildcats team went unbeaten so far under the radar, because they played only cupcakes, and will now face the ranked Washington Huskies.

The Huskies did play well so far and were better tested. Boise State and Illinois got their losses from them and now comes the explosive Arizona team to test that more conservative defense and offense.

Good thing for the Huskies, this is not played in the desert, but in rainy Washington.
I'm really curious to see this matchup.

I love Rodriguez offenses and I also like that bold team in Washington.
I'm expecting a Huskies win, but a close one and it might get high scoring.

Why does Arizona fall?

Because it looks like that Washington offense is good enough to match any scoring drive of Arizona and I think that Washington defense is suited to stop the Wildcats often enough to win this.
Huskies win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-09-25

FBS Week 4 - Review

At least the 4th week delivered some nice results including some upsets.

Obviously were most of the scheduled matches just for filling the gaps.
Some games might had some school internal value (I could only identify the Battle of the Palouse between Washington State and Idaho, but who am I to judge other matchups between local schools ...) but most of them were just "another game to get over with".

This was not the week for big movements in the rankings, only Arizona State did move out of the TOP 25 after their loss.
Next week will be much better, and from that point on it will happen on regular basis, since the conference games do start big time and then we will see movements. Hurrah!

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 4:

Saturday, September 21, 3:30 PM ET
Michigan State @ #22 Notre Dame
With 7-10 at the half and Notre Dame leading this looked as expected. Close and very defense driven.
OK, it did not change much in the second half, but Irish fans had to wait for relieve.

The Spartans did tie the score beginning of the 3rd quarter and Notre Dame did score beginning of the 4th quarter to 10-17.
Spartens did answer with a field goal.
Then did follow 10 min. of nail biting defense battle which ended without any additional points on the board.
Whoever likes such games, have fun.
Michigan State 13 - Notre Dame 17 -> Jacks Score: 13-5

Saturday, September 21 7:00 PM ET
#23 Arizona State @ #5 Stanford
And here are the most prominent losers of this week.
Arizona State did lose this one and dropped out of the rankings.
Unfortunately, the game was totally one sided.
The Cardinals led 0-29 before the Sun Devils did score.
That was in the second half.
End of the 3rd it was 7-39.

Still in the ranks to watch the game?
Then you were able to see the big comeback of the Sun Devils!
No bullshit!
Arizona State did cut the lead down to 28-39.
Somehow did they stop Stanford with 3-and-outs and did score quite fast.
6 min. to go and we had almost a ball game.
If only they would have stopped them another time.
Stanford marched down the field and ate 5:30 min. of the clock, kicked a field goal and that's that.
The season is not over for the Sun Devils, but if they want to win the division, they have to play better.
Arizona State 28 - Stanford 42 -> Jacks Score: 14-5

Saturday, September 21 7:45 PM ET
Auburn @ #6 LSU
Two things were interesting in this game.
First thing was LSU has a hell of a runningback.
Jeremy Hill did everything you wish a back to do.
He was the one to move the sticks and who did help LSU to win this one.
Second thing I learned is, Auburn is not ready yet, but with every game they get better and they won't just roll over and let the other SEC teams win against them.
I like it.

Against LSU it looked like it was over at the half. 0-21 for LSU.
Auburn did hold LSU for another TD in the 3rd, but managed to score twice in the same time. 14-28.
With 6:30 in the 4th it was 21-35. And THAT was the end of nice SEC football. It got very defense driven and it ended without any additional points.
LSU will meet Georgia and Auburn will meet Ole Miss next week. Jippie!
Auburn 21 - LSU 35 -> Jacks Score: 15-5

Saturday, September 21 8:00 PM ET
Kansas State @ Texas
I can't say Texas looks very good, but I have to admit the running game got good.
Johnathan Gray did keep them alive at any point and ran every down like it was 3rd and 1 against a goalline defense.
Kansas State did start awful.

First Quarter ended 0-10 and they did not get anything going on offense.
They were down 0-17, when they were able to score the first time. With those 10 points behind they went into the locker room.
They did have a critical turnover at the beginning of the third quarter and soon they were again 17 points behind.
In the 4th quarter did the Wildcats offense got more yards and they started to score regularly, but Kansas State was not able to stop Gray, so Texas almost answered every time.
Another two turnovers did seal the deal. Texas won and looks much better than last week, Kansas State did look bad.

We will see how they will do against the rest of the Big 12.
Kansas State 21 - Texas 31 -> Jacks Score: 15-6


Saturday, September 21 10:15 PM ET
Utah @ BYU
The Holy War did end a bit unspectacular.
In the 1st half did Utah score, BYU not.
Then, until the middle of the 4th quarter, did BYU still trail 6-20.
They got one good drive going and scored. 13-20.
5 min. to go, so the order was to stop Utah fast and then win the game.

The first part went well, but the intended scoring drive ended with an interception.
But still 1:37 on the clock. They stopped Utah again and then did ... suck with four incomplete passes in row. Game over.
I'm a bit disappointed of BYU. That team is NOT ready to compete for big Bowls.
Utah 20 - BYU 13 -> Jacks Score: 15-7


Friday, September 20 9:00 PM ET
Boise State @ #2 Fresno State
Hui, WHAT a close game. And the winner is ... Fresno State.
I was expecting a nice Broncos performance on defense, but that defense never showed up.

10-10 after the first quarter.
19-24 at the half.
26-34 after the 3rd quarter.
7 mins. To go and Boise State did suddenly lead 40-34.
The Bulldogs marched over the field and scored 40-41 with 2:14 left.
Easy with such an offense right?
But the drive ended at mid field and Fresno State was able to kneel down to run down the clock.
How could that happen?

To be honest, the defense wasn't that bad, the offense of Boise State did just deliver the ball to Fresno State on very bad field positions (bad from the Broncos point of view).
Boise State fans can only hope for a better concentrated team in the rest of the season.
Fresno State fans can hope for a big season.
Boise State 40 - Fresno State 41 -> Jacks Score: 15-8

Games of Interest

Clemson did beat NC State - Some expected the regular Tigers slump/upset for this game. They have to wait a bit longer.
Georgia Tech bested North Carolina - The Tar Heels did not look like contenders.
Virginia Tech did win against Marshall - 8 points are not much. I'm very concerned about the Hokies.
Middle Tennessee did top Florida Atlantic - Not much here you might think, but the Blue Raiders are now 3-1. Not bad for new team in the CUSA and former SBC club.
Kansas beats Louisiana Tech by 3 points - OK, Kansas did beat an FBS team now, after more than 2 seasons. Might be the last win of the season. LT has a problem.
Duke lost against Pitt - 58-55? Was any defense on the field? Bad signal for the Blue Devils, this doesn't look like a Bowl season.
Jacksonville State (FCS) beats Georgia State - OK; Georgia State is not a FBS powerhouse. In fact they are a former losing FCS team, so this result is no wonder. But still ... As a FBS team they should win this. Period.
USC won against Utah State - By 3 points .... This is awful. Let's see, how USC will do against the other PAC 12 big shots.
Tennessee falls against Florida - Vols not ready for the big SEC teams, but Florida did lose their starting QB. We will see if this throws the team out of bounds.
Maryland wins big against West Virginia - The Terrapins now 4-0, the Mountaineers are 2-2. Is that coach still save? West Virginia is not used to get beaten 37-0.
Rutgers beats Arkansas - Razorbacks not ready? Can't really judge that game. Rutgers might be quite good (but lost already to Fresno State) or Arkansas is not that good in rebounding?
Northern Illinois almost fell against Eastern Illinois (FCS) - 4 points are not much. At the end not many will remember such close win, since they won, but 4 points? Maybe EIU is so good?
UConn almost beat Michigan - That was close. The Wolverine did almost lost against a so far bad UConn team. I'm concerned over that Michigan Team.
UTSA beats UTEP - Not relevant? UTSA is a quite new team, 2nd season in the FBS and they are 2-2 at the moment. UTEP should be better, but wasn’t.
Washington State wins against Idaho - The Battle of the Palouse is easily won by Wazzu with 42-0. Both schools are only 8 miles apart from each other, including the state border between them.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2013-09-20

FBS Week 4 - Preview

Since it looks like week 4 is the most boring gameday this season can offer, we should talk about Championship. More precisely, National Championship.

Last season on week 4 I explained the ranking in pre-season and during the season and how fixed already the group of potential later National Championship winners was and still is.
8,5 teams out of 10 were ranked not deeper than the #8 spot in last seasons analysis of the last 10 years, and the 2012 winner Alabama was preseason #2 and at week 4 they were #1.
So 9,5 of 11 champs where within week 4
a) ranked in pre-season
b) ranked at least #8 in week 4.
No change in the system, so far.

If Notre Dame would have won the Final last season, they would have been the first team to win it all after not been ranked in pre-season and not being ranked top 10 in week 4 since more than 10 years. Well, they did not.

And that's the flaw of the ranking system, since it was (at least for me) very clear they were not #1 after the final regular season gameday and they should NOT play for National Championship, but because of tradition and a flawed ranking system, they got the chance for the Finals.

Well, it's the last season for such a system.

I'm not sure the NEXT one, which I will explain next week, will help much more, but at least we get a pre selection by semi-finals.

This season will be the last for the BCS-Championship game and here is the rule for the participation:
Several ranking systems (Coaches-Poll, The Harris-Poll (both human made polls) and six computer rankings) do their single rankings each week and then are mixed together for a meta-ranking.
All teams are just lined up from rank #1 to #25 (the rest is not interesting).
This starts after a few week down the season, since you need for the computer rankings a few gamedays to get valid results.
After the final gameday this calculation is done the last time.
Whoever is at #1 and #2 will play the BCS-Championship-Game.
The winner will at least be named National Champion by the Coaches-Poll.
In very rare cases it happened that the AP-Poll (the other crucial ranking system, which is NOT part of the BCS system since some years now) did name a different team National Champion. That happened the last time 2003.
Understood?

If you are friendly to the system, it means after a long season a system decides based on several criteria which two teams are the best and let them battle it out.

If you are not so friendly it means after a long season you get eventually left out of the game because some hidden rule gave the team above of you a few more points than you. No explanations given. The polls systems are secret, the human polls votes are in some parts secret, so lots of room to cheat, eh, sorry, room for interpretations.

I think that's what happened last season with Notre Dame. Somehow ALL polls did name Notre Dame #1. Even the human ones. OK, they were unbeaten, but how did they win, and against which teams? Some good ones, no doubt, but also very close against some unranked teams. The coffin nail for the high ranking was from my point of view the win against the later PAC 12 champion Stanford. They won against Stanford, which won against Oregon which won against … and so on. If you rank by this system (and most systems do it that way) then Notre Dame earned the #1 spot, even if they were not the strongest team.

Hopefully we won't see such boring Championship game again next season.

Let’s get back to the topic of the rankings. The Top 15 teams are at the moment:
Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State, Stanford, LSU, Louisville, Florida State, Georgia, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, UCLA, Oklahoma and Michigan
All of them were ranked in the pre-season.
So chances are very high, the National Champion will come out of this group. More likely out of the group of the first 8.

Most of these teams will have to battle it out at least against one other team on that list, so they will very soon shorten that list by themself.
Unfortunately not this week.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 4

Saturday, September 21, 3:30 PM ET
Michigan State @ #22 Notre Dame
Last season, this game did almost close the National Championship campaign of Notre Dame.
It was not that close at the end (20-3) but it did show where Notre Dame had issues and if you put it into perspective a season later, it was a win against a mid-field team.
(The Spartans had 6 losses at the end of the season and barely made it to a bowl, which they won)
At that time it was a ranked team vs. a ranked team battle.
This season is Michigan State not ranked, even if they are unbeaten at the moment, and Notre Dame is ranked, even if they lost against Michigan already.
That's how NCAA football works.

Here do two teams meet, which are not at 100% yet.
Biggest concern for me is the Notre Dame defense, which does simply allow too many points and yards per game.
Against weaker teams like Purdue and Temple it's enough, against stronger teams it gets tough.
Lucky for Notre Dame, Michigan State is no offensive powerhouse.
So it might come down to this: Not so many points and some game changing plays.
I give the nod to the home team, Notre Dame, knowing that this can go either way.

Saturday, September 21 7:00 PM ET
#23 Arizona State @ #5 Stanford
Ah, a real football match this week!
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
It's the only ranked vs. ranked game this week.

It could be the preview of the PAC 12 championship game, it depends on some games later the season.
Stanford has Oregon on its schedule and Arizona State has UCLA as his biggest division game.
And then there is this one, this week.

Stanford is quite good so far, but did give up too many points from my point of view against too weak teams.
Arizona State is only unbeaten, because PAC 12 officials can't handle the clock ...
Don't get me wrong, this is a match on a very high level, but I'm not sure what to make of it.
My guts are saying Stanford all the way.
The Sun Devils are not supposed to be that good. Period.

Stanford is the reigning PAC 12 champ and they are supposed to challenge any team for the National Championship, while Arizona State is only expected to challenge UCLA for the Division title.
But football doesn't work that way.
If you ask me, if an upset can happen? Yes.
Will it happen? I don't think so.
Stanford at home? Against a tired Sun Devils team beating Wisconsin last week?
Very unlikely.
Stanford all the way, with a hope for a classy close game.

Saturday, September 21 7:45 PM ET
Auburn @ #6 LSU
To make it short here for the Tigers matchup:
LSU Tigers at home against a team which was BAD last season?
LSU will win.
Why is it on the list then?

Because the Auburn Tigers are 3-0 so far and they MIGHT give LSU a bit of a trouble.
I doubt it will be enough to knock them of their feet, but I think there will be more than a 40-something to 3 win by LSU.
IF Auburn wins, the SEC gets VERY interesting. (I hope for that ... hehe.)
But my guts and brains do say: Tigers will win and they dress in purple and yellow. (LSU colors, for the Bahnhof-Fraction)

Saturday, September 21 8:00 PM ET
Kansas State @ Texas
Somewhere is sitting a former defensive coordinator and is laughing.
That's the DC of Texas who was fired after week 2, because Texas took 40 points from BYU.
The new DC got in and he managed to allow 44 points by Ole Miss.
Nice improvement.
To be fair, Texas did play quite good for one half, but that does not help much.
Nobody is giving out trophies for half time dominance. And it wasn’t dominance, it was a close match at that point.

This week, Mack Brown has to face Bill Snyder. Must be like a family reunion, where those two uncles who do not like each other meet again. As they do every year since a few seasons and as they do since a long time.

Problem for Brown is Snyder did win the last 3 meetings in a row.

So we have a weak Longhorns team, which lost against BYU and Ole Miss after they did beat the shit out of New Mexico State on week 1, against a Wildcats team, which lost against a FCS team on week 1 (granted the reigning FCS champ) and then won two against very weak FBS teams.
Oh my god.

As clueless as I am, as clueless are the rest of the world.

I give the nod to Kansas State for two reasons: They are not a team under fire as Texas is, and they don't have to deal with a new coach during the season.

Texas plays at home, at that might give them the win, but I don’t believe Kansas State will be easily beaten.
In fact I think at some point will Texas just suck and the Wildcats will snub that win away and Mack Brown will eat shit from the fans.
Wildcats!

Saturday, September 21 10:15 PM ET
Utah @ BYU
This is called THE HOLY WAR.
It's a rivalry between Brigham Young University (named after that famous Mormon leader and operated by the LDS Church) and the University of Utah.
Utah is cruising on a 3 game winning streak in this and do lead the rivalry 56-34-4.

This season it might get interesting, since Utah already has won against Utah State and lost in OT against Oregon State and BYU did win against Texas and Virginia.
Doesn't sound that interesting?
Might be.

Still I expect a close game and this season I expect a BYU win.
Utah is quite good, even if I think they will suffer in the PAC 12 a bit, but BYU is just on a high note this season.
They are in competing mode and might even be ranked after that game. Slim chance for that, but possible.
Utah has a lot of issues to fix and they just give up to many points to win this.
But never underestimate the rivalry emotions. That’s why I expect a close one.
At the end the Cougars will prevail and win this one. Period.

Friday, September 20 9:00 PM ET
Boise State @ #2 Fresno State
This could be the preview of the MWC final. Boise State and Fresno State do have the power to win their divisions and would then meet in the final.
As far as the season can be judged, this won't come easy for both teams.
None of them did show the dominant character I expected from them.

The Broncos did lose against Washington big time. So big, that it gave the Huskies enough Brownie-Points to get ranked. And they still are.
Since that loss did the Broncos win against a FCS team and Air Force.
Not bad, but they have to be better to win the MWC.
Fresno State on the other hand did win against Rutgers in a shootout in OT and against a FCS team.
That Rutgers win is big, granted, but they did got 20 points by the FCS team a week later which give me concerns regarding their defense.
Might be the slump after the Rutgers game, might be something bigger.
Unfortunately the Colorado game was canceled.
What to do with this?

Fact is, it's an away game for the Broncos, which does help the Bulldogs big. You don't win easy on the Smurf Turf in Idaho. So, it's in California, good.
Two scoring teams do meet, so expect a total score of 40-something to 30-something.
Maybe.

For me is the biggest key is the defense of the Broncos.
They held Air Force to 20 points, and Air Force is also a quite good scoring team.
So if this defense shows up, the Bulldogs will lose, simple by not scoring enough to keep the pace.
That's my take.
I pick the Broncos as the obvious pick and hope for a close game.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE