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

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