2014-12-29

And we have a winner!

Congrats to Mr. Pumpkin for winning this years Pickem. Well done!

As you may know, we run this competition every year, and the goal is to make your picks on who is winning the NFL games during the regular season. Mr. Pumpkin achieved 178 points, which means he picked mostly the right team during the last 17 weeks. His price: a 3 Months Supporter account of RedZoneAction.org, for free.

Runner-up goes Ombi, who was short by 2 picks only. Well done, 50 Credits go to him for being the vice champion in this competition.

Details can be found here.

Many thanks go once more to Monkey for running the competition, Cheers to you!

Bowls - Fourth wave

And that's the third wave of Bowls. Over.
A lot of games.

I had some nice picks, but also some quite not so good.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 3
Friday, December 26, 1:00 PM ET ZAXBY'S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech @ Cotton Bowl, DALLAS, TX
That one was kind of depressing.
I don't know why Illinois was THAT bad, but it looked like there was only one team prepared in that game and that was Louisiana Tech.
The Illini QB made mistakes, their offensive line was awful and their defense looked like sleepwalking over the field.
The Bulldogs did score on offense and defense and they deserved that win.
Illinois 18 - Louisiana Tech 35 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 6-5

Friday, December 26, 4:30 PM ET QUICK LANE BOWL
Rutgers vs. North Carolina @ Ford Field, DETROIT, MI
This Bowl went a bit as expected, only amplified by a bigger factor.
Bad play calling. Bad special team plays, especially the Field Goal unit.
The game was open in the first quarter and over at halftime.
Rutgers did everything quite right and was able to dominate on offense on the ground and in the air.
UNC did score most points on garbage time, when they trailed already by 33 points.
Rutgers 40 - North Carolina 21 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 7-5

Friday, December 26, 8:00 PM ET BITCOIN ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
North Carolina State vs. UCF @ Tropicana Field, SAINT PETERSBURG, FL
That one was first a bit boring, since UCF did suck on defense and NCS did score at will.
But the Golden Knights did come back in the forth and were a bit unlucky with the onside kick.
At the end did North Carolina State win and they deserved it really.
You can't play as sloppy as UCF did in the first half in a Bowl game.
Still a nice game.
North Carolina State 34 - UCF 27 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 7-6

Saturday, December 27, 1:00 PM ET MILITARY BOWL - PRES. BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech @ Navy Memorial Stadium, ANNAPOLIS, MD
I was in doubt and I was right.
The VT defense was sharp and the Cincinnati offensive line was not.
It resulted in 2 Interceptions by Gunner Kiel, the Bearcats QB, and a lost fumble, return to a TD, which shifted the momentum in that up to then open game.
Gunner Kiel was also hurt on that fumble causing sack and never returned.
Without Kiel, Cincinnati had no chance to win that one.
Congratulation to the Hokies.
Cincinnati 17 - Virginia Tech 33 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 7-7

Saturday, December 27, 2:00 PM ET HYUNDAI SUN BOWL
#15 Arizona State vs. Duke @ Sun Bowl, EL PASO, TX
I think everyone has to admit that Duke did not went down without a fight.
They even took the lead with 5 min to play in the 4th quarter.
Until then they were basically always on the catch-up path, the trailed 30 - 17 beginning of the 4th quarter.
Unfortunately for them, right after that TD, which gave them the lead, the kick off coverage was a disaster, lead to a 96 yard return to the Duke 4 yard line.
The Sun Devils scored the next play and the game was more or less over. Well, not completely
Duke DID march down the field, but was intercepted 45 seconds to play in the Arizona State end zone on a 3rd and 10 on the ASUs 14 yard line.
Nice game.
#15 Arizona State 36 - Duke 31 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 8-7

Saturday, December 27, 3:30 PM ET DUCK COMMANDER INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina @ Independence Stadium, SHREVEPORT, LA
Also a nice game.
Miami came out strong enough to kick two Field Goals for the lead, until South Carolina did light up the scoreboard to a halftime 6-17 lead.
The Hurricanes did shorten that in the 3rd quarter to a 14-17 lead, but the Gamecocks did score again the 4th for a 10 point lead.
Miami came back and scored with about 2 minutes to go, but was not able to stop South Carolina to run down the clock.
Great game, I did found the Miami Uniforms a bit odd, with green helmets and green pants, but that's how it was.
Miami (FL) 21 - South Carolina 24 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 9-7

Saturday, December 27, 4:30 PM ET NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL
Boston College vs. Penn State @ Yankee Stadium, BRONX, NY
It's always unfair to blame a kicker, but ... man, miss an extra point in overtime?
Get lost!
Here is what happened.
First quarter open game, game tied at 7.
Second quarter, no scores, still 7 - 7 at the half.
Then did BC find their mojo and took the lead to 21 - 14, start of the 4th.
Then did Penn State respond and tied the game at 21, BC was held to Field Goal and Penn State was able to kick a 45 yarder to tie the game again.
Now comes the overtime.
BC got the Ball and went down the field with 2 plays (remember they start 25 yards from the endzone, so it's not that far) and scored, but that Kicker did hit the ball THAT bad that if went not wide right, it went wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide right.
Penn State did score also a TD and their kicker was able to do the normal XP-Kick like a kicker should be able to.
Penn State wins in a never boring game.
Boston College 30 - Penn State 31 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 9-8

Saturday, December 27, 8:00 PM ET NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOLIDAY BOWL
Nebraska vs. #24 USC @ Qualcomm Stadium, SAN DIEGO, CA
This one was a close one.
And a strange one.
First quarter was scoring after scoring, Huskers did lead at the end 17 - 10.
Second quarter was only USC, since Nebraska did turn the ball over at the worst moment. At the half 17 - 24.
Third quarter was first more or less USC scoring, but Nebraska came back. USC did lead twice by 14 points, but beginning of the fourth it was only 34 - 45.
Later Nebraska did score and shortened it to 42 - 45.
USC was kept in check then, but also Nebraska.
A Hail Mary by Nebraska at the end was no good and that way did USC win the Holiday Bowl.
Nebraska 42 - #24 USC 45 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 10-8

That's it for that wave.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 4

Monday, December 29, 2:00 PM ET AutoZone LIBERTY BOWL
Texas A&M vs. West Virginia @ Liberty Bowl, MEMPHIS, TN
This one exists since 1959.
It's meant to play the Big 12 #4 vs a SEC pool pick.
Each team gets around 1.437.500$.
At the end did the BIg 12 #5 West Virginia with 5-4 Big12 record and 7-5 overall made it to the game.
The SEC did send Texas A&M after a 3-5 SEC season and 7-5 overall.
It will be interesting to see both teams facing off against each other.
Unfortunately there are some changes at the WVU (The AD left, the OC decided to change team) which might distract the players enough to give Texas A&M the needed edge.
Both teams were not really impressive, playing good and bad games during the season.
There is no real development to be seen, no winning series to be analyzed.
I give Sumlin as coach of the Aggies a small edge over Holgorsen.
I think this will become an Aggies offense against Mountaineers defense battle, which will probably end with an Aggies win.
I pick the Aggies, because of the distractions and the coach.

Monday, December 29, 5:30 PM ET RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL
Oklahoma vs. #17 Clemson @ Florida Citrus Bowl, ORLANDO, FL
This is played since 1990.
The ACC should face up against the Big12.
Each team gets around 2.275.000$.
This will be two nice team facing off here.
Oklahoma went only 4th in the Big12 but was 8-4 overall and did play 5-4 in the Big 12 with 3 losses against the later crowned champs or second placed teams.
Only the loss against rival Oklahoma State on the final day at home was bad.
Clemson finished 9-3 with 6-2 in the conference and losing only there against FSU and Georgia Tech, the division champs.
They won against rival South Carolina on the last gameday, so the should be fine.
My first impression was, that Clemson is a more complete team, but Bob Stoobs will bring a sharpe Oklahoma team into the game.
At the end I think Oklahomas Defense will lose a critical matchup against Clemsons offense, which will bring the Tigers the Bowl win.
I pick Clemson.

Monday, December 29, 9:00 PM ET ADVOCARE V100 TEXAS BOWL
Arkansas vs. Texas @ NRG Stadium, HOUSTON, TX
This is played at the home of the Houston Texans.
It's played since 2006.
The Big 12 should face up against a SEC Team here.
Each team gets around 3.000.000$.
I have to admit this one is really interesting.
Bret Bielema is having a great season with the Razorbacks, even if 6-6 does not look that good and 2-6 in the SEC does also not look good.
But they won 3 more games than last season, 2 more in the SEC and it looks like the mess, the Razorbacks were over the years, is getting fixed.
Biggest wins were against LSU and Ole Miss at home, both teams were ranked.
Charlie Strong on the other hand did lead the newly taken over Longhorns in a 6-6 season, 5-4 in the Big 12, the worst season for Texas since 2010.
In November it looked like he had the Longhorns on track, winning 3 straight, but they lost the last game against ranked TCU.
I give Arkansas the edge here for following reasons:
The team is a bit longer under new management, they had already their wins against very good teams and because I think the home factor will not be enough.
But ... I think it will be a game to watch and Texas is not without a chance here.
I still pick Arkansas.

Tuesday, December 30, 3:00 PM ET FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL
Notre Dame vs. #23 LSU @ LP Field, NASHVILLE, TN
Since 1998 is this Bowl played and they field it at the home of the Tennessee Titans.
The SEC send a team versus an ACC or Big10 Team.
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
At the end we have Notre Dame here. Some obvious someone made a decision here.
This is a quite juicy bowl, since you get a lot of money.
My first thought on that matchup was: slaughterhouse. That irish leprechaun will be ripped apart.
I gave no second thought on that.
Notre Dame lost basically against every strong team and even against not so strong teams.
Best win? Then ranked Stanford in beginning of October. The Irish are 7-5 overall.
LSU on the other hand?
They finished 8-4 with 4-4 in the SEC and they won against Wisconsin and Ole Miss.
This is not a championship level Tigers team, no, but it's better than Notre Dame.
It looked like the team got better over the season and they will be prepared.
Sure, Notre Dame will also be prepared, but they are overall weaker, so over the time will LSU gain the advantage and at the end I think the score will not be close.
LSU will win, my pick.

Tuesday, December 30, 6:30 PM ET BELK BOWL
#13 Georgia vs. #21 Louisville @ Bank of America, CHARLOTTE, NC
This is played the home of the Carolina Panthers.
It's played since 2002.
The ACC should face up against a SEC team.
Each team gets around 1.700.000$.
Georgia is 9-3, 6-2 in the SEC and Louisville is also 9-3, with 5-3 in the ACC.
This will be interesting, since Petrino, the new and former Cardinals coach is a former SEC coach.
He should know Richts Bulldogs very good.
Georgia did almost play for the SEC crown, they did even win against later SEC East winner Missouri, but since they struggled against other SEC teams, they had not enough wins.
Louisville had a great start in the ACC (last season they were in the AAC) and had to settle at #3 in their division, behind a good FSU and Clemson team.
Who will win here?
I think Georgia is overall better, but I think they will have to play almost perfect.
Should be a great game.
I pick Georgia.

Tuesday, December 30, 10:00 PM ET FOSTER FARMS BOWL
Maryland vs. Stanford @ Levi's Stadium, SANTA CLARA, CA
Since 2002 does this Bowl operate, even under different names.
It is played at the home of the San Francisco 49ers.
This is a PAC 12 Bowl facing some team from the Big10.
A team get about 2.212.500$ as payout.
This is a bit less exciting as you might expect by a PAC 12 - Big10 matchup.
Maryland is new in the Big10 and finished 7-5 overall and 4-4 win the conference.
Stanford on the other hand had a down year and finished also 7-5 and 5-4 in the PAC 12.
When I did read this matchup I did easily pick Stanford as my favorite.
Maryland was not really good this season and had a very mixed schedule with only 2 teams ranked at the gamedays.
Stanford had to face 6 ranked teams over the season and even if not all of them are now ranked, I think overall they had the tougher schedule, with the same result.
Add a big win over UCLA on the last gameday for Stanford and a loss against Rutgers on the last gameday for Maryland and I think it's clear why I only saw the Cardinals as the winner of that game.
So ... Stanford will win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2014-12-26

Bowls - Third wave

Second wave of Bowls are over.
I hope you had a happy X-Mas and got lots of presents.

My picking was not that good for the last few bowls, but I will try to find an explanation.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 2
Monday, December 22, 2:00 PM ET MIAMI BEACH BOWL
BYU vs. Memphis @ Marlins Park, MIAMI, FL
I picked BYU here and I felt juuuuuuuust short.
An incredible game it was.
BYU and Memphis did keep themselves and the other team always in the game.
Sometimes they played good offense and scored, sometimes they played bad offense and turned the ball over.
It looked almost over for the Tigers when Memphis was a TD behind and had 4th and 4 on the BYU 5th.
Paxton Lynch, the Tigers QB was scrambling and avoiding tackles and you all know, given time it's gets almost impossible to find an open receiver in the endzone, since all the defenders are spread out.
Well, Lynch found one and the game went into overtime.
Then BYU had another bad luck moment, when Jordan Leslie did made a one-hand catch in the endzone, which later was declared incomplete after review, because the ball did touch the ground while it was locked between the WR hand and his shoulderpad.
Tough decision by the refs, you can find arguments for a complete or incomplete pass.
Instead of a TD, BYU got a FG, held Memphis also to a FG and then got a TD by Memphis in the second OT.
Now comes the third bad moment, when Christian Stewart, the BYU QB, was intercepted on a pass aimed a bit too high.
Game over.
After the game a brawl broke out, which was a bit ugly.
It was not really caught on tape, who started the brawl, but both sides did not manage that situation very well.
Anyway, Memphis won this first version of the Bowl.
BYU 48 - Memphis 55 2OT -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-1

Tuesday, December 23, 6:00 PM ET BOCA RATON BOWL
Marshall vs. Northern Illinois @ FAU Stadium, BOCA RATON, FL
OK that one was very one dimensional.
Marshall came in with something to prove and they did.
Northern Illinois was not able to keep the Thundering Herd in check and on the other hand was not able to score as often as needed.
The game was more or less over at Halftime with Marshall leading 24-13.
NIU did not came out of the locker room to turn the table, instead Marshall was able to extend the lead later in the 3rd.
I picked NIU, so I have to blame my guts for that wrong pick.
Looks like the Northwestern win, which lead me to that pick, was a Cinderella win, with a bad Northwestern team, not a good NIU team.
Marshall clearly showed they were the better team.
I still doubt the would do anything good in a CFP-Bowl, but that's a different story.
Marshall 52 - Northern Illinois 23 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-2

Tuesday, December 23, 9:30 PM ET SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL
Navy vs. San Diego State @ Qualcomm Stadium, SAN DIEGO, CA
First impression was, Navy was quite competitive and there was no real hometown advantage to see for the Aztecs.
The game was back and fourth with no real advantage for any team.
In fact with about 1:30 min. to go in the 4th quarter the game was 17-16 and SDSU got the ball.
They made it to the Navy 17 yard line with 24 seconds to go.
A 34 yard FG away from the win did the cursed kicker miss wide right.
What sucker .....
I know I should not let my feeling out to that poor kicker, but that's the moment the team needs you and then THAT bad kick?
Man, that's how to destroy Christmas for a lot of players on your team ...
Navy won by that single point, they got their Christmas present early.
Navy 17 - San Diego State 16 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-3

Wednesday, December 24, 12:00 PM ET POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL
Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky @ Thomas Robinson Stadium, NASSAU, BAHAMAS
The Bowl season is still young, but this one was probably one of the most crazy ones, if not THE craziest of all.
How so?
Image you are Western Kentucky and you beat the shit out of Central Michigan for the first 3 quarters in the Bahamas Bowl.
Got that? Fine.
Now, comes the 4th quarter.
Your team WKU did just missed a FG to extend the lead of 14 - 49.
Central Michigan switched the side and scored a TD. 21 - 49.
Ha, no problem, right. Well, your teams only managed 3-and-out, so Central Michigan got the ball back.
5 plays later the score again, 28 - 49.
Ha, still no problem, right? Weeeeeeeell, your team sucked and fumbled the ball after 3 plays and gave the ball back.
8 plays a l t e r did Central Michigan again score a TD. 35 - 48.
Getting nervous? Still a good lead and only 3 minutes to play. This one is over, right?
Only that Central Michigan held you to 3-and-out and you gave the ball back with 2 minutes to go.
4 plays later they scored a TD. 42 - 49.
Oh fuck, but it's only 1:09 to go and they have to kick-off. Ha, that lousy onside kick was recovered by your team.
Let the clock run out and all good.
But ... you only manage to get the clock down to 0:10, with CMU calling the timeouts. You punt for a touchback and with 0:01 left to play, Central Michigan gets the ball.
A Penalty helps them to get to their own 25 yard line and then come the miracle.
A deep pass to the 30 yard line if heavy traffic. Over? No. It's caught. The catcher runs 5 yards, but many of your teammates are around him, trying to drag him to the ground.
Over? No, that punk does a lateral to a teammate and that one runs to the left side.
On the 15 yard line he is caught and tacked.
Over? No, that punk does another lateral and the catcher runs of to the right, but is caught very fast.
Over? NO! Another lateral to a teammate and that one runs to the right pylon, hits it in tackling traffic with the ball!
Touchdown! 48-49!
Going to overtime? No, that Central Michigan coach calls for 2!
Lucky for your team, the selected play is a overthrown pass play and Western Kentucky survives with more than one scare.
Central Michigan 48 - Western Kentucky 49 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 6-3

Wednesday, December 24, 8:00 PM ET HAWAII BOWL
Fresno State vs. Rice @ Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI
Aloha.
I herewith apologize to all Rice fans.
Your team did good and did deserve the win.
I'm still stunned how bad Fresno State was.
The game was over after the first quarter, even that was not clear at that moment.
Fresno State was held to 6 points. SIX!
Fresno State is not a offense juggernaut anymore, but 6 points is not their standard.
Good job Rice, I'm curious to see you next season.
Fresno State 6 - Rice 30 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 6-4

That's the second wave.
Now comes the next few bowls.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 3

Friday, December 26, 1:00 PM ET ZAXBY'S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech @ Cotton Bowl, DALLAS, TX
This is played since 2011.
Still confusing to see them playing in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the Stadium named after the event (which was moved to another stadium).
It's a Big10 Bowl facing off against a CUSA-Team.
Each team gets around 1.100.000$.
Last season the Bowl matchup was boring (UNLV vs. UNT) but this season the matchup is not much better.
Illinois did win 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the Big10.
Louisiana Tech did win 8-4 overall in the regular season and 7-1 in the conference. Lost then against Marshall in the CUSA Championship game. So now they are 8-5.
Illinois did play WKU from the CUSA this season and won.
No real indication, but I'm leaning towards the Illini in that game.
The Bulldogs did not really play well in their last game.
Still, the Illini are beatable and Louisiana could win this.
I'm expecting a close game with a winning team out of Illinois.

Friday, December 26, 4:30 PM ET QUICK LANE BOWL
Rutgers vs. North Carolina @ Ford Field, DETROIT, MI
And another new Bowl game. But the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl was cancelled instead.
The Bowl is backed from the Detroit Lions and therefore played on their home field.
This is a Big10 vs ACC Bowl.
It's not clear what kind of money is spend on the teams here, but probably in the 750.000$ area.
Rutgers is 7-5 so far, 3-5 in the Big10.
North Carolina did finish 6-6 and 4-4 inside the ACC.
I don't expect much from the game.
Both teams did not really impress me during the season.
North Carolinas best wins were against Georgia Tech and Duke, Rutgers had no real big win, but were probably happy to win against Michigan at a time when every still expected a bit more from the Wolverines.
I see them quite even, so I'm not sure what to expect here.
Best case would be a high scoring open game, but I doubt that.
My head likes to pick UNC because of the tradition and brand, but that is the worst way to pick.
My gut picks Rutgers as a Big10 team, ignoring the fact that the ACC not worse the Big10 this season, if not better.
So ... I pick Rutgers for what ever reason ... No, the reason is, I'm not sold on the Tar Heels, but this can go either way.

Friday, December 26, 8:00 PM ET BITCOIN ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
North Carolina State vs. UCF @ Tropicana Field, SAINT PETERSBURG, FL
This is a DOME in Florida and home of the Tampa Bay Rays, a major league baseball team.
The Bowl is played since 2008 and each team gets 537.500$.
It's a Bowl organized between the AAC and the CUSA or ACC.
North Carolina State was not that good this season, 7-5 with 3-5 in the ACC.
UCF is one of the three co-champs of the AAC, 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the AAC.
I'm very confident UCF can overcome NC-State here.
First, they are quite hot at the moment, winning 4 straight, second, they play almost a home game here.
NC-State on the other hand can only bring in the reputation as an ACC team and a nice win against rival UNC on the last gameday.
I pick UCF and I'm hoping for a nice matchup.

Saturday, December 27, 1:00 PM ET MILITARY BOWL - PRES. BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech @ Navy Memorial Stadium, ANNAPOLIS, MD
Since 2008 this Bowl is played.
For the next 5 years it will feature teams from the ACC vs AAC.
Cincinnati did win a share of the AAC title this season with 9-3 and 7-1 in the AAC.
Virginia Tech did barely made it into a bowl with 6-6 and 3-5 in the ACC.
Each team gets around 1.000.000$.
Don't underestimate Frank Beamers Virginia Tech team, even they only went 6-6 this season.
I'm not sure if Beamer did lose his juice in the last few seasons or if other factors did lead to a decline in the amount of won games.
Cincinnati is rising with Tuberville in his second year.
He is also a longtime career coach, so this will get interesting.
I think Cincinnati has a small edge here but I doubt VT will go down easily.
Enjoy a nice matchup.
I pick the Bearcats.

Saturday, December 27, 2:00 PM ET HYUNDAI SUN BOWL
#15 Arizona State vs. Duke @ Sun Bowl, EL PASO, TX
Since 1935 is this Bowl played!
It is now played in Sun Bowl Stadium since 1963, the home of the UTEP Miners at El Paso, Texas.
It's a game between the PAC 12 and the ACC.
Each team gets around 2.150.000$.
I'm not convinced this game will be very interesting, I think Arizona State will handle Duke a quite heavy loss here.
I'm hoping for a good prepared Duke team, willing to show the world that they are no fluke (haha - you got that joke? Duke - Fluke? Haha - - - awl, forget it).
Dukes HC has yet to win a Bowl game with Duke, losing the last 2 straight.
ASU did almost play for the PAC 12 championship and I think they are a better team then Duke on any day.
I pick the Sun Devils for the win.

Saturday, December 27, 3:30 PM ET DUCK COMMANDER INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina @ Independence Stadium, SHREVEPORT, LA
This is again the Independence Bowl, played since 1976. It was named totally different last season.
Because of the 200 year celebration of independence at 1976, this Bowl had his original name.
The SEC 10th team should face an ACC team (7th).
Each team gets around 1.200.000$.
Miami finished 6-6 with 3-5 in the ACC, South Carolina finished 6-6 with 3-5 in the SEC.
So on paper they are even regarding this.
If you value in the conference strength, you might think the SEC should be valued higher, but especially against the ACC the SEC did suck this season.
On season final did the SEC not win a single game against the ACC.
So maybe we have a ball game here.
I'm still picking South Carolina, giving them credit for a tougher schedule.
I hope it will be a more open game, but I doubt it.

Saturday, December 27, 4:30 PM ET NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL
Boston College vs. Penn State @ Yankee Stadium, BRONX, NY
This is operated since 2010.
It does field an ACC team against a Big10 Team.
Each team gets around 2.000.000$.
First Bowl game for Penn State since they were punished for the Child abuse scandal a few years ago.
They are 6-6 with 2-6 in the conference.
Boston College went 7-5 with 4-4 in the ACC.
It's the second Bowl for them in a row, but they lost last season.
I was not very impressed by any of the teams this season, so I'm not sure what to expect here.
Biggest win for BC was against ranked USC in October, biggest win for Penn State was against later co-champ UCF.
Yeah ... that lame it will be.
I pick Boston, since I have to pick a team, but both teams can bore the other team to death here.

Saturday, December 27, 8:00 PM ET NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOLIDAY BOWL
Nebraska vs. #24 USC @ Qualcomm Stadium, SAN DIEGO, CA
This is played at the home of the San Diego Chargers.
It's played since 1978.
The Big 10 should face up against a PAC 12 team.
Each team gets around 2.825.000$.
Nebraska did fire their HC after the last regular season game and already found his successor, but he will not coach the Bowl.
So it's interim coach time again.
Not good enough against a well coach USC team, which almost won the PAC 12 South, after a slow start.
I hope the Huskers will stay in the game, but this can become a massacre.
I pick USC on any day here.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2014-12-24

Merry Christmas!

Yes, it is Christmas again. John Lennon once posted:

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

Couldn't say it any better - even it is a bit early for the New Year wishes.

I am wishing you and your loved ones all the best, and some rest during the next few days. Thanks for playing this game, and thanks for your ongoing support!

Best Regards

Pete

2014-12-22

Bowls - Second wave

The Bowl-Season started with no real surprises.

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

Saturday, December 20, 11:00 AM ET R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette @ MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS, LA
This looked like a very boring game.
Maybe the fan boys can be happy over a low scoring game, but I like offense and that part of the game was awful.
ULL started nice in the first quarter and die lead 10-0.
Then did Nevada turn the ball over, but ULL did not cash in, instead did Nevada kick a FG on one drive. Halftime.
The 3rd quarter was punt-o-rama and again a lucky Nevada team stopping ULL from scoring.
The 4th quarter was then highlighted by 2 ULL field goal.
Finish.
ZzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Nevada 3 - Louisiana-Lafayette 16 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 1-0

Saturday, December 20, 2:20 PM ET GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Utah State vs. UTEP @ University Stadium, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
Let's make it short here.
UTEP did suck.
Not that much as expected, but they did basically nothing on offense, so how win a game like this?
The game was open until halftime, because Utah State did turn the ball over too often, but UTEP were unable to do anything with that.
In the second half did Utah State do a bit better than in the first and UTEP ... not.
At the end, I think all people were happy the game was over.
Utah State 21 - UTEP 6 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 2-0

Saturday, December 20, 3:30 PM ET ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL
#22 Utah vs. Colorado State @ Sam Boyd Stadium, LAS VEGAS, NV
Easy win for the Utes.
CSU did basically nothing.
I really would like to know, how the team would have played with their regular coach at the side?
This was only entertaining if you are a Utah fan.
#22 Utah 45 - Colorado State 10 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 3-0

Saturday, December 21, 5:45 PM ET FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Western Michigan vs. Air Force @ Albertsons Stadium, BOISE, ID
I really liked the look of the blue Falcons on the smurf turf of Boise State.
Looked almost like a home game.
Western Michigan was not able to control the Air Force on the ground.
They had 284 yards rushing.
They funny fact is, WMU had more yards in total, but it counts where you gain them.
Air Force did handle 4 of 4 of the 4th down tries for a first down, while WMU had 0 of 1.
And it counts when you get penalties. WMU had 9 for 70 yards, the Falcons 3 for 41.
At the end did the Falcons win by a constant effort over the 4 quarters, while WMU did was not able to handle the game with the same effort in each quarter.
Western Michigan 24 - Air Force 34 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 4-0

Saturday, December 20, 9:15 PM ET RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL
South Alabama vs. Bowling Green @ Cramton Bowl, MONTGOMERY, AL
I would say, this was the most interesting Bowl so far.
After the first quarter it was a one score difference game.
At halftime it looked like Bowling Green was pulling away, leading 7-20.
After the 3rd quarter it looked like both teams were even, but Bowling Green was still leading by 13.
Then the craziness started.
South Alabama did score for 21-27.
In the next drive Bowling Green was held for a FG-try, but the kick was block by the defense.
After that both teams were unable to get anything done, but after that did South Alabama had a nice drive and scored for the lead. 28-27, 1:20 to go.
No special return and then on 1-10?
A deep drop back of the QB, a bomb over the middle, 2 blind safeties and a nice run after catch do add up to a 78 yard TD-catch.
A failed 2-point-conversion resulted into a 28-33 lead of Bowling Green.
Over?
Yeah, sorry over.
South Alabama was intercepted on the first down after the Kickoff.
South Alabama 28 - Bowling Green 33 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 5-0

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

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 2
Monday, December 22, 2:00 PM ET MIAMI BEACH BOWL
BYU vs. Memphis @ Marlins Park, MIAMI, FL
Another brand new bowl game here.
Never played before in the past and so far I don't get the tie ins, means who can be invited to that bowl.
The bowl itself is hosted by the AAC and the feel free to invite teams from the CUSA, MAC or SBC.
But the first edition already features no team from those conferences, but an independent one.
So there is more in this than that. Remember that 4 of the 5 left out teams are exactly from the mentioned conferences.
Looks like someone made a business decision here.
I found a hint that the Bowl spot was sold by the CUSA to BYU, while the AAC gave their Bowl rights to the AAC in the Bahamas Bowl.
Why the AAC did that, I was not able to find yet, but I'm sure money is a factor.
They payout is not public so far, so no numbers are known.
The Marlins Park is the home field of the Florida Marlins, a MLB Baseball team.
Since the AAC send one of their top teams to that bowl they will likely get a bit more money than the CAMELLIA BOWL teams, but you never know.
The Tigers were great this season, Memphis went from a clearly losing season last year (2-10) to a share of the AAC Championship (9-3 overall, 7-1 in the AAC).
BYU had a good season with 8-4 as independent, but did lose their good QB beginning of October after a 4-0 start, lost 4 in a row then and won the last 4 again.
It will be interesting to see, how they will do against Memphis.
All bigger games of Memphis were lost, even if sometimes in a close match.
I'm leaning towards BYU to win this. Cougars should be able to win here with preparation.

Tuesday, December 23, 6:00 PM ET BOCA RATON BOWL
Marshall vs. Northern Illinois @ FAU Stadium, BOCA RATON, FL
This is also a new one, and belongs basically to the MAC.
This season the play a CUSA team, next season it will be an AAC team.
You can call this the very poor man’s Super Bowl, since you will see the MAC Champ vs. the CUSA Champ battling it out and it is played inside the home stadium of Florida Atlantic University (playing in the CUSA).
The payout is not public, yet.
Marshall would have played inside a CFP-Bowl (Former BCS-Bowl) if they wouldn't have lost to Western Kentucky end of November.
At that time they were the highest ranked NON-Big5-team, but dropped out of the rankings after that loss and Boise State took over the pole position (and made it).
NIU did lose early in the season twice and were never considered for a big Bowl, two seasons ago they were in the Orange Bowl as BCS spoiler.
I'm not sure which team will have the upper side here.
On one hand did Marshall only lose once, but had a quite weak schedule, on the other hand NIU plays only the MAC but were able to beat Northwestern on the road.
My guts do favour NIU, but this can become a close match with the luckiest team being the winner.
I pick NIU, with a little doubt.

Tuesday, December 23, 9:30 PM ET SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL
Navy vs. San Diego State @ Qualcomm Stadium, SAN DIEGO, CA
This is played on the home field of the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs, so a real-real home game for San Diego State.
It is played since 2005 and each team gets around 612.500$.
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC (2. place until 2014) and different teams from different conferences each year, if they are eligible.
This season the Navy Midshipmen were able to win enough games (7-5) and accepted the spot.
The Bowl itself was played already 1952-1955 between western and Eastern Military Academies as a championship game.
It was then resurrected in 2005.
Unfortunately has Navy a bit of a down year, so I expect a one-sided game here.
The Aztecs will play at home with more time to prepare and heal and against a good but not great Navy team.
Under those conditions I will pick NOT Navy.

Wednesday, December 24, 12:00 PM ET POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL
Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky @ Thomas Robinson Stadium, NASSAU, BAHAMAS
Now it gets a bit strange.
A new Bowl for FBS-Football played on the Bahamas.
Played inside a 15.000 seat multipurpose stadium on the Bahamas, which is mainly used for soccer matches.
So, who will attend such a game?
Tourist? Florida residents on a short trip to the Bahamas?
15.000 seems a bit small for a college bowl, even if the bowl is only a MAC-Bowl and plays against the CUSA.
They payout for each team is not known.
Western Kentucky had a 7-5 season, 4-4 in the CUSA, biggest win was probably the win against a ranked Marshall team on the last gameday.
Central Michigan had also a 7-5 season with 5-3 in the MAC.
Biggest win for them was against now MAC Champ NIU.
Hard to tell, which team will win here, but I think Western Kentucky has the small edge here.
But, last time both teams meet was also in a bowl, 2012 and CMU did win.
Mmmmh.
I still pick WKU.

Wednesday, December 24, 8:00 PM ET HAWAII BOWL
Fresno State vs. Rice @ Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI
Ah ... the Hawai'i Bowl. I like the site.
Normally Hawai'i does play here (if eligible, not happened since 2010) and then some other team.
The Hawai'i Bowl is played since 2002 and each team gets around 650.000$.
It does team up MWC teams against a CUSA team.
This year we have the 6-7 Fresno State Bulldogs (lost against Boise State in the Championship game of the MWC) against the 7-5 Rice Owls.
I'm not very confident this will be a highlight of the bowl history.
But you never know.
At least both teams should be on the same level and we will probably see an open game.
I pick Fresno State as the winner, I don't get my mind around a winning Rice team, sorry.
The Bulldogs did not look too bad against Boise, while Rice got really spanked by Louisiana Tech in the last game.
I'm curious to see the game.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2014-12-19

Bowls - First wave

I decided to give the BOWLs a complete coverage, because this is the fun part of the season and we will have the first playoffs here, so we shouldn't miss that one.

Unfortunately many matchups before the End-Of-The-Year/Start-Of-The-New-Year timeframe are not that exciting, but I take what I can get.

This season the Bowls will start at Saturday, December 20th and will be played until Monday, January 12th, which is the National Championship game with no participator decided yet.

39 Bowls will be played, 76 teams are set to battle it out a last time.
Remember that we have the National Championship game played by winners of two Bowls.
In the past there were exactly double as many teams as Bowls, but because of the playoffs, this rule is broken now.

81 teams were eligible to participate in a Bowl, so at the end 5 teams were left out.
Ohio (MAC, 6-6), Texas State (SBC 7-5), Temple (AAC 6-6), UAB (CUSA 6-6) and Middle Tennessee (CUSA 6-6) are these teams.

Appalachian State (SBC 7â€"5), Georgia Southern (SBC 9â€"3) and Old Dominion (6â€"6 CUSA) would have been eligible, if they wouldn't be in a FCS-FBS transition year. Because of that transition, their records were really impressive, especially Georgia Southern winning the SBC.

All FBS-Team can become eligible for Bowls (except those teams in transition) with 6 wins and you can have even 2 games against FCS-Teams on your schedule (which normally are blowouts and sure wins) and still be eligible. In the past, this did not have much impact but this year the strength of schedule got very important, especially for the playoffs.
Hopefully many teams will rethink this scheduling behaviour.
This would mean the bigger teams would at least play FBS teams, which would reduce the eligible teams in the future (because some weaker FBS teams will now not get a 6th win by bashing a FCS team, but getting creamed by stronger teams and will not get the needed win amount).
Down side of this will be that FCS teams can't get that easy money anymore by playing FBS teams. This will have an impact on the team landscape.

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

Saturday, December 20, 11:00 AM ET R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Louisiana-Lafayette @ MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS, LA
This is played since 2001 and each team gets around 500.000$.
The teams are chosen from the MWC and the SBC.
And if not enough teams are eligible from the MWC, they can choose some other team.
The Ragin' Cajuns are now playing this Bowl since 2011 the 4th time in a row.
So far they did win all of them.
I'm not truly convinced they will win this year again, but they have all the chances.
The Ragin' Cajuns were almost Co-Champs of the SBC. They finished 8-4, 7-1 inside the conference and did lose to Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Boise State and Appalachian State, which did cost them the co-champ title.
Nevada did finish 7-5, and did finish in the conference with 4-4, so no really major winning team here.
Granted, they did not lose against bad teams and they did win some higher profile games.
Still, they are not in a THAT good shape.
The question here is, are they good enough to take a SBC team in an almost home game in Louisiana?
I'm expecting a close game here and my gut says, the winning series of ULL will snap, but my head is routing for the Cajuns, so I pick them, where ever it may take me.

Saturday, December 20, 2:20 PM ET GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Utah State vs. UTEP @ University Stadium, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
This is played at the University of New Mexico and is played since 2006.
Each team gets around 456,250$
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and CUSA.
Utah State did finish 6-2 in the conference and 9-4 overall. Not a bad year, but last season they played for the MWC Championship, this season they were only 3rd in the division, because Boise State and Colorado State had very good seasons.
UTEP went more or less under the radar and finished 5-3 in the conference and 7-5 overall, which is not a bad year for them. Last year they were 2-10.
I don't want to discount the Miners, but the Utah State Aggies are for sure the team to beat in this game.
They will be tough to handle and honestly I can't see UTEP coming into this bowl and win it.
So I pick the Aggies.

Saturday, December 20, 3:30 PM ET ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL
#22 Utah vs. Colorado State @ Sam Boyd Stadium, LAS VEGAS, NV
They play in the home of the UNLV Rebels.
It is played since 1992 and each team gets around 1.350.000 $.
The Tie-ins on conferences are since 2001 between PAC 12 and MWC.
This could have been a great matchup, if not for the factor than Colorado State did lose their HC to Florida and the Rams will now be guided by an interims coach.
CSU had a great season, 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the conference.
Utah on the other had only 8-4, but did play spoiler inside the conference.
Biggest wins were winning against Michigan on the road, UCLA on the road and ranked USC at home.
I think, if the interims coach gets the Rams ready, this will be fun to watch.
I'm more convinced this will be a disaster for the Rams and the Utes will win this easily.
So I pick the Utes.

Saturday, December 21, 5:45 PM ET FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Western Michigan vs. Air Force @ Albertsons Stadium, BOISE, ID
This was known as the Humanitarian Bowl.
It is played at the University of Boise in Idaho and is worth around 325.000$ for each team.
This Bowl is played since 1997 and it is played at the moment between teams from the MWC and the MAC.
Air Force Falcons went more or less unnoticed to a 9â€"3 record, but were only 5-3 inside the conference.
They won even against the now new MWC Champ Boise State, but did also lose against the bad Wyoming team.
But I'm sure they will challenge the Broncos of Western Michigan.
Western Michigan went 8â€"4 and 6-2 in the MAC.
They lost to Toledo and now MAC Champ NIU.
I think this will be a nice head to head compare, but I don't find both teams very interesting so I'm not that excited about the game.
I pick the Falcons, since I think the MWC is a bit better than the MAC, so the quality of wins and schedule should help Air Force.
But be prepared, everything is possible.

Saturday, December 20, 9:15 PM ET RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL
South Alabama vs. Bowling Green @ Cramton Bowl, MONTGOMERY, AL
We have a brand new bowl game here.
The CAMELLIA BOWL was played in the past (1948 and 1961-1980) but this new version is played this season for the first time.
It ties in to the SBC and the MAC.
They payout is not public so far, so no numbers are known, but it's likely it's under 400.000$ a team, maybe even under 300.000$.
South Alabama was 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the SBC.
Bowling Green is 7-6 after their bad loss against NIU and 5-3 in the MAC.
I have to admit I can't figure out, which team will here have the upper side.
Bowling Green had some good games, most notable the win against Big 10 team Indiana.
South Alabama had no real signature win, but went OK.
So by the numbers, Bowling Green should be the better team, but I don't count out the home factor.
This is played in Alabama in a former home stadium of the Crimson Tide and other Alabama teams and I'm sure the Jaguars will get a warmer welcome than the Ohio team of Bowling Green.
So I'm expecting a close game with a Falcons win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2014-12-08

The Fallout

Hey folks,

the last week of the regular season is done (expect the not really relevant Army-Navy game; by the way, what will happen, if that game HAS some relevance regarding the playoffs? Will all wait a week?) and the dust did clear.

I'm not sure if the events of the weekend were the best that could happen or the worst (OK, probably not THE worst, but pretty bad).

The top 6 in the College Football Playoff Rankings were before the weekend

1 Alabama -> plays the SEC Champioship game
2 Oregon -> plays the PAC 12 Championship game
3 TCU -> plays Iowa State and can win a share of the BIG 12
4 Florida State -> plays the ACC Championship game
5 Ohio State -> plays the BIG 10 Championship game
6 Baylor -> plays Kansas State and can win a share of the BIG 12

Just think about it, how you would rank them, if all would win?
Remember, that only 4 of them will play for the national championship, 2 will play "only" big bucks bowls.

Well, what happened, was:
Alabama did beat Mizzou clearly, check.
Oregon did beat Arizona clearly, check.
TCU did beat Iowa State clearly, check.
Florida State did escape an upset bid of Georgia Tech, check.
Ohio State did beat Wisconsin clearly, check.
Baylor did beat Kansas State by less than 2 scores, check.

So all DID win and 2 of them had to be left out, the question was, which one.

Alabama, as SEC Champ was selected #1,
Oregon as PAC 12 Champ was selected #2
Florida State as ACC Champ was selected #3, so they jumped one spot
And ...
Ohio State as Big 10 Champ was selected #4, did also jump one spot and left the Big 12 in depression.

Baylor was set at #5 and TCU at #6, both are named Big 12 co-champions.

Now what does that mean?

I think FSU did get the spot as the only unbeaten team.
I don't think they are the #3 team in the country, but they went unbeaten and they became the ACC champ. There would have been a lot of protest, if they would have been left out.

I think Ohio State did get the #4 spot, because of the pity situation the Big 12 is in right now.
Baylor did beat TCU and it is fine that they are ahead of TCU. Both teams are co-champs with the same record and the conference lacks a conference championship game.
A game where you can meet one of the best teams of the conference. No, one of the best teams in the country.
Ohio State did had an almost as weak or strong schedule as Baylor and TCU, but that championship game gave them that extra profile it seems you need in this new selection process.

I think we will see probably 2 things in the future:
The Big 12 will rethink their "we don't need extra teams"-policy, and maybe Texas will give up something of their money to give the Big 12 a chance for a playoff seat.
It will be fun to see, which team they will go after.

The next thing we will see is an eight-team-playoff process. Not next season, but I think this next step is already decided, even nobody did mention it right now.
Why? Because there are 5 big conferences and even 1 or 2 smaller ones wanting to be bigger and there are at the moment only 4 spots.
So at least 1 conference will be left out, every season. Maybe even more. This season did almost Mississippi State sneak in.
That situation will not hold on for long.

Best guess: 5 champs get an automatic bid, 3 spots get filled by the committee.
Maybe with a side note for the best non-big-5 conference team in the rankings to be in, if it's inside the top 10 or something. To get everyone a decent shot for a title and even the smaller conference would have chance, if they teams is dominant in that year.

Of cause also in that situation will a few teams slip through and won't participate.

Some info on the college football front:
UAB will shut down the program and they did not even get an invitation for a bowl.
I'm really sorry for the kids, they worked really hard this year and because of a business decision they get nothing.
As far as I know, all students can finish their scholarship, or are free to look for another team.
In that situation, I'm not sure what I would do ...

Shortly after I posted my last blog entry the news got in that Florida and Nebraska did s e l e c t their next head coach.
Florida did s e l e c t the already mentioned Jim McElwain from Colorado State. Rumours are they did pay about 5 mio buyout money to get him.
CSU now has to search on their own to find a new coach.

Nebraska did a surprising stunt, hiring Mike Riley, long-time coach of the Oregon State Beavers.
I think nobody thought about him as a possible hire (he declined a UCS bid a few seasons ago) and he is also not really a high profile coach.
He did very well with the beavers, no question, but there are doubts he will be able to win more games with the Huskers than Pelini did.
But maybe he will be the right choice. Riley did win sometimes against ranked teams.
He did win some crucial games, where Pelini did not.
Interesting hire.
Bad situation for the Beavers, they now need a new coach, too.

The other champions:
Memphis, UCF and Cincinnati did win a share of the AAC.
It will be fun to see, if the conference also will try to get the 12 needed teams for a championship game.

Marshall did beat Louisiana Tech in a very close game with a wild finish and became the Conference USA Champs.

Northern Illinois did crush Bowling Green for the MAC Title.

Boise State did win against Fresno State to win the MWC.

The Sun Belt was already Georgia Southerns.

Some games were still to play, most notable the Bedlam Serie were Oklahoma State did beat Oklahoma in the road in Norman in OT, to become bowl eligable.

Temple did beat Tulane, also for the 6th win, but were not invited to a bowl.

And SMU did beat UConn to avoid a winless season.

I will try to cover the bowls, so see you soon.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2014-12-04

Regular Season Final Special

Hey there,

It’s the last gameday of the final season and since Bricks Picks Blog is gone and I did not write anything so far this season, I had some itching in my fingers to write something NOW.

It was a very entertaining and strange season so far in College football with the 4-team-playoff-system installed the first time and no one does know how it will play out.

So far it did quite OK, even there were some strange decisions in the past and the last gameday might turn the whole system upside down.
I will tell you about that when I'm through with the conferences.

I decided to give you a short overview over the conferences, who did suck, who did do wonders (in my opinion) and what did happen.

I will start with the
SUN BELT CONFERENCE
1 team short of being eligible to host a conference final (you need 12 teams for that) it got some new teams from the FCS and one of them did great.
Georgia Southern did beat every team inside the conference in its first season and won the conference.
Normally they would be bowl eligible, but because of their first season in the FBS, they are not.
They asked for an exception, but that was declined.
Still, a great accomplishment.
My favourite for the season Louisiana-Lafayette did not win all games and fell to 2nd place.
Troy, a long time winning team under Larry Blakeney did finish with 3-9 and Larry Blakeney will retire after 24 seasons.
A new coach is already found, Neal Brown, a former Troy assistant and OC/QB-Coach at Kentucky this season.
With 34 the 2nd youngest FBS HC now.
Quite ashamed should be the team of Idaho.
The Vandals, once a quite proud football team, also new in the SUN BELT after one season as independent, went 1-10 in one of the weakest, if not THE weakest conference in the FBS.
I hope the coach will get the team on track again.

The season is basically over for the conference, 6 teams finished with 6 or more wins in total, but Georgia Southern is not allowed to play a bowl, so 5 teams are waiting for bowl invitations.
Lesson from the past was, not all will get an invitation.

Next stop,
CONFERENCE USA
The team movements did drain the conference quite big and they got some teams from other conferences to keep the conference championship game alive.
13 teams did compete and this weekend will Marshall battle Louisiana Tech for the conference title.
Both teams had very good season, Marshall even an outstanding one.
Wouldn't they not have lost to Western Kentucky on last gameday last week, they might have had a shot for a Former-BCS-Bowl with a perfect record.
LT did lose only to Old Dominion inside the conference, so hopefully the game will be good, between both 7-1 conference record teams.
Teams worth mentioning are from my point of view UAB with a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility for the first time in their history.
Unfortunately the University decided to SHUT DOWN the whole program, stating they would have had to invest about 49 mio. dollars in the next 5 years to stay competitive. Money they don't have.
I'm sure there are more reasons to that, but I'm also sure that any theory around the Crimson Tide (which board also overviews UAB) did close the team to keep the competition down is bullshit.
Another team to mention is Old Dominion, since 2 seasons now FBS and they are also 6-6 this season.
Still a shame is Southern Miss, with 3-9 and Florida Atlantic, also 3-9. Both teams were better in the past and should get a turnaround soon.
Biggest surprise for me was Florida International with a 4-8 record.

The conference has only the championship game to play and 8 teams are waiting for a bowl invitation.
It's very unlikely all of them will get a bowl spot.

As 3rd conference I would like to have the
MID AMERICAN CONFERENCE
The MAC is very astonishing, since they went through that conference realignment very much untouched.
The 13 teams are very stable so far and they will only lose UMass after next season, but they were only an affiliate member anyway.
This season the conference final is like last season final.
Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois.
Only this season both teams looked more beatable as they looked last season.
Bowling Green is only 5-3 inside the conference.
Northern Illinois looked better (7-1) but were not that dominant as last season.
Will be fun to see, which team will win here.
Ball State had a bad season with 5-7 this season, after 10-2 last season.
Biggest jump upwards did make Western Michigan, now 8-4 (last season 1-11).
I have the feeling there are no big changes in the power structure inside the conference.
Buffalo did fire Jeff Quinn after 5 seasons. Last season they were 8-5, but this season they fell to 5-6 (with one game postponed due weather effects).
They already hired Lance Leipold, HC of Wisconsin-Whitewater of Division III.
I’m sceptic, but he was a winner there, so give him a chance.

All games are played inside the conference, beside the championship game.
6 teams are eligible for bowls, normally not all of them will play one.

4th conference in the spotlight should be the
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
They are now a bid weak. Not many really good teams left in the conference and the successors were all from weaker conferences.
No wonder the leaders this year are Cincinnati, UCF and ... Memphis?
Yep, Memphis ....
They were 3-9 last season, 1-7 inside the conference, now they are 7-1 in the conference at the moment and 9-3 overall.
A share of the conference title is for sure.
Cincinnati and UCF will play this weekend (not against each other) at 6-1 and might both win also a share of the conference title.
Biggest losers are UConn and SMU.
UConn has a new HC this season, so the drop to 2-9 so far (last season they were 3-9) with one game to play might be based on the changes inside the team.
Still, the Huskies are used to win more.
SMU on the other hand was very strange this season.
Last year they had 5-7 in total and opened 0-2 when June Jones resigned from SMU football and left the team with 10 games left to play.
Unbelievable.
SMU has selected Chad Morris, the OC/QB coach of Clemson to rebuild the program now, which is still waiting for their first win this season.
One game left to play, against UConn.
Another program fired their HC, Tulsa. Bill Blankenship was fired after a 2-10 season. Tulsa was very successful in the past so a 2 win season is not inside the expected win range.
No new coach is selected so far.

The conference is not finished yet for the regular season and 5 to 6 teams (Temple could win their last game and get the 6th win by that) will be bowl eligible.
Can't say from the top of my head, if the conference has 6 guaranteed spots in bowls, but it's likely they will bring in at least 5.

Last NON-BIG5-Conference on the list is the
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
The Mountain West will host their championship game this weekend and this season it's Boise State vs Fresno State.
Boise State has a fantastic season so far with 10-2 under a new HC and Fresno State is only 6-6, but still managed to win the division in a tie breaker against San Diego State.
The MWC is real strange this season because of that. Fresno won the WEST division with 5-3 inside the conference and the division has many teams with almost similar conference record. Normally that record is not near anything a division champ needs to win.
The MOUNTAIN division was won by Boise with 7-1 and only 2 teams in the division have negative conference record.
Biggest loser this season for me is UNLV with 2-11 (last season 7-6).
Biggest winner for me is Colorado State. They were 8-6 last season and are now 10-2 so far.
Maybe that's not that big in progress as for example Hawaii had (1-11 to 4-9) but the Rams did really play tough football this season and were able to beat quite good opponents.
No coaching changes so far, but I'm sure some things will happen.

Beside Boise and Fresno all teams are finished and 7 teams are bowl worthy.
Maybe 5 to 6 will get a spot.

At very last NON-BIG5 the
INDEPENDENTS
There are not many teams here and they don't play conference finals and don't crown champions.
They are just the "rest" bunch.
Army sucks as they do since I can remember, Navy is not that good this season with 6-5 so far, but will probably go bowling.
Notre Dame had a promising start, but were not able to beat any strong team on their quite weak schedule and finished 7-5. I think the fans and university people had higher expectations.
BYU on the other hand looked like a sure bust this season, started 4-0, lost then 4 in a row after they lost their QB in the 5th game and did finish strong with 4 wins in the last 4 games.
8-4 means of cause a bowl for them and they will get a quite good one, I think.

Most of the games are played here, only the traditional Army-Navy game is waiting in 2 weeks.
BYU, Notre Dame and Navy will probably all play in Bowls.

The weakest conference of the BIG 5 is this season the
BIG 10 CONFERENCE
The Big 10 did add Rutgers and Maryland to their teams and did skip the Legends and Legends Divisions.
All teams were realigned to East and West divisions.
Did sound OK so far, but since most of the teams took a down-year this season, the whole quality of the conference did suffer.
Wisconsin and Ohio State will meet in the Big 10 Final. Except these teams it's hard to pick good teams from the conference.
Michigan State, yes, and that's all I can pick of the East Division, Minnesota and Nebraska maybe from the West. The rest did not bring up the quality I expect from the Big 10.
I can't even name the biggest winner in that conference, since no team had a real turnaround in a good way.
Minnesota did look much better this season, but they were at the end 8-4 (8-5 last season with a Bowl) as last season.
Biggest losers list is long. Michigan for sure, Penn State also, but I could also name Indiana, Purdue and so on.
Mayland and Rutgers came in as former ACC and AAC teams and went 3rd and 4th in the East. Michigan, Penn State and Indiana are behind them.
Rutgers were 7th in the AAC last season and Maryland was 5th in the Atlantic Division of the ACC last season. So they did good.
I don't know what will happen this off season, but I hope the teams will get better.

This bad season did already cost the jobs of Michigan’s Brady Hoke and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini, successors are not found yet.
If you ask me for the next "big thing" I could not really answer that. Colorado States McElwain seems to be on many lists, but he has a 7.5 mio buyout. Autsch.
Dukes David Cutcliffe did a great job and then it's getting very much down to a lottery pick.
Of cause there are many good coaches out there, but many don't want to switch and sometimes they don't fit at the new spot. We will see.

Except the final, all games are played and 10 teams of the 14 teams are waiting for a Bowl call. Some might wait very long, but since it's still the Big 10, probably all will get a spot.

Next in line of the BIG 5 Conferences is the
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
With Florida State as reigning national champion some might think the conference should be higher, but beside Florida the quality gets worse very fast.
FSU and Georgia Tech will meet this weekend for the ACC Championship and chances are there the national champion gets beaten by the yellow jackets.
Both teams are good, but FSU did struggle with bad starts the whole season and it's only a matter of time, when they are not able to comeback early enough.
Don't get me wrong, they might win it all, again, this season, but I would not bet my money on that.
Biggest winner this season beside GT is Louisville. They came in from the AAC, with a new coach and did get the 3rd spot in the Atlantic division, behind FSU and a good Clemson team.
Biggest loser for me this season is Virginia Tech. I'm not sure how long the university will except the slide of Frank Beamers team, but the Hokies fans are used to better records than 6-6 and 3-5 in the conference (Frank Beamers own fault, he was too good in the past. lol.)

So far no coaching changes here, but it's likely some will happen.

All teams are finished, beside the two championship participants. 11 of 14 teams are bowl worthy. Probably all will get a spot.

Now it's getting philosophical, which conference should be next? I pick the
Big 12 CONFERENCE
The Big 12 gets the next spot, because I like the PAC 12 a bit more this season, sorry.
Anyway, both are from my point of view almost equal in quality.
Since the Big 12 has less than 12 teams, they don't have a championship game and will play this weekend the last games.
3 teams are in a position to win the conference or at least a share of the title. Baylor, Kansas State and TCU.
Baylor plays Kansas State, so it will automatically come down to potentially 2 teams on the top.
TCU will play the weak Iowa State at home, so it's quite likely they will win here.
Biggest winner this season is for sure TCU, they had a very good season so far and might even get into the national playoffs.
Biggest losers are from my point of view Oklahoma State, which are 5-6 so far (last season 10-3) and Kansas.
Kansas couldn't be much worse than last season, but they had to play a lot of games (ok, only 4, but still), until they realised that Charlie Weis is not the HC they wanted (or any HC at all).
No successor is named so far.

So, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas and West Virginia are finished, the rest will play their last games.
For Oklahoma and Oklahoma State it's the Bedlam Series again and OSU needs the win to get the needed 6th win for a Bowl.

So far, 6 of the 10 teams are bowl worthy; all of them will get a spot.

To the 2nd strongest Conference this season
PAC 12 Conference
The PAC 12 did play a very nice season so far and I'm curious to see the two division champions battle it out this weekend.
The North sends Oregon against the South winner Arizona.
Arizona did beat Oregon once this season, so this is not in the books already.
For me, Arizona is the winner of that season.
Arizona State had a good season until they lost against rival Arizona last week, USC had an up-and-down-season, which was very successful for a team with a new coach, but Arizona did everything they did last season and did it better.
All other teams had OK seasons compared to last season, except Colorado, which I would label the loser of this season.
2-10 overall and 0-8 in the PAC 12 is bad for program which should be on the turnaround path.
So far no coach was let go and all teams except Arizona and Oregon have finished their schedule.

8 of 12 teams are Bowl eligible; for sure they will get a spot.

And as strongest conference of cause the
SEC
The SEC had a very strange season with the West division drawing all the interest and the East running on standby, at least in the press.
It looked like the West champ would be decided between both Mississippi teams this season, but Ole Miss did stumble mid season and Mississippi State did then fall last week against rival Ole Miss, how ironic.
Lucky (or worthy) winner of the west became Alabama, losing only once this season to Ole Miss.
The East did have more negative than positive stories, starting with the downfall of Florida and South Carolina and with an up and down Georgia team.
At the end did Mizzou win the division without getting much attention and will face Alabama in the championship game.
Biggest winner this season is for sure Mississippi State, even when they did not win the division.
Biggest loser for me is Florida, unable to get much done. They finished 6-6 and Will Muschamp was let go. No successor is named, but CSU McElwain is on the list.

All teams have finished the season except Alabama and Mizzou, 12 of 14 teams are waiting for a bowl invitation. For sure they get the call soon.

PLAYOFFS
This season is the first time with playoffs between 4 selected teams and since about mid season the selection committee does post their list of the top 25 teams.
It was very fast obvious that there is not much improvement to the BCS rankings in the past regarding who is in and who is out.
The only difference between the past and now is, once the teams are selected.
In the past the top 2 selected teams would battle it out, which was sometimes the close matchup everybody wanted, and sometimes a boring game with a winner already decided before the coin toss.
This season we might get also such boring games in the half finals, but because of that, we will for sure get a better quality in the finals, which is good.
If a hyped team gets a spot on the top 4 teams, for sure it will get creamed in the first game and we have a chance for a worthy final matchup.
The problem is the selection process.
At the moment there are:
1 Alabama -> plays the SEC Champioship game
2 Oregon -> plays the PAC 12 Championship game
3 TCU -> plays Iowa State and can win a share of the BIG 12
4 Florida State -> plays the ACC Championship game
5 Ohio State -> plays the BIG 10 Championship game
6 Baylor -> plays Kansas State and can win a share of the BIG 12
7 Arizona -> plays the PAC 12 Championship game
8 Michigan State -> finished
9 Kansas State -> plays Baylor and can win a share of the BIG 12
10 Mississippi State -> finished
11 Georgia Tech -> plays the ACC Championship game
12 Ole Miss -> finished
13 Wisconsin -> plays the BIG 10 Championship game
14 Georgia -> finished
15 UCLA -> finished
16 Missouri -> plays the SEC Champioship game
17 Arizona State -> finished
18 Clemson -> finished
19 Auburn -> finished
20 Oklahoma -> plays rival OSU in the Bedlam Series
21 Louisville -> finished
22 Boise State -> plays the MOUNTAIN WEST Championship game
23 Utah -> finished
24 LSU -> finished
25 USC -> finished

As you can see, a lot of those teams can win or lose this weekend and if some strange results might happen, maybe some champions will be left out of the mix and some other teams get the chance to play for national championship, which not even won their division or conference.
It will be fun to see, how this will turn out.

So, enjoy the last gameday.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2014-11-23

Season rollover done, welcome Season 15

Hello everybody,

Done!

With the new season there are a few changes on some modules:

1.) If you are going to fire a Coach, the Morale and Team chemistry hit will be the same as on replacing a Coach. It doesn't matter if the fired Coach is in his last season due retiring.

2.) Youth pulls will get one year older on the Season rollover as well. This means the hack of waiting with the Youth pull until the rollover finished is not useful anymore.

3.) From now on we will lock the game during the rollover, just to reduce the load on the server.

More to come...

2014-11-18

First Super Duper Elite League Bowl has a winner

One season ago we added another level on top of our league structure, the so called RedZoneAction.org Elite League. The very best of the best are eligible to play this league. This means the best 4 teams out of the 8 regions were battling for the crown.

We have a king: Congrats to Sanco, Manager and Head Coach of the Free Agent Mascots, who will take the hardware with him back home to Hungary.

Minden jót, és csak a legjobb neked és a csapatnak!

First Super Duper Elite League Bowl has a winner

One season ago we added another level on top of our league structure, the so called RedZoneAction.org Elite League. The very best of the best are eligible to play this league. This means the best 4 teams out of the 8 regions were battling for the crown.

We have a king: Congrats to Sanco, Manager and Head Coach of the Free Agent Mascots, who will take the hardware with him back home to Hungary.

Minden jót, és csak a legjobb neked és a csapatnak!

2014-11-16

Another one from the Change-log: Teams Hall of Fame

"The Teams Hall of Fame is allowing players to be selected even if they were fired or their contract was to be canceled, limited to season 12 and earlier."

This will solve the "rants" we have seen. Have fun while adding your players, even if you fired them...

Some Tweaks on the game-engine, and another suggested change came true

From the Changelog:

Gamengine V3.90 for Friendlies and Scrimmages:
-Tweak on yardage during fumble return
-Tweak on Pass Catch abilities for medium and long passes

So this means, you can test the new engine on Friendly Games and Scrimmages. We expect some less returned fumbles, and some more completed medium and deep passes

Added switch to force use of live engine for Scrimmages

You can control which engine version to use on Scrimmage games. This is what you asked for over and over, and finally itt was implemented.

2014-10-12

Result: What do we learn, how much can we achieve?

A month ago we were informing you about a campaign. We informed you about domestic violence, committed by NFL players and relatives, and about ignorance by the officials and the media...

And we offered you a deal! You would purchase a 12-months Supporter account here in RedZoneAction.org and RedZoneClash.org, and we would donate 10 USD out of each single purchase during that 4 weeks, to a well-established NGO fighting against domestic violence and sexual abuse. The NGO we have chosen is Equality Now.

OK, here is the result:
.

11 managers out of RedZoneAction.org and RedZoneCLash.org were going for the purchase - Congrats and thanks a lot.

As the webpage of Equality Now tells: 100 USD: Helps lawyers investigate potential new cases...

2014-10-08

Your teams Hall of Fame

From now on you can award something special to players who retired from active Football, but were an integral part of your team. Each team has its own Hall of Fame.

The Teams Hall of Fame shows players, if the team-owner moved them to the Hall of Fame. Who is eligible? A player is eligible to join the Hall of Fame, if

his retirement was in the past for more than 100 days
there is no other player in your Hall of Fame who retired in that season
the player retired during the time you are the manager of the team
the player was a member of your team while retiring


Be careful, this is final. Once a player is in the Hall of Fame, you cannot undo this move!

And now, make your picks...

2014-10-07

New feature: reposition your players, automatically

In the past we had to answer one question very often, especially from new managers: How should I sort the roster, how should I assign positions to my players?

Well, we have the answer now!

In the Players list there is a new option available, so called "Reposition your players". You will have to set a strategy for the sorting, and the game returns a suggested roster. You could then save this suggestion, or adapt it. Of course you can refuse all changes as well. Once you confirmed the changes, the players will find their new positions. All you have to do then is to go to your Depth Chart, and adapt it to the changes made...

We hope, this will make the start of your RedZoneAction.org manager career much easier.

Best of luck!

2014-09-19

Brick's Picks #4

It's Thursday, and you know what that means?

Another week's issue of Brick's Picks!

This week, we've got some big contests between power five opponents to look forward to!

Last week, we saw multiple upsets that were quite impressive.

I'll go into further detail on Week 3 at a later time, for now, let's get picking!

Georgia Tech - Virginia Tech EVEN
Iowa - Pitt
Maryland - Syracuse EVEN
Tulane - Duke ACC Blowout of the week
Maine - Boston College
Louisville - Florida International
Virginia - #21 BYU EVEN
Army - Wake Forest
North Carolina - East Carolina
Presbyterian - NC State
Miami (FL) - #24 Nebraska
#22 Clemson - #1 Florida State Winston is suspended for the first half... Clemson's already got their massive choke job out of the way... I smell shenanigans
#5 Auburn - #20 Kansas State
Central Michigan - Kansas
#4 Oklahoma - West Virginia EVEN
East Michigan - #11 Michigan State
Western Illinois - Northwestern EVEN (Crazy upset alert of the week
South Illinois - Purdue
Bowling Green - #19 Wisconsin
Massachusetts - Penn State (B1G blowout of the week
San Jose State - Minnesota
Texas State - Illinois
Indiana - #18 Missouri
Utah - Michigan
Rutgers - Navy
#2 Oregon - Washington State
Hawaii - Colorado
Georgia State - Washington (Pac-12 blowout of the week)
California - Arizona
San Diego State - Oregon State
Troy - Georgia
#6 Texas A&M - SMU (SEC blowout of the week)
Florida - Alabama EVEN
Northern Illinois - Arkansas
Mississippi State - Louisiana State EVEN
#14 South Carolina - Vanderbilt

My picks were done as of 2000 GMT!

And I'll be sure to add some more thoughts later.

2014-09-12

Brick's Picks #3

Hello everyone, and welcome to the next edition of Brick's Picks!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for failing to post my picks for last week, as I was on a military installation competing in an overnight athletic competition. I will make sure I do not miss another week.

Now, moving on to the week two recap, I feel like now would be a good time to start counting up all the FBS unbeaten teams. This is mostly for posterity, as I try to keep my rankings separate from the AP poll to the best of my ability.

After week two, the unbeaten teams in FBS are:

Louisville
Syracuse (1-0)
North Carolina State
Florida State
Pittsburgh
Georgia Tech
Duke
North Carolina
Virginia Tech
Kansas State
Oklahoma
Texas Christian University (1-0)
Baylor
Texas Tech
Kansas (1-0)
Rutgers
Penn State
Indiana (1-0)
Maryland
Nebraska
Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
BYU
Army (1-0)
Notre Dame
Marshall
Nevada
Wyoming
Central Michigan
Northern Illinois
California
Washington
Oregon
Oregon State
USC
Arizona
Utah
Arizona State
UCLA
Kentucky
Missouri
Tennesee
Georgia (1-0)
Florida (1-0)
Ole Miss
Auburn
Texas A&M
Alabama
Mississippi State
LSU
New Mexico State
Louisiana-Monroe
South Alabama (1-0)
Texas State (1-0)

Obviously there's a lot of teams still out there, but for the most part, this is the pool of teams that I'll look at for my rankings. (0-0) is not counted, as that is also winless, and assume teams are 2-0 here unless otherwise noted.


The top five best games of week two

5. Arizona vs. University of Texas San Antonio

I love Thursday night football. It rarely disappoints. You may be asking yourself who UTSA is, right now. UTSA's football program was started from scratch by Larry Coker, of Miami fame, in 2009. Cue Arizona coming to the Alamodome in San Antonio, with many people thinking that the Wildcats would have an easy game. This was not to be. Long story short, Arizona was ahead 26-16 in the 4th quarter when UTSA scored a TD, their defense locked down the Wildcat offense (which had set a school record for yards last week vs. a bowl team in UNLV), and we had a 26-23 game of it. Unfortunately for the Roadrunners, however, Arizona's defense came up big, and one horrible shovel pass later, the Wildcats avoided an upset. If you watched that game, you would know that the Roadrunners were not a cupcake team, by any means.

4. Eastern Washington vs. Washington

Remember the name Vernon Adams. That's what every Huskies fan will be doing after this trap game. For those of you who don't remember, the Eagles beat Oregon State last season in another high scoring shootout. Last season Adams threw 55 touchdown passes. The Huskies came out on top, but allowing 52 points against an FCS team doesn't look good, even if it was one of the league's best offenses. Lucky for the Huskies, they put up 59 of their own. If you like offense, this game had a lot of it.

3. Memphis vs. UCLA

I'll take "Things nobody expected for 500". What a game this was. The Tigers showed up in a thriller against the Bruins, similar to the UTSA - UA game, only the disparity was percieved as bigger. Additionally, this matchup was clearly a battle of quarterbacks, with two great players leading their team down the field. You may have heard of Brett Hundley, who showed everyone why he's one of the most NFL-ready QBs in college football, but are you ready for Paxton Lynch? Despite his team losing this game, Lynch has now shown himself to be an elite quarterback with excellent mobility, and above average passing skills. Unfortunately, this game probably didn't get many viewers, but those who saw it got yet another thriller. For UCLA, this win looks bad, but what people won't know is that Memphis is a respectable opponent. Yes, we're talking about football, and not basketball.

2. Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State

The B1G is a conference which has been embattled as of late, dealing with many people accusing their teams of being weaker than the other conferences in the Power Five. With the top recruit in high school football visiting, and considering both teams in this game, the stakes were upped a little bit. Ohio State's a university that attracts a large amount of hate, and tonight, their detractors were more vocal than they've been in a while. Why? With many other high profile B1G losses, Ohio State losing to Virginia Tech (a team notorious for choking), was amplified. The final score was 35-21, and at times, the Buckeye's offense looked impotent, especially on the offensive line, where the Hokies were constantly finding penetration and collapsing the pocket. Losing Miller also hurt the tOSU offense significantly, because Meyer likely designed his strategy around him.

1. Oregon vs. Michigan State

The Pac-12 proving its worth, yeah! I love the Ducks, and I will admit that I love them, so at times if you sense a bias, then yes, there is a conflict of interest. That being said, I will try to be as unbiased as I can. Anyhow, the Ducks are getting recognition for a new and improved line game, which was on full display last Saturday. The Ducks won by 19 and covered the spread. I'm not saying their team is elite, but they are looking like it right now. Time will tell.


PICKS FOR WEEK TWO AS OF THURSDAY AFTERNOON

All games picked involve either top 25 teams and / or Power 5 conferences.
Because I'll be counting my record here, I'll set some ground rules now for a few terms besides simply making a name bold to imply I picked them. When I say a game is even, I'm predicting it will be decided by eight points (one possession) or less. When I predict a blowout, I'm predicting a team will win by at least 20 points. 'Nuff said.

East Carolina - #17 Virginia Tech
Georgia Southern - Georgia Tech (EVEN)
Pitt - Florida International
Syracuse - Central Michigan
#21 Louisville - Virginia
Arkansas State - Miami
North Carolina State - South Florida
Kansas - Duke (ACC Blowout of the week)
Wake Forest - Utah State (EVEN)
#9 USC - Boston College
#8 Baylor - Buffalo
West Virginia - Maryland (The B1G is Overrated Game of the Week
Arkansas - Texas Tech
Iowa State - Iowa (B1G Blowout of the week)
Minnesota - TCU
UTSA - Oklahoma State
Tennessee - #4 Oklahoma
#12 UCLA - Texas (EVEN; they're equally bad)
Indiana - Bowling Green
Kent State - #22 Ohio State
Miami (OH) - Michigan
Illinois - Washington
Purdue - #11 Notre Dame
Penn State - Rutgers
Nebraska - Fresno State
#25 BYU - Houston
Army - #15 Stanford (Insane Upset Pick of the week)
Wyoming - #2 Oregon (Pac-12 Blowout of the week
Portland State - Washington State (EVEN)
#16 Arizona State - Colorado
Nevada - Arizona
UCF - #20 Missouri (EVEN)
Massachusetts - Vanderbilt (EVEN)
#6 Georgia - #24 South Carolina (SEC Blowout game of the week)
Louisiana-Lafayette - #14 Ole Miss
Mississippi State - Southern Alabama (Trap game of the week)
Southern Mississippi - #3 Alabama
Louisiana Monroe - #10 Louisiana State
Kentucky - Florida (EVEN)
Rice - #7 Texas A&M

THE WORD OF THE WEEK

The big word this week in the college football world is MEANINGLESS.
This describes the AP Polls pretty accurately this year. They have some indication of a team's ability, but in this writer's opinion, things like Texas A&M being ranked seventh doesn't mean much. Even still the SEC likes to make it seem like they're hot by scheduling cupcakes... you get the idea. The AP Poll is meaningless when it comes to comparing the top 25 teams right now.

Written by Brickington

2014-09-11

What do we learn, how much can we achive?

As most of you noticed, the NFL was recently caught up in yet another gruesome domestic violence case. Ray Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL, only after a second video of him beating his then fiancee unconscious was released this Monday.

Now, the NFL and the Ravens have handled this situation as badly as they can. The team supported Rice all the way up until Monday, and is now trying to cover up the embarassing level of support they gave him. The NFL has - too little, too late - admitted after the second video turned up that their initial 2-Game suspension was wrong, but questions remain whether they had access to that video already when they handed down the 2-game ban.

What's worse, a lot of football outlets, media writers and fans still talk about domestic violence in a defending fashion, using strategies that shift the focus away from the systemic nature of the problem. There's victim blaming for instance happening at the biggest of sports media. There a forums and facebook pages making opinion polls, as if domestic violence is a opinion one can vote on. There's people claiming it's self-defense, and people saying it's only an isolated incident, even though Panthers DE Greg Hardy was convicted in July for assaulting his girlfriend and throwing her onto a pile of guns. No suspension by the NFL so far, even though they now have a "zero tolerance" policy against domestic abuse. 49er Ray McDonald and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are other recent high profile cases where the NFL and most of the public is decidedly quiet.

NFL rates of domestic violence and sexual offense are way higher than the national average, and yet the league, self-proclaimed as a shining beacon of American morals, hands downs suspensions for such cases that pale in comparison for instance to non-violent (and non-sexist) drug-offenses.

Outside the NFL, things are not much better. The US still has a huge problem in that area. Some 24 people - - mostly women - - per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. And it won't get better by belittling it in the Football world, where so many (especially young) people get their inspiration from.

So, if your interested for more information on that topic, you can read great articles on the Rice case here, here and here. More so, there are good resources to find out more about domestic violence (and what one can do to help) here and here. The better informed we are, the better we can help shift discussions of such incidents towards a solution instead of defending the status quo.

But reading and talking ain't all. As a platform for football fans, RedZoneAction.org strongly rejects any misogynistic statements defending domestic violence, but we can do more than that. Therefore, for the next 4 weeks we will donate 10 $ from every purchase of a 12 months Supporter Account to Equality Now, a well-established NGO fighting against domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Thank you for your attention and support!

Thanks to wiesengrund for coming up with it, and collecting resources

2014-09-03

Brick's Picks - Volume 2

Welcome to the second edition of Brick's Picks. Today we'll be tackling two subjects: The new rankings, and week two's slate of games.

First on the agenda is the new AP poll!
http://espn.go.com/college-football/rankings/_/poll/1

FSU remains on top, howevever they are hemmorhaging votes. As a fan of college football, I cannot remember the last time rankings changed so drastically over the period of one week, even from the preseason rankings to week one. Texas A&M and South Carolina traded ranks! To put this in perspective, A&M was #21 and South Carolina was #9 heading into the season. Barring the top two spots in college football, and a few minor details, the AP Top 25 has become extremely accurate, in this writer's opinion. Seven different teams recieved #1 votes, in other news, so while FSU and Alabama held on to their respective spots, their performances against Oklahoma State and West Virginia did not go unnoticed, evidenced in their averages.

Here's where I have the FBS teams of college football (1-25):

1. Florida State
2. Oregon
3. Oklahoma
4. Georgia
5. Michigan State
6. Ohio State
7. Stanford
8. Notre Dame
9. Baylor
10. Texas A&M
11. LSU
12. USC
13. Ole Miss
14. Arizona State
15. UCLA
16. Wisconsin
17. Nebraska
18. Kansas State
19. Missouri
20. Louisville
21. Duke
22. Penn State
23. Arizona
24. Western Kentucky
25. Boston College

I'm sure you're seeing names you might not have expected on the list, but this is week one. We have only one performance from each of these teams to base the rankings on- and I'd rather not give these spots to unranked teams like Oklahoma State or Navy for losses- even with outstanding performances in each of their games, considering their opponents. Oklahoma State moved up in the polls despite losing 37-31 to FSU in the AP Poll, and while I understand the reason, I disagree with the choice to give them more points out of principle. You win, you advance. You lose, you drop down.

That's all for this edition of Brick's Picks! Please get as angry as possible and write me a reply in the forums!

Written by Brickington

2014-08-31

Season 14 - Hello RZA Elite League

And Hello RZA Elite League. The league was added, teams promoted - and we cannot wait to see these battles for the Crown.

We added a new Forum section, called RZA Elite League. You might have to adjust your Forum settings, just go to Front Office / Settings / Forum Settings, and tick the Forum to make it visible.

2014-08-25

Season rollover u p d a t e parade, part 1 - Change kickoff times of games

Hi,

The manual got a new section:

Kickoff-time of a match

Each game is scheduled for a certain kickoff time. This time was chosen by the kickoff time off the region where the host of the game comes from. For Scrimmages you can chose from certain timeslots.

For Friendly games, Friendly Cup games, Supercup Divisional games, Supercup Playoff games except the Bowl, and for Champ oif Champion games except the bowl you might want to change the kickoff time. To do that just go to the game page. There you will find a box to chose a new kickoff time from. Just send your request. If the other manager is a human one, he/she has to acknowledge the new time. He/she may refuse the request as well. If you play a bot team, the request passes immediately.

In the Settings you will find a trigger to allow or refuse such requests. If you have chosen to refuse such requests, no request will be sent to you, nor will you be able to create such requests. If you allow such requests, you will get a notification in your pinboard once a manager was asking for a change of the kickoff time.

Regards

Pete

2014-08-09

2014 NFL season ahead - join our Pickem game!

As last season, we are providing you with a NFL pickem game. The user Monkey was so kind to open the game again, details on how to join, and more important what to win can be found in the Forum.

2014-06-08

Season-Rollover done, some few changes

Hi all,


yes, Season 13 is going to be played soon. As on every Season rollover, we would like to drop some lines on the changes that were implemented, the changes that will happen soon as well.

1.) The enhanced Blitzing, you know that from your Friendly games, is now active for all games. You can raise the level of Blitzing up to 75% chance.

2.) We added some tweaks on deeper and medium passing. It is more cosmetic than brutal, but over the long time you might notice the changes.

3.) Blitzing success faced a change as well, the timings between Attackers and Defenders have seen some slight changes, mostly because a rewritten Speed/Agility calculation. You have seen this in your friendlies as well during the past few weeks - but now it is active for all games.

4.) We will implement the Super Duper Top League at the end of Season 13. So be prepared. The 4 ChampionShip-Game participants out of D1 leagues will join this league on Season rollover to Season 14. There is no option planned to refuse this promotion. From Season 15 on, the two Superbowl participants will join the League of the Best, exchanging places with the two worst teams of each Top League division. We will maintain your region affinity at that time, so a team promoting out of Galaxy, will join Galaxy 1.1 in case of relegation. There are no relegation/promotion games for this one, the league switch is automatic. Kickoff time and Name of the league will be subject of Polls, being online during the next days.

Happy Playing, and a lot of Success for each of you!

2014-05-29

Some tweaks - Scrimmages show more details, pass success on medium and deep passes changed

Hi all,

While others struggle to consume alcohol in a proper way, I spent some time on this rainy bank holiday, and added some tweaks to the game engine...

On Scrimmage games, you will see some more text in the play by play. We added information to describe a bit better, why passes go incomplete, if interceptions "nearly" happen, what was done to the Defensive Line during the blocking...such things. We will enhance this during the next weeks. What's the goal? We think, it will give our managers a few more hints what they could do to enhance the abilities of their material on field - just to improve the game-play.

For Friendly game and Scrimmages the game engine will show a new version number. The background of this new version is simple: we improved the medium and deep pass-play a bit. But stay away from passing deep all game long, won't work!

Another improvement is just visual: on the general game-stats you will see the starting Offensive/Defensive players each team sent to the "pitch"...

At the same time we would like to remember you: there is a campaign ongoing for some advertising, with Credits waiting to payed back to the community. All you would have to do: spread the word. Find the rules in the post here: Click. Would be a shame if we cannot push the "Pay"-button...


Regards

Pete

2014-05-10

How about some advertising?

In the past weeks we were entering lots of discussion with many managers being involved, some in the forums, and some via PM.

How about you do some advertising for this game? Advertisement created by managers playing the game, are much more successful than advertisement we do directly.

Here is what we have to offer, and what are asking you for:

You post some nice story about RedZoneAction.org including a direct link to the game on a page, related to Football or not. You PM me/the game admins (Subject: Ad campaign) and tell the URL we can find your post.

Beware of using referral links, those don't count for the competition!

If this post on that other page is more than "hey, play it", we will add 1 point on our Advertisement counter. If the other page is not Facebook and not Google+ and not Twitter and not any other Social Network, we will double this amount. If the other page is related to American Football, we will double the points. This means, posting an ad on a Football-related page not being a social network gains 4 points, and posting the ad inside a Football group on Facebook will count for 2. A post on your Facebook wall counts 1. Only public accessible (without the need for login into the other page!) ads count, and we count each ad only once - so repeating the same post on the same channel is worth nothing, since we don't like to spam the web with RedZoneAction.org advertisements...

The language of your post doesn't matter, as long as we can translate it into English by using the Google Translator.

On May 31, 2014, at 8 pm servertime, we will check the counter, and pay the amount of Credits to each manager...

On top of that, we are running a lottery, and each advertising manager will enter the lottery, and possibly win a 3 months supporter account. You will have as many cards with your name in the lottery, as you posted advertisements...

So go out, and do your job now ;)

Thanks a lot to the many managers for posting me with your ideas and how to make more users addicted, and for maintain the number of users in the game, I appreciate it, really!