2015-11-26

FBS - Week 13 Preview

Oh god, it’s getting exciting.
The results of last weekend did a l t e r the landscape heavily and we are not finished yet.
I will try to paint a complete picture with the likely remaining teams, a 100% complete picture is still out of reach, since totally strange things are still possible.

The next coaches did also get the pink slips, but can coach the last remaining games.
Paul Rhodes of Iowa State will be available for hire after that last game. He did coach the Cyclones for 7 seasons and does have a 32-54 record, including 1 bowl win and 2 bowl losses.
He had never more than 6 wins in a season.
Just to put this in perspective: Except an occasionally winning season is Iowa State a losing teams since ages. This record is not better or worse than the record of the last 2 long serving coaches of the Cyclones.
I don’t understand the decision, but OK, after 7 seasons the might need a new face to blame.

Next one is Scott Shafer, Syracuse HC for the last 3 seasons, posting a record of 13-23 so far. Not sure if this is also a fair firing (but which can be?) but he for sure inherited a better team than he will leave for the next one, at least regarding winning record.

There are also rumours that LSU might fire Les Miles after 11 seasons at LSU. That would be a very, very stupid move. Honestly, I don’t see many adequate successors, if they don’t ice one of the big names away from other schools and coaching LSU might be one of the best gigs in the country, but there can’t be so much more money in the bank to justify a move from 1 big school to another.
Maybe they find a coach willing to switch because of boredom, means getting long time coaches willing to change just to have a change after 5-10 seasons.

At the moment there are 13 schools with job openings after the season, Minnesota did already decide to keep interims coach Tracy Claeys.

The Committee did post their next playoff list and we do get a better picture, but this can all change dramatically.
Remember their approach is different, they have an earned value approach while my list a bit later in that blog post is a "most likely to stay alive" approach.

Here is the list:
1 Clemson 11-0
2 Alabama 10-1
3 Oklahoma 10-1
4 Iowa 11-0
5 Michigan State 10-1
6 Notre Dame 10-1
7 Baylor 9-1
8 Ohio State 10-1
9 Stanford 9-2
10 Michigan 9-2

Oklahoma did jump to #3! That’s big. Also did Iowa leap frog Notre Dame as did Michigan State. What does that mean?
I think it’s safe to say, if the top 4 teams would win all remaining games, they would be in. I think it’s also safe to say that regardless of the outcome, the BIG10 champ will be in the playoffs. All 4 leading teams are in the TOP10 and 1 of those will make it. From my point of view is the BIG12 spot the only weak one. If Oklahoma loses, Oklahoma State might get back into the picture, but there is also Baylor at #7 with 2 games remaining. Also interesting is Stanford at #9 and Notre Dame at #6. Either 1 of those will win next weekend and will gain some steam. Enough to crack the top 4 spots? Not sure.
For now we have 1 ACC team, 1 SEC teams (-1 to last week), 4 Big 10 teams (+1 to last week), 1 Independent, 2 Big 12 teams (-1 to last week) and now 1 PAC12 teams (+1 to last week) in the mix.
Best non-power-5-team is at the moment surprisingly Navy at #15.
Next team is Toledo at #24 and Temple at #25.
Houston dropped out.

Let’s get to my personal list.
I updated the remaining games list, including all remaining games, to get a better picture.
1
There was just 1 team getting the boot on my list last weekend (TCU) but there are many teams already waiting for the final hit, including 2 teams (Ohio State and Oklahoma State) got their 1st loss.

I have to say, it looks more and more likely that we might see a 2-loss team in the playoffs. But at the moment, there are still enough teams left to fill the 4 spots with unbeaten or 1-loss teams.

11 teams are left in the list.

The so far remaining 1-loss or better Power5 teams + Independents after week 12 are:

ACC (2 teams)
Clemson Tigers (11-0) - has to play to South Carolina (rivalry) and North Carolina in the ACC Championship game
North Carolina Tar Heels (10-1) - has to play North Carolina State (rivalry) and Clemson in the ACC Championship game

dropped out:
none

BIG10 (3 teams)
Iowa Hawkeyes (11-0) - has to play Nebraska and the BIG10 West Champion in the BIG10 Championship game
Michigan State Spartans (10-1) - has to play Penn State and in case of a win or a OSU loss Iowa in the BIG10 Championship game
Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1) has to play Michigan (rivalry) and in case of a win and a MSU loss Iowa State in the BIG10 Championship game

dropped out:
none

BIG12 (3 teams)
Oklahoma Sooners (10-1) - Oklahoma State (rivalry)
Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1) has to play Oklahoma (rivalry)
Baylor Bears (9-1) â€"has to play TCU and Texas

dropped out:
TCU Horned Frogs (9-2)- lost to Oklahoma

PAC12 (0 teams)
none

dropped out:
none

SEC (2 teams)
Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1) - has to play Auburn and in case of a win Florida in the SEC Championship game
Florida Gators (10-1) - has to play Florida State (rivalry) and the SEC West Champ in the SEC Championship game

dropped out:
none

INDEPENDENTS (1 team)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-1) - has to play Stanford

Let's have a look at my list of the

TOP10 teams for the playoff spots (sorted by likeliness)
#1 Clemson Tigers
For Clemson it looks like there is that rivalry game against South Carolina (who lost to Citadel, a FCS team) which everyone would like to skip to keep the embarrassing for the Gamecocks as low as possible and then will come the ACC Championship game against North Carolina, the last piece they need to get into the playoffs.
Mark this date: 05.12. ACC Championship game against North Carolina, neutral site.
It’s bend or break on that date. A loss would automatically push North Carolina over Clemson in the playoff rankings, whether that’s high enough to get a spot is open.
A win will land Clemson very likely the #1 seat in the playoffs.
Next game: South Carolina, on the road
I think Clemson will be a 20+ favourite in this game, but they still need to play and win this.
As loss would be a major blow, even the ACC Championship might not make them recover from that.

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide
There is Auburn and if they win this, there is the SEC Championship game.
If they lose to Auburn and Ole Miss wins their rivalry game against Mississippi State, Ole Miss would enter the Championship game. If Ole Miss loses, Alabama still can play for the Conference, but will be tarnished with 2 losses.
Mark this date: 05.12. SEC Championship game against Florida, neutral site.
Yes, I know, it’s not final yet, but I think it’s 66% final so far.
Next game: Auburn, on the road
Win and you are in, lose and you have to hope for an Ole Miss loss. Auburn is very much beatable this season and if you want to win a Championship, you need to win those games. Period. If Alabama loses, the SEC will have a nice debate regarding playoff spots.

#3 Iowa Hawkeyes
They have to play 1 regular season game left, Nebraska, and then will face off in the BIG10 Championship game.
Can they win both games?
Yes.
Sure?
No.
Nebraska is a road game and that will be tricky with that big game a week later on the schedule.
Iowa looks matured enough to get that, but it’s 1 thing to know and another 1 to act that way.
And whoever wins the other division will be a tough cookie. Chances are high Michigan State will win against Penn State and seal the division on their own. Then we will see a clash of defences.
Mark this date: 27.11. Nebraska, on the road. The Huskers had a BYE week for the last game and were THAT team, beating Michigan State as the only team so far in the season. Not saying Iowa will have the same fate, but it looks like the team is getting better and playing the last home game is always something.
Next game: Nebraska, on the road
In favour of the BIG10, the Hawkeyes better win this. It would strengthen the BIG10 champion in the playoff hunt regardless of the winner.

#4 Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys did lose to Baylor and are still on the same spot?
Yes.
Here is why.
Assuming the top 3 teams will do their thing and win. Even if Michigan State would win the BIG10, I think they would be #3 and we still need a #4.
On the sort list are a BIG12 team, Notre Dame or a PAC12 Champion with at least 2 losses, maybe even more. Next to that would be any team losing a championship game or some other BIG12 team.
Translated that mean starting from the last likely with the Pac12 Champ.
USC or UCLA? Out.
Stanford after a win over Notre Dame? Really #4 with a BIG12 champ having only 1-loss? No. I don’t think so. They would finish at #5-#8.
Now let’s have Notre Dame. If they win against Stanford, they might get the #4 spot. I think the chances are higher than 50%. Do I believe in an Irish win? No. If they lose, they are out.
That leaves a BIG12 team. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor are in the mix. I think Baylor don’t stand a chance, since either the Cowboys or the Sooners will finish with 1-loss and the committee did already discount Baylors schedule. So Orange/black or white/red.
And that leave the Cowboys, since I pick them for the win in the Bedlam Series. I still see the Texas loss of Oklahoma and the Cowboys did get their head cleared last week.
I’m not 100% sure here, but I have to pick 1 and 1 like Oklahoma State chances better than Oklahomas.
Mark this date: 28.11. Oklahoma, at home. It’s pretty simple. Win and you are likely in, lose and you are for sure out.
Next game: Oklahoma, at home
I can’t understand how the team got bad last week, but they have 1 chance left.

#5 Notre Dame
Notre Dames chances did rise over every upset in the last few weeks.
The main think no one really had on their reviews was, they did not look very convincing in their wins.
They have barely won against Boston College last week, a 3-8 team from the ACC.
They have some wins which can be judged as OK, but really signature wins to show you are the top4 team in the country? None from my point of view.
So now they are ranked at #4 in the AP poll and will have to face Stanford to get into the playoffs.
I don’t buy it.
Mark this date: 28.11. Stanford, on the road. This will be tough and I see the Irish drop this one.
It’s in California, last home game for Stanford, also in the situation build their playoff case.
Next game: Stanford, on the road
The Irish will need this win, that’s clear. If they lose, the journey is over, if they win, it’s up to several factors whether they will get the #4 spot. Worst case for Notre Dame? Temple loses the next match and does not get into the AAC Championship game, Texas loses all remaining games, Navy loses to Houston and also does not play for the AAC Championship, Clemson loses to North Carolina and Stanford loses the PAC12 Championship game. Best case would all mentioned teams would win their games. The Committee is a bitch regarding strength of schedule.

#6 Michigan State Spartans
That field goal might become the most useful that kicker ever did kick.
Suddenly is Michigan State back in the hunt, can seal the division by their own effort and are back in business for a playoff spot.
If they do win next game, they will face Iowa, and I think regardless who wins, the team will be in the playoffs.
Mark that date: 28.11. Penn State, at home. Not saying this is a cakewalk, but this should be easy.
At home against a mid-level Penn State team?
I’m not picking Lions in that case.
Next game: Penn State, at home
Not let yourself get Nebraskaed there. Win and you are in the BIG10 Championship game.

#7 Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners gained respect over the last few games.
All they need now is a win in the Bedlam series against Oklahoma State.
A win there would at least open the likeliness of a playoff spot.
They need a Stanford win to jump Notre Dame I think, but that might happen.
Mark this date: 28.11. Oklahoma State, on the road. This is hate, so expect a game fought to the teeth.
Next game: Oklahoma State, on the road
As written above, I see the Cowboys ahead, but the Sooners are not done.

#8 Florida Gators
There is no way, the Gators will win the SEC Championship game, but IF they do, they would skyrocket into the playoffs as SEC Champ. I don’t think the Committee would let them outside, with all the other 1-loss teams around.
That’s why they are here.
But I can’t see them win against Ole Miss or Alabama.
They almost lost to FAU!
Mark this date: 28.11. Florida State, at home. At the moment, this looks like the final coffin nail. Lucky for the Gators, FSU is also not the best team this season.

Next game: Florida State, at home
I think the Gators need to focus on surviving the Seminoles and then focus on the SEC Championship game afterwards. If they mix this up, they will lose.

#9 Stanford Cardinals
The Cardinals are the PAC12 last hope.
All they need is a complete breakdown of the remaining contenders.
Not much hope, but things can happen.
Mark this date: 28.11. Notre Dame, at home. They need to win this to stay in the playoff hunt as dark horse. A loss will send the PAC12 out of business for sure.
Next game: Notre Dame, at home
I don’t think there is a big chance for Stanford to get back into the top 4, but the doomsday scenarios do see a few last pieces they can hope for. Anyway, this rivalry game needs to be won to get into a big money bowl and a loss before the PAC12 championship game would not really help.

#10 Baylor Bears
I’m not sure if Baylor can really get back into the playoffs.
They would need a Oklahoma win and need to win their own games BIG, MEGA BIG.
And they also need some teams to lose, well … many teams to lose.
Mark this date: 28.11. TCU, on the road. TCU is wounded. This should be an easy win, better be to keep the playoff hopes alive.
Next game: TCU, on the road.
Win this one BIG and they will rise again. They have to play Texas on the Championship weekend, which might help them to make the last case.

Dropped out:
Ohio State Buckeyes, lost to Michigan State

I don’t think any non-power-5 team will crash the party. Too late.
Houston had an outside chance, if they would have stayed perfect, but their loss did destroy their chances.
Now only the big money bowl spot is left to observe.
In the hunt?
Houston, Navy, Temple, South Florida. All from the AAC and Toledo from the MAC.
My prediction is the AAC Champion will get the spot.

Let’s u p d a t e fast the standings and the division and conference championship contenders.
I will go through this by alphabetical order and will only point out the conference standings.

AAC
East Division
Temple 6-1
South Florida 5-2

West Division
Navy 7-0
Houston 6-1

Temple needs to win against UConn to win the East. If they lose it all depends on South Florida. They play UCF, which should be a win and in case of a Temple loss would give South Florida the East. A loss there would give Temple the title anyway.
The West is easier to handle. Navy does play Houston in Houston. The winner takes it all.

ACC
Atlantic Division
Clemson 8-0

Coastal Division
North Carolina 7-0

The Atlantic is won by Clemson and the Coastal is won by North Carolina, even if they still have to play NC State.

BIG10
East Division
Michigan State 6-1
Ohio State 6-1
Michigan 6-1

West Division
Iowa 7-0

Now there is a 3 team tie in the East. Ohio State will play Michigan in the GAME, while Michigan State will play Penn State. This gets only interesting, if Michigan State loses. Because if they win they have the direct advantage to Michigan, so the win the division. So if MSU loses, the Winner of the GAME is the only 1-loss team left standing and wins the division.
The West was won by Iowa, which still have to play Nebraska, which they better win to keep the playoffs alive.

BIG 12
Oklahoma 7-1
Oklahoma State 7-1
Baylor 6-1

The state of Oklahoma is the centre of this college football world this weekend. At least for the BIG12. The winner between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State gets at least a share of the title. Baylor has still 2 games left to play, TCU and Texas. They are not won yet, but if they win both, they would also win a share of the conference, but the sorting could be tricky. Oklahoma did beat Baylor, Baylor did beat Oklahoma State. If Oklahoma wins the Bedlam Series, Oklahoma is #1. If Oklahoma State wins, Baylor should be on top.
All this does not count much, since at the end, the playoff committee has to decide, which team they see as best and where they sort them in. If that’s under the top 4 is open.

CUSA
East Division
Western Kentucky 7-0
Marshall 6-1

West Division
Louisiana Tech 6-1
Southern Mississippi 6-1

This is easy as it can get. Western Kentucky will play Marshall and Louisiana will play Southern Miss. Each winner will win the division and will then meet the other winning team in the conference final.
Totally semi-finals here. Looks like it was planned that way, but for sure it was not.

MAC
East Division
Bowling Green 7-1

West Division
Toledo 6-1
Northern Illinois 6-2
Western Michigan 5-2
Central Michigan 5-2

Bowling Green is set as East champ.
The West is tricky. Toledo does play Western Michigan, Northern Illinois did already lose against Ohio this Tuesday, Central Michigan plays Eastern Michigan. If Toledo wins, all other games are irrelevant, Toledo wins the division.
Now the tricky part, Toledo and NIU do lose. Western Michigan has won and we have a 3 team tie, if Central Michigan wins also, it’s a 4 team tie. This can then only be sorted out when the final results are in (or with a lot of text here to get into all the tie breakers). Let’s have it that way, the MAC West is still open.

MWC
Mountain Division
Air Force 6-1

West Division
San Diego State 7-0

The Mountain West Championship game is set, Air Force against San Diego State.

PAC12
North Division
Stanford 8-1

South Division
USC 5-3
UCLA 5-3

Stanford won the North.
The winner of the rivalry game between the LA teams will decide the South champ.

SEC
East Division
Florida 7-1

West Division
Alabama 6-1
Ole Miss 5-2

Florida wins the East.
Alabama has to win against Auburn to win the West. If they lose, Ole Miss needs a win against Mississippi State to win the division, otherwise Alabama still wins it.

SBC
Arkansas State 6-0
Appalachian State 5-1
Georgia Southern 5-1

Arkansas State has to win against New Mexico State and Texas State to win the conference alone.
A single loss would mean at least a share, 2 losses would let them sink deeper, but dependent on the results of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern they still might win a share. Appalachian State plays Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama and Georgia Southern plays South Alabama and Georgia State. Both teams do need wins and have to hope for Arkansas State losses.

Another List at this point, the hunt for a Bowl-worth record.
This season there will be a record 41 Bowls, means the FBS needs 80 teams with 6 or more win. (that 1 extra Bowl is the National Championship game, fielding teams from the 2 semi-final bowls).
There are only 128 schools and it’s only possible to have eventually 80 bowl worthy teams, because many FBS schools do schedule FCS schools as fillers, which do normally end up in wins for those FBS programs.
A FBS team is only allowed to schedule 2 FCS schools to be still worth a bowl spot. No teams did schedule more than 2 FCS teams this season, so all FBS schools could enter a bowl.
At the moment there are only 71 teams already with 6 wins or more so 9 are missing and there are still some teams in the hunt for a bowl worth record. The NCAA is discussing what will happen if not enough teams are getting their 6th win, there are talks about letting 5-7 teams based on some rankings get into a bowl.
This is the list of the teams still in the hunt for 6 wins (18 teams):
AAC:
East Carolina (5-6) (Cincinnati at home)
Tulsa (5-6) (Tulane on the road)

ACC:
Virginia Tech (5-6) (Virginia on the road)

BIG10:
Illinois (5-6) (Northwestern at home)
Indiana (5-6) (Purdue on the road)
Minnesota (5-6) (Wisconsin at home)
Nebraska (5-6) (Iowa at home)

BIG12:
Kansas State (4-6) (Kansas on the road and West Virginia at home)
Texas (4-6) (Texas Tech at home and Baylor on the road)

CUSA:
Old Dominion (5-6) (Florida Atlantic at home)

Independents:
None

MAC:
Buffalo (5-6) (UMass at home)

MWC:
San Jose State (5-6) (Boise State at home)

PAC12:
Washington (4-6) (Washington State at home)

SEC:
Kentucky (5-6) (Louisville at home)
Missouri (5-6) (Arkansas on the road)

SBC:
Georgia State (4-6) (Troy at home and Georgia Southern on the road)
Louisiana Lafayette (4-6) (Appalachian State on the road and Troy at home)
South Alabama (5-5) (Georgia Southern on the road and Appalachian State at home)

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 13

Sat. Nov. 28 - 12:00 pm ET
#8 Ohio State @ #10 Michigan
Just some quick previews this time, since it’s rivalry week in college football and I was not able to decide on the main games. So a lot of games in the preview.
This game here is called THE GAME and is ranked regularly under the top 2 of all college football rivalries. Just the IRON BOWL is getting sometimes the #1 spot, otherwise this matchup is the #1.
This season it has more meaning than the past few seasons, but the biggest impact of that game is not given. The winner of that game is not the division champ by default. If Michigan State wins their game, THE GAME is just the game between 2 heavy weight colleges.
Expect a tough game, and expect some scoring.
This could end up all defense.
I have problems picking a winner here, leaning a bit to the home team, since Ohio State never did convince me to be THAT good.
Michigan did work their way back to the respected top teams and will play their hearts out here, at home.
Wolverines win.

Sat. Nov. 28 - 3:30 pm ET
Penn State @ #5 Michigan State
This 1 is a rivalry not played that often, but quite regularly the past few years.
The winner gets the Land Grant Trophy and this season, if Michigan State wins, the division champ trophy will also be presented.
Honestly, this should be a homerun for the Spartans. A loss would be a disaster and a big win for Penn State.
Possible? Yes.
Likely? No.
The Spartans are 10+ points favourite here.
My pick is on the home team for the win and the division.
Spartans win.

Sat. Nov. 28 - 3:30 pm ET
#2 Alabama @ Auburn
This is the so called IRON BOWL. Basically with THE GAME the most known and anticipated rivalry of college football. This season the matchup has an interesting meaning.
For Alabama a win would seal the SEC West division. A loss would let Ole Miss win the division, if they win against the Bulldogs. For Auburn there is only 1 thing in the mix, to spoil Alabamas chances for the division crown and eventually a playoff spot.
This game is played in Auburn, so it will be a hostile environment.
Alabama is a 2 score favourite; don’t expect an Auburn win here.
My take on this is, Auburn will not stand a chance. They will not stay in this game, Alabama will pull away early and will win this.
Crimson Tide win.

Sat. Nov. 28 - 3:30 pm ET
#22 UCLA @ USC
This game got many names of the years, but none did stick. Still, both teams from LA will battle it out for the Victory Bell, which is painted in the winners team colour.
This season the game has huge consequences.
The winner will be the PAC12 South Champ.
USC is a few points favourite in this and I understand why.
My take on this is that both teams will play their guts out, but I’m not sure if anyone has the edge here.
In such cases I pick the home team.
Trojans win.

Sat. Nov. 28 - 7:15 pm ET
#18 Ole Miss @ #21 Mississippi State
Another close matchup, Ole Miss is just 1 point favourite here.
The Egg Bowl is played regularly and the last few seasons did sometimes the Rebels, sometimes the Bulldogs win.
This season the motivation for Ole Miss should be to win this.
A loss would mean to have to chances on the SEC West title, a win would at least give them the chance. This this is played AFTER the IRON BOWL, the teams will know the consequences at kickoff. It might happen that Alabama is SEC West Champ already and Ole Miss will … get sloppy.
Might happen that they get angry.
My pick this season is on the Bulldogs.
They are the home team and they do play a good game.
Ole Miss is good, but I think their QB needs a bit more experience to control such games.
Bulldogs win.

Sat. Nov. 28 - 7:30 pm ET (ESPN) Line
#13 Florida State @ #12 Florida
This game is a mystery for me.
Once this game had national impacts, but this season, this is a joke for me.
For me, neither Florida nor FSU do justify the high ranking. Florida did almost lose to FAU last week!
Consequences of this game?
None, except a Gators loss would send them out of the playoff mix.
My pick on this:
Seminoles win.

Sat. Nov. 28 - 7:30 pm ET
#6 Notre Dame @ #9 Stanford
I don’t think many players will give a shit over the Legends Trophy awarded the winner this year.
The much juicier price this season is hope.
This rivalry game has a nice implication on the playoffs and only the playoffs.
The loser is out, for sure. The winner can hope for a spot.
There is no guarantee that the winner will get a spot, especially not Notre Dame, since this is their last game. Stanford would have the chance to win the PAC12 next week and that would boost them further.
Stanford is a 4 point favourite in this.
I pick the Cardinals, because honestly I think Notre Dame is not the 6th strongest team in the country. Not even top10. Stanford on the other side might be top 10.
Playing at home, this should be a win.
IF the Irish win, the< should get a new years bowl spot, so should Stanford in case they win the PAC12. I think both teams would lose their semi-final game in the playoffs, if they get a spot.
Anyway, for this game, Cardinals win.

Sat. Nov. 28 - 8:00 pm ET
#3 Oklahoma @ #11 Oklahoma State
The county is looking on the Bedlam series.
Both teams do hate each other, as normally is the case for inner state rivalries.
This season, it’s quite likely that the winner will get in reach of a playoff spot and gets at least a share of the conference title.
I don’t think the teams have to be motivated any further.
My guess is, we will see a great game.
Winner?
I don’t know.
My guts like the Cowboys, my head say Oklahoma.
I’m leaning towards Oklahoma State.
So, Cowboys win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-11-24

FBS - Week 12 Review

Riesendurcheinander (means Clusterfuck, but not that vulgar ...)

Welcome to the big mess in the playoff standings this weeks games did create.

The ACC looks still OK, but there are still games to play, right?
The BIG10 did see an upset at home by the favorite (Ohio State) to win the conference and suddenly a different team (Michigan State) is in the lead to win the division, and maybe the conference.
This can still be corrected, if Iowa wins the conference.
The BIG12 did their share of creating messy circumstances by winning and losing the wrong games from conference perspective, but because of all the other mess they might have a chance to get a team in the playoffs.
The PAC12 had only a slim chance left and after this week, all hopes are on Stanford to win, because if not, the conference is for sure out as out as a team can be.
And the SEC? Well, No big changes for them, except that Florida did almost lost to a not so successful team of a much weaker conference (Florida Atlantic), so if Florida wins the SEC, that will hurt also.

Overall the whole situation did not get easier.

There are only 2 unbeaten teams left (Clemson and Iowa), all 1-loss teams are no more or less equally aligned to get 2 playoff spots, that's the current picture.
Both unbeaten teams will have to play in conference championship games.
If they win, all good for them (and some probably 1-loss teams get sorted out), but of they lose, they do get added to the big bunch of 1-loss teams, waiting for the final judgment of the committee.
Of cause their disadvantage would be the lost conference title.

The race for the best spot in the committee ranking by a non-power-5-team got also a bigger hit with Houston losing.
I'm still sure they can make it, if they beat Navy, who are very good this season.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 12

Sat. Nov. 21 - 3:30 pm ET
#9 Michigan State @ #3 Ohio State
This was meant to clear the picture.
A Ohio State win would kick MSU out of the competition and would boost the Buckeyes reputation.
Instead we saw a team unable to move the ball against the Spartans and also a team which did let Michigan State get into field goal range to kick the winning field goal with time running out.
The star running back of the Buckeyes did declare himself for the draft right after the loss, stating bad play calling.
He got only 12 carries during the game and was invisible during crunch time.
The backup QB did also hint his team leave after the season.
This is not a good situation for next weeks matchup against the resurrected Michigan Wolverines, on the road in the big house.
They do need a win there and have to hope for a MSU loss against Penn State.
Yeah, I know.
They better start preparing for 1 of the non-playoff-bowls.
But things can happen.
This matchup was a defense battle I'm no fan of, so I'm happy it's over.
Michigan State did win, even some Ohio State players don't they were better.
Doesn't matter, if you win, you were the better team, by default.
Michigan State 17 - Ohio State 14 -> Jacks Score: 33-14

Sat. Nov. 21 - 3:30 pm ET
UCLA @ #13 Utah
Oh man, this was awful.
Both teams are not really known for low scoring games, but this game had only 26 points in total.
UCLA was able to get into the leading role early and held that lead until the game was over.
Utah did score 3 field goals, that's it.
Where was the team which did score over 30 points per game?
Not on the field.
They were almost lucky that also the around 35 points scoring UCLA teams also did not show up.
Unfortunately UCLA did score enough to win the game.
This did seal the season for Utah, which went from underdog to national title contender to mid level divisional standings.
They can't win the division now, they can only watch the UCLA vs USC rivalry game to congratulate the winner for the trip to the title game against Stanford.
UCLA had some ups and downs so far in the season.
They can win the division by their own performance next week, which is a road game.
UCLA 17 - Utah 9 -> Jacks Score: 33-15

Sat. Nov. 21 - 3:30 pm ET
#24 Southern California @ #23 Oregon
And I had to many hopes for USC.
It looked like they were back on track.
Granted, Oregon did look also very good the past few games, but still, USC did look very good.
Well, they never had a chance.
Oregon did lead early and defended the lead the Oregon way, scoring as much as possible.
USC still has the chance to win the division, they must win against UCLA, at home.
Oregon on the other hand would have needed a Stanford loss against their rival Cal, which did not happen.
For Oregon is only left the Civil War against Oregon State to boost their win total.
USC 28 - Oregon 48 -> Jacks Score: 33-16

Sat. Nov. 21 - 7:30 pm ET
#10 Baylor @ #6 Oklahoma State
Sometimes I'm stunned, how teams do perform in certain situations.
I was stunned by Oklahoma State against Baylor.
I mean, at home, as a favorite, against a beaten Baylor team, wouldn't you play your guts out to keep the advantage?
Baylor was able to score by will. Period.
Defense? Non existing.
Baylor had to play with their 3rd string QB and they won in this situation?
Oklahoma State did look not like a team which deserves a spot in the playoffs.
This games does create a weird situation.
Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor do all have 1 loss.
OKlahoma State and OKlahoma will face each other as last conference game.
The winner will get a share if the conference title.
Baylor will face TCU and Texas the next 2 weeks, and if they win both, they get also a shared title.
But, who will be the leading team?
OKlahoma did beat Baylor, Baylor did beat OKlahoma State.
If Oklahoma wins, they are up front, if Oklahoma State wins, Baylor is up front.
Now ... who will go to the playoffs?
Might be none, again.
Baylor 45 - Oklahoma State 35 -> Jacks Score: 33-17

Sat. Nov. 21 - 8:00 pm ET
#18 TCU @ #7 Oklahoma
And the other BIG12 matchup and the only game I did pick right this weekend.
And Oklahoma did barely win.
It did came down to a gutsy call at the last few second.
TCU did score the TD they needed to get the tie with a extra point, 51 seconds to play.
But instead of getting the tie, they decided to use the momentum and score a 2 point conversion.
The ball was snapped, the QB was pressured and ran to the right sideline, looking for an open man.
Then did 1 guy get open, right at the right sideline inside the endzone.
The QB did through softly the ball, aiming to get over the pressuring 3-4 defenders, but 1 Sooner jumped high enough to bat the ball away.
Over.
For Oklahoma it's now winning time against the Cowboys next week, on the road.
For TCU it's over, they can only play spoiler to Baylor next week.
TCU 29 - OKlahoma 30 -> Jacks Score: 34-17

More interesting results:
Already last Tuesday did Toledo win against Bowling Green, 44-28. The MAC can be won by any team entering the championship game.
On Wednesday did Northern Illinois win their game against Western Michigan, 27-19. NIU is still in the mix for the MAC division title.
South Florida did destroy Cincinnati 65-27 and still has to hope for a Temple loss to win the division.
Air Force wins their division by beating Boise State 37-30. They have to play San Diego State for the MWC Championship.
Notre Dame won their "home game" in Boston at Fenway (Home of the Boston Red Sox) against Boston College inside their Shamrock series 19-16. The Irish have won all their shamrock games so far.
Iowa did beat Purdue 40-20 and won their BIG10 division.
Florida did almost fall to Florida Atlantic, barely winning 20-14 in OT.
Stanford won their rivalry game against Cal 35-22 and won the PAC12 North.
Ole Miss did beat LSU 38-17, which is a) give Ole Miss the chance to win the SEC West if they win next week and Alabama loses, b) is LSU 3rd loss in a row and c) gives LSU eventually the reason to kick Les Miles as HC, which would be stupid.
Bad news to Virginia Tech fans, North Carolina did beat VT on Hokies last home game 30-27 and spoiled a perfect finish for Frank Beamer. Anyway, Virginia Tech can be proud to have such a classy coach for so long. He might have lost a beat the last few seasons, but overall, he was a game changer.
UConn did beat Houston 20-17 and spoiled the perfect season of the Cougars.
Northwestern did beat Wisconsin 13-7.
Temple is only 1 win away of the division title after winning against Memphis 31-12.
The Citadel (FCS) won against South Carolina 23-22. This is one of the worst losses a SEC team had, ever.
Kansas State came from behind and won against Iowa State 38-35. It did cost Paul Rhodes, HC of the Cyclones, the job.
Virginia wins against Duke, 42-37. The Cavaliers are now 3-4 in the conference, but only 4-7 overall. Duke is also 3-4 in the conference, but 6-5 overall.
Arizona State won the Duel in the Desert against rival Arizona 52-37.
Pittsburgh won against Louisville 45-34.
Mississippi State won their game against Arkansas 51-50! Bad luck for Arkansas, game winning FG was blocked!

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-11-19

FBS - Week 12 Preview

The playoff race got a nice twist with several teams losing last weekend.
Now can the arguing and chatter start.
Will we see many 1-loss teams in the bracket?
Which teams will be left out?
Will it even happen that I have to put in all the 2-loss teams back in the picture?

I have to say, with 4 spots for the playoffs, the rule makers did at least created a journalist dream, since every week there is something to discuss about.
Image it would be clear that the champs get a ticket, and only the champs?
It would cut down the discussion to some very simple questions.
Now we have discussion all over the FBS.

The Committee did post their 3nd playoff list and it had again some surprises.
Remember their approach is different, they have an earned value approach while my list a bit later in that blog post is a "most likely to stay alive" approach.
The whole process is a bit ridiculous since only the final standings are interesting and that will be done by a complete examination of the whole season, so there is no progress in terms of “Oh, I’m at #4 now and if I keep winning I’m in”. No, the progress is “keep winning and hope for team X to lose, because if they win all their remaining games, their overall performance will be judged better than yours” and don’t forget the “Hope for your former opponents to win their last games to raise their value in your schedule and to raise your wins value.”
So, those in between rankings are just for fun and the press. Thank you.

Here is the list:
1 Clemson 10
2 Alabama 9-1
3 Ohio State 10-0
4 Notre Dame 9-1
5 Iowa 10-0
6 Oklahoma State 10-0
7 Oklahoma 9-1
8 Florida 9-1
9 Michigan State 9-1
10 Baylor 8-1

Not much change in the top 10, Oklahoma State got the spot Baylor had, Stanford slipped out of the top 10 (to #11), as did LSU (fell to #15) and Utah (did fall to #13). The surprises were that those PAC12 teams did not fall too far.
If you think about the remaining games, there is still room for Stanford and Utah to make the playoffs. Let Stanford win all games, then they would rise and Notre Dame would fall, Let Ohio State win and Alabama also, and let the BIG12 self-destruct by winning against each other. Iowa, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan State, Baylor … all gone.
Winner?
Stanford.
Surprising. And just a theory.
For now we have 1 ACC team, 2 SEC teams, 3 Big 10 teams (+1 to last week), 1 Independent, 3 Big 12 teams (+1 to last week) and now 0 PAC12 teams (-2 to last week) in the mix.
Best non-power-5-team is at the moment surprisingly Navy at #16.
Houston is now #19.
Well, both teams will meet soon, so this will be decided on the field.

Let’s get to my personal list.
There were 3 teams send packing last weekend, Stanford and Utah from the PAC12 did leave the conference with ZERO contenders (at the moment, the barrier of 2 losses is only set by myself) and also LSU did fall with 2 losses in the last 2 weeks.
And 1 team got the 1st knock, the Baylor Bears.

12 teams are left in the list.

The so far remaining 1-loss or better Power5 teams + Independents after week 11 are:

ACC (2 teams)
Clemson Tigers (10-0) - has to play none of that list
North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1) - has to play none of that list

dropped out:
none

BIG10 (3 teams)
Iowa Hawkeyes (10-0) - has to play none of that list
Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) has to play Michigan State 21.11.
Michigan State Spartans (9-1) - has to play Ohio State 21.11.

dropped out:
none

BIG12 (4 teams)
Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-0) has to play Baylor 21.11. and Oklahoma 28.11.
Baylor Bears (9-1) â€"has to play Oklahoma State 21.11. and TCU 28.11.
Oklahoma Sooners (9-1) - has to play TCU 21.11. and Oklahoma State 28.11.
TCU Horned Frogs (9-1)- has to play Oklahoma 21.11. and Baylor 28.11.

dropped out:
none

PAC12 (0 teams)
none

dropped out:
Stanford Cardinal (8-2) â€" lost to Oregon
Utah Utes (8-2) â€" lost to Arizona

SEC (3 teams)
Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1) - has to play none of that list
Florida Gators (9-1) - has to play none of that list

dropped out:
LSU Tigers (7-2) â€" lost to Arkansas

INDEPENDENTS (1 team)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1) - has to play Stanford 28.11.

Let's have a look at my list of the

TOP10 teams for the playoff spots (sorted by likeliness)
#1 Clemson Tigers
There are just 2 games left on the schedule and both do look manageable.
If Clemson does really let that kind of mind-set slip into the players head, they might learn it the hard way. Those games are not won yet. And then there is the ACC Championship game coming. Also not won yet.
Clemson is at the moment the #1 in all rankings, but I’m not sure they are really the strongest team in the country. We might have to wait for the playoff to learn it the hard way.
Mark this date: 05.12. ACC Championship game (most likely North Carolina), neutral site. If that North Carolina matchup happens, I’m OK with that. The Tar Heels do look good enough to give Clemson something to play for. This title is not won by Clemson by default and 1 loss will doom them maybe out of the playoffs. Why maybe? Because not only would then the ACC field 1-loss teams, but because of the PAC12 let-down, they might still let the ACC participate in the playoffs.
Next game: Wake Forest, at home
Those last 2 weeks will be awesome.

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Since Baylor lost I had to reshuffle my list a bit and I had to rethink the rankings. With Oklahoma State facing off against some tough teams and Ohio State also facing 2 big games as a minimum, it looks at the moment most likely that Alabama will reach the playoffs.
All they need 2 wins over a FCS opponent and Auburn in the Iron Bowl and then punishing Florida for being the strongest of the weak SEC East. This season at least.
Mark this date: 05.12. SEC Championship game (Florida), neutral site.
There is still room for a big failure. If Alabama loses in Auburn, the SEC West will be won by … I don’t know. LSU, Arkansas or Ole Miss would have to win all remaining games and then the tie breaker would have to deal with it. In a 2 team tie the direct compare is taken, which is Alabamas except if Ole Miss is the 2nd team, in a multiple team tie at first would be the combined head to head record would be taken. Then the record of the teams inside the division and then a few more rules.
Fact is, Alabama is at least co-divisional-champ, but could still drop from the top spot, if the last 2 games are happen to become a disaster.
Next game: Charleston Southern (FCS), at home
The Iron Bowl is waiting a week later. I hope it will be a good one.

#3 Ohio State Buckeyes
Now that OSU did won against Illinois, the most anticipated games are waiting to happen.
Those games will define the season and it’s totally not sure, the Buckeyes will survive those games.
Mark that date: 21.11. Michigan State, at home. The Buckeyes are lucky to have this at home. A road game would put another few more tons of pressure on the team. I think Ohio State can handle this, but what I can’t say is, whether they can handle Michigan, on the road, a week later. These are 2 very intense games in a row, while both opponents also have to play games, but not in that dimension.
Next game: Michigan State, at home
It’s the last home game of the seniors, so intensity should be high.

#4 Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys do only have 1 chance to make this right. Win all games and you are in. Easy.
No.
There are 2 big games coming, lucky for them both at home.
Mark this date: 21.11. Baylor, at home. Playoff match number 1. Baylor lost last week and will very likely try to make that right again. I’m not sure what will happen if Baylor wins this. It might happen that the BIG12 is doomed again and will fall from the playoff bracket, again.
Next game: Baylor, at home
The Cowboys are the BIG12s last hope to be sure a playoff spot is possible. Some do see Oklahoma also in the mix, but with assuming the win all game and Notre Dame does the same, I would pick Notre Dame as #4, because they lost only against Clemson, and not the BIG12 champ with a catastrophically loss against a maximum 6-6 record Texas team.

#5 Notre Dame
Notre Dame did leap frog all other teams, because they are more or less only a Stanford win away from being (almost) in the playoffs.
What did hurt them were the Stanford loss and the Temple loss this weekend.
This will lower the value of those games.
The Irish will face Boston College and Stanford and then it’s all up to the other conferences beginning of December.
Mark this date: 28.11. Stanford, on the road. With the upsets of last weekend, the rules have changed for the surrounding teams, but 1 thing is sure. Notre Dame needs that win.
Next game: Boston College, neutral site
I think this is a bad game for the Shamrock series, but as were most of that Series anyway. Officially this is also a rivalry game (Holy war), but it’s a boring one.
I think everyone wants to get over this to concentrate on the Stanford game.

#6 Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes did win against Minnesota and do only face Purdue and Nebraska as their last regular season games opponents. There is still potential for upsets. If they keep on winning, the BIG10 Championship game will be great.
Mark this date: 27.11. Nebraska, on the road. The Huskers won their last game, will have a BYE week and will than face the Hawkeyes with only 1 goal, getting that win to play in a Bowl.
At the moment the football world is not sure, whether Iowa can win this, or not.
It’s very likely that Iowa will go to the BIG10 Championship game anyway, but with 1 loss they would have far worse playoff chances.
Next game: Purdue, at home
The Hawkeyes do need 1 more win to seal the division title.

#7 Florida Gators
At the moment it looks like the Gators could make it, if some domino stones do fall the right way.
For them it’s first rule of business to win all remaining games, even the SEC Championship game.
I’m not sure if that’s enough, but it would help if the BIG12 does shout them self in the foot, like the PAC12 did last weekend.
Overall, I think a 1-loss SEC-Champ will very likely make the playoffs.
Mark this date: 28.11. Florida State, at home. Granted, the Seminoles are not that high flying they were the last few seasons, but this is far from a Gator-win which did not happen yet.
The Gators will face a rival here and this game won’t be easy. The strength of Florida is not 100% proven, so an upset is possible.
Next game: FAU, at home
The Gators do have 1 warm up game until the rival game happens and AFTER that they will face the SEC West champ, which is for sure no light weight.

#8 Stanford Cardinals
I gave Stanford the lead in the PAC12 race, because they have a much tougher rest schedule than Utah. Mostly because of Stanford Notre Dame game coming.
But with the Cardinals loss last weekend, the PAC12 need many things to get back into the playoff spots. It’s totally possible, under quite realistic assumptions, that even a 1-loss team from another conference gets the 4th spot in the playoffs which the same conference has the #1 or #2 spot already, than having a 2-loss PAC12 Champ in the mix.
Still, at the end does the committee decide and there are still 2 weeks to play in regular season and another week for the championship game. Many things can happen!
Mark this date: 21.11. Cal, at home. Last weekend did prove the PAC12 does field many almost equally strong teams, so everything is possible.
Next game: Cal, at home
The chances for being NOT in the playoffs did rise dramatically last weekend.

#9 Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners win over Baylor did push them far enough to be in reach of the playoffs by their own efforts.
They will have to play TCU and Oklahoma State as final games and those will determine their season.
Mark this date: 28.11. Oklahoma State, on the road. The Cowboys are the main opponent the next 2 week, even if they have to face TCU first. The Bedlam Series is very likely the difference maker.
There are 2 things to consider. If the Sooners beat the Cowboys, the BIG12 Championship is split, again, and it can happen that still Oklahoma State will make the playoffs, or a completely different team. The other thing is, that there is also Baylor and TCU in the mix and Baylor could end up also with 1 loss. That won’t help.
Next game: TCU, at home
I’m pretty confident, that the TCU game will be won in Norman, but things can happen.

#10 Baylor Bears
The Bears took a dive with their loss to Oklahoma.
I think they could make the playoffs, if things turn out right, but the chances did get slim.
Mark this date: 21.11. Oklahoma State, on the road. Now this game is a finale already.
Played on the road, this will end Baylors playoff hopes for good, or will hurt the BIG12 overall standings.
Next game: Oklahoma State, on the road.
Baylor has still 3 games left to play and this might save them.

Dropped out:
LSU Tigers, lost to Arkansas
Utah Utes, lost to Arizona

Here are the 2 most likely non power 5 teams to crash the party:

#1 Houston Cougars
The Cougars did win the close game against Memphis and are still not the highest ranked team in the playoff standings.

Mark this date: 27.11. Navy, at home. The Cougars don not get a big break, playing Navy next weekend after the UConn game and then will probably face Temple for the conference.
Next game: UConn, on the road
At the moment it looks like it will be Houston or Navy for the new years bowl spot. But … if Houston does win ALL games, will they get high enough to really spoil the party?

#2 Temple Owls
Temple lost to South Florida last weekend and will have a hard time to get back on the list (which they did drop from). But, if they win against Memphis, UConn and the West Champ in the Championship game, they will rise fast. Otherwise the West Champ will be the winner.
Mark this date: 21.11. Memphis, at home. This is now essential to win.
Next game: Memphis, at home
If they lose this, they are very likely out for ever.

Dropped out:
None

Let’s u p d a t e fast the standings and the division and conference championship contenders.
I will go through this by alphabetical order and will only point out the conference standings.

AAC
East Division
Temple 5-1
South Florida 4-2

West Division
Houston 6-0
Navy 6-0
Memphis 4-2

South Florida did their homework and won against Temple. Houston vs navy will be the west decider.


ACC
Atlantic Division
Clemson 6-0

Coastal Division
North Carolina 6-0
Pittsburgh 5-1

The Atlantic is won by Clemson.
The Coastal is still open between Pittsburgh and UNC. The Tar Heels do need 1 more win to secure the division.

BIG10
East Division
Ohio State 6-0
Michigan State 5-1
Michigan 5-1
Penn State 4-2

West Division
Iowa 6-0
Wisconsin 5-1
Northwestern 4-2

No changes in the BIG10. It’s safe to say, that next week will give us a much better picture.

BIG 12
Oklahoma State 7-0
Oklahoma 6-1
TCU 6-1
Baylor 5-1

This will be sorted out very fast now. But all teams do have chances.

CUSA
East Division
Western Kentucky 6-0
Marshall 6-1
Middle Tennessee 4-2

West Division
Louisiana Tech 5-1
Southern Mississippi 5-1

The East is still a bit more open, the West got cut down to LT vs Southern Miss.

MAC
East Division
Bowling Green 6-1

West Division
Toledo 6-1
Northern Illinois 6-1
Western Michigan 5-2
Central Michigan 5-2

Bowling Green is set, the West is wide open.

MWC
Mountain Division
Air Force 5-1
Boise State 4-2
New Mexico 4-2
Utah State 4-3
Colorado State 3-3

West Division
San Diego State 6-0
Nevada 4-2

The Mountain did give Air Force the lead; The West does still prefer SDSU.

PAC12
North Division
Stanford 7-1
Oregon 5-2
Washington State 5-2

South Division
USC 5-2
Utah 5-2
UCLA 4-3

Both divisions are now quite open.

SEC
East Division
Florida 7-1

West Division
Alabama 6-1
LSU 4-2
Ole Miss 4-2
Arkansas 4-2

Florida wins the East; the West will be decided in 2 weeks.

SBC
Arkansas State 6-0
Appalachian State 5-1
Georgia Southern 5-1
South Alabama 3-2
Louisiana Lafayette 3-2

Arkansas State is in the lead.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 12

Sat. Nov. 21 - 3:30 pm ET
#9 Michigan State @ #3 Ohio State
This is the game many do see as the defining BIG10 matchup. I still believe that Ohio State could fall against other teams, but for sure is this matchup against the Spartans the biggest game Ohio State has to play so far in the season.
I give you the Vegas line, which is 13 points in favour of the Buckeyes.
Hands up who thinks Michigan State will lose by 13 points or more?
My hands are not up.
I’m expecting a close game and it won’t be pretty.
I can even imagine a loss the home team.
Ohio State is a good team, as is Michigan State.
I give OSU the game because of the home field advantage on senior day.
Buckeyes win.

Sat. Nov. 21 - 3:30 pm ET
UCLA @ #13 Utah
The battle for the PAC12 South part 1.
UCLA is 1 game behind, so they do need that win desperately.
Utah is on the same level as USC (see battle for PAC12 part 2) but are behind in the direct compare.
So they need a win and do also hope for a USC loss in the next 2 games.
If UCLA loses, this is over for them. If Utah loses, they need more than a prayer to get back on the top of the PAC12.
Utah did struggle a bit in the last few games and UCLA did had their last-second-loss against Wazzu last weekend.
I don’t think this will be close as Vegas think it will be. (-2.0) I think either UCLA or Utah will run the table and will win this by a score or more.
As home game, I see Utah up front, but I’m not 100% convinced about that.
Still, Utes win.

Sat. Nov. 21 - 3:30 pm ET
#24 Southern California @ #23 Oregon
The battle for the PAC 12 South part 2.
Granted, USC is playing a PAC12 North team, but for USC it’s eliminator time.
They are on the same level as Utah in the standing, but are leading because of their win over the Utes during the season.
A loss here against the reborn Oregon Ducks would mean they would give up every advantage they have gained over the past few weeks.
Vegas do see Oregon as the favourite in this, with 4 points up front.
I think this is a tricky game.
USC made great progress after they solved their HC situation. The interims coach did motivate the team and they do play very good.
Oregon on the other side does find step by step their old self back from last season and are actually on the verge of winning the Pac12. All they need is winning games and another Stanford loss.
This is a home game for Oregon, but this time I’m willing to give the visiting team the lead. If USC would have played in the beginning the way they played the last few games, this discussion would not even exist. They would be the leading team in the PAC12 South and for sure would be the favourite in this game.
Trojans win.

Sat. Nov. 21 - 7:30 pm ET
#10 Baylor @ #6 Oklahoma State
And now the battle for the BIG12, part 1.
Baylor did lose last week and did show problems with teams better than average.
Oklahoma State did win in Iowa State, which was also not THAT convincing, but still, they won, and they are far from average.
The situation is quite clear. If Baylor wins, the BIG12 does lose the last unbeaten team and maybe even a spot in the playoffs. If Oklahoma State wins, they have at least a share of the conference title.
My pick here is, that Oklahoma State will beat Baylor with their own medicine. Points, Points and more Points. On the other hand will the Cowboys be able to contain the Baylor offense enough to win.
Cowboys win.

Sat. Nov. 21 - 8:00 pm ET
#18 TCU @ #7 Oklahoma
Normally I have only 4 games a week, but this week was to packed with high impact games, so I did put another game in.
The battle for the BIG12, part 2.
This game is even worse from the impact point of view than the Baylor-Oklahoma State game.
If TCU wins, Oklahoma is out, if Oklahoma wins, TCU is out.
Very simple.
The big picture impact would be, that in case of a TCU win, the better ranked Oklahoma would drop and TCU would very likely not rise as high as Oklahoma was. If Oklahoma wins, they would rise a bit more and TCU would drop dead.
Fine.
Now, who will win here?
I have to admit, this is easy for me.
The Sooners are playing good so far since the Texas loss, while TCU did get their wins very often by luck and did finally lose one lately.
I don’t trust TCU in this, so for me it’s Oklahoma winning this game, at home.
Sooners win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-11-16

FBS - Week 11 Review

Katastrophenalarm (means disaster alert)

This weekend did hit College Football blindsided.

Before that gameday, there was a clear road to the playoffs for every conference champion of each conference.
Now, it's getting tricky for several teams and for the PAC12 it's a disaster.

Bad weekend for Baylor, Stanford, LSU, Utah and Temple.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 11

Sat. Nov. 14 - 3:30 pm ET
#2 Alabama @ #17 Mississippi State
Some did pick the Bulldogs as perfect trap game, but be assured, Alabama did their homework and after a slow start did shut Mississippi State up for good at halftime, leading 21-3.
The game went on in the 2nd half, but was more or less over at that time.
Alabama is now in a very comfortable position after the LSU loss.
They are 1 game up front and only have to play the Iron Bowl against Auburn.
That game is not won, but Auburn is not as good as it was in the past.
Before that the Crimson Tide have to punish a FCS team.
For the Bulldogs, this loss means they are out of the division title race for sure and can concentrate on the rivalry game against Ole Miss.
Alabama 31 - Mississippi State 6 -> Jacks Score: 32-11

Sat. Nov. 14 - 7:00 pm ET
#21 Memphis @ #24 Houston
This became almost an upset for the ages.
Memphis did lead 34-14 at the start of the 4th quarter.
Then came Houston.
Fueled by 2 Tigers turnovers did Houston shorten the lead and later took over the game with 35-34.
But Memphis was not finished.
With under 80 seconds to play did Memphis walk down the field and tried a FG from 48 yards, at 4th and 5 with 19 ticks left.
The kicker did kick wide right and that's that.
Houston stays unbeaten and is now in the leading position for the new years bowl, while Memphis has to hope for a strange finish by Navy and Houston to win the division.
Very unlikely to happen, means they are out.
Memphis 34 - Houston 35 -> Jacks Score: 33-11

Sat. Nov. 14 - 8:00 pm ET
#12 Oklahoma @ #6 Baylor
I did say, Oklahoma needs to prove this and they did.
This was a close game, but Baylor had to play from behind the whole day.
And that was at home.
They were able to tie the game at 13 and later at 20, but from that point on, they were trailing by 3 or more points.
The game was finally decided by an interception on the final Baylor drive.
The Sooners are not the favorite for the BIG12 title now, but they did come back into the discussion.
The bad news for the BIG12 is, if Oklahoma State does struggle at some point and does not finish unbeaten, the BIG12 might be left out of the playoffs, again.
Oklahoma 44 - Baylor 34 -> Jacks Score: 33-12

Sat. Nov. 14 - 10:00 pm ET
#10 Utah @ Arizona
I should have listened to the rest of my body, not my guts.
Arizona did win this in OT and wasted my pick and much worse, did drop Utah to a 2-loss team.
Bye bye National Championship dream.
At the end of the regular playing time the game was tied at 27.
The whole 4th quarter was scoreless.
Arizona did tie the game in the 3rd and then did happen not much until the final whistle.
The Utes did score 1st in OT with a FG and held Arizona also for a FG.
Then did Arizona score a TD and the Utes were unable to answer that.
Consequences are USC and Utah are now both with 2 conference losses and USC wins the direct compare.
Arizona did a bowl with that win.
Utah 30 - Arizona 37 -> Jacks Score: 33-13

More interesting results:
Virginia Tech did win their 1st game after Frank Beamers retirement announcement against Georgia Tech 23-21. VT must still win 1 out of 2 games left to secure a bowl spot.
USC won against Colorado 27-24. The Trojans did almost fell to the Buffaloes. With that win is USC now in the lead for the PAC12 South!
Oregon did beat Stanford 38-36 and did by that more or less doom the PAC12 regarding the playoff chances.
Oklahoma State survived a road game against Iowa State 35-31 and is now the only unbeaten team in the BIG12 left.
Arkansas did beat LSU 31-14. The Razorbacks were the laughing stock at the start of the season after 3 consecutive losses to Toledo, Texas Tech and Texas A&M and are now 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the SEC.
Michigan did almost lose to Indiana, won in OT 48-41.
Washington State won against UCLA on a final TD pass in the endzone 31-27.
South Florida did their job and won against Temple 44-23. Temple can now lose the grip over the AAC East, if they lose to Memphis and/or UConn the next 2 weeks.
Pittsburgh won against Duke 31-13.
Georgia won against Auburn, close 20-13.
West Virginia did beat Texas 38-20.
Louisville won against Virginia 38-31.
Air Force did beat Utah State 35-28. Air Force now in a good position to win the division.
Arizona State won against Washington 27-17.
Vanderbilt won against Kentucky 21-17.
After their wild week win hunger strike, a president stepping down and the announcement that their HC will retire to fight cancer did Missouri win against BYU 20-16.
New Mexico did beat Boise State 31-24. Boise State now in a bad position to win the division.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-11-12

FBS - Week 11 Preview

This week became the 1st strike to clear the playoff picture.
Hopefully, when all games are played, we will have a clear picture and not a blurry one.

The Committee did post their 2nd playoff list and it had a surprise this time.
Remember their approach is different, they have an earned value approach while my list a bit later in that blog post is a "most likely to stay alive" approach.
But the Committee has the final say end of the season, no me… damn.

Here is the list:
1 Clemson 9-0
2 Alabama 8-1
3 Ohio State 9-0
4 Notre Dame 8-1
5 Iowa 9-0
6 Baylor 8-0
7 Stanford 8-1
8 Oklahoma State 9-0
9 LSU 7-1
10 Utah 8-1

Compared to last week did Alabama rise and got basically the spot LSU had last week.
The surprise is that Notre Dame got the 4th spot this week. I’m sure this will change, but at the moment this means the ACC, the SEC, the BIG10 and an Indy team do get a ticket and the BIG12 and the PAC12 are left out. If this would be the final standing, those conferences would go nuts.
Well I like the signal behind this, because it says, if you play pushovers with your 3 to 4 non-conference games and are not willing to play good or at least better teams, you get not the love you need to make it into the playoffs.
The next few weeks will sort this out.
The BIG12 is on basically on playoff mode at the moment, with all the top teams meeting the next few weekends in an almost round robin mode, which should boost the reputation of the last team standing and the PAC12 has still some crucial games against better teams coming AND a championship game.

For now we have 1 ACC team, 2 SEC teams (-1 to last week), 2 Big 10 teams (-1 to last week), 1 Independent, 2 Big 12 teams and now 2 PAC12 teams (+2 to last week) in the mix.
Highest non-power5-team is now Navy at #20, followed by Memphis (#21), Temple (#22) and Houston (#24).
Navy is interesting, since they went under the radar so far, but because of their win against Memphis got now into the spotlight. I don’t see them at the end at the top, but you never know.
If Navy is still relevant at season final, the Committee would delay the final rankings by 1 week, since Navy does play Army traditionally 1 week after the conference finals and a final judgement could only be made after that game.
THAT would be a fun week of speculations and gossip.

Last week, only 1 Team did get the knockout on my list with their 2nd loss (Florida State) and 3 teams did get their 1st loss (Michigan State, TCU and LSU).

15 teams are left in the list.

The so far remaining 1-loss or better Power5 teams + Independents after week 10 are:

ACC (2 teams)
Clemson Tigers (9-0) - has to play none of that list
North Carolina Tar Heels (8-1) - has to play none of that list

dropped out:
Florida State Seminoles (7-2) - lost to Clemson

BIG10 (3 teams)
Iowa Hawkeyes (9-0) - has to play none of that list
Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) has to play Michigan State 21.11.
Michigan State Spartans (8-1) - has to play Ohio State 21.11.

dropped out:
none

BIG12 (4 teams)
Baylor Bears (9-0) - has to play Oklahoma 14.11., Oklahoma State 21.11. and TCU 28.11.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-0) has to play Baylor 21.11. and Oklahoma 28.11.
Oklahoma Sooners (8-1) - has to play Baylor 14.11., TCU 21.11. and Oklahoma State 28.11.
TCU Horned Frogs (8-1)- has to play Oklahoma 21.11. and Baylor 28.11.

dropped out:
none

PAC12 (2 teams)
Stanford Cardinal (8-1) - has to play Notre Dame 28.11.
Utah Utes (8-1) - has to play none of that list

dropped out:
none

SEC (3 teams)
Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1) - has to play none of that list
Florida Gators (8-1) - has to play none of that list
LSU Tigers (7-1) - has to play none of that list

dropped out:
none

INDEPENDENTS (1 team)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1) - has to play Stanford 28.11.

Let's have a look at my list of the

TOP10 teams for the playoff spots (sorted by likeliness)
#1 Clemson Tigers
With the win over Florida State (23-13) did Clemson not only secure the ACC division, they also got the top spot in the AP polls and do only have 1 tough game ahead, the ACC Championship game.
Mark this date: 05.12. ACC Championship game (most likely North Carolina), neutral site. Of cause they have still to win all remaining games to stay in the playoff hunt, but the ACC title game is set.
Next game: Syracuse, on the road
The remaining opponents are not that successful so far. But they HAVE to avoid upsets, since they are only 1 loss away to be left out of the playoffs. The ACC does not have the strength of schedule to get a spot with 1 loss if all other champions do have also 1 loss or better.

#2 Baylor Bears
That win against Kansas State on the road (31-24) was a nice meter to measure the strength of Baylor and to see if that freshman QB can carry the load. So far, the team did pass the test.
Should be Oklahoma State at that spot? Maybe.
For now Baylor stays.
Mark this date: 21.11. Oklahoma State, on the road. This can become the season defining game. The Cowboys are the best hidden secret of the season. No real hype around them, but they are unbeaten and a real scoring machine.
Next game: Oklahoma, at home
The Sooners will be either strong as an ox or weak as a kitten. Why I say that? Remember the Texas game.
I think the Big12 will develop different as we might expect it and this game might be 1 step to that.
Makes it interesting and that’s the best for the sport.

#3 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes won 28-14 against Minnesota, which was for me not that convincing.
Fine, a win is a win, but they need more to overcome Michigan State and Michigan (and Iowa if that’s going to happen).
Ok, they had to play with their backup QB.
Mark that date: 21.11. Michigan State, at home. With the Spartans losing last week, this game did not lose any value. The only thing which can happen now is, that at the end there might be a 3 team tie, if Ohio State beat MSU and UM beat OSU.
Next game: Illinois, on the road
That one I like. Illinois is not dead and the interims coach is fighting for a permanent job.
This can become a tougher match than expected and that before the 2 most crucial games of the season.

#4 Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide did keep the Tigers in check and won 30-16.
They have still some big games ahead, but the nation does see the SEC championship game coming.
I think they will make it, but that path has 2 road games in front of them. Mississippi State is not a national contender, but ranked at #20 they are not a lightweight. And the Iron Bowl against Auburn is always special, even if Alabama might win big there. Played in Auburn, this will be tougher.
Mark this date: 05.12. SEC Championship game (Florida), neutral site.
This is not fixed at the moment, but for now, Alabama has all the tools for that ticket.
Next game: Mississippi State, on the road
The Bulldogs are threat. The Tide cannot sleep on that game.

#5 Utah Utes
The road win against Washington 34-23 was a big step to the title game.
With 3 games remaining, the Utes are still on top of the Pac12 South and could win the division and the conference.
Mark this date: 21.11. UCLA, at home. If the Utes do win all games, including this one, they are the division champs. Losing another game would make it all much tougher and complicated.
Next game: Arizona, on the road
Arizona is struggling, but in every game they do come to play. Utes watch out.

#6 Iowa Hawkeyes
With the Spartans loss last weekend, the Hawkeyes are the only unbeaten team in the BIG10 beside Ohio State. If the world would be perfect, both teams will meet in the Championship game and the winner would go to the playoffs.
The Hawkeyes did win against Indiana last week, on the road, 35-27.
Mark this date: 27.11. Nebraska, on the road. With the Huskers win against MSU, this game got a bit hotter and became a serious step stone for the championship game. It’s very likely that Iowa did already secure the championship spot at that moment, but a loss here would set the BIG10 a bit back in the playoff hunt.
Next game: Minnesota, at home
The division looks like almost won. The conference is something else.

#7 Stanford Cardinals
Stanford did beat Colorado 42-10. That was just a bump on the road. With Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame coming to town the next 3 weeks, the team will face some tough teams.
If they survive this, they will face the PAC12 South champ. Win this and they might get NOT get a playoff ticket.
I think it’s safe to say, that Stanford and Utah need a loss by the other conferences to sneak into the playoffs.
Stanford will not think about that much at the moment and will concentrate on the next games.
Mark this date: 21.11. Cal, at home. You might still ask, why Cal is the tough one, but this is a rival game and Cal can play, if all pieces come together.
Next game: Oregon, at home
A PAC12 Champ not in the playoffs would be a disaster for the conference.

#8 Oklahoma State Cowboys
They still try to hide, but that win over TCU (49-29) did put them on the map.
Now ranked at #5 in the AP polls, the Pokes will face the toughest games of the season, soon.
Mark this date: 21.11. Baylor, at home. THAT is a deciding match, and after that does loom the Bedlam Series against the Sooners.
Next game: Iowa State, on the road
The Cowboys do have the right schedule to get this done, they have to stay focused.

#9 LSU Tigers
They lost to Alabama 16-30, but I think they are still the 2nd best chance for the SEC, behind Alabama. For me is Florida not that strong.
LSU needs an Alabama loss and some more magic to reach the SEC championship game, but if that happens, I think they would beat Florida, again.
Mark this date: 21.11. Ole Miss, on the road. LSU needs of cause every game as a win, but this will be the last road game and crucial for the division standings.
Next game: Arkansas, at home
I’m not giving LSU up already. Worst thing to happen for the SEC, Alabama gets beaten by Florida in the conference final. That might keep Florida out of the playoffs. Maybe.

#10 Notre Dame
I thought I could keep them out of that list forever, but they do keep winning and their schedule does look stronger with every win their opponents get, week after week.
That 1 loss against Clemson does now look like a close match against two even teams and Clemson is #1 in the AP this week.
The Irish got into the top 4 of the committee rankings. Unbelievable. I don’t want to take anything away from that team, but top 4? Really?
The Irish won against Pitt last weekend 42-30 and now do face Wake Forest, Boston College and Stanford.
Mark this date: 28.11. Stanford, on the road. I think Notre Dame needs that win, plus a Stanford win in the Conference final and a bit luck to get a playoff spot, regardless of the current standings. There are still 3 possible unbeaten conference champs in the mix and a 1-loss SEC champ will get ahead of any other 1-loss team.
Next game: Wake Forest, at home
Serious, the Irish do have a slim chance and it might even be better than the #10 spot here.
I think they will look at the Big10 and the Big12 and do hope for upsets, because with a clear unbeaten champ there, the Irish will be left out. Probably.

Dropped out:
Michigan State Spartans, lost to Nebraska
TCU Horned Frogs, lost to Oklahoma State

Here are the 2 most likely non power 5 teams to crash the party:

#1 Houston Cougars
And another big win, this time against Cincinnati, 33-30.
Not as dominant as expected, but this I don’t think the current record of Cincinnati does show their real strength.
The playoff committee now has 4 American Athletic teams in the mix and I’m still behind the Cougars.
Mark this date: 14.11. Memphis, at home. With Memphis losing to Navy last week, this got a bit of a downer for some, but be assured, Memphis can still win here. The Cougars better tame the Tigers.
Next game: Memphis, at home
Here are some serious questions: 1) which coach will leave his team to get a better paid job? All coaches of Temple, Houston, Memphis and even Navy? I guess not all will leave their teams. 2) Which team will get love from the BIG12 for a possible expansion? The BIG12 needs 2 teams from all we learned over the past 2 seasons to get a championship game and the have to get at least 1 American Athletic team, since there are not many possible teams in all the other conference.

#2 Temple Owls
Oh damn, I had to put Temple back into the list.
Why that?
Here is my math: There are Houston, Navy, Memphis and Temple left in the AAC to win the conference.
Houston I see as front runner.
Navy did win against Memphis, but has to play Houston on the road. Tough. I think they will lose that one. So Navy is out. Of cause they could win 1 or all games, but I think they will lose at least against Houston, which would make them full toast.
That leaves Temple. Their problem is Memphis, at home and the championship game.
If they lose to Memphis, it’s getting tricky, even if they win the conference.
For now, I see them with the best chance to stay as 2nd best non power 5 team.
The Tigers did beat SMU 60-40, which should raise some questions regarding defense.
Mark this date: 21.11. Memphis, at home. They don’t need the win for the conference title game ticket, but for sure for the playoff rankings.
Next game: USF, on the road
Temple gets a lot of attention and it’s well deserved. If the Irish are #4, which lost to #1 Clemson in a close game, what does this male Temple, losing close to Notre Dame? But watch out, even that USF game can be a stone they might stumble over.

Dropped out: Memphis Tigers, did lose to Navy

Let’s u p d a t e fast the standings and the division and conference championship contenders.
I will go through this by alphabetical order and will only point out the conference standings.

AAC
East Division
Temple 5-0
South Florida 3-2

West Division
Houston 5-0
Navy 5-0
Memphis 4-1

Temple is leading in the East and South Florida has only the chance to get near them by winning the next game which is against Temple at home. If they lose this, Temple is the division champ.
The West is still totally strange, but Memphis lost against Navy this week.
At the moment Houston looks best suited for the last few weeks, but thinks can happen.

ACC
Atlantic Division
Clemson 6-0

Coastal Division
North Carolina 5-0
Pittsburgh 4-1
Miami (FL) 3-2
Duke 3-2

The Atlantic is won by Clemson.
The Coastal is still open, but UNC has the edge now. The did beat Duke and Pitt. Next week against Miami can be the next step. But with 3 games remaining, they could drop dead fast.

BIG10
East Division
Ohio State 5-0
Michigan State 4-1
Michigan 4-1
Penn State 4-2

West Division
Iowa 5-0
Wisconsin 5-1
Northwestern 3-2

Penn States loss did more or less send them packing. In theory they could still win this, but the reality is, they would need a totally crazy finish to win this. MSUs loss did not change much, only that they need to win against Ohio State very badly.
The West is Iowas territory for now and it looks like they will bring that title home.
Wisconsin has only 2 games remaining, which they need to win both and they still need 2 losses by Iowa.

BIG 12
Oklahoma State 6-0
Baylor 5-0
Oklahoma 5-1
TCU 5-1

This weekend will be a bit less critical, but the final 2 weeks will be the deciding ones.
Baylor has as only team from that list a game beginning of December, so worst case could be, they survive all this and then lose to Texas in December ….

CUSA
East Division
Western Kentucky 6-0
Marshall 5-1
Middle Tennessee 3-2

West Division
Louisiana Tech 5-1
Southern Mississippi 4-1
UTEP 2-3
Rice 2-3

The East looks like a 2 team race and they will meet to settle this at season final. But Middle Tennessee gained some steam with the Marshall win last weekend.
The West will be decided by LT and Southern Miss. Again this is done at season final.

MAC
East Division
Bowling Green 6-0

West Division
Toledo 5-1
Northern Illinois 5-1
Western Michigan 5-1
Central Michigan 4-2

The East of the MAC is won by Bowling Green. They did beat Western Michigan this Wednesday and that’s that. Next stop, MAC Championship game.
The West on the other hand is open. Toledos loss did show that the final word is not spoken. Western Michigans loss this Wednesday did open the division up as it was 1 and a half week ago.
This won’t be finished until regular season ends.

MWC
Mountain Division
Boise State 4-1
Air Force 4-1
Utah State 4-2
New Mexico 3-2
Colorado State 2-3

West Division
San Diego State 5-0
Nevada 3-2
San José State 3-2

While the Mountain does not have a leading candidate is the West already almost closed.
Last weekend was almost a complete BYE for the conference, so no big changes here.

PAC12
North Division
Stanford 7-0
Washington State 4-2
Oregon 4-2

South Division
Utah 5-1
UCLA 4-2
USC 4-2

Stanford has to win at least one game to seal the title. Both other north teams have to hope for 2 losses by Stanford and have to win all games.
The South became a 3 team race, with ASU dropped out last weekend.

SEC
East Division
Florida 6-1

West Division
Alabama 4-1
LSU 4-1
Ole Miss 4-2
Mississippi State 3-2
Arkansas 3-2
Texas A&M 3-3

Florida did seal the East with their sloppy win last weekend. They can now wait for the west to settle the standings there.
The West is still wide open, but Alabama can win now by their own work. All others do need a Tide loss to get back on top. I think A&M is done, but you never know.

SBC
Arkansas State 5-0
Appalachian State 4-1
Georgia Southern 4-1
Louisiana Lafayette 3-1
South Alabama 2-2

Arkansas State can win it all by winning the last few games. They have only low level teams left on the schedule, so if they don’t struggle big time, this should be done.
All the others have to hope for a complete Arkansas State blackout.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 11

Sat. Nov. 14 - 3:30 pm ET
#2 Alabama @ #17 Mississippi State
Let’s start with the facts. Nick Sabans Crimson Tide did only lose once to the Bulldogs, in his 1st season as new HC of Alabama. Since then, all games were won.
Last season were at that point the situation that Alabama had lost to Ole Miss early in the season, were ranked #5 and Mississippi State were unbeaten at that point and ranked #1 in the country.
Alabama won 25-20 at home.
This season Alabama had lost also to Ole Miss, but Mississippi State has already lost to LSU und Texas A&M. But … this one is now in Bulldogs territory.
The Bulldogs do have a very good QB and will very likely try to win the game by an air attack.
Can Alabama keep that in check?
Maybe … no … likely.
The Tide is good, their line is very good.
They have the tools to destroy the passing game before a pass is thrown.
Does have Mississippi State a chance?
Absolutely.
But I guess they need a bit of a down game of Alabama or a perfect game on their side to make this happen.
You won’t find many people betting against Alabama this week.
I stick with Vegas, which does see the Elephants as 8 point favourite.
Tide win.

Sat. Nov. 14 - 7:00 pm ET
#21 Memphis @ #24 Houston
This is one of the most anticipated games this season.
It became that way, when Memphis and Houston played perfect football and did win.
Memphis did lose against Navy last weekend, so the battle of the unbeaten is canceled, but the battle for the division crown is still on and the winner will very likely be in the top spot for the New Year bowl spot and cash in big.
Both coaches are under wild speculations, which will get which job opening, forgetting totally the wishes and desires of the coaches in question.
It can happen that both will move on, but there were several hot candidates in the past, which did say ‘no, thank you’ to the 1st, 2nd or even more job offers, until they decided to move on.
Clear is, the game will be watched, closely by many directors and I think the game itself will be good.
Both teams do field a good offense and the key will be who will be able to score more.
I see Houston here as home team in the favourite role, as does Vegas, which have them a score up front.
It might come down to the last drive to determine the winner and I think the home team is best suited to win this, either as last effort offense drive or as last defense stand avoiding a score. The home crowed will carry the team to a win.
Cougars win.

Sat. Nov. 14 - 8:00 pm ET
#12 Oklahoma @ #6 Baylor
Kitten or Ox?
I did say that Oklahoma might be soft as a kitten or strong as an ox in that game.
The reason for that is the Texas game.
It did show, that with the right preparation and motivation Oklahoma can be beaten, easily.
We are not talking about gaining momentum and sealing a win with the last drive, we are talking about a clear humiliating destruction. That’s what the Texas game was.
But this is not Texas, it’s only a team from Texas, which was for years 1 of the dirt eaters of the BIG12.
But Baylor did grow, Baylor is now a force.
So far they did win every game of the season and they are on their way to the biggest success in team history.
Oklahoma is in their way.
So there shouldn’t be a question about motivation in Baylor.
How is the motivation in Oklahoma? If a Texas Longhorns game can’t motivate them, how can they be motivated for this game?
Then there is the Bob Stoops can’t win big games curse.
If you look at all the active HCs of the teams winning at some point a national championship, those teams do win big games, often. Except Bob Stoops. He is the worst in that category.
I think the reason behind this is, if Oklahoma has a GOOD team, it’s really a GOOD team. Then they win BIG. But if they are not GOOD, they lose the close ones. So maybe Oklahomas just don’t field GOOD teams any more, which is the reason for the last few seasons of Oklahomas not-over-the-top-seasons?
The football experts are divided, I saw 50-50 picks for Baylor or Oklahoma.
My take on this: Oklahoma has reputation, Baylor does not have.
The Sooners are not a bad team for me, but they need to prove they can win the crucial games. So, prove it. I stay with Baylor in that game, I think they are way better than people think and I also think they will not only outscore the Sooners, they will also keep the offense of Oklahoma in check enough to get away with a win, at home.
Bears win.

Sat. Nov. 14 - 10:00 pm ET
#10 Utah @ Arizona
I picked that game, because it looks like the perfect game for the Utes to fall from grace.
Utah did gain some good press during the season and Arizona did underperform in most of the games.
It would be a crucial mistake to underestimate a Rich Rod lead Wildcats teams.
Arizona will play and this is a home game for them.
Utes can win here, no doubt, but they can also fail.
They can even fail so big, that some might ask themselves if they were fooled by the team over the season.
Vegas does see Utah in the lead, almost by a score.
I’m divided.
On one hand we have a strong Utah team, on the other hand we have a good Wildcats team, which did destroy Utah the past few seasons. But that was in the past.
My gut says, Utah can win this in a close one. The rest of the body say Arizona.
I’m willing to give my guts the call.
Utes win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-11-10

FBS - Week 10 Review

Eindicken (means to concentrate/to condense)

What a wild weekend.

The group of unbeaten teams got cut down by 5 teams (Toledo, TCU, Memphis, Michigan State and LSU). Only 6 teams are left unbeaten.

Most of those losses by unbeaten teams were upsets, not expected.

But the wildest play for me came in a game which only had an influence on the SEC standings, but was not the biggest game of the weekend.

It happened in Overtime were the Arkansas Razorbacks were trailing 45-52, Ole Miss had scored a TD plus XP and Arkansas had the ball.
As you hopefully know, the teams do get the ball at the opponents 25 yards line, without a kickoff and do start with 1st and 10.
Arkansas did struggle big time and with penalties and a crucial sack by the Rebels it was soon 4th and 25 on the 40 yard line.

Then this:



A wild finish, a gutsy call and a sad ending for the Rebels.

The consequences of this game are, that Ole Miss, prior to the game still in the driving seat to win the SEC West, has now to hope for several losses by Alabama and other teams to stay in the game.
Honestly, this upset did push them very likely out of the SEC race.

For the Razorbacks, this is sugar on a bad season so far and I think they might even reach a bowl now, thanks to a 3 game winning streak so far.

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

Sat. Nov. 7 - 12:00 pm ET
Duke @ #21 North Carolina
This was a slaughterhouse.
The score after each quarter were
1st: 3-21
2nd: 10-38
3rd: 24-59
4th: 31-66
UNC did score 60+ points the 1st time ever in that series.
For UNC, the ACC Coastal Division is now up for grab, but they still have to play 3 games and are leading 1 game against the next team Pitt, against whom they won already.
For Duke there is only very slim chance to win the Division. All they can do is winning and hoping for upsets.
Duke 31 - North Carolina 66 -> Jacks Score: 28-11

Sat. Nov. 7 - 3:30 pm ET
#17 Florida State @ #3 Clemson
Dabo is dancing.
The coach of Clemson did some dancing after the game, which they won by 10 points (which is less than I and Vegas did expect) and which did seal the Division Title for the Tigers.
Until the start of the 4th quarter, this game was more or less even. It was tied at 13.
Then did Clemson score and FSU not, resulted in a 23-13 victory over that rival that did destroy their seasons the past few years so often.
Clemson has two games left to play, but is leading 2 games ahead of FSU and Louisville, so this one is sealed.
They will play in the ACC Championship game.
The only thing they have to secure until then is, not losing.
Because if they lose, they will drop in the playoff race.
One strange outcome of that weekend: Clemson is now ranked #1 in the AP polls and did jump long time leading Ohio State, even when the Buckeyes did NOT lose.
With Syracuse, Wake Forest and South Carolina it looks all set for a perfect season, but as some other teams which lost this weekend regarding easy games.
FSU now has to win the remaining games to secure a big paid bowl, nothing more to play for.
Florida State 13 - Clemson 23 -> Jacks Score: 29-11

Sat. Nov. 7 - 3:30 pm ET
#5 TCU @ #12 Oklahoma State
This game was destined to know 1 unbeaten team of the list, since both were unbeaten before the game.
Many had TCU as the favorite in the game and they most have been in a shock watching the game.
The 1st quarter was fine I think, the Cowboys did lead only by 5, but then did TCU not score in the 2nd quarter and was unable to stop the Cowboys.
With 28-9 at halftime, this was far from over.
Unfortunately it went even worse for the Frogs.
With 42-16 ended the 3rd quarter and the final few minutes did see a slow comeback by TCU, but only for the final score of 49-29 for Oklahoma State.
TCUs luck did run out and they got the 1st big knock in the playoff rankings and also in the Big12 Standings.
For Oklahoma State does the wild season continue, for TCU it already did start to become a hope and fear season.
They can still win the Big12, but it's already hard to predict, if they will get a spot in the playoffs, if they would win the rest.
TCU 29 - Oklahoma State 49 -> Jacks Score: 30-11

Sat. Nov. 7 - 8:00 pm ET
#4 LSU @ #7 Alabama
Alabama did lead 13-10 at the half and had the LSU star RB in check, while their RB did run wild so far.
Both teams are well known for good adjustments, so everything could have changed after that halftime break.
Well ... it did.
Alabama did pull away with 17 unanswered points and LSU did only score again in garbage time.
That loss did end LSUs streak as unbeaten team and Alabama is now in the driving seat for the division title, thanks to Arkansas win over Ole Miss.
Alabama has to play 2 more games and both won't be that easy, but should be easier than LSU.
LSU has to hope for an Alabama loss and has to win some games to get back in the hunt for the division.
Overall it looks like we will see the Tide against the Gators in the SEC title game.
LSU 16 - Alabama 30 -> Jacks Score: 31-11

More interesting results:
As mentioned in the preview, Toledo did lose against Northern Illinois 27-32. Now is Western Michigan leading the division, but Toledo still has to play them.
Baylor did look quite good with their freshman QB against Kansas State, winning 31-24.
Arkansas State won against Appalachian State 40-27. They are now leading the SBC alone and each of their remaining 3 opponents did not win more than 2 games in the season.
Michigan State was unable to come back and Nebraska did win their 1st close game to knock off unbeaten MSU 39-38.
Iowa did win a close one against Indiana, 35-27 and are now very close winning the division.
Florida was almost knocked off by Vanderbilt, but did score a game winning FG in the 4th quarter to win the game 9-7 and the SEC East with 2 games up front against the next teams and 1 conference game left to play.
Navy did the unthinkable and knocked off Memphis from the ranks of the unbeaten, in Memphis, with a 45-20 win.
Auburn did show some live beating Texas A&M 26-10. A&M is bad since a few games.
Northwestern won against Penn State, 23-21, but lost their QB.
Houston stayed unbeaten winning against Cincinnati 33-30.
West Virginia got their 1st Big12 win against Texas Tech, winning 31-26.
Middle Tennessee won against Marshall 27-24 in 3OT. Marshall now 1 game behind Western Kentucky in the CUSA East Division
New Mexico did beat Utah State 14-13. Now the Mountain Division is only a 2 team race, with Utah State now 1 game behind those 2 teams.
Oregon did beat Cal 44-28. Cal lost now 4 in a row.
On the other hand did USC beat Arizona 38-30 and won now 3 straight.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-11-05

FBS - Week 10 Preview

Again was that week not that big in terms of getting the playoff field sorted out, but that's OK, the games are coming to get this done and at the end of the month we will have a better picture.
I'm not sure we will have a clear and complete picture, because at some point several teams will be left on the list and there are only 4 spots.
The Committee did post their 1st playoff list and it had no real surprises, did have of cause an earned value approach than my "most likely to stay alive" approach.

Here is the list:
1 Clemson 8-0
2 LSU 7-0
3 Ohio State 8-0
4 Alabama 7-1
5 Notre Dame 7-1
6 Baylor 7-0
7 Michigan State 8-0
8 TCU 8-0
9 Iowa 8-0
10 Florida 7-1

Most interesting 1 ACC team, 3 SEC teams, 3 Big 10 teams, 1 Independent and 2 Big 12 teams in the mix, NO PAC12 team under the TOP10.
Highest PAC12 team is Stanford at 11, Utah is 12th.
Highest non-power5-team is Memphis at 13.

This is all work in progress, so don't put too much into this.

Last week, again only 2 teams did get the knockout on my list with their 2nd loss and no team did get a 1st loss.
But many teams had a BYE week. This will change the upcoming gameday.


16 teams are left in the list.

I updated the list of the remaining games against each other, but that way I lost the crucial division games coming.
I'm not satisfied with that solution, but I will stick with it for now, because otherwise I would have to boost up the mentioned games with games which were never on the list.

The so far remaining 1-loss Power5 teams + Independents after week 8 are:

ACC (3 teams)
Clemson Tigers (8-0) - has to play Florida State 07.11.
Florida State Seminoles (7-1) - has to play Clemson 07.11 and Florida 28.11.
North Carolina Tar Heels (7-1) - has to play none of that list

dropped out:
Duke Blue Devils (6-2) - lost to Miami
Pittsburgh Panthers (6-2) - lost to North Carolina

BIG10 (3 teams)
Iowa Hawkeyes (8-0) - has to play none of that list
Michigan State Spartans (8-0) - has to play Ohio State 21.11.
Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) has to play Michigan State 21.11.

dropped out:
none

BIG12 (4 teams)
Baylor Bears (7-0) - has to play Oklahoma 14.11., Oklahoma State 21.11. and TCU 28.11.
Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) - has to play Baylor 14.11., TCU 21.11. and Oklahoma State 28.11.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-0) has to play TCU 07.11., Baylor 21.11. and Oklahoma 28.11.
TCU Horned Frogs (8-0) - has to play Oklahoma State 07.11., Oklahoma 21.11. and Baylor 28.11.

dropped out:
none

PAC12 (2 teams)
Stanford Cardinal (7-1) - has to play Notre Dame 28.11.
Utah Utes (7-1) - has to play none of that list

dropped out:
none

SEC (3 teams)
Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1) - has to play LSU 07.11.
Florida Gators (7-1) - has to play Florida State 28.11.
LSU Tigers (7-0) - has to play Alabama 07.11.

dropped out:
none

INDEPENDENTS (1 team)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1) - has to play Stanford 28.11.

Let's have a look at my list of the

TOP10 teams for the playoff spots (sorted by likeliness)
#1 Baylor Bears
With the BYE week, the Bears better got their QB ready for the upcoming games.
I was tempted to lower their rank, but so far did they not show any sign of slowing down, so they stay at this spot.
They have on paper 1 game to get flying, but playing Kansas State on the road can be hard with a new QB.
Mark this date: 21.11. Oklahoma State, on the road.
Next game: Kansas State, on the road
This will be a warmup, but could become a terror.
KSU is not dead and this game on the road might be harder with a backup QB than expected.
The Bears stay on top of my list, but I have doubt.

#2 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes could be in a real mess.
Their new starting QB was suspended shortly before the last gameday for 1 game and since they had a BYE, he will not play THIS week against Minnesota.
It might be that they will not miss him much, but this could cost them dearly.
Mark that date: 21.11. Michigan State, at home. It will depend on how that whole QB situation will be dealt with.
Next game: Minnesota, at home
I have the feeling, the season could go down here very quickly.
It's not that Ohio State is a bad team, it's just that all this distraction could become the small tip to get a loss or two when it hurts the most.

#3 Clemson Tigers
Beating North Carolina State 56-41 was of cause needed to keep in the path of the unbeaten und to stay in the hunt for the ACC.
Mark this date: 07.11. Florida State, at home. I don't think there are many people seeing FSU on top here, but IF they win, it will boost their reputation big time.
Next game: Florida State, at home
It look like the Tigers are only 1 win away to secure a perfect season, but an upset can happen any game.
And the ACC Championship game will also be a game they have to win, before they can dream of national championships.

#4 Alabama Crimson Tide
Funny the playoff committee did put Alabama ahead of Florida, but their explanation for that was the way Alabama did win, compared to Florida.
And that's also my point of view.
Depended on the game this weekend, Alabama might be able to battle that duel out in the SEC championship game.
Mark this date: 07.11. LSU, at home. The SEC West is wide open and a win is of cause needed here.
Next game: LSU, at home
It's do or die for Alabama, every week until the last game.

#5 Utah Utes
Winning against Oregon State 27-12 was nice, but 'nice' won't help them to get the division title.
They do have some tough games left to play and I think they need more than a nice game to beat Washington, Arizona, UCLA and even Colorado.
If they do not wake up fast, they will drop out of this list.
Mark this date: 21.11. UCLA, at home. The division is wide open and they will have to win every game, but UCLA will be very likely the toughest opponent left to play.
Next game: Washington, on the road
This could become a total mess fast, or not. All open.

#6 Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans had also a BYE and will face now the toughest month with Ohio State and Penn State coming soon.
Mark this date: 21.11. Ohio State on the road. After that they will Penn State also.
Next game: Nebraska, on the road
They key for MSU will be to keep the team focused.

#7 Iowa Hawkeyes
They did win against Maryland 31-15 and will face no real competition until season final.
The only real opponent will be Iowa itself.
The Hawkeyes will have to deal with that momentum which is building up with each win.
Mark this date: 07.11. Indiana, on the road. The most dangerous opponent left.
Next game: Indiana, on the road
I really would love to see them win the conference, but my gut says, something will happen.

#8 TCU Horned Frogs
The West Virginia game was won 40-10 and now does everyone believe that TCU is valid.
That might be, it might be that the team did mature in the past few weeks, but I still see those close wins and have that in my mind.
I think TCU can win the Big12, but I also think that they can lose more than once in the next few weeks.
Mark this date: 21.11. Oklahoma, on the road. Yes they will face Oklahoma State this weekend, I still think the game in Norman will be tougher.
Next game: Oklahoma State, on the road
At the moment it does look like the Big12 might become a big cluster bomb. At least it stays open, which is the best I think.

#9 Stanford Cardinals
That was close. Very close. That field goal kick will be that kickers nightmare for years to come.
Stanford won by that missed kick 30-28 and kept their season alive.
Mark this date: 21.11. Cal, at home. The last 2 games, Cal and Notre Dame will be the final rehersal and the very likely championship game the premier where everything has to be perfect, if they want to be part of the national playoffs.
Next game: Colorado, on the road
That 1st committee ranking was a big spank on the PAC12.

#10 LSU Tigers
Win against Bama, win against Bama, win against Bama ....
That's probably on everybodies mind wearing purple and gold.
After that it will not be less preasure, but the big bad elephant will be gone and it's likely will become easier.
Mark this date: 07.11. Alabama, on the road. Win this and the it's very likely they play for the SEC championship game.
Next game: Alabama, on the road
I think I will have to appologize to all LSU fans next week, if they win against Alabama, but be sure, I your team will win, they will get Alabamas spot next week.

Dropped out:
none

Here are the 2 most likely non power 5 teams to crash the party:

#1 Houston Cougars
Winning against vanderbilt 34-0 was big.
Since it all does concentrate on the Amercian at the moment, you now find Memphis at #2.
Mark this date: 14.11. Memphis, at home. This whole non-power5-thing is getting hotter with each week.
Next game: Cincinnati, at home
For me the most interesting thing of the season will be, if the coaches of Toledo, Temple, Houston and Memphis will switch team, or not.

#2 Memphis Tigers
The Tigers did beat Tulane 41-13 and are at the moment the highest ranked team from a non power 5 conference in the AP polls and got an astonishing #13 rank in the 1st playoff ranking.
I still see Houston up front, that's why the Tigers are at #2 at the moment.
Mark this date: 14.11. Houston, on the road. If this would be a home game, I would put Memphis on #1, but they have to show the nation that they can beat Houston on the road.
Next game: Navy, at home
Memphis has on paper the hardest rest schedule of all teams in the AAC, so if they can beat ALL of those teams, they might even scratch at the top 4 spots, if something bad happens with a few contenders.

Dropped out: Toledo Rockets, did lose to Northern Illinois on Tuesday this week

As the last month of regular season games did come, it's time to have a look at the standings and getting a picture of the conference or division title candidates.
Since most teams have to play 4 games until season final, I decided to include all teams, which are up to 2 games behind.
It's quite unrealistic to think ALL teams leading would collapse and a team with 4 games behind would win the division or conference.
If that's gonna happen, I will give you a note early enough.

I will go through this by alphabetical order and will only point out the conference standings.

AAC
East Division
Temple 4-0
Cincinnati 2-2
South Florida 2-2

West Division
Houston 4-0
Memphis 4-0
Navy 4-0

Temple is leading in the East and both, Cincinnati and South Florida will have a hard time catching up.
Still, Temple has to play Memphis and South Florida.
The West is totally strange, having 3 perfect teams so far.
They will play against each other the next few weekends, but the division champ will very likley only be known after the last regular season game.
For all 3 teams, this is a multimillion dollar month, since the last team standing will go to a New Years Bowl. Probably.

ACC
Atlantic Division
Clemson 5-0
Florida State 5-1
Louisville 3-2

Coastal Division
North Carolina 4-0
Pittsburgh 4-1
Duke 3-1
Miami (FL) 2-2
Virginia 2-2

The Atlantic is Clemsons to lose. With the Florida State coming, a win would very much seal the deal, a loss would lift FSU.
The Coastal is still wide open, with Duke and UNC playing this weekend and They have to play Pitt also later.
I think Miami and Virginia will fall out of the race soon.

BIG10
East Division
Michigan State 4-0
Ohio State 4-0
Penn State 4-1
Michigan 3-1

West Division
Iowa 4-0
Wisconsin 4-1
Northwestern 2-2

It's often forgotten in the whole MSU or OSU debate that there are still 2 teams behind them in the east, which are just waiting for an error.
Granted, it's not very likely, but stranger things did happen.
The West is Iowas territory for now and it looks like they will bring that title home.
But Wisconsin did stay in their shadow and is waiting, would need 2 Iowa losses to jump them.

BIG 12
Oklahoma State 5-0
TCU 5-0
Baylor 4-0
Oklahoma 4-1

Here is already the conference at stake and all 4 teams will meet at some kind in the next few weeks.
Could become a clear picture, could become a nightmare, depends on the results.
Remember the Big 12 was left out last season with a 1-loss conference champ.

CUSA
East Division
Marshall 5-0
Western Kentucky 5-0
Middle Tennessee 2-2

West Division
Louisiana Tech 4-1
Southern Mississippi 4-1
Rice 2-2
UTEP 1-3
Texas San Antonio 1-3

The East looks like a 2 team race and they will meet to settle this at season final.
The West is surprisingly open, but UTEP and UTSA do only have mathematical chances.
LT and Southern Miss will very likely also settle this at season final.

MAC
East Division
Bowling Green 4-0
Ohio 2-2
Buffalo 2-2
Kent State 2-2

West Division
Toledo 4-0
Western Michigan 4-0
Central Michigan 4-1
Northern Illinois 3-1

The East of the MAC is in Bowling Green hand. They will have to lose a lot to miss the championship game.
The West on the other hand is quite open. All eyes are on Toledo, but even NIU can win the division.
Some teams do have still tough opponents on their rest schedule, so this will only be final after the final game.

MWC
Mountain Division
Boise State 4-1
Utah State 4-1
Air Force 4-1
New Mexico 2-2
Colorado State 1-3

West Division
San Diego State 5-0
San José State 3-2
Nevada 2-2

While the Mountain does not have a leading candidate is the West already almost closed.
I think the picture in the Mountain will get clearer soon, while San Diego State will have to win only 1 or 2 games to book the flight to the championship game.

PAC12
North Division
Stanford 6-0
Washington State 3-2
Oregon 3-2

South Division
Utah 4-1
UCLA 3-2
USC 3-2
Arizona State 2-3

Stanford did hold off Wazzus challenge, but they are not the division champ yet. They still have some big games coming and the other 2 teams are waiting.
Still, they only have an outside chance.
The South looks more open and surprisingly does even USC still have a valid chance to win this.
ASU has to wish for a lot of luck to still winning this.

SEC
East Division
Florida 5-1
Georgia 3-3
Tennessee 2-3
Vanderbilt 1-3

West Division
LSU 4-0
Alabama 4-1
Ole Miss 4-1
Texas A&M 3-2
Mississippi State 2-2
Arkansas 2-2

I think after that Florida-Georgia game does nobody really think that the Gators will not enter the championship game.
They have only 2 quite easy games left and it's unlikely they lose both.
The West is wide open, I was only able to leave Auburn out of this list.
This will get shorter quickly, but it's obvious that there is still a lot of room for glory and failure.

SBC
Appalachian State 4-0
Arkansas State 4-0
Georgia Southern 4-1
Louisiana Lafayette 2-1
South Alabama 1-2
Texas State 1-2
Georgia State 1-2

At the moment this looks like Appalachian State and Arkansas State will have to battle this out.
And they will do it this weekend.
Still, this is not the end, since some teams can still get an unexpected win and then there would be a shared conference champion.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 9

Sat. Nov. 7 - 12:00 pm ET
Duke @ #21 North Carolina
Duke lost last week because of the Miami-lateral-miss-call-miracle and is that way in a bad spot at the moment.
In a perfect world would this be a battle between 2 unbeaten teams in conference games, but with the loss is Duke 1 game short.
Doesn't matter too much, since a win here would send them back into the driver seat.
North Carolina is playing good this season, so the Blue Devils will have a hard time getting this game turned into their favour.
Played in Chapel Hill, it adds 1 more problem to Dukes list of problems.
North Carolinas did improve big time compared to last season and even last season did the Tar Heels paint the victory bell in their shade of blue.
Vegas does see Duke with more than a TD behind.
I think this will either be close or will have a very high margin.
As much as I like the Duke development over the past few seasons, I think UNC has the edge this season in general and for this game, again.
Tar Heels win.

Sat. Nov. 7 - 3:30 pm ET
#17 Florida State @ #3 Clemson
It looks like for all groups, press, fans and even Vegas, this is all but won by Clemson.
I thought FSU would be irrelevant already at this point, but they stayed in the hunt, even after the loss to GT.
Biggest problem for FSU is, they will have to play this on Clemsons home turf.
If this would be in Florida, I would be at least tempted to rethink the Clemson win.
But under this circumstance I have to admit I can't see Clemson lose this and become also a part of that "already won"-group.
The Seminoles will have to keep Clemsons offense in check and that's something I can't see happening.
Vegas have them as 12.5 point underdog.
My guess is at least 14 points, and counting.

Sat. Nov. 7 - 3:30 pm ET
#5 TCU @ #12 Oklahoma State
Welcome to the Big12 eliminator game, part 1.
The Big12 will start their road to the playoffs this week and will do this each week until season final.
If they are lucky, 1 team will survive this unbeaten.
Then they will participate in the playoffs, for sure.
If something like last season happens, I don't know.
It will very much depend on the other teams performance, but with the status at the moment, I think it could happen that the BIG12 would be left out, again, with a 1-loss team.
Here, 1 team will get their 1st loss, mean for that team the door in the playoffs is closing faster, the other team will get a boost.
I'm not a fan of TCU, they had too many close games they won by luck.
This will run out, at some point.
On the road against Oklahoma State sounds quite good for that to happen.
The main reason for TCU being still unbeaten was their fast offense.
Well, this week they will meet another fast offense.
That makes this game as open as it can get.
Can TCU win? sure.
Can they lose? Sure.
Vegas does see TCU as 5 point favourite.
I pick Oklahoma State for win here, because of the home factor.
100% sure?
No.
But more than 50%, so ...
Cowboys win.

Sat. Nov. 7 - 8:00 pm ET
#4 LSU @ #7 Alabama
This is very likely the hottest game of the week.
LSU is unbeaten behind a great RB performance and a strong defense.
Alabama is a 1-loss team, beating most of the teams big time, but lost to Ole Miss, at home.
Still, they are ranked higher than the unbeaten Florida Gators in the playoff rankings.
The committee can explain this the way they want, but at the end of the day, this is reputation.
Miles vs Saban is a nice matchup for years and Alabama is riding on a 4 game winning streak in that rivalry.
Vegas does see LSU behind with a score and honestly, I'm not sure how this will turn out.
Could be low scoring, could be high scoring.
Could be 1 of those rare moment Alabama collapses and LSU wins this with pride, or it could show that a 1-dimensional LSU team can't win all games behind 1 great RB.
In doubt I go with the home team, so I pick Alabama.
I expect a close game, a battle to the bones.
Still ... Tide win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE