2015-12-30

Bowls 2015 wave 4

So 24 out of 41 bowls are over.

The major wave is still coming.

But before I do cover the next few days, let's review the past few ones.

Here are the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 3

Sat. Dec. 26 - 11:00 am ET
St. Petersburg Bowl
UConn vs. Marshall
@Tropicana Field - St. Petersburg, FL
Oh, honestly this was a boring one.
I did expect a firework on offense by Marshall and the did lead 13-7 at the half.
After the 3rd quarter it was only 13-10, because Marshall did miss a field goal in the quarter.
The Thundering Heard had 1 good drive in the 4th quarter, eating away a lot of time and capped with a successful field goal.
At 16-10 the game was still open, but with 21 ticks left did UConn not convert on 4th and 9 and therefore lost the game.
ZZZZzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzz.
UConn 10 - Marshall 16 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 7-6

Sat. Dec. 26 - 2:00 pm ET
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Miami (Fla.) vs. Washington State
@Sun Bowl Stadium - El Paso, TX
This on the other hand was very entertaining.
It started great with a Cougars TD and a Hurricanes TD after that.
Then did Miami stop the Cougars the next drive, took the ball and went for a scoring strike, only to have the ball tipped in the endzone and get intercepted.
Worst case scenario for them, but it was not that awful, Wazzu did fumble the ball away a few plays later.
Miami got the ball back in good field position and unable to move the ball went for 4th down and turned the ball over on an complete pass shorter the 1st down marker.
That did help the Cougars, who did score a field goal and a drive later a TD.
With 20-7 at the half, this looked quite over.
The 3rd quarter was scoreless, but you saw a gambling Wazzu team, playing 4th downs on several drives, but did not make it often.
It started snowing in Texas and the Hurricanes did score a TD, shorten the Cougars lead to 6.
After some scoreless drives did Miami come near the endzone again, in fact they made it to the endzone, but an illegal blocking was called and they had to play it again, which led to a costly turnover.
Over?
Not so fast.
Miami stopped the Cougars, again very quickly and tried a trick play.
The running back took the ball and tried a deep pass, but that is a risky play call in snow.
The ball slipped away, was intercepted and Washington State was able to run down the clock to win their 1st bowl since 12 years.
Miami (Fla.) 14 - Washington State 20 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 8-6

Sat. Dec. 26 - 2:20 pm ET
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Washington vs. Southern Miss
@Cotton Bowl - Dallas, TX
Another great game.
Washington did play a great game, did score plenty and Southern Miss did stay in the game most of the time.
We saw a Huskies lead at the half of only 21-17.
In that half did Southern Miss successfully made a fake punt conversion deep in their own half and kept their drive alive by that.
Later they scored.
In the 3rd quarter did Southern Miss even scored a TD for the tie at 24.
But exactly 1 play after kickoff die Washington score 86 yard rushing TD for the 31-24 lead and never looked back.
The Huskies did win this with great effort.
Washington 44 - Southern Miss 31 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 9-6

Sat. Dec. 26 - 3:30 pm ET
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Indiana vs. Duke
@Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY
And this one was also very entertaining.
Duke had not won a bowl since 1961 and came out much better than Indiana, leading 10-0 after the 1st quarter.
But Indiana came back and scored 2 unanswered TDs.
Before the break did Duke then had a great moment, when their QB just waited behind the line, saw the light and ran for a TD, through the middle for 73 yards.
Indiana did kick field goal after that and right at the half the game was tied at 17.
The Hosiers did then lead by 4 at the start of the 4th quarter and added a field goal, only to allow a 98 yard Duke kick off return TD for the tie at 34.
Indiana did not let themselves down and was able to score another pass TD later in the game for a 41-34 lead.
Duke on the other hand was not impressed and marched down the field, until their QB did score another TD right over the middle by feet.
Overtime.
Duke was stopped, but made the field goal.
Washington State was also stopped and kicked also a field goal. Or maybe not. The ball went higher than the upright and it's hard to judge, whether it was in or out.
The officials did rule it NO GOOD and the game was over.
Because of the high ball, the decision was also not reviewable, so Duke won this.
Those are the moments, where a bit more technology would help to determine a true winner.
Why there are no cameras on each upright to SEE the ball going right, left or right over it, I don't understand it.
Indiana 41 - Duke 44 (OT) -> Jacks BOWL Score: 9-7

Sat. Dec. 26 - 5:45 pm ET
Camping World Independence Bowl
Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech
@Independence Stadium - Shreveport, LA
HIGH SCORING GAME!
107 points were scored and Virginia Tech did win this, barely.
It was a game without defense, and VT did lead 45-31 at the HALF.
A quite low scoring 3rd quarter did extent that to 52-37 and a field goal after the start of the 4th quarter even to 55-37, when Tulsa decided to not losing here big time.
The Golden Hurricanes did score 2 TDs and with under 2 min. to play they got the ball back, trailing only by 3.
That was the time when Virginias defense decided to show up, fresh and willing to play.
They had 2 crucial sacks and did stop Tulsa on 4th and 16 for a loss of 8.
After 2 kneel downs the game was over, Frank Beamer got his 280th win overall and left on a high note.
Tulsa 52 - Virginia Tech 55 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 10-7

Sat. Dec. 26 - 9:15 pm ET
Foster Farms Bowl
UCLA vs. Nebraska
@Levi's Stadium - Santa Clara, CA
I'm really not often upset over football games, but this was one of them.
UCLA was awful on defense.
It looked like they did not even expected some kind of ground attack and Nebraska did run and run all day.
The game was tied at the half and the only team making adjustments was Nebraska, winning this big time.
I really like Jim Mora, but sometime his team just have such games I would fire him for right afterwards.
That was a BAD ending for the Bruins season and a great start for Nebraskas offseason.
UCLA 29 - Nebraska 37 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 10-8

Mon. Dec. 28 - 2:30 pm ET
Military Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. #21 Navy
@Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium - Annapolis, MD
Let's make it short here.
Navy did win this and Keenan Reynolds got his record back, at least a share if it, with 88 career TDs rushing.
He will leave a big hole in Navys offense.
Pittsburgh 28 - Navy 44 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 11-8

Mon. Dec. 28 - 5:00 pm ET
Quick Lane Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Minnesota
@Ford Field - Detroit, MI
The Gophers did play good football, but they made this closer than needed.
At the end, Central Michigan was not able to win this, but losing only by 7 is from my point of view a good game.
I did expect a much higher margin.
Central Michigan 14 - Minnesota 21 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 12-8

Tues. Dec. 29 - 2:00 pm ET
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
California vs. Air Force
@Amon G. Carter Stadium - Fort Worth, TX
Air Force did stay in the game for the 1st half, but they did not find any answer to the great passing game for the Bears on that day.
Cal did throw for 467 yards on that day and did stop Air Force rushing game good enough to win here.
California 55 - Air Force 36 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 13-8

Tues. Dec. 29 - 5:30 pm ET
Russell Athletic Bowl
#10 North Carolina vs. #17 Baylor
@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
No QB for Baylor?
No problem.
Baylor did adjust very well to their injury situation and did make plays by their great gunners.
Johnny Jefferson got many direct snaps and had offs and ran for 299 yards and 3 scores.
For me, the main reason for the Tar Heels loss was their errors.
Bad tackling, bad containment and on top of that, turnovers.
Most costly was the fumble in the 3rd, trailing by 11 and knocking on the Bears endzone.
The runner did fumble while forcing his way into the endzone and Baylor did recover.
No score and Baylor ball.
ONE play later they were down by 18 after an 80 yard run by Jefferson.
Baylor did prepare great for the game, while it looked like the Tar Heels were on holiday already.
Always the problem on bowls, preparation and motivation.
North Carolina 38 - Baylor 49 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 13-9

Tues. Dec. 29 - 7:30 pm ET
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Nevada vs. Colorado State
@Arizona Stadium - Tucson, AZ
This new bowl was nice.
Even it did feature 2 MWC teams, it was entertaining and close.
Nevada was leading 19-13 at the half.
Extended it to 22-13, but Colorado State answered with a TD. 22-20.
Then came a long time lasting defense battle, until CSU did score a field goal for the 1 point lead.
Nevada went all over the field and powered themselves into the endzone for the 28-22 lead.
But the Rams were not done.
With 9 ticks to go they had not many time left.
They did pass for 9 yards to the Nevada 12 yard line, but the WR did not go out of bounce.
The time did tick down and Nevada won.
Bad execution on that last play.
Nevada 28 - Colorado State 22 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 13-10

Tues. Dec. 29 - 9:00 pm ET
AdvoCare Texas Bowl
#20 LSU vs. Texas Tech
@NRG Stadium - Houston, TX
The Tigers were not able to give their RB the 2000 yard rushing season.
He did need 260, but got only 212 and 4 TDs on the ground and another as receiving TD.
What a pity.
The Tigers did dominate Texas Tech all day long and did win this big time.
LSU 56 - Texas Tech 27 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 13-10

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 4

Wed. Dec. 30 - 12:00 pm ET
Birmingham Bowl
Auburn vs. Memphis
@Legion Field - Birmingham, AL
Since 2006 is this Bowl played and is fielded at the (former) home of the UAB Blazers (team was canceled after 2014 season and will play again 2016).
It's an American vs SEC game.
The teams get around 900.000$.
Hell, this is a strange match.
Auburn barely made it to the Bowl, finishing 6-6 and lost their last game against Alabama.
Memphis did play great at the start, but lost 3 in a row at the end of the season and finished 9-3 after a win on season final against weak SMU.
They also lost their HC Justin Fuente to Virginia Tech as successor for long coaching Hokies Frank Beamer and Memphis OC Darrell Dickey will coach the Bowl.
It's Tigers vs. Tigers and honestly, I don't think Memphis will win here.
I'm always happy for a competitive football game, but I'm pretty sure the Auburn Tigers will be much better than the Memphis Tigers under given conditions.
I'm not even expecting a close game.
Yes, Memphis did beat Ole Miss during the season, under Fuente, and they will now face an Auburn team getting ready several weeks and that should be more than enough to be ready.
Auburn is still an SEC team and Memphis is a rising AAC team, but not on the same level as Auburn.
Memphis will not go down lightly, for sure, but I'm expecting a stronger Auburn defense keeping the Memphis offense in check and the Auburn offense will do the hard work and win the game.
(Auburn) Tigers win.

Wed. Dec. 30 - 3:30 pm ET
Belk Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Mississippi State
@Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, NC
This is played the home of the Carolina Panthers and the bowl is played since 2002.
The ACC should face up against a SEC team.
Each team gets around 1.700.000$.
I think NC State with a 7-5 record will get their butts handed to them by a 8-4 Bulldogs team.
The Wolfpack did win not a single game against a really tough opponent.
Mississippi State did beat Arkansas, Auburn and if you like, Southern Miss.
NC State will not get a 70-0 package here, but if they would stay in the game and would lose by a close margin, I would be surprised. If they would win, I would be even more surprised.
My pick is, the Bulldogs will win by double figure margin.
Bulldogs win.

Wed. Dec. 30 - 7:00 pm ET
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Louisville
@Nissan Stadium - Nashville, TN
Since 1998 is this Bowl played and they field it at the home of the Tennessee Titans.
The SEC send a team versus an ACC team (or BIG10, but not this year).
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
I have to say, I don't like the game.
Texas A&M (8-4) was playing bad offense the last few games and Louisville (7-5) did underperform most of the season.
I'm not sure whether A&M will fix their team until the bowl game is due, or if we will see another let-down against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals did win their rivalry game against SEC team Kentucky, but A&M did not play the Wildcats, so a direct compare (if even useful) is not possible.
My take on this is, we have a shaky SEC team and a decent ACC team facing off against each other, with lots of time to prepare.
I pick Texas A&M in that matchup.
Don't get me wrong, I think Louisville has every chance to win this, but at the end it does not matter that I think in 10 meetings Louisville might win 4.
I have to pick that game and my pick is a binary one, win or lose.
Aggies win.

Wed. Dec. 30 - 10:30 pm ET
Holiday Bowl
#25 USC vs. Wisconsin
@Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
This is played at the home of the San Diego Chargers.
It's played since 1978 and they managed to get the regular PAC12 vs. BIG10 matchup going.
Each team gets around 2.825.000$.
USC was also in last yearÂ's version of this bowl and won (against Nebraska).
This season they will face a reloading team from Wisconsin.
USC had a rough season with their HC getting fired during the season over alcohol problems (he now sues the school for millions of dollars) and a following reinvention as PAC competitor, winning the division, but losing the championship game.
With 8-5 the season was not bad, but could have been way better.
Wisconsin had also a rough start losing to Alabama on season opener, but came together and lost only 2 times more over the season, against later division winner Iowa and against Northwestern.
With 9-3, it's a very good start under a new HC.
Now we will see both teams in California.
USC had a big problem with a good rushing attack in the PAC12 Championship game, but they did for sure face one of the best backs there.
Wisconsin is not the powerhouse on the ground they were known for, so this will get interesting.
The key will very likely be Wisconsins defense.
If they can keep the USC offense in check, I think the Wisconsin offense will score often enough to win this.
USC will have to play their best to crack this defense.
It did not give up many points over the season.
My guess is, the Badgers will play hard football and USC will lose the battle of field position.
Badgers win.

Thurs. Dec. 31 - 12:00 pm ET
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#18 Houston vs. #9 Florida State
@Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA
Since 1968 is this Bowl played and is now fielded in the home of the Atlanta Falcons.
It's part of the College Football Playoff system, which includes the semi-finals and final, but also a list of Bowl for at-large-teams.
Because of this, the old Peach Bowl naming was reinstated last season.
The payout is part of the College Football Playoffs system and is hard to tackle.
I found an article which stated that each Power 5 conference gets 50 mio. regardless of CFP-participation.
Around 6 mio will get each team for a playoff spot, 4 mio for each team in the Big 6 bowls, which this is one of them.
Non power 5 conferences will get 18 mio, Notre Dame 3.75 and other independents only 1.85.
So a huge payout from the system itself, and a nice bonus from this one in addition.
The Bowl features the non-power 5 best team in Houston, which did win the AAC (12-1) and got the big bowl ticket.
Florida State (10-2) did on the other hand got the ticket as one of the best ACC teams, losing only to Clemson (expected) and Georgia Tech (which did hurt them in the rankings big time).
This is the place where Houston as representation of the non power 5 conference teams can show the nation they are competitive.
In the past those teams were named BCS busters, they did not get a catchy name for the CFP-time so far.
The BCS Busters had not a bad record, winning 5 of 8 appearances.
Last season the CFP-team was Boise State (MWC winner of 2014), winning against the Arizona Wildcats (PAC12 South winner of 2014).
I think Houston has a very decent chance to win this one.
I do expect an open game with many points.
Main question will be, whether Houston will be able keep calm.
FSU is way more experienced in this kind of games and that might be the edge needed.
Remember, they did play in the semis last season and won the national championship 2 seasons ago.
Some players did play in both games.
Houstons advantage in this game will be their status as non power 5.
If FSU does take them not serious enough, they will lose.
My pick?
A risky one.
Cougars win.

Thurs. Dec. 31 - 4:00 pm ET
Capital One Orange Bowl - NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
#4 Oklahoma vs. #1 Clemson
@Sun Life Stadium - Miami, FL
This is played since 1935 and is fielded at the home of the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes.
It's also a part of the CFP-Bowls, fielding this season one of the two semi-finals for the college football playoffs.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
Clemson did finish perfect (13-0), claimed the division and then the conference. Now they are only 1 game away to get to the national championship game.
Hard to believe, but many do see them as the underdog here.
Oklahoma had 1 loss this season, against Texas. That happened early enough in the season to get them a fine winning streak at the end and were surprisingly the only sure team in the playoffs prior the championship games.
They won the BIG12 with their 11-1 record and were ranked high enough to wait and see, whether some of the championship games playing teams will win or lose, knowing that in basically no scenario they would drop out of the top 4.
Now they are suddenly even handled as one of the favorites to win it ALL.
Can happen.
Might not.
Clemson did play smart throughout the season.
I do expect a clash of good teams here and the ending is open.
My pick in this is that Clemson wins here in a close game.
Why?
Oklahoma is beatable, for sure, as is Clemson.
The thing is, I don't think Clemson will let this chance go.
Oklahoma did fight through to win the BIG12, but Clemson did cruise through that season without any fault.
Now give both teams 3 weeks time to prepare.
I see a clear advantage for Clemson in terms of momentum and motivation.
Doesn't mean Oklahoma can't win, but I think Clemson will find a way to score that last time to secure the win.
Tigers win.

Thurs. Dec. 31 - 8:00 pm ET
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
#3 Michigan State vs. #2 Alabama
@AT&T Stadium - Arlington, TX
Michigan State (12-1)
Alabama (12-1)
This one exists since 1937.
It was named one of the 6 CFP-Bowls.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
Some do see this as small finale.
Alabama had another great season, but stumbled over Ole Miss during the season, again, finishing 12-1 as SEC champ.
Michigan State had also a great season, but did also lose 1 game (against Nebraska in a wild finish), winning the BIG10 with a 12-1 record.
The Crimson Tide is the favorite here and it will be tough for both teams to win.
I'm not expecting a blowout in any way, fielding 2 good defenses.
The game changer might be, that a Nick Saban team given 3 weeks of preparation is a very good one.
Not sure whether the Spartans can match this.
Last year it did happen that Alabama lost, so Sabans team is not unbeatable.
My pick is more or less a coin toss.
We have 2 teams which did fight through the season and did play tough games, winning close ones and losing 1 game each.
Advantage is more or less not given.
I think overall did Michigan State escape a bit too often in the past in close games, which can be a sign for a lucky team, or a team with strong will.
Combined with a strong opponent, I think they will get into trouble.
Alabama is too strong to be sloppy.
I'm leaning towards Alabama, because of this.
Crimson Tide win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-12-26

And so this is Christmas...

Remember the tune of John Lennon and Yoko Ono singing "Happy XMas, war is over"?

We change the lyrics slightly, sorry John and Yoko, and sing

"And so this is Christmas,
and what have we done?
We created a challenge,
this should be fun"...

Yeah, some of you might remember our former member MTS1972, his "Intercontinental Elite Challenge Cup" - co called IECC, and of course the proud winner Alexshans84.

We thought it would be great to repeat this, and here we go. You wanna receive some real hardware for winning a cup tournament? You wanna win some more stuff like free supporter accounts, or Credits? You have no Credits to join? We answer all your questions in the forum!

Have a read: https://redzoneaction.org/football/index.php?page=community&subpage=thread&thread_id=100007679. And join!

2015-12-21

Bowls 2015 wave 2

And that's how it starts.

The Bowl-season did start on Saturday and it got interesting right from the beginning.

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

Sat. Dec. 19 - 2:00 pm ET
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Arizona vs. New Mexico
@ University Stadium - Albuquerque, NM
This was a very error prone game.
It started good for the Lobos, which I expected to win.
The Wildcats did fumble and New Mexico did score a field goal out of this.
But then did the Lobos turn the ball over (interception) and Arizona did score a TD.
Later did Arizona throw an interception, but on 4th and 8 did New Mexico decided to run (on Arizonas 23 yard line) and failed.
Exact 3 plays later did Arizona score a TD and went up 14-3.
Until the half did then follow a TD there and TD here game which ended up to remain the margin of 11 at the half for Arizona.
They added each another score after the half (35-24 now) when the Lobos made the next bad mistake.
An interception in New Mexicos own red zone gave Arizona the ball on the 4 yards line.
The Wildcats said THANK YOU and scored again.
But the Lobos did answer with a score, made a surprising onside kick, recovered it and scored again!
Now the score was 42-37.
Arizona miss a FG, but the Lobos were unable to score the next drive and Arizona tried another FG in their next drive.
It was good and the score was 45-37.
With around 1:30 left on the clock did New Mexico try one last comeback, but failed by getting intercepted.
Arizona did win by 8 thanks to some crucial mistakes from the Lobos.
A bit sad for New Mexico, I think they really had a chance here, but such mistakes did not result in wins often.
Arizona 45 - New Mexico 37 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 0-1

Sat. Dec. 19 - 3:30 pm ET
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
BYU vs. #22 Utah
@Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, NV
This was CRAZY (you would need something bigger than capital letters to describe it ...)
The very 1st drive? BYU fumbles and Utah does score a TD.
Second BYU drive? PICK SIX!
Third BYU drive? Interception and Utah does score a TD.
Forth BYU drive? PICK SIX!
Fifth BYU drive? Fumble and Utah scores a TD.
At that point it was 35-0 and 4:38 left in the 1st Quarter!
BYU then got a good drive going and miss a FG.
Then very long nothing until before the half did BYU had another big drive and score a TD.
Second half? All BYU and the scored a TD after TD, but needed way too long to score and way too long to stop Utah.
It was 35-28 for Utah when BYU score the last TD of the game, almost 3:30 left.
Were they able to stop Utah? No ....
Bad clock management and a bad defense effort left the Cougars losing that game, which was lost by the offense and 5 turnover at the start.
Utah was strong enough to hold BYU off long enough to secure the win, but they can't be proud of that.
BYU 28 - Utah 35 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 1-1

Sat. Dec. 19 - 5:30 pm ET
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Ohio vs. Appalachian State
@Crampton Bowl - Montgomery, AL
A great game, I hope you did see it.
The Mountaineers did score 1st, but then did the Bobcats shift into 2nd gear and went ahead 24-7 in the 3rd quarter.
Appalachian State woke up just early enough to score, intercept Ohio the next drive and score again, intercept Ohio AGAIN and score another TD.
Suddenly it was Ohio trailing 24-28.
Over?
No.
Ohio was unable to move on offense, but scored a safety the next play after the punt and were also able to score a field goal after the following free kick.
That 21 yarder did lift Ohio ahead 29-28!
But the game was not over.
With 1:47 left did Appalachian State work themselves down the field and with 2 ticks left on the clock did the kicker step on the field, kicked it with time running out and MADE IT!
From 23 yards away it was the game winning FG.
Appalachian State won their 1st bowl ever.
Ohio 29 - Appalachian State 31 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 2-1


Sat. Dec. 19 - 7:00 pm ET
AutoNation Cure Bowl
San Jose State vs. Georgia State
@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
Arghhh, the poor Panthers.
SJSU did lead at the half 10-7.
They did lead at the end of the 3rd quarter 13-7.
Georgia State then did score a Safety and a TD and suddenly were leading 16-13!
But the Spartans answered with a TD on their own and got the lead back. 20-16.
Then were Georgia State unable to answer that, punted and San Jose were able to make a scoring drive. 27-16.
Trailing that much did lead to a more demanding passing play selection and at the end ... to an interception.
Georgia State did play their 1st bowl but the 5-7 Spartans did win that bowl they were not supposed to play and finished the season 6-7.
San Jose State 27 - Georgia State 16 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 2-2

Sat. Dec. 19 - 9:00 pm ET
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech
@Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
Kenneth Dixon is the Bulldogs record setting running back.
He overcame the record set by Navy QB Keenan Reynolds last week (85 career TDs) and pushed the record to 87 TDs over a career by a 4TD games in this bowl.
During the game he had 215 yards from scrimmage and did change his jersey (his front number got ripped off and he later changed to a jersey with #1 on it, more because of the record I think, a bit because of the jersey).
Until halftime it was an open game, tied at 17.
Later tied at 20, LT got away after that for good.
Arkansas State did score again when Lt was already leading by 24 points.
At the end did Louisiana win this one by a huge margin.
Arkansas State 28 - Louisiana Tech 47 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 3-2

That was the 1st wave of bowls at the weekend. The 2nd wave will cover all bowl until Christmas.

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 2

Mon. Dec. 21 - 2:30 pm ET
Miami Beach Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. South Florida
Marlins Park - Miami, FL
This was established last season.
The bowl itself is hosted by the AAC and the feel free to invite teams from the CUSA, MAC or SBC.
The payout for each team is still not known.
WKU won the CUSA and went 11-2 over the season.
South Florida did go 8-2 which was a surprise.
Advantage playing field (which is a baseball stadium) is on South Florida, advantage in team strength for me is on Western Kentucky.
How South Florida will handle this explosive team is not known yet, my take is, they won't be able to stop them often enough to win this.
The crowd will keep them in the game, the players will lose it on the field.
Hilltoppers win.

Tues. Dec. 22 - 3:30 pm ET
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Akron vs. Utah State
@Albertsons Stadium - Boise, ID
This was known as the Humanitarian Bowl.
It is played at the University of Boise in Idaho and is worth around 325.000$ for each team.
This Bowl is played since 1997 and it is played at the moment between teams from the MWC and the MAC.
The field was long time the only FBS playing field with a different colour than green. (the other stadium is now, since 2014, the field of Eastern Michigan, coloured in grey)
Its blue colour did lead to one of many nick names, one of the most often used is the "Smurf turf".
With Akron (7-5) and Utah State (6-6) the class of the teams this season is not that good.
Akron is on a high note with their winning record.
This is only their second bowl game, ever (and that team exists since 1891!).
Last bowl was 2005 (a loss).
Utah State on the other hand is on a low.
Last season they hand 9 wins during the regular season and added another in a bowl game, this season they had so far 6 wins and lost 3 of their last 4 games.
I have to say, Akron will have to show me something to work with, until then, I will pick Utah State in this matchup.
Akron did make progress, no doubt, but a MAC team playing against a MWC team will have to do better than winning just 1 more game in regular season to convince me to pick that MAC team.
I wish Akron all the best, the program can use it for sure.
Still, Aggies win.

Tues. Dec. 22 - 7:00 pm ET
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
#24 Temple vs. Toledo
@FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, FL
This bowl is in his 2nd season, founded 2014.
It belongs basically to the MAC.
As planned they did invite an AAC team and they got a division champ in Temple.
Toledo did almost win their division, but lost their last game and fell to 3rd place.
It's played in the home stadium of Florida Atlantic University (playing in the CUSA).
The payout is named 400.000$ per team.
Toledo will be different from the high flying team we saw during the season.
Their coach did go to Iowa State and their OC got promoted to permanent HC and will guide the team to the bowl.
Temple on the other hand will be guided by their coach, who did agree on an extension.
I hope both teams do enjoy the sun in Florida, because back at home it will be frosty.
I can't see any real big argument to pick Toledo here. Sure a good team, but they will play a team which almost beat Notre Dame.
Not saying they will go down for sure, it's very likely Temple will win here under given circumstances.
I think only the x-factor of playing a bowl game itself in a stadium far far away might give Temple trouble.
If the team treat this as holiday trip, they might stumble.
I think Matt Rhule will have his team focused.
Owls win.

Wed. Dec. 23 - 4:30 pm ET
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Boise State vs. Northern Illinois
@Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
This is played on the home field of the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs.
It is played since 2005 and each team gets around 612.500$.
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and different teams from different conferences each year, if they are eligible.
Boise State did underperform and did not win their division, finished 8-4.
Northern Illinois did win their division with help of Toledo, which lost their last game.
As consequence did NIU then lose in the MAC Championship game and finished 8-5.
I will make this quick here.
Boise State has still enough reputation and I have still enough faith in the Broncos to overcome the Huskies.
If these Huskies would have been the Huskies from former seasons, I would have had 2nd guesses regarding picking Boise State, but this season, NIU did not play on a constant level.
Boise State did also struggle 4 times, but I have bigger faith in Harsin (Boises HC) to guide his team to a win, than I have in Carey (NIUs HC).
Broncos win.

Wed. Dec. 23 - 8:00 pm ET
GoDaddy Bowl
Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green
@Ladd Peebles Stadium - Mobile, AL
Since 1999 is this Bowl played and its played at the home of the South Alabama Jaguars.
At the moment it is a Sun Belt Conference vs MAC Bowl.
Each team gets around 750.000$.
The huge (compared to other bowls) payout is probably the reason why Bowling Green (10-3) as MAC Champ does play Georgia Southern (8-4).
I don't understand why not Arkansas State as SBC champ does play here.
Geographical reasons? Not really.
Maybe Georgia fans are better known for traveling.
I don't think Georgia Southern will win here.
Bowling Green did look very good in the Championship game and Georgia Southern did lose to Georgia State on the last gameday.
Some conspiracy might see there a thrown game to give the SBC another bowl game, but I doubt that.
The only thing that might help Georgia Southern is that Bowling Greens HC did bolt to Syracuse and the team will be coached on an interims basis.
THAT might give them a chance.
A big one?
Yes.
Big enough?
Probably not.
Falcons win.

Thurs. Dec. 24 - 12:00 pm ET
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan
@Thomas Robinson Stadium - Nassau, Bahamas
This one is the stupidest bowl I've seen so far.
A new Bowl since 2014 for FBS-Football, it's played on the Bahamas in a 15.000 seat multipurpose stadium, which is mainly used for soccer matches.
Last year it was not sold out.
I'm sure this year’s matchup will bring more attendance ... not.
The bowl is only a MAC-Bowl and plays against the CUSA.
They payout for each team is not known, I did find 450.000$ for each team, but that might be a misleading number, because there was a press release that last season’s MAC team Central Michigan got 450.000$ from the MAC just to GET there.
In best case the MAC got really the money back with CMU attending.
This season it's MTSU vs. WMU.
The 7-5 Blue Raiders from the CUSA will have to play a nice game to overcome the quite hot 7-5 Broncos from the MAC.
But Middle Tennessee has won their last 4 games, while the hot Western Michigan team did start strong, but lost some big games and was only able to regain form against Toledo at season finale to win that last one.
Tough to make a pick, but I favoured the Broncos, until I did scan the season results.
Middle Tennessee had many games against bigger teams, lost by a few points, while WMU lost several games against stronger teams by a mile.
Given some time for preparation, I assume MTSU will get this done in from of 14.000 tourists in the sun.
I hope they can enjoy the time after the game.
Happy holidays!
Blue Raiders win.

Thurs. Dec. 24 - 8:00 pm ET
Hawai'i Bowl
San Diego State vs. Cincinnati
@Aloha Stadium - Honolulu, HI
YES! ALOHA!
I love that welcome call.
Normally Hawai'i does play here (if eligible, not happened since 2010) and then some other team.
The Hawai'i Bowl is played since 2002 and each team gets around 750.000$.
It does team up MWC teams against a CUSA team.
Obviously that did not work this season and an American Athletic team, Cincinnati, was chose to play against the Mountain West Champ San Diego State.
This should be interesting.
I expect SDSU to be dominant in this game.
The 7-5 Bearcats did lose many bigger games in the American and San Diego State win 10 games and lost only 3. Only the OT loss to South Alabama does not really fit here.
Overall we have a sun proven team from California against a team from snowfall prone Ohio playing on a tropical island.
Alone the weather should make Cincinnati play worse than usual, while San Diego should be comfortable.
And don't underestimate the extra traveling time ...
Aztecs win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-12-18

Bowls 2015 wave 1

This season we have a record setting 41 bowl games.

It might become the peak of bowls played out, since there are not enough teams this season being eligible to play in a bowl. On the other hand there are several bowls in the pipeline to be fielded, on top.
All FBS-Team can become eligible for Bowls (except those teams in transition from FCS to FBS) with 6 wins or more and you can have even 2 games against FCS-Teams on your schedule (which normally are blowouts and sure wins) and still be eligible.
The only other exception is a NCAA bowl ban, which happens from time to time, in which case a team is banned from post season plays for several seasons.

This season a number of 80 teams would have been needed to fill up all the bowls, including the semi-finals. The National Championship game would then be filled by the semi-final winners.
Only 77 teams had those needed 6+ wins, which lead to an odd situation, not only adding losing teams to a bowl, which had happened in the past a few times (normally 6-7 teams), but also teams with less than 6 wins. The average if eligible teams in the past was about 71 teams getting the 6 wins, but that number is not necessarily correct, since the number of FBS teams did increase over the past few seasons.

The 3 teams with a 5-7 record were chose this season to fill the 3 open gaps based on their APR ranking (Academic Progress Rate) and the winners were Nebraska, Minnesota, and San Jose State. Lucky for them it was not needed to add a 4th teams, because there are 2 teams on the next spot waiting and good luck choosing 'the right one' ...

The money will at the end decide if some of the new bowls will survive this number of bowls, I would assume some bowls do attract not enough attention and will fold when the 1st contract runs out, but you never know.
As long as all parties do earn money, they will continue it.
Good news for the SBC for example, they have a lot of teams in the bowl, while in the past they were left out of bowls most of the time even when they had 6+ wins.

So now we have 80 teams in the 40 bowls and I will give a preview to all of them.

This season the Bowls will start at Saturday, December 19th and will be played until Monday, January 11th, which is the National Championship game with no participator decided yet.

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

Sat. Dec. 19 - 2:00 pm ET
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Arizona vs. New Mexico
@ University Stadium - Albuquerque, NM
This is played at the University of New Mexico and is played since 2006.
Each team gets around 456.250$
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and CUSA but this season the bowl decided to pick a PAC12 team, probably because no CUSA team was available at that time.
Arizona had a rough season, were supposed to play for another PAC12 division title, if not even more and ended up 6-6.
New Mexico from the MWC did finish 7-5 and will try to hold of the good, but sometimes not well playing offense of the Wildcats.
Don't underestimate the Lobos, they did win against Boise State, Utah State and on the last gameday to then already fixed division champ Air Force.
It's not easy to pick here a winner, but this as a home game for the Lobos, I pick them as a winner.
I'm expecting a high scoring game and it might come down to some crazy last drive heroics on offense or defense to determine the winner.
I love the matchup.
Lobos win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 3:30 pm ET
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
BYU vs. #22 Utah
@Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, NV
This is a great matchup played in the home of the UNLV Rebels.
It is played since 1992 and each team gets around 1.100.000 $.
Normally do 2 teams from the PAC12 and the MWC play in this game, but obviously did the MWC not have the right participant available and the independent team of Brigham Young was invited.
So it's HOLY WAR! In SIN CITY!
The rivalry game is played quite often, a very long time annually but the last game was 2013 and now, by a Bowl game, we have another matchup.
Utah is having a 4 game winning streak in this rivalry and for the current season it does look good for a 5th win in a row.
Utah did play very good and finished 9-3, and BYU did also play good, but had some lucky wins and finished also 9-3.
The thing is, the Cougars did lose their long time HC Bronco Mendenhall to Virginia and even if he will coach them in the Las Vegas Bowl, which he will do and which is really not common, this will have a strange taste on it.
There are 2 things possible from my point of view.
The team might live up one more time for the coach and university and will play tough ball, or the team will play not 100% concentrated and it will be a bad performance.
If I would be a team member, I would feel betrayed by Mendenhalls leave, out of nowhere.
Not saying the team will feel the same.
I pick in this game Utah as a winner, because of the simple fact that BYU had some lucky wins and Utah is from my point of view a bit better than BYU this season.
BYU can win this, but only if they come out and play as being in their last game ever.
Utes win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 5:30 pm ET
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Ohio vs. Appalachian State
@Crampton Bowl - Montgomery, AL
A new bowl since last season, 2014.
The bowl was played under the same name in the past (1948 and 1961-1980) but this new version is played since 2014.
It ties into the SBC and the MAC and they found teams from both conference to play in this bowl.
They payout is not public so far, but I did find a hint for just 100.000 $ for each team, which would be a laughing stock.
Ohio had some good games and some bad games this season and finished 8-4.
Worst loss was probably the Buffalo game, best wins the game against Marshall and NIU.
Appalachian State finished 10-2 and was 1 game short of winning the SBC.
They lost to Clemson (ACC Champ) and Arkansas State (SBC Champ).
The Mountaineers have the chance to win here, big.
Ohio is a good team, well coached, but I will pick against them.
Appalachian State is for me a much more decent team and I think they will have the edge at the end of the game.
Not 100% sure here, but sure enough to pick them.
Mountaineers win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 7:00 pm ET
AutoNation Cure Bowl
San Jose State vs. Georgia State
@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
The 1st new bowl of the 2015 season.
It's meant to be a matchup between the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt Conference and that failed already in the 1st try.
Instead the bowl had to s e l e c t the 5-7 San Diego State.
For Georgia State it's the 1st bowl game in their young FBS history.
It's hard to believe, but I found only this number: payout for each team, 1.350.000$.
For a new bowl, this is very much and for a bowl between AAC and SBC, that's huge.
Now the money will go to the MWC and SBC, which is even more odd.
Lucky them, if that's true.
The game itself will be interesting to watch, even if both teams are not the top teams.
San Jose State will have to field their A-game to beat Georgia State, which did show in their last game, that they can play.
They earned that spot on the field (not like San Diego State, getting the spot in the class room) and will play with passion, while San Jose will have to travel the whole USA to play.
I don't think that the Spartans will be able to play 100% and Georgia State will not only PLAY their 1st bowl, they will WIN it.
Panthers win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 9:00 pm ET
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech
@Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
This is played since 2001 and each team gets around 500.000$.
The teams are chosen from the CUSA and the SBC.
It's the 1st time since 2010 that NOT the Ragin' Cajuns do play in this game.
The 8-4 Bulldogs from Louisiana will almost have a home game here, while the 9-3 Red Wolves from Arkansas State have to travel more than double the distant to get to the Gulf of Mexico.
I think that game will feature many many points.
Both teams can light up the score board, but that has to be put into perspective of the opponents.
It's anybody’s guess who will win this, but I do give the Louisiana team the edge.
Bulldogs win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-12-14

FBS - Week 15 Review

Inszenierung (means staging)

Was it just my personal feeling, or was the Army-Navy-game this season staged as one of a kind?
So much buzz around that game, the winning streak of Navy, ESPNs Corso’s past coaching history with them in the 60s (which was a nice clip, Corso was at tears seeing this the 1st time), Keenan Reynolds last game, his absence at the Heisman ceremony, the coaches and so on.

At the end, it was an interesting football game, but not more, as the last game of the regular season.

Shortly before the game came the news that Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo will talk with BYU on their coaching opening.
It would be a big loss for Navy, if he would take the job in Utah after so many successful years at Navy.

Another coaching search did end, when Dukes OC Scottie Montgomery was hired to become East Carolinas new HC.

Next weekend will start the Bowl-Season, but before that let’s have the last review.

the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAME FOR WEEK 15

Sat. Dec. 12 â€" 3:00 pm ET
Army vs. Navy
It was more interesting than expected.
Army did play good and did stop Navy quite often to keep the game close, until the final whistle.
Navy was stopped on their 1st drive, Army were able to score a field goal and THEN did Reynolds have 1 of his signature runs to score a TD.
My thought on that was, that’ how it will be. Army will score, a bit, Navy will answer fast and with a TD. No chance.
But Army did not fall that way.
They did score on their own the next drive, now leading 10-7.
They were then both able to stop the opponent for 1 drive and when Navy had the Ball again, they marched over the field (50 yards) to cap the drive with TD, Reynolds 85th career rushing TD (as QB!), which is the most ever number accumulated over a career for Division I.
Now over?
Not so fast, after another punt-punt-drive exchange did Army suddenly pass a deep bomb and did score a TD for the 17-14 lead. BOOM.
The stadium went wild and Navy tried to get 1 final score before the half, but failed to do so and Army went into the halftime as leading team.
Then came a loooooong period of short drives until Navy got the ball back after a punt and found their own deep bomb for a 1-play-drive-capped-with-a-TD-play.
Navy on top 21-17.
Army than had a nice drive around the quarter end and start but missed a field goal try from 29 yards.
After that, Navy was more or less unable to move the ball, but Army had 3 turnovers on 3 consecutive drives, 1 fumble and 2 interceptions. I think they got frustrated then.
Even trick plays did not help.
At the end, Navy did survive the Army storm and won their 14th game in a row.
But changes are coming.
The coach might be gone, the star QB is gone and Army is getting better, even their record does not show it. Next season can become interesting for this rivalry.
Army 17 - Navy 21 -> Jacks Score: 46-22

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-12-11

FBS - Week 15 Preview

The last game is near …

For traditional reasons we have 1 game left for the regular season.

The Army-Navy game is played on the weekend AFTER all other .championships and last regular season games were played since 2009, regaining the status quo of former seasons being the last game played as the one and only game. From 2006 to 2008 there were several championship games and other games held on the same weekend as Army-Navy, because the season was expended to 12 games on a regular basis.
This tradition does now create a little conflict with the playoff selection committee, which normally does post their final list after the championship games, so BEFORE the Army-Navy-game. The committee has stated that they will delay the final list for a week, if Army or Navy would have an impact on the rankings. So far, this did not happen in 2 seasons.

The Army-Navy-Game is one of the longest played rivalry game of college football, played since 1895 and annually played since 1930. Navy is leading the series with 59â€"49â€"7 and does also have the longest winning streak in that series with 13 games, still running since 2002.

The game is also a part of the Commander-In-Chief-Trophy-series, played annually by Army, Navy and Air Force.
Rules for that trophy are quite simple. Each team does play every other team once a season. If a team wins two games, the trophy goes to that team, if every team wins one game each, the trophy winner of the last season does keep the trophy.
Last season the trophy was won by Air Force.
This season, Navy has beaten Air Force and Air Force has beaten Army. If Army beat Navy, Air Force will keep the trophy, if Navy wins against Army, Navy will get the trophy.
The last time Army has won the trophy is 1996. Since then did Air Force and Navy won the trophy 9 times each, with Air Force having a big streak between 1997 and 2002 followed by an even bigger streak of Navy from 2003 to 2009. Since then the winner did change regularly.

This season the game is played in Philadelphia on the home field of the Philadelphia Eagles.

If you are looking for the first few bowl games, you have to be patient until they start, mid of December. This week will be only Army-Navy.

So the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAME FOR WEEK 15 is

Sat. Dec. 12 â€" 3:00 pm ET
Army vs. Navy
Honestly, don’t expect too much from that game. As said, Navy is driving LONG winning streak in this game and the teams record this season are not far from the season before and before and … you get the picture.
In fact Army is for sure one of the worst teams of the past 10 seasons. This season they won against Eastern Michigan and Bucknell (FCS) and all other games were losses. Many close ones, but at the end, it doesn’t matter. If I may pick up their claim, “there is strong and then there is Army …”well .. losses I guess. They did not improve compared to last season in win totals, but their coach is in their 2nd season, I change was unlikely and did not happen so far.
Navy on the other hand had an even better season than last year, losing only against Notre Dame and Houston, both ranked in the final AP-polls. All other games were wins. They were close to playing in the AAC Championship game.
The rivalry will hopefully give us something worth to watch here, but my guess is, this will be over at halftime. Navys triple option offense did drive many teams crazy, many of them were way better than the Black Knights.
Here is my pick: The Midshipmen will pump their arms out (Navy members in the ranks do push-ups for every TD) and we will see a total victory. Navy will gain the hardware.
Midshipmen win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-12-08

FBS - Week 14 Review

Ende (means the end)

That's it, the regular season beside the Army-Navy-game is over.

There are winners and losers and especially this weekend with so many Championship games played, teams won and lost very important games.

There were basically no upsets this weekend on the championship games, so no real surprises.

Some were close, very close even, but all the favorites did win out.

The committee did made their sit in and selected

1 - Clemson
2 - Alabama
3 - Michigan State
4 - Oklahoma

as the 4 playoff teams.

That means, Clemson will play Oklahoma and Alabama will take on Michigan State.

The only open conference champ beside the ones in the games a bit down under is the Sun Belt Champ.
Arkansas State did win the conference in a very big win over Texas State 55-17 as the only champ. Nothing to share here.

Some more coaching positions were filled during this weekend.

Bowling Green has to look for a new HC, Dino Babers did accept the gig at Syracuse.

Very surprisingly did Bronco Mendenhall leave BYU to become the new coach of Virginia. For me, this is a major deal for Virginia, but a kick into the family jewels of BYU. If BYU can't keep coaches from moving to a program like Virginia, then something is fishy.

Miami hired ex-Georgia HC Mark Richts.

Maryland decided to move forward with Michigans DC D.J. Durkin as new HC. Interesting move. Some say, Maryland has all the tools to become the 'Oregon of the East', referring to the close relationship with Under Armor, like Oregon has with Nike.

Memphis fired Arizona States OC Mike Norvell as new HC. Also an interesting move, the Sun Devils had several good and bad games this season.

The University of North Texas found their next HC in UNC Assistant Seth Littrell.

A bit surprising did South Carolina hire Auburns DC and former Florida HC Will Muschamp.

Toledo promoted their OC Jason Candle to HC.

UCF did hire Oregons OC Scott Frost as new HC.

And last new hire was Rutgers did chose Ohio States DC as their new HC, Chris Ash.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 14

Fri. Dec. 4 - 8:00 pm ET
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois
This was over quickly.
The Falcons did lead 21-0 at the half.
NIU did try to start a comeback, but Bowling Green did keep them on distance.
At the end, the margin was 20 points and Bowling Green won the MAC.
Shortly after that it was announce their HC will leave for Syracuse, so it might happen that Bowling Green will not play as their old self in the bowl.
Bowling Green 34 - Northern Illinois 14 -> Jacks Score: 40-20

Sat. Dec. 5 - 12:00 pm ET
CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Southern Mississippi vs. Western Kentucky
This was great.
Southern Miss came out firing on all cylinders leading at some point 21-7.
Then came WKU shortly before the break and did score 2 TDs.
Game tied at halftime.
At the end of the 3rd did WKU lead by 3.
And then ... came the 1st-score-interception-2nd-score-punch by WKU and Southern Miss lost the game.
CUSA belong to the Hilltoppers.
Southern Mississippi 28 - Western Kentucky 45-> Jacks Score: 41-20

Sat. Dec. 5 - 12:00 pm ET
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#22 Temple vs. #19 Houston
I'm sure some Temple fans will see this different, but Houston had won this game early.
Temple was never really able to stop Houston and that's deadly.
At the end did Houston win by 11 points.
A big future lies ahead for the Cougars, if they can really keep their coach.
First they can celebrate the AAC title and then they can prepare to play a big team in a new years bowl, which is Florida State.
Temple 13 - Houston 24-> Jacks Score: 42-20

Sat. Dec. 5 - 4:00 pm ET
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#18 Florida vs. #2 Alabama
This did not turn out as I expected it.
I really thought Alabama would put up 14+ points per quarter, but at halftime it was only 12-7 ahead. (Floridas score was a punt return TD)
Alabama then had a better quarter in the 3rd and did outscore Florida 10-0 there to extend the lead to 22-7.
Not over yet, but almost.
The Crimson Tide did score 1 more TD until Florida did finally score on their own.
Overall did Florida not impress, but also not fail too much.
I think there is hope for the Gators next season and they can also play a nice Bowl.
Alabama will face Michigan State in the semis.
Florida 15 - Alabama 29 -> Jacks Score: 43-20

Sat. Dec. 5 - 7:30 pm ET
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Air Force vs. San Diego State
Argggh. I did pick the Falcons and they did .. well ... have too many errors this weekend.
The game went back and forth.
It was 10-10 at halftime, Air Force scored 1st in the 3rd, SDSU did answer for tie at 17.
Then did the Aztecs score and Air Force answered for a tie at 24.
With 5 min. to play did SDSU score a FG and Air Force needed their last drive until they were stopped at mid field.
The Hail Mary went too short and was batted away.
The Aztecs did win the Mountain West.
Air Force 24 - San Diego State 27 -> Jacks Score: 43-21

Sat. Dec. 5 - 7:45 pm ET
PAC12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#7 Stanford vs. #20 USC
Oh this was great.
That Stanford RB did do it all and broke even a record set by Barry Sanders.
Christian McCaffrey was Stanfords best runner and best receiver, did keep the Cardinals drive alive and did score, often.
He score a rushing TD, a reception TD and a pass TD!
Overall did USC not play their best, or Stanford did play just better.
Stanford did never trail and won that game over time and did increase the margin quarter by quarter.
Would they be worth a playoff spot?
Maybe, but show me the team that should not be in from the group of 4?
Stanford will play the Rose Bowl, which is great, against Iowa, which is even greater.
I love the matchup.
USC will play Wisconsin, which is also a nice one.
Stanford 41 - USC 22 -> Jacks Score: 44-21

Sat. Dec. 5 - 8:00 pm ET
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#10 North Carolina vs. #1 Clemson
That was a nice game, I did not expect to see.
Clemson did play a bit error prone, miss a FG and their punter had a total blackout during 1 drive, trying to run instead to punt and gave the Tar Heels great field position.
The Coach was not amused.
Clemson did lead 21-16 at the half and they were lucky to have that.
Then did Clemson turn on the afterburner and pulled away 35-16 and the Tar Heels did look like the sure losers.
But they came back and with a few ticks left on the clock, at 45-37, UNC was forced to make an onside kick to have a single chance to score a TD and maybe a 2 point conversion.
They kicked and DID recover, but were flagged for offside, which was a totally blown call.
The retry failed and Clemson won.
Clemson will now face Oklahoma in the playoffs, while UNC will play Baylor in a bowl.
North Carolina 37 - Clemson 45 -> Jacks Score: 45-21

Sat. Dec. 5 - 8:17 pm ET
BIG10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#5 Michigan State vs. #4 Iowa
And the last championship game.
And a great finish.
But the game was all about defense.
Iowa did throw a bad interception early in the game in the endzone.
The ball was not well caught and then hit out of the arms of that receiver only to get caught by a Spartan.
No points and turnover.
Iowa did trail 3-6 at the half.
Then at the quarter switch at the end of the 3rd and start of the 4th, down 6-9, did Iowa throw out of nowhere a deep ball and scored a big play TD.
BOOM! Up 13-9.
But Michigan State did come back, right into the endzone with their final drive.
4th and 2 on Iowas 5 yard line.
Snap and STOPPED!
But wait a minute? Who did call a timeout BEFORE the snap? Iowa!
So still 4th and 2!
And Michigan State made the 1st down!
And the score!
Iowa in panic mode and they were not able to get another miracle play (tried a bad lateral play ...).
The Spartans will face now Alabama in the semis, Iowa will face Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Michigan State 16 - Iowa 13 -> Jacks Score: 45-22

More interesting results:
Texas did beat Baylor 23-17 for the last win. Texas went out with a 5-7 record. We will see, if that's enough to stay at Texas, but it looks like it is, for now.
Georgia State did win against Georgia Southern 34-7 and secured a bowl spot on their own with that 6th win.
Kansas State won against West Virginia 24-23 and did also secure a bowl spot on their own.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-12-05

Doing it like Favre ...

One of the wishes of our managers was to allow players to stay one more year with the team, once they announced to retire.

We added such a feature today. At season rollover the players announce their wish to retire. Up to 2 out of these retiring players per team offer the manager to stay for one more year. The manager receives a message telling about the players will to rethink retirement. The manager can then pay the amount asked by the player. The function is available on the players detail page, next to the options for firing players.

The player will ask for at least $2,000,000, but no more than $10,000,000 - depending on his wage bill.

To give you an idea how it works we asked the retiring players to think about such an offer, and a few of them might have agreed to offer the manager staying one more year. Check your teams inbox...

Another feature is a more detailed play-by-play for scrimmage games, where the action at the line of scrimmage is described. Missed blocks or going for pancakes? Play scrimmages to know more about your players blocking abilities...

2015-12-03

FBS - Week 14 Preview

Championship weekend is coming.
Almost every conference does field a championship game now (BIG12 and the Sun Belt are the only ones with such a game lacking the needed 12+ members to be allowed to field one) and for me this is the best week of the season, except some bowls.
The thing is, you can of cause determine a champion like the BIG12 is doing it, playing round robin and the top team is the winner. But that’s boring, at least for me.
It’s much more fun to field 1 more game in a do-or-die-scenario.
Not only is this game most of the time the game between 2 very good football teams, it not only leaves room for upsets and surprises, no, it also delivers a clear champion, which sometimes did not happened with 11 or less teams. Shared championships were and are still quite common.
So this weekend it’s do-or-die tie for several teams.
Some matchups this season are nice, some are great, some are a bit boring. But overall, some great games are coming, with great implications. For the 4 conferences of the power 5 conferences it means not only getting the championship trophy, it also means a more or less clear path to a playoff spot. Since there are only 4 spots for 5 conferences it will be interesting, which conference will be left out. Bets are at the moment on the PAC12, but upsets CAN happen and this could change the world dramatically.

The Committee did post their last list before the final rankings next week and it did not change much.
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 12-0
2 Alabama 11-1
3 Oklahoma 11-1
4 Iowa 12-0
5 Michigan State 11-1
6 Ohio State 11-1
7 Stanford 10-2
8 Notre Dame 10-2
9 Florida State 10-2
10 North Carolina 11-1

Notre Dame did drop a few spots and since they do not play any game this weekend, their fate is final. More interesting is Ohio State at #6. Best case for Ohio State would be to see upsets by North Carolina, Florida (which is ranked at #18) and USC (ranked at #20). That would give lots of room at the top and it might happen that Ohio State can sneak into the playoffs. Maybe even an UNC win is not needed.

Highest ranked non-power-5-team is now Houston at #19 playing Temple (ranked #22) this weekend for the AAC-Championship game. The winner will get the new-years-bowl-spot.

Let’s get to my personal list.
I updated the remaining games list, including all remaining games, to get a better picture.

Remember that my approach is, that most likely a 2-loss team will not be ranked higher as the strongest unbeaten and 1-loss teams.
There is from my point of view some kind of exception to that rule, but I did NOT put that team in my list. Stanford has 2 losses and will play for the PAC12 championship this weekend. They are ranked at #7 in the committee list.
A win in the championship game and some upsets in the other championship games might push Stanford high enough for a playoff spot. I doubt it (as I do doubt such a doomsday scenario), but it’s possible.
Last weekend did drop 4 teams out of my list, Notre Dame, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Florida.
No team got their 1st loss, so the remaining teams did just boost their win total.
There are 7 teams left in my list and some will lose next week because of the championship matchups.
Best case scenario?
Clemson beats North Carolina, Iowa beat Michigan State, Alabama beats Florida and USC wins against Stanford. That would leave Clemson, Iowa, Alabama and most likely Oklahoma for the playoffs. Probably the Stanford loss is not even needed for that.
Worst case scenario?
North Carolina beats Clemson, Michigan State wins against Iowa, Florida wins against Alabama and Stanford wins against USC. Most likely will Clemson drop behind North Carolina and Iowa behind Michigan State. I’m not sure if Alabama would drop behind Florida, but could happen. Stanford would rise. Who would be in? Oklahoma for sure, Michigan State for sure, but then it gets blurry. I think North Carolina could land a spot, but Florida with 2 losses? Stanford, also with 2 losses? Or more likely Ohio State with 1 loss, or even Iowa, also with 1 loss? That’s why it’s call worst case scenario.

The so far remaining 1-loss or better Power5 teams + Independents after week 13 are:

ACC (2 teams)
Clemson Tigers (12-0) - has to play North Carolina in the ACC Championship game
North Carolina Tar Heels (11-1) - has to play Clemson in the ACC Championship game

dropped out:
none

BIG10 (3 teams)
Iowa Hawkeyes (12-0) - has to play Michigan State in the BIG10 Championship game
Michigan State Spartans (11-1) - has to play Iowa in the BIG10 Championship game
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) - season finished

dropped out:
none

BIG12 (1 teams)
Oklahoma Sooners (11-1) - season finished

dropped out:
Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2) lost to Oklahoma
Baylor Bears (9-2) â€"lost to TCU

PAC12 (0 teams)
none

dropped out:
none

SEC (1 teams)
Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) - has to play Florida in the SEC Championship game

dropped out:
Florida Gators (10-2) - lost to Florida State

INDEPENDENTS (0 team)
none

dropped out:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-2) - lost to Stanford

Let's have a look at my list of the

TOP8 teams for the playoff spots (sorted by likeliness) (I did drop 2 spots, since this are the remaining candidates)
#1 Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners did win their rivalry game in a big way and are now in a very comfortable spot.
They will be ranked at #3 or #4 and the championship games won’t change their spot not much. The Baylor - Texas game will also not change much, so they can sit out the last week and will very likely be part of the playoffs. Can’t see a scenario where they would drop out, hence #1.

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide
On paper the next game looks like a relaxing games. Seriously.
Florida did good in the SEC East, but I would say, any West team would give Florida a tough game, even most likely a loss. With Alabama being the strongest of all the West teams, this is almost done before kickoff. (and yes, they won against Ole Miss this season, but since then did the team decline)
Next game: Florida, neutral site
This can go either unexpected close or more likely it will become a slaughterhouse, with lots of Gator meat hanging over the goalposts.
An Alabama loss would be a SEC nightmare for the playoffs.
If the Crimson Tide wins, they will get a spot in the top 4, if Florida wins, the SEC might be left out.

#3 Clemson Tigers
For Clemson it’s the most important game of the season coming. The Irish game and the FSU games were just the prologue for this game here.
Next game: North Carolina, neutral site
The winner will be the ACC Champ and will very likely get a spot in the playoffs. In Clemsons case, this is more than true, in case the Tar Heels do win, we might see a different team in the playoffs.

#4 Iowa Hawkeyes
This will be the game it will show how good Iowa is.
Michigan State did battle already 2 of the strongest BIG10 teams and some other tough teams, Iowa did also win against some good teams, but can they win against the Spartans?
Next game: Michigan State, neutral site
One thing is sure, the winner will take a playoff spot. That’s great for the BIG10.

#5 Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans do have a clear path to the playoffs. Win and you are in.
All they need to do is to win against Iowa.
Many do see MSU already as the winner.
Next game: Iowa, neutral site
I’m expecting a big game and the winner will take the title and the spot in the playoffs.

#6 North Carolina Tar Heels
Really at #6?
Not 100% sure, but yes.
If Clemson loses, UNC will rise.
The question is, enough to jump Ohio State who do not play a game this weekend?
I guess yes, that’s why I did put them over Ohio State.
Because UNC would have won against the highest ranked team. The 2 FCS games on their schedule, the South Carolina loss? Probably not enough to void the championship title.
Next game: Clemson, neutral site
This will be a tough game. I don’t think they will win this, but it’s much more open than the SEC game. UNC will need a perfect game.

#7 Ohio State Buckeyes
For the Buckeyes it’s hope and pray weekend.
No game to play, just monitoring the crucial games and if things happen, hoping for a good committee ranking.
I did write my take already above, but the short version is, I think the ACC Champ gets a ticket, I think the BIG10 Camp gets a ticket, I think the BIG12 Champ has already a ticket. So the Buckeyes should hope for 2 things: Florida wins and USC wins.
I don’t think Florida would jump Ohio State, but it might happen that a Stanford win in the PAC12 Championship game gives them the boost to jump the Buckeyes. So to be safe, hope for a USC win.
Honestly, I don’t think this scenario will happen.
There is also a slim chance that a UNC win is NOT enough to get a ticket for the ACC.

#8 Stanford Cardinals
They are the wildcard team.
They need 1st of all to win the PAC12 Championship game. Then they have to hope for some upsets and nice rankings.
It might be enough for them that Florida wins the SEC. They might then jump Ohio State (and the BIG10 championship loser) and might land at #4. Maybe.
Next game: USC, neutral site
The USC game is very important of cause and it’s wide open. USC did lock their interims coach as permanent solution a few days ago and that will give USC a small boost. Stanford can win this game, but don’t be too sure.
Overall I think Stanfords season does have a bowl after that championship game ahead, but it’s not a semi-final.

Dropped out:
Baylor Bears â€" lost to TCU
Florida Gators â€" lost to Florida State
Oklahoma State Cowboys â€" lost to Oklahoma
Notre Dame â€" lost to Stanford

Since all conferences except the Sun Belt are decided or will play the Championship game this weekend, here just a shoot view over the conferences.

AAC
East Division winner Temple will play West Division winner Houston

ACC
Atlantic Division winner Clemson will play Coastal Division winner North Carolina

BIG10
East Division winner Michigan State will play West Division Iowa

BIG 12
Won by Oklahoma

CUSA
East Division winner Western Kentucky will play West Division winner Southern Mississippi

MAC
East Division winner Bowling Green will play West Division winner Northern Illinois

MWC
Mountain Division winner Air Force will play West Division winner San Diego State

PAC12
North Division winner Stanford will play South Division winner USC

SEC
East Division winner Florida will play West Division winner Alabama

SBC
Arkansas State 7-0
Appalachian State 6-1
Georgia Southern 6-1

Arkansas State has already secured a shared title, but a win over Texas State would give them the conference alone.
Appalachian State plays South Alabama and Georgia Southern plays Georgia State. Both teams do need wins and have to hope for an Arkansas State loss to get a share of the conference title.

The bowl worthy teams did increase over last weekend, but not enough to fill all 80 available spots.
There are only 3 teams left which could get a 6th win and there are 5 spots still available.
The 3 possible teams are

From the BIG12 Kansas State (5-6) playing West Virginia at home.
And from the Sun Belt Georgia State (5-6) playing Georgia Southern on the road and South Alabama (5-6) playing Appalachian State at home.

It looks like the remaining spots after the weekend will be filled by 5-7 teams based on their APR (Academic Progress Rate). The best teams in that category among the 5-7 teams are:
Nebraska (985)
Missouri and Kansas State (976)
Minnesota and San Jose State (975)
Illinois and Rice (973)
The Missouri Tigers already stated that they would decline a bowl invitation, they will concentrate on HC Gary Pinkels successor search.
So maximum of 5-7 teams in bowl would be 5, minimum would be 2, if the 3 remaining 5-6 teams would win out next weekend.
Kansas State is in a good position, because they could get a bowl spot anyway, being the 2nd best team on the APR list and having still a game to play.
Personally, I hope some of the bowl will fold after the season, because watching losing teams in a pitty bowl is no fun. I remember times where playing a bowl game was a honour. Now it seems like you just need to be not THAT bad to get a bowl game.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 14

Fri. Dec. 4 - 8:00 pm ET
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois
This is a FRIDAY GAME, so don’t miss it.
Northern Illinois got lucky. They were almost out of contention for the division title, they lost to Ohio last gameday, but an upset of Toledo by Western Michigan did create a 4 team tie-breaker inside the division, which NIU did win out.
Now they will face the OTHER division champ, which did secure his spot in the game weeks ago. But also the Falcons are not perfect inside the MAC, they lost at home against Toledo 2 weeks ago.
Never the less, Bowling Green is clearly the favourite in this game.
Vegas gives them a 12 point favourite role and that’s fair I think.
Both teams did not meet during the season, so it will be interesting.
MAC games can get very exciting, because even big time favourite can lose any day.
I give Bowling Green my pick, because they did play really good this season, while NIU did play sloppy from time to time. I expect a blowout, but maybe NIU can find their defense spirit in the locker room and make this a close one.
Anyway, Falcons win.

Sat. Dec. 5 - 12:00 pm ET
CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Southern Mississippi vs. Western Kentucky
I like the matchup.
Both teams did dominate their division and are therefore the right teams to play for the conference title.
Western Kentucky was perfect in the CUSA, Southern Miss did drop 1 game during the season, against Marshall on the road.
WKU did beat Marshall by big time last weekend, so it’s no wonder the Hilltoppers are 7.5 points favourites in Vegas.
The Golden Eagles will need either an explosive offense of a much better playing defense to stop that monster out of Kentucky.
I’m not saying they have no chance at all, but for me it looks like an almost perfect team meets a good team here, the perfect team being WKU and Southern Miss being ‘only’ a good one.
They had a very good turnaround compared to last season 3-9 record. I did put them in the mid field during my preview and they outplayed that by far.
WKU on the other hand I had at 2nd place inside their division, because of their brutal schedule. I said they need to win all games to get to the title game and they did.
Will such a team lose against Southern Miss?
Could happen, but I doubt it.
My expectations are they will win by a bigger margin than the Vegas line.
Hilltoppers win.

Sat. Dec. 5 - 12:00 pm ET
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#22 Temple vs. #19 Houston
Here is more at stake than the trophy. The winner will get an invitation to a very well paid bowl game, the loser will very likely get an invitation worth a 5th or a 10th of that value.
Will this be crucial for the players?
I don’t think so.
I think they will play for the trophy at 1st, knowing that there is more on the horizon.
In my book, this is Houstons game to lose.
Temple did have some losses during the season, against good teams, but Houston had only 1 loss, against a good team.
It’s now clear that Houstons HC will stay at the school, which should give them a boost, Temples HC was so far not part of any coaching changes discussion.
Vegas gives Houston 1 score as favourite line and we might see the game coming down to a 2-minute-drill for the win.
The Cougars did so far playing so good, that I expect them to win this game in style.
The Owls will need a BIG game to take this over and I don’t think it’s in them.
Not under this conditions.
So my pick is on Houston.
Cougars win.

Sat. Dec. 5 - 4:00 pm ET
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#18 Florida vs. #2 Alabama
The already mentioned relaxing game for Alabama.
Vegas does think the same, that’s why Florida is a 17.5 point underdog. That’s a lot.
Officially are the Crimson Tide facing, according their own statement, ‘the toughest defense’ of the season. I’m sure they are not really impressed with doors closed.
The Gators have almost lost to Florida Atlantic 2 weeks ago and Florida State had no problems scoring against that supposed to be tough defense at all. On the other hand were the Gators offense very ineffective against FAU and FSU (only points were from a safety, so the offense was scoreless) and that’s quite concerning for a team which HC was once the Alabama OC!
Alabama on the other hand did win every game since their loss against Ole Miss and all wins were at least good enough to increase their reputation from ‘almost done’ to ‘clearly #2 in the country’.
Hands on heart, who thinks Florida will win?
At least I can see that happening.
Crimson Tide win.

Sat. Dec. 5 - 7:30 pm ET
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Air Force vs. San Diego State
This will be interesting.
I think from the reputation point of view was Air Force loss in the last game against New Mexico not helpful. San Diego is now the favourite (4.5 points) and Air Force will have to deal with the underdog status.
The 4.5 points are a bit surprising, since Air Force did lose twice during the MWC season and San Diego State were perfect. I think that’s because Air Force IS a good team and it’s not really clear in which shape they will show up on Saturday.
A well prepared Falcons team will be tough to beat, even by a perfect Aztecs team.
I think Air Force can do this.
I’m just not sure SDSU will let them.
Overall I’m leaning towards the underdogs, counting on an overconfident Aztecs team and a good preparation.
Falcons win.

Sat. Dec. 5 - 7:45 pm ET
PAC12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#7 Stanford vs. #20 USC
This has more in it than just the title. A bit surprising is Stanford not dead-dead at this date of the season regarding the playoff spot and a win (better a BIG win) over USC will give them a boost, probably good enough to jump the not playing Ohio State Buckeyes.
A USC win would seal the deal for them as Champion, but also for the PAC12 playoff hopes. USC did lose too many games over the season and will for sure not be in the top 4 regardless of the results in any game this weekend.
But getting the PAC12 Championship will be nice anyway.
USC is a 4.5 point underdog for Vegas, which does reflect the rise to power by USC in the last few weeks since their HC was fired and the interims coach (and now permanent coach) Clay Helton did start taking over.
We’ll might see a nice game.
Might happen, might not, because it’s hard to judge the teams.
Stanford will be sharp, but whether USC will counter that is open.
On paper, this is an even match, I just doubt that USC can stop Stanford often enough.
My pick is on Stanford with their nice mix of rushing and passing.
Cardinals win.

Sat. Dec. 5 - 8:00 pm ET
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#10 North Carolina vs. #1 Clemson
Another surprising line from Vegas in this game.
UNC is only a 5 point underdog, with Clemson being ranked #1 since ages and UNC rising slowly to now #10 in the past few weeks.
I’m not sure we will see a great game here.
This could become awesome, or boring.
My feeling is, UNC is well over their head and will get buried.
But UNC could also grow on the challenge and might even be able to sink the Clemson party boat in the most crucial game.
My pick is on Clemson, giving them credit for their momentum saving strategy the last few weeks. UNC is a good team, but they will lose here by more than the 4.5 points.
Tigers win.

Sat. Dec. 5 - 8:17 pm ET
BIG10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#5 Michigan State vs. #4 Iowa
Some do call this the quarter final, since both teams are right behind each other with ranks #4 and #5.
The loser will sink a bit in the ranks, the winner will rise a bit and be save in the playoffs.
At the moment there are several people stating that Iowa is a fake and will have to show up against the real boys this week.
That might be, since MSU had some really tough games, but on the other hand did they lose against Nebraska on a wild play, while Iowa did beat every team on their way, including Nebraska.
Vegas does see the Hawkeyes in the underdog role (3.5 points) but I do see them as the team to beat.
It might become an ugly game, so far did Iowa grow on the challenges and did beat every team, somehow.
I believe this will be a hard game and MSU will have all the chances to win.
I just believe Iowa will find a way to avoid a Spartans wins, somehow, and will win the BIG10.
Hawkeyes win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2015-12-01

FBS - Week 13 Review

Kameradenschweine (means Backstabber)

Think about your boss talking openly that your job might be in doubt after next weekend, while your efforts of the past 11 years did give your company a more market shares and helped them prosper.
Then, after the weekend, suddenly does your boss sound like your job never was in doubt and you are best pals.

That's what happened to Les Miles, the coach of LSU over last week.
There were rumours over rumours and the AD stated openly that his job status will be announced after the weekend.

All the backstabbing AD needed to do was, to say right at the start, that Les Miles is and stays their HC.
Did he say that?
No.
So, for sure there was chatter in the rooms regarding letting him go (for about 20 mio. dollars buyout) and Les Miles and his team did win that game against Texas A&M this weekend and suddenly there was no doubt Les Miles will be LSUs HC next season?
Get some balls you sucky AD!
If I would be Les Miles ... I would quit. Fuck the 20 mio dollars, this is about integrity.

That's not how you treat a national championship winning coach who did work hard for the team the past 11 seasons and who did produce more playing NFL soldiers than any other college.
You may question his late success or lack of it, but then be consequent and either do this the right way, or leave him alone.

This weekend did solve some open equations on the playoff calculations, but it's still not final yet.
The next week will give us the CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES and that will matchup more or less every top ranked teams against each other.
The winners of the power 5 conferences will (almost) all get a spot and the losers will get some other bowl spots.

Some coaching positions were already filled over the last weekend.
For example is Frank Beamers successor found in Memphis HC Justin Fuente.

Another hire was Hawai'is new HC, Nick Rolovich, who was Nevadas OC this season and former Hawai'i player and Assistant coach.

Bill Cubit was named HC of Illinois by dropping the interims status, so he will be back (although he only got a 2 year deal.)

Iowa State will very likely get Toledos HC Matt Campbell as next season HC, which could be great for the Cyclones, but given the history of Iowa State, Campbell might get burned there.

Another school dropped the interims tag from their coach and named him permanent. USC will stick to Clay Helton.

On the other hand did Tulane fire their HC Curtis Johnson after the last game and will look for some replacement. Tulane is a tough spot to coach.

Also did Rutgers clear house and did not only fire their HC Kyle Flood, but also their AD Julie Hermann.

Mike London did step down from Virginia.

And for some maybe a surprising move, but not really surprising was Mark Richt leaving Georgia after 15 seasons. Rumours are, he was fired, and officially he stepped down.

Lots of coaching changes now and when all the next spots are filled, there will be some more job openings.

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
Boy, the do some stuff during this rivalry.
You should read some articles about this game over the past 50 years.
Way too much to write about it in a small blog.
This seasons game was expected to be rough.
Hmm. Let's say until halftime it was OK.
OSU did lead 14-10.
AFTER the halftime it became quite 1-dimemsional.
The Buckeyes did score 14 points each quarter, while Michigan did score ... 3 points in the whole half.
I have to say, at the end did that game turn out as I expected it to be at season start.
The only difference is, after the whole season was played, I did not expect the Wolverine play so bad at home and I did not expect the Buckeyes to play that good.
At the end it was all just for the history books, since none of the teams did win the division.
Both will play a bowl next month (or January).
Ohio State 42 - Michigan 13 -> Jacks Score: 34-18

Sat. Nov. 28 - 3:30 pm ET
Penn State @ #5 Michigan State
This was a statement.
The Spartans knew the outcome of the GAME and they played ... FOOTBALL!
Penn State had no chance and they were even taunted by the Spartans late in the game by letting a lineman playing tailback.
Not sure why they did that, but in no way was that call necessary.
The Spartans did win and by that got the trip to the BIG10 Championship game against the unbeaten Iowa Hawkeyes.
Michigan State 55 - Penn State 16 -> Jacks Score: 35-18

Sat. Nov. 28 - 3:30 pm ET
#2 Alabama @ Auburn
This looked a bit exciting in the 1st quarter, but became a bit boring after that, if you are not an Alabama hardcore fan.
Overall did Alabama do everything right enough to win this game and seal the SEC West division.
Next stop SEC Championship Game against Florida.
Auburn will wait for a Bowl call.
Alabama 29 - Auburn 13 -> Jacks Score: 36-18

Sat. Nov. 28 - 3:30 pm ET
#22 UCLA @ USC
UCLA has to blame themselves for this loss.
They had way too many turnovers in this.
USC did something special in this season.
Destined to win the division did their alcoholic HC lose too many games, left the team and got fired.
The interims coach did turn the team around in no time, won almost every game after that and now ... won the division.
They will face Stanford for the PAC 12 Championship.
UCLA can only wait for a Bowl invitation.
UCLA 21 - USC 40 -> Jacks Score: 37-18

Sat. Nov. 28 - 7:15 pm ET
#18 Ole Miss @ #21 Mississippi State
Other game with a sloppy team at the start.
The Bulldogs were trailing 0-21 fuelled by turnovers before they started a comeback.
But too soft and too slow did the Bulldogs let Ole Miss win the end the Egg Bowl.
Ole Miss 38 - Mississippi State 27 -> Jacks Score: 37-19

Sat. Nov. 28 - 7:30 pm ET
#13 Florida State @ #12 Florida
This went more or less exactly as I imagined it to go.
Florida did look bad in this game and I'm still wondering how the heck they were able to win the SEC East.
If this team does win the SEC, something is wrong.
For Florida State, this was a nice finish on a bit disappointing season.
For the Gators it was a small preview on what will come next weekend.
Florida State 27 - Florida 2 -> Jacks Score: 38-19

Sat. Nov. 28 - 7:30 pm ET
#6 Notre Dame @ #9 Stanford
At the end of the game, this came closer than I expected it to be.
Funny thing (if you are not an Irish fan) the Irish had basically won the game.
With 30 ticks left on the clock did Notre Dame score a TD for the 36-35 lead.
But Stanford was not beaten.
A good return, some big plays and good time management did result in great field position with 6 seconds left to play.
Stanford did nail the 45 yard field goal and won.
Notre Dame 36 - Stanford 38 -> Jacks Score: 39-19

Sat. Nov. 28 - 8:00 pm ET
#3 Oklahoma @ #11 Oklahoma State
Oh god, how can a team suck so much?
I think the circumstances were clear, so why did Oklahoma State did reserve their worst game of the season for the most important game?
After halftime the game was over.
Oklahoma did lead 44-20 and the Cowboys dropped the man cards and played like losers.
They did only score 3 points in the second half, while Oklahoma did score and score.
The Sooners are now in a very comfortable situation as single BIG12 champ.
The Cowboys can weep in their beds.
Oklahoma 58 - Oklahoma State 23 -> Jacks Score: 39-19

More interesting results:

Iowa did beat Nebraska 28-20 to stay unbeaten.
TCU did buries Baylors dreams of a BIG12 title with a 28-21 win.
Houston did crush Navy 52-31 and won the division.
Oregon won the Civil War against Oregon State 52-42.
Washington did beat Washington State 45-10.
Western Michigan did beat Toledo.
Miami won against Pittsburgh 29-24.
Western Kentucky did beat Marshall 49-28 for the division title.
Clemson won against South Carolina 37-32 to stay unbeaten.
North Carolina did win against North Carolina State 45-34 to stay in the playoff hunt.
Temple won against UConn 27-3 to win the division.
Southern Miss beats Louisiana Tech 58-24 to win the division.
Virginia Tech did win their last regular season game with Frank Beamer against Virginia 23-20 and became bowl worthy. Beamer gets 1 more game by that.
Georgia won against Georgia Tech barely 13-7.
Louisville did win the Governor's Cup against Kentucky 38-24.
LSU did win against Texas A&M 19-7.
New Mexico won against Air Force 47-35.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE