2016-01-17

Season rollover done - some changes

Hi all,

The season rollover to season 20 was done. The new season is different from the past ones.

1.) Sim-Engine: The possibility of a PAT to fail was raised slightly

2.) Supercup division round: There is a virtual cap in place. This means, no matter how many points each team scores, for the "points difference" tie breaker the calculation is always: if the winning team has more than 60 points difference, the winning teams score will be limited to "losing score + 60". Please notice the added columns in the division tables. You will find PFR, PAR and PDR, which translates to Points forced real, Points allowed real, Points difference real. In these columns you will find the summaries based on the real score, while PF, PA and PD show the capped scores - and are used for the sort order / tiebreakers.

3.) League regular season: Is exactly the same as mentioned under point "2.) Super cup division round".

4.) The columns of Friendly Cup tables show these new columns as well, but right now there is no cap in place

5.) ELO ranking in place: We added a new ranking mechanism based on ELO ranking, well known from Chess and many other games. The ELO is replacing the older ranking system, and co-exists with the external Beckos-Rating, done by our fellow user Ausonny. Our ELO makes predictions as well, you can see in the gamecenter right before the games kickoff, and in the general gamestats, once the game finished. On the Clubs page you can see the rank based on ELO in the league of the user, and global. Some charts add to this for graphical presentation.

For now, don't forget to set your Draft order, the draft will happen within the next few days. And have a check, some of your veterans might be willing to play another year, if their pocket gets filled with some money...don't be shy with your offers!

2016-01-14

Bowls 2015 the end

Sorry for the delay, I had a lot of stuff to do in the past few days and that final entry for this season was the last thing to do and got shifted and shifted.

The new National Champions of the FBS are the ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE. Again.

The Tide did win their 4th title in 7 years and depended on counting all historic record and claimed National Titles, Alabama is now in the ballpark of 16 titles, which is the most of all current FBS teams.

Nick Saban, the HC of the Tide since 2007 has won all of those last 4 titles and had already won a title with LSU, making it 5 titles through his career, which puts him in a quite rare group of coaches.

The coach with most FBS National Titles is still
BEAR BRYANT with 6 (won all with Alabama in 60s and 70s)
and then there are 3 coaches with 5 titles,
BERNIE BIERMAN (with Minnesota 30s and 40s),
HOWARD JONES (with Yale 1909 and USC in the late 20s and 30s) and
NICK SABAN (with LSU 2003 and with Alabama 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015).

Saban is the only coach still able to win even more titles, the next still active coach behind Saban in terms of titles is Urban Meyer of Ohio State (won with Florida 2006 and 2008 and with Ohio State in 2014).

The good thing this season was, the title game was a good one, and not like many of the title games in the past (especially the ones the Tide did play in), which ended in a blowout.
No, this time it was fun to watch.

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAME FOR WAVE 6

Mon. Jan. 11 - 8:30 pm
CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PRES. BY AT&T
#2 Alabama vs. #1 Clemson
@University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, AZ
I had not expected to have Clemson really on the same level as Alabama, but they did come into this game were not intimidated by the Saban led Alabama team.
In fact they did win the 1st quarter 14-7, scoring on 2 of their 3 drives and had Alabama miss a field goal in that quarter.
An interception of Clemson did give Alabama a good field position and they did score to tie the game early in the 2nd quarter.
Then did both defense units got their plays and the game did go on and on until Clemson did try a field goal before the halftime break and got blocked.
A tied game at the half was a great result, for both teams.
After the break did Alabama stop Clemson and was able to score afterwards, getting in the lead, but Clemson did answer with a field goal and a TD later in the quarter leading 24-21 after the 3rd quarter.
That’s when the game did shift in the next gear.
Clemson got the ball and was stopped; Alabama got the ball and did kick a tying field goal. 24-24.
A great executed onside-kick from Alabama was recovered by them and did give them not only great field position, but did denial a chance for scoring on their own and in that momentum shift was Alabama able to get a TD for the 31-24 lead.
Clemson was stopped in the next drive and had to settle for a field goal, 31-27.
Alabama did return the following kickoff 95 yards for a TD. A major shock for Clemson. 38-27.
But Clemson was not done and did drive over the field and scored a TD on their own, 38-33, Clemson did fail the 2-point-conversion.
The most crucial drive now was Alabamas next, since it started with under 5 minutes left in the game and did eat away 3 and a half and give them a TD to pull away 45-33.
Clemsons offense was not done and went over the field again in less than a minute and score a TD. 45-40.
But their onside-kick was recovered by Alabama and they only needed to run the time down to win the National Championship.
Clemsons defense did not look good in the last quarter and also the special teams were not in the game in that last quarter.
The good news for Clemson fans is, that the team will be almost intact next season, so the pressure will be on early and they might get their title next season.
For Alabama it’s another season with some crucial losses on players and coaches, it will be interesting to see, how they will perform next season. But as long as Saban is at the sideline, it’s save to say the Tide will roll rough and hard. They might not be title contenders next season, but maybe the season after that.
Alabama 45 - Clemson 40 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 26-15

That’s it for the season. If my time allows it, I will be back next summer.
Thank you for reading this, I hope you did enjoy it over the season.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2016-01-06

Bowls 2015 wave 6

Just 1 game left and then the season is done.

I hope for a great National Championship game, but I fear it will be a bit less exciting than it could have been.

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 5

Fri. Jan. 1 - 12:00 pm ET
Outback Bowl
#13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee
@Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla.
It must have been fun to see the Vols dominating the Wildcats, if you are a Vols fan and had all those bad seasons to swallow the last few years.
Tennessee did leave not chance to Northwestern and did finish the Wildcats off in a big way.
The 1st half was still a bit open, having Northwestern missing opportunities and staying close enough to see a chance for winning.
But the 2nd half was awful, having turnovers by Northwestern regularly and Tennessee did convert those two points, regularly.
I think the Vols fans can hope for next season, while the Wildcats fans can be glad over a 10-3 season, which did at the end became a bit fruitless and it will be interesting to see, whether they will go up or down starting next September.
Northwestern 6 - Tennessee 45 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 21-11

Fri. Jan. 1 - 1:00 pm ET
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
#8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio State
@University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, AZ
I might come over as Notre Dame basher, but I'm afraid I have to say, this game went as I expected it to go.
Notre Dame did play fine, but Ohio State was not only better, they were really better.
The Buckeyes did outscore Notre Dame in the 1st quarter and from that moment, Notre Dame did play catch up.
The Irish did come closest when they scored the TD trailing only by 10, but were unable to stop Ohio State marching over the field, scoring a FG and eating away over 5 minutes of time.
Add turnovers and bad execution on offense and it's no wonder Ohio State did win big.
I'm still wondering why Notre Dame does not get onto that TOP5 level, having the money and the program they have, but I'm sure we won't see a much better team next season and I'm also sure Brian Kelly will not win the National Championship at Notre Dame.
Can’t explain why it's that way, but something is missing and I can't see Kelly finding the fix.
Ohio State will have to reload next season, and with Michigan becoming relevant again, the Division should be fun to watch next season.
Notre Dame 28 - Ohio State 44 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 22-11

Fri. Jan. 1 - 1:00 pm ET
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
#14 Michigan vs. #19 Florida
@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
Oh what a bad game.
At least for Florida.
I you think about the Gators winning the division and winning 10 games over the season, I would like to know, what they players were thinking in this Bowl game.
It's the nature of game that 1 team has to lose, but you can lose by a few points and can be proud of the effort or you can lose in a landslide and should be ashamed given your status.
Michigan did almost everything right and Florida not.
The 1st quarter was OK, but then it became very clear, that the Wolverine did come to Florida to play, while the Gators players were already on holiday.
Michigan was better in every aspect of the game.
I hope Florida does fix this for next season and I hope Michigan gets a few more ticks towards perfection going and makes their division a fun spot to watch.
Michigan 41 - Florida 7 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 23-11

Fri. Jan. 1 - 5:00 pm ET
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual
#6 Stanford vs. #5 Iowa
@Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA
Autsch, that did hurt.
To make this short, I don't understand how Iowa got burned by 1 player so badly.
Stanford is quite 1 dimensional and all they had to do was stop the run, but that kid was able to run, run and run all over the day.
He did break the Rose Bowl record on all-purpose yards with 368, including runs, receiving yards and return.
Christian McCaffrey did beat Iowa by himself and I don't get it.
Stanford was not free of errors, but Iowa did have many many more and lost this one rightfully.
One reporter stated the game was over after the 1st play from scrimmage (which was a pass to McCaffrey over the middle and was taken to the house). That’s not really true, but overall this play was a bad start for Iowa from which they never recovered.
Bad ending for the Hawkeyes fans, great ending for Stanford, which will see McCaffrey back next season.
Stanford 45 - Iowa 16 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 23-12

Fri. Jan. 1 - 8:30 pm ET
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#16 Oklahoma State vs. #12 Ole Miss
@Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
The good news for Ole Miss is, they will have plenty of room to improve next season inside the division and they might have the team to do so.
That Bowl was great for them and fun to watch, if you like the Rebels.
If you like the Cowboys, this was torture.
The game was over at halftime and Ole Miss won this in a big way.
The Cowboys got outplayed, even by an OL-receiving-TD (it was officially a backward pass, counts as a run, still that big guy did catch it and ran it in).
I'm always wondering if Gundy, the OSU HC, is over performing, or underperforming in Stillwater.
Over so many seasons did Oklahoma State have all the chances to get at least into the title game and they did fall in many big games and often in the not so big games after winning the big ones.
He is the coach since 11 seasons and did win the conference once and the division (when the BIG12 still had divisions) also once in a 3 team tie, not going to the championship game.
Since 4 seasons, nothing. The team is for sure in better shape than before his run, but I wonder how long it will take to get greedy in Stillwater.
Ole Miss can look forward to next season, they might have a chance to beat Alabama again and even more.
Oklahoma State 20 - Ole Miss 48 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 23-13

Sat. Jan. 2 - 12:00 pm ET
TaxSlayer Bowl
Penn State vs. Georgia
@EverBank Field - Jacksonville, FL
The result of that game does look more as an open game as it was.
Until the 4th quarter had Penn State scored 3 points and Georgia was miles away (well, only 21 points ahead, but could have been miles).
Nothing really worked for Penn State until they found a bit of a fighting spirit in the 4th and then, it was too late.
They managed to get 1 good drive in the last 2 minutes to maybe tie the game, but at the 39 yard line in Georgia territory it was over.
They played until the whistle was blown, but overall it was just too much to ask for.
Georgia will see some changes in the near future with a new HC.
Penn State will lose their QB to the draft leaving early, but his replacement did look good in the bowl, so maybe they will add some spice to the division, which already features Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State.
Penn State 17 - Georgia 24 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 24-13

Sat. Jan. 2 - 3:20 pm ET
Liberty Bowl
Kansas State vs. Arkansas
@Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium - Memphis, TN
This I make short.
Arkansas did look quite good against Kansas State and did win with a good margin in a quite high scoring game.
For the Wildcats it will be interesting to see whether they will rebound from this season and for Arkansas it will be interesting to see, whether they will keep that form up they had at the end of the season.
Arkansas could become a major spoiler in that SEC West.
Kansas State 23 - Arkansas 45 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 25-13

Sat. Jan. 2 - 6:45 pm ET
Alamo Bowl
#15 Oregon vs. #11 TCU
@Alamodome - San Antonio, TX
Oh dear, some do see this game as the best bowl of the season and for sure it was a very good one, only it was not clear from the start.
That game did cost me heavily on my ESPN picking game (with confidence points) and here is why.
I did pick the Ducks and they did look like the sure winner early.
At halftime they did lead 31-0!
Then, out of nowhere, TCU started scoring and the Ducks were unable to do so, totally!
The 2nd half went 0-31 and the game went into overtime!
The 1st position was TCUs and they did score a TD and Oregon did score also a TD.
In 2nd overtime did Oregon settle for a field goal and was able to stop TCU and force them also into a field goal try, which was good. Game tied at 41.
The 3rd OT is dominated by a rule change (compared to 1st and 2nd OT), because then a team has to play the 2-point-conversion by rule after a TD.
TCU did score a TD and failed the 2-point-conversion.
Oregon took the ball and went 1-2-3-4 and did accomplish NOTHING!
Game over and TCU had 1 of the best comebacks in College Football history.
Oregon 41 - TCU 47 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 25-14

Sat. Jan. 2 - 10:15 pm ET (ESPN) Line
Cactus Bowl
West Virginia vs. Arizona State
@Chase Field - Phoenix, Ariz.
And the last regular bowl.
This I blame to the Arizona State defense, which had capital errors, when it did count.
The defensive back field was really bad and did allow scores ... unbelievable.
Sun Devils were only able to stay in the game, because West Virginias defense had bad moments, too.
But at the end, West Virginia was leading by 1 and was able to defend that last crucial play to avoid a field goal attempt and to win this game.
West Virginia 43 - Arizona State 42 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 25-15

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAME FOR WAVE 6

Mon. Jan. 11 - 8:30 pm
CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PRES. BY AT&T
#2 Alabama vs. #1 Clemson
@University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, AZ
There we are with the second College Playoff National Championship Game and we have a good one going.
Alabama had a great game against Michigan State and won in a shutout and Clemson had a very controlled game against Oklahoma and did win by a lot of points, thanks to a one-sided second half.
Vegas do see Alabama as 7 point favourite and it is a high scoring game expected.
I'm not that convinced on the 1st part, because even while Clemson did look very good, Alabama did look like a class on their own.
I will pick Alabama in this one. And I think they will win with more than 7 points.
Their defense was brutally effective and their offense was unstoppable by one of the best defense units of the season.
I'm not expecting a shut out like we saw with Michigan State, but I'm also not expecting Clemson to score as they like over the full length of the game.
As much as I'm bored of having Alabama on top every 2 years and I would like to see Clemson win this, my 1st thought after Alabamas win was 'They will win'.
It's the Tigers who have to find ways to stop those defensive linemen to pressure the QB and to disrupt the running game, it's Clemsons homework to find holes in the Alabama backfield to move the chains.
Alabama will have to play a bit different than they did against Michigan State, because that Clemson QB can pass and run and therefore the Tigers will have a bit more breathing room.
Overall, I think the best Clemson can hope for is a perfect game by their defense and then having Alabama often enough on the wrong foot to get things going.
Still, I think Alabama will win this with a higher Margin than the Vegas-7 and will win their next National Championship to finish the season.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

2016-01-01

Bowls 2015 wave 5

And that leaves 10 Bowls for the rest of the season.

Happy new year to all of you.

Today is a quite football heavy day, but enjoy it, as long as it lasts.

Here are 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
After a tied game with a score of 10-10 at halftime, this got very one sided.
Auburn did stop Memphis regularly and did on the other hand score a few times.
There was nothing going on Memphis offense in the 2nd half, maybe the end zone interception on the 1st drive after the halftime break did crushed their motivation.
Of cause such a play is bad, driving over the field and then not only having the ball taken away, but also not having any points out of this.
But with a tied game, everything was still possible.
But all remaining drives of Memphis were bad.
They had only 3-and-out-drives until their last drive had 15 plays and with trailing at that point by 21 points they had to go for it on 4th down and the game was over.
Nice finish for Auburn.
Auburn 31 - Memphis 10 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 15-10

Wed. Dec. 30 - 3:30 pm ET
Belk Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Mississippi State
@Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, NC
This was over at halftime.
NC State did trail by 17 points and there was no sign of a shifted momentum.
After the break did the Bulldogs team play as before, scored many points and did NC State had some scoring drives on their own, but never enough to get near a win.
And Mississippi State did not really play 100% good.
They left many chance unused.
North Carolina State 28 - Mississippi State 51 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 16-10

Wed. Dec. 30 - 7:00 pm ET
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Louisville
@Nissan Stadium - Nashville, TN
It's not that A&M had no chance to win this.
They did start bad and never recovered totally.
After the 1st quarter Louisville was leading 20-7 and even when A&M shortened the distance over the quarters, in the final drives it was obvious the A&M defense was not in the game, while the Cardinals defense did come up big when they were needed most.
It was the fitting finish on that disappointing A&M season and a good one for Louisville, which needed a win in a bowl after a bad start into the season and an early elimination of contention.
Texas A&M 21 - Louisville 27 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 16-11

Wed. Dec. 30 - 10:30 pm ET
Holiday Bowl
#25 USC vs. Wisconsin
@Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
This was entertaining and ended as I wished it to be. Close.
They did start slow and at halftime we had Wisconsin leading 13-7.
After the break did both teams score a TD and later did USC add another score, now leading 21-20.
With a bit over 3 minutes to go did the Badgers kicker score a field goal for the 23-21 lead and USC tried to answer that.
An their 1st drive after that FG we saw the 1st and only interception of the game, which was crucial.
Wisconsin was unable to do anything with the ball except to run down the clock and gave it back to USC with 35 ticks left to go.
From their own 10 yard line USC did start their last drive, made it to mid field and did pass incomplete on 4th and 10.
Badgers win.
That was the 1st win of the Badgers over USC ever (on 7 games) and the last game was 1966!
USC 21 - Wisconsin 23 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 17-11

Thurs. Dec. 31 - 12:00 pm ET
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#18 Houston vs. #9 Florida State
@Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA
I make this one short.
Turnover score: Houston 1, FSU 5.
Any questions?
And the worst part of this is, Houston was bad in converting those turnovers in points.
They did score after the single fumble, they had to punt after the 1st, 2nd and 3rd INT. The 4th INT was the last comeback attempt and Houston only had to run down the clock.
Still Houston won by 14 points.
That was an embarrassing match for FSU, sorry to say that.
Cougars future looks bright, it will be interesting to see, how FSU will play next season.
Houston 38 - Florida State 24 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 18-11

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
Great game and one of the best so far.
Oklahoma did score 1st, Clemson had a field goal a few drives later and did score a TD on their next drive after a gutsy fake punt play on 4th and 4 on Oklahomas 44 yard line.
That did set the tone for the rest of the game.
Clemson did play a bit tougher, a bit more with their hearts in this and at the end it was more than enough.
The Sooners did lead 17-16 at the half, but in the 3rd quarter Clemson did not only adjust their offense, which did too often had to settle for a field goal, they did also adjust their defense and held Oklahoma scoreless until the game was over.
Overall was Oklahoma never able to stop the runs, which did hurt them especially in the 4th quarter where they simply ran out of time.
They allowed 312 yards, which is way too much.
I think Clemson did all the right things in this game and deserves to play for a national championship.
Oklahoma 17 - Clemson 37 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 19-11

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
I never expected a so one sided game.
It was OK until short the halftime, Alabama was leading 10-0 when MSU went all over the field and delivered a bad through right at the 1 yard line for an interception.
No points and halftime over.
Still time to recover?
Yes, but not by allowing an Alabama score with the opening drive, with a fumble on Spartans 1st drive, allowing a punt return TD after Spartans 2nd drive and being behind already 31-0 shortly after another Alabama TD.
MSU did play more risky after that and that backfired even more.
At the end a very one sided game with a great Alabama defense and a bad Michigan State defense on the other side.
Alabama will play for another national championship.
Michigan State 0 - Alabama 38 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 20-11

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 5

Fri. Jan. 1 - 12:00 pm ET
Outback Bowl
#13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee
@Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla.
This is played since 1986 and is fielded at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the South Florida Bulls.
Another SEC vs Big Ten Bowl and each team gets around 3.500.000$.
Tough to pick. Northwestern had some nice wins and some strange losses, losing high against Michigan and Iowa.
They finished 10-2, which is great for Northwestern.
Tennessee on the other hand did record 8-4, with all 4 losses very close and having 5 wins in a row at season end.
It's hard to pick against the team with the better record, but Tennessee could have been easily 10-2 also or even better.
They had some bad luck during the season and became better and better.
Under such circumstances I see the Vols having the edge over a good Northwestern team.
This might come down to a last minute play, but my guess is, even that won't happen.
Volunteers win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 1:00 pm ET
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
#8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio State
@University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, AZ
The Bowl is played since 1971 and belongs also to the CFP-Bowls.
Two at-large-teams will face off.
The payout is part if the CFP-system.
This is a classic matchup in a college football leftovers bowl.
Notre Dame did lose to Stanford on season final (and also against Clemson during the season) and dropped out of contention with 10-2, while Ohio State did lose 1 crucial game, against Michigan State, finishing 11-1.
It's really funny, I don't see Notre Dame as TOP10 team, not with their schedule and results.
On the other hand did they lose each game by 2 points.
Ohio State did lose that crucial game against Michigan State by 3 in a low scoring game.
Pick?
As said, I don't think Notre Dame is really a TOP10 team, while Ohio State very likely is.
I will not pick an upset under that impression.
My expectations are, that Ohio State will score regularly, while Notre Dame will have trouble to do so.
Hence, Ohio State will control the clock, will score more often and will win.
Buckeyes win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 1:00 pm ET
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
#14 Michigan vs. #19 Florida
@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
Since 1946 played, under different names. Thanks to whomever, we have the Citrus Bowl back since last season.
It is still played in the stadium named after the bowl in Orlando, Florida.
SEC against Big Ten, again.
Each team gets around 4.250.000$.
The matchup is challenging.
Maybe they should have called this the resurrection bowl.
Michigan was 2nd class last season and the new coach did bring them back to the better half of the BIG10.
The last game against Ohio State did prove, there is still work to do.
But 9-3 and a big bowl spot are very good for the 1st season.
Florida was also 2nd class last season and the new coach did bring them right back to the SEC Championship game, which they lost.
They also lost some other big games and almost some games against less strong teams.
Finishing 10-3 was great for them.
Both teams do have nice perspectives for the future.
This bowl?
I see Michigan in the lead here.
Tough defense and a good enough offense, against a not so good offense and a sometime sloppy defense.
Florida can play, no doubt and playing in Florida might lift them a bit.
Still I think Michigan will win here, by force of will.
Wolverine win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 5:00 pm ET
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual
#6 Stanford vs. #5 Iowa
@Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA
The mother of all Bowls is played since 1902!
It was permanently installed in 1916 and is played since then.
It was the Big Ten Champion vs. the PAC12 Champion, but with the CFP-System it's either a semi-finale or as this season, just a bowl game fielding a BIG10 team vs. a PAC12 team.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
Stanford is the PAC12 Champ this season, but losing 2 games (against Oregon and Northwestern) did led them sink deep enough to become that conference champ without a playoff ticket.
Still, they finished 11-2.
Iowa was the unbeaten (and only one) team from the BIG10, until they played Michigan State for the championship.
They lost by 3 and did finish with 12-1.
This one is anybodies guess.
I think Stanford is a good team, but Iowa did grow with their challenges and had a terrific season, the best under Ferentz ever.
Good offense will meet good defense.
I'm divided between a nice season finish of Stanford and a great season by Iowa, coming up short in the championship game.
Stanford is the favorite in this, but I think Iowa will give them something to play.
I love to see this and I pick Iowa over Stanford on a silly Iowa-will-manage-to-win-somehow-feeling.
Hawkeyes win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 8:30 pm ET
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#16 Oklahoma State vs. #12 Ole Miss
@Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
This bowl was established 1935 and is played since then.
The payout is part of the CFP-system and last season, this was a semi-finale, but this season, it's only 1 of the Big6 bowls.
Oklahoma State did finish 10-2 and lost their last 2 games against Baylor and Oklahoma, which did let them sink faster in the rankings than you can say 'hype'.
The question will be, whether that team can play tough enough against the other team.
Ole Miss had an up and down season. They started great, 4-0, including a win against big contender Alabama, then lost to Florida, lost to Memphis as a big surprise and later lost to Arkansas, giving all possible chances for a division title out of their hand.
They finished 9-3 with a strong team, based on a shaky QB and they now were forced to suspend 1 of their key defense lineman because of drugs.
If Oklahoma State finds room, they will pick Ole Miss apart.
Given the suspension, the line might not be able to pressure the QB enough, like Oklahoma did on their last game.
Ole Miss is the favorite and I was leaning towards this until they reacted on that stupid lineman.
Will that distraction be enough to play poor?
I don't know.
But I'm willing to test this and I pick the Cowboys in an entertaining game.
Cowboys win.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 12:00 pm ET
TaxSlayer Bowl
Penn State vs. Georgia
@EverBank Field - Jacksonville, FL
Since 1946 is this Bowl played, also once known as GATOR BOWL, renamed after a damn corporation sponsoring was found, and it is of cause played in Florida, on the home field of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At the moment it is a SEC vs Big Ten Bowl.
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
Not expecting much here.
Penn State did move themselves through an unimpressive BIG10 season, finishing 7-5 (granted, they had tough division rivals this season, but hey, as did the rivals), while Georgia did play OK until they faced Alabama and did sink from that moment on.
The Bulldogs were so unhappy over their 9-3 season, they fired their long lasting HC Mark Richt (which was immediately hired by Miami) and did hire Alabamas DC as new HC for next season.
Georgia should win this easily.
Penn State is far away from being a national contender, while Georgia did not play well enough to content in the SEC, but should be on 1 or 2 level higher, after healing up and preparation.
The Lions are not without a chance, but they will need a perfect game from their QB (which might turn pro) and a good, if not great, defense to stop Georgia.
Georgia on the other hand has all the tools to control the game and the clock.
Expect a nice mix of run and pass and expect them to pressure the QB.
Bulldogs win.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 3:20 pm ET
Liberty Bowl
Kansas State vs. Arkansas
@Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium - Memphis, TN
This one exists since 1959.
It's meant to play the Big 12 #4 vs a SEC pool pick.
Each team gets around 1.437.500$.
Kansas State did earn a Bowl spot by winning their last game and getting that 6th win.
I like that, because prior to the game, it was clear they would play a bowl, regardless of win or lose, since KSU has one of the best APR ranking of the country would have been considered as 5-7 team.
No, they went on the field and won that one, finishing 6-6.
Arkansas did start 2-4 and became a laughing stock fast with losses to Toledo and Texas Tech. But they did fight through this and came out of this season not only 7-5, but also as one of the least liked teams to play in the SEC, beating Ole Miss in OT and LSU.
They almost won against Mississippi State also.
Kansas State is a good team, well coached, but they had some problems over the season and that's not the Wildcats team of the past, it's the team winning their 6th game on season finale.
So no wonder they are the underdogs in this game against the Razorbacks and I doubt they will have a big impact on the field.
Arkansas better come in prepared, but if so, they will win this, easily.
That's not nice of me, but Kansas State will lose big here.
The Razorbacks did clash with the good teams of the SEC and some of those they won, how can an average BIG12 team win here?
It would be a major upset and would hurt Arkansas HC big time if the Wildcats would do that.
That's the motivation of coming in prepared, and winning this game, because that was the motivation after the 2-4 start.
Razorbacks win.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 6:45 pm ET
Alamo Bowl
#15 Oregon vs. #11 TCU
@Alamodome - San Antonio, TX
This Bowl exists since 1993 and has tie ins to the Big 12 and the PAC12.
Each team gets around 3.820.000$.
Can be a nice game, can be boring.
TCU had some ups and downs during the season, losing 2 of their last 4 (finished 10-2), while Oregon did start slow, but finished strong winning their last 6 (finished 9-3).
The only plus TCU has is their dynamic QB.
If they can make him do, what he can do best (run, scramble and juke), they can win this.
Of Oregon can contain that QB, TCU is in trouble, big time.
The Ducks did learn to score often again and they became better and better.
And that's something TCU was not really good in, during the season, keeping the other team from scoring.
I think they did only win their last game against Baylor, because the Bears went out of QBs during the season.
So, my pick is clearly on Oregon here.
TCU can win this, if they can score more than Oregon and I would like to see that.
Ducks win.


Sat. Jan. 2 - 10:15 pm ET (ESPN) Line
Cactus Bowl
West Virginia vs. Arizona State
@Chase Field - Phoenix, Ariz.
This does operate since 1989.
It's played at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a baseball team in MLB.
Normally this is played on the home field of the Sun Devils, but the stadium is under reconstruction during the off-season and this bowl will be played on Chase Field until 2018.
It does field a PAC12 Team facing a Big 12 team.
Each team gets around 3.325.000$.
Bad luck for the Sun Devils, they would have played at home.
But it's almost a home game anyway and they will face as 6-6 team a 7-5 West Virginia team, which does need a win.
Or let's say, their coach does need a win.
Since 5 seasons is Holgorsen coaching the Mountaineers and did so far win big (10-3, including an Orange bowl win) in his 1st season (the last in the Big East), but since then did win max 7 games each season and did go in 3 of 4 seasons to a bowl, losing 2 of them, playing the 3rd this season.
He is not a bad coach, but while other BIG12 teams did prosper, did the Mountaineers stay in mid field and did not content.
That's not the kind of performance West Virginia is used to.
Is he on a hot seat?
A bit.
Arizona State on the other hand did had the worst season under Graham since he came into town.
I don't think he is on a hot seat, but for sure, everyone would like to see the season ending on a high note, and not with 2 losses (last regular season game was a loss against Cal).
The Sun Devils are a favorite as home team and I think this will come down to team play on both sides.
Arizona State had great games and bad games, as had West Virginia.
That team with a better day form will win this.
I pick ASU, because I think that home field environment will help them to have that good day.
Sun Devils win.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE