Blog, tagged with Block of Granite
2019-11-14 07:19

What a wild weekend.
Still very nice upsets, which do shred my picking record, but who cares ...

Biggest upset this week was Minnesota’s win over Penn State.
I'm not sure Minnesota had a great game, or Penn State a bad one.
Sure, Gophers fans will say it was a great game and it was at least great to watch it, but I'm not convinced Minnesota is really THAT strong.
They did win and they did deserve it for sure, but with Iowa and Wisconsin looming, there way to the BIG10 Championship game is just getting started.

Next big upset was Virginia Techs win over Wake Forest.
A result nobody had seen as upset at all, before the season, the Hokies were unranked, while Wake Forest was ranked and the only team which had in theory the chance to stop Clemson to win another time at least the division.
Hokies did play at home and won with a perfect 4th quarter, which did seal Clemson’s division title already.

The next Playoff list did come out and TOP10 did look this way:
RK Team Rec
1 LSU 9-0
2 Ohio State 9-0
3 Clemson 10-0
4 Georgia 8-1
5 Alabama 8-1
6 Oregon 8-1
7 Utah 8-1
8 Minnesota 9-0
9 Penn State 8-1
10 Oklahoma 8-1

So what happened?

LSU did jump to #1, over Ohio State.
Clemson made it into the TOP4 thanks to Alabama’s and Penn States losses.
Georgia did beat out Alabama for the #4 spot, likely because of strength of schedule.
Oregon gets closer, but if not some meltdowns happen, they do look like they won't get in.
Same for Utah, but maybe the PAC12 Championship game would elevate one of the two into TOP4, if played against each other with no losses from this point on?
Minnesota made a huge jump into TOP10.
Penn State did fall, but not too hard
And Oklahoma did suffer a spot, thanks to the internal competition inside the TOP25.

Now let's face it:
If all plays out as expected, Ohio State will play for the BIG10 as favorite, a win would secure a TOP4 spot.
LSU has to battle likely Georgia for the SEC, the winner is in. If both keep winning, Alabama will eventually profit from the Championship game, since the loser of LSU-Georgia would fall a bit. Georgia with 2 losses for sure deeper than 1-loss Alabama, LSU with 1-loss ... not so sure.
Clemson is in, if the keep on winning.
Utah-Oregon could elevate the winner into TOP4, but that will be tough, maybe too much.
If Minnesota wins against Ohio State, they would be TOP4, but will not swap places with Ohio State and Ohio State would fall out, I think.
I think the BIG12 would need a MAJOR shift to get a spot, even if Oklahoma wins now everything that comes up.

There are many ifs and thens in this, so let's wait and we will see ...

And by the way, Arkansas did fire their HC Chad Morris after 1 and 3/4 of a season with a record of 4-18.
Before he coached the Razorbacks he did coach SMU to a 14-22 record in 3 season with each season getting better.
I can understand they did take him at that time, but honestly a team like Arkansas should be able to get something ... different.
Since Bobby Petrino left the University had not much luck with their coaches.
Petrino was let go, because of that Motorcycle/Girlfriend incident, then John L. Smith was brought in as quick fix, since the season was about to start fast, then after that season Bret Bielema, the quite successful Wisconsin HC (3 conference titles in a row) was hired and did guide Arkansas through 5 quite OK seasons, but a bad season in his 5th year did cost him his job.
Now Chad Morris is gone and Arkansas can look for a new coach.
This is not a good situation, since it seems the expectations inside Arkansas are higher than they can usually deliver regarding environment and recruiting.
So they need a person willing to coach in that environment and who is a hidden gem.
It will be interesting to see, what kind of gamble they will make.
Rumors are, they try to get Auburns Malzahn, but he already said he loves Auburn ... That would be a stupid switch from the outside view I have.

The 3 games selected as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov. 9
#4 Penn State @ #17 Minnesota
As written did Minnesota win this one, thanks to a good playing Gophers team I guess.
But ... Penn State did play bad football, too.
I think Minnesota is happy there is no best of 5 or best of 7, because I think they would lose such a series.
Overall did Minnesota capitalize the most out of the Lions mistakes, so they did play better than Penn State.
A great win for the Gophers, who are now 9-0 the 1st time since 1904!
It's the 1st win over a TOP5 team at home since 1977.
The Gophers country is wild right now.
Next up is Iowa on the road, then Northwestern on the road and then Wisconsin at home.
I think they have a good chance to reach the BIG10 championship game, since they are 2 games ahead of Wisconsin, the only team with 2 losses, the rest has more.
But they need to win at least 1 more and a Wisconsin loss, or they need 2 more wins, which won't be easy.
What I don't believe will happen is, that they will go unbeaten.
It's not impossible, but those 2 games against Iowa and Wisconsin will be very tough and also Minnesota can have a bad day.
Penn State did drop a bit inside the division, now 1 game behind Ohio State and followed by 2 loss teams from Indiana and Michigan.
They can eliminate Indiana on the next game, played at home, and they need to win against Ohio State to have a chance for the Championship game spot.
The Rutgers game at last should be more easy, but that is of cause also a must win situation.
With all the upsets happening over the current season, there is a lot of room left.
#4 Penn State 26 @ #17 Minnesota 31 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-15

#2 LSU @ #3 Alabama
I did pick Alabama and I was wrong.
The Crimson Tide had a very bad 1st half and needed basically the 2nd half to get back into the game, but it was too late to turn the tide.
Must have been a shock for the Tide fans when their team did commit turnover over turnover and LSU did score and Alabama did not, at least not often.
LSU did lead 33-13 at the half.
That's a lot.
The 3rd quarter was OK from Alabama point of view, they did held LSU scoreless, but did score too few points to shrink the losing margin.
Then in 4th quarter did LSU return to form and Alabama did play catchup with a game they can not win.
The Tide did score fast, at the end to get behind only by 5 points, but failed the onside-kick and LSU did run the ball out.
LSU has Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M as remaining teams to play. Their chances to lose are very slim.
Alabama needs basically 2 LSU losses to get into the SEC Championship game, thanks to the direct compare.
That will not happen.
The Tide will play Mississippi State and Auburn as remaining games, as an FCS team in between.
The Iron Bowl lost the spice a bit, but still this will be a great game,
And don't forget the 2011 season, when Alabama lost to LSU during the season and was still selected to play in the BCS Championship game and won.
Alabama is by far not eliminated from the playoffs.
They lost a close game against the 2nd ranked team in the country, now ranked #1.
If they win all remaining games, the 4th spot could be theirs.
#2 LSU 46 @ #3 Alabama 41 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-16

#18 Iowa @ #13 Wisconsin
I would say, Wisconsin did enough to stay in the hunt, but they did not look like the team to beat.
This looked like a classic BIG10 game, with few points and a close finish.
Iowa can still play spoiler and will try to improve their record against Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska.
Chances are good they can do that.
Wisconsin needs some help, but they still can win the division, especially if they win against Minnesota.
But that one is on the road and before that is Nebraska and Purdue.
#18 Iowa 22 @ #13 Wisconsin 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 19-16

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 9
#12 Baylor @ TCU
Baylor did good and won 29-23 in 3 OT. So I was not sooooo wrong with the coin flip, it just fell to the wrong side.
Baylor still has to face Oklahoma and Texas, which will determine their fate.
TCU needs 2 more wins for a bowl spot.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-10

#5 Clemson @ NC State
A landslide win for the Tigers (55-10) which gave them also the division title, thanks to the Wake Forest loss to Virginia Tech.
Clemson still has to win all remaining games to get for sure into the playoffs.
A loss would eventually push them too deep down the rankings.
They have to play Wake Forest and South Carolina, so in theory all good.
NC State also looks for 2 more wins for a bowl spot.
Jacks interesting games Score: 24-10

#15 Notre Dame @ Duke
OK, Duke did have a black day and lost 7-38.
That's a lot and did not help them or Notre Dame.
I'm really disappointed by that performance, but fine, can happen.
Jacks interesting games Score: 24-11

Wyoming @ #22 Boise State
Boise needed OT to win their home game, thanks to a missed field goal by Wyoming (which would have tied the game again).
So Boise won 20-17 in OT and will now face New Mexico, Utah State and Colorado State to get into the Championship game.
Biggest rival will be Utah State, who are right now 1 game behind.
Wyoming can only play the best they can and hope for a miracle, they are 2 games behind Boise and would need a major Boise meltdown to win the division.
Likely they will end up in a nice bowl game.
Jacks interesting games Score: 25-11

More astonishing results from the weekend:
Western Michigan won against Ball State and opens up the MAC West that way. 4 Teams with 2 losses now leading.
In the MAC East did Miami (OH) win against Ohio and got that way the lone 1st place in the division.
UCF lost their 3rd game this season, this time against Tulsa, which is a surprise, since Tulsa did play bad so far this season and UCF was a 16.5 favorite.
Washington won against 2nd place Oregon State on the road, but the Beavers could still win the division, if they win all games and Oregon loses all games from now on.
Texas did beat ranked Kansas State 27-24. The Wildcats will likely fall from the ranks or at least will drop several places after that.
As mentioned did Virginia Tech win against ranked Wake Forest 36-17. I hope Clemson did send some 'Thank you!' card to the Hokies, Clemson has clinched the division for the 5th time in a row since 2015.
Western Kentucky won against Arkansas 45-19 on the road, which led to the mentioned firing of Chad Morris, the HC of the Razorbacks.
Colorado won against Stanford 16-13. The Cardinals really in a bad season this year. Still 2 wins shy from making a bowl spot.
Troy did beat Georgia Southern 49-28. A gift for Appalachian State as it seems, who now are in 1st place in the division as only team.
Illinois won against Michigan State 37-34 on the road. The Spartans are also still 2 wins shy a bowl spot and Illinois is playing like they want to save Lovie Smith, their HC, in his 4th year. So far his results were 9 wins in 3 seasons and he has right now already 6 wins this season and the Fighting Illini will go for a bowl!
Louisiana Monroe won against Georgia State 45-31, which is also a reason why Appalachian State is now 1st in the division.
Appalachian State on their side did win against South Carolina, on the road, 20-15. That Gamecocks win against Georgia does more and more look like a miracle.
Nevada did win against San Diego State 17-13, which makes the West division a bit more open. SDSU is leading with 2 losses, while 3 teams are behind with 3 losses.

That's it. I will go on a vacation on Friday, so I'm not sure I will be able to come up with an edition in week 13 and week 14, but I will do my best.

Overall I did s e l e c t 6 games to have a look at, divided by 3 and 3 regarding top games and other games.

I selected these 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 12

Sat. Nov. 16
#4 Georgia @ #12 Auburn
That's the biggest test for Georgia for the remaining season.
They are favored, on the road, by 2.5 points, so a close game is expected.
Not sure what we will see, here, both teams had their ups and downs so far this season and it felt the teams did adjust their play to the level of competition.
So hopefully we will see a good one here.
Auburn won all home games so far, Georgia all road games.
I think both teams are more or less on the same level, Auburn lost to Florida in a close one, and against LSU.
Georgia made that booboo against South Carolina and won everything else.
It will come down to the last quarter I guess and both teams did not often show a great last-drive-to-win-spirit.
Most of their closer games were won by grinding the team down over the game, or lost by the same spirit from the Opponent.
In doubt for the home team, right?
Tigers win.

#8 Minnesota @ #20 Iowa
Who will get the 'Floyd of Rosedale'-trophy? That's a pig-shaped trophy granted to the winner of this rivalry.
Iowa won the last 4 games, but Minnesota is leading the rivalry and the trophy series (which started a bit later).
Vegas is favoring Iowa by 3.0 points.
Not a bad line, since Iowa did play tough in almost every game and Minnesota did beat Penn State at home last week, but did so far not prove whether that was a booboo by Penn State or a display of strength by Minnesota.
The surprising fact is, Minnesota is unbeaten so far, Iowa lost 3 (Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan, all ranked at that point, all close).
I expect a close game, again, but this time I think will Minnesota win.
The momentum is high right now for the Gophers and their offense did look really good.
A tough defense is coming up against them, but as was Penn States defense, so we might see a classic BIG10 game here, or not.
I could imagine the Hawkeyes lose on a higher margin than a score.
Golden Gophers win.

#10 Oklahoma @ #13 Baylor
Is this the point where Baylors season gets very special, or where it is brought back to the ground.
Imagine the Baylor fans, after those great years under Art Briles, cut to an end with the revelations of the sexual crimes and the environment of ignorance and cover up mentality.
The university’s image ruined, the football team in general a bunch of sexual crime committers (which was in general not true, there were those guys on the team, which was hard enough) and of cause the success did decline (not that a winning team would somehow make up for those crimes, don't get me wrong).
Then Matt Rhule came (after a 1 year interims coach) from Temple and started from scratch with 1-11 in 2017 and 7-6 last year.
Now the team is 9-0 and could actually win the BIG12. Great for the fans, for sure.
This game here is likely the toughest test Baylor will face beside a potential BIG12 Championship game.
Oklahoma did play great so far but lost to Kansas State.
Still they are 10.0-point favorite in this road game.
And I'm willing to believe that they will actually beat them even on a higher margin.
Baylor lost almost against TCU last week, they did win, but TCU is not the type of team as Oklahoma is.
Can Baylor win?
Will they win?
I don't think so.
Sooners win.

other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 16
Michigan State @ #15 Michigan
Both teams are not in the best shape to battle it out for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.
That does of cause not limit the intensity on the field, just the shockwave the result might produce.
The Spartans are not in their worst season under Mark Dantonio (that was 2016) but with 4-5 so far they are on the brink to miss a bowl spot, which did happen only in 2016 once.
The good news for the Spartans is, the last 2 games are against Rutgers and Maryland, so the chance to get 6 wins are not that bad as they seem.
They lost 4 in a row and of cause they want to break that streak against their rival.
That rival won last years game and is so far 7-2, which is worse than they wanted at that time of the season, but not as bad as it could have been.
They can thank this to good games against Notre Dame and a lucky win against Army in OT.
Coach Jim Harbaugh does not get that kind of money he gets to lose in Michigan, especially not against the rivals.
This season it looks a bit grim, since they lost already to Penn State, but won the Notre Dame game and are also favored to win here with 13.5 points.
The biggest streak he has to break is still the Ohio State game, but that's for another preview.
The betting line does indicate that there is not much hope for the Spartans to get this, but since this game is always special, this can go any way.
The last 4 games were all won by the visiting team.
Do I believe this will continue this week?
No. But it could.
But the losing streak on the green side and the winning streak on the blue side, combined with the big house ... tough to think the Spartans will overcome all this.
Wolverines win.

#23 Navy @ #16 Notre Dame
When I played football in the 90s this game was a classic, but always won by Notre Dame.
In fact Notre Dame won every game from 1964 to 2006, that's 43 games.
Then Navy did break the curse and won it 4 times since.
This season could be a season where Navy has a chance to win it.
Navy is playing good football, Notre Dame is playing not as good as in recent years and might get trapped here.
It's played in South Bend, so home field is all Notre Dame and that will for sure help.
Navy will need a perfect game, or a sloppy Notre Dame team.
I'm not willing to bet against the home team here, but watch out, there might come an upset.
Fighting Irish win.

Wake Forest @ #3 Clemson
This is likely the last big test for the Tigers before a playoff game.
And they are ... hold your breath ... 34.5-point favorite.
Before the last weekend was Wake Forest ranked and this game had a bit more spice, but they lost to Virginia Tech and did give that way already the division to Clemson.
Now all Wake Forest can do is, play the best they can and eventually spoil the Tigers season.
A win here would mean a lot of damage for the Tigers.
But that would be one of the biggest upsets ever done.
Tigers win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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2019-11-07 07:15

Some shakeups this weekend with some upsets and some changes.

Biggest change is that Florida State did fire their HC Willie Taggart after a very bad 10-27 loss against instate-rival Miami.
Taggart had a fast rise in the coaching ranks, once he became a HC.
2010 he took over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and managed after a bad season to get 2 7-5 seasons done. He departed before a bowl game.
In 2013 he took over South Florida and had 2 losing seasons and then got a 8-5 and 10-2 season done with a bowl loss. He departed again before the 2nd bowl game.
In 2017 he took over the Oregon Ducks and had just 1 season there for 7-5 and departed before the bowl game to get to FSU.
There he had 5-7 and now before the pink slip 4-5.
He is only 43, so he will get his career moving again, if he likes to, but obviously was FSU not the right place for him.

I expect FSU to make a bolt move, the college has a great name and a lot of money, so either a well-established name will get a call, like Urban Meyer maybe (but I don't think he would take it), or some new hot candidate will get a call, maybe even familiar with the conference (like Mario Cristobal of Oregon).

Not sure what they want, beside a winner. The funny part is, the coaching tree under Dabo Swinney of Clemson is quite short and not very successful, so getting an infusion from that side of the field will likely be not very helpful, if they don't get some of the coordinators Swinney has right now, who are there for some time already.

Syracuse did also fire someone, their DC.
Boston College did almost score 60 points in their game against the Orange, and that was a Syracuse home game.

Let's tackle the prime games 1st.

I selected these 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov. 2
#8 Georgia vs #6 Florida
I did pick the Gators, but overall was Georgia just the better team on that day.
UGA lead 16-3 when the last quarter started and Florida was at that time on their way towards the Georgia endzone.
They scored but were unable to stop Georgia to counter that and score to lead 24-10 (with a 2 points conversion).
Florida did hurry and needed almost 7 minutes to get into the Bulldogs endzone again to make it a 1-score game, but with 3 minutes left to play did the Gators just kick off regularly and ... failed to stop the Bulldogs to get 1st downs, hence they lost.
That way is Georgia the leading candidate, again, to play for the SEC Championship game, while Florida would need some major Bulldogs losing streak to have a chance.
They are 1 game behind, and the direct compare is also against them.
But Georgia will play Auburn and Texas A&M in the next weeks, so it's not impossible.
Florida has a more relaxed remaining schedule, so they need to win, sure, but will not play major contenders.
#8 Georgia 24 vs #6 Florida 17 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-12

##9 Utah @ Washington
OK, the Huskies suck this season.
Not only did they lose again, at home, while I did pick them as winner, no, they did it in stile.
They did lead 14-13 at the half and were lucky the Utes did not score more than 3 points after a Washington Turnover.
But in the 2nd half, the Huskies did just ... well ... suck.
Opening drive: INT.
Then after a Utes 3-and-out a Huskies TD and the whole crowd was hoping.
A Utes fumble was not translated into points, the 2nd Utes fumble did at least got a descend Huskies drive afterwards, but capped with a PICK SIX.
Utes now close.
Huskies 3-and-out, Utes got a descend drive and scored to get the lead.
Huskies 3-and-out, Utes got a descend drive and scored to extend the lead.
Now the Huskies got of their mind back on track and made an effort and scored with 1 minute left to play.
The onside-kick failed and the Huskies season is in the books.
As is my picking season as it seems. Haha.
Seriously, the Huskie, now 5-4, will win at least 1 more game to get a bowl spot, but that's likely it.
Utah is, thanks to the USC loss to Oregon, the leading team to play in the PAC12-Championship game, but only by an inch.
They have 3 games left to play and those are not easy.
#9 Utah 33 @ Washington 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-13

#15 SMU @ #24 Memphis
And another bad pick.
The hype is over.
But this was a very entertaining game, where defense was just not an option.
The Mustangs got their 1st loss of the season on a road game against a high-flying Tigers team.
Both teams did score a lot of points and at the end did Memphis just score a bit more.
SMU tried a good comeback when there were down by 22 points but scored not fast enough and had to make an onside kick try, which failed.
The Tigers did run the time out and are now in the leading pack of the division.
The problem for them is, they have to play Cincinnati on season finale, before an eventual Championship game (likely again against Cincinnati).
This will be crucial, since a loss will likely put them out of contention.
SMU must rebound and win to stay in the hunt and need likely some help.
#15 SMU 48 @ #24 Memphis 54 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-14

Other interesting games:
Sat. Nov. 2
#7 Oregon @ USC
A very important game for both teams and Oregon did it all right and USC did seal Clay Heltons (HC of USC) fate on that day.
I think there is only a VERY little chance Helton will return for a 6th season (including his interims season).
He did have basically only 2 good seasons (2016 10-3 with a bowl win, but only 2nd in the division and 2017 11-3 with a conference title and a bowl loss).
Since 2018 the team did decline and it's ongoing.
The fans call for Urban Meyer, I think USC will make a move at some point, but who they will s e l e c t ... don't know.
Oregon is now almost a fix for the Conference Championship game after this 56-24 win over USC.
They are 2 games before 2nd place (hold your breath) Oregon State and have to play 3 more games, both Arizona teams and the Civil War against the Beavers.
In theory they could fall apart, but after that win and an 8-game-winning-streak they are unlikely to lose 2 games.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-7

Florida Atlantic @ Western Kentucky
FAU did beat WKU 35-24.
The Hilltoppers are now very unlikely to win the division, since they lost to both leading teams, Marshall and FAU.
The Owls are right now behind Marshall based on direct compare, but Marshall will play the other division leading team Louisiana Tech soon and that way FAU might get some help.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-8

Virginia @ North Carolina
Looks like Virginia got the best out of their team and wins this 38-31, which gives them a great leap inside the division.
North Carolina will be an interesting team for the remaining season and I'm hoping they will gain more next season.
Right now, Virginia has the best chances to get into the ACC Championship game, but they need to win.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-9

Oh my god, all picks were wrong ... Bad week.
But not my fault, the teams did play bad. ;-)

Most stunning results of week 10:
Georgia Southern did upset ranked Appalachian State 24-21. That way the Sun Belt got some competition back and there are 3 teams now inside their division which can get into the Championship game.
Purdue won against Nebraska 31-27. The Huskers now 4-5 and lost 3 in a row. I guess Frost has to be renamed into Heat now, since expectations were much higher this year. Remember when the Huskers did fire Pelini because he could only deliver a 9-3 season ... well ...
Liberty won their 6th game this season, against UMass 63-21, but are NOT Bowl eligible right now, since they played 2 FCS teams this season and only 1 of those games does count. So they need to win at least 1 more. Best bet is against New Mexico State at season finale.
Air Force won against Army 17-13. Since Navy won against Air Force the winner of the Army-Navy game will get the Commander in Chief-Trophy. If Army wins, all teams have won 1 game and the trophy stays with the current owner, which is Army, and if Navy wins, the trophy goes to Navy, who then won 2 games.
Oregon State won against Arizona 56-38, in the desert. That way the Beavers are now 2nd place inside their division and Arizona is toast in their own division. I'm asking myself whether the Wildcats HC Sumlin is feeling more heat inside the desert.
UCLA won at home against Colorado 31-14. Believe it or not, but if UCLA wins all remaining games, they will win the division.
BYU did win against Utah State in the rivalry game 'Old Wagon Wheel' 42-14. Since there is now game between Utah and Utah State, the 3-team-trophy is again not awarded since 2016.
Fresno State won against Hawaii on the road 41-38. Hawaii still needs a win for a bowl game. I think Fresno State still has the chance to win the division if they keep on winning, especially against SDSU in 2 weeks.

That's that.
The 1st College Football Playoff Standings were released and right now they are still quite early, since some big games are still to come.
TOP 10 are right now:
RK Team Rec
1 Ohio State 8-0
2 LSU 8-0
3 Alabama 8-0
4 Penn State 8-0
5 Clemson 9-0
6 Georgia 7-1
7 Oregon 8-1
8 Utah 8-1
9 Oklahoma 7-1
10 Florida 7-2

That's quite interesting, since it does discount Clemsons season a bit, likely because of their quite soft schedule, and it does also put Florida inside the TOP10 beside 2 losses, while other teams with just 1 loss or even perfect teams are lower ranked.
Florida did get that rank likely because of their schedule and the losses were against highly ranked teams, named Georgia and LSU.

A lot of games are left to play to shake things up and if you look at the teams right now inside that TOP10 you see that many of them will play against each other in a few days or weeks.

That leaves some room for the contenders below the TOP 10, but history is not very supportive for teams inside that category.

2014: Only Ohio State was below TOP10 and got into the playoffs (and won it all at the end). In that season only 2 teams in TOP25 were unbeaten and a lot of teams had 1 loss, including the Buckeyes, which explains the wide spread rankings a bit.
2015: Only Oklahoma was below TOP10 and got into the playoffs (lost in 1st round). This time a lot of teams were unbeaten and some more with just 1 loss, including Oklahoma.
2016: No teams from below TOP10 got a playoff spot.
2017: No teams from below TOP10 got a playoff spot.
2018: No teams from below TOP10 got a playoff spot.

So either the committee got it better over the years, or the committee got stubborn over the years and did support more the TOP10 teams.
I think they got better by ranking the stronger teams, who then did win out for the remaining season.
That does not mean they did s e l e c t really the 4 strongest teams at the end, just the teams they thought to be strongest and kept winning.

There are several teams which might have a chance to jump into the TOP4, like Baylor (#12), if they win the BIG12 unbeaten, which means they likely have to beat Oklahoma twice.

Or Minnesota (#17), if they win the remaining games and the BIG10.

The upcoming week does feature one of the biggest games so far, so don't miss it.

I selected there 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov. 9
#4 Penn State @ #17 Minnesota
The Gophers HC just got his contract extension done, so if not someone comes up with a major buyout, Minnesotas future looks quite bright right now with P.J. Flecks results so far and having him until 2026.
The Gophers do have 1 of the best starts into the season since ages (8-0 is best since 1941!).
And now comes the toughest test the team had so far in the season.
Penn State did not start the season in a convincing style, had some close games (especially the Pitt game was not very convincing to me), but so far, they won every game and are surprisingly for me ranked #4 in the playoff rankings.
They are a 7.0-point favorite in this game against the Gophers on the road, so there is a lot of confidence they will win it.
If you look at the Minnesota schedule you just don't find a lot of winning teams, so their record is a bit polished right now and the tough ones will come until season finale.
THIS here will likely be a big road block, the biggest, I guess.
I don't think they will stand a chance against a 100% playing Penn State team, but since it is in Minnesota, we might get a ball game.
It will be cold and bad inside the open Gophers stadium and that might help them.
I guess not much, but maybe.
I think Penn States defense will put a plug on the Gophers offense and the Lions will win here with some bonus points.
Nittany Lions win.

#2 LSU @ #3 Alabama
Before the Playoff-rankings got posted this was #1 @ #2 regarding AP-poll ranks and it feels that way.
LSU did surprise everyone this season and did play fantastic on offense against a lot of tough teams.
On top came a defense which did stand their ground.
On the other side it's Alabama, period.
No teams is that consistent and strong as the Tide in the past 10 seasons, thanks to their coach and the environment.
It's a home game for the Tide, so LSU gets the toughest games they can play.
This feels like the old Les-Miles/Nick-Saban game, when the outcome of this game was not only the deciding game for the SEC, but it got a rematch in the BCS-Championship game and decided the National Championship. (Tigers won the SEC in 2011 and Alabama won the National Championship game for that season)
We are not that far right now, but there is a chance history does repeat.
Vegas sees Alabama ahead by 6.5 points.
Not sure about it, but I also favor Alabama over LSU here, because ... well ... let's say, LSU has from my point of view still to prove whether they did really reach that level as Alabama has.
I can see win both teams, no doubt, but my gut feeling is, that LSU will lose a close one.
Crimson Tide win.

#18 Iowa @ #13 Wisconsin
This is Wisconsins game to lose, I guess.
They are favored by 9.5 points, thanks to a better performance so far and a home game in frost city. (Likely the temperature will be above frozen water temperature at 2° Celsius and likely even sunny, but you never know in Wisconsin)
Iowa lost so far 2 games, Wisconsin lost 2 games.
IF Wisconsin gets their thing together after losing 2 in a row, they will beat Iowa, but if they did give up already, because their season goals got stomped, they will lose.
Iowa did play very solid so far and I honestly don't get the Vegas line, since the Hawkeyes did lose only close games against good teams, but it is as it is.
I expect a low scoring game and a close one.
Since it might come down to a last drive, I think Wisconsin has a better chance to get this one done in a last effort at home.
Badgers win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 9
#12 Baylor @ TCU
Is this the beginning of the Baylor decline?
Let's face it, Baylor did play so far not the best teams, but did win against Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, to name the highest ranked teams inside the BIG12 they did play so far.
Missing is Oklahoma and Texas.
That's were Championships are made inside the BIG12.
And against TCU.
The Horned Frogs do have an uncommon bad season so far, only 4-4 so far and inside the BIG12 they lost 3 until today.
The Frogs did play often for the BIG12 Championship in the past, but did have a 7-6 season last year and this season doesn't look better.
But ... they can win against every team, if things work out.
They are not a team which just is on a specific level and lose all games above that level.
No, they can play spoiler on every single gameday.
Baylor is favored by 2.0 points, which is not much difference if you think about an 8-0 team playing a 4-4 team, so Vegas is concerned I guess.
And I'm also concerned.
I think Baylor has some momentum and Rhule, the HC, did some great stuff so far, on the other hand has TCU a coach who can motivate the team after last weeks loss.
For me, this is a coin flip and it says ...
Horned Frogs win.

#5 Clemson @ NC State
Another perfect team meets a 4-4 team, on the road.
This time the betting line is Clemson at -31.5!
Why did I s e l e c t the game at all?
Because NC State did challenge Clemson in the so-called ‘Textile Bowl’ in 2016 and 2017. They did not win, but they were close (lost by 7 points each, 2016 in OT).
This season does the Clemson QB create more errors than last season, so the chances are better than last year, when Clemson won 41-7.
It CAN happen again, but maybe we get something this weekend.
You never know.
IF NC State wins, this would be a MAJOR upset.
Of course, I still go with Clemson.
Tigers win.

#15 Notre Dame @ Duke
Notre Dame is favored here by 8.0 points.
This might be OK, but don't underestimate the Blue Devils.
They are just 4-4, but did lose at home only on season opener against Alabama (by a mile, granted) and against Pitt by 3 points.
The other 2 losses were on the road against Virginia and North Carolina (by just 3 points).
And now comes the struggling Fighting Irish who won against Virginia Tech at home by just 1.
You should not compare results, but VT lost at home to Duke by 35.
So I think the potential is there to challenge Notre Dame and shove them the 8.0 points betting line into their 'Play like a Champion mouth'.
Coach Cutcliffe should get a statue for what he did with the program anyway, but I think he will surprise us some more time.
Maybe this week. I'm willing to go there.
Blue Devils win.

Wyoming @ #22 Boise State
And 1 extra this week with this game here on the smurf turf.
Boise State is favored by 12.5 points and play at home.
Done deal, right?
Likely it is, since Wyoming has to play with their backup QB, but sometimes you never know.
Boise is not as invincible as they seemed to be in the past and Wyoming did only lose inside the conference against other-division-leader San Diego State by 4 on the road.
A Wyoming win would open up the division again very wide, while a Boise State win would eliminate another contender.
Boise at home is a tough opponent, they are perfect so far.
Together with the QB-situation, I go with the blue guys, but watch out, we might see a surprise here.
Broncos win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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