2018-09-06 06:08

The 2nd week is coming and unfortunalely the amount of really high class games are quite low.

I selected this 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 2

Sat. Sep 8
#2 Clemson @ Texas A&M
The Clemson Tigers are on the likely best run they had in the history of their program.
If not that it’s second best to the Danny Ford era, in which the team won their first national championship title.
Dabo Swinney is in his 10th full season (+ half season as interims coach) and the last 3 seasons were the best you can have if your team is not Alabama.
3 Conference titles in a row, 3 times playoff spots, 2 times playing in the finals, 1 time winning national championship.
And for this season all signs do aim for a 4th conference title and another playoff spot.
They play well and their team is well stacked.
On top of that the competition inside the conference became weaker with FSU switching the HC, Miami struggling, Louisville chewing on the lost Heisman QB and Virginia Tech not on the same level as it seems.
But you never know.
The press says Boston could become strong this season and NC State was quite good last season and all it takes to spoil a season is one or two losses against unexpected strong teams.
Which brings us to this weeks opponent.
Texas A&M made the biggest splash in coaching search last season.
The did get Jimbo Fisher (of Clemsons rival FSU) and did put him on that team which Kevin Sumlin did stack up with a lot of talent, but was unable to translate it in a lot of wins.
Sumlin was fired and Fisher came to Texas, having the reputation of a National Championship coach.
Nobody knows how A&M will perform this season or the next few seasons.
Sumlins problem was always having a reliable QB, after Johnny Football went to the pros and destroyed his football career on the fast track.
Will Fisher be able to teach one of his leftovers into a QB, or will he need to recruit one and we need some patients to see A&M winning big time?
Nobody knows.
Still an interesting matchup between those 2 teams, with 2 coaches knowing each other quite well.
If Clemson loses this one, it’s a quite big coffin nail into their playoff hopes already, because they should be able to do this.
THAT team against a team which had problems in the past and has to find it’s way under a new HC? Should be a win.
Vegas thinks the same and has Clemson as 12 point favorite.
What could spoil the fun is, that A&M has a good amount of players and maybe Fisher can make something happen, like Urban Meyer did with Ohio State?
Possible, but I doubt it.
Tigers win.

Sat. Sep 8
#17 USC @ #10 Stanford
Maybe the PAC12-Conference championship preview.
Both teams are for sure in contention for a division title and a win in this game would mean a lot for them.
USC has Clay Helton as HC, a hire everybody thought to be strange when his interim tag was removed after the 2015 season and which was thought to be a bridge hire until the next bigger name was found to lead the Tojans.
Helton did guide the Trojans under such conditions in 2016 to a 10-3 record including a Rose Bowl win, the best result since 2013.
In 2017 he even won the conference (against Stanford) and finished 11-3, including a Bowl loss.
Not the best USC can accomplish, but close to it.
So Helton is now the HC for sure and I guess nobody is questioning that anymore (until the team starts losing again for sure).
His team is stacked, including a true freshman QB getting the starting spot in game 1, who played very well.
The schedule is hard, including games against Texas and Notre Dame.
If they can win a lot of these games, they will have a good chance to progress, but I have doubts that this team will win ALL games.
But they might win the conference.
It all starts with this game here, a rematch of last season Championship game (which they won with Sam Darnold as QB).
Stanford is also very good.
David Shaw is in his 8th season as Cardinals HC and has won so far 3 conference titles and 2 more division titles. He also won more Bowls than he lost.
What he did so far not accomplish was spot in the playoffs.
The team did win their first game against SDSU and will now enter one of their toughest matchup of the season (likely the other ones will be Notre Dame, Washington and either Oregon or Washington State).
Stanford is favored by 3.5 points, which is not much.
My main concern right now is on USC side the true freshman QB, who might have to play a team he is not ready to play and on Stanford side the few rushing yards the team was able to make against SDSU.
I’m pretty sure the USC defense will be much better than the Aztecs defense, so line and RBs better improve.
In total I’m expecting a quite intense game and given the fact it is in Stanford and they play against a rookie QB, I think Stanford will be able to challenge him so much that he will make enough mistakes to secure a win her.
Cardinals win.

Sat. Sep 8
Colorado @ Nebraska
This is a bit tricky, because Nebraska’s first game was canceled because of weather conditions. So we have a Colorado teams which gave us a first impression with that great win over their rivals Rams and we have the Huskers as surpising act.
There was a time when Colorado was a national power, end of 80s, beginning of 90s, but since then did the program went down a bit.
They did win the division from time to time or even the conference, but it was no longer on a level where you could expect 9 to 11 wins every season.
The 2 coaches before the current one had quite short periods and quite negative win-loss-records.
Enter Mike MacIntyre in 2013 and you get so far, well … a negative win-loss-record, but at least he had one division title already and in the same season 10 wins, which was the first 10 win season since 2001.
Last season the team went 5-7 with 2 very close games.
This season … who knows. The previews do see them winning only 3 to 5 games, but I would say that the team itself did make some progress in terms of respect and will to play. Put into that mix several new coaches on the other teams and you get at least opportunities.
It could the will lose a lot games, but they could on the other hand be to stubborn to give up and crank out some wins where they lost last season.
Against Nebraska they will need some luck I guess, because this is a quite good team and it’s a road trip.
The only thing which might help the Buffs to win here is that the Huskers are under new management and they might need some time to adjust to that.
Scott Frost was the hottest thing last year, at least in Huskers country where they still search for that next Tom Osborne (who guided the team in the 80s and 90s to several Conference Championships and 3 National Championships).
Frost was part of the last National Championship team and guided UCF last season to an undefeated season inside the AAC and a self-claimed National Title, within 2 seasons on the program.
The Huskers were sliding to mediocrity under the last coach so the mother did call and Frost did answer and expectations did skyrocket.
Last season did the Huskers finish 4-8 and let the coach go. Now Frost will face the usual tough BIG10 opponents (while they play in the softer division) and might only get to a bowl, because their non-conference games are quite soft.
Akron was canceled, so that win will be missed, Colorado is likely the toughest one of the raining 2 non-conference games (Troy the other one).
They will need good games against Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue to have at least a chance to get to a bowl, and better play good against Northwestern and Iowa.
With the team to be rebuild this will not be easy and I fear the Huskers fans have to wait at least a year to get more wins than losses.
Which brings us to this weeks game.
The two former BIG12 teams do meet again and will play with passion, but this will not be the same as in former seasons, like end of 80s or 90s.
Since both teams did leave the Conference and went into different directions, they have not meet since 2010 and Nebraska has won the last 3 meetings, whatever that means in such long periods.
Nebraska also leads the series by a mile overall.
Vegas has the Huskers as 5.5 points favorite, which is not that much. The fans do see that a bit more drastic, with almost 75% counting on the Huskers.
I have to admit a have a hard time seeing the Buffs winning here, but I do respect a stable environment vs a new coach led team.
I do expect a close game and I would not be surprised if Colorado would punch out a win, overall my gut feeling is that the Nebraska players will give what they can on that season opener under a new coach and they will prevail.
Cornhuskers win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Sep 8
#3 Georgia @ #24 South Carolina
Interesting game inside the SEC East, with Georgia being 10 point favorite. I think they will have a tougher time than we might expect, but as reigning SEC Champs will be Georgia win this.
Bulldogs win.

Sat. Sep 8
Iowa State @ Iowa
The rivalry is on and it became much more interesting since Matt Campbell leads the Cyclones. In his 3rd season expectations are high to make another step forward, but I think all would be happy to put just one more win on the 8-5 season of last year, if he wins the Cy-Hawk-Trophy in this game. Iowa won 3 in a row and Campbell lost 2 therefore 2 in a row. This will be tough, because it’s played in Iowa City and they are 4 point underdogs.
But I’m willing to pick the underdog here.
Iowa State did scare some teams last season with unexpected wins and Campbell will do his best to prepare the team.
Cyclones win.

Sat. Sep 8
#13 Penn State @ Pittsburgh
Another rivalry with Penn State having won last year and they are a 8.5 point favorite this year. This is played in Heinz Field and Pitt has won the last meeting there by 3 in 2016. Overall lead Penn State the rivalry by 8 wins in 98 meetings.
The Lions defense did not look that good last week, but I’m confident they can fix things and the team will perform better against Pitt, which is also not in Championship form. They won against a FCS opponent by a bit over 20 points which is a bit short of calling it dominant. Am I sure the Lions win? No. Do I expect it, yes.
Nittany Lions win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

Rating (2 users):

Tags: Block of GraniteNews

 Share on Facebook  Share on Twitter