2019-09-12 06:19

An interesting weekend, horrific regarding my picks in the pick'em game and here, but still we get exciting games, with surprising results.

And from my point of view that's the most important aspect of the games at all, to have them (at least often) open and you don't know what will happen.
On the other hand we still have games where the initial expectations were proven right or were even over-confirmed.
Regarding the fast pace of changes with players and coaches, some stuff seems to be eternal, like Alabamas and Clemsons dominance, and we might see this going on for another decade or more, or we will see changes happening at some point.

I like consistency on coaches, I dislike the 'not-a-playoff-season-you-are-fired-after-2-seasons'-mentality which seems to exists for some programs.
But if it becomes a constant natural law that some teams almost every time win whenever they play and whomever they play it gets boring.
I hope for competition and some challenges, for all teams, so let's keep fingers crossed that we will see more exciting games and also some surprised on teams like Clemson and Alabama.


Sat. Sep 7
#12 Texas A&M @ #1 Clemson
The Tigers had a great 2nd quarter and some good quarters, while the Aggies had basically not a single good one.
The Clemson defense was very good on that day and Texas A&M had only 1 good drive for a TD, basically in garbage time in the 4th quarter.
I'm not sure whether A&M was not really ready or Clemson was just 1 level better, but right now I don't see a contender other than Clemson for the ACC and I don't see how A&M will challenge (or even win against) Alabama.
Overall I think it was not a very entertaining games, but that's just my personal feeling about this.
#12 Texas A&M 10 @ #1 Clemson 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 4-2

#6 LSU @ #9 Texas
A big game on that day and with a lot of show produced, this did turn into an uphill battle for Texas which ended not they way they (and me) wanted.
What happened?
LSU did score a Field Goal in the 1st quarter and got the lead.
Texas got an interception and made nothing out of it RIGHT BEFORE THE LSU ENDZONE!
A few drives later they got a TD and the lead, but LSU did answer on the next possession and got the lead back and scored 10 more points, unanswered.
So Texas behind 7:20 at the half. No problem you play at home, right?
Well ... kind of. The game become ridiculous in terms of scoring.
LSU started with a punt-drive, but then came with each team scoring on their drives, TD-FG-TD-TD-TD-TD-FG-TD-TD and the game was 45-38 with the Tigers scoring 1 before last and Texas scoring last with 22 seconds to play.
The onside-kick failed and everyone in Louisiana was happy while Texas did cry (like men of cause).
Basically was from my point of view the LSU offense much better than anticipated or the Texas defense much worse.
Bottom line is, LSU is suddenly the hot stuff in the SEC West and nationally, while the 'we-are-back'-Longhorns lost a crucial game.
#6 LSU 45 @ #9 Texas 38 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 4-3

#25 Nebraska @ Colorado
Oh my god, I think if I would have been a Huskers fan, I would have gone maniac.
Nebraska did lead 17-0 at the half.
Then came out of the locker room and their offense was gone, while at least their defense kept playing and kept Colorado scoreless until late in the 3rd quarter.
No problem, just 1 quarter left and a 10 point lead.
Then did Colorado score on a BIG play (Flea Flicker inside their own endzone basically), but Nebraska got their offense starting working again and had their own big play a few plays later.
But Colorado was on fire and score also again, forced a fumble and scored on the next drive a field goal.
Game now tied at 24.
Maybe time to wake up for Nebraskas defense?
Huskers offense did score and they then got even the ball back, since after a long return did Colorado fumble the ball and the Huskers recovered.
But who needs to take advantage of that? Not the Huskers, they play3-and-out and punt, and the Buffaloes march slowly over the field and score to tie again, 31:31.
Nebraska now understands the problem with 46 ticks left in the game and starts a drive, but throws an interception!
Colorado gets the ball and ends the half deep in their own half.
We go into OT.
Colorado is held to a field goal and Nebraska needs 3 plays to gain -6 yards and then missed the field goal with a stupid-bad-idiotic-shot.
Welcome in upset land.
As said, as a Huskers fan I would have been upset also.
Colorado does look good for a new coached team.
Huskers do have much more to do than that to become relevant again inside the BIG10.
#25 Nebraska 31 @ Colorado 34 (OT)-> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 4-4

Other interesting games:

Sat. Sep 8
Miami @ North Carolina
Oh man, it seems Mack Brown did at least for now injected some winning spirit into the Tar Heels.
They did dominate the 1st quarter and were good enough to overcome the comeback of the Hurricanes in the 4th quarter and win this game 28-25.
Miami had a good drive for a last field goal try, but missed the 49 yarder.
Jacks interesting games Score: 4-3

#23 Stanford @ USC
This went a bit as expected.
The loaded USC bench did just take over and Stanford was unable to score as much as USC did, so USC won 45-20.
USC might not be the national powerhouse they were 15 years ago, but they seemed to be at least in the mix for the PAC12.
Jacks interesting games Score: 5-3

#21 Syracuse @ Maryland
Surprising result, if not THE most surprising one, of the whole week.
Maryland did not win this, they did crush the Orange, destroyed them completely and annihilated the remaining. 63-20!
Jacks interesting games Score: 5-4

Other interesting results:
Boise State won only 14-7 against Marshall, at home, on the smurf turf. Boise was 14.0 point favorite and everyone did expect something like 35-21 or so, but this ... it seems Boise has an offense blockage, which would be something new.
Michigan did barely survive the game against Army 24-21 after 2 OTs. Army fumbled on their last drive and Michigans defense saved the day by recovering it. Not the kind of strength everyone did expect from the Wolverines. How should they survive against Ohio State?
Missouri won against West Virginia 38-7. Looks like the Tigers wanted to eliminate last weeks loss against Wyoming. Mountaineers do not look ready for the BIG12 games.
Purdue won against Vanderbilt 42-24. Purdue lost last week against Nevada, but did now win here. I don't think they will have a run like last year, but hopefully play some good games against the odds.
Southern Illinois (FCS) won against UMass 45-20. UMass is still looking for some kind of identity inside the FBS and do still play like they are out of their league. Maybe they should have stayed in the FCS?
Louisiana Tech won barely against Grambling (FCS) 20-14. LT needs more juice to play inside their conference.
San Diego State won against UCLA on the road 23-14. Yes, that team winning against an FCS opponent 6-0 last week did win on a bigger margin against the so-to-be-contenders of UCLA. It's no fun to be a Bruin fan right now I guess.
And while we are here, it's likely also no fun to be a Seminoles fan right now. The team lost last week against Boise and won this week by 45-44 against Louisiana Monroe, a Sun Belt team, which did basically play in the cellar of their conference in the past decade (but had a 6-6 season last year, YEAH!). I guess this marriage between HC and team will eventually not last too long in Florida.
Cal won 20-19 over PAC12-Champ Washington. Not a good start for the Huskies. This loss will hurt them.
BYU won against Tennessee 29-26. I did not see BYU in good shape after last weeks game against Utah, so very surprising effort here. UPSET OF THE WEEK!
Coastal Carolina won against Kansas 12-7, on the road. I guess nobody did expect wonders from Les Miles at Kansas in their 1st season, but ... Coastal Carolina, really? Kansas was 7.0 points favorite, maybe the last time of the season this will happen.
Minnesota won on the road against Fresno State 38-35 in 2OT game. Not the best effort by the Gophers, I guess, but at the end they got their win.
And Hawaii won against Oregon State 31-28. Not sure when Hawaii did the last time win against 2 PAC12 teams in 1 season, but they won last time against 2 Power5 teams in 2006 (Purdue and Arizona State). Next week they play the Huskies on the road. A win their would be epic.

Unfortunately is week 3 the low tide regarding interesting games.
No doubt we will see some upsets, but to anticipate those is beyond my power.
Most games do look like 50-something-to-7 games and the favorites are more or less clear.
I decided to take the closest ones, or rivalry games which might become interesting.

So here are 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 3

Sat. Sep. 14
#21 Maryland @ Temple
What an odd matchup here. Both teams are not really sexy in my football world, are more synonyms for so-so-football.
Now they play against each other, which should make this a so-so-matchup, but somehow this got an important tough, even more because Maryland is ranked, thanks to their big wins against Howard (FCS) and more important the then-ranked Syracuse Orange.
They did not win, they did crush them.
Temple on the other hand had just 1 game and a bye week. They won the game, against FCS-Bucknell in style and will face now the supposed to be juggernaut-Terrapins.
I have more than 1 2nd thought on calling Maryland a juggernaut.
They won the games, no doubt, but they need more to convince me, they are contenders inside their division, their conference or even nationally.
The Terrapins had some rough times last season with their players death, the coaches change and the looming change after that season.
They finished 5-7, but lost 4 in a row at season end.
Mike Locksley, last season the OC of Alabama, came in as new HC and is supposed to make Maryland a winning team.
Some said in the past the plan was at that time already to make Maryland the Oregon of the east, comparing the Terrapins relation with UnderArmor with Oregons relationship with Nike.
So far this was not so successful, but maybe the Terrapins found someone to lift the team up.
My mind says, if that happens the coach will likely get an offer by a better paying school and Maryland has to look for a coach that caliber again, but you never know.
Regardless, the success in the last game did lift at least the expectations and the spirit of the Maryland fan base.
Temple on the other side has also a new HC, the former HC of Northern Illinois in the past 6 full seasons, who was quite successful, winning 2 conference championships and several division titles. Rod Carey got the job in a quite strange way. Geoff Collins, the Temple HC of the past 2 seasons, went to Georgia Tech and Temple selected Manny Diaz, former DC of Miami, to become the new HC. After a few days Diaz got the offer to coach Miami as HC and Temple had to look for a new HC again, losing more or less 2 week in time, hence also losing eventually better qualified coaching candidates to other schools.
The school then selected Carey and we will see, whether he can make Temple as good as Collins or even better like Matt Rhule in 2016 (now HC of Baylor).
A win against the hot Terrapins would be great for the team, while a win against Temple on the road would give Maryland a perfect start.
Vegas sees Maryland ahead by 7.0 points.
What I have seen so far, I go with Vegas, and I think the Terrapins will exceed the line.
I'm sure Temple will be OK under their new coach, but I doubt it will strong enough on defense to keep Maryland in check.
Terrapins win.

#24 USC @ BYU
USC has lost their athletic director a few days ago, when Lynn Swann stepped down from that position.
That's for me not a big deal, but I guess for Trojans it is, since Swann is one of their great ones (as player) and somehow it seems he does not fit into the plans of the new administration.
Now this can be a good sign, in terms of new ideas vs old ideas, or it can be a bad sign, in terms of respect to the tradition.
I guess the feelings about this are more in the 2nd area, but I'm too far away to verify that.
Regardless the team has to travel to Provo, Utah and play against the Cougars, who won surprisingly against Tennessee last week.
Vegas doesn't have a clue what to do with this team, which means the line is close, in this case USC is 4.0 points favorite right now, they were higher a few days ago.
Is this OK?
No, from my point of view.
Sure this is played in Provo, but USC did play good against Stanford last week and is loaded, while BYU did squeeze out a lucky OT win against an eventually imploding Volunteers team.
At least that's how I feel about this game.
So no wonder the Trojans do get my vote of confidence and will even beat the line.
Trojans win.

#19 Iowa @ Iowa State
It's rivalry time.
The winner in this will get the Cy-Hawk-Trophy (of cause some ugly piece of trophy-art) and Iowa does lead the series 44-22.
The Hawkeyes also won the last 4 games.
Kirk Ferentz was very long criticized for getting THAT much money for that less success, but the past few years were quite good for them, finishing last season with 9-4 and winning the division 4 years ago.
He has a winning season since 2013.
Some do put that on the back of the declining Badgers and Huskers, but maybe it's vice versa and the Badgers and Huskers do also look bad, because Iowa got some juice back.
The Hawkeyes won their 1st 2 games (Rutgers and Miami (OH)) and will now face their state rival in Ames, on the road.
This game will be ESPNs gameday game, which actually shows how bad the matchups are in total this week.
Because this matchup is never sexy.
It can be load, it can be a bit intense, but from my point of view, if you ask for the 10 best rivalries in College Football, I guess this is not on the list.
Iowa State was very long one of the worst teams in FBS, did battle Kansas very long time for the last place in the BIG12 and got some power back since Matt Campbell become their HC in 2016. They had a 3-9 season in his 1st year, but since then 8-5 seasons.
The best is, they did play spoiler some times, did win against contenders, but lost also against supposed to be weaker teams.
Since Iowa won the last 4 games, Campbell is still looking for his 1st win against the rivals.
This season the line is in favor of the Hawkeyes, but just 2.5 points, which is not much.
The 2017 game was a shootout, the 2018 game was a defense battle.
Tough to say, who will win here.
The Cyclones did win their opener in OT against Northern Iowa (FCS) so, that is not a vote of confidence, but they had a bye week and play at home.
I'm willing to call for an upset, just because the Cyclones are bound to beat Iowa at some point and Campbell had some time to prepare.
I wouldn't be surprised with any outcome, this is totally open. But I wish for an Iowa State win.
Cyclones win.

Other interesting games:

Fri. Sep. 13
North Carolina @ Wake Forest
Mack Browns Tar Heels do face Dave Clawsons Demon Deacons on the road.
Both teams are unbeaten, Wake Forest is favored by 3.0 points in an anticipated high scoring game.
Clawson did guide the teams very well the past seasons, so I doubt they will play bad, but the Tar Heels are on a run.
Honestly I see the run end at some point, I'm just not sure it will end on that game.
Anyway, I trust the home team to win this, so the Tar Heels will lose.
Demon Deacons win.

Sat. Sep. 14
NC State @ West Virginia
West Virginia did play good in their 1st 2 games, lost 1 in stupid way, but they are under a new HC, so maybe this needs some time.
NC State did start 2-0 and should be able to win, if this would not be on the road.
Vegas line is NC State -6.5, so the Wolfpack is favored by some points, but do I believe in this?
I can not figure out whether the Mountaineers will play consistent, I guess they will not, which leads me to the pick.
Wolfpack win.

Florida State @ #25 Virginia
Virginia is ranked and 7.5 point favorite.
FSU did hire a defense consultant, but whether this will fix the teams problems is beyond my guess.
For me this looks like a deeper problem, which makes me confident in picking the Cavaliers to win this.
Cavaliers win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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